Sunday, October 6, 2013

Medical Monday!

Medical school is killing me.

Last weekend was the trifecta of shitastrophe.  I sprained my ankle, did not do very well on my first exam (but I did pass), and quietly dealt with the passing of my grandmother.  Her funeral service is today, and my mother and I agreed that it was best if I did not go.  I was fortunate enough to have seen her in July before I left for school, when she was still alert.  She was 95, lived long enough to see the first great-granddaughter and saw the first person in the family go off to grad school (me).

I knew, before I left, that my grandmother's health was deteriorating.  I had hoped to visit her next weekend, when I went home to visit the significant other, but it didn't work out that way.  I'm just glad that there was family with her, and that she simply "wanted to sleep."

My mom wanted me to focus on school, and I think my grandmother would probably feel the same, so I'm doing just that and staying here instead of flying home for the service.  The measured insanity of classes, anatomy, and constant studying kept me focused.  Not to mention, standing on one leg for three hours to dissect in anatomy, then getting around to all my classes in crutches, left me physically drained every day.  But there are moments when it's quiet and I'm alone in my apartment at night that I start to feel sad.

For the next test, I need to work on knowledge retention.  For a while, I was outlining certain notes because our lectures were all over the place (the setbacks of an integrated curriculum - or whatever it's called).  I guess it's good for people who like to see the "big picture" of things.  For me, it's hard to switch gears so suddenly, from learning about the uber-teeny (osteocytes, proteoglycans, etcetc) to the big (muscles), even if these topics are related.

What I tried to start doing today was to spend time reviewing subject matter from previous weeks...especially the biochem stuff, because I cannot not remember anything from last week.  Now that my ankle is better, I am spending more time in anatomy to go over the musculoskeletal structures.  I think if I can spend at least an hour or two in the lab daily, quizzing myself/being quizzed/quizzing others, I can spend less time on that at home and more time learning the biochem stuff.

I am tired and my brain hurts.


  1. So sorry to hear about your grandmother. It's a sad reality of medicine that it doesn't make it easy for people to take time off for even the really important events like funerals.

    Also, "I am tired and my brain hurts" could've been my slogan for my 6+ years in medicine to date. It gets somewhat easier. Or perhaps we just get more accepting of the tired and the sore brain with time.

    1. Thank you. The thought of having to find someone to switch dissection seemed overwhelming and stressful, as opposed to just going in myself and being able to focus entirely on what to cut next, or what to find next. I knew I would miss important events before going into medicine, but the reality is always harder to accept.

  2. I am sorry to hear about your grandmother and so glad that you got to see her before she passed. Best of luck on the next round of tests. Thanks for linking up with Medical Monday's!

  3. I have the same problem with the "integrated" system. I also find that it gets easier to slack on parts that one doesn't want to bother with - for example, for every system we did, we did some histology. Problem was that out of everything in a system - anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry and pharms - histology was a negligible percentage, like less than 5%. So oftentimes we just didn't bother with histo. Whereas if we had had an entire histology module and exam, that would not have been possible. Sigh.

    I am really sorry to hear about your gran. I worry about my family passing while I am at school so much. I hope that you had a friend or such who can comfort you when needed.

    Knowledge retention is a hard one. I guess everything in med school is. I don't know if your brain ever really starts being tired, but eventually you find some techniques to soothe it. I think.

  4. So sorry to hear about your grandmother, that sucks :/ med school does get easier after first semester, even though that seems hard to believe now

  5. Hey Mingle,
    Sorry about your gran. Make it's understandable that things are tough right now: sadness and injury never help.
    Keep up the sleep and the exercise- they'll both help, with the stress, the busyness and keeping your brain running! And good to see you're linked with others in the field who know where you're coming from and can give you some good advice and moral support.
    Even if you've little time to go out and socialise at least you're getting some moral support here from lots of other people who have gone before you.
    Take it easy and be nice to yourself and note that no one else says that med school was a piece of cake. I expect you'll figure out what works for you and things will improve.
    All the best.
    Stella xx