>September 03 2001

>What an opportune time for a three day weekend! I felt like it was a great time to try to sit back and assimilate everything that has been thrown at me in the first eight days of classes. Even though I don’t feel like I am on top of everything, I am amazed at how much new knowledge I have acquired in such a short time. I am obsessing over the material so much that I wake up in the morning thinking about anatomical structures and names. When I see people, I look for the surface landmarks of their skeletal systems. When I pointed out Kathy Bourgeois’s acromion this weekend, she told me enough was enough! I have spent most of the three days catching up on material and reviewing. I feel a little bit like I have lost touch with the outside world. I haven’t read a newspaper in two weeks and I only glance at the baseball and football scores. And actually, I am enjoying it all so far!
I took a break tonight to go over to our friend’s the Bourgeois’ for a cookout and the Mississippi State game. It was great to sit down with friends and relax after putting in about 18 hours of studying this weekend. Thanks, John and Kathy!

I have found one pleasant diversion that I like to indulge myself of each day. The school has an excellent little gym in the student union and I have been getting to school early enough to workout and shower before my 9:00 BioChem class. I have been lifting weights and then riding a stationary bike for 20-25 minutes. I allow myself to read whatever I want while on the bike. Right now it is a Ken Follet novel, A Place Called Freedom. The day then falls into a nice routine. We have just and hour of BioChem most mornings and then three hours to study until Anatomy starts at 1:00. We then have an hour and a half or so of lecture before going to the lab to do our dissections. I am in the lab until close to six before coming home to strip off my, by then, stinking scrubs. It is funny to get on an elevator with some of the residents and watch their noses turn up as they say, “Oooh! Gross Anatomy! You won’t remember anything you learned, but you’ll never forget the smell!”

Our first BioChem exam is this Friday. We have covered intro to cellular structures, pH equations in physiological conditions, protein structure, myoglobin & hemoglobin, and enzymes. I really like this class and am amazed about how much is known about the molecular structure of so many proteins. Just a common one like hemoglobin is incredible. Your body has two different sites in your DNA that code for hemoglobin synthesis. Two different peptide chains (strings of amino acids) are formed and a pair of each are covalently bonded together into a tetramer (4 piece) protein molecule. Within this molecule are four iron atoms that can bind with oxygen molecules. In your lungs, the hemoglobin binds with oxygen to carry it in your blood stream to the tissues where it is needed for metabolism. The oxygen molecules are then unloaded and carbon dioxide takes their place in the hemoglobin and is returned to the lungs to be exhaled. The hemoglobin synthesis is critical. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder that is marked by an error in one single amino acid of the hemoglobin chain. The mutant gene is usually not a problem in individuals who only have one inherited sickle cell gene, but if they get one from both parents, they will have sickle cell anemia.

In Gross Anatomy we have dissected the back, the chest, the axilla (the armpit … there is a LOT more going on in there than I ever suspected!), and the arm. We will be doing the shoulder and hand before our first exam two weeks from today. I don’t feel as good about this class yet. There is SO much reading to do. As one professor said, we are learning a whole new language as well as the structures involved. I still have to stop and think about what “superolaterally” means when they use it to describe a direction on the body.

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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