>December 20 2001

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Christmas Break. My first since 1988 and it feels great. I can’t believe it took me this long to go back to school! As I was riding around town today, I couldn’t help but laugh at all the poor stiffs who were going to work. Not that I can take it easy. With a comprehensive Biochemistry final and our first Histology exam coming within the first four days of our return, I have a lot of work to do. I have made myself a schedule out for the rest of the holidays and plan to do some studying every day except Christmas and New Years. I even went into the library and got some reading in the last two days.

There is a lot of construction going on all of the time at our school. The original teaching hospital for the University of Mississippi opened in 1955 and they have been expanding ever since. In the last five years a new children’s hospital, a women’s and infants hospital and an adult acute care hospital have all been built. Work on the fourth and final hospital in the grand scheme to replace the outdated original structure began this fall. Each day I have to park in the parking lot of a large stadium and walk to the School of Medicine and I go right by the construction site. I was thinking about how easy it is to go by each day and not really see what is going on. Some people walked by the site for a week before they noticed that a new circular drive had been put in to divert traffic at the main hospital entrance. I decided that I was going to really look every day and see what new things were going on. It has become a metaphor for the world outside of medical school for me. It is so easy to get so immersed in metabolic pathways and cellular ultrastructure that you don’t have time for anything else. I am not going to let my blinders stay on so tight that I walk up one day and say, “Wow! When did this new building get here?”

I have also found a new goal for medical school. The hospital has an emergency air-lift helicopter that brings in patients and lands on top of the acute care hospital. I have found myself watching it come in and land several times with fascination. I want a ride in that thing! It looks so cool. I am going to try to find out who I need to kiss up to get a ride on the chopper before I graduate from this place.

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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