>February 26 2002


After an incredible weekend of rest, warmth, sunshine and no studying, things have gotten back to normal. As if to emphasize the need to get back to the grind, our early tease of spring has yielded to a cold front. It is supposed to drop below 20˚ tonight which would be a record low for the date. Oh well, they keep it warm in the library.

In class we have started the renal unit in physiology. Body water compartments, fluid replacement, nephron function and the like. I am finding it to be a lot more interesting that I would have thought.

Neuro started yesterday, and we had our first lab. We examined the brain specimens that we had removed from our cadavers back in the fall. Each group was assigned, a whole brain, another brain split into hemispheres, and a loose spinal cord. The smells took me back to those days of gross lab which seems like years ago.

Our new psychiatry unit also began this week. It kicked off oddly enough with a neuroanatomy lecture. This lecture supplied my favorite quote from med school yet. Back in 1848, a man named Phineas Gage had an accident in which an explosion drove a tamping iron through his brain. He lived through the incident and neurologists of the time were able to learn quite a bit about the function of the frontal lobe of the brain from the weird personality changes that Gage underwent. There is a lot of cool information to be found about this case on the web. Anyway, the quote I liked was our professor’s description of the injury as a “profound and stunning insult.” You’ve just got to love the way these PhDs put things sometimes.

Monday, we had a mandatory CPR training course. We watched an American Heart Association training video and have to take a written exam on it next week. Then we divide into small groups and take turns over the remainder of the year going for personal hands on training with the mannequins. I have been exposed to some of this stuff before but have never been certified or anything. I am glad to be getting this stuff. It would be awfully embarrassing to be in a situation where somebody needed emergency assistance, and after being identified as a medical student I had to admit I didn’t know how to give CPR. I could probably fake my way through it, but now I think I will feel a little more confident.

My schedule for the remainder of first year consists of 8 hours of physiology lecture, 6 hours of neuro lecture, 3 hours of psych lecture and 4 to 6 hours of lab time per week.

Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to give some anecdotes about two of my professors. One of the physiology guys (the same one who has worked with the cremaster muscle for two decades) is obsessed with getting on the Survivor TV program. He has applied for every incarnation of the show and while giving his series of lectures was preparing a video to send in for the latest version which will be taped this summer. Apparently you have to put together a little video about yourself. He had his assistant tape him giving a lecture, and then pan the students. We all feigned unconsciousness at his request. I guess he is going for the humor angle. Or maybe he figures a nerd professor is one of the personas the show needs.

Another PhD in the Anatomy department is very big into dog shows. He has several prize winners apparently and is a regular on some of the dog shows that ESPN2 airs late at night when there are no college basketball games to televise. I have not ever actually watched one of these, but have heard about it on good authority.


About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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