>April 04 2002

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It is April and a young med student’s fancy turns to … baseball! Will the game be a soothing balm, the comforting presence of a friend who disappeared for five long months and is now back to guide me through the remainder of first year with a new fire and determination? Or will the great game’s lure be a weight around my neck and drag me down into complacent mediocrity for the last seven weeks as I stay up blurry eyed every night to catch Barry Bond’s last at bat out on the left coast? Hmm. I better turn the TV off now and start reading about the somatosensory system.

Monday was Opening Day of baseball season, always a great holiday in my life. I played hooky in the seventh grade to watch a Reds v Braves opener back in 1980 and have pretty much taken every Opening Day off in some sort or other since then. This was the first day of the entire first year of medical school that I blew a day off so I didn’t feel too guilty. The days festivities included some one-on-one hoops at a fellow fans house, a viewing of the movie Major League, followed by ESPN’s coverage of the Braves v Phillies and the Mets v Pirates. Of course there were smoked sausage dogs, nachos and ice cream sandwiches involved also. It is important to capture the ambience of the ballpark.

I have had a very difficult time getting back into the study grind since last Wednesday’s first big Neuro exam. I barely spent any time on this week’s endocrinology exam in physiology. I just could not get real interested in it as we have covered the material in both biochem and histology. I went into the test as poorly prepared as I had been for any test this year but still managed to scrape out a passing score. The next unit on respiration promises to be more up my alley.

We also had a psychiatry mid-term exam this week and it turned out to be uglier than I expected. There was even a question about what enzyme catalyzes the final pathway in the synthesis of some neurotransmitter! Sheesh, I though I was through with biochem! I figured it would be more along the lines of giving me a guy’s symptoms and asking what the diagnosis is. That’s always easy – answer (b) : crazy!

I had a nice chat with the director of the Neurobiology course this week. Dr. Haines is the head of the anatomy department and an excellent teacher. He asked about my little boy. I was not even aware that he knew about Manning. He shared with me the fact that he too had a special needs son who is now 26 years old and was able to empathize with my situation. I really appreciated his interest. I asked him how he knew about Manning and he told me about reading an article that was written on Manning back in the fall in our local paper. It was a real nice article and I have had numerous people both from school and around town that have come up to me and mentioned having read it. I have posted a link to it here if you would like to check it out. Dr. Haines is also currently collaborating on some type of project with Manning’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Lancon. They are both incredibly smart men, and I am pleased to know that there are people like them in the world working hard to understand that most mysterious of biological innovations – the nervous system.

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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