>August 26 2002

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I’ve got a red Playmate cooler that I take to school most days packed with a few Diet Cokes (beats the 65 cent vending machines) and my lunch. It looks like one of those ice chests that people use to carry a harvested organ from an accident victim to the ER for transplant on all the TV shows. In fact I regularly get asked, “What exactly do you have in that thing?” to which I like to reply, “A set of lungs, need any?” I’ve got my name written in black on each side, which comes in handy when I leave it in the bookstore. (Thanks for retrieving it the other day, Charlane!) Well today, I am passing an M1 in the hallway, when he spots my name and stops me to tell me that he reads my diary. This is the second M1 whom I’ve met through the Internet connection. Which is really cool, but kind of freaky also. It really gives me pause when I’m writing to realize that real people at my real school could be reading. If I were to trash some professor, or ridicule one of my classmates, there’s a good chance that they would find out about it, and how could I deny it? There would be my words, for all the world to see. I guess the old advice, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” applies here.

Speaking of the M1 class, there are four of my classmates from last year repeating from last year for various reasons. I admire their fortitude. While I would certainly not want to have to do it again, I do think it would be nice to do the M1 year with a “I know now, what I didn’t know then,” mindset. I really felt for them when Gross Anatomy cranked up last week. Three months of formaldehyde, scraping adipose tissue, and tying off bowels. Yuck. I am glad to be an M2!

We had a relatively low flow of information today. Three of our seven class hours were lectures on patient histories and communication in ICM. Dr. Sharon Douglas is a very engaging speaker with a big interest in communication. She gave us a couple of lectures last year on the same sorts of things, so it was really just a sit back and listen time. Its all common sense really – the four E’s – engage, empathy, educate, and enlist.

In pathology lab we looked at some of the types of tissue necrosis that we have studied in lecture. The coolest thing was a heart specimen from a myocardial infarction (heart attack) victim. The professor showed us the damaged tissue in the ventricle. There was even evidence of an older infarct which the patient survived and the damage from the fatal one was plain. We also saw a gross brain specimen showing examples of liquefied necrosis. Then it was time for lunch, yum, yum!

There is so much material being thrown at us already, that organization is going to be a key for me. I have equipped my study table at home with stackable tray from Office Depot to keep the classes separate. I like to carry a light backpack, so each day I put what I want to study into one binder and limit my books to either lightweight review books or one larger textbook. There are a few people in my class who haul their entire library around with them every day. They use the luggage type packs with wheels and a pull handle. They always look like they are catching the next flight out of town to me.

Our class president spent the summer compiling a CD for us with a complete set of last year’s notes and lecture handouts, plus three years worth of all the old exams. It appears to be a monumental effort. Nice job, Calvin! I have been going through and printing out the notes for each days scheduled lecture the night before. Scanning over the notes makes the lecture time much more productive. Just six hours tomorrow, but they start 9 hours from now, so I better get to bed!

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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