>November 9 2002

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I used to wonder why the original foursome on this site, Dan, Brian, Emily and Christy became so sporadic in their postings during the M2 year. Now I know. It is such a mental endurance test, that when you do have some time not devoted to learning 150 drugs, or the differences between trisomies 13, 18 and 21, that you just can hardly bring yourself to write about it. I have some free time virtually every day, but it seems like I am compelled to do something completely unrelated to school, like tossing the football with my kids, or doing crossword puzzles. Things are rolling along pretty well though. We are at the end of the fall quarter and I am enjoying a week without classes as we take exams. The Biostat final was Friday and this Wednesday we will have our Genetics final. This will leave us with just four courses for the winter quarter, which will seem to be less of a burden even though we will still have the same number of lecture hours per week. A week from Monday I will meet my preceptor for the ICM class. He or she will be kind of a mentor to a pair of us, and we will get some hands on clinical experience. So far I have probably liked pathology best (much to my surprise) this year. We studied congenital heart defects last week, and in lab had several autopsy specimens to examine. It was kind of sobering to see these little miniature hearts. They were perhaps a fourth the size of the ones we saw in gross anatomy last year. It is kind of cool to see how your heart grows right along with you. Most of the “material” as the lab folks call their organ stashes, was over a decade old. They told us that they don’t get nearly as many autopsies for these kinds of defects anymore due to better early diagnosis and intervention.

In Microbiology, I didn’t care much for the recent unit on parasitology. It consisted mainly of memorizing signs and symptoms and matching them with the causative organism. Of course there were plenty of disgusting pictures to go with the names. Now we our doing bacterial physiology which sounds incredibly boring but I have found it to actually be quite interesting. Why study the genome of these things? Because amazingly, much of the code has been conserved all the way into mammals. I am really fascinated by all the advances in genetics.

My least favorite course has been the horrible Pharmacology. The first block on kinetics with all the equations and graphs was fine, but the next unit began the torture of memorizing dozens upon dozens of meaningless chemical names. Index cards out the wazoo. Ugh. I just hope I can make it through this course.

On the family front, all is well. My sixth grader and fourth grader both had all A’s for the first term. Manning has shown some remarkable improvement in his seizure over the last two months. He just suddenly had a drastic reduction to only one or two a day, and the difference in his level of alertness has been amazing. He is moving his arms and legs much more and being a lot more vocal. He goes to a special education program that our local school district provides. They have some wonderful people. A special handicapped bus comes by each morning to pick him up and a teacher accompanies him. They bring him home after a day of physical, speech, and occupational therapy. Those sound more advanced then what Manning is really capable of. The PT is usually range of motion exercises, and attempts to maintain head control for more than a few seconds. The speech therapy is more of an oral manipulation and the encouragement to make cooing sounds. OT might be letting Manning put his hands in Jello or a bowl of dry beans.

Our baby McKenzie is the focus of attention in the household. She is happy and funny. It is a great send-off every morning to have her toddle to the screen door and say in her achingly sweet voice, “bye-bye” as she waves to me with her ferocious smile.

I am sorry for not posting more often, and I am really going to try to do better!

 

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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