Sunday, September 15, 2013

Paradigm Shifts, Puppy Therapy, and Pregnancy

Well, I’m about a month and a half into medical school

It’s been a hectic month and a half.

Last Monday, we had two tests, one of which was a final for the Behavioral Medicine and Development class (BD). The other was the second of three midterms for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MCBG) class. It’s nice to have BD over, and we have one week left of MCGB before anatomy starts. I’m looking forward to it, actually – MCBG has essentially been an intense undergraduate course with a clinical application here and there. While interesting, once we start anatomy I’ll feel like we’re actually getting somewhere. Oh, and after the tests, the school brought in some dogs for the students to pet – “puppy therapy,” they called it. As funny as it seemed, it actually was a bit therapeutic to spend some time with one of the labs!

Before starting medical school, I heard some medical students comment about the paradigm shift that often occurs once you start. In undergrad, those of us who are now in medical school were all neurotic type A folks (ok, that hasn’t changed) who were generally at the top of our class. I don’t say that to boast – we had to be. We had something to prove. Now, though, we’re all together in one room. That means that many of us who used to be at the top are now… average. That’s not a bad thing. It would be an honor to be even in the lower echelons of a class full of people as intelligent and dedicated as my classmates. It’s just different.

I for, one, am still regularly impressed by the quality of my classmates. These people are smart. It’s not infrequently that I get the sneaking sensation that I’m not supposed to be here; that I’m an imposter of sorts. The rate at which these people can acquire and regurgitate large volumes of information, seemingly without effort, never ceases to impress. I’ve generally never been one who could simply hear something once and retain it forever – I need to work at it. Hard. That translates into hours spent studying just to try and stay caught up in things like small group sessions. Of course, I’m sure my classmates are putting in some daunting legwork themselves, but if they are, most of them seem no worse for the wear. Ah well.

On that note, Anki has continued to be a great tool for me. I need that regular, daily repetition to really make things sink in. I wish I would have used it, at least to some extent, in undergrad. I would have retained a heck of a lot more. Its efficacy cannot be overstated, at least in my case.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Now for the more interesting news – we found out during the first week of medical school that my wife is pregnant! We’re both very excited, and looking forward to next spring.

When my wife told me that she was pregnant, my first reaction was one of complete excitement. That was quickly followed by a reaction similar to Gary Cooper’s in the film What to Expect When You’re Expecting (not out loud, though!):

After that, though, I felt a very profound sense of… responsibility, I suppose. We are going to raise a child. That is pretty incredible.

Of course, this has been a less-than-optimal time to go through the genetics component of MCBG, where we are learning about all of the chromosomal bad things that can happen to a developing child. They are rare events, of course, but still! It was nice to finish that section of the course.

We both continue to eagerly look forward to a healthy pregnancy and, hopefully, a smooth delivery. My poor wife has had to put up with a busy husband and some pretty nasty nausea. Hopefully that will get a bit better here in a few weeks as she gets through her first trimester. In the meantime.Zofran is awesome.