Friday, June 8, 2012


As a med student I am supposed to have great stories about crazy post exam shenanigans. But mostly they all end up the same: everyone gets drunk and complains about the unfairness of the test. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Don’t do it! They bring you nothing but misery! Well, alright I’m not the best authority on this. I have trust issues, which sharply distinguishes me from the rest of mankind. But the reality is you cannot cultivate your own garden let alone have a codependent one. Citing the experiences of others, the person that should give one strength and support is often the greatest cause of troubles, and they have little fault. Dating a medical student is difficult because it is essentially being slave to a narcissist. We always come first; our needs always supersede the needs of the significant other. The med student does need to be studying for a test at literally every waking moment and cannot call or go on a date. Or he might need to desperately do 5 loads of laundry because the only clean thing left is a senior prom dress. To someone who has never had the work load of plow ox and the time management of a sloth, that seems preposterous and hyperbolic. But it’s not. We are busy. We are also incredibly lazy and majestically skilled at procrastination and time wasting. It is however necessary, distractions serve to maintain sanity. I can only study for so long before I lose the will to live. The significant other meanwhile feels neglected and unappreciated. They patiently wait for a scrap of free time and all any of us can do is talk about… wait for it… school. This free time is often with classmates, which leads to inadvertent inside jokes and ever more exclusion of the significant other and isolation. This causes more tension and fighting. So everyone is unhappy.  The tragedy is validity of argument of both parties.

So then dear reader you might ask, what about dating other med students? That might be an even worse plan because med student are inherently emotionally damaged people. Most of us come from various tragedies and becoming doctors is a way to heal ourselves, or for those of us, like me, who do not want to deal with our own problems, we want to fix a broken world. There are exceptions, and there are great couples that come into being, eventually marry and breed future med students. The rest of “medcest” pairings end roughly the same way. I will use a friend to illustrate, since my only real attempt to date another med student concluded in me drunkenly punching him in the solar plexus after trying to ask him out. I don’t know why, don’t ask me. That and when I drunkenly flirted with one of the girls. But back to my friend and her torrid med school romances. The reactions of the men she dated in school reflect the larger attitude of single med students of all sexes: apprehension, distrust, and disinterest. Med school is a perfect mask to hide weak, tender-hearted individuals that have disconnected from themselves. Being tired, overworked, and chained to a stack of books serves as an excellent distraction from any emotion one might have about a significant other. So her boyfriends ran away from her in a method befitting med students: after a few great dates they simply grew distant, quoted studying as the reason, and waited for her to grow angry, insulted, and send them (and their sex pili) on their educational way. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Real Human Being and a Real Hero

I will never forget when I snapped a person’s jaw in half with garden clippers. No, this is not an account of a murder of a review notes cadge. This is anatomy lab, a place full of magic, mystery and liquefied fat stains on your scrubs. It also has the added bonus of testing the validity of any violent fantasies one has ever had; no better way to find out what serial killing is like than to systematically disassemble a human in the name of science.

My cadaver was a wispy old woman, Ellie, whom I grew to love. One of the hardest moments of med school and maybe even my life was to put all of her pieces in a body bag and say goodbye. We gave her flowers. Truthfully there were days that I did not want to be there. I did not want to clean out her thoracic cavity full of congealed mucus (which has the consistency of spoiled cottage cheese). Nor did I want to tie off her intestines with plastic neon-pink ribbon, normally used to wrap presents, before removing her bowels and praying to every deity that I would not perforate them and spill out formaldehyde-preserved waste. But I never forgot her sacrifice to us. Thus I’ve decided that when I die I want to donate my body to a bunch of incompetent med students that will massacre it, although I plan to tattoo some helpful hints on myself to guide them.

Lab is also an especially terrible place for hangovers. After a post exam shindig people are seen darting out for oxygen breaks far more than usually. The occasional overachiever can be observed with an airplane style vomit baggie sticking out of his lab coat pocket. I’ve always felt especially badly for the groups that had the poorly preserved bodies, which were basically decomposing corpses they had the pleasure of digging through. Walk by that and keep your lunch. I dare you.

For the few moments I wanted to steal one of those vomit baggies, there were many more majestic ones. I held a human heart, many hearts actually, and removed the brain, which proved to be a difficult task – it’s really stuck in there. I saw the intricacy of human hand, a surprisingly simple system considering that we can write, paint, touch and profoundly manipulate our world because of our hands. I used my hands to delicately dissect the neck with miniscule scissors, working for hours to unveil the astounding complexity of the machinery that helps run our face and brain. The irony is that for all of impressive things our body is and can do, it is a very unassuming lump of beige meat.