Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Medical school professors always remind us students to take care of our hands; they don't care if one becomes extremely vain when it comes to hands, just as long as the hands are in the best working order.  After all, our hands are extremely important in our chosen vocation.  So yes, we wash them, (supposedly) keep them tidy at all times, and try to keep them soft and warm for the benefit of our patients; great excuse to have paraffin wax treatments and hand massages at the spa.

I almost lost the use of my hands awhile ago.  Rushing to the third floor of the school building after losing precious time returning the laptop to the faculty secretary's office, I was checking my phone for our Medicine facilitator's message when I felt my left foot miss a step.  Before I knew it, I had put two hands in front of myself and felt my knees hit the floor with a resounding thud.  I was waiting for my carpals and metacarpals to start cracking but decided against remaining in a crouching position lest more people see the accident.  A millisecond after, horrified thoughts flashed in my brain, "Oh God! Did I just break my hands? And my Med 1 practical exam (physical examination of the abdomen) is today!"  After inspecting my palms, I found some angry pressure marks at the bases of my fingers.  The pain had me slowly flexing my fingers to check if anything was indeed broken-grimacing against the dull pain, I confirmed that nothing was broken.  The next thoughts that came across my pain-dulled mind were of a less pleasant nature, "How bloody stupid can you get?  You played soccer for several years and the first tenet of falling is never to put your hands in front of you to break your fall!  You are such a primitive creature, never being able to work against human reflex!"

The physical exam practical and some errands made me forget about hands for awhile.  Now that that the adrenalin has gone, some mild pain is back.  Makes me want to pop a painkiller and see how my hands look tomorrow later in the morning.  If they're in bad shape, I need to go to the Health Service and probably have them checked for any hairline fractures or whatnot.  Wish me luck.

P.S.  It's the start of the accident prone period of the year for me again!  It's the second half of the second sem again.  Last year, I had patellar tendinitis, electrocution, and swollen eyelids + Angelina Jolie-esque lips from bug bites.  I hope this year will be kinder.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Nerdiness

Date: 13 January 2008
Time: 1315H
Location: Pathology department

Professor 1: Oh you're here!

Professor 2: How was the exam?

Professor 3: You're smiling. It must mean the exam was easy.

Moi: It was actually okay. More of the common sense type of questions, but then again I always lack common sense.

Professor 3 chuckles and leaves.

Professor 2: I'm going to ask you a question, and I'll ask you to answer me honestly. How do you find Patho?

Moi: I find it enjoyable actually, that I can correlate what's in the text with the slides I see and the pathophysiology of a case that's presented. Helps me remember, learn, and analyze, unlike other stuff that I seem to need to memorize just to pass.. It isn't too hard, perhaps even a bit underrated compared to other subjects, considering it's ten units.

Professor 2: Well analysis is better. And you have to remember all the algorithms. It takes logic; logic saves a lot of time. Of course you can't use your logic if you can't memorize too.

Professor 1: I'm illogical.

Moi: My grades tell me the same thing, doctora. I sometimes fall back on the textbook for those algorithms. I'm still trying to learn everything.

Professor 1: Oh, I never read the textbook. I remember I got a grade of 2.75 for this subject. Ooh, don't let Professor 2 hear that!

Moi: So I still am not totally hopeless, am I?

Professor 1: (shows key) I still don't have the answers to questions 1-20...I'm debating over two possible answers for number 13.

Moi: I can't believe I didn't choose giant cell tumor! Osteoclast-like cells! But the patient was a male, not a female!

Professor 1: Well, the bones were fused already.

Moi: I always get myself mixed up with these stuff. But I kind of prefer the analysis over rote memory work-I seriously suck at memorizing stuff. Sometimes, though, I thank my lucky stars my pencil lands on the correct letter when I shade the scantron.

Professor 1: Ah, I hate memorization too.

Moi: I remember in Pisay, we used to--

Professor 2: You graduated from Pisay too?

Professor 1: Yes, she's from Pisay like me.

Moi: I'm atypical, doctor.

Professor 1: If she's atypical I'm already dysplastic.

Professor 2: We'll give it a few years then. 

Moi: *chuckles nervously* (Does that mean, I'll end up as a pathologist?)

Professor 2: My daughter also graduated from Pisay, I think 1992. She went on to take molecular biology, finished and worked for awhile. Didn't like the job, quit and took Fine Arts. Finished the five-year course in three years, running for cum laude.

Moi: Wow. (*Does this mean I'm wasting my time in medicine and should go into the arts instead?*)

Professor 2: You know, Pisay produces a lot of good graduates not only well versed in the sciences and math.

Moi: Well, I remember our school plays and other extracurricular stuff.

Professor 2: Perhaps it's all in the balancing thing.

Moi: I remember we have some good writers, filmmakers, etcetera.

Professor 2: And you produce a lot of other sorts of graduates too.

Professor 1: What are you looking at me for? Hahaha, I'm so paranoid.

Moi: (glances at paper) Oh, I really trip up a lot with memory work, still have to work on that. Maybe take some brain-enhancing herbs or something, especially for tomorrow's exam.

Professor 2: Which is?

Moi: Pharmacology, doctor. *shudders at prospect of memorizing chemotherapeutic agents*

Professor 2: Ah, good luck. Memorization? Sleep early, you'll need it.

Moi: I'll gladly take that piece of advice, thank you.

Professor 1: How about osmosis?

Moi: That works for me sometimes, when I sleep on my textbook.

Professor 1: Seriously?

Professor 2: Dapat yakap mo, para dinidibdib. (demonstrates sleeping with arms crossed over imaginary book)

*fit of giggles over the silliness of the things we've been discussing*

Moi: Oh gosh. These exams are turning my brain to mush.

Professor 2: Oh, but you're just second year. You wait.