Aug 24, 2007

Bad Blogger

Yes, I'm still using the word "blog" despite the current chic hatred of it to describe things that are, by best definitions "blogs" since they lack better definitions.

So I haven't been updating all that much, at least not for all that's been going on, because well, all that's been going on!

Parasitology and genetics, as mentioned previously, are cool little two week classes that then deliver a final right in your third week. Pressure's on, baby! It's nice because you're only focusing on those two, so I'll tell you a little bit about them before bed.

Genetics is apparently highly variable, with some terms being really easy and interesting, and others having dull instructors and insanely difficult tests, so your mileage may vary. I don't want any angry emails.

Our instructor this term is a pretty cool guy from Newfoundland (that's an accent I haven't heard) who seems to do some solid genetics review without attacking anything too suicide-inducingly difficult. Now, the test may prove that wrong, but so far, I'm enjoying it well enough, particularly since the instructor likes to pepper his slideshow with oddities like Gattica movie posters and weird Radioactive Man style comics from the 50s where everyone has giant heads, like they've been infected by Toxoplasmosis as fetuses. Feti?

Which brings me to parasitology. Parasit is a bit scattered, and definitely high yield with a very lot of information crammed into a not very lot of time, but personally, I find it fascinating, perhaps even fascinating enough to investigate more thoroughly if I didn't think such an approach could land me dying near stagnant water by worms exploding out of my orifices, which is definitely on the top ten list of ways I don't want to go.

The instructor is cool, from Kenya, has done endless amounts of work in a bunch of countries, and fills his lectures full of interesting stories, like the 3-legged DDT carrying donkey that fell in a river and cured the village below of river blindness by wiping out the fly population (no word on what drinking DDT did to the villagers though), or the way in which the "Don't Feed Cysts to Dogs" song was passed on through 1000 miles of African villagers as a method of preventing cystic hydatid disease, which causes your liver to swell up with disgusting giant cysts until you look like you're pregnant with twin sets of quintuplets... if quintuplets were WORMS!!!

In the death and misery department, the little stuff seems to have the medal, but in the "holy crap, that's disgusting department", we've been studying nematodes for the past couple of days, thus reinforcing the list of countries I'd pretty much decided against ever visiting back in high school biology when I first got an inkling these awful creatures existed.

The only problem with parasitology (other than being high yield, thus high study time), is that it makes you intensely paranoid. I did perfectly well in Grenada for a term, but on day 2 of parasitology, sent the SOS email: DEAR MOM: SEND FILTERS WITH MESH OF FOUR MICRONS OR LESS... NOW!!!!

And no, Grenada doesn't have the really frightening exotic illnesses, but even a lecture on the complications of dysentery is enough to make anyone run for the nearest brita filter.

I'm still in "med student" mode though. Parasit is right before lunch, and after watching a series of slides in which giant Ascaris worms were shown both as "pooped" spaghetti, and, in horror movie fashion, crawling out of a sleeping/comatose girl's nose and mouth simultaneously, my response was: "So... lunch?"

To my credit, lunch did NOT consist of spaghetti.

if you google "Ascaris" you can find some appetizing pictures, though I wouldn't recommend it for people who don't have a strong stomach, and should be sufficient to scare most people off any field of medicine that comes within a 50 mile radius of those things... Unfortunately, they're relatively common... So just climb in your bubble, stop eating meat, uncooked vegetables, drinking water, playing in soil, or being bitten by bugs, and move to Alaska... but stay away from polar bears... they have parasites too (and big giant teeth and bad tempers, but it's the parasites that'll get you).

1 comment:

Mom said...

No check...
but the filter is in the mail