Sep 5, 2007

I'm Going to Prague!!!!

Wahoo!!!!! Yes, so that's where I've been. Not Prague... signing up for Prague, yes, nearly a year in advance, but so worth it.

SGU offers a summer selective in Prague which is coordinated through other schools with a doctor in the Czech Republic, where you get to experience medicine in another country. It's essentially glorified shadowing, but I thoroughly enjoyed shadowing this summer anyway, AND you get to, as I just said, witness medicine in another country, and hey, not so insubstantially, Prague... which is said to be an awesome city even for people who have been to Europe, which I haven't. Here's an awesome report (and blog) on the selective.

Because I'm incredibly OCD and once missed out on an EMT class at the time I wanted to take it, because I didn't show up early enough the NIGHT BEFORE (got it the next time around), I decided to do the Uberdork thing and camp out for it, since it's an extraordinarily popular selective, and I've wanted to do the selective since I first read about it, which was before I actually applied to the school. There's also an overflow Pilsen selective (city about an hour away from Prague), but it has even fewer slots and fills up with the people that almost made the Prague selective but just missed.

So I was making damn sure I got it, though to redeem myself on the dork scale, I have never camped out for toys, games, science fiction movies, tickets to see a Stephen Hawking lecture (as some of my colleagues at UC Davis did), or rock concerts. There are worse things to camp out for than a three week medical selective in Europe (like a spot in an EMT class)...

The initial night I pictured was being alone, miserably hot, and camped out on the step of Caribbean House, possibly covered in roaches (I actually haven't really seen many roaches this term, though I know they're out there, but I'm afraid of them, thus paranoid), and getting yelled at by security.

Not to be. First of all, David and Laila both wanted the selective as well, so "camped out" with me. We did rationalize staying on campus by the fact that only Laila lives on campus, walking from Cool Runnings to campus in the middle of the night (or dark of midmorning) isn't the best idea, and the buses don't start running until early morning, by which the line would surely be out the door (which it was, but people got in anyway).

Second of all, I had awesomely forgotten that while the library closes at 2 am (not bad), the relatively air conditioned study rooms are open 24/7. SWEET! And we managed to get into one that not only had ethernet and the rest of it but one that had a window overlooking Caribbean House so we could make sure that 80 students didn't magically make a run on it at 3 am and squeeze us out.

Had a nice study night surrounded by good company, then meandered over to the un-air conditioned stairwell of Caribbean House around 4:45 am, where about 4 first termers, diligently studying their Netter and Rohan anatomy atlases, had actually beaten us.

Which actually kind of illustrates some suckage. You see, the first termers who are starting now got the start of their third term moved up, so that now the start of their classes conflicts with the dates of the Prague selective... a fact they were not aware of until AFTER they'd stayed up all night, camped in the un-air conditioned stairwell, paid their 200 bucks (which HAS to be in US dollars; no checks/cheques, no EC), and the rest of it. And since the 2009 selective won't start until after their second year, that means they're closed out. So despite my own fortune in getting the selective, I will extend genuine and heartfelt sympathy to you first termers who went through all that.

Not sure if this will be a problem for August start first termers in the future, thus locking the Prague/Pilsen selective to only the January starters in their second summer, but the school seems to be scrabbling to find other summer selectives, and already have a Honduras selective (which has mixed reviews) and a Thailand selective, which is too new to have too many reviews, but I know at least one person that did it, and she loved it.

But anyway, we're going there, and, in a stroke of luck, Nina and Jay, who came later in the morning, got in as well. I think Jay was number 79, though that's not including the spots opened by the first term spots that were lost after initial registration.

Hmm... in other news... I've been napping during the last two days after lecture, to make up for the night of missed sleep, which doesn't seem like a big deal, but with my sleep problems, it's always been virtually impossible for me to nap, which is a crucial skill in medicine, so that's a really happy thing for me.

But I finished parasitology and genetics (and am very happy with both, and both exams were extraordinarily fair to even being on the easier side of fair), and I'm now into physiology, neuroscience, and community health.

We'll start with community health. Hey! A class as useless as first term Ethics/Clinical Skills! They seem to have replaced C/S for second term, at the last minute, with a one unit community health class, and no word on whether the C/S for last term will count for anything (since it was supposed to run for two terms with one grade). This seems to be a last minute thing, with the C/S lectures actually scheduled in our original syllabus.. it's kind of a shame because I've read that like last term, as C/S drastically improved with patient history and interviews, second term clinical skills is/was far preferable to the first half of first term Aristotle murdering.

I'm not sure if this is a result of being cobbled together at the last minute, but community health/preventative medicine seems like a topic that *could* be really important and relevant if it were handled a bit better and may be in the future. Unfortunately, so far, the first lecture was given by the guy that did the main part of the dreaded drug seminar and is done in the same sermon-style redundancy. Preventive medicine is good. No, really. In a lot of ways it's better than clinical because you don't have to treat patients who are demonstrating pathologies because you keep them healthy to begin with. Did I mention it's good? Did I mention you should go into it? You know it's really good? ARGH. WE GET IT. Get to how it's done. Oh, and heart disease kills a lot of people. In fact, it's the leading killer... something I've inexplicably known since the 8th grade...

Hopefully it'll get better though, because unlike having to learn the history of philosophical ethical theory to practice medicine, community health/preventive medicine deserves attention. Now, I'm being redundant. Wait, I've always been redundant, but this is not a required one-unit blog.

Onto the meat-classes: Physiology and Neuroscience. Immunology will start up as well, but hasn't yet.

Neuroscience is cool, and I swear I'm not just saying that because one of the professors is named "Dr. House" and put up his name as the House, M.D. logo but with PhD instead... I'm not that shallow... wait, yes I am.

Neuroscience is the class that seems to be freaking people out, which concerns me more that I'm not, because so far, it involves a ton of anatomy, most of which I don't know, but I like anatomy, it's not that difficult for me to pick up, and squishy brains are cool. I think it'll get a lot harder for me as we break into chemistry and physics, but in the meantime, it's fun and interesting. I was a little skeptical when our intro lecture was a poor-audio digital video from Norway (a fact that the Physio professor busted on, which was pretty funny, by noting on the first day that we must be brain fried after our "virtual professor), but as of the second lecture, we got a real prof who is pretty good at presenting the material, so no complaints.

Physio has the potential to be really awesome because it tells you the whys of everything in the body, but in a sense it frightens me because I'm not spectacular at physics, and there seems to be a lot of it, even if it's not currently *too* difficult (though I think right now it's harder for me than other people, with the reverse being true of neuro). Membrane potential, osmotic pressure, that sort of thing... The professor is good, and this is a class where in lecture we tend to go over the pictures extensively, so it's one where pre-reading the lecture notes is a real benefit, and I think the lecture notes are also good. Even better, they've now posted videos of the lectures, so you can specifically review the lecture material. You can also conceivably skip lecture (though the prof warned us that sometimes the videos had broken audio or whathaveyou, but except for the morning of registration for Prague, I'm not that bold. Good prof + hard class = Ishie Goes to Lecture.

The instructor for Physio is Australian, thus punctuates sentences with "okay?" and "yeah?" rather than "uh", which I like and involves me more than most lectures because there's a pseudo-participation, even though he's not really asking us anything. I don't know if that makes any sense. The instructor also confirmed his Australian-ness by using a shark biting off your leg as a demonstration of homeostasis, which seemed like a somewhat arbitrary, though certainly elucidating, example. This was particularly hilarious to me because I'd been swimming at the beach the day before with friends and discussing what in the water could kill you and that most of it was confined to Australia, so the fact that one of the first things out of his mouth involved getting half-eaten by by sea-hungries caused me to probably laugh more than I should have.

It's about bedtime, which I can tell from the fact that this is a particularly long and rambling sleep deprived entry. We're going to try for Fish Friday again, barring interference by what seems to be developing into quite the nasty hurricane season. It's surreal that Felix formed essentially on us, as what was primarily an inconvenience, and now I'm reading about it being an extremely devastating hurricane hitting central America. I was just worried about getting minor flooding. Yeesh. Enough, weather gods! Enough!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmm.... I remember doing that with a really sweet girl That I love....

Camping out just to be in a class with her was soo..... Important to me!!

Glad you made it sweetie...

I wish ... well you know!!

Very pleased and happy for you!