May 15, 2008

CMV, why do you hate me?

Nope, definitely not a fan of the CMV. I mean, being immunocompetent and everything, it definitely beats out lots and lots of other things for diseases in the category of "stuff I'd rather have than staph aureus in my brain", but as far as learning about it, it's one of those sneaky bastards that causes everything, and when you're studying it in immunocompromised, like everything else in immunocompromised, pretty much everything is attributable to it. It's the sarcoidosis of micro.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have those pathogens which I've long lamented that only have one or two symptoms, but happen to share that feature with 5000 other things exactly like them that some scientist at some point was interested in enough to go "Hey, these two things that cause self-limiting coughs have different molecular structures. Let us create new viral families, genera, and species for them so that students' lives may be made more difficult for it."

Then, there's those horrendous organisms that cause terrible things but I love them, because they have incredibly specific risk factors and symptoms: 'a guy into home canning develops paralys.." "Botulism! Next question!"

I did get a big form of entertainment on the bioterrorism lecture, which really should have been subtitled "The Murderous Jackass Blooper Reel of Foiled Misbegotten Plots to Bring about Armageddon."

The weird part is there's all this stuff people are TRYING so desperately to do to each other, yet the most deadly outbreaks tend to be associated with the abject stupidity of people that weren't doing it deliberately to begin with. You know "Oops, I had the sewage from the Happy Acres Mad Cow Dairy Farm draining directly into the city water supply. Was that wrong? I checked like three times in 'How Not to Kill off Children and the Elderly for Dummies' and it wasn't listed."

But, gotta know all of it for tomorrow's micro final, which has been blissfully schedule for 1:30 PM at my good hour, which means I actually have a good chance of being half with it when I take it.

This also contrasts sharply to my clinical skills first lab midterm, which is one of the easiest "gimme" points on the planet, to which I did all the vitals and questioning perfectly, drew a complete blank on the rest, and then spent a lot of time gaping blankly, hemming and hawing, and being frustrated. Doh. Fortunately, their grading is on the kind side.

Path... everyone wants to know about path... the dreaded second exam, bane of medical school existence. Did it suck? Absolutely. Was it extremely long and difficult with TONS of irrelevant information that you had to discard, come up with a diagnosis, and then come up with features that clarified that diagnosis so you could pick the right one out of a list of answers that ALL had elements of being correct, but one was 'more' correct than others? Yup.

So why am I not more freaked out, nor was I too bad going in? Reputation. I have heard since the first week of first term how unquestionably terrible the second path exam is, have gotten tons of tips from wonderful people that have taken the class, thus when it came up and was terrible and long, it was just about as terrible and long as I was expecting, and now it's over.

This doesn't mean I did *well* or anything; I honestly have absolutely no idea, since I knew vaguely what virtually every question was talking about, which may be the epitome of "giving me just enough rope to hang myself with", because it allows me to be very easily misled, particularly on an exam where time is such a factor.

And it was too, goodness. I knew that going in, and I was STILL racing the clock. I knew it was going to be a close one when for the first path exam, I was looking at the slides for two seconds before putting my head on my desk to await the next changeover, since I was feeling kind of stress-crappy, and on this one, I was still logicking my way through the question and answer choices when I heard the "next slide" click.

Not that it mattered much. Those slides were... whoa. I'd heard different slides, but same diagnostic features; it just may be a different view of the same sort of specimen. On the first exam, I'd look up, go "Oh, that's nutmeg liver", read the question and go "Uh oh." On the second exam, I'd look up, go "What in hell is that mangled mass of tissue? Was this an incidental finding at a murder scene where the victim got put into a wood chipper?", read the question and go "Oh. That is easily the most undiagnostic least representative view of an aortic dissection I've ever seen. Fortunately, this patient is presenting the way he would if he'd waltzed out of the textbook", and then of course, read the answer choices and go "Uh oh".

Oh, and I owe Kwesi like three beers for LAP scores and I get NONE for pseudomonas. Hmph. Makes me almost think there's something wrong with playing path exam drinking games. Nah...

So who knows and c'est la vie. Now all that's left is to focus on micro and then TRY to pull my aching brain together sufficiently to actually study for the Clinical Skills written exam on Monday.

And then? Turtle watching! Wahoo!!

And an additional good luck to all you anatomy and BSCE takers out there, as well as my microbiology-afflicted brothers and sisters. I'd wish you 6th termers good luck, but I have no idea what your exam schedule is, so I'll just wish you a nonspecific good luck and congratulations.


Anonymous said...

good luck with Micro! Turtle watching? Where do you go for that? --R

Ishie said...

Thanks!! Went well.

Turtle watching, go with Ocean Spirits; I think they may be the only official group. Lori got a group together from campus and their tour buses picked us up at the gate. It's on the northeast side, about 10 minutes north of Bathway beach, which is where we ate dinner.