Long liver the long weekend!

Watching the announcement of the new pope on TV with an irreverent Catholic (Anna) makes for hilarity. Some commentary:

“Fifty thousand people standing out in the rain for what?!? Is that normal?!”

Me: He’s rather old…
A: No ‘rather’ – he’s old, period.

“Finally, we can sleep well in our beds tonight!”

One thing’s true – we will sleep well, though not necessarily because of the news in Vatican City. Tonight, I’m finishing some other loose study ends, not setting any alarm, and looking forward to a long weekend in my pajamas. We have the next two days off for a national holiday. I am so grateful for this extra time to catch up (read: start) on the GI system. I don’t know if I have the guts to stomach all the lecture material  =/ We started with the oral cavity a few weeks ago and have covered all the way down to the intestines by now, so I’m quite behind. The gall!

Our Medical Professions lecture was given by a psychiatrist today! I had been looking forward to hearing what he had to say, and though he was quite soft-spoken and didn’t offer any startling insights, it was still a nice reminder of what I one day hope to do (I think). It would’ve been nice if he could have spoken about his day-to-day duties more, but I’ve noticed that psychiatrists are usually extremely reticent or evasive when it comes to discussing the details of their work (and boy have I spent lots of time trying to figure that out!). Confidentiality is a particularly sensitive issue in psychiatry (why that is reflects the taboos of mental health still so deeply rooted in society), to the point that it makes it hard to know exactly what it is that a psychiatrist does. I think clarifying that would improve the image of mental health professionals and their role in medicine.

In the middle of his presentation was a figure from an article about a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) … citing none other than one of my former Duke professors!! This was particularly startling because I did not enjoy his “Inside the Disordered Brain” course at all despite its promising name, but apparently he is a pretty big deal?! Go figure. My best memory from that class is making up wacky mnemonics with Kate.


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Booktalk #2: Rereading an Old Favorite

As a book lover, I’m ashamed to admit that I rarely REread books, even my favorites. This extends to movies and TV shows, too, no matter how much I love them. There are just too many books and too little time to backtrack!

I’ve made an exception for Lois Lowry’s The Giver, though, a book that shocked my elementary-school-self the first time I read it more than ten years ago. I remember the school librarian giving it to me, warning me that I was a bit young for its utopian/dystopian themes  (not in so many words), but of course it hardly gave me pause.

That initial reading made such an impression on me, that I forgot until writing this entry that my 7th grade English class also studied the book. The first time, I felt it; the second time, I understood it. This time, I’m enjoying it.

I won’t give anything away about the plot — of course, I’d like you all to READ IT!!  Although some of the story’s details are a bit hazy, and the writing is more simplistic than I remember, it’s remarkable how much of it has remained with me after all these years, like memories buried just under the surface of my consciousness. It’s a book that just keeps on giving*.

*Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Today, I summarize yesterday.

I have to admit that day 1 of medical school spooked me a little bit, though I’m not sure why.  Things seem better after a night of sleep and a free Tuesday morning.

Yesterday started with an anatomy practical (in a group of about 15 with whom I’ll share all my classes), and we met our dissection professor for the next 2 years.  Almost immediately, we launched into our first unit, osteology, by discussing the humerus; it was not very humerous (*ba-dum-ch). There are more nooks and crannies (technical terms) in the bones than I imagined, and of course we have to know them all backwards and forwards (or rather, posteriorly and anteriorly).  Once  I got past the sheer volume, though, anatomy is an interesting language to learn. On Wednesday, we’ll have the chance to play with the humerus, radius, and ulna, which we’re supposed to study by then.

This was followed by back-to-back anatomy lectures, the first given by the head of the anatomy department about the history of anatomy, and the second given by the director of English anatomy instruction about histological methods. The first time I met her was earlier in the day when I was getting shown around the building for the first time in my manual wheelchair. She was … brusque, and told me that I would be expected to do all the work, she was not sure whether I’d be able to manage, yadayada.  Think Dolores Umbridge.  During lecture, though, I got the impression that she’s more a McGonagall.  We’ll see …

The lecture hall is an old-fashioned theatrum anatomicum.  A staff member rings the bell before the lecturer enters, and, per tradition, we are expected to stand when they arrive and applaud when they are finished.

(from budapeststudent.com)

The last class of the day was Hungarian language. I only have 5 minutes to get there, which means I will probably always be late, but the instructor is understanding.  “Different, not difficult,” she called her subject.

My mom left yesterday, too, which probably contributed to my doubts about this new and long venture, but today, I am all about the keeping on and carrying on. 🙂