Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bootcamp, Bugs, and Brain-fry

I do not often blog without a significant and self-declared 'profound' purpose out of respect for my readers. But tonight I'm breaking my own rule to detail what happens to a human brain and body during a typically atypical 18 hour med school day.
Read on my friend, read on...

My day started at 5:30am as I awoke to prepare for the first session of 'Beach Body Bootcamp' at DMU's wellness center. No, I am not trying for a 'Hasselhoff-ian' Southbeach lifeguard physique, but I am trying to establish a LIFESTYLE of better health. Of course, better health means pushing myself precariously close to the vomitous cliff, but man I felt good most of the day!

I also had to miss some morning classes to go get my 3rd vaccination in the Hepatitis B series that all healthcare workers (and med students) are required to have. If you didn't already know, County Health Departments are THE place for affordable immunizations. But you do risk getting your immunization done too high where more nerves are. It worried me that the immunization was given right through the middle of my right shoulder tattoo, thinking that it could pose an infection risk of some sort. Of course I had to research this and while there is not a lot of info in the medical journals, and most doctors/nurses have never had a problem puncturing through tattoos, there is a recent journal article out of Alberta noting that 3 women in labor received epidurals through lower back tattoos without incidence. So now all I have is soreness in both shoulders from Bootcamp pushups and vaccination side effects.

Since it was Tuesday I also had a Christian Medical Association club meeting today. No free lunch at this club meeting, but some great spiritual nourishment!

Tuesdays this semester also means Physical Diagnosis lab! Yeah for actually learning something about medical practice while in medical school! I was a bad lab partner today I must admit. It seems that my 'excess tissue' makes it hard for an inexperienced student to find many pulses, palpate certain structures, get different sounds during percussion, etc. Don't worry though... my lab partner was skinny, so it worked out for me...

Oh, if your doctor ever tells you he needs to "percuss or pat your kidneys for tenderness or pain" we actually call the technique a "kidney punch". You might have thought kidney punches were only intended to cause pain, but NO, they can be diagnostic too! (It's not really a punch so don't worry)

So I spent my evening cuddled up with my laptop in various positions of temporary relief from bootcamp and vaccination pain, studying for my Microbiology exam in the morning. This is the first exam of the semester and I definitely have struggled with getting back into the study swing. I must admit that I've come to a conclusion. The battle for survival between the humans (and their immune system) and Microbial species is simply amazing. Example: Some bacterial species have a prominent cell wall in addition to their cell membranes. Penicillin is an antibiotic of the Beta-Lactam class that stops the formation of the cell wall around some of these species and they die, ideally. Penicillin worked great at first until a species of bacteria with Anti-Beta-Lactam capabilities shared those genes with other species, and yes bacteria are capable of changing their genome 4 different ways. So in the case of Staph Aureus bacteria we came up with Methicillin which worked great UNTIL a Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA) came up. Now we have Vancomycin to treat MRSA and there now appears to be VRSA. By the way, Staph Aureus is a small but normal part of the flora on our skin, so our body does a great job of fighting it naturally the vast majority of the time.

This is my life. It is now 11:30pm. I woke up at 5:30am.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Rick,
I love to read your blogs, not because I am unfamiliar with medstudent's life, but because I want to see how your blogs will change in few months from now:)
Enjoy your free life now, because soon you will have no time at all.