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Sleep Sleep Sleep

Earlier this month someone sent me an email about sleep deprivation. Here is a quote from the article (from About.com): “Poll results show that while many Americans enjoy the benefits of sufficient sleep, as many as 47 million adults may be putting themselves at risk for injury, health and behavior problems because they aren’t meeting their minimum sleep need in order to be fully alert the next day.”

Let’s face the facts. Medical students are not your average American. So while most Americans find that they have sufficient sleep (although I seriously doubt this… or maybe I just need to meet more “average” Americans), I’m sure that the percentage of medical students who received sufficient sleep is far less. This might be true for residents as well. Maybe I’ll write about that in 5 years….

I think my sleep cycle is messed up. During the first week of school there were two nights that I got to bed by 10 PM. I woke up at around 5:45, exercised, showered, ate breakfast and then got to class by 8:00. On those days I thought that I was much more alert and focused during the lectures. I think I really need to get back to that schedule instead of sitting at the computer after I finish studying till midnight.

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Pre-Med Humor – Preventive Measures

A physics professor was explaining a complicated concept when a premed
student interrupted him.
“Why do we have to learn this stuff?” the young man blurted out.
“To save lives,” the professor replied.
“How does physics save lives?” the smartass student asked.
“Physics saves lives,” the professor said, “because it keeps certain people out of medical school.”

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MSNBC.com: Obese kids miss the most school

Obese kids miss the most school – Kids & Parenting – MSNBC.com

Above is a link to the MSNBC.com story. Last week on rounds I saw a number of patients in the Pediatric clinic. The common topic of conversation between doctor and patient/parent? More exercise and a healthier diet. Childhood obesity is getting to be a very big problem. It is not only a problem during school but it will lead to many problems down the road.

Why is this such a problem in the United States? Is the land of the plenty too comfortable? What can be done to encourage healthier lifestyles? Parent education programs? Better P.E. classes? Destroying all televisions in the world?

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Medical Humor – Out of Room

During a patient’s two week follow-up appointment with his cardiologist,
he informed me, his doctor, that he was having trouble with one of his
medications. “Which one?” I asked. “The patch, the nurse told me to put on a
new one every six hours and now I’m running out of places to put it!” I had
him quickly undress and discovered what I hoped I wouldn’t see. Yes, the man
had over fifty patches on his body! Now, the instructions include removal of
the old patch before applying a new one.

– Another true story brought to you by the medical community

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Medical Humor – Cause of Death

One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct. Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a “massive internal fart.”

– Another true story brought to you by the medical community

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On the Wards – Pediatrics

At Orientation I learned that I had been assigned to Pediatrics for my first two weeks before classes begin. Not quite sure what to expect, I followed the directions and found myself sitting in a conference room Monday morning with the rest of the Freshman who had been assigned to Pediatrics.

The group in the conference room also included third and fourth years who were on their Pediatrics rotations. After an orientation to how things were done in the Children’s Hospital, the Attending Physician took sent us off to find the teams we were assigned to. Some first years went to the cardiology consult team, others to the GI team, some to the NICU and others to the PICU.

I, along with one other first year, headed to the Pediatric Teaching Office (PTO). The PTO is located across the street from the Children’s Hospital.

I quickly found out that the PTO is a very relaxing place to rotate through. Over my one week there, most of my time was spent sitting in the office along with the residents.

When the residents did go in to visit patients I was able to go in with them and watch, hand out lolipops, smile, and ask the parents some questions regarding the development of their child. The residents/attendings were really nice about letting me listen to some sounds with my stethoscope. One of the interesting things I had a chance to listen to was a heart murmur that indicated that the patient had a ventricular septal defect.

In between patients, there was not much to do. I did not bring a textbook to study. I would have found it interesting to talk to the 3rd year medical students or even the residents and attendings. But I didn’t want to get in their way. Those not seeing patients were busy looking up things on the internet, reading an article, telling jokes, discussing wedding plans, and describing the latest exciting cases going on across the street in the main hospital.

As a first year it was at times very overwhelming because I had no idea what the acronyms and jargon meant. I couldn’t chime in on the discussions of exotic childhood diseases or advise on the appropriate vaccination for a 6 month old coming in for a “well child check-up.” I did, however, appreciate being able to watch a number of different doctor interacting with their patients. It is interesting to note the different styles — some bad, but mostly good. Those little things will definitely be something to pay attention to as I cultivate my own style in dealing and interacting with patients.

Part of me feels like I just want to get through these first two weeks of “Clinical Experience” and start lectures. At least I will have something to do. And I will know what to do — study. But I realize that once lectures start I will miss the PTO.