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February — month of Love?

Everyone loves February. It’s the cute little month with only 28 days (most of the time). And it also has that special holiday, Valentine’s Day. But someone also referred to it as Singles Awareness Day. So I guess there’s a mixed audience when it comes to that day.

This month I also had a couple of hours of lectures covering topics like sexual relationships with patients, dating, marriage, and adultery. Those are the ones I can think of right now but I don’t think I’m missing any February-related topics.

The class where we learned about sexual relationships — I think the lecture was titled “Sexual Boundaries” — was called Understanding Your Patient. The course director is a practicing psychiatrist. I’ll sheepishly admit that I would probably have a hard time explaining what that class is all about. At least not very succinctly. Listing some of the other topics discussed in that class might help paint the picture, though. We’ve talked about how to partner with our patients with a goal of better healthcare (as opposed to giving orders). We’ve discussed breaking bad news to patients. We’ve talked about aging and the difficulties associated with it. We’ve also talked about child abuse, red flags that we might encounter, and the responsibility to report our suspicions to the appropriate higher-ups.

We spent two whole hours talking about sexual boundaries. The take home message for those two hours? Don’t have sex with your patients.

We heard about doctors having their license taken away for getting involved with their patients. We learned that psychiatrists, because of the intimate nature of their work, can never get involved with their patients. A surgeon, who after operating on a patient, may be able to date the patient as long as number of years has passed. I guess the point was that “they” don’t want a physician to abuse his or her “power differential.”

A few days later, in a religion class called “Wholeness for Physicians,” we were talking about adultery. The instructor, who is a practicing psychologist, warned us that it is very easy for physicians to go down this path. Doctors at work, he told us, are constantly being attended to by the nurses. There is a very friendly relationship there (hopefully). And when the doctor goes home, he or she hears, “Honey, I’m tired. Watch the kids.”

Eventually the doctor begins to compare the spouse with the attractive young nurse. It can be a recipe for disaster. I think I understand the dynamics now.

So that was my experience during the month of love. That was the extent of my foray into anything close to relationship or romance — I listened to lectures about it.

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CNN – Med student struggles to preserve her idealism

Last year CNN ran an article written by Emily Breidbart, then a second year medical student. It’s an interesting read. At times I do feel that it is a struggle to protect my own idealism. But maybe she is doing a better job than I. Because I’ll admit, at times I find myself downright cynical — even comically cynical. But that’s another story. Anyways, in her article, Emily writes about how her curriculum, at times, seems to revolve around preventing lawsuits than the patient’s health.

Fortunately, this hasn’t been the case for me at my school during my first year. I think there has been the occasional mention of the litigious nature of the profession. And I think we (as students) have all heard plenty of stories about it. So it isn’t like we are ignoring malpractice. I’d say that they, and by they I mean the professors who teach us, choose to focus on the patient.

Who knows? Maybe one day Loma Linda’s curriculum will have to change. Maybe someday they will have to place the fear of litigation into the heart of every incoming first year. I hope not, though. Because a society in which doctors are afraid to treat patients is a society in trouble.

Oh, and check out Emily’s article “Med student struggles to preserve her idealism” over at CNN.com.

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Family Day

Last week we had Family Day for the first years. Of those who had guests on campus, some had spouses, but I think the majority had parents. My parents came out for the day. My parents and I arrived on campus just before 7:30 AM. We got out of the car and started walking towards the designated registration area.

I had my backpack on and walked slightly in front of both of my parents. It felt a bit awkward. I asked my mom when was the last time she went to school with me. “Kindergarten,” she replied.

The provided us a small breakfast. After breakfast they had 3 hours of lecture scheduled for us.

The first class began at 8:30 AM and was on micturition (urination).

Lecture two, at 9:30 AM, was an hour about eye exam. My dad actually fell asleep in this lecture. Me? I was doing my best to stay alert. After all, can’t be falling asleep during a lecture with mom nearby. Third lecture was an embryology lecture on the endocrine system.

After lectures we were scheduled to have lunch at 11:45. The large crowd headed towards the conference center below the School of Medicine administration offices. There they served some pretty good food. I don’t think any of the parents believed that the meal was any example of normal treatment for students.

That afternoon, we got a chance to show our parents/guests some of the labs. I took my parents to the Physical Diagnosis “lab.” They listened to heart sounds with a stethophone, palpated a simulated prostate, and checked out some ear models. We then went to the Simulation Center in the physiology building. That was pretty cool. They showed off all the high-tech dummies.

I thought the whole thing was fun. It was a good chance for the parents to come and see what everything was all about. The students got a chance to show off our campus and facilities.

When I started this post I thought I was going to come up with a pretty brilliant way to close the post.

Right now I’m kind of drawing a blank.

End of post.

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Med School Humor – Bringin’ Study Back

Well I’m a fan of these medical student videos. So here’s another one. Enjoy.

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Slow Month

Well it has been a very slow month — at least for this site, anyways. The school side of my life, on the other hand, has been pretty busy. Although, as I sometimes say, it’s nothing to write home about. The business has not involved anything really interesting. Not that the human body isn’t interesting, because it totally is.

I actually do have a couple draft posts that I started but I have yet to finish them. Most of the drafts are very short.

But one thing of interest that did happen this month was Family Day for the first years. But Maybe that can be another post…

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It Left Me Feeling… SICKO

SICKO
Courtesy of MichaelMoore.com

I guess I’m slow. I’ve heard that before. But I finally got to see Michael Moore’s documentary on the American Healthcare System. This was my very first Michael Moore documentary. I didn’t watch bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11.

Prior to watching this film I thought that Michael Moore was pretty obnoxious. Not that I’ve ever met the guy. He just came across that way to me. He seemed confrontational. But maybe you need to be that way to produce an effective documentary.

Throughout the film, Michael Moore introduces the audience to various Americans. We get to meet them and find out about their difficulties in the system of medicine that Americans seem to have accepted.

As a documentary about the atrocities of the American healthcare system, one would expect to see the negatives. And Mr. Moore does not fail to deliver. He presents one tear-jerking story after another and with his sarcasm points out how broken our system really is.

At one point he brings a group of Americans who have health problems resulting from their work at Ground Zero of on 9/11. These rescue workers had many problems that they just could not afford to deal with back home. Moore took them to Cuba where they were treated free of charge.

I consider this film to be an argument for Universal Healthcare. As an argument, I didn’t expect an unbiased view. Even so, Michael Moore did point out some of his critics. And one can easily find the opposing viewpoints with a quick Google search.

Without getting into a debate about the merits or pitfalls of universal medicine, I previously wrote that there are two entities that keep America from going the route of universal healthcare. Those two are (1) doctors and (2) Big Pharma. (see my post: Reforming the U.S. Healthcare System for more).

Overall, I think it was an excellent film for anyone interested in healthcare in America. Is it a good generalization of the state of things in this country? I don’t know. My mother had cancer a couple years ago and was very well taken care of by her insurance (not going to name them, but the founder is briefly mentioned in the film). Maybe my mom was the exception and not the norm? I just haven’t been in and around the hospital system to know. Nevertheless, the film does offer one viewpoint and its probably that we should take a look at.

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The Writing On The (Bathroom) Wall

Well I’ve seen the writing on the wall. Granted, it was on the wall of a bathroom stall. And no, I won’t write about what I was doing in there (although my intelligent readers should be able to figure that one out). But this is what it said:

School Socks
Crime Spays

Man… I find the weirdest things amusing during test weeks… But some things happen with perfect timing. I saw this quote during exam week (last week). It appeared to have been written by more than one person. I don’t think the original author meant to write that crime spays — at least I hope not. And I blame the “socks” on bad handwriting. It probably did say “sucks.”

Oh, and if you were wondering, I was in the stall to get some toilet paper…. Runny nose… You believe me, right?

*****

Tomorrow is the the first day of lectures after an exam week. In a way, we’re starting fresh. Gotta try to do a better job of keeping up this time. Getting behind is sooo ridiculously stressful. It just snowballs. Because you get behind on one day. And then the next day its hard to catch up. Then you think the weekend is catch-up day but if, for some reason, you can’t catch up on the weekend… well, like i said, SNOWBALL.

I’m gonna try to sleep earlier now. I went to sleep around 10:30 PM towards the beginning of the school year. I think that worked out well. Not sure why I stopped. But I’ll try it again.

Here we go.