Excuse us, our brains (and bellies) are full

Happy belated Thanksgiving all!  Hopefully your weekends were filled with enough fat and sugar-filled calories to cast a soporific spell over any stress or fatigue that may have plagued you last week. Around the halls of RJH stress was plentiful as both classes prepared for exams, working hard to internalize thick, detailed syllabi. The result went something like this:

Like, really full. First-years have been cramming their brains full of cellular biology pathways and histology photos, while the second-years have been mentally cataloguing all the different flavors of diarrhea. This growing heap of information compressed intracranial space to the point where access to normal words, thoughts, and the fundamental ability to interact socially became somewhat limited.

Additionally, with Thanksgiving looming on the horizon there was a (delicious) carrot dangling on just the other side of the note-card mountain. Did you know that the mere thought of food can trigger the salivary glands in our mouths and the acid/digestive-enzyme-making glands in our gut to start oozing? Which means that in addition to feeling fried, many of us were literally drooling whilst becoming increasingly dependent on TUMS.

With that image in mind, I’m devoting the rest of this post to the top med-student moments from the pre-Thanksgiving slog. All of the following stories are true and retold with the permission of those involved. Please, don’t judge us too harshly.

1)   Two med students are sitting in pathology lab three days before Thanksgiving. They are looking at slides under the microscope and energetically discussing the subtleties that distinguish squamous cell carcinoma (bad cancer) and adenocarcinoma (possibly even worse cancer) of the stomach. The professor overhears this conversation and remarks, “Wow, everyone else is discussing what they are going to stuff their turkeys with.  You two must be the nerds of the class.” Med students leave feeling genuinely complimented.

2)   One female med student to another during a small group discussion:  “That shirt is so pretty Melissa[1], it makes you look so ureteral.[2]

3)   One med student walks into a patient’s room reviewing the chart and opens with “So I understand you’ve been having headaches…” to which the patient kindly corrects said student that no, she has been having stomach pain.  It was in fact the previous patient (with whom med student had just talked with for thirty minutes) who suffered from headaches. Patient 1, med student 0.

4)   Two med students are quizzing each other for an upcoming test. Student A poses a question regarding a topic that Student B has no recollection of learning about. Notes are consulted, and after much page-flipping the confused student finds in her own handwriting the exact information she was blanking on, highlighted and underlined – twice.  More coffee is poured.

The full-brain phenomenon is a real affliction and one to be taken seriously. It is generally ill-advised to perform intricate procedures or operate heavy machinery while suffering from this illness. Fortunately, the cure rate is close to 100% when the following therapy is promptly administered:

0-4 days of:

  • 8+ hours of sleep per night.
  • Single servings of pumpkin pie BID (twice daily).
  • Time spent catching up with friends over (more) pie.
  • Trail runs followed by hot showers followed by pie.
  • A plethora of fluffy movies/TV shows, preferably watched in bed while consuming pie.

Well, that worked for me anyways.


[1] Not her real name.

[2] The word student #1 was going for here was in fact ethereal (translation: heavenly), but due to an understandable glitch in her internal word-checker she wound up likening her friend to the appearance of the urinary tract.

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StudentSpeak

StudentSpeak

Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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