When learning a massive amount of material, it helps to have pneumonics for rote memorization. The crazier the phrase the better. Of course sometimes you remember the wacky phrase but not what it stands for. In our neuroscience class last term, we were specifically told to NOT remember a pneumonic for brain MRI findings that related the age of an intra-parenchymal hemorrhage to the findings on a T1/T2 MRI.
But it was just so darn memorable: It Be Iddy Biddy Baby DooDoo
It also doesn’t help that I have babies on the brain because my wife gave birth to our first child just a few weeks ago! I am currently in the process of adjusting to a new normal in regards to my study schedule, recreational activities, and amount of sleep. Let’s go through an exercise in exploring the dichotomous nature of parenthood and just enough medical knowledge to be dangerous, all in the context of my favorite fancy pneumonic!
Medical knowledge (0-8 hrs old, Isodense, T1): Most neonates experience jaundice soon after they are born, but a blood level of 11 before 24 hours of life could indicate a high risk situation and potential kernicterus.
Parenthood: He is so perfect that there is no way there is something wrong, and is he even that yellow? Oh my gosh, what if it it’s Crigler-Najjer or Gilbert’s!
Medical knowledge (0-8 hrs old, Bright, T2): Newborns have basic needs and communicate those basic needs via one of their only means: crying.
Parenthood: He won’t stop crying, and I don’t know why. I feel like I should intuitively know how to soothe my own child, maybe I’m a bad parent.
Medical knowledge (8-72 hrs old, Isodense T1/Dark T2): Your overall percentage (i.e. grades) in the first 2 years of medical school can be used to predict potential issues with passing USMLE step 1.
Parenthood: Well, I almost failed an exam in medical school for the first time, but that’s what happens when you don’t study and spend all day staring at your kid. That’s not going to work forever, but it sure was worth it this time,
Medical Knowledge (3 days-1 week, Bright T1/Dark T2): Newborns don’t start smiling until about 2 months of age, and it is often only in imitation.
Parenthood: He’s only 2 weeks old, but he’s already smiling! Or was it just gas?
Medical Knowledge (1 week-Months, Bright T1/T2): One theory behind the pathogenesis of SIDS is excessive rebreathing of CO2 without sufficient central drive to increase ventilation
Parenthood: I’m so worried that the blankety cover over his car seat is going to cause his PCO2 to rise! Should I open it more?
Medical Knowledge (Months-years, Dark T1/T2): REM sleep is crucial for processing memories and for long-term retention of knowledge. Interrupted sleep often makes it more difficult to reach REM because you may have to restart your sleep cycle.
Parenthood: Not again.. This is the fourth time he’s been up tonight. But I can’t leave him in a dirty diaper, and I’m quite sure he wants to eat again. Good thing he’s worth it.