MD Program

Anything but Middle-of-the-Road

I can’t believe we have one week left of our first year! I had such high hopes for writing these blog posts as a record of my medical school experience. Somewhere around February, though, when the weather was at its worst and I was caught in the doldrums of staying on top of my work and laundry, it occurred to me that much of this experience is intensely personal… and hard to talk about. When … Read More

It be iddy biddy…

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: … Read More

Healthcare in a parking garage

Somehow the gravity of the words was diminished when translated into a second-language. “Tienes diabetes” (You have diabetes). It wasn’t until after I had said them, and after I saw the empty stare of the words’ recipient, that I realized the weight of the information I had just relayed. The make-shift office of felt walls and PVC pipes in the underground parking garage felt like an odd place to give someone a diagnosis of a potentially chronic illness. In that moment, the reality of … Read More

Lost in the trees

I used to write just to write, for no particular reason – it was just something I liked to do. I had one of those way-too-popular black Moleskine journals that are about the size of a back pocket, and I would sit on a bench of my undergraduate campus and write a poem or a paragraph or anything that came to mind. I don’t do that anymore. Instead, I learn. I learn all the time. … Read More

The learning paradox

“I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned. My mind is like a piece of steel, very hard to scratch anything on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out.” – Abraham Lincoln Despite his demonstrated capacity for significant life accomplishments, I’m not sure how well our 16th president would have liked being a medical student in the 21st century.  Modern medicine is an … Read More

Health and a hot meal

Madeline is one of the sickest patients I have met in three years of medical school. Homeless, she came by ambulance to the hospital for malnutrition and frostbite after days sleeping out in a Portland area park this winter. She was resourceful: She made drinking water by melting snow in plastic bottles with her own body heat. And her physical health was surprisingly good. Her mental health was not. She thought she had magic powers, … Read More

Low Point

Let this be known as The Low Point. I wasn’t prepared for it, much as I thought I was getting used to the feeling of never being 100% prepared and settling for a decent-enough understanding or grade. This weekend, despite all my kicking and screaming, I hit a serious low point in balancing school and the rest of life. A snapshot: I can’t tell which basket is clean or dirty and there are no clothes … Read More

Q: Do I have to know this? A: Yes, yes, you do.

Finally! There are sparkling moments, here and there, very rare, that I feel like I’m on the verge of, just the tip of the iceberg of… (dare I say it?) … being a doctor. Scratch that: there is nothing about my being that is a doctor just yet, but I can feel the gears of my brain clicking into thinking like a doctor. It’s not graceful, it’s full of errors and embarrassing missteps, but I’m … Read More

2013

“I’ll do it during winter break.” My wife heard this phrase a lot between August and December. It was used for everything from getting the baby’s room done to washing the car. Really it was an attempt by me to prioritize things without ignoring them completely. . . So naturally, come winter break, my honey-do list was enormous. I managed to get 80% of the projects done: baby room mostly set up, laundry room ceiling … Read More

The first days are the hardest days?

This article is about growing older. Today is my birthday, so this feels like an appropriate topic. With each year that passes, the tasks we are responsible for are altered. This is especially true in medical education, which is filled with a number of landmark exams, clinical experiences, a residency match, and a few graduations. Eventually (hopefully) you get to the top of the totem pole and are a real life, do-it-yourself-without-supervision attending physician, but … Read More

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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