Family & Friends

During revision and in the run up to exams I see exponentially less and less of anyone and eventually become a hibernating hermit hedgehog. It becomes awkward to continually turn down invitations to go out but it would be “frivolous” to chuck my books in the air whenever such an opportunity arises. Petrified of the consequences, I make my excuses.

The friends I do see are fellow classmates at the hospital. “What is the dosage of that drug again? Should the patient hold in inspiration or expiration when listening to a certain heart valve? Which cranial nerves are we likely to be examined on? This is what we discuss as we dash between clinics and bedside teaching sessions and everyone else except me seems to know all the answers. Dare I say it – I’m turning into an old bore, like really old bore.

I’m unsure if there is less time because of medical school or because there are more “chores” to do as we get older but unfortunately whatever the case, I’ve generally seen less family and friends since starting medical school. In the meantime, they’re getting new jobs, buying houses, giving birth or visiting exciting places around the world – whilst I admire from a Facebook distance.

So my dear family and friends, I’m sorry I sometimes can’t join you and I hope you are having a great time. I’m sorry for my enthusiasm when I recount what I see in surgery and clinics and not talking about anything else (mainly because I haven’t done anything else worth talking about); for recalling obscure and gruesome medical facts that won’t affect you; for complaining about the speed with which I hurtle towards exams and for worrying about how much I feel I still don’t know.

I’ll be back to normal shortly, I just have to get through this medical degree…


2 thoughts on “Family & Friends

  1. I understand, I was like that during my PhD. I have really enjoyed being sociable doing this year, it’s going to be a bit of a shock to the system to start studying again

  2. You are young and you are motivated, trying to keep up with the younguns in class, and also attempting to do the impossible – know everything. We already know the frivolous analogy of going to medical school is like drinking water from a fire hydrant, or eating the dreaded stack of pancakes, and having more servings brought out every day even though you have yet to finish the first stack from the previous day. Frivolous images…but they paint the picture.

    Stop it. Stop trying to know everything. You can not. You know more than you realize. You are older. You have the analytical capabilities that the younguns do not. It is not about memorizing every cranial nerve in Netter’s or Haynes Neuroanatomy, nor is it about knowing every sound or wave form in the cardiac cycle from Guyton or Costanzo. Janeway’s Immunology is nice, and Robbins Patho is hefty. Name me one Attending Physician who can recite these? NIMBY!!!! While it is true that knowledge is key as a foundation before lunging out to your Rotations, just stop it. Stop it right now. You are making yourself sick and you can not afford to burn out at this stage of the game. I will write nothing new and everything I am about to post on YOUR blog (not my dead blog) you already know….

    No matter how many hours you study, no matter how many videos you watch, books you buy (and not toss in the air as you mentioned sarcastically), none of these resources will be enough. They will never be enough. You will go to bed, go to a coffee shop, drive to where ever and be plagued with the toxic “it is never enough”. You will never know all of the unfathomable.

    So, dear little one, trust your self. Your interpersonal skills are priceless, your viewpoint of the horizon is not achievable in a Step 1 Prep Course, your intuition of listening to your patients from all strata of society, every ethnic group and racial group, your ability to look them in the eye, hold their hand firmly and connect with them without words are not skillets your young classmates can do. Facebook doesn’t teach these antiquated skills. Your wisdom does!!! You are light years ahead of everyone else. Why can’t you see that?

    So, force yourself to take time for you. Two hours in the gym (including drive time, 3 x week, going to Church / Temple / Mosque, whatever religious tradition, 1x week to partake in the rituals and then hang out for the coffee and donuts afterwards, these will allow you to be “normal”, meet people having NOTHING to do with your MD journey, and more importantly, you will rest your brain and be refreshed for your discipline of medicine.

    When it all comes down to it, your primary care physician back at home, nor mine, know this stuff!
    Be good to yourself. None of us know all this stuff, our MD mentors are way too specialized in their silos to know all of ID, Cardiology, ER, Surgery, Endo, Neuro, Peds, Patho, ENT, etc, etc, etc but they try their darndest to convince us they are mini-god. Do not arrogate unto yourself to be what they can not do, and wisely realize you are unable to do. The difference is, the maturity reflects, that you can articulate what they dare not b/c their egos are too fragile.

    It’s arrogant to think we can know everything. Study, of course, Read, reflect, review….but! do what you do best – be the 40 something MD student you are which is a priceless gift to your patients.

    and for Pete’s sake do indeed engage social outlets during the week. You’ll be that much better at being a kick arse diagnostician while the Facebook generation doesn’t have a clue as to how to open a conversation with a patient and be taken seriously

    You are way ahead of the power curve dude (or dudette!)

    be good to yourself. otherwise what you are doing is unhealthy.


    – The Road Less Traveled to MD

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