All work and no play makes Jack a dull doc

All-hill Halloween party, 2011. I just finished my third test in as many school days. It's our class' sixth test since school started this fall. In between studying for those tests I've been...

Sweeter the second time around

I realized last week, with a degree of shock, that an important thing had happened during my first year of medical school: I learned something. Not something about medicine, necessarily. I did...

Off with his bread!

Strange things stir us medical students up. We can look at pictures of mutilated heads and sloughing skin while sipping coffee. We can cut apart dead bodies while chatting about our weekend plans....

Nothing doing

My classmates are amazing folks. I've talked to people who have spent their summer working to improve people's health, or make progress research that will advance our understanding of what causes...

646 germs, and counting

I’m living with a 30-foot tapeworm, five flavors of hepatitis and an untreatable, brain-eating amoeba that loves warm water inside of me. They’re not infecting me, thank goodness (though you can...

Pound foolish

Gerald (not his real name) is an overweight, middle-aged man with diabetes and heart disease who came into the clinic for problems with his liver and fluid retention in his belly. My preceptor...

The Hippocratic Sloth

"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed. "It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed. — Joseph Heller I’m a bit of a mess, physically speaking. I’ve never had the body of an...

Breathless

The man had a tumor in one lung. A big one, apparently. Large enough to pull his gullet and Adam’s apple visibly to the left. I wait my turn with other medical students walking the wards, put my...

A chance to heal

Some of the surgeon wannabes are already saying "a chance to cut is a chance to heal." Which is great, if you don't mind having your skin sliced up. Me, I'm more of a chat over coffee guy. That's...

What I fear the most

I'm going to hurt somebody, bad. Maybe even kill someone. This unhappy thought keeps surfacing in my brain like the mechanized gerbil in Whack-A-Mole. It's not an event I'm actively planning (my...