Hello again! It’s been a while since I last wrote, which I’ll confess has more than a little to do with the M2 neurology sequence. I had been warned from upperclassmen that the three weeks of second-year neurology are among the most challenging and time-consuming of the first two years of medical school—a rite of passage, if you will, of the pre-clinical years. 75 hours of lecture, 3 pathology labs, roughly 1,000 pages of lectures slides, one quiz, and two final exams later (but who’s counting?), I can say that I whole-heartedly agree.
Although the past three weeks were incredibly demanding, that is not to say that the material we learned was not interesting or—dare I say?—enjoyable to study. As would be expected with the innumerable complexities of the human brain, there is a multitude of pathological processes that can affect this organ system, each with fascinating clinical presentations. One of the most interesting realizations of the sequence was that many diseases affecting the nervous system tend to be those that invoke the most fear within the general public (dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease). For me, this really hit home how important this organ system is to our sense of identity and functioning as independent human beings, illustrating that such diseases threaten to disturb or even destroy what makes us who we are. Neurology is only the second sequence we have had this year that has an entire third year clerkship devoted to it, and I must say that after the past three weeks, I am more excited for this clinical rotation. I look forward to working with patients who have some of the diseases we have studied and seeing first-hand how these diseases affect the critically important central nervous system.
After hitting that blessed ‘Submit’ button to the final exam, I packed a suitcase and headed north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my sister. A five hour drive later, we arrived in Sault Ste Marie, a small town where my parents both grew up and where much of my extended family lives. I stayed with an aunt and uncle on my father’s side, and had a week of relaxation, great food, and visits with many of my relatives. I could not think of a better holiday than Thanksgiving to spend with some of my family members whom I only get to see every year or so. And, it would not be November in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan without snow…and lots of it! We woke up to a very white Thanksgiving (somewhat of a rarity this early in my home state of Connecticut), which made it feel even more like the beginning of the holiday season.
I left the UP feeling recharged after a tough month of school. I cannot believe that we have just three more weeks of classes until winter break. In that time, the M2s have our musculoskeletal and dermatology sequences. I am also looking forward to Tag Days next weekend, a huge fundraiser put on by the Galen’s Medical Society that raises thousands of dollars for the children’s hospital and local charitable organizations for children. If tradition holds, the temperature will likely drop 20 degrees the night before tagging (an outdoor activity), but I guess the freezing cold is part of what makes it so memorable…