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Hope You Live to be 100(+)

Well, so far the M2 year has kept me pretty busy. We’ve worked through the cardiovascular and respiratory sequences, and now I’m neck deep in renal pathophysiology.  The good news is that despite more lectures on denser material, we don’t always have quizzes every weekend any longer.  It’s nice to be able to take a weekend off every once and a while to catch up on the other important things in my life (Read: sleep).

In other news, I’m spending my spare time golfing, going to football games, working on my car, and celebrating a couple birthdays (including my own…don’t ask how old I am, I don’t even know the correct answer most days).  However, one of these birthdays included that of my girlfriend’s great-grandmother, who just turned 106. Yes, 106. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got to celebrate 107, 108, 109, and 110 with her at the rate she’s going.  In fact, she still lives alone in an apartment complex and doesn’t take any medications.  Here’s an article about her back when she was celebrating a meager 105 years on this planet.

As a side note, I haven’t had to use that fire extinguisher I got for Christmas last year.  Mom, dad, you both should be proud of me.

The Block M makes an appearance in the sky on game day.

A Marathon of Paranoia

Last week we wrapped up our longest and most intense sequence to date: Infectious Diseases.  Five weeks, nearly one hundred lectures, dozens of drugs, and daily small group sessions have left me feeling tired, incredibly knowledgeable, but most of all…paranoid.  Never again will I look at a mosquito bite and not consider the (incredibly tiny) possibility of Western Equine Encephalitis Virus.  I constantly think I may have worms and/or tuberculosis.  And of course, I will always question how long the potato salad has been sitting out in the sun.  Okay, so maybe some of those examples are exaggerations, but there’s some pretty scary stuff out there in this world.  It was the first sequence that made me feel like we were actually studying to become doctors, though.  Looking through cases, finding key signs and symptoms, and then blurting out, “ENETEROHEMORRHAGIC E. COLI!” without people thinking you’re completely insane is simply a great feeling.

On a lighter note, we have just a couple weeks until summer arrives in full.  I’ll be starting my research program in the anatomy department working with cadavers to study osteoarthritic changes of the knee.  I’m sure I’ll also be hanging out plenty with friends who are also doing research and enjoying all there is to do in Ann Arbor over the summer.  People are already outside doing things, the weather is sunny and hot, and my air conditioner is broken.  Ah, the joys of the modern conveniences…

I’ve attached some photos I took around town this spring.  Enjoy.

An azalea growing in my front yard.

The new rapids the city just built by Argo Park for people to enjoy.

The Argo Dam along the Huron River.

The Lost Blog Post: Guts and Fire Safety

So here’s a post that I had written out a while back (read: way back in January), but apparently forgot to put online.  Sorry about the long delay folks; I hope this will satisfy you for a little while, and I’ll have a new post out soon…I promise:

This shouldn’t really be news, but I once again have realized that returning back to school from winter break is hard.  After relaxing in Florida with my family and wonderful girlfriend for almost two weeks after Christmas, learning about what goes on in the sigmoid colon – trust me, you don’t want to know – just doesn’t quite do it for me.  The astute reader will have already realized that we are now in the Gastrointestinal sequence, and perhaps you’ve also noticed that it’s not exactly my cup of tea…and boy do I love tea.  Maybe it’s the unappealing gut dissections in anatomy.  Or perhaps it’s learning a hundred different intestinal hormones. Either way, a new topic will be upon us soon, and I’ll soon forget my lack of interest in what’s going on now.

On a completely unrelated note, I’d like to share a Christmas story with all of you.  It turns out I’ve finally grown old and boring.  I first noticed this when I got excited about receiving silverware for my birthday back in October.  However, nothing makes sure your childhood is good and dead like opening up a blender, a mattress topper, and a fire extinguisher on Christmas morning.  Yes, a fire extinguisher.  You want to know the really sad part?  I’m not even that upset about it.  Between my lack of cooking skills and my accident-prone nature, I’m probably going to need it.

P.S. Below are some photos from my vacation in Florida over break.  We spent time on the east cost in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, then some time on the west coast in Cape Coral, and finally a couple days at…DISNEY WORLD!!!

Bistec de palomilla! One of my favorite Cuban dishes.

An abandoned lighthouse in Biscayne Bay near Miami.


Another dolphin!

Okay, last dolphin.

A cheeseburger at Cabbage Key...also known as a "Cheeseburger in Paradise."


Sometimes I get scared on the rides...

Trust Me, I’m a Doctor…Not

All the M1s just returned from a nearly week-long Thankgsiving Break to our second Clinical Foundations of Medicine (CFM) week this semester, a course dedicated to exactly what its title implies.  We broke out our fancy new stethoscopes for the first time and spent the week learning how to do pulmonary and cardiac exams as well as focusing on how to improve our history-taking skills.  The exams were of course hilariously awkward at times, as we each practiced on a classmate while a faculty member guided us along.  The good news is that everyone in the class appears healthy, the bad news that we didn’t get much experience with abnormal findings.  As such, I wasn’t always really sure what I should be listening for.  When a friend of mine that I was examining asked if I was sure of what I heard, I jokingly replied, “trust me, I’m a doctor.”

However, by far the best parts of this CFM were the final sessions titled “classics,” where patients with common cardiac and pulmonary findings volunteered to come in so we could examine them.  We met patients with everything from heart murmurs to lung transplants.  Rotating through these rooms in small groups, we were able to examine and attempt to diagnose each individual.  Surprisingly, we all did pretty well at it.  In fact, you might say we all saw a small light at the end of that long, long tunnel we call medical education.

Remember to follow the Dose of Reality Twitter as well as mine if you want to stay even more in the loop (I promise I’m better at updating that).  Also, a friend recently sent me this short story about end of life decision-making, and it has been spreading amongst our class online as well.  It’s a short but excellent read that I hope you will check out.  Trust me, I’m (going to be) a doctor.

Lost Lake in Northern Michigan

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis

A deserted street in Los Angeles.

There will be a Quiz…

I need to get the hang of this whole blog thing.  Too many fun times have come and gone since my last (and first) post to remember everything.  With so much going on around me, some days it feels as if I’ve been here in med school for years.  Other days I remember old things as though they happened yesterday.  Turns out if you do the math (pay attention, there will be a quiz at the end of this post just like the real ones we have every week), I’ve been here for only a little over two months.  Crazy.

We’re already into our third sequence, Cardio/Respiratory, and things are starting to pick up.  Between lectures, histology, anatomy, surfing the internet, and extracurriculars, I’m keeping plenty busy.  Fortunately, lots of what we’re learning is starting to have clinical application, which makes me finally feel like all those years spent studying quantum mechanics, amino acid structures, and the back of my eyelids (not to mention the last sequence, Cells & Tissues) are far, far behind me.

Beyond all the school related hoopla, I’m still finding plenty of opportunities to have some me time.  My family and I made it to our first Michigan football game a couple weeks ago against Minnesota.  Needless to say, sixth row seats at a 58-point shutout made for a pretty entertaining time.  I also made it to my first Michigan hockey game with some friends last weekend, which was also a blast.  I know what you’re thinking right now and here are the answers.  Yes, I go to class.  Yes, I study.  Yes, I’m passing.

On the topic of sports, I’d like to take a moment to do something I’m extremely good at…rant.  This last weekend wasn’t so hot for U of M and the state of Michigan in general.  The Wolverines lost on the gridiron despite their opponent’s best efforts to foul and punch their way to a loss.  The Lions couldn’t pull off a victory either, and worst of all the Detroit Tigers’ hopes at a World Series were smashed in horrifically embarrassing fashion.  Needless to say, my reaction to all this was less than pleasant.  At least the Red Wings won to remain undefeated…

As I said, I need to get to blogging more often (and writing shorter pieces so you all can suffer a bit less).  Remember, in the meantime follow my Twitter, @A2inA2, as well as the @UMDailyDose one put on by other students (if you do, I might just forget about that quiz I mentioned earlier).  My camera lens is still out for repair (I just found out the cost…review that earlier link for my response) so for now you’ll have to live with some mediocre camera shots and some photos from my prior adventures. Lastly, if you need something more to read, here’s the latest study about the number one way to live longer.

Three, count 'em, three, whole chickens for a pot luck at my place.

Grillmaster Nicko cooking salmon for another potluck at my place.

Sixth row at the big house.

This was pretty cool too. Spotted at the Medical School Reunion during the weekend of the Notre Dame game.

A much prettier, albeit random, photo. Sunrise over the Foveaux Strait in New Zealand.