A few reflections on microbes, samosas and muffin tops…

Ingrid, Second Year Medical StudentIts official. Second year has taken over my life. Last night, the microbes invaded my sleep.  Instead of dreaming about finding designer shoes for 99 cents, my dreams were crawling with punctilious facts about vibrio cholerae, haemophilus ducreyi and their less than desirable cousins. When I woke up and told my husband, he told me that it means I’m studying enough.  That’s an understatement.

The last three weeks have been a blur.  It’s probably because each day blends into the next without much change in scenery.  Get up, study, go to class, study, study and exercise, study, sleep. Repeat.  The schedule is monotonous, but the material in second year is fascinating.  So far, I am loving pathophysiology and psychopathology. After seeing all the things that can go wrong, I am more amazed at the intricacies of God’s creation and thankful for the blessings of health.

I have found that I have had to change gears for studying this year.  Throughout my entire life, I have always been able to memorize things using rote learning.  I didn’t use mnemonics or pictures or any other learning device.  Time was on my side.  Now, not so much.  I don’t have the time!  I am having to draw pictures and make silly stories or sayings to memorize things.  It takes up so much time.  I’ll share one free of charge.

Haemophilus aegyptius:  a gram negative bacteria that causes pink eye.

Hieroglyph for Udjat

Since it sounds like Egypt, I drew a symbol of the eye of Horus who was an important Egyptian god and colored his eye pink.  Impressive, I know…but I gotta do what I gotta do.

On a more personal note, I feel chronically stressed.  I am more of a type A person, and I suppose that makes me more prone to feeling stressed out.  But this is a whole new level.  There is always a residual, lingering feeling of anxiety that follows me. I feel that my body and mind are still adjusting to the more rigorous demands.  If the material isn’t enough, there is TBL to worry about.  TBLs are class sessions that are team based, so we get together in assigned teams to take quizzes and discuss questions. The stimulus for stress is that Dr. Cao, our pathology professor, randomly calls on students to answer questions in front of the class. So for two hours, I sit there hoping that I’m not called on. I know that I am an idiot, but I don’t want to announce this to the entire class of 200 with a microphone!  During our first session as my luck would have it, I heard Dr. Cao ask, “Which of these symptoms is associated with systemic lupus erythematosus?  Ingrid Wahjudi.”  Upon hearing my name, my heart rate shot up and I felt cold.  As the microphone was being passed to me, I felt everything move in slow motion. Needless to say, I could feel my lips moving, but my mind was frozen. A strange disconnect. From the positive response, I gathered that I had answered the question with some degree of respect. But do I need this?  Over the past three weeks, my appetite has decreased and my stomach spends most of its time unhappy. On the positive side, I have lost about a pound since school started!  Say “au revoir” to the muffin top…

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend.  What did I do besides study you may ask?  Devon and I went to the buffet at Punjab Palace.  We both LOVE indian food.  It was so delicious, but we scarfed down our food so fast, that our experience was over before we knew it.  Since I haven’t been eating much, my stomach stuffing capacity has decreased, and I was not able to get my moneys worth of samosas and gulab jamuns.

It makes me look forward to a day far away, when I will get a paycheck again.  I can go to the indian buffet whenever I want to!  Until that time, I will do my due diligence and keep at it while enjoying the absence of the muffin top…