It’s taken me a while to get around to making this publicly known, not because I felt uncomfortable with the truth, but rather because it’s hard to write a sincere, personal post without coming off as dramatic or pitching for sympathy. Continue reading Why I took a year off from medical school
1. They’re done trying to weed you out
You’ve made it to medical school, congrats! Admissions looked at you extremely thoroughly, analyzing nearly every element of the past few years of your life. They are confident that you’ll make a great doctor. Now they’re going to support you in every way they can to get you the residency spot that you want. At this point it’s seen as a failure of the school if you don’t make it, so take a deep breath and relax knowing that all the your school wants you to succeed. Continue reading 8 tips for first year medical students
Most likely this is all a stressed medical student needs. If you pull this one off, you’re very likely one of our very best friends. A crucial part of this is allowing for silence. Don’t feel the need to interject at every pause. In fact, we’re probably not done talking yet. Silence makes us feel like you’re listening whereas a rapid response makes us feel like you really just couldn’t wait to get out what you wanted to say.
He remembered I was in med school, asked me how it was going. Usually I have to remind him. He reminded me of how he was a medic in the Navy during the Korean War, forgetting he had told me this story more times than I could count. I loved hearing about his life though and listened intently. We talked about how we were the only two people in our family with any background in healthcare. I said to him, “In a little less than three years, I’ll be Dr. Cobb, how crazy is that?”
He looked up from his lost gaze and said “I hope I’m here to be able to call you that,” and for the first time in my life I understood that he may not actually make it that long, that he was dying. Continue reading My Granddad with vascular dementia
I used to cite the simple math of calories in<calories out=weight loss as an argument for the ease of weight loss. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve believed and said some extraordinarily stupid stuff. It sometimes takes me a while, and I may never learn, but I have to get over my insecurity of admitting I was wrong and admit that this claim about weight loss was fundamentally naive. Continue reading Weight loss isn’t simply a math problem
Note: It’s taken me a while to post this because it was a very overwhelming experience but I do feel it is worth sharing.
The trademark medical school class will be over in less than a week. I’ve learned every piece of wiring, tubing, and structures of the human body, what else is there to learn? But really all I’ve learned is how the body is supposed to be, how it is supposed to look. In the elderly cadavers that predominated in our anatomy lab, we only learned of a handful of ailments: cancer, obesity, heart disease. Next semester we will continue to study the proper functioning of the human body with still some minor correlations to medicine. But second year we’ll learn the bulk of what goes wrong and a glimpse of how to treat it. Continue reading Anatomy last day
Note: This is a post I wrote at the beginning of medical school last fall describing the experience I had in anatomy lab for the first day of medical school. Having just finished my first year, I felt it was appropriate to share.
The tension was visible in all my classmates faces. This was big and we knew it. We had all lifted the stainless steel covers, unzipped the tarpaulin bags, and revealed our cadaver for the year.
Our donor, an elderly lady, lay on the table in front of us, a shell of the life that came before. She was scarred, from the sun and the chores of life and with each sun spot and freckle I could see age, wisdom, and love. Looking at her worn hands and feet I couldn’t help but imagine where those feet had been, who those hands had touched, what work they had accomplished and the infinite influence her life had on the world around her. What knowledge did she possess that no one else did? What stories did she tell that will never be heard again? Continue reading Anatomy lab first day
“You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? -Medicine.” -Tim Minchin
I hate alternative medicine. Absolutely despise it. I hate it not because of some belief that our current system of treating patients is flawless, nor because of a belief that medicine should be defined by pharmaceuticals, nor that all our current treatments are evidence-based and all-encompassing. No, the reason I hate ‘alternative’ medicine is that it implies a separation where there absolutely is none. It’s a meaningless, confused misconception that splits a common goal into two ambiguous non-categories. The goal of physicians is to care for patients and no concerned doctor is going to deliberately exclude any evidence based treatment at the risk of harming a patient. Continue reading Alternative to what?
I realized after my recent post on backpacking diet that I did a great job outlining some of my diet choices for my fastpacking trips and a poor job of explaining why I chose the foods I do. I wanted to do a write-up explaining the backpacker’s diet so people could better understand what purpose it serves and how a diet loaded with empty calories is not unhealthy granted the context.
My backpacking diet serves a very specific purpose and addresses the most immediate concern: starvation. It focuses on macronutrient intake and finds the densest foods to obtain the most calories. Anything beyond that is fluff. Continue reading Explaining the backpacker’s diet
I sat on a toilet seat for the first time in a month a few minutes ago. I washed up, cleaned the travel grime off, trimmed the nails, shaved the beard, cut the hair, and now I’m ready to return to civilization, sort of. I’m actually scared out of my mind and can’t sleep. Believe it or not, after all the crazy scary things that I have done over the past three months, immersing myself in the social world and heading to medical school are scarier prospects than a lot of my adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and paddling a kayak 70 miles from civilization out into open water solo is about as absurdly scary as it gets. But medical school is a close second. Maybe I’m overreacting, but it just feels like I’m starting all over again, and that’s kind of overwhelming. Continue reading Home