Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"If you don't go out with me, I'll just report that you touched me during my clinic appointment."

She was absolutely gorgeous, and she dressed in a way that complimented her body incredibly well. She put her hand on my knee and looked me right in the eyes.

"I can't stop thinking about you," she said to me. "I have never really done this before, but I need to tell you that I think you and I are right for each other. I can't sleep at night thinking about you, and I know deep inside that we are meant to be together."

"Uh, okay, but actually, Esther, I don't...." I stammered.

She apparently only heard one word in my attemped objection.

"Okay? Wonderful! I'm so excited. We can go for coffee -"

I tried to interrupt. "Coffee? No, that won't work, I can't..."

"That's fine, you can come over tonight - I make a mean chicken pie!" She was unstoppable. I should never have agreed to meet with her - even in a public place like this.

"Chicken? I don't...I mean, I can't..."

"Then I'll make something else! I'm so excited to see you tonight!" I couldn't get a word in edgewise. I took a deep breath, tried to collect my thoughts, and said, "Well, no, I can't actually, I mean - okay, hold on for a second. Look, you and I, it's not going to happen. I can't date patients."

I couldn't believe I was saying this to someone during the first week of med school.

She did not take well to this statement. "Oh. Well. Okay then, I think you are completely wrong, and we just need to spend some time together before you can see," she told me. "If you don't agree to, I'll just report that you touched me during my clinic appointment."

She got up and left.

"Okay, let's recap," said the faculty member in charge of our group. "What are some things Vitum could've done better, or possibly done to avoid such an outcome?"

That was one of three simulated scenarios that we came across in our anti-harassment workshop, a part of my med school orientation week. Esther was an actor, one of several hired by my med school to involve us in such situations in order to train us how to react. We had actors sketch out two other situations - one who played a racist, sexist preceptor who felt it necessary to make frequent and insensitive comments about immigrants and women - and one who played a student in our group who thought that one of our classmates with a non-science background was so dumb that anytime now she was going to start killing patients left and right. It was a memorable way to learn, interacting with these actors and situations and discussing our responses. What I went through in that workshop was an outstanding way to structure our 90 minutes of anti-harrassment training, much better than just lecturing at us for the whole time.

promised that I'd tell you about my first day of med school. It was pretty much the same as this whole week, filled with workshops, lectures, social events, and not much time for anything else. Right now is pretty much my first break. We didn't see patients the first day and probably won't for a week or two, but our first anatomy class is tomorrow, where we'll be dissecting cadavers. I'm not sure if there's any significance of us working on dead people before living ones.

Throughout the week, we've had a number of lectures, with titles ranging from "Library and Computer Orientation" to "Life as a Med Student" to Intro to Office Visits," some of which have been excellent and some of which have been somewhat dull. We heard a doctor and a dentist speak about the cocaine and steroid addictions they were recovering from, and learned about the crisis resources designed especially for physicians and med students. Our social activities thus far have included a scavenger hunt, BBQ, wine & cheese reception, and we've got some more parties lined up in the days to come.

It's slowly sinking in that I'm really here in this place which has been on a pedestal so high in my mind for so long. It's still exciting, but we'll see how long that lasts once the homework hits.

Six weeks till our first exam.


CharleyBrowne said...

And here I thought things were starting to get interesting! But alas, it was only an orientation workshop ... :)

and that excitement feeling? mine lasted 2 days. have fun!


Anonymous said...

How do you like how the first things they do with, once you're actually in the school, are to tell you how dangerous medicine is, and how much trouble you can get into? And then you start anatomy. I remember it felt like opening the pig in the poke.

You start with dead people because you can't hurt them. Live patients, you can mess that up. But those donors are incredible. I can still remember what the body I dissected looked like. Can't remember the face, we kept it well covered, but I remember the ruptured gallbladded, and metastatic cancer everywhere, and the atherosclerotic arteries, and the tendons in the wrists, and lots more. How long is your anatomy class?

Vitum Medicinus said...

Our anatomy class is scheduled for 3 hours. Rumour has it that usually you can get off an hour early. I rushed in undergrad through things like, say, the snake or the jellyfish dissections (boring) ...this I find a lot more interesting and relevant to my future profession!