Thursday, May 24, 2007

You thought the pharmaceutical industry was slimy... version 2

In this season where time is valuable and finals are so close, I'm resorting to a sneaky measure basically the same as re-gifting... putting some nice new wrapping paper on a previous gift and handing it off as something new. Yes, I'm re-dating a blog post as if I just wrote it today.

Okay, not really. I'm just kindof supplementing it. There's a reason to this, beyond the fact that I'm too busy to actually write a whole new post: it's that though my daily study time devoted to procrastination, I found another incredible article about drug reps.
It's hefty, but well-written and choc-full of fascinating and jaw-dropping anecdotes.

Take, for instance, the drug rep who arranged for a doctor to receive an "unrestricted educational grant" of $35,000 from a drug company...the doctor requested the cash so he could install a swimming pool in his back yard.

This whole crazy world of drug reps is one that I'm just starting to learn about. As a medical student, it's a little scary. I'd like to say that I'll be immune to it, but if I'm faced with accepting the kleenex box with a drug company's name on it, what's wrong with that? And if that's ok, then what's wrong with taking the pen? then the anatomical poster - it's for my patient's benefit! then lunch for my office staff, and then the dinner at a steakhouse, then a trip to Paris, and then asking for an unrestricted educational grant of $35,000??

Here's the link to the article.

And here's the link to my previous blog post, in case you missed it.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

He's got a point...

With finals this close, every minute outside of classes is being taken over by studying, and I'm surrounded by stressed-out med students.

While I was studying last week, I thought of something that might interest my study partner.

"I had a patient with severe aortic stenosis that I saw in clinic last week - this week at family practise the doc I work with told me she decompensated over the weekend," I mentioned.

"He said she was in the ICU and wasn't doing that great. I really would've liked to go visit her."

My friend looked up from his notes, somewhat frustrated that I had interrupted his studying.

"Why bother? You won't get marks for it, it won't be on the final exam, and you can't bill for it."

He's got a point.

The black humour of
The House of God is turning into my life.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Addicted to learning?

I just watched that movie 28 weeks later, on the advice of a friend who told me the first one was really good.

Too bad this one wasn't.

Not only did it have a storyline so flimsy it wouldn't hold a flake of caterpillar dandruff, but I couldn't stop thinking, as the bloody grunting zombies chased the non-infected at a full sprint...

"Man, finals are comin' up on me just like this."

It's pretty overwhelming. We've got 10 exams coming up that we have to write in a single week, and it doesn't seem like there's enough time to learn everything. Best of all, I just spent the whole weekend at a conference that was probably really relevant to my future career but I didn't get a whole lot of studying done.

The thing is though, yes I'm overwhelmed, yes, a lot of people around me are more stressed out than they've ever been, and yes, finals are coming up behind me like a pack of rabid zombies, but I can't say I'm hating it.

In fact, I'll be sad when school is over. I enjoy going to class on Monday mornings and finally being able to attend lectures that are almost all directly relevant to what my future holds, unlike my undergrad experience. I love the amazing stories and experiences that I've been able to be a part of already and the countless ones inevitably coming up ahead.

I'm a little sad we have to stop classes for the summer. I can't wait for the fall.

But most of all, I've really enjoyed the people I've gotten to know since August. I've really had a lot of fun getting to know my friends in my class (both medical and dental students!). It's a good thing my class is full of quality people, seeing as how I have hardly seen anybody outside of class for a while and I am starting to really miss my friends and family outside of med school.

This weekend some doctors were telling me that medicine can be addicting. I heard about an old doctor who is in his eighties and goes to the coffee shop every morning and chat with his friends...and take all their blood pressures. One of them told me that a patient came in because that old doc had sent her in. "He took my blood pressure at the golf course, and told me I should come see you." The doctor asked her, "Was he roaming the golf course with a sphygmomanometer?" She replied, "No, he was in his car in the parking lot; he told me to come over so he could check my blood pressure." Damn, that guy's addicted.

It's almost funny how hard I worked to be able to work this hard all over again - MCAT, applications, scraping for percents in my undergrad courses, the interview process - and now it's all about finals, studying, sleepless nights, looming evaluation.

It gets better. About a year and a half from now when I start clerkship, it will be like being thrown to the wolves, wandering the wards with a seemingly inverse relationship between my knowledge level and the amount of responsibility I have.

Call me crazy, but I can't wait.

I guess I'm addicted.

See you on the golf course in 60 years.

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