Thursday, September 27, 2007

It had to happen eventually: "That sounds like something I read on a blog once."

When I'm hanging out with med friends, as much as we may try to avoid it, every conversation turns to school somehow... some gross thing we saw, some cool clinic case, or general hatred or love for certain professors. (The professor who approached me and told me he reads my blog fits into the latter category, of course).

The other day I was at a classmate's house having some incredible steak, and for some unknown reason, the conversation turned to our cadavers.

We were talking about the nature of our cadavers and how some of the ones with high BMIs are really hard to dissect... some of them you're cutting through the skin and you cut and there's fat, so you go deeper and there's more fat, and you go really deep and you're in the muscle, and so you go back and realize that there isn't any distinction really between the fat and the muscle like there is on the really nice cadavers; instead, on the more fatty ones it's more of a gradient and the fat and muscle is all mixed together, making learning the muscles of the thigh and buttock a much different experience than if you had a different cadaver.

Anyway, a girl who's also in my class piped up that on some of the cadavers, at room temperature the fat is mostly liquid, and this requires suction to get rid of the extra liquid.

"Mine's a lot like that," I said. "It seems like every lab I'm suctioning the fluid... the dead human body fluid... mine had so much I ended up with it dripping all over my leg once."

At this point, my buddy's brother, piped up. He's not in medical school but is interested in going; otherwise he probably wouldn't be able to stand hanging out with med students and listening to their med chatter. He was apparently interested - not grossed out - by my story. "How did that happen?" he asked me.

I explained the story that I've written here before under the heading of Great Moments in Anatomy Lab, where I had proceeded upon a course of actions that resulted in DHBF (Dead Human Body Fluid) dripping down my leg.

This is where things started getting weird. Not dead body weird, but, well, read on.

After I told him the story of how I ended up with DHBF dripping down my scrubs pants, he looked at me and said, "That's funny, there's this medical blog I read, some medical student somewhere in the Carribean - the exact same thing happened to him."

I knew right away where this conversation was going to end up.

"Vitum writes a blog," said his brother. "Maybe you read it there."

"No," he replied, "this one I read was from a student in the Carribean, I think. The exact same thing happened to him - he ended up with DHBF all over his leg."

Either somebody is plagiarizing my blog, I thought, or he's referring to my story. "Yeah, I think that's my blog," I said.

"No, no," he insisted, "I really think this was some medical student in the Carribean that wrote the story."

I loaded up my blog on my mobile phone's web browser and said, "Read this."

Before he read it, he said, "Okay, okay, the story I read on this blog ended up saying the guy was upset that he had cadaver juice running down his leg, but the worst part was that this was the second time it had happened."

Which is exactly the premise of my story.

I handed him my mobile phone and stood back, watching it sink in.

He finished reading and looked up. "Weird... so that's you... well, I've read a fair bit of your blog. I had no idea."

I thought it was funny but he seemed a bit weirded out. Ten minutes later he was still talking about how weird it was that he'd been reading my blog all along, and he knew me, yet didn't know I was the author.

I did warn him I'd be writing about this. Still, I hope that reading about himself here won't be too weird.


incidental findings said...

I have to admit, most of my stories on my blog go out of verbal circulation, for this reason.

Vitum Medicinus said...

Good point, I guess that is a good strategy for keeping a blog 100% anonymous. A lot of my friends know about my blog though so I'm not too worried.

Anonymous said...

Rampant suckuppery noted.

- The Professor Who Reads Your Blog

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vitum Medicinus said...

Thanks for your comment, anonymous.

Respect is a principle I try to live by, and so I usually end up bending over backwards to make sure that I am using as much as possible - in life in general, but especially in referring to our cadavers.

While you may not have met me nor seen me in anatomy lab and therefore cannot use my actions to substantiate this claim, I hope that you'll notice that throughout this blog I generally refer to patients and body donors on this site with a high level of respect.

That being said, working with patients and cadavers year after year tends to develop a casualness or insensitivity in many people, something that is difficult to avoid but also something that I'm trying hard to steer clear of. As a result I appreciate you calling me out on this.

I've tried to be as honest as possible about my experience as a medical student. And the fact of the matter is, some cadavers are more fatty than other ones.

However, in this case I've chosen to agree with you that I am willing to learn from my mistakes, and that the way I phrased my comments may have been interpreted as disrespectful by some. I have subsequently altered those references.

(Just to be clear, I don't change everything that commenters disagree with. I consider each comment individually because I have encountered people who are far too sensitive about issues like this. This is undoubtedly much to the disappointment of some of my friends who would prefer that my actions / blog be much more inflammatory - mostly for their personal amusement).

One final thing - had you not posted anonymously I would have asked you to edit your comment so that my comments, which you quoted, are no longer present on my blog, so that my words would not offend anybody in the future. Because you did post anonymously, though, it won't be possible for you to change your comment, so I've done it for you.

Just to show that I'm simply trying to remove my comments, rather than your admonition of me, you are welcome to re-post your statement and call me disrespectful again without the direct quotes from my post, and I won't remove it.