Day 75: Seeing patients

Today’s inane image of the day:

We’ve started delving into the lower limbs in Anatomy… 

The last two days have been rather exciting — yesterday we all had our first real patient encounter and today we had the opportunity to hear from a 3-person patient panel about their experience with testing positive for the BRCA1/2 mutation. Although the material is continuing to pile on, and we have an exam a week from Monday [eeeeek!], medicine is starting to feel more real. It’s starting to be tangible; I have touched my first patient and have heard the heart-wrenching stories of 3 women who had their worlds turned upside down by this seemingly tiny alteration in their genome. It’s incredible.

I still feel very insecure about what I want to do in medicine. Sure, it’s early and I have time to decide. But like many others in my position, I’m frightened that the moment of clarity that I need just won’t come. Today, I felt a spark with heme/onc — the presentation was emotional, but very raw and human. Cancer is such a pervasive and fickle thing — sadly, it has touched us all in one way or another. But we’ve come so far in the last couple of decades. We have treatments to keep malignant cells at bay. We have preventative screening measures to halt a tumor or malignancy in its infancy. We can do something now.

Some part of me is terrified that medical training will turn me into an unfeeling, cold-hearted physician. It takes a lot to finally reach the ranks of attending status, and I don’t want to lose that emotional connection with my patients. I want to feel something when I see, speak or touch my patients. In the end, they are humans with stories to tell and loved ones. Sometimes, I just want to hear everyone’s story.

Today’s medical school fact of the day: “The greater saphenous vein is the longest vein in the body and it arises from the medial side of the dorsal venous arch.” — Dr. Bee’s “Bare Bones” text


3 thoughts on “Day 75: Seeing patients

  • October 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    “Sometimes, I just want to hear everyone’s story.”

    Perfect, Amanda 🙂

  • October 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Am I the only one that finds it odd that Unit 7 is lower limb… and then it shows a pic of the skull?


  • October 31, 2011 at 2:37 am

    @Leds: Thanks! Your turn to write an entry… =)

    @Dino: All of the sections feature a skull. Maybe you should take it up with Dr. Bee.

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