Saturday, December 02, 2006

It is done

I'm finished with the USMLE step 2 CS. If I didn't pass, I'll be very disappointed. 12 cases, all very, very simple problems, followed by a quick note on each one. Probably the funniest thing that happened on the trip was the streetside panhandler who told me I "look like Clark Gable and Clark Kent all rolled into one."

And yet, I'm still single.

C'est la vie
. Actually, I would have given him the dollar he asked for because of that line, but I had no cash. Felt a bit bad about that.

After the test, some of the local testees took a few of the travellers out for drinks. I'm struck more and more by the fact that physicians and physicians to be tend to hang out together a lot, even when they don't have to. At the last few parties I've been to, all the med students cluster together. At this test, we all naturally went out together and had a great time. My theory is that, despite all the complaining we do about the hell that is medical training, it acts as a kind of standardized fraternity hazing ritual, albeit one with a grander point than being considered part of Gamma Delta Beta, or whatever. This is also borne out by the point that the socializing tends to be congregation between training levels. Interns and fourth years have a large gap between them, and the fourth years look down, almost condescendingly, on the first years. Probably most professions are somewhat similar, though I doubt if many have the institutionalized beatings to pass from one rung of the ladder to the next.

But today, the sun is shining, the air is crisp, and I find it very difficult to be down about any of this. And I just found this quote, which shows so well what I ought to be aiming for, beyond this "place of wrath and tears."
There are men and classes of men that stand above the common herd: the soldier, the sailor and the shepherd not unfrequently; the artist rarely; rarelier still, the clergyman; the physician almost as a rule. He is the flower (such as it is) of our civilisation; and when that stage of man is done with, and only remembered to be marvelled at in history, be will be thought to have shared as little as any in the defects of the period, and most notably exhibited the virtues of the race. Generosity he has, such as is possible to those who practise an art, never to those who drive a trade; discretion, tested by a hundred secrets; tact, iried in a thousand embarrassments; and what are more important, Heraclean cheerfulness and courage. So it is that be brings air and cheer into the sickroom, and often enough, though not so often as he wishes, brings healing.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

So here's hoping all that pain guides the development of Hereclean cheerfulness and courage. Right now, I'm going to enjoy the day.


Anonymous said...

> I'm struck more and more by the fact that physicians
> and physicians to be tend to hang out together a lot,
> even when they don't have to. At the last few parties
> I've been to, all the med students cluster together.

It's eighth grade all over again, bud. Do all the guys stand to one side and all the girls to the other still?

Anonymous said...

Heh. Well I dunno about over there, but here they do it because everyone knows we're sadder (read: nerdier) than everyone else.

That, or no one else finds telling each other how dissection smells like McDonald's is funny.

(Not that I'd know anything about that, of course.)

I like your ending though. They should issue ol Robert's passage there to every med student.

Ibid said...

One gets the jokes of one's own set, in addition to this fraternity of the tortured. I often hang out with grammarians and English teachers; we don't have to talk about linguistics all the time, but it's a nice fall-back subject. You might suppose this would get boring, and it does sometimes. However, we all get to sound so nice and educated together.

MrStandfast said...

As a Philadelphian expat, I can tell you that panhandlers in philly like to sing for their suppers. Enter mid november of last year, I'm in north philly and get approached.

"Hey man, you know what the best nation in the world is?"

"What's that?"

"A DOnation."

I also wished I had cash, but I never carried cash in north philly.

also, you thanatopsic sprite, if it were still november I'd think all this jubilation were untoward. Since it's december I'll agree that it's a holly jolly state of affairs to be young, look like clark kent and clark gable, and be on your way toward being a doctor.

However, you should know this, I really don't think most professions "look down on" or haze new members. At least not the insurance industry. I might be wrong, but I think it's just doctors and navy seals that get abused systematically. all that prestige isn't free I guess.

Last thoughtL: Robert louis stevenson, yet another englishman with a dim view of the church. And you're curious about anglicanism?

Nathan said...

s. lee - No, actually the locals who took us out for drinks were girls. But I am so not getting involved with a girl in medicine...

Angry Medic - I think so too. But either McDonalds in Britain is very different from McDonalds here, or your cadavers are preserved in something besides the formalin we use here.

ibid - I'm quite certain you do, madam.

mrstandfast - "thanatopsic sprite"? I'm frankly curious what your muse is smoking. And I definitely want it to share.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, I'm sure you passed. It's funny, even when i go out to a dinner party with 2 meds and 2 normals we still talk medicine. I think it's because we don't have a life outside of school to use as a conversation topic, then we alienate the normals, then we end up being alone with other med students again...