October 20, 2010

Reincarnation

Med school is like reincarnation.  Today, as part of our psych education, we had a developmental interview with a classmate's wife and 10 month old baby.  She's still in the phase of exploring the world around her--or really not even quite there yet.  She's looking around, crawling, peeking into places and trying new things, but she's certainly not very secure.

In the shower just now, I realized that as a medical student I'm doing the same thing the baby was doing.  Medicine is like starting a new life as a baby: you have to learn to communicate, to use your senses to decipher what is going on around you, and eventually you work your way up to manipulating your world (i.e. patients) and participating in it.  Especially on my mind was the fact that I will be shadowing a geriatrician tomorrow as part of my mentor class.  I will just be observing--or maybe, he will let me talk to the patients a little.  I probably won't know very much about what is going on with their health conditions, but I hope to learn something while I'm there.  I have my own "toy"--a stethoscope--which I may get to use, but I still don't quite know what I'm listening to.

I was also thinking about what I should wear tomorrow, and it occurred to me that just as a little girl tries on her mother's heels, jewelry, and makeup, so too have I noticed myself observing the unwritten codes of appropriate, professional dress.  The clothes themselves aren't really an issue, but I am definitely curious about shoes.  Men are so lucky, their shoes seem to be for the most part comfortable and serviceable and definitely useful for walking.  Women's shoes are either pretty or useful, but rarely both.  I have a pair of low, sling-back heels that I'll have to wear tomorrow, but honestly they're a little worn and I need to go shoe-shopping.  So, what to buy?  I have already deduced that Dansko shoes are the way to go: neutral colors of classy footwear designed for professionals to wear yet built for standing and walking.

In keeping with the "infant" M1 status, I also learned two suture stitches today.  I feel inordinately proud of myself but at the same time, I still feel a little like I'm pretending.  When does that feeling go away, I wonder?  After your fourth year?  After your intern year?  After residency?

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