Neurology, Week 2

spinal-column.jpgThe week started bad with “blue Monday“, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. By coincidence, the markets went into free fall at the same time, and by the end of the week “blue Monday” had become “black Monday”, drummed up with dire warnings of markets about to crash. For me it was neither the markets nor underlying depression that got me down, but rather it was a simple head cold. It’s the dangers of institutional learning, I think. Once one person gets a cold in the class it spreads like wildfire.

The material we covered this week included the organization of the spinal cord and how lesion placement will effect the quality and type of symptoms seen in the patient. It’s interesting stuff but I find it complex and hard to understand at times. Fortunately the lecturers have started the class off on a very basic level, covering only 3 tracts (2 sensory and 1 motor) that run through the spinal cord. Given a cluster of symptoms, with our new found knowledge, we should be able to place the injury according to the spinal level and aspect of the cord affected (ventral, dorsal, lateral). To be honest, although this week’s material was interesting and demanded a certain focus, the class seemed restless as we are still waiting on our grades to be released.

It’s been well over a month since we wrote our last exam, and granted although there was two weeks worth of holidays between now and then, it still seems that it is taking a long time for our marks to come down the pipe. Apparently two weeks ago the promotions committee (the committee that decides whether you pass or fail medical school) met and discussed those who had failed one or more exams. This past week the promotions committee contacted these individuals directly to inform them of which exams they did not pass and to set up remediation. On a personal note, I have been through this myself, in the past, and it is a horrible process – waiting for the dreaded phone call will raise your levels of stress like no other, the idea of failure can affect your confidence and the idea of remediation cuts into critical time that you could use for other things, but I digress… Now that the promotions committee is done, our class should receive their grades sometime next week (hopefully). I know I passed the written portions of my exams and am fairly confident that I did alright on the lab aspects as well, but still I feel as though I need the official word before I can truly relax into the second semester.


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