Neurology, week 3

brainstem.jpgA month has passed since the start of second semester, and it’s hard to believe that time passes so quickly. I am, like the majority of the class (I think), feeling a little behind in my homework and will probably spend the bulk of the weekend trying to catch-up on the various readings, lectures, labs and quizzes. I don’t know exactly what it is about this time of the year but there is a strange feeling that seems to be be pervasive, or at least present in those that I talk to. It could be that people still haven’t quite found the rhythm for the second semester, or perhaps they’re still worn down from the Christmas exams, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, the class seems to be overly stressed with the material, especially given where we are in the semester, but lack the motivation to really buckle down and get things under control. The reason why this is I’ll never know, and truthfully I can’t really begin to capture the mood in the class right now, but what I do know is that it feels a little “off” and different from the first semester.

The material we covered this week involved the brain stem, with the PBL case centering on a patient with Multiple Sclerosis. Interesting stuff, but there is a certain lack of understanding when it comes to the pathophysiology of the disease. Throughout the week our PBL group was prompted to play out scenarios where we informed the patient of her diagnosis, or answered questions as whether or not her life would be “over”. I always find these “playacting” sessions kind of funny. I suppose I shouldn’t, but it is so artificial and so forced that it’s hard to make it sound anything less than ridiculous, especially with something like MS. MS is one of those diseases that is hard for someone like me, who has never been exposed to it, to really understand how hard it will affect a patient’s life.

On a positive note we’re beginning to ramp up to year three. This means that there are information sessions starting next week, which will eventually give way to us choosing our third year rotations as well as rural practice sites. The selection process is more like a lottery, so the appearance of choice is only illusionary. Still it gives me something to look forward to. The book learning (lectures with class) has been wearing me down lately and I am looking forward to the change that the clinical years will bring.

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