Monthly Archives: June 2010


Wah wah exams wah wah boo yuk. That is all. On the other hand, things could have been worse. And in about a week I’ll know if I have to resit them, and if I do have to resit them, I don’t believe I’ll care. Because in some weird way there were aspects of the exam that I quite enjoyed, and I wouldn’t mind doing them again, because if I had to, I feel confident that I’d pass with just those couple more weeks polish to settle my mind. Now that is really all I have to say about exams.

Actually no it isn’t, because I just said there was something I enjoyed about them, and that is a strange thing to say. For me, anyway. So, what I enjoyed was, knowing the answers. Not to everything, but to enough to make me enjoy knowing. And on the second day, I had a beautiful moment about an eighth of the way through, where I thought wow, I’m sitting a Medicine exam. That’s really cool. That’s what I enjoyed.

However I do not enjoy not knowing whether I passed. Next time I would like to have better filing systems for my knowledge so that I can find the answers better in my brain. Then I would have more confidence and I could just quietly smile and not kick myself.

Now I really have nothing further to say on the matter.

Except this. GABA A receptors. That is all.

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Q: What’s White and Crunchy…

… and doesn’t belong in a macadamia nut?

Perhaps I have been grinding my teeth in my sleep, or perhaps it was spontaneous disintegration of a poor bit of dental work from prehistoric times, but anyway, whatever, I celebrated my first day of stuvac by exploring the emergency dental treatment options available to me on the first day of a holiday weekend in Tinytown. These involved waiting until everything re-opened on Tuesday and crossing my fingers someone would see me, or driving 170km.

It may seem an extreme option, but faced with the choice between tooth-pain related study impediments or long-drive related study impediments, i will take the drive option every time.

I used the opportunity to think harder about the mechanism of action of local anaesthetics, and the distribution of vessels/nerves in my mouth. I had a while to think about this, because my tongue and half my mouth stayed numb for a good five hours. As did my hip pocket nerve. It is still experiencing some parasthesia. Possibly because I know how much phase two of fixing my tooth will cost: More than I will earn this year. Seriously.

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Monday, 7:17pm

There can be a quiet, quiet moment in childbirth between the head coming out and the next contraction. In this moment, the baby’s head is there, turned, covered in goop, eyes closed. Skin purple-greyish. In this moment, you could think that the baby is never going to open its eyes and never going to take its first breath. You remind yourself that the cord is still there and blood and oxygen are still coming from mum. Then the contraction comes, and the torso follows, and two legs, and everyone exhales. Everyone except the baby, who inhales for the very first time.

Welcome to the world, Baby ‘Claire’.

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Healing of Wounds and Tissues

So I’ve been studying all day and my back hurts and my bum is pretty much numb. Earlier, I had a brief flare-up of medstudentitis, in which I decided the pain in the back of my calf was a deep-vein thrombus dislodging. Don’t worry, anyone, I’ve had a gin and tonic now so it should be neatly dissolved. [NB: I don’t think that’s actually how it works, so please don’t try that at home]

Most of the time I have trouble finishing things. l quite simply get bored and move to the next topic. This means that much of my non-lecture notes consist of various random facts and hemidiagrams. Today however I managed to actually start and finish summarising the process of healing of wounds in various tissues – skin, bone, muscle, nerves and cartilage.

Some concrete things I learned today: Cartilage heals like a bitch because it is poorly vascularised and therefore it takes ages for the right amount of nutrients and oxygen to get there and help it heal. Muscle heals through action of these little muscle-specific stem-type cells called satellite cells. Bone often heals in such a way as to render the fracture site stronger post-fracture than pre-injury.

All of this made me think about a recent discussion elsewhere in the blogosphere about the healing of wounds. I like the idea that in some things, the healing process makes us stronger than we started out.

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