IDENTIFY. DESCRIBE. fail.

Somewhat boring/necessary background unless you’re in my class:

At most schools, anatomy is taught in one continuous block, usually at the beginning of the year. By the time September rolls around, most students can identify bizarre-sounding muscles and tell you which stringy pale thing is a vein and which is a nerve. It’s harder than you think.

Our medical school works differently than most. We learn anatomy in segments, according to whatever physiologic systems we’re covering that block. For instance, this 12-week block, called Homeostasis, includes the heart, lung, and kidney. So we’ve dissected most of the thorax, where the heart and lungs are, and examined normal and abnormal kidneys in pathology lab (I’ve written about this previously). Continue reading

Commonest Erythematous Palpation, Status Post

When I was a postbac student shadowing doctors in the hospital, I learned that medical centers have a status hierarchy all their own. It resembles a cult, actually. I wrote about this in “Medicine Dress Code:” medical students wear short white coats, residents have slightly longer coats, and attendings – highest on the seniority ladder – have near-wizard length, Merlin-style white robes. I have no idea where this custom originated or why it persists, but it is helpful in quickly indicating who you don’t want to irritate.

What I didn’t realize is that the medical world goes further into cult-dom than I originally thought. In fact, medicine has its own language entirely. Continue reading