Monday, December 29, 2008

The value of study

So little G.A. has been sick this week. I got a little tickle in my throat sitting in the airport waiting room on our way out here, and 24 hours later it was yet another cold. That makes 3 in 8 weeks. I hate colds, when the prodrome hits, I think "ok, i've done this, I know what this feels like, let's just fast forward 7 days and I'll be well again. I've been recovering, and now GA is sick. That makes you feel pretty terrible as a parent, knowing that you, and only you, are resposible for your little one's misery. He's a good little trooper though, and he smiles at me between his periodic bouts of coughing and congestion, which makes the smiling a little sad.

The midnight thought of a semi-awake medical student with a sick child make me realize that I know nothing about medicine. I study about 40-55 hours a week, and finished a unit on the respiratory system not quite 1 week ago. For all that work, however, I realized as I listened to my little boy's cough, that I didn't actually learn anything while studying respiratory viruses. The first clue of course was the fact that my second respiratory exam was the worst one I've had since anatomy a year and a half ago. It became obvious of course, as well, when I could not recall which viruses caused RSV, Croup, pertussis etc, nor which ones were associated with wheezing v. stridor v. cough v. rhinorrhea. Fortunately, it seems that GA has only a garden variety cold, but seeing costal retractions and hearing his cough made my mind whirl away to unpleasant places.

I imagine then, that the main purpose of 3rd year will be to actually acquaint me with the real presentation of these and other illnesses. What does a child with stridor actually present like? I know theoretically what to look for, but I'm a pretty visual learner, so I need to actually see something before I can really recall it in a useful way. It was pretty disheartening to realize that all my work is not as productive as I had imagined.


Mhana said...

Boy, that sure is too bad that medical school hasn't outfitted you for real life. Luckily MY stint in graduate school is endlessly applicable! I can find a thesis statement in a haystack! Unless there isn't one because the author is 18 and doesn't think a paper should have a point! Poor little wheatie.

Dan's Mom said...

This is why Drs should listen to moms- the mom may not know which virus, etc is the troublemaker but she WILL know what normal looks like for her child and what is NOT normal now.
Once my grown son had a seizure in the men's room of a medical clinic. The only doc readily available was a neonatologist. Bless her, she told the paramedics to listen to me - I knew my son & what was going on with him. If only the ER that tried to kill him later that day had received the same advice.