“If It Isn’t Fun.” – Medical School Journal Resumes
March 10, 1946
I’m generally having difficulty concentrating these days. Fantasies, pipe smoking, and other diversions seem to crowd out medicine and careful study.
I attended the Tulane clinical-pathology conference held yesterday around the case we now have resident at the Marine Hospital, a seaman with kala-azar. Dr. Faust from Tropical Medicine, and Isadore Snapper, author of “Chinese Lessons to Western Medicine,” were impressive as consultants. The novice can easily confuse the leishmanial parasite with systemic histoplasmosis as they are stained in hepatic tissue.
I astounded the epidemiology class today by approximating the turn-of-the-century date for the origin of roentgenography when the question was posed the class by our professor. On such irrelevant inanities are medical school reputations made or destroyed!
Later, in an exercise for bacty lab., dear ol’ Skillicorn stuck his gloved finger down my throat, it having both urine and tuberculous sputum on it. Lovely guy.
March 22 My 21st Birthday
Today I came of age!
At least legally I’m a man. Good birthday letters from home made me feel both proud and humble.
In neuropsychiatry rounds today we reviewed a case of extradural hematoma that showed a classic picture of head trauma, lucid interval, gradual loss of consciousness, coma, respiratory depression, and death. When recognized in time, this is 99 percent curable surgically.
George Burch’s series of lectures on cardiology were concluded today. They were simply the finest I’ve ever heard on any subject.
I successfully got all 10 microscopic slides in the pathology practical exam. today, but in gross anatomy I mistook a testis for an ovary. Good Lord!
Prof. Beach, our new head of neuropsychiatry, opined for us today: “The trouble with you-all is that you believe the propaganda about disease they teach you in bacteriology.” One gets the impression that psychiatrists have forgotten, or rejected, all the medicine they were ever taught.
Professor Dunlap offered me an externship at Charity Hospital today and I turned it down. I would surely learn much in the job, and profit otherwise, but I’m so settled and satisfied in my work here at the Marine Hospital that I’d dearly hate to pull up roots.
Empathy Can be Learned
It seems these days that I’m becoming more aware of patients’ discomforts, and, I hope, am acquiring more understanding. We should gain even greater sympathy for our patients as we subject ourselves to ever more medical procedures as part of the sophomore curriculum. For example, today it was damned unpleasant taking down a naso-gastric tube, despite first cooling it on ice and using lubricants plus a topical anesthetic.
Pediatrics exam was tough, with a lot of physiology questions as well as practical stuff on artificial feeding and on the five leading causes of death in infants. In preventive medicine we had to draw a model sanitary privy!
After our final clinical exam. we all felt let-down, despite the reality that our sophomore year is now over. But late tonight the joy among the juniors was infectious. Because I was accomplishing nothing, I took Lynn out slumming to the riverboat called “Kalitan of Moline.”