Friday, October 19, 2007

I managed to get though Course 5. Course 5 is largely neuro and I have completed a Masters in neuroscience. You might think that this would put me at an advantage, and it probably did. Unfortunately it also gave me a false sense of security. My thesis was on learning and memory, which has almost nothing to do with the neurological diseases we learn about. Three days of studying after skipping most of the lectures, was not enough to feel comfortable with the final exam. Apparently I picked up more than I thought hanging around neuro labs for two years. I passed with no problem.

Now we are in Course 6 - Child and Women's health. A very different course from Neuro and aging. The course is run different, the patients are different, the health care workers are different, the attitude is different. But the most interesting difference to me is how much more opinions, and I would even say politics, play into this course.

All medicine has some aspect of "art" and we can't base everything on evidence, partly because we just don't know enough and partly because we are dealing with individual human beings and each one is unique. But I find it intriguing how often people (everyone from parents, to prenatal course instructors to doctors) argue their medical points about pregnancy and babies based on feelings or their own personal expectations. Maybe it is because everyone seems to have some. You rarely find someone who will tell you "I think you should have a stroke like this", but just about everyone will tell you how they think you should have a baby. And how you are suppose to feel about it.

Of course being pregnant (or being a baby for that matter) isn't a disease. A pregnant lady isn't sick or injured, but she isn't "normal" either. It is an extraordinary thing that happens everyday. It's a cliche but it is a common place miracle; not something you can say about a lot of other areas of medicine.

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