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Feb 21, 2008


Sometimes, it's no fun learning about medicine.

I, myself, have succumbed many times to the classic "medstudentitis", where a med student is constantly diagnosing him/herself and those around him/her with the rarest of rare disorders and are genuinely convinced that the people in question have less than a month to live. This is especially harrowing when you visit the doctor's office, as they are bound to find something to worry you with. Then, when there is ACTUALLY something to worry about, you immediately jump to the worst case scenario, as that is what your brain is currently trained to do.

However, the story changes when you learn about a disease process that you know that someone you love has been diagnosed with. This has happened to me too, a few times. But not like today.

Today I learned the specifics, the so-called "gory details" of diabetes. Someone that I love very, very much has this disease and I always knew that this is not good for her, that this causes her to be at risk for lots of other bad things. But I never knew how bad it really is, and how bad it could really get.

This is one of the downsides of knowledge. In this case, I wish that I didn't know the worst it could get. I wish that I didn't know that her symptoms now mean that they will get worse, that she has a reduced lifespan, that, even if she takes her medicine and fixes the problem, the damage has been done and will continue.

This is not okay with me. But there's nothing that I can do.

Knowledge puts you in a tight spot.

5 Readers rock!:

The Shrink said...

Too much information is a double edged sword.

As you say, it's brutally harsh.

The one bonus is that you can use this information helpfully. You know how important retinal screening, tight glycaemic control, hypertensive monitoring and good foot care etc all are.

She can be looked after, but with this information, you can ensure she gets the best care she will need and deserve.

Xavier Emmanuelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xavier Emmanuelle said...

Sorry, that was a really depressing comment, I'll delete it.

Katie! said...

Oh, Xavier! You didn't need to delete that comment! I'm sorry for your loved ones, and sorry for you to have to know, in great detail, what they are facing.

We are given this information in order to help people. Perhaps we can start our (sure to be long and prosperous) careers by helping those people we love.

Thanks for your comment, even though you deleted it.

Che said...

thank you, thank you for writing this entry! i am an MS1 at ucsf and stumbled on your blog i-don't-know-how. i didn't "get" this entry the first time i read it, but since then i've had a family member have a stroke and suddenly find myself trying to articulate the same things you've said. yes, i certainly wish i didn't know about ischemia right now.