Jet Lag Sans Jet

In the blink of an eye, time flies by
leaves us wondering how, where, why
the days got away and I really can’t say
what happened to our holidays but anyway
now it’s time to return for second term
to learn more about neuro, repro and derm
but between every lesson we ask the same question,
“What did you do while uni wasn’t in session?”
and most of this conversational procession
are professing the same confession:

“During semester I couldn’t sleep at night, right?
So why fight somnolence when I can do what I like?
Despite the zeit-geber I thought I might
catch up with sleep both day and night
irrespective of dark and light.

Now we’re back on our normal timetable
my sleep pattern could be labelled unstable, I’m unable
to reconcile my sleep phase with the days, it plays
havoc the problem lays in the way I stay
on the biorhythm I was living
in the two weeks given
for us to relax and it’s still out of whack
in fact I lack the ability to get it back on track.”

It’s classic jet lag – a text book example
except all the students in this ample sample
didn’t roam but stayed home in their own time zone.
(And you’re not alone in wondering why this poem’s shown
up after such a delay by the way,
it’s cos my internal clock’s still on Tuesday)

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Guinea Pig

You’re probably expecting a post on Cavia porcellus
but I’ll admit straight up that this blog is more or less
free of Rodentia and guinea pigs as a rule
and today won’t be an exception to that ruling at all.

I was walking down the hall one Monday ago
when seeing a board full of notices I briefly slowed
to peruse for anything that might be of interest to me
and here’s a paraphrased version of the things I did see:

‘Textbooks!! Good as new condition. Biochem, anatomy – latest editions.’

‘UQ Christian mission! Follow us to avoid burning in perdition.’

‘Got shoulder pain? Listen, subjects for short assessment needed (it won’t be an imposition)’

‘Students wanted to fill wait staff positions. Good pay available with great working conditions’

I could do without offers one, two and four
but I had some shoulder pain and wanted to hear more
about the possibility of getting a free physio assessment
for nothing beyond a small time investment.

So off I went to be a subject for a study in teleconsultation
with two assesments run end to end, each about an hour’s duration.
One conducted in person by a physio and the other being
beamed live between us via two-way video stream.

The long range consultation was less effective without a doubt
despite demonstrations there were a few maneuvers I doubt I carried out
quite correctly. But no-one claims it’s a substitute for face-to-faces
and it’d be better than nothing, for people in remote places.

Anyway, the final diagnosis if anyone’s curious
was exactly what I expected – the pain was largely spurious.
Just the result of bad posture throughout the day
but it’s nice to be certain (for free) anyway.

Just this once I’ll make an exception to my rule - because I know this is what you really came to see.

Image from here

Acknowledgement of Body Donors

Where do corpses come from? There’s a question to ask yourself.
They aren’t prepackaged to be purchased off a supermarket shelf.
No, our materials for gross anatomy and physiology
are donated by those who at death reach for the apogee
attainable through one final act of generosity.
Past generations helped them and in the spirit of reciprocity
they renounce their connection to their physical remains
that we may learn to alleviate the sufferings and pains
of all those who still reside upon this mortal plane.
So if you, or anyone you love, has ever gained
from modern healthcare or carried the flame
for one of the professions reliant on anatomical knowledge
take this moment to think of the body donors and acknowledge
their final gift to us and the generations we precede
and recognise that we should all be very thankful indeed.

Because I’m Too Tired to Write a Real Post

If you were wondering about the lapse in my blogging
it’s because for the last two weeks I’ve been slogging
away at studying for a mid-semester assessment
and only now, at the end of this huge time investment
have I had a chance to resume my normal rhyming
and in the next few days I’ll resume my roughly weekly timing
of posting poems on the minutiae of medical school
(I’d start again immediately but I’m far too tired for all
the effort of writing a proper post at this particular time
but after a good night’s sleep I’m sure I’ll be fine.)

Down at The Globe

Last night I planned to do some quiet pre-reading for my Monday tute
so I wandered down to catch bus 412, which traverses the route
from a shopping centre near my residence to the university
when coming up the centre stairway who should I see
but two girls from my PBL group standing, waiting to go
somewhere with a gaggle of 1st years I didn’t know.

“We’re going to the city” explained one of the two who I knew
“UQMS is running some sort of charity-talent night do,
with med students in bands playing their own songs.
Forget about studying. Why don’t you come along?”

Having been somewhat reluctant about the pre-reading from the start
I was quickly convinced to go watch the more musical students ply their art.
So we all headed down to The Globe – though not quite sure of the way
(we only walked in the wrong direction for 5 minutes I’d say
before realising it was actually down the other end of the road)
When we got there we waited a while in the queue before we showed
our IDs, were given three red stickers each and allowed admission.
The stickers it turned out were to vote on a photo competition.
I never found out who won that (and I don’t really care).
The first bands we listened to – well, it’d be flattery to call them fair.

So we went over the other side which was converted from an old cinema
but without any seating so there were a crowd of students sitting in a
series of amorphous rows on the floor like an open air concert with a roof and walls.
Unlike the band on the other side, the musicians here you could actually call
talented. We stayed there until the temperature in the enclosed crowd got
a little too high, even when they moved in an industrial fan it was still too hot.
We drifted back and forward between the two sides of the club for another hour or so
then decided we’d had enough and it was time to go.

Things I Didn’t Go To

Admittedly, over four years of a medical degree
this could rapidly bloom into a whole damn category.
Now I know some of you will probably question the allowability
of blogging about things that I wasn’t actually there to see
and while I admit it has more than a whiff of futility
I actually have a point which I will get to shortly.

So how did we reach this bizarre state of affairs?
Why am I blogging about things for which I was not there?
Well, the answer, if anyone out there really cares,
comes down to the UQMS Sports Day event where
all the med students jog from a pub to this weird drunken sort of fair
out at Dutton Park – if you want to read a better post about it try here

The sort of thing I'm missing out on. Source: UQMS Website

Anyway, now you’ve come back from that non-rhyming distraction,
let’s turn our attention back to the main attraction.
I dropped in for a drink after the attendees returned from the action
but missed out on the main event and that gave me some mental traction.
It started me musing on the question of balance between social interaction
and learning at med school. An issue I’m yet to resolve to my satisfaction.

You see, I can study ceaselessly – I certainly did during undergrad-
but my first time at uni I missed out on a lot of what it had
to offer, which in some ways was really quite sad.
Of course, the opposite extreme is at least as bad.
Moderation’s the solution in theory, but I have to add
that in practice, finding that balance is enough to drive someone mad.

In the end, the issue can’t be solved by mental contortion
it’s a matter of trial and error and attempting to apportion
time between various demands while exercising due caution
to avoid the extremes which might call for one
to compromise quality of work or alternatively to shun
fellow students. It’s the difficult balancing act of moderation.