Notes from a Medical Student:

Perhaps It Was Divine Intervention

There's a story I know. Don't ask me how or why I know it….and don't assume that the story is about me. It may be true or it may not. It doesn't have any moral undertone; it isn't a proverb. It just shows one of the worst days in the life of a medical student in the second year. For this story I'm going to exercise a little literary license and tell it in the first person.

The white wire mesh holding up my clothes in the walk-in closet of the apartment crashed to the ground. My eyes flew open and the subconscious took over. I quickly looked over at the alarm clock: 7:15. I panicked. Flying off the bed, I ran to the dresser and began frantically throwing on shirt, jeans, shoes, and hooded sweatshirt. I glanced at the wire mesh dangling from the wall. "That's for later," I thought, and dashed out the door grabbing the keys, cell phone, and wallet off of the table as I ran past.

I hit the back roads, which are usually much more light at this time of the morning. I stayed within 5 mph over the speed limit. I drove carefully and reviewed the information for this morning's test in my head. I ran through the neuroanatomy and then onto the pharmacological aspects. I realized I had not reviewed pediatrics as deeply as I had wanted to. I threw up my hands and said "Oh well" and continued on the country highway.

As I drive the traffic slows down to a crawl and I begin to wonder where I can find my professor's number so I can profusely apologize for my absence. The traffic begins to pick up and I pass the accident that caused it. The car is a small compact, resembling the small Yugos of the 1980s. It's completely flipped over onto its top at the edge of the road. There are no police but there is a tow truck. The only people are an older looking man, leaning against the car as if leaning against a bar, talking to the man who obviously owns the tow truck. The two of them laugh and then I see the older man throw up his arms as he looks toward the car. I immediately understand exactly how he feels.

It was as I was turning onto Fairfield Road that I felt it. It started as a twinge in my stomach and quickly began to engulf my whole body. All the adrenalin that had been running in my veins was catching up with me, and I began to feel sick. Worse yet, I got stuck in traffic again. When you are stuck in traffic, you watch the clock carefully, trying to make sure that every second is counted, and possibly trying to use your sheer willpower to slow time. Time, however, is stubborn and it kept on clicking by at the usual rate. Finally I reach the college and jump out of my car and into the building, knowing I'm just a minute late and that they don't always start on time. I slow down to a stroll as I enter the room and grab the sheet of paper and sit down. I breathe in and out and smile, knowing I barely made it on time. Unfortunately, for the rest of the test the adrenalin rush made my stomach churn, and I began to lose my concentration.

I was on autopilot during most of the test, which I don't really remember too well. The drive home is somewhat of a blur as the descent back down from my rush got worse. I walked into the apartment and went straight for the bed. As I passed the closet I looked at the white wire mesh hanger. There was little sign of how or why it had fallen. The hooks were still screwed tightly into the wall. I shrugged and promised myself I would clean it up later. As I passed the alarm clock, I picked it up and dropped it into the garbage bin and then promptly fell onto the bed face first. The last thing I remember thinking was, "Wow…someone really wanted me to take that test."

As I said, this story has little purpose than to show one of the worst days in a particular medical student's second year. It may be true or it might not be. At any rate, I passed.