Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The last push

It is late April. Where did the time go? I thought it would never go this fast. I have had a busy few months, obviously, since February 1st. I knew I was not going to match on Match Day due to the impressively "unresponsive to my pleas" errors of my medical school and the ECFMG. So, I ended up flying to New York City to participate in the Scramble. I negotiated the Scramble from my laptop computer inside a Kinko's on the Avenue of the Americas. I used my SKYPE phone to make phone calls, all from my computer. Then, when I finally got my c.v. through to some programs, being on the ground in the city enabled me to interview in person for a position. I lucked out being there, but since most of the unfilled programs were in NYC, it was a good strategy move in retrospect. I would have regretted not going.

One highlight of my visit was getting to see my grandmother. For a woman in her 90's she gets on remarkably well, continuing to drive! To think that the state doesn't enforce a night driving restriction on her, she only does that herself, makes you realize just why they were the greatest generation. How many younger people would voluntarily restrain their activities like that?

After coming back to Dublin, it was time for more study in preparation for finals and Step 2 CK. When I took this exam, some of the questions were just very tiring. It seemed like every question told you the patient's BMI and a whole slough of useless information, where you had to read the stem for the one significant clue. Several gems of questions focused on AMS people being brought in by concerned spouses and significant others. It was so formulaic it was ridiculous, but I really had to giggle at one question in which I was asked to discriminate the toxidrome of the munchies to determine what drug of abuse the significant other who had recently run out of an illicit substance, and had been avoiding work had been using.

I took USMLE Step 2 CK in London, got a chance to sit on the footsteps of St.Paul's and think about the last twelve years since I sat there last. When I was there last time it was 1994, I was 19, and just there for a year of study abroad. Now I am almost done with school, and it made me think, being there sitting outside that cathedral. Cathedrals take a lifetime to build, they are impressive in that way. Similar in many ways to professional education. Yet, I hardly feel like a cathedral.

Ah well. Also got a chance to pop over to the British Museum and have a look at the drawings of Michelangelo. He was pretty good at representing anatomy, apparently he wanted to publish his own drawings as he did dissections (but never ended up doing so) to make sure he represented the muscles correctly. As I was looking at his sketches that he did for the sistine chapel and for other works such as David and the Pieta, I began to realize that he had to do several sketches in advance, to get the perspective and points of view right. It became interesting to me when I thought about it, very similar to reading an x ray or CT in terms of visualizing in 3 dimensions. He would do sketches from points of view never visible from the viewers perspective, just to get the dimensions and sculpture right. It was interesting.

Here are Michelangelo's thoughts before he died. He was a fascinating figure. While I was in the British Museum, I had a peek at the Rosetta stone. It was a stone which enabled translation of ancient hieroglyphics. Fascinatingly, it only came into the possession of the British through military conquest. Speaking of military conquest, apparently things don't change much. I saw several exhibits of the Assyrians and other civilizations in Iraq in the British Museum. One of the exhibits displays a bas relief of some soldiers in a conquest in Iraq. The caption is telling, things don't change much. I just saw in the news that SIX retired generals have come out stating that Rumsfeld should resign due to his mismanagement of the war in Iraq. One of the interesting points I saw in the argument was that the civilian control of the military remains paramount to our democracy, but perhaps is very irksome to the retired generals who view his conduct as arrogant. Interesting, because as Republicans arrogantly state big government is bad, and the role of the government should be limited, this obviously doesnt apply to the way they run things, from Cheney shooting hunters to Rumsfeld's micromanagement.

One last note. Recently two commercial airliners were diverted from landing in the Irish Republic due to bomb threats. British RAF Tornado jets were scrambled to escort the planes to landing facilities in the UK. I find it somewhat interesting that in 2006, 90 years after the uprising in Dublin in 1916, the sight of RAF jets over Irish airspace is handled so well by the public. Particularly in view of the recent Dublin riots and the military parade on Easter Sunday. Yet after talking about it with my Irish friends, I realize the Irish Air Force has NO fighter jets. It is inconceivable to many Americans to live in a country without that. But, looking at the Irish Air Force, they really don't boast too much apart from the only Learjets in Europe.

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