Friday, June 08, 2007

Virology Seminar, PBL, POD, and CHI

I had a very busy day today. We started with a virology seminar on HIV that I think was a bit too elementary. It wasn't bad, but I had done some extra reading, so it was just kind of tedious. By the way, for anyone who is interested and has a copy of the big Robbins path book, there is a very nice section on the immunology of HIV in there. It's only about 10 pages. I just bought this book recently, and I've been reading random sections from the micro and immunology chapters here and there. So far I really like it, much better than I liked the Boron physiology book we used this year. Lately I've been reading sections of the Robbins book instead of some of the random readings we're assigned sometimes.

We were done early with the learning objectives in PBL, so we spent some time talking about the social issues of the case. I don't normally like to spend PBL time discussing these things, but I'll concede that it was pretty relevant to this case. Still, I would have rather gotten out of class earlier. I'm reaching a point of saturation where I'm really tired of sitting in classes and eager to be done with them altogether.

The POD talk was given by one of the same docs who spoke during our seminar this morning. It was about the history of HIV research. The talk was really interesting, especially because this speaker has been involved in HIV research for many years, and he knows many of the scientists whose work he was telling us about. He also mentioned a book I read several years ago in college called "And the Band Played On" by Randy Shilts. It's about the first several years of the HIV epidemic during the Reagan era. The focus is mostly on the U.S., but it talks a little bit about the spread of HIV in other countries too. I've started re-reading the book, and somehow the experience of reading it is very different now. I don't know if it's just that I'm older, or that I've been in medical school for a year already, or some combination of the two. But I really struggled to get through it the first time, whereas now I feel like I could stay up all night reading it.

I left POD a few minutes early so that I could meet with my PA briefly before I went to volunteer at CHI. We did our last CHI screenings for the year today. I was taking blood pressures. All of us were acting a little silly anyway, and since several of the patients brought their kids, we just got sillier while entertaining them. I took the blood pressure of a three-year-old after she saw me take her mom's blood pressure and wanted me to do hers. It was incredibly low, and I had to listen really hard to hear it. I also had to use the tiniest little peds cuff I have ever seen. As soon as I finished taking her blood pressure and removed the cuff, she solemnly held out her other arm. So I took her blood pressure again on that arm. I can't say that I ever see myself doing peds as a career, because being around screaming kids just makes me want to kill myself. But I have to admit that this one was really cute.

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