Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy 1st birthday to the WV blog! Who woulda thunk?

I was browsing through the last year's contents, which brought back all these memories that have (already!!) been forgotten. Which is why it's nice to have them written down somewhere. The posts are different now - less varied, less frequent. Very interesting to see how the quality of something changes, just as we all change.


Four months from now, I'll be 1/3 of the way done with residency. Amazing how time flies... Derm residents across the country are starting to get ansy - there's a "in-service" exam coming up in April. It's a yearly exam that's supposed to be an example of what our board exam is going to be like, and it's chock full of minutiae.

You know it's bad when a textbook chapter (on plant dermatoses) states that identifying plants are difficult, and that the way to do it is to collect the possible offending specimen and "involve a plant taxonomist." Which is what any normal physician in practice would do. However, for board exam purposes, we're supposed to know that the family Urticaceae, Genus Urtica, Laportea, and Dendrocnide, Species dioica, urens, pilulifera, canadensis, gigas, moroides, photinophylla are members of the nettle family. And we're supposed to know the different potential allergic reactions caused by specific members of the species... And that's only one detail in one field.

Who would have known that dermatologists had to be, among other things, infectious disease specialists, pathologists, botanists, immunologists, and trivial pursuit junkies? No one who practices medicine keeps these useless details in their heads. That's what peripheral brains are for. And textbooks. But, for boards purposes, these things must be crammed in. So let the cramming begin!


A positive note about the cramming - you remember Baloo's song in The Jungle Book, The Bare Necessities? Well, he mentions prickly pears. Now that I am more learned about the plant kingdom, prickly pears have these things called glochids. Glochids are tufts of hundreds of short, barbed, or hooked hairs that arise from pin-cushion like structures called "areoles". These glochids can be like little fishhoods and cause irritation and itching after they get imbedded in the skin. You see the kind of useful information we're learning? Now the next time someone comes in with a prickly pear itch, I'll know how it happened. And, perhaps I'll sing to them the words of the wise Baloo:

Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don't need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue ?


Anonymous Moof said...

Thank you for the 'shout out'! :o)

Your upcoming dermatology exam sounds even worse than the stuff they're putting us through with our computer anatomy stuff ... I wish you all the best! I bet you'll ace your exam. I always wondered why those little prickly pears gave me fits!

A very happy blogiversary, Wandering Visitor! You're a wonderful part of the blogosphere!

6:44 AM  
Blogger blogborygmi said...

Happy birthday to your wonderful blog. Would you be interested in hosting Grand Rounds? In May, after your inservice... Please contact me.

8:55 AM  
Blogger ipanema said...

Happy birthday to the Wandering Visitor blog. :)

4:11 AM  

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