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I’m published!

February 20, 2007

I was featured at Tiromed. If you haven’t heard of them, they are like a laid-back SDN. Check ’em out! I happen to think they have very good taste 😉

Here’s the article:

Interview with Med Blogger Michelle

Michelle vs. the Med Student is a blog kept by Michelle, an osteopathic medical student somewhere in the Midwest. She’s representing all the type B medical students out here…wherever you may be!

TM: Why do you blog? Why would you encourage another to keep a blog?

I blog to keep my right brain from atrophying. I swear to you, with all these facts being jammed into my noggin, I was losing a lot of average vocabulary. I was sounding like English wasn’;t my first language, or at least like Homer Simpson on a bad day: “Now let’s go back to that building thingy… where our beds and TV… is.” Plus, we spend so much time on the science side of things, we tend to forget that medicine is also an art. By letting my creative side out to play every day or so, I’d like to believe its keeping my mind flexible.

TM: The name of your blog is “Michelle vs. the Med Student.” What is the significance of this name?

Honestly, I’ve battled with my desire to go into medicine most of my life. The problem is that I don’t know how to be that person. I didn’t grow up with this. My dad did HVAC, my mom worked at the VA. I was brought up to believe doctors were extraordinary people, basically bred for the job, which left me out. But it was my love, so I dedicated my life to becoming what I thought I should be. After four years of college and the rigors of admissions, I thought I had fooled them all, what a mistake they’d made! After believing this for most of first year, convinced that every test would lead to my inevitable dismissal, I had a personal crisis which nearly led me to a nervous breakdown. While recovering from that, I had to re-evaluate my life. I searched everywhere to find answers: Patch Adams, Dalai Lama, Dr. Phil, Madea! It was then I figured out life is not worth living if not lived OUT LOUD. Enough of this insecure, polite little bookworm twaddle (yes, it’s a word and it’s not dirty). I thought, hey, I’ve made it this far. This can’t all be an accident. It’s what I’m meant to do. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me! Since then, I’ve tried to take Patch Adams’s cue that there is no one way to be a physician. I try to express through my blog that though it can be a struggle at times, I don’t have to change, I can be both. I can be the statuesque beauty with the heart of a 5 year old (some liberty taken) and then when I’m with a patient, put on my physician hat (well…coat actually).

On your blog there are a lot of YouTube clips of medical TV shows (i.e.House, Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy). Can you talk about the parallels or polarites between Medicine on T.V. and Medicine in real life? You are a fan of these shows; do you think they are more or less accurate?

The differences between reality and tv? Good lord, where to begin?! Let me say first that I don’t watch most of these shows for the reality. I generally have to turn the logical part of my brain off before viewing, b/c otherwise every 2 minutes, my internal dialogue goes: “Never would happen…that’s not how it’s done…doesn’t she have something she should be doing?…he would be punched or at least sued for that…no way he would be a surgeon…why are you intubating a conscious patient and why aren’t they gagging?!…No way! Major HIPAA violation!” And so on…

I watch the shows b/c I guess I like how they glamorize what we do. When I watch Grey’s, for a moment I get to pretend that it’s possible to be gorgeous after a 48 hour shift and still have the energy to get it on with the dreamy, albeit unprofessional attending. I’m sorry but at 4:30am rounds, I am not pretty and I am certainly not in the mood. With Scrubs, I can imagine that after all the years of disease, death, and defecation that would make the average hospital personnel a bit bitter, I can still be my goofy self and have a grand old time hanging around with my equally quirky best friends all day, and even throw in the occasional musical number (Sing it with me! “Everything comes down to poo…”) Now with House, that’s a whole different story. The excited little med student in me comes alive w/ differential diagnoses and I get to use my vast knowledge (yes…I said vast…shut up, I am smart) of micro and infectious I may never really get to use. True, he’s a racist jerk who would get punched out at least three times per episode, and I can’t imagine most of his patients surviving long enough to be diagnosed or being able to afford his services even if they did…BUT…House has the “med street cred,” as it were.

What type of person makes a compelling med blogger? What do you look for in a blog and what do you want your readership to appreciate in your blog?

Let me get in them guts! I look for blogs that are real, medically-related or otherwise. They aren’t just putting up whatever they think other people want to see and they don’t censor their ideas. If you can do that with a bit of humor, I’m sold. Especially if you are a med blogger. We tend to take ourselves a bit too seriously. As you might have gathered, Patch Adams is a hero of mine, and he always says how there are thousands of studies telling us the benefits of laughing, playing, and generally being silly, but there is no evidence of any health benefit to being serious. Life is depressing enough most days, why spread it around?

TM: A lot of med bloggers are anonymous, your blog is less so. Do you ever worry about your blog compromising your “professionalism”? If someone claimed that having a med blog jeopardizes your academic and professional standing, how would you respond?

When I first started, I did ponder for quite awhile, where do I draw the line? For inspiration, I read Michelle Au’s “Scutmonkey” blog (Remember her from The Twelve Kinds of Medical Students?) She is not anonymous at all and I find that really inspiring. That way, I get to see the whole person, not just the med student or the mommy or whoever. I differ a little in that I don’t bring my family and friends into the fray. They didn’t start a blog, why have their business aired out? Otherwise, anything that goes on in my life is up for grabs. As for whether that’s professional, I don’t know, probably not, but I like to think that people who visit my site have a sense of humor about these things. I also try to have some integrity. Whether it be on my blog, in the classroom, or at home, I’m not rude or disparaging. On the rare occasion I ever am, its nothing I wouldn’t or haven’t said to their face.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2007 4:40 pm

    Whoa. Really good answers! I’ve read a few med interviews before, but none of em hit me as much as yours did. I suppose it’s because every med student can relate to your experiences; the soul-searching before committing to medicine (which for some is still going on, even as they wake up every day to the horrifying realisation that it’s too late, they’re already IN med school. Not that I’d know anything about that.)

    Ooh, and say hi to Roxy for me.

  2. February 21, 2007 1:26 am

    you never fail to impress me. the professionalism thing always bothers me because i believe it distances us from our duty as healers. how are we supposed to reach out to those around us (not the least of whom are our patients) if we don’t show them who we really are? humanity can be beautiful, and i’m glad your blog helps show the way to that.

  3. March 5, 2007 8:46 pm

    Nicely put. You give medical students a good name!

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