Monday, July 15, 2013

As the Path Branch Out

It's Monday again! As usual breakfast starts at 8 AM, bright and early. While eating breakfast I thought back to a time where I clearly told myself that if I could have bacons everyday I would be happy. After a week of bacons I was sick of it. I don't think I will be eating bacon for a long, long time. Anyway we have class as usual today and even though we didn't have anything crazy planned I was pretty excited. Cardiology is on my list of possible specialties that I want to pursue in the future and guess what we talked about in class today? The cardiovascular system and cardiovascular diseases. We even had a real life cardiologist named Dr. Quinn Wells come in and lecture us!

So class started with Jake giving us a cardiovascular anatomy lesson. I thought that I would be pretty familiar with this since one of my previous Health Academy project was to teach the class about the cardiovascular system but boy was I wrong. Jake's lesson was a fifty time magnification version of my project and I loved every second of it. I knew the basic of what is what in the circulatory system and how to trace blood flow but I didn't know the specifics of everything. Jake went more in-depth by talking about how the heart beats and what would affect it. He showed us real pictures of dissected hearts to demonstrate how the valves works and what everything really look like. He also taught us how to calculate Cardio output of a person. Cardio output is the volume of blood being pumped by the heart. Some facts about the heart is that it is about the size of your fist and if you take a tennis ball and squeeze it hard, that is how much strength it take for your heart to pump. The lesson was definitely awesome and it really gave me a taste of what to expect in medical school.

Normal Healthy EKG
The next lesson was Electrophysiology by Jon. Mainly he taught us about how electrical current in the heart is measured and how to read the charts. Electrocardiogram or ECG/EKG is a simple and painless test that test the electrical current in the heart. There are twelve lead that is put on your body to make sure the test is as accurate as possible. One on each of your legs and arms, one on each side of your upper chest, and six across your lower left rib cage. Jon said that basically EKG gives doctors a 3D image of what is going on with the heart. So if you ever watched hospital shows and the machine that monitors the heart is usually an EKG. If it was measuring your heartbeats then it would not go past the flatline. If EKG goes flatline it doesn't necessarily mean that your heart is not beating it's just that there is no electrical activity. Jon taught us what each spikes and bumps means. I loved the lesson, it made me so much more aware of everything just like after being BLS certified I started to notice where there are AEDs. Now if I were to look at an EKG I can't help but starts to analyze it.

After Jon's lesson, it was time for Dr. Wells to begin his lecture. When most people hear of the word "lecture" they immediately think of a monotone voices that is droning on about the history of yarn. This was the complete opposite, well at least for me. The doc was really energetic and engaging. He kept our mind busy with some really awesome information. Dr. Wells focused on teaching us about cardiovascular disease but even more specificaly on coronary heart disease. The arteries around the heart are called coronary because it look like the crown of a coronated queen and I thought that was really cool. We learned about what causes atherosclerosis and what the symptom/outcomes are. Atherosclerosis is a condition where fat and other bad substances build up on arteries wall and limit blood flow. Some causes are unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, smoking, being male, old age, and genetics. When you have ATS you would usualy develope angina (an-je-na) or chest pain because your heart cannot deliver needed oxygenated blood to organs due to limited blood flow. If a piece of the plaque breaks off then your body may try to 'fix' it which will result in a blood clot which will lead to a heart attack. Dr. Wells also showed us some awesome echocardiography (heart ultrasound) of a healthy beating heart versus one with dead muscle. Some way to prevent ATS is to eat healthy, exercise regularly, don't smoke, don't be male, stop aging, and choose who your family are. I know that many of us can do at least half those things to stop ATS from coming your way. Dr. Wells also talked about different surgeries that can help with ATS. You can get bypass surgeries to take detour around blood clot or stents to open up narrowed arteries. He showed us some x-ray video of a blocked arteries and the same arteries after the stents was put in. The 'lecture' was just amazing and I was really disappointed when it ended.

Ater lunch we had another bunch of interesting guest speakers, Blair, Catherine, Brian, and Laura. They were all med school students who are doing a MD-PhD program at Vanderbilt. MD-Phd is a dual degree program that takes 8 years compare to the 4 years MD program. They took two years of med school then 4 years of PhD then finshes with the last two year of med school. They all chosed to do this program because they loved working with patients and doing research. I was truly intersted by this program because the research that these students do to earn their dual degree is just amazing. For example, Blair reseach on transplant immunology while Catherine research is about target therapy for lung cancer. Someday they will get to work with patients and use the data to further medicine. Blair gave me his email because I really wanted to learn more about the program but we didn't have enough time. I will definitely learn more because the opportunity that they get in this program is just amazing.

After an awesome day of class, I decided that I want to keep the rest of my day awesome filled and busy. So I spend some time after dinner playing kickball with a baunch of people. It was really nice! There were fireflies all around us as we played and we named our team after them, "The Flaming Fireflies". When I first learn about the existence of fireflies I really wanted to see them but after learning that you can only see them in the south I was really sad because i never thought that I would ever get to travel down south. But here I am hang out with friends and watching fireflies. My throat had healed from Saturday baseball game yelling but after the kickball game yelling it went back to sore. I learned the same thing I learned after every kickball game, my spirit may be high but my leg-eye coordination will never rise. After kickball we decided to relax by playing some Monopoly but it was anything but relax. It escalated to craziness real quick and we were all losing to our friend Maggie. She bought a lot of property and practically every other space you land on was hers. At the end I shouted "Uncle!" and gave up.

Today was the best Monday I have ever had in my life! Don might not be too please to read this but I don't really want to go home. I missed my parents, friends and puppies but otherwise its so awesome here. After over one week of classes here I can definitely say that the Med School 101 course is priceless. The lessons and experience you take from it is so wonderful and I think that anyone who is whole heartedly pursuing a career in medicine should have this opportunity to take this course. I cannot wait until tomorrow.

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