The more you know

I was recently admitted to the hospital ER with a bad case of Norwalk Virus (viral gastroenteritis). I felt like death. I felt like i imagine Ebola virus feels. I have never ever ever ever ever felt that bad in my life. My abdomen had a hot knife going through it. I was projectile vomiting all of over my shoes and my car door when i arrived at the hospital.  It was the worst illness of my life. It felt good once i figured out what it was. In between my rounds of puking and diarrhea i was able to look it up in my Kaplan Med-essentials Step 1 review book (yes i took it with me to the hospital)  and online. Knowing the details of this illness didn’t make me feel better physically, but it did make me feel better mentally. Knowledge is power even when it isn’t.

Medical school sucks horribly but it does have its pro’s. One is the fact that knowledge is usually never wasted. Knowledge really is power. Imagine people in the Dark Ages that had no idea of the pathophysiology of Bubonic plague.  If something is going to kill you it’s at least nice to know what it is. I feel like that is a basic right. Like in the movies when they tell the assassin to ” look me in the eye” before they get killed. You kinda fear what you understand but you really really fear what you don’t understand. Medical school will leave you with a basic understanding of disease thus making the world slightly less scary. Even if you cant do anything about the disease it’s still nice to know how it’s messing with your body. The question now becomes do you need 9 + years after undergrad to get this basic understanding (  at least 2 in premed,4 in medical school and at least 3 for residency). No! The rest of the world does it in a much shorter time frame. Physicians assistants and Nurses get a very basic understanding of disease states in a shorter time.

Understanding in every area of life feels good. The bad thing about medical school is that it deprives you from becoming competent in other areas. It takes over you life. I bet it would feel good to become competent in shooting a firearm. You never know when you are going to need to defend yourself. It would feel great to be knowledgeable about the workings of a  motor vehicle. You won’t have to be at the mercy of a mechanic. It would feel really good to have knowledge about outdoor survival skills, or cooking. Knowledge about anything makes the world less scary. I wish medical school was less demanding so i could acquire knowledge in more fields. I want to be a dilettante in many areas, but a master of none. Mastery in one thing is overrated. I am satisfied with just being competent in many. That is the sign of a truly interesting person.

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