Thursday, October 27, 2005

Medical Studentitis

One of our professors recently told us of a new disease, called "Sophomore Medical Student Syndrome". This is a special disease of medical students who know just enough about the really bad shit that can happen to a person, that every time they get a headache or a tummy ache they picture all this really bad shit happening to them. It's a special form of hypochondriasis, really, with imaginary disorders floating all around and a smidgen of real science backing it up.

A good example is my friend, whom I'll call "Metro". Metro is the ultimate metrosexual man, wearing $40 designer Italian boxers under his Seven jeans. Metro has also experienced more fictitious disease than almost anyone in our class. Last year, he "suffered from" testicular cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, strokes, and a heart attack. Mind you, the man is 23 years old and in good health. Perhaps he should just have sought treatment for anxiety.

I can laugh at his experience because I've had my own experience with SMSS. Last year, I was convinced I had hypothyroidism. I even went to the doctor to get checked, and lo and behold, I had a diffuse anodular goiter (with normal thyroid function tests). Then, last summer, I SWORE I had gastritis all summer, in addition to my usual (self-diagnosed) GERD. Only my H. pylori test was negative, and eventually the Prilosec did its job.

So this morning when I woke up with a splitting, throbbing headache, my first thought was "hangover"--from the one beer I had last night with dinner. Ridiculous. After I took 600 mg ibuprofen and woke up 7 hours later, still slightly achy, I started thinking flu, cold, virus. My throat was definitely scratchy, but that could have been from dehydration due to sleeping all day. Then, I got all hot, then cold. Fever? I frantically palpated my neck looking for lymphadenopathy, and possibly found some. So am I going to die? Doubtful at this stage. I probably caught some virus going around. This fact doesn't change my searching for new symptoms, or wishing for a thermometer so I could document any fever, or asking my fiance to check my mouth for tonsillitis. *sigh* Med school makes you pathetic in many ways, including ways you would never have imagined when signing up for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Itz really interesting to learn about experiences of medicos with respect to this special form of "hypochondriasis'.. I am a final MBBS student & in fact I too came to know about the entity today, from our college magazine.. My personal experience - It was as if I had most of d Vitamin/mineral deficiencies when I was learnin about them in my biochemistry classes, though I knew mine was a near-perfect diet:) Anuradha, Mysore, India