Sunday, June 13, 2010

Preparing for Boards

Before coming to medical school I had no idea what to expect other than a difficult education that would be rewarding. Now, I find it a challenge to truly convey what life as a medical student really entails. My painted picture is probably very different than that of my peers, but it's the only experience I know.

A Day of Board Exam Preparation

The alarm goes off and as I made my way to the breakfast table all I could think was "sodium stibogluconate." Too bad my recall only brought me to the parasitic infections folder in my head and the Leishmania donovani card was nowhere to be found. With my bowl of cereal prepared, it was time to make another pass at the flashcards that have been accumulating over the past year. Some days the cards are nice to me and other days they seem to be retaliating for my reluctance to review them more frequently.

After a quick shower to really wake me up, it's time to sit for the next eight hours plowing through copious amounts of information mostly guided by First Aid, the medical student's bible. In an effort to solidify the information, I found it worth my while to review the information through question banks. The results of which were not always pleasing, but usually ended in learning something new about the topic and how to incorporate the information.

On a good day, my legs would only fall asleep two or three times and I wouldn't fall asleep until after midnight. Depending on the material and how long it took to get through it, I might actually be able to get in a little exercise thus avoiding the effects of Virchow's triad and potentially deadly clots. (Who knew med school would be so dangerous?) Other times, I just needed to see the light of day by taking a walk to the mailbox or going for a drive to reward myself with ice cream. Then it was time to focus again for another few hours hoping my brain would not be too active to let me sleep. Fortunately by that time, it was willing to shut off in preparations for tomorrow's marathon of education.

Board Prep Question of the Week

A 67-year-old woman is started on warfarin to prevent embolic events from her atrial fibrillation. Four days after taking warfarin, she starts developing well defined, erythematous, indurated, and purpuric lesions on her thighs. The inhibition of which component of the coagulation cascade is likely responsible for these lesions?

A. Factor II
B. Factor VII
C. Factor IX
D. Protein C
E. Protein S
Answer & Explanation

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