Thursday, April 15, 2010

Social Networking and Medicine: or, How Not to Be an Idiot

Today we had a lecture about social networking websites and the use of them by medical professionals.

It amazes me how little common sense some people have about these sites. There's always a lot of discussion about privacy settings, and how to make sure your site represents you in a positive, professional light. I could have explained how to do that in thirty seconds:

"Behave with integrity and don't do things you aren't proud of."

One student suggested that it was a problem that you couldn't take down photographs of yourself that other people post. I tend to agree with him that the site should allow that, but the thing that he seemed not to realize was that if you don't do stupid things in the first place, no one will have embarrassing pictures to post.

It seems like this is being presented to our generation as a huge challenge that we must overcome, to avoid being negatively portrayed online due to loss of the privacy that previous generations have enjoyed. It isn't about privacy - it's not about how "not to get caught" doing inappropriate things. It's about the fact that we cannot expect to reliably hide indiscretions, unprofessional or illegal behavior anymore. Everything we do might be photographed or videotaped by someone walking by with an iPhone, posted on the internet within seconds, and forever out of our control. The thing that people don't seem to realize is that what shows up on the internet about you is absolutely within your control - because you control what you say and what you do.

I don't want a doctor who has the "sense" to not post on the internet that he or she thinks I'm stupid and disgusting and slovenly. I want a doctor who doesn't think it in the first place. I don't want to trust someone with my health who drinks irresponsibly, or thinks its funny to laugh about people because of their weight, or race, or sexual orientation - regardless of whether I know about it or not.

The internet hasn't made people do these things, or think this way - it's just made it much more difficult to lie about it successfully. Frankly, I think that's a good thing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Coffee Diet Makes You Old

So I am a coffee drinker.

I don't really mean, I drink coffee occasionally - or that I'll accept a cup of coffee with dessert at your dinner party. I mean, when I arrive at the ISP lounge in the morning, I start the coffee pot first thing, make a whole pot so I can share with my friends, and then drink the whole damn pot because my friends are mostly Mormons who don't drink coffee, and I am a Midwesterner born and bred and can't abide wasting food. Aren't I sweet?

Anyway, I've noticed over the last year or so that although I've yet to see the dark side of 25, I have wrinkles. Actually fine lines, but as someone who has yet to buy a car or work a full time job, I think we can stop quibbling about the details. They're wrinkles. In my forehead.

I bought some wrinkle cream, which made me feel like I was a lot older than I actually am. People my age across America are doing beer pong and tanning, and I am drinking countless cups of coffee and abhoring the time I spent in the sun in my youth. Which isn't much, because my dad is a redheaded Scots-English man, and my mother is as fair as I am (though since I'm on the subject of Mom, everyone I know says she looks very young for her age, as does Grandma, so thanks for the genes, sorry I am trashing my share with coffee).

I'm convinced it is the coffee, because otherwise I'm healthy! I do yoga every week, and pilates about every other - I don't drink soda, because we don't keep it in the house. We eat meat-free on Fridays, and I drink plenty of water and eat things that have fiber. I wear SPF 50 because while freckles are attractive, sunburn is not. I'm doing all those good things that people say to do, and I still have wrinkles. It couldn't be anything else, right? I mean, I don't even go out into the sun - I sit inside, all day, with my laptop and textbooks, and study.

Oh, wait.

Maybe it's med school.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Not Even Midnight...

and I'm done studying. So there.

I've been studying digestive/GI pathophysiology for the last week or so. It's interesting physiology, but I've decided there are two kinds of gastroenterologist - the kind who make it all about the hormones and nutrient absorption and pH gradients, and the kind who make it all about the poop. My instructor is a poop guy.

It was when I was eating beanie-weenie (a classic Dad recipe I'm sure you all know and love) and looking at pictures of stool that I realized I had reached an all-time low. It isn't that it's so bad, really - it's that it doesn't really bother me that much that is a visceral (ha, ha) reminder that my world has shifted pretty dramatically in the past year or so. I'm one of those people, now - the ones who make inappropriate dinner table conversation. You know the kind.

At any rate, now I'm done! and can move on to renal.

And let the cat out of the basement, where he's been for at least an hour because he will. not. stop. scratching. our kitchen cabinets. And the dishwasher. Somehow I don't think he'd much like what he finds in there, though I've been tempted to let him in and close the door for a few minutes as an object lesson. I've been good, though - so far it's just the basement.

We used to use the laser pointer to distract him and wear him out - we bought it over the holiday back in Missouri. This evening, though, I was playing with him, and he started looking doubtfully at the dot - and then speculatively at the little plastic cat with the shiny red nose. Back at the dot - back at the plastic cat. Then he reached up one paw, and batted - you guessed it - the plastic cat. He's got us figured out, all right.