Today was the second introductory set of lectures for Block 1, which meant we received a full-blown biochemistry lecture first thing - I am beginning to develop an even more heightened level of respect for my coursemates that come from a non-science background. I look at the amount of information contained in this one class and tremble, and I covered it in the second year of my degree!
After that we had our first proper talk in the VLE (Value, Law and Ethics) series, which concentrated on the difference between objective facts and personal or societal values, and the relevance of these concepts within the practice of healthcare. This becomes more difficult when things like consent and expectations come into play, and there was quite a bit of debate in the class which was nice to see.
During one of the breaks, a newly graduated student (or doctor I suppose) was selling off what seemed like a tonne of books in the lobby outside the lecture hall for £1 each. I had a quick scan and found a couple of old surgery textbooks (15 years old to be precise), and was told I had to take a book from the 'free' pile, presumably ones that nobody would take otherwise - they all seemed to be do with management of the menopause or pelvic pain during pregnancy. I got away lightly and found a volume containing essential maxims of neurophysiology.
We then received our introductory lecture on the anatomy of the abdomen, which thankfully I didn't find horrendously difficult. There's a lot of new terminology to learn, but the concepts seem easy enough to grasp, at least at this very early stage. There was also a bit of embryology involved, which my undergrad degree also featured small amounts of, so I was somewhat familiar with the steps for formation of the relevant tissues and structures.
I had forgotten that the medical common room was off-limits today due to exam marking, and had foolishly brought a pasta dish for lunch that could now not be reheated. Cold pasta alla carbonara does not sound enjoyable, and it does not taste enjoyable either. We also attempted to make it to the main campus sports society fair, but as the anatomy talk had run over, we had almost made it to the door of the venue when time limits forced us to turn back and return to the medical school. Perhaps tomorrow.
We then had another talk from a dietician, this time focusing on the major food groups and the relevance of nutrition to healthcare in the general population. I found it more interesting than I thought I would beforehand, particularly the elements concerning how metabolism changes when the patient is sick or in differential resting states, for example after a meal or being without food for 12 hours or more.
The day concluded with a group activity wherein we assessed the diet and consumption habits of a hypothetical patient named Susan, who claimed to be 'hardly eating anything at all'. Susan was a bit of a lost cause, to put it mildly, consuming comical amounts of food over a typical day and still confused by her weight gain. The main focus however (quite important even in the funny context) was making gradual and realistic lifestyle changes that a patient will feasibly be able to carry out.
Personal victory - I did not fall asleep when I got home. I went for a brief run which seemed to keep me awake, and then went into Leamington to find some baking soda. I switched to a chlorhexidine mouthwash recently, which has put some incredibly unflattering stains on the surface of my teeth. Apparently brushing with baking soda can have a whitening effect, so I plan to try that for a couple of weeks before seeking out any private treatment. Irritating.