Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mad as a Hatter, or, Dreams of Belladonna, or, Make it stop!

So I'm in the midst of board-study, which means 8-12 hours a day of trying to cram medical knowledge into my head, so that on Thursday, 5/29, I can have the privilege of having a $495 exam (that may or may not determine future opportunities) take me behind the woodshed and . . . well, my mother reads this, so I'm just going to stop there.

I laid down for a minute during my lunch break Friday and had a strange dream. I was on my family's old couch - the one where you would lay if you were sick, not having to practice piano for the day, able to skip out on church with no feeling of remorse, and dominate the TV remote with no fear of parental intervention. In the dream, I had the heavy, sick feeling of having the flu, or the croup like when you were a kid. However, I was still 27 in the dream.

My dad approached, with a large syringe in his shirt pocket. Now, my family will recognize this, and admittedly it isn't the most oblique piece of foreshadowing, but let me give a little background. When we were growing up, Pop would call just before he left the office, usually while Ma was serving dinner (nope, we didn't wait). As Dad entered, we could all see him approach from the garage. If one of the kids was sick, he would bring home the stuff he needed, whether the otoscope or the penicillin or whatever. If it was penicillin, we knew immediately, because he had four large syringes in his shirt pocket that he would put on a little shelf, in plain sight, as he grabbed his stool to sit up to the table. We all knew what those meant. That Dad didn't love us.

After dinner Pop would march us one by one to get this injection. It was probably a better method than when, in the middle of the night, he would army-crawl into the room my sister I shared and give us our shots as we slept. "Wait," you say, "that sounds like a good idea. The little tykes wouldn't even know about it. Save them the pain." Well, you'd be right, unless your sister woke up and saw her Dad stick a big shot in her brother and then try to do the same to her. Ameree didn't like Dad for quite a little while after that.

Back to my dream. I'm 27, and I have had 2 years of medical school. My dad approaches me with this needle, and I ask, "What are you even trying to give me?"

"2% Atropine."

Now, a bit of background here, too. Atropine in no way is helpful for someone with the flu. It's one of the drugs you give someone whose heart has stopped, or maybe if they've inhaled Sarin in a Tokyo subway.

"Dad, I don't need that." I try and fend him off.

He uncapped the needle with his teeth.

"Dad, what the hell? I really don't effing need that!"

He got really upset that I had said, "effing," and to teach me a lesson, gave me the shot in the right peck.

Now, my body started reacting appropriately - in the dream I knew the side-effects of this particular drug. I became flushed, really pissed off, stopped sweating, and because my heart was pounding, woke up. The message was clear.

The USMLE Step 1 examination is trying to kill me.

Now, before you go all Freud on me, the only reason I think it was my dad that tried to kill me in this dream was because he is a medical doctor, and my brain is getting really bugged at all this medical information I keep trying to shove in there, and hence my brain used Dad as a representation of the medical community. We have one of the better Father/Son relationships I know of, so take that Freudian theory behind the woodshed, why don't you?


Laurie said...

bryce, you know what would have really been great? if when you got injected in the peck you started to grow breasts. that would have been a funny dream

peetie said...

Man, that would have been hilarious. Almost as funny as that time this girl I know at church read something of mine and then imagined me morphing into a woman. Man, that was great for my self-esteem. But your idea was good, too.