“The next lady we’ll be visiting has COPD. Can either of you tell me what to expect in this patient?”
Yes! We’re studying respiratory phys right now. I can’t believe how perfect this is.
“High residual volume, and a higher fraction of functional residual capacity per volume.” The doctor does a second take. What did I do wrong?
“I meant her arterial blood gasses.” Well. This is embarrassing. Because the second she walks into the ER, she’s far more likely to be put on CPAP immediately (like she is right now) than for someone to whip out a spirometer to measure her residual volume.
The other med student perks up. ”High carbon dioxide.” And, as the teens say nowadays, I just got owned.
I could have answered that with my art history degree alone, had I been thinking about the straightforward answer. Occham’s razor: the simplest answer is always right.
What I promise you, future med students: if you’re going to a subject-based school (and not systems-based), the first year will be catching everyone up to the same basic science level. (And diabetes. First year might as well be renamed: THE YEAR IN WHICH YOU LEARN ABOUT DIABETES.) Only in 2nd year do you focus on pathologies, and (or so I’ve heard) only in third and fourth year does it all make sense.
To residual volumes!