Monday, April 16, 2007

There is No Math on the LSAT

During law school orientation, the speaker (can’t recall who it was) asked people in the audience why they were going to law school. There were the usual answers: I want to help people; I want to make a difference; my father (mother, brother, etc.) is a lawyer. Naturally, I was trying to blend in with the woodwork so I wouldn't get called on, and of course I was called on. I answered truthfully: There is no math on the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). Everyone laughed and several other people admitted that was the reason why they were there as well.

Occasionally, I am asked why I don't go to medical school since I am enamored with all things medical. It’s easy. I suck at math/science and I am very particular about what I will put my hands on. And then there is what I call the “Yuck Factor”. You know, pee, poop, pus, puke, blood, etc. I don't think I could ever get past the Yuck Factor. Whenever my cat threw up a hairball, there was always a 50/50 chance that the clean up of said hairball would be interrupted by my own cookies being tossed.

Surprisingly, despite being the sensitive marshmallow that I am, I don’t think I would have too much of a problem with the emotional aspects of medicine. Of course, there would be the challenge of trying to suppress the urge to giggle at inappropriate times. And since I have the sense of humor of a twelve year old boy, that might be an insurmountable obstacle.

But what if someone really, really, really wanted to become a doctor? Could they learn to overcome the Yuck Factor? Are there people who start out in med school/nursing school who have weak stomachs and then learn to deal with it? Or do people drop out after eventually realizing that they will never be capable of basking in the glory of butt pus?


Dr Dork said...

As one who was sufficiently disturbed by my early anatomy classes to become vegetarian...I'd profoundly say yes !

It's amazing/saddenning how desensitised to blood/gore one becomes...but it took me years, at least. Never quite fainted but came close...

Mind you, with surgeons, they usually start out vivisecting small animals at a young age...Ha !


jmb said...

Well MBA, that's why I did pharmacy. Great medical interest but knew I would never be able to overcome the Yuck Factor. Mind you I did have to deal with two kids and all that stuff, but they are mine, so it was just like dealing with your own Yuck.

Although I don't have the giggle problem I have the cry at the drop of a hat problem so I didn't think that would be of much use to patients.

The Platypus said...

Now I know why lawyers always use simple numbers: $150/hr, $20 million dollars damages, etc. <8P

Runs With Scissors said...

LOL @ the "There's no math" reasoning. That's prcisely why I became a social worker in my "BN" (Before nursing) days. But then my overwhelming desire to be a nurse was enough for me to be able to deal with a MAJOR case of math anxiety.

As far as overcoming the Yuck Factor ... yeah, it can be done. It just takes a little longer for some than it does for others. As a new nursing grad, I used to pay my coworkers $1 each time to suction my patients. I hated phlegm (still do). They laughed at me. Well ... new grads didn't make much money back then, so I quickly had to learn to suck it up (literally - hah!) and save my dollars. I gagged alot, but eventually got used to it.

I say that if medicine is what you REALLY want to do ... GO FOR IT!

Charity Doc said...

There's not a whole lot of math in medicine either. Once you get over the conversion from lbs. to kg for medication drips and doses, everything else is a piece of cake.

As far as the "Yuck Factor" goes, you nailed the dreaded P's of medicine right on the spot. Pus, pee, poop, puke, and PEE-EEW!

Pain, pallor, parathesia, pulselessness, paralysis, poilkilothermia...These are the P's of a compartment syndrome.

Sid Schwab said...

One of my (male) med school classmates fainted during a lecture on blood. No blood, just words. He stuck it out. Getting ill is common (as is imagining you have every illness they teach you about), and most people get over it. I've heard of people who dropped out because they never did overcome, but I'd say that's really rare.

And of course Dr Dork's heinous characterization of surgeons couldn't be further from the truth. I picked up roadkill and tried to put it back together.

Bo... said...

You do get used to it---totally desensitized. But.... there's always ONE thing that bugs you forever. It's different for everybody, but for me it's sputum. I cannot ABIDE lung patients having to cough up a loogey to have it cultured. Or else a respiratory therapist going after it. In fact, that scene in "Titanic", when the two kids were trying to spit over the railing? I almost started gagging.....(just thinking about it will get me to gagging....)

Doc's Girl said...

Before I started working in the emergency room, I worked at a P.F. Chang's--imagine the change of smells! Besides the gore, the smells, dealing with a person upset because they were sick or in pain became a HELL OF A LOT easier than watching someone complain that the wait was too long or that they were hungry.

I think its a matter of being exposed to it. I used to be pretty nervous around needles growing up but my dad kinda sorta forced me to give him his insulin injections. I hated doing it but today, I'm that weird person that likes to watch when I get blood drawn. :-D I guess my dad knew what he was doing, G-d rest his soul... :-D

NNP said...

I used to sterilize every object my father brought from the hospital into the house. He was a physician, and I never thought I would go into healthcare. I hate math as well. Not to fond of body fluids either. As others have said, there is usually something that sets you off. For me, sputum. Also, the smell of vomited Pregestimil or any elemental formula. I've gagged at times. When the adult nurses come down to the NICU they laugh at us gagging and getting all distraught over a minuscule amount of vomit or sputum. You just take care of it and move on.

Dr Dork said...


I know Sid frequents your blog, MBA....that jibe was directed, um, directly, at Dr Schwab.

Just kidding, of course.

I don;t think I'm the first with olfactory issues.

The only area where I still seem at times bothered, is smell. Is this just a dorky thing ?


Charity Doc said...

During my med school interview, we were given a tour of the facility, including the gross anatomy lab. One of the candidate in neatly pressed navy blue suit planted his face, smacked it good, too, on to the floor after passing out. Vaso-vagaled after the tour guide, a 2nd year med stud, pulled the tarp covering up one of the cadaver. Nice gash on the forehead and lips. Bled all over the place. Dude had to be wheeled to the ER for sutures. I was accepted to that school. The guy didn't make the cut. I think he might have given up his aspirations to be in medicine afterward.

During med school, there were several other fellow medstuds who passed out in the OR as well. The wimpiest guy, though, was the one who completely lost it during the viewing of a video tape on how to do pelvic exam. We were required to watch this video tape first before going in to a room where there was a professional patient who was paid to allow medical students to perform the gynecologic exam on her. While watching this video tape, which BTW, was nothing like porn, far from it, the guy started hurling. After he vomitted, he passed out and smacked his head on the chair. He, too, had to be taken to the ER for sutures. He ended up matching in psychiatry.

Anonymous said...

If it turns out there is not much math in medicine why do we need to get to calculus for med school admission?

MBA, I can handle blood and gore on anyone but my kids (or my dog). I can't help them with a running nose, sharts in the underwear, bleeding, and God forbid they barf. I bet if you were motivated you could get past it.

I may consider law because med school has too much math and algebra and I don't really get along as it turns out. Nursing is pushing my limits of numbers and letters living in harmony ;)

Medblog Addict said...

Thanks for the comments. I got kinda queasy just reading them. I think I will just stick to reading yall's stories. It's more fun that way.

C’mon Dr. Schwab. I’m disappointed. No witty retort? But now I have this picture in my head of you as a little boy, sewing squished squirrels back together again.

Dr. Dork, feel free to take pot shots at Dr. S. Everyone else around here kisses his ass and spoils him. LOL. And since I am a notorious lurker, I've never left a comment on your blog, but I want you to know that I am a big fan of yours.

jmb - I am a cryer too, but somehow, when it is work-related, I can control it. Of course, I never have to deal with the type of stuff you med people do, so who knows? My tears would probably be the first to fall.

Bo- you are my hero.

DG- thanks for stopping by. I am definitely not one of those people who like to watch...blood being drawn.

NNP - I think I would sterilize everything too. LOL. That's probably another reason why I couldn't make it in medicine--too many germs. Thanks for stopping by.

RWS - I loved how you paid people to do that for you. That sounds like something i would do.

Platy - first I read all the lawyer bashing by trench doc, now you are giving me grief. I'm a nice girl. I'll only kick your ass if you default on your loan from Big Bad Bank.

Charity--as usual, you are funny and entertaining. I kinda like you being on a break from your blog. More stories for me. Thank you.

Frectis -- You oughta combine medicine and law and make the really big bucks! Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

When I was considering going into Nursing, some rather kind but deluded people suggested Medicine instead. I thanked them for their confidence in me but I was terribly freaked out by actually becoming a doctor. And I am/was "old." Okay, well I was in my mid-thirties at the time but I couldn't imagine starting over and all of those years of school. Getting my Nursing Degree wouldn't have taken that long. And I just felt it was a better fit.

But to get admitted to the Faculty, I needed a couple of courses that I was missing. First year Anatomy and Physiology--that was a piece of cake--but also a half course in Statistics.

Um, I bombed so bad they didn't even let me know how low my final mark was. I went into a really bad cycling tailspin (I think I might have already been cycling but that clinched the deal) and ended up being hospitalized the night of my final exam.

So much for my Nursing career. Well, it wasn't solely based on that--there were other factors but that was a pretty bad event.

I'm still super geeky keen for all things medical though.

SeaSpray said...

I briefly entertained the notion that I wanted to be a nurse until I started working in ED registration and I realized I would have to deal with projectile body fluids. :) I do think you do get desensitized to some things though.

Awww - Dr Schwab - so sweet and interesting.

Charity Doc - I am wondering what in the world would cause that guy to toss His cookies watching a gyn exam??? What DID HE THINK was down there in those nether regions?? :)

BRN - you should read my post on "what was in my mouth" - it will warm your heart - no, actually, you will want to toss your cookies. :)

I am with you M.A. - give me words any day! Also, I found a good lawyer joke when I was cleaning out all my papers and just wrestling whether or not to post it :)

Your Mother said...

In college, I toyed with the medical school option. I visited with a nice, old lady in the Biology dept. (who was also our sorority adviser), who told me that I was, em, perhaps too timid to be a doctor and didn't near-where have the math skills. But the one good advice she gave me was to volunteer in a medical capacity first before deciding.

So I volunteered at the ED of the hospital in our city's poorest neighborhood. I went every Saturday night from 8-midnight, clutching my pink smock at my elbow, waiting for the bus that would take me to and fro the most dangerous part of town in the dark. (Gee, I guess I WAS timid.)

Anyway, long story short. I decided not to be a doctor after all, not because of the yuck factor (has never bothered me---maybe all the deer my dad skinned when I was a kid), not because of the math (screw her, if I want to do math, I can do math), but because of the social factor. I found the ED to be, socially and interpersonally, way too overwhelming for me. (I was only 19.) I found sick, frail patients to be intimidating. (I don't know why.) I found the ED head and head nurse to be intimidating. Interestingly, the more senior the doctor, the kinder he was. It was the lower ranks who were mean. I did learn a lot about social psychology from that.

Also, the ED wasn't like I thought it would be. The vast, vast, vast majority of patients were old and hooked up to heart machines. They took up the most time and energy of the nurses. Nobody visited them. They had the quietest rooms compared to the other family dramas in other rooms. Many of them were repeat visitors. I found that depressing. Surprisingly, the next largest clientel were drug-overdosed teenagers---often it wasn't clear whether the OD was accidental or intentional. That depressed me, too. The smallest (but next largest) group were women who had been beat up or assaulted or worse. Only a tiny sliver of patients were the gang and gunshot wounds, etc. I found it all to be a most shocking and surprising and not very happy social commentary that, at 19 at least, I was not prepared to deal with.

Anyway. Interesting that it was the Yuck Factor that put you off. For me, it was the social factor.

Doc's Girl said...

You really do enjoy that delete button....:-P

Medblog Addict said...

The delete button is my best friend. I may repost it.

Alex Stoker said...

The delete button doesn't stop comments being e-mailed to me, tho.
A case of publish and be damned?
Thanks anyway ;)

Medblog Addict said...

No, just a case of being shy.

Alex Stoker said...

Sorry; I was only teasing. I always appreciate your readership, and your comments, even if they're transient / FYEO.
Incidentally, I'm still loving the phrase 'basking in the glory of butt pus'

Medblog Addict said...

PA,Seaspray,Mom,Knifeman--thanks for stopping by and commenting.

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Just found your blog. Love it!

I never could decide whether or not to be a doc or a lawyer. I suck at math too but always managed to get through it all with good grades.

Then life took over. Somehow I never became either. I became a teacher. Worked for a short time and then became an insurance agent, had a preemie and stopped working.

Funny how life goes.

Medblog Addict said...

Hi TPE--thank you for visiting and commenting. Life can definitely take some funny turns. And something tells me you didn't stopped working when that preemie came into your life! I am looking forward to checking out your blog.

OMDG said...

Oh yeah, you TOTALLY don't need math once you get to med school. Just avoid radiology. I hear the physics boards they make you take suck.

And if you got through med school and still was grossed out by bodily fluids, you could always become a shrink. You'd even have cush hours then!