The Tea(student)cher

I’m sitting in a review session right now.
My mind has been blown.

Standing 8 rows below me is a 4th year medical student serving as a TA for our cardiovascular block of lectures. He’s wearing a white coat, and speaking with a (lovely) suther’n drawl, and tapping an expo marker on a table.

He’s tapping an expo marker on the table and blowing my mind wide open.

Forgive my enthusiasm, and allow me to explain
Cardio – one of the coolest subjects in all of clinical (non-surgical) medicine deals with the heart and vasculature (arteries/veins). Usually We’re treated to a mind-numbingly boring lecture by a PhD who did her thesis on the subject, (thus feeling the need to elaborate endlessly on some minute detail to warrant her years decades of misery) Usually, a good 40% of the class skips the first lecture in favor of a few extra minutes of sleep or in favor of some pre-recorded lectures by a well known, well paid test-prep company…However with this guy, we’ll call him “Ernest” the first 5 rows are full (primetime seating) and the back is empty.

Ernest lectures slowly, VERY slowly – and yet discusses mounds of information, while highlighting on the history (Did you know that our modern EKG was developed with a bow & Arrow and a fine filament!?) as well as the clinical value of every concept. He learns every name, taking the 3 seconds to pause class and ask us for our surname as well so as to call us “Dr. ____” (I swoon even now.)

He illustrates concepts like stories, suggesting that the S4 Heart sound is best ascribed to Grandma (the Right atrium) pushing more blood (a Key Lime Pie) into the family bellies (Right Ventricle) on thanksgiving, despite said family members having eaten too much.

He pauses, as if struck by lightning – stating, ” The Lord just gave me an idea,” “Let me take off my glasses for this one” and outlines cardiac principles with incredible ease.

He calls introverts to the front of the class and they come willingly. They leave satisfied, and un-embarrassed.

Only this southern gent could make 2 hours seem like twenty minutes while speaking at half-speed.

I Know what I want to be when I grow up…



A patient presents to you with diffuse petechiae (2mm areas of minor  bleeding visible on the surface of the skin), pupura (bigger verisons of petechiae) and ecchymoses about both cheeks, the temples, and under his left eye. A significant limp is noted in his left leg, and his right arm exhibits an intermittent tremor. He complains of abdominal pain and describes a single episode of hemoptysis earlier in the day. 

Upon questioning, the patient tells you that he “fell down some stairs” and may have swallowed some rat poisoning. Fearing a concerning lifestyle, you ask the patient if he drinks to which he responds…”naw…but tonight seems like a great time to start!” 

 Your patient is likely suffering from:

A) You have no idea

B) Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

C) Internal Bleeding

D) Institutional abuse at the hands of a Heme/Lymph exam

E) All of the above: 


I have to wonder sometimes, whether there is a professor watching our class struggle on his/her exams via CCTV, chuckling to herself while wringing her hands malevolently. I’m certain of it. Heme/Lymph, a block of material focused on clotting, leukemias, and anemias was my first reminder this semester that I am a medical student – and lessons learned with a bruise are seldom forgotten. 

It’s good to be back.