And we’re back…
After 6 long weeks of studying, one very tiresome 8 hour test, and 2 weeks of trying to recoup after said test, Anita and I are back in Cleveland, and one week into our 3rd year of medical school (well 3rd year technically started in feb, but I’ve come to think of the board study period as being in limbo between 2nd and 3rd year). Anita is beginning with her research block, and I am just starting to sink my teeth into my neurosurgery rotation…And now that we’re starting to settle into the rhythm of the new school year, we’re ready to resume our biweekly posting. Just like before, Anita will be posting every Wednesday and I will be posting Sundays…so (you better) get excited!
Now I realize that not everyone is familiar with the medical school curriculum, so for those of you who don’t know, rotations are essentially blocks of time ranging from a couple weeks to a couple months during which we are placed in a particular medical specialty (e.g. neurosurgery) and are told to pretend to be doctors…okay that’s not totally right, but that’s how it feels. Technically speaking, the last two years were supposed to teach us everything we needed to know about medicine, and the next two years are supposed to be about learning how to apply this new information…but sometimes I’m not too sure I accomplished the goal of the first 2 years…
This is how my day goes – I show up at 5 am every morning, armed with the new information I was assigned to look up the previous night, and feeling as confident as a half asleep, 3rd year medical student can. I login to the computer and check to see how “my” patient (don’t worry, I’m not actually responsible for any lives) has been doing since I saw him/her last. I wake them up to do a quick neuro exam (they don’t usually look too happy to see me), apologize profusely for interrupting their sleep, rush through the exam so they can go back to sleep, then run down to the radiology department so I’m not late for rounds. At this point, I’m still feeling pretty good about myself. My patient is looking good and I’m ready to present…then rounds begin.
Now it’s not that anyone is mean to us or anything like that, but as I hear the residents and attendings spew statistics, diagnostic algorithms and treatment options, my confidence starts to falter. I realize that as someone who has just finished their 2nd year of med school I’m not expected to know all this stuff, but that doesn’t change the fact that being surrounded by such intelligent, accomplished physicians is incredibly intimidating. The attending will turn to my and ask if I’m familiar with the concept of modular flexibility of carbon fiber as it relates to vertebral spacing…or something like that…and all I can do is reply no and try to wipe the “deer in the headlights” look from my face. He patiently explains to me whatever it is I was supposed to already know, and tells me to find a review article that relates to the complications associated with today’s procedure. I pull out my notecard and add yet another topic to the laundry list of things I have to look up before tomorrow’s rounds.
The rest of the day mirrors the first couple hours. I’m in a constant state of fear and overwhelming excitement. I honestly don’t know the answer to at least 1/2 of the questions I’m asked, but I try to stay enthusiastic and jump at the opportunity to learn a new procedure or statistic. This is a kind of learning I’m really not familiar with, but I’m really starting to enjoy it. Rotations seem to be the epitome of “hands on learning”. I can spend all day reading about how to tie sutures, but until I try it on a patient for the first time, I haven’t really learned anything. Medicine is finally starting to take shape for me. I’m getting to see these conditions I’ve spend the last 2 years learning about, and while I’m unbelievably nervous to find out all I don’t know about my future career, simply put, I think I’m really gonna like the next two years.
Now on to the recipe…
What you need:
- 2 cups of instant mashed potatoes (hence the name)
- 1 egg + fill the rest of the 2 cup measuring cup with water
- 2 cups of flour
What you need to do:
- Mix together the three ingredients.
- Knead the dough into a large ball and cut it into 8 even pieces.
- Roll each section out and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
- You can either freeze the uncooked gnocchi on a cookie sheet (make sure they’re not touching) or cook them right away by adding them to boiling water and letting them cook until they all float to the top.
- The easiest way to serve them is in browned butter and garlic and topped with parmesan cheese (pictured above and below). Simply melt 3/4 of a stick of butter in a frying pan, add 5 cloves of garlic (minced), and stir the butter until it begins to brown. Be sure to keep an eye on it because it’s really easy to burn the butter. Add the cooked gnocchi to the frying pan and coat evenly with the “sauce”. Finally, top with parmesan, add garlic salt to taste and enjoy!