By George, I’ve done it. I’ve discovered the mystery behind the notoriously bad handwriting of the physician. It’s medical school that’s to blame. You could take a calligrapher extrordinaire, or my friend Yen Pham from elementary school, who had the best handwriting I’ve ever seen in my life, put either one in medical school, and their legibility would drop to that of a three year old. A three year-old on 4 cups of coffee. And 2 bags of M&M’s. Writing in a dune buggy going off-roading.
Here’s how the game will be played out for the next 3 quarters, according to my Miss Cleo-like predictions: I get to memorize physiology, which can be somewhat over-analytical, but at least has some logic to it, and makes sense. As for pharmacology and pathology, however, it’s all rote memorization. Some of the drug names have common endings, but most are woefully lacking in any logical naming scheme. This has led me to try using pitiful, ridiculously inane mnemonic devices, which are almost as hard to remember as the drugs themselves. (Example: Prop Tim’s nads [and] carve [him a] label pin! That would be beta blockers. Sigh. I’m trying here. Seriously.) Pathology is only slightly better, but naming diseases after people is about as terrible an idea as you can get.
But this tangent does have a point. Because this stuff is so hard to memorize, a lot of my classmates and I have to write everything out to get it to stick in our heads. And then write it out again. And then write it out another time from memory. And again. Ad nauseum. And since we’re just writing it out for ourselves, and sometimes we don’t ever look at the sheet of paper again, our handwriting gets sloppy. And our hands get tired. And then the vicious cycle continues, and before you know it, your handwriting’s gone to crap. (Personal note: I’ve always had bad handwriting, partially because I’m a lefty. I proudly received grades of “S-”–unsatisfactory–when I was in elementary school, and never got any better. Nobody’s perfect, right? You have to be bad at something. Mine just happened to be handwriting and gym.)