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4th December 2003


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I was in a pretty good mood today. Cardiology was understandable for once (if only they could manage to put physiology in terms of balloons and gas tanks!) and it got done early, another bonus. My afternoon study session was fairly productive and I didn’t get too freaked out when I heard the third and fourth years talking about the horrors of rotations–I so don’t even want to think about it, but I’m not being given that chance.

Came home, had a fairly relaxing evening and sat down to watch some television and within ten minutes my blood started to boil.

(I’m still exploring this Livejournal thing and just figured out how to do the cut thing. Of course, I can’t resist playing with it! And since it is spoilerish information if you haven’t seen it….)

Tru Calling. I like Eliza Dushku from her days as Faith on BtVS and I’ve seen the show once before and rather enjoyed it. So I was looking forward to the episode.

And then the stereotypes started flying… Tru was studying for the MCATs that she was taking that day (well at least they got the books right). But she had time for a leisurely breakfast with her brother, before she strolled into the test at around 10 that morning. Ha! I wish! The MCATs are a grueling 8 hour test that starts at 8 but you have to be there even earlier, so that they can check your picture AND fingerprint and have you sign a “I will not cheat” sort of waiver, in cursive. I signed mine with the wrong date–my birthdate actually, I was that frazzled and didn’t realize it until after they mailed it back to my school a year later. And NOBODY walks out of the MCATs thinking, “wow I aced that test.” Nobody. Your brain is gone after 8 hours of trying to remember everything you learned in undergraduate about organic chemistry and physics that you are physically and emotionally drained. If you think you did really well…you’re just fooling yourself.

Okay, okay, so not everybody knows the testing procedure for the MCATs. Fine. Maybe I should forgive them for that. And for not knowing that there’s no way you can walk into the MCATs three hours late and still take it, since each portion is timed and there’s no way you can go back to old sections after the time is up. And for not knowing that there are two dates in the year that you can take the MCATs–August and April (yeah, they weren’t consistent with that either)

The autopsy scene where they brought in the girl started getting interesting. At least they used petechiae right. But of course, then she gets called back into the past and that’s when things get really bad.

Every scene at the med school, with a med student, with their so-called professor was awful. I’m sorry, we don’t have instructors who use dead bodies as tools–just lying there on the table and then yell at the student for not knowing a correct answer. And three-fourths of the teachers never learn your name, because in a class of a 100, there’s just too many people! I’ve had 2 instructors who made an effort to learn every single member of the class’s name and it was because they were two of the best. The “yeah, well we’re second years” attitude of the characters grated. But that wasn’t the worst, no I could have forgiven much of that–it’s a different school, one of the “elite” and the “best med school in the state,” yada yada.

Then we get to the crime scene where we discover that these med student are working in a condemned building and are actually killing each other and then bringing each other back to life.


First of all, the equipment that they were using–the heart monitor, the “electric paddles”–yeah, those aren’t just standard issue for med students. They probably cost at least five or six thousand dollars. We don’t have syringes of drugs that we can just use willy-nilly, especially not drugs that could stop your heart. Sheesh.

And what’s more…. No second year medical student would ever even think about trying to kill and resuscitate a somebody because right now, we know absolutely nothing!!! As of this moment, I could probably take an okay history. And I could listen to the heart (and not be able to tell the differences between murmurs or gallops) and maybe be able to see your retina if I looked in your eye. And I can recite a few useless facts about how things in your body work–and I may even be able to name off some disease processes, but could I treat a patient? No way. I know the facts that I reguritate for a test, but clinically? That’s what 3rd and 4th years are for and the 3+ years of residency. Right now, I’m just a toddler, I’m getting better–it’s the most gratifying thing in the world to realize that yes, you have actually learned something, but that’s it.

What I think irritated me the most about that episode, besides the once again lousy representation of doctors, was the poor research on part of the writers. It’s the same problem that I’ve had with a lot of fanfiction: if you’re going to put something in, you’d better know something about it. I don’t care if you’ve never experienced it or it’s out of what your interested in–with the internet there and Google, it’s not that hard to do it a tiny bit of research. It’s been especially grating with all of the pregnancy fics that are floating around on ff.net–last week, I read a story about how Rory slept with a male character, thought the next morning that he was cheating on her–and took a pregnancy test that afternoon!!! I wrote(I thought) a very nice review, told her that I enjoyed it and pointed out that pregnancy tests don’t work for at least two weeks. For me as a reader, it was jarring because it made her story unbelievable and because all of a sudden, I didn’t know the timetable of things–did two weeks pass and she just not mention it or what?

Of course, my comments didn’t seem to encourage her to try to rewrite that scene….

Contrast that with one of my current favorite stories, by starsinhereyes (Angeleyez on ff.net), Over Time. I don’t think that the author has spent any time in a coma, or knows what it’s like to come back from one–but she did her research! She read up on comas and amnesia and found websites that explained what swiss cheese memory was. It didn’t sound overly medical or preachy, but it was fact-based and that made her already wonderful story even better.

I guess that’s why I think the review process is helpful and why I try to give lengthy reviews in return. I do research on just about every one of my chapters–I spent three days tracking down the perfect restaurant for Paris and Brad to go, looking at pictures, even deciding what they ate. Was it too much detail? I want to know where I’m failing, where I’m succeeding. More with where I’m failing–I know when I’m good (there’s that modesty issue again). On my last chapter kimlockt reviewed and told me that while she thought I did a good job, she felt that my Jess dialogue wasn’t in character. She was right and I knew that, and it’s sent me into massive rewrites, where I’m stilltrying to get into that boy’s head–still haven’t got it, but maybe by the end, I’ll be there.

Well, at least I’m not so grumpy anymore.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2003 at 11:21 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  • You make me blush once again. Thanks. πŸ™‚

    Isn’t there also a movie about medical students in which they take turns stopping each others’ hearts and then reviving them? It was on the other day, although I can’t remember the name now.

    That’s so great that you spent a lot of time researching a restaurant for Paris and Brad. Attention to detail can only enrich a story. Also, good luck with writing Jess. Writing him can be so tough. Damn complicated character. Heh.

    • Elise is awesome. You should check out her site:
      Oh right. I’m on staff too. πŸ˜‰

      Glad to see you’re still writing, Julia. I keep saying your fanfic isn’t getting enough attention. I just can’t figure out why not.

      • admin says:

        Done and done. It looks like a great site. I checked out the reviews and was really impressed. Promptly submitted my “What a Wonderful World” for review. Now you can all fight over who gets the honor of tearing it to shreds.

        Somehow, I don’t think my drabbles would review so well, though. “The plot was detailed and intricate and very well developed…”

        I’ve given up understanding the fanfiction world. I try to do my part by reviewing, so other authors know that their work is appreciated and then just write for me and for you. πŸ™‚

    • admin says:

      I don’t remember that movie. I do know that there’s a B-rated horror flick about students who find out that their anatomy instructor is using fellow students for the cadavars…

      But maybe I should just brush the whole thing off as the clichΓ©d urban legend.

      Jess. Oh, yes, my “unfathomable depths,” “one word sentences” boy. How I’ve struggled writing phone conversations with him! When I first started writing the story, I went back and read transcripts so that I could get into his mind–yeah, I realized then how little he actually said. Oh, but he broods, oh, how he broods. Man, how I miss him.

  • Awww… Fic update

    I miss Jess too. But… yeah. πŸ˜‰

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