(A glimpse into my life as a Vanderbilt medical student)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hypertrophy and Hypochondria

Eleven. The number of individuals that I passed in the Vanderbilt Hospital hallways on my way home from classes today. Included within this total were five obese people and two non-obese people (who, it should be noted, were smoking at the time). Who were the remaining four? Physicians, who all looked like they were training for the triathlon next weekend.

Why the discrepancy? Sure, my experimental methods might not be completely faultless. I mean there are fat doctors, we are almost all Type A, and you can’t forget the slimming effects of sleep deprivation and starvation. I feel, however, that my limited observations reflect a greater trend in the medical profession: nosophobia. We doctors (and students) are scared of getting sick and so we do everything in our power to prevent it. Eating healthy and working out are the norm rather than the exception among the med students I know.

Honestly, if we let obese people go into a cadaver lab and see what is truly going on inside their bodies, they would never again get a second helping. It worked for me. Granted, I wasn’t quite obese, but the eyeful of fat that I got every Tuesday and Thursday (both literatively and figuratively) made me rethink my frequent Frosty consumption. As I got to crack open the sclerotic aorta of someone dead from heart disease, I suddenly felt like a salad. Forty pounds later, I work out three times a week and do cardio for another three.

I still don’t like whole grain bread and consume more Pop-Tarts than a kindergarten class, but I am hoping that my healthier lifestyle might ward off an early heat attack or some other fun clinical correlation. I have to admit, after today’s path lecture, I am convinced that I will probably die in six months from aggressive pancreatic cancer (the hypochondria never really goes away), but at least I’ll present the coroner with one healthy heart.


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1:33 PM


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