I could not concentrate on my patient’s answers during a history and physical encounter. My empty stomach felt as though it was auto-digesting itself from lack of food. At that very moment, my stomach growled so loudly, the hospital administrators surely had to hear on the eighth floor. The scent of lunch was wafting down the hallway. I was curious to see what was on the patient’s tray as the nutrition staff made rounds.
While each rotation schedules varies, students often have to sneak lunch in whenever the opportunity presents itself. If lunch is on the go, then fatty, high-calorie meals are often a convenient choice. Then one day, the scale reads a number that is unrecognizable and in some cases sacrilegious. On my street, there are four fried chicken restaurants, one Asian food restaurant, two sandwich shops, two burger joints, and a pizza place. I am often enticed beyond temptation with the smell of eleven herbs and spices creeping through minute slits in my windows, but then I remind myself of the counseling that I give patients with body mass indices that are concerning. Although it is difficult, I believe that being a pillar of health to one’s patients, is a very effective way to practice medicine. Very often, well-balanced diets represent yet another form of discipline, adding another layer to an already discipline-laden existence.
Eating is a funny thing on rotations. Often social activities, when there is a sliver of time to squeeze them in, are centered around eating. It is extremely difficult to discipline one’s self at social functions when you have disciplined yourself all week with studies and rotations.
Medical students grossly neglect nutrition often because of time constraints. Cooking is a nice thought. However, microwaving my Lean Cuisine is so much easier!
by Chinwe Okeke, Class of 2011