If I could travel back to the beginning of my freshman year, I would first congratulate myself for inventing time travel in under a year at the University of Michigan. I would also tell myself to drop psych 111 while I still can or at least take it seriously because like any class here at U of M it’s not an easy A. If I’m not willing to put a lot of work into my classes, then I should have gone to MSU. I know my beginning of freshman year self did not think college was going to be easy but I didn’t realize I was going to struggle as much. I would warn myself that there are going to be nights were I have to be up really late studying for an exam or finishing an assignment and that I will get through all of it. However, the most important thing I would tell myself is to relax. I would tell myself not to force myself to go study only because I felt guilty everyone else is studying. I would tell myself to not try to get involved in every possible club only because others are doing it but join the ones that I am passionate about. And finally, I would tell myself to take better care of my body. Get more sleep and avoid MoJo cookies because the freshman 15 is not a joke.
Dr. Zikmund-Fisher’s discussion brought up some interesting points about the decisions we make that I would not have thought about myself. Many of us like Dr. Zikmund-Fisher still choose to do what we want even after knowing the risks. For instance, people who go the gym know the risks of injuring their backs when deadlifting or squatting but many people including myself still choose to do those workouts. The reason why we do I think goes back to the point that someone brought up in lecture that we will do what we want if we can minimize the risks and increase the benefits. When doing those workouts, using the right form minimizes the risks and doing so increases the benefits of the workout.
It will be a critical part of my profession to be able to be a good communicator if I become a doctor of anesthesiology. This profession relies on having a trusting relationship between the patient and the doctor who is going to deliver anesthetics. The profession also requires doctors to devise the best anesthetic plan with the patient by sharing the risks and benefits of each option. It’s important that we help them in making the best decision because their health and sometimes their life is in our hands. Regardless what field of medicine someone may choose, we are all committed to improving the lives of our patients and doing so requires a good relationship with the patient so it is important to have good communication skills.
I grew so much as an individual since the beginning of the semester. Personally, I feel more confident and motivated to continue to pursue the pre-dental track that I am on. I am most proud about the dental observation that I attended. The observation was in a dental lab course and speaking to the dental students I learned a lot about what the field is like. I also grew more interested in becoming a dentist after noticing how much hands-on skills are required. Furthermore, listening to many professional speakers during UC lectures and attending professional autobiographies has taught me a lot about what it means to be a professional. In my “Letter to Yourself”, I wrote a lot of motivational phrases to myself. I told myself to “do you” and to not be afraid to try new things. Reflecting on the semester I feel like I have tried many new things and I got myself involved in multiple organizations. Next semester, I hope to work more on finding time for myself to go to the CCRB or relax instead of always studying.
Prior to this week’s lecture, my understanding of the opioid epidemic in America was hardly any. Dr. Terri Voepel-Lewis really opened my eyes to how relevant this situation is. We hear stories of celebrities dying due to overdose but there are millions of Americans facing the same issue. The victims in this epidemic are not just the patients that become addicted to the opioids but also families and friends who have to witness their loved ones suffer from addiction.
I was struck by the fact that physicians were considering pain to be a fifth vital sign when it is very hard to measure. How would they know when someone is truly in pain and when someone is just trying to get their hands on narcotics? Dr. Voepel-Lewis mentioned that this has made providers judge their patients which should not be allowed in an unbiased environment. I was also struck by the governments’ position on this situation. They said they would focus on improving the treatments for those who become addicted rather than finding a solution to decrease the level of opioids being prescribed.
If I could do something to try to mitigate this problem, I would start from public policy. As I have mentioned earlier, I believe the government should put some laws and policies to decrease the levels of opioids being prescribed. The government made Vicodin a schedule II controlled substance which has made it more difficult for the opioid to be prescribed and distributed, so there should be more of that being done by the government. However, there should also be institutional factors to help avoid over-prescribing opioids. Hospitals and other providers should monitor who they are prescribing opioids and work with the patient even after their visit to make sure that they do not begin to rely on the drugs. There are of course other ways to fight the epidemic, what other ideas do you have?