Cholesterol Buses

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April 19, 2012 by drandmrso

When Dr. and I started dating, he was merely an engineering undergrad and I merely an English major. It’s hard to believe that in two weeks he graduates from medical school. I told him if he makes me call him doctor then he’ll have to call me bachelor. He wasn’t thrilled. But what I’m not thrilled about is the fact that I don’t get any kind of recognition out of this whole deal. I mean really! I’ve had to hear about every gross thing he’s learned! Do you know what a carotid endarectomy is? No? Well I do, and it’s disgusting. It’s like a really thorough vacuuming of the giant artery in your neck. And did you know there’s such a thing as manual diss-impaction of the bowel? Yep. And that’s just as horrible as it sounds, too. Along the same lines is a procedure called a fecal transplant. Not. Even. Kidding. Oh–and here’s a treat: you can get necrotizing fasciitis in your hoo-hah and it will all melt together into a lump of exactly what you’d expect melted hoo-hah to melt into.

Four years ago I wouldn’t have been able to even hear about any of these fun facts let alone write about them (albeit vaguely). But I suppose I’ve acclimated to the shop-talk that inevitably occurs when half of the people you see on a regular basis are trudging their way through the slime, pus, and discarded bandages that coat the floors of medical school. I’m exaggerating. The school itself is actually quite a nice place. There’s a giant library with couches and blankets so students can catch a nap after a long day of holding back fat flaps so surgeons can get in and cauterize this or biopsy that. Students get free food in the cafeteria if they say they’re on call. No one questions them because they’ve gotten an average of three hours of sleep over the last 12 weeks and usually haven’t showered in four days. There’s a statue of a cow in the atrium. No witty remark there–I just like cows.

For a while after Dr. started medical school I’d ask him if he wanted help studying. Big mistake. It’s how I learned that I have absolutely no Latin vocabulary. And more importantly how I learned that my squeamishness is very much like that of an 8-year-old. At one point during Dr.’s biochemistry course I attempted to help him remember the bio-physiological pathways of cholesterol in the body, or some such. First–of course–he attempted to explain it to me so I would understand.

“It all starts when you eat or drink something with glucose in it,” he said.



“Ok, got it. Proceed.”

“So when you consume glucose, chemicals get released into your bloodstream–”

“STOP. Nope, sorry. Done.”

“What? We haven’t even started!”

“I don’t do blood.”

“What do you mean you don’t do blood?”

“I don’t have anything to do with it. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to talk about it. In fact, I’m not convinced I have any blood.”

“You have blood.”


He sighed. “Well if you don’t have any blood then how do LDL and HDL get around your body?”

“They take cholesterol buses.”

Every once in a while one of us will mention the cholesterol bus and smile. That first, nutty attempt to get me to be able to stomach hearing about his education. He was (and still is) so excited to be a doctor that he just had to tell me everything. I’m better now. But I still don’t believe for one second that I have any blood.

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Hi there!

Dr. O is an otorhinolaryngology resident. Mrs. O was an English major and is easily grossed out by blood and guts. This is the blog where Mrs. O documents their adventures in (not bloody) detail. Enjoy!

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