March 4, 2008

The Macula Densa and Hollywood Socialites

They say in medicine everyone has their favorite organ. I think that's true (mine's the heart). Even my preceptor, who as an oncologist deals every day with a multi-system approach in her practice, didn't even have to think about hers and rattled off the thymus right after I asked. The human body is a beautiful and awe inspiring thing, and everyone eventually finds some particular facet especially elegant and thought provoking. Personally, I love the heart for its power and its simplicity - the way it utilizes electrical and fluid dynamic principles to amazingly fine tune such a critical and demanding aspect of our daily functioning as circulation. The dramatic way disease manifests itself when things go wrong. The way, in a congenitally deformed heart, things can go from horribly awry to just fine within minutes by simply moving some pipes (vessels) around and taping (suturing) everything in place.

But I'd like to counter that point with another point. Everyone also finds an organ they hate.

Mine's the kidney.

Now I am a very fun loving and agreeable guy. I have a great sense of humor and make an easy friend. So I don't throw around the word "hate" very often. I have only used the word hate in a few sorts of circumstances in my life. I hate Paris Hilton. I hate steamed squash. I hate the Santa Clara Broncos men's basketball team (sorry guys). I hate people who try to merge onto I-5 at 35mph.

And I hate the kidney. I have since the very first day I attempted to learn about it, back in high school. I hated studying it for the MCAT. I hated questions about it on said MCAT. I hated it in anatomy. In histology. In biochemistry. In physiology.
Needless to say, we're studying the kidney right now, which puts my effective motivation to study at about... 0%. My dreams are haunted by podocytes, GFR, aquaporins, and that douchebag Henle.

Why do I hate the kidney, you ask? Well, like anything involving hate in this world, I don't really have a good reason. It's a completely irrational and unfounded hate. Maybe because it makes pee. Maybe because its involved in the renin/angiotensin system (does anyone actually enjoy learning about that?). I can appreciate how important the kidney is. I can appreciate what it does is impressive. But its not fun or exciting.

One day, I may have it in my heart to forgive the kidney. Make up with it. We can be friends. But not today. Today, and for the next two weeks, you will officially be number one of my hate list, Kidney. Lock your doors.


ArgaWarga said...

For me, the kidney has a very high learning curve. I had to really immerse myself in renal phys when I took Histo in college in order for things to click and make sense, but sense then I think it's one of the more interesting organs. Still can't touch the heart though.

I guess if I had to pick a least favorite, it'd be the liver. Organs should not be jacks-of-all-trades, dammit!

SB100 said...

I have the same feelings about the kidney. There's a lot of pointless terminology that you learn, and at least from what I've learned in college-level physiology it seems like a lot of machinery to perform only a couple of functions (yet they are important). My favorite organ system is probably the skin.

秋雨 said...

Oh my gosh, you have no idea how much I agree with you. I just wrote a 21 page paper on the kidney including everything you mentioned--including the evil macula densa cells. Yuck!

Anonymous said...

What happened to you?? have you fallen into the black hole of med school?? no new blog in almost 2 weeks! What's the deal?