Fourth Year Medical 1962 -63

Fourth Year Medical 1962 -63

by Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer MMM                                              USA                           11.04.2024

Finally, the time had arrived for a little breathing space.  Well, this was what we thought when we heard that we would be studying the “small parts” connected with our final medical exam.  Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat, and Psychiatry would be the main subjects of our lectures.  We would not have a written examination but would have a clinical and oral examination.  The best part of this year is that we went to outside hospitals who specialized in these fields.

I will never forget our first day at Grangegorman Hospital.  We were all waiting to see a psychiatric patient and as soon as he entered the room, he asked us “What is wrong with all of you?  Why are you not talking to each other?  Is your hypothalamus not connected to your cerebellum?”  I could feel the cold sweat dripping down my back as he continued to tell us he was Jesus Christ who had just landed in Howth.   I was beginning to feel like I was the psychiatric person, and this happened repeatedly in their presence throughout my medical practice.

We also had lectures in Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology because we would have these exams the following November.  Traveling to Crumlin Childrens’ Hospital took over an hour on the bicycle.  Often Seamus Healy who was a member of our class and had a sister Roisin, who had entered the Medical Missionaries of Mary, very kindly gave us a lift to these far places.  We would cycle to Earlsfort Terrace where he would meet us in his car.  We all enjoyed those rides.  Another treat at Crumlin Hospital is that we could buy a cup of coffee and have delicious Jacob’s macaroon biscuit for 2/6d.

Around this time our tutorials in Medicine and Surgery continued in the late afternoons and some evenings we stayed for a few hours in the Casualty Department.  I found it all extremely exciting and interesting but sometimes I felt faint at the sights I was seeing large needles injected for diagnostic tests in someone’s neck or back.  I am so glad that I never had to use those tests and today’s tests are done in a much simpler manner.

Another subject we had was Forensic Medicine.  The lecturer gave us dramatic descriptions of what one would suspect to witness foul play. One sees all these in mystery movies but the way he had the lightning striking one could almost feel that one was actually at the crime scene. We had a textbook but the week before the exam I realized that I had not opened it very much.  The saving factor was that our Professor had drafted an article explaining the difference between salt water and freshwater drowning.  It was written in the Irish Medical Journal.  We all read the article and, lo and behold, wasn’t it on our exam paper.  Somehow, we got through.

Yes, Spring seemed to come fast that year 1963, and I would like to tell you about some of the exams.  The young fellow that I was to present told me a story of how he did marvelous feats on the Dublin buses.  He would jump off a bridge to catch a ride on one.  Sometimes he would get a fit.  I remember retelling his entire story and the psychiatrist said “Did you believe him?”   I then realized he might be telling me a wild tale.  I decided to tell the truth.  I said, “Yes I did believe him.”  Then the doctor said, “what is the diagnosis?”  I said, “Temporal Lobe Psychomotor Epilepsy.”  That was the end of my exam.  I did not fail it, but  I still do not know if the lad told the truth or not.
I did well on the Ear, Nose, and Throat exam.  I was asked about “Otis media ” and the treatment.  It was the only exam I got  a Second Class Honors for which I thanked God.

Thus, the small part exams were finished and beside the three of us rejoicing we also rejoiced in the success of the four ahead of us Anne Merriman, Rose Ann Houlihan, Catherine Fitzpatrick, Annie Chitalilpilly, to complete their final Med successfully, knowing that next year it would be our turn to complete the ordeal but that is another story.