I swear the gods are sending me a message.
I think they want me to know about a disease known as acute intermittent porphyria. Why? Because this disease has been thrown in my face non-stop lately. The first -- and last -- time I encountered this entity was when I was studying for the boards. I learned it, took the test, and promptly forgot about it. I assumed I would never hear about it again.
Well the people up above would differ. In just the past week alone, acute intermittent porphyria was brought to my attention FOUR separate times. The first time was during my first interview, where a video providing an overview of the program showed a group of residents discussing a case, one of which had porphyria on the differential. It caught my attention, but only enough to think, "oh yeah, I forgot that existed."
The next time was on the show House, a medical show I occasionally watch, in which porphyria was the cause of the main patient's illness. After this episode I thought "OK, I guess I shouldn't forget remember this disease". Shortly afterwards I was watching an rerun episode of Scrubs, which I watch religiously, and one of their patient's abdominal pain was due to porphyria. This time I figured I had better remember it, having seen it twice in a row now. And finally, on my last interview one of the girls in the group (an extremely annoying one, too) said her previous interviewer pimped her by asking her to name the enzyme deficiency in acute intermittent porphyria.
What is up with this? Why, all of a sudden, am I having this obscure disease pop up everywhere I turn? I feel like Mother Nature is trying to indicate that one of my family members will get this disease ... or at the very least, one of my patients will.
In any case, it's safe to say this disease is permanently ingrained in my head.
In case you're wondering, acute intermittend porphyria is one of the porphyrias, which are a group of disorders caused by abnormalities in the production of hemoglobin (the molecule that carries oxygen in your red blood cells). It usually presents with acute abdominal pain, generally in young women. And the deficient enzyme is porphobilinogen deaminase.
I can't believe I looked this up.