Sunday, September 28, 2008

My worst fear, my own worst enemy

I was forced this week to face my own worst fear… me. Don't worry. I'll explain.

So, I haven't updated this blog in a while because it's been pretty crazy. My grandmother died about a week and a half ago. She died in her sleep and she made it to 84 with lupus; so, it's hard to complain.

So, I mentioned we've been on community medicine the past two weeks and how much of a WASTE of TIME it is. But, on the other hand given the number of times that I've had to go back and forth between my parents' house and where I live, I'm glad I wasn't in the middle of anything important.

So, this week we had, I'm not kidding here, an HOUR lecture on how to use certain search engines to find articles. Talk about a waste of time just to validate some little librarian's self-esteem!!! Nothing against librarians, we've all found whether it's nurses, librarians, PhD's or whatever people assume that we're all a bunch of arrogant jerks and treat us that way to start off with not giving us a chance to prove them right or wrong.

The library people gave us homework. Then, they graded it. No, I'm not kidding. When we got it back, over a third of us had to do it again. I was one of them. I guess it was a week and a half of time wasted, the number of trips to and from my parents' house along with still trying to figure out what to do with the fact my grandma died, but I turned into what I feared.

You see, one of my biggest fears before I started medical school was not whether I would pass or fail or whether or not I could do it, but it was whether or not it would turn me into someone I didn't want to be around. Unfortunately, it did, at least temporarily. Now, I'll admit that I do have a bad temper. It's not that my temper has gotten better, it's just the fuse is longer. But… if you get to the end of it… I suggest you duck.

Nearly everyone (ok fine EVERYONE ) I know that has gone to medical school and done a residency has, at least at some point in time turned into someone I didn't want to be around. Most find their way out of it, but some don't. You just have to let them go.

I was told it was not my fault that I was just the straw that broke the camel's back, but…. But… ok fine here it goes. I made the library lady cry. There…I said it. I'm a horrible, horrible person.

When I saw that I had to do my library homework AGAIN, my switched got flipped like it had not been flipped in YEARS. I'll admit I wasn't cordial, but I didn't say anything that would get me brought before the professionalism either. Apparently the number of trips to my parents' , wasted time, and everything else got the best of me and all that was left was the worst. Like I said, another librarian told me there were other issues involved and it wasn't my fault, but… I still couldn't sleep that night.

Well, maybe it's better to get it out of the way now and learn from it. No matter how frustrated I am, I NEED my sleep. I will, from now on, just remind myself that I won't be able to sleep that night if I give in to the temptation to be a bitch.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I still think that the past two weeks worth of tuition should be refunded. In fact I think they should be fined for incompetence and we should get the money. I also think that the library thing could've have been done in a powerpoint on our time in half the time. With that said, I still feel bad I was a bitch. But… AT LEAST I FEEL BAD about it!!! right?? Oh you people that email me your comments instead of leaving them on the blog drive me nuts!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Darth Vader Here I come!

Ok I'm done with the psychiatric disorders for the time being. Now, it's on to the dark side, otherwise known as the community medicine block. They remind me of darth vader. That's why I put this picture on this post. I took this picture in a parade downtown when I was working at Make-A-Wish. It was a St. Patrick's Day parade and they invited some of the Wish Kids to be on a float. So, we called some and they came. My boss and I were on the float with the kids and we all stayed and watched the parade after we finished. Darth and some of the storm troopers came by. I just yelled out, "Hey Darth!" and he posed for me. I'm a huge Star Wars fan so I loved it. Don't worry, I don't a costume and I've never been to a convention.

So, before I start on the Dark Side with the Emperor, Darth and their buddies tomorrow, I wanted to give props where props are due. This guy that I totally ripped on a post last school year has really redeemed himself. This guy, R, made a TOTAL ass out of himself asking me questions about my brother who is mentally retarted, and continually using the word, "retarded." He was in my group this phase and believe me I was NOT looking forward to it. But, I have to say he was a delight to have in group. For the most part, he was respectful and not crass but still very funny. He also came prepared and even help keep us on track. I was very impressed and since I CAN admit when I was wrong, I thought I would through out a shout out to R. Good Job! Since you're on a roll, R, could you get rid of the whole community medicine thing for us? PLEASE!!!!!!
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Sunday, August 17, 2008


So, it's been a struggle to get back into the swing of things this week. I guess the summer made me lazy. So, I was feeling kind of irritated that I had to spend most of the day studying.

I had just decided it was time for a break when a friend called. She was headed out of town and her car wouldn't start and asked if I could take her to the airport. I said I could because I certainly wasn't being productive. So, off to the airport we go. it's about an hour and a half away. We had a nice conversation on the way. She shoved a twenty dollar bill in my hand as I got back in my car. I tried to give it back, but she was having none of it. Remember that. I'll come back to that money in a minute.

So, I stopped to get some gas and as I was putting the gas cap back on my car, a woman approached me that I knew was going to ask me for money. What happened next changed my day.

She didn't ask me for money. She introduced herself. She told me her name and that she was hiv positive. I thought "hm… this is an interesting start." She told me she was homeless and that she was trying to get herself and kids into a homeless shelter for women with children. Having worked at a homeless shelter, I knew the one she was talking about and they don't play. She just said she was looking for food or anything that she could give her kids. I thought for a minute and after my run this morning, I stopped at a gas station and bought a six pack of Gatorade. I had five left; so, I reached into my car and gave them to her. She looked at it and was so grateful I saw tears in her eyes. I'm pretty cynical and I don't like to give cash to people who ask. Besides, since I'm a poor medical student there's not much to give. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore and I gave her the $20 bill my friend had given me for taking her to the airport. She looked at it and gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek. Then, she said something that will stick with me. She said, "You know so many people have not even acknowledged me. They won't even look at me. I've really seen my own ignorance staring back at me." then she asked me how much I thought the gas station would charge her for a cup of ice. I said I didn't know. She left with a "God bless you" and went in the gas station. I got in my car and I was hungry; so, I stopped at the McDonald's next door. I watched her come out of the gas station. She indeed had a cup. No paper bag.

I can't help wondering if I'm a sucker. My gut says no. I am a sucker for kids and if the kids were truly in that situation, they need more than Gatorade and $20. Besides, if the money wasn't spent on the the kids, then it's on her, not on me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Let the Games Begin!!!!

I watched some of the opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics last night. I couldn't help but remember the when the games were in Atlanta in 1996. It was amazing to be there. Being from Atlanta, I can remember the day that his pompousness, Juan Antonio Samaranch announced that "the games of the XXV Olympiad goes to the city of…. At…..lanta!" All of us were kind of expecting it to be finished At…hens. I was a Freshman in High school. The games came through between my sophomore and junior year in college. I can remember when they announced the games, it seemed like an eternity before it would actually happen.

As they turned the downtown connector into eight or ten lanes on each side, we all said, "Why are they doing that? We're NEVER going to use all those lanes." Now, you can't find an unoccupied spot of pavement in any lane at just about any time.

Now, I think about how fast time goes by. We (Atlanta) waited for the games for six years. That same amount of time has gone by again…twice. Six years used to seem like such a long time. Now, I think that it's almost nothing. That's comforting when I think that in another six years I'll either be done, or almost done with residency. That's a nice thought.

I don't like the fact that the Beijing got the games, but… the IOC did not consult me. As someone who was bed ridden with mono for the ENTIRE summer when the Tiananmen Square Massacre happened and watched the whole thing on tv, I think China has HORRIBLE track record of oppression and destruction and attempting to squash the human spirit. Ever noticed how when someone wants to portray stupidity, said person often uses a southern accent?

On the other hand, I know what it's like to be from a place that everyone stereotypes and people look down on. (yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition). So, for all the regular Chinese people, I'm happy for you. Enjoy. It will go by faster than you realize. One day, twelve years from now, someone who is now in college in Beijing will be writing a blog saying where did the time go?

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Ode to First Year

gzcSo, I go back to school on Monday. I'm not exactly looking forward to it. We start with brain and behavior; so, it shouldn't be that bad. It's also known as the "diagnose your family member's mental illnesses" block.

I just finished a massive road trip, which is several posts worth, plus some of what happened over the summer.

But, before I plunge into year #2, I thought it might be "fun" to take a look back at year #1.

"You'll be fine." That's what everyone says.

That has become the most annoying sentence ever uttered.

"You're smart. It won't be that bad" Is the second most annoying sentence.

It doesn't matter how smart you are in medical school, at least the first two years.

Some days it feels like it only matters how well you can guess what's on the test.

Oh my, how people need their self-esteem validated by making me memorize things that aren't important.

Even if they were important, there's not enough room in my brain to remember it all; so, I'd have to learn it again when I needed it.

The first week of class I was wondering what histology was. Now, I wish I didn't know.

The first week of class I had never read a page of biochem.

Now, cadaver lab makes me hungry, just not for roast beef.

It happens to everyone, this little transformation.

I've seen it take down nearly everyone I know that's gone to medical school.

Who they were disappears and sometimes they become almost unbearable to be around.

At the end of the year, I was giving someone directions and I actually said, "Go to where the road bifurcates and take a right."

"Oh God, Pat!!!! Believe me, I'm actually crying out to God and Pat happened to be in front of me.

I forgot the NORMAL word." (NOTHING about medical school is normal).

Pat laughed and said, "You will never be "normal" again."

I sigh and say, "Well, at least I got the chance to be a normal adult with a real job. Most of these kids didn't. that's why most will not be truly able to relate to their patients."

She agrees.

I walk away and think, "Normal…. Who needs it? 'Normal' is just a setting on the dryer."

I may be an MS-II at 32 and I may never be "normal" again. But, I'll be damned before I become an arrogant so and so like some, ok fine, a lot of md's.

In my opinion, no one should start medical school before 25. But nobody asked me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The stinch of spring

Ok, so it's spring and it's supposed to be a time of renewal, rebirth blah, blah, blah.

Or, if you live in my alternate reality, it's a lovely time for cadaver lab. You know, I was doing just fine until I was headed back from spring break and I passed a few cars that were obviously college students on the way home for the summer. That's when it hit me that it's like the groundhog saw his shadow and I've been sentenced to six more weeks of school.

So, the cadaver follies have begun. First, my group's body still had a name tag on. We know the person's name, age, etc. bad idea.

So, we're dissecting and this girl in our group says, "Oh Wait! I think I found a tumor." "Hey Dr. So and So come look at this. Is this a tumor?"

Dr. So and So walks over along with Dr. Thusandsuch and they look at each other and Dr. So and so says, "No, that's an implant."

The girl, who had just removed the thing says, "A breast implant?" Um…. Wait a minute…. Here's a clue- where was it when you found it?!!!!!

So, then begins the steady parade of guys coming over to bow at the altar of the silicone gods, and no, I don't mean Bill Gates.

Finally, I just got annoyed the whole thing and stopped letting them pretend like they were interested in our cadaver and just said, "It's over there."

Oh, but here's the kicker. Monster storms rolled through town this weekend and knocked out the power for more than 12 hours. I don't even want to think about what it's going to smell in cadaver lab tomorrow.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We put the neuro in neurotic

If families like mine put the fun in dysfunctional, the past seven weeks have definitely put the neuro in nueorotic. I'm not even sure where to start or if my carpal tunnel will stay at bay long enough to type this.

So, the last phase, which has mercifully just ended was neurology, the one everyone says is the hardest of the first two years. I didn't think it was all that much harder than anything else, it was just very different it was literally like learning a new language.

So, we'll skip over the first few weeks and get right to where the weirdness started, about four weeks into a seven week phase. I already ranted about the moron who marched right up to me after our genetics lecture and asked me if my brother, "had big balls." See the previous post. I'm not going through it again, but it's all downhill from there.

So, a few days later I got sick. I mean yucky sick. I swear I had to buy so much Sudafed I thought people were going to think I was making meth, which is sooooo ironic, as you'll see later. I've known since I was a kid that I will get violently ill if I take Sudafed on an empty stomach. I had taken some and woke up in the middle of the night violently ill. I smelled something funny, but I felt so awful I just ignored it and went back to bed. I assumed that I had taken the Sudafed too long after I had eaten and it made me sick. A few days later, my downstairs neighbor's smoke detector went off and woke me up at 4:30 am. Then, I smelled something that smelled sweet, and then came this ether smell. The next thing I knew I was sick again. That's when I put two and two together. My neighbor's were smoking meth. I never spent another night at that place. So, for the whole last two weeks of the block, I was homeless. It's hard to concentrate on studying when you're couch surfing. But, before I digress too far, I went to the management the next day and told them what happened. They said that would have the cop that lived there run his drug dog by the outside of the place. They didn't say so, but I could tell that both people in the office thought I was nuts. Turns out… I was right. The dog hit on meth from the outside. But, apparently I still was going to have to move out because they were going to have to gut that side of the building. And here's the kicker… they tried to charge me a $250 transfer fee!!!!!!! Oh, and they wanted me to move the day before my test. I'm not kidding.

So, I talked them into letting me move the next week, during my spring break. The problem being that they're redoing the parking lot; so, I can't start to move until Friday. That gives me two days to get moved before I go back to school.

Ok, so I finally get all that worked out; so, I can settle down and study. Then, came the test. It was the most hideous thing I've ever taken in my life, but I passed. The next day we had our oral exam. I had a feeling from the beginning of the block, I was going to get the course director, who is um… well, let's just say no one wants to have her for the oral exam. After we had our time to read the case, make notes and such, we looked on a list to find out which room to go to. As we turned the corner, I said to the guy I was walking next to, "Oh fabulous! I think I have Dr. X." His response was "Oh, I had Dr. X a couple of blocks ago,- real ball buster." I could only fake a sigh of relief and say, "well, good. Since I don't have any balls, I should be fine." It honestly took him about five seconds to get what I was saying. I somehow managed to survive and even managed to get a "good job."

So, after the oral exam, I'm on glorious spring break. But…..

My mom just had surgery to fuse her ankle and can't drive for 6 weeks. (it's her right ankle that was fused). My dad conveniently had to go out of town for work while I was on spring break. So, I got to spend my spring break chauffeuring mom and brother around and then moving. Doesn't that sound like fun.

I'm so exhausted from my spring break that I need to go back to school to get some rest.

6 more weeks and then….. TWO WHOLE MONTHS off. Call me selfish, but I'm not doing a single thing I don't want to do this summer.

Anyone up for a roadtrip?