Monday, December 13, 2010

Going Bananas

Have you ever had an ideal that you hold onto with a childlike tenacity?  Something or someone you idolize?  An opinion that you value so much you refuse to doubt its veracity even when presented with strong evidence to the contrary?

I have.

I'm not sure if most people would describe it as "childlike tenacity" though.  More like: "stubborn inability to admit she's wrong."  But I don't usually have this attitude about, like, normal things.  I'm never like that if it involves another person or if it involves work.  That's just my personal code of honor.  Actually, if I notice an error that could potentially affect the aforementioned, I'm the first one to bring that mistake to someone's attention even if I end up looking retarded...which is more common than I'd like to admit.

But I'm unique in that I don't like to admit that I'm wrong...over stupid things.  Things that affect no one!! 

I went to the Market today.  I only needed a few things...tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, sugar snap peas.  And then I saw them.  The greenest bananas I'd ever seen.  Not a bruise on them.  I got giddy with excitement.

I rushed home, put the away the veggies, snapped off one of the unblemished crescents, and sat down to savor.  I began to strip away the peel.  The skin was thick, and resistant...almost like fascia.  The fruit itself was pure, firm, luscious.  I bit down, my mouth watering with anticipated ecstasy.

It tasted like chalk.  It clung nastily to my teeth.  I choked in horrified surprise.

I took another bite.  Just as horrible as the first.

At three bites positive for "disgusting," the scientist in me should have been satisfied.  Should have accepted that the data was not supporting the previously idolized hypothesis that green bananas were better than yellow bananas.

Fourth bite.  Fifth bite.  P-value is off the charts here, people.

But I finished it.  Choked down every bitter bite, and do you know why?

Because, DAMMIT!!!  I  LIKE  GREEN  BANANAS!!!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

No more excuses

Well, the day has arrived.  I can't put it off any longer.  This blog post is my final act of procrastination.  I must...

go to the grocery store.

I'm completely out of a lot of things.

Toilet paper.  Juice.  Breakfast bars.  Microwave dinners.

But this will be no ordinary trip.  For some idiotic reason, I actually thought it would be a good idea to throw a Christmas party.  I have procrastinated prepared well for this party.  I tidied my apartment.  I conned my mom into making a dish.  I googled recipes for finger foods.  I discovered that this thing called "oleo" exists and is called for in certain recipes and I googled its definition and decided it would be easier to just use butter, because I at least know where to find that box.

But I also I need things I don't normally keep in the house.

Things like flour.  Baking soda.  Molasses.  A cookie tray.

The party is tonight.


Wish. Me. Luck.

I'm off!!  Happy Weekend!!

Note:  I typed this yesterday but it didn't publish.  Party was a success.  Cooking solo (a terrifying experience) was a success.  The only thing I burnt was my elbow, even though my fire alarm went off three times.  >.<  Which apparently was too much stress for its little ticker and so the low-battery alarm beeped incessantly until I went BACK to the store for a 9-volt.  Now, me changing the battery was a true adventure and the illustrated story of that experience is coming soon.  ^_^

Friday, December 3, 2010

Standardized Patients

Our school periodically has Standardized Patient Encounters where we go and practice taking histories and doing physical exams or focused physicals.  Sometimes our task is to handle an ethical issue:  breaking bad news, behavior change counseling for smoking/alcohol/diet, difficult patient, drug-seeking behavior.  Sometimes they have a "complaint" to act out:  chest pain, hypertension, cough, headache, back pain.  Sometimes the patients are grumpy.  Some are really nice.  Some are pretending to be mad at us for "being late" or for "making a medical error."

We, as students, don't know what our task will be until we're handed a clipboard a few moments before we walk into the room.

We are videotaped and rated by both the patient and a physician preceptor.  We give an oral presentation and turn in a write-up based on the encounter.  They grade us off of a checklist (that we have never seen) that covers everything from professional behavior to technical skill.

Well, I had mine this week and just got the preceptor's feedback today.  I got a rave review!!  :-D  The patient gave me all high ratings in every category, and the preceptor said I only missed one thing from the checklist AND that I had covered several things of importance that weren't on the checklist!!  His comment was that "you're naturally intuitive and have good clinical reasoning skills."  Sure, I have to work on my terminology and how I present orally, but it's SO unbelievable how motivating a positive comment can be.

Having a fake patient tell you after the encounter is over that "You were nicer to me than my actual doctor is" somehow makes the light at the end of this very long, very dark tunnel of med school just a little bit brighter.  One day I will be someone's "actual doctor."  And while that thought is a tiny bit terrifying still, it's also exhilarating because it just drives home the realization that right now I am acquiring knowledge and learning skills that I will be able to use one day to help real people that are suffering and in need of care.

It just makes it feel like this is worth it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Adulthood FAIL

How NOT To Be An Adult, For Dummies:
In 10 Steps Or Fewer.

I'd Tap That

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!!  Here's a bit of Monday madness for ya, and the countdown to Christmas holidays BEGINS!!

Also, what is the appropriate plural form of -itis?  I went with -oses but I haven't had a class in medical grammar yet, haha.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Irony is when...

You start out studying and end up browsing the internet, then get distracted by an ad, click on it, then see ANOTHER ad that says "Relieve ADHD symptoms...Fast!!!"

Which reminds you that you've forgotten to take your meds that morning.

Thank you, Google, hereafter addressed as "Medication-Compliance-Police."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I love juice.

Really, I do.  Juice is awesome.  Grape juice, low-acid no-pulp Orange juice, Cranberry juice, Pomegranate juice, Blueberry juice..simply delicious.  But there is one that rules them all.

Mott's all-natural, no-sugar-added Apple Juice is truly the most delicious beverage ever.  It is sweet and rich and cool on the tongue.

Or so I thought.

I will be investing in a grip-tool and a chainsaw in the next day or so, as my Mott's is currently mocking me from the fridge, falsely secure in it's sense of impermeability.

Disclaimer:  I am in no way affiliated with Mott's or it's All-Natural Apple Juice other than my position as a currently very frustrated wannabe-consumer of it's product.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Earl Grey

HAHAHAHAaaaaa!!!  So I did laundry today.  Apparently, had a tea bag in my jeans pocket for some random reason.  Well, screw it, I'm too busy to wash it all over again.  I'll just have to smell like a bloody cup of Earl Grey for a week, underpants and all!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The World's Worst Cold

Father, mother, teenage daughter, toddler son.
A normal, happy, family.
The two-year-old caught a common cold,
No big deal.  Chicken soup and Tylenol.
But ten days later he still had a fever 
And his cough was getting worse.
In the waiting room that afternoon, two paths crossed:
Someone's daughter dropped her doll;
Little Boy picked it up for her;
Two-year-old already such a gentleman,
Good job, mom.
But the doll gave the boy whatever the girl had,
And for two days
The kid couldn't keep anything down.
Now it's Sunday and they can't reach their doc;
The kid's still in dry heaves hours later, in the ED.
A white coat comes in to give a standard IV
But the stick misses its mark and nicks an artery.
Try though they might to stop it, he's bleeding out.
Then some poor fool forgot to check the blood type twice
Hell broke loose, then
Two days later, the mom buried her baby.
Empty eyes, mirroring the void inside,
Barely see the coffin disappear.
Mom goes upstairs "to be alone;"
Minutes later, she rejoins her son,
Her life snuffed out with father's gun
The very day the daughter turned fifteen.
Some dozen years have passed.  Today, I met the daughter
In the psych ward, her home since that day,
And her empty eyes told me how a bunch of white coats
Helped a kid's cold kill his whole family.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More than I could chew?

So I haven't posted anything funny in a really long time.  Trust me, it's not for lack of's time!!  Lack of time!!  Don't worry though, I'm not going to forget my funnies.  I've got 'em sketched out in one of those awesome Moleskin notebooks of which I am so fond.

See, here's the thing.
  1. I'm in the process of moving (to an uber-cute apartment!) out of necessity, and it's consuming a ridiculous amount of time
  2. When my physician was reviewing my past medical history before she put me on ADHD meds, she discovered something that could potentially be a problem.  She sent me to a specialist to rule out this problem, but, alas, his precious little test was not going to allow me to be so lucky.  Well, technically I guess I shouldn't say that, because I am really, really grateful that my doc caught this before it got worse.
  3. So now I'm in the process of moving, AND I have to schedule surgery!  
  4. Did I mention that I was in medical school?
  5. With unmedicated ADHD?
So if my posts are sporadic, it just means that I'm too far behind to draw!  But I'll catch up...maybe over Christmas?!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Medical Professionals and Suicide

Not really surprised by this article on medical school and suicide.  Greatly saddened, but not really surprised.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Disease of the Day

"Christmas Disease"...somewhat surprisingly, NOT more prevalent in shopaholics.

Note to Self:

Setting an extra alarm on your computer as a backup would probably be more effective if the computer were not on "mute."  You know, just for future reference and all.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life is complicated. Forms are more complicated.

So, ADHD is a bitch.  Getting meds for it is worse, apparently.  The doc gave me a script yesterday, and I dutifully dropped it off at a local pharmacy.  Came back to pick it up after doing the adult thing and buying groceries for the week, and turned out the doc had written the script wrong (that particular strength didn't come in "extended release" apparently).  So, got it switched out successfully today and dropped it back off by the pharmacy.  Went back to get it, only to find out that it wouldn't be ready for at least three days because the insurance requires pre-authorization.  *sigh*  Paperwork.  Don't they know that people with ADHD don't do paperwork?  Can't do paperwork?

I can barely function at a high enough level to go to the grocery store.  I used to wonder how I got into med school when I couldn't navigate the aisles at the local convenience mart.  I mean, there I am, list in hand, but no clue where to find ANYTHING that's on the list.  So I end up walking down each aisle anyway, scanning the rows for some visual clue to the location of the item for which I was so desperately searching.  And who exactly thought it was such a grand idea to have so many product choices?  It takes me 30 minutes to choose a breakfast cereal for the week!!  The choices are simply overwhelming.

Paperwork is also overwhelming.  Recently, I filled out an application for an apartment.  It was a physical strain to concentrate long enough to remember the information and put it in the correct blank.  I finished, sweating from the rigorous mental exertion, and handed it with a proud smile to the lady behind the desk.  The first apartment application I've filled out all by myself!!  I think I'm actually becoming a responsible adult!!  My ego was quickly crushed when the lady, her eyebrows cocked suspiciously, asked me in a withering voice to "Please, sign the application.  We canNOT process the application without your signature."

Life doesn't make a whole lot of sense sometimes.  I just don't understand how it is possible for me to function at such a high level during emergency situations and simultaneously fail so miserably at the things teenagers do without problem....for instance, I am ashamed to admit how long it took me to learn to write a personal check.

To this day, I hate going to a new restaurant because I don't know what to choose.  I also don't like going to parties.  I am best with one-on-one conversations, but I can successfully handle small groups...say, four individuals tops.  After that, I get so swamped by the multitude of conversations going on around me, I can't decide which to focus on, so I usually end up staring at the wall in panic, hoping someone will come rescue me and just tell me what to do.

*sigh*  "Responsible adulthood" still seems like such an unattainable dream.  Shoot, I can't even remember to turn off the stove.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fashion Tips for Med Students

This post is designed to be a work in progress, so if YOU have a fashion tip to contribute, post it in a comment and I'll add it in.  :-)

-Later!!  :-p

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Open letter RE: Use of FLASH for instructional presentations

To the general population of medical educators and hospital administrators:

Using FLASH for student training is an inefficient way to convey information, and an absolute waste of time.  Here are the reasons why:
1) My piece-of-crap computer takes forever to load each screen (primary reason)
Please note that being forced to click pictures of fake mouses to display situations on fake computers and open fake resource folders and answer a fake phone on a fake desk to "speak" with a fake administrator ONLY PROLONGS THIS AGONY
2) My reading speed is approximately 1100 words per minute.  I do not, under any conditions, ever want to listen to someone else read a screen to me.  Their reading speed is approximately 0.2 words per minute.  My attention span is NOT long enough to effectively focus on what they are saying after the first 30 seconds.
3) My reading comprehension is approximately 99.999%.  My auditory comprehension is approximately 4%.  So WTH are you reciting lists to me instead of allowing me to read it for myself?!?!?!?
4) I get so bored with the lack of progress the reader is making, I begin writing a blog post in a new tab and the voice of the instructor fades into something resembling "the-adult-voice-through-the-phone" in the Peanuts animated clips.
Wait...."the-adult-voice-through-the-phone" is how ALL verbal communication sounds to my ADHD brain.... 
Point #4 is perhaps slightly less valid than the other two, as I may have a perception bias.

It's been 47 minutes and I'm only on screen 26 of 64!   Of the first training video!


 P.S.  If I am so stupid that I have to be reminded to "Let's try another one!  Click on the best answer and then click submit!" for every. freaking. question. . . . I
a) probably wouldn't be in medical school and
b) you probably wouldn't want me doing clinicals in your hospital or caring for a patient EVER.

P.P.S.   >.<  After all that BS, the javascript failed on the last screen and I couldn't print my freaking certificate of completion.  DAMNit!!!!  Seriously?!?!?!!??

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Well, I did it again. UPDATE!!! 80.2!!!

(update) YES WAY!!!  I had forgotten to add the points from my pathology case into my module grade!!!!!  FINAL MODULE GRADE IS AN EIGHTY-POINT-TWO!!!  A BEEEEEEE!!!!!!!  Such a relief!!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 Another C in a module.  And, as usual, it was a C that was a mere three test questions short of a B.  A mere three questions that I'm sure I could've gotten correct if I hadn't been pondering the mechanics of the air conditioning unit about halfway through my exam and thus being prone to stupid errors.

Some days just suck.

So ow I'm gonna go read my lecture packets so I'll be prepared for class tomorrow.  Do you know why?  Because even when we [med students] don't succeed, we're not allowed to quit.  The next day, the next module, still comes on time whether you're ready for it or not.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why Med Students Should NEVER Discuss Assignments in Public, as reported by 101Md

So, at Medical College, Powers-That-Be have decreed that we do a certain number of pathology projects per year.  This involves us getting a "case" from Baby Robbins, and then exploring this in depth according to the objectives we are provided.  Then, we present the case to our peers.

Yes, we all think it's retarded.  But, Powers-That-Be are firmly convinced that this is a vital component of multi-sensory diversification of education. 

Anyway, I was assigned "The Pathophysiology of HIV and Associated Infections."

Moral of the Story
Basically, I was bitching about my case on the phone, and about how long it took (on a test week, no less).  This is roughly how the conversation went.

Me: "Ugghh!!  It's so stupid!  Total waste of time."

Friend: "Huh?"

Me: "Oh, just these retarded path projects are so time-consuming.  And I got HIV!  Why, of all the diseases there were to choose from, did I have to get HIV?!?!?!"

Friend: "HAHAH!!  You got an STD!"  (Friend knows that I am shy, so having to present ANYTHING sexually related falls into the I-would-rather-have-my-tonsils-removed-without-anesthesia category).

Me: "Aaugh!  I know, it's so embarrassing!!"  *suddenly becomes painfully aware of people staring*

Me: *stammering* "I--uh--I mean--why couldn't the professor have assigned me a different disease to talk about for my project---uh--"

Me: *gives up and runs away, hoping no one I know or ever will know was in that crowd of people*

-Later!!  :-P

Friday, September 17, 2010

Awkward Questions (Part 2)

(Continuation of yesterday's post)

Don't you just *hate* when a friend/acquaintance/classmate/coworker asks one of those questions to which you'd really like to say "NO!"... but your brain can't figure out how to phrase the rejection without sounding like an a**hole?



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Awkward Questions (Part 1)

Don't you just *hate* when a friend/acquaintance/classmate/coworker asks one of those questions to which you'd really like to say "NO!"... but your brain can't figure out how to phrase the rejection without sounding like an a**hole?


Part two coming tomorrow.  (If I have time).


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

i frickin' LOVE medicine/science!!

Medicine/science is cool.  And it's even more awesome because that coolness HELPS people!

No worries, though...I still hate med school.  I haven't lost my mind (yet).  ;-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

You know you're in med school when:

You put your facebook status as "I can't believe it's only Tuesday" and have 13 non-medical friends immediately comment that it is, in fact, still Monday.

You have to purchase a commercial-grade hole-punch and stapler to put your note packets together.

You a 3-in binder for a week's worth of notes, and a "largest-size-that-Staples-sells" binder to archive the notes for the 2-3wk long module.

Oh yeah, baby, isn't this the life.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What you don't want to hear from a potential publisher...

"Your paper is both good and original--but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

funnies just appear, sometimes.

Tonight will be short, because I'm extra sleepy (stayed up 'til 4am studying pharm, then woke at 6ish to go to the gym before class).  Test weeks are no fun.

But sometimes, they are extra funny.

Today in small group, we were working through a PBL (problem-based learning) case.  One of us decided to give the patient "levafloxacin four" to treat his pneumonia/UTI.  Our preceptor promptly started choking with suppressed laughter as he patiently explained that we should rather elect to give "levafloxacin - I. V."  Apparently, levafloxacine doesn't come in I, II, III, and IV; but rather in oral dose or IntraVenous solution.

After small group was over, I went with my roommate to get a gyro.
Roomie:  "Can I just get that gyro as a salad, like, without the flatbread?"
Gyro-lady:  "Sure, no problem!" *fills take-out container with lettuce, sliced gyro meat, and tops with tzatziki sauce*
Gyro-lady:  "Would you like any other toppings on this?"
Roomie:  "Ah, just lettuce and tomato."

Wasn't aware that people typically topped a salad with "lettuce" but hey, I'm just an observer, not a judge....!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Baby Rose!! ^_^

So a while back, like, this summer, my friend and I went for a hike on some DNR land.  Well...ok, technically we were going to pick blackberries.  Here's what happened.

Side note:  here is an example of how ADHD completely interferes with normal life.  I type the short paragraph above, then glance aimlessly at the shelf above my laptop as I am mentally arranging the berry-picking story.  Then I spy a bag of candies and I'm like "Ooooo!!  Chocolate!" and grab the bag.  Unfortunately, my impulsivity had already reduced this bag of chocolates to one candy.  Because I've only had the bag since Saturday's excursion to the grocery store, I am immediately stricken with guilt at consuming so much candy over the past two-and-a-half days.  I grudgingly toss the bag back upon the shelf.  Then I'm like, "Oooo!!  I'll make jello!!"  So I go to the kitchen and made jello (orange).  Then I realize that it will take 4ish hours to cool properly, but this is not acceptable.  I'm hungry and I want my snack now!  So I rip open a box of breakfast bars like a feeding she-bear, and pour myself a glass of tea.  I finally make it back to the laptop...but my 10-minute "study break" was over a long time ago.  *Sigh*  

I'll return to the berry-picking story at my next study break.


Sunday, August 29, 2010


"One had to cram all this stuff into one's mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year."  -Albert Einstein

Yeah.  About that.  See, at one time I *loved* school.  When I was in undergrad, I took practice standardized tests for fun!!  (I already told you I was a nerd.)  Then came the MCAT.  I crammed so hard and was so stressed for that one exam that my psyche was permanently scarred.

I was waitlisted at first, and began grudgingly preparing to take the MCAT again.  But luckily, I was accepted and did not have to repeat the exam!  Imagine my excitement!

I was a fool.

Sorry to burst the bubbles of any pre-meds out there, but med school is hard.  And unforgiving.  And it doesn't care if you have ADHD and get distracted by shiny objects when you should be focusing on the pathways of lipid metabolism.    The entire first year, I felt as if I were drowning, and that every time I came up for a gasp of air, some exam would come batter me over the head until I was once again submerged and hopeless.

And you know what the worst part is?  You can't cry for help.  A drowning person can shout, and people will swiftly come to the rescue.  But in med school, if you say that you're struggling, the professors think that you're not trying hard enough and your classmates think you're stupid and then start talking behind your back.  "Did you hear about that Em?  She made a C on the last exam!!  haha, I haven't made lower than a 92 all year!  She must be stupid, those questions were easy!!"

But they don't know what it's like.   They can just sit down and study for four hours straight...and be really productive for four hours straight!  When *I* sit down to study for four hours, I usually get distracted after about 15 minutes.  Then a few minutes later I'll come to the sharp realization that I'm staring into space, bouncing up and down on my exercise ball, and not at all retaining information.  This cycle repeats itself ad nauseum.  They don't know what it's like to have to shove information into a brain that's behaving like a toddler being forced to eat Gerber's spinach + peaches + rice cereal.  It is so tiring, having to constantly fight mind and body to be still enough and focused enough to read through a lecture packet. 

Don't get me wrong...I still like learning, and I do find the human body fascinating.  It's just so hard to keep the pace expected by the professors.  And that engenders frustration and despair.

The sad thing is, I can't imagine doing anything else with my life.  While I'm sure I have the ability to be successful at almost any other career, I know I won't be happy doing anything else but medicine.  So I will continue to endure one soul-bashing exam after another until I get that damn MD, or die trying.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Day before Yesterday, I decided to relax for a few minutes and enjoy a lemonade Italian Ice while sitting in my chair outside on the patio.

Two things happened.
  1. I forgot to take the lid off and throw it away while I was still inside.
  2. I forgot that I tucked the lid behind me in the seat of my chair, and left the lid outside.
Yesterday, I decided to relax for a few minutes while sitting in my chair outside on the patio.

Two things happened.
  1. I forgot that I tucked the lid behind me in the seat of my chair, and I sat in my chair.
  2. ANTS!!!  Literally, in my pants.
Today, I've been killing ants all day long...I swear I shook my clothes out but apparently, not well enough!  Three in my bathroom earlier, one just now on my bed.  FML.



So, today is Tuesday.  2nd day of 2nd year.  Class wasn't too bad...actually I really like the prof doing the immunology lectures.  There should TOTALLY be a mandatory class for new-and-returning-med-school-lecturers that covers 1) How to prepare a handout, 2) How to make a powerpoint, and 3) How to make lecture interesting.  And, this immunology dude should TOTALLY teach it!!

Then, I came home because I don't have afternoon class today.  (We have "afternoon class" three days a week.  Yesterday, my friend and I were walking across campus discussing how the admissions office lured us in with statements like: "Oh, yeah, here at Medical College, we have class from 8-12am, so you have all afternoon to study!!"  And poor innocents that we were, we swallowed it, hook-line-and-sinker.  Well, I'm here to tell you that this was all LIES!!!  We have "mandatory group activities" from 1-5pm!!  Three days a week!!   I don't care what fancy label they plaster on the schedule, it's still class!!)

Where was I?  Oh yeah, I came home early because I don't have afternoon class today.  So then I was all:  "I'm gonna print off tomorrow's lecture packet and study and be prepared!" Some people call that "being a gunner."  I call it "sheer desperation."

So I logged on and downloaded the lecture packet and clicked print.  And Printer dutifully shot off a few pages...and then I heard the ominous beep. 

"Out of Paper"

Well, Printer was definitely NOT out of paper.  It was really a paper jam, but Printer was trying to shift the blame.  "Hey!  It's not my fault I can't print your stupid document!  You didn't feed me paper!!...oh...uh...just's uh...kinda stuck in my middle somewhere...."

 Not sure where I was going with that.  It sounded hilarious in my head when I started the story.

In other news, I'm really proud of myself for going to the gym before class, two days in a row.  :-)