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.