Friday, August 18, 2017

Third Year, it's HERE!

I have to admit, I couldn't make myself blog here while I was waiting for my COMLEX scores. I knew I'd say a bunch of stuff, and there was a distinct possibility that I might have to swallow some of those things if I didn't pass. Every time I thought about logging in to see my score, my stomach jumped into my throat and then plunged into my toes. Test day was pretty much a traumatic blur. I do remember going to BoruBoru Sushi and having a fabulous salmon sushi bowl after. That was nice. The thought of having to pull out all the books again after closing that chapter most enthusiastically and then having to retake that monstrosity of an exam was just too much to grasp for my poor brain. My brain. It's still a quivering pile of jello, guys. I'm three weeks into third year rotations, and whenever my preceptor asks me a question, I fly into panic mode. I want to curl into a fetal position on the floor and scream. I'm really good at saying, "I don't know. I am sure I knew that before, but right now, I have nothing." I really hope this goes away soon. I'm seriously embarrassed at what a slobbering idiot I've turned into. I probably need some therapy.

Speaking of therapy, EVERYONE needs to visit Hawaii some time in their miserable existence anywhere else on this planet that is not Hawaii. It is beautiful. I could happily move myself and my entire family there. But I'm thinking it's the worst place in the world to have a job. I don't think I'd ever want to work, I'd just sit on the beach and be useless all day. That would be fine until it came time to pay the bills and buy some food.

Rotations have been fun so far. I just finished my third week with my first rotation, and it's really a whole lot better than the first two years. I'm kinda sad this is my last week with my first preceptor. I've seen lots of cool cases that I can't tell you anything about, because HIPAA.

I'm trying really hard to find my feet with this new schedule. We have early morning lectures at 7am Monday-Thursday, and I feel like I have just enough time to get home and flop into bed when I get done with clinic. I still have lots of reading to do, and we have cases assigned to complete as well. Then we have to study for our end of rotation exam, which is every four weeks. Add to that the required laundry, food prep, and maybe seeing my family a little, and I am having a bit of trouble fitting everything in. I'm hoping I'll hit a groove and find some extra time here and there to get some exercise and goofing off time in. I can't be stretched this thin and just be in third year! I guess I'm just a wimp.

Well, I think that's pretty much caught up from the summer to now. Here's hoping things settle down, and I manage my time well enough to get it all done. The life of a medical student. A whiny one, I guess. It's HARD.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blocks? What are blocks? I'm done with blocks.

I'm still here. I've just been buried in board study, and not much else has been going on. Well, it has been going on, I've just missed it because of the whole board study thing I mentioned up there. I have a new granddaughter! She's beautiful and perfect.

So what's been going on? Well, we finished our second year of medical school, and I'm in that lovely limbo period between finished with second year and taking COMLEX Level 1. That's scheduled for next week, and I'm still pounding the books pretty hard. It's been a bit of a challenge for me, because our school requires that we take a practice exam and make a minimum score on it before we are cleared to take the COMLEX. And I didn't do so good on that, so I had to get some help. But the help helped, and I'm all geared up to nail this thing next week. Except I'm pretty nervous. Hopefully it will go smoothly.

After I take the boards, my HB and I are taking a trip to HAWAII!! I'm so excited I just can't stand it. I'm also a little concerned with what I am going to do with myself after the studying part is over. I mean, I really only have a few weeks between COMLEX and starting clinical rotations, and the studying will definitely not be over for good. But I spend so much time studying right now, and I finished this afternoon and was casting about for something to do to keep myself busy, and I just got bored. I don't want to watch Netflix, I have seen everything on Facebook, and I really don't know what else to do with myself. I even took a nap, so I'm not sleepy. I've already exercised, too. So I guess I found time to blog, haha! Except there's not really a whole lot to update because it's just wake up, exercise, study, go to bed, repeat. I just feel the need to chronicle this as part of my journey, so you guys have to hear about it.

Anyway, I hope all my fellow med school students are having a nice summer (because most of them have already taken the boards), and that we will all be ready to jump in and figure out what the heck we are doing once third year starts. I guess once boards are over, I can begin obsessing about third year and how I don't know anything about anything.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Bonus: I'm just over here busting up the odds

This post looks to be a follow up to yesterday's whinging about studying for boards, so you can ignore it if you like. But sometimes, when you're fearing the future, it helps to look backward. So here I go. I spent a large portion of my life going with the flow. And that's ok, if it makes you happy. I learned early on that making waves gets you unnecessary attention (detention?), and it's better to just keep your head down and take whatever comes. Good societies are built on everyone following the rules. But progress depends on people -- just every once in a while -- asking "but what if we...?" The majority of people in this world are content to check off their to-do list every day and keep putting one foot in front of the other, and that's OK. But there's always been this huge "but what if I...?" bouncing around in my head. It's really hilarious when I meet someone new and we are making small talk about what we do as a career, what makes up our family, or what do we like to do for fun. Oh, you have six children? WOW! Oh, you're in medical school at 43? OMG! You've lost 100 pounds in the last year? WHOA!

See, I didn't set out to do anything out of the ordinary, or stuff that people don't normally do, or anything that would statistically be something out of my reach. But here I am, doing all that stuff! I can't tell you how many times someone has said, oh well, the odds of that working out for you successfully are pretty low. I honestly didn't see it as a challenge. I just kept working towards what I wanted waiting for it to not work out. Except, so far it has worked out. SO I keep going. So when I whinge about boards and whether I feel like I'm going to pass, it's kind of like wondering if this is the part of my journey where they finally tell me I can't go any further. I'm way further out on the rope than I ever imagined I'd get. And I won't be content to stop here. If I don't pass COMSAE, I'm going to take it again. But I really hope I pass. If I fail COMLEX, well I'm going to take that again too! I don't feel hopeless or discouraged, I just feel REALLY REALLY NERVOUS. 

And then today I was scrolling through Facebook after my workout, and I saw a video about Mandy Harvey. She lost her hearing at 18, and thought she would have to give up singing. But she didn't. She taught herself how to sing in a new way, and she's super good at it, too! So she goes on America's Got Talent and makes Simon Cowell cry. Mandy joins the ranks of my heroes, which includes the Chewbacca Mom, Melissa Radke, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Girl Power! Anyway, I'm including the video from her performance. I was going to just make a Facebook post and share it, but then I started having all these thoughts, so I blogged instead. I'm sure your FB scroll button will love me for that.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Block 8 Week 9 (is it?): We've reached that point

So I've reached the point in studying for COMLEX Step 1 that I'm sure every medical student does at some time in their dedicated study block: I HATE EVERYONE. Not really, I don't hate anyone at all. But I keep catching myself watching people going about their lives doing things they want to do and having fun and zero cares. AND I AM SO JEALOUS. I see cars parked in front of shopping centers or restaurants, and I think about how all those people have all this time to do whatever they want, and I'm sitting here cramming more diseases in my head than it could ever possibly hold.

We are one week from taking COMSAE, which is the practice test that determines whether my school will allow me to take COMLEX on June 28. I'm convinced no one else in my class is struggling with this as much as I am. I feel like everyone is going to pass it with flaming flair, and I'm going to be sitting there with an almost but not quite good enough score. And that will send all the plans I have spiraling down the toilet. I've been following a study schedule, and most days I am happy with my practice questions. But, the last two days have been less than stellar, and I feel like stuff is falling out of my head faster than I can put it in. I can't decide if I need to study harder or take a break.

So yeah, when I am sitting here at Panera sucking at COMQUEST, I look out the window and there's a lady sitting at a table sipping a coffee and scrolling through her phone, and I think UGH why did I go to medical school? I guess I'll have to come back and write a follow up post answering that question, because nothing is coming to mind.

I think what I'm going to do right now is put up my computer and books and go do something normal humans do. If my head stops swirling with all the stress and stuff, I'll do another round of questions before I go to bed.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Block 8 Weeks 2-6: This block is weird and I don't quite know what to say here

I keep opening a new post with the intention of catching up with the last few weeks. And then another week passes of pretty much the same thing, and I really don't think anything I'd put here would be very entertaining. It's block 8: the final frontier. Dedicated board study is pretty much just lather, rinse, repeat. I get up every morning and work out. Then I decide whether I'm going to class or not. Sometimes we have class, but it's mostly review. There are some sections where I find the review helpful, and some not so much. Like today is GI, and I'm pretty good on that, so I decided to stay home and do some studying on my own. Except it is now 11am and I am still working on the whole getting showered and presentable after my workout. I feel like I move in slow motion here lately. I think maybe I need a little more structure in my study schedule. Right now it's pretty much dread, delay, drudge. We are about a month from COMLEX Step 1, so I gotta get my booty in gear. Gonna do that now, CIAO!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Block 8 Week 1: When Cameron was in Egypt's Land...

Hopefully everyone has seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off and I don't need to recommend this one. Don't be embarrassed if not, just go watch it.

Block 8 begins: dedicated board study block. Except not so dedicated, because we have a few extra things to do in addition to board study like BDLS and ACLS, and more things with initials that I have no idea what they stand for. All through my block break, I was getting emails from school about all these dang assignments I had to complete DURING MY BREAK. Um, yeah, I'll get right on that...

Break. It's a noun. I thought it meant hiatus, vacation, a pause in activity. I was WRONG. Apparently my school takes it to mean to smash, split, or divide into parts violently, reduce to pieces or fragments. Because that's what they did to my sanity all block break! Seriously guys, I need that week to get my head back in the game. Oh well.

Monday started with our dedicated review course. We have a lecturer that comes in and reviews stuff we are supposed to know already and sum it up so we can retrieve it when we take boards in June or July. By the end of the day Monday, my head was full to bursting and I was TIRED. Then we had to come back for more on Tuesday. It's pretty heavy duty, and sometimes my brain just goes NOPE. But it is a really good review course, and I'm picking it up OK. Hopefully it will stay in there, because he keeps pouring MORE in!

Oh, and guess what I do when I get home from school? Study for boards. I have a study plan all mapped out that includes First Aid, Combank questions, Osmosis questions, Sketchy Pharm/Micro/Path, and Savarese. There's more than that available, but I can't fit anything else into my schedule currently. I try to fit anything extra in on the weekends. Ah, the weekend. I had a huge list of things to do that included -- you guessed it -- more board studying. Except I didn't even dent that list. I did some questions, and I tried to do some reading, but my brain wasn't having it. Hopefully going forward in this block, I'll have a little more stick-to-itness.

We have another week coming up with the same lecturer reviewing with us, and then next week we have our BDLS course. That's Basic Disaster Life Support. Apparently next Friday, we will be participating in a fake disaster with the local law enforcement and emergency services. We will be expected to triage and treat victims, which is pretty cool. I think it will be a nice break from the constant review classes. And it will be OUTSIDE. I love outside. So I'm definitely looking forward.

It's hard to believe the time has passed so quickly, and we are inching up towards boards and then clinicals. Everyone keeps telling me clinicals is going to be so much more fun. I've had fun so far, but most of the fun is looking forward to being finished, haha!

Here's to another week of more studying! Ciao!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Block 7 Week 10 and 11: We made it!

And here we are once again, at the end of a block. You guys know how it goes by now. Nail-biting, nerves, anxiety, RELIEF! The last two weeks have been non-stop studying and testing and waiting for grades, but it's OVER! But there is something different about this block. It's the end. We have covered all the lectures and now it's time to move on to dedicated board study. So for the next few months, it will be boards non-stop. Eat, sleep, study, repeat. I'm excited about it, but I'm also a little nervous. I can't believe two years of medical school are almost over, and at the end of July, I (hopefully) start my clinical rotations. Must. Pass. Boards. I can't say it went really fast, but at the same time, it seems like it should have taken longer to get here. I'm pretty excited.

I have one week between me and the dreaded Block 8, and you can bet I'm going to live it up. Well if living it up means sitting on my duff doing a bunch of nothing. You guys know how I feel about nothing. Ahhhhhhh. It's lovely. HB was out of town last week (in Hawaii, don't get me started), and I actually got a lot of cleaning and stuff done. I like to pace around my house and clean up instead of study because I'm complicated like that. So I don't have a huge list of housework that I need to get done really. We are throwing around some ideas about going camping or hiking or something. I kinda hope we manage to do something. I miss hanging out with my kids and HB, and I'd like to spend some time with them before boards prep gets super-serious. But I also don't want to plan a bunch of plans that will feel a whole lot like something other than nothing. Because ahhhhhh. Nothing.

Anyway, I don't have much else to report currently. I have an empty mind (haha nothing new) that is shrinking from responsibility. So I'm going to get back to doing my nothings. Have a nice break guys!