Friday, December 23, 2016

Block 6 Weeks 10-11: I Am Quite at My Leisure!

Today marks the end of week 11 of block 6. Technically there are two more weeks in this block, but they are the Christmas holidays. Then we have a week of block break. THREE WEEKS OFF! OH WOW! We only have two more blocks left in second year, and I can't believe it has gone by this quickly. The last two weeks weren't incredibly heavy, as we were taking final exams for a lot of our classes. We had several days that we didn't have lectures, so we were able to study more. And that's exactly what I did, yes sir, I studied. Nothing else at all.

We took our last exam yesterday morning, and by 4pm, all the grades were in and I was relieved to have passed everything with no remediation in my future. It gets kinda nail-bitey at the end sometimes, but this block has actually been pretty good. It's nice being in a good place at the end where you aren't worried about a particular test that could mess things up for you. I'm hoping to continue my streak for block 7. 

I haven't had this much time off since medical school started. I'm not exactly sure what to do with myself. So yesterday, my youngest daughter and I went out to eat together because it's the day between our birthdays. We hung out and went shopping and had a great time. When we got back home, I sat down and started to reach for my computer. But then I realized that I didn't have anything looming. It was so nice to just sit around and goof off with the kids without feeling guilty for not studying. I do have to keep up with my board studying over the break, but I decided to give myself through the weekend with nothing on my schedule so I could enjoy the holiday with my family.

One of the biggest things I look forward to is catching up on sleep during break. This morning, I woke up at 6:24am. I guess it's going to take a little time for my brain to relax and enjoy the break. It was so annoying to roll over and look at my clock, though. Really? 6:24? UGH! And by the time I can finally sleep in, it will be time to start getting up early for class again. Oh well...

So to those of you who are in the same boat -- fellow medical students -- I hope you have an awesome break filled with good times with family and lots of rest. I hope you are able to allow yourself to take some time away from thinking about class and clinicals and boards and everything so that you can be completely ready to take on block 7. To everyone that reads this, Merry Christmas to you and your family. Be safe and happy!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Block 6 Week 9: Looking forward to doing some Nothing.


I was thinking about the blog, and life, and stuff, ya know? What really jumped in my head was how block break is coming, and what exactly makes medical students so look forward to that one week between blocks. And... it's Nothing. Like capital N. Nothing. See, I didn't really grasp the concept of Nothing until I started med school. Because doing Nothing just kinda happened whenever I wanted it to. Nothing is the thing that EVERYONE likes to do, but they don't really know it until they can't do Nothing any more. Do you know what Nothing is? Here, I'll 'splain. So Nothing is the concept where a person can just exist. If you want to sit in bed and watch Netflix all day, go for it. There's nothing on the schedule, nothing impending, just Nothing. Nothing doesn't really exist for the average medical student. Even if you don't have an exam tomorrow, there is one coming -- or some kind of assignment due -- all the time. Or boards. Don't get me started on boards.

So the biggest thing that a student like me gets to missing is the ability to turn the brain off for a period of time, and just do what you WANT instead of what's on the agenda. Just a week a few times a year where the only thing expected is Nothing. For me, what qualifies as Nothing might be different than others. Nothing can be catching up on laundry, rearranging my closet, going to my kids' basketball game, or actually sitting on my butt curled up in my awesome new heated blanket and knitting or playing some Candy Crush. The crazy schedule expected of students in medical school can really do damage to the morale, and one of the ways to combat it is Nothing.

It's really funny how people will ask me if I've seen some new TV show, or shopped at a new store, or eaten at a new restaurant. Usually the answer is um, no, I've been studying my head off and living in a tiny bubble that includes my house, my school, and church. I always say oh that sounds cool, I'll have to add it to my list of things to do on block break. Except. I don't WANT a list of things to do on block break because that sounds like something other than Nothing. So it usually ends up that I never watch the show, or do the other things because they are a lot like a list of things. And who wants a list of things when they want to do Nothing?

That's more like it. The word bored just isn't a thing any more, because with the load I'm pulling, bored is a luxury that I rarely am able to indulge in. So for those of you who have wondered why I live for block break, there it is. Nothing. The opportunity to put everything down that's heavy and just do some Nothing. And eat some pizza, perhaps.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Block 6 Weeks 5-8 (OMG SORRY!): Reproductive block has been interesting...

No you didn't miss any announcements from me, that factory is still closed, padlocked, and condemned. I've surely meant to update the blog more often, and actually it hasn't been an extremely busy block as far as course load. It's just having a little extra time allows for the things that get brushed aside during busy-ness, like laundry and seeing my kids and HB. I can't believe we are already 8 weeks in! Three more weeks until block break and then CHRISTMAS!

This block is about all things endocrine and reproductive. I have become immune to sitting in a room full of fellow medical students while hearing words that would make my mother cover her ears and run screaming from the room. I was a lot more flip about the terminology during the OB/GYN lectures, and then the Urology lectures started. And the PICTURES, people! I used to be rather ambivalent about how people used their parts before the myriad slides of diseased ones paraded before my eyes. Now I'm walking up to complete strangers and urging them to TAKE PRECAUTIONS PLEEEEAASSSE!!!! My poor children have been victim to my many rants on the dangers out there. 

So yeah, Christmas is coming. I feel like we JUST had our school Halloween party, and then suddenly I'm doing the ceiling-high stack of Thanksgiving dishes and all the leftovers are gone. I'll also be celebrating a birthday in a few weeks. It's getting to be quite a few candles stacked on the cake nowadays. But 43 seems like a bit of a dud birthday. It's not exactly a milestone birthday, but it is one more year around the sun, so I'm grateful. What do I want for my birthday? Well anyone that has a birthday this close to Christmas will tell you that it kinda gets swallowed up into the Christmas festivities and so it's not as big of a deal. But I've never felt like I got cheated out of my birthday. My parents always made a pretty big fuss over the day (well we celebrate for DAYS instead of just the day). I used to think that grownups shouldn't make such a big deal about birthdays, but as I get older I realize another birthday is a huge gift that a lot of people don't get. So I like to party it up. Before school started, I would gather all my girlfriends and go to a restaurant and have a nice meal. I also make these ridiculous cupcakes that I sorta invented. So I suppose I'll whip up a batch of my special cupcakes and hang out with some buddies. As far as gifts go, I can't really think of anything. I'm such an amazon addict that I tend to just order up something if I need it. So I guess there's nothing I'm really crossing my fingers for this year. Most of the things I'd love to have are concepts like sleep, a few days where I didn't have to worry about studying, a sudden proficiency at standardized patients, and the kind of recall I had in high school that bordered on photographic. 

So even though this block is winding down, the big push as of now is boards boards boards. We take them at the end of second year, and everyone is worried about passing and doing well. I haven't started worrying about it yet. I have a prescribed study plan from our academic counseling center, and I try really hard to stick to it, but I'm not as good as I'd like to be in that department. I even have reminders in my phone to do the study questions every day, and review of pharm and micro on the weekends. But sometimes when they pop up I'm just like, oh I will do that tomorrow. UGH! So this weekend I plan to catch up on a lot of that and make myself stick to the plan going forward. 

Speaking of procrastination, I'm currently blogging instead of studying for my standardized patient, which is TOMORROW. So I'm off to read all about all the embarrassing questions I will have to ask a perfect stranger. I'm also going to have to stand in front of a mirror and say a bunch of embarrassing words so I won't giggle tomorrow. Also gotta work on my facial expressions. Anyone know how to teach yourself not to blush?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Block 6 Week 2-4: Mama says that alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush.

Once again I have failed at keeping my blog up to date. I apologize, it has been BIZZAY lately. SO today's blog post is going to be Waterboy themed. You'll see why.


One of the most difficult parts about being a mom of six in medical school is when someone gets hurt. Zion (17yo) hurt his hand at football practice a few weeks back, and I happened to be out of town at a conference. This is strike #1 of mommyhood. I called and scheduled an appointment with the orthopedic doctor for him the next morning, but I couldn't get back home until later in the afternoon. Come to find out, he had a pretty serious spiral fracture in his hand. Also, since I didn't attend the appointment (strike #2), he managed to beg his doctor to allow him to play in the last game of the season. With a broken hand.

So fast forward to this past Tuesday AFTER the last game of the season (which they lost), and we find out that his hand did not heal right, and he has to have surgery. They scheduled his surgery for Friday morning at 6am. Well, Friday morning at 6am, I was expected to be loading up to head to the Middle of Nowhere High School where a group of us medical students presented a "Mini Med-School" to freshmen. Oh yeah, strike #3. I tried to get out of it, but it wasn't a possibility. So, I left his Dad in charge and drove out to the boonies to give my presentation. We finished pretty early in the morning, so I had a chance to actually get back to the hospital before he woke up from recovery. Well, that is, until I tossed my KEYS in the trunk and shut it without realizing. So not only did my son wake up from surgery without his mom, I had to call his dad away from the hospital to help me get into my car. The poor baby woke up looking for his parents and NEITHER of them were there. What happens when you get to strike #4? I'm pretty sure I've lost my Mom Card. 

So to make up for my glaring failure as a mother, I took the night shift last night. I set an alarm on my phone to wake up every four hours and take his temp and give him meds. The poor baby has been apologizing for needing to be taken care of, and I feel like a complete heel. 

I was really hoping when I went back to school that my kids wouldn't have to take the brunt of my absence and raise themselves. I always wanted for them to have the type of mom that sent them off to school in the morning and greeted them in the afternoon with cookies and that whole Leave it to Beaver kind of scene. The thing is, even if I hadn't gone back to school, I'm just not the June Cleaver type. But I do love my kids, and I don't want to scar them for life with Bad Mom Moments. Nobody means for their kids to turn out delinquents, but sometimes I feel like I'm following the formula for that outcome. Look at poor Vicky Valencourt. I'm sure her Momma went back to school and left her to fend for herself, and see what happened...

But hey, Zion really wants to play football, and he hopes to be able to play in college as well. So maybe like Bobby Boucher, he can use all the mistreatment he has endured at the hands of his mother to encourage him to play really well.

And hopefully he won't run across a little minx like Vicky Valencourt, because, well you know...

He did tell me yesterday (while his anesthesia was still wearing off) that I shouldn't feel bad about not being there for him for surgery. He said I could make it up to him once I'm a doctor. He even sang a cute little song:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Block 6 Week 1: Something New Every Day

So last week, huh? Apparently a lot of people read last week's post (well, more than usual anyway). I had a lot of feedback from the post, and I appreciate the encouragement that you all gave. I also heard a lot of stories that were way too similar to mine. I pray that those of you that have had similar experiences are able to find a place of peace and protection.

This week has been a hard one, honestly. School hasn't been a problem at all, though. Last Sunday a really close family friend and fellow church member passed away. This week has been full of preparing to say a final goodbye and comforting everyone who is feeling the loss. I wanted to be a lot more available to help out, but on Tuesday I came down with a horrible stomach bug, and I was down for the count for about two days. With that and keeping up with school, I've not been as helpful as I would have liked. Today we had the funeral and burial, and there were so many people who came together and leaned on each other for comfort. 

I don't know if everyone else does this, but when I attend a funeral, I start thinking about loved ones that I've lost. I don't think of it as depressing or sad, though. I just like to reflect on people that I miss. One of the biggest losses I think I've experienced is that of my paternal grandfather. He died in a car accident about three weeks after HB and I got married. He's been gone more than 25 years, but I still feel a huge empty hole where he is supposed to be. I used to go to yard sales with Poppa and Granny on Saturday mornings sometimes, and I spent the night at their house all the time.  I remember watching Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud with them in their living room. They were a very big influence on my life as a kid, and my Poppa especially taught me a lot of cool things. One of his favorite things to say (usually after I goofed up something) was, "You learn something new every day." He often said it sarcastically, but he was absolutely right. Sometimes I think of how many days it has been since he died and how many things I've learned on those days. I wish I could sit and talk to him about all the things I've learned.

There's this silly thing that I've done for almost my whole life that I can't believe I'm going to share with you guys. So there's this cute little picture of Aubie (War Eagle!) that I've always thought looks like my Poppa. He looks like this:

It's like if Poppa were a tiger, this would be his face. Yes, it's silly. I have a huge sticker like this on the back window of my car (2007 Ford Mustang, YES!). But whenever I look in my rearview mirror and see Aubie's face, I think about Poppa and I kinda feel like he's keeping an eye on me. I think when we miss people really bad, there are little things that can bring comfort and a reminder of how much you love them, even in their absence. I don't know if it makes it sting worse or it softens it a bit, maybe a little of both at different times. But whenever I feel like the world is really hard, I just think about Poppa watching and I hope he's proud. 

There's a song that I hear sometimes, and it still busts me up pretty bad. It's called Beam Me Up, and it's about losing someone, and what you would do if you had a minute to see them again. I don't know what I'd say if I could talk to Poppa for just a minute, but I'd sure love the chance. I wouldn't feel the need to tell him I loved him the whole time because we said it to each other all the time, and he knew it. I don't have any regrets with our relationship, just that it ended too quickly. But the lyrics to the song are:
Beam me up
Give me a minute,
I don't know what I'd say in it.
I'd probably just stare
Happy just to be there holding your face.
Beam me up
Let me be lighter,
I'm tired of being a fighter.
I think a minute's enough...
Could you beam me up?

OK OK Now that I'm sobbing like a baby, I promise next week's post should be a little bit lighter. Have a good week!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Block Break 5: Keeping silent is what they count on

I wanted to use my block break blog post to tell you all about my awesome block break. It was going to be all happy and awesome and smiley. HB and I went to St. Augustine for the first part of the week and stayed in an AirBnB, and we had a blast. But I really can't fill this blog with details about my awesome week. Because Trump.

I'm not sure what kind of world you guys live in, but today I'm going to tell you a little bit about mine. Perhaps that will explain the visceral reaction that I had yesterday when I turned on the news. I apologize for using my med school blog to be political. I'm not political, not in the least. But staying silent is what they count on. Who? The ones who perpetrate the ideal that women are to blame for men's rotten behavior towards them.

I remember very vividly the first time a member of the opposite sex violated my personal boundaries. I was seven years old, and a little boy in my class who had never spoken a single word to me reached out and grabbed my crotch. If the first thing that comes to your mind is that I must have been wearing something or doing something to draw that kind of attention, just get out. Close the window and go. Or scroll up and read again. Seven. Years. Old. I was probably wearing jeans and a t-shirt and sneakers. You might say that some adult taught him this, or he was just a curious child acting out, or whatever kind of trash that people say here. It's not a comfortable subject to discuss, and it's the ugly underbelly of throwing thirty kids into a classroom with one adult to keep the peace. You might even think that it wasn't a big deal, and compared to the crimes that women have endured at the hands of sick perverts, it's less than a 1 on a scale to 10.

But what that incident did to me as a child, as an individual, as a female -- it was devastating. I did not enjoy it or welcome it. But I did not tell anyone. Why? Because as a seven year-old child, I already knew that these kinds of revelations made people uncomfortable, and it wasn't something that people wanted to discuss. So I tried to behave differently so that that kind of thing wouldn't happen again. I stayed far away from that particular kid, and I kept my eyes open. But it wasn't enough.

I rode the bus to school when I was in 4th grade. I was probably about 10 or 11 years old. I learned very quickly to just grab a seat as far toward the front of the bus as possible, because if you walked all the way to the back, there were boys that sat on the edge of the seats on the aisle and would put their hands on you as you walked past. The first time that happened to me, I was groped all the way to the fourth row. You better believe I was behind the bus driver for the rest of the year. I also figured out that if someone was clutching their nose while it was gushing blood that they wouldn't grab your butt. I learned quickly if you gave a boy a bloody nose on the bus you'd end up in detention no matter what they did. I tried explaining to the principal that a boy pinched my behind and I punched him in the nose, and he gave me the boys will be boys talk. So I also learned that it was my fault.

The school bus is the absolute worst place for a girl. Once, I got off at my stop which was right in front of my house. I was a latch-key kid, so no one was home. Another boy got off at my stop (it wasn't his stop) and followed me to my house. I wouldn't open the door, so he pushed me up against the wall in the carport and groped me. I slapped him so hard my hand hurt for days, but thankfully he was more worried about me messing up his face than forcing his way into my house. The next day I got off at my friend's stop so he wouldn't try the same thing again. I got into trouble with my parents because they had to come get me from her house. I'm not sure why I didn't tell them what happened. Maybe it's because I learned in 4th grade that it was my fault.

It's really hard to explain to men what it is like to live in their world. A majority of men have never been thrown around against their will by someone twice as strong as they are, and it doesn't compute that cat-calling feels more like a threat than a compliment. But most women live in a world where they need permission to just be safe. Don't wear this, don't be at this place, don't behave in a way that draws any attention to you as a woman. What people don't realize is that it doesn't matter what you are wearing, where you are, or what you are doing, if a man has the intention, he's going to do it.

You might be surprised to hear that women wearing sweatpants with no makeup and with no alcohol in their system still get raped. Little girls sleeping in their beds at night get kidnapped and murdered through no action or fault of their own. The fault does not lie in a woman's appearance or actions, it lies at the feet of the perpetrator of the crimes against them. I'm not saying that a woman should not seek to protect herself from being in a situation where bad things could happen. But when the first question that comes to your mind when a woman is victimized is whether she was wearing something or behaving in a certain way that asks for it, you are what's wrong. You are perpetrating a culture that excuses horrible behavior by someone who knows better by laying that responsibility at the feet of the victim.

Yesterday I read the article outlining the quotes from Mr. Trump about how he can just grab a woman by her crotch and kiss her without asking because he's "a star," and that he had struck out with this married woman when the ink wasn't even dry on his marriage certificate to his new and improved wife. I am disgusted and horrified that two men had a conversation on camera about sexual assault, and it was something to laugh about, and they didn't see anything wrong with it. Today all of Trump's bootlickers are lining up to make excuses for his actions once again. It was so many years ago, he's changed. Oh? Please tell me about how he's changed. Because I saw his tweets about the former Miss Universe. He ranted for FOUR DAYS about her. Hillary doesn't even have to produce any campaign commercials because all she has to do is put a mic up to his tweets. I'm sorry, you just can't stamp this one with "At least he's not Hillary." I'm certainly not a fan of Mrs. Clinton, so don't misread me here. The presidential office of the United States has certainly been ground under the heel of many of those who have held it, but I honestly do not want to live in a country where Trump is allowed to ride roughshod over the Stars and Stripes. Again, I apologize for going all political, but an America under Trump is not safe for me or any other woman.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Block 5 Week 10-11: Get used to disappointment

This phrase always cracks me up. I use it ALL the time, especially with my kids. Most people wouldn't know it, but I used to be extremely hardcore about running around and arranging everything so it would be perfect. I would get really bent out of shape if things didn't turn out exactly the way I had planned. I don't know what happened, but somewhere along the way I just decided to do a complete 180 in that department. I really don't get flustered about much at all any more. I think it probably has to do with understanding that life is going to happen, and it's a lot easier to deal with if you just relax and take it as it comes.

It also probably has a lot to do with being married to the HB. The thing about HB is, he's kinda like a wizard when it comes to time...

... except, he usually is late, so he can be rather not like a wizard.

HB has been really good for me (and my blood pressure) though. I look back at birthday parties and holiday meals and things like that and remember me being absolutely bonkers about people coming to my house. And HB would go to get ice and come back 3 hours later with an inflatable bounce house, a case of popsicles, and some guy he found that was riding his bike across the country (and no ice). Every time we have a gathering at our house, he gets the urge to go pick up something from the store, and I remind him that I cannot bear welcoming guests in his absence, and could he please return before they start arriving, and he just waves his hand at me and laughs like I'm making it up. So this is usually me: 

And here's HB:

So somewhere along the way, I just gave in because I would get all stressed out and couldn't even enjoy having a good time with my guests. 

What does this have to do with medical school? I guess what I'm saying is sometimes I see people at school that get all worked up about stuff like exams and studying and whatever drama is going on. It reminds me of the many times in my life when I let all the drama get to me and I acted like a complete dork. 

There's a lot of pressure in school to compare yourself to other people, and to suddenly feel panicked that you aren't doing what everyone else is doing to be successful. So sometimes it feels like maybe I should be a little more -- I don't know -- psycho about my approach to being successful in school. Sometimes when I hear someone talking about an upcoming test, I think about whether I have done a sufficient amount of studying (stressing, worrying, obsessing) in order to do well. But then I remember what it feels like on the inside when you're about to just completely blow up and say a bunch of not-nice things. I don't like feeling like that, so I just have to decide to relax. Honestly, if it's the day before the exam and I really haven't prepared enough, it's way too late anyway, and staying up all night in a panic is not going to yield good results. 

I really do work hard to try to do well, and I like to see that hard work reflected in my grades. But sometimes there are just concepts that do not sink in very well for me, and then that's when I have to just decide to get used to disappointment. But that's the thing about chilling out. Eventually, you don't really feel disappointed, you just feel grateful.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Block 5 Week 9: They don't suck...

So I used to wait tables in a barbecue restaurant. That's a cool way to start a blog post, right? My kids were little, and it didn't really help much in the money department, but it gave me a few days a week where I could get out of the house. It was only open Thursday - Saturday, so I had a babysitter come take care of the kiddos, and I would spend those days waiting tables and dishing up barbecue. It was good food too!

The restaurant was a quaint little cabin situated on the main highway going through town, so we had quite a varied clientele. There were the regulars that were addicted to the pulled pork, ribs, and chicken and they would come in every week, as well as folks who happened to be driving by with their windows down only to be assaulted by the delicious smells wafting out of the chimney.

As with any restaurant, we had a huge lunch rush and a pretty steady dinner crowd, but between about 2 and 4pm, it was just EMPTY except for the few that came in to grab a big spread for tailgating or weekend parties. My fellow employees and I would sit at the tables waiting for business to pick up again, and we entertained ourselves with the newspaper, peeling potatoes, and gossip. This was before cell phones, sadly, so you couldn't sit there for hours on Facebook. Heck, it was even before Facebook. I had this little pocket PC thingy (any of you ancient folk remember those?) that I would play solitaire and snake on, and one of the other employees (Rick) would grab it sometimes and play for a while. He would get so irritated if he couldn't beat my high score, and boy when he beat me, he would dance all over the restaurant like he'd won a gold medal.

So there was also this place called Cowboy Bills where all the rednecks went on the weekend to drink beer and line dance or whatever is done in establishments like that. (Hang on, I'm going somewhere with this, guys.) Occasionally they would have some kind of special event that involved hanging flyers in places of business around town. So one Thursday afternoon, a gentleman came in the restaurant and asked if he could hang a flyer. The owner said it was OK, so he puts it up by the register. I took a look at it and saw that there was a band coming to play that weekend. So I turned to Rick and asked him if the band was any good. His reply, "Well... they don't SUCK." That answer made me laugh so very hard, and even now when I think about it, I get a huge kick out of it.

I actually did have a reason for bringing that story out of the archives, besides giving someone a snicker that might be reading. When I sat down to decide what to write about this week, I thought about how this block is going so far. I have about two more weeks left in the block, and usually about now I'm in panic mode because I'm sure I've screwed something up and am going to pay for it over block break. So far, I've managed to pass everything. So when I reflected on how I feel right now about medical school, all I could come up with was, "Well, I don't suck..."

So if you're ever in Milledgeville, GA and need something to eat (and it's Thursday - Saturday), hit up Paradise BBQ. It's the best ever.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Block 5 Week 7 (and 8 sorry): This is how we do it...

I'm a little slow getting started it seems. Or maybe things are just slowing down enough in real life so that I can stop juggling so hard and it's feeling a little easier. Either way, I'm seriously grateful to once again be able to focus on passing medical school without having to worry about if everyone is going to still be alive next week. It's amazing how I thought things were so hard starting off first year, and then life hit the fan and it got even worse. Now that things are relaxing, it kinda feels like I'm skating a little easier. If you've been reading my blog since the beginning, you might remember I compared medical school to being dragged behind an out of control 18-wheeler while wearing roller blades, except they were untied. I think I might have gotten one tied. But just one. As the dust settles, I've been able to look around and pick up some stuff that I dropped. I joined a few clubs in the beginning of first year, and pretty much couldn't make any of the meetings or events for a while there. Now I'm picking some of those back up and trying to be more involved.

Year two doesn't seem like it's any easier as far as content, especially since we are adding board study to our plate. But I have found that it's not as difficult as first year. Again, some of that may be that life has evened out, but I think we are building on a lot of stuff we learned last year, and it makes a little more sense at this point. It's hard to believe that we only have three weeks left in this block. This is our last block of anatomy lab, so we will be having a memorial service for the cadavers in a few weeks. I'm really excited for that, because it will be a way of saying thank you for the tremendous gift of education that we have received. I love the idea of celebrating the donors.

As things are winding down for block 5, I don't have the usual surge of nerves that comes with wrapping up different classes. I used to worry about having to remediate, and it really tied me in knots in the last few weeks of a block. I decided last block that I had no intention of riding that close to the rails going forward, and so far it has worked out well.

I don't want to sound like everything is going perfect, and I'm just so smart and all. Medical school has been a struggle, and finding a way to balance doing well and actually having a life at the same time has been a huge challenge. Balance is probably the hardest lesson to learn, and it can be rough when something comes out of left field and knocks you on your behind. It's nice to be able to function in balance, and you appreciate it all the more when you've lived out of balance for a long period of time. But I'm also really nervous to just take a big breath and relax in it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Block 5 Week 5 (and 6): Catheters and NG tubes -- Might wanna skip this one, grandma!

I haven't had a lot of time for blogging this block, and I do apologize. I'm trying this cool thing called studying more in order to increase my GPA. Also, it is mucho sports season with the kids. The boys are playing the foosball, and the daughter is playing volleyball. Well, until she did bad things to her knee. Stay tuned for diagnosis, I'm saying it looks like MCL damage. 

So the really cool thing I learned this week was how to insert a Foley catheter for a dude and a chick, and how to insert an NG tube. So while I was trying to stuff a rather bendy uncooperative tube into a dude's (manikin's) nose and into his stomach, he responded by flopping around on the table and trying to jump off. I thought he was very rude. Then I was presented with a pair of pelvises that needed a Foley catheter. The thing about these skills workshops is they make it VERY easy to do the thing they are trying to teach us. Like VERY easy. It's like those toddler toys like the giant plastic hammer or the huge stethoscope. The catheter tubing seemed incredibly large, and dude, that fella's urethra seriously allowed a complete view INTO his bladder. So if you miss, people are going to laugh at you. Like for real. Thankfully, I was able to quickly and efficiently accomplish what I came to do and get signed off. 

So the other thing I wanted to talk about is routine. One of the things that has helped me is getting into a groove. And by that I mean going to bed at a decent hour, getting up early enough to get out of the house, and leaving on time. I like to leave my house at 7am. Yes, it's ridiculous early, but I hate traffic, and I don't need to stomp into school with a bucket full of road rage. It doesn't make for a very good day. Test days are particularly nuts for me. I suffer from test anxiety, and one of the coping techniques I have for that is an established routine. If I'm not in my seat and breathing deeply at 7:30am, I feel really OFF. So the next thing I need to learn is not to be a complete jerk to the sunshine of my life: My HB. 

We are sharing a vehicle currently since he got laid off while he was recovering from pancreatitis and the subsequent splenectomy as a result (not bitter), and lost his company car. In the practical side of my mind, it is asinine to have a perfectly usable vehicle sitting in a parking lot when my man needs a ride. In the only-child-the-world-revolves-around-me-as-always-diva part of my mind, I want that vehicle at my beck and call. SO I try to listen to the practical side of my brain, although sometimes test anxiety wins out and I take it out on my lovely sweetheart.  The poor guy doesn't even get mad or argue or anything. Sometimes he even apologizes, which really makes me feel like a heel.

So my first reaction is to just decide that my need to have a routine is not valid. This isn't OK either, because it is how I cope with paralyzing test anxiety. It is a valid need that shouldn't be surrendered, and HB isn't even asking for that. It also takes the attention off the fact that I'm behaving like a Neanderthal. One of the hardest things for me is slowing down and being nice when there is conflict. No, I go all Cruella DeVille and... BRING ME THOSE PUPPIES!!!!

*Deep breath* OK I'm OK. What's really awesome is my HB has the perfect temperament, and doesn't engage my insanity and devolve into a snarl fest. He backs up and gives me some space, and when I curl up next to him later and apologize, he hugs me and forgives me and plays with my hair until I fall asleep like it never happened. I'm #blessed. F'real.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Block 5 Weeks 1-4: I think it's going well, it's going well, right? Anyone?

Please pardon my MIA-ness. Things in block 5 started out like Mario sliding on a banana peel, and haven't changed much since. I had every intention of getting on here and blogging about being a second year student and how that's going. Oh well. I was pretty much too busy being a second year student to get on here and blog about it. So let's catch up, shall we?

1. HB had a splenectomy on 7/20. He's recovering well, and starting to look like we might get back to normal. (Hello, universe? Not a dare, thanks.)
2. I had a little surgery over the summer break myself, and I've recovered from that just fine.
3. Block 5 has so far been about all the things that can go wrong with poo. It seems that one of the greatest illustrations of what's going on inside is what's coming outside from in there. I can't tell you how many times I've seen power point slides with different poo and why I shouldn't be seeing that in my patients. Ew. This gives me concerns about the upcoming reproductive block.

4. We have a bunch of folks crammed into our building now, and it's kinda cool! Now there is a whole crop of first years that are filling up our old lecture hall. We got to break in BOTH lecture halls, which is pretty neat. And yep, we had the whole fight for your seat drama the first week of class again. I ended up in almost the same spot as I was in last year, because apparently it's not prime real estate. I know some people got ousted from where they wanted to go, though.
5. Also, my son Micah is in the new class! A lot of people ask me if it's weird that my son is in medical school too. So far it hasn't been very odd at all. Our schedules are offset, so we don't get to cross paths very much. I like being able to share resources with him as he needs them. My disarticulated skeleton is getting some mileage again since he's learning the bones in anatomy. I have a bunch of books that I've bought as we've gone along that have been helpful. But he seems to have found his feet just fine.
6. It seems like second year is just more of the same as first year so far. Go to class, study, take exams, lather, rinse, repeat. This will be our last block in the anatomy lab, so we will be saying goodbye to our cadavers after this block. We are planning a memorial ceremony to acknowledge the donors and say our farewells. I'm really looking forward to being done with anatomy and the ceremony itself. I have learned a ton in the lab, and I don't think it would be the same using a computer program instead.

Well, I guess that's pretty much everything that's going on with me lately. I'll try to keep things caught up a little better going forward. Until next week!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Break 2016: Or, the biggest misnomer of all time...

Sorry for being MIA for the last few weeks. I've been a busy girl. After finishing up block 4, I had to have a cholecystectomy, yay! So on July 4, I didn't get to see any fireworks, I got to have surgery. But it worked out to be timed perfectly for me to bounce back in time for block 5. Which started on July 18. No, I did not stutter. We got two weeks of summer. Yeah this salt ain't from the beach, fam. So there really ain't much to talk about as far as summer goes.

Some of you remember me talking about my HB being ill back in March with pancreatitis. He ended up having to have a splenectomy this last week because the pancreatic pseudocyst that was so very huge occluded his splenic vein, which basically murdered his spleen. So we've been plugging along for like four months hoping it would reduce, but it didn't. So he kicked it out. Hopefully all his other internal organs will get the message and behave themselves. He's got kind of a huge recovery ahead of him, what with the giant incision going down his tummy. I'm super proud of him, though. He's taken it all in stride and he's very positive about recovery. I didn't lose it, much.

So we are about to head back to class. The first week of class is off-campus, thankfully. We have a week of SDLs (student directed learning) that we can do anywhere. Then we have to be on-campus officially on the 25th. It doesn't really feel much different than the regular one-week block break we have had all year. Maybe next summer we'll have a little more time.

So I know this is pretty short, but honestly I think I was unconscious for a large part of my summer due to the surgery. Hopefully I'll have more to say as the block starts. Until then!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Block 4 Week 11: That'll do pig, that'll do.

It's probably a little bit presumptuous to start writing my final blog post for my first year of medical school two whole days before it is actually over. But I'm sitting here in lockdown before our anatomy practical, and I have no electronic devices to keep me entertained. So I thought I'd at least get started. We take practicals in sections because our lab can't hold that many students at once in a testing environment. So to keep anyone from sharing information, they quarantine us in the building with no devices until everyone has finished. It's a bit of a drag because although it's a great time to study, everyone is super noisy and it's impossible to concentrate. Also, all of my study materials are electronic, so I can either try to take a nap or write. So here I am, scribbling in a notebook instead of typing on my computer. Handwriting blogs would never take off, I assure you.

This week has been full of exams and studying and waiting on grades. I've gotten some good news in the grades department for the most part, but I'm still chewing my nails over a few hanging out there. I also got to participate in a group simulation with the manikin. Now, manikins are a little freaky. They can breathe, blink, sweat, vomit, etc. They can exhibit just about any kind of symptoms you can think of. We even have a pregnant one. I was a little nervous about the experience beforehand, but it really turned out to be quite fun. I had a great time working with the team, and learning a little more about running my own team when it was my turn. It's a little scary being in charge.

So here I am sitting at home in bed after the last final. It's so weird thinking about the first year of medical school being completed. If they all go this quickly, I will need to cut down on the blinking. I'm so happy to be getting a little break before we start back with second year. It's not a huge one, though. I can't imagine a period of time I'd think would be long enough at this point. So my plan is to get some sleep, hang out with the fam, and catch up on some Netflix. We'll see how that goes. I'm not sure if I'll post weekly during the break, but I guess if anything happens worth blogging about, you'll see a post or two. Looks like I passed everything (even made some A's!) except for that one class (cell bio) that I will have to remediate. I started out the block a little rough, but I managed to pull everything out except that one. Hopefully it won't be too painful. I'm sure I'll whine about it plenty. Anyway, you're looking at a brand new second year student! YAY! Until next time...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Block 4 Week 10: I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful

Oh Bob. I actually love how this blog has turned into a sort of side dish of movie recommendations along with my musings about medical school. So if you ever want to see me laugh so hard I wet my pants, be sure to watch What About Bob? with me. Bill Murray can make me laugh when no one else can. His scene in Zombieland is quite epic as well, so add that one to your list. I think the made-for-TV version might be a safer pick, though. I hear the movie version has some questionable material, if that offends...

I posted on my Facebook page yesterday about something, and then a conversation ensued, and I thought I'd talk about it a little here. I posted a quote from a guy on tumblr that really did resonate with me. He was talking about when people get sick (such as a cancer diagnosis), and they say things about how God allowed it, or is working some kind of end result in them, or something of the like. I don't have a problem with people saying or believing that, especially if it brings some amount of comfort for them. I guess what bothers me about it is saying that somehow God caused it to happen, or allowed it because of something in their lives. Without getting too deep into what I believe in that regard, I don't believe God sends you cancer because you messed up. I do believe that there are certain conditions where some disease processes are more likely to be seen as a result of behavior and possibly even attitudes. I don't have any scientific evidence, however, so I keep that kind of stuff to myself for the most part. But often in answer to people who ask how could God allow such and such to occur, I can only say I can't imagine going through that without being able to lean on God and the church. I don't look at God as some kind of cruel taskmaster, but when bad things happen, I see Him and the church as a source of comfort and help. I wonder how people who don't have that in their lives manage to cope, because it's a huge source for me.

However, a conversation resulted that was very interesting to me. It seems a lot of people believe that communicating how you are truly feeling and how a situation is affecting you can sound like a lack of faith, and people will correct you on saying anything negative. Thankfully, you can see those kinds of people coming, and keep your communication with them strictly surface-only. How are you doing? How is HB doing? Me: Improving every day, thanks!

Of course, there are also the people who want to know EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of his condition, and I like to reserve that kind of information in case he doesn't want everyone to know it. Sometimes I would like to make something crazy up just so they get an idea of how much they are intruding. I don't, but I do tell my family what jumped in my head so they can get a good laugh out of it. I have to be careful though, the last time I did that, HB almost fell off his chair and ruptured his spleen. (LOL!)

So just like Bob up there walking around with a bunch of problems -- whether they be crazy phobias as in his case, or the worries of HB's health and upcoming surgery -- just chanting to yourself that you are OK is just not going to fix anything. I'm definitely all about being positive, because it just *feels* better. But don't feel guilt if you are in the middle of something SUPER heavy, and you just can't smile and wave and pretend to be OK. You don't owe comfort to anyone else when you are carrying such a heavy weight. Don't be afraid to lean on God and those around you until you can stand on your own. Take care of yourselves, k?