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?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Block 4 Week 9: I have great insight. I'd use it on myself only I don't have any problems.

Well if you don't read this blog to keep up with what is going on with me at medical school, but only for movie recommendations, you should have enough for a marathon about now. This week I'm quoting Music and Lyrics. It has Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, and it's quite hilarious. You should definitely check it out. I've just sat here for about a minute watching that gif up there and singing "Pop Goes My Heart" through a few times. Yeah, good movie.

Anyway, so this week. Well, let's see. I passed a couple of exams. We had our OMM practical, which actually was fun. I still haven't heard back about the Cell Bio exam from last Friday. I'm kind of just numb about that now. I guess that's the feeling that shows up after pins and needles, right? Yeah. I was kind of in a funk about the upcoming three weeks of school because they shove so much stuff in there and I feel like I'm in a tizzy just trying to keep up. But somewhere along the way I decided to try to enjoy it as much as possible. I don't usually love the OMM practical, the standardized patient, or any of those extra unpredictable things that show up around now. I don't know why I have a stinky attitude about it. It probably has to do with the utter lack of control I have over the situation. I rather like to be in the driver's seat. It's very unpredictable. But the OMM practical was actually fun, so I've decided to greet the rest of the block with a better mindset.

Update on HB: He's had to have a lot of tests run lately to check on how his insides are recovering from pancreatitis, and apparently the news was not great. We've bounced back and forth about whether his spleen gets to stay or has to go. It has finally been decided it has to go, along with his gallbladder. He had some irregularities on the last scan, so the surgeon told us it was his opinion that surgery was the best option for him. We are both kinda tired of going back and forth on it. While he is starting to have more good days, the bad days are still pretty bad, so we've decided to jump on the surgery train. He will be having it on July 20, so please be thinking about him and remembering him in your prayers if you can. I am hopeful that he will be back to normal reasonably soon. 

There are only two more weeks left in block 4, and our first year of medical school. It's so weird that it has almost been a full year. In just a few weeks, we'll be back on campus as the second years, and then the first years will be starting. It will be really weird having two classes on campus. It seems crowded sometimes with just the 150+ in my class. I can't imagine what it will be like with 300+. I suppose we'll manage. With as fast as the first year flew by, I feel like I am justified in feeling a little panicky about boards coming up. We will be doing Step 1 at the end of our second year. *YIKES* Sometimes it feels like this drags on and on, and then I look back at how it actually flew by rather quickly. It's pretty weird. I remember the first exam that I did really poorly on, I was sure they were going to kick me out of the program that very day. Now that I have the perspective of bombing a few more, I know that there is a lot of support in place to help get me back on track if I need it. 

I'm a little afraid to say that I'm looking forward to the upcoming break, because I'm pretty sure I will be spending part of it remediating cell bio. But if that's the case, I'll work my heinie off and get it right and be ready to tackle Block 5. But there will probably be a little whining. Because summer.

Til next week! Ciao!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Block 4 Week 8: Hurry Up and Wait

Waiting. I don't much like it. I don't know of anyone who does, really. Well, except for Annie. She doesn't seem to mind it much. Who's Annie? Oh she's just my seat mate, that's it. Nothing else special, really. And I say it like that because it's not true. If everyone really knew how much I absolutely love Annie, they would think I was a little creepy, and I probably wouldn't get to sit by her any more. So I keep my undying affection on the DL so I can sit in the periphery and just adore her. But the thing about Annie is she doesn't check her grades. Ever. I'm sitting here dying inside a little more every second because I'm waiting for them to tell me whether I passed the last cell bio exam because that will determine whether I get a break for the summer. But Annie? She's cool as it gets, she never checks whether she passes an exam or not. She has no idea what her GPA is, and she doesn't care. She also naps an awful lot. I think she might be the smartest person in the class, and she can just coast through like it's nothing. But it doesn't make me hate her, no. She's too awesome and fabulous and gorgeous for that. Also I hope she never reads my blog. Chelsea, don't tell her, k?

Anyway, back to waiting. I'm waiting on a lot of things, and it makes me fidgety and a little distracted. I know things tend to work out, and everyone tells me to stop worrying and that everything always works out and that I'm worrying for nothing. Really.

 But I have this thing called experience. Like that time I went to the DMV for like four days in a row because I thought I had everything on the list so I could transfer my license from one state to another, but every time I came in, they asked for another piece of paper that wasn't listed on their website. So I'd have to go home and find whatever it was and bring it back the next day only to find out there was something else they needed. Apparently they aren't satisfied until you have a certified document signed by your elementary school principal and another document from your physician verifying the loss of your wisdom teeth before they will allow you to stand in line for the next 8 days to get your license. Don't get me started on verifying my hat size. But I say all that because things don't ALWAYS work out. Sometimes you do everything you know to do, and you might be very smart, and you work really hard and you still fail. These things have happened to me, and that's the thoughts that are jumping up and down in the back of my mind while everyone is assuring me I'm worrying for nothing. Because sometimes when I don't worry enough, things get messed up. So now I worry because I'm not worrying enough.

So the key is to translate all that worrying energy into something productive. Because you can. Worry can be paralyzing and a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I'm worried that I am going to fail, it keeps me from focusing on the thing I need to do NOT to fail. Studying. Sometimes I think I use worrying as an escape from studying. Stupid, right? I'll be sitting there with my notes and my computer and the words in front of me jumble together and mock me because I'm sitting there worrying about whether I can learn all the things. Well that sounds really stupid when I type it up and re-read it. Because it is. But it's what I do. So I try to get myself back in the present instead of worrying about the future. Being mindful of the present can break the cycle of worrying. I take a few deep breaths, and I acknowledge my concern, but I don't let it derail my progress. I make a list of the things I need to do in order to get the results I need. I even outline the things that I'm having difficulty understanding, because my natural tendency is to study all the things I know instead of focusing on the things I need to learn. Again, it sounds dumb, but it's pretty normal to avoid information that makes you uncomfortable because you don't understand it. Someone once told me that it is a good thing to get in the practice of holding your nose and enduring whatever difficult thing is in front of you, because life hands you that quite regularly (especially in medical school). I really appreciate that advice. Someone else also told me that time spent worrying is wasted time, and you should just decide to be happy. I think being happy expands your ability to learn.

I also know that it can be really hard to just decide to be happy. Sometimes the chemicals running through our heads can counteract the ability to be happy. That is different than just worrying, and it requires a little more help than we can give ourselves. That's also perfectly OK. If you've read this blog at all, you know I am the biggest advocate of raising your hand and saying I'm not OK. Please do that if you have done everything you can do, and you are still under it.

So I've blathered on about worrying and patience and all the things jumping around in my head. I hope that something I've said has helped, because that's pretty much why I sit here and write all this stuff down. I hope that all of the heavy stuff that I've been through somehow prepares someone gearing up to go through something like this, or someone who is feeling like giving up. Or maybe it's a cautionary tale for someone who really doesn't want to do it after all. The most important thing is to get through this process somewhat whole, and try to have fun while you're doing it. Until next week!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Block 4 Week 7: We have already succeeded.

Buttercup: We'll never succeed. We may as well die here.
Westley: No, no. We have already succeeded. I mean, what are the three terrors of the Fire Swamp? One, the flame spurt - no problem. There's a popping sound preceding each; we can avoid that. Two, the lightning sand, which you were clever enough to discover what that looks like, so in the future we can avoid that too.
Buttercup: Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.'s?
Westley: Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.

I felt like the gif needed some dialogue to go with. If you didn't realize by now, The Princess Bride is one of my very favorite movies. TPB has definitely some of the best movie lines ever to be written (and quoted). I can always throw out a line from this movie that is relevant to whatever is going on at the moment.

Medical school is rather like the fire swamp. As you go through, you find the potholes and learn how to get around them. Of course, there is always an ROUS lurking somewhere to jump out and bite you in the butt. You can't avoid them, you just learn to deal with them. And your technique gets better as you go through. There have been several instances during this first year where I really thought it had beaten me. But somehow it tends to work itself out. I used to think stressing about it and losing sleep had something to do with that, but now I know that it just makes it that much harder. I have found that it's very easy to get caught up in whatever exam or skill or lab is looming on the horizon and forget the big picture. Every test I pass or skill I check off is one step closer to being a doctor, which is kind of scary when you think of it. I think about how many more exams are between me and the big goal. At first it seems like a lot. But then I think, is that enough to make me a good doctor? I sure hope so.

This week has been quite a ride. I had an exam on Friday that I absolutely had to get a certain grade on. See, the first two exams have not gone well for me, and I was afraid I might not pass the class. I worked my tail off all week, and I was really worried that I might not be able to pull it off. Thankfully, I did well on the exam, and I actually made a couple of points higher than I had to. We have one more exam in this class, and I'm hoping I'll be able to keep the momentum going. I also proved to myself that I could do better if I worked a lot harder. I don't mind working hard, it's just sometimes the balance between studying and all the other things going on can get skewed. It's one of those things you just have to keep adjusting in order to keep it all balanced.

So we took the kids camping on Friday night. We didn't even have a tent. We bought these hammocks on Woot that have the mosquito netting, and decided it would be fun to try them out this weekend. I rather felt like a giant burrito on a string for whatever wild creature happened upon us, but thankfully we survived the night with no attacks. John took the kids swimming and fishing on Saturday, while I came home and zonked out for a few hours. I was supposed to be studying, but hanging in a bag in a tree thinking about bears all night makes a girl powerful sleepy. So I'm catching up today on some reading and stuff before the week gets going again. Four more weeks left in this block! Can you believe first year is almost DONE?!?! YAY!