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.