Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Block 7 Week 6: Strange things are afoot at the Circle K

Not really, I just love that quote from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. I have to say that second to The Princess Bride, Bill and Ted is one of the most quotable movies of my teen years, maybe ever. I am an unabashed aficionado of dumb movies, and Bill and Ted is one of my favorites. I think I learned more history from this movie than during all of my high school years. Shhhhh... I know. 

I guess you could say that strange things ARE afoot, though. Now that we are nearing the end of our two years of desk travail, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. I'm trying to fit in board studying, regular studying, life, exercise, family, church, and all of the usual things we have to juggle. I've had some difficulty with the board study, though. Honestly at 8pm I'm falling in the bed like it's midnight. Yes, I'm taking my vitamins. I just feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, and even if there were, the last four or so just aren't good for studying. My brain hurts!

So what's new in week 6? Not much, just more of the usual. We had a huge push of Clinical Medicine Psychology this week, and I am reeling with all of the possible mood disorders and psychotic diagnoses that are out there. We had our exam this morning, and I think I did OK. I know there are several students in my class that have been excited for getting to this subject finally, and I'm glad they are having a good time. I think I hit my peak in OB/GYN. 

I'm starting to get really excited about moving back home for clinicals. I love my house and my neighborhood and the idea of getting my chickens back! I will miss the proximity to town, however. It's nice to be able to hop in my car and get to Kroger in five minutes or less. My kids have really gotten used to being close to town, and they can get to their various sports practices quite easily where we are. So there's definitely pros and cons regarding the move, but I really think the pros (CHICKENS!!!) very much outweigh the cons (NO CHICKENS!!). Yes, I based my entire decision on the ability to keep chickens.

But seriously, we all have our coping mechanisms. My son (first year med student) bakes. How he bakes! Breads, cookies, you name it! I can always tell when school is getting heavy, because the house fills with yummy carb scents. I'm not doing as well with coping, because I tend to drown myself in online shopping. (Have ya seen my leggings collection? OMG!) But one of the things that really keeps me from floating away into panicky feelings is chickens. Before medical school, I had 15 fluffy feathery friends that ran free in my back yard. They were quirky and sassy, and just sitting in the backyard watching them seemed to drain all stress right out of me. Also, EGGS! The fresh eggs were definitely a plus. I'm currently replacing my chicken angst with a lizard. He's pretty much just a naked chicken. Here's a shot of Muerte:

But he doesn't lay eggs. I'd rather he didn't, actually. But it's really fun to let him run around the house, and watch him eat superworms. He gets excited about worms and crickets, y'all. REALLY excited! So he's my indoor pseudo-chicken. If I could put a vest on him and call him my service animal, I would take him to school every day. 

Speaking of service animals, we have a service dog that visits our school on mornings that we have exams. His name is Hodges, and he's a sweetie. He pretty much just wants to play tug-of-war with his toy, but I love seeing him on test days. One of the students in our class is conducting a study about interacting with Hodges and possible reductions in stress before exams. I'm not sure if I feel any differently about my exam after visiting with Hodges. But it's nice to play tug-of-war with him anyway. 

I guess that's all for this week. Stay tuned next week for post-mortem after our OMM final and practical.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Block 7 Weeks 4-5: Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads...

So the big news dropped on Friday; our assignments for third and fourth year, that is. I was very pleased to get my first choice, and I'm even more excited that we get to move back HOME! While I have loved my time here, and I love the house we currently live in, I am so excited to get back to MY house. I miss my yard, and my neighborhood, and CHICKENS!

Pretty much the biggest news going on right now outside of clinical rotation assignments is BOARD EXAMS. Yeah, we have to pass the big Step 1 before we are allowed to do our rotations. Everyone is carrying their well-thumbed copies of First Aid everywhere they go, and you can see people scribbling notes in them all the time. I have a really cool schedule for board study, and sometimes I even stick to it. Next block is 24/7 boards boards boards. *sigh*

I kinda hit a wall this morning right after my pharmacology exam. I was getting in my car, and saying bye to a classmate. I caught myself saying, "Enjoy the rest of your day, I'm going home, and then I'll be back tomorrow to DO. THE. SAME. THING. ALL. OVER. AGAIN." This medical school thing ain't easy guys. You kinda get used to it, but sometimes you stop and ponder the lather, rinse, repeat-ness of it, and it gets OLD. We sit in lecture all day, we go home and eat something, then we study study study. Sleep, get up, repeat. I'll just say I'm super looking forward to clinicals next year. The monotony is wearing me out.

Speaking of worn out, that's my middle name! By about 8 at night, I am so absolutely pooped. I feel like I've aged a hundred years since school started. After attending class, trying to get in some exercise, and studying (if I can stay awake long enough), my energy is gone. I think maybe I need to up my vitamin dosage or something. I'm feeling kinda like this guy: 

Anyway, I guess that's all that's going on with me right now. Hopefully next week I'll be more interesting, right now though, I'm going to bed. Good night!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Block 7 Week 3: Five by Five

Ah yes. We couldn't have a blog without a little Buffy, right? I never could quite figure out what Faith was referencing exactly when she said she was five by five. I guess it was her way of saying everything's OK. Or maybe not. She wasn't exactly OK, was she? I kinda get her though. I find myself saying I'm OK a lot of time when I'm not exactly sure that I am. I'll think I'm OK, and then I'll have a mini panic attack while I'm trying to nail down a pathway or cascade in cell bio. Yeah, we have our cell bio final tomorrow, and this is not my best subject. So my brain will start cramping and then I panic because I don't want to remediate cell bio. We always jump to the worst conclusions don't we?

We are trucking along here in block 7 now. We only have one more block left in our pre-clinical education. Then it's time for boards and clinical rotations. This block includes hematology, dermatology, and lymphatics. People will come up to me sometimes and ask if I'm almost done with medical school. Haha, no. But it has gone very quickly, especially second year. First year seemed to drag out indefinitely. Then this year started, and ZOOM! I feel like I've learned a ton, but then someone will ask me a question about a condition, and suddenly I'm like, oh. We haven't really learned that yet. Or worse, we will have learned about it, but maybe not the particular aspect they are wanting to know about. For most illnesses, we get clinical presentation, a little info on any kind of genetic goof-up if applicable, and drugs that treat it and their mechanism of action.  If it's a bacterial infection, I should be able to tell you if the bug is gram negative or positive (in theory), which really doesn't tell you much about the disease course or what you can expect. It does help with the kind of medication that might wipe it out though. I'm hoping that kind of info will be more clear in clinical rotations. 

Sometimes it seems like medical school is asking a little more out of me than I want to give up. Especially when something fun is going on, and I have to once again bow out and go study. Like right at this moment, my family is at my house eating nachos and chicken wings and watching the Super Bowl. Now, I'd rather eat crickets than watch a football game on TV, but I love a good excuse to get family together and eat junk food and hang out. But here I am studying for my exam tomorrow and feeling a little meh about it. I try to comfort myself with the fact that it will be over and I will be a real doctor, but that seems really far off from here.

Yeah I will deal with it, thanks. A really awesome lady told me one time that a lot of medical school involves holding my nose and getting through stuff I don't like. I think that was her reasoning for enduring organic chemistry in undergrad. So here I am holding my nose. But it's not all bad. We get to do some really cool stuff. Every Friday, we have early clinical experiences, and a lot of those have turned out to be really cool. Last week, I was assigned to shadow at a local EMS station. So I went to a firehouse and waited for them to get a call. Unfortunately, they didn't get any calls while I was scheduled. Or probably fortunately for the community. I never quite know how to feel about when I don't get to observe something because I know it means that nothing bad happened on my shift. Does that make me a bad person? I'm just sitting there on their couch like, I'm ready!

So I guess I need to get back to studying for that exam. I'd rather sit here and blog and do just about anything else, but in the morning I'll be sitting at my seat wondering why I wasted so much time. Tomorrow after my exam is over, I'm going to take a huge nap and maybe make some leftover nachos and watch some TV. That is, if I can remember how to operate the microwave...