Monday, January 28, 2008

overcoming obstacles...

yay! i passed biochemistry! the final grades were posted today, and i am so happy to say that biochemistry and i will never have to be on that level together ever again. i'm just so relieved to have that and gross anatomy behind me, since those were the 2 exact classes that were giving me so many issues last year. i'm doing well in everything else, and if things go as planned, i'll be walking out of school in may as an M2-to-be!

in physiology and histology we are learning about the kidneys. the kidneys are not speaking out to me as beautifully as the cardiovascular system. i have no desires to be a nephrologist, and i don't think you could pay me enough to deal with that either. next up is the endocrine system...maybe that will be a little more interesting to me.

the state of the union address is playing in the background. i'm not personally watching it...i'd just rather hear the commentaries tomorrow. it's like, let me say a sentence then everyone clap, another sentence, clap, phrase, clap, blah! i can't handle it!

also, my school schedule is so NICE now. having class from 10-12 most days of the week is so great. i'm going to be sad when the pace picks up a little more in a month or so.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


this morning i had a physiology test which went ok. hopefully no worries there. my friend A and i went to a local nursing home today after lunch to visit our assigned "patient". this is my school's attempt to get us young'ins talking to real live people in a doctor-esque setting. we have assigned questions to ask (or assigned information to get, rather) for each session that we have, and we also have to wear our short white coats. i must admit, it felt a little odd wearing that thing today, mostly because i was wearing a sweater underneath and i got really hot. alas, i must get used to it. after that i went to the gym and went to the bookstore and drank a latte while reading a magazine for free. then i hung out with A some more and ate dinner with H and now i am RELAXING ON MY COUCH WHILE BROWSING THE INTERNET. can you believe it?

also, i figured out why i was so bothered by the pig lab. the pigs died in vain, well, at least to me. if we had used the meat of the pigs after doing all that stuff to them, it would have been ok to me. still weird, but at least the pigs were still useful to the very end. from what i can gather the pigs were just cremated, but it's just so sad because they could have fed a lot of people.

oh, and a funny story. our nursing home patient just LOVED my hair and i let her touch it a few times and she was just so tickled about it. she also seemed quite shocked that it was "real hair". (let it be known that my hair is completely NATURAL and ALL MINE. i grew it myself!) she also kept asking me if i "had some indian in me", but i'm not sure what she meant by that. A thought it was impressive that she asked me that question 6 times, and i gave her a different answer every time. hey, she liked my hair. what could i do other than humor her? hee hee!

Friday, January 18, 2008

once upon a pig...

today was my group's turn to participate in the arterial physiology lab, a.k.a. "pig lab". they're anesthetized, treated kindly, tons of veterinarians in the room, etc etc, so there was no worry of inhumane treatment or anything. going into the lab, i was excited because we'd be working with living tissue, learning how to cardiac massage and defibrillate a heart, and picking up some suturing skills. however, going into the lab room, i realized that i didn't have any idea of how it was going to be.

ok, let me interject here and say that though i do love animals, the idea of doing an animal lab never crossed my mind as being "gross" or whatever. also, i do have a "discomfort" of things that are blood, but i had been mentally preparing myself, etc, so i was expecting the best case scenario.

we get to our pig, and it's really cute. i had envisioned this big stinky ugly hog, but this was a cute pink pig with only a little piggy smell. nevertheless, i was still excited to "dig in". i made one of the skin incisions for the femoral artery access and helped dissect through the pectineus muscle. my group was working very nicely together, so that made it all the more pleasant. i was feeling fine at this point.

we get to the "experiment" part, and it's basically studying the effects of injecting various medicines (like adrenaline) used during "code" situations. (a code is where the patient's heart has stopped and you have to "bring him/her back to life".) but seeing how all those drugs worked on the pig, i just got so sad. when we would increase the heart rate, you could put your hand on the chest and just feel the heart POUNDING in there. it wasn't inhumane, since the drugs' effects wear off VERY quickly and they were really knocked out, but it just made me feel bad on some deep level.

finally we got to crack the chest open and see the lungs and heart at work. i didn't want to really touch anything, but i did the cardiac massage and defibrillation because today may be the ONLY time in my medical career that i do something like that. now i can mark that off my list, i suppose. and whenever i did the defibrillation, the pig jumped a little (because of the electric shock) and i jumped a little too (since i'm extremely skittish). evidently that was really cute and everyone laughed at me, alas. i was just trying really hard not to pee on myself, since there was a BEATING HEART like RIGHT THERE, BLOOD ON MY GLOVES, and here i was holding these ELECTRICAL SHOCK PADDLES paranoid that i would SHOCK MYSELF!

so the important things that i gathered from this experience are:
  1. it's very important to know how the drugs you give a patient are going to act, and they may not act in the way that you think they are.
  2. incisions don't bleed as much as you think they would.
  3. touching a beating heart is really weird, and i do NOT recommend it for people like me.
  4. i didn't enjoy the lab like i thought i would, in fact i'd rather not go through that experience ever again. (however, i really appreciated the valuable learning experience. like i said, some of the things i got to do, this could be my only time to do them. a catch-22, perhaps.)
  5. i highly doubt that i will become a surgeon.
who knows, maybe i'll change my mind about things, but all i know is that i could not wait to get out of there today, but there were a good number of people still hanging out learning how to suture and studying the pig anatomy, etc. it's so weird...i really enjoyed gross lab, but learning things on a living creature really just freaked me out in a way. however, all is not lost.

oh, and earlier this week i shadowed a pediatric medical geneticist (pediatrician with a fellowship in med gen) and i LOVED IT. so there is hope for me in finding a career! once i get a few more shadowing sessions in i'll write my opinions about it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

gross board, morgue, and eating healthy!

so we got back our gross board scores, and it's nice to know that i did above the national average. i'm quite pleased with myself, even if my final class average is only marginally above passing, that i was able to do better than half the nation of medical students taking the board. i guess i was able to learn something by the end of it all! and that i'm surrounded by incredibly smart people too...

tomorrow we are getting our final developmental anatomy grades. i hope i end up in the B range, just so i can say that i have a B. a B would be nice. actually, just to be "class average", now that would be fantastic! but you know what they say, C = MD, and i'm just fine with that as well. upward trends, that's what i'm aiming for in the long run.

i also got to meet the morgue coordinator at my school because i want to see an autopsy or two. yes, i am interested in pathology, and i think if i still think it's cool after participating in an autopsy, then maybe it really WILL be a valid career option. granted, a weird option, but a good job nonetheless.

this thursday i'm shadowing the genetics folks. i think that is really interesting too, and so therefore it will be good to watch them at their job.

oh, and today in class we talked about fat people and myocardial infarctions, etc. a mostly direct quote from my professor giving advice about healthy diets:

"go to your local picadilly, go to the fattest guy there, look at what's on his plate and don't eat that. it's going to be meat, buttered rolls, and the only green is going to be the dollar bills that he used to pay for his food."

ha, that actually sounds like good solid advice to me!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mission: Biochem Board

your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to study continuously for this entire weekend for the upcoming biochemistry board exam.

your mission dossier includes the following:
  • board review series biochemistry review book
  • rapid review series biochemistry review book
  • yellow legal pad o' paper
  • multi-colored pens
  • debit card for multiple caffeine purchases
you are to read the above review books and answer as many questions as you can in preparation for the board exam to be held monday morning at 8:00 am.

you may be tempted to not study. the only acceptable non-study activities include the following:
  • exercise at the local Y not to exceed 1 hour on each day
  • eating meals that don't involve 1 hour waits for tables
  • bathroom breaks
  • showers
the following activities are NOT acceptable:
  • going to local bar for a drink
  • perusing the internet
  • blogging (after this post)
  • daydreaming
do you accept this mission?

_x_ yes
___ no

this message will not self destruct in 10 seconds...

Monday, January 07, 2008

ekg, anyone?

about time for some updates...

since getting back into school, we've been learning how to read ekg's in physiology. that is some cool stuff right there. well, being of the engineering persuasion (hello b.s. in chemical engineering anyone?), i really enjoy looking at graph-like things and also being able to use math equations to figure out stuff like heart rate, ejection rate, and the like. ok, they are silly little algebra exercises, but fun, nonetheless. it's really cool to know that now i can look at an ekg and tell you what is going on with that person. from right/left shifts, arrhythmias, infarctions, various hypertrophies and fibrillations, etc, i feel kinda like i'm learning how to be a doctor now. it feels good, real good.

also we have this patient simulator program that is really cool. you can do all sorts of things to your "patient" and also load various patients in and make them do stuff. the default patient is named Mr. Norm. today i tried to make Mr. Norm die, just to be a little sadistic. (it's not my fault! my friend JR made his Mr. Norm die a bazillion times, so i was jealous!) well, i made Mr. N run on a treadmill at a rate of 6 mph, then i gave him some anesthesia and told him to run some more. he told me "i feel confused". so i gave him some electric shocks to wake him up, as well as some other sort of stimulant. he then said "i can't talk vewy bell". so then i made him run some more, and then added some other various chemicals and treatments, and then ultimately he just convulsed. he convulsed a lot, and then after a while he wouldn't do anything else but convulse, and the autopsy report said "mostly dead". so in the end i just brain-deaded Mr. Norm, and he convulsed on in a coma whenever i did something to him. meanwhile, JR was making his Mr. Norms die all over the place. he later told me he was giving his Mr. N 90% heart blockages and full fat 5000 cal/day diets while making him do all sorts of horrible things. (oh, and the program really does "tell" you things, like "the patient might be dead!".)

also, i know i have officially passed gross and developmental anatomies!!! we got word today that the whole class passed the national board exam, and our class average was 2/3 standard deviation above the national average, which is quite nice. so that is quite exciting indeed! since i was passing both classes before the board, and then knowing that everyone passed the board, then i can only logically conclude that i passed those classes just fine!!! yay!

i have biochem board on monday, blah! oh well, it's about time for that class to be over anyway. no worries though, i've been studying for it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

happy new year!

happy new year people...hope your last nights were all safe and peachy-keen...

i celebrated the end of 2007 by making my first batch of homebrew beer with H and stinking up my apartment. it smells bad still a little bit today. hope it won't stay like that for the next 2 weeks. so in a few weeks you should maybe start looking for a beer blog to pop up or something...

i also hung out with some friends and drank some super dry champagne. bleech!

today i'm sitting around wondering what to do to start off the new year. so far i've had coffee, pita bread with cheese on it, and i'm still hungry. (duh!) oh, and i ended up sleeping till 11:30?!!!?!!?!! how the heck am i supposed to wake up at 6:00 am for 8:00 class tomorrow? so after this post, i'm thinking a shower is in order, then some kitchen clean up (that's a big MAYBE though), then food. oh wait, my phone rang, and now i'm going on a bike ride with H soon.

have a great day peoples, and i'm going to eat some more cheesy bread since i'm too lazy to cook anything fast and stuff like that...