Jan 31, 2007

Ode to Joie

Bwa ha ha ha.

I'm understanding biochem!!

After a wildly engrossing two hours of histo I managed to stay awake for (barely), it was biochem time, moving into enzyme kinetics and I was *so* lost, despite having a really good lecturer, and since the lecture slides are directly handed to us, I resolved to spend the second hour trying desperately to learn the fundamentals so that lecture might actually be useful rather than going DIRECTLY over my head.

So after about two hours of reading Lippencott and the lecture notes, I was getting a hazy vision of the big picture, but still feeling well behind. There was a knock at the door and who should be there but Joie, who hadn't seen me in lecture and was likely making sure I hadn't hanged myself from the clock tower in Bourne Hall.

Since my roommate was asleep, she stood at the door explaining biochem concepts to me and surprising me by releasing dormant biochem inside my head. Imagine my surprise when I knew the relationship between steroids and cholesterol. Where'd that come from and what else is occupying the dark rarely-seen areas of my brain other than circa 1991 Paula Abdul lyrics (Rush rush, ooh baby...)?

So she clarified the pathways of insulin and glycogon, which had been *heavily* discussed in lecture, and which I had completely not understood, and now I do! Hooray! So in about a half hour, she saved me approximately 4 hours of studying, at least, and a lot of frustration. Hence the title of the post.

What else? We're starting a series in anatomy where they punctuate general anatomy and embryology lectures with something called "Living Anatomy" where they give clinical correlations to the areas that we're studying which is actually pretty cool. Specifically cool was the "Hangman's Fracture", which, due to a low incidence of hangings is now the primary cause of death for traumatic hyperextension due to an unrestrained passenger hitting the dashboard in a front end collision. Wear your seatbelts, kids.

Following the mysteries of the spinal cord and the flexor forearm compartment, we had our most insipid ethics lecture to date in which we mangled the philosophies of Aristotle, Plato, and Mills. For the record, applying a utilitarian ethical outlook does NOT mean one would support *mandatory* HIV testing for pregnant women. READ the book, guys! It's not even that long! The application of the principles needs to be extended a bit above the 5th grade level.

The class is primarily patronizing. We also watched a video on the most oversimplified view of informed consent I've ever seen. I quite literally learned more about informed consent watching House. Seriously. They had a segment on it where the practice of giving informed consent was actively difficult versus a very clear segment on weighing options to a patient who very clearly understood the science.

Grrrr to ethics. Grrr! What was nice was that my roommate was as pissed off as I was, and we came back to our room and she exploded before I did, something like "What in hell does Aristotle have to do with the practice I'll be setting up???" Good question. She also pegged me by asking "Were you the one, who when she said you couldn't argue with the act of virtue being to strive to do good said 'Yes you can!!'?" Busted. She knows me too well. Mangling Aristotelian ethical philosophy is a pet peeve of mine, and I think I just again exemplified what a geek I am.

So I'll talk about rugby. I wanna play sports!!! Joie will shoot hoops with me, which is awesome, because I can't play proper basketball yet, nor soccer. I have no idea how to play rugby, but I'd really like to learn, and Sej (aka party girl aka stop studying and START partying again, party girl; that Aquarium party was dead without you! girl) is putting together rugby sessions for people that want to play but do NOT want to get all their teeth knocked out. But I'm concerned about the ankle. Sej is also running for student government (with others I'm voting for) and the key reason I'm voting for her is I watched her intimidate Dr. Curry who made the grave error of associating hangman's fractures (see above) with rugby, and then had to address the class with an apology for maligning rugby and to exonerate himself by talking about his years of rugby play.

I figure when you can get a full prof to say "I'm sorry" to 360 people in the first two weeks of class, you can represent me, baby!

So that's the score. The sorta veggie thing is working out quite nicely (sorry Texas Beef industry) and I'm getting into cooking more. Now if I can stay away from the white chocolate magnum ice cream bars (otherwise known as Caribbean crack), I should be fine.

Jan 29, 2007

The Death of the 'I got beef' Dance

Otherwise known as "Glurgh".

I think I'll be going the route of partial veggie for a while... chicken will seep in soon, I suspect, partially because I have chicken occupying my freezer that I don't want to waste, but I think I'll be giving red meat a pass for a while.

You would think that a veggie lifestyle would be difficult to maintain in such an environment, but I'm finding obtaining meat to actually be *more* of a pain in the butt, with the exception of fish, meaning I'll be getting *very* healthy. And with the sheer numbers of vegetarians and fishavores around here, I'm ending up collecting cooking tips, so that all works well.

My roommate is a tolerant fishavore, which meant as I grilled up my rarish hamburger last night, she didn't complain about the beef smell filling the dorm and I dived in with the enthusiasm of a red meat addict who has had beef once in the last month.

Mis-take! Imagine my surprise when I was awakened in the middle of the night by Carib's revenge among other things. And I didn't even drink any Jager. It was not a nice night, nor a nice morning, nor a nice decision to miss one of my suggested-mandatory histo labs this morning because attending lab would have meant being more than 20 feet away from the bathroom, a proposition my body found unacceptable.

I have a question for all of you out there though, whether you've been struck by Grenadian food poisoning, Jager-fever, or the plain old flu: what IS it that is so appealing about bathroom floors? The dorms are not *that* big; I was 20 feet away from my nice soft bed, yet nothing felt as soothing as lying down on the tile with my cheek against it, while moaning. This is the other reason it's also good to get sick in your own pad. Nothing says "hitting bottom" like putting your face against the floor of a public restroom. Fortunately, this isn't one of those dorms where an entire floor shares a bathroom.

Fortunately, my roommate is awesome, text messaged my lab partner in histo that I would not, in fact, be presenting on the loose connective tissue in the ileum with her, turned on the air conditioning without being asked despite the fact that she gets cold easily, didn't say "I told you red meat was bad for you, idiot", offered to get me water, asked if I needed anything and then left quietly for her class after putting my newly acquired Digicell phone next to my bed in case I needed to call her.

Considering the number of times she's also cooked for me, I'm going to end up leaving this term owing her a kidney.

But I'm all better now! And was better enough to go to my histo and biochem lectures in time to fall in completely platonic love with our new biochem instructor who speaks slowly, punctuates her lectures with nice pictures of the island to give us a mental break and uses analogies to describe enzyme catalyzation. Where have you been my whole life, awesome biochem instructor?

But diving!! I went diving yesterday!!!!!!!

My gear now occupies a section of "Dive Grenada", a really nice shop on Grand Anse Beach near the Flamboyant Hotel. They're storing it for me so long as I dive semi-regularly. Darn, there's a commitment I'll have trouble keeping. I went with them because at orientation they seemed the nicest, and I value nice. The dive shops here don't seem to sell much (though they rent all gear) because they have to pay import fees. I did discover that Phil, at DG, is another taxonomy buff so he lent me his Fish ID book to page through for an hour while I was getting some of my gear together and being chatty.

Okay, so for some of you Caribbean divers, I'm going to be unnecessarily exuberant because this is the *second* time I've ever dived warm water, so I'm not sure how Grenada holds up against the rest of the Caribbean or in other warm water parts of the world. I've dived in the Philippines and California. That's it.

Dive Grenada has a little boat; all the dive sites are close by, though they say Carriacou is worth diving, so they offered to refer me to some dive shops over there. They come back between dives, which is really nice because it means I can do *either* a morning or afternoon dive (or both) without feeling like I have to do both if I have major studying to do. It also means on lab-free days, I can grab a dive before class! How cool is that?!

Dive #1 was Windmill Shallows. I'm afraid I don't have pictures for these dives because I like to orient to a new place before I look at it through a viewfinder. It's a pretty reef featuring some massive irridescent blue sponges and, since I'm not great on my fish id yet, I'll just say a buttload of fish. I recognized that many were varieties of squirrelfish, as well as seeing a bunch of princess parrotfish and juvenile stage spotlight parrotfish. Two spotted morays on the dive, and a big stingray that the divemaster pointed out toward the end. The safety stop was in a field of comb jellies! Whoa! Never seen those outside Monterey Bay Aquarium. There are also huge schools of creole bass.

Dive #2 was the wreck of the Veronica L. She's a fairly shallow wreck of a coastal freighter that has a crane to play with and since the top is open, you can 'penetrate' the wreck in the sense of swimming around inside without being in an overhead environment. I saw a smallish barracuda chilling in the water column above it as well as a bunch of horseeye jacks, which I had previously seen at the fish market, thus brining a bunch of horseeye guilt. Sorry guys; you taste good.

About twenty minutes into the dive, those of us not taking pictures (for a change) grouped up with Mick and headed off into the reef, and were rewarded for the effort with tons more pretty coral/sponges and brightly colored fish, but also the resident 6' green moray! Holy hell! I didn't know you guys had them over here. Well done!

On the way back to study studiously (in the study), I was walking on Grand Anse Beach about a half mile to the bus stop (tough life, that) and ran into Jesse who prooffered a bottled Carib and a ham/faux cheese sandwich with some fellow students. Sidetracked! But I ended the day fighting with my increasingly noncompliant Dell, and studying histo slides until the... hamburger incident.

Jan 28, 2007

Promised Pictures

Okay, to clarify, I'll be posting pictures periodically. These are all pictures that were taken within about twenty minutes of each other, all on campus, all very close by, at the same time of day, thus not the best picture quality, but should give you an idea of what I wake up to EVERY DAY! Bwa ha!


The dreaded black sand beach. Pretty, ain't it???



The view as you walk down "de big hill" from the main drag on campus (where the lecture hall, library, labs, etc, are) down to the main dorms (like mine!)


Windref, aka, the research area. The anatomy labs are down a flight of stairs in the 'basement', but it still has an opening to the outside since it's situated into a hill. This campus is a lot like San Francisco in that everything is situated in the side of a hill.


You could say the school is a "wee" bit close to the airport. Fortunately there aren't that many flights a day. This picture represents the Caribbean's "least on time airline" as it's called.


The top of de big hill. Current students may not recognize it without a bus zooming over the crest of the hill mid way across at ninety miles an hour. Suffice to say I risked my life to take this picture. Riding the buses doesn't scare me. Walking anywhere NEAR them does.


The Chancellery. I'm not sure exactly what these people do, but it's a pretty building, eh?


Bourne Hall. There's important stuff in here, but I haven't had occasion to go in there for much yet. Shrug. My pictures of the main lecture hall are overexposed and will thus have to wait for a later post.


I literally took this picture by leaning out my dorm window. Mwa ha!


I just liked this picture. Heh. This was right off the beach that's just outside my dorm that's pretty from a distance, but really wouldn't consider swimming there. This was initially what I thought was the 'black sand' beach.


This is another picture that was taken directly out of my dorm window. Rough life, ain't it? Since I sleep near the window, when I look outside every morning, this is the view. Poor Ishie.

Jan 27, 2007

Okay, no whining

Though I'll probably whine anyway, despite being in a MUCH better state of mind.

I am YET AGAIN typing this blog entry from the computer lab, but I will post pictures when I get back to the dorm! Really! Why am I in the computer lab instead of on my internet connection? Eh... I dunno. I went out for a powerwalk (can't jog yet due to the bum limb, so have to do the oh-so-hip low impact thing and ended up here. Can't complain. I'm aware of my roommates relative exhaustion, so she may be crashing early, thus I figured at the culmination of a decent workout, I'd get my study-swerve on by doing some hardcore slide-examining in the computer lab without disturbing her.

So naturally, I decided to blog the second I had my hands on the hardwire. D'oh. But I'll study later. Really!

Part of the problem with studying is that I'm so used to cramming that now that I've been studying pretty steadily and doing the "right" thing, I feel like the exam should come any minute and then I'll be done until the next two week long cram session in a few months...

Unfortunately, I'm not actually "cramming", merely being responsible, and the exam I'm technically studying for is in two years. That's a lotta cramming!

The plus side is that now that the DTs have subsided from not having a television (though I've been using iTunes and peekvid as a cable 'patch' if you will), when I'm bored and generally don't feel like doing anything, instead of vegetating, I just study the subject that seems the most approachable, which generally is embryology, since it reads like a book since it has a beginning and an end. Reviewing my anatomy flashcards also kills the time.

Oh, as it turns out, my roommate wasn't plotting my death, but made the vast fallacy of being quiet at the precise moment I was feeling intense paranoia.

Today I was a good girl, for the most part, and was asked to help a friend study for anatomy, which forced me to stop treating that class with the complacency it so does *not* deserve and actually study for it, highlighting to me the fact that I do not, in fact, know everything about the gross structure of the human body and should deign to pay attention to it lest I fail the class that's supposed to be my cheater course! (to clarify to stop the angry emails, I've taken the class before in an almost identical format, and worked in an anatomy lab for several years, thus allowing biochem to be the thing that kicks my ass rather than the more predictable one).

Now, thanks to my friend, I am at one with the axillary artery and the brachial plexus. You might say I know them as well as the underside of my arm. Ooooooh, I'm ducking the tomatoes thrown at me for that one.

I've also continued to discover the unmitigated joys of webcams, including useless extras that makes immature people like me sing with joy, such as being able to give yourself the appearance of being on fire or having psychedelic trails follow you around. Who needs television? Someday I will get used to the Jetsons techology of webcams and will cease making the other people on the other side look up my nose, observe my sticking my tongue out or playing the "look, I'm going downstairs!" game. Doesn't it fill you all with comfort to know I'm going to (hopefully) be a doctor? Mwa ha ha ha ha.

Last night I most decidedly could NOT get into the study groove so made far more productive use of my time by going back to Aquarium, aka the scene of the crime, aka, a chance for it to go after Ishie's right ankle this time, but I reigned triumphant.

Unfortunately, despite my ingestion of the local rum and beer (and this time I *did* get a formaldehyde infused batch of Carib, Carsten, gah), the party was pretty dead, so I grabbed a cab to Banana's, thus beginning my first "bar hopping" experience in the Caribbean! Wahoo! Banana's was hopping, yet, again, full of Swedish sailors. What the hell? One guy was claiming to have actually sailed to Grenada FROM Sweden and I have yet to figure out whether he was yanking my chain. I'm so gullible.

About halfway through my stagger home (Banana's is in walking distance of the school in some brilliant planning), one of the SGU buses saved me the rest of the walk by actually swerving over and honking. Awesome! Having every intention of heading up to my dorm like a good girl, I ran into one of the cool guys from my dorm, and ended up having a-NOTHER Carib (I think the better stuff comes in the bottles; the canned stuff tastes decidedly different) and 'charmingly' laughing with all the drunk compatriots that came by to secure BBQ that was inexplicably being cooked up in front of the lower bus stop at 2 in the morning. Don't ask me.

Interestingly, my interviewer for the spot, who apparently thought I was a complete moron, had told me that I couldn't just roll out of bed at two in the morning and go to AM/PM. I'm not entirely sure *why* he thought this would be part of my regular routine (note to self: work out more), but I should go back and say "I may not be able to go to AM/PM, but I can get BBQ chicken fresh off the outdoor grill at 2 in the morning, which incidentally, I never saw in Sacramento."

In conclusion, much later than intended, hopped back up the stairs (I can never get TOO drunk here, because I always have to be able to make it up that flight of stairs to the "first" floor because they use freaky Euro numbering here) and crashed, which made me feel WONDERFUL to wake up and go to wet lab (ie cadaver lab, ie heavy formalin making my eyes water lab) today. But ask me about the circumflex scapular artery!

Most importantly, I'm going diving! I'm going diving!! Hooray! Tomorrow, I head out early to explore the seas with DiveGrenada, staffed by awesome people that call me "luv".

Jan 25, 2007

Whine whine...

and whine... I'm having one of those days that isn't a bad day, but where I just feel a little bit miffed for no reason in particular, but may also be related to a condition I won't mention, but it rhymes with "temale fubbles". This may also be why, despite my newly acquired in room "reliable" internet connection, I'm typing this from the library since I'm getting the distinct impression I'm driving my roommate crazy, which may or may not be my paranoia due to said above condition.

So first the whining, then the more overwhelmingly good, because I need to get it out of my system and I have a captive audience! Mwa ha! Enjoy it friends, family, and strangers desperately trying to find out relevant information about the school!

This computer's a bit slow... let's call that whine... 3? Oh, who's counting?

We got an announcement in hour 1 of 3 in anatomy today that we'd have anatomy "small group" discussions. We'll also be adding a biochem small group somewhere down the line, AND I have to attend a professional development group as part of clinical skills with a homework assignment the week after to deliver a personal statement (didn't I already send the school one of these babies???) and a CV, which to the best of my knowledge has "dead end jobs" written all over it.

Guys, medical school is hard. There is a buttload of information we have to cram into our pointy, overworked, longing for the beach, just let me get a tan so my relatives believe I was in the Caribbean minds, and you are filling ALL our study time with *your* interpretation of how we should best study.

I'm hoping anatomy will be useful. Mainly, I'm still bitter about the WEEKLY clinical skills discussion groups. I'm ethical; I know about ethics; I can spit ethics back at the people forcing me to attend even if I disagree with their answers (which is, in itself, unethical, right?). What I DON'T know is biochemistry, and talking about my feelings on ethics is two hours that I'm not talking to my BRAIN about biochemistry.

This also causes me to be a less than enthusiastic participant in group because it makes it hard to suppress my cynicism and I don't wanna fail. None of you guys are reading this, right?

Oh well, I've heard the course development gets useful in later months. It's just in the first weeks, when you're TRYING to learn how to study that they throw the most *useless* crap at you. And in such a patronizing fashion. Now kids, you will make mistakes as doctors (really? I was planning to be perfect), but you have to TRY to keep an error record (damn, I thought I had license to kill). But you have a moral obligation to TELL people about those errors (thus losing your license).

Blah blah blah.

Annnnnyhoo, we only had three hours of lecture today, which felt like too much because I was a bit tired. I couldn't sleep last night, and without wanting to offend my roommate who had an early lab, wandered up to the study room to review my oh-so-wonderful Netter flashcards (no really, dudes, expensive as getout, but invest; they rock). Also discovered, since no one had announced it, that while the weekly anatomy quiz hadn't posted, the HISTOLOGY quiz had! Ack! My friend Joie (I hope I spelled that right) was kind enough to let me use her laptop to do a 2 am quiz quest.

Due to the intensive levels of terminology in embryo to learn, and my utter ignorance of biochem, histology has been sadly neglected short of my attending lab and lectures, so I was a bit concerned and... ONE HUNDRED percent, baby!!! Ah, the wonders of an excellent lecturer. The epithelium and I are like THIS (picture me crossing my fingers excitedly, since I'm not on my personal computer, thus can't upload images).

Other than the aforementioned pissiness diagnosis (damn you, womanhood!), I think it's the first I've felt a bit homesick. It comes in little bits. There isn't any big "oh no!" or anything of the sort, nor really a US thing... let me try to explain. Last night, I was thinking about how many times I went to the grocery store from my own apartment. Over the course of seven years, I took the same route, thus, in my head, like a more clear version of Google Earth, I was doing the video game traveling the route in my head as it occurred to me that I wouldn't be taking that exact route ever again.

Do I mourn the loss of a grocery route (Well... when the bus is late)? No. It's just an odd thing, a moving on thing. Waxing poetic now, I suppose. I'm not sure why this is more tangible than the people or my critters. Maybe I'm deliberately not letting it get to me so its slipping through in subtle ways.

It's far later now, and I still can't determine whether my roommate is simply stressed, quiet, or plotting my death. Being overly sensitive is causing me to be enormously insecure. Or maybe it's the biochem.

But enough wallowing... the more important thing is...

I have beef! And chicken! And ice cream! And, not coincidentally, had a morning free of lab and a loan check wonderfully posted. Ah, sweet sweet bad for you food. I woke up this morning as a woman on a mission and promptly set about stopping mooching off my roommate while making occasional contributions grabbed from the student store, headed to Spiceland Mall on a wing and a prayer, as it were, and got myself hooked up with a Digicell cell phone as well as groceries! Wahoo! Prepared for such a large shopping, I brought my laptop backpag, a rolling bag, and STILL had bags to carry! Booyah! The store was out of milk (it happens), but I did manage to secure the eggs that had been in short supply the last time I was there.

This preceded lecture by about forty-five minutes so all through my restless lecture, I was, in my head (and during breaks, in the aisles), doing the "I got beef" dance, so if you read this blog and are in first term, now you know who I am. I'm the "I got beef" dance girl. It's a bit like the twist. I have an "I got chicken" dance as well which has little wings.

For context, I'm a born carnivore, generally eat meat at least once a day, and red meat, probably three times a week. I love meat! Since I've arrived on Grenada, I had essentially, kissed beloved beef farewell (thus imagine my shock when I found it) as well as many other forms of protein, and have now, after cooking my bounty, eaten beef precisely once since I got here and chicken four times, mostly in roti form. It's sad. I've been working on coating the inside of my arteries for YEARS, and in a scant four months, this island is going to undo ALL my hard work, even allowing my heart to build up the necessary anastamoses (sp?) to create my *own* bypasses! No fair! I'm going to have to continue killing myself with a high sodium uptake instead. Sigh.

Jan 24, 2007

Testing testing test crash

Knowing my addictions, SGU is toying with me. Let's see how frequently it loses the blog with the frequent server outages.

So, internet's been back off and on all day... and off, except, incidentally, for SGUmail and Angel (our 'guardian' program that gives us access to, you know, unimportant stuff like lecture slides, study materials, room assignments, class assignments, events... stuff like that).

Apparently I was right; SGU IS trying to get us drunk and laid. "Don't study!!! Just surf the internet. You can't access the relevant resources anyway."

I defied them though by, with this 2 am post, finishing approximately 4 hours of off and on biochem hard study. Between the printed lecture notes and the Lippencott book, I'm beating this bitch back! Just don't tell me anything about having, you know, embryo, anatomy, and histology to worry about. It's all biochem. Ask me about oligosaccharides, dammit. well, not in too much detail, but the fact that I know it's not a made up word for Big Bird's best friend is an improvement.

Have I mentioned I'm bad at chemistry? Biochem nothing like Ochem my ass. I know a "carbonyl" group when I see one, which I believe is all I retained from that wretched class. Glycosidic bonds, anyone?

Today marked the *official* beginning of wet lab, which was cool as I knew it would be, because I've done it. On a slight negative, I was going through some material with Jackie Chan (I swear, that's what he tells me to call him!) and TWO, count em, TWO of the TAs were like "you guys are being contraproductive in your studying; you need to study by layer" or some such, and then proceeded to go through muscles, innervations, and arteries like reading a football play. Way to clear it up guys.

The elder docs are a really really good resource though, and I'm sure some of the other TAs I didn't notice. There was one guy in particularly who sported a southern accent whose presentation was ab fab. Kudos. But I do love the smell of prosections in the morning. Unfortunately, skipping breakfast and going to a room filled with a mild appetite increaser (formalin, I believe) always makes me hungry, a fact which ceased to disgust me many many years ago at the lab in Davis.

Post lab, I had.. another lab! My ethics small group discussion, namely.

Hmm... how to not offend. There was much respect shown among the students, who had plenty intelligent views and, I can say, clearly made the best of the situation.

The other perspective is that it seems like a support group for people that don't have any real problems yet. A bunch of well adjusted people talking about their feelings in almost puzzlement at WHY they're talking about their feelings. But smart people; good classmates, and a shared disdain (as I interpreted it) for the aforementioned article about doctors as the "ruling class".

An hour of lunch at the Sugar Shack (mmm rotis), and it was time for three hours of anatomy, which was awesome, but by 4, I was suffering an incoming attack of narcolepsy and fled before ethics lecture, which was a shame because apparently we had a different lecturer that was interesting. D'oh.

On the plus side, this meant I was in my room at 4! Why is that a plus! Because that's when IT came. They do exist!! They fixed the ethernet ports in our room in like... seriously, 5 or 10 minutes. That was it??? Did they flip a switch or something?

After triumphing in the internet to enjoy a spuriously obtained episode of House that I'd missed (maybe I should have gone to that ethics lecture!!), I felt a strong sense of internet-connected peace, also brought about by the knowledge that the horrid Detective Tritter arc is over (House fans, you know what I'm talking about).

Unfortunately, my beloved show was preempted tonight by my-not-so-beloved president gabbering in the State of the Union address, which I suspect amounted to "Heh.. so.. took Congress, did ya folks?.. Whew... didn't see that coming, gotta say... heh... hmm... well, I certainly hope you didn't take those last 6 years personally since I respect you guys.. So... from San Francisco, Nancy? I hear they have a lot of gay people there... No, I'm just saying... that's what I heard. Apparently they can vote and everything.. so... this Iraq thing.. whoopsie, right? But spilt milk and all... Umm... the environment's important, you guys think? I love the environment", which hardly seems as important as Hugh Laurie, who isn't consistantly irritating me by his very presence. Tsk. Nothing left to do but devote my entire life to teaching myself biochem instead. Well, until next Tuesday night at any rate.

Jan 22, 2007

My Name is Ishie and I'm an Internetaholic

"Hi Ishie"

By the gods!

So now, my internet woes are shared by campus, and boy, does it suck. The internet, both wireless and ethernet, has gone full hemorrhage, and has crapped out everywhere except the library (which is persistantly full of angry people) and the upstairs IT room, where I now sit, along with people desperately reviewing lecture slides, corresponding on AIM, and watching Desperate Housewives. What is it about that show?

On the plus side, in the limited access I had to my email, I got both *another* entreaty for my information and available times (bringing the number of times I've sent them that information up to three), and have been informed that a ticket number was issued, I believe, thanks to cool guy who contacted me on this forum, as well as my roommate going by in person to express her dissatisfaction at being completely ignored.

But dammit, if we can't have internet, then NO ONE can have internet, though technically we did have internet, we just had to share it, something that doesn't seem problematic until the full-on throwdown for it during midterms.

Another plus to me and not to part of the rest of campus is that... gods people shut the hell up, this is a computer lab specified no talking... I want my internet!!!!; sorry folks; anyhoo, the CPR exam scheduled for Thursday is no longer scheduled for Thursday because there aren't any books on the island, a glaring oversight, since I believe those books are part of our term one handouts, and THEN, they were at first indicating that said victims of the full course would have to PAY for the books despite them being covered in our tuition. Roommate was displeased, to say the least.

Fortunately, the exam has now been postponed since they felt it unfair to make them take an exam for which they have no books, though from what I've heard, you barely need it. My bets are the books are in Granada, Spain. Olé!

In other news, the Clinical Skills department, incidentally the ones who forced us to attend the professionalism lecture (and who subsequently announced the time and place of the CPR short course two hours before the thing started), has these development groups I know nothing about because nothing has been announced, AND are sufficiently screwing up my lab-lecture break because I have a small groups section on ethics, where I'm torn between the ethicality of being honest and admitting to what a jaded materialist I actually am, and putting in the "right" answers.

It did not help my frame of mind for the ethics section that our required reading packet contained an article about medicine and money that was so unbelievably patronizing to patients that it defied imagination. Apparently doctors, as part of the "ruling class" have an obligation to the society that helped create them. Yeesh. I'm told said doctors even occasionally take on human form to deign to speak with the trod upon masses. Somehow I think this is all going to boil down to a professor calling me a hedonist. Sigh. Again. I wish we had our original Scottish dude back though. He seemed cool. And he let me get away with not having my foot in a cast because he was staffing the clinic. Sweeeet!

But I digress. When don't I?

Sunday was beach day. Man oh man is Grand Anse beautiful! Though I apparently met my future husband, or so he thought. His friend was plenty hottie, but had the detraction of being associated with someone who hoots at women on the beach. Ah well. I snorkeled, which I discovered is a mite difficult getting down there with a bum foot (and no fins), but nonetheless saw a number of purdy fish species, one of which was or resembled a flying gernard; spotted a stonefish, a flounder, some fairy basslets, heads of brain coral, etc, and that's all simply snorkeling out of range of the boats! I'm SO diving this weekend.

Yesterday evening brought socialization with the smokers who accumulate outside the superdorms and have mad hookups. Sam (though I'm probably spelling his name horribly wrong) hooked me up with one of the macdaddies which has great practice exams, so wahoo! And he likes House! Everyone should like House. Though apparently everyone likes Desperate Housewives, which I'm told has a lack of cranky vicodin addicts.

Today was all right. I'm a fan of histology because our professor Dr. Paparo is absolutely awesome, funny, and repeats key terminology repeatedly and shows it from different angles (including the "Walt Disney") until it's beaten into your brain. This is a VERY good thing because histo, to me, seems like one of those classes that taught wrong could be VERY VERY VERY BAD.

Speaking of VERY BAD, we changed lecturers in biochem today, and I honestly could have learned more biochem by spending that two hours watching Scrubs in my dorm room. Or House. Or Rugrats. Seriously, what the hell??? Fortunately, I discovered that when I grow up I want to marry Dr. Lippencott of textbook writing fame, who cleared up the wasted two hours of my life I will NEVER get back with a very approachable chapter on DNA, which I had previously understood prior to lecture. Grrr.

Tomorrow will be the day of misery; I've designated it on my calendar, not due to a lack of interesting subjects, since I love anatomy, but by the fact that from 8-10 I have anatomy lab; from 10 to 12 I have ethics small group, and I have no idea where; from 1 to 3 I have anatomy; from 3-4 I have embryology; and from 4-5, I have... ethics again!

I didn't like going 8 to 5 when I worked a mindless cube job. By 5 tomorrow, my brain is going to have the consistancy of warm jello, leak out my ears, and cause classmates to go "Ew".

Fortunately after that, barring additional, unannounced intrusions by your friendly neighborhood clinical skills department, I will have my full mornings free to study W-F with no class until lectures at 1 PM. Unfortunately, I suspect CS will throw something else in there because their motto seems to be "Think you're going to get caught up in your classes? Guess again!"

Jan 21, 2007

Annie, Annie, are you OK?

Is it politically incorrect to say I hate renewing my CPR cert?

Ah well, at least I didn't get stuck in a combined total of six hours of fun like the uncertified other half of the school did. Nope, it was the fast track for me on Friday night while the unfortunates had their *first* CPR lectures. Oh, and they changed it AGAIN. Guys, seriously, as my check off person was telling me (among other extremely useful tidbits for making connections), just beat on their chests and breathe in their mouths in SOME ratio, the exact one doesn't matter, until someone gets there with an AED. The patient ain't getting any deader. Oh, you used the old ratio of 5 to 1 instead of 30 to 2!! If only you'd gone with the new system, she'd be riding a bike in no time! No.

Anyway, my liberation bhy means of doing this all before left me a weekend of fun, while bemoaning, on their behalf, that our first week of classes in the Caribbean was terminated NOT by a drunken bash (unless you count that stoplight party that I skipped out on), but by more classes! Tsk! Not nice, SGU! Some of us still haven't seen Grand Anse!

Speaking of stoplight parties, what the hell? You wear colored buttons to allegedly note your willingness to party. I have a different interpretation:

Green: Total slut mode. One beer and I'm yours. Maybe even half a beer.
Yellow: I'm cheating on my spouse, so try to be good looking.
Red: My spouse is at this party. Slip me your phone number discreetly.

I could have partied at la casa de Sej y Melissa, but de Sej has gone into full responsibility mode and is studying like there's no tomorrow, which should be the procrastinator's oath. Sigh... party girl, where art thou?

So I've decided to instead balance my options by spending the beginning of yesterday going into the market at St. George's and securing myself a number of tasty, fresh items including veggies, most notably potatoes because there's only so much "Irish" the Caribbean can fix before one reverts. I'm only hoping my more prominent Scottish ancestry doesn't take over so I start feeling the overwhelming urge to eat sheep organs. While shopping, Lori and I partook in buying a couple of coconuts, freshly macheted, and spent a happy hour drinking the milk. Med school? We're in what?

I also went to the fish market, learned you should go early in the morning, not late in the day, but was able to secure some sailfish for my roommate's promised fish curry, which I've wanted to learn how to make.

AND, on the way back from the Saturday market by way of the bus depot, I finally didn't get ripped off by a city bus! Hooray! I've been accepted. There were 11 of us, I believe, crammed into the van, token reggae music blasting for ambiance, and the seater/money taker half sitting in my lap because I was taking up his leg room with a blender (smoothies!), a bag full of fish, a bag full of fruits and vegetables, and a chunk of sugar cane. Sorry, seater/money taker.

The way this generally works is the city buses have a driver, who may or may not be partaking in ganga (ours wasn't), and a guy that sits behind and takes the money and reorganizes people, apparently into the least deadly configuration. When someone gets off or on, this triggers rearrangement, which may involve everyone getting off and getting back on. It's groovy. If you read other things, this is punctuated by screeching, death defying hairpin turns through town, but I haven't found them particularly terrifying. I wouldn't want to drive here necessarily because it's a great place for a lot of fender benders and close calls, but compared to what I've read about the Autobahn? Bah. It's also *supposed* to be 2 bucks (EC) for adults (kids in school uniforms get a discount), but I've been largely getting hosed for 3-5, but not anymore! Caught the SGU bus back from the stop and studied hard for about 5 hours with a Scrubs break in between. Hooray iTunes!!! I also grabbed Pirates 2 while I was on there, because Johnny Depp makes me smile. Rowl... though there is a high body count in that movie; I'd imagine it would scare the hell out of a lot of children, but what do I care? Jack Sparrow!!!

For dinner, I felt full incorporation into island life by sitting comfortably in my dorm room, air conditioner off at about 79 degrees, eating a fish curry, and channa scooped up with roti. Combined with not getting ripped off the busses, I feel practically local, well... except for the sunburn.

Today, I will be maximizing responsibility by going to the beach. I will give a nod to said responsibility by bringing a book I will likely not open in the duration, but I really want to see Grand Anse and haven't yet walked on its splendor.

I also discovered, with Lori's help, the black sand beach ON CAMPUS. Okay, I previously thought the black sand beach was the beach right near my dorm which actually doesn't look great for swimming. It has some overturned boats, some wires and fishing lines and occasionally produces a funny smell. It's really pretty from the dorm, but not wildy swimmable.

People caution you about the contamination of the black sand beach and not swimming there. Hello? The actual one is beautiful and features a number of not-germaphobic students that swim there regularly, as I will be doing soon. Absolutely gorgeous and a thirty second walk from the Bell lecture hall. Just don't open your mouth.

Jan 19, 2007

Thanks Santa!

I didn't want to impose on Santa anymore because last year, I asked for a Republican sex scandal pre-elections and got TWO, and asked Santa for my updated loan status and got approved!

Combining that with the fact that it's after Christmas, and I'm not the right religious denomination anyway, I figured I'd give the portly guy a rest and work out my current network of problems on my own.

Well, either I did something incredibly good I don't know about thus getting a post holiday reward, or Random Chance favors the whiny, because after a rather nasty Reggae filled day of multiple frustrations while still hobbling about on crutches, things took a turn the next day and continue to improve.

First and foremost, they haven't blared 9 hours of music from the quad since Wednesday. This may seem like a small deal to some, but while I like a party as much as the next person, and I like reggae just fine, when you cannot escape the noise whereever you go nor can you find any assistance, it wears on you.

That in itself was sufficient to improve my mental state considerably. Even Wednesday night helped because I managed to skip a 'mandatory' dorm orientation meeting, even though I'd lived there for a week (don't do that; don't do that, respect respect) by leaping into bed when the door knock came, elevating my ankle, and moaning pitiously. Manipulative? Who me?

So yesterday was a continuation of anatomy with Dr. Jordan, whose name I will never forget because of the fantasy author by the same full name, whose a bit of a card, which I knew from both the open houses I attended. Between he and Dr. Curry, I'm liking anatomy, and I'm also liking the version of the male back/buttocks/nude ballet photo they keep showing in the lecture slides because whoever that model is, he's a fine male specimen indeed. That's a latissimus dorsi you can take home to mother.

There was an embryology lecture following that I actually understood today. On the last one, I was considering ditching lecture altogether because I couldn't understand a word, but today was slower, clearer, and I was sitting in the TA row (taking full advantage of injury) so got to hear statements like "test question!"

Finally, there came the moment of truth for me: biochem, the class I've been dreading after my disgraceful performance in organic chemistry, a class which has probably initiated more suicides than any other.

So far, it seems very approachable. Granted, it's an introductory lecture, but it seems more BIO oriented (hence the name), thus making me happy. The instructor is fine, though I've heard one of them is a misanthropic bastard, but I haven't run afoul of anyone bearing that description *yet*.

I enrolled in Surgery Club at the bazaar and they were hosting a chief resident in orthopedic surgery doing a Q&A (sweet!!) AND handing out the online Rohan atlas via our flash drives. Swwweeee-heeet!

Speaker was good; taught me a lot about the match, and made me contemplate actually getting a research job this summer rather than bumming about, which had been my initial intention.

But today... today!!!!

I CAN WALK!!!!! Not well, mind you, but those miserable Tiny Tim instruments of irritation are gone!! Well, gone meaning leaning against the wall of my dorm, but I limped to histo lab without issue! Huzzah! So it doesn't much hurt; it's just turning all sorts of atrocious colors and I keep waiting for the swelling to go down. So now I'm a bit gimpy but not all out handicapped, which is SO nice, though I did wake up nearly with a scream when the other leg, no doubt pissed off by the crutches, charley horsed. Yaa! Thanks other leg. Maybe it just was jealous of the attention the left ankle was getting and developed Munchausen's. Dunno. Punished it by standing on it though.

Histo lab was fine; lots of slides memorization, and unbeknownst to me, we actually DO have to know what the stains are, but in practice, it became useful because you can identify structures based on what color they are, making the little horn rimmed bespectacled geekazoid inside me smile and flutter. Ah, science. You flirty little devil, you.

Then, motivated by a requirement to bring my laptop to subsequent histo labs to present lecture slides (which are online), I was going to make a quick ethernet stop in the study lab and proceed to IT to help me with my wireless connection (oxymoron?), and discovered that my wireless works now in the top floor! Yea! I don't know what I did, but ha ha! STILL have broken ethernet jacks in the room though, but at least now I'm not totally screwed.

Thus good times, and I plan to go drinking with the downstairs fun chicks tonight now that I'm not totally laid up on crutches. There's a party at Aquarium tonight, but I think I'll ditch that and let my ankle heal to allow license to sprain the other one. This place sucks on crutches. I imagine a wheelchair would be unimaginably worse.

Jan 17, 2007

Check... check one... yo yo yo... check

*Not* a nice wake up call.

They had the school's 30th birthday today, which was, in one sense, neat, and in one sense, annoying as hell.

First of all, waking me up early by having a guy check the microphone for 15 minutes isn't cool. It works, dude, frigging stop it.

In my dorm room, there are precisely four ethernet jacks. Precisely one of them works, thus my roommate and I, while trying to study lecture slides that CANNOT be printed off Angel (our server) due to copyright issues without doing an "Alt/Print Screen" for all of them, only one of us can be online at a time. This also means for things like email, blogging, IM, banking, etc. NOT good.

IT has been ignoring us for a couple days so I filed a work order with our RA, but still... But I couldn't stalk IT directly because, naturally, they're closed today, as was the main library, as was the clinical skills office where I have to wait to get my handout, as was maintenance... sigh.

So, frustrated, I decided to study anyway, which is extremely distracting when there is Reggae music BLARING through your dorm window, regardless of whether it's open. It was a bit loud for the level I'd have had it at if I'd been playing it on a radio in my room. Very intrusive. This was punctuated by a listing of all the countries (accompanited by screams, particularly from the Trinis (wooo!!!)) involved with SGU. 136, I think? That was neat, though Zambia? Really? And for the record, Zaire isn't a country anymore because they decided having two Congos was more confusing to foreign devils, so time to update the speech, guys!

So distracted and sharing internet, I decided to join the festivities, only to discover that security and a few others are a lot ruder than most of the students have been! I was trying to get food or a free gift and people kept SHOVING past me in line, with one security guard damn near knocking me off my crutches to get her gift. Yeesh!

I went up to the study lounge to try and poach some internet, only, in my attempt to secure the wireless connection, I screwed up my ethernet connection, and couldn't access ANYTHING. This pissed me off to a rather extreme degree (turned out I'd somehow added it to a netword bridge because I'm an idiot) so vented all over my roommate. Poor J'Leise.

I hopped to the library to discover it closed, so hopped up another flight of stairs to find the computer lab, which was blessedly open AND relatively free of blaring music. Rock on! So I did a buttload of embryology studying and didn't even giggle at the fertilization process NOR the word "cleavage". Props to me!

Though there are a couple of enzymes involved with names that sound like they got ripped out of a Czech dictionary. Holy crap, I hope we don't have to know them.

So home again, feeling smugly productive. Well, until I started blogging. Booyah. Wet lab tomorrow, which means having to wear a shoe on my nasty foot. Ah well.

Tonight, if they're running it, I'm hoping to get to the pd lab (whereever that is) because there are notices about a showing of House, and I'm a Houseaholic. In fact, I actually sprained my ankle in the hopes of getting a cane and a drug habit (since I already have the bad attitude), and unfortunately, overdid it and ended up with TWO canes, which actually works out, because now I have the ability to hit people on both sides of me. It doesn't leave me a free hand to punch good looking Ozzie doctors in the face though. Tut tut.

Jan 16, 2007

Flew the coop, got early parole anyway!

The wonders of getting a second opinion, cleverly disguised as fleeing clinic early before they had time to attach the ankle bracelet.

In short, no cast for Ishie! No cast for Ishie!!

In our last installment of the Ishie's Ankle Saga, we left our clueless heroine (riiight) awaiting a ride outside a town hospital in a small island nation in the Caribbean.

While I was lying in wait, working on my sunburn, a local woman smiled at me. So far, I've found the locals to be quite warm, and any ill at ease feelings that come from occasionally finding yourself confused, lost or culturally ignorant is well received so long as you act aware of your own idiocy, as I do frequently.

A moment later, the bus driver/private escort came over and said "I've been looking for you!" To my credit, he pulled up in a different place where he'd dropped me off, and to his credit, I hadn't been paying the least bit of attention because the view was pretty.

I hobbled up the hill to his van at which point, he called "thank you!" to the woman that had smiled at me. I wonder how that conversation went.... "Have you seen a moron lobster-colored clueless student sunning herself like she's on holiday instead of at a hospital?" "Oh yes, she's right over there."

We had some stops on the route home, which allowed me a nice tour of the island! The driver, who'd been one of the bus drivers on the tour chatted with me all the way about Grenada's history; he pointed out the prime minister's building, and we compared disaster stories based on my surprise that the prime minister's building was still in tact with the entire front being made out of glass (Hurricane Ivan versus the 89 earthquake).

Back to the clinic for a long wait, that I knew would be punctuated with getting my foot dipped in plaster... and wait... and wait...

Inexplicably my parents found me at the clinic and were properly guilted into securing me a chicken roti and a chocolate ice cream. Wahoo! Injury guilt. It was pressing toward introductory lectures and I hadn't been seen so I broke out... dug out with a spoon!

My parents secured a bandage and a pair of youth crutches for me as I fled to eat lunch and avoid the wrath that noncompliance tends to bring among medical personnel.

Naturally, the intro lectures weren't ones I found all that important. The meat of the material started today with yesterday serving to kind of coddle us back into an academic environment since most of us have been out for at least a little while.

So blah blah blah.

White coat ceremony!!! Everyone was SO nice. J'Leise and her mom carried some of my stuff since I was managing with the wretched too small crutches, I was given a faculty seat to wait for the procession to assemble, and people were *very* accommodating in wanting to take the crutches (at my insistance) for when I went up the stairs and across the stage.

The ceremony was really nice. The processional leader carried a mace and everything, and I was able to join the procession and hop to my seat. Then, the speakers, who actually weren't bad. Since this is the school's 30 year celebration, they're making a big deal of it, and a bunch of the charter members were there and chatted with us after. Apparently they lived in barracks; there were no stores, and had to buy meat from "chicken man" who would slaughter the chickens in front of them, wait for the birds to bleed out, and then the med students got to pluck and clean them... I imagine that would cut into study time. This sort of takes the weight out of "Can you believe the local bus route supermarket ran out of eggs this week?"

Following the speakers was the meat! (and not the chicken). We were called up on stage, had faculty (and charter members?) put our white coats onto us, shook some hands and walked or limped off. Some people cheered for me just to be nice which was cool, though it paled in comparison to you crazies from Trinidad and Tobago! (Woooo!)

So I'm on the way to being a doctor, officially, and now feel comfortable calling myself a med student! Wahoo!

Team Bravo!



And now that I've been initiated into the prestigious field of medicine, I immediately set out to conduct myself in a manner befitting such an honor:



Beeeeeeeeeer!!! My partner in crime is pre-vet, but I'll be sure to bring him beer at his white coat.

Instead of carrying the party to Banana's, I opted to be a good girl, go home, study, and pass out since as a "group A" person for EVERYTHING, I had anatomy dry lab at 8 am. Sigh.

Cool class though; I think it'll go well, and by being a couple minutes late (again, gor blimey, crutches are a pain in the ass!), I accidentally ousted an overly polite gentleman from the seat he'd secured by being on time, since there weren't enough. Sorry dude!

Today, my back honestly hurt more than my ankle. Stupid undersized crutches. After lab, I wandered back over to clinic to take my punishment. The nurse was bemused and said "How was the White Coat?" to which I replied "awesome", to which she replied "Was it worth it?" to which I replied "Totally!" Hey, I have two legs, but only one White Coat ceremony!

I sat down to wait; my parents came by, this time expectedly, since I knew they were leaving today, with spare money in tow (wahoo!). Different doctor today, specifically, one of my clinical skills professor who engaged me with the time he broke his fibula playing golf to make me feel less ashamed of damaging myself by slipping off an inch-high path.

He said he'd cast it if I wanted (bwa???), but if I wasn't feeling significant pain with just an ace bandage (and I'm not), to just get some proper height crutches, ice and elevate it semi regularly, and take it easy, using it when it felt healed, essentially. This resulted in a one footed chicken dance. Waaaaahhhoooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

So I now have proper crutches, have seen off my parents (love you guys; thanks for everything!), and hit *real* lecture.

Two hours of anatomy, which was really interesting. I like the instructor and he has an engaging accent. Of course, I love anatomy, so there you go. "Use the words!" That seems to be the motto, which is actually pretty accurate. "Know Latin/Greek!" would be my motto.

After this was embryology, which I had more difficulty following since I had some trouble understanding the instructor and he was going at light speed. Hello lecture notes, course companion, and slides!

Then came Clinical Skills with a focus on ethics today, which I have mixed feelings about... the course portion, not ethics in general. It seems a bit... post modern, and I am decidedly not. It's hard to express.

This brought me to the realization that sitting for four hours of lecture in the same hall with 350 people is a bit exhausting, and I was not alone, seeing episodes of yawning and outright narcolepsy taking place in droves around me.

The absolutely BEAUTIFUL day outside snapped me out of pre slumber so I actually took the long, slow route back to the dorm and got some productive studying done. Yea baby!

Jan 15, 2007

Dear Diary...

Slightly different format tonight, since I actually wrote this earlier using (gasp) a pen and paper!

I'd have liked to have been here a week before ending up in the hospital. Sigh. I guess I'll hard copy this blog here, seeing as I have nothing better to do. It's an experience though; it would not be at all a good one if I miss the White Coat ceremony.

I'll continue from where I was last night... running out of chicken at the BBQ.

There was a scheduled dormitory meeting at 8 with a *scheduled* party beginning at 10, sponsored by your friendly neighborhood Student Government Association, whose motto seems to be "Chug! Chug! Chug!" Dorm orientation was inexplicably canceled, thus... free time!

Hanging outside Superdorm 1 (my home away from... well... somewhere), I ran into Crazy Cool Chicks 1 & 2, known to mortals as Sej and Melissa, who I initially, inexplicably, mistook for RAs. Hoo boy. I think it was the nametags. Sej appointed herself nametag queen, and before the end of the night, I became Ishie, aka Miss Maleficent. I have to wait the four years before I can be Dr. Maleficent. I was lucky though. Lori ended the night as "Likes it Wet" due to my telling Sej (aka Team Asshole) that she's a swimmer. You're welcome, Lori.

We headed to La Casa (sala?) de Sej y Melissa for Tequila and Death Cab. Good times.

Party was at Aquarium (a bar/restaurant, not a place to watch fish), which is an awesome place on the beach. My choice drink, after hooking up with Lori and David... remember David? was to indulge in a rum and pineapple juice; Caribbean style!

After some ill advised (thank you, security, though he was cool about it) high tide wading, which is apparently dangerous even on Grenada, and a round of Caribs (no Piton? The horror!), I was making my way, NOT drunkenly yet, actually, up to the bar to attempt to get actually inebriated (mildly, I still had Jager regret syndrome), slipped off the edge of the stone path where it met the grass, and as I was falling, felt/heard my ankle make the *pop* heard round my brain.

Ruh Roh.

Yeah... so I knew I was in trouble before I even hit the ground or the pain crescendoed. It's a word now.

Concerned 1st years surrounded me. Beware of injuring yourself around medical students because they ALL have basic medical training and they are ALL VERY eager to use it. So to avoid receiving CPR from enthusiastic bystanders (everyone was actually quite nice), I stood up quickly to go to the washroom and felt... reeeealllly spacey/nauseated and had the presence of mind to realize that my head needed to be at the same level as my feet soon or it would happen involuntarily.

I staggered to the beach and collapsed in the sand to cries of "Whoa, is she all right?" Great. Classes haven't even STARTED and I'm already the school lush. And I wasn't even particularly drunk! The night before, on the other hand...

Rupa, another chick from the dorm, won the battle of relevant medical training and had the ankle on ice getting rapped, and then Team Bravo, aka Lori and David, agreed to give up their night's festivities to aid me home. A taxi was secured by people that had already started leaving (10 in a taxi got him to only charge us 5 bucks apiece!) and Team Bravo half carried me up the stairs for a night of icing and elevating. Fun.

Was I going to let this stop me or foolishly press on? Take a guess. Not a smart move. Due tot he student health center being closed on weekends, I hopped it. We had a, er, less than interesting convocation to met deans and professors in a bit of brilliant planning by the SGA. A "screw off; we're hungover" vibe hung in the air, since the majority of the entering class had dragged in around 4 in the morning, reeking of spirit... or spirits.

After the ordeal, er honorific ceremony, I decided to do some hopalong shopping at IGA, the grocery store in Spiceland Mall, aka On The Bus Route.

First off, anyone claiming Grenada doesn't have adequate amenities in the grocery department is smoking crack or lazy. Pringles, mama celeste pizzas, cadbury candy (!!!), hot pockets, beef, pork, bread, hummus, and generally, a thousand familiar brands. Unbelievable! Expensive as hell, but stuff's cheaper off the bus route.

One source of complaint is that they run out of stuff if you don't go on a Saturday since the shipment comes in Friday. So go on Saturday. Big whoop. They didn't have eggs when I went (sniff, no omelets), but I'm sure that a brief trip to Food Fair would have solved it if I hadn't been lazy, but you're NOT going to go hungry. Do watch the prices though. Some things are very reasonable (like cheese!); and other things, like hot pockets, make you pay out the... nose for the convenience. Spend accordingly.

Back to the dorm and onto the Orientation Bazaar. Fun, food music, far into the night, thus I grabbed my samosas, ran into Jesse from EMT class and Gross Anatomy at Davis (Aggies!!!), and headed to the dorms with a visit from David, who sweetly checked to see if my foot had fallen off.

Oh... notable. THREE, count em, three scuba shops at the bazaar. Wahoo! Though now it looks like I won't be able to dive for a while.

This morning, it was the professionalism class (which I was late to, d'oh!) and then straight to the clinic.

Something about severe inflammation, excessive heat when palpated, torn ligaments, and not walking on it.

Whoops.

Well... I only walked on it for a couple days... and... and... it didn't hurt *that* much!

So after a brief argument about beginning lecture and the White Coat ceremony, it was decided that I was, in fact, being transported to the hospital in St. George's for x-ray. I'll be getting casted for 3-4 weeks. I'm not sure if I have to meet with a probation officer afterward. Sigh.

The hospital is all right though, perfectly functional, despite my trepidation about x-rays in developing nations. They didn't give me a lead vest to wear, which is fine, because I don't want kids anyway. Air conditioning would have been nice though.

But fast! I'm already out, waiting for my ride thanks to the nurse letting me borrow her cell phone. Just as effective, if not more so, than the states thus far. Good motto for us "The United States! Our medical care is almost as good as, if not as good as, the care on a developing nation in the Caribbean!"

And the view! From outside the hospital, I'm overlooking the ocean, which is the most unimaginably gorgeous shade of light turquoise. Big fluffy clouds and the whole number. Paradise... well, hospital paradise at any rate, and they didn't even give me any drugs.

Jan 14, 2007

Does this color...

make my foot look fat?



In answer to the next, and perhaps, most obvious question, yes, it hurts quite a lot.

But we'll talk about that later.

First, let me tell you of the pain of the Jager hangover. Ohhhhh I had no idea. I'm not a hangover girl. I'm a puke up the rum excess, go to sleep and feel basically all right girl, with the exception of some red wine madness but ohhhhh....

Let me specify, if I hadn't before, that the prior evening at Banana's (the subject of my last blog) had yielded precisely ONE Jagerblaster. Just one! Yes, it was in addition to beer, which doesn't do much to me, but ohhhhh.... I say again.

The warm Caribbean sun through the screen because a police spotlight of pain. There wasn't nausea; no... it was a deep seeded unwellness that pounded on my skull and fulfilled all sitcom stereotypes of the perfect hangover, short of not knowing where I was, which I unfortunately did... on an island virtually without guns, thus bringing me unable to shoot myself to escape the hangover.

Blargh. Never again, babies. Beware of Swedes bearing gifts.

This made next day's tours particularly exciting. To be fair, I still had an awesome time, and met a great guy, David, who will gain greater significance in being one half of my savior later in the day. But I digress.

First it was the walking tour of the capital (St. George's, duh) on market day, which was great. First stop was the fish market where they were carving up either megladons or tuna. The size made it hard to tell. Here's a woman with some of the BABIES:



Not too monstrous until you consider that these were the little ones. The biggest, which had been detailed and headed, I briefly mistook for a DOLPHIN when I walked in.

The town of St. George's is quite charming in a sense... Some shots:







So, for town, once we saw the fish market and the open air market, the latter of which has people selling largely locally grown fruits and veggies out of their cars. A very nice lady gave me a free banana, since I was trying to find something to soak up the Jager toxins.

We ventured through Esplanade mall, which is an overpriced cruise port. On the plus side, they had nutmeg ice cream! Yeah! Even the nutmeg factory didn't have nutmeg ice cream! That's some gooooooood shit.

Ice cream in hand, we left the mecca for vacationers who want to buy souveniers but not see a place, and headed up, at approxiately a 45 degree angle, to a church which had Ivan-provided ventilation.

EVERY blog about Grenada states this, so I suppose I will too for the three people on earth who read SGU blogs and don't know... hurricane Ivan... 2004 Category 4. Unprepared. Vroosh, swish, sucks.

That's the short version. The long version involves things like US Aid screwing up things like only providing funding for the rich who lived in hurricane proof housing since the poor could not qualify for aid since they couldn't afford to bring their board homes up to standard. Thanks guys! On the plus side, China seems to be building them a cricket stadium and Venezuela is building homes into the sides of the hills for squatters, since the government is 'relocating' them (Citation: ModernDayGilligan, aka tour guide. Get on it, US.

So it means there is still a lot of Ivan damage circling around. It damaged 90% of the structures on the island, leaving things like this eerie church:





Unfortunately, taking the deserted church pictures involved losing the tour group, looking around frantically, and running up the STEEPEST hill I've seen in a while to relocate a group that wasn't necessarily ours, but was with SGU, thus the promise of a bus ride back. So we got to see Fort George, or whatever it's called, which was quite cool:



After my first taste of the potato rotis at the Sugar Shack and meeting David, who got to see me in my sunglassed hangover glory (not helped at all by running up the hill to Fort George to find people), it was time for the next tour!!

First was a ride through Lance Aux Epines, otherwise known as poshville. It's where the university club is (for professors and administration!!!), the private houses, the reminders of a pretty significant class division once you've seen other parts of Grenada. It's also where a lot of students choose to live if they're willing to cough up for housing.

Then, off to Fort Frederick, which was not only cool in and of itself (and has inward facing cannons!) but affords a great panorama of the countryside and cool breezes.

Also a hike up the stairs to it!

As a part of the same tour, we went to La Sagesse beach, which is the Halmark card view of the island:




Coolest of all, we saw a tree that apparently grows loofahs. They look like cucumbers, drop off, you peel them, and there's a frigging loofah in there. Don't ask me.

Unfortunately, when attempting to leave said tropical paradise, we ended up with a situation:



You know the honeymoon's over when you have to push the bus home! Up! No, but it push-started, just in time for us to be late to the SGU BBQ.

And how do you run out of chicken at a BBQ?

Ah, but now it's late and roomie's trying to sleep, so guess you'll have to find out the ankle thing tomorrow! Ha!

Jan 13, 2007

Drunken Swedes!!!

Yea!!! My first drunken blog!

Okay, first of all, to all concerned friends and family, I was still with it enough to not get into the unmarked car with the guy claiming to be a taxi, and he finally got bored with my drunken conversation of "but you aren't a taxi... cuz you don't have a sign!" and he finally said "Okay, lady" and drove off and got a REAL taxi that took me RIGHT to my dorm.

Hmmm... so verdict is, I like Banana's! That's the local club, known for having good food and a solemn atmosphere in the early evening and part-ay in the late night, and I can spell it "part-ay" because they were playing circa late 80s-early 90s music, thus, when the vocalist screeched "everybody dance now!", I obeyed wholeheartedly...

But my Swedish sailor friends... not students, sailors, namely, introduced me to Jager shots, which introduced me to staggering into my dorm laughing, much to the amusement of my sober roommate. Haven't been to a bash like that in a LONG time; I can tell you that.

Earlier earlier earlier, since I'm blog mad right now, and my probably-evil roommate has advised me that blogging drunk is the absolute best thing I could do... (just kidding J'Leise)

This morning was the orientation cruise, otherwise known as yet another drunken bash, but one that started earlier in the morning, and one in which I retained some degree of sobriety AND go to met 5W from valuemd. Rock on! It rained intermittedly (sp?) but not for the swimming time, during which I met an awesome chick named Laurie that's interested in the sort of humanitarian stuff that makes me feel like a bad person even though I'm also interested in humanitarian stuff... don't ask me.

But lots of swimming!

This was the Rhum Runner cruise. The original Rhum Runner is underwater, which should have concerned me, but I can swim so as our commander in chimp said, bring it on.

Nice thing was, the rum was free; the water cost money. I saw this as a good omen. On the way back, it rained like the proverbial mutha, thus while everyone else, soaking wet from swimming, charged downstairs to avoid apparently getting more wet, I jumped on the front like a psuedo Kate Winslet, pumped my arms in the air and yelled "woo!" despite not being particularly drunk at such a stage (unlike now). This prompted an excellent conversation with a brilliantly good specimen of maleness from Botswana who mentioned not being able to swim, which makes him braver than I am.

Soaked and freezing, I boarded the late buses back to campus after a heated salsa number with one of the boat crew. I emphasize again that I was not drunk at that point.

And yes, Saora, I met tons of people on said cruise, and it rawwwwked! In the 90s high school spelling sense of the word! Great people.

Coming back, I ran into.... my parents! Turns out they didn't have enough buses for the Grenville nutmeg factory tour, which I'd really wanted to do but it overlapped with my drunk rum cruise, thus they waited for us and I got to do it. I'll post more nutmeg pictures later, but I'm too lazy to hook up my own camera. Ha!

On the nutmeg bus, I met none other than ModernDayGilligan, the tour guide, also distinguished as having the best valuemd handle ever! Sweet! Thanks to him, I got all my souveniers back after stupidly forgetting them, but we did get to follow the nutmeg tour with another waterfall tour, leading me to take this picture with mom's camera since I was too chicken to drag mine into the rain:



Because naturally, it started pouring. I am SO going back to that waterfall (Concord) though, because it's frigging gorgeous and has like fifty different stages. Niiiiiice.

After that was dinner at Banana's (mmm lobster) followed by... well, drunken antics with my new friends!

And now to bed. Full day tomorrow. I'm going to be starting this med school bit soon, eh?

Jan 11, 2007

So, we're going to study eventually, right?

Right.

STILL loving this place. Today exemplified the dry season by being overcast and raining off and on all day. Wahoo!

I was initially planning on doing the tour of the capital, but my parents were late from the hotel due to the misadventures of one taxi driver.

They were at the Rex waiting for the Number 1 bus to take them to the junction where they could catch the SGU bus for the first week (they're not as strict about IDs). A taxi came up and was persistant about driving them to SGU "all the way" for only ten bucks (EC), so they caved to pressure, hopped in the van, and got a pretty cheap tour of the island, which involved winding through the back roads, picking up school children, driving through St. George's proper, and so forth. After thinking this was less and less cute over the course of 45 minutes, my dad tapped the guy on the shoulder and said "SGU???" D'oh! They forgot! So they wind around, my parents see an SGU bus, tell the guy to pull over, but he doesn't, he has to go forward up a half mile to drop another guy off, so they end up walking, in the pouring rain, all the way to campus, and boy were they mad! Whew! But we made the walking tour of campus, which was cool enough, though orated in a VERY soft voice.

Learned where Sugar Shack is!

At the end of the tour, I ran into a couple that I saw on the bus to the tarmac in Puerto Rico, and they gave me the heads up about book distribution! Wahoo! So with parents in tow as again, pack mules, I headed over to, apparently, the back of a warehouse, so they could back up a truck load of books and dump them on me. I have to learn all this by May?!?! Aiiieeee!!!!!

Afternoon brought a nature hike... er... tour of Ammandale Falls and the Grand Etang rainforest. The bus ride took us on an impromptu tour of the island that included an impressively large, Candlestick Park sized cricket stadium. The island is jungley almost all the way through but as you get toward the top (in the middle of the island), the roads get more precarious (turn off the air conditioning; we're going uphill!), and the settlements thin out, though not sufficiently to keep people from alternating between laughing at us, staring at us, and waving at us. Heh heh.

You also saw things like this and got to play the "old ruins or hurricane ivan?" game:



Ammandale Falls was great:



The falls go into a nice lake that two guys (who were not bad in the muscled chest department wink wink) dove into. Ah, for a swimsuit... or to not be holding my camera. There's a trail that leads away from the falls that is lined with nutmeg, and oh the smell is wonderful!!!! That led through vegetation, flowers, callaloo (which, as I discovered through dinner at Banana's, makes a wonderful soup) and such.



At the falls, there were a group of locals there that were a bunch of fun, so I took a picture of them, and then cropped out one gentleman who absolutely was NOT doing anything illegal at all. Nope. Nothing. Nice foliage they have in Grenada though. Very green.



Then it was off to Grand Etang lake, where I was in desperate and fruitless search of mona monkeys. Curse you, elusive mona monkeys! I did find, by way of the SGU tour guides, a brand of ginger beer called "Cool" that tastes like gingered heaven... but I'm back on food (and drink) again!

That area of the rainforest is higher elevation, cool temperature, and extremely misty. Being an original Bay Areaite, that made it feel like home:



And dinner at Banana's, where I had my first Carib!! Mmm... tastes.. well, a bit like Corona. I'm still trying to adapt to liking beer and I'm on my way.

Tomorrow is the orientation cruise. Why do I think when class actually starts, it's going to hit my vacation-addled brain like a stack of bricks; or textbooks, which seem to be, if mine are any indication, denser than bricks?

Jan 10, 2007

Dear Mom. Camp is Fun

Send money.

Still feels like camp. Not, to scare you, in a sense of heavy mosquitos (I'm told that's during the wet season), flashlights, no power, that sort of thing... but in a sense of "Okay campers, today we register, and tomorrow we get to take a historic tour of the island's capital AND go on a nature hike!"

Not that it's patronizing; it just doesn't feel like med school... well, looking at the histo slides kind of felt like med school.

But my activities today consisted of wandering around trying to get into the Prague selective, which is completely full, as I was desperately hoping it wasn't, with 80 people on the waitlist. Sigh. So now I need new plans for the summer. Costa Rica, anyone? I may just go to Europe anyway. Hell with em!

After that, we went on a bus adventure after my parents arrived, because I wanted them to stop getting ripped off by the taxis, because the buses certainly DO go near the Rex Grenadian.

The bus system around here is interesting. I'm not used to the driving on the left format, so I embrace the invincibility of youth and remind myself that I can't die. Actually, I feel quite safe in the hands of the experienced, beep-happy drivers, but there's no way I'm negotiating this stuff myself, at least not for a while.

Took the SGU bus (Freeeeeeeee) near Spiceland Mall (didn't go in yet though) and caught a city bus (known to many as reggae buses) to the Rex, just in time to discover that we'd missed lunch and had to order room service. In the meantime, J'Leise and I (my parents adopted my roommate until her mom gets here, thus spreading their meddling, er...loving on two unsuspecting females) went swimming down at a beach that had the complete package of white sandy beach, palm trees gently swaying in the breeze and tropical blue water. Ah, med school.

Until biochem hits me like a load of, I don't know, amino acids. Bad simile.

We took the buses back and I chose that time to go back to my room and crash. I also discovered the cause of the air conditioner malfunction, namely, user idiocy. You see, I had some of my parents belongings thrown into a small suitcase where it got mixed in with mine. In it, I included a small device that I couldn't identify so I figured it was one of their gadgets.

Apparently air conditioners in the dorm have REMOTES. Who knew? Fortunately, when my mom pulled it out of the bag while we were at the hotel and said "what's this?", J'Leise said "Hey!"

So.... air conditioning! Hooray! But it drips, so I'm going to continue holding onto my self-righteous indignation, because it helps me sleep at night, though not as well as sweet cold air.

Since I had my student ID, which you need to go anywhere, I scoped out the gym. VERY nice. Punching bag, speed bag, free weights, cardio machines, a bunch of machines on the other side that I didn't check out, yoga mats, regular exercise mats, benches, and those giant rubber balls like you used to throw around the pool as a kid which now inexplicably involve exercise and cost twenty bucks (US).

The equipment is pretty worn, so I suppose if you're used to sparkly pro gyms, it would simply be functional, but not great. For a child of apartment gyms, it's frigging exercise mecca.

Oh, for the room pictures, this is what SGU describes as a double kitchenette:











Home sweet Caribbean home. Seriously though, one could do a lot worse, particularly considering UCD was having to pack three students per room due to some planning snafus. The view is awesome and now fully appreciated... our shade was broken, and thanks to some wonderful advice from several packing lists, duct tape now keeps our window proudly open. Wahoo!

Lights out, campers!

So Cool!

I'm on the rock, registered, thus can now run around yelling "I'm a medical student!" without feeling like I'm cheating.

I'm currently on the library's computers until I figure out how my roommate (who's awesome) made the ethernet work. No wi fi hotspot in our dorm room though.

Initial impressions (no pictures for this brief blog folks, due to location).

PRETTY! Impression 1. Even at night, this place is absolutely gorgeous. I woke up this morning with the breeze blowing lightly in my face from the window, and to the sound of waves crashing. You can see the water from the dorms. It's like a Jimmy Buffet song without booze... well, not yet. I saw Smirnoff Ice (!!!), Carib, and some other interesting spirits at the student store, which is a time saver!

"Dry" season had two showers last night, but they were quite pleasant due to the heat, which is around 80 degrees and humid. I don't think the air conditioner works.

People here, so far, have been extremely nice. Everyone is very helpful, though you do get tiny bits of runaround here and there, but they're very pleasant about it.

The dorm rooms are a lot nicer than I was expecting, including a bit larger than I was expecting. They're still very small, but compared to the "sleeping next to your roommate" that I'd heard about, not bad. No bugs yet.

Showers are cold. This is not necessarily a bad thing here, and they're so FORCEFUL. I haven't been this clean in years!

Everything on campus is uphill. I'm not exactly sure how that works, since it appears to defy all laws of physics, but that's the way it is. On the plus side, I'm trying to drop a few of those "cubicle" pounds, and between the heat decreasing appetite and the hikes around campus, I'm thinking I'll be in those size 4s in... oh... two days. And I'm not wishful thinking! Heh heh.

Well, ta folks! I'll update later with more details, but initial impressions of the Rock are quite good. The pictures, which are also quite good, don't do it justice.

Jan 9, 2007

Boarding call...

Okay, not quite yet, but I am at the airport. My parents are (hopefully) safe on their flight, and I'm sitting around waiting for mine, having secured a meager breakfast in turn for having a place to sit and blog.

I am tired of public places getting savvy though. 8 bucks to poach wireless? No fair!!

About an hour until... ulp... boarding...

I actually feel unimaginable relief, despite a sleepless night, because all the stressful pre-prep stuff is OVER.

Getting to and from the hotel room in Raleigh (which involved no messing up beds, washing or anything, so they personnel must think we were either nuts or setting up an impromptu but dummy meth lab) was a bit delayed due to the fact that yet AGAIN I confused en route to Greenville. 64 and 264 wind together and then branch off. When Slappy visited, after assuring her husband that as two females driving alone at night, we'd be *perfectly* safe, I got us about an hour's way lost in a nicely remote area. Gang graffiti, thankfully not included.

Having "learned" from that mistake, I set about doing EXACTLY the same thing last night getting my dad from Winston Salem to Greenville, realized my error, and had a deputy sheriff pull up as I sat in the parking lot of a building complex attempting to read a map that was ironically put out by Mapquest... this strikes me as contradictory since when Mapquest inevitably gives you bad directions on the computer, do you really want to rely on their print versions to save you? Anyway...

I'm not sure if said deputy saw the California plates, but set about setting us on the right path... overlooking my fatigue and my general blondeness. He got back on the road behind us, just in time to watch me miss the turn he'd told me to take.

He flashed his lights at us, and I was left with the very difficult decision of trying to ignore him in his attempts to be charitable or stop in the middle of the road and back up in front of him, a move that is so illegal it defies explanation.

I chose the latter, hoping that was the right answer, and as it turns out, it was. Said deputy sheriff even put on his lights so I could back up without being pasted by another late night loser.

As I squared the front of the vehicle with the correct exit, he pulled around next to me and said "follow me", and said it in a bright and friendly manner that, had I been in his position, I couldn't have mustered, NEEDING to say it darkly and following it with "ya idiot", but he's a better man than I, Gunga Din.

So I followed said sheriff as he drove at a very slow speed (no doubt to match what he thought of my general intellect), and put on his blinker way in advance so I would hopefully, not screw it up, and I didn't, and got back to Greenville via his shortcut to my longcut. Thank you exceedingly patient deputy sheriff. But at least he has a story about a blonde Californian so dumb she probably has to sit down to think and her apparently equally lacking daddy (sorry dad) who contributed half her doofus genes.

Anyway, after getting back to Greenville, we loaded up remaining luggage (having already secured a hotel in Raleigh and headed to the hotel, and didn't even get lost! Wahoo! By this point, we had about an hour before we wanted to be at the airport. Naturally, I was late, because I'm ALWAYS late, but we still made it in time for me to play a quick game of musical luggage as I discovered my dive bag was 53 pounds, a 3 pound difference that would have cost me 25 bucks. Fortunately, I was able to toss gear into a duffel bag and screech under with 49.

If I haven't mentioned it, my parents are flying Delta to Air Jamaica... they can have 2 bags up to 50 pounds each. I'm on American to American Eagle which means that due to the last leg, I only get 50 (or 70?) pounds TOTAL. Be advised. Also cheated the carry ons and "personal item", so I should be flying in style if any of my stuff actually makes it to the island.

Security was an absolute breeze, and since I'm on a one way ticket, it astounded me. I think it was because this was probably the first time I've been to an airport on time (for me), had my shoes off, laptop out, body free of jewelry, and was all around prepared, which means no fun for the security folks to make me do the unprepared chicken dance. D'oh!

To skip around, earlier in the day, as predicted, I boarded the critters in a kennel in Winston Salem and immediately began crying like a little girl. Fortunately, the people there were REALLY nice and said that sort of thing happened to lots of people. I'm not sure if they were lying, but it made me feel better. When I handed over Mishu's leash and Goth's cage over to the kennel attendant, that was just it. Fortunately my dad went with me, so I got to do the blubbery "I miss my critters!" thing. Sniff.

So now, I'm still scared, but as stated, a more muted inevitable kind of scared. I am concerned with whether the 'rents got on the plane, but I'm sure they're fine. They were there well in advance, but I was concerned with not having enough things I have no control over to worry at... such as worrying at ending a sentence like that in a preposition. Ahhhhh!!!

I'm off!!!!!