Mar 31, 2007

Dweeb Fight!!!

Nina knows Star Trek trivia (DWEEB!!!) and I have a Renaissance Faire costume that I have worn, to you guessed it, Renaissance Faires. (DWEEB!!!)

So we called it a draw and dragged David along to Kwality to get Indian Food where we ran into Randy, having biochem discussions outside Mocha Jumby's (DWEEB!!!).

I will pretty much eat anything, thus the chicken rotis at Sugar Shack (on lower campus) taste perfectly fine to me, but they pale in comparison to Kwality, and the owners are really nice. Actually, the folks at Sugar Shack have been pretty nice to me as well; I think it's just Glover's that breeds evil. 45 minutes for cheese fries AND you're gonna be surly about it and act like requesting the salt shaker is akin to requesting a kidney? Feh. It's a good thing they're so artery clogging good.

What reinforced my dweebiness though was that I went back to the dorm ostensibly to study, which in medical school is an acceptable form of dweeb, though granted, doing so on a Friday night makes it worse, but I figured I would amend that by going to the Pirates of the Caribbean party tomorrow, but I didn't study...

What did I do instead? My taxes. Oh dear; that's not even medical student dweeby, and what's worse, is that I felt GUILTY for doing them this late (despite only just now finally getting my W-2s) because for the past two years, I've done them in January.

Yeah, just call me Ned Flanders.

To be fair to myself, spending an hour and half (I had three jobs and two student loans last year) processing forms DID ensure a tidy little bonus that will be sent to me within a few weeks, thus ensuring that in that WEEK I'm stuck post finals due to not being able to secure a reasonable flight, my butt will be in Barbados, babies! Or somewhere else. Thank you, IRS, and thank you January 2006 Ishie, since you KNEW this day would come, and you wisely listed yourself as a dependent to secure a fat tidy refund.

And to those who say that's just giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan, not true... I am paying Uncle Sam to keep my grubby mitts off my money until I actually need it, rather than having already frittered it away on a nicer suitcase or more clothes. I may look scruffy and have Walmart luggage, but if it means a trip to Barbados, I'll scruff away, dammit.

Hooray for e-filing by the way.

This is a proud day for me, because as a little foal, with the help of TaxAct holding my hand, I have finally learned to walk. Back when I was a sullen teenager, I was regularly panicked about not knowing how to be an adult. I couldn't cook very well; I didn't know the first thing about filing taxes, or how to get an apartment or a car or a credit card, or anything with financed, and figured I would fail adulthood and end up marrying an accountant thirty years my senior just to be a grown-up for me.

Filed my taxes on my own. Last year, it was a friend/coworker of mine who'd taken an accounting class and had tax experience and he walked me through the process, and before that, it was forking over a chunk of my return to H&R Block, but they DID let me scratch off a lottery ticket in an attempt to double my refund! That's gotta be worth it, right?

Air conditioner update? Still not fixed. They haven't even tried to drop by, so fortunately I secured an oscillating fan, which is almost as good, if by almost you mean "nowhere nearly as good, but the noise drowns out the sobs".

Housing update? No word. Screw it, I'm getting my own place off campus. Even if I nail housing, if it's at Grand Anse, as MUCH as I'd LOVE to live on the beach, I'm not shelling out five large (over a thousand US a month) to live in a place where the kitchen is outside.... now, if only I knew where to begin finding a place to live! I'm going for a studio or some place I can prowl my own, because though my roommate rocks the house, I am intrinsically territorial and may start marking the walls if forced to cohabitate for the full 2 years. Besides, I'm a carnivore among herbivores, and I need my own fridge to keep my dripping murdered cowparts in unmolested.

Plus, hey, you get to study neuro in the nude. That's a timesaver, right??

So what else is up? Okay, I'll level with you guys since I know you all so well, my picture's up, and someday this blog will cost me a competitive residency because I'm such a smarmy, sarcastic pain in the ass and everyone will know it...

But I've been having some problems with high/lows as almost every medical student does, which, as I believe I've mentioned before, is related to the fact that I have the sleeping patterns of a speedballer. It's sad. I also had the anxiety sleep disorder problem that screwed me at midterms, and after being harassed by a volley of family and friends, I went to the counseling department at SGU.

Why am I telling you this? Well, largely to encourage other jaded cynics such as myself to go if you're feeling problems because it doesn't take much in medical school to snowball on you, and I am the poster child for hating psychology, psychiatry, sharing my FEELINGS (said with sarcasm and an emphasis on making quotation marks with my hands) with strangers, etc, and generally walked into the counseling office with a big ol chip on my shoulder and a desire to be anywhere but there.

But it's not so bad. I am introspective enough to realize my inner sabateur was at work because as the counselor was competently putting me through a relaxation exercise to help relieve the anxiety I've been feeling over my insomnia, which laughably is what keeps me up all the damn time, a HUGE part of my brain was quite literally singing "Hipppiiiiieee new age crap!! Dumb dee dee dumb", which I was finally able to beat into submission by my much much smaller openmindedness telling it to shut the hell up.

So yeah. Not a sign of weakness. And if you say it is, I'll kick your ass. I'm hardcore.

I'm still having problems sleeping, largely due to the fact that I procrastinate on going to sleep because I'm paranoid about not being able to sleep (she said at 1:30 in the morning), but I think the times where I actually am GOING to sleep are going better, though the lack of air conditioning is screwing up the learning curve. I've found that counting backwards from 100 and breathing slowly is working not too badly for me.

So now I've shared. Your turn! Oh, and help me find a bloody apartment on the bus route that has internet!

Mar 26, 2007

The horror...

Let's start with yesterday. Then we'll get to... the horror.

I went diving!! Hooray!!! Not one, but TWO new wrecks--the Rhum Runner, making the one we partied on the Rhum Runner II, though there's already a Rhum Runner and a Rhum Runner II that are not underwater, which makes it seem like the parallel Rhum Runner on the surface is living on borrowed time while it's murdered counterpart sits 100 feet beneath the waves.

At 105' no less, so hooray! Deepest dive! By four whole feet! I'll be doing the Bianca C in no time... and then??? The Andrea Doria! No, just kidding on that last one. That's hard core. And in New Jersey.

Anyhoo... second wreck was the Quarter Wreck, which is awesome, so here... random dive pictures since my lazy butt finally brought my camera along:

First off... had to find a dive buddy. Fortunately, the dive shop had supplied one, courtesy of him either being let off his leash or chewing through it from his normal station mowing the lawns at the police station:

Unfortunately, my dive buddy had to stay on the beach. Not only was he having trouble holding his regulator, but he headbutted the divemaster, which is definitely a no-no. We took off on this beach, so I'll again say "nyah nyah!" to any of you reading this who are buried under a mid-spring snowfall:

So then, to the dive sites!!

Wahoo!!! Fun.

So I get back. I had scheduled tickets for Margarita Island over Easter!!!! On the 13th-15th!!! Fun!!!!

Phone call from Nina... Easter's the previous weekend, moron. Not fun.

Got 11 hours of sleep last night!!! Fun!!!!

Woke up, went to ticket agent, begged, ACTUALLY got tickets changed against all probability with only a 25$ fee AND there were spaces left on the flight! Double fun!!!!

Get back to campus. Lost the housing lottery, gotta live off campus thus ensuring I will NEVER go to lecture or work out. Not fun.

Screw it. Go back to dorm. Batteries not working in air conditioning remote. Not fun. Replace batteries.

Now... the HORROR part... air conditioning broken. Oh shit no... holy shit, no!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No no... you don't understand. My happiness is largely consistent on how much sleep I get. HOW MUCH SLEEP I GET IS DIRECTLY REGULATED BY WHAT TEMPERATURE MY ROOM IS. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

How long will it take to have this fixed? Oh, who freaking knows? Better be soon.. better be soon... and there is NO breeze today. My roommate is from Tobago and grew up without air conditioning... she came in... it's bloody hot! For people FROM the islands it's bloody hot!

I wonder how long I can sleep in the upstairs study lounge before I get kicked out. It's miserable to even STUDY or work in here, and sleep? Oh, let there be a breeze tonight... or let the hardware store stay open long enough tomorrow to let me get a fan and an ice bucket... I think I'm gonna cry!!!!!!

Mar 23, 2007

I'm a Hypocrite...

Partygoers laughing into the night? Destroy them all.

Lone saxophone player wailing away into the solitude of the darkness at 1 in the morning? Awesome.

The moral of the story is that if you're going to be loud in the wee hours, do it with style.

So, I think I'm losing my mind... Not only have I been a bit manic depressive over the last few days in a funk between awesome med school-ness and "Frigging hell what have I gotten myself into-"ness, but after skipping today's sole anatomy lecture to go to the pharmacy, the two embryo lectures that followed were EXCRUCIATING. Gods. I don't know how you can show a hypertrophied clitoris and a bifid penis and have it be more boring than watching flies do the nasty, but somehow...

That part doesn't mark me as crazy. What does? The biochem lecture that followed, much to the dread of all of us who were getting acquainted with the inside of our eyelids during embryo? Freaking awesome. I'm down with DNA sequencing, bitches!

To recap: embryonic development of the genitals complete with the pictures of what can go wrong? Gawdawful.

Biochem? Fascinating.

Yup, it's Rock Fever all right. Gonna have to put her down.

I REALLY want to like our new biochem professor, but I keep hearing horrific rumors that his tests are evil. Wouldst thou break my heart, oh interesting biochem professor? Say it ain't so!

So what's the best cure for Rock Fever that's G-rated? Getting off the Rock! Easter's coming, which means, for me, four days sans classes, and some length of time ditching out and going, hopefully to Margarita Island if accommodations can be secured. What's the allure of lounging inebriated on that island paradise rather than this one? It's not this one, and most importantly, my books won't be anywhere near it.

You see, if I stay in Grenada, that will involve staying in my dorm room with four days to have my books look accusingly at me, and remind me of all the things I *could* be getting done. This is something I find profoundly offensive. If I'm on Margarita, not only will I have new shopping opportunities, a chance to get another stamp on my passport (yes, I'm that much of a geek), and new beaches to explore, but I can't study. Not my fault, babies! Books are at home! Couldn't study if I wanted to! Guess it's time to go back to Senor Frogs!

What if I can't get to Margarita Island? ANYWHERE. Carriacou. Guyana. Trinidad. Frigging Miami. Just get me outta here!

Mar 22, 2007

The Ring Goes Where?

There have been some experiments where they (the ubiquitous 'they') flash words on a screen in front of people and have those people say the words aloud. These experiments revealed that when curse words are flashed on the screen, most people have a longer pause before saying the word that's in front of them than they do when looking at a normal word.

A similar reaction seems to occur when, in your "Functional Anatomy of the Pelvis" lecture, the instructor flashes a clitoris ring (sans clitoris) slide up on the projector and asks the class to identify it.

Such a long pause that followed as we all tried to wrap our minds around something else it might be. Of course, then we got the slide no longer sans clitoris and a hilariously clinical follow up of what could happen with genital jewelry for both men and women. Damn those Prince Alberts...

Boy howdy, was that a fun lecture!!!

This lecture also included the phenomena of the 'broken penis', which the instructor described as happening often in the woman-on-top position that occurred while the woman was, his words, "in orbit". Oh dear. Laughter quickly gave way to every man in the room doing a silent (or not so silent) scream as we saw the pictures of penile avulsions (choose between getting 'degloved' by an industrial accident or an animal bite; we got to see both) and of course, the classic Bobbitt, which becomes oh so much more gruesome when you can actually identify the three erectile tissues in the remaining... stub.

I'd send Manlocks down there to investigate but he's too busy turning white, vomiting, and clutching himself in sympathy pain.

I personally think the avulsions looked worse (it's your freaking skin, people!), but the relative volume of the expressed male horror was greater with the flat-out slice-off, so I suppose I was vetoed. What's the message? Never go to bed angry. You just thought it was good marital advice.

Somehow the women got off lightly in only seeing drawn depictions of tearing and episiotomies (and that horrific clitoris ring, which at least seemed to be attached to a healthy female), but even that's enough to make me a little queasy. No L&D for me! What is it that makes us so protective of our nether regions? I can watch a bowel resection video while eating sausages.

What added to the humor was, during the break, overhearing a conversation between some guys that essentially went:

Guy 1: "Man, I've been so tired lately. I just couldn't stay awake during lecture!"
Guy 2: "What??? How in the hell could you sleep through THAT lecture??"

The other classes just can't compete!

Mar 20, 2007

Bad Blogger; No Cookie!

Yeah yeah, it's been a few days since I blogged, for a number of reasons... drunkenness, laziness, stress...ness... it's a word now, and not simply because of my traditional overuse of ellipses. I'm in therapy for it. It's not going well.

So where was I? Playing rugby. Great. That was Thursday, so we'll flip through Friday.

On Friday, I grumbled as I awoke just in time to be quite late to my new clinical skills weekly lab starting at 8:30 in the morning, with a bonus histo lab right after since they're changing schedules around, thus ensuring I'll miss EVERYTHING.

At the time, I was quite pissed off by losing what had been one of my last free mornings. In retrospect, I discovered that this would earn me my Tuesdays and Mondays, which, considering their proximity to the weekend, is MUCH better, so wahoo school.

Still, the beginning of patient interviews didn't thrill me because to date, with the exception of nailing a differential diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy, I've found clinical skills to be the bane of my existence, filling hours with things that turn out to be common sense or flat wrong.

But an exception!!! The patient interview lab was not only entertaining, but, wait for it, potentially useful!!! We talked for a bit about taking a patient history, which fortunately I got as an EMT since I missed part of it, but then an actress came in and we all took turns interviewing her for her ailment. I felt good about diagnosing her with gallbladder disease (mentally) the second she said "greasy food", but my group seems to consist of smart cookies because they got it too.

It's funny to go back and review interviewing though, and since our group leader was good, making sure to avoid leading questions, particularly when covering personal or difficult questions: "do you drink? Well how much? Is it like once a day or once a week? Like a glass?" No. No. No.

The actress said we did a good job and made her feel comfortable too, and our group was quite supportive of each other. A couple of my friends said they did theirs and people in their groups were really critical, but either we're all awesome or all kind, and I'm happy either way.

But you want to hear about Sandblast, don't you? Ahhh Sandblast.

Sandblast is the drunken fervor that follows midterms, I believe for both med and vet students. Everyone is welcome, and best yet, it's on Grand Anse Beach.

In advance, I'd had a light plan of drinking sufficiently (which I've been good about not doing lately) to have people say "Whoa, is she all right?" Mission accomplished! A preface to all of this is: Kids, don't try this at home.

Sandblast, not so coincidentally, fell on St. Paddy's Day. Wahoo! So Ishie had her first green beer, which makes me sad to say, but I only started tolerating beer recently, so there you go.

I headed out there a little late (around 2 PM), because, I'm embarrassed to say, I was up really late the night before... STUDYING. Oh, the shame.

Got to Sandblast and after getting my cup on a string (everyone needs a cup on a string), immediately stripped down to bathing suit in an ATTEMPT to give the illusion that I live in the Caribbean and have seen the sun in recent months. Once you paid for the wristband (which I had in advance), the alcohol was "free", and I took full advantage of that fact. Hooked up with some friends (not like that) and just generally was drunk and rowdy. We also found a business professor named Carlos who was very cool, so we dragged him around with us for a while, took pictures, and then he eventually wandered off, probably to talk to people that had a blood alcohol level that put them somewhere near coherent.

Good music; good drinks; good friends; and inexplicably, good food, which is a rare commodity unless you either make the food yourself or buy the cheese fries at Glovers. I even had a hamburger! And it didn't suck! Or make me sick! They were also passing out full Magnum bars which made for a happy Ishie.

Then it was playing in the water with David, including a swim out to Shadowfax to net a free Carib which one of the crew (Shadowfax is a pretty boat that does cruises around the island) opened and passed down to us as other students (who had money inexplicably on their persons, despite being quite a distance off the beach) climbed aboard. I didn't see the boat leave, and I'm not sure where it left to or if we got those students back, but hopefully they had fun. We had plenty of fun playing "swim back to shore with open bottle of Carib while sipping off the top and NOT getting ocean in it".

There were also guys with boats pulling either banana boats or innertubes for money. David, Emily Kate and I opted for the latter and climbed aboard our respective rubber vessels, drunkenly barreling along at full speed (again, kids don't try this at home). Unfortunately, the tubes hit the wake of a different boat and I did a full flip upside-down, still clinging onto the handles on the innertube. David also took a dive, though Emily Kate miraculously kept her innertube upright.

The horsecollar flotation device that had been carefully attached to me came straight off so the floaty part was on the surface and I was under it with the strap tangled around my neck. Gee, thank heavens for safety measures. Without that lifejacket, saving myself would have been MUCH easier. Fortunately, I swim well. Even more fortunately, I swim well when a bit intoxicated, which is a key thing to know.

Hitting the water actually hurt quite a bit at that speed, and I jacked my knee up to a degree that it still smarts, though no swelling, but it kept me out of rugby Sunday. Dammit! When I hit the water, I opened my eyes in time to realize my sunglasses were lost to the briny deep and that I was still underwater with a not great idea of where "up" was. I did a brief mental check of my systems to make sure no serious injuries, oriented myself, detangled the stupid strap around my neck, and broke surface, apparently a little later than the boat captain would have liked because I came up to "Sweetie???? Sweetie???? You all right, sweetie???" Heh. My freediving abilities must be getting better. I didn't even feel particularly desperate for air. But then it was back rocketing along at full speed with hearty "woos!" by all, which, by the way, absolutely rocks, even if you do substantially increase your chances of drowning.

Back to drinking and dancing and doing so in front of my first foam cannon. Those are fun!!! Sandblast is a serious party... the kind of party I didn't know actually existed but thought they staged on MTV to make me feel like a loser in high school, but they're real!!!! You just need a tropical beach to make them work.

Following all this of course came the inevitable result of drinking all day, thus I decided to take a much deserved nap in the sand, causing concerned amusement on behalf of my friends, and alarm on behalf of the locals who kept trying to get me up and squeeze oranges in my mouth. I'm not sure what oranges are supposed to do for drunken idiots, but they tasted good. So good in fact that as David and Nina got me to my feet, I managed to clasp an orange in my hand, which I apparently didn't drop until I got back to my dorm room, confusing the heck out of me when I found it under my desk in the morning... "What the??? I haven't even bought oranges!!! Wait a minute..."

David thankfully got my bag, ensuring that I have my camera, wallet, and histo book for posterity (Yes, I brought a book to Sandblast, but don't judge me; it's not like I read it), though my sandals and towel (along with sunglasses) have been sacrificed to Bacchus.

Apparently I was staggery enough that Sej, concerned, gave some advice on drinking water and taking Tylenol and made sure I was all right, thus fulfilling my "Is she okay?" prophecy from earlier. Bwa ha!

NOT a fun bus ride. One thing about me is that I will NOT vomit 'where I am' if you will, or in inappropriate places. Outside is fine; a toilet is fine. Otherwise, no way. It upsets me. I mind less when other people do it as I'm used to it, but I have a mental block against doing it myself, largely because it means either drunkenly trying to clean up a mess myself or having to look someone in the eye later that had to do it for me. So that bus ride was "Don't throw up. Don't throw up. Don't throw up."

So I kept my dignity, only throwing up once I was on the lawn of the Superdorms, like any self-respecting future doctor would do.

Nina and David patiently helped me out and then got me up to the dorm and into bed to pour some Gatorade down my throat while my roommate tried to scrape sand out of my eyes to what was apparently hilarious drunken commentary from me.

I felt a little better later so we went out for some of those magnificent cheese fries from Glover's. Ahhhh mercy. By this point unfortunately, I started not feeling great and my knee hurt so to bed, to awaken somewhat confused because my sheets were FULL of sand, as was the floor... as were my ears... and my hair... blech. Note to self: do NOT lie down on the beach when drunk (or sober, probably). you will get sand places you didn't think sand could get. And I'm still regularly sweeping the floor.

Sunday I actually got studying done, but still wasn't feeling great and was a bit moody, not to mention bummed by skipping rugby because my knee hurt... no problem, I figure hangover, right?

So MONDAY, I wake up, STILL feeling kind of yucky, but mostly REALLY moody, like "I want to go home; this sucks" kind of moody. Hmmm... hangovers do not last that long, particularly when one has vomited up a good portion of her alcohol and isn't that prone to hangovers anyway.

Temperature? 101. Damn. Not a hangover.

But I'm feeling better now, thus have been alternating between being a lazy bum while watching Futurama, and being a productive bum while studying biochem.

But remember kids, drugs are bad, mmmkay? To those ready to chide me for my drunken debauchery, just remember, it can't be bad.. it's school sponsored! I wonder if those drug seminar people will make us retake that "are you an alcoholic" test now. I'm guessing after a couple months of medical school, those class averages would be WAY up!

Mar 15, 2007


Okay, this game is so ridiculously fun that you should be able to get a venereal disease from it.

Now that the hell of midterms is over and I have the relative attention span of a gnat for studying, that meant I could finally brave the ankle (though it keeps randomly swelling up but not hurting) with a wrap on it, get my butt out on the field under the glow of that bright shiny ball in the sky I vaguely remember from college, and learn to play RUGBY!!!

To concerned readers, this is not the femur-snapping, tooth-breaking, life-ending form of rugby some of you might know, because I'm a girly girl (sort of) and fear such things, but rather, this is co-ed "wrap" rugby in which we 'hug' each other to tackle, which provides just enough contact when two people are running full speed at each other to be *fun* without being *deadly*.

This sounds wildly touchy feely, and to seasoned rugby players, I'm sure it is, but you can actually get some pretty good hits in with wrap rugby, though I've discovered that half-riding a player piggyback may be excessive force.

To clarify, before today, I have never played rugby in my life, have no idea what is called what (though a "touchdown" seems to be a "tri"?), and am still sketchy on a bunch of the rules, but it's pretty cool.

And all of this is Sej's doing, so I give much thanks to her. Randy too, since both he and Sej are Rugby Witnesses, and go door to door passing out rugby tracts and asking American football players (which I am not) if they'd be interested in converting to rugby.

I've been wanting to participate in organized sports, but while I like soccer, they are insane about it here, and I'm bad at it; same true of basketball (though they're less insane about it), and as for cricket... well, I couldn't figure out the first week of school why all the little boys off campus in school uniforms were carrying fraternity paddles around, so I think that speaks for itself.

And after all that, I managed to keep my elliptical appointment, do a good half hour workout, come back to the dorm, finish off my laundry, and do a jam guitar session with my roommate. I may flunk out of med school, but I'll be fit, clean, and have mad music skills!!!!!

Sandblast Saturday!!!!

Mar 14, 2007

I forgot I was in paradise...

After the midterms rush, you find yourself... well, I find myself, in this state where it's a bit like when I first arrived here and keep looking around at all the scenery saying "Wow... pretty!"

There's a bit of a breather post-midterms. While I'm staying up in my classes, the course material doesn't seem as bad right now and the schedule isn't as horrible, I believe, in preparation for Sandblast and with the knowledge that since Unifieds were sufficient to get half the school to vegetate for a week, midterms instills pure laziness post-event.

In some senses, there's almost a sleepy atmosphere as people try and regain bits of their pre-midterm lives. Some people almost seem in a higher state of depression, independently of how they did in midterms, and others, like me, are still trying to get their heads back into NORMAL study hours. The burn out was tremendous.

So the few days since have seemed lazy island-like. If I had a hammock, I'd be swinging in it sipping coconut milk, though I'd probably have some Netter flashcards in front of me as an appeasement to the study gods. Unfortunately, I'd have to get my coconuts at upper campus, where I usually am right before class, and they won't let you have food in the lecture hall, including a coconut with a straw shoved in it, but I love that you can just pick them up three stories up from where I sleep. Ah, Caribbean life.

Monday, we had a histo lecture that I'd actually pre-studied for, and I was sitting in the front row, which made me feel all prepared and such.

Biochem, I think everyone hated except for me. I like DNA replication because I've studied it before and I'm a dork for molecular biology, plus Dr. C put up animations and I am *that* starved for television.

I keep having mixed feelings on the man. He kept smiling at the beginning of lecture, almost awkwardly in a perhaps projected "please like me" way, and I found myself really wanting to like the man. Other times, I feel like he hates our guts, so I'm conflicted. I'll go with trying for "like" though. Better uhh... I'll use "karma" for lack of a better word. Can you tell I feel oddly sedated?

My presence was requested (ie, I was invited) at De Big Fish again, this time with Randy, Kristin, Nina, David and a couple others, and where we couldn't get kicked out (hypothetically) by party coordinators. Did I go? Oh yes I did.

Another fun night, though unlike last time, service was lacking, all the tabs were mixed up, and a *polite* complaint by Kristin about removing the beer she didn't drink from her tab was met with some pretty damn extreme rudeness from the owner, I suppose, but I guess when your customers are transient year to year students stuck on a small island with few options, you can treat them like shit with impunity. Thanks, dude.

But we did run into Phil, Helen, and some of the others from the dive shop, who always seem to know when I'm being bad, as in Vodka/Red Bull bad, which I love because it's the speedballing of drinking. With a few winks and a hug, they were on their way. I love Dive Grenada. Anyhoo...

Back to campus... I was thinking about going to a Monday night party at Banana's but ended up having heavy innuendo laced funning with Randy, Nina, and David as we all blew off post-midterm steam. We decided to pick on Nina because she's ostensibly the second shortest, and I'm too self-deprecating to easily pick on, which means my diabolical strategy worked.

To bed to bed to morning to afternoon to be met with a REALLY good anatomy lecture by Dr. H. I'm not usually the guy's biggest fan, but today really felt like doctor training. I mean, anatomy is relevant to clinical practice anyway, but as he's talking about how *we're* going to use a speculum and the right method for inserting one, it crystallized the practice of it--that we're going to need to know how to do it without injuring the urethra.

That may be high on the squick factor for some of you, but like I said, it was kind of neat when I wasn't wincing at the uterine prolapse. Yai.

Then another lecture on the winding network of electrical cables that is the blood supply and innervation of the pelvis followed by a patient history clinical skills lecture that was extremely easy for me since I've already had the training, but was one of the more *potentially* useful clinical skills lectures I've been to (not that I've been to a lot of them) but it blew ethics away. I even got the differential diagnosis of the bat, because it 'seemed' right. Ectopic pregnancy in the house... or in the fallopian tube, to be precise.

And House! I got the last episode of House, and thank you to my helpers on here, and I did think it was awesome despite the fact that I don't like Dave Matthews. I did a little prestudy to maintain some work ethic, then worked out (and it felt alarmingly good after a week of next to nothing), and came back to my dorm to be industrious/studious and... watched Futurama instead. Penguins with shotguns are funny.

So to bed soon. I don't feel behind, but like I said, I just feel ahhhh, and like most of the rest of the student body, I feel like I am damn sure getting out of here for Easter (four days). The question is where... Curacao? Jamaica? Isla de Margarita? Guyana? Decisions decisions.

Mar 11, 2007


Okay, so I'm back. If you've been wondering where I've been, I've been surfing the emotional rollercoaster that is midterms and wondering if that loop-de-loop in the middle would end in a fiery crash.

But as briefly noted before, I PASSED!!!!!!

A quick happy birthday to my dear dad before I continue, there we go, and on we go...

Sorry, I'm a little spacey; I'm extremely short slept, so this entry may be stranger than usual and end with my hitting my head on the keyboard in unconsciousness.

I believe, when we last left off, I was promising myself I wasn't going to stroke out for biochem and boy oh boy did I break that promise!!!!!!

I apparently have some sort of weird anxiety related insomnia that goes on, and needless to say, it nearly crashed and burned me in biochem, because I KNOW that stuff. I've probably dedicated 80 percent of my total study time to biochem because chemistry scares me. I felt confident, but needed review. So I was tired from my histo freak out (again, my poor poor roommate), so around 10 pm, thought, "I got this, this time. I'm going to take a unisom, go to bed, wake up nice and early with a good night's sleep, review the material, and go into that exam frigging PREPARED."

Took the second unisom at around 2:30. Took the third around 5. What did this mean? Couldn't sleep; too anxiety ridden to sleep despite being well prepared, and growing increasingly anxious about the inability to sleep, which is setting up a cycle that scares me for finals, so now everyone wants me to go to counseling to see what to do about it. Sigh.

But what else did it mean? Since I took sleeping pills, too stoned to study. Too anxious to sleep; too drugged to study. So I just stayed up and stayed up, and threw up, and took a shower, and walked around campus, and tried to focus in the library, and called my mom convinced I was going to fail. Same as histo, but worse. Harder subject, end of the week, less sleep, more conceptual information.

I go into the biochem exam... hoping, though not expecting, for it to be like histo where suddenly it floods back.

Noooooo sirreee. Or as David said while watching Rimmer fail a test on Red Dwarf "Oh my god!! It all looks like kinase!!!" Glucose 6 Phosphate; glucose 6 dehydrogenase, and because I was so TIRED, I couldn't logic things out.

I *felt*, with a few exceptions, like I essentially chimpanzeed the thing. I was concerned that I had just enough knowledge to beat probability. I nearly started sobbing in the exam, left after 45 minutes and then had to stand there while the prof fished out the notes for Monday and I'm SHAKING as I take them from him going "Don't let him see you cry; don't let him see you cry". At this stage, I figured I wasn't even going to BE there Monday. I figured I had the kind of score where they just kick you out. I was thinking it would be around a 20.

I went back to the dorm and burst into tears, Skyped my mom, who'd I'd left hanging, and cried all over her, that I wanted back to the States, didn't want to be here anymore, missed my damn dog, wished I'd never gotten myself into this, how was I going to pay my loans back when they kick me out of school and so forth...

About an HOUR later, my poor roommate came in from her test made a big fuss over me, hugged me, and all that, because she rocks, and with Dr. Paparo, is pending sainthood. Then some of my friends from the main exam room came in since I was still crying and made me feel better until they posted the results...

By. The. Freaking. Gods.

How the hell did I pass? I didn't know anything and left less than an hour in. Now, when I say "passed", I mean by the skin of my frigging teeth, but I freaking passed. I have NEVER in my LIFE been so happy for a "C", or in this case, a 69%. I was just hoping for an "F" high enough that I could drag it up with finals. Wahoo!!!!

I still hadn't slept, but I'd also barely eaten in two days, so it was like PIZZAAAA!!!!! We headed down to an Italian place near Spiceland Mall and had fun, while in the meantime, J'Leise was *ostensibly* going to Tobago to see her family. Liat airlines apparently had other plans for her, but was nice enough to fly her and all the other Trinis on campus within spitting distance of Trinidad, only to turn around and fly all the way back, pausing briefly to attempt a spiraling nosedive to impose mortal fear in everyone in the plane (seriously, tears and screaming) before returning to the airport to reward them for their bravery with mucho attitude. WTG Liat. The Caribbean's Least On Time Airline!

Back in the part of Grenada that wasn't screwing people over, we wandered over to Spiceland Mall, grabbed some groceries, and discovered that David was in possession of a nice sized bottle of rum, so we took the party to my place (where we later discovered the much annoyed J'Leise who seemed glad to have an audience to her Liat trauma).

Red Dwarf, rum, lemon sorbet, and Ting is a good combo. BTW, Rum and Ting now beats rum and Coke. Mmm mmm!

Unfortunately, party took us a bit late so I missed my first two dives Saturday, and they were doing the Bianca C! D'oh!!! They were cool about it though, and I managed to get onto the 1 PM dive for a very nice after body surfing for a couple hours while waiting for the early boat to come back.

After the dives, BEACH TIME!!!!!!! Snorkeling, sunning, eating mutton curry, getting told that I was "out of my top" at the curry place because I forgot about the no bathing suits at the table rule, thus the security guard made me feel like a tramp, then more sun and surf.

Dinner with Ashley, Nina, and David at Big Fish, which, for the record, has fajitas that actually taste like someone making them has a knowledge of Mexican food. Be advised. From what J'Leise has said, the fajitas at Glover's involve carrots... which is just wrong.

Dr. Chadwell was there and on his way out, said nice things, so good on him. Also saw the counselor there, whom I'm desperately hoping I will not have to talk to about my "anxiety problems" because I feel like such a high maintenance psuedobabble blonde twit.

So we were getting our party on, but it opened for the MPH party, which we would have stayed at but... well, let's just say the tone of approach lacked something, so much as I love my MPH brethren a lot and do NOT mind paying cover, since it was billed as a *private* party, we vamoosed. Besides, we were already halfway to hammered. Looked like fun though and some awesome, sports-equipment clad MPHers tried to convince us otherwise on the walk home. They're cool. I knew I was diving this morning though.

So MORE rum and Red Dwarf, which is just a great combo!!!! Went to bed and missed the 8 am bus. Dammit! Caught the 8:30 remembering that I was supposed to be AT Dive Grenada at 8:30, and swore, until recognizing my UK cold water compatriot on the bus, who was also cursing at being late... again.

Yes! A partner in crime! So we scuttled up as fast as possible, cutting across the construction site you're not supposed to cut across after begging permission from the workers and almost running into a goat (it happens).

We arrive, and Phil, with a gleam in his eye, says "We're going to have to buy you two a car!!!" "OKAY!" Susan and I agreed with gusto! Never make offers like that to starving students. The only question is going to be which side the steering wheel goes on.

Then Phil mentions seeing me at the bar at Big Fish.

"Which doesn't have anything to do with my being late!" I explained hastily.

With a gleam, he says "I never said that it did!"

With an answering gleam, I say "And I'm not saying that in any way connected to a guilty conscience!"

Phil is cool... which makes me feel bad that he got his octopus (spare reg) used more often this weekend than his primary. Everyone was having problems! Not with the operation, just in general. Dive 1 was Wibbles, and he said it wasn't as good as usual, but we did have a nice barracuda swim by us.

The second dive... ahhh the second dive... there are some dives where you can't just say "I saw this or that" that made it an awesome dive (though I did see a Flamingo Tongue)... it's just an awesome dive. My buoyancy and weighting were perfect, the area was pretty, the water temperature was wonderful, and I was just hovering around taking it in feeling "Ahhhhhhhh". During that dive, it was like the amalgated mass of stress sitting on me this whole weekend just leaked out my fins. Diving rules.

And then home!!! For a nap, but wanted to wish dad a happy birthday, and some people came by (Hi Nina!) so I'm headed bed bound. What morning histo lab???

I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Freaking hell, was it difficult too!!!

Updates tomorrow evening. Ishie has diving, sun, sand, and rum to sleep off...

Mar 8, 2007



One latest episode of House, MD, reported to be entirely kickass, missed by starving medical student due to being uncharacteristically responsible and studying through it.

WWWAAAAAAAAHHHH... I want my Hugh Laurie!

And Aunt Pam, if you're reading this, I concede to you that it is an awesome show and I do thank you entirely for hooking me on it, so that now I'm having withdrawal pains from it!

Mar 7, 2007

Drama Queen

Sigh. My poor roommate. I don't know how the hell she puts up with me, and consider her muted reaction to having her computer undergo cataclysmic difficulties right before midterms, she is an infinitely better, more self-controlled person than I am.

Due to the complexity of biochem and volume of anatomy, Histo often gets neglected, so last night as I was staring blankly at modernist art disguised as something I should be able to identify, I had a nuclear meltdown, was convinced I was going to fail my histo exam, so just tried to get some sleep, yet, in those circumstances, as it happens, you can't sleep because your damn heart is buzzing like a... uh... electric razor, to keep it somewhat G-rated.

So can't sleep... just study... but can't study, why? Too tired. Gonna fail histo; gonna fail histo, and I was *trying* not to impinge on my roommate's study or sleep, but when your roommate is alternating between trying not to cry and throwing up, I'm certain it's distracting.

This morning, sleepless, with burning eyes, and still feeling woefully inadequate in GI tract, liver, nerve cells, and life, I went outside and called my mom because sometimes ya just have to, and was weepy gonna fail histo which is going to make me fail biochem at which point they'll kick me out of school and I'll have to sell my body for smack. So much for G-rated.

So I stumbled sleepless to the test at 1 pm, dread in my heart, though by then I had a tacit acceptance of my fail-ed-ness, and was whistling the Imperial March from Star Wars, which I'm sure the other students deeply appreciated.

Dr. Paparo was at the door (we apparently weren't supposed to bring pencils, and I'm not sure how I missed that, and someone swiped mine that I left outside!) and said encouraging words which makes me adore him all the more but did little to perk me.

60 "identify the structures" based on slides, and 150 total questions... I figured I was dead.

Then they start the slideshow, which I had been concerned I wouldn't even be able to stay awake during, but adrenaline does strange things, beyond acting often synonymously with glucagon. Damn you, biochem. But Sweet Random Chance! The slides! I couldn't help thinking "Are you guys kidding? Is it my birthday?"

Damn, I thought I liked Dr. Paparo before. I have to say, that was one of the most *fair* exams I've ever taken... and I did well on it...

Well enough that when I Skyped my mom to sheepishly report my results, she innocently asked me to put my roommate on for a second, who then, upon the orders of my own FLESH AND BLOOD, the woman who birthed me, smacked me on the back of the head.

I know; I know, I deserved it... I so did too.

So I'm not going to stroke out for biochem. Not going to stroke out for biochem. Not going to stroke out for biochem....

Mar 6, 2007

One down...

Predictable title, ain't it?

To continue the trend of absolute yawning predictability, two midterms to go! Unfortunately, said two get progressively more difficult for me, with histology reminding me of the hazards of focusing all your study efforts elsewhere, and biochemistry reminding me of the hazards of ever daring to dream of becoming a doctor. Acetyl CoA Carboxylase anyone? Know it; love it; memorize 17,000 more of its enzymatic buddies.

But some of you may be wondering about the anatomy midterm. A practical this morning, in which we were subdivided into groups (350 people don't slide nicely into a gross lab, as you can imagine), and had to identify structures without any secondary type questions (essentially, arrow points at something, you say "it's that").

Not too bad. The questions were fair, with jaywalk from ValueMD (know it; love it) providing some damn good tips.

Then came the inevitable down period (after being sequestered outside the upstairs of the anatomy building until all the people from the following group were inside) in which everyone desperately tried to cram straggling bits of information into his/her brain.

Except, of course, for a select group that had already started drinking, presumably to study the anastomoses in their livers. I'm saving my cirrhosis for Friday night.

The written part of the test was pretty frigging hard with not just secondary questions but quantiary and googleplex type questions. If you don't know one link in the chain (winging scapula caused by paralysis of serratus anterior which is innervated by the long thoracic nerve which comes off the five roots of the brachial plexus), you're screwed.

Also fun are those questions where you cover up the answers, read the question, feel confidant in an answer, lift your hand to reveal the choices, and your answer isn't there. Never a good feeling.

But I passed I passed I passed! Even got a high pass, meaning that sinking horrible feeling I got around question 80, when I was essentially doing the Macarena to try and situate my body planes correctly and spent seven minutes drawing vertebral bodies in an effort to figure things out, was misplaced. And freaking WHEW for that.

So back to histo. Manlocks is bored right now, because I'm reviewing intercellular structures, which doesn't give him a whole lot to do, so he's sitting on a centriole (the microtubules massage his butt, like a barcalounger), periodically grabbing passing organelles out of the cytosol and licking them to see if they'll get him high. Some mixed results with a Golgi vesicle but otherwise, no dice. Poor poor lazy hallucinogen-addicted Manlocks.

Mar 5, 2007



It begins!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mar 4, 2007

Remember the big picture...

Because it's easy to get lost in minutia.

I was feeling all good about myself by remembering that the gonadal veins are not symmetrical, thus was proudly identifying the "left testicular vein" because it drained into the left renal vein, while the right testicular vein drains into the inferior vena cava...

The wonderful Dr. J (who said the easiest way to identify the junction between the jejunum and ileum was to squint really hard at the small intestines until you could read "I-L-E" with an arrow) said I needed to review my anatomy in a big way, causing me to look at him in hurt confusion for a moment until he pointed a bit south of the vein...

Women apparently don't have testicular veins. Go fig. They have ovarian veins. So we're just going to say "gonadal" vein from now on. Sigh.

So how screwed am I for anatomy that I can no longer differentiate between the male and female of the species? Not only is it going to mess up midterms, but my social life will never be the same...


What to do when one has spent one of one's weekend days studying for THIRTEEN HOURS?

Why, get up the next day, rinse, and repeat!

On the plus side, fatty acid, complex lipid, and cholesterol synthesis are now all my homeboys and homegirls. Just don't ask about the ketone bodies.

Midnight BBQ was transferred to last night which meant I got my ribs! Unfortunately, they also apologized on Angel for not being there on Friday due to a sudden illness...

So you're mind is probably going where mine is. But I gots to have my ribs. Meat is few and far between for me, particularly meat that isn't in roti form, not that I'm complaining about rotis.

My roommate will complain readily about rotis though. I'm making her promise to take me to Trinidad for a REAL roti, if she hasn't hanged herself due to her computer woes. Goodness, that girl is hard to significantly piss off. Cataclysmic computer failure in the last days before midterms would have had me in full throwing things temper tantrum mode, and instead she sighed and was 'depressed'. I'd say she'd eventually be the quiet type that snaps and takes out a McDonalds, but there isn't a McDonalds here, so I just have to resign myself to the fact that she has infinitely more self control than I do.

We have reserved our hanging date to the week before finals. See, I was thinking of hanging myself and she was definitely thinking of it, but we both really want to go to Sandblast (giant drunken beach blast to celebrate the end of midterms) and then her boyfriend's coming over Easter when I'm going on vacation, so if I die, I miss island hopping, and if she dies, it's not real fair to her boyfriend, so we're pushing back the date. It'll be a fun "together" activity before finals.

Oh! And there was a lunar eclipse last night! I'm so out of touch with the news that I didn't know, but I came out from a shower and found my roommate pressing her face against the window to see so we watched. Neat!

I'm going diving this weekend!! I'm going diving this weekend!!!! My good friend Lori is doing her refresher then too, which means I get dives AND a dive buddy who is less likely to ditch me than boat-match Insta-Buddies, which kicks much ass.

Well, histo and I have a date. First midterm (anatomy) is tomorrow. C'est la vie...

Mar 3, 2007


First of all, what is up with ADVERTISING inexplicable midnight BBQ for the first time, and then for the first time, not having it?? I've been craving ribs for a week, as were the other dorm-incarcerated that were wandering out into the night, blinking at the odd scenery.

Second of all, during my described expedition to Spiceland Mall, among my other groceries I grabbed some microwave pizzas despite their being hellishly expensive because I figured "It's midterms; what the hell".

The problem with eating healthy foods (voluntarily or not) and working out and all that, is when you indulge yourself in crap food, you end up feeling like hell. Gurgle glop from my stomach and I feel overstuffed and bloated just from one half sized two to a carton pizza, despite being able to down a giant bowl of my leftovers salad.

Since I haven't had American fast food since I got to the island (haven't gotten to the KFC or the Subway since I got here, and those are the ONLY two fast food chains (American, at least) on the island), if I indulge in McDonalds when I get back, it'll probably kill me. Sigh.

Did you know there's no glycerol kinase in adipocytes? I didn't. Now I know. Only five million other little factoids to memorize for biochem to have a remote chance of passing.

Mar 2, 2007

Laundry Day!

So... I haven't left campus in about two weeks due to that looming midterms thing.

I suffered two quandaries today--three if you count the silent panic attack I had during the biochem review in which one particular instructor should have said "Essentially... what you want to do is memorize my lecture notes... yes, every word. All 700 pages of them. Excellent. Oh, but I've thrown a couple cases in from that giganto overcomplicated no-one-ever-uses it, tried reading it the first week and said "holy freaking shit" textbook, so have fun poring through it for five hours in an effort to award yourselves the three points it'll leave ya.

Oh, and on that note, as an addendum to the post where I told people that were shouting outside at four in the morning to shut the hell up (not that it matters now, since I've been studying until then), since this is not high school, they don't take attendance for lecture, certainly not for review sessions, and the truant officer isn't going to track you down, IF you are going to a review session the Friday before midterms, kindly shut the hell up.

It isn't fair, really... with the level of stress we are all under, one should not have to take the *additional* step of quenching unnaturally homicidal rage toward minor distractions and talking loudly while the instructor tells you what's going to be on the test is not "minor".

But I was talking about my other quandaries. Quandary Numero Uno. Ishie needs food. As I awoke this early afternoon (having studied until 5:30 in the morning), I thought "Hmmm... chickpeas again? While I like chickpeas, eating them like cereal seems excessive."

I also was in danger a couple days ago of having all my veggies go bad, so I tossed them into a mega salad. The funny thing here is that when you get pressed for time and the student store isn't well stocked, instead of doing the normal college thing and living off top ramen, potato chips, and canned soup, THOSE are the things that require a trip to the store. Yet, produce guy comes three times a week so my new college experience is "What to do? I have nothing to eat except lettuce, papayas, cucumbers, and christophene..."

But yeah, I was out of everything. Out of soap, out of milk, out of cheese, out of margarine, on the low side on chickpeas... more importantly, I needed to hit the stationery store to purchase a large size sketchpad so I could express my blossoming artistic side by making color coded charts of the metabolic pathways. Picasso, eat your heart out. Van Gogh, eat your ear off.

I bussed it to Spiceland Mall and was actually to secure everything I needed except for cumin, which I've been hunting down for a month. Spice island, my ass. And yes, I know they have it at the Saturday market downtown, and if I had that kind of time, I'd be at Club Med rather than Med School.

Quandary Numero Dos. As I came back from working out (I've been surprisingly good about that due to having to make appointments for the cardio machines), I stripped off my sweaty exercise clothes, looked in my giant wooden locker (first termers know what I mean) and went "Uhhh..."

So another break had to be taken from studying to put on my least corpse-y set of scrub pants and a tank top with a broken strap to drag all of my belongings down to the laundry room to either be washed or burned. Ewww. One more day and I'd have not only been wandering around in my wetsuit, but I'd have had to chase down my dirty clothes and beat them into submission with a stick, which would have taken a lot of time away from studying...

But back to it. Gluconeogenesis awaits. Sadly, Manlocks isn't touching that one.

Last night was mundo anatomy night where I caught up EVERYTHING in anatomy (what's that embryology shaped wave heading toward me? Ignore it; it'll go away). Manlocks was all OVER the place!!! He discovered that picking up the Bundle of His (leaving something of equal weight in its place for the old Indiana Jones switcharoonie) gave him an extra life so he may be ready to brave the stomach, or, since I'm doing metabolic pathways tonight, the liver. Hepatocytes ho!!!

Mar 1, 2007

The problem with ditching lecture...

Sometimes you end up pre-reading a lecture because you figure it was one you missed.

I was reading the lecture on the "Functional Anatomy of the Abdomen" thinking "You know... this is actually a really good lecture. It's a shame I missed it.

Then I note that we have anatomy lecture tomorrow (later today) and think "Review session?"

Functional Anatomy of the Abdomen. That was an hour well-spent. Ah well, at least now I can go to the lecture well prepared.

I'm also discovering that even with awesome instructor dude, it's somewhat useless for me to go to biochem unless I've preread, because otherwise I just sit there with a growing look of horror and consternation on my face until I scuttle back to my room in a panic, read Lippincott and go "oh".

Today, Saint Paparo began the review histo lecture with "I have a dream..." and proceeded to rattle off Very Important Histology Facts which I suspect will have a Very Strong Influence on the Midterm. The suspiciously full class took frantic notes catching all of it, except for the smart people (of which I was not one) who taped it.

There were still some empty seats in the hall, so for those of you who missed that lecture, oh my GOD does it suck to be you!!!

After that came the multitude of practice identification slides. Ruh roh. Then the practice practical (name the slide) in which I discovered that Manlocks and I need to go right back down to the bowels and work our way through and up SLOWLY, including, instead of sneaking PAST the Crypts of Lieberkuhn, we need to go right down in there with those darned vampires and check out the paneth cells for ourselves. Tsk tsk. Manlocks is in luck in that I can readily identify the rectoanal junction, meaning he never has to set foot there again.

And then... more studying!! Histo was supposed to be on the bill, but I got sidetracked by anatomy, which is probably fortunate since that's the exam we have first.

Right at the point my brain was going back to that liquid state (but, I'm getting better at histo in that I'm sure I was able to identify a purkinje cell plopping onto the floor), I decided screw it, go to the gym, and did so, throwing notes and flashcards to the wind and bathing myself in sweet sweet blissful music with an upped intensity to chase the enzyme activity and innervations out of my head.

THEN I was able to study histo to start getting a better grasp on things. It's bad for Manlocks though. Now that he knows the parietal cells secrete hydrochloric acid, he's flipping terrified and won't come out of the Peyer's patches in the ileum to save his life (or sacrifice it). I've tried telling him that if he doesn't come back up to the stomach, the only way out is to go back through the Rectal Shelves of Houston, but I don't think he cares. Sigh. I hate wimpy heroes.