Dec 30, 2008

Deep breath out

Ahhhh... so that's what a real vacation feels like. One with no looming return to island life, and you'd think that whole USMLE would be hanging more over me, since I still only have a vague idea of what I'm going to do for it, and I've ordered my books and bought my USMLE World subscription, but it's still too esoteric for me to grasp, so instead, I've been indulging in things like dog parades, House marathons, walks around town, making wire jewelry, playing guitar, shopping, stuffing myself with varietal goodies, downloading World of Warcraft, and waiting for the arrival of my Playstation 2. Vive indulgance. Or something.

Christmas has awarded me a Blackberry Storm and some other wonderful things, leaving my meager last minute desperate panic shopping attempts even more pathetic in comparison, but I've done with cellular communication something similar to what I did when I upgraded from a Sega Genesis to a Playstation 2 without any transitions. I have gone from my 5 year old bottom-of-the-line "only stays charged for 2 hours" flip phone which meshed nicely with my equally antiquated "can't even figure out how to lock the keys" Grenada cell phone to a phone capable of holding medical applications, pictures, music, and movies, web surfing, a camera, and countless other features I haven't even figured out yet.

Naturally, I've been using it to play Alleyway during commericials for House and South Park, but it's the PRINCIPLE. I'm such a gadget junkie.

Dec 25, 2008

That time of year

Merry Xmas or Winter Holiday of Choosing everyone!

Here in New Bern, it has gone from being "holy crap, I finally acclimatized to the Caribbean and now this" cold to being "holy crap, I didn't acclimatize enough to the Caribbean" warm, so I broke down and briefly turned on the AC.

I grabbed my tree today, and late in it (thank you, Walmart, and your willingness to torture your staff), so now the apartment proudly sports a fake tree made entirely out of green tinsel both because I didn't read the box carefully enough, and because the only other tree they had that didn't involve the words "fiber optic" or "red" in the title was 200 dollars. Nooooo.

Surprisingly, despite my initial scoff of disdain upon opening the box, it came out looking fairly decent, particularly once I covered it with ornaments. I thought I'd ended up with something that was on the sliding scale between "pastel glowing nativity" and "singing plastic fish".

So the presents are all carefully wrapped; the stockings are not exactly hung by a chimney nor with any care, since no chimney due to no fireplace due to fireplace being obsolete when it's 70 degrees.

Woot! Holidays! Double woot! No studying until January 5th-ish, at which point I delve back into my books to torture myself for the Step 1. Maybe Santa will bring me a smart kid to take it for me.

Dec 20, 2008

That was an interesting two years

and now it's over. Whoa.

Merry Christmas! Hopefully I'll have gifts for some of you at some point because I pretty much came crashing back in from Grenada full handed and empty walleted. Flights were surprisingly good, though two hours late on the first and a half hour late on the second, but everyone affiliated with said flights was pleasant and neither delay compromised anything, I got my luggage, and they didn't destroy my guitar, so huzzah! Also, though the first flight from Grenada to Miami seemed to consist of a 50% ratio of young children and large dogs, I didn't hear screaming, barking or barking then screaming for the entire flight.

Also, that whole 737 from Grenada thing? Where has that been all my life (two years)? Trying to cram bags onto those tiny American Eagle puddle jumpers while getting sniped at for the size of your carry on luggage is not fun. But after having to deal with that, it made the coach class of a 737, lamented by most, seem positively roomy by comparison and I was saying "I can cross my legs? Is this first class? My backpack can fit in the overhead bin AS can the carry on luggage of the other two people on this side of the row? I didn't know such a thing existed anymore in the world of man!"

The flight attendants weren't even mean. What up?

So now I have officially arrived at my new home in New Bern, NC, having been to Old Bern (Olde Berne?) over the summer. So that's cool. It's a pretty little town with a pretty little bedroom with a pretty little desk-I'm-going-to-be-desperately-chained-to-for-3-months. Well, after January 1st. Until then, it's time for a meat and microbrewery bender running through Christmas. My dad arrives here tonight for Christmas, though unlike two years ago, going out to a curry house for Christmas dinner has been vetoed. I still thought the vindaloo was good.

Dec 18, 2008

Goodbye Grenada!

Wow, my apartment is almost completely packed up. I'm taking down the various blankets and sarongs and aluminum foil I had put up over my existing curtains to make sure that all traces of sunlight stayed out of my apartment.

I stayed up late last night (compared to all those other nights) to make sure I had all my shippable stuff together, and went to Amerijet today. They were really nice and helpful; and I'm really hoping my stuff arrives in one piece. I missed my breakfast date with Grace because I stayed up so late, so that was a bummer.

Did my last walk to the sunset point down by the Chinese embassy last night with Lori and Lisa and we drank rum and cokes and watched the sunset and had a blast.

Did my last walk to the sunset point down by the airport tonight with Lori, ran into Jill, and met with them, plus Krash, Amy, and Krash's mom at the wine bar to drink sangria, and eat sushi carted in from next door. Last time. Got ice cream from La Bo, went with the cinnamon flavor, met with Grace, and while Krash, Amy, and Krash-mom headed over to Ritual's, Jill, Lori and I went to the beach to do our last night swim. Grace picked up some more people so we got the jump on her on an unusually rough Grand Anse beach. Fortunately, we're all good swimmers, since the waves were pounding, which made things more fun, though the weirdly bitey/stingy things in the water less so. Both Jill and Grace got hit by particularly hard and sudden-break waves and got face planted into the sand. I already got initiated to that club last term when I decided to "body surf" on a rough day without realizing that Grand Anse has a short break line and got deposited on the beach in a sand-scrubbed heap. We got pictures. If it comes out, someone got one of Grace facing the beach and smiling with a wave about three feet higher than her head directly behind her. It was one of those "I hope she's okay because that was really funny" moments.

A bit of realization started to hit when Jill drove me home, and as I got out, I realized that was the last time I'd see her or Lori for the near future, and felt suddenly choked and awkward. We all hugged and did the "Uhhh... see you... somewhere in the states" thing. As everyone trickles off to their various locations, it doesn't hit until the very end or until people are already gone. I missed Christine's departure. I missed Ashley's departure. I missed a dozen people whom I'd just seen a couple of days before and was like "Hey, see you" because it's not particularly real that I'm not going to, in some cases, for a really long time.

Sej drove by today, and same thing, not real; we wished each other a Merry Christmas in the 80 degree heat by the palm trees near Bananas, and I thanked her again for the FANTASTIC party she threw for us at Aquarium, but I still can't really fathom that I'm not going to come back in a month and see her in front of the path lab or something when I'm predictably late to small groups.

So it's odd. My ride to the airport comes in about 3 and a half hours, give or take.

Dec 16, 2008

My childhood!

What have you done?

Somewhere, in the middle of the crab races and karaoke at the owl, there was a WWF (or similar) smackdown on USA in the background.

During this, Santa Claus came out and started distributing presents to the kids near the front row, and since someone was decently belting out the tinned version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on the karaoke machine, I thought "Awww".

Then Santa climbs into the ring, and promptly gets beaten down, slammed into the ropes, kicked in the head, face-punched, which then ends with him getting beaten with his own beard.

Um... Merry Christmas?

Speaking of holiday smackdowns, I actually won a wrestling match! Granted, I did it by gaining the upper hand accidentally and then pushing the poor guy's face into the water, half drowning him, in an effort to get his shoulders onto the ground/sand/seafloor, but I'm counting it. And that's still not half as messed up as wailing on Saint Nick.

Dec 15, 2008

Wow... wow...

Nope, no updates again... too much stuff...

All grades are up except Clinical Skills, which has been screwing around with the breakdowns for a MONTH, still don't have anything entered, and having conflicting syllabi so no one knows what the case write ups are worth compared to the final exam because we have it written differently in two different places.

So other than that hiccup, WOOOT!!!!! So that means I'm officially done with sixth term since pharm offers no promises of anything, though it does offer a whopper of a curve plus the unique opportunity to relearn everything immediately for the step 1s since no one knows anything. Or at least, I don't.

Meanwhile, I've been on that long promised bender. Thursday night at Verandah, which was spectacular. Then no sleep and a day long island tour, consisting of going to Grenville, Gouyave, Sauteurs, the rum factory, a derivative chocolate factory, nutmeg factory, Concord waterfalls, Grand Etang rainforest (still no frigging monkeys!) Friday night was Sej's long-promised frigging AWESOME champagne party at Aquarium, which had class, a great playlist, great food, live music following the food; just fantastic. Then a very packed Bananas. Then a night swim at Grand Anse. Then, burned out, a LONG sleep, awakened to a hash. Then celebration of Dave's birthday at La Belle Creole, and hanging out with him while he packed to leave (wahhhh). Then sleep again. Then wake up to swimming and then a Fight Club night with bonus wine and nachos. Hopefully diving tomorrow.

I'm dying... and it feels so good!

Dec 11, 2008

It can't be over...

Last exam... it's over.

It's over!!

I'm done with basic sciences, OMG!!!!!!!!!!

It sunk!

OMG, this is my last exam and then I'm going home for good...



I'm... I'm... COVERED IN BEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh man, just an hour and a half until this thing goes down. All right...


Dec 10, 2008

Still not really sinking in

Pharm exam tomorrow. That's my last exam of basic sciences.

Then I go home to the USA, study for the biggest exam ever dreamed up in the nightmares of mankind, and then, go to Brooklyn to be a 'real' med student, in that I get to touch patients... like litigious US patients. Grenadian patients have been oddly unconcerned with the whole thing, and at most, seem amused by us. "Sure, go ahead, crowd of 8 frightened inexperienced students. Auscultate my scrotum even though you really obviously don't know what you're doing, and since there's a loop of bowel IN my scrotum, it's probably going to be uncomfortable. Not like I'm doing anything else."

But I digress...

Last exam of basic sciences. Then US. No more Grenada. No more Bananas. No more Grand Anse. No more "Hey beautiful!! Wanna take a ride?" No more sunset point. No more Carib. No more wandering onto campus and knowing half the people around with the view of the sea on both sides. No more "Hello Dear!!" from Mrs. Patel. No more gut-crushing guilt by cheating on Mrs. Patel by buying Indian food from the couple across the bus stop from her because they have meat dishes. No more any of that.

It's very very odd. People's reactions are weird. I keep getting congratulated for stuff... on 'getting out', on 'making it through', on 'going home', on getting Brooklyn. On taking the second to last exam, on finishing pathophys... and I keep feeling like "any second now, this is going to sink in".

But it isn't. I sold my crock pot and my blender. I can't go to Angel Falls right now because they can get me TO Venezuela, but not back, and while what I've seen of the country, I love, spending Christmas there instead of with my family isn't on my to-do list, so I'm slating it for next year (fingers crossed, no embargo!).

So I take the exam tomorrow, and then I have a week to pack everything up, take down the sheets and aluminum foil protecting my room from any form of UV radiation, and hang at the beach, and say goodbye, as about half the people I know leave the island forever, and I have to leave the other half behind. But then I go to New Bern, which is beautiful, and I get to see my family, and winter, and all that. No more administration for a while.

I get moments where the excitement starts to seep through. I went to the point with Lori yesterday because we were both procrastinating, and we were talking about places we were going to go in Brooklyn, and there was this rising excited fluttering. I started talking to her about google-earthing New Bern, and how the apartment is across from a bed and breakfast and down the street from a lobster deli, and you can see the river from the window, and it's in walking distance to the beautiful old city center, and I was talking faster and got excited again.

And then we lay on our backs at the point as the sun set and the stars came out (I know it's cheesy, but it's awesome in real life) and just chatted, and the occasional sailboat shadow would pass by. She and I talked about getting all our diving in after exams, the champagne sendoff Sej arranged and how excited we are about all of it, and I felt a fluttering of excitement about that too, of doing those things, not of leaving it.

Thus the utter ambivalence I've been facing this term, which has extended to almost every area (such as liking pathophys, hating how it's run, though to their credit after the whole showdown thing, everything improved dramatically, and hating pharm but liking how it's run), so arrrggghhhh.

Oh, speaking of pathophys. I was unable to work up a suitable amount of stress for the final exam, largely because this term and this week, I'm continuing the senioritis trend to an extreme, but while I can't comment on the fairness of the dermatology section since I did virtually *nothing* to prepare for it, including reading the lecture notes, it was actually a pretty fair exam.

More to the point, it went with a more "first order/second order question" approach. While I'm not saying 5th-10th order questions are unfair, and that'll certainly be the board questions, thinking through those sorts of questions also tend to break my brain pathways and leave me so exhausted for the remainder that I can't do much, which usually spells bad news for whatever exam is second.

Now granted, I've been using the spare brain cells allowed by the last exam to then subsequently kill them with television and facebook, but at least now I have no excuse for my utter ignorance of pharm.

So somewhere around a week and change before I'm gone...

Dec 8, 2008

Scary exciting...

Second to last exam of basic sciences tomorrow, namely pathophysiology exam.

Considering three days ago, I was three weeks behind, I'm feeling pretty decent right now sans dermatology, which I'm hoping to cram into the morning hour.

Still an odd surreality where I really don't feel like I'm leaving yet. Don't even really feel like I've got a massive final exam tomorrow, more like "Hmm, another day, another scantron."

Contrast that to what'll happen to me Wednesday night, as I realize that pharm is going to club me like a baby seal.

Tons of people going for exams tomorrow, so good luck to all of you and I wish you well.

Nighty night!

Dec 7, 2008


Having a pathophysiology exam tomorrow, which I still need to study for, by the way, is sort of analogous to having this dude sleep in bed with you for the duration:

Which sucks, because how I want to feel is like this:

So I'm trapped:

Where's Lancelot when you need the git?

Dec 6, 2008

The Germans really DO have a name for everything

Witzelsucht: excessive and inappropriate facetiousness.

In other news, I'm not obnoxious; I just have a brain tumor.

Dec 5, 2008

Start Spreading the News

New York New York!

Preliminary placements are out, and looks like I'm headed to Brooklyn.

Now... to attempt to get three weeks of work done in three days. Countdown!



Finals/moving off the island stress + neuro videos on headaches = headache.

Not thunderclap headache, or worst headache ever or migrainey (from what I've heard) or anything, but just as she's talking about causes of it, and I'm cramming away, very insidiously it creeps up and as I realize it and take an ibuprofen for my entirely psychosomatic headache, which will probably give me an unpsychosomatic ulcer, I think "dammit".

Med school syndrome's a bitch. It gets me on eyes too, though usually that one's only with pictures. If you show me enough pictures of eye trauma, eye redness, and that sort of thing, or even really dilated pupils, it makes my eyes get itchy and tired, all while I'm going "this is frigging ridiculous".

So since Wachovia canceled my ATM card due to some security breach with a bunch of people's numbers at the other end (Wells Fargo did that to me once without notice and left me in the middle of Rancho Cordova with no gas money), I've been waiting around on my new card to show up, since it was mailed to my listed US address, which, despite my dad sending it to me from there promptly, was subject to the Grenadian mail system, leaving me panhandling off my friends for the last month, but it finally arrived! Wahoo!!!!

Also in the money front, Grace drove me to the vet school "Oh crap, I have accumulated way too much crap while living here) sale (thanks Grace!), and I found buyers for a lot of my stuff and got some cash that way.

Despite the fact that our last lectures of basic sciences were today, and that I'm studying for the last finals of basic sciences, and that I'm selling off my material possessions, it STILL hasn't fully hit me that it's all over in a week. I keep waiting for it, and I still keep going "Hmm, well a little more studying, and a little more watching Red Dwarf... and maybe I'll grab some Indian food from that couple on the hill for dinner."

Well, bedtime. Last BSFCR ever tomorrow, where we presumably get to look at pictures of weeping skin lesions. Nummy.

Dec 2, 2008

Attention men of earth:

Women who are wearing earphones, staring at the ground, and walking quickly, while carrying a grocery bag, all at near dark, almost universally do not want to be hit on. Should you forget this and strike up a conversation, the fact that she tries to pass you without looking up or removing her earphones, and when persuaded to do so, steps off the curb to keep a safe distance from you, this should cement the notion that she is uninterested in dating you, pursuing a conversation with you, or calling paramedics for you if you get hit by a bus.

If you forget these rules, and the woman then says, less than subtly, "my boyfriend doesn't like me to talk to strange men after dark", there are many proper responses involving walking away without saying anything else, saying "good evening" and walking away, etc, but the right response is NOT "Does your boyfriend treat you right?", which implies the woman is still interested in possibly romantic conversation with you even though she is clearly uncomfortable and at this point, is scanning the street for someone she can believably run up and hug to get away from you.

If you have still managed to violate the laws of personal space up to that point, please do not THEN ask if she is crying (???), and proceed to creepily scan her face and ask her if she's lying when she says that she most certainly is not, and continue peering into her eyes as she's now contemplating how hard she's going to have to kick you in the tender parts to get you to go away. Then, when you finally believe that she isn't crying, and conclude aloud that she's just sweating from a long walk, it is very unlikely she is still going to be want to "just be friends". Particularly when her departure from you is immediately followed by her dodging directly into Bananas and going into the back lounge, lest your creepy ass decides to follow her.

Good gods. If you're that hard up, get an internet connection and a link to Redtube and go nuts. Or go find a woman that isn't acting like you've got yellow cake uranium balanced on your head. It's not just that it's disrespectful; it's stupid. While you're trying to psych out some girl in a t-shirt who is very obviously uninterested and annoyed, out there, somewhere, is some girl with low enough self esteem that she might want to touch your happy place. GO away.

You ain't never had a friend like me

Poor Genie.

Once, Aladdin's fast-talking sidekick, who aided Aladdin's long term goal of tagging the princess, has now been resigned to a diagnosis of mania.

Incidentally, Best. BSFCR. Ever.

So when you watch Genie's introduction clip, he really does exhibit most of the DSMIV's classifications for manic behavior, including grandiosity, pressured speech, distractibility, etc.

I'm thinking that if this gets out, there is *inevitably* going to be an upper level psych course at some university somewhere that exclusively consists of diagnosing characters from Disney films with psychiatric disorders, and like "human sexuality" or anything with the word "film" or "cinema" in it, will become the MUST TAKE bird course of all the undergrads as they diagnose Beauty with bestiality, Prince Charming with necrophilia, and Cruella deVille with narcissistic personality disorder.

I'm also wondering the diagnosis for a class of medical students who, being a week from the start of the last finals in basic sciences they will ever take, exclaimed an outraged "AWWWW!!!!!" when the instructor tried to cut the Aladdin clip midsong. Said instructor, resigned to the fact that he is, in fact, babysitting a group of 20-50somethings that have gone solidly into regression, placated us by resuming the clip so we could delay talk about the implications of mania, though I think my diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the psychological aftermath of being trapped in a lamp for 10,000 years should not have been overlooked.

Other astute colleagues pointed out that had we been able to watch the entire movie, we could have made a more definitive diagnosis of the genie, since in the clip, we could only observe a manic episode rather than determining whether it persisted for a week, and whether it was staggered with periods of depression, where the Genie fell into the classic SIGECAPS symptoms, lost interest in helping Aladdin, started having sleep disorders, was unable to perform sexually, and started feeling worthless. Maybe that was in the sequel.

Recommended treatment? Lithium. Though be careful because it has a low therapeutic index. Think of THAT the next time you watch Aladdin.

For Friday, does Iago have antisocial personality disorder like his Shakespearean counterpart, or are parrots just kind of bastards? And is "kind of a bastard" a relevant DSMIV diagnosis?

Speaking of the DSMIV, oral sex is considered to be a paraphilia. So, let this be an admonishment to you all: You're all dirty! Dirty dirty dirty dirty!

Now, for the next part of this exercise, proceed in diagnosing all your friends with psych disorders. EVERYBODY'S got one (or two or five); it's just a matter of finding them in the book.

Nov 27, 2008

Happy That Holiday Between Halloween and Christmas

In lieu of my normal blog post lampooning this non-holiday, instead, in the spirit of multiculturalism (and since a friend of mine is cooking me a free meal, so I can be thankful for that, and the whole 'new president that may not be a provincial jackass thing' and the end of basic sciences), I'll instead post this extremely hilarious if four year old blog post from a guy that attempts to explain American Thanksgiving to the British.

This is contrasted to the Grenadian Thanksgiving, which is a celebration of us bombing them to supposedly liberate our "I don't think we were actually in danger of anything other than contracting dengue in our tented lecture hall" medical students, which makes perfect sense.

And the Canadian Thanksgiving, which I believe is when they celebrate the invention of the hockey stick.

Nov 24, 2008

Things I should have known two weeks ago...

Hmm, Dr. Endocrine-lecturer is really nice.

I don't learn pathophys by osmosis, as much as I want to.

I don't learn pharmacology by any means necessary, as much as I've stopped caring.

Anesthesia is now running neck and neck with oncology in "I would rather take a shotgun blast full of rock salt to the face every morning than do". Anesthesia drugs suck, pulmonary physiology sucks, and lungs are only fun when they're breaking, which tends to not be the goal of an anesthesiologist.

There's enough of medicine that's actually interesting and varied and all that I'm not not so much trying to pick an eventual direction as I'm trying to eliminate those that would drive me to heavier drinking if I actually stumbled into them as career choices.

I should have invented a dying fiance who was taking care of my emotionally fragile war scarred twin boys and their adopted labrador puppy in Green Park if I wanted to score Brooklyn hospital. I'm guessing they're going to send me to the corner of John Deere and Crystal Meth for failing to jump back to California, which is where my currently missing driver's license shows my residency.

Speaking of that driver's license, if anyone somewhere between Dublin, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Venice, Bologna, Verona, Cinque Terre, Zurich, Bern, Engleberg, Dijon, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Orleans, Calais, Dover, Canterbury, or London happens to spot a California driver's license with a clueless looking blonde chick on it, please pop it to Grenada. Sigh.

Nov 21, 2008

Gila Monster Spit

So I started studying again tonight after essentially taking a two week bender minus the OSCE and the BSCE2, which are two exams that matter but don't matter but the first one matters more but is still Clinical Skills but the second one is 7 hours and makes you feel like a complete moron that has wasted the last two years, so blah.

But tonight I finally broke down and dug into the antidiabetes lectures for pharm, since that class requires three times the study of pathophys while being half the units because words I'm unfamiliar with (like thiazolidinediones, and no, I didn't make that one up) go straight in one ear and out the other.

But what did stick, and will probably be the *only* thing that sticks from pharm before I'm forced to cram it all back in for the USMLE, is that there's a diabetes drug made from the salivary gland of Gila monsters, which is one of the most random things I can imagine other than that whole "don't freeze your polar bear meat" from parasit.

It also leaves a number of questions... such as... what on earth was the scientist smoking when he decided to try that one out? How many other lizards got screened. Did he go straight to lizards or was there a whole move up the phylogenetic tree before he honed in on that *specific lizard*.

Also... if I get bitten by a Gila monster, and I'm diabetic, will I be half-okay?

Also... this kind of makes a weird conservation argument. Never drive anything to extinction that might treat a disease with some improbable part of its anatomy. Next up... wombat gonads cure struma ovarii. You heard it here first.

Oh yeah, those test things and the whole birthday thing...

Pathophys, despite woefully understudying it this time around, turned out well. That nice busty curve helps a lot.

Pharm would be discouraging in studying twice as hard for this exam as I did for the last one and only boosting my grade by four points until I realized that they threw out 15 questions on the last exam, so I actually boosted my grade by 19 points... that makes me feel better at night.

OSCE: No results, and I suck at reading chest X-rays that don't have anything glaringly obviously wrong with them. I'm also bad at reporting EKGs when the diagnosis seems to be "Patient's heart exploded". "Oh good, ST elevation in 6 leads, ST depression in two leads, one lead is inexplicably missing from this read out, dicrotic R waves, spiking T waves, sawtooth P waves... I mean, did this guy's thorax crack open and an alien spewed out of there? WTF? And 10 minutes to read it and report it."

This is when the more practical types ask me what I'd do when I'm a real doctor, and this is when I even MORE practically answer "panic and page the attending".

The OSCE was well run though, I have to admit. The patients were also super nice. You get feedback from them after 7 minutes (during which I ran out of time on... oh, all of them), and while the clinical tutors were more "Um, you completely neglected to do X" (appropriately), the patients were like "I would feel very comfortable with you as my doctor, and I really felt like you empathized with what I was telling you" etc, so wahoo to fake patients.

Actually, most of the fake patients (and real ones) we've gotten since first term have been really cool. The OSCE chick that was doing rotator cuff syndrome actually locked her muscles when you hit a certain point on the rotation, such that I could feel it tense, so she's not only kind, but a decent actor.

We also had a really good actor last term that had aches and pains related to her husband's recent death, and she was recalling the story well enough, that it half choked me up.

Prior, as mentioned, was the BSCE2. Whoda thought the Carnitine transporter was so important? Not me! I have *no* idea how I did on that one. I needed a 52 to pass, and don't really need to pass, so the fact that I was actually pushing to know the answers rather than bailing after half an hour out of 8 is a testament to just how anal retentive I am. Huzzah.

So we had the whole "drag ishie out to Stuart's Wednesday night as the clock hits midnight on when her birthday starts" that I mentioned (and loved) and the wrestling ON my birthday that still has my arms covered in bruises.

Friday was my birthday at Prickly Bay and it was absolutely spectacular. All hail the Barbie Cake!

Christine found the candle at IGA and built the rest of the cake around it to create me an absolute Anti-Ishie cake that was not only delicious in taste but delicious in irony. A bunch of people showed at Prickly Bay, we had pizza, the band came on and they were great, I have awesome friends, and I got to dance in the rain. Dave's coming to visit me in the US next term, which is my (very awesome) birthday poster, and Krash made me a big poster that she got a bunch of people in the BSFCR class to sign, so it's all been good. People have still been wishing me a happy birthday a week later, which is highly cool, and I've been getting well wishes from my Annex Peeps rolling in, so I feel very and completely loved.

Then it was Banana's, then, I believe, a night swim at the beach, because I don't learn. And plus night time shark jokes never get old.

Next morning was the Sauteurs hash! Woot! And total mudhash it was, and more cuts and bruises to add to my wrestling injuries. I've been wanting to go to Sauteurs forever, and I finally got to see that beautiful beach. Hung out with Grace and Dem for it and managed to score some cheap and great BBQ chicken, nutmeg ice cream, and beer before booking it back onto the bus... for the Unity Ball, which I was needed for pouring wine and champagne, which I pictured as occurring behind some sort of a bar with a shelf behind me. Ha.

I got home, climbed into the shower with my clothes on (again) to avoid carnage, and quickly realized I would not be able to wear a skirt because my legs and arms were torn up, so I figured, nice long sleeved shirt and slacks, no worries, just working.

Whoa. Not only was everyone dressed up like senior prom, but everyone was getting drunk and fast. While there were a ton of nice people who were giving me no problem, and Grace was dropping me homemade gingerbread over the tops of people's heads like she was feeding a fish, there were also a ton of people YELLING that we're too slow, that we're out of the wrong wines, that we generally suck, one great guy grabbing me and squawking "Don't you wish your boyfriend was a freak like me!!!" approximately 6 feet away from my *actual* boyfriend, and then barring that, they just ran into the back to grab our dwindling wine bottles.

Oh, and someone threw a beer bottle down the stairs, and the bar areas were so soaked in alcohol it was hard to walk. I dunno, I wasn't up for the mood of it and was underdressed, so I felt the majority feeling irritated, a little embarrassed, and toward the end where it started turning ugly, like I wanted to chew my arm off to get out of there. But I saw some of my friends and they all looked great.

So it's *definitely* studying time. Or sleeping time, as the case may be. Night!

Nov 18, 2008

What a week!

Extreme highs, some good sized lows, but mostly highs, an awesome birthday, a ergh bartending at the Unity Ball (I know I'm a crap bartender, guys but when you yell at people and then run in the back and steal wine bottles, that makes you a complete asshole, flat out), some great quality time with my boyfriend, an 8 hour mindcrushing exam followed the DAY after by my clinical skills major final exam with the fun of trying to get to it in the middle of it, in nice clothes, in a rainstorm. Ew.

More details later. I'm exhausted!

Nov 14, 2008

Wanna wrassle?

That's the kind of thing you can only say yes to if it's tossed off at you suddenly.

So next thing I know, I'm spending the non-pharm group part of my birthday at the beach with two of the Prague professors, Dem, Grace, and Mo, and we are all going out WWF smackdown wrestling. Not only do I have a sand burn on my face, but I look like I got the top of my left arm caught in a press.

Two words for that: Awe-Some.

Highly recommend wrestling at sunset on a beach. Even if I did get my ass handed to me. More incentive to work out.

The pharm group was helped by last night's drunken revelries at Stuart's followed by Bananas. I ran into a bunch of awesome people, many of whom bought me drinks, and one of whom had them make an announcement over the loudspeaker in my honor.

This night of irresponsibility (contrasted to all the other nights) left me somewhat half impaired for pharm group, which I helped by coming in late due to the bus leaving me sitting on the curb for a solid half an hour as I tried to conserve the Red Bull flowing through my veins as the only thing keeping me upright.

Came in as Amanda sang happy birthday at me along with the group, and we settled into it as I speculated as to the physiological mechanism of peripheral neuropathy in diabetics while also absently drawing a flower on my ankle. Amanda had written in "Happy Birthday" above my name on the sign in sheet, so that was cool.

Then home and nap and wrestling. Then I get back, shower off the sand salt water, discover bruises, only to have Krash expectedly come over and unexpectedly bring a cheesecake and Dave (a beefcake; rowl).

So good times had by me, and this isn't even the beginning of the party, which is officially at Prickly Bay tomorrow evening.

In the meantime, I get to try to study for the OSCE that I have on Tuesday by studying checklists, and try to pretend the BSCE2 doesn't exist, since unbeknownst to me, it's an 8 hour exam. Lawdy, is that going to suck.

Nov 10, 2008

That post-exam bliss

I absolutely love the time after an exam has passed. That first week before panic has set in for how behind I am when I can still live like I'm on vacation.

Exams went decently, though no clinical skills grade yet. I'm not sure if they're planning on failing half the class (likely not) or how they're going to handle the fact that a great number of us aren't doing well in a class that used to be one of the no prob classes (probably when it was in St. Vincent's). They seem like a fair lot though. We have our OSCE exam next Tuesday which will be a large determinant in how grades go.

So what's been going on? Friday was the pharm exam. While being horrible, it wasn't half as horrible as the last one, probably because I took the "memorize the drugs" approach this time rather than the "read and understand" approach I took last time, which, given the nature of a class where the goal is to memorize drugs, was probably a stupid move.

I've progressively gone from acute panic attacks first term to "Oh my god I just don't care anymore", which has proven to be the better route. I'm also learning to sleep before exams. Thursday night, I was kind of in that place where I really didn't want to study anymore and was majorly tired of it, but was cranky in that sort of child throwing a tantrum (hence the video) way rather than some deep penetrating sort of fear. You know that stage where you're like "I COULD spend the next hour doing worm flashcards, but I so do not feel like it, but I still have six hours until bed time and can't justify spending it watching Scrubs reruns"?

So Friday night was the celebration of Krash's birthday, so we headed to Aquarium for a very nice dinner, Wayne sang to her, and it was all great fun. Saturday was my day for catching up sleep and bumming around doing nothing. Sunday was early rising for a cruise around the island, some hardcore waves up snorkeling, a BBQ off Sandy Island, a powerful rainstorm over some amazing rock formations, and great company, great rum punch. Dinner with Dave and then movie night with Krash, with popcorn and pie, plus Without a Paddle and Oceans 11, neither of which I've seen because I've been living in a cave.

Today was brief responsibility in the form of a surprisingly useful meeting on the boards and attaining a residency. Then that quickly gave way to a girls night at Ocean Grill, which is one of my favorite restaurants. Lori was showing Grenada to her visiting family, so we piled six people into a rented car and took off for St. George's. More wining and dining. And beering and pizzaing at Prickly Bay this coming Friday. What medical school?

That impression given to her family also makes me realize the lucky parts of living here again. Sailing, enjoying the beaches and general Caribbean life. Funny stories about the stuff we do in our precious free time. I realize I've had more 'recreation events' in the last two years than at any time in my life because we work so hard. So rather than having those blissful unemployed days of doing very little but playing Bloodrayne 2 for weeks, I'm Sandblasting or turtle watching or hashing or sailing (or sleeping in and watching tv, but you know).


Eek. Message received. Also, although I've seen the "choose a specialty flow chart" before, it always cracks me up and was a great mood lightener to the meeting, as were the appropriately placed jokes in the speakers' routines ("No one told me we had a second exam!!!!" If there were only one exam, they wouldn't call it the Step 1. They'd just call it the Step.").

So that was good. Most of our "so you're gonna be a doctor" meetings are completely useless. I contemplating skipping this one in tradition with my general nature as a truant, but decided to stick it out and was glad I did.

Time to write a case report.

Nov 6, 2008


So Ishie, how do you feel about taking a pharm exam tomorrow?

This video is alternately subtitled "So, you've decided to go into peds! Welcome to the rest of your life!"

In other news, half the school and I decided to inexplicably and spontaneously wander out in a hellacious rainstorm to IGA on a Thursday, in my case, because I was out of EVERYTHING including toothpaste, and in their cases... I think because they knew I was out of EVERYTHING and wanted to inconvenience me by virtue of occupying my corner of space at the same time when I'm irritable due to having an exam tomorrow. The plus side is that IGA was equally inexplicably stocked with everything (which never happens on a Thursday; they even had my coveted eggs!), so I went on a buying spree while trying to simultaneously listen to my ipod, read pharmacology flashcards, and juggle 5000 pounds of crap that's bad for me (and asparagus!).

Nov 5, 2008


I am so happy at this moment I have completely forgotten about that pesky Clinical Skills exam tomorrow that I had no idea how to study for.

Nov 2, 2008

What exams?

Yeah, I'm just not able to work up any enthusiasm for this next set, per the norm for this term. Mainly, I just want to go diving.

Oh, for those who didn't make it through the whole pumpkin video, that band is Beasts and Superbeasts. I found the video just by typing "Spooky Halloween" or something into YouTube on a procrastination break, but that song grew on me so I looked them up. Not bad. Definitely not bad.

Incidentally, males castrated before puberty never develop benign prostatic hyperplasia in later life, so I guess the message is, uh... have your kids spayed or neutered?

Oct 27, 2008

Found it!

The fundus, at long last, the holy grail of physical diagnosis. SO much easier once you've dilated a patient's pupils rather than just blinding your boyfriend for an hour until his pupils are so constricted that he looks like he's OD'd on heroin in your clumsy efforts to visualize the back of his eye.

I know, med school's sexy, eh?

Also, a tip, when you actually manage to correctly manipulate the ophthalmoscope and the fundus suddenly comes brightly into view, try not to exclaim "oh!" as if you've just seen a magic trick. It confuses the patients, who are led to believe that we know what we're doing.

Opthalmology rotation today, and far cooler than I was expecting, since I'm not usually a big eye person and don't really know much about eyes. We did a full patient history, watched some eye charts, but then go to watch a series of eye exams on people who actually had things wrong with their eyes that we could observe, rather than just peering into the face of our clinical skills buddies for a preset period of time, and then lying our asses off about actually seeing something.

Today we had a traumatic cataract and glaucoma in the same patient, someone with diabetes, some more cataract formation, an infection that was causing the edges of the iris to look black and ragged. Interesting stuff.

This also marks our last hospital visit, though I'm hoping to reschedule one of my bus-associated truancies (though still my fault) because I was really disappointed to miss the surgery rotation. I likey the cutty.

Oct 26, 2008

It doesn't matter...

where you do your rotations. According to the school. I mean, people have families and stuff, but ultimately, doesn't matter.

At least according to a meeting we went to today and in why it was okay to totally not tell the Global Scholars students that they can't do New Jersey rotations and may not be able to get licensing in CA or NJ.

So if rotations and reputations are a lot of reasons people choose this school, could one also say that it matters equally little whether you choose to go to SGU or AUC, SABA, or Ross, except for the whole hundred grand less thing?

I'm guessing they wouldn't like that assertion. So maybe take the concerns with where we're going to live and pay to work for the next year with a wee tad more respect and quit putting all the administrative mishandling off on the students. Because that's the obnoxious part. Yes, students bitch a lot, and this is part of running a high school, college, or graduate school. Yes, many hardened professors and administrators start to get sick of hearing a lot of lame excuses or being blamed for stuff students do, and I sympathize, though sympathize a little less as that whole dynamic is part of the job description. For instance, as a doctor, I suspect I'm going to have to deal with a lot of sick people.

Part of that job dynamic should involve being *aware* of the legitimate stresses and complaints manifested in the student body. First of all, even petty obnoxious stuff is still a catastrophe in that person's mind, and even if someone has brought consequences onto themselves, that is still a person's life, even if it's annoying you.

Secondly, if over 65% of the class has a beef with you over a specific issue at a specific period of time, maybe it's you. And maybe that 65% plus would be somewhat eased if you didn't keep flipping glib responses at them over how either their concerns or irrelevant or that they should have maintained the academic responsibility of being one step ahead of the next administrative screw up. It's sort of like being under the perpetual control of the snotty guy at the airline desk that tells you it's your fault they lost your luggage because you should never check baggage that you actually need.

To center back on the clinicals thing, the whole "Well we COULD just take out letting you put down your preferences and send you anywhere" thing? Not cool. I appreciate that it's frustrating to have the class mad at you, and I sympathize that it's becoming pretty bloody frequent this term since the class has a lot of reasons to be mad, but totally not the right response. Not knowing where you're going to live in addition to the other stressors, particularly for those who have families, *is* a big deal. Particularly in the economy we're heading back to.

This Cincinnati analogy kept coming up too. Apparently people who go to med school in Cincinnati have to do their rotations in Cincinnati. Maybe some Cincinnati students can back me up, but I feel like it'd be accurate to say that they know that when they enter medical school, and, if they entered medical school with the assumption they were going to get rotations in Cincinnati, and then their school told them they were shipping them to California in their last term of basic sciences because fifty of them actually hadn't been cleared for Cincinnati because the school hadn't cleared it before making the claim, and that it wasn't a big deal, those students would be super-mega-pissed. But correct me if I'm wrong. Cincinnati medical students may just be an enviably laid back lot.

Regardless of what residency programs think, advertising SGU based on its great rotation spots and telling students they have a good likelihood of getting them so they're likely to be able to be near their families, and then not being able to follow through *is* a big deal. We all got the great advertising package about the wonders of SGU, and it's time for the excuses to stop and the results to start. STOP minimizing our concerns.

On the plus side, they finally got Angel working after only being down for the majority of the weekend. Fortunately, I already had my course materials downloaded because I expect this sort of thing. Sucks to be those fourth termers with their exams tomorrow though! Hope they didn't need any revision on their slides.

Oct 24, 2008

In med school too long

I actually know what all these mean:

Thank you, Amateur Transplants

Yup, getting to be that time again...

Oct 22, 2008

Oh wait...

Renal lectures are up on Sonic. I'd say that makes all right in the world, but I've just discovered that I need to know 8 billion anti-cancer drugs. I've got the brilliant idea of combining them into one giant super drug, call it Cancer-Ex, and go home. The pill will be a little large but you can dissolve it into pink beer.


in the flesh.

This term has me on an emotional roller coaster that's hard to adequately express because my mood towards it is changing so rapidly as are my approaches to attempt to stave off a bad attitude.

While my nature is generally sarcastic and cynical (as is anyone who read over a hundred issues of the Babysitter's Club as a child), my overall attitude is one I try to generally be happy (being sarcastic makes me happy), try not to let little things get to me beyond the surface irritation, thus I enjoy making fun of things without being too hard-hit by them, with a few notable exceptions that are pretty dramatically splashed onto this blog.

I've also let myself get cases of the deep-blue-funks which made the overall decently-run second term a complete misery for me while I enjoyed the "rabid monkeys made my schedule" fourth term largely by avoiding anything that wasn't mandatory and keeping chipper that this would be the hardest term in basic sciences and I was enjoying most of the material.

Flash forward to my current state of affairs where I am desperately seeking a positive attitude so that I do not waste my last couple months on this tropical island wallowing around feeling sorry for myself. This is difficult because there are a number of negative factors that are making the term a bit of a hell, while not allowing me to sink too deeply because there are a bunch of goods, and the goods are frequently rather spectacular goods, which just gives me that whole unstable bipolar feeling that I never know if I'm going to cry or dance around.

This is all being exacerbated by my having an absolutely *galloping* case of senioritis, thus I don't feel like doing anything, go for long periods of doing absolutely nothing but procrastinating, then followed by marathon study sessions, all the while kind of resenting that they're making me do this whole med school thing when I'm supposed to be relaxing on the beach, doing hashes, going scuba diving, playing guitar, seeing monkeys, island hopping, and all the other impossible goals I hoped to get in before leaving for good. Like it's third term or something.

Oh, to get onto the good... I've been chronicling this little battle with the pathophys department for a while, which was constituting a lot of the "bad". Long story short: chancellor letter, huge and surprising response, big open forum where we got listened to by all the department heads and the deans, some initial changes made that were promising, and continue to look promising, but cautious optimism.

This took a slight down-swing with hearing the reports to the fourth termers, though their 5/6th might be worse than ours, in that they were told a couple of times that they'd need to bring back all their books and notes (unrealistic and sucktastic, but at least announced), but that the current term (ours) had a bunch of complaints because no one told us we would have to think critically so they should be prepared for that for the next term.

So that was kind of pissy. "Well, we can't tell the 5/6th termers this because they'd completely destroy us in a debate over it by citing our lack of organization and preparation while citing the past pathology course as requiring integration and the BSCE1 as being a test of our recall from other classes, but we just wanted to let you fourthies know that unlike your special-ed upperclassmen, who have made it to the near-end of their second year of medical school without being able to arrive at any conclusion that wasn't drawn out in capital letters on something shiny for them, you're actually going to have to use your brains next term, so be prepared."


Lest I withhold credit where credit is due, they are reinstituting a curve based on the actual class averages and standard deviations, per an announcement on Angel! Woo hoo!!!! And though NONE of the renal Sonic Foundry lectures have been posted, the notes for heme, GI and renal were on time, and they changed up the way the BSFCR was run, as they indicated they would while getting the objectives up in advance, as they also said they would, so while I have no idea how this is going to play out on the upcoming exam, I'm going to go ahead and give the administration credit for following through on this one, and make it generally known that if you do feel like your education is taking an inexcusable hit, politely express that, and you never know what can happen. While I'm not wildly appreciative of the announcement to fourth term, it was made to fourth term, and so long as they're fixing the problems that are plaguing this term and are aware of the problem, I'm going to go ahead and give them a pass on saying anything they like. I mean, I'm going to completely make fun of it, but that's all part of the "not a deep hurt" part of above.

In Clinical Skills, they continue to demonstrate that though there is a ton of disorganization, you generally don't have to go any higher than the department heads (or sometimes the tutors) to get a response, and the disorganization seems regretted and inadvertent. And as I've said all along, attitude goes a *long* way with me. If you point out a problem and someones says "I'm really sorry for the inconvenience and we're working to do _________ to fix it.", I will readily let a whole lot of stuff go. Today, during our morning session, one of the students in my group pointed out that our patient write up grades hadn't been posted yet, which is important so we know what we can fix for the next ones, and they were up by this afternoon, and the reception of the request was apologetic and active rather than defensive. Pretty impressive.

The department is also fairly accommodating to students in situations that are directly the student's fault (totally guilty), and I haven't really seen any of their instructors or directors be overtly nasty, gripey, or unprofessional. Usually they're extremely friendly, helpful, and eager to add on stuff that'll benefit us. I'm not giving a pass on the organization, because it is a problem, but knowing you can actually talk to them and they'll respond nicely is honestly one of the high points of my experience with the school. I'm not sure what that says about me or the school, but there you go.

Pharm. Pharm is the definition of ambivalence for me, as I've mentioned before because I maintain that it is well run, but I hate this class probably more than any other and it is taking up a huge portion of my time, which means I'm spending a huge amount of time focusing on a subject that is difficult, heavy, high yield, and mindnumbing. So it's a lot like being forced to spend 2-8 hours of your day eating liver. It's good for you; it may be made well by champion chefs and butchers, but it's still going to ruin your day.

Clinic. The clinic is driving me nuts. 90 minutes minimum to renew prescriptions, only to have it dragged on for a week or two weeks or whatever the on-duty feels like giving me and having the pharmacy frequently out of what I need, while the mail from home isn't reliably making it. Not a great use of time. Also an added stress I don't need hitting right at the end.

Social... another big source of ambivalence. I'm finding more and more that I like a huge number of the students at this school, and have established close friendships with a number of them and I'm deeply enjoying being around them. My boyfriend is being completely awesome, per usual, and since we're both incarcerated in the study hall a lot, it means I get to spend more time with him.

BUT... (there's always a but)... I am becoming more and more acutely aware that though I'm extremely excited to get done with basic sciences and begin the next stage of my life, I am also going to lose the close contact with my fellow convicts and we're all going to get scattered to the wind. Many of us will likely end up at the same hospitals, and there's internet connections, but it's not the same, and I'm going to miss that. Some of my closest friendships have been made on this island, and I'm going to be abandoning that to have a close relationship with my step 1 videos. I'm going to miss running into a ton of people I know and like on campus, at the beach, at the market, and the whole closeness of the campus. Yes, this also creates a fishbowl here, but it can be a pretty comforting one, and soon, it's going to be back to the scary real world, having lost the ability to hold conversations with people that aren't Caribbean medical students. "Hey, how are you doing? So... who's running for president? Did you catch the last season of that show that ended three years ago? Don't you hate it when you're trying to watch an episode of House, but the channel feed keeps switching between the Colorado and New York feed so you can't tell when it's on? It's about as reliable as the egg supply at IGA. Wanna go get a Carib? How many EC do they go for at that bar on the corner? As long as they're not blasting soca, know what I mean? No?"

Also, there's the scenery. I love the scenery in the states too, don't get me wrong, but even after nearly two years, I frequently look around and am taken in by the surreality of essentially living in a Windows screensaver. Though I probably go to the beach and dive way less frequently than I did in California (and no, I didn't live near the beach), the fact that it is so close is something I'm always aware of.

So it's a whole weird thing. I'm having to do "next stage of life" things like register for the USMLE, which was always this huge looming someday off in the distance thing and now it's a 700$ charge on my credit card and I'm having to choose date periods and get photos made for my ID. I'm having to figure out what I'm doing for rotations, when I'm starting them, and how I'm handling the period in between rather than just continuing on the island, paying my rent. I'm dealing with what I'm going to do with all my stuff, people are touring my apartment, and it's a huge change.

I'm going to get to see my family again. I'm going to get to have seasons again. My clothes are going to last longer and can be varied. I'm going to get to have fast food and cheap meat and ethnic cuisine, and trips to the grocery store, and quick pick ups of anything I need as close as the local love/hate Walmart. I'll be able to drive. I won't need to book a boat or a plane to anywhere outside of an 11X22 mile radius.

So it's all... blah, mixed up inside me. And making it hard to study. As is the suddenly rescheduled meeting at 5 tonight.

To change gears abruptly (much like my moods at any given second), I guess I'll Sandblast-talk, since that's an actual event rather than some diary description of my overall feelings.

Since I wasn't behind in school enough, I chose to hit the last Sandblast for me (hopefully), which had a Halloween theme, making it particularly appealing because I love Autumn and Halloween, and they don't really do either here. I had to grab and orange AND black t-shirt since they not only had the whole Halloween thing going for them, but chose to mesh it with a Dark Knight Heath-Ledger-as-Joker pumpkin "Why so serious" motto that just upped the awesome. Well done, designers.

For a change, I actually got there close to when it opened rather than sleeping late and not getting there until they were half out of beer thing that I normally do. I also chose to maintain a steady state of alcohol in my bloodstream rather than gorging myself on it first thing, falling over, and being done for the evening by 5 PM. Muchhhh smarter. Makes for rougher mornings though.

I had promised Ashley a beer pong partner, so we first cruised the area a bit, grabbed our mugs, a well-made cocktail from the bar, hit the food tent and relaxed on the beach for a bit. Refilled a bit later on inexplicably pink beer. We attempted to figure this one out for a while, but it turns out, pink was supposed to be red for *blood* beer. While it ended up looking like we were drinking the run off from an eviscerated Care Bear, it's probably better off that there was not a sufficient amount of red food coloring to turn the beer *really* red or the clinic probably would have had a run on it the next morning the likes of which has never been seen.

So beer pong started up and we wandered over, and promptly watched a couple vet students run the table to a degree that it was surprising they were still standing.

To our credit, we got them down to the last cup to sudden death, and that is *quite* an accomplishment, but sadly, they got it in for the win. Much shame. Ran into Jay and Jordan, hung out with them for a while, and got a full thing of beer dumped over me by two guys who were "fighting or are they wrestling, I'm not sure, let's just move". Fortunately, you wear disposable clothes to Sandblast.

Ran into Grace and Dem and headed down to the Owl to watch the game. Good chicken wings there but unfortunately, only crab racing on Monday nights, which I still haven't seen. Some pool, some jeopardy, a good night swim, then home to preen for Bananas, which I ended up leaving with Grace and Dem at around 5 in the morning. Gods.

If this seems excessive, this is pretty much "just another Sandblast". One thing about medical school is that it destroys your sanity *and* your liver.

So now I'm paying the price and attempting to catch up pharm... which will leave me catching up renal in pathophys, which inexplicably puts me in the same place as everyone who either studied for the entirety of last weekend OR spent the entire weekend drinking. It's like the entire class procrastinates together and always seems the same number of lectures behind. See why I love these guys?

Oct 19, 2008

Fully Sandblasted

And infinitely behind as a result, though I got a few hours in at Taylor today. Sorry for no updates for a while, but I'm out of ambien, which is making me a very cranky and addled Ishie, indeed. And I'm due to report for surgery rotation in the nasty hour of the morning and hope like hell when I get back I'll be able to get in rather than having my apartment manager bang on the door to show my apartment when I have the Do Not Disturb sign up for the third consecutive business day in a row. Gods man, I sleep DAYS. And have since I got here. This should surprise no one. More later and nighty night.

Oct 9, 2008

Better Start

Though wrong class.

Clinical Skills is canceling our lab sessions during finals week AND canceling one of the case reviews so we can instead review physical diagnosis. This is not only helpful for the OSCE, but also helpful in my *not* ineptly manhandling the knee of a guy with a meniscus tear who I doubt was appreciating the fumbling.

In the other classes, so far, notes are not only on time... they're EARLY. I'm getting the vapors just thinking about it.

We had the mega-meeting, and holy crap, was it ever a mega meeting. The course directors from ALL the courses were there, as were the deans, as were about 150 people, two mics in the aisle for us, and from the line of students talking at the mic, we went 30-40 minutes over what was planned.


Way way beyond what I could have ever hoped for, so I'm being optimistic, because it seems like some good people are listening, and also, so far, no one's threatened to kick me out of school and set me adrift on a flaming rowboat saturated in shark pheromones, so that's good news.

Will things be made perfect? Absolutely not. Will this term end in such a way that we can't all look back and say "that would have been made easier by _________". Will the first floor library computers ever boot up in under an hour, cease to crash, remove the necessity to reinstall the network printer and office ever time you try to print an objective sheet? I fear not. BUT, as I've said before, I think there's a change for the positive, and I'm also really really proud of my class and our response. I think the meeting went well; people expressed themselves professionally, and it didn't devolve into the sort of heated yelling match that occurs in... well, most houses of government, but you get my drift.

In the meantime? 600th hash!! Pictures pending. It celebrated the occasion by raining for the better part of the day and stopped right before the hash, which made the trail a mudbath. I have honestly scrubbed my socks in the sink three times with detergent (putting those in a communal washing machine would be ruder than I could possibly be) and you can only just tell they're white. When I got back from the hash, I tiptoed across my foyer shedding as little nastiness as possible to keep my housekeeper from killing me, and stepped directly into the shower with all my clothes on, including my shoes.

Yeah, have you ever been *that* muddy? It also reached the stage where I stopped trying not to fall because I wasn't going to get any muddier, which makes the passage easier.

We were also the last group getting in, so everyone was worried about us, which was sweet, and we had a guy in back coming behind us to make sure no one got lost along the way, and by the time we got back, there were two guys with flashlights coming in from the back, so it's great that they really watch for people so no one gets stuck in the rainforest overnight.

In two stunning displays of brilliance on my part, I both took the false trail AND had such tunnel vision that I missed the 'turnaround X' on the false trail and had to be chased down before I wandered off a cliff at dusk, AND at one point, somehow mistook white flowers for shredded paper, missed an extremely obvious turn in the trail, and strode directly into razor grass, which is aptly named.

The thing about razor grass is that not only does it cut you, it sticks to you, which means that attempting to pull it off then cuts up your hands, so you're forced to make the decision "do I want to just leave this thing draped on my shoulders while it continues to saw into me, or do I want to grab it with my fingers, which have tons more nerve endings?" Decisions decisions.

That one got met with our patient guide asking me, genuinely mystified, "Why did you do that?" My response was "because I'm kind of an idiot." He refrained from saying "only kind of"?

There were some steep slippery portions of the trail that required a rope to get up or down. I thought with my underdeveloped chicken biceps that it would consist of me getting down two steps and then falling forty feet backwards into a tree, but it wasn't half as hard as it looked (the rest of the trail was) and about three times as fun.

The hash did mean getting to devirginate Lori, Krash, and David. Woo hoo! But we got back too late to drench them in beer and give them a certificate, so next time.

Well, bedtime. I need to ingest a lot of GI tomorrow so I can figure exactly what I'm contracting from my water supply. The paranoia I've held onto since parasitology not-so-coincidentally evaporated when I ran out of filters, but I'm not dead yet, and so far nothing I've experienced physiologically this term could be described as "explosive", so I'm putting it in the "win" column.

Oct 4, 2008

Good start

As I've posted before, there's been some major uproar regarding the current 5/6 term stuff, and I think for good reason. I'm still in favor of instituting the old grading scale and to open up more lines of communication, BUT...

Notes for GI, which starts on Monday, were already in the lecture hall, facilitating pre-study for the industrious folks, and ensuring even the lazy people (like me) that they will be able to follow along in lecture.

Either the physio people had another place to go or they were on an off week because we got booked use of the path lab today versus the last session where we didn't have a room and got booted back to the lecture hall. While I complained about the path lab in fourth term because the A/C was not keeping up with how incredibly loud and overcrowded it was, it seems to work decently for its purposes, plus nothing makes you appreciate the path lab more than trying to conduct a discussion group by yelling down a row in Bell Hall before having to go in front of a lecture theater with a microphone to present to 150 of your classmates on 10 minutes notice. Stage fright much? So I think this format works much better. I was actually able to interact with my group and the projection of the cases on the screen means everyone can see them and contribute equally.

I don't know about the "think on your own first" format to BSFCR, but the fact that they've changed it and are now posting the enabling objectives the Monday before is a big plus and a strong indication that someone's listening. I also like the one case per set of questions format to having the exact same case with two groups presenting 8 different things, which gets repetitive without being helpful and takes forever. Much appreciated.

The list of "question types" at the end of BSFCR session. YES. That is the sort of thing we need.

The agreement to post the BSFCR cases on Angel. THANK YOU.

The addition of the points to both pathophys and BSFCR grades. This was definitely necessary and I really believe we need a consistent standard for the future, but leaving the average at 64 really would have been unacceptable.

There is an open forum to discuss the problems of this term with the department heads on Monday. That is a HUGE step forward. I don't know what will come of the discussion, but the willingness for this meeting to happen is definitely encouraging. Thank you to the SGA for meeting to convey the students' expressed desire for an open forum and thank you to the heads and deans for agreeing to meet.

The GI objectives, which were posted early, had a change that was posted on Angel, and the announcement was made along with an apology for the inconvenience. While this doesn't seem like a big deal, for me, it really is. Part of what has really gotten on my wick previously is a feeling that any inconvenience, even minor, that the students suffered was somehow our faults, and informing us of it was a favor. A "sorry guys" goes a long way, at least for me.

Though this has absolutely nothing to do with the pathophys or BSFCR classes, my freaking sixth term loan check arrived on schedule. Trumpets and fanfare, people!


This doesn't mean all is sunshine and rainbows, of course. And I know there's going to be obnoxious problems that persist right until the end, because there's been things about every term that I think could have really been changed to the benefit of the students, but I felt this one needed special address, and it seems like the problem is being taken seriously. So long as students are able to have a voice if the going gets tough enough, I'm willing to take difficulties (though will certainly whine about it) if there's an effort to fix gross malfunctions in the system. It's only when I felt that the departments were completely unaccountable for any action with no capacity for a change to occur in our better that I honestly had started to regret coming and not pursuing a different route to doctorhood, and while that sounds extreme, that's honestly how I was starting to feel.

Let's hope this is a new beginning for all of us.

Sep 30, 2008

Geeze where do I begin?

I went from having really nothing to say but "camped at Taylor Hall; made doe-eyes at boyfriend; tried to find source of study for pathophys; periodically mimed the First Aid book eating my head. Highlighted every line of pulmonary physiology in the BRS Physio since it all seemed important. Thought I was doing well at studying pharm but totally wasn't. Watched Red Dwarf. Slept." to having a ton going on where I don't know where to start. As frequently seems to occur.

Midterms! Aiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee.... oh, was that ever an exercise in humility. Weirdly, the exam I had the most problem with at a philosophical level is the one I'm pretty sure I did the best on with all the added hoopla (not that it justifies anything), while I'm thinking I didn't do half as well in Clinical Skills as I thought (damn you, Hashimoto's thyroiditis!), and I have no idea what I got in pharm, but I'm kind of hoping it's in the double digits. Gods.

Taking the pharm exam made me realize two things:
1: I'm VERY bad at drugs. I knew this from biochem when I was going through my flashcards while my dad was visiting, and he was reading me off the answer for the mechanism of neomycin without looking at the card because I'd missed it so many times.
2: When I learn drugs, it's kind of like I have this new deck of playing cards in my head where each suite represents a drug class and I know what order they're in. Taking a pharm exam is kind of like taking that deck of cards and playing 52 card pickup. And I just look at the fluttering mess on the floor and go "Uh oh." So... new study approach for me, I think.

In the wake of midterms, I pretty much spent the rest of Friday in full on bender-mode, starting with George's party, featuring great company, great rum punch, great food, great pinata. Then the Beauty and the Geek party which had some really innovative costumes by my colleagues. Then Banana's, largely to steal Dem's french fries.

Then spent the rest of the weekend recovering from Friday by lounging on various beaches and making a two and a half week overdue trip to Spiceland Mall to buy food, since my on campus studies have caused me to subsist off food from Pearl's, which means I've hit my upper limit for intestinal parasites.

Saturday, La Sagesse was characteristically gorgeous and the weather went from looking like it was going to rain us out to being really nice. We had a wonderful lunch at the restaurant there, went for a long swim, and got eaten by ants on the beach. Oh, though word of advice since this applied to all of us, myself included... don't go out for a long night of drinking and reveling, get four to five hours of sleep and then jump into a cab for a lengthy ride along fast tight curves. Glurgh.

Sunday, initially dive planned, but still recovering, so lounged at Grand Anse. The beach was nice, but apparently the storm that missed us hit it, and the water was kind of eerie. There was a dead eel washed up on the beach which some brave girl, as everyone watched her in awe, picked it up by its rotting dead tail and hauled it over to the garbage can so people wouldn't have to deal with it. REALLY nice of her.

The seascape though, save for a couple flying gernards (woo hoo!) seemed oddly dead. The coral was pretty brown, and then Lori and I swam through a patch where there were bubbles on the surface and we couldn't see anything, but then started feeling itchy and then actively stingy and we were like "okay, time to go", so I have no idea what that was about and it's never happened before. I'm wondering if we swam through the remains of a boat propeller-hit jellyfish. I had some spots when we got out, but quickly faded, and drying off to a diminishing sun made it all worthwhile. As did not having to study.

Last night was Dark Knight night, since Lori and I seem to be the last people on earth who haven't seen it, so we made a night of it with Dave. Awww, RIP Heath Ledger. Much as I love Batman, I've always thought most of its villains weren't half as scary as Batman himself, but that is the kind of Joker that makes you want to sleep with the lights on. Sorry Jack Nicholson; you'll always have the Shining.

In the meantime, the surge of response to the whole pathophys thing has been awesome and you guys are absolutely fantastic!! It looks like we may get some changes too: Our note packet was printed and there for lecture (Yes, I went; stop the presses, though three buses passing me made it a thirty minutes late for first lecture thing), they seem to be shifting the setup of the Friday classes AND have already posted the objectives, they're having a meeting, and stuff's happening. Wahoo!

We just started the hematology unit which so far seems to be recycling path. Hematology is one of the nastiest parts of path due to having to be able to read a CBC in 75 seconds and pull a diagnosis out of it, but so far it's review, which is good, because eventually if I study myeloid derivations enough, it may stick in my head like the frigging female menstrual cycle finally did. You'd think, that being female, it would not take me FIVE SEPARATE medical school classes to learn when the progesterone rises, but I'm slow like that. Some stuff goes in once and stays there until I'm dead and other stuff that other people have gotten a year ago, when they're reviewing it in class, I'm going "dammit. Still don't know it." And I go back to my original source or the internet (Wiggers Diagram, I'm looking in your direction) and I redraw it, and I read all the parts of it out loud, and I see if I can redraw it from memory, and state all the parts, and feel secure, and know it on the exam, and promptly forget it entirely until it comes up again.

To backtrack a bit, I had my anesthesia rotation this morning, which I thought would be really boring (ewww, pulmonary phys), but was really interesting, particularly when first the Bovie died, and then the entire power shut off three times until the OR was running on the backup generator. The doctors were great, let us close in on a hernia operation, and showed us everything. They're also a very calm lot, moving effectively and deliberately, but not panicky as the anesthesia cart is screaming over its sudden power cut, the lights have gone out (hooray for windows), and the patient is open. Noooo problem. Continue putting hernia back in, no reason for alarm, sewn up, with awesome response to being put under.

They let us in pretty close without screwing up the sterile field, and were very willing and ready to answer our questions. So far all the docs have been like that, so I've been impressed, as I've mentioned, with the rotations, and find them to be a really cool experience that's giving us not only a taste of a lot of different areas of medicine, but also of the whole "medical experience in another country". Some stuff is utterly the same, while other stuff is mystifyingly different.

Got home from the selective to wash up since I knew I had a nice dinner after lecture, but found I had no water. I haven't found that this happens to me all that frequently, but when it does, it tends to hit at inconvenient times. Same with internet access. I'll have NO problems with internet access for weeks when I'm screwing around watching youtube videos while trying not to study, but the second I try to download some small group assignment that's due the next day? Total connection meltdown.

In other news, FANTASTIC dinner with Dave tonight where he was, per usual, being a perfect gentleman, and is gradually breaking me into Merlot, which is usually up with Cab on the "List of the only two wines I have trouble choking down", but I've been really enjoying it lately. What can I say; I'm a wino!

Sep 27, 2008

Oh, and while I'm thinking about it...

To the "Geek" at the Beauty and the Geek party last night that had the turning point remote (aka, the evil clicker) in your breast pocket behind all the pens:

Pure. Comic. Gold.

I said what now?

Clarification: Yes, I definitely am not happy with the pathophys department, and think there needs to be actions to change the current course of things, which is pretty much the collective class opinion. Yes, I posted a letter expressing my feelings on the matter because I figured that was the right way to go.

No, I'm not staging any sort of walk-out. Given that I would probably skip a lecture entitled "Ishie, there is a deadly parasite in your drinking water and the only way you'll be able to survive it is...", walking out of a class I rarely attend in the first place seems like it doesn't make much of a statement, nor do I think it would help given the peculiarities of this particular department.

However; I would encourage others of those that also would like a more proactive (and less 'blaming the students for a 64% average, as if that's our fault and the points added back were some sort of favor because the dept's going to cut us some slack just this once') change to respectfully voice their concerns. It's been awesome seeing the responses on SGUPost, and the support we have together in this matter. I don't know if it'll help, but I think it's the best option.

Sep 26, 2008


"Some Drugs Create Awesome Knockers" for the drugs that can cause gynecomastia (think Bob from Fight Club) may be the best mnemonic to ever exist, and that includes all the really dirty ones from anatomy.

In other news, I thought that "qiss and qiq 'til you're siq of sqs" (kiss and kick 'til you're sick of sex) was an incredibly stupid one until I reviewed the intro pharm lectures and discovered that I needed it to keep my head from exploding, and I certainly can't think of a better one in the time allotted.

I think I'm losing it. My head is full of "SAFE Moms Take Really Good Care" and "buy AT 30; CELL at 50" until all the information (which there still isn't enough of) is threatening to fall out.

I've spent the last unfathomable length of time holed up in Taylor Hall studying with my hair progressively messier and my t-shirts progressively dorkier (today's even has a math pun) and despite feeling like I know absolutely nothing about pharmacology, there are times in med school, and this is one of them, where you cram so much for an exam that you feel like if you bump your head against something, there's just going to be a flood of notebook pages coming out of your skull.

But if med school has taught me nothing else (which is possible), it's that there are two types of people:
1: Those that feel intense stress during exams, and in an unconscious attempt to escape- jerk, twitch, and bounce their legs uncontrollably. This is the "flight" response.
2: Those that feel intense stress during exams, and in an unconscious attempt to confront their antagonist (the test), want to jam a pencil into the necks of the people in Group 1. This is the "fight" response.

Sep 25, 2008

We're dead...

dead da dead dead dead

Pharm exam tomorrow and everyone's pretty much expressing the same sentiment: too much material; too little time; nothing is sticking.

Can't say the department is lacking in effort though; but this leading-up week has been so hellish with the pathophys exam that we all find ourselves painfully behind in a difficult and new topic. Oh, and there was that CS exam on Wednesday, which seemed primarily as a distraction from people trying desperately to study for pharm.

So pretty much, I'm living for the weekend. Par-tay.

Sep 19, 2008

Helpful hints for life

If you see a child born with ambiguous genitalia, just tell the parents to give it an androgynous name and don't tell anyone until the karyotype comes back.

I arrived at Taylor Hall this morning at 10:30. I just got home. Break for lunch; "break" for tutorial EKG lecture. Finally understand pulmonary physiology and it only took a year longer than it was supposed to. Brain full of lungs and ovaries. Send help.

Sep 16, 2008

What now?

A bus strike... The fourth termers are in their current exam week and ours are next week, for reference. Hooray for living in walking distance from campus. Sucks to be anybody else.

This warrants a 1980s stereotype slow-clap! Who wants to join me?

More tests

Up and coming.

It's been hard coming up with new stuff to say. My term seems to be in a loose consensus over the problems: pharm's too hard; pathophys is a crapshoot of no-direction, and there hasn't been real elaboration on that, leaving me in a perpetual state of "Hmmm".

This steady state sort of situation, even as the countdown heads towards the first set of exams for us, is creating a sort of passive discontent among myself and my fellows. The advent of cardio in pathophys at first brought a loud angry voice, then one that continued but waning into a grim but more passive acceptance that it's not going to change. When you see your classmates, you go "How's it going?" and they say "Dude, I just can't get a handle on this stuff" or "I'm drowning" or some variety, and you shake your head with a resigned laugh and assert agreement. And repeat. And when other-termers ask how 5th term is, you say "It sucks" and again with the head shake/laugh.

Exams coming up are unpredictable. Part of me is plugging away, camped out in Taylor Hall (which is very nice), but calm about it, used to exam stress by now despite my whole first term meltdown. But another part of me is making my eyes twitch, including making my pupils do this weird contract/dilate thing that I can't explain, so there seems to be some sort of whole sympathetic firing going on even if I'm not feeling it as acutely.

I re-discovered that my apartment is the procrastination central for procrastination studies (if no other kind of studies), so following Dave's example, I've been bussing it to campus, studying until late, bussing back. I think I need to re-incorporate some walks though, since I think my new and complete lack of exercise is getting into my head. And probably my waistline. But it's also cool because I get pretty decent company while having to study away. And good luck to the fourth termers with their exams this week!

So what else besides the usual. Oh, on loan check status, one of them finally arrived (not sure if it's the missing 5th term one or the 6th term one on time), so I've gotten partial access to my funds (thanks dad!) with full access coming on Friday. For reference, I got here August 17th. You guys can do the math.

On a more positive note, since I'm not half as depressed as the above sounds... actually in a decent mood.

Did my ER visit Monday morning, and that was pretty cool, and we saw the quick through patients. Our facilitator today was a no-nonsense doc of the old school variety. No BS. Don't try to run through your clinical skills checklist on a woman who's very obviously in pretty severe pain. Don't try to interview the asthma kid until AFTER he's been on the nebulizer. Now I'll show you the way you're actually supposed to do a bulge test, since you all are touching that woman's knee like it's about to detonate. Come here. As you all are upcoming doctors, I will plead with you now to try to write legibly. Find the fracture on this x-ray. Next patient. That's what we call 'ER Drama' It goes away when their significant other does.

Nice and informative. Nothing really crazy, though I did again demonstrate my ineptitude for doing ear exams, which is second only to my inability to do an eye exam, the latter of which consists of seeing a vaguely vascular-looking pink haze through the opthalmoscope while trying to find the optic disc until the patient's pupil is the size of a pinprick due to having me shine a light in their eye for ten minutes, and then I make a noncommittal affirmative noise that gives the false impression that I know what I'm looking at or have gleaned something meaningful from it. Practice practice. I'm getting better at interpreting what I'm hearing through a stethoscope though.

Well, gotta get up tomorrow and study some more. Night all.

Sep 10, 2008


REALLY getting tired of it.

Dear Pathophysiology department: Either get out your handouts on time, with some structure, and in order, or at the very least, stop sending us threatening course announcements because enough there aren't enough students participating in the latest experimental learning style of the week that our class keeps getting subjected to. If you're wondering why students aren't using it enough, it's probably due to them being very busy attempting to sort out the 2500 cardiovascular slides (think I'm exaggerating?) that you have yet refused to issue in order or prior to the lectures. It seems to many of us fairly hypocritical that we are being chided for failing to meet the expectations of us when you are unwilling or unable to meet your own. Also, please cease telling us not to print handouts from the library if you have no intention of providing them. It wasn't our idea to put white text on dark backgrounds for 2500 slides, so if you want the insanity to stop and the library staff to stop getting angry, you know what to do.

Dear library: Sorry guys.

Dear Pulmonary guy: Thank you for being a good instructor and for sensing our frustration at not having the handouts for your class, and I'll go ahead and apologize for you having to teach through that, particularly with our class's pretty solid irritation at the disorganization this term. I'll extend the apology myself, since if the department treats professors like it treats the students, they're certainly not going to.

Dear other hapless victims who are on the faculty but don't have control over this sort of thing and the persistent scheduling problems that trailed after us from last term: we know it's not your fault, and we feel your pain.

Dear Pharmacology department: your class is hellishly difficult and due to my own biases, I like the subject material way less than I would hypothetically like pathophysiology if it were consistently being taught to us. Despite these prejudices, your department seems well run, organized, relevant, and empathetic. Kudos.

Dear finances: I don't know whose fault it is this time, but I would REALLY like my loan check. Considering I had to apply for it twice (as did over half the people on loans) since the company initially recommended to us for our loans went bankrupt, which cost me another hard credit pull, and considering I had to fax in the paperwork twice despite not being told there was an additional problem with the MPN until the first day of class which nearly cost me the ability to register, I think I've earned it. Some friends of mine, who received their third term loan checks after fourth term started, do appreciate receiving theirs though. Really helped them with the overdue rent.


An *Extremely* Frustrated Student

Sep 4, 2008

A good professor...

Unfortunately, one from a year ago.

Ahhh... pathophys... does anyone have the remotest idea how to study for this class? Alas, I fear not.

The physiology department magnanimously decided to allow some of our old notes to be put back up on Angel so we can make some sense out of what we're doing now, and by "magnanimously", I am not being sarcastic. This also served to remind me that I STILL HAVE MY PHYSIO NOTES, which is absolutely awesome, because with the glaring exception of pulmonary physio, the notes for that class were really good. Hard as hell and full of equations, but well spelled out, particularly the cardio notes, which is the only reason I was able to get through something that physics-ricious the first time.

This whole physio path pathophysio thing is a conundrum for me. You see, I hated physio. Really really really did not like it at all. This was my feeling despite the fact that the class (again, except pulmonary) was well taught, the notes were organized, the labs relevant, and the material extremely important. Just didn't resonate, and it confused me.

Contrast to path. I really like pathology. I really didn't like the way the general philosophy and structure of the class, so I abandoned it (sans labs, which were good), which kept me from chewing off my own face last term.

So now we have pathophys, which is combining being new and completely disorganized without much in the way of clear objectives, with physio, which I never fully "got" and didn't like, but without the instructors that say "I'm going to assume you guys think the heart is something in a valentine and go from there". Because that is still where I like to start out. I still literally have to draw out the heart any time I'm trying to figure something out with it so I can follow the blood flow around like I'm figuring the maze on the side of a Happy Meal box.

BUT, now I have my physio notes, which I had forgotten at some level that I had, and now that I'm going back over the stuff that mystified me in second term due to its math/graph heaviness, *I'm actually understanding it* now that I've gotten older, wiser, and have gotten used to having to teach myself material. And as I'm going through it, I'm remembering just how much I loved Dr. Parry because a lot of her little expressions and analogies are suddenly firing back up in my memory from when I was watching her on Sonic Foundry back in the day (some things never change). And since path wasn't as difficult for me (no math), I'm now able to apply disease pathologies on top of the physio stuff I hadn't fully understood before.

Which I think is the point, though damned if I'm going to know that until after the first exam. Or until after I fail the boards; one or the other. Unfortunately, it's taken a month for me to even be able to sort out where to BEGIN to approach, so I'm hoping it's not past the point of no return. And having pharm (aka micro on crack) is not helping at all, though mnemonics are helping me sort some stuff out.

So how to celebrate this drowning feeling? I'm thinking Saturday hash, I truly am...

Aug 29, 2008

Eating too much; studying too little

Argh, getting into the swing of the new term is a difficult task, and progressively getting more difficult by my steadfast refusal to catch up.

Instead, I'm finding myself lamenting over all the stuff I need to do before I leave the island for good... oh, not study stuff, I've been doing that for a year and a half... no, stuff like "see the monkeys", "go to Carriacou", "Do six dives", and that sort of thing. I'm also realizing how much I like my colleagues, and how I'd much rather do stuff like eat dinner with them and hang out, or go to parties, or swim at the beach, rather than doing that whole studying thing, which can wait, and then it can wait until tomorrow, and then it can wait until after Obama's speech.

It doesn't help that I have absolutely no idea how to study for pathophysiology because I'm not sure what the exact goal is other than "Remember everything from the last two years, because it's all testable". And I'm still recovering from an awesome summer, so that leaves me lazy and worried about my sloth. Also worried about not being able to spot memorize thirty drugs at a time.

So today, after a LONNNNNG pathophys session, I headed to the new Italian place to sample that stuff with a friend... then to Rituals to try some of their cake and check out the ambiance and realize that they turn it into a wine and cheese bar every night at 6. I'm sure THAT won't have a deleterious effect on my study habits. Then, a necessary shopping trip. Then, catch up with a girl I haven't seen in months, hang at her place for dinner, eating a homecooked meal (not my cooking of course, but I did provide the salad dressing) and watching Animal Planet...

All of which is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I lament having to leave that early, not do the 90s Party, which I'd love to do, and instead sulkily attempt to glean something from my pathophys lectures so that I can do the quiz this weekend. The horror.

Now my only feat is to determine whether my complete sloth is limited only to me, or if I can be reassured by similar echoings from my classmates.