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?