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.