Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

"Do you want some nog with lunch?"


"Alright, well, we've only got egg. I hope that's okay."

Monday, December 24, 2007

"They may be bitches, but they are skinny bitches."

I gave up coffee nineteen days ago.

And just this moment I successfully walked away from a coffee percolator that looked suspiciously as though it were about to drip the sweet nectar of consciousness into my favorite mug.

I can't imagine how it became so precariously perched. Maybe it had something to do with me putting it there.

Yes. I was about to throw nineteen days worth of withdrawal jitters and obtundent lecture attendance to nurse once more at the teat of blessed caffeination.

But I didn't. I walked away and came to the keyboard instead.

My very sweet and ridiculously gorgeous cousin decided she and I should have our own personal book club spotlighting the "no nonsense tough love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous": Skinny Bitch.

It reads like something I would write if I were a hungover drill sergeant on my period paging through science fiction (read: REALLY, REALLY CRANKY) and had no regard for my readers' capacity for human emotion. There's a certain, "C'mon you fat, lame fools, stop wrecking your body and wasting my time," tone to the prose. The sarcasm leaps off the page and lambastes any preconceived notions of decency regarding my diet CLEAR OUT OF MY HEAD. The only way it could be more effective is if the sharp wit could come to life and actually slice the fat off my booty.

In short, the narrative manhandling scares the ever loving shit out of me. They aren't kidding when they say, "no nonsense."

I have read only Chapter One.

There were so many things within the "Give It Up" chapter that I need to work on I don't think I yet deserve to go on to the rest of the book. Or rather, I don't know that I can take the shame onslaught that will inevitably result if I read on and have to sustain more acerbic slaps to the face as I confront the truth that my diet suckity suck suck sucks.

So, because I want to keep reading the book, but don't feel I can face the authors again until I've made some changes, I gave up coffee.

I realize as a member of both the medical profession and the Starbucks generation this effort amounts to sheer blasphemy. But the Skinny Bitches say that coffee's acidity goads the body to produce fat cells to emulsify the coffee. The fat cells surround the uh, absorbed coffee, or what I envision as little piranha like Pac-men, and bar their destructive jaws from hurting the body. Now, this is all well and good, Go Body! with its adaptive mechanisms and all that, but I sure don't need extra fat cells circulating about.

Particularly if they're coming from something as second string luxurious as coffee. I'd rather save my fat cells for cheesecake. Or pizza. Mmmm... pizza...

So... I don't know how effective this has been, because it's but one small change I've made of about eighty three thousand I probably should, but that first week I gave up coffee... I WAS pretty bitchy. I assume that means it's working. I had half of the skinny bitch-dom down.

Since parting with the dark roasted temptress I have also been getting fewer headaches and I've started sating my hot beverage cravings with all manners of tea that claim to be antioxidant laden. Overall these seem like two positives and... perhaps more valid measures of the authors' advice.

To those of you who wonder why I'd listen to a book that makes me feel awful about myself I'd like to point out that I am a medical student. Masochism is how I roll.

In all honesty though, there's promise of applicability. It cuts the crap and speaks to me in chick-lit language I can relate to and be influenced by. If you're still looking for a stocking stuffer for someone who won't be offended if you say, "Oh, the title made me think of you!" I highly recommend it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

7 Random Things About Me

Apparently I decided that after posting every single day in November I was absolved from writing for the whole of December.

As my holiday gift to you, I've returned early.

You're welcome.

Now, on to business. I've been tagged. Nevermind that the tag-age was nearly three weeks ago, I was still tagged. And if there's one thing I've learned from the blogosphere, it's that you don't eff around with OldMDGirl ;)

So, without further ado...

1. My ears have been pierced since I was three months old. Evidently three months was the cap on how long my mother could have a non-bedazzled infant. By three months it was high time I started earning my keep by being a more attractive accessory for her hip. And if my face wasn't going to do it, well, jewels in my ears would have to suffice.

2. I keep every piece of personal written correspondence I receive. Now... this might be better listed in a future edition of "7 Creepy Things About Me," but either way it's still true. I have six file boxes in my closet with assorted categories of folders labeled, "Aunts," "Birthday Cards," "Pen Pals 1996-1997," etc. They may or may not be color coded.

I'm not sure what this says about me (I mean, after our ears stop ringing from the PACKRAT PACKRAT PACKRAT alarm), but I just feel too guilty throwing away something someone has taken the time to write me. Admittedly, some cases are more justified than others. The letters I received when I was young from my grandmother? Invaluable. The personalized birthday newsletter from the Muffy VanDerBear fan club? You decide.

3. My high school valedictory address centered around the Britney Spears single "Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman," thereby cementing in everyone's mind the disconnect between book smarts and... actual smarts.

4. In the seventh grade I crafted a Happy Meteorologist's Day (February 4th or 5th, I can't remember exactly) card out of yellow and orange construction paper (it may or may not have been a sun...) and mailed it to the channel five weather man who I was convinced was my soul mate. I believe the inscription read along the lines of, "Thank you for brightening the greater viewing region's mornings even when the forecast is partly cloudy. Your Biggest Fan, Pants."

After mailing it I was extremely smug and pleased with myself, wondering how long it would take for him to write me back and tell me that he had never before witnessed such construction paper wizardry, and clearly with skills like that I HAD to be his wife. Also, for some reason I remember congratulating myself for pulling off this scheme without my parents knowledge. Why they would've cared that I was stalking a minor local celebrity, I'm not sure, but their awareness seemed an imminent catastrophe back then.

Thus, imagine my horror when one February morning I hear my dad shout from the family room, "PANTS TAILORED MCSLACKS. Did you send Weather Man a Valentine?"

I was in the other room putting together some cereal and I remember pouring and pouring the Cheerios, unknowingly overflowing them onto the counter.

I went into the family room. "What?"

"You sent the weather man a Valentine?"

"NO. It was a card for National Meteorologist's Day. How did you... how did you know?"

"He just thanked you on the air for your thoughtful card. My daughter mailed a valentine to the weather man."

I remember thinking, MY GOD. Did my weather man SAY it was a Valentine!? It was just a meterologists' day card! HE MUST LOVE ME. (Yep. Over analysis and decryption of men's thoughts were rampant even way back when.)

And then he never wrote back.

He's now the nightly five o'clock weather man and the station's chief meteorologist. I like to think my early boost to his ego gave him the confidence to pursue the prestigious appointment.

5. I can wiggle both of my eyebrows independently. I regularly twitch them asynchronously in the rhythm of popular songs and try to make my friends guess the melody.

6. One time in the fifth grade I went over to my neighborhood friend's house to play after school. We knew our time was limited because I had to be at ballet practice by 5, so we dove right into her expansive Barbie collection and imagineered the day away. By 4:30 we realized our time was drawing to a close. Neither one of us wanted to stop playing so we decided I just needed to skip ballet.

The only way my mother would let me skip anything (school, ballet, piano, etc.) was if I either had a temperature or was throwing up.

We didn't know a fool proof way to get my temperature up, because as a nurse my mother didn't rely on the forehead touch, she always whipped out the thermometer, so our only option was to make me throw up.

I downed a jar's worth of dill pickle juice, while managing to consume an entire can of Redi-Whip between sips. We thought such a volatile combination would surely make me ralph by the time I had to leave for ballet.


And I had to go to practice weighed down by what I would later recognize as the world's greatest pregnancy cocktail (Not because I've been pregnant myself, but because I became aware of the pickles and ice cream craving stereotype, but ho, wouldn't THAT have been a random thing about me.).

7. I was an avid member of my high school's speech and debate team. My category was a state category so the highest I could ever hope to place was #1 at the state level. I qualified to state all four years and made it to the semi-finals twice. My senior year I placed seventh in the state, missing the final round (wherein the top six competitors compete against one another, vying for their final placements) and my shot at #1 by 2 points. I have never gotten over it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hard Nut to Crack

You know, if you look at it objectively, The Nutcracker is pretty weird.

A family has a party... the crazy uncle arrives with dancing life-sized dolls and he gives the little girl of the house a nutcracker. Is that supposed to be some sort of domestic, gendered statement? If this was a modern story would he be giving her a cuisinart? I mean, a food processor doesn't lend itself as well to anthropomorphism, but it pretty much boils down to the same thing. And quite frankly, if mutant rats are attacking, I think I'd rather have spinning blades on my side than a wooden novelty utensil.


So, we made it. Thirty posts in thirty days.

I don't think I'll be able to keep up that pace for always and, let's face it... I probably shouldn't. The quality of the things I pound out at 11:45p trying to eek under midnight just aren't worth the blogosphere space. The English language doesn't deserve to be bastardized so.

There were bad days and there were worse. There were cop-outs and there were photos, but by and large I accomplished what I set out to do in making navapants a cozy new writing home.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oh, it's Christmas time in the city, baby.

Tomorrow morning Disturbingly Potent arrives. I'm peacing out early after PBL to collect her at the airport so she doesn't end up on a bus somewhere in Connecticut or inadvertently stranded in Midtown, ticking New Yorkers off with those pesky Midwestern manners.

We'll pass through the seven layers of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, and then walk through the Lincoln Tunnel to embrace our weekend:

1. Attend The New York City Ballet's Nutcracker

2. Attend The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes Christmas Spectacular (OH HELL YES)

3. Take a walking tour of all the Christmas windows -- Macy's, Lord and Taylor, Saks, Bloomingdales, etc.

4. Gawk at the mass herds of people at the Rockefeller tree

5. Peruse the pop-up Christmas boutiques at Bryant Park and/or Union Square

6. Ice skate in Central Park

7. Find my will to blog

8. Live it up and pretend I don't have an exam next week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day One of the Physical Exam

So it was pretty much a shit show.

Silly me. I thought our very first physical diagnosis session with our preceptors would include some demonstration, some guidelines, you know, some INSTRUCTION seeing as we've never ever done this on anyone ever.

Sure we poked and prodded each other a month or so ago, but we didn't know what on Earth we were doing. We were just giggling nervously like fools wondering if we would have to disrobe in front of 10 of our classmates and a random proctor. Up until this point we've had a single lecture each week over the past six weeks covering various aspects of the physical exam. I... just don't see how that qualifies as learning how to do it. I mean, maybe this is just me, but to learn a physical exam I would expect some physicality thrown into it. Like say, touching a patient.

Which is what I thought these sessions were going to be about.

I envisioned our preceptor palpating a liver edge, keeping their hand on a patient's abdomen and dragging my hand to where theirs is saying, "Here. Feel that? THAT is what liver feels like." Or showing me where to put my stethoscope and saying, "Listen. Hear that swooshing? THAT'S mitral regurgitation." Obviously I'm an ignorant fool who expects to be spoon fed.

We showed up to meet our preceptor and all he said to us was, "Alright. Well. Here are your patients. I'll give you an hour and a half to do the full history and physical, then you can present to me and I'll check your findings."





Green as green can be. And I don't know if you missed the memo from the frog, but IT AIN'T EASY.


I can say with the utmost confidence that my eyes have never been larger, the pit of my stomach never fallen faster, my insecurity never more florid than when he said those words all no nonsense and posthaste.

If there's one thing I did learn today, it wasn't how to palpate an abdomen or percuss a diaphragmatic excursion or observe the apical impulse of the heart, no no... I learned how to suck it up and dive right in. I learned that when an attending says jump, you say how high, and that it doesn't matter if you don't have legs or have feet nailed to the floor or are in an anti-gravity environment, you FIND a way to jump.

I may have also learned that it's not what we call tactful to ask a blind woman to read from your visual acuity card.

I have a long way to go.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wake up little Snoozy, Wake up

There are few moments that horrify me more than those where I realize I'm training to be a physician.

As in, this is for real.

Hypothetically, I am going to walk away from this experience with a license to practice medicine. Uhm. Yeah.

I don't know if I can really explain it, but there's a stark difference between going to the lecture hall everyday, kicking around ideas in PBL, writing ridiculous throw-away papers on health systems, aaaand actually treating patients. Or, well okay! That explained it pretty well. Patients are not scantron sheets.
These things that I cram into my head in order to pass quizzes and exams will one day be information that I need to apply to real life human beings. It's... unsettling because never before in my life have I been expected to be accountable in any REAL sense for learning things. Or at least accountable in any way that would affect anyone besides myself.

We start physical diagnosis sessions tomorrow in which we will be in small groups with a preceptor examining patients.

Patients... weird.

Before the end of our neuro course a few weeks ago we performed neurological exams under a neurologist's watchful eye. That was the beginning of my wake-up call. My first alarm if you will, and between then and now I've been mid snooze cycle

While it's very obvious to a certain degree, it took that experience to really slap me in the face and make me recognize that we will be responsible for producing the clues we use to make diagnoses. There will be no big PBL leader in the sky that passes out the history and physical of a patient. We won't be handed the pertinent findings upon which we can flex our analytical logic. We have to PRODUCE that stuff. That's what's scary.

I have to know when I hear certain things or observe this or that what it all means clinically. I'm going to have to have enough confidence in myself and my skills to trust my judgment. I don't think it's too self-aggrandizing or melodramatic to say peoples' health will depend on it.

Granted, it won't until many years in the future that I'll be doing it all on my own, but... a person's health is their everything.


But, for tomorrow, I'm just going to concentrate on not hurling on anyone and save the rudest awakening for another day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Forget Santa, Disturbingly Potent is coming to town!

From: Disturbingly Potent "DisturbinglyPo4U@emailplace.com"

To: Pants McSlacks "ItzPantzYo@emailplace.com"

Date: Nov 26, 2007 1:24pm

Subject: Christmas in the City Weekend

Dear Abby had a column today about the holidays being a "blue" time of year. She said you shouldn't overindulge in alcohol and/or spending to make yourself happy.

There goes our weekend plans...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wussie Baby NaBloPoMo Post

I got my haircut. I look like a soccer mom. I would post a picture, but then it's available on the Internet for ever and ever, and that just won't do since blackmail is similarly timeless.

Doing something that requires original thought and a mild time commitment each and every day is a quick way to hatch resentment. Practice makes perfect? No. It makes exasperated, creatively empty individuals who feel as if they're going no where.

The End.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Red Power?

Red Power

Uhm. Pretty sure this should be White People Tea if they're gonna go w/ the whole victory motif.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday: Midwestern Style

I can't even begin to fathom what goes through the minds of people who decide bombarding stores at 4am to battle like-minded crazies for electronics and toys at low low prices is a good idea. I understand even less the people who PITCH A TENT outside their local Best Buy at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. I mean, c'mon. Ride the turkey coma folks. Let it wrap you in thankful, thankful bliss as you watch all the bitchin' family movies on prime time TV (e.g. The Princess Diaries marathon). No need to ruin the postprandial nirvana that only comes once a year.

I awoke this morning to the newscaster carrying on about "Black Friday," which I swear is a term made up just this past week, and couldn't believe that before I de-snuggled myself from my bed there were already people who were done with all their holiday shopping. Freaks. Misers. Lucky Jerks.

I arrived at the breakfast table to find my family perusing the sale circulars that came with the morning paper. The BLACK! FRIDAY! sales circulars.

True, I really couldn't believe some of the deals that were visually assaulting me: JCPenney's ladies leather jackets formerly $299.99, now a paltry $49.99! Kohl's hawking 4.0 ct diamante tennis bracelets, buy one get six FREE! Wal-Mart passing out bottled tears of the baby Jesus to the first 100 customers!

But I think the most unbelievable items were from the local retailers... my oh my, we're certainly not in Manhattan anymore:

Forget the slutty Bratz doll, this Christmas little Sally is pining for her very own kicky pink John Deere boots.


Perhaps you would like to celebrate the season of good will towards men with a shiny new shotgun? (Does it concern anyone else that this rifle is sold all wrapped in plastic? Kind of like a new CD player or an ink cartridge?)

Gun Wrap

(While we're on the topic of concerning... do you really want to buy your cross bow from a company advertising themselves proficient in Monkey Business? Pretty sure I don't want anyone going bananas when it comes to a PIECE OF WEAPONRY.)

Monkey Cross Bow

But back to the hot deals for gift giving this season. For that sports fan in your life, how about a nice marinade?

Marinate THIS

Now, I did grow up here. I know what that thing is actually for. But doesn't it just seem like... I don't know, a Sportsman's Marinade Kit is all about making sure your racquet is nice and juicy or tenderizing that basketball?

So we've got the sporty spices in your life covered, but how about baby? Well, look no further. I'm sure every parent would LOVE for their child to be decked out in this little number:

Buckshot Baby

I mean, who WOULDN'T want their child to be as unobtrusive as possible when out and about in the forest. Especially if you're, I don't know, hunting. Better make sure baby is incognito so as not to spook the deer. We wouldn't want to LOSE THE INFANT or anything. I'm sure unexplained movement in the underbrush always turns out well.

One item did manage to legitimately catch my eye...

You Scream, I Scream

I don't know what an ice cream ball is, but I bet it'd make for a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I wrote this early this morning. Nine hours at home and already I'm thinking of deleting the entire post.

My ovaries are bursting. I’m waiting for my plane in the terminal, the only area of the terminal chock full of people here two hours in advance and therefore MUST be headed to the Midwest, and there’s a man at the big windows telling his toddler son about runways (“That’s where they go REAL fast!”), planes (“No, not exactly like a bird, but they both fly.”) and that the traffic controllers won’t be smooshed (“That’s they’re job… it’s okay, they’re supposed to be there. They’re doing their job.).

This whole wanting to have children thing has been something that’s hit me only recently. I have NO idea why. NOOOO idea why.

I can recall an incident a in the not so distant past when I was leaving the grocery store with a bag in one hand and a 24 pack of Diet Coke on my hip. I used my heft to shift the Diet Coke a little higher and that small motion nearly brought me to tears as I thought, “OHMYGODIWANTABABY.”

Usually I am an ogre when it comes to small children. Not by design… and certainly not the kind that’s wildly popular and commercially marketable when animated. But there have been incidents where I just LOOK at a little dude in a stroller and it bursts into tears. Evidently my natural passive face is pretty frightening.

But recently… I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. Maybe my hormones are running amuck, maybe I hit some sort of developmental milestone that made my maternal DNA finally kick in, maybe I am just THAT desperate to not be a doctor… but something has clicked in me that makes me want to have a family.

I saw Dan in Real Life the other weekend. Though the bulk of the plot focuses on a few lovebirds, a big extended family serves as backdrop for the romantic comedy frivolity. I found myself distracted through the whole film, not following the banter or dramatic turns, instead thinking how I wanted to have a big family so we could have flag football games, massive hide and seek adventures and most notably, a big family variety show. Cause if it’s in a movie, it’s obviously not only true, but possible in reality.

Maybe this is just a way my repressed showmanship is trying yet again to rise to the fore (that variety show was really really cool), and sure, I could totally TOHHHTALLY see myself turning into an overzealous stage mom living vicariously through her child, but… I don’t know. I want to have a family.

Part of what has made this realization especially jarring is the whole I’m going to be intensively training for my career through the next oh, seven-ish years. That means I’ll be thirty-ish when I’m done and ready for the real world. I know people are still fertile when they’re thirty, I do, and as a fledgling member of the medical community I can even recognize that viable pregnancies can be crafted well into the forties… or, OR as a marginally civic minded person I DO realize I could always adopt… but that all seems so far away.

But I guess, plenty far. I know I don’t want one now. God, no. I can barely take care of myself let alone a little parasite/life-long, independently thinking pet (I know they're not pets.).

But I guess it’s just enough to know that I do someday. Enough to scare the bejesus out of myself.

Though who am I kidding. I’m waiting in this airport to head home and see my family. My WHOLE family. That includes my brother and his two little ones.

Fifty bucks says my post Sunday goes to the tune of, “OHMYGOD. BESTBIRTHCONTROLEVER, NEVER EVER EVER HAVING KIDS.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This is what I think about at 8 in the morning during PBL.

For my birthday a few months back Prom Queen Best Friend gave me a Disney Princesses hot beverage travel mug.

It is all kinds of pink. On one side there's a picture of Sleeping Beauty/Aurora, Belle and Cinderella. The other features the word "PRINCESS" in hot magenta, ornate letters.

People ask me if I'm going into Peds a lot.

She bought the mug as a way I think to spice up my studying life... I can only assume that when she couldn't find one featuring buff, nude cowboys, she decided appealing to my inner small child was a better, and perhaps more early morning lecture friendly, way of infusing some life back into me. Cause we all know the tell tale sign of someone losing their grip with reality is the use of one of those silver missile mugs to house their morning coffee. Those are just so intense.

My mug on the other hand... I don't know. I love it, I do, in fact the only thing I'd change is to add more glitter or perhaps bedazzling gems, but when I drink coffee out of it I feel... iconoclastic.

I feel like I'm violating their pure goodness with my raw, lurid beverage.

I feel like I'm scandalizing the princesses.

I feel like I'm sipping vodka out of a baby bottle.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh geez, HI!

Hello everyone! Whoopee! It's nearly midnight!

I remembered just now that I'm doing this whole write on my blog every damn day thing.


Okay so. Uh. The bulk of my day has been whine whine whine, bitch bitch, moaaaaaaan, whine whine. You aren't missing much.

I've been fighting people for a single washer all night long, they're far faster than I am getting down to stake their claims in the laundry room and are GREEDY LITTLE BUGGERS when they do... uhm... I have no desire to be in class right now because I am so effing burnt out from the last course... I should probably do work over Thanksgiving, but I just know I won't.

Oh. Here we go. It really annoys me that people are leaving early tomorrow, some even peaced out TODAY, for the holiday when we clearly have school scheduled until 1pm tomorrow. What makes you special? What makes you above the schedule? I look at the schedule and I see things scheduled until 1... to me that means I have to stay here until 1. It does not mean schedule a flight for 11a and then throw a tantrum when I'm going to be penalized for missing something mandatory.

I mean, ugh, okay, really I'm just jealous that I can't leave too, because I couldn't find a flight home under $600 (RIIIIIIDICULOUS) for tomorrow, but if I'm going to be here suffering through the world's slowest pharmacologist detail at a rate of six words per minute how this or that receptor was discovered in the 1800s, THEN I WANT YOU ALL TO COME DOWN WITH ME.

Okay, love you, bye! Hopefully I'll learn how to time manage soon. Also, if you have any requests for topics or I don't know, questions you want answered, let me know and I'll try to blog about that. If I have a proper topic in mind I think I'll be less likely to repeat this performance yet again. Oy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Taking Up More Than My Fair Share

"So I talked to Overly Fond of Sleepovers Best Friend today. She said she heard I was moving out of our apartment."

"What? Is there something you want to tell me?"

"No no, I just thought it was funny because... where'd she hear that? What is it with the rumors running rampant lately."

"True. You should've told her I kicked you out because you got too fat."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Let's Hope Blogging Burns Calories

My class is pretty small. Small even as med schools go. We have about 100 people in our class and we spend every... waking... moment with each other. We go to class together, we live together, we go out together, we see everyone everywhere so naturally, everyone is up in everyone else's business.

It's not surprising then to realize there are rumors and there is gossip, oh my is there gossip, and when something interesting crops up, it is spread like wild fire and molded like puddy.

Long time readers may recall Smarty Pants Boyfriend. Well, he and I broke up. That's all I want to say about that.

That is not, evidently, all that my classmates wanted to say about it. Oh no. Oh no no no.

Friday night we had a class wide fiesta at a bar in Soho to celebrate the glorious, GLORIOUS end of the neuro course. There was an open bar and the booze was plentiful. So yeah. Take top shelf liquor that flowed like the salmon of Capistrano plus socially inept, repressed, metaphorical high schoolers who've been in a stressed state for upwards of three solid weeks? I'm confident you can imagine the ensuing sloppiness. If not, just go to a frat house on any college campus the first week of freshman orientation.

Druken babble here, a few inappropriate butt slaps there, massively inappropriate grinding on one another, yadda yadda yadda. I actually had my wits about me. After fighting my way through the stupid Leaping Thrice Exam I wasn't in the mood to fight anymore and elbow my way through the open bar line. I was fairly sold on the idea of just going home to bed, but stayed to make sure my friends didn't get fertilized on the dance floor.

So anyway, I was lucid. Lucid enough to remember this entire conversation.

Classmate X sidles up to me. He asks how I'm doing, what I'm drinking, how the exam went and oh, if he can ask me something about my break-up.

Uh, sure.

He makes me promise not to get mad at him and to realize that he is only repeating what he heard, he wants to make it clear this is a don't shoot the messenger situation.


He says no REALLY, don't get MAD, he is just the MESSENGER, he just HEARD something.


He asks if it's true that my boyfriend broke up with me because I gained too much weight.

I'm immobilized for a minute until I ask for clarification. He heard what now?

He heard that my boyfriend dumped me because I got fat.

I ask where he heard that from.

He lists four or five people (FOUR or FIVE PEOPLE. GOOD LORD. WTF Y'ALL?) who read like a "Who's who" of People I Never Talk To. And pretty much are some of the last people who I would go running to tell the gory details of a break-up let alone... I don't know, ANYTHING.

So I firmly say no, no that's not true but uh, hey thanks for giving me one more thing to be insecure about. BECAUSE MY LIST REALLY NEEDED AN UPDATE. It's not like I'm in a fragile state about it or might have my own issues with my weight or I don't know, am capable of human emotion or anything.

Who ASKS that? I mean... HONESTLY?

There were only two ways that conversation could go:

1) I would affirm the rumor as truth and then uhhh yeah... you're the asshole who brought up what was probably not exactly something I like to revisit, so don't be surprised when I send you my Hostess cupcake bill, ASS.

2) I would negate the rumor as the falsehood it is and then you're the jerk who made me realize that PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT WEIGHT I'VE GAINED THAT IS EVIDENTLY SO HEINOUS IT'S A BELIEVABLE POINT OF CONTENTION.

Sooooo yeah. Anyway. That was fun. Good thing I had this paper to write to band-aid my self-esteem. OH WAIT.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Decking the halls

Yes, I'm posting a picture because I'm lame and have exactly 24 minutes left in this day and I am NOT a quitter. I snapped a shot of a dude decking Macy's halls today while I was out enjoying life. And by enjoying I mean battling throngs of tourists and tightly holding on to my purse.

I almost enjoyed life so much I missed the midnight deadline. But ho ho, you have not bested me yet NaBloPoMo... you wily, wily minx.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Friday:

End of the course?






Open bar?


Doing all this with great friends?


Thursday, November 15, 2007

So close, yet so far away.

Tomorrow is our last day of this neuro/psych/hell on Earth course.

Part of me is internally throwing a ticker tape parade and part of me wants to crawl under my covers and cry. My school is... I don't know, effed up. It does this thing at the end of every unit that is unlike any assessment I've ever heard of anywhere. We'll call it Leaping Thrice. A Leaping Thrice Exam. It's a two day extrvaganza of brutal humiliation.

It's not so much a cumulative exam, which... I guess I should be grateful for... but I'm not because the Leaping Thrice is kind of worse. Instead of a global assessment it's more like, here, let me give you something inane and esoteric, have you implement logic within the framework of the course's curriculum to decipher this random ass thing you've never heard of, have you pontificate in writing for three hours on the topic, and then defend said pontification. Orally. Aloud. In front of experts.

They expect us to draw from our font of knowledge that has presumably accrued over the past few months, which is just too bad because more often than not, my font is drier than... I don't know what, chalk in a desert? It's so dry I can't come up with metaphors anymore.

Anyway, Leaping Thrice.

The first day we get a clinical case and lots of questions about it. We have three hours to type out our answers and hand them in. You think three hours sounds like a lot don't you? You wonder if you have enough knowledge in your head to fill three hours on ANY topic, save the life and times of Britney Spears which is not exactly medically medical stuff (unless we're talking psych case history here). You think, three hours, are they just trying to accommodate the older members of our class who type really slow? (Sorry.)

Well let me tell ya. You think WRONG my friend.

It is unnerving how fast those three hours go. Particularly when you end up so crunched for time you compose sentences like, "I think the next step would be to image the brain. Then give drugs," in response to questions that are in the vein of, "What laboratory tests might you order to elucidate the diagnosis? Describe how these tests provide insight into the clinical situation, what you expect to find and how this will aid you in choosing the salient diagnosis from your differential. Further, indicate what medications you would prescribe given the various potential findings and describe the purported mechanisms of each. Discuss how their sites of action contribute to the ostensible side effects." True story.

So anyway, you are given the case. You have three hours with a computer to word vomit every medical term you've ever learned in a desperate attempt to sound competent. After you're done, you hand in an essay that butchers the English language and then receive the second part of the clinical case.

Immediately upon reading the second part you take a few moments to mentally berate yourself for the diagnoses you not only completely missed, but supported with flimsy arguments that may or may not include physiological processes not found in nature. Once you are through, you have the whole night to research the topics relevant to the case (assuming you can figure out what those topics ARE...). This research is the second leap.

The next day, for the third leap, you are assigned an oral exam with a faculty member during which you spend half an hour trying to backpedal and justify the answers you fabricated the day before, as well as answer fresh new questions designed to determine just how pitiful your preparations overnight really were.

The whole process is a great way to foster confidence in the future physicians of America and is not at all damaging to the psyche. Especially when you bomb the whole thing and have to wonder what in the bloody hell you've been doing with yourself for the past few months and why you're paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for this kind of torture. Mmhmm, yes. Bring on the patients.

For some reason this particular course is the only one that opts OUT of the oral exams which... is really too bad in my opinion. I am MUCH better at extemporaneously bs-ing aloud than on paper (I know, I know, does this negate my credibility as a blogger?). On paper all this crazy (read: unintelligible) stuff comes out because my science side and English-y side are fiercely battling one another for representation. Or maybe because I am just crazy. (Read: unintelligible).

When I don't know the answer in the oral I can usually coyly side-step things and ask the right questions to get the examiner to point me in a better direction (manipulation, I think this is called...), but I have no such luck when I try and sway the written, inanimate questions. When I'm befuddled during the essay part I just stretch and reach for words I haven't seen since the vocabulary tests of middle school. You know, words like "befuddled." Words that are completely unnecessary yet hopefully distracting enough to throw the grader off my heinously inept scientific argument.

So anyway. In lieu of the oral, our third leap tomorrow is going to be another three hour essay session. Oy.

We're almost done though. Freedom is within our reach! At least, freedom for a few hours until we all have to start writing the 7-10pg health systems paper due on Monday (yeah, I thought I left papers behind in undergrad too...).

I can't wait for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yes, Oxymoron? The Dr. will see you now.

"So what brings you in today?"

"I've been having trouble sleeping. Well, more so... I haven't been having trouble sleeping, the trouble is I'm sleeping too much. All the time. Spontaneous sleep."

"Alright. How long has this been a problem for you?"

"About three weeks... it's getting really bad. Is this narcolepsy? Cause I googled narcolepsy and I think I have it. I've even started drifting off at the cash register and falling asleep in the back room at work."

"So it's affecting your day to day activities."

"Uh-huh, yeah. That's kind of why I'm here. My boss told me I needed to shape up."

"And where do you work?"


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pictorial Evidence of Last Week's Cornucopia

I apologize these are a few days shy of illustrating the proper post, but my camera decided to dive into a classmate's pocket over the weekend and we were only just reunited. (And no, I have no idea why that sentence is so far down beneath the title. Perhaps because this post is so laden with visual splendor? Regardless, since I have to study for an exam tomorrow, I will let Wordpress win this round.)

So now you don't have to IMAGINE my thirty pound produce extravaganza! You can see it! Meanwhile, I can stop worrying that the cleavage angle shots I took to show my cousin how not buxom-y enough I am for her bridesmaid dress will hit facebook! Everybody wins!

Without further ado... This Post IN PICTURES:

The Box

The Box

The Bounty

A Closer Look

The Liberated Grapes

Who doesn’t love my mom

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ironically, I stopped there on my way home from the gym.

"Excuse me, can I help you with that?"

"Oh no, I'm just browsing, thanks."

"The dresses are beautiful, aren't they?"

"Mmhmm, these sequins are gorgeous."

"We keep our larger sizes in the back, so if you'd like to try something on let me know and I can pull it for you."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Last Week Really Came to Fruition

Sometime last week in the throes of the functional neuro maelstorm I sent my dad a pity party e-mail outlining point by point why I should never be a doctor and gave him a time frame of when to anticipate my phases of breakdown. I figured since he gave me life he has a vested interest in hearing the play by play of how I'm ruining it what I'm doing with it.

I did not CC my mother because well... she has a tendency to overreact. If I told her that I was having a rough time juggling my schedule out here her response would be, "Okay, well I'll find a job at your hospital and move in and will cook all your dinners."

Not kidding. When I was wigging out depression style last year she looked into a traveling nurse program. Never mind that I can count on one hand the number of times she prepared a home cooked meal growing up and never mind that there aren't enough fingers in America to tally the number of screaming matches we got into; when she gets an idea in her head, any idea... you'd better just brace yourself folks.

The morning after I e-mailed my dad I received an e-mail from her that read something along the lines of:

"Your father indicated to me at 7:10pm last evening that you were having a stressful time at school."

Part of me expected the next sentence to be, "I will be leaving in an hour with the mini-van, find a parking garage in the city for me," but none of me ever expected what actually happened next.

A few days later I received a call from her asking if I'd received my package. The people in charge of our mail here aren't the uh... most efficient or shall we say, invested, in their post and often don't give out package slips until days and days after its arrived, so I said, "No, not yet, I'll probably get it by next Monday or so."


Alright. So I go downstairs. Lo and behold there IS a package slip in my mailbox.

I snatch it up and start walking to the desk. As I approach the two attendants start snickering and ask if I'm Pants.

I affirm and get an uneasy feeling in my stomach.

I begin picturing a therapy pet waiting for me behind the counter or perhaps a life sized cut-out of Elvis Presley just beyond the doorway. My imagination is further fueled when the attendant says, "You might want to go get a cart for this."

A cart? For my package? Ohhhhh boy.

I say, "Really? Why uh... what is it?"

They exchange a look with each other and direct my attention to the huge, hulking box behind them that says "Washington Apples" on all sides. As I look closer it says, "Lose Weight The Natural Way, Treat Yourself to Three Apples a Day!"

Oh no.

"That's uh... that's my package?"

"YEAH. What's in that thing?"

"I... have no idea..."

"You gonna sign for it?"

"Yeah... yeah I am... it's...from my mother..."

"Your mother sent you thirty pounds of apples?"


"Yeah. Says right here on the slip: thirty pounds. And the box says 'apples' so..."

"Oh my God."

"Better get the cart."

I lug the thing up to my apartment (no cart... I opt instead to minimize the time spent publicly with a thirty pound box that's ostensibly filled with apples) and look closer at the return label.

It's not from Washington (apple people or otherwise), but nor is it from my mother. I recognize the address as the local grocery store in my hometown. My hometown that is 500 miles away. Okaayy... sometimes that grocery store sends bouquets long distance... maybe my mother sent me cheer up flowers?

Thirty... pounds... of cheer up flowers?

I open the box.

It is brimming with red and green confetti.

Pushing the confetti aside I see something peeking out... something that looks familiar... it's definitely a bouquet, but not the kind I was thinking of...

It's broccoli.

It's straight-up, naked, unwrapped, full of red and green confetti, broccoli.

My mother sent me broccoli.

Digging deeper I find a veritable cornucopia. A horn of plenty, if you will. In a box. A thirty pound box.

We've got green beans, we've got asparagus, we've got five, yes FIVE, bell peppers... even deeper in the box is a very darling picnic basket (just what you need for a winter in Manhattan...), as well as trail bologna, smoked cheese, crackers, granola, nuts, apples, oranges, bananas, pears... and interspersed amongst all of this are grapes. Just loose, free grapes. Off the stem. Not wrapped. Just grapes strewn about as if they too were confetti.

Oh, and lest I forget, there were also two melons at the bottom of the picnic basket.

I can't make this stuff up.

There were TWO... MELONS... at the bottom of the picnic basket.

My mother sent me the produce section. Thirty pounds worth of the produce section. In a box. That traveled 500 miles.

I called to thank her and she regaled me with how she TOLD the people at the store that this was EXACTLY what I needed and that even though they looked at her funny when she made them go to the fresh foods department and hand select items for this package, she KNEW it's what I needed because what we need during times of stress are things that remind us of home. Things we grew up on and well, she just wasn't sure if there were fruits and vegetables in the city. (We'll save sharing her notions of New York for another day.)

So. Moral of the story, it really did make my week better.

I mean c'mon. How can I complain? Here I am with a kitchen full of week-old, overripe Midwestern uh, goodies, and?

A love for my zany, unpredictable mother that is decidedly non-perishable.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm sure there's a carnal metaphor waiting to be fleshed out in this post, but frankly I'm too mellow and tired to work it.

I have done absolutely nothing school related today. None. Zero. Zilch.

It's an unusual feeling after a week of cramming and the past nine weekends of frenetic studying for those accursed Monday exams. We don't have one this Monday. This week's exam is on Wednesday followed by a two day, Thursday and Friday, final exam experience. Only one more week of this course and I couldn't be happier.

Don't let it stress you out that I whiled the day away in decidedly non-academic pursuits when I have all that this week... because I'm not. Oy.

Sitting down to blog today was difficult, not from a lack of time stance, but from lack of substance. I mostly spend my days either bitching about school or talking about people, which equals boring and superficial and thus, not potential Internet fodder.

I went to the library yesterday and obtained three books which I will probably not have a chance to read before they're due. I just couldn't help it, it'd be so long since I basked in the narrative of non-textbook books I had to check some out... just in case I can steal a moment here or there to spend with them.

My original purpose for going to the library was to pick-up a short memoir I requested online: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. It's a book that was repeatedly referenced here and there in our lectures because it was written about ten years ago by the editor of French Elle. The relevance to neuro? He was locked-in while writing.

He wasn't a hermit or recluse in the traditional sense, nor was he behind penal bars as the term "locked-in" may suggest, but rather due to a lesion affecting his brainstem he was completely paralyzed and incapable of speech though cognitively alert. Pretty much trapped in his own body, AKA the most horrifying situation I can think of. He retained volitional control of one eye and developed a system with what must've been a very patient individual wherein he blinked out the book, letter by letter.

I'll let you know how it goes.

So anyway, I went and picked it up, and in so doing was helplessly drawn in to peruse other titles that ultimately teased me into reading their synopses. Two jumped into my bag and insisted on being brought home.

On deck after the locked-in one: She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb and Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot.

Mmmm. Fiction.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Overheard After Today's Exam

"So are you going out tonight?"

"I don't know.... maybe... I don't want to go with our classmates though."


"I can't hook-up with any of them."

"Why not? Everyone's equally desperate."

"True, but how weird is that... bow chicka wow on the weekend and then 'Ah yes, that IS an interesting diagnosis' Monday in PBL."

"Okay, well, we have to go somewhere, classmates or no."


"Because you keep whining about how we need to meet people."

"Oh. But you've got a boyfriend, you don't need to meet people."

"I know. YOU keep whining. I'm going as wingman."

"Wingman? Are you sure? You don't have to be on duty, you should hang out with your boyfriend."

"Oh I'm on duty. And I'll BE on duty until you're married off."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Imagine O-Town Singing in the Background

Tomorrow we have an exam over Functional Neuroanatomy, a concept I would explain if I wasn't stress sweating all over my keyboard and if I was an evil person who was keen on stealing your naivety. Trust me. If you don't have to, you don't want to identify pathways on brain slices and tell me all the associated intricate details. Unless you're a masochist.

Anyway, this exam. It's our final exam for that course component. It's also our first exam for that course component.

It's what I've come to call an "All or Nothing Exam," which... kind of pains me because it means this situation has occurred frequently enough to foster the development of such a term.

The All or Nothing Exam is an exam which everything, very literally, rides on. Everything of course being passing, because right now, in some small pathetic way, on this the day before the All or Nothing Exam, passing IS everything.

I know I know, we can discuss my misappropriated life mentality later.

If you don't pass the exam tomorrow, you don't pass the Functional Neuro part of the course. If you don't pass the Functional Neuro part of the course, you don't pass the course. Period. It doesn't matter how well or not well you did on the other six or so course components, if you fail any one of them you're in Repeat City.

When is the retake offered? In the spring. What else is in the spring? The height of studying for The Boards. Fantastic.

People are wigging out over here. I may or may not be one of them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Second Floor, Going Up

Everybody in medical school is very busy and important. The pace at which people walk and the number of exasperated sighs released in a day are but two of the many ways outsiders are clued in.

Medical students' time is the most valuable, the things they do in a day the most taxing, and pretty much they're just the most put-upon entity in society. Or excuse me, the world.

No where is this made more apparent than when one is waiting for the elevator in an apartment building that houses med students.

It doesn't matter if one is standing in front of the elevator bank, having just pushed the up button and clearly waiting for the car to come down to the lobby. Once a medical student enters they must BLOW by one and hit the up button six, eight, nay, twenty times. Not just because it makes the elevator come faster, but because they need one to know THEY'RE IN A HURRY. Clearly not as big of a hurry as one. One is a layman. One is ostensibly lacking a white coat and therefore does not matter hurry.

As one patiently stands, perhaps with one's arms full of groceries, the medical student paces, mentally berating the goddamn elevator that is just bringing their entire schedule down. This is beyond unacceptable. Doesn't that car KNOW who they ARE? They have an exam this week. This extra forty-five second interval was NOT budgeted into their study schedule.

They tap their foot. They cross and uncross their arms. They push the up button a few more times for good measure. They anxiously stare at the numbers coming down, letting out an affronted grunt as each successive number lights up... 8... then 7... it is just not fast enough to meet their unparalleled need to BE ON THAT ELEVATOR NOW, AND THEY MEAN NOW.

One quietly shifts one's armload of groceries to the floor, patient. Unmoving. Comfortable in the knowledge that yes, the elevator will get there eventually. The medical student seems less assured.

One sees them eye the security desk and one can observe the mental acrobatics playing across their face as they decide whether or not to report that the elevator is broken, because... how could it not be!? IT SHOULDN'T TAKE THIS LONG. THEY ARE VERY BUSY AND IMPORTANT. HOW DOES THE ELEVATOR NOT UNDERSTAND THIS.

They start penning a letter to the deans in their heads, enumerating the many different levels at which this insult is unsatisfactory for not only their day, but their medical education as a whole.

The elevator arrives.

The medical student springs through the threshold and has an overzealous trigger finger assaulting the "Door Close" button before one has even mobilized one's groceries.

One slips by the closing door, causing it to re-open for a whole extra twenty seconds, at which point the veins in the medical student's forehead leap across the elevator and attempt to strangle one. How could one ruin their life so. Doesn't one KNOW who they ARE?

They punch the button for the fourteenth floor.

There are few things in life that would be as satisfying as reaching for the fifteenth floor button and dragging one's hand down the length of the button columns to the second floor -- where one will promptly get off.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Brought To You By...

Thus far there are three major contenders vying to sponsor my medical education:



Hospital Machine Hot Chocolate

I'm not ashamed to admit I have consumed more of these items in the past 10 weeks than I have in the whole of my life prior.

All efforts to increase my knowledge appear usurped by a more dedicated attempt to expand my waistline.

This is excellent news for my future. I mean, who won't want an overweight, highly educated, past her fertile prime woman in their life? The personal ad practically writes itself.

Monday, November 5, 2007

2010: A M.D. Odyssey

I don't think it's any secret that science is not my first love. Or even first like. If we were doing Fuck, Chuck or Marry for academic disciplines and my options were science, paper engineering or... I don't know, something truly heinous... ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP (You should know I deleted Elementary Ed. That's how much I've grown as a person.), science would definitely get the chuck.

That's right. I would rather have a hot n' dirty fling with pulp (or whatever the hell paper's made of) and spend my life doing fanciful pretend things like consulting and motivating then spend any more time than necessary with science.

In undergrad I made the grievous error of majoring in something science-ical instead of biting the bullet and trying to be happy already. I tried to reconcile my bio and physics classes by filling in my electives with such gems as "Acting For the Non-Major," and "Social Dancing." The piece de resistance of what came to be known as my Quality of Life Electives was to be a course entitled "Popular Literature."

Mmmmm. Popular literature... aren't the images of Oprah's Book Club and The NYTimes Best Seller's list so snuggly? Wouldn't you want to cuddle up to a course like that, so much so that you might dangle it in front of yourself as a beacon of incentive to finish your four years in a science program? Well I did.

I waited until the second semester of my senior year to register for "Popular Literature" as my prize for surviving 3.5 years of my heinous heinous major. What better way to congratulate yourself than to take a 100 level trek down pleasure reading road.

Oh... what a fool... I was.

Evidently this "Popular Literature," IF THAT WAS EVEN IT'S REAL NAME, masqueraded about as a seemingly desirable class when in real life it was the biggest crock of poop since the 2004 election. THE GENRES CHANGE. Nobody tells you that. THE GENRES. CHANGE.

One semester it might be romance, another mysteries, still another... westerns! All good, acceptable, and above all... TOLERABLE, genres.

What is the genre the semester I take it?

Long time readers may recall, it was SCIENCE FUCKING FICTION.

I'm not proud of the fact that I actually took the course. I am even less proud of the papers I had to write for it and the things I had to say, aloud, for people to hear, in that class in order to pass. I did a presentation on THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE OF SCIENCE FICTION FOR CRYING OUT LOUD -- Do you even know what that means? Do you know what I had to do? What I had to research? Fictional women with THIRD BOOBS and MECHANICAL PARTS and how that affects PROGRESSIONIST SOCIAL THEORY and I... I... really don't want to talk about it anymore.

Suffice it to say, I was angry. Ohhhhhh was I angry. It's two years later and Disturbingly Potent can probably still hear my SF ranting when she tries to fall asleep at night.

There I was, a mild mannered fluffy-fictional literature enthusiast, trapped in a bio major's sad, pitiful life, and all I wanted was a little escapism. A little... escape from electrophysiology. An escape from comparative vertebrate anatomy.


I guess I should've been more specific... or perhaps consulted the course description a little more thoroughly.

What happened was I read the course description once... probably when it was being offered as a cool permutation (because honestly, how great would it be to have an entire course on trashy romance novels?)... and got it in my head that it was the best thing ever.

I worked towards it. I had this vision of what it would be. It was my motivator.

And then when I got there I was just like... wtf karma, wtf. And ho ho ho, I HAAAAAAAAD to take it because YES. I SAVED IT UNTIL THE VERY LAST POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY AND NEEDED THAT CREDIT TO GRADUATE. There was nothing left for me except science fiction. And thus, I had to endure. I had no choice.

Occassionally I feel that what science fiction was to my undergrad career, medicine may be to my life.

I fleetingly once thought, "hey cool, I want to save lives" filed that away in the back of my head, worked and worked to get there, and then when it was finally time I stopped to look around and thought... Wait a minute... this isn't what I signed up for. But I'm here now. I've got nothing else. I have to finish.

This week is just one of those weeks that makes me wonder how... in the world... I let this happen.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Yes, that AND...

"I make really great life decisions."

"Like deciding to write on your blog everyday when you've got a million exams in the next two weeks you have to pass?"

Saturday, November 3, 2007


We just finished our ninth week in an eleven week marathon of a course dealing with neurology, neuroanatomy, psychopathology... pretty much all things brain/mind related. I attribute much of my second year turn around (i.e. lack of daily crying jags as seen last year) to the subject matter of this course. Though it is probably some of the most complex stuff I’ve ever encountered, it’s interesting. Finally.

You'd think that in conjunction with the ever increasing complexity of the material my study patterns should likewise increase their intensity. Well... that's not the trend I've observed.

There IS certainly a pattern at work. If you look at my day to day schedule it's evident I'm orbiting our weekly Monday exam.

Let's delve deeper. To schematically analyze the anatomy of my week it's best to take a look at what is perhaps the most revealing criterion. The amount of time spent with Blumenfeld? No. The amount of time spent in lecture? Ehhhh... no. Rather than all that academic hoo-hah, I think we can glean the best picture of my days by consulting... my facebook usage.

Baseline usage. Any activity is actually carry-over from Sunday night: wall comments posted after midnight or early morning pre-exam angst in the vein of, “Will you still love me if I fail?”, “Hold me,” or the ever popular, “Think the professors will mind if I answer ‘No thank you,’ for everything?’”

Little to no activity. Today is the day we approach life anew. We are as far from the next exam as we’re going to be this week, let’s watch TV! Let’s cook real food for dinner! Let’s do anything that doesn’t remotely resemble the brain or its ridiculously complex tracts! No need for facebook! Who wants to be strapped down to their desk on this, our day of freedom?

Recognition of how much material has actually been covered since Monday. Shit. Maybe doing nothing yesterday wasn’t the best idea… let’s write on our friends' walls and tell them so. Everyone likes a whiner, right? Minimal usage.

Attempts to be a good student and avoid such things as the Internet are thwarted when your roommate spots a hot third year. Clearly now you HAVE to activate facebook to see what his interests are and look for pictures that prove he's as hot as she thought he was. Thursday is a big stalking day. There’s at least one in every week.


For the rest of the world Friday probably sees a dip in activity. In the med student nerd world activity creeps ever higher because typically you’re in the library hitting the books (more likely with little fists than metaphorical attacks on knowledge... or is it just me that does that?) because CRAP, WE HAVE AN EXAM ON MONDAY, but take breaks to check non-med student friends’ profiles to live vicariously through their actual, real lives.

Saturday is a beautiful facebooking day. Morning is a prime time to catch drunken facebook messages before they’re deleted off public walls. Afternoon invites perusal of albums to see who made a fool of themselves doing what last night at the bars. Lots of time spent composing snarky comments but losing the nerve to post them.

OUR EXAM IS TOMORROW. HOLY BLOODY HELL. LET US DO EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO NOT STUDY FOR IT BECAUSE THAT IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA. Maximum whine-age and lamenting one's lot in life. This is best achieved through facebook walls and private messages because though everyone's dispersed to secluded study areas, no one is ever too far from the keyboard. Usage so high it might break the Internet.

Schematic Proper Seen Here (click on the little box for the graph... I don't know how to insert it directly in the text area quite yet and have too much studying right now (for the Monday exam! You guessed it!) to figure it out...):

Shamefaced Graph

Friday, November 2, 2007

Let Me Hear Your Body Talk

There are a multitude of reasons why this year has been better than last (Really, it's been a lot better! Have I not mentioned that? Yeahhhh I guess I tend to blog when things are bad... but it's true. So far this school year I haven't once googled "Radio City Music Hall Rockette Audition Requirements," or "Any Grad Program Anywhere Focusing in Anything Non-Medical."), but I think paramount among these is the excruciatingly long-awaited turn of the curriculum towards the clinical.

There was a time about a month ago when I looked up from my lecture notes and thought, "Oh... oh right, we're going to be doctors."

The lecturer was talking about "patients" and "examining" these "patients," and telling us how to use this thing I've seen around, but was otherwise unfamiliar with... I think he called it a "stethoscope"?

Silly me, I thought I was here to read esoteric accounts of basic science endeavors and critically analyze the flaws in each and every laboratory study conducted ever. You know, when I wasn't compiling lists of tests to administer for diseases I've never heard of on dry erase boards with nine of my closest, overzealous friends.

Evidently these medical school folk have this idea in their head that we are supposed to interview human beings and like... figure out what might be ailing them.


Last night we had one of our preliminary forays into physical diagnosis (PD). And though yes, my outlook on this whole med student thing has mostly turned around and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with my path in life, what's expected now might be more horrifying than the basic science hell of last year. We were given a checklist of tasks to do that presumably, when done correctly, would give the examiner insight into the patient's health and body. I think all it gave me was fresh waves of insecurity (and a never ending loop of Oliva Newton John's "Let's Get Physical").

The list included listening for lung sounds, pushing on bellies and feeling for pulses, among other things. Things that require you to be all sorts of up in a patient's business. Things that definitely violate any semblance of one's personal bubble. Things that are definitely meant to be kept within the confines of a patient-doctor relationship.

So who did we have to practice on?

That's right. Each other.

Because that's not awkward. It's not like I see my classmates all day every day, and even everywhere when I'm NOT in the classroom since we all live in the same building in the same neighborhood of the same city, or anything. OH WAIT.

I've never been a... touchy person. Growing up my family wasn't a huggie, kissy, snuggly bunch. We were more of a... here, I'll pay for your piano lessons and nag you about practicing to show my love, family unit. Sometimes on special occasions we shook hands. Like when I moved away to college.

So the idea of putting my hands, hands that have no mother loving clue what they're doing, on a stranger almost brings tears to my eyes. I know it's something I'm going to have to come to terms with. I'm going to be a doctor, this will just be something I do. But right now, equipped with a bumbling, ignorant touch, with no more know-how than a hands-y bum off the street, it's extremely uncomfortable.

Perhaps what was even more unsettling than my own hang-ups and the socially unique situation of palpating your neighbor's suprapubic region, was how... small the entire experience made me feel. I feel like I know nothing. I feel like it's going to take me years and years to ever match the confidence our instructors demonstrated.

I probably feel that way because it's the truth. It WILL take a long time filled with lots and lots of practice. That's what's so scary.

As medical students we're used to achievement. We're used to excelling. We're used to putting in effort and seeing results. Impressive results. But for the first time we're starting to actually learn things. Things that aren't readily transmitted through textbook memorization or attentive listening in lecture. We're finally apprenticing a craft, an art that very few of us have any previous acquaintance with. It's new and it's overwhelming and it's way WAYYY outside our realm of familiarity (although I'm sure there are some who will read this and think, "Uhhh, SPEAK FOR YOURSELF. I could hear split S2 sounds before I said my first word, maybe you should reinstitute those google searches...") (We're a charming breed.).

So, like I said, it's horrifying. We're one step closer. It's starting to be real. We're going to be doctors.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Gimme, Gimme More NaBloPoMo

Britney's new album, Blackout, hit shelves on Tuesday. Now... I know what you're thinking... or well no, you're not thinking, you're judging. You are! Don't deny it. I know, I know, so she's been a little... unhinged lately. So she's pretty much pathognomonic for "train wreck," okay, I get it, I do catch the news once in awhile. Would I want her as my mother? No. Would I want her as a liability in my life? Probably not. But do I want her to reclaim her pop princess throne? A LITTLE BIT, YES.

The contemporary hits in mindless music just doesn't compare to Britney's vacuous hypersexualized pant-fests of yore. In the past three years her absence has been deafening: no melodies have been quite as catchy, no lyrics as superficially honest, no vocal artists quite as untalented, all factors making hairbrush sing alongs a brutal reminder of the divide between actual recording artists and the pop star I can be in my bedroom. Britney's music allows the diva in all of us to transcend that divide. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.

I've been looking forward to this album since election day 2006 when she announced her divorce from K-Fed. I am still optimistic it can turn things around for her. Well, insofar as the money earned goes towards something other than red bulls and crack... like say, a trust fund for her babies or I don't know, underwear.

But anyway. Point is, I recognize I'm in the minority here with all the support and hope that she's still relevant to the music industry I'm harboring. This was made abundantly clear when I zipped down to Borders on Tuesday to purchase the album.

I took the escalators up and up to their music section and confronted a display of new releases that had five, yes FIVE, copies of her album.

Not because that was all that was left, but because I think that's just how many the deemed necessary to put out.

I'll admit that at that point I thought (BRIEFLY) it might be time to let go.

There's still something about her though. The album is... well, it's a little... it's kind of like a Twinkie.

When you approach a Twinkie you're a little unnerved... what is this thing? Are you sure it's really food? It's a little spongy, it's a hue not typically found in nature, and it's so chock full of preservatives it would probably be around for cockroaches to nibble after a nuclear holocaust -- in a word: suspect, but most people would eat it anyway. And once you do, oh it's good.

Sure it's not going to meet any substantive needs and it's pretty much just a batch of calories wasted, but it is just... so... good. Worth it, if you will. It's so good you overlook the artificiality and over-processing.

Well, almost. You almost do. You need the reservations at least a little bit. They're what make it all such a guilty pleasure... but! a pleasure nonetheless.


I've decided to participate again in National Blog Posting Month, or endearingly, NaBloPoMo. My favorite bloggy friend, Charlotte, and I are endeavoring to do it together, because everyone knows doing something with someone else increases the likelihood of it actually happening... even though that logic didn't exactly uh, pan out last year.

So yes. Yay November.