Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ew, Wintertime

Apparently I suck at life, or at least posting regular blogs on here. It's absolutely insane how fast life flies by when you're learning copious amounts of information. As of mid-November, we were handed a stack of 1700 pages of notes; and that was just for Physiology. The first set of exams for Physiology and Biochemistry were before Christmas break (we had two weeks off, which felt absolutely amazing). 80 people failed the Physiology exam. I was frighteningly close to the cutoff point. But I did pass, which is wonderful, and now we're on to the next portion. We have our second set of exams in two weeks and I'm starting to feel the pinch. I am, however, through 200 of the 600 pages of notes for this Physiology exam. At least I'm not completely worthless. Yikes.
Let me see, Dan came home over the holidays. It was really REALLY nice to see him. I miss having him around all the time. He left just this past Tuesday to go back to his 60 degree home (yes, that's jealousy you're sensing). And I'm here again, studying my butt off. I keep telling myself it's going to be worth it in the end. I have to admit, right now, if someone told me I'd have to start from the beginning again, I'm nearly positive I'd pick a new career. Medical School is miserable and depressing, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
My other best friend got married a week ago. So this was my second term at the Maid of Honor post, and I have to admit that I'm extremely happy I will never, EVER have to do it again. I love my friends to pieces but weddings are simply not my cup of tea. Between the hair, and the makeup, and the dresses, and the drama, and everything else that goes along with it...well, it makes me long for my Biochemistry and Physiology. And that's really saying something! Perhaps I will feel differently when it's my turn around, but for now, I'm very happy to say goodbye to wedding planning.
That's all for now, this was my attempt to distract myself from the mountain of notes that have accumulated on my kitchen table.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


So I've managed to get through two sets of exams. Good news everyone, I'm still passing Medical School. I've also managed to slip off the blogging bandwagon. I suppose I either do the med school thing or do the procrastinator thing and write. Tonight, I choose procrastination.

We entered the abdomen today. Since I've had a disection class in my undergrad, I kept warning all of my group members to please avoid cutting the GI tract open at all, because of the horrific stench that would result. Apparently people in the other room did not get that message. But it was all in vain, once we removed part of the small intestine, I noticed a massive hunk of distended intestine in the very center of the abdomen. Surprise, it was a rectum, full of what must have been at least 2 weeks worth of digested food. The cute little British lady who happens to be in charge of our dissection room came over and said, "Surprise, you win the prize! I'll bring string tomorrow and we can cut it open!" When we all looked at her like she was crazy she followed up with, "Well you're the crazy ones who want to be doctors, you're going to see all sorts of smelly, disgusting things. Why not start now?" I'm hoping she forgets about us. Although it's hard to forget about a rectum that takes up the entire pelvic floor, pushing the uterus to one side. Yikes, eat your fiber people, that did not look like a comfortable way to go.

In other news, my cat has taken up a new hobby: playing fetch. He prefers his yellow mouse for this game, but the red one works just as well. And he only does it on his schedule, none of this bossing around business works with him. For all of you who know how much I really want a dog, this makes me really happy. For the rest of you who know that cats do not play fetch, I'm going to try to get this on video. He's pretty camera shy though, I tried it once a few weeks back and he only retrieved once for me when he figured out he was being recorded. It's a work in progress.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Clearly I'm bad at this whole blogging thing. Pardon my laziness. The first set of exams were immediately following my last post. I passed, which I feel is an excellent beginning to medical school. Since the passing of the first set of exams, the school of medicine has deemed it the appropriate time to step it up a few notches. I am now studying the Embryology portion of Histology (but we still have Histology lectures too), Anatomy, and a longitudinal course called Clinical Medicine (part 1). Aka...I'm busy. I actually find myself enjoying Embryology, it's a nice tangent to the boring identification slides that Histology was all about. It's also a nice departure from Anatomy. Since this is my 4th time through an Anatomy course and I dislike it just as much as the first 3 times, I feel as though it is appropriate to just lay it all out there and say I really don't like Anatomy. I really prefer Physiology-type courses. Anatomy is just too cut and dry for me (no pun intended, since the cadavers are anything but dry). I will say that the quality of the bodies we are working on this year in medical school are a lot better than the bodies we worked on in Undergrad. This is particularly evident in the vasculature, but the muscles are also a lot more defined. It's also interesting to see some pathologies, there was a woman who had extremely advanced breast cancer. I was personally unaware that breast cancer literally turns black, even on the skin. That was interesting to see.
Other than the fact that my life is even more over-run with study sessions, I have not been up to much. I went to see Dan over Labor Day weekend, and it was a really nice trip. Since our exams were immediately before the trip, I could literally take 3 days off from studying and not fall behind. The weather was amazing, the sunshine felt great, and the ocean had plenty of waves and salt. I even saw a jelly fish! Dan didn't believe me until he saw it himself. We also frequented a nude beach, since that was the closest to his house. We saw a lot of...other things besides jelly fish while we were there too. Let's just say it was a very informative trip, I learned a lot on that beach. I also learned that I am apparently extremely non-miamian. When I was being polite in the Miami airport, a gentleman literally asked me where I was from because natives of the Miami area are not polite. Let's be honest, they're flat out rude. I also experienced my first flight with an obese person as my neighbor. Actually, there were 2 of them, which made my 3 seat row extremely squishy. The situation was actually so serious that the flight attendant moved me to a new seat, because the two obese individuals needed my seat to spill over into. Sad, truly sad.
Tonight, my mentor (we all get assigned into mentoring groups, with a physician heading the group) is taking us all out to a Tiger's game. I'm a little nervous, since this will be the first time I've gone out with this group of people and I'm not quite sure what to expect. But it's a beautiful evening and I like baseball, so I'm determined to make the best of it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Already in a rutt...

I've officially completed my third week of medical school, and I already feel as though I'm getting in the groove of what a medical student should be doing. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I go to the gym for an hour workout after classes (which end at 5, mind you) and Tuesdays and Thursdays I hunker down in the library to get some hardcore studying in. This coming week marks a significant change in that schedule, mostly because our first set of exams are on Wednesday. I'm not nervous yet. Perhaps I'm not well enough informed to be nervous, I don't know. It's a bit strange to know that there are multiple cameras in the lecture hall with a team of instructors in another room watching us to make sure we're not cheating. I've only cheated once in my life, in Elementary school (I was always bad at geography), but nonetheless it's strange to think that someone will be constantly watching me. Anyways, the class is split in half. I happen to be in the half that begins the written examinations for Histology and Anatomy at 8 am. Apparently we are not allowed to wear any sort of clothing with pockets (I believe they mean the kind attached to a shirt, I'd be hard pressed to find a pair of jeans without pockets) or hoods. So my GVSU hoodies are definitely out of the mix, I've decided to wear scrubs and an old fashioned sweatshirt with NO pockets and NO hood. After a 20 minute recess (for lunch, changing, and assembly in the Anatomy lab) I have a 3 hour practical Anatomy exam. 100 questions, 50 rest stops, one minute at each station. We had a practice practical the other night and it was essentially what I expected. I do need to get a clipboard, but that's the only real surprise of the evening.
Other than the usual, there's nothing new in my life. I'm going to my cousin's wedding tomorrow. It's the side of the family that doesn't much care for me, but this particular cousin is one of my favorites and I feel compelled to at least go and say congratulations. I will most likely not stay long, I have a lot of studying to do and I feel so uncomfortable around people that dislike me that it's not much fun. (surprise) I wish Dan was here to go with me, he went to the wedding last year with me and made the entire situation a bit more bearable. Unfortunately, the trip from Miami, Florida is a bit long for two hours of discomfort.
I'm off to review my anatomy notes yet again. Tomorrow is Histology day, and Sunday is a recap of everything. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ethnic Food

Today was the "Big Sib, Little Sib" lunch. But, as I am quickly learning, nothing that medical students, or medical schools, put together ever run smoothly. So instead of being assigned a second year medical student to sit and chat with (like we were told), there was a mad rush of second years who got out of lecture late, who ran into the classroom, grabbed the few of us who actually showed up, and told us we were going as a group to get some food. This was my first eperience with Indian food. I've heard good things, and I will say it was pretty tasty. But my stomach is not enthralled with it. So this afternoon, instead of sticking around campus to study in the library, I came home to drink some tea and study in the luxury of my own home.

Since I made a promise to update this weekly, I feel as though this is an excellent opportunity to put off classwork and write. Medical school is, essentially, what I expected. The information is not difficult (but I come from a science background, and I imagine it is wholly overwhelming to a person from, say, a political science background) but there is a LOT of information given at a VERY fast pace. We go through roughly 20 pages of notes per hour. Mind you, we have roughly 3 hours of lecture a day, which adds up pretty quickly to a nearly overwhelming amount of information. The point is, school doesn't end when you leave the campus. It's absolutely necessary to put in several hours of studying every evening just so that you don't forget everything you've learned. Last week it felt a bit daunting, but I've gotten into a routine of rewriting/re-reading each day's notes in the evening. Then I use the weekends to review all the information.

I regret to inform all of you that's seriously all I've been doing. Classes from (roughly) 9-5 every day, then home to eat and review the days lectures. I made it to the pool on Saturday (with my notes) which was a big accomplishment for me. Soon, once I figure this all out, I'm going to try to start doing a bit more volunteering every month. That is all for now, til next week!

Monday, August 10, 2009

And So It Begins...

Today was my first real day of classes. I was on the highway at 8 as opposed to 7:45 (which makes a startling difference in traffic, although it's still not as bad as Seattle). And my Histology lecture began at 9 am this morning. Histology seems a bit dull. It's supposed to be studied under a microscope, but we use computers instead. In order to sound interesting, it is still termed "Virtual Microscopy." This seems silly to me, but perhaps I don't know enough about this "virtual" microscope to really judge it. I'll let you know on Wednesday, when I get to use this "virtual" microscope. I can hardly wait, it seems enthralling.

After a two hour Histology lecture, we were shuffled into a seminar on extracurricular activities. Namely, volunteer your little heart out and get credit for it, plus this looks good on your resume. I had to sit on the floor, mind you, because they weren't prepared for the amount of people to show up. Thank god I had packed a lunch, it was almost like I was having a little picnic. Minus the fact that it was storming outside and I was listening to more information than I could digest at once, it was almost fun.

By 1, I had endured 4 hours of lecturing, and sat down for a 2 hour lecture on gross anatomy. The highlight of the lecture was that the professor confused Ventral for Dorsal and Dorsal for Ventral. Since this was the first exposure to anatomy in general for most students, they had no clue this was wrong. For me, I let it go the first time, got confused the second time, and irritated the third. By the end of class someone mustered the courage to confront him. The moral of the story is that even in medical school professors get confused. After this lecture, there was 3 hours of gross dissection. I've done this before, so it was nothing spectacular for me, but I noticed my group was pretty excited

A few more life lessons were learned today. The first being that my body does not deal well with 6 hours of starvation. By the time I arrived home at 6:30 I was so famished I could have eaten anything. My heaping bowl of pasta tasted absolutely amazing. The second thing I learned today was that even in medical school, there are always a few people that still sit in the front of class and still ask the most obvious of questions. Furthermore, those people have no idea how irritating they are and continue to press on in their quest for pointless knowledge, under the false pretenses that they are really figuring out something challenging. The third and final thing I learned today was that I have no patience for alpha males. There was once a time (when I was about 13) that I found this attractive: that pushy, take charge, I know everything attitude. At my current age of 22, I find this absolutely repulsive and more than mildly irritating. Let's leave it at that.

I'm absolutely exhausted. My summer off has not left me well conditioned for this type of educational marathon. Lesson learned: don't take a summer completely off ever again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

One week down... 4 years to go

The last day of orientation is tomorrow. I've endured "seminars" (who do they think they're kidding, they're lectures) on everything from professionalism to proper handwashing. I've also listened to countless presentations from people about the library, the email website, and choosing a specialty. What I have not heard is how to get around this place, where we go if we have questions, who we contact for answers, and WHAT we're going to be doing for the next year. Class schedules are quite vague, I feel a bit like a herd of cattle being prodded off a cliff. From what I gather, we have Anatomy through December, Histology through September, at which point it turns into Embryology, which turns into something else sometime before the end of the year. I'm taking 50 credits total starting now and running through the end of May. Yikes, I've signed my life away for the next 4 years.

I went on rounds on Monday. I met a malnourished infant. Yet another confirmation that pediatrics is 100% not my thing.

I have also mastered rush hour Detroit traffic. I can recall rush hour traffic in Seattle, and I must say that Detroit has not been as bad as I anticipated. A 20 minute drive takes me about 30, which is pretty decent. I should probably hold my tongue until the snow starts, I bet it'll get nasty then. Who knows.

In other news, I've tackled the washer and dryer situation in the basement. But since I forgot to take cash out of an ATM, I only had enough money for one load of wash. I should probably work on that, I kind of need clean clothing.

Until next time!