Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So sleepy

Well, I've been sitting at this desk today for almost 9 hours. And surprisingly, I've been studying for almost all of that time. I am also happy to report that I did get out and take Rocky for a big run this afternoon. So altogether, it was a pretty productive day. But now I feel exhausted.

It's funny how being such a sedentary creature can make a person want to sleep. Now I know how my dog feels. Although, I can't really decide if I'm actually tired, or if I am just having involuntary eye-lid spasms from squinting at my computer screen all day long. I have GOT to get my glasses fixed.

Since I felt so tired I asked J to make me a shot of espresso. Our machine makes'em two at a time so I told him we'd split it. I brought mine upstairs and was sipping on in when I hear this gasp from downstairs. He comes running up to tell me that he's never actually had espresso straight up before, and it must be a sipping drink because it's way too intense for big gulps. Kind of cracked me up.

Well, I better stop. I'm feeling far to sedate for any witty blogging banter tonight. I don't think the espresso's going to do it, and tomorrow is another day, so I better just deal and get some rest.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Countdown to exam

The week before an exam always gets tense for me. So, I have a lot of stuff on my mind. I want to make sure that I'm still taking care of myself, but the work has to get done. I'm hoping, again, to run three times and study a lot. I have been thinking a lot about going out, I think because of the nice weather, but I'm not sure if I can really do that this week. I think for my sanity over the summer, I need to end this year on a good note, and I'll only actually do that if I work hard for the next bit here. And by the next bit I mean 22 days. But who's counting?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Panic attack

It's funny how you can go from being on top of your stuff to being absolutely sure you're going to fail out! I'm just looking at the stack of notes for our next exam and I think the top of my head might blow off. Unbelievable.

Oh yeah, and I'm way too much of a joiner.

In the last two weeks I've managed to let myself get in pretty deep. I'm our class secretary, which is more work than I'd like to admit, on the steering committee for the OB/GYN interest group, on the editorial board of the campus wide newsletter, and co-president of the Denver chapter of American Medical Student Association (of which I wasn't even a member at the time, I went to the meeting for the free lunch!). So I feel a little over-committed.

Although I have to say I'll take over-committed med student any day over politically motivated med student. Good grief, these elections got messy and they are giving me a headache and heart palpitations. Re-vote tomorrow, so more work, and hopefully no hurt feelings. It sucks to be the bearer of bad news. I'm more of a non-confrontational type.

Oh well, here's to truly earning those drinks this weekend.

Lungs suck

Har har har. I'm such a nerd.

I have decided that pulmonologists have a serious case of heart envy. Every single one we have makes lots of jokes about the lungs being more important than the heart, and today in small group our leader made sure to tell us, for a half an hour, how great it is to be a pulmonologist and work in the ICU. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you are the world's greatest specialist, we get it. This from the guy who also took about 5-10 minutes to tell us why not to drink the bong water because it contains Aspergillis and Klebsiella (fungus and bacteria respectively). (As if that's the only reason, and furthermore, why does a pulmonary guy know about smoking pot anyway...isn't that a bit counterproductive for the whole lung cancer thing?!?!)

Our class held its elections today, and I feel like I'm back in high school. I've been our class secretary for the last year, and I guess since no one ran against me, I still am. So I was in charge of the elections. First, I'm not great at making big announcements in front of large groups of people. I hate trying to get people's attention over the hum of a crowd. Second, the vote was so close (1 vote) for president that we might be having a re vote, and I'm stuck in the middle trying to mediate the whole issue. I just count, I don't make the decisions. Seriously, elections in a sorority were more care-free.

Well, that's about it from here for now. Pretty boring week. I'm enjoying it immensely.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Strike that....Reverse it

Aside from being my favorite line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this is my motto for today. For a few reasons...

First, I have failed miserably on my goals and hence will be considering them null and void...for today. Nothing better than a pint of Guinness and Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel... Still planning on lots of studying and lots of running, especially with tomorrow's 80 degree weather! Just took a bit of a hiatus on the booze and tv front. I guess not all hiati (Hiatuses? I still don't get it) are bad....

Second, I think I am starting to formulate a more serious plan for the future. Lately I've been a little concerned. Ever since my time at CSU I've wanted to teach so badly. I really loved my time teaching physiology up there. Teaching can be super frustrating in its own right. There's something maddening about trying to impart this information that makes you so excited to a bunch of students who really couldn't care less so long as you give them their C so they can be done with it. But for the people who give a shit, fabulous. I think the following picture is sufficiently blurry to give an idea of how many people I used to teach at once without giving any undue identity info. The lecture hall holds 300:

I have also been worried because I always have a pang of regret when I leave Golden and Mines behind. It's my alma mater and I love it. I have some desire to be a part of the teaching staff there, but as a predominantly engineering school, I couldn't figure out how to be involved.

Then the bioengineering and life sciences department came to be. What fledgling pre-med program wouldn't want an MD on the staff (of which they have none). So the perfect opportunity might lie in my grasp; working as an anesthesiologist and working on the faculty of Mines for the BELS deparment. I hope someday I can pull it off because I can't imagine a better compromise. I could live in my favorite place, and work for my favorite place, without giving up my current career path and passion. Perfect.

Perfect and 8 years away, but hey, a girl's gotta dream!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Goals are good

So I decided it was time to set myself some goals so I could focus this week and be more productive. So, here goes:

1. Run 3 times. I ran yesterday so that leaves two more times, one of which won't be today, since I definitely did something to my knee on the monster hill near our house.

2. Study about 4 hours a day in an effort to get ahead. That's right, I said it. Ahead.

3. No booze till Friday. Shouldn't be a problem since J and I killed off the Fat Tire over the weekend. I won't even tell you how much there was to start.

4. Do a different exercise twice. This could be yoga or a machine at the gym. Don't really care which, just need to keep moving.

5. And the clutch....keep it to an hour of tv a night. This should not be as difficult as it will be. And trust me, it will be. Thank God Rock of Love II is already over!

Five is plenty. I'm also hoping to blog a few times, but I'm hoping to keep off the internet as much as is feasible, so I'll either be posting in class, or short ones from home. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Who needs happy hour

So, J and I enjoyed one of the most beautiful, calm Colorado evenings we've had since last summer by sitting on our front patio, drinking some Fat Tire and playing gin. Makes me feel good, and makes me remember that things are, in fact, going well for me these days. Easy to forget when you feel like class could eat your life whole, but as I sit here writing while listening to some fabulous music provided courtesy of Medicine Girl's blog (and still drinking Fat Tire) I realize that things have taken some wonderful turns for me. In light of the truly happy hour, I present to you the Saturday six: Six things that make me happy on a lovely Saturday evening!

1. Being married to my best friend: now hear me out. I'm not one of those sappy crazies that swoons when their significant other so much as looks their way. But it's a big difference from what I thought would become of me. I used to tell my friend D.O. in our sorority house (yes, I was in a sorority, but that's a post for another time) how I always envisioned myself as the cool hippie aunt. I thought I'd have about 6 dogs and live in the mountains alone. I wouldn't mind living in the mountains, but I'm pretty thankful to have someone to live there with!

2. Dogs that love T-shirts!

3. Knowing that Denver is for beer what Napa is for wine (take that SAT analogies!) Intrigued? Check this link!

4. Things to work toward: today from the library J got the latest Jim Butcher offering called Small Favor. I can't wait to see what my favorite wizard, Harry Dresden, is up to this time! I promised I wouldn't read it until my next exam was over. That will be a day of a bottle of nice wine and lots of great reading. Can't wait. Almost makes me ready to start studying again....

5. Knowing that 6 weeks from now I will have a real, honest-to-god summer vacation! I feel like I did in the 8th grade getting ready for the all-important summer before high school!

6. Battlestar Galactica and Dr. Who on the SciFi channel! Go nerds!!!

I like olives

You Are Olive Green
You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.
For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.
You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.
People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Feels like Home

So yesterday I walked out of our cave of a classroom and into the bright (80 degree!!) sunshine and I just knew I couldn't waste such a beautiful day studying. So, instead of coming right home after class I drove to Golden for a run along the creek. I loved it. There's not a thing I can do on this whole planet that makes me feel happier and more alive than running along Clear Creek in Golden with the (somewhat nauseating) smell of hops and barley wafting through the air and the sound of running water in my ears. A little eighty degree weather and I forget all about how much I've hated the cold in the winter and get to thinking about where I someday want to make my life permanent.

On days like yesterday I get a hankering to open my own practice in Golden, find a community of people who could really be my patients and not just a face that's about to have an intubation tube down its throat. It's days like yesterday that make me want to go into OB/GYN. I could see it now.... My own fertility clinic, complete with accupunture (do you have any idea how easy it is to get certified to do that when you have MD behind your name?), therapeutic massage and yoga, and birthing suite. It would be a really fulfilling life, especially if I could find partners to run it with me. However, there's a lot between here and there. And the idea of an OB/GYN residency is so daunting it almost makes me want to knock the idea right off the table. Also, to go into fertility treatment, you need to do a three year reproductive endocrinology residency, and there are currently none of those in Colorado. It's a long road to starting your own practice, then you have to hope and pray you'll make the investment worthwhile. It may not be as great as it's made out to be.

Of course, I could always still go into anesthesia and live in Golden....

I think the only place the decision will be made is on the wards in my third year. I'll end up loving something, the other will go by the wayside. In the end, for all my contemplating-while-running yesterday all I really got for it was a good workout, a lot of stress relieved, and a cherry pink sunburn. Damn. Totally worth it though.

Oh yeah, and we got to go to see the Avs play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs!!! It was a great game too! J'Adore Theodore! And the best part? My Avs won 5-1!!! Here's to winning on Thursday! Fingers crossed!

Well, There's only about 7 weeks left until summer (less than that even!) and that makes me happy. We're starting on the pulmonary block and it goes for three weeks. If it goes really well, the pressure will be firmly off for the kidneys, which is my ultimate goal. I want to be able to learn as much as I can about them (because they are pretty important) but not to have to worry about every miniscule detail just to honor the exam. It's funny how med school can do that to you, make you miss the forest for the trees. All I know is, it will seem completely trivial to know how many potassium ions are exchanged for sodium ions in the distal convoluted tubule of the kidney if someone comes in with high blood pressure and I don't know how to treat it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Favorite Day

I love test days. I love coming home and realizing that I have nothing to do. Sure, there are things I can do to prepare for the next three weeks (until our next exam) but they aren't so bad and they're pretty mindless at the moment. It's been a pretty good day altogether. The exam went alright (ask again after I find out how it really went) and afterward I went to the library to check out some serious fluff - a nice Sophi Kinsella novel. It's a vice really.

I also stopped to get a bottle of nice crisp Reisling to drink out on the front porch in the beautiful Colorado sun this afternoon. I bought the bottle before the clock even hit 10am, and I don't feel bad for a minute. Why? Because I know, unlike Vitamin C and E and Hormone replacement therapy, alcohol has been really proven to reduce the risk of a coronary event. Thank you cardiovascular exam for practically prescribing this afternoon's activities.

In news of other vices, I am also watching the finale of Rock of Love 2. J can thank me later for getting it out of the way when he was not around.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


My poor Avs....

Friday, April 11, 2008

One of those days

Do you ever have one of those days where you are so sure you're forgetting to do something that you actually look down as you leave your car to make sure you remembered to put on pants? That's what I felt like today. I still don't know why, but I do know that I had my pants on all day.


Well, for what seems like the 47th weekend in a row, I will be studying through this one. We have yet another test on Monday. It's almost hard to believe that the last one was only two weeks ago, and at the same time it seems like no time has gone by at all. Maybe it's just because I don't feel like I've learned anything... I feel like that more often than not, but I know that my little pool of knowledge has really been filling lately. All this cardiovascular stuff seemed to be a big mystery a month ago, and now, even though I don't know it all, I feel like I could diagnose and treat heart failure like a good family practice doc should, all the while knowing that for the tough stuff it's "refer, refer, refer...." Not that I plan on being a family practice doc, but if I was destined to cater to the aging population I feel like I almost could at this point. At least theoretically.

Although it's been a frustrating week at school, it has been an interesting one, and one where I learned a lot, if not about heart failure, then about myself. I'll explain. We started our psychiatric unit. Now, I am not learning that I'm crazy, although I know that's what you're thinking, but I'm learning about my own preconceptions and how they shape the way I think about patients. Wednesday we had our first psych interviews. I noticed that as long as a patient is describing physical symptoms, what they do for a living, their family, etc. I am doing alright. Once they start talking about their spiritual beliefs, though, I start to get tense. I think that it comes from a couple of places. The first is that I don't want any one else's beliefs pushed on me, and whenever someone starts talking about it, I feel like that's what they are trying to do. I know this is not the case, and in reality it is probably an important part of how they deal with their illness(es). It's irrational, and I realize now that I need to look out for it and head it off. I also feel like part of my tenseness is my desire not to insult anyone. I don't know all there is to know about spirituality different from my own, and I don't want ot step on any toes by being culturally insensitive. I might not have learned exactly how to handle myself in these situations yet, but I feel like I've learned to look out for my own reaction to this kind of a situation, and it seemed to me to be an important step on my path to becoming a fully functioning physician.

Hopefully I can still manage to have a good time for part of the weekend. Tonight my all time favorite sports team - the Colorado Avalanche - take on someone else's favorite sport's team - you know who you are - and I can't wait to see them mop the ice with them yet again....Go Super Joe!

Tomorrow we have some plans to hang out with some friends, so hopefully I'll have lots of studying done by the time we get going. Back to it for now, gotta get ahead before the puck drops!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I'm paying for what exactly...

This is what I ask myself about 10 times a day. So this morning, I show up at 8 like I always do, the first lecturer gets done early (in about 35 minutes). This should be a bonus, but the 9:00 lecture had to leave town for a family emergency and so that lecture is cancelled. Again, should be a bonus, but we have a required small group from 10-12 so I'm not going anywhere. So I study for an hour then head to my small group room. Small group facilitator doesn't show up. Why am I still here? Because I have yet another required small group from 1-4. This is the biggest waste of my life ever.

I find medical school a highly inefficient process. The small groups are all required, and we have to sign in next to our photographs to prove we were there. I feel more like I'm in middle school than in medical school. I don't get a lot from small group because I tend to have looked at the material ahead of time and most of the other people in the group havent', so what's review to me is first glance to them and I sit there wondering why I am wasting 2 hours of my life listening to stupid questions (yes, there is definitely such a thing as a stupid question) that could easily have been avoided had I been at home studying. I'll never fully understand why small groups are required. First, I understand that not everyone learns the same way. Some people don't get anything from lecture and do better teaching themselves, or do better discussing in small groups. Hooray for them, they don't have to show up for lecture it's not required. Some people, like myself, get nothing from small groups but find lecture very helpful, so while I go to lecture religiously because that's how I learn, I still am forced to go to the stupid small groups where I want to pull out my hair and eyes. Oy.

Anyway, I guess it's just one of those days. I think I might go buy myself lunch with my free time here. Sitting here stewing about it is just putting me in a seriously bad mood. Hopefully this session this afternoon isn't totally ridiculous, but they usually are.

Monday, April 7, 2008

April Blizzards Make me Pensive

Well, ok, it's not really a blizzard. It's barely even a snow, but the clouds have that oppressive over-white look to them when they really want to dump all that cold, mucky nastiness all over the place. Having a bit of extra time today has given me the opportunity to hit the blogs again and actually add to mine! Exciting to not always be reading about congestive heart failure.

I am so ready for spring. The cold weather makes me want to curl up on the couch and not move. Not very conducive to great studying and definitely not conducive to the gym. J and I both agree that this is our week to get back on track though. Tonight is the NCAA Championship game so tonight is pretty much out, but tomorrow it's back to it.

I haven't really been back to work in the gym since the bad news, it's hard to make myself do it. But, I definitely don't want to be lame and let myself go just because something didn't go my way. If we're going to try again I have to get it together and make my body capable of handling it. It freaks me out if I'm being honest. What's the addage, once bitten twice shy? I know that I know too much about this. I've been studying human physiology for the past 4 years, and I've picked up a lot of information that makes me scared to try again at all. I feel like a lot of the stuff I've learned has the unfortunate side effect of robbing a bit of the naive hope that I'd like to have and replacing it with a realism that delves into pessimism. It's not a great feeling. I think it's totally normal to want reassurance that next time will be fine, but it's a reassurance that really can't be given by anyone, and that makes it all the harder to swallow.

All of these issues have made me think a little harder about what I want to do for a career. I love physiology, which is the study of the dynamic changes going on in your body at all times, and how it should function normally, and this is why I love anesthesia. An anesthesiologist needs to be able to assess a person's physiology at any given moment and monitors all aspects of it from the cardiovascular system to the kidneys to respiration and the nervous system. However, after the last few weeks, OB/GYN still looks appealing. I think this past month would have been so much harder had I not had a fantastic doc who treated me like I really mattered as as person and not just as a patient and thus a paycheck. I think that in OB/GYN you just have more of a direct impact on your patient. At least one that they'll remember.

I guess I can't spend too much time worrying about it right now. If I want to have a chance at doing anything I still have to pass med school. Better get on it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Well done me

Wow, the test went really well. I have to say that with everything going on, it's a little shocking. Takes a bit of the edge off the rest of the semester if I do say so myself.

Also, for the bread, if you're trying to cook it, I recommend 18-20 minutes rather than 8 to 10...

Today we had a pathology session about heart valve disease. We saw a few hearts from people who had died. The instructor offered to let us come to an autopsy any time we want, and morbidly enough, I think I might. I don't really think that pathology is the field for me, I mean it could be, but it's unlikely. But, that said, it is something that is an important part of medicine. I think if I can sit through an autopsy I can stomach a lot more than I thought I could. I'll let you know if I take him up on it.