Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick Or Treat - MD vs DO - Stalker Or Curious

All of those can be puzzling to many. Do you want a treat or would seeing a grand trick be better. I think seeing David Copperfield would be far more enjoyable than an entire bag of Snickers, dark chocolate Milky Way bars, or Toblerone... well, maybe on that last one.

The MD vs DO question gets raised a lot... Why only one type and not the other? What is the difference? How are they paid differently? Respected differently? Public perception?

Here's my own take on it. The two different types of schools MANDATE the same types of classes: gross anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, physician in society, etc. So I blatantly copied the programs from one of each, top of their respective osteopathic vs. allopathic schools.

Can you tell which one is which?

Description: Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health (CEPH) combines teaching of core skills of clinical epidemiology (including biostatistics, study design, and critical reading) as they apply to the care of individuals ...

Description: This course is required for all entering medical and dental students. It is designed to provide a broad overview of the profession from a variety of perspectives. It will also aim to clarify the goals, ...

Description: Molecular and Cellular Basis of Medicine provides an introduction to biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology. The course will cover not only well-established findings but also recent advances that ...

Description: The Integrated Human Physiology course builds on anatomy, biochemistry, and cell biology, and presumes a working knowledge of the basics of college physics and chemistry. Using case tutorials, lectures, ...

Description: The Human Body course provides the foundation for understanding the anatomic basis of diseases studied in subsequent courses and encountered firsthand in clinical settings.

Description: This course will present an integrated introduction to general mechanisms of cell, tissue and organ injury (general pathology), the principal mechanisms of responses to injury and defense against foreign ...

Description: This course will focus on fundamental aspects of human genetics. Both classical and modern genetic principles and methods will be covered, with a strong emphasis on applications to human biology and medicine. ...

Description: Students will learn to take a medical history with excellent communication skills and to develop relationships with patients. Understanding the patient's experience of illness and various aspects of the ...

Description: This course provides an overview of many ethical issues that arise in the practice of medicine and research. The class will be entirely taught in separate sections with an enrollment of about 14 students ...

Description: This 5-week course will provide an in-depth analysis of recent advances in our understanding of human disease pathogenesis, as afforded by contemporary biomedical research in the basic sciences. Topics ...

Description: Physician In Community

Description: Scholarship in Medicine

Description: All physicians, regardless of their specialty, will work in setting where social, economic, and political forces powerfully influence who gets sick, the diseases that afflict them, the treatments that ...

First Year

Structural Principles of Medicine . . . . . . 13
Principles and Practice I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Primary Care Skills I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1


Cellular and Molecular Basis of Medicine . . . . . . . . . 14
Principles and Practice II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Primary Care Skills II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1


Emergency Medicine I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Cardiovascular, Renal and Pulmonary Medicine . . . . 12
Medicine and Society I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Principles and Practice III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Primary Care Skills III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

So, why I am allopathic only? As I have said elsewhere, after a life in the business world of not fitting the cookie-cutter mold the business world wanted (lying, cheating, throwing friends under the bus - do-I-sound-angry-at-all - to get ahead, lack of compassion, and I could go on), I just want to fit in the box where I don't have to explain my choices. I'm spineless and I think and believe it takes a stronger individual than I to overcome the haphazard comments about DO that are not meant to be chiding, but indeed are. I have great respect for my peers and others who have advanced to and through the DO. In many ways, they have had to overcome greater obstacles than their MD brethren although BOTH are conferred the exact same rights in the United States and DOs CAN BE board certified with MD boards.

My last comment is aimed at one individual only:

Bezerkely post hold digger: stop. Cease and desist. If this is the poor post hold digger's wife, you've been lied to... greatly.

That is all.

Flu Symptom Onset

Over the past several days whilst I've been home drinking lots of fluids, keeping Coke and Johnson & Johnson in business, I started thinking about how fast this bug infects. It is rather interesting (at least to me).

Last Friday a tiny little bugger, about knee high, wanted to hand me his hat... while the physician I shadowed talked to the mom, and not wanting the youngster to get loud and boisterous, I did what all moms (and good dads) do: kneeled down, helped him with his jacket, took his hat, gave it to him and then it happened. He sneezed all over me. Little shaver apologized and smiled with those big, sparkly blues... and full baby teeth mouth.

Make no mistake: I'm fastidious with keeping my hands clean, when I sneeze I cover my nose and mouth with either hand or elbow, and then wash my hands again. This little shaver though, gave me no opportunity to get away... cute little guy that he was.

It was less than 72 hours from that, to ... this. Which makes me wonder.

Is this virus that I have really H1N1? or is it something else like a cold? And if it really is H1N1 would vaccination after inception have stopped the onset? or made it worse? Also, is it possible that this is all coincidence, that I'd actually picked up the virus from the U, and it just happened that I got sick 3 days after shadowing?

Why should I care? Curiosity. There are things in life that make me wonder why, what could be done differently, would that change the outcome. In this particular case, I'd rather have given up my "friend" that's been with me for 6 days now. I could do without the scratchy eyes, runny nose, sore throat, inability to sleep (from throat pain)... however, I do not mind the lack of appetite!

Always a bright side! Make it a great day :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

LOL, I Want MY Badge O'Courage (update)

This flu thing... yeah, not such great fun. I think even know which youngster gave it to me. It was very kind of him to want to play with me while the mom talked to the physician I traipse around after and then sneeze all over me. (unschlucking tongue from inside of my cheek) Poor little guy didn't know any better but I DID!

Hope none of you are getting this.

Ad2b is headed back to bed. Cheers!

Tweensy update:

After reading a bunch of articles on deaths of children and seemingly healthy adults who get the flu, I can understand the slight fear. No one wants to watch their child suffer, or worse, have them pass away, and no one understands why seemingly healthy populations pass.

It is not that they are unhealthy and the flu kills them, it is the secondary infections (generally, staph) that do. Staph always exists in the skin and in the human body. It is supposed to. The bacteria does good things when in check... but the flu, whacks the balance and the kooky staph goes nuts (you're welcome Chicka!).

Anyway, of all the deaths reviewed by me over the past 3 weeks (and honestly, that's not many, I'm not into necrology), all of the patients died due to complications from some other issue; asthma, obesity, heart disease, HIV, kidney disease, and other immuno-suppressant diseases.

So, for the most part, health adults who get this will be miserable. Sorry. It's not like the cold. As I told a friend of mine, it feels like a fire truck on a 3-alarm fire in my throat with a drunken construction worker operating a jackhammer on my head. And no, I didn't go to school today.

The things to watch for:

getting better and then suddenly changing direction and getting much worse (good to know as tonight the only real thing I feel is a sort throat, weird voice, runny nose, and sneezing)

difficulty breathing - gasping for air, unable to breathe (that is probably worthy of a 911 call)

I will watch for things as I'm hoping today was the worst.

As an aside, the day gave me time to prep for upcoming mid-term... now if I could learn to use the damn calculators that we're mandated to use, I'd be set. You know, if we're smart enough to program the dumb things, and get the right answer, don't you think we probably know the formulas and how to use as well? It would just save time.

At least that was the mantra in my master's program.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Patient Presents With...

scratchy eyes, scratchy throat, minor headache, rhinorrhea, watery eyes.

Thinking after all the cases of flu I saw whilst shadowing on Friday, I will be best served by staying home, in bed, drinking lots of fluid (diet coke!!) and taking Vit C with Cold-eeze. It would also seem prudent as passing it around the university might be a bad thing.

The whole "HAVE SWINE FLU" to me seems like an announcement or badge of courage in some weird sort of way. All the patients except one on Friday, probably just had garden variety flu but because of media hype over this man-made pathogen, they almost needed a badge of honor in saying they'd conquer it.

To be sure, swine flu can be fatal in certain populations but so can many other diseases. If your family member or friend has the flu, here are extremely adverse symptoms to watch for (courtesy of:

Get medical care right away if the sick person at home:

  • has difficulty breathing or chest pain

  • has purple or blue discoloration of the lips

  • is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down

  • has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tears when they cry

  • has seizures (for example, uncontrolled convulsions)

  • is less responsive than normal or becomes confused
How to treat this little home invader?

Antiviral medications are available for persons 1 year of age and older. Ask your healthcare provider whether you need antiviral medication.

Influenza infections can lead to or occur with bacterial infections. Therefore, some people will also need to take antibiotics. More severe or prolonged illness or illness that seems to get better, but then gets worse again may be an indication that a person has a bacterial infection. Check with your healthcare provider if you have concerns.

Warning! Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children or teenagers who have the flu; this can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye's syndrome.

  • Check ingredient labels on over-the-counter cold and flu medications to see if they contain aspirin.

  • Teenagers with the flu can take medicines without aspirin, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, Nuprin®), to relieve symptoms.

  • Children younger than 2 years of age should not be given over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with a healthcare provider.

  • The safest care for flu symptoms in children younger than 2 years of age is using a cool-mist humidifier and a suction bulb to help clear away mucus.
  • Over-the-counter cold and flu medications used according to the package instructions may help lessen some symptoms such as cough and congestion. Importantly, these medications will not lessen how infectious a person is.

  • Check the ingredients on the package label to see if the medication already contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen before taking additional doses of these medications—don't double dose! Patients with kidney disease or stomach problems should check with their health care provider before taking any NSAIDS.

Check with your health care provider or pharmacist if you are taking other over-the-counter or prescription medications not related to the flu.

As for me, I'm staying home getting my rest, buying my diet coke, and working on chem research. I'm praying this will pass rapidly and I can maybe wear my own badge of courage (or not)... in fact, I won't even bother the docs with a visit. Best to stay completely out of the public.

Monday, October 26, 2009

CourtMeister Extraordinaire

Part of being an older, non-traditional pre-med is the somewhat continual "what am I thinking" and "how will my undergrad/younger peers accept me" quandary. Last semester, on my first day of school in 20 years, I was standing next to a young, cute, bubbly, tanned, toned, and funny blond. My first thought was "Oh God, she's not gonna care about our lab scores."

It is embarrassing. Stereotypes I was afraid of and yet, there I was stereotyping people myself.

Court, this is a shout out to the best lab partner ever!

I miss her camaraderie as we worked with our difficult and... something else, TA. I miss her ability to question why we were doing something and then pushing me to explain it to her ensuring we got the details right and our lab scores would subsequently, reflect that. I miss her ability to say, "J, you can do this. You're smart, don't forget that." I miss her ability to flick numbers out on her calculator. Truly, if they had Olympiads for calculator button pushing, she'd win that too, hands down. I miss her creativity on the dreaded poster project.

Last semester we did a research paper/poster on penicillin (she even let me pick). I put together the research paper, she was the very creative brains behind our project. She, le gasp, wanted to add glitter to our poster. She had some other really creative ideas to make everything stand out and included my want of building the penicillin molecule out of styrofoam balls, paint, and toothpicks with a protractor to get bond angles set properly.

We won. Creativity, research, overall. I could not have done it alone... and yet, this semester, I am. I miss Court.

My lab partners this semester are very nice, very polite and at times, they allow me to be just a student and laugh with them (or tell stories of my drunken youth). However, they are not as cautious, or careful in lab, or detailed. I'm often left trying to clean up after them (as a mom should, I suppose), trying to get them to measure properly and accurately, and making sure we are done on time. I end up doing most of the computer work as Excel is 2nd nature to me. I end up doing most of the calculations as ... well, I'm just anal.

Court is, by far, one of the most conscientious and hard working students I have met. It explains her high GPA... and for privacy reasons, I won't say what it is but I know.

So, here's another shout out to the lab partner I wish I could carry with me all the way through med school and just in case you read this:

Court, you can still be surgeon! You can still major in chem, join me in med school.

How 'bout it?! :D

Swine Flu

Straight out of Scotland... "Blame the bloody tourists"... haha. Trust me, this is cute and the satire, innuendo, and commentary bloody spot on.

We studied H1N1 in biochem and learned concepts that are not being addressed by the media.

Each year flu vaccines are created based upon those flu types being found in the southern hemisphere 6 months to 1 year earlier. In that flu vaccine this year, there was a component for H1N1 HOWEVER it was not for "swine flu" variety. The second vaccine that came out this year, the one that is in short supply, is created specifically for swine flu, or a different strain of the exact H1N1 virus.

What's the difference?

Think of H1N1 like a 2-story colonial house. Then picture 10 of them on the same street, each one with a different roof line and material type. To fix each one of those roofs would take a different type of material and/or plans. With each one of the roofs equating to H1N1, and the materials to fix roofs equating to antibodies, it can be seen then, that not one type of antibody will fix all types of H1N1 (or roofs).

On Friday, whilst shadowing the physician I think I saw 20 cases of H1N1. Common threaded advice?

Stay home. Wash your hands. Keep hydrated. Don't go back to work/school until 24 hours AFTER the last temperature.

If the Scottish video didn't crack a smile, maybe this will (kudos to Billy Joel for making the base song in the 80's).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Update On The Pit Mix (edited) & He Is Named

Brad. If I have to explain, then I'm sorry for you :P

He is very sweet to me... I don't regret picking him up off the road in the middle of a snowstorm in the middle of the highway. I would not want any animal to get hit by a vehicle and lay in ditch suffering, and I'm guessing this little guy could've easily ended up that way.

He listens very well. Understands "no" but I do not think that will be enough for him to overcome his extreme interest in my golden retriever. He figured out today that if his tiny little package of muscle pulls just hard enough on the steel lead, he can drag it through the door... and possibly into where I keep my golden and my dane.

Through friends of mine who are ardent animal rescue/foster/transport people, the little pup has been sent out to several rescues that specialize in pit rescue and am praying that one picks him up. Everything I've read on this breed, good and bad, says that generally they are very good with humans, and in fact, have a higher temperament test rating than a dane... but then statistics can state anything and with all the backyard breeders out there with their "full AKC" registered danes, those danes are not worthy of the species.

Danes in the paper were bred for money, not for temperament, conformation, and health... ala, those $350 danes you buy in the paper will probably cost a person $2000 in vetting costs due to wobblers, hip dysplasia, and worse, or break your heart when you realize you don't want/can't/won't spend the money to vet the dane and it has to be euthanized, and/or both. Hence, if those are the danes getting tested for temperament by the testing group, they are generally NOT breed type, just backyard bred trash dogs.

Anyway, I am having a little trouble trusting this little guy with my own furkids... to be honest, it makes me a little nervous. I hate to perpetuate the "myth" of this breed but it's not me I'm fearful for, its my own dogs.

And here's my edited comment: ANY dog can be trained to be nasty. ANY. Goldens, labs, newfs, st bernards, you name it. There is no perfect dog out there and honestly, it always in my mind, comes back to the owners who had the dog first. Did they care for it? Abuse it? Starve it? In this case, this little man of a dog has shown NO aggression to me... it is simply what I too, have read and heard in the media.

For the people who own these type dogs and love them, kudos! I bet you didn't leash your pet to an outside concrete slab in the middle of winter with a 12' steel lead on him and a heated blanket for warmth. I bet your pet was loved and conditioned to be a solid citizen... and one only need read the many, many success stories of this breed. However, I think many are not so lucky and end up being dumped, disposed of, abused, tortured, and eventually, killed.

And yes, I would treat anyone who came into a clinic for an emergency, I would never refuse care. However, I probably would think twice about being the ongoing family practice physician for that individual... People who abuse animals (and humans) suck.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shadowing Again - Motivation Again

Got to see some cool things today and lot and lot and lots and lot ... of H1N1.

Emergency room visit - check!
H1N1 - check x 10!
Well baby - check x 2!
Some other really cool stuff I can't say anything about because of that privacy thing and I have not quite learned how to effectively smear the details to protect anyone (nor do I think I should trying at this point) however, one was kind of gross and I felt bad for the patient, another patient was told there might be a mass that's "not so great but we'll check it out" and another one...

Remember my lunch divorce? It was a quickie?

Well, the patient was back today. Physician introduced me (I remembered the face not the specifics), patient says, "Oh yeah, remember her! She got sick!! It was hilarious!"

I about died (again). Mentioned it was not due to them but lunch... some doctor I will be.

Anyway, it was a great day. I'm really tired and I think this week has sucked some life out of me but I can't imagine doing anything but rural family care. Just amazes me at everything... we even discuss the business side which... needs to be worked on.

A slight digression:

I'm a known animal lover - dogs, horses, sheep, cows, pigs... meh, that probably covers it. Driving home tonight it was snowing rather badly and the back roads I travel in Wisconsin were wet, snow laden, packed, and covered. After coming up the steep hill and leveling off, I saw what looked to be a large cat running down the center of the highway. As I got closer, it was no cat.

It was a dog, what looked to be a young dog.

Throwing my little truck in park, tossing on the hazard flashers, I called for the little pup to come to me. He bounded... jumped in my arms (I'm in a suit, by the way)... and I put him in the truck. Drying him off, I noticed a few "odd" things about him and I hope I am very, very wrong.

He had wounds on his ears that look like puncture marks. He has healed wounds on his legs that look like old puncture marks as well.

I dried him off, wrapped one of my U sweatshirts around him as his short fur, and no body fat somewhat worried me for his safety and health. Driving up to the next house, I asked the man if the pup belonged to him.

He sort of said no, then looked down, then looked around. Asked if I wanted him to take it and find the owners, I said well, it'd be nice to know he got home. Guy then stupidly told me the dog had been running after cars in the snow all afternoon and he had no idea how long it'd been out and that probably "it'd been dumped at bottom of gorge"... yep, that was one of my fears.

The other one?

I fear he was bait for pitbull fighting. He is a pit, or pit/am staff cross or something. He is little. Maybe 30 pounds.

Was I nervous with him? No. He ran to me like a puppy, and I do believe him to be young. Once he realized he was not going back out in the snow, he snuggled into my sweatshirt and slept the remainder of the way. He is underweight in my opinion. Feeding him twice what I would have normally, he chowed it down, drank 1/2 a large bowl of water and is currently, sleeping at my feet.

So... I've contacted a pit rescue. He can't stay here. I hate to say I'm afraid of him, but I am all because of his breed type. After looking at a bone, growling at my dane who was getting near it (I removed the bone), he sat down, cocked his head, and laid down. Overnight, he snored at the base of my stairs on a blanket I gave him.

My irk is that if he is a fighting dog or was bait for one, those idiots will need medical care. I'm not sure, as a physician, that I could treat someone who is filth like that... baiting, fighting, and abusing dogs boils my blood. I suppose, mostly, I'd never know.

But what if I did?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And so today, I dropped physics...

It was painful, I have to be honest. This class which struck fear in my heart when I first starting reading up on pre-reqs for med school... scales, forked tongue... physics.

Over the summer, if you've been reading, you know I picked up a couple of books on physics:

Thinking Physics by ..., 50 Physics Ideas by Joanne Baker, Physics Made Simple (apparently I didn't read this enough!!) by G. De Pree, and Hawking's Brief History of Time. I read pieces and parts of all the books, trying to decipher and grasp something that would keep me attuned to the subject yet to come.

It was not the subject matter that tattooed my butt. I loved the class. I loved my lab partners (Hi Tania and Amanda) they were some of the best ever. What I didn't love and what was hard was my life at home.

My son is my life and greatest gift. One only has to look at the picture of him last July 4th to realize... our smiles are genuine. My love for him undying.

A few years ago "Evil" moved into our home. Evil rode in on his white horse (a 300C Chrysler) complete with a masochistic demented attitude toward life, and a mentality bent on destroying anything in his path. My son adored him. My son who has been raised fatherless looked up to this man as the father he never had. And sadly, this man was evil.

Sometimes people forget what horrors a child goes through or what a child learns during hard times: hopefully, the child learns to cope and to get through it, MORE hopefully, the child never experiences it. Mine did.

Evil abused him and me. If I was not home, my son took the brunt of Evil's harsh and exquisite tongue that forked out harsh language and nastier bite. Evil had a way of making people forget how harsh he had been blaming his own situation, his own issues, his own upbringing, his own demented thoughts on everyone but himself and after blaming everyone else and everything else, turning into the charmer we knew him to be.

I blame myself. I traveled and Evil said he'd take care of the house and dogs while I was gone. My son was at my parents house on weekends so I did not know how bad things were. Evil also convinced me I was clueless in the parenting department and didn't know how to discipline. Sadly, I believed him. Looking back, I guess I have to wonder how is it that if I was such a failure, my then 12 year old son was getting straight A's and fairly well liked at school?!

Evil was banished from our home. I wish I could have banished the harm done to my son as well. There is absolutely no doubt the abuse suffered at Evil's hands changed my son. For five years, I've been trying to undo what that waste of human flesh did to my son in less than a year. For five years, I've been trying to get the help that is needed for a child inside a grown man's body.

If I sound a little angry, I am. I'm more than angry. The rage I felt 5 years ago has come back. My son ... and with my eyes watering all I can say is, "My son."

I'm taking only one class now this semester. The harsh reality of what that monster did to my son, only now coming on in spurts and blurts. School is < than my child, as it should be... and med school, if need be, can wait.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pitching A Pre-Med/Med Student Reality Show :D

Think of it:

We could have non-trad pre med living with med student who has been there/done that supervised by a pimper physician who thinks he knows it all but really just suffers from introverted narcissism (thanks Ella!! but Dalai, you're too nice) and along the over dinner - errmmm Kraft Mac and Cheese - we could have in depth discussions about health care, payment structures, business model debates, classes (of course) and anything stress related.

America wants to know what really goes on for people to become docs? Why not follow the path from pre-med to physician and everything in between? Forget Grey's and every other over dramatized series... get the real deal!

Heck, I'll even donate the house (2 story colonial with guest house), on secluded acreage along a river.

Who's game?!?!?!

Oh, and for stipends? Pay our tuition, pay for tutors if we need them, chalk boards for drawing out neuro diagrams, and plenty of diet coke.

I'm in!

(you did notice the diet coke part, right? LOTS of diet coke from a fountain!)

P.S. NO balloons, no crops, no problem (thanks Kenny Chesney for the idea)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Do You Remember Love?

My dogs are my escape. Storm reminds me daily that no matter the age, you can do whatever you want. He is seven, which is old for a great dane. He bounces, and prances through life acting as if his puppy hood never left him and quite honestly, I'm pretty sure it didn't.

I think if left to his own devices and a house wide open when I am gone, I'd come home to find the fridge opened (and cleaned out), I'd find the sheets on my bed full of dog hair (and on the floor), and he'd have investigated the toilets (and cleaned them out for me).

Storm was my naughty puppy. REALLY naughty!!! During the summer I set up my guest house for the dogs replete with a huge fenced in area with cedar shavings. Inside it is 1500 sq ft of doggee heaven. I thought with numerous toys, bones, things to play with and investigate that'd keep him occupied. Apparently, there must have been a toy behind the sheetrock... for I came home to find a 2' hole clawed through the wall.

Then I figured it was just because he was bored. His "friends" the now deceased Abby (Absconder) and Tank (the 160 pound great dane) would play and chew quietly so I bought MORE toys, more Kongs, more kibbles to put inside the Kong, and even a horse tug tied to the kennel wall.

Then, one afternoon/evening I was sitting with him in our family room. It's the only furniture he was allowed to sit on (and long gone). I must've ignored him just long enough (remember, he was sitting WITH me).. when he flicked a paw, and attempted to claw the wall.

He WAS my naughty dog. I no longer worry about him clawing the wall, no longer worry about him investigating toilets... but there is still a spark of naughty in his eye, and almost a pervasive "smile" on his face as his whips up the stairs, flies around our upper level, whips the leaves off the houseplants, and then bows to me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Other Passion (edited)

The public seems so forgetful of horrid things that happen to men... and animals. Part of my saving grace is the companionship of my canine buds at home. Even without them, I think this story would irk me beyond belief.

The satirical newspaper, "The Onion" ran a story about Vick in his return to the Eagles.

I'm not sorry about saying this waste of human flesh ...

Why did I post it on my pre-med blog? Because I can, and because sometimes, MORE than medical school is in my life and on my mind ...

Over the course of several years, I used my guest house as an overnight stay for rescue groups' transferees... dogs that were on death row in WV or OH... sometimes the dogs that came through had broken jaws that didn't heal right, back legs that didn't work properly, pups that had been abandoned by careless owner/breeders, and worse.

One dog, Bobby Sue, had never been out of the puppy mill in Missouri. Puppy mill doesn't exactly describe her living conditions for 9 years...

She was born into the mill. Inside were her mother and siblings, however many survived. After being weaned from her mother, she was more than likely confined to a cage about 3' x 2' for the remainder of her life there, only to be brought out to breed every heat cycle. After years of delivering puppies to be sold at pet stores or at auctions, she was deemed garbage and put on death row.

Sometimes these dogs end up as "bait" for people like Vick to use while training their fighting dogs.

When she arrived, my younger, male great dane had just been neutered within past year. He must have still smelled "fully" male. She sniffed him, turned her rump toward his nose, and waited. Storm was not interested in anything but playing tug of war with her. I think he sensed she was clueless in the being a "pet" arena. She seemed confused with him too.

Bobby Sue was nine. She was "papered" with AKC and a "boxer" tag. The papers were forged. She was a bulldog.

She'd never been out of a kennel. She did not know what toys were, or treats, or playing. At nine years of age, I had to "teach" her to play, teach her that her toys were hers, teach her that male dogs could be fun to play with outside, in the grass where her feet never hurt.

Bobby Sue... a warm, funny, snorty, loving a dog as you could want. When she left my home after a few months of recuperation and some good ole loving, she went to the rescue service in Canada... she was diagnosed with mammarian cancer due to her systemic breedings by the puppy mill, and put to sleep.

She had a few short months of being what ALL dogs should be - fun loving, spoiled, loved, cared for, and treated with respect.

And here, this waste of human flesh getting millions because he has an arm and not a care in the world, destroys ... that which can't fight back or say no.

In Honor Of Sleep

I've been up since Tuesday morning at 6:30 AM as I readied myself for work and a long day ahead so... Had hopes my pillow would become reacquainted with my rapidly graying hair, however, last I saw, my pillow is on strike.

In honor of sleep... I don't think I will be waking up for a few hours.

BTW - these guys will be on an "America's Got Talent" audition. 23 Gun Salute to the guys from Minnesota!!!

"Don't let them gut me, I'm not very deep..."

P.S. I'm still enrolled. Other than flip-flopping on an answer bubbling in my physics test, I'm feeling okay. THANK YOU!!! and yes, I think I managed to breathe.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's 12:21 AM

and I'm wired... not quite motivated but wired.

Sitting in front of me:
  1. Knight's Physics text
  2. Examkracker's Physics prep book
  3. diet coke (I TOLD you 3x a day!!!)
  4. Complete Problem Solver - Algebra edition
Tonight, I'm thankful for the supportive responses. So often this road feels isolationist, every corner or bump in the road to be navigated alone.

I'm single, don't date, parents are elderly, son is a teen, dogs don't talk, friends are married/busy with boyfriends-living life/ and so at the end of the day, it is me and my canine friends... and all of you who write, comment, console, support, and read.

Thank you!!!

And To Christine:

You are an amazing young woman. Your capacity to care, to encourage, to listen, to support, to motivate go beyond your years... never give up, micro sucks for everyone :P

(Never hurts to shamelessly send a public plug for one's boss :D)

Thank you again - to all of you... my wagon is sitting there, beckoning me to jump back on and gingerly, I'm moving forward.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dog Tired, Great Breath

Doing what I can to pull myself back together and get on track for physics. Chemistry won't be an issue, no exams until early November and I think I can salvage an "A" there but physics...

Physics is not hard... confusing at some points, vectors going one way, acceleration going another, velocity changes but I get it and the math... and I still love the class... but the one foot in the concrete filled hole and the other stuck in quick sand is getting old. How to find traction again?!

Teeth brushed, dog tired... I'm off to work.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"To Me, You're Already..."

a doctor as spoken to me by a young, black male last night.

What prompted his claim?

I have few vices in life. I don't drink, don't smoke, and have never let an illicit drug touch my system. However, I have a fetish, if you will, for diet coke. Not just any diet coke, but diet coke from a fountain with lots of ice. Strike that... I'm even pickier than that.

Call me a diet coke aficionado. See, there's a chain of gas stations local to our region. There are three specific sites which mix the CO2 and syrup in just the right proportions to get the best flavor. Sadly, I drive to one of the three to get my diet coke fix... three times a day. I SAID I have a fetish!!

Anyway, last night I went to the one closest to home. Walking in I saw an old "friend" who has worked at the station for years. There were two young black males standing around the counter talking to him. After grabbing my diet coke with the proper amount of ice, and approaching the counter, I saw the one young male had a make-shift bandage on his arm replete with scotch tape.

Being me, I asked what'd happened. He said bar and mumbled something else.

I asked how bad it was. He asked if I wanted to see it. I said sure, I was in school to get into med school and become a doc.

Carefully, he gently pulled the bandage, or whatever you would call shredded paper with duct tape and scotch tape holding it together, off. The wound was deep. Knife wound if I had to guess. I could see the bone as he tried to gently pull his skin back over the exposed muscle.

Me: "Are you going to a doctor?"

Him: "No, ma'am." (why is it black men are overly polite to women??)

Me: "Why not? That thing needs to get taken care of medical professionals."

Him: "I know, ma'am. Can you help me right now tho?"

Me: "What happened? I'm not judging, I'm just concerned for how dirty the wound is."

Him: "Yes, ma'am" again muttering something about a bar.

For all you docs who read this, or med school students, sorry... my inner doc kicked in.

I told him to take the rest of the tape off and gently run cool water over the wound. With gloves on, I readied gauze to catch the blood pouring from his gaping flesh.

Taking some other rolled gauze, I put the generic Neosporin on the clothy, mummy type material (got sick of saying "gauze" or in earlier versions, "gauge" - really? must have been stressed!!!), clipped the gauze and waited for him. He came back to me, a little shaky, and stood there looking at the antiseptic wound cleaning package.

Him: "Is that gonna sting?"

Me: "Yeah, a little but that wound needs to be cleaned."

Fear in his eyes, I didn't use it.

After securing the gauze with Neosporin on his arm, taping it down with masking tape laying on the shelf, leaving a bit of the dressing open to breathe, I told him again to see a doc, keep the dressing protected, gave him a package of Neosporin, told him to change the dressing just like I'd done every three hours or until he could get to a doc, get that "puppy stitched up and cleaned right" and wished him well.

His friend... said thank you, and walked out the door ahead of him. He thanked me as well before his friend walked back in.

"To me, you're already a doc... and you're going to be awesome."

I mumbled thank you as I turned around. My "friend" in the store and I had tears in our eyes. Little did that young man know, I'd just left school... and was taking a leave of absence from my pursuit.

Friday, October 9, 2009

One Class Dropped, Another Two To Go

ugh. I hate this. Failure. Failure to prep, failure to focus, failure to get it all gel'd into place.

The class I am dropping? The one that I've wanted to take since I was in junior high - biochem. LOVED the material - finally, something I was interested in helping me solidify my decision.

But no. Wrote the professor to ask if I could sit through the class until the final drop date; I will get a "W" but that's not what makes me cringe. It's the failure.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Give Up... /edited (again)

A few weeks ago I sent out my personal statement to a carefully tweaked list of those I trust.

Thank you to those who read it, thank you to those who responded with advice about tweaks making it awesome. I'm sorry to have wasted your time.

Long diatribe, typed in the middle of the night in the midst of extreme midterm anxiety missing people I'd love to talk to and subjects I'd like to digest.

What I wrote was accurate and factual. The SEC and PCAOB along with OSHA if they did their jobs appropriately during the past 10 years... well, life would be different for a lot of folks... me included.


My boss, Beth, should be given a heartfelt thanks as well. As I walked into our offices this morning she asked how I was, listened without judgment and then told me her thoughts.

She said its common this time of the semester for freshmen, or those just returning to school, to get overwhelmed and feel like they are on a roller coaster in the midst of an earthquake while a roaring hurricane is sitting overhead.

Yep! That is exactly how I feel right now. Overwhelmed, diziginated (thanks Mr. Schellhammer for that word), and completely, utterly disorganized all while trying to pull off a 4.0...

She went on to say, its normal. And that for me to take a breath, get through this week, evaluate after my exams are over, and things are calmer. Finally she added, she thinks I probably have the shear stubbornness to get through this difficult time and prosper to my dream.

Thanks, Beth!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Propranolol - To The Rescue

Anyone else see the humor in the name? LOL

Okay, so I succumbed to the medicinal arsenal of pharm. My headache has increased in magnitude over the past 24 hours and this appears to be the only thing that seems to drive down my blood pressure.

Tylenol did not work. Yoga did not work. Running did not work. Sleep did not work.

Surely a pharmaceutical with "lol" at the end of it's name will work. :)

Make it a great day!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not Motivated...

'nuff said.


and then, a long lost friend writes letting me know of her support.

Back to colloids, solutions, vp, bp, fp, and concentrations...


I lied... I cannot focus. I'm so all over the map, I'm frustrated. I sit down to work through osmotic pressure, freezing point depression, etc problems and start thinking about the dishes in the sink, whether or not I dried my clothing or if its still in the washing machine, I checked on the two foster dogs out in my "other building" (it looks like a guest house but really, its just a 1-1/2 story... dog house), I watered the dogs and the plants inside the main house, came here, read some blogs, reviewed some old posts of mine on another website, and I ...

am frustrated. I have an exam in 3 days that I'm not quite fully prepared for and I cannot, for the life of me, focus.


Legislators Finally Understand What "Working Late" Means

Unlike medical personnel who are always working late and on call.

The Senate Finance Committee finally got its ducks in a row and decreased the fines for the poor on health insurance. Apparently, someone in that group realized how idiotic it would have been to fine the poor for not having something that can't afford in the first place.

The maximum penalty that could be imposed was decreased from $1900 to $800 for a family. I have to wonder, however, if the family is having to choose between spending $75 per month on food or paying for health insurance, if they won't make the choice to eat first and still use the emergency room "insurance" plan (the one where they go into emergency rooms fully aware they must be seen and treated fully knowing that goodwill and charity care will foot the bill).

Here is the article lifted from the NY Times, in its entirety.

Panel Finishes Work on Health Bill Amendments

Published: October 2, 2009

WASHINGTON — After a marathon session that ran well past midnight, the Senate Finance Committee on Friday passed a major milestone in its work on legislation to remake the health care system and provide coverage to millions of the uninsured.

The committee completed work on the last of dozens of amendments to the bill, written by the panel’s chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana.

Committee members plan to vote on the bill next week after they receive an estimate of its costs from the Congressional Budget Office.

The bill would require most Americans to have insurance, would offer federal subsidies to help pay the premiums and would significantly expand Medicaid. To help offset the cost, it would cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the projected growth of Medicare, impose a new excise tax on high-cost insurance plans and charge annual fees to insurers, drug companies and manufacturers of medical devices.

Before it finished work at 2:15 a.m. Friday, the committee voted to reduce penalties on people who go without insurance. The maximum penalty for a family was cut to $800, from $1,900, and it would be phased in gradually from 2014 to 2017.

In its final hours, the committee also voted to modify the proposed tax on high-cost insurance policies, so fewer people would be affected. The tax would apply to policies with premiums exceeding $21,000, but the threshold would be $5,000 higher for health plans covering retirees or people in certain high-risk occupations.

The committee also adopted an amendment by Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, to protect several million older Americans against the loss of extra benefits they receive from private Medicare Advantage plans.

It approved an amendment by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, to protect children against the disruption of coverage they receive under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

And it agreed to a proposal by Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas, that would prevent health insurance companies from taking tax deductions for executive compensation in excess of $500,000.

In addition, the panel voted to provide $1 billion in tax credits to encourage investments in new therapies being developed by biotechnology companies.

Mr. Baucus said he was confident that “the bill can pass the Senate.” He told the panel, “We can all be very proud of what we achieved here.”

But the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said at a news conference on Friday that some Democrats were showing “queasiness about this bill” because it “takes a half a trillion dollars out of Medicare over the next 10 years and raises billions of dollars in taxes on individuals and corporations.”

As the committee finished its work, Republican senators sought assurances from Mr. Baucus that they would have enough time to study the final bill and review the cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

Mr. Baucus said, “I will make, in good faith, make sure there is a reasonable time in which senators, staffs, the public, can review the score by C.B.O.”

Lawmakers hope the price tag will not exceed $900 billion over 10 years, fully offset by new taxes or reductions in government spending. If the cost exceeds that amount, Mr. Baucus said, “we have got a problem,” and the committee will have to make adjustments.

In an initial answer to Republican concerns about having enough time to review the bill, Mr. Baucus posted the revised legislation, including all the amendments adopted in the last week of debate, on the committee’s Web site shortly before 6 p.m. Friday

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oh, You Mean There's Other Subjects Besides Physics??

Yes, there are apparently as noted on my printed schedule: chemistry and biochem. And apparently, because I never miss class, there are exams this coming week which works out well, strangely.

For the past several weeks, I've been so engaged in trying to make sure physics didn't bust my behind that I have done little (but some!!) work on the other classes I'm taking. Note cards for biochem, problem sets for chemistry, review of old tests for chemistry, and preview of practice exam for biochem.

Not worried at all for biochem, that seems readily straightforward - glycolipids are formed by ... Rb is a .... suppressor. Amino acids ..... , ....., ....., make up ......

I think I can nail those which gives me plenty of time to master the math in chemistry.

Thinking of which, I have no headache! Yeay for no headaches this semester!!