Thursday, December 31, 2009
2. IF I re-enroll in school, I will set aside 2 hours every day to do something COMPLETELY unrelated to school; not work, not books, not studying, not being on campus and commuting home does not count! I'm thinking cooking my favorite Ghiradelli brownies, or watching a movie, or running with the dogs...
3. I will spend time at concerts - small and large venue, opera (what I wouldn't do for another run of "Faust"!!) or even another run of "Spamalot" ... /whistles, "Always look on the bright side of life..."
4. I will sign up for another 1/2 marathon. Eek. The last one was so much fun, laughed throughout the entire 13.2 miles, and smiled broadly at the end. Runner's high, however, led to runner's low... will remind myself to rest afterward as well, hoping to thwart that low. It was gawdawful.
5. I will travel to Africa and volunteer in clinic in one of the capital cities.
6. Enjoy my life more this year than last. Should not be hard to do. 2009 was a doozy only to be bested by 1986.
Happy New Year!
Monday, December 28, 2009
The attending ER doc laughed when he saw my student insurance card and asked what I was in school for. Ermm... rural family practice.
Then the nurse came in, shook her head, "Want to see your lab results?"
"Does the mouthy, drooly basset hound bark?" I laughed.
Note to self: apparently, red blood cells in the urine a bad sign. I'll remember that someday when my own patients come to me and say they've been ignoring some really bad signs for a few YEARS.
When I was released from the hospital the discharging doc with her warm eyes reminded me that health care begins with me, at home. If I'm not well enough to take care of myself, I'm probably not well enough to take care of others. "Fine doctor you will make, but you have to live to do so."
Gotcha. Now about that broken hand of mine from this morning...
Sunday, December 27, 2009
If you've never had a chance to see him in concert, Kenny Chesney, is one of the most fun, dance around the arena events one can get to. Am thinking if I choose to keep going (haha... we all know... don't we) that I may have to find time to get in a concert or two.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
So, I've checked the local community colleges for the program/classes required, test dates, etc and think I may take them. I'm not sure how much or how little it will help on my application to have EMT BUT I am hoping that me going to a 3rd world country and my experience helping in a clinic there will be interesting to the adcom.
Just a thought. Will continue to ponder it. For if I do that, then...
Do I answer the wink from school? It said there's a pharmacology class open as well... and whispers softly that the biology professor I like still has seats available in his labs. And of course, I've already been reading the neuro sci book by Dr. Doidge. FASCINATING!
Make it a great day!
Friday, December 25, 2009
About 1.5 hours before Mass the Cathedral puts on a choral/organ/harps performance. It's wonderful, peaceful, angelic. The Mass itself is obviously very Catholic with all its pageantry, opulence, and grandeur. I leave with a sense of well being and peace; wanting to give back to others, grateful for what I already have.
This year the former senator from my great state sat in front of me. In 2002 my son, then 10, and I volunteered some 2000+ hours to get him and the governor elected, and they were. I met him several times along with his wife; he was arrogant, insensitive, and many other not-so-nice adjectives. I really didn't like him much.
In keeping with my hopeful anonymity of myself and others, I'm not disclosing what happened this past year to him but I think he got a pantry full of humble pie.
Tonight he was polite, we chatted a few minutes - he has a friend connection to one of mine - he was sincere. The calm, cool arrogance of the man was gone replaced by a humility that came from within, not his PR person's script.
I told him that I hoped 2010 was much kinder to him than 2009 had been. He said God always has a plan. I smiled, "I know. Are you going to listen?"
The former Senator from my great state, let out his shoulders a bit, smiled warmly, "Yes. Are you?"
If only he knew. May the shared humble pie that both of us got served, help us to continue to follow God's plan, whatever that may be.
I hope that 2010 is better than 2009 for all of us!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
What an amazing year!
Some of you, probably most, read that and thought, "Eh? Seriously?" To which I would say, "YES!"
While I could choose to dwell on how difficult this year has been, I won't. Instead, I'll look back and dance on the grave of despair, and dig my pointy, well-heeled toes into the soil singing Neil Diamond's, "Pretty Amazing Grace" !!
At the beginning of the year I was registered for chemistry and math, chasing a dream, following a lifelong passion. Yes, there were some bumps, or many, along that semester but what did I learn? I can persevere.
In May a visit to the medical school in smaller town showed that oncology was out, I'd fallen in love with the idea of rural family med.
In June I got a job as clerical staff on the university campus. What did I learn? I can go from mega-bucks and no meaning, to no bucks and wealth of purpose. I can have a boss 1/2 my age learning as much from her as she from me.
In July, the children of my 4th grade teacher reached out to me, letting me know what I wrote about their father meant a lot to them. I'd be sorely remiss to not remark on them writing to me, proved he lives on through them; my drive was renewed, hope restored.
In August it was affirmed that rural care is where it's at. To the physician and his nurse who opened their clinic and their professional lives for me to peek into, "Thank you" seems insufficient. Simply allowing me to divorce my lunch and not laugh at me (thank you, thank you!!) showed me grace, humility, and warmth. I'm likewise blessed that your patients seemed completely fine having a perfectly unknown, un-medically trained student in their exams. I came home that first day with a smile so bright, I think I lit up the sky!
On a day in October when I questioned my age, my path, my rationale being in your clinic again reaffirmed my drive. You two are everything and more that I believe rural family practitioners should be. I was blessed to spend my time with you (and will eagerly look forward to more!... just no small lunches :D) BTW, thank you for taking such great care of my father.
During fall semester I learned why phosphorylation is important to health, why we really breathe (no, it's not to fill your lungs, it has to do with blood pH), what happens with diabetics, why HIV is so incredibly deadly and scientists are unable to make a vaccine for it (RNA replication, CD4 and GP 120 be damned), and why some genetic mutations can really cause havoc. It was about at that time, neurology winked at me. I like the winks! But I'm sold on rural care and biochem.
Through my biochem class, and my blog, I was hooked into an ALS research group that I'm looking forward to volunteering for. Through physics I learned that professors don't have to be creepy to be funny in class and teach. Through chemistry... well, I learned to focus on the rainbows in life and chasing a dream. :D
With my son, I learned to let go, and let God. Sometimes children who are overindulged need to have pendulum swing the other way for a bit, to become more centered. I'm blessed with amazing parents who have seen our need to help him become the man we know he already is; he now needs to find that for himself. While he looks at joining the Marines (and I cringe) that may be his path, his dream, his passion.
I hope all of you always embrace the storms of life so that the awakening sunshine feels 10x better. May you always see the rainbows in every situation for they represent the hope of a new beginning, a new horizon.
Some people dream. Some people do. (now trademarked, btw). I could not have survived this year and all its bumps without your help, support, prayers, guidance, and love. I am blessed to have all of you in my life and am ever so thankful for that.
This year, and always, I wish you a very blessed Christmas (Happy Hanukkah) and very Happy New Year!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
At 79 my dad has not stopped working, he's the local carry out "boy" at the grocery store and a strong testament to that generation. If he did stop working, well... I'd just prefer he didn't. It keeps him occupied, busy, engaged in life, surrounded by people (customers) that just love him to pieces. I can understand why.
Dad is unlike the fathers I hear about from my friends. Dad was always an amazing man - kind, caring, forthright, honest, and supportive; he was on the road 5 days a week while I grew up selling Motorola to places that would not buy anything but GE back in the days of 2-way radios and microwave towers, the golden age of that company before cell phones and wireless destroyed it.
He busted tail in his company car to get home on Fridays before I was out of school, picking me up; then found time to play catch or games with me, and on Saturday mornings he watched cartoons. He also always made time to listen, even if he did fall asleep on me one time while I was blathering on about something. He is also known to use editorial embellishment if it fits the need.
A few weeks ago the physician came into where Dad works. I'm sure Dad being Dad struck up the conversation about how well I love coming down there and shadowing; apparently, the physician said they like having me and the patients are wondering when I'll be back. I'm thinking, as he tells me that, "sounds like Dad's embellishment to make sad daughter feel better" moment.
Yesterday, the nurse came in and talked to Dad. Dad is also having to explain why my son lives there now. He mentioned that he has told people this past semester knocked me on my butt. When talking to her, she replied and maybe this time it wasn't Dad's wanting to fix things for his daughter but really what she said:
"Does she think any physician had it easy when they embarked on this path? For if so, this was her wake up call. Tell her to get back on the bus."
"Our patients love her. We love having her around. You better tell her that."
Dad did. And then added himself, "Best you get back to school so that you can become what you were meant to be."
Okay Dad. Love ya. (Mom too... )
Monday, December 21, 2009
It was nothing personal; no one had access to it but me.
My best to all of you through these holidays.
I also think that while he is understanding that it may not hurt another undergrad who has NO degree in hand (or life experience) probably doesn't care about the one "B" on the transcript. For the most part, I'd have to agree with him, except when trying to think of how I'd explain to an admission committee:
On my fall semester transcript. Really? You dropped two classes and all you could manage was a "B"? It's not the "B" per se, it is the drive killer. I am missing it at the moment.
I dropped out. I felt a little relieved. Then I got an email from someone I've known since I was 15. He was my first boyfriend. We've kept in touch for 30 years - through his marriage, his two kids, his career, my son, my boyfriends, my life. At one point, I wrote a rather lengthy novel based on our dreams as individuals (he wanted to be PoTUS, I wanted to be... wait for it...
a cancer doc).
Anyway, he asked how my final went. I said it was fine. Then he read here and wrote:
"I think you are crazy to drop out of school."
D'Artagnan (my dad's nickname for him), once again, to the point and honest. I told him one day at a time right now; he told me to chuck up and be a man. haha, not up for THAT surgery.
We'll see... my classes are still open, just got an inkling for a job on weekends so that I'm not so distracted during the week trying to work on campus, my house is stabilized, my son is doing okay. One day at a time. Today? I don't know yet.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Yikes. Just yikes.
Actually, I just found out a 100 won't do me any good. Apparently, when 90% of the class argues points and their scores are likewise adjusted upward, the mean changes. For those of us who don't argue points, obviously, the converse happens.
My overall grade is 86.5%, good enough for a mid B- (the university uses +/- grading).
A score of 100 on final (which I think I could have done) would have gotten me to an 89.5%, good enough for a B, MAYBE a B+ ...
I've dropped out.
The test I took a few weeks ago where I did not even study sickle cell trait or CF, I did just slightly ABOVE the mean. Haha. Not bad considering 34 points were on two topics I knew little about.
The 2nd test, the one I thought I had done really well on, everyone complained about their scores and answers. I did not. So, that hurt me.
It's been a difficult journey. Hopping off for now.
And this just sent to me:
Monday, December 14, 2009
One of my great passions in life is animal rescue - specifically, great danes. Due to another forum, I have come to believe MBPS can also occur with animals, not just human children. The same sick, twisted way of treating and abusing children just gets turned onto the poor pups.
This poser got a pup in 2007. A few weeks into owning it, the pup wobbled. Five months later, it was dead.
Six months after that in 2008, the poser got another great dane pup, flamed away at neutering or not, then while on the operating table 5 months later, the vet found necrotic tissue, and subsequent to that, the dog died.
Three months after that, in 2009 the poser got yet another great dane pup, flamed away at some or other disease, and now sadly, the poor dog after having so much surgery, is not doing well. What do you want to bet it dies too!?
Three great dane pups, in three years... oh, and all with behavior issues yet her boyfriend's apparent "stud" dog has none.
I think, it is something else entirely. The profile fits her to a "T"...
(copied from this website: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/munchausen.html)
Munchausen by proxy syndrome (MBPS) is a relatively uncommon condition that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker. One of the most harmful forms of child abuse, MBPS was named after Baron von Munchausen, an 18th-century German dignitary known for telling outlandish stories.
In MBPS, an individual — usually a mother — deliberately makes another person (most often his or her own preschool child) sick or convinces others that the person is sick. The parent or caregiver misleads others into thinking that the child has medical problems by lying and reporting fictitious episodes. He or she may exaggerate, fabricate, or induce symptoms. As a result, doctors usually order tests, try different types of medications, and may even hospitalize the child or perform surgery to determine the cause.
Typically, the perpetrator feels satisfied by gaining the attention and sympathy of doctors, nurses, and others who come into contact with him or her and the child. Some experts believe that it isn't just the attention that's gained from the "illness" of the child that drives this behavior, but also the satisfaction in being able to deceive individuals that they consider to be more important and powerful than themselves.
Because the parent or caregiver appears to be so caring and attentive, often no one suspects any wrongdoing. A perplexing aspect of the syndrome is the ability of the parent or caregiver to fool and manipulate doctors. Frequently, the perpetrator is familiar with the medical profession and is very good at fooling the doctors. Even the most experienced doctors can miss the meaning of the inconsistencies in the child's symptoms. It's not unusual for medical personnel to overlook the possibility of MBPS because it goes against the belief that a parent or caregiver would never deliberately hurt his or her child.
Children who are subject to MBPS are typically preschool age, although there have been reported cases in kids up to 16 years old, and there are equal numbers of boys and girls. About 98% of the perpetrators are female.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
This particular spa puts lavender heated wraps around the neck area so while being soaped and head massaged, the aromatic therapy unwinds the mind. I LOVE it. She is amazing at it too :)
Anyway, we started talking about finances related to school, my favorite classes (physics and biochem - gen chem can kiss my ...) when the lady next to me piped in asking what schooling I was going for. Telling her med school, she asked if I was nuts (yes, probably).
She then went on to disparage the hospitals, clinics, medical professional partners and finally stated that she wished she had more business background when she entered the profession.
She is an MD and an unhappy one at that.
I feel for her. She said she loved her patients, loved the care providing, and science aspect of the job but hated, simply HATED, the business aspect of it.
Several months ago I was telling my then boyfriend, a physician, what I think went wrong with the medical industry some decades ago. So, I'm going to digress here for a minute, or two.
Back in the 1800s a doc with a dark black bag, a stethoscope and some quinine pills set off on his horse, or maybe with a buggy, and visited his patients. He listened to their stories, he took their lives into consideration when thinking about how to help, and then hopped back into his buggy and went a few miles down the road to his next patient. When patients were too sick to pay at that time, he probably figured out another way they could "pay" their bill, and moved on.
In his community he was beloved by all. As time moved forward and his patient practice grew, he recruited another doc knowing he could not provide the best care for his growing practice and awesome reputation. Some time after that, the doctors needed a nurse to help with triage and opened a small, tiny clinic in the town. As that practice continued to grow, the docs hired a bookkeeper to help pay the bills, pay the nurse, and of course, pay themselves.
Eventually, that one doc shop turned into a large clinic by the early 1900s, several small clinics merged to become a larger clinic and no longer hiring just bookkeepers, they hired finance people to run the business aspect.
The business people probably had no medical experience but saw with a twinkle in their eyes how much money they could make providing guidance and strategy to physicians. As that larger clinic grew, just a finance person was not good enough and an MBA had to be hired.
Now that small doc with a horse and a buggy had lost control over HOW he managed his patient's care, WHEN he managed their care, and HOW LONG he could spend with each one.
On top of that, business people are not known for their empathetic nature only looking at bottom lines and financial statements. CEOs of large behemoth hospital/clinic/pharmacy chains are generally not physician trained.
Therein, lies a HUGE problem. Empathy gone at the top (in the business world we call that "tone at the top" for Sarbanes-Oxley purposes), moral compass and doing what is right somewhat skewed by bottom line numbers, physicians are caught in the middle of a web of MBA branded CEOs and presidents, vs. CEOs that are MD trained.
I bet the woman at the wash bowl was in a clinic setting run by a CEO with an MBA, a 7-figure salary, and the inverse amount of empathy. I can understand why she doesn't like it. The politics of becoming a sycophant so that required operating conditions are set is not fun in any setting.
In this case, people's lives ARE at stake so the stress has to be greater.
When she heard my background, she proclaimed, "You'll be fine being a physician. You already know the dirty politics of the business aspect of it."
Sadly, I do. Too bad as a society we have lost our direction and course of what it means to provide and receive medical care and is now a business; just like a bank, or auto dealership, or Target.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Hopefully, I will get that from meeting with him. And also, this time, I've printed out ALL the study guide sheets for the exam. And I do intend on the full 100 points. Hopefully, that will get me a beloved A... I can only hope.
Make it a great day!
Friday, December 11, 2009
It had to be hurtful to find out he had an affair. What had to be worse was him publicly announcing he still loved the other woman.
Kudos to her for not discussing their relationship, not discussing her children's lives, and for being true to herself.
As a professor said yesterday to his class: stay on true north. Define yourself by your values and live by them. A tiny skew to one direction will set an entire life off course in a few years. Don't do it.
Jenny Sanford is true to her family, her beliefs, her children and keeping mum about matters that should remain that way.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
For privacy reasons (his life), I will not state what it is that is bothering me but... sometimes I just don't know what to say when I hear news that is not delightful. Instead, I just wanted to give him a hug, tell him I think and pray for his family, and hug him again. I wish that were 1) appropriate and 2) enough.
Instead, I'm rendered speechless... and yet my heart aches for him and his family. I wish I had gone to med school 20 years ago and done the PhD route as well. I wish I had found a way to help back then so now, I'd have the tools to say the right thing, to help, to comfort.
Instead, all I could say is I'm so sorry. It seems too trite.
1) Should I have overcome everything and pushed forward (no, I tried; foreclosure, bankruptcy, my son's mental health issues, not to mention the chemistry department's lack of taking care of their issues)
2) Will this affect me for med school (perhaps, but if I don't try, if I don't continue on; trying something different, I will never know)
3) Did I learn anything (absolutely!!! LOVED biochem, which btw, in the professor's defense, it was my bad; there was a 2nd study guide that I spaced out that DID have the cystic fibrosis and sickle cell trait items on it; completely my fault)
4) Did I learn anything else (yes; I really want to be a family doc; neuro has peeked my interest; research is something I love)
5) Am I glad it is over? There is the yes answer, the h*** yes answer, and then the answer to that question. Very glad.
I will be taking my chemistry sequence elsewhere for reasons I cannot post. Those who know understand and support this. During my break I 'm pre-reading the "textbook" for neurology (it is a paperback novel-like book written by Dr. Doidge -fascinating); will be registering for the summer physics institute so I can complete that series; and relaxing.
Foreclosure done. Bankruptcy not going through with it (don't need to with my home settled). My son is safe and doing well with my parents (Thank you Mom and Dad - you rawk!). I will figure out a way to pay for this semester (yet unpaid due to home) and pay for next semester.
Mostly, I'm going to relax. Rejuvenate. Cheers!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Able mind, unable body. I'm glad the paper is done, and likewise, I did learn: SOD1 mutations, missense, glutamate aggregation, myelin sheath degeneration, motor neuron disease. I even found I like reading neurology materials (please keep that VERY quiet... no one need know, I've found an area that peaks my curiousity).
Glad the paper is finished. I think I could have done a better job... so goes the life of a pre-med: always doing my best, second guessing if that is good enough, and praying it all comes out in the end with an acceptance letter somewhere.
Make it a great day!
Friday, December 4, 2009
That is all :)
Actually, the test was not THAT brutal just very different from the study guide given to us. I felt I would have done extremely well had the material noted on study guide been what was exactly tested. It was not. Never a great feeling when you get to end sheets of WRITTEN part of exam and think, "Um, say what?!"
So I punted. I wrote what I knew. Made up a hilarious name for a medication for sickle cell (the disease is NOT hilarious but my medication name was)
Infantisis fetalisis hemoglobinesteraselol
So yea. Couldn't answer the questions as detailed as I would have liked to in sickle cell trait because I did not study the trait, I studied the disease, why it occurs, where it starts (GLU hydrophilic codon replaced by VAL hydrophobic codon), what the impact of that missense does to the gene, how that affects the patient (vasodilation, or vasoconstriction, or platelets clogging arteries and veins as they now hydrophobic clumps get herded by water inside body).
Oh, and the last page was on Cystic Fibrosis. It wasn't on study guide. So my knowledge of the disease came from in class discussion and personal knowledge.
However, since the test sucked, I sucked on it, and that pretty much sums up my test day, I'm taking a different thought process on this:
1) do really well on paper that is required and needs to be complete by Monday (worth same amount of points as an exam)
2) understand how the instructor tests so that I can nail the last exam
Do very well in class overall.
I learned from this experience... and quietly admit, if I don't get into med school (le gasp and cry), I think I love biochem, and research and possibly PhD? I don't know. I really hope I can be with patients, not behind a desk and microscope all day. But I must prepare for backup plan (and possibly a PhD program wouldn't admit me anyway?)
So... I'm good with today. Exam sucked. I learned something new.
Make it a great day!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Normally, our biochem class is very quiet. There are few of those in class who raise hands, ask questions, point out novelties (or not) and who hope add to the discussion (/looks around). Then there are those who sit there, taking it all in, not saying a word but hearing everything... and thinking.
Today, the class was very definitely not quiet. Stem cell research. Biochem. The ethics debate begun mid-afternoon could have easily taken the remainder of class and then next few.
When does life start?
What is more valuable - a life already begun in earnest and working, paying taxes, and bearing children? Or the life that has yet to do those things?
What should be done with embryonic cells when the donating parents no longer want them?
Where should the cloning of cells stop? If we start, some would say, we cannot stop. If we don't start, people die of diseases that ravage their systems leaving them physically feeble and in some cases, mentally as well.
If scientists resolve the religious issue, what about the ideological one?
Fascinating day in biochem. Loved it!