Friday, October 29, 2010

Back In The Saddle

Contract awarded.

School starts January 2011.

Organic is open.

'nuff said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not So Fast Philly!

As much as the opportunity sounded like great fun: new city, new people, new places to explore, the job/contract in Philadelphia has disappeared. To be honest, I'm kind of glad. Here's why:

Over the past week, I've realized how much my parents mean to me. Not that I needed reminding but I realize how frail they are becoming, how limited my days are with them. Storm sort of showed me that all can seem to be well, only to end in sheer sadness.

Over the past week, I've realized how much I do not want to solve a conglomerate's problems with their financial close. Been there, done that; was I willing to do so again? Sure! But not at my expense (literally - I would have to pay all my travel expenses).

Over the past week, friends I thought had dropped off the face of the earth, locally, have re-emerged, showing their own tenacity to make it through these very difficult times. Reaching out to me, has helped me cope with the loss of my beloved Storm. Reaching out to me, has reinforced I have roots here, a love here, and God willing, school here. I don't need to go anywhere at this time. I can just learn to be still.

Over the past week, I have reflected on what it is that I want, and what it is not. I don't want to chase a gold lined street, I want stability and sanity. Again, having had one of the top jobs at a very large global company, I did that once before, I think I'll pass this time.

So, not so fast Philly! But thank you anyway!

Make it a great day - go chase your dream!

I'm continuing to find ways to chase my own - won't you join me?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No One Said I Had

to be an MD; just me.  It is my first choice, although choosing between very sick kids and treating them, or researching insidious maladies of the furred kids is more difficult.

The reason may not be so apparent.

While hundreds of researchers scour the reasons for various childhood cancers, very few research remedies for other species' maladies.

Yes, I'm talking about bloat.  Yes, I've reached out to the veterinarian PhD program about options there.

I'm not sure I have the ability to research ON animals - but those are the questions I will ask. I know I could not be the vet who puts the plastic stomach inside the cow to see how digestion works in that animal. I find that incredibly disgusting and twisted.

We'll see. I'm still searching for my future.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Trying

really, I am.  Exactly seven days I ago, I walked out the front door of the cave, out to the truck with a perky eared great dane, who stopped to pee, sniff a tree, and jump in my truck.

Away we went, like a bat out of hell.  He seemed non-plussed about the whole thing.  Even wagged his tail walking into the e-vet... he did not want to go.  One hour before he was euthanized, he was still perking up his ears... still thumping his tail... still trying to console his owner who was sobbing on the cold floor of the harshly lighted clinic.

My soul left me that night.  I have yet to find it.  But I am trying.

I miss you Storm.  I miss your little lips puckering up to lick me in the morning.  I miss those flappy jowls of yours flinging floobers all over the house.  What I really miss is my Saturday morning run to the dog food store and all the people remarking what a GREAT great dane you are.  I miss you curling up on my bed fully aware that is not mom-approved... only to jump off and look at me like it was perfectly fine because it was you.  I miss your fur and smell of it against my face as I rubbed you down and checked your legs for growths.  I miss you prancing around like ... well, only you know the name we called you.  It fit, my love.  Storm, if you could only hear my heart; if you could only know how much you are missed by your earth bound family... as you left this world the only words I could think were, "Thank you" for anything else doesn't fit what you have meant to Garret and I ... you saved me from myself and from the evil that lurked in our home for 2 years.  You barked at strangers in the back yard when who knows what they were doing back there.  You pranced and played to make us laugh; we have the pictures of you about to swirl into the zoomies.  I will never understand how your tail did not get busted up in the old house.  By the way, I hope you don't mind if I carry you in my heart, but put your ashes out at the old house, by your buddies.  Hopefully, next spring I'll be able to let you really go.

Storm, I'm so sorry.  I miss you.  I am trying.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A New Normal

It was strange to come home last night.

Working on Storm's video is cathartic, deeply painful, agonizingly poignant.  In my head, I can see it from start to finish.  I hope it is worthy of him.

Our golden continues to be oblivious.  A client of mine once told me, I was like a golden retriever.  How I wish I could be like that now.  Oblivious.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beyond Inconsolable

My grief so vast and so deep; my despair... my soul is gone.

Storm ... my precious soul... the real love of my life.

At some point, this song will be put to pictures and posted here.  For now, the song says it all.  I'm broken.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some Great Insight Worthy of Its Own Post - from Medschoolodyssey

Medschoolodyssey wrote a comment which I could have chosen to leave public but on comments page, or make public. I've chosen, obviously, to make them public.

Good discussions should always be seen readily by others. It is how we learn and grow as people.

My original thoughts are in normal, bland, boring type. MSO's are in bold italic.

Thank you MSO for writing!
--------------------------
1) general chemistry is required to understand organic chemistry and the rates at which reactions occur to which still leads to /eyeroll and /facepalm (yes, I'm a gamer... shhhh)

I hated freshman chemistry, because so much of it seemed like memorization with a complete disregard for fundamental understanding. One needs to learn these concepts, but it's not until organic chemistry or electromagnetics that you really get to understand the mechanics behind what's going on here.

2) organic chemistry is required to understand biochemistry which is useful in treating and understanding the pathology of diseases and potential migratory paths for whatever ails said patients; which leads to a /barf (yes, still a gamer)

Medical school admissions committees seem to equate performance in organic chemistry with critical thinking ability and so forth. A friend of mine that started medical school this year at Duke University told me she uses her background in organic chemistry constantly in her biochemistry course. Of course, the utility of organic chemistry in clinical medicine is probably small.

3) physics, to me, is the root of all the sciences and helps in understanding chemistry, electron orbitals were not discovered nor explained by chemists but by physicists; going full circle to /eyeroll and /facepalm

I should point out that the first person to refer to the eigenfunctions of electrons in a hydrogen atom as orbitals was Robert Muilliken, who won the Nobel prize for chemistry. But, you're correct - it was a whole cadre of physicists that developed the foundations of what we now know as quantum mechanics. Of course, Muilliken expanded on their work when he laid out his theory of molecular orbitals, which is a major component of the more modern view we use today. As a physicist, I find it really hard to determine where chemistry ends and physics begins, particularly when discussing atoms, molecules, and chemical reactions. Honestly, at this point, it's hard for me to determine the boundaries of any of the pre-med science fields. Biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics all look to me like different views on the same subject.

4) because how in the heck else would medical schools easily dismiss otherwise very qualified candidates from even getting into the "box" for review purposes

Correct. It could be arbitrary and based on things like who you know, whether your parents were doctors, or whether you came from the proper socio-economic class.

Another thing to add here on some perspective to organic chemistry - check the articles and the comments on both of these.


http://masterorganicchemistry.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/some-perspective/

http://medschoolodyssey.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/why-im-not-afraid-of-organic-chemistry/

Electrons & Ochem & Physics, Oh My!

Yeay! I LOVE being asked questions and thus be able to pontificate :P  Thanks to another reader, unafraid to ask me something!

So, a reader asked why doctors need to know about electrons and o-chem and other such matters.

Great question because obviously, no doctor has ever sat with his patient and said, "Now look. The reason the penicillin medication works is because the 90 degree angle on the beta lactam ring breaks apart under the stress of the bacteria trying to eat it.  The resulting reaction creates an energy response and chemical imbalance which then permeates the bacteria and stops the bacteria from being able to replicate its cell wall."

Patients would eye roll.

Like you just did.

My beliefs are this regarding ochem, physics, and general chemistry:

1) general chemistry is required to understand organic chemistry and the rates at which reactions occur to which still leads to /eyeroll and /facepalm (yes, I'm a gamer... shhhh)

2) organic chemistry is required to understand biochemistry which is useful in treating and understanding the pathology of diseases and potential migratory paths for whatever ails said patients; which leads to a /barf (yes, still a gamer)

3) physics, to me, is the root of all the sciences and helps in understanding chemistry, electron orbitals were not discovered nor explained by chemists but by physicists; going full circle to /eyeroll and /facepalm

4) because how in the heck else would medical schools easily dismiss otherwise very qualified candidates from even getting into the "box" for review purposes

I don't truly believe the classes are weeder; more that the classes become so because students become less focused on the end goal and entirely focus on why they hate o-chem, and physics. I know 20 years ago that is what happened to me (and my own son's death); now realizing how short time is, and how much I need those classes to understand, I don't mind them so much.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Africa Question

A reader happening upon my blog WHO WAS NOT AFRAID TO ASK A QUESTION, inquired if I had actually made it to Ghana as I had hoped back in May.

Sadly, the answer is no.

My friend from high school was in charge of something-or-other of the embassy there.  While I had hoped to work it out for me to be in clinics, somethings in life never change and he is one of them :)

For better or worse, he has always been supremely unreliable; and despite that we have grown up over the past 30 years, he is still as charming as ever and ... still unreliable.  When I realized I could easily dump the money into airline tickets, hotels only to find myself alone in an uncharted country, I did not go.

Will I try to get to Africa at some point?  Absolutely!  I'm hoping to go yet next year - maybe take in Tanzania, or Mozambique, or even South Africa.  It'd be awesome if I could twist together some volunteer time in the country of choice - clinics, home building or repairing, or even just reading to sick kids.

Thank you to the reader for asking! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bucking The Current

Sometimes I swim in the ocean and look for starfish, shells, crabs and if lucky a shark or two.

Sometimes in life, I swim against the current trying desperately to cling to whatever beacon of hope I can find.

A credit to a Queen of a different sort, who said this recently:

People think that they can swim directly back to shore when caught in a rip tide.  You have to swim parallel to shore until you get out of the current before you can swim back in.  Stop fighting the current, get out of it altogether and then you can get where you want to go!

I could not have said it better myself.  And I completely agree.  Sometimes it is okay to swim parallel to a dream or a goal or a life choice before finding the right moment to swim ashore and clinch the sweet dream in hand.

The video just reminded me of the undertow of the water, the strength of the underlying pull... and my own ability to continue to swim with it, until I can get things in their proper place.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Philadelphia Freedom

It appears fairly likely, I will be spending a fair amount of time in the Philly area at a VERY large medical type company, near some major universities!

The details are yet to be finalized but if so:

1)  I will  have the MONEY!!!  to pursue my pre-reqs

2)  I will have the MONEY!!! to not sweat the rent

3)  I will have the fire again in the belly...

Crossing my fingers... although, I'd have preferred to be south and warm this winter, cold and snowy is okay too; the dream's passion being stoked again keeping me warm!

EDITED:

I've checked out all the universities and colleges around the Philly area and the three closest to where I'd be housed/working, are:

U Penn (yeay!)
Villanova (yeay!)
Drexel (yeay!)

My first choice would be 'Nova as... well, hoops fan here; and if my son, by chance would be coming with me, I'm sure he'd like to see them hoop-it-up.

Oh gosh, the interview goes well today, I believe I'm in Philly for a few years...

(finding a bag to breathe in while the dream has flickering flames again...)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ask Me Anything...

Really, go ahead, ask me.  What's on your mind?  What puzzles you?

MPH Questions

One of the areas in my last few years of studies that I have thoroughly enjoyed and loved, was the hard sciences.

Yes, I had to have propranolol near by for my near-fainting attacks during exams.  I do not suffer anxiety any other time.  Yes, I had to work really damn hard at getting equations right, understand the principles behind the equations, and push the dumb calculator buttons appropriately.

But I loved the classes!  I loved being pushed to learn something that was not easy, or should I say, as easy as ready Henry David Thoreau and writing a paper.  It also brought me back to a time and place in my life where I could rely on me. 

I miss that.

Will I get to take the hard science classes in an MPH program?  If so, which ones?

Will I get to take research classes relevant to specific disease states that interest me?  Who gets to choose those?

My concern is that the classes will be the fuzzy, feely, warm-touchy classes that I abhor.  While theory and consideration and hypothesizing with peers might sound like fun in the short term, in the long run, I think I'd puke... not literally, but ...

So, I'm still considering, asking, pondering, searching, researching, hoping, and sometime soon, embarking.

Make it a great day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Story of Weds

Hopefully, you've been watching the Chilean miner rescue efforts that are on-going.  Or at a minimum have gotten a glimpse of the miners and their families as they've arrived back to daylight and fresh air.

It is estimated that the country had inhabitants more than 12,500 years ago and according to the CIA handbook, possibly as much as 33,000 years ago.  Through turbulent years, atrocities oft times unknown and not well recorded, the country has established itself as an emerging leader, a regional cornerstone for South America.  As the rescue efforts have unfolded, the country with less wealth and less technology, has shown tremendous heart and will power.

A few things of note, as I've watched and contrasted/compared rescue efforts of late:

The Chilean president stands back while rescuers bring the miner to the top of the shaft, allowing family members to be front and center when the latch opens and the  miner tastes the first few breaths of pure freedom.

Our President(s) - all of them - stand front and center making sure to use the photographic moment as a PR glimmer vs a true humanitarian point.

The Chilean president said he would do all that he could to rescue the miners, BEFORE they were found to be alive.  And once they were found in the rescue room, he did all that he could - called on nations of stronger technology and more knowledgeable physicians - to help make sure that all 33 miners came to the top.  He did not wander off to vacation spots, climb aboard yachts, make small talk that meant nothing.  In focusing solely on the miners' lives and the families, he said a lot without saying a word.

Our Presidents(s) - all of them - go boating, take vacations, retreat to ranches, ponder other matters of national interest loudly while still pondering how the rescues will unfold.

I realize the United States has an economy that is far broader than the Chilean economy's reliance on mining.  It provides 40% of the entire revenue for that country, but that's beside the point.  I also realize that the financial focus is therefore, massively different.  But people are people, human lives are worth saving whether in Chile, or the U.S.

My opinion is that part of the way the miners survived was based upon their inherent trust of the government and the mining company, and their comraderie with each other.  They consoled each other, lifted each other up, rejoiced in being found, praised each other's strength, and hoped together.  The Chilean people appear to put family and God first, money somewhere after.  Americans in similar positions, 1/2 mile below the surface of the planet, would probably just complain and blame whatever sitting President happened to sit in the Oval Office.  Everything in America is someone else's fault, or President Obama or before him, President Bush.

The Chilean president stands back and lets his people come first.  He appears to recognize that this is not his time to shine but to allow the families to reunite without narcissisism raining on their homecoming.

Family first, him second... or last.

DO NOT misconstrue that I think living in Chile would be better than this grand country.  I do not.  But part of traveling broadly has also taught me to look at other countries and their culture for tips on how to live better and appreciate more in my own.

As a quote on CNN.com said, "May their example inspire us all"...

Nothing more need be said.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Best Story of the Day

Trapped miners being brought to the surface. Who can resist a feel good, resilience story about grown men who just want to be with their families?

No one. Not me, not you, and not the world.

As we wait with high hopes and lofty prayers for their safe arrival on the surface of Earth.

God speed!

My Next Job?

As you all know, I in full on-bore panic mode. My first field of choice has always been pediatric oncology. I LOVE kids, I love sick kiddos even more; and their parents are to be cherished as well. The struggles parents pass through when their child is diagnosed with cancer, is tantamount to Tsunami Evocationsadnessistis. The pain, fear, and roller coaster ride are chronic, even if the child survives and thrives into adulthood (a parent is always a parent, eh?)

Anyway, I can't be in school this semester. When my truck was broken into, about $700 in books were taken as well as all my research notes, lecture notes, organic molecule parts and pieces, calculator, and my favorite types of pens and pencils (PhD) which are not cheap.

I just didn't have the funds to replace all that; and honestly, given Mr. Skydiver and I right now, I thought it best to take a semester off.

Thanks to Dr. Ella over at her blog, I've found a new career... as she suggested to readers NOT to do... without further adieu, here are the steps for me to take into my next career.

(Don't laugh. My ex boyfriend's sister - the physician's sister - is in this field.)
---------------------------
How to Join the Circus

I want to do this! What's This? ..

It sounds like a joke from childhood, but circuses are still around and they're still as fun as ever. A circus gives you the chance to travel, perform in front of people at close range and hang around a multi-talented group. Follow these steps to join the circus.

Instructions.

1) Find out what it really means to join the circus. Read "Under the Big Top: A Season with the Circus" by Bruce Feiler. He traveled with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus as a clown for 8 months. The book gives you a behind-the-scenes look at circus life.

2) Decide what you want to do when you join the circus. Try different physical activities like acrobatics, juggling and stilt walking. Practice doing a clown act at kids' birthday parties to see if you like it.

3) Go to a circus school to perfect your clown act or learn acts in high demand like tight-rope walking, breathing fire and flying on the trapeze. Most circus schools are abroad but search the list on DMOZ.org to locate courses in the U.S.

4) Get creative with your act. Whether you go to a circus school or train with a performer, you'll need to offer something that will draw in crowds.

5) Practice your act and perfect every small detail. Circus recruiters know what to look for and will eliminate candidates based on small imperfections.

6) Check out Circusweb.com for a list of circuses. Contact them about joining. Be prepared to send a video of your performance or audition in person.

7) Consider working behind the scenes. You'll be around the circus folks but won't have to risk injury or the pressures of performing.

Read more: How to Join the Circus
eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2060142_join-circus.html#ixzz12B3Y3Ic2

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Movie - Not Oscar Worthy

But OMG... PERFECT for a solid, well acted, funny throughout tummy tickler.

Life As We Know It was the perfect remedy for a bland night.  I laughed, there appeared to be dust in the theater as my eyes watered at one point, I howled at many others, and thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Might I add, that I graduated from a high school in North Dakota.  Where the heck was Josh Duhamel back then?  Ohhh, Fergie, he is sublime!  Back to the movie:

It opens with a solid snort and belly chuckle, and ends with a misty, heart warming sonnet.

The only part that was a tad - looking for the words here - too close to home, was the part about the doctor entering into Katherine Heigl's character's life while the man she really wants is elsewhere, trying to sort out his manly feelings, chasing after his own career in a different city, eventually, missing her.

Anyway, go see this movie too!

(and no, this is not my new profession and manner of helping people; there are enough movie critics out there, I need not add to the myriad of yacking typists... erm, critics - just keeping myself busy whilst I sort out where I go from where I was)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oscar Buzz Attention - Secretariat

Best Picture:  Secretariat

Best Actor: John Malkovich

Best Actress:  Diane Lane

Fabulous!

Generally, I like animal movies but find them droll, long-in-the-tooth, too emotional, too sappy, and entirely too... yuck. 

Secretariat, the movie like the namesake, is far from any of those terms.  While I hate horse racing with a passion (thanks to Ruffian), Secretariat makes one forget the horrors that befall jockeys and the steads they ride upon ...  One movie reviewer in Orlando said there were no lump in the throat moments for this movie to be Oscar worthy.  I disagree that in order to be nominated for an Oscar a movie must be equated to lumps, bumps, and/ or tear jerkers.  No wonder America is seen as emotionally destitute and intellectually stymied.  We pick the best and brightest based upon our thorax and Adam's apple?

Sometimes, and in this case, a movie just needs to tell a story with grace and eloquence.  Which Secretariat does with great affectation.  The movie did not need to be "Hollywoodized" - it is priceless as is because of the horse; because of the owner; because of the story itself.


The movie said Secretariat never gave up running.  He just never gave up.  I believe he is still the only horse buried at Churchill Downs - the site of the Kentucky Derby.  As he should be...


Yep, best movie of the year, with twitches/grimaces/bad hats, and all - John Malkovich for best actor, and Diane Lane for her portrayal as the loving, doting horse owner.

Go see it. I promise, you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And Today :)

Was awesome!  Spent 4 hours at my contract job... it was a return to the one I worked this summer.

Nothing like a manager's happy face greeting me to make my day.

Thanks, MK!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Realizing Why Some Pre Meds Fade Away

I often wondered why some premed blogs do not post once they decide for whatever reason they are not going to get into or even try to get into, medical school.

It tastes like failure!  Who wants to somewhat anonymously announce their med school dream is dead?

Well, mine may very well be.

I'm not in school this semester.  I hate that.  I hate that I can't find a job, or that a job sounds really promising right through the interview where I'm told like Simon that I'm getting passed to next round, only to be told that I'm not being considered anymore.  Not sure what changes with that process but apparently, my name is still crap around this small market town.

Saw Wall Street this weekend.  Fabulous line in it reminded me of my own life:

I'll make you a deal.  You quit telling lies about me, and I'll quit telling the SEC about you.

Makes sense, eh?

So, I've changed the title of the blog to what happens after one quits being on the path.  If it weren't for money, I'd not quit but there is no funding available, I cannot get a job although in the 3 years since I told my employer to restate their financial reports to the SEC, I've applied for almost 500 positions... all denials.

I'm a survivor and this too shall pass.  I'll find another way to help people; just not sure how or where or what professional degree that will be in.

Stay tuned...