Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Dad & Storm Trooper

Mom and Dad came up to help me with the move. They love organizing kitchens. Dad will be 81 in a few weeks, Mom will be 79 in a few months.

Dad, once a 250 lb, 6'4" man with stamina that would not quit with a mind that was sharp as a tack, is frail, thin, weak, diminishing.  You might recall, almost 5 months ago he was flown by Mayo 1 to St. Mary's Hospital and operated upon immediately.  The prognosis was grim.  His internal organ damage pretty widespread... coming into ICU, he did not look like my father.  He looked like what I expected to cut upon in a few years.  Pasty white, lips drawn wide... the ICU physician answering all my questions in "common" speak until I probed further.

My dad has overcome several further hospitalizations: pseudomonas, staph, kidney failure, 2nd bout of pseudomonas, some GI tract infection (thank you pharma for Flagyl), aneurysm recently found, and more kidney failure... don't forget about the prostrate, lack of a spleen, CHF.  Thank GOD he stopped smoking and doesn't drink a lot, if ever anymore (especially while taking Flagyl!)...

Anyway, before I knew the extent of the above and while sitting in my dining area, I asked about taking a trip this summer to the Caribbean, and Mom said she didn't think Dad would be strong enough. I thought maybe she was just being overly dramatic. She is known to do that.

Dad watched Bentley out on our deck. Bentley is everything anyone could want in a great dane puppy. Majestic, proud, noble, confident. As Bentley went to lay down in the warm spring sun, Dad remarked, "Storm is looking so good these days."

I replied, "Dad, that isn't Storm. That's Bentley. Storm died, remember?"

"Storm died?" he queried... he'd gotten my devastated phone call at 7 AM the morning Storm died and drove feverishly to get to me to console his beyond the despair daughter.

"Yes, Dad. Storm died a few months ago, remember? You came up that morning to console me?"

"I thought you had two great danes."

"I did. Storm and Dutch. Both are gone now. Bentley is new."

A few seconds passed. Seemed like an eternity for me. Dad sat looking down and said nothing for a bit.

"Yeah. That's right. Storm died when the vet made a mistake."

"Yes, Dad. You're right, that's exactly what happened."

And then, I knew. And in the truck tonight driving with my son, I realized my days with the only man that I know loves, and has loved, me (my son doesn't count), are dwindling.

As I led my parents in the caravan to dinner, my eyes watered up.

Damn allergies anyway.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Junior Achievement

My last day teaching the 2nd grade class is today. Many years ago, I was the lead for Deloite & Touche's "Impact Day" where we took over an impoverished, inner city elementary school. Those kids spoke no less than 15 different languages and were born in 20 different countries. One of my most vivid memories is reading what those youngsters wanted in a leader: compassion, empathy, kindness. The countries were Laos, Cambodia, among others.

On that day, my son helped volunteer as he was out of school. He helped with the track and field station down across the street. Later he would tell me about the drug deal and the prostitutes he saw there that day. We would later talk about how lucky we were to have a warm house, without gun fire, with warm food, and warm blankets. The kids we were with that particular day often went without food, and often without parents.

I left D&T... thankfully. I don't fit the throw-people-under-the-bus mentality... and searched for other ways to give back to kids.

Junior Achievement.

Not much is different between the children at that inner city school and the one where I've been teaching. Sure, the drug deals do not happen on the field, and there are no prostitues wandering the streets in this cozy suburb but the kids are from all different walks of life; Asian, Middle Eastern, bi-racial, multi-racial, names as along as my fingers, Caucasian, African-American, and everything in between.

My take away from this experience has been this:

kids are simply kids... there was no major difference between the kids and I'm positive that had they all been one race, the different personalities would have been just as wide spread.

Noah* will always be polite, raise his hand and speak with authority. Shiloh* will always be the teacher's helper as her eyes speak of cheer. Debbie* will always be mischievious and looking for ways to do more than asked, faster than expected. Jesus* will always lose his crayons and ask me to help him (he knows where they are, I think he just wants attention). Nahla* will always sit back, take everything in, evaluate a response, raise her hand and ask her question. Julie* will always be the one getting into trouble her desk aside from the others, not allowed to have help from the other students.

And so it goes. The names don't matter, the personalities are the same. The teaching methods the same as when I was in 2nd grade... even the disciplinary actions of the teacher and the desk.

As I watched this classroom of cross racial kids interact with one another, I only wish that we as adults could be that indifferent to other races and focus on how we treat each other instead. These kids do not care that their table mates wear a head dress, or cannot have a certain type of food. They like each other for how the others act in the classroom.

It has been a journey for me to teach. I've also learned there is NO way I could ever teach youngsters.

Teachers are underpaid and are the parents who help raise good, solid kids (those kids were easy to identify).

It's been a pleasure!

*obviously, NOT the real kids' names or gender

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Joplin, MO

Perhaps, you are just returning from yak herding in Peru and have not heard about the devastation by the worst, single tornado in the last 60 years to hit in the U.S. Tiny Joplin, Missouri was nailed, head on with an EF5.

At least a 1/2 mile wide, winds at 200 MPH covered 3 miles of this town clearing everything in its path. Even 2-ton Humers got whipped around like cream in a blender and destroyed.

It's occupants mangled and one missing.

I have absolutely NOTHING to add to Will Norton's story. I cannot fathom the worry, and the heartache.

My thoughts to his family as they search for him, for answers, and continue to hold hope close their heart.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Touch This

Call me Pyro. Forget Ad2b, forget PJ, forget unmentionable (and I might add undeserved) names.

Just call me, "Pyro." Like a moth to a flame... old flame.

Someone, please just comment and say, "Don't do it."

That's all I need. A little reinforcement, a little cement for my spine, a little water to douse the fire that I see burning over yonder.

Or. Just call me, "Pyro" - I like playing with fire.

Monday, May 23, 2011

When the rest of life literally blows apart, the love of a pet can help people see through the darkest of nights. Storm did that for me.

And "Saint" is doing that for his family after a horrific storm blew lives apart (again) for this particular family.

My thoughts to all involved across the midwest as they reconstruct and heal from last night's tornados.

Picture courtesy: Photo/Tulsa World, Adam Wisneski

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Moving Music

Boxes scattered all over the "cave", dogs panting nervously wondering what is going on... while my mind wanders to new adventures, sitting down to catch a breath and a sip of diet coke (fountain thank you very much with a lot of ice), this song came on.

All I could think was, yep - AMEN! I can wear diamond and pearls, talk opera, Mozart v. Beethoven, 'Skol Vikings v. 49ers with the best of them, but at heart...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Non-Trad Path

This is not going to be sugar coated which some want it to be. Roses and wine and butterflies all over the fields of green with lilac smells and lightly wafting warm breezes.

Under normal conditions, the pre-med path is strife with speed bumps, less than stellar exam grades, nervous tension, back stabbing counterparts, competitive juices flowing, and FUD.

Under the non-trad path - whether due to age, bad u-grad GPA, former career, family, or whatever - the path is that much harder, that much more out of reach.

An admission committee member looks individually at each application and wonders how that individual will fit not only in the class they are looking to fill but in the overall scheme of medicine post graduation. They are looking to see how the candidate will succeed in that particular medical school, and in the general population as a whole.

They are not looking for nice people who say flowery things and are generally decent speaking. It is expected physicians are nice people who know how to phrase things appropriately while being honest (yes, we all know docs who have serious bed side manner issues and are less than honest).

Adcoms want to see success not only from the normal application but even more so with the non-trad.

So those grades from 20 years ago? The ones in English, humanities, philosophy, arts are probably okay to let stay as is. But the hard sciences? Retake them.

Retake not only so you can show you still have the aptitude for the sciences (medical school is science, not Cumbaya guitar strumming by the campfire). Retake so you can be more ready for the MCAT which is likewise, science based. Retake so the building blocks of the science you will get in medical school is recent and not lost in the cloudy haze of yesterdecade.

Yes, retaking those courses means a longer journey toward application.

I know. I'm one year post where I should have applied and when I finally do, I will be two years post application should-have-been, and almost 48.

A good non-trad path?

G-chem 1 - fall '11
Physics 1 - fall '11

G-chem 2 - spring '12
Physics 2 - fall '12

Biology - summer '12

O-chem 1 - fall '12
Biology xx - fall '12

O-chem 2 - spring '13
biochem - spring '13

MCAT - June '13

Apply - July '13

Ideally, you would scrunch up the application cycle into June so that your application is at front end of cycle rather than middling.

And somewhere in there, you've volunteered a lot, shadowed a lot, worked in a bit of research in a lab with a PhD, and lived your life with your hobbies.

Premed as a non-trad is not like waking up one day and thinking, "Oiy, I should be a lawyer" where you immediately buy the LSAT books, take the LSAT and send in applications.

It's harder, longer, and I think, more rewarding.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Mother's Day Gift

My son rocks! Not quite sure how he did it yet but at some point, without a car, he managed to buy Season One of House...

Just watched the first episode. Near the end, the female resident asks why House hired her. He says, in a not so kind way, because she's gorgeous.

"Brains and beauty don't go together unless you're damaged."

Because, he rations, if one is that gorgeous things are given to a woman, without even asking. Marry rich, marry anything, life is paved, he likens.

But sometimes, the beautiful woman just wants to be loved... but House was right.

All gorgeous woman are damaged.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Great Quote From George Mitchell

"I formed the conviction that there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended. Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Old Pre Meds Conference

Clicky on the Old PreMeds logo to the right to review the conference being hosted in Vegas this year. Some really, really awesome speakers; have heard there are an abundance of people to speak with about the premed journey as something other than a 19 year old; lots of discussion about D.O. vs. M.D.

And yes, I'm so going (really? Vegas? and one has to ask me?)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh, That Hurt

A timy reminder of a life lived not so long ago.

And then I had a meeting at the University.

Step one, breathe... and I'm trying. But my Gosh, this HURTS!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Here I go... Finally.

Ran into an old professor the other day while out with my dogs. He asked me how I was doing, and when told I was not in school, and had not been, he said that it was a shame... Interestingly, I also ran into the EVP of the medical school at the art gallery. Had no idea who he was but after talking to him about art, and his wife's taste in sculpture, we talked about my life. Med school. Why I'm not in yet.

Then he paused and said somewhere there is a medical school that will take me, if only I will not give up.

I said that I hadn't but between the bankruptcy, foreclosure, my son's mental health, the stalker, the SEC investigation of my former employer (I did not ever divulge here that it was ongoing), my parents' health; I'd had my hands full and thought I should take a break. Re-evaluate, reconsider, rethink, recreate... the dream.

So, I've got it all planned out now.

Ochem and Neuro in the fall, bio if they add a night class
Ochem and biochem in the spring, possibly some stats class
Physics institute in the summer
MCAT in the summer
Apply in the summer

Let the circus begin!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden's Mockery

of his followers, of his faithful... There is no martrydom, there are no virgins awaiting him.

While he claimed to be willing to live amongst his "brethren" he did not. He lived in a mansion with all the comforts one would be afforded with his vast wealth.

Bin Laden is a failure.

Bin Laden was a coward. He used a woman to shield him from US forces. Both are dead.

There is a new swagger today in the walks of Americans. No longer feeling like we are 2nd place to the rest of the world, no longer burdened by a job unfinished, no longer suppressed by a sitting President who promised much and delivered little, we stand proud.

United once again under a leadership that has shown it can, and will, strike at those who terrorize us.

United once again under a leadership that has shown diplomacy can, and will, work but if it fails, we will kick the ass of those who hurt us.

At this time, I hope it is not lost HOW the information was gleaned.

So many want to bash Bush (I was one of them) but it was the BUSH administration that allowed water boarding to get the information. It was the Obama administration that shut that down.

Let us say thank you to both administrations for what they have accomplished.

And thank you, to the unnamed, unknown elites in ST6. Thank you for restoring pride to a country that needed it right now.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

*BLEEP* Yeah!!!

We Never Forgot

Thank you, Special Ops!!
(and Toby Keith for supporting all those overseas!)

Oh, I could go on and on...

So, I shall

Rot In S.O.B.... Courtesy of the RED WHITE & BLUE