Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Those R-groups V. 2

Amino acids.  R-groups.  pH = pka.  Oh yeah, and HH equation.  All the things I wondered wth I had to learn in gen chem two... like the "Terminator", it's back.  With a vengence.  And since I am a masochist, I am taking biochem.  With that professor I've talked about so often (the great man, the one who stands behind me, the one who says to not quit)... that professor.

And now, I'm looking at my first biochem exam in less than a week and wondering, "How the hell do I figure out the dissociation of 20% lysine?"  pka = 10.5... I think it was at pH 10.2 but I'm not sure.

Makes ochem look like heaven - Sn1 tutorials anyone?  E1?  E2?  Dehydration of alcohols?  Syn side add?  Anti?  PWEEEEEASE?!?!?!?!?

oiy.  I will ace this test, I will (oh and master the new job which starts at 8:30 tomorrow morning...)

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Blog To Watch

I'll admit it.  I liked o-chem.  It made sense to me.  It gave me a sense of purpose and a sense of closure when I got the homework problems right.

Not sure how I found the new blog but I think I snorted a little when I read some of the comments the professor gets from his students.  And it made me laugh.  Out loud.  And then I snickered again.

Laughing @ Ochem

(and I agree - therapy sessions or better yet, couple them with onsite massages!!!)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blog #2

A few weeks ago (already???), I mentioned I was going to start showcasing blogs I've followed, in the order that I think I started following them. More or less.

One of the first blogs after Dr. Dalai's, was Ella's. It was her first year of med school, she hadn't set foot into the anatomy lab yet. Giddy with excitement at being an MS-1, she wrote about shoes, shopping, and free food.

I was not sure what to think about Dr. Ella at first. Sure, she had already trod the path I was on, and her story was anything but, "ooooh, lookie at me! I have a 3.97 with a 40T MCAT and so confused on whether or not I should apply!!!" Dr. Ella kept it real. I liked that. A lot. Real pre-med, and as I was soon to find out, real MS-1 and MS-2.

She had gross anatomy. Green goo, gloppy, smelly shoes, smellier clothes - I got a 'whiff' of gross anatomy lab. She had gunners, and lazyoids. She had faculty who were less than stellar.

Through it all, I got a glimpse of what I could expect should I ever receive an invitation to a med school class. There are stories of rotations, stories of other pre-meds with less than traditional routes to med school. Stories of law school or not, engineering or not, and then other stories.

I came to her blog for the humor, at first, but I stayed for her real stories: of survival, of overcoming fear-uncertainty-doubt, of triumph.

Here's the link: Dr. Ella

Hope you'll check it out!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

One Of THOSE Nights

Ever go out and listen to a local band, tap your toes, rock to the rhythm, perhaps even get off your butt and dance?

I vowed this year I would make sure that every week I did something fun so that I did not turn into a schoolite, gunner, yuckophobe.

Apparently, I need to start remembering lyrics again. Apparently, I need to wear ear plugs so I can get above the distorted noise in small bars with loud bands to fully hear the lyrics.

Apparently, "Scratch yourself" is NOT one of the lyrics of Madonna's song.

But you know, scratch yourself if you must, and listen to Madaonna's video.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stunned & Saddened

Each day I wake up, I wonder what the day will bring. I'm happy, or at a minimum, I'm too groggy to be a beotche. As the day progresses, things change my perspective to be happier, or a little less enthusiastic.

Today was one of those.

Bentley is 1.5 years old. In great dane years, that is still just a youngster. He's full of puppy zoomies, puppy antics, and God bless him, puppy lovin'! He pays with Hope, our dysplastic golden retriever, as if she were a chew toy (I stop that immediately) even when she instigates the play, it has to stop.

I started looking for an older pup a few weeks ago. Another dane, maybe a dane/lab cross, something from a shelter; my preference for a black shelter dog as they are often the ones left behind simply because of their coat color.

Enter, the bunny hole.

I went to a rescue site. Then to PetFinder. And then, I Googled.

Storm's breeder had been indicted on 46 counts of animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse.

Storm's breeder. The concocter of my soul was... and that's where I am stunned and saddened.

I do not believe she is a horrible person rather she is horribly ill. Hoarding, is the term that first comes to mind. She's been deprived of her dogs once before, unbeknownst to me. I had heard rumors that she'd lost her home but had no idea as to why.

I'm sad because her illness is very treatable. When I first met her 11 years ago, she was kind, thoughtful, seemed knowledgeable (what did I know, I'd only had rescue danes!). I'm saddened because it feels like somehow her tarnished reputation sullies Storm's.

I was proud of Storm's lineage, just as I am proud of Bentley's. I was proud of what an ambassador Storm turned out to be for the breed fully aware, that it took me socializing him daily, to get him to a point where he was comfortable in a crowd. I'd always said that he was just wired wrong. My vets always said Storm was wired wrong.

And now I know why, or at least, I have more clues.

Storm. He was my soul, he will remain my soul. Somewhere, out there, he's chasing some rabbit down a trail and looking back saying, "Mom, don't worry about my lines; you know who I was!"

And that is true. I'm just stunned that I was so naive about her and about him, and sad that at her age, she still won't get help and denies she needs it.

Paterno 1926 - 2012

Sadly, a man many admired, respected and whom ennobled a football culture at Penn State, apparently has passed away this evening according to CBS news, Startribune.com, etc... now it is being denied.

To his credit, he built a football franchise that even me rooted for - Nittany Lions... led to Detroit Lions... and anything with a furred mane.

It is sad that his legacy will also encumber a footnote about the debacle that is Sandusky. No longer able to keep the two apart in an article, it will be likewise in his death.

Paterno should have done more. Paterno should have known. Paterno, this, or Paterno that.

I agree. What that sleazeball Sandusky did to kids should not go unpunished. Paterno paid the price of loyalty to a friend with his career, and apparently, with his life. Is there anyone who did not wonder how long Paterno would last, once he was removed from the field he loved, and his players who loved him right back.

My hope is that his family is left alone in what is sure to become a media hype, and conspiracy theorists abound. My hope is that his family can move on beyond the disaster that was left in Sandusky's wake. My hope is that Paterno is now at peace, only having to answer to one being now.

"Why Joe, why?"

Friday, January 20, 2012

For The Guys @ CHS

Go fill some tanks up and plow some fields, would'ja?!?

Today was my last day on contract for a great bunch of folks. A year ago I walked into a building full of ag people who also deliver fuel. Not sure who I was helping (I'd met the IT director and been hired by her) and had no idea what to think.

Shortly after starting I met the "guys" ... exactly what you think of when you think middle America, the heartland, or the farm belt. Down home, humble, honest, hard working, kind, compassionate, supportive, patient.

I had no idea there were more than about five different types of fuels, but made sure I understood tanks versus sites. And I built relationships.

Unbeknownst to me, and them, my contract was not extended earlier this week as had been expected. It was out of their hands, and obviously, out of my own. It is never easy to say goodbye to people you've worked with and liked. As I wound down my week, it got harder to say goodbye to them. But then, in true Ad2b fashion, I found a way...

Go chase your dreams guys - a Packer's win next year, a theater opening with great lights, a new truck, or a vacation. Maybe it's finding that routing software that helps you get the fuel to trucks in the middle of harvest season (and hopefully, long before planting!), or maybe it's new computers, or better yet, a sandwich board.

Thanks for giving my dream a lift, and wings to fly on!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

There's Always Room For 1 More

Einstein was in a high kill shelter in California. He'd been overfed, under medicated, and left to die in a horrible chamber.

Along came someone who has an affection for animals. The last I knew, he had a pot bellied pig that died a few years ago. His personal life aside, his heart shows.

Einstein went from being left behind in the kill shelter...

To George Clooney's house.

Apparently, that one dog - Einstein - has now enabled this cocker rescue group to continue to rescue other cockers who are likewise, left behind to die. George gave from his heart.

Makes me wonder if I don't have room for "just one more" to play with Bentley...

Do you have room?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blog Lists

As many of you do, I follow other blogs.  Sometimes, I go down the dark bunny hole and end up five clicks away from where I began, only to find a really awesome blog that immediately strikes me as one worthy of my time.  What I have decided to do, and hope it won't bore you, is take one of the blogs I follow and highlight it here:  why I follow it, what makes it interesting beyond my own salient taste, and why you should too.

Can't hurt, right?

So, I'm going to start with the first blog I ever clicked "Follow"

The Dalai of PACs... Dr. Dalai

I started reading blogs from oldpremeds.org back in the summer of 2008.  The kind woman from Stanford med had sent me that way to read about the success stories, and to understand those that did not finish applying, did not choose to finish apply, did not finish once accepted, and/or said, "Who is crazy enough to do this?!?!?!?!" and otherwise, vanished from earth.

Dalai.  I didn't even know what PACS meant.  I did not know that he is a real doc and certainly had no clue that he was well respected.  What I did know is that I was learning about radiology.  A field, at first, I found so boring as to make my eyes bleed.  Why on earth would anyone want to go into a field where you stare at slides all day? I did that when I was kid with my parents' Kodak Ectochrome and Kodachrome (there is a difference).

But he was my first blog.  I felt obligated to follow as if he magically might know someone who could get me a pass into medical school, or somehow impart some magical wisdom to me so that I would make it to an invite.  I felt that if I did not follow him, some bad juju would follow me instead.

What I learned was instrumentation about radiology, and learned to be still.  There was a point where I'd reached out to him to ask a question about radiology and how he got started.  I asked what interested him in the field, if he got to work on cancer patients or was he mostly diagnostics.

He replied.

Oh my gosh, a REAL doctor replied with a REAL email and was ... REAL!  I fell over flat.  I'm not sure he reads anymore, his state never shows up on my analytics.  There was another person who somehow found me here and I believe still does (hi Winter).  Between the two of them, during some of my darker days, they kept my feet planted on the ground rather than letting me topple arms over legs into a canyon.  Between the two of them, I learned a bit more about a medical field I'd had no knowledge of, and little interest in.  Between the two of them, they kept me going, told me not to let my dream die.  Between the two of them, there'd have not continued to be Ad2b, there's just be another blithering wasted pixel space on blogspot (please don't hit that softball!!!!).

I continue to read because he posts funny videos on being a med student, or being a radiologist, or being a doc.  He posts new instrumentation for his field and gives the facts and figures as to why one is better, or not, in his opinion.

And last, I read, because he can spell.  lol.  I can't read blogs (even my own) when the spelling is bad.

Check Dr. Dalai you just might learn something too!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scrambling Lady

Vividly colored dress, matching bright purple purse to mesh with her overtly vivid dress and bright red shoes.  She was definitely looking to be noticed.

I had a crappy day.  It started yesterday with some folks at work who, for lack of a better way of putting it, don't understand how to constructively speak to someone else about their wants, needs, and/or thoughts.  Instead of proactively stating that something is not working (in a test environment, mind you), no... they basically say things loud enough to be heard by an entire department.  The department is about 100' x 50' full of Dilbert cubes and a few directorship offices.  Someone later came up to me, that sits about 15' away and said, "You're very calm.  You were using your calm voice to try and de-escalate things with that guy.  Who is he?"

"The client."

"Oh God, glad I'm not you!"

Then it became a matter of finishing up the mapping documents (taking the vendor's mapping data doc and mapping it to the company's, ensuring data that must be consumed by vendor product, likewise spits out data to be consumed by company database).

That's where my day got really interesting.

Vendor has document A that was sent to me.  Vendor has document B that was sent to another group within the company.

I married my doc to vendor A's document.  It was fully vetted by the team, by my project manager, by the data people, by the business unit, by the CIO, and by infrastructure.  It was crisp.  It made sense.

"Piece of shit" this holier than thou woman said to me today. "Who the hell did this crap?  I surely can't use anything like this and whoever did is an idiot."

Now, for your pleasure, I introduce my theme song...

A long time ago during another life, I was told I was like a golden retriever; calm, patient, fun, loving, in fact the client went so far as to say that he could (this is verbatim), "Kick me, push me down, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it" replete with a sneer.

The partner on the client said, "Let your inner shark out."

"Are you sure?"

"Oh, yeah, let him have it."

So, today, I released my inner shark again. 

Then I came home to scoop poop.  (Did I mention my great dane???)

And on the way home, I stopped to get my diet coke.

And while stopping to get my diet coke, I saw the vividly dressed woman who's credit card had just declined, who was frantic and upset, who was out in her car scrambling to find enough cash between the seats to pay for her two hot dogs and warmed nachos.

She need not have worried.  I paid for it while she was outside scrambling.  The clerk was surprised.

"Tell her to have a better day."

And that, made mine all better too.  By giving to someone who was frenetically trying to scrape enough money up to pay for the $5 lunch (been there), it felt great to make her day, and better yet, it made mine all that much better too.

Even scooping up mounds of great dane guano in the back yard in the 60 degree temps was awesome.

Pay it forward.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bing v. Google

Bing, sucks.

Google, ftw.

Seriously, I type in MCAT into Bing (because the company I work for has decided to use it as a frame instead of Google, and I cannot permanently change my search engine settings), and I got EVERYTHING but the kitchen sink for MCAT prep but

NOT https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/


Into Google?  Was my first link.
Bing sucks.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lake City

A few days ago, I wrote how one of the city's finest passed away from a lone gunman's bullet.

In larger metros, this is sadly, more common place.  In a small town like Lake City, Minnesota, this was simply jaw dropping.  Bad things never happen in Lake City.  People leave their doors unlocked, walk to the local stores (2 blocks only).  In Lake City, the population averages from 4,000 to 5,000 during the year, more in the summer as Mayo docs flock to the serene and sublime city's lake shores.

People are nice there.  It IS small town America.  People grow up going to the lake, come back with their own children, and retire there.

How do I know?

I'm a 3rd generation Lake Cityite.  I was not born there (Rochester, actually) but my grandfather was the fire chief, my grandmother the local volunteer maven; now my parents live there, my son lived every other weekend with my parents, and I shadow the doc there.  

And today, that little town is putting one of the finest to rest.

The streets are narrow.  People park on them, doors unlocked.  People need to be polite in passing for there is no room to fly-by as we do in the metro.  The city is small and long.  One road in from the NE cuts through town, one road from the SW (Rochester side) ends at the lake.  It is not a one road town, it is a two road town with two banks, a BK, a hospital connected to Mayo, a physician clinic connected to themselves, and 4,000 people.  In winter, it probably dwindles to 2,500.

Today, 2,000 of the state's finest are paying tribute to slain officer, Shawn Schneider.  Two thousand squad cars.  Two thousand more people in a town that can barely contain it's own population.  Two thousand uniformed police officers paying tribute.

I'm awestruck. 

In talking to my son, I wondered where they'd park all the squad cars during the service.  People aside, there's just no room for the cars.  I wondered how they'd do a processional, how are they going to fit 2,000+ people into a church that has never seen more than, perhaps, a couple hundred?

Of course, when one of the finest is killed in action, those details are taken care of by those who know how to; ensuring one of the finest, is also given the finest send off.

Two processionals.  One for every officer outside of Lake City and then one for the officers of Lake City (his department) and the county (he was also a sheriff for the county).

Flags at half staff as ordered by Governor Dayton.

What strikes me is that for all of that tribute and honor and dignity, I wish... it had never happened.  Rather, I wish that a father came home that night in December and tucked his three kids into bed and kissed his wife goodnight.

In honor and dignity to all of you who serve and protect, I bow my head in silent tribute for risking your lives to keep us all a little safer.

Shawn Schneider

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Biochem Coming Up

Had to attend at meeting at school today about spring semester related to my testing, yada yada.  I still take propranolol for test anxiety and to prevent the subsequent blackouts.  We also discussed the adult ADHD, or in my case, ADD.  Typically, I do not exhibit the lack of impulse control as the doctor said, so the H is left off.    He mentioned that in "all likelihood, the testing you do next week will show what you've suspected for years" adding that he will be very surprised if my ADD test results do not come back positive.  The doc asked more questions about social situations and if that makes me nervous, asked about "catastrophic thinking" and I looked at him.

"You mean, like when I got a B in ochem, I was thinking there's no way a med school would ever consider me?"

"Yes, like that" and then smiled.  "Does that happen often?"

"Every time I get a B."

We talked some more, and then we got to the general anxiety questions.  Most likely I have some outside of tests, I think most highly productive people have some amount of anxiety as that is what propels them to succeed, but it doesn't interfere with work or social situations.  I'd fall into that category.



"I reviewed your notes from two years ago.  Were you medicated during that time?"


"Is that all done now?"

"Yes." and then I paused for a second, "is it bad, that it seems like a different life to me now?  or that, I'm looking at buying a new home this summer?"

"No.  It's just unfortunate you think a B in ochem means you should quit.  I," and then he paused, "got a C+."

My eyes watered.

Harvard hangs on his wall.

He said there's no doubt he can write my documentation for me, there's no doubt, he said, that I will succeed and that he's there for MCAT testing and USMLE.

"I have to get to that point first..."

"You will.  You've already proven how resilient you are.  Those skills will come in handy in med school."

I left to meet my biochem professor.  The same one from two years ago.  There's John Paul II and then there's just Paul.  My biochem prof is awesome!!

I apologized for running late adding that my first appt ran long. He didn't care.  Then we sat down to talk about amino acids.  I showed him my first drawings and asked if the creation of them started by cleaving a formic acid with H2/Pd-C; he just smiled.

"You can forget all about that now."

"I got a B."  My head hung a little lower.  Embarrassed to tell this man that I so respect, I had failed to live up to his expectations.

"Many doctors did not get an A in organic.  Overcome that with an A in my course."

I looked at him as if he'd just laid the eff-bomb out there.

"I'm not only expecting you to get an A in my course, I want you to get an A in my course. Not just a 90.0 perfect A, but... I want you to get a 95% A in my class" and then he paused to let that sink in.  "Not only do I believe you are bright enough to get that 95% A, I believe in you."

He asked about my fall courses and the A in bio, which I relayed meant the world to me.  It was a solid A with many points to give before falling out of the A range.  It was a grade based solely on how I performed, not a grade based upon a professor feeling sorry for me, or the class, or... I earned every damn point to get that A.

"How'd that feel?"

"I sobbed.  Like a little girl.  Legitimized, validated, hopeful."

"Go get that 95 in my class.  Show me what you got.  MCAT in July?"

"Let's get through spring first."

"No, go nail spring."

With that he gave me the entire semester's lecture slides to be given to the class, then he taught me the easy way to start memorizing and drawing the amino acids.  When I asked a question, he smiled.  Somethings never change.  I always ask questions, "Why, how, where?"

"I hope I won't disappoint you, or let you down."


I heard echos of the "Batman Begins" movie quote there.

Leaving, my eyes beamed.  Excited.  Scared.

I'm 47, and this well decorated, tenured faculty member has faith in me.

Maybe it's time I did too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Biochem & Art School

Fizzy has a website/blog too. Check her out - the link is on the right side bar. She draws cartoons of what it was like in medical school, and in residency. For a very long time, I had one of her cartoons in my cube at work to giggle at when the load of working, school, studying, being a mom, became too much and my fuse, far too short.

I'm getting geared up for spring semester. Knowing how this is really my last semester before applying, my focus is pretty narrow.


In all three classes - not that I've ever been willing to settle for less than an A, or strived for less than an A, I just know that this semester could really seal the deal for me academically. Using what I learned last semester in organic chem, and my new found study skills, I wrote to my biochm professor and asked how he would guide me to study.

Don't hold your breath, but my drawings will likely end up here. As fun humor for all of you, and guidance for those yet to take the class.

I'm eager, excited to get started! I will be ready.

Changes to

with additional carbon and two hydrogens.

I will be able to do this (and apparently, if you are reading here, you can too!  I bet that really excites you, doesn't it?!?!  :D)

Monday, January 2, 2012

iPad Applications

My former and future biochem professor recommended getting started early on reading for both his class and my physio class.  In using what did NOT work for ochem last semester, I'm bound and determined to find a better, more efficient, more effective (A anyone???) to study for both courses.  My evolution class will be work but the professor was my gen bio guy and I'm going to Ecuador with him on research trip.  I think that class is my breather.

So, I go to this site quite often:  Old Premeds  started by a high school drop out, turned over the road truck driver, DARTMOUTH trained anesthesiologist.  (yeah, there's a message there for anyone who dropped out of high school!).

I asked about physio help and guidance.  Certainly, getting to within 3 weeks of the final and finding out my study habits suck is not a learning experience I want to repeat.

Ideas suggested and used by others:

  1. Draw all the systems and components in different colors so that I can see what is doing what to whom and how (nerves = blue, muscles = red, organs = blue, etc)
  2. Physio coloring book - I may try that although... I don't know that it ever helped me 30 years ago in anatomy (but that might have had something to do with me being hungover or drunk all the time and not putting in any effort)
  3. BRS Physio at the med school level (off to buy today!... oh yea, just what I need yet another med school book to remind me of what I want to do, and where I want to end up)
  4. iPad applications - found Visible 3D and am looking for some others (Angry Birds aside, I will be finding useful apps - damn you anyway SD!  :D)
So, it took me less than 1 week to get over my abysmal "B" in ochem... and to smiling again and looking forward.

Yep, where is that med school bound bus?  I'm hopping on!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ok, Trying To Breathe

Dear Wy,

Tonight, I came to let loose.  The casino supplied the noise makers, blow horns, and hats.  I came ready to let loose.  To sing, to enjoy, to forget how hard this past year has been.

Thank you!!!  OMG, and then?

My picture... (as Twittered by Wynonna's team!!!!)

So, umm..

When I blew that noise maker and you asked if I got out much?  No.  With class and study time at about 40+ hours a week on top of working full time, I have no life.

Wy, YOU, were my night out on the town.

And honestly?

Best NYE ever!

OMG - cloud 9!

(okay, I should clarify:  I had her CD, "Sing" released in 2009 with me, opened on the floor in front of me with a BIG BLACK THICK Sharpie... when Wy finally came to my side of the stage - I was front row - she motioned for me to come up.  I brought the CD with me and she was signing it while I was dancing.  Then as I motioned in Japanese fashion my thank you, she said, "Ahem" and I turned around to see her saying, "High 5 me!" - I love her music.  I love her growl.  I love that every time life kicks her up the back side, then friends roll their tonka trucks over her, she gets up, dusts herself off, and makes another song about overcoming hardship and being happy, and being thankful for the blessings.  Sounds like someone else I know...)