Monday, December 28, 2009

Damn You Embryology...Damn You

Today I woke up and took a good long look at my embryology text book. I thought, "gee, wouldn't the holidays be a great time to really cozy up to that chapter on formation of the gut tube"?

No. No it wouldn't.

Am I going insane?

Well, yes and no. My anatomy prof is obsessed with embryology in a major way. He also loves lymph drainage, to an almost unnatural degree. He likes to constantly point out the fact that if you know your embryology inside and out then you will also automatically understand all the drainages for lymph, the visceral vs somatic innervation of things, and blood supply.

From my very cursory knowledge in the matter, he does seem to be on to something. It's just a matter of learning all this somehow on top of everything else that I have the difficulty. I spent mucho time on embryo studying and there were absolutely ZERO questions on the multiple choice and long answer exams. Only a smatter of questions on the spotter. I do not want to get into that irritating mentality of "am I going to need to know this for the exam" but when the volume of info is massive you can't help but let your mind wander there. I try and think of it in the practical way, "how is this going to present itself clinically and how will that matter?" None of my patients are ever going to ask me how I did on my anatomy spotter in 1st year, but they may want to know why a drug works, or what the complications of a procedure might be, or what causes an auto-immune disease.

I know, I know. I have already had my rant on this recently. I'll stop.

I wonder sometimes what the massive nerd-go-getters do over the holidays. Am I lazy for having taken the last 10 days off to cook, read, sleep in, watch movies?

One last tangent...a classmate of mine recently got me hooked on a BBC television series called "Bodies". If "ER" had been realistic, set on an obs/gyne ward in the UK, and everyone had had Irish/Scottish/English accents it would have been this show. (Oh, and if the sex scenes/O.R scenes had been a little more graphic.) It's a cringingly realistic med-drama. Quite good. And I usually stay away from that kind of 'entertainment'.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fake Snow and Do-Wop

Yes, it was certainly another non-traditional Christmas in the land of Albinoblackbear. Last night we opened--well we didn't even open--we handed over our pressies.

I think I came out on top with an amazing CBC t-shirt (for my American friends, CBC is the Canadian equivalent of NPR--without the fundraising drives). I have an obsession with CBC. To the point where I even write fan letters to people like Eleanor Wachtel (for the record both her producer and the best interviewer of all time herself--Ms. Wachtel--wrote me back). Needless to say I haven't removed the shirt since it arrived in my hot little hands. Tobie (Manfriend) also gave me some great CD's, Rosanne Cash, the List and Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez's Live Album. Double score. And to round it out, some beautiful jewelry from Tobie's mom and this insane piece of art that she bought for me because she saw it and thought that the woman looked like a 'lady doctor'. His mom is an artist so she finds these quirky things in the strangest places. Anyway, I love it and it's total uniqueness.

We went out to the pub last night to meet up with some of Tobie's friends from the orchestral music scene. I couldn't believe how wildly busy the downtown area and pubs were. People were crammed into doorways, reaching their pints high in the air to walk to a table of friends. Young, old and everyone in between was having a good dose of Christmas cheer. The packs of smokers huddled confined by rickety barriers on the outskirts of the pubs. We had some cider and hit the road back to the apartment. On our way by Arnotts they were pumping fake snow out of vents above the doors. Shoppers were streaming out speckled in large flakes on their peacoats and handbags. I had to laugh, being the to-the-core Canadian at the novelty that is snow at Christmas.

Got home and enjoyed a Christmas Eve feast.

Dessert was the best.

Behold the profiterole. Thanks to Marks and Spencer.

One of the major advantages of being with a Frenchman (well, a Quebecois to be exact). They appreciate (and endorse) the traditionally French dessert. Yum. Must admit that I enjoy it much more than my family's pumpkin pie finish to our Christmas and Easter dinners.

I was thinking about my last two holiday seasons which also were far from my family. Last Christmas I was working my yorkshire puddings off in a string of long shifts in an emergency department on the west coast. The Christmas before I was stranded in the BC interior mountains due to a large pass of black ice stretching between me and my relatives 9 hours away. Had a cozy celebration enveloped in the warm living rooms of my friends in Revelstoke.

My first time away over the holidays was in India when I was 20. I was staying in a rented room on a pig farm on the west coast of Goa. The toilet was an outhouse which had a small hole along side the squat toilet. When the door to the outhouse would open the pigs would squeal and fight their way to have it be their snout in the hole in time for the next delivery. No one believed me so I did manage to get a photo one night, the snout clearly visible between my feet. One of the other people renting a room at the farm knew I was a bit homesick and painted me a Christmas tree, the size of my palm, and stuck it on my door as a piece of cheer. I felt far far away from home.

Again I am far away from home and will be for some time.

But as Tobie always reminds me when I get down about being away--it's not where you are, it's who you are with. And I am loving our chance to enjoy some downtime in this magical city together.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Un Fait Accompli

Finals are done and I am enjoying my book, the streets of Dublin, and present company.

At night, the city is this beautiful crush of lights hanging above in different designs and colors. The crowds of people move one step behind their breath streaming out in front of them, big bags and winter coats. Christmas carols spill out into the cobblestone street.

Life is impossible to predict. I would have never guessed--last Christmas during my 16h shift in the ED--that I would be here in Dublin a year later.

Had my breath taken away today at the old library in Trinity College.

And of course I am nursing the beginnings of a post-finals upper respiratory infection. Hoping the megadosing of vitamin C isn't rendered ineffective by all the mulled wine.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's 1am...Do You Know Where Your Extensor Pollicis Brevis Is?

I have been trying to adhere to a humane study schedule this week, i.e:
0730h--arrive at gym, start work out
0900h--get home, have breakfast, shower, start work
1300h--anatomy study partner arrives and we go through 2 of our 14 cases
2200-2300h-read book, spend QT with Manfriend, watch reruns of Extras, yoga.
2300-0700h--sleep like a wee baby

Yeah, not so much.

More like

0700h--rise and drink espresso while trying to pry lids open
0745h--arrive at gym, wish I was in bed...send evil thoughts to person who nicked my sweet SIGG waterbottle on Tuesday
0900-0930h--faff on FB
1000-1100h--read my favorite blogs
1100h-realise that study buddy is due to arrive in 2h and need to get cracking
1800h-break for dinner and decide that I'll make a roast dinner for all my housemates and Mandfriend (why is it that studying brings out the BEST gravy in me??)
2030h-2230h--study, feel behind, wonder how I will get thought all the material
2230h-0100h--feel too tired to read textbooks but not too tired to read my current novel
0100-0700h-toss and turn all night whilst have repeating nightmares where I am trying to draw the formation of fetal heart on a white board and I can't even remember what that big vessel thingy is that is coming out the top is called...or I am trying to point out the intrinsic muscles of the hand on a model and suddenly I can't speak...or any variation of this study-mare.


My friend Shane has stated that the night of finals we are going to 'see the health care system from the other side' and 'get in a fistfight with a lamppost'. This is what keeps me going.

Pathetic isn't it?

Crap it's 1128h. I am behind schedule even on my procrastination....


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You Know You are Studying for Finals When...

Your dinner is a can of tuna in a coffee mug.

You know you are stressed and studying for finals when you feel guilty for having taken the time out of your studies to prepare aforementioned dinner.

Monday, December 7, 2009

For Whom the Bell Tolls

My life (and therefore my blog) is going to be at another all-time low of excitement and variation for the next week.

Classes are done and I am studying for finals which start next Monday. We have our new-age multiple choice extended matching question exam in the morning then our goodluck bluffing your way through this long answer exam in the evening. Wednesday is the death by firing squad anatomy spotter.

Until then I will be developing decubitous ulcers on my derrière from sitting all day long and attempting to focus my mind long enough to memorize, nay, understand all this information that has been tossed my way over the past few months.

Stay tuned for hypointeresting posts while I use my blog as a procrastination tool.

Or maybe I'll jazz things up with a montage of things I'd rather be doing...only time will tell.