Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Things I've Learned This Month

1. The pool is actually not the most horrifying place on the planet. Close though.

2. I am motivated by little green lines. And little orange ones, turns out.

Green on days I trained, orange on the days I studied biochem.
3. Cinnamon and cloves actually taste really good in Latin soup recipes. Not freakishly odd like I anticipated.

4. 1st years like to buy useless textbooks off 2nd years. Mwahahahahahah.

5. I may not drown in the swimming portion of the triathlon in 3 weeks. May not.

6. I may actually pass the USMLE after all, heck, I might even get a respectable grade on it.

7. I suck really bad at medical genetics. As in, 0% on my full length practice exam I wrote on Saturday.

8. With a (fledgling) beard, Tobie looks a bit like a guy who has been working on his first novel for 7 years. One that will have limited sales but will be critically acclaimed.

"I just can't get the ending right..."

9.  Queen almost didn't put "Another One Bites the Dust" on the album, The Game, because they all felt lukewarm about it.

All of us suckers volunteers in the Himalayas reading Mortenson's book.

10. Greg Mortenson is a lying, thieving, conniving, power-tripping, intimidating, swindling, falsifying, Big. Fat. Fake. If you'd like to read to what extent, I recommend Krakauer's essay, Three Cups of Deceit. He gave it a more politically correct title than I would have. Krakauer is classy like that. And a babe (for an old guy).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Soon, Grasshopper...Soon.

Two of four core homegirls.
What gets me through the dark study hours is knowing that I will once again be on the other side of a beer with those ladies in a few short weeks.

Le sigh.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Our Own Little Strange Acoustic Flash Mob Bette Midler Style

Okay so maybe the title was a little long and self-indulgent, and maybe I should be studying for my mock full length USMLE exam tomorrow morning, but...meh...the canker sores in my mouth and recent surge in nocturnal teeth grinding tells me I could probably use a night off.

Besides, how can I study for the USMLE when I am still buzzing with school-girl-giddiness from our little strange home grown acoustic flash mob (if that is what you'd call it) performance we pulled off today?!? 

To set the stage, it was our last anatomy class*, designed as mostly a review session. Prior to class we rehearsed about 5 times with a handful of people who agreed to be a part of it. All of us were absolutely vibrating in our seats for the whole session, anxious for the cue to start. We told the other faculty and Dean that it was going to happen at noon and they gathered outside in the hall. We had already distributed little flags with a picture of his face on them (see photo below) and sheet music.

Anyway, I'll let you watch for yourself...it starts a bit rough but I figure we pulled it together nicely by the end.

He was definitely surprised, and even a little teary, I think. I've probably watched the video about 30 times and just can't get the grin off my face. It was an absolute blast and I think an appropriate send off. He's a tough Prof, but very good. He has worked hard to design a very clinically relevant anatomy program, and it shows. I am actually going to miss anatomy. Little bit.

The photo we mounted on little sticks.
Now I am going to have to start brainstorming. Grad is only two years away! We put that together with one 30 min rehearsal---we could have a three ring bloody circus by 2013 if we get cracking!!


*Usually the class consists of our prof lining us up and drilling us for half an hour, in small groups of about 20. We've had this class every week for the past two years. Yeah, two years of anatomy. He's a very, shall we say, intimidating, gruff man, with an impressive CV about as thick as your arm (if you have thick arms) and a very short fuse for wrong answers. He's the one that tells us to die or hang yourself or jump off a bridge if you say that the facial nerve is the sensory nerve of the face (it's the trigeminal) or something along those lines.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Week of Lasts

It has certainly been a week of "lasts" as my 2 years of basic medical book learnin' draws to a close. As someone said in my PBL today, it has been kind of anti-climactic. Which, to a certain degree, it has. Mostly I think it is because the crushing stress of finals coupled with the looming USMLE has most of the Canadians in my group nervously fidgeting and mumbling, "yeah, great...er...it feels great?"

Regardless I am seeing that these two years have whipped by at almost criminal speed and on Aug 2nd I will finally be able to set foot in a hospital again. With nurses, and doctors, and receptionists, lab techs, and....wait for it...real patients!!! I actually like the smell of hospitals. I like the throb of controlled chaos. I like making terrible tasting coffee at 3am. So naturally I am looking forward to heading back into the fold, as a lowly medical student.

To start, last Friday was our last clinical skills session. I capped the session by letting one of the girls start an IV on me and I am pleased to discover (again) that IV's actually aren't that bad (though I know I am blessed with my non-sliding-minimal-valve-garden-hoses).

Now turn your head and cough. Er...no wait...

Next up was our last lecture. The school kindly decided to round out our two years in pre-clinical work with a 2h afternoon stats lecture on SPSS. If I ever have to go through something like that again, can someone please just take me out back and slowly stab me to death with a 24G needle. That would be more enjoyable. To be fair, though, I actually greatly admire our stats prof. She is a brilliant statistician, for starters, and a big supporter of the medical research here at the University. She knows we hate statistics and that we are rubbish at it, so she's designed the course very specifically to make us critical interpreters of medical articles. WIN. That is all this girl wants!

'Twas the night before collaboration
Last night I didn't quite finish all the homework for our last PBL session. I figured it just wouldn't be right to break from tradition and not scramble at 0630h the next morning to get all my prep work done. [To the uninitiated PBL is problem based learning which means as a small group we work through case studies together each week, come up with what we don't know, and learn it on our own (or as one prof put it, PBL means if you don't understand a concept it's your problem, not mine). Then we reconvene 3 days later and the group discusses all the unknowns. It is a great way to learn, I think, but at this stage of the game everything feels like a scald. Give us patients!! ]

The thing I have found very challenging is not remarking everyday, "one time...in the hospital..." because for almost every case we've done I've had some experience in the ED with the exact condition. Sometimes I've cursed not doing a more specialized type of nursing so that I'd be going in with a deeper understanding of...something...ANYTHING!! But I must say, the ED background is good for being able to think, "yeah, I have seen cases of [malaria, spousal abuse, anti-freeze poisoning, full thickness burns, heart attacks, bulimia, insect bites,  allergic reactions, amputations, strokes, sore throats, intussusception, gout]...once and..." I may not know much about anything, but at least I have a vague notion about how condition's look when they rock up to the emergency department's sliding doors.  I tried hard (and failed many times, I am sure) to not be the annoying person in the group who had an anecdote for every medical condition that came up. Patients faces are still so fresh in my mind though, especially for certain things...it was hard to not reminisce.

Bubbly + Learning = awesome
There was cause for a celebration this morning I tell ya. As we wrapped up the last case I popped the cork and went about divvying up a small toast of bubbly for everyone. Normal people would have probably gone our for beers at the end of an era like this, but students who are facing final exams and boards are not normal people. The real cork popping is 2 weeks away still (for some) and 8 weeks away for others (like myself who doesn't really get to shake it up until the USMLE is in my rear-view mirror). That said, I will be sending up a few woots on the 10th of June.

Workin' in a coal mine...goin' on down down...
So this was our final clock-out. Yeah, you read me right: clock out. Due to some major truancy issues in the year ahead of us the school implemented a biometric clock in system, wherein we'd have to clock in and out for every clinical skill lab and PBL class. Only 4 clinical skills or 6 PBL classes could be missed for the entire year. Needless to say the whole process was met with major resistance. The thing that killed people was that if you forgot to clock in, even if your tutor told the school that you were indeed there, you were marked as absent. I avoided the town-hall-pitchfork-esque meetings on the whole issue and just went to class. I figured the schools solution was a bit extreme, if people are skipping tutorials it is their problem. Hospital reality will come crashing down upon them soon enough.

Ryan sticking it to the man with his compliance.
I wish I could say something profound or touching about where I am at today, but to be honest I am just feeling sleep deprived, stressed, and very inarticulate. Classroom work has just started to feel like a distraction from the pressing volume of information I have to review from the past two years. TWO YEARS. It is cruel and unusual to test someone on curriculum from that far back, as far as I am concerned. Especially us old folks, our brains are hard and crusty...information just doesn't stay in there like it used to.

Bottom line: nearly there. Pre-clinical years will be behind me soon enough, and a whole new set of hoops shall appear. 

Back to the books for me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blowout Fracture

Tobie often comes into the office and looks over my shoulder at what I am studying. Usually his gaze can only be held on the screen for a millisecond before he shudders and freaks out and the "disgusting images I stare at all day".

Yesterday he meandered in and saw the article I was reading on blowout fractures (which is a type of fracture that occurs from facial trauma, usually fracturing the orbital bones +/- zygomatic arches).

Orbital Floor Fracure image from emedicine.com
Tobie: Blowout fractures? What is that? Wait, is that like when a dude who is running to avoid the cops for missed child support payments slips on a pack of Craven-A's and breaks his arm?

Me: Pretty much.

Dude who has probably had a blowout fracture.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sorry, Not Going to Happen

Another textbook gem from Ellis Clinical Anatomy (i.e. my current favorite anatomy resource):

"A carotico- cavernous arteriovenous fistula results with pulsating exophthalmos, a loud bruit easily heard over the eye and, again, ophthalmoplegia and marked orbital and conjunctival oedema due to the venous pressure within the sinus being raised to arterial level."

Sorry Ellis, if someone comes into my A & E dept with a penetrating injury to the skull, I am probably not going to put my stethoscope on their eye to determine if they have an EYE BRUIT.

How the hell would you be able to hear that anyway? And really if they've knackered their cavernous sinus I am pretty sure there will be other, less subtle clinical signs. Thanks though, for that tip.

How Appropriate


"Volcano dust cloud" and "cankles" are the two search terms that bring me the most traffic.

That is so appropriate, especially since I truly feel that those two matters really embody the major themes on this blog.

Sorry for the protracted silences and brief posts. In the 3rd circle of study hell right now. That is the circle high enough to still feel the sun from above, once a day, at around 1100h when it is high in the sky, but low enough to have the stress-invoked mouth ulcers and insomnia.

Good times.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ants in My (Scrub) Pants

Today we had our "Year 3 Orientation" meeting wherein our clinical placements were discussed and more details with regard to our schedule and marking scheme were revealed.

One word: EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Ok, one sound, I guess.

Now this whole medical school thing is starting to get exciting. Up to this point I've been trying to memorize very uninteresting things like what areas of the cell cycle certain chemotherapy agents act on. In a few short months I'll be a human retractor! Can't wait can't wait can't wait!!!

Hey ABB! Hold that. Now don't move for 6 hours.
In the Q and A portion afterward I asked the Dean if, on our surgical rotations, we are fixed with one team, or if we get to rotate in sub-specialties and with other specialists, like anesthetists. He said in my hospital there is an ortho team and I can spend some time with them, OB's, anesthetists, or even days in A & E if I want. [Cue me mentally jumping up and down]. He said as long as I am fulfilling my requirements for whichever rotation I am in (i.e. medicine or surgery) I can have some flexibility with how I structure my days.

Can I just say again, "EEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!"

Also, can it please be August 2nd? Like, now?

Ryan looking like the creepiest future pediatrician that ever walked this earth.
 In an unrelated story, Tobie is growing out a beard. I am unsure of how I feel about this. I actually like beardos in general and have even shacked up with one or two in my time...but as the George Micheal grows into more of a Russel Brand I just can't help seeing Tobie's AJ from the Backstreet Boys look.

Which is downright creepy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

And I Shall Call It: Margaret's Game

So last week I hosted a birthday dinner for my friend Eileen. Tobie told me I had to change things up and not cook anything Asian for once (wha?? But I love CILANTRO!!! All meals MUST contain CILANTRO!!!)

He advised a traditional turkey dinner instead.


Easy for him to suggest since I was the one cooking. Anyway the turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted carrots/parsnips, Whitewater salad, salmon and horseradish-crème-fraiche toasties, triple berry bread pudding...all happened. Yeah, because nothing says "Summer" like a roasted turkey dinner. And yes, that is a French press with gravy in it, plastic cutlery, and coffee cups being used for wine glasses. Eat your heart out Martha Stewart.

Dinner was pretty good and Tobie actually helped out quite a lot in the gravy and mashed potato department. More proof that he's a keeper.

After dinner we played a game. G'head and roll your eyes but it's quite entertaining. So I will pass on the instructions to all of you for your next social gathering (and no, you are not too cool to have fun playing this).

1) Get everyone in the room to write down on 2 scraps of paper a word, collections of words, or saying. That is, each person makes 2 contributions. It can be anything from nonsense to novels. Some of our (less offensive) examples included:

-waving daffodils
-candle wax dripping
-spider babies
-big and juicy
-everything you ever wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask

2) Put all the scraps of paper in a bowl

3) Make 2 teams (we naturally did girls against boys)

4) Start the timer at 2 mins, the first team tries to get through as many of the papers as possible before the time runs out. In this first round you can do or say anything you want (other than the actual words) to convey the clue, i.e. if your clue was "spider babies" you could say, "arachnid children".

Lise, in quiet contemplation.
 5) When timer runs out then it is the other teams turn. They go through what is left of the clues (if any). Each team tallies up how many papers they successfully got in the first round. All clues go back into the pot and round 2 starts.

6) Round 2 starts with team who didn't start first round. Now this time it is like charades, you can do any movements you want but can't speak, at all. Go through as many clues as you can in the 2 mins, next team gets remainder.

Big and juicy?? Did I mention he wants to be the plastic surgeon?
 7) Round 3 now you can not use your hands, just body. Same rules as above.

8) Final round you can only use your eyes.

Waving daffodils?? Spider babies???

It was fixed, I tell ya, fixed.
So you add up all the points from each round. Or alternatively you can just keep track of who won each round. But some people like a pack of overly competitive medical students enjoy having a breakdown of individual points for each success.

I don't think we need to get into who won (by only TWO points) it is more important to say that a great time was had by all. 

Even Margs and I had a good time, despite being unable to look at the camera.
I think from here on in, this activity will be (cleverly) called, Margaret's Game. It was, in fact, the lovely Margaret that introduced us to it last year on a bus to Killarney and again got it going after the birthday dinner. 

Not only is it hilariously fun, it is also a fairly good way of ensuring that the evening will not spiral into a long, dragged out discussion on some random medical topic which completely alienates all the non-meddies around.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How Pharmacologists Bitch Slap

Sometimes I wonder if the people who write textbooks get off on sneaking in random digs or inside jokes just to see if anyone ever actually reads full sentences anymore. Especially under dazzling headings like, "Classifying 5-HT1 Receptors". 

Maybe I really need to get out more but when I came across this line from Rang and Dale's Pharmacology text, it made me chuckle:

"The cerebral vessels are unusual in that vasoconstriction is mediated by 5-HT1 receptors; in most vessels, 5-HT2 receptors are responsible. The hapless '5-HT1C' receptor-actually the first to be cloned -has been officially declared non-existent, having been ignominiously reclassified as the 5-HT2C receptor when it was found to be linked to inositol trisphosphate production rather than adenylate cyclase." [my bold]

The tone of that makes it sound like the genius idiot that CLONED a RECEPTOR and then mistakenly classified it is forced to remain in his apartment and order his groceries online because of his atrocious pharmacological blunder. I mean, everyone knows it wasn't linked to adenylate cyclase. How embarrassing. 

 Ok, I do need to get out more.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Caption Please

So it was my good friend Georges's surprise birthday party last night. Fun was had by all. I ate approximately 7 desserts, drank three glasses of wine, and managed to somehow end up wearing a feather boa. I regretted the sugar/wine overload today when my training session rolled around, let me tell ya.

So the photo below was posted on FB and I thought, dang, that really needs a caption. So in a NY'er style rip off, I put it to you...best caption wins...er...best caption?? If you can't comment just send me an email. Come on dear readers, I know there are some deadly senses of humor out there and I need something to get me through today's biochem studies...don't let me down!!

Insert Your Sense of Humor Here

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Currently Reading: Shadow of the Wind

Have any of you read this book?

I am about 150 pages in right now and trying to decide if I want to soldier on with it or not.

I don't want to stop reading because it is poorly written, on the contrary, Zafon's style is incredibly descriptive, in an almost poetic way yet not at all indulgent or tedious.

The reason I am wondering about how others may have found it is that it is really starting to develop a dark, creepy, suspense to it and I am just not sure if that is what I want in a novel right now.

It reminds me of when I saw the movie "Crash" for the first time. I had to stop it about half way in and ask my friend who'd seen it "tell me, does this turn out ok? Because if not I need to stop watching this right now" I found it so disturbing (no, not the Cronenberg "Crash", the Don Cheadle one).

Anyway, I am thinking about putting it down and reading "And the Band Played On" by Shilts, partly because our case this week has malaria and AIDS but also because I've been wanting to read it ever since Dr. Gallow spoke at our school last year*.

Thoughts? Stay with it? Or does it turn into some crazy-assed psychological thriller that is going to give me nightmares for a month?


*If you haven't read that post, I recommend it, it'll shed some light on why the Dalai Lama's visit here had people planted in the audience with pre-approved questions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


By Lorna Crozier

This heart met the air. Grew in the hours
between the first body and the next
a taste for things outside it: the heat
of high intensity, wind grieving
in the poplar leaves, the smell of steam
wafting through the open window
from the hot dog vendor's cart. Often it skips

a beat - grouse explode from ditches,
a man flies through the windshield,
a face the heart once knew
weeps in the corridor that gives nothing back
but unloveliness and glare.

Like a shovel that hits the earth, then rises,
and hits the earth again, it feels its own
dull blows. Some nights it is a sail billowing
with blood, a raw fist punching.
Some nights, beneath the weight of blankets,
flesh and bones, the heart remembers. Feels those
surgical gloves close around it, and goes cold.

"Lighthearted" by Cianelli Studios

Thanks for sending that poem on, Ryan! Love it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Paradigm Shift

I've had a hard time writing about the transition from nurse to doctor, mostly because there have been so few reality checks that cause me to stop and think: holy crap, I am going to be the DOCTOR one of these days, not the nurse! YIKES!!

There is so much overlap* (whether doctors like to admit it or not) between the two that I haven't felt some big jump yet, from one role to the other.

Most of the time while I am in school, it just feels like I am in an advanced nursing course and I forget that I am in medical school. When I was doing my 'observership' in the hospital last summer it was somewhere that I also worked as a nurse, so I always felt more nurse-y than med-student-y, to the point where I felt awkward around my fellow nurses sometimes when I was in the observership role. I wanted to say to the nurses who were around while I was being pimped, "what are your differentials?" because I knew they had several to list as well.

Last night I had one of those "holy crap I am going to be the doctor" moments in the USMLE prep-course. We were talking about epiglottitis and my heart reflexively constricted in fear remembering the horror stories I had been told about non-immunized drooling babies showing up in ED's and dying due to mismanagement/misdiagnosis. It was drilled into me in every ED course, exam, orientation, and neonatal resus certification class:

do not agitate the baby
deliver high flow O2 in the least invasive way possible
don't even try to get an O2 sat if it is going to agitate the baby
do not attempt to look in the baby's mouth, etc. 

So, when we got to the question about the case of epiglottis and the prof asked what you do I reflexively answered all the above.

Um, no...you intubate, immediately. 

Right, of course. My thought box on the matter was how I would react / treat the patient if I was the triage nurse. Those are the steps I would take until I was able to get the patient to the doctor.
[Small line drawn through mental list of things to do when presented with a patient who has epiglottitis.]

Now that part of my brain contains the following info:

Holy crap. You're the doctor. DO SOMETHING!!!


*At least I have found this in the ED and in the Arctic.

Monday, May 9, 2011

How to NOT Make Friends

If you send me a FB request and I don't "friend" you it isn't because I got busy, forgot my password, accidentally deleted the request, or had a mini-stroke and forgot how to add people as friends.

No, it is because I don't want you to be my FB friend.

Here's how to ensure I will never never never never ever add you to that list:

hack into your family members account (who is my friend), go into her inbox, find an email exchange between the two of us and reply to me saying that I should add you as a friend.

Wow. That crosses so many computer etiquette / privacy / creep lines I do not know where to begin. 


Saturday, May 7, 2011

End of An Era

So Thursday marked the end of an era in our lives.

Tobie had his final lesson with his master's supervisor. I am not sure if I am allowed to say who he is, on the blog, so let me just point out that the guy is kinda a big deal in the viola world. And he knows it. And he is very, very demanding and hard on his students. And not in an inspiring Dead Poets Society kind of way but more in a Scarface fear for your life kind of way.

So naturally we had to celebrate Tobie's final lesson, though it was a bittersweet celebration as it also makes us realise that Tobie is getting closer to moving back to Canada, and I am merely getting closer to spending another two years (minimum) here.

But hell, we had the Champagne. And if nothing else, having good Champagne is a reason to celebrate. The last time I tasted those particular bubbles was the night of my MCAT, and oh they were sweet that night as well. I discovered these particular (very hard to find) bottles in Galway a few months back and excitedly bought two, one for Tobie's last lesson and one for my end of exams.

Step one: change into a relaxing suit. If you can't drink fine alcohol together in your pajamas, something is not right.  

Step two: note the not-so-smiling face of Veuve Clicquot. She should have been smiling. After her husband died she took over the business and made it a raging success...and this was in the days when it wasn't proper for women to be involved in man work. Go Veuve Clicquot!!

Step three: pop your first bottle of Champagne off the deck, have your girlfriend catch the moment, by
chance, in the sweetest cork-popping action shot ever.

Step four: find a water glass and the one remaining wine glass that you still own, and get down to business. C'mon, give us a break, we are still students, after all...

Step five: Sláinte! (And spend the rest of the evening trying not think about a final performance that is still looming, or exams, or the fact that you will soon be living very far away from your beloved).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nostalgia Revisted: Promised Patty's Day Pics

Remember how my good friend, Cathy and her hubby, Nate, recently came to visit from Amar-ica and happened to be here for St. Patrick's Day? Well, at the time I didn't post the photos, but clearly some needed to see the blog light of day.

Prior to St. Patty's we also got up to all kinds of shenanigans which might be featured in future posts: eating-in-the-car picnics, visiting abandoned Work Houses, seeing the Cliffs of Moher, and some near-death experiences too.  For example, when I was almost hit by a giant tour bus while taking Cathy and Nate's photo. Note the looks of trepidation mixed with excitement. Also note they are in no way alerting me to the oncoming bus as I step farther back to take a photo of them holding their first official "Burdock's Fish and Chips" meal.  

"Er...Nate? Is that bus going to hit us as well?"
Crisis averted, both the smoked cod and I remained in one piece (ahem) and we were able to carry on with our touristy photo shoot. It was around this time that we started noticing people in Dublin getting pretty excited for St. P's day even though it was several days away. Lots of hats were already being sported, fake beards (did you know Leprechauns have beards??) and green sequins. We thought we should get some costumes in order.

But not until we saw Iron and Wine in concert. Oh, and the lead singer walking down the street before the show. You just can't be walking down the street with a balding pompadour and a crushed red velvet jacket and not expect someone to notice you. Of course, by the time I was confident it was definitely him, he was well up the street and I realised I didn't know his actual name. What was I going to yell:   

"Hey! IRON AND WINE GUY!!! Er...WICKED!!!"???

Iron and Wine Guy
The thought did cross my mind, I will admit. The concert was great and his new record is very much a departure from anything he's released in the past--big sound and very peppy.

But we had hats to find.

Two that didn't make the cut. I am referring to the hats, people.
After haunting every authentic "Made in China" Irish goods store we could find, and trying on a multitude of ridiculous items we settled on our St. Patty's day outfits. And they were grand indeed. Cathy almost bought a giant, solid silver skull at one point in a strange goth-Irish-souvenir store. I blame jet lag on her momentary loss of shopping reason.

The Cowgirl, Abe, and Jaunty Cap head to Killaloe.
We met up with Ryan and then were easily spotted by our Irish friends, despite the parade crowds...why you may ask?? Mostly because we were the Only. People. Dressed. Up.

Yeah, except for a few 5 year old's wearing green GAP sweatshirts and people who clearly had gone off their meds for the holiday weekend, we were the only ones that really took the days theme to the next level. Turns out, only people in the big cities really get gung ho about the dressing up thing. Yeah, people were taking pictures of us at the parade. Including a reporter from an English newspaper. Oi.
I have no idea what is happening here.

My only regret: not buying a jaunty hat like Cathy's...

Walking to the pub after the parade, along with the rest of the town.
Ok something needs to be said about the fact that Nate looked freakishly like both an unemployed Leprechaun in a tuxedo-t-shirt AND Abe Lincoln. That has got to be the most dichotomous costume combo to ever be successfully pulled off, yet pull it off he DID (the theoretical combo not his costume).

Lucky charms or a house divided against itself? You decide.

Rosie rocking my cowboy hat so much harder than I ever could.
After the parade and pubbing we retired to my friend Emma's house for a wee gathering. The noisy bustle of child minding, feasting, cooking, and beer-drinking went into the night, and it was a heck of a swell night. And now ye have seen what becomes of Canadians and Americans who find themselves dressed in green in a small town in Ireland, on St. Patrick's Day.

FIN (not quite)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Think I'll Have Bay Leaves and Lemon Water for Dinner...

Today I opened my fridge today laughed at how ridiculous the contents were. Apparently Tobie and I mostly survive on condiments and fresh bay leaves. And eggs. It looks like the inside of a bachelors fridge. 

Ok, maybe a bachelor who likes ethnic foods. Or an ethnic bachelor. I don't even know what that means.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Day, May Day...We've Only Got 5 Weeks Left Until Finals!

So I realised that it is now, um, May. Which is a frightening thought for many reasons:

1) exams are fast approaching
2) our exams are cumulative and cover the past 2 years of curriculum
3) did I mention exams are fast approaching
4) Tobie and I will soon be sentenced to 2 years of living on separate continents
5) USMLE is also fast approaching (I just felt an ulcer form when I typed that)
6) I have to figure out where and with whom I am going to live next year as my placement is a good 2 hours from here...and frankly dorm living is starting to get old, just like me. I mean, don't get me wrong, finding vomit in the stairwell from time to time is a nice reminder of what I am missing in the hospital, but in the hospital vomit gets cleaned up...you know, right away.

So, since I am feeling a little nostalgic about my first 2 years of medical school drawing to a close [insert cartwheel and pulled hamstring here] I figured I would start doing some posts about the highlights or day-to-day-lights of the past few months. With photos! Doesn't everyone love seeing other people's photos? Heh. Pictured above is my office desk where I start every day, either with coffee and blog reading, biochemistry videos, yoga, or last minute PBL homework. Granted, that photo was taken during finals last semester, it is usually much cleaner in the old office.

Above is a photo of what greets me when I step out my front door each morning: smiling Ryan (and sometimes Mike but his is the opposite schedule to ours so this photo isn't exactly representative of most mornings). From here we trundle off to school. It should be noted that I took these pics in December, the dead of Irish winter, I know that seems untrue but you can tell because it was one of only a handful of days when Ryan wasn't in shorts.

Above shows the commencement of our daily river crossing.  It is one of my favorite parts to the walk as we often see all forms of animal kingdom from the bridge, including swans, blue herons, salmon jumping, and the odd old Irishman taking a dip.

I'll pause to acknowledge that this could possibly be the most boring collection of photos on a blog  (I get it, knitting patterns are more interesting to look at) but what has fueled this self-indulgent display is that I recently had my blog printed in book format. It was incredible to see the past three years actually bound and tangibly in front of me. But it also made me realise that I have quite a few gaps which I want to fill before I print the next one (my mother wants another 5 copies, of course, heheh). So, for the record I am going to try and flesh out what Year 2 was all about. After all, come June I will no longer be on campus and life is going to change drastically. Goodbye pre-clinical years, hello (theoretical) short white coat. The theoretical white coats aren't vectors for disease like the real ones, so that is what we will be wearing instead.

Approaching the foundation building. Another nice little bridge to cross. Oh you and your bridges, Ireland. 

This is the building where most of our lectures occur. In the basement, in a windowless room with a PC from circa 1997. Better than last year though, the air intake was right outside the front doors resulting in the classroom always reeking like a blues bar. Mmmm, second hand smoke, just what you want to be inhaling as you learn about bronchial carcinoma.

We still have to look both ways (twice) before we cross the street as we're still not exactly sure which direction the cars are coming from. Almost cashed in on my life insurance policy a couple of times here for that reason.

 Mike and Ryan acting 'natural' for my photo essay.

Photo below shows where some of the learning magic happens (suppose I'll need to get a photo from my PBL room before the end too). You'll note the war-bunker design and power-point-of-death on the screen. Doesn't that combo just make you want to sit up and LEARN? Of course the school is in the process of constructing a new medical building that will be all sweetness and light, however, since the construction workers walked off the job a few months ago the actual opening date has been pushed back to...who knows when? Well, long after we're off campus at least. For now we can stare at the concrete outline and feel a twinge of jealousy for those coming after us.

And the après class trip to the cafeteria. This was back in the day when all Canadians didn't immediately scuttle off to dark hovels to work on USMLE review. And naturally when I told Christine this photo was going on the blog she spilled water on herself. Smooth, girl. 

So you've gotten to the end of the first installment of 'ABB gets prematurely nostalgic for her pre-clincal years which so far she has mostly only complained about'. Happy May Day!