Monday, February 27, 2006


I suddenly realized why I DETEST Cardiology.

The human heart breaks too easily.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Busted Weekend

I declined on the two party invites.
I cancelled all of my gym clients.
My friend from out of town flaked.
And study group plans went awry.

All in was a busted weekend. This was the third weekend in a row that I spent holed up in my room studying. Two more exams this week and no idea what is happening next week, because we haven't gotten the schedule yet.

I'm a strong girl and I can take the hits, but this semester is a nightmare compared to last semester. One of my peers remarked, "I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but it kind of makes me feel better knowing that you're struggling with everything right're always so composed and stoic."

I didn't take it the wrong way. Misery loves company. And right now...misery abounds. We're all feeling this way and now I realize why they say your peers become your family. In that respect, it's awesome.

I know it will change and I know it will get better. And I know it's par for the course.

And I also know that I need to go to Bogota for some much needed TLC.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Snack On This

According to the 2001 Surgeon General's report..."the gains made in past years to improving cardiovascular health have been reversed due to obesity."

Since McDonald's opened it's doors (1950's?), there has been a 300% INCREASE in OBESITY.

Lastly, the greatest factor correlating with the development of obesity is the presence of a TV in a child's bedroom.

Just random facts I wanted to share.


Sorry to keep you hanging with the last post. Everything is ok. The instructor (a 30 year old "doogie howser" type PA) called us in early simply to review the test. He got a lot of feedback after the exam and gave us the benefit of the doubt on some of the questions. He reviewed the questions that the majority of the class got wrong and then entertained our arguments. I didn't have to contribute during this process because my peers who are used to getting 100's on every exam (there's always a few in every class!) were practically throwing darts at the instructor.

I found it quite comical. But, it was nice of the instructor to review the exam. I wound up doing well on it...considering I thought I had failed. He admitted that there were TWO RIGHT ANSWERS to most of the questions, but that the Board Exam we take to get licensed is written in the same format. So, you have to pick the MOST RIGHT answer.

So, it was definitely a learning experience.

I've been really busy this weekend studying for the next round of exams. We have Pediatrics and Pathology back to back (Tues/Wed). I'm grateful for the 3-day weekend, but it's not long enough. You have no choice but to cram for every exam. It's Sunday night and I still haven't touched Pathology yet.

On Thursday, I go to the hospital to conduct a history and physical on my first real live patient (don't worry, they've already been examined and admitted!)! I'm totally looking forward to it, but the timing could be better. Not only do we have exams, but we have between 6-8 hours of lecture each day as well.

And then there's CARDIOLOGY. I am NOT a fan of cardiology. I can't articulate why I'm not a fan, but I've felt this way for quite a while. And we were taught how to read an EKG in three hours. And three hours wasn't long enough for me! I don't like it. I read an EKG and get a headache from the tiny little boxes. All of the waves look the same to me. To top it all off...the instructor (Cardiologist MD), told us that we HAVE to be able to read an EKG in 15 SECONDS. I thought he was going to say 15 MINUTES. At that point in the class, I started laughing. And this is the first time since the program started that I feel totally clueless.

The EMTs and paramedics in the class say that reading an EKG isn't hard. But most of them have been ACLS certified and reading them for years. So, my advice to pre-PA students...learn how to read EKGs before starting a program. I think it should be a pre-requisite!

If it was a pre-requisite, I'd be able to enjoy next weekend. I have a friend coming in from out of town whom I would like to spend time with, as well as two party invites. But, I won't be able to relax until I nail the EKGs...and unfortunately, there is not enough time to get that done before next weekend.

Adios's not easy being a NERD!!! ;)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Uh Oh!

I just got a call from our class president. The instructor of our pulmonology class wants everyone to report to class an hour earlier than! We originally didn't have to be at school until 2pm...I got the phone call at 11am. My classmates are scattered all over Long Island...from Brooklyn to the Hamptons!

One more reason why I'm glad I only live 15 minutes away from school!

The instructor wants to review the exam that we just took on Monday. The exam that I said I didn't think I did well on. The exam that everyone left saying they didn't think they did well on. This is the first time an instructor is reviewing an exam with us....and it's the first time that we've had to report to school early and unexpectedly.

The fun never ends...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy V-day

I survived the autopsy experience. We were "lucky" in that we were able to view 4 different bodies. Some days there aren't any bodies being worked on.


This is some background on one of the bodies. It was unreal.,0,2608836.story

As well as a 58 year old man that dropped dead after shoveling.

There was also a 22 year old man who died of a heart attack. Cocaine was suspected.

And then there was the 70 year old man whose body wasn't found until 4 weeks after he died.

The smells are worse than the visuals.

More about this brain hasn't had enough time to fully process what I saw today. And I'm trying not to think about the families in mourning.

It's not easy.

On a side note, it was a great bonding experience for me and my classmates. The six of us (2 guys, 4 girls) went to a diner afterwards and chatted for over 2 hours. It was great to vent and realize that we're all feeling the same way about this new semester. It was also a good opportunity to poke fun at the GUY that was dry heaving during the autopsies!

He's never going to live it down!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Autopsy Tomorrow

The autopsy will go on as scheduled. Our group leader called and there is a body waiting for us tomorrow morning. There are 6 other students in my group and they are 6 of my closest friends from class. That puts me more at ease, because if I happen to pass out, I know they'll catch me!!! The two guys in our group are tall, so if need be...I can always stand behind them.

I asked our group leader if he had any information on the body. His response was, "Think about it like Christmas morning, you always want to be surprised, right?"

So if you want to go to PA school, add one more pre-requisite on your list: a sick and twisted sense of humor!

It's necessary for your survival!

Keep your fingers crossed...


So the first two exams of the semester are done. One of them went amazingly well (physical diagnosis lab) and the other (pulmonology), not so well.

I had two answers for many of the pulmonology questions. I also had information in the back of my brain supporting either answer. In the beginning of the semester, this instructor told us that he didn't care what our grades were on the exam. He only cared that we learned the material. He also mentioned that he was open to being challenged on some of his exam questions.

I clearly remembered his words and feared that he would give us ambiguous test questions. Well, today's exam just proved that his exam questions are open for discussion. I think he would rather have students in his office proving what they know verbally, than on a multiple choice exam. I did my best on the exam and wrote down the reasons why I could have gone either way with each answer. If I do poorly on the exam, I'll be the first one at his office door.

Medicine is not simple. You need to think outside of the box. I have a tendency to think way, way, way outside of the box! That skill will help me as a diagnositician...but not as a test taker. I don't like rote memorization. I want to know who, what, when, where, and why. And there is not enough time for that.

Last semester was very challenging, but it only brought me to base camp. This semester, I feel like I'm at the foot of Mt. Everest. And when I look up, I'm easily intimidated. But, when I look down, I realize there's no turning back. I've got no other recourse but to keep on climbing; step by step, steady and slow.

I have to get to the other side of the mountain.

I just have to.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


The stress is back on. Exams start next week. 5 exams in 2 weeks, but there is the possibility that more will be added on. This semester has a different feel to it and I'm not exactly comfortable yet. All of the instructors are practicing PAs and MDs...the PhDs are gone. Every class is more fanciful theories that enabled your mind to wander and explore. Now, it's medicine.

Now it's all about coming up with diagnoses and differential diagnoses. At this point, I'm blown away by the fact that I have the knowledge to be able to do this. The learning curve has increased exponentially. More is expected of us. Last semester was about passing every class. This semester is about nailing every exam and increasing your knowledge base.

As our director said, "You are all thoroughbreds now and the starting gate has opened. You need to get to the head of the pack and stay there. There's no looking gotta keep on running."

I've cancelled my plans for the weekend.

It's time to get serious again.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Valentine's Day

I've already got a date lined up for Valentine's Day! And it promises to be one of those, "I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life" experiences! Sounds intriguing, eh?

Well, I'm scheduled to go down to the County Medical Examiner's Office to view an autopsy.

Yup, an autopsy on apropos!

Our pathology instructor says it's part of the desensitization process. I'm always up for a new experience, but I will admit that I am nervous about this one. At least with the cadavers, we knew it was going to be one male and one female. And we also knew that they donated their bodies to science. We won't have any idea if we're going to be watching an autopsy of a baby, kid, adolescent, adult, or senior...until we walk through the door.

And I find that quite unnerving.

But, as my father stated so eloquently, "You gotta get over it, KID!"

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Brooklyn Birthday

It's Superbowl Sunday and instead of settling down with chips and beer, I'm prepping to go to Brooklyn to celebrate George's 30th birthday at Bogota! Apparently, watching football isn't something cool, hip Brooklynites do anymore. So, I'll be sipping on a mojito, snacking on shrimp ceviche, and mingling with the non-football loving types!

I simply enjoy watching any kind of competitive sport. I didn't get to watch much football this past season because I was always studying. The fact that I'm missing the big game is a testament to the love I have for my dear friend, George.

However, there is a hoppin sports bar down the street that I may just have to visit. C'mon, I'm a single gal that loves football. This is MY night to shine! haha

Happy Birthday, George!