Sunday, April 30, 2006

Last week was a long week but I got through it and the jet lag is gone. But, I'm still getting to bed before midnight and I'm kind of liking the extra sleep! I wound up doing really well on the cardiology and ophthalmology final exams. Which is ironic since I didn't study as much as I usually would for them. So, perhaps I don't need to study as much as I think I do?!?! (wouldn't that be nice?)

We got our May schedule and the semester ends on the 26th. We have 12 final exams to get through in 26 days! At this point in the game, I'm not even phased. We do have 5 exams back to back in 5 days though, so that will be rough no matter what. But, all things considered I feel like I'm on auto pilot now and cruising through. I'm not saying it's gotten any easier, but I know what to expect at this point.

I really enjoy being around my classmates, we're a quirky bunch, and that makes all the difference in the world. When things get ridiculously stressful, someone will break the ice and make us laugh. Spit balls and passing notes has become a favorite pasttime. Before I started the program, I never would have thought that spit balls would be part of the equation! But, when you're bombarded with 9 hours of lecture, day after day, your brain turns to mush and wacky things start happening. And I wouldn't have it any other way...until, of course, I get nailed in the head with a spit ball!

So, I get a week off in between semesters, then it's full throttle until August 10th. Then we actually get a 3 week vacation before clinical rotations start September 5th. And although the thought of rotations is scary...I'm ready to move out of the classroom and into the field. They say the first year is learning how to pass exams in order to pass the PANCE (PA National Certification Exam). And the second year is when the real learning begins. All of the MD and PA instructors keep reiterating that medicine is not learned from a's learned in practice. And, quite frankly, I'm ready to start practicing!

But, before I get to that hurdle I have get through the next 12 exams!!!

Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes

Wow. I apparently missed a lot of news while I was away.

I'm tempted to skip school and show support for the "Day Without Immigrants" rallies planned across the country. Or perhaps I'll just boycott big business for the day.

I'm hoping that a lot of good comes out of these demonstrations.

Every girl has a dream...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Jet Lag Recovery

I will never complain about last minute scheduling changes again!! (yeah, right!)

Well, luck is on my "Jet-lag recovery" side. Today's opthalmology exam was fair. And our Dermatology class from 4-8pm was cancelled! Then we were informed that our Cardiology final exam was being rescheduled for Wednesday morning! Apparently, the MD forgot to fax the exam to the office before he left for his Las Vegas vacation!

Thank God MDs are human!!!

This gives me another night to get back on track. I'm finding it really odd that I've been in bed by 10pm and up by 6am every day...I know that's normal for most normal people...but, it's really odd for me. Especially since I'm studying early in the morning instead of late at night.

But, I'm sure I'll be back to my normal 2am, lights-out, routine by the end of the week.

Oh, there's also a rumor that we will be getting a 3 week vacation in August...right before we start our clinical rotations in September!

I'm already trying to figure out where to go next...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Post-Nippon Blues

My trip to Japan was wonderful. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to write about it. Which is a real shame. I have two exams over the next two days and Jet Lag is kicking my butt. It's always harder coming home...even harder trying to study!!!

My greatest piece of advice to prospective PA students has been to simplify your life as best you can. Well, my trip to Japan blew open the doors I had steadfastly closed shut for the last couple of years. Now that they're open, I'm not so willing to close them back up.

I'm distracted. I'm daydreaming. I'm totally preoccupied. I'm longing for another chance to go..."on the road."

I did have a lucid nightmare in Japan, about showing up to school totally unprepared for an exam. So, school was never too far from my mind. And I know that once I see my classmates tomorrow, reality will sink in and I'll get back into the race.

But, for now...I'm dreaming of cherry blossoms and clinging to the love that radiates from a country 6,000 miles away.

Most things in Japan get "lost in translation"...but love never does.

It just never does.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Full Circle

I've been pretty busy studying and preparing for my trip to Japan. By preparing, I mean bringing over enough "omiyage" (gifts) in order to make sure I don't offend anyone. I basically have to bring a gift to every home that I visit...and it's also wise to have some extra gifts handy just in case I wind up somewhere unexpected (like back at the school where I used to teach etc. )

I've been really enjoying getting to know my classmates. First semester was about surviving and proving to myself (and others) that I do indeed belong there. Second semester has been about stressing less about passing tests and more about strengthening bonds with people in the class. Before you start PA school, everyone tells you that your PA class will become your second family....and that truly is the case once second semester rolls around.

I feel as though the experiences I've had in the past are definitely carrying me through this semester as well as enriching my life as far as being able to connect with others. My experiences traveling the world is on top of the list. My Cambodian classmate is going back to Cambodia during spring break but must fly to Vietnam first. I've been helping him out with his plans. He originally planned on crossing the Mekong Delta in a canoe, but realized over the weekend that because of the "Dry Season", there's not enough water to carry him over and walking it would take too long. My father bought him the Lonely Planet travel "bible" on Cambodia and I sat down with him this morning and we mapped out a plan for him. It's also a much safer plan than the one he originally proposed. There are still plenty of mines that haven't been detonated in the forest between Vietnam and Cambodia...something he hadn't considered.

I also have a classmate that was a corpsman in Iraq. He saw a lot of death and destruction and he asked me about my father's experiences in Vietnam. So, I showed him an article that I wrote about my father's trip back to Vietnam in 2000 and now they're email buddies.

My experiences working for an AIDS organization has given me the opportunity to work more closely with some of the administrators/instructors of my program. I've been asked to help out in finding a Doc/PA/NP to come in and teach our class about HIV medications. I'm also hoping that I will be able to lecture my classmates on HIV/AIDS disease progression and dispelling the myths that still surround HIV. Unfortunately, some of the experienced medical professionals that have taught us about HIV are addressing topics insensitively and misinterpreting the laws regarding partner notification.

So we'll see how that goes...

I've got one more exam and three classes to get through before I can focus on my trip! I'll be up late Tuesday night packing....then heading to the airport Wednesday morning. I'm psyched about this trip. I've had my head in the books for the last 8 months and I need to get a grip on the BIG PICTURE. Leaving the U.S. always does it for me! I did have a hard time making the decision on whether or not to go...but I've definitely learned that I function better when I have more stuff on my plate. And my plate is definitely full...2 exams the first two days after break!!

But, I have two 14 hour flights....that's plenty of time to study!

This is my time to get back to living my life...

Monday, April 03, 2006


So we're sitting in Pathology class and the prof is talking about DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and his example for DVT was, "a passenger on a 14 hour flight to Tokyo is at risk for DVT!"

I cracked up laughing and so did my friends around me. Although I have no other risk factors for DVT, it's definitely going to be on my mind. I'll be the annoying passenger telling others on the plane to walk around!

I have 4 exams to bulldoze through before I leave next Wednesday! Exams have been going really well and I'm encouraged by the fact that most have been board exam scenarios. I cannot believe the amount of material we have blasted through over the last 7's enough to make my head spin.

And it's enough to give me insomnia. Other than that...things are well.

I'm hoping jet lag will cure me!!!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Japan Bound

I bought my ticket to Japan!