Monday, June 24, 2013


Saturday, a group of us decided to escape the city for the day. One of two Pride Weekends was this weekend in Chicago. Obviously I have no qualms about gays. What I do have qualms about is thousands of drunk gays blocks from my apartment, many of them behaving obnoxiously. I have many gay friends who feel the same. So we left before the insanity of the middle of the day festivities could get moving. We went to the Miller Factory, which was fun (and free...). Then we went to the Harley Davidson Museum, which was very much so not free, so we elected not to go in. I may save that one for my brother. Afterward we went to the Milwaukee Public Market, which was very enjoyable with enough esoteric food and snack options for just about any foodie. We took our food to a nearby park. At which point it was getting later in the day, so we headed back to Chitown. The festivities were still in motion, including a never-ending thump thump thump thump from a techno tent, but as I was tired and there was a Blackhawks game on, I was content to stay in my living room without feeling as if I were confined. And I happily watched the Blackhawks win. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Expect the Unexpected

I'm currently in my first week of Infectious Disease. I've found it interesting, but at the same time just meh. I'm still in the post exam I don't give a flip. The doctor I have been assigned to is relatively new to Chicago Memorial Hospital and as such doesn't get quite as many consults as the established doctor. He makes up for by doing a great deal of administrative and policy development work. Because he felt bad that my partner and I haven't been getting quite as much hands on exposure he invited us to accompany him to another hospital where he rounds. My school used to send students to this hospital, but about nine months ago ended the affiliation for reasons that rumors still abound. The most consistent rumors focus on the fact that there are just too many students at said hospital, and that the standard of care is lacking. I had never been able to confirm it, nor did I see any chance, and quite frankly it wasn't something with which I was overly concerned. 

The hospital is nowhere near where I live, but I had known a handful of people who had rotated there. Getting there was a pain. It took close to an hour due to traffic on not one, but two expressways. The reception staff just gave us a visitors sticker without vetting us as students and away we went. When the (creaky) elevator doors opened BOOM MEDLAM!! People were everywhere. Nurses hollering out orders. Charts being whisked every which way. Medical students all over the place--seriously this place was overloaded with medical students. There were nine of us surrounding the one doctor huddled in a corner trying to get notes done. All the while this one resident on call would come over the doctor looking completely overwhelmed (not an unusual feeling for a resident I'm sure) and just stand there and want him to listen to her. At one point I thought she was going to cry and was basically just begging for someone to hold her hand. I could sympathize with her but once she stood there for thirty minutes telling war stories. At that point, we have five more patients to review (and the doctor likes to go off on rabbit trails) and I'm just thinking It's almost 6pm. I live over an hour from here. Please go away and do your job so we can do ours. I'm happy to be here to learn, but you're not helping me learn. I finally got home close to nine. Since I have been getting home at like 3 or four I hadn't made any preparations for things like thawing meat, so I just went to Taco Bell, watched the Blackhawks game, and called it a night. What a life I have sometimes!!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wimbeldon Is Around the Corner!!!

...and I'm not thrilled about the men's seeding.

1. Novak Djokovic
2. Andy Murray
3. Roger Federer
4. David Ferrer
5. Rafael Nadal.

Make note that two-time champion Nadal is seeded behind the guy he just trounced in the Roland Garros final. Behind the guy (Ferrer) that has only ever been the quarters at Wimbledon once, much less a final. Bad form All England Club. Bad form.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pressure is a Privilege

The test is over. An immense weight has been removed from me. I realized that I am not a particularly pleasant person when I have to study. Why it took me ten years to make that connection, I may never understand. 

Medical students are an odd bunch. We have to be to want to do what we are trying to do. Something pushes us and makes us keep moving forward no matter how unpleasant it will be. That can have unpleasant ramifications for those around us, especially those who have been authority figures in ours lives. We are thinking "marathon." They are thinking how they don't like what's happening right now, though who could blame them. 

I spent most of my life until 2012 with my nose stuck in a book, always another test coming up. The myriad standardized tests through primary school, the PSAT, SAT, organic chemistry tests, biology tests, PCHEM evals, the MCAT, umpteen medical school exams, Step 1, Step 2 CS, Step 2 CK. It just never quit. But such is life. After Step 1 I had an extended break where nearly all of my learning was hands on, active--and I loved it. I became a much more relaxed person, a much happier person, and a much more pleasant person. What would my late teens and early twenties have been like if I weren't always in the testing frame of mind??? I can only imagine. A great deal of that nauseating tension went away for a very long time, and I became a freer person, a more honest person, simply because I didn't have that pressure and tension weighing me down. I didn't realize it until it was gone, because it had been constant, my reality, since I was a teenager. And I'll be honest, I was a mostly unhappy teenager, ready to get the hell away from a set of peers I had little to nothing in common with. People who only cared about the typical teenage interests, which I didn't or couldn't grasp.
All of that came rushing back when I started to gear up for CK: the constant edginess, the anxiety, the tension, the pressure, the desire for an emotional release in any way, shape, or form (a few of those nasty fights with the parentals all of a sudden came shining into focus, not all but certainly a pointless few), sleep becoming delayed. Maybe it all came into view because (fingers crossed) this is the last test I will have to take before graduating. Because I can see the proverbial light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. 

As I write this I'm reminded of a quote by Billie Jean King: "Pressure is a privilege." So I can only complain so much. I have been provided an opportunity that few other people have. So what if it means a little work. So I sat down to my exam Wednesday morning knowing I was in for a very long day. The first few of eight sections (one hour each) went fine. I took a break for a snack and hydration after the second, and took lunch after the fourth. After the fifth section I started to get restless...jeez three more hours of this nonsense. The last section was a struggle. A real test of will. It was ten questions fewer than the previous sections--and thank God it was. More than once I had to reread questions because somewhere between the beginning and the end of a sentence my eyes lost focus. I literally had to uncross my eyes at one point. Sometimes my brain just checked out and I had to read those questions again because I realized I hadn't the foggiest clue what was being asked.

I was the next to last one to leave the testing center. I went home and crawled into bed and slept until 10 the next day. Much needed.

PS: Hopefully I won't be kvetching any time soon!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Friend: "Why is it that evolution has made us the only species that has to wipe our ass?"
...I have absolutely no idea.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Less than a week until I stop kvetching so much...

I have less than a week until I take my CK. I am completely and totally over it. But I keep doing questions. I have one (ONE!) more section of UWorld to go. The downside is it's 350 questions. But I can do it. I figure I can do half tomorrow and half Friday. Then I have four days to do nothing but review, and maybe do a few more practice questions from a MCQ book I have stashed away. The excitement is palpable isn't it? The problem is there are 5647465 things I would rather be doing than endless sets of multiple choice questions. It's particularly frustrating when Patient comes in with seven completely vague and nonspecific symptoms. Yet I'm given answer A-H and one of those usually closely related answers is the question. In the real world of medicine the treatment for two of those is usually the same, and therefore if you just so happen to be slightly off the patient is still helped -- disturbing as it sounds it happens all the time folks. On the test? Oh nay. Gotta have the exact answer. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


Officially completely 100% bona-fide OVER studying, Kaplan, UWorld, and any other form of MCQ...Kan eye just bee a doktir now pleeze, kthnxbai...oh right...ten more days to go...