Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Ten days into the break between semesters. Ahh. Next semester scares me for a variety of reasons. I need to do well. I need to do better than I did this semester, but with less time and more classes. Yikes. Anyway, I am trying to put the stress out of my mind for another 3 weeks. I need to hit the Chem and Anatomy books before returning to maximize my chances of not falling behind.

This has been an emotional holiday season. This was the first year that my husband and I actually "celebrated" to any extent. Three years of taking care of his chronically, then terminally ill mother followed by one year of not caring about anything (I wanted to, but it was impossible) puts one in a confusing position. But this was the year that we were going to get into the groove. Start our own traditions (perhaps a combinations of each other's from years passed) and begin again. So, we began with the tree. We bought a real Christmas tree since both of us grew up with artificial ones. It is a gorgeous 9.5 footer that our dogs love to sit at the foot of for hours on end. We stuffed stockings and gave gifts. We went to church (ok, so that part never died) on Christmas Eve. Growing up in Texas, my family always had the tradition of eating tamales and chili on Christmas Eve after church. So, I found this place in town that sells tamales, bought some and made veggie chili. It was good. Unfortunately, the tamales were Peruvian style and not Mexican so there were big hunks of meat in the center instead of the shreds that I prefer. But, that was favorite part is the corn (masa) anyway and that was REALLY good. My husband's family had a tradition of eating oyster stew for breakfast on Christmas morning. The idea just grosses me out, so I should have known that the actual consumption would do worse. I tried. It was completely disgusting. I seriously did not make it through one spoonful. I thought I was going to puke. But, there he was..happy as a clam slurping his oyster stew. Eww. Since it was just the two of us, I made roasted cornish game hens, cranberry relish, rolls (ok, I bought those), green beans, and stuffing. I was pleased with the way everything turned out. My in-laws are both gone, so I can only imagine how difficult the day actually was for my husband. Holidays are always confusing for me. I never know quite what to say to him. I always ask how he is feeling and try to give him the opening to talk if he wants, but he never seems to want to so I let it go. Our mothers have the same birthday. December 26th. So, that is a double doozie for him.

I think I wrote sometime back about how my mom and I are pretty estranged and then how she recently wrote me a letter apologizing for many things. I had said that I would address the letter after finals. So, I did. But, then she called. I ended up telling her what I wanted to on the phone. She didn't interrupt. She didn't disagree. I would REALLY like to think that she has changed. We spoke several times in a few days and I even considered going down there since I don't have to be back in class for another 3 weeks. But, I don't fly. I am very upset about it and REALLY want to get over it but it just isn't happening right now. So, I was going to take the train. Until I recalculated how long it would take. Yikes! I think I that I will invite them to come up here at some point, maybe during Spring Break. But, it just isn't happening in the next 3 weeks.

Well, enough for now.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I am a religious person. Not merely "spiritual." I believe in Jesus Christ and I practice my faith. Why is this important in this post? Because all I can say is THANK YOU GOD! YOU ARE AWESOME!

I went shopping today (it kept me from checking every 3 minutes to see if grades had been posted). When I got home...the first place went was to my office to check on Chem and Human Bio. I was greeted by this email:

Dr. Underdog,

The TA's are posting the final grades for my CHEM class on Blackboard on today. Your final average was a 77.64 and you will see a "C" grade posted on Blackboard. However, in consideration of your hard work, time missed from illness, and in (hoping) to give you that extra boost for you to do EVEN better in [next sequential Chem] furthering your Med School aspirations, I thought you deserved the "B" grade.

This will (should) be the grade that will show on your transcript/eeservices. If it does not, hold on to this email, and send it back, in case a correction is needed.

Have a Blessed and Restful Christmas.

Doc Underdog's Chem Prof

(ok, so this isn't me...but it might as well have been)

I spoke poorly about this prof, I questioned her ability to teach, even her mental health...and this is how she treats me. I deserve to be shot. I have never been given 2.5 points in my life and I never expected from her. Was my mind changed about her today? Certainly about her personally, but I will still do everything in my power to never take another class taught by her.

The only grade still outstanding was Human Bio. I knew I had done wonderfully on all material...except evolution. I tried, but was so "history oriented" and history is rough for me. My grade came back. Evolution slaughtered me on the final and I ended up with a B in the course.

Anyway, my GPA was 3.14 for the semester. I can't say that I am too disappointed as this is my first semester back as a full-time student and I didn't do too well the first time around. At one point in the semester, I thought that 2 C's were a possibility. I am ecstatic! GOD, YOU RAWK!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Chemistry Final Exam Grade...incoming!

What I hate most about this is not the work. It is the degree to which this matters to me. I met with my Chem prof 2 weeks ago. She is not a woman who is exactly straight in the head, but none the less..I must respect the title. So, I do. I needed an 80 on my final to end up with a B in the course. I just checked my grade. I got a 78. While I don't feel that this is over, I feel completely defeated. I didn't want to have to fight grading errors that she wouldn't address earlier in the semester, but now I have to in order to get the grade that I deserve. I want to roll up into a ball, find a dark corner somewhere and cry until I am out of tears. I know to many this will seem a bit extreme, but I don't feel that it is. A 78 puts me less than one percentage point from a B. Maybe even less than .5% in which case I would hope that she would round up instead of down. Frankly, any professor that awards a 79 when a 79.5 (or 79.1 for that matter) is earned is actually TAKING POINTS AWAY from a student and I don't believe that is fair either. But, in the case of a 79.5 or higher, there should be no question. I really don't want to have to fight this. It won't end up being pretty and I will simply end up making a bad name for myself. But, I can't afford not to fight it.

For now, I am going to go back to my corner and pout.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I hope I never learn to look beyond the person to the symptoms alone. Distance myself to create a healthy environment for myself and my patient? Yes, but I never want to lose sight of the person. I was sitting with my mentor yesterday afternoon. We had not seen each other in a little over a month and we were typing up some loose ends when she said "I'm sorry, that is my fault Dr. Underdog. Something happened...something pretty in I could have not been here...that has consumed my life for the last month." I looked at her with a concerned look as it seemed that she wanted to tell me more...and I wanted to hear it. I asked (obviously). I had noticed that her car was not in there when I had driven up earlier, but thought little of it. She then told me (with a nervous laugh every once in awhile) about how she had been driving on a major road near where I used to live and had been t-boned. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning. Her car was sent airborne and flipped twice. When she landed, moved backwards destroying a retaining wall and bringing her to a halt between 2 buildings. The airbags had not deployed as the sensors in the front bumper had not been activated. Upon hearing this story (with my hand covering my gaping mouth and eyes wide), I hugged her telling her what she meant to me. After all, had it not been for this person I would not be on the road that I am. She is strength and a reminder that I can do it. But, most of all, I see strength. I see a woman committed to the patients that she serves and unwavering in their care. I have rarely seen her emotional, but it was obvious that she was shaken. She had been dealing with her injuries for the last month and was just returning to work.

My point? People are not always what they seem. I always want to ask the next question...even at the risk of seeming intrusive. I want to look past the surface of the hardest of people and see something more. When I was involved in a very bad car accident (nowhere close to what she had experienced) about 8 months ago, I became acutely aware of the speed at which things can end. The sound of crushing metal was just beginning to leave me long enough to find peace. I have been witness to accidents through which people should not have lived. These experiences leave a mark. They burn a memory that is not peaceful. It causes nightmares and changes the way you think...the way you look at things, people...the way you live. These are the kind of experiences that can break the hardest of individuals.

I never want to put such a distance between myself and another that it takes another experience like the one I walked away from 8 months ago or the one that my mentor experienced recently to make me realize where my mind should be. I felt that happen to me and I watched as it happened to her.

I don't want to be stereotypical, I don't want to be judgemental and most of all, I don't want to be distant.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

One more!

I have taken all of my finals...except one. Human Bio --- tomorrow at 1pm. Tonight I have a study group... in about an hour. I have so far, I have accumulated 1 A and 2 Bs for the semester. I am waiting on that 80 on my Chem final to make it 3 Bs. I need an 89 on my Human Bio final to get an A in that class. So, we will have to see. I am cautiously optimistic. I wasn't as worried going into my Chem exam as I am going into my Human Bio exam. I really want that A!! I did pretty poorly on my 2 finals yesterday...a 65.75% in Math and a 72% in Nutrition. But, both were enough for Bs in the class. I was not in line for an A either way, so I am satisfied. Gosh, I am just waiting for the return in Chem. I have been checking Blackboard about every hour (if not more) and I have a friend (also a classmate) on high alert with phone in hand at the first sight of her grade. So, it won't be there long before I know about it!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Finals...that's all folks!

I am having a lot of trouble getting motivated to study for finals. You would think that good grades would be enough, but apparently not. Of course, I am being told that I am concentrating TOO MUCH on my grades. Um..ok...WTF? Anyway, I met with my Chem prof on Friday. Chem is the bane of my existence this semester and I thought that a C was my highest hope. Apparently not. She worked up my grades and if I pull an 80 on the final I have a B. WOO HOO. Please, Please, Please God! I just hope that I have retained more than my grades have shown thus far. I know, back to the whole grade thing.

I have done ZERO studying all weekend. I was in bed most of today. I sustained a couple of back injuries about 10-15 years ago and every once in a while my back likes to make me aware that it can wreck my life. Usually, I just deal. I move through it. But, it got to the point last night that standing was not an option. So, I have been in bed all day. Lazy, Lazy, Lazy. Sort of. But, I really don't want to get to the point where I can't walk...especially this week. I am looking forward to finals being over, but I am really looking forward to doing well on them. Thankfully, I get both of my Chem classes out of the way on Monday and don't have to think about them again. Tuesday is Math and Nutrition (more difficult than it sounds) which will result in 2 Bs for the semester and Thursday is Human Biology...which could go down as an A or a B depending upon the final. If I make an A on the final, I get an A...If I get anything lower, I get a B. So... my study group is on Tuesday night which leaves me Wednesday to review before Thursday. So, if everything goes well, I will end up with 2 As and 3 Bs. I guess that is "well."

I am registered for my classes next semester. The schedule?
Human Anatomy
Anatomy Lab
Chem Lab
Safety & First Aid (don't includes some certifications that I want)

My schedule is not nearly as cushy as it was this term. I have 8am classes 2x/week and a night class as well. Not to mention, in order to get this particular professor for Chem I had to enroll in a MWF class which means I no longer have my Fridays free - a luxury that I have enjoyed this semester. But, after such a horrible experience with Chem this term, I won't settle for anyone less. I had this professor for HUMS Chem this term and now I will have her for HUMS Chem and Gen Chem. AWESOME!

I am gonna scram for now. To all of you who have finals coming up...GOOD LUCK!


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Started Dec. 1...
I finally did the plastic surgeon shadowing that has been in the works for something like 8 months. I will be going back, but yesterday was my first installment. It was great. A few highlights:
-A man who had had lipo done by an ObGyn-
WOW. Needless to say, he has had severe complications. The gentleman is now on dialysis, has a huge hole in the skin of his abdomen which is exposing the muscle and the skin on his scrotum fell off. The first question I had (obviously not to the pt) was "What the heck was an obgyn (why wont Blogger allow me to use certain punctuation???) doing performing liposuction?" This poor man has obviously been through a lot. Whatever $$$ he saved going to this back alley doc is being far exceeded by what he is having to shell out now to stay alive.

(MAJOR TIME is now Dec. 7th.)
Attempting to complete this post as if no time had passed would be stupid. But, suffice it to say that last Friday was a super kick @$$ day and it provided a much needed shot of motivation to get me through finals. I can't wait until those are over! I will expound more upon that later..but for now I am going to cuddle up in bed. We just got home from an extra credit Science and Faith Seminar. It was supposed to be on the efficacy of intercessory prayer in relation to health and healing, but neither party held their ground. The scientist who was arguing the "anti-proof" side turned out to gush his faith while the theologian tried to argue the opposite side to take up the slack...ugh. Very disappointing. I am glad I got extra credit for going because I gained nothing from it personally.

Studying on tap for the weekend.