Wednesday, August 10, 2005
I am alive and well...just busy and find it hard to keep up with LJ these days. I do think about the people I met on here though and really hope all of you are doing well! I am very happy to see prolife continues to thrive...thanks to all of you who help keep it going.
So, what am I up to? I am in med school now. So basically I spend a few hours every day in the Gross Anatomy lab, having to look at dissected dead people and reeking of formaldehyde. It was a little surreal to see the cadavers for the first time. There are times when it is slightly creepy (mainly looking at dissections involving the face and head), but I guess you can get used to almost anything.
Naturally, that sort of makes you think about death and other sorts of topics a fair amount.
If/when I die (hey, who knows what the future holds? they might find the secret to immortality before my number is up!) I definitely want my organs donated to other people...but I can't imagine donating my body to a med school, honestly. It amazes me that anyone IS willing to make such a donation...but nonetheless, I do appreciate the anonymous (and sometimes *literally* faceless...forgive me if that is a bit too graphic) strangers that decided to donate their bodies for my education. Thanks, whoever you people are. I don't know quite why you did it but I appreciate your sacrifice.
I am the happiest I have been in a long time. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity, and I enjoy the actual work more than I expected to before I started. A year ago, even maybe as recently as just a few months ago...I never would have guessed I would end up where I am today and be so content with it. :)
I don't know when I will be back, but I will return one of these days. My best wishes to all of you. :)
Friday, February 11, 2005
So I felt it was only fair to make another appearance here. Yes, I know I suck for being away so much. Everything's just so quiet and mundane though...and that's how I like it for now. I'm trying to cherish this quiet time before med school.
It's been another typical Friday night for me: Huddled up in a warm blanket in the living room (which is all the sweeter because it's so bitterly cold outside). I've got the classic rock station playing while I thumb through a book (in an effort to find a David Sedaris surrogate, I'm presently getting acquainted with Augusten Burroughs).
Yes, at *this* particular moment, I don't mind that I will be as single as ever on Valentine's Day. :-P
Friday, December 31, 2004
7:45AM - HAPPY GNU YEAR!
1. The last person you will talk to in 2004: My dear buddy Joe, who I'll be spending the countdown with. We're aiming to stay up until 6 am celebrating.
2. The last meal you will eat in 2004: Hmm, haven't decided yet. Probably pizza.
3. The last person who will say, "I love you," to you in 2004: Probably Joe again, actually, in a platonic sense. The platonic bit is quite all right with me. At least I know he means it, as my best friend of 10 years (and counting). I've been burned on romantic love by too many sweet talking boys this year. :-P
4. The last party you will have attended in 2004: My own birthday. Sort of.
5. The lasting memory of 2004 that you will still think about in 20, 30 or even 40 years from now: Hmm, hard to pick one standout event. I guess I'd have to say I'll always remember the new things I saw during my med school travels: Flying for the first time, seeing the ocean for the first time, seeing Las Vegas for the first time...and then getting accepted! Let's hope 20-40 years from now I don't look back on this pivotal year and think, "Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why didn't I become a dentist instead?" :-P
Thursday, December 30, 2004
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
1982 - maranta, LiveJournal fugitive.
Of course, that's not to take away from the joyous news that Jon Voight was born today too. I mean, just THINK of how bleak our world would be without a man who helped bring us SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2.
Wednesday, December 8, 2004
As it turns out, things with the dog aren't as bad as I first feared. The dog had an echocardiogram and it turns out that her mitral valve is diseased, but it is minor enough (for now) that she doesn't even need to be medicated for it. Since valve disease worsens with time (unless you do a valve replacement, but hardly anyone does that on dogs), it WOULD eventually become a problem...but the cardiologist essentially said that, as old as she already is, she will most likely die of something else first before her heart gives out.
This was great news, actually. I was afraid her heart had already begun to fail because she had been coughing and had an episode of rapid breathing...but the cardiologist says that wasn't because of her heart after all. Surprising, but a relief. The dog is still quite elderly and you never know what health issues will crop up next with an elderly animal, but for today we can relax. I appreciate those who were concerned on my behalf even though it is "just a dog".
So...now what do I talk about?
Um. This pumpkin-raisin muffin I am eating right now is quite tasty. Better than I expected actually. So, yeah, lots of good news. I guess I'm really on a roll again!
Monday, December 6, 2004
Uh...ahem. I know I've been gone for a while. Honestly, I guess I feel like it's not worth updating just to say "Hey, everything's going great" (perhaps it could even seem like annoying bragging). The last couple of months were in fact quite good to me. The traveling I did for the interviews invigorated me spiritually, I had a couple of school acceptances to choose from, I had the attention of some very nice guys who made me realize there ARE many fish in the sea, AND...the family seemed to be in good health.
Seemed. It turns out our dog is sick (and she is, as longtime readers know, considered part of the family around here). This morning I noticed she was having a hard time breathing and the vet has attributed it to heart trouble. :( So, the dog is at the vet right now undergoing some tests. She will probably be going to a veterinary cardiologist soon as well. While I'm waiting for the vet to call with more information, all I can do is go by what I'm finding online. The information out there about dogs with the sort of heart condition she appears to have doesn't paint a particularly rosy picture, though it's not the worst case scenario either. But, then, I am reminded of Stephen Jay Gould's insistence the median isn't the message anyway.
Open heart surgery is not normally an option for dogs (though, interestingly, it is NOT unheard of to perform such surgeries). However, I can hope and pray that we've caught it in time for medication to help control her symptoms for a good long while.
A lot of the same heart medications are used in dogs as in humans, so my dog will probably end up on some of the same meds my father was taking. Weird. I feel truly fortunate to live in a society, an era where sophisticated treatments for heart disease are in fact accessible "even for a dog". 50 years ago, there was not very much that could be done even for human beings with heart disease.
Being a worrier by nature, I could easily get myself all freaked out about this...but I'm trying to take things one day at a time for once. :) There is no guarantee in life...for better or for worse, things are always open to change.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Monday, October 11, 2004
So, anyway, the trip to AZ and NV was great. I love the American southwest. I may not be able to move out there for school (hard to justify paying that much tuition to go there if I have any cheaper choices*!), but I think I'd like to trying living in the southwest at some point in my life.
I enjoyed Las Vegas, although I don't think I would ever want to live near the downtown area. At night it's fun to cruise the strip and see all the people milling around in a neon glow. However, by daylight there was just something a bit seedy about all the wedding chapels and pawn shops on every corner. :-P We gambled a grand total of $2 in Vegas. Yeah, two dollars.
Visiting the Liberace Museum was one of the more interesting things we did in Vegas. Even though I had never been particularly interested in Liberace beforehand (I was vaguely aware of his reputation for flamboyance but have never seen any of his performances), it was still quite fun to see how he lived.
I myself am a devout cheapskate and firmly believe in the concept of living below your means. I have no intention of ever having a fancy car or fancy clothes myself. However, it's still interesting to see all the fancy and outrageous things he had.
While we were touring the anatomy lab at one campus, our student tour guide decided to pull the sheet off one of the cadavers to show us what we'll soon be facing ourselves. At other schools, we weren't allowed in the anatomy lab at all for the most part. In those places, nobody but actual medical students are allowed inside, because I guess it's expected they'll be more respectful of the bodies. Looking at the cadaver for that brief moment, for the very first time ever, I didn't feel any sense of fear or horror. I just felt a quiet respect for that person who donated their body. I can only hope that I can maintain such a peaceful, respectful attitude once I am actually in my Gross Anatomy class.
Yes, I WILL be in such a class come Fall 2005...because I have received an acceptance! *And yes, it IS a cheaper school than one in the southwest would be. :)
I shouldn't go into much detail yet since I am not quite 100% sure if I will accept their offer (I need to see what happens with some other schools first)...but it feels great to know that I DO have a place to go next fall as long as I WANT to go. ;)
Saturday, October 2, 2004
2:48AM - In Vegas!
I can't linger on here because the hotel charges us for local calls...so I'll just state the obvious: Quite a contrast between driving through the desolate Arizona desert for hours and then trying to find your way through the chaos of Vegas, I tell ya.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Yep, I'm typing this from a hotel room in Arizona. :)
The trip out here marks the first time I've ever been on a plane, and I enjoyed the experience. I felt quite at ease with flying...except maybe for those first few moments of take-off where I was not yet completely convinced that our big ole 757 crammed full of people could REALLY stay aloft. After a lifetime of ground-dwelling, it's an odd sensation to be accelerating up into the clouds...but quite cool.
So far, I am pleased with everything I've encountered in AZ so far. 94 degrees is quite tolerable when it's a DRY heat. To me, a nice sandy front yard full of gnarly cacti is more aesthetically pleasing than one grass lawn after another (I'd guess it would be less maintenance too). Yeah, I think I could be happy here. I'm not sure how things will turn out yet, but I'm definitely glad I decided to come here and check things out.
2:09AM - away we go
In just a few hours, I'm hopping on a plane to Phoenix. :)
Friday, September 24, 2004
12:47PM - friday five again
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
12:10AM - I survived
Yeah, I survived the interview. That's all I can really say about it until I know if they're gonna accept me or not. The interviewer pretty much had a poker face so I don't know what kind of impression I made.
Wednesday is my chance to relax for a little bit before the next interview on Thursday. Oh joy. However, I am not as apprehensive now that I have an idea of what to expect. I might even get a full night of sleep this time. With this first one, I woke up an hour earlier than I needed to because I was so restless and pumped up with adrenaline.
While I was there, they of course went over financial aid info and gave us a tour of the campus. The financial aid talk was...a little depressing. Enough said. :-P
The tour helped me get a little excited about the idea of going there, though. It's really quite nice. I think they have a very strong program there, friendly student body, etc. Only thing that I could complain about: We didn't get to look inside the anatomy lab, but from the formaldehyde stench that permeated the hallway I can guess it's not very well-ventilated. I guess that's just something you adjust to.
Monday, September 20, 2004
8:57PM - IT'S TIME!
By which I mean...my first interview is less than 12 hours away.
I'm so wired that I don't know if I will be able to sleep.
I don't feel ready for this. But...I don't think I will EVER feel 100% ready.
Since I have been feeling quite ambivalent about pursuing med school lately, I suppose I am not going to be crushed even if somehow it turns out to be an unmitigated disaster (for example: during dinner out with the family earlier, we somehow got to talking about the possibility that I could get food poisoning from the meal and end up vomiting on the interviewers tomorrow. That ought to put things in perspective!). :-P
Yes, once again those doubts are cropping up - though so far I have not reached the point of taking practice DAT exams (the test for getting admitted to dental school) as I was doing a couple days ago. :-P
I know I should be grateful that I have this opportunity...but I feel like this is a huge turning point in my life. I'm very apprehensive.
There are times that I want to just walk away from all this and try to live a more conventional, less frantic lifestyle.
But then I remember that nothing about my life has ever been normal, for better and for worse. :-P
Friday, September 17, 2004
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Writing about it (and talking to my mother) was cathartic. I feel a lot better about med school now than I did earlier today.
Dentists have a pretty good life, but I just don't have any love for the kind of work they do. I'll find a way to make it through the lousy aspects of medicine and find some joy in it.
I feel better for having questioned it, though.
Meanwhile on a lighter note, I bring you the friday fives:
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Friday, September 10, 2004
7:06PM - standing at the crossroads
So, as everyone who's been reading my journal for a while knows, I am applying to med school.
Interview invitations have been rolling in from the schools that I know are my best prospects (one of them accepts practically EVERYONE they interview), so I feel pretty confident that I am going to get accepted SOMEWHERE.
And somehow...I'm not as happy as I thought I would be about it. I'm not happy at all, actually. Lately, I feel quite empty inside. I am questioning if med school is truly what I want.
It's like now that I've proven to myself that I CAN do it...I'm not sure that I WANT to do it.
Now that my goal is within my reach, suddenly the enormity of the whole decision is sinking in like never before. I am keenly aware of just how much I am going to be sacrificing to go down this road and I'm NOT sure that I love medicine enough that it's truly worth it.
One side of me says: Everything I've done before this point has been leading up to this. This is what all those years of taking care of my father were training me for...to give me the motivation and compassion to be a good physician.
But another side, which has suddenly become much stronger and more insistent, says: I want to have free time to enjoy my family. I want a life. I don't want to be overwhelmed with paperwork, bureaucracy, lawsuits, and all the other crap that most docs deal with nowadays.
Dentistry offers a far more sane, family-friendly lifestyle than medicine does. I am seriously contemplating waiting until next year to apply to dental school rather than going through with med school next fall as currently planned.
Not sure yet how this will turn out. I am thinking of starting to study for the DAT.
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
3:07AM - surprise surprise
Who would have thought that my friends would be big on the pro-life and religious stuff?
Monday, September 6, 2004
5:55PM - Two years
(comments disallowed because there's really nothing that needs to be said)
September 5th was the second anniversary of my father's death.
Circumstances aligned so that I found myself driving his old truck around. Since he isn't here to keep it in good working condition, it's not really all that reliable and we try to avoid driving it most of the time...but it somehow makes me feel closer to him to be driving the truck. He was so fond of his truck, and some of the few hazy memories I have of him as a healthy man involve driving around in the truck with him when I was a very young child.
Of course, he did manage to drive for a while even after he became disabled. He was really quite surprisingly active and capable in the first few years after the stroke. If only the downward spiral hadn't continued...
I can honestly say that I've healed and moved on. I still think about him all the time, but not with the same wistful ache in my heart that I once had.
And yet, there are still certain times... While I was talking to a friend about the anniversary last night, I still shed some tears. I think there will always be certain moments when the right button gets pushed and I realize the pain is still there in some form.
I don't like early September...but I know better days are coming.
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