Thursday, May 24, 2012

Let Bygones be Bygones

Bygone - a thing dating from an earlier time

I bet you didn't know that phrase had a real meaning!  Well, now you know.  Today I took the GRE, and although I still can't get a grip on if I should be ecstatic about my score, I find that it really does not matter.  I am extremely proud of myself, and how well I did compared to what I was prepared to get, given my dismal history with standardized tests.  I guess the hiatus I took from life to study everyday for 8-10 hours a day paid off! 

Now, back to the good stuff - graphic picture I have accumulated during my path to PA school!

A few weeks back, after fulfilling my duties as DD and driving everyone back to my friend's house, we decided to hang out into the wee hours of the night.  It seems that after 4AM, all filters fly out the window and candidness takes its place.  Somehow, everyone's sordid medical history became the center of conversation.  Even though we had just been introduced less than an hour ago, one guy started telling us all about his cerecum impaction.  Of course, he had a picture of this excised ball of ear wax on his phone.  I insisted that he show me the picture, but at first he didn't take me seriously.  After a bit of coaxing, he relented and gave me permission to post it here on my blog.
Cerumen Impaction

Ceruminous glands are found in the external auditory canal (ear canal).  Their main function is to produce the wax (cerecum) that waterproofs this sensitive area and simultaneously kills bacteria and traps particles.  

A cerecum impaction can occur after an individual uses Q-tips or bobby pins to clean his or her ear.  This is because doing so inadvertently pushes wax too far into the ear canal.  The external auditory canal is rather remarkable at cleaning itself.  So unless you want to fish one of these suckers out of your ear during your next visit to the doctor, you might want to think twice the next time you decide to "clean" your ears! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Abscond - to leave secretly"

I didn't really abscond from Austin, but I feel like I have.  For the past few days, I have been hiding out like a misanthrope at my aunt's home in Dallas.  It's not that I don't like people, its just that my boyfriend, Nat, has been driving my car to work everyday, and living in Dallas without a car is like social suicide!  So, while Nat goes to work everyday, I have been spending the days alone in my aunt's lavish home.  My aunt's place is like a 4 star resort - ornate, full of delicious food, and has an amazing pool.  

Although it might sound like I am in paradise, I am far from being on vacation, lounging by the pool margarita in hand.  On the contrary, I have actually been painstakingly studying for the Graduate Records Examination (GRE).  Standardized tests and I have a poor history - the SAT attenuated my confidence years ago, and left me dreading the thought of even considering graduate school lest I have to take another test that has been suggested to be biased against both women and minorities (of which I am both).  In high school, I was impetuous and audacious - and obviously overconfident in my intelligence because I purposely chose not to prepare or study for the SAT.  I thank fate, the stars, God and the admissions department at UC Berkeley for ignoring my SAT score and pitying this young aspiring actor with a love of stage theatre, Shakespeare, and the ridiculous.  

I will not be as inchoate and lazy in my approach to the GRE as I was in studying for the SAT.  My only hope is that I can shake off my diffident mentality and regain my confidence that was lost years ago.  If I study hard, I know I can make it through another soporific exam (I am pretty sure I almost fell asleep during the Reading and Comprehension section of the SAT).  You may have guessed that the bold-faced words scattered throughout this post are from my GRE work books.  I apologize if they make me seem like a pedant, but I find that using new words in sentences is the best way to study!  

My GRE is scheduled for May 24th - a day that will go down in infamy or great triumph! 

This blog post was brought to you by the following words:
Abscond - to leave secretly
Misanthrope - a person who dislikes others
Lavish - to give unsparingly; extremely generous or extravagant
Attenuate - to reduce in force or degree; weaken
Impetuous - quick to act without thinking
Audacious - fearless and daring
Diffident - lacking self-confidence
Soporific - causing sleep or lethargy
Inchoate - not fully formed; disorganized
Pedant - someone who shows off learning

Friday, May 4, 2012

O time, thou must untangle this, not I...

“O time, thou must untangle this, not I...It is too hard a knot for me t’untie" 
(II.ii.38–39) Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

I learned this quote in high school when my love affair with Billie Shakespeare began.  Although this quote has more to do with forlorn cross-dressing lovers than with anything I am currently experiencing, I still find comfort in its call for fate's intervention.  There are just too many questions lingering to really determine what will be happening with my academic future: will I apply this year, will I return to California or stay in Texas, will I have to take Organic Chemistry, will I need to spend more time working to accumulate clinical experience?  It all got too stressful to think about, so for now I am going to kick back and just let fate do some of the work.

Over the weekend, I paid a visit to my home state of California.  My main motivator was an open house held at Western University of Health Sciences.  I had been in contact with the university for some time now, and we eager to see the program and learn about all the school had to offer.  Their motto, "The disciple of learning, the art of caring," really embodies what I hope to get out of my experience as a future Physician Assistant.  I left the open house excited to write my personal statement and turn in my application!  

I also had the pleasure of attending an event held by The University of Southern California, where my father went to medical school.  Hearing the dean talk about the future of the Keck School of Medicine was awe-inspiring to say the least.  I would be honored to continue the family tradition and attend the Keck School of Medicine as a Physician Assistant, although, as an alumni from the University of California, at Berkeley I would be a Bear in wolf's clothing! 

With all that official business out of the way, I also got a chance to catch up with my best friends from high school, eat delicious Indian and Thai food that is just infinitely better than anything in Texas, and even go on hospital rounds with my dad!  Going into the family business is handy, especially when you want to gain real work experience.  Even though I felt like a little kid, stumbling in high heels, trying to keep up with my dad as he flew from room to room in the hospital and his clinic, I was able to get some great exposure to some interesting cases.

Our first visit was to a patient who had been suffering from pitting edema, a condition characterized by fluids exiting the capillaries and vessels which leads to swelling.  When we visited this patient, instead of seeing the swelling that persisted, the patient's legs were a dark purple/black color.  This was because the hematocrit in the blood had leaked out of the capillaries when the patient first started experiencing the edema.  When blood oxidizes, it turns a dark purple/black color.  My dad assured me that, although his patient's legs looked grave, he was in fact healing nicely.

While at the clinic, I got to palpate a rebounding and painful abdominal Right Upper Quadrant, indicative of an inflammation of the gallbladder; examine the smallest bone in the body, the stapes, while using an otoscope (instrument with a flashlight built into it that is used to look into ears, nose and throats); and even watch my dad remove a foreign body from an inverted eye lid!  All that in just one morning.  I can't wait until I can be at the clinic every day shadowing my dad and our PA.  For now, it's back to the books!  One more test in Anatomy and Biology.  Then, I get to take the dreaded standardized test for big kids, the GRE.