“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.