Friday, January 28, 2011

Intersting things learned so far in med school

Following an exam today (one of many this semester), I need to remind myself of all the cool things that I have learned so far in medical school:

-How to use an otoscope (the thing doctor's look in your eyes with), opthalmoscope (the thing doctor's look in your ear and nose with), stethascope, and blood pressure cuffs... I now even have one of each of these items! :)
-Licorice consumption can lead to low potassium in your blood (hypokalemia) and high blood pressure (hypertension)... this is not talking about twizzlers or cheap licorice candy, but more expensive brands of licorice and items that contain real licorice extract or the compound, glycerrhetinic acid.
-Fat from food flows through your lymph system (and not through your blood).
-Panda's can't taste umami, one of the five basic senses.
-The reason hydration packets contain salt and sugar.
-Mucus contains antibodies, and helps to fight (and prevent) infection.
-Something called an auscultatory gap -- where when you measure blood pressure, there can be a gap in sounds and can lead to an inaccurately low blood pressure reading.
-How a body adapts to different kinds of conditions -- bone becomes stronger or weaker depending on activity (and type of activity) level; your gut adapts to different diets to maximize food absorption; you immune system responds to different types of infections, etc. So interesting, and amazing!

Most days, I do really enjoy being in school again. I feel lucky to be able to learn so many interesting things. Of course, there are days that are stressful, or when I momentarily feel overwhelmed. But, most of the time... I don't realize how much time I actually put in, because it is enjoyable and contains at least one fascinating bit of trivia.

Like, did you know that you secrete growth hormone when you sleep?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sporting a new kind of "backpack"

Ever since my accident, I have had 3 main complaints: back pain, neck pain, and occasional dizziness when I look up. I had assumed that these would just go away on their own, and really was not doing much about any of these complaints (aside from taking the occasional few advil, and rest) until last Saturday. The back/neck pain got to the point that I could no longer concentrate on well, anything. So, in I went to Urgent Care.

Turns out, I do have a back/neck muscle injury from the accident. So, I was told to not use my backpack any more, as this will only make the injury worse. I am now sporting a new kind of backpack -- it's actually a black, carry-on rolling suitcase, and it works wonderfully. Seriously, this suitcase holds way more than that little backpack ever did. It rolls across campus with ease. And, I can easily pack both my lunch and coffee thermos inside without having to decide which books/course packs I do not need, or resorting to my usual alternative: carrying the back-pack on my back, lunch box around my shoulders (has a long, purse-like handle), and coffee thermos with my left hand.

Now, if only I could find a way to make the thing quiet (instead of going clickity-clack) as I walk across campus...

ETA: Also, because of this injury, I was introduced to another great thing... rice socks. Take a clean, old, long sock. Fill with long-grain rice (not minute rice). Tie the sock. Put in microwave for 1-2 minutes... Makes a great heating pad, and one of life's small pleasures.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

7 minutes

Now that school is in full swing, I am really enjoying the small things in life... like my new 7 minute commute. I now have an extra 10 hours a week to balance school, my life, etc. That's a whole extra day of studying that I get back. Hooray! Perhaps, I can use this time to get more sleep, spend a little more time with Pete, and go for a few more walks with the dog. It will be nice to have the choice regarding what I want to do with that time, instead of budgeting it weekly to commute to school.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yes, it has been a while...

It has been a while since I last posted. I was not entirely sure what I should write. So, I would write something and then delete it, write something then delete it. Today, my goal is to write something and actually keep it up.

About a month ago, I was in a bad car wreck. Since that day, my life has entered another transition state. This near brush with death has reminded me of two things, 1) we are not 100% in control, and 2) gave some perspective on my priorities. Pete and I have since replaced the car, and I now live in an apartment much closer to school. Our home has been listed, hoping some other couple or person finds this house as charming, unique, and wonderful as we have these last few years. I will start spring semester on Monday, and feel fortunate that I was able to finish fall semester before break and will be able to continue with school.

Its odd moving away from your home as an adult. Down sizing and re-aligning your life. When school started, I really did not want to move away from this place -- comfortable surroundings, brightly colored walls, a cozy wood stove, and a lot of family/friends nearby. However, this accident has reminded me of my priorities -- right now, school is higher on the list than remaining at home. So, I needed to move closer to make more time for school and minimize some of the risk associated with driving long distances to/from school each day.

I do like my apartment. I can see myself being happy there. There is a wall painted a browny shade of orange. I like it. Colors make me happy, and so I am happy that all of the walls are not a bland palate of whites. It is also close to many things, and should be easier to take care of and maintain during school.

Hopefully, 2011 will be a less exciting year. I am looking forward to starting school again, and all the busy-ness that comes with each semester. Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2011!