Thursday, August 27, 2015

As Though i didn't have enough to do just being in medical school . . .

I'm not exactly Olivia Newton-John, but them, she wasn't the world's greatest ctress, either.

Class today went as expected, and I assume that the same will be true tomorrow, but I was thrown a  curve ball after class. I receive a note summoning me to the office of some dean with whom I was not particularly familiar. When one receives such a summons, even if one kknows one hasn't done anything inappropropriate,  all sorts fo things go through one's mind. Then, after the initial fear that someone was still mad at me for killing the fake patient and not crying about it last spring, I began to fear that I was going to be asked to tutor the offspring or relative of someone important who perhaps did not catch on to the content of med school all that quickly. Neither scenario was exactly enthralling to me.

I was hit witha major surprise-- though not necessarily the good kind-- once i got there. It seems that this dean's wife is a major benefactor and someontimes participant in a local commnity theatre program. As has happened to me before, a role fell into my lap because someone else couldn't fulfill te terms of it. In this particular case I believe the problem was creative differences between the actor and the director.  For some reason word has gotten out that I can memorize lines in a fraction of the time it takes the average person and that I can sing  and dance on stage acceptably well. My acting skills are minimal, but some lead roles are rather flat roles in terms of the acting skills required. In this particular case (I've been asked to portray Sandy Dombroski in Grease) the acting skills demanded for the role are almost nonexistant. If a person can sing and dance her way through the oart, she's home free.

Obviously no one could force me to take this role, but I wish not to incur the ill will of anyone important in the department. The dean in question told me if I would get through the run of the sshow (just two weeks) he'd owe me big time. He also said he would guarantee it would not hurt me academically, as in if I need to take a test multiple times to reeive an acceptable score, he'll see to it that I get the opportunity. I'm too Type A to need to take a test multiple times, but it's nice and it takes the pressure off with the opportunity being there.

I  did not attend tonght's rehearsal because I needed to tie up loose ends in terms of my studies, but I'll attend rehearsals on Friday night and Sunday. We open Tuesday. There are eleven performances I believe, and then I'll be finished. It's Grease, not Les Miserables, so neither the lines  nor the singing nor the choreogrsphy should be exactly neurosurgery.  Ine nice thing about this is that once i finish, i wil feel extremely good just to be dealing with medical school. I suppose such is similar to saying one should pound his or head against the wall multiple times every day because it feels so good when one stops banging one's head, but that's neither here nor there.

The costume crew iss supposedly having to do a rush job to take the costumes up for me. The actress I replaced was taller and larger. 

I've been told that the guy playing Danny looks about ten years older than I do, C'est la vie. I'm still not crazy about this whole idea, but it's nice to have someone in the department indebted to me.

Somewhere Between Gidget, Muscle Beach, and Some of Those Elvis Movies, Minus Elvis, of Course

Not us, but you can get the idea.

We had great fun on our excursion today. There were eighteen of us in total, which was more than I epected to be there. As a young adult, I so appreciate the idea that we are adults and do not need chaperones or anyone else supervising us. Very few of us are immature enough to do anything truly stupid, and those who are that immature are vastly outnumbered.

Our outing was sort of like a 2015 version of Beach Blanket Bingo or whatever that movie was called. We played football, played in th surf, made pyramids on the sand, and had tons of fun, which will have to last us for awhile because we probabl won't have a hell of a lot of fun again for months.

I slathered on the sunscreen and didn't get burned at all. In my normal day-to-day activities I don't mess with sunscreen because I don't believe the verdict is in on it yet, and I believe a certain amount of sun exposure is healthful. If one's skin is getting burned, the sun exposure is probably beyond healthful, but my skin doesn't burn from normal exposureat non-tropical latitudes. It's only when I'm out in the sun all day or at the beach or on the water than I worry about it.

When I was a child, I tanned very easily. Many [though not all] children have natural protection from sunburn that Mother Nature gives them in the form of the ability to tan easily. I was dark enough in the spring, summer, and early fall that with my tightly curly hair I had the appearance of a bi-racial child for a few years. I  suspect I could still tan if I went about it gradually until I'd built up a basic tan, and then totally went for it.  Tanning for adults doesn't necessarily translate into skin that ages well, however, and that's also where the skin cancer risk comes in my opinion -- not from the sun exposure encountered by a child whose skin tolerates it well. In any event, i spent the day in the sun and am no worse for the wear.

I'm ready for school tomorrow. Our class time is lighter than it was in the past. We study on Wednesdays, as an important test will come late in the year, and anyone who is not a total foll will begin studying immediately rrather than waiting until spring. We also have no class on Friday afternoons. The free Friday fternoons are exttre appealing to me. I can study late thursday night because of the shortened workload on friday, then either sleep it off on Friday afternoon and oplan to study on the weekend, or even travel home on the weekend and get an early start. I plan to visit hoe more this year than last year becaase next year the opportunities to leave the area of the shcool will be limited.

I have my clothes all in order. I have my surgical scrubs of various colors, my  professional clothes, my totally slutty clothing, my clothing that isn't totally slutty but is edgy enough to attract the attention of the males around, and my comfortable clothing. Some girls wear pajamas to lectures, but I cannot bring mysef to wear pajams in public. I consider it unbefitting of a future physician, and I suspect the professors and others upon whom we will call to make recommendations for us in the futute feel the same way. i have tons of comfy pajamas for studying, but I wear them in the condo rather than  in lecture halls.

Earlier in my med school career, i swore I would never wear pink scrubs. Then I came across a Grey's Anatomy site that offered scrubs in a variety of colors that actually come in my size. They can only be worn for lectures, labs, and leisure, as hospital-issue scrubs will need to be worn once we're one duty. For day-to-day wear, I find them most comfy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

One Reason I'm Not a Crack Ho

I'd like to think this would not have been me regardless, but one never knows for certain.

Most of us are familiar with the proverb "It takes a village to raise a child." What it means is different to different people. while many people agree with the maxim at face value, many people took  umbrage at hillary clinton's use of part of the phrase in her book It Takes a Village, primarily, i assume, because it was hillary who used the ohrse. She could have entitled her book Jesus Is the Light of the World, and the evangelical and fundamental Christians of our nation would have found a way to disagree with and take offense to it. I am, however, digressing.

If most of us recall our childhoods and adolescences, we can come up with at least a few adults who were crucial to helping us to maintain relatively sane lives and to stay away from drugs, crime, wanton sex, and the other bad things out there just waiting to pounce upon and ensnare youth. This typically happens when a young person is at an age when he or she doesn't especially want to hear what his or her parents have to say. If another adult says the very thing our parents were trying to tell us, often we're willing to listen. This was true in my case.

I was fortunate enough to have had several of such adults in my life. I'd like to think that even without their guidance, I probably would not have become a crack whore, but one cannot know such things for certain. 

While there are many adults, including my parents,  to whom I should give credit for my relative functionality and sanity, because I'm leaving his home tonight to  go back to school, I shall devote this post to my pseudouncle Scott. I will try to give credit to the others in upcoming weeks or months.

Pseudouncle Scott married Jillian, whom we consider part of the family, particularly because there's a large segment of my dad's family to whom we do not consider ourselves related; we had room for a few extra relatives, and Jillian's family became those extra relatives. Jillian's father and my father met soon after my father relocated to Florida, and my dad soon began to spend more time at his friend Jerry's house than he spent at his own.

Jerry and my dad continued to be like brothers, and the bond was solidified when each of them married and their wives got along extremely well. When Jerry's wife, Aunt Ilianna, gave birth to a very premature baby, my mother flew east to Florida to help run the household so that Ilianna would be free to come and go to the hospital as needed.  My mother typed most of her doctoral dissertation with Jillian sitting on her lap.

When Matthew and I were born, Uncle Jerry flew west to deliver us. Later, Aunt Ilianna flew out because I was an especially difficult baby and my mom was experincing trouble in maintaining her sanity while being in solitary confinement for much of each day with twins, one of whom screamed  for roughly twenty-three of the twenty four hours of each day.

Jillian was seven years older than I, but she was light years ahead of me in maturty to the extent that it was though we were not even of the same generation. Hence, when she married, our relationship was more like that of an aunt and niece than one of peers of any sort. Her new husband inherited the "uncle" role.

I first met Scott a day before the rehearsal for his wedding to Jillian. Our initial meeting was precarious to say the least. Scott likes to tease people -- particularly pre-adolescent girls -- and while I ordinarily handle teasing reasonably well, I wasn't at all certain I liked his particular brand of it.

It all started out when the intended six-year-old flower girl came down with chicken pox. The search was on for a new flower girl. Scott pointed out that the dress, while much shorter on me than it would have been on the six-year-old (it was supposed to be floor-length on her), would be more than large enough for me. He nominated me to be the new flower girl. In retrospect, I'm sure he was joking, but at the time I didn't think his joke was funny in the least. The very last thing any thirteen-year-old wants to do in any wedding is to be the flower girl. That ruse continued until Aunt Ilianna took the dress up on the sides to make it fit a skinnier relative than the original flower girl.

My next conflict was over my playing the violin at Scott's and Jillian's wedding. Scott was unsure that anyone who looked like me (I was thirteen but could easily have passed for nine) was capable of playing the violin well enough to be a part of his wedding in that capacity. He was an undergrad music major in addition to his pre-med studies, so he was a bit picky in terms of  the music that was to be performed at his wedding. He thought I should audition for him. I had no intention of doing that; he could take me or leave me as one of his wedding musicians, but I was unwilling to demonstrate my skills for him beforehand.

We compromised -- against my will -- by my playing along with my mom as she sang the song that Scott himself was to sing at the wedding. I argued with my mother that doing such was pointless, as the notes I would play while accompanying her would be very different than those I would play when Scott sang because of the disparity between the tone of their voices, rendering my 
"audition" pointless. My mom told me to play along anyway just so he could get an idea of what I might be playing. The song was "Fileds of Gold," but Scott was going to copy my mother's arrangement, which was very different from that of Sting, the original artist who performed the song. 

I gave in and played along with my motther. Scott must have been suitably impressed. He took over at the piano and played while he sang, and I filled in phrases with an obligato, which was, as I said it would be, considerably different than what it was when my mother had played and sung the song. Afterwards, Scott conceded with "Touche'. I had no idea anyone so little could play so well."

We had no further contact until that summer, when my summer camp plans fell through for a time that my parents would be traveling out of the country. My parents needed a place to park me, and the pseudorelatives needed money, which my parents would pay them to care for me. It seemed like a win/win situation for everyone but me. The initial meeting, when Scott picked me up at the airport, was most awkward, and he said basically nothing to me all the way from the airport in Salt Lake City to their home -- a shabby apartment in a complex filled mostly with married BYU students in Utah County.

We got past the uncomfortable reintroduction and made a tentative peace. The situation gradually improved, though there was continued conflict throughut the summer over Scott's concern abut how little I ate. I've never been a big eater even since infancy, but the problem was compounded by Jillian's habit of cooking Cuban entrees for dinner. Jillian believed that a kid should eat what was on the table or nothing at all; I wasn't about to tuch, much less eat her Cuban concoctions.

That particular obstacle was finally overcome by their allowing me to eat cereal or to make peanut butter sandwiches along with salad or to eat rice from the meal and to take bits of the meat that was used in the Cuban concoction before Cuban spices had been applied to it and to cook it myself. 

Scott and I bonded somewhat over music. He gave me piano lessons since my mom wasn't there to give them to me, and I taught him the basics of playing violin. 

I spent parts of the next three summers with them while my parents traveled and my brother was at baseball camp. I didn't make life all that easy for them and caused them to earn their money by developing croup one summer and having my appendix rupture on me another summer. 

When, in the fall after my third summer with them I suffered my infamous restroom assault, Scott offered in all seriousness to fly to California and kick the @$$ of the main perpetrator, who was a legal adult. I wanted to take him up on the offer (he's big), but my parents turned it down, saying that we would handle the mater legally. My parents were right in not using violence to setle the matter, but still, I appreciated the idea that someone was willing to commit violence on my behalf.

On the rare occasions when classes became difficult and my dad wasn't around to clarify tough concepts, Scott was always available. Even now in med school, I call him if something is unclear. He explains things a bit more clearly than my dad does. He helped me to prepared for medical school interviews, which he went through much more recently than my dad did.

Scott and Jillian have made me the Godmother to both of their children, for which I am deeply honored. 

I would like to think that ultimately I would not have led a life of crime or ended up on skid row even if Scott had not been in my life, but his presence made the possibility even less likely.

Scott and I relate to one another primarily through trading barbs and insults, but I wuld like to express now just how sincerely I appreciate and love him. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Missing Davy Jones Again

Rest in peace. 

I'm feeling yucky today, so I'm holed up in my room. I've been watching YouTube videos just to pass the time because I've read everything I'm going to read in terms of academic content  this summer. One must know when to say when.

I watched a Davy Jones video and became very sad. I miss him all over again.

I don't like to say this, but he was almost too pretty to be a boy. When he aged, he became less beautiful and more handsome, but the looks were still there. And his voice was so sweet . . .

Matthew and His Hair-Brained Diagnosis: I Am a Stupid Version of Sheldon

My brother believes I'm a less intelligent version of Sheldon. Matthew is  actually wrong on two counts. I'm considerably less than a standard deviation from Sheldon's reported IQ (although Sheldon also says his intelligence cannot be accurately gauged by standard assessments), in addition to the fact that I lack the obvious quirks shown by this fictional character.

My brother thinks he might possibly choose child psychiatry as a specialty. I personally think it's a poor fit, but he'll need to discover that for himself unless he reads my blog and enlightens himself the easy way.

Anyway, Matthew has been reading up on various topics related to child and adolescent psychiatry and has decided that I am on the autism spectrum. He believes I am closest to what was formerly diagnosed as Asperger Syndrome except that, for various reasons, it's not classified as such in the currently-in-use DSM. It's simply classified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

The reasons for this change in terminology are , or at least I've been told, that A) an "Asperger Syndrome" diagnosis ultimately qualified children for fewer services than does the more inclusive "Autism Spectrum Disorder" and B) parents of children anywhere on the autism spectrum tended to seek out the daignosis of "Asperger" for their affected children despite the possibility of fewer services being provided because it was slightly less stigmatizing than "autism" by itself and a higher-prestige diagnosis (akin almost to being voted the most cool kid at band camp). 

Regardless of the disappearance of the term from the current DSM, professionals know an Aspie when they see one from a distance of a mile or more whether or not they were giving out the diagnosis too liberally to appease parents. (It's really tough for a professional to inform a parent that his or her child has a disability, and when parents have asked for a milder form of the diagnosis in writing, many practitioners have acceded to the parents' wishes, ultimately rendering the diagnosis on paper difficult to take at face value.) Also regardless is that  my brother is in no position to be making such diagnoses on me or anyone else, and he got it wrong where I'm concerned. I'm maybe a little OCD, as is roughly half the population in the U.S. according to a recent estimate, but I'm not on the autism spectrum.

Furthermore, Matthew is the boy who, as a child of four years, was afraid that if anyone flushed a toilet when he was sitting on it or standing too near, he would be sucked into the municipal sewer system. He also obsessed on water towers (he called them "thity water thupplierth" with his lisp), as well as on home and business alarm system companies, school boundary lines, whether residential areas were incorporated or unincorporayed, and on college and professional sports uniforms, in addition to various other obsessions I won't even bother to list.  Should he really be the sole arbiter of my level of neurotypicality? I think not.

It's a great show even if my brother is totally in left field in terms of my supposed resemblance to the character of Sheldon. I do enjoy watching Sheldon's solutions to the equations on the white board unfold from episode to episode. I actually more fully identify with the character of Leslie Winkle, who had only limited appearances on the program. She's much more of a cutthroat bitch than Sheldon is; I embrace the whole "cutthroat bitch" identity, though I don't know if it will follow me to my second year of med    school.                                                                             

Thursday, August 20, 2015

My Kitty's New Name: Ashley Madison (True Confession: My Cat was a Slut)

This is not my actual cat, but it's a pretty good likeness of her after she got caught in my brother's shower.

My poor cat, whom my brother and I took in when she was lingering around our condo complex last year, has had so many name changes that she's either becoming schizophrenic or developing dissociative personality disorder. I gave her a couple decent names at first -- Monica Lewinski and Camilla Parker-Bowles, to name a couple -- until my brother started calling her by the name of whatever girl he most recently dated, which changed about every two-and-a-half days or so.

You can, however, put your mind at ease. My brother and I are no longer guilty of cat cruelty of the psychological kind. We've chosen a name for our cat, to which we have both pledged to stick.  From this point forward, our cat shall be known as Ashley Madison.

It's a nice name.

Seriously, am I the only person on this continent with an IQ over 70 and a working computer who didn't know that the Ashley Madison affair site existed? Do I study so much and am I up to my neck in diapers to the degree that pop culture is passing me by? Is Ashley Madison already the answer to  a Trivial Pursuit  (Edition God- Knows-What?) question?

My brother says people who have to pay to have affairs are lame.  While I think my brother would probably do well to cut back a bit in that department and that he should internalize the idea that he doesn't have to sleep with every female in every year of our medical program in addition to every female faculty member under thirty-five (I'm exaggerating slightly) in order to be granted a medical degree (then again, maybe that's how he passes his classes), I also think he's onto something in terms of online affair sites.

I have issues on principle with the idea of marital infidelity, but even if I didn't, I'd think it was only ever justifiable if it were something that inadvertantly happened and not something one deliberately sought to do, but then, what do I know? Maybe half the married adult population is signed up with Ashley Madison or similar sites.

Where my cat is concerned, the name probably fits. I didn't mention this before because I didn't want everyone to think I'm a terrible person, but my cat was knocked up with what the vet said was her first litter when we got her. She had a hysterectomy before the kittens were full term. Yup; that's right. My cat was a slut who had an abortion. I did discuss the issue with a priest. He said that terminating the pregnancy would only be a sin if the cat had made her First Holy Communion. She obviously had not. She's never even been baptized unless one counts the time she was in my brother's shower and he didn't know it, and he turned on the water before getting in.

Tying Up Loose Ends

This is not exactly the view from my front door, but it's not too far off. 

The babies are great. Camille is just over six pounds, and Andrew is has graduated to almost running. I've been  spending at least four hours with them each day. My aunt says I need to cut back so it won't be a total shock to Andrew when I'm gone. I skyped with Andrew before and will continue to do so, and I'll come home about once every three weeks. Aunt and babies also plan to come north to visit with us a couple of times once Camille is old enough to travel.

Matthew and I are heading north on Tuesday night. Class doesn't start until Thursday for us. Our friends are getting together on Wednesday. 

Matthew still needs to turn in his scholarly concentration proposal, which he really should have done already. I'm doing mine in clnical research. He's up in the air, but he has to make up his mind fast. He can turn it in online.

This is our lightest year of coursework excepting our scholarly concentrations and exam prep, though my scholarly concentration won't be quite so tough, as I've already completed six units undergrad that can be applied toward it. It's very rare for undergrad units to be accepted in the scholarly concentration; I got very lucky.  At the time I wondered why I was taking such ridiculously difficult courses that were technically graduate level while still an undergraduate, but it seems to have paid off in the end.

Before Thanksgiving, a group of us who grew up together are going to visit with Claire's family. Her 22nd birthday would have been on the 21st of November. We'll time our visit, which will be parts of  three days, to span her birthday. No one's sure what we plan to do, but we'd like to make it the upbeat celebration of her life that we were unable to pull off at her funeral. We're not even sure yet that it will be at her home, as Claire really loved the beach as well. 

My mom is asking Claire's parents if they're up to planning something or if they want her to come up with a couple of suggestions, which they can accept or reject. My mom doesn't teach during fall quarter except for a few private students and a few recital obligations. She taught summer quarter to make up for it. She has time to plan the event.

I'll miss the babies, but it's time for summer to end (in terms of workload; I know the calendar doesn't have it officially ending for another month) and it's time for me to go back north.  I'm ready.