Scott's MD-PhD Adventure

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Early morning embryology was blah. I don't think we have it again for a while.

Biochem review was a little silly. The TA from Chile was back! I love her accent and secretly wish she would say "peanut butter and jelly." ;)
Just worked on the problems during it. It really should not be too bad.
Actual biochem lecture ended 20 min early! She really is amazing. I got the GLSMSA form signed by the faculty advisor during that break.

Last day with superlib physio guy. He didn't bash repubs today :( and he was confusing. I hope the review tomorrow helps. Oh yeah, Geneice's momma and sister showed up for class. They're visiting because "they miss their baby."

Went to Mo's office hours for lunch. Wow I hate premed (now med) people sometimes. I remember why I never went to orgo's office hours - too many people sitting around stressing about types of exam questions. I wanted to ask conceptual questions but only had like 4 min at the end once they left. I guess I'm going back tomorrow.

Anatomy was long. It's supposed to be like 1:30 - 3 but it ran till like 3:45ish. 2 people didn't show up again to dissection so I got to do a lot of cutting. We were working on gluteal region so I cut fat and fascia off the ass for over an hour. But we were quizzing each other during it all and I'm really starting to speak and understand the language.

Daily show was good. Stephen Colbert used my new favorite word to describe the convention: crass-tastic. :) Arnold and Laura were eh. The Bush twins were DUMB. dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

Time for more reading.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Shit! Shit! Shit!

Last night I chatted with Geneice and Yeside. Yeside was at the keyboard while Geneice took out her weave (stop laughing). I had Yeside typing "you need to stop, my stomach hurts from laughing" because I invented the best way to "cheat" on the exam. Yeside is going to get her hair done just like the brachial plexus! She's gonna get color-coded weave corresponding to the different nerves. Then she sits in front of Geneice and I, and we can follow where things go and what is connected to what. It's really a great idea and she seems willing to take one for the team. We'll see what happens. ;)

We had histology for the first time this morning. Only like 10 people raised their hands when asked who has taken some form of it before. It's a lot of slide ID, and really specific stuff - not just "blood" or "bone" cell. Two hours worth of lecture, although some was the "let's go over the web page" crap. kinda silly.

The superliberal physio professor had some great quotes again today:
"If you did an experiment on a turtle and cut its vagus nerve...yes I know it's probably not a good idea to experiment on turtles. Notice I didn't say we shuld experiment on Republicans."
"The autonomic nervous system works with other parts of the brain. You have to remember what a gun is so that when you see a 12-year old with a gun, your sympathetic nervous system can be involuntarily activated. Of course when I see a 12-year old with a gun, my nervous system is stimulated because I'm so angry that Congress won't renew the Assault Weapons ban."

During physio, someone spilled her coffee again. She was in the same seat as the person who spilled her coffee last time was in. Fortunately I was two rows up, not one this time - my bag didn't get soaked. But right in the middle of class, we hear it knocked over followed by "shit! shit! shit!....sorry!" as everyone turned around and the professor paused. Ironically, his next slide was about voluntary vs. involuntary control of defecation.

Allosteric enzymes in biochem. Kinda slow after the funny physio lecture. Checked out HistoTime from the library and installed it on my computer. That should help a lot! :) And I don't have to use it in the damn basement student study center.

Ate lunch. Studied physio all afternoon and printed some histo notes. My meatloaf is in the oven right now. Gonna watch the anatomy review online later, and probably daily show. maybe even mccain and giuliani. we'll see.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Weekend Wrapup


Friday embryology was "fun." Only like half the class was there. damn 8:30 classes. geneice and i were so bored, i invented a drinking game where we drink every time he says "blast." now like every thing he says is "trophoblast, hypoblast, ectoblast" so instead of drinking (we had no liquor) we just couldn't stop laughing. we need to stop sitting together.

no more mo rocca in physio. instead we have super liberal man discussing the autonomic nervous system. here's what happened:
"What are the two emotions that cause the sympathetic nervous system to activate (the "flight or fight" response)?"
*displays power point slide of george w. bush in flight suit*
"This makes me angry! I'm from the vietnam era and calling patriotism of a veteran into question makes me angry!"
This was followed by Krugman quotes from tuesday's editorial and a rant about how he is not un-american even if he doesn't wear a flag lapel pin. The rant lasted about 3 minutes, followed by:
"so now i'm really angry. i hope you are too!"
*most of the class applauds*
"and now all the republicans are angry! that's the sympathetic nervous system."
he then asked about the other emotion, which was fear, and power point slide chimed in with "4 more years of george w. bush" and added "notice the slide doesn't say re-elected."

i left after physio (skipping enzyme kinetics in biochem - yeah i know that). went home and packed for the retreat. i got a ride with a couple of 3rd years. the driver's wife read star magazine and listened to jessica simpson. yeah... I studied anatomy.
we stayed here:
out in galena:

A fun cocktail/poster session. nice dinner. long discussion of program updates. then we all went to one apt and drank/partied. i left at a reasonable hour since we had to be awake for 3.5 hours of science by 8:45. apparently i missed the "spin the bottle" game that happened at 2am.

A long morning of science. I eventually gave up and wrote out the arteries and brachial plexus on my notepad. I had it checked by a second year who gave me quiz questions. so it was productive. then we lunched and everyone left quickly.

we drove through downtown galena. it was kinda fun, but rainy. drove about 2.5 hours, and stopped at ikea. wow, that place needs its own mayor. it was amazing and cheap - i definitely need to get back there.

got home. cleaned a bit. went to steve&shane's cocktail party. saw some family i hadn't seen in 6-7 years. they asked why i don't visit my parents that much lol. *sigh* but it was good to see them. damn that was a nice place. beautiful hardwood floor apt. 3-4 bedrooms and at least 2 bathrooms. probably over 2000 sq ft in a great location. i guess we'll afford that some day. although it was a little much.

finally slept in today. went to anatomy lab to take the practice quiz. i didn't do too bad - even if i wasn't 100% sure on some of them. a lot of the questions are "yes or no" "lateral or medial" "superficial or deep" "A or B" so it helps increase passing chances.

got my groceries. did laundry. etc. i need to start going to bed on time cause not paying full attention in class won't work, especially with histo starting in the early mornings this week.

well i've got plenty more to review.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Track 2: Shake Your Gluteus Maximus

Didn't go to ECM today. Again, didn't miss much either. I don't really need to hear about malpractice issues.

Enzyme kinetics was alright. Geneice and I chilled in the last row during biochem. Physio was ok too, it's our last day of Mo Rocca. :(

So during "lunch" I gave my practice presentation. It didn't go well :( I really wasn't prepared and I knew that. The slides weren't that great and I don't really know what I'm saying. My sore throat didn't help either. I didn't even get to finish or eat lunch since I had to be back for anatomy class. Oh well. I emailed that I'm bailing out of my presentation this weekend. No point in me talking next to 6 other upper level graduate students when I have no data and no idea what's going on.

Anatomy was alright. We did covered the gluteal region - bones, muscles, nerves, joints, veins, arteries. Our prof is funny: "If you need to ask other people for practice finding where the bones protude, I'm sure someone will help a poor M1 student and serve as a model for you. You can probably use your ingenuity and ask to study some other things as well."
Geneice and I decided we are going to make anatomy rap songs to help us remember it all. She's going to be DJ Origin and I'm going to be MC Insertion (if you're clever you'll get these). We'll see how that turns out.

The lab was alright. Our faculty supervisor for the cadavers around me is very low-key, encouraging us not to stress and to go home early and study other things. I'd like to listen to that, but I know anatomy far less than the other subjects. We skinned the whole anterior thigh and leg from pelvis to ankle. Nothing like getting pubic hair stuck in your scalpel and tweezers. I thought it couldn't get worse, but we skinned the gluteal maximus. Cutting a very skinny 90 year old dead, embalmed man did not make that pleasant at all. Whatever, we got it done and I guess it could be worse.

I need to get some sleep tonight so I can feel better for the retreat. The lack of sleep is catching up. :(

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A Long Hump Day

embryology was fun. he was all about the placenta today.
we were supposed to have an hour of "testing orientation" (whatever the hell that's about) but the office forgot. so nobody came, then someone checked, then it was was cancelled. I ran a couple errands with geneice.

physio was alright. someone spilled coffee behind me during it so we had to get bags out of the way and get paper towels and clean it all up. kind of a mess and i'm sure i missed a few notes, but it happens.
biochem was about lab techniques - i definitely know all of those. she didn't even finish but that's fine. enzyme kinetics tomorrow! lol

i finished scanning my pics in lab and ate lunch while i did some reading. met up with geneice at anatomy lab after and spent about 1.5 hours in there looking at other people's cadavers and such. i'm starting to get the hang of it, although i've heard the questions are really complex, and we only have a minute for each one.

i.e. "what nerve innervates the muscle that has an insertion where the muscle that this nerve innervates has an origin?" so i have to know what nerve is tagged, what muscle it goes to, where that connects, what muscle also connects to that bone, and the name of the nerve it's innervated by! it's not just "what is this?" which is why we all study 24/7.

I studied some more after that. then we had our md/phd discussion group. we talked about smallpox, vaccinations, public health, informed consent, and bioethics. it was quite good with only 8 people there. it seems everyone is good and liberal which makes for an easier discussion. it went pretty quickly and they fed us too. :) but still, 8:30am-7:30pm is a longass day.

tonight i'm finishing up my power point presentation and doing the reading for tomorrow's anatomy lab. oh and daily show too. :P

apparently two separate people have asked geneice if we are dating. *eyeroll* do people have no gaydar?

science joke/pun of the day: "I know a few people who want to do some disulfide bonding" about how disulfide bonds "hook-up" one protein chain to another.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

"Girl you got some plexus up in yo hair"

So I read and went to bed late. woke up for class and felt like crap. checked the schedule and it was "learning to take a history" and wasn't mandatory. went back to sleep for 2 hours and got there for biochem. when i asked what i missed 3 people said "nothing. just be yourself when you take a history." yeah, i made a good choice. :)

geneice and i are even more bff. this ho shouts right before class "can i have your attention so i can make an announcement?" (like all the other amsa hoes do every 5 min). and we both said "nooooooooo" at the same time with the same intonation. quite funny and fun.

nucleotides in biochem. more on how muscles work for physio.

lunch was great. had the glsmsa meeting. bout 8 people. i think there's another 'mo and a lez which is always good. a few good allies too. i'm gonna be pres officially, and we have a treas, vp, and sec. I just have to figure out some good programs. and make a listserv where we can say stuff without overposting (the usual complaint).

anatomy. wow that was a lot of information. about 15 arteries, 30 nerves, 15-20 veins. all the nerves form the brachial plexus, which means braid in latin. naturally i said that weave is artificial plexus which led to "girl you got some plexus up in yo hair."

lab was alright - really not room for 6 people at the cadaver. i kinda hung around in the back for today, i think i'm gonna have to go in tomorrow and get a better look at everything. hopefully geneice will help me and then i'll help her in biochem.

and i had a 5 min interview for curriculum committee. it went really quickly and i guess i answered everything right. i mean, "what does participation mean to you?" come on.

kerry on daily show! :)
and i'm studying the axilla all night long.

Monday, August 23, 2004

weekend wrapup

Weekend was fun. Masaman and Garden State on Friday with Geneice and Mike.

Ethnic grocery shopping on Saturday with Mike. Found the middle eastern grocery and the thai grocery (59 cent curry cans, 1kg of masaman curry paste for 2.99!). We had dinner with Steve and Shane.

Brunch on Sunday at Orange. Quite tasty - coconutmilk soaked and grilled french toast. :)
Of course there was studying intermingled throughout the weekend.
Mike left this morning.

1 hour of embryology today. it's actually really interesting.
physio - muscles and biochem - sugars. eh.

I scanned my gels and films for my research presentation. 2 hours of intelligentsia studying with my large mocha. mmm.

Went back for the medical student council meeting because I want to join the curriculum committee and I have to be a part of that to do so. kinda long and i didn't really know what was going on. 20 min of "how to use robert's rules of order."

quite a good daily show. "we're not supposed to have opinions. we're supposed to repeat what both sides say for equal amounts of time - that's objectivity." :)

Thursday, August 19, 2004

All Hail Ye

All Hail Ye Sparkly Queen

Yes, we did the nipple today. Anatomy class & lab were all about the pectoral region. I helped dissect a lot more today. Fortunately our cadaver is male so we didn't have to work around the breast. Although I do need to get a good look at a female cadaver and learn what's going on with that. Got done at a reasonable time too!

We had 2 hours of radiology in the morning. It wasn't that bad, although the lights were out the whole time and it was the fourth day in a row I got up way too early.

More protein stuff in biochemistry. I really really know how to run a column by this point. And I've spent like 4 hours trying to figure out this one problem and I finally got it! :)

I understood physiology today. More about how nerves communicate with each other. Not so bad.

Mike is here. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


"Although protected when the limbs are at one's sides, the long throacic nerve is exceptional in that it courses on the superficial aspect of the serratus anterior, which it supplies. Thus, when the limbs are elevated - as in a knife fight - the nerve is especially vulnerable." - my anatomy book

Knife fight?!?!?

A third, much shorter, day

Another 2 hour ECM session, this time on standard precautions in the hospital. Yes, we had about 20 minutes on why you should and how to wash your hands. I guess I learned I should have constant friction for 10-15 seconds, but otherwise I studied anatomy and worked on biochem problems the whole time.

We did amino acids today. I love biochemistry and the professor is great. I still remember most of the amino acids and 1-/3- letter codes from Enzyme Kinetics so I feel in good shape. I'm having issues with one of the problems though.

I have no idea what's going on in physiology. I'm still not exactly sure what physiology is. Of course, not having the slides or notes probably makes it worse. Still, I just see a bunch of equations I hope I don't have to remember. Membrane potentials can be quite confusing. I was also amused when Mo Rocca asked if we wanted the lights on or off. Of course half the class shouts on, and half shouts off. Oh well.

"Lunch" consisted of me visiting the bookstore to find they're still out of everything I have left to get. Even tried the bookstore at the other medschool closeby. No success.

Then I went home (woohoo!). Ate lunch. Tried to print but ran out of ink. Bought 2 locks and ink and then studied all afternoon at Cafe Intelligentsia. mmm.

Mnemonic of the day:
Can Everyone Now Kick Their Heels?
Please Help Precious Cause She's Bad.
Gee, That Exercise Sure Sucked.

Somehow this lovely mnemonic, which I remember, helps me write out the lay and scientific names of the 6 synovial joints and give examples (i.e. Elbow - Hinge - Ginglymus). *sigh* the things to help me learn all this stuff.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Day 2: I See Dead People

I have a train friend. We get to the same bench every morning since we've both figured out the car to sit in that stops closest to the steps when we exit.

Another 2 hours of ECM. More "there are health care problems for minorities." I think I'm one of the most liberal and thus the most bored person in there. Yes, black people and hispanics have issues with the health care system. Apparently the family medicine doctor who gave the lecture is a 'mo.
During the second hour, I did the assignment for ECM. I had to write about what culture means to me - both culture of origin and association. I wrote about Jews and homos. Then for my "cross-cultural experience" I naturally wrote about the family reunion (and the watermelons!).

For biochem, we did pH. Yes pH. And we did titration calucations. I swear I've had this lecutre 6 or 7 times already in my life. Oh well, no studying.

Physiology was a bunch of membrane info. Some was new, but I really hope I don't have to remember every single detail they mentioned. The instructor looks and sounds exactly like Mo Rocca which amuses me a lot. Oh, and the bookstore is still out of the notes and book for this class.

Lunch. blah. bought coops for $200 (the notes for every class, hand-delivered to my student mailbox). Don't know how much I'll use them, but for one semester it can't hurt.
Got my locker. too damn far away. it doesn't even come with a lock.

Anatomy. 2 hours of lecture on the back. and bones. and nerves. and joints. oh and muscles too. that ran over. we had a dissection demonstration by a fabulous british woman. This was followed by everyone running up to the locker room, which is like 8 rows of lockers in the center and a men's and women's row behind a door. way too many damn people and we have to share lockers. *eyeroll* of course all our shit didn't fit in one locker. and i didn't have a lock for this either lol.

our randomly assigned groups worked out well. i got a moritician's daughter and a couple people who had taken this before. our cadaver was a 90 year old man who died of larynx cancer. fortunately he was very skinny so we didn't spent too long cutting away fat. it went alright, lots of cleanup just to see the muscles - trapezials, lattisimus dorsi, and rhomboid major/minor. we were one of the first groups out and we left at about 7 (supposed to end at 5:30). I took a shower right away, washed my hands 4 times, and they still smell like formaldehyde.

oh, and the president of GLSMSA doesn't want to be president anymore. so my unofficial 4 days as vp is over and apparently i'm going to be pres. whatever, it will be an excuse not to default to more generic student groups. it's not like i don't have the experience to lead the homo group anyway.

time to review anatomy.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Medical School, Day 1

2 hours of orientation to Essentials of Clinical Medicine (ECM) - boring. Even more exploration of learning styles. We do get to learn how to take histories soon. And see patients in hospital(s).

1 hour biochem. I hope a lot of this is repetitive so I have one less thing to worry about. (click on study aids, then songbook)
some of the annoying premeds started up already: "how many questions on the exam per lecture? what are they worth? what is the pass level?" ugh.

1 hour physiology. blah blah intro.

lunch and 2 bookstore trips ($500!). the new geneice (not to be confused with the old janiece) doesn't like premeds either. I made her laugh when I said "I decided I don't like the word plenary" becuase it's "something she would say."

2 hours anatomy. excellent professor. slightly apprehensive about lab, but we're starting cutting the back tomorrow. did some basic vocab today.

More bookstore ($200), Office max for planner and clipboards.

Stirfry beef with other veggies for dinner! Yeah for Potash Bros. pack of pre-cut beef and a "for stir-fry" sticker. Let's see if I feel like eating leftover beef after anatomy lab.

Reading, hole-punching, and more organizing. And of course, daily show.