Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I know this surprises no one, but hey, I feel like crap!  I never truly feel COMPLETELY well, but I had been managing pretty well since I stopped passing out all the time and having random chest pain.  (For those of you playing the home game, we decided that the passing out was orthostatic hypotension that was made worse with being dehydrated by our 9 million degree summer, and that the excruciating chest pain is the worst heartburn ever experienced by... anyone.  Not fun, but also not going to kill me.  YAY!)  Anyway, I saw the allergist about 6 weeks ago (right before the wedding) and got tested for every allergen known to man, and surprise, I'm allergic to practically everything.  I've even collected NEW allergies since my last testing, which showed I was allergic to everything outdoors and most things that live indoors.  Now I'm allergic to nuts!  All I could say was, "Thank God peanuts are legumes," because seriously?  If I had to give up peanut butter, I would cry.  A life without peanut butter is simply a life not worth living, in my opinion.

Anyway, so I had all of this blood work done.  This turned into a giant insurance snafu, because I was told (BY MY INSURANCE COMPANY) that I didn't need a referral for lab work, so I went to Virtua to get it done, and I was told that I needed a referral, but that the doctor could put it in anytime up to 90 days after my lab work was drawn.  So, I got the blood drawn (10 tubes later) and it was sent off to the magical land of laboratory testing.  Of course, I had changed general practitioner's (GP's) because even though I looooooved (with lots of o's) the one I was seeing in Philly, it was impossible to get an appointment with her.  I would call and say that I needed to see her, and they'd tell me that I could see her in 2 months, or that I could see her PA in 3 weeks.  I'd love to see the PA... but my sinus infection will be gone in 3 weeks, and I'd like to not die before then, so... that's not helpful.  On top of that, if I DID manage to get an appointment, if I was home sick, the last thing I want to do is take the train in to center city, or worse, drive over the bridge and fight to find parking.

So... yes.  I loved Dr. Sherif, but since we fixed my insulin resistance issue, I really no longer need her services.  Soooo I changed my GP back to Dr. Braverman, who is in Cherry Hill about 15 minutes from the apartment, and I had seen him through high school and most of college.  He's a nice guy, a decent physician, and it's (relatively) easy to get an appointment with him when I'm sick.  I hate his secretary (because she's a huge bitch) and the office looks like it's from 1970, but whatever.  I called the office to tell them that I needed a referral put into the online system, and that it needed to be backdated to 10/27, when I had the lab work done.  The secretary told me that I needed an appointment.  I told her that there was nothing acutely wrong with me, I just needed a referral for the labs.  She told me that Dr. Braverman doesn't put in referrals without seeing his patients.  I said that I had already HAD the lab work DONE, it just needed the referral.  It went on like this for awhile and finally, I gave up and made the goddamn appointment.  I went, he asked why I was there, and I said, "I HAVE NO IDEA, ALL I NEED IS A REFERRAL".  He did a cursory exam ("Ah yes, you have a heart and lungs") and then told me that he'd put my referral in.  I asked if he could also put the referral in for my endocrinologist appointment, which is December 14th... he said I had to come BACK in that week to see him before he could put in the referral.  I didn't even try to argue and just made the appointment.  SIGH.

So, a week or so later, I called my insurance company and they told me that no, there wasn't any referral in the computer yet.  I called the office, who said that they would check.  They called me back and said that the doctor had put in the referral.  I called the insurance company a few days later.  Still no referral.  I called the doctor's office, who said they'd give me a copy of the referral (thanks?).  I now have a completely useless copy of my referral, and still no referral in the online system, which means I still technically owe the hospital over $4,000 for lab work that is completely cover-able.  I called the insurance company again yesterday to see what was up, and I was told that, surprise, still no referral was there, and that my doctor should call AmeriHealth's provider help line, so they could walk him through putting in the referral.  I called the office again. (I spend a lot of time on the goddamn phone, can you tell?)  I told them that the referral was still not there, and yes, I understand that I have a copy of it, so he clearly did SOMETHING, and no, I cannot just mail them the print out of my referral because clearly, it is not showing up.  I told them to call the help line.  The secretary told me that the doctor puts in his own referrals, and he doesn't know what else to do, and that he doesn't have time to call a help line, they have to call him.

And then I threw the phone out the window. Okay.  I said I'd call the insurance company again, which I did.  They are about as baffled as I am that this is taking so much collective effort, and the nice lady on the phone sent an email to their network coordinator to tell her to call the doctor's office... even though he is COMPLETELY CAPABLE OF PICKING UP A GODDAMN PHONE AND CALLING THE HELP LINE THAT EXISTS EXPRESSLY FOR THIS PURPOSE.


So, now I'm waiting again.  And I think that as soon as this is completed, I'm changing doctors because this is RIDICULOUS.

ANYWAY, so I got this blood work done and it was mostly normal, which surprised no one, because I am the best at feeling like absolute crap and having no blood work to back up my symptoms.  The only abnormal things were my IgE level, which means nothing more than "I am an allergic disaster" (as IgE is the immunoglobulin that rises when you have an allergic reaction), my ANA, which was 1:160 and homogenous which means... I have anti-nuclear antibodies that are theoretically attacking SOME part of my body that they shouldn't be, but that I don't have any actual, identifiable, auto-immune disease like lupus or scleroderma or anything (which is great, because those things kill you), and I have IgM antibodies to Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which means I had atypical pneumonia some time in the last few months... which is interesting b/c I was never diagnosed with pneumonia.  SO THAT'S FUN!  LoL.  Anyway, I'm assuming the doctor today will have something to say about all of that.  Or maybe he'll just pretend it didn't happen.  Who knows?

On top of my kind of weird lab results, I started feeling crappy again.  All of my joints hurt, I had a 14 hour migraine on Friday that I have left-over headache from, my back is killing me, I have bizarre heartburn, almost everything makes me nauseated, and I want to sleep for approximately 13 hours a night.  Great.  I don't know what any of that means other than "I'm broken!" but it still sucks.  I guess I'll explain all of this to the doctor this afternoon and we'll see what he says.  I'm bracing myself for "Well, there's nothing conclusive..." and a subsequent suggestion of anti-depressants or something about fibromyalgia (which I don't really believe in, despite having been diagnosed with it at one point...).  So yes, that's my health, up to the minute.  Constantly failing in one way or another.

In other news, it's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving... what the crap is THAT???  Where did November go??  How is next weekend December?  I am working tomorrow, but hopefully leaving a little bit early (or at least on time, if I get in at 7:30 like I did yesterday and today), and then Thursday we're having dinner at Levi's house in Philly... although I'm not sure why he's doing it there, since there is nowhere to really sit, and their kitchen is tiny.  It's supposed to me, Ken, my mother, Levi, and his roommate Rick, so if that's the case, Levi and Rick should come cook at my mother's so we can all stay on this side of the bridge.  But whatever.  So, I'm supposed to make apple pie (Levi has requested 2), and mashed potatoes... Levi and Rick are making the turkey and the stuffing, my mom is bringing spinach... I don't know what else.  Maybe I'll make bread.  But yeah, so that's Thursday.  Friday... I am working because my job is lame and I refuse to use paid time off when I'm not actually doing anything... and I should seriously just HAVE that day off b/c no one else will be here and it's stupid for me to be here, but... whatever.  Saturday, my mom is cooking Thanksgiving II, and Aunt Kathy and her husband Jack are coming up from MD... and Levi is supposed to be there... and Ken and I will be there, obviously.  And then Sunday... doing nothing.  Yay!

It's 12:30... I should investigate some kind of lunch, and then go consent some patients, and then get the heck out of here to go to my appointment.  I have class tonight, but I decided that I am not going because I hate it and we just had an exam, and we don't have a quiz... so I'm not going.  Unless I find out there's a quiz. Then I'm going.  I guess.

Until then, working, doctor's office-ing, and then home to take copious amounts of drugs to try and solve this pain problem.  Ow.

- A

It's Never Enough

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I guess that it shouldn't surprise me that my therapist is helpful... as that is basically what I pay her for... but yesterday, after my session with Danna, I found myself thinking.  Really thinking.  Not obsessively thinking, but thinking in a, "Hey, I never even contemplated that, is that even possible, what is my LIFE?" kind of way.  Not in a bad way.  For once.

I had been experiencing higher levels of anxiety than usual, so I brought it up with Danna.  I haven't been on any psych meds at all since March (whoo hoo!) and oddly, I don't feel any worse than when I was on them.  I guess I feel more prone to wild fluctuations in mood, but I wouldn't say that I've been ridiculously depressed or anxious, or non-functional in any way, really.  In fact, I hadn't had a panic attack since I went off of the meds, so that felt pretty great.  I do cry... a lot... over everything... but I don't think that's TOO weird....?  So yes.  Basically, I had been dealing (rather well) with whatever life threw at me, and I was thinking that finally, maybe I had gotten to a point of no more panic attacks.

Apparently not.  A couple of weeks ago, the panic and anxiety were back with a vengeance, especially at night when I was trying to go to sleep, or if I was ever alone.  I ended up taking a Klonapin a few nights in a row, just so I could get some sleep and not wake up in the middle of the night, feeling like I was about to die.  Luckily, the worst of that seems to have dissipated (ish?), but I was confused as to where it had come from in the first place... so I talked about it in therapy, because that just made sense.

After a lot of talking (as that is what is involved in talk therapy) and a lot of theorizing, hypothesizing, and other gerunds as well, it came down to... a few things.

My anxiety, which was expressing itself as a complete and utter fear that someone was going to break into my apartment/be there when I woke up/try to hurt me/etc (which isn't a new anxiety for me, it's the first thing that I ever had anxiety about when this all started 10+ years ago), was actually more about being vulnerable and out of control than any of the actual things that were making me afraid (this is not abnormal).  I've known (or been told?) that I have control issues in my life.  Everything I do, basically, is an effort to exact some kind of control over what I feel is a very out of control life.  Most people who look at my life probably go... "HUH?" at this point, because I'm not sure what part of having an advanced degree, an apartment, my own vehicle, a husband, and a functional social life really qualifies as "out of control" but I actually surprised myself when I said, "I just feel like I'm not DOING anything with my life," when Danna asked me what felt out of control.

And it's true.  I really feel like I am completely wasting my potential.  I got my undergrad degree, but who cares, because that was never a decision, it was a guarantee (for me).  It was simply a step in the process of someday, becoming a doctor, which I had decided was my life's purpose when I was 8.  I'm not quite sure what 8 year old says, "I'm going to be a pediatrician when I grow up" and then promptly plans where she is going to go to college and how she is going to get into med school (now, none of these plans actually came to fruition because, hi, I was 8... but what 8 year old plans that out??)  Anyway, so yeah, bachelor's degree, whoo-freakin'-hoo.  At this point, I cast my fate to the wind and applied to medical school against the better advice of my adviser, and I got in (HOW??), and picked up my life and moved to FL to go to med school and "fulfill my dreams of becoming a doctor".  And then the dream derailed hardcore and exploded in a ball of fire, and I moved home, convinced I would never return to clinical medicine because "if it made me that crazy, then this is not for me".  I was then completely and totally without purpose, so I secretary'd (that is totally a verb) and got my MPH because "it seemed liked a good idea at the time", I was vaguely interested in epidemiology, and frankly, I had nothing better to do.  It wasn't a bad choice, it wasn't a hard degree, I didn't have to work my ass off, and hey, I got my Masters without once really breaking an academic sweat.  I contribute that experience entirely to the fact that an MPH is largely busy work that just takes someone who has the ability to sit for long periods, reading articles that range from vaguely interesting to painfully boring,  occasionally run some statistics, construct long papers in which you analyze something that to you, seems blatantly obvious, but for some reason is mind-blowingly difficult for people at large to understand, and sit through lectures on various topics, such as lead poisoning, asbestos and why it is bad, confidence intervals, heart disease and how it's going to kill us all, health insurance and why the system is broken (but never how to fix it), prostitutes sex workers, HIV/AIDS, food deserts, obesity, childhood hunger, heroin addiction, linear regressions, logistic regressions, and the 884 things that can bias a study.  So yes, there you have it.  If you can do those things, you can get your MPH, and hey, you might even enjoy most of it.  I did.  Minus that part about logistic regression in which I had to do calculus... that kind of sucked.  BUT HEY, got through it. That's a ringing endorsement for MPH degrees, isn't it?  Someone should pay me.

ANYWAY.  I got this MPH, and yeah, I guess it kind of got me a job.  The first job I took totally didn't require a masters degree of any kind, and it certainly paid like that.  The job I have now theoretically "required" a masters degree, but I think that's just because they wanted it, not because anything in this job actually requires any kind of advanced education.  And yes, my bosses/managers/people I work with and for here all love me.  I'm told on a nearly weekly basis about how awesome I am, and how much they love having me in this position.  Little do they know that I sit at my desk and for about 85% of the day, do fuck-all, and then the 15% of the day I actually do work, I'm not working very hard and I'm simply solving problems in a logical manner.  I guess what I'm doing is "important" but in the grand scheme of what goes on at CHOP (ie - saving the lives of children, generally) what I am doing is... minimally interesting, at best.  I like my job, and I am really glad that there are days (most of my days, in fact) where I get to leave at 4:00 and not think about my job at all until the next day at 7:30 or 8 am.  But it's not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, and if I have to do it for more than a few years, I may walk into traffic on Civic Center Boulevard because honestly, there is no way for me to go anywhere in this position besides perhaps farther up the research ladder and... no thanks.

So yes.  It feels out of control because my life has been largely dictated by someone else.  First, some admissions committee told me that I could go to medical school.  Then my brain decided it was going to freak the hell out, and out of necessity to survive, I left med school and went back to NJ.  I guess I decided to go to grad school, but was really more out of boredom than passion or urgency, and since then, I've held jobs that basically occupy my day but don't thrill me in the least.  I'm not expecting to love EVERY SECOND of my job, but I'd at least like to be mentally stimulated by it on a regular basis, and I'd like to not sit at my desk for 6.5-7+ hours a day, rarely interacting with the public.  Now I'm applying to PA school (after having reapplied to med school in 2010 and deciding that was a bad idea, which I guess was a choice, but also because I was wait-listed) and once again, I am waiting on someone else's timeline.  I'm waiting for an amorphous, faceless, committee at each school where I applied to look at my application and deem it worthy of an interview.  So far, I've had a lot of "no thank yous" right off the bat, including Drexel which happened as I was writing this entry... which sucks.  A moment about that.  Can we talk about how I completely give up on ever figuring out admissions committees EVER?  Drexel interviewed me LAST YEAR at the END of their interview cycle, and this year, they've rejected me outright.  I had the same GPA and portfolio.  I don't even... whatever.

Back to the rest of this.

I have this interview at USP, which is good... but again, still waiting on the rest of the lot to get back to me.  It's insane.  And then, if I DON'T get in, I have to apply to an MS program to do that and eventually REAPPLY to PA school and go through this whole crazy process again.
And it sucks!  It sucks that Ken and I have to put our lives on hold while I do this.  Even though he is 150% supportive, it sucks that we can't be deciding where to buy a house, or thinking about starting a family in a couple of years, or doing ANYTHING like that.  So, in an attempt to exact some control over this situation, I must PLAN ALL THE THINGS!  Because somewhere, in my broken brain, it makes sense to me that if I am hyper-vigilant about it, then someone else (ie - admissions committee?) is too.  That if I am not constantly chasing after whatever "thing" it is that I have decided to do (med school, PA school applications, MS program searching, whatever), then I am overcome with guilt, because clearly that means that I don't want whatever that "thing" is enough, and I am not deserving of it.  I always have to be DOING something, because otherwise, the world will fall apart or... something.  I'm not even sure what I think will happen, but I know that IT WILL NOT BE GOOD.  (Trust me on this.)

I have always had this problem.  No matter what, I am not happy with what I have.  And not in an, "I wish I had more shoes" kind of way.  If you asked me to name an amount of money that would make me feel secure, I couldn't do it.  If you asked me if, once becoming a PA, I would be happy, I would tell you, rather embarrassingly, that I'm not sure I would be, because I am sure that I would chase some ridiculous career goal.  Obviously, there are a lot of things that I want to do in life (buy a house, have children, travel, become a PA, etc), but I am afraid that, given my track record, that my house will never be enough, my children will never be enough, my career will never be enough. Ever since I was young, I have always needed to do more, achieve more, be more.  Get all of the A's, do all of the extra credit, win all the
awards and accolades.

It is never enough.

Somewhere along the way, I decided (was told?) that this way of existing is bad and abnormal, and that one should be able to be content with the life in front of you.  That there would eventually be one thing that would end this crazy chase after something un-nameable.  That it was incredibly important for me to FIND THIS ONE THING, because then I would be happy.  Apparently, this is not the case.  Danna told me that she also struggles with "never enough-osis" and that sometimes, the best thing to do when your life's personal schema is "never enough!", is to simply say, "Ok.  It is never enough," and move on.  Not to embrace the insanity, per se, but instead to accept that my personal life schema is to not be satisfied, and that there isn't anything that will scratch that proverbial itch.  That sometimes, it is ok to not be doing anything because even if I did the next thing and the next thing and the next thing... there would always be more things.

It completely blows my mind to think that I can say "This is just how I experience the world, and that's ok" when my entire life, I've been fighting against this feeling of "there isn't enough".  It confuses me to the point that I am not sure I actually think it will work.  I don't know if it's something I can do.  I don't even know if it's reasonable advice!  I trust my therapist, and then I ran the entire thing by Levi (my other therapist, effectively) and he said that it totally made sense.  So I guess if it makes sense to these important people, I can give it a shot.  It also is not surprising that it doesn't make sense to me, as it is completely contrary to everything I've ever thought or done in my entire life, basically.

So what does all of this mean?  I'm not entirely sure, yet.  It means that I have some homework.  I am not allowed to obsessively plan things.  I am allowed to schedule time to plan things/do organization things (like email 1 program or search for 30 minutes for something), but I cannot let it devolve into frantic, redundant, useless, anxiety-provoking, insanity.  When I am not allowed to do those planning type things and I experience anxiety/guilt/general icky feelings, I am sit with that anxiety and process how I feel, not what I can be doing to make that feeling go away.  You can't remain anxious forever, and eventually, your body will move on.  After that, I'm supposed to do something enjoyable (NOT plan something), to reinforce the fact that I can get through the anxiety without falling apart or giving in to my previous behaviors.  It means that I'm supposed to practice doing nothing, or what amounts to nothing, for a given situation.

I never thought that being proactive and useful would be my downfall, or that it would prevent me from experiencing my present life and moment in a full way, but it has.  It has left me with a shell of a present that is constantly seeking out the next thing, rarely enjoying the moment in front of me.  It makes me scared and sad that I could live my entire life this way, and that I have lived my life until now in this way.  What have I missed?  What will I continue to miss if I don't somehow dial this back?  The best thing I can do right now is focus on retraining my brain, which will not be fun or easy, given that it's had 26 (almost 27) years of inadvertant training in its bad habits.  But... I'm going to do it.  Or at the very least, I'm going to try.

Anyway, that's my story for now.  It was a pretty big, psychological, epiphany (?) for me, so I guess that's enough.  Sidenote, after mistyping the word "epiphany" as "epiphant" (which is a frequent typo of mine), it reminded me of the time a friend and I decided that epiphant is an epiphant the size of a elephant.  So that's pretty fitting.  And also very large.

Tonight, I have stupid A&P (I really wish I hadn't taken this STUPID class), and I think I have a quiz, but I think it's on action potentials, and if I can't diagram and explain one of those in my sleep, I need to just give up right now.  The rest of the week is work, teaching piano, eating pizza with a friend, my 3rd A&P exam, payday, and then a packed weekend full of being social.  Friday night is dinner with my friend David (from undergrad), Saturday afternoon is lunch with Jen and Mike, Saturday night is seeing Emily for a brief moment in time (she is in Philly for a grad school conference thing), and Sunday is hanging out with Colleen (which means knitting, tea, general laziness, and food).  And of course, the weekend will be full of sleeping.  That's a requirement for any weekend of mine to truly be counted as a weekend.

On that note, it is almost 4 pm, which means I can pack up and get ready to leave for the rest of my evening.  Hurrah?!

- A

Brain in a Blender

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ew, right? I'm not really sure why, but whenever I have decision to make and there are a lot of factors involved, the image I get is that my brain is in a blender and someone has turned it up to 11.  So yes.  It's Friday, I'm in "complete and total free-association mode" ... and holy crap, there is a one week old infant in my office.  He is a tiny ball of squee, wearing a pumpkin hat.

See?  Free association mode.

Anyway, I haven't done anything useful at work, because I'm obsessing about my life.  I have a feeling that normal people, when faced with a problem/potential problem/decision don't act like this.

Normal person: I have a problem over which I have little to no control.  I will evaluate the situation, change what I can, and then stop thinking about this, as there is nothing more that I can do and life will work itself out one way or another.

Me: I have a problem over which I have little to no control.  I MUST COME UP WITH 47 SOLUTIONS!  I must contemplate ALL the potential outcomes!  I have to make sure that I have approached this from all sides and angles, leaving no stone unturned!  I will obsess about this, even when I am aware that there is nothing I can do at this very moment in time!  It will occupy all of my thoughts at all times and I will obsessively ask people for advice, even though they have even less control than I do!  I will somehow solve this problem BEFORE the problem occurs!  ::flails arms and falls over::

So yeah, that's totally normal, right?  I didn't think so.

My current obsession is what to do if I don't get into PA school this cycle.  I have this USP interview, which is great, but as I mentioned in my last blog, they're provisionally accredited... which they can apparently hold for up to 5 years (not three, as I previously thought/wrote).  After much internet searching (see, sometimes obsessive research and thought pay off... at least, that's what I'm telling myself), I discovered the following:

"Provisional accreditation is an active accreditation status. Prior to 2003, those graduating from a PA program that held an active accreditation status at any time during the student's enrollment were considered graduates of an accredited program, and thus were eligible to sit for the NCCPA exam. This policy changed in 2003 and in order to be eligible to take the PANCE, students must successfully complete a program that was accredited at the time the student matriculated. It is best to check with the NCCPA concerning exam eligibility criteria."  - From the ARC-PA website

If you are like me, you're probably still unsure what it means if your program is provisionally accredited.  I kept looking and found some info on the website for another newly beginning program, explaining their accreditation and what that means:

"If the program gains provisional accreditation and does not obtain full accreditation enrolled students will not be negatively impacted. Provisional accreditation is an active accreditation status; therefore students would be eligible to sit for the PANCE exam." - From IUPUI's website

Sooooo basically, as long as my program doesn't completely LOSE accreditation between when I matriculate and when I graduate, I can sit for the PANCE exam, get certified, and go on my merry way.  I'm still going to call USP and make sure that that IS the case, but it looks promising.  As a friend pointed out, if that WASN'T true, then schools in the process of accreditation would never have students, haha.  So yes, that makes me feel better.  Now i just have to get IN, and the rest of my problems will be solved.  At least, the ones related to PA school and my future career.

So anyway, the rest of my obsessing centers around NOT getting into a program.  I would be far less concerned if my status wasn't:
Drexel: Waiting to be reviewed
PCOM: Waiting to be reviewed
Barry University: Waiting to be reviewed
Salus: In the pile for "waitlist interviews" (I applied there in September versus June, and there class was mostly full already, apparently)
NYIT: Waiting to be reviewed...?
Chatham: Who even knows?
NSU in Fort Lauderdale: "Decision Pending", whatever that means (I assume it means that a decision is pending... ha ha)

I've been rejected from Towson, Arcadia x2, Nova in Fort Meyers, and GW.  So... I guess I should stop freaking out, as Barry, Drexel, NYIT, and PCOM all interview through February/March.  Chatham had their first interview day on 11/3 (clearly I was not there), and their next one is 1/12, so who the hell knows if I'll be invited to that one.  Anyway, when I applied last year, I applied late (like, October) and only interviewed at Drexel (in March, on their last interview day) and was rejected.  I decided that I'd reapply this year much earlier (which I did) and hopefully, that will help.  If I get rejections all around again, I have to assume that it's because my GPA isn't high enough or my GRE scores are too low (which not every program requires, so that might not be it).  So, in an attempt to raise my GPA, I took A&P I this semester at Camden County College.  I'm pretty sure I have the highest grade in the class (not surprising, given that this is the THIRD time I've taken A&P and this is a 200 level class), and I know I'll be getting an A.  But I actually went and did the math on my GPA, and if I get an A in this class, my GPA will go from 3.10 to 3.13, which means approximately nothing.  I was contemplating taking another class (Microbiology) in the spring at CCC, but even if I got an A in that class as well, my GPA would then go from 3.13 to 3.16, again, not doing much for me here.  Thanks to a handy-dandy GPA calculator online, I realized I would need to take something ridiculous like, 80 hours to get my GPA to a 3.5.  Since that isn't happening (I don't need another bachelor's degree, thanks), I can get my GPA to a 3.3 with 29 hours, and to a 3.38 (basically a 3.4) with 35 hours.  So... that was the math.  I realized that taking one class this coming spring may not be the best or most efficient thing to do, especially since I could end up getting accepted during this spring semester to one of the programs I'm waiting on, and then I'll have wasted over $700 when it doesn't even mean anything.  SO... I flailed around with that information for awhile.

I decided I wouldn't take a class in the spring.  I decided I had to take a class in the spring or I SIMPLY DID NOT WANT THIS ENOUGH.  I was wracked with potential guilt (how stupid is that?) over not taking a class in the spring semester.  Fortunately, I have sane people in my life who talk me off of these imaginary cliffs.  I called my dad, and after giving him (read: word vomiting) all of this information, he came to the conclusion that basically, my applications for this cycle are what they are, and even taking a class in the spring isn't going to change anything drastically for any of my programs.  Wait to take classes again until the summer and/or fall, once I know that I haven't been accepted anywhere, and don't reapply for Fall 2014, since I need more than 2 semesters to get enough credits to raise my GPA.  Not ideal, but it would work.

Then began my hunt for the best way to take classes.  I could continue randomly taking undergrad classes at the community college, but frankly, I'd rather shoot myself in the head.  I contemplated doing an entire post-bacc program, but the only ones around here are full-time programs that would require me to quit my job, or they take over 2 years to complete.  The other way I can boost my GPA is by doing an MS degree in a science (Bio, Biochem, Micro, Physio, etc), as then those grades would be calculated into my GPA.  Most MS degrees are 36 credits, which means I'd hit that that very high 3.3 if I got all A's, or at the very least, hit the 3.3 range with A's and B's.  I looked into a few online MS in Bio programs, which would be great because then I could work full time, take the classes at my own pace, and hopefully do really well.  So... yeah.  We'll see.  HOPEFULLY, this will all become a non-issue when I get accepted somewhere, but as you can see from my reaction to uncertainties above, there is no way that I am going to be able to stop thinking about this in some way, shape, or form, until I have an answer.

In other news, it's taken me literally all day to write this entry, and it's not like I've even been DOING work, I've just been unfocused all damn day.  And now it's 4:13.  I have to get ready to go, get to my car, drive home, go pick up a copy of my labs from the hospital (because maybe there's something interesting on them!  Unlikely.), go pick up books at the library (and pay a $1.80 fine, whoo hoo), make and eat dinner, and hopefully get over to synagogue for services tonight, since I haven't gone in approximately eleventy-billion years.  Then tomorrow... coffee with my friend Lauren, possibly late lunch with my mother, then a dinner double date with our friends Madi and Ray (who I went to college with).  Sunday... I am theoretically supposed to go to a reunion at Drexel with my a capella group... but we'll see how I feel.  It would only be for a few hours, and I'd like to see the girls who are supposed to be there.

So yes.  That's all of the crazy I have to report today.  I'm trying to reign it in, but I apologize in advance if I bombard you with questions about whether I should get another degree or where I should do it, or how.  In the meantime, I'm going to try and occupy myself with fun things this weekend... not the least of which is planning a game night in the not too distant future!

Have a good weekend, all....

- A

Apparently Untitled

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

So, for some magical reason, blogging is no longer blocked at my office.  I'm not sure why it was blocked in the first place, because Facebook and Twitter definitely weren't blocked, and of the things one can waste time on during the day, I feel as though blogging is probably the least of most people's problems.  But anyway, here we are, unblocked, and I am free to continue to blog while simultaneously listening to Mumford and Sons while writing a telephone script for consenting patients by phone.  I am a multi-tasker!

So lots has gone on, I suppose.  We had a hurricane, which was... less than fun.  Our weekend that was supposed to be full of fall-oriented things (like pumpkin picking and winery-visiting) was taken up by buying bottled water and non-perishable food, and generally preparing to be blown away.  Things didn't get too terribly nasty, so I was seriously struggling with whether to go to work on Monday morning.  I ended up emailing my boss to let him know that I wasn't sure what I would be doing, and he sent a mass email out saying that if we couldn't make it to work, that he was okay with that.  Then he sent ANOTHER email, clarifying what he had said, and telling all non-essential personnel to not come to work, and that if we thought we were essential, to call him and discuss how essential we were.  I'd never been so excited to be considering non-essential in my life.  Monday, I was supposed to take Gershwin to the vet at 7 pm, but seeing as the storm was supposed to be getting worse around then, I changed his appointment to earlier in the day.  It was raining pretty badly, and it was moderately windy, but nothing worse than a bad storm, really.  Gershwin was displeased about being in the car, and was REALLY unhappy about getting wet when I was transporting him from the car to the vet's office, but he behaved himself and as per usual, got a ton of love from the vet, vet tech's, and receptionists.  I had taken him in because he had been sneezing and sounding kind of crappy, and he had already been on antibiotics twice, plus since I knew his heart murmur had gotten worse in the previous year, I wanted to see how it was doing currently.  Thankfully, his murmur isn't any worse, and his lungs sound clearer than they did last time, which means there probably isn't any fluid in them.  The vet gave him some subcutaneous antibiotics (expensive, because they are administered based on weight and Gersh is HUGE), but we think that should help kick whatever he has.  He also got some eyedrops (his least favorite thing in the world next to the vacuum) because his eye was a little gross.  Overall though, he's a pretty healthy dude for being almost 11!  He was also much happier on the ride HOME... much less yowly.  It's like he knew we were done, haha.

The storm, however, was NOT better on the way home, and just as I was getting back from grabbing some ingredients for cookies (obviously, one bakes cookies during a hurricane), the winds were picking up and things were looking pretty grim.  Spent the rest of Monday inside, praying that we wouldn't lose power.  We were very fortunate that while the lights flickered on and off all night, we maintained power the entire time.  I had a hard time sleeping on Monday night because the storm was making me so anxious.  I knew we were "safe", but it just was unnerving to hear the wind like that, almost nonstop.  Tuesday was decidedly less disgusting by us, but the surrounding areas weren't doing so well.  Of course, my heart breaks for the shore, especially Ocean City.  I wonder if it will ever be the same again?  The anxiety I had about the storm on Monday night somehow persisted through Tuesday and Wednesday nights last week, which was less than fun.  I haven't had anxiety like that in a long time, even being off any and all psych meds since March!  It felt pretty terrible, and I ended up breaking down and taking Klonopin a few times last week, mainly so I could get to sleep and not wake up all freaked out.  That seems to have dissipated, but it still makes me uneasy. I was really getting used to not feeling like I was on the world's most ridiculous, emotional, roller coaster, and having those feelings come slamming back into my body was NOT my idea of fun.  I guess we'll see how that plays out.  I'll probably talk to Danna about it next week... she usually can fix these things, haha.

The rest of last week post-hurricane was kind of weird at work.  Lots of catch-up, and my boss was the doc on service for the solid tumor patients, which meant I had to be on my best behavior (and not be late for rounds, whoops).  It was honestly the most I have seen my boss since I started in July.  Apparently, he is a very busy guy.  I keep forgetting that he runs the entire Center for Childhood Cancer Research, and until recently, was the Chief of Oncology (he stepped down voluntarily... probably to save his sanity).  I do enjoy my job, at least as much as one can enjoy a moderately administrative research position, anyway, and my managers and associated coworkers seem to love me.  It is really nice that people frequently tell the doctors I work for that I am "outstanding" and "on the ball" and one of the docs I work for sent an email to my boss saying how glad she was that they hired me (and cc'd me on it, haha).  It's nice to be appreciated, even if I know that this isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life.  In fact, it makes me feel kind of bad that I applied to PA school and theoretically (hopefully?) could be leaving in the fall.  Now, that time is still 8-9 months away, but still.
Which brings me to my next point!  I finally, FINALLY, got an invitation to interview at a PA program!  It was kind of random how it came about, as I hadn't even originally applied to this program in the first place, mainly because the program didn't exist.  So, the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (henceforth known as USP, b/c that is a long title) has had a linkage program with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) for PA school for years.  So, people who went to USP for pre-PA studies undergrad could go to PCOM after finishing their BS degrees, but USP didn't have their own PA program.  I guess after years of sending students to PCOM for PA school, USP realized that they wanted to make that tuition money, so they started their own program, set to accept its inaugural class in Fall 2013.  My friend that I worked with at Penn had randomly emailed me and said, "Hey, did you know USP has a program??" and I was all "????" but I went and looked at it, and even though I fall just short of their GPA requirements (3.2), I applied anyway because... why the hell not.  I wasn't expecting anything, especially since they are accepting 20 students (most classes are between 50-100), but last week I got the email inviting me for an interview.  I am SO excited, but there are two things that worry me, one decidedly more than the other.

1. The program is 3 years, instead of 2.  This is because there are a few extra weeks of clinicals (never a bad thing), but also that there are summers off (most programs go straight through the summer and the programs finish in about 26 months).  Now, this isn't terrible, as it might be nice to have a break for my brain, and to maybe work (if I can find a summer job?), but it makes me slightly less gleeful about the whole thing because I'd rather finish sooner.

2. Since the program is BRAND new, it's provisionally accredited.  This means that the powers that be have accredited it "for now" and that they fully expect it to be fully accredited in the near future (within 3 years, as that is the longest you can remain provisionally accredited).  HOWEVER, one cannot sit for the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam) if your school isn't fully accredited, and if for some reason, something gets screwed up, as I am ready to graduate, I may not be able to get licensed and therefore won't be able to work and that would be HORRIBLE because now I would be in immense debt and have NO job prospects.  Sooooo yeah.  The good news is that that probably wouldn't happen... but still.  Nervewracking.  That being said, I'll take the interview and ask all of these important questions (WHEN WILL YOU BE FULLY ACCREDITED!?!?!) and hopefully dazzle them with my brilliance.  In the meantime, PCOM, Salus, NYIT, Chatham, and Barry all need to get back to me with interview requests and subsequent acceptances.  Come on, now.

So yes.  That's the story there.  Things elsewhere remain pretty status quo.  Married life is largely like unmarried life, I'm still mostly diseased in one way or another and doctor's have no idea what to do with me, my mother is insane, and it's way too cold already (and I don't like it).  I'm finding that I have a lot of free time now that I'm not planning a wedding (which took up WAY more time than I ever thought it did) so I am trying to get some things done.  My list so far includes:

- Read for pleasure
- Start knitting again
- Write thank you notes (more of a necessity than a desire)
- Bake (I am obsessed with my new mixer!)
- Have game nights/girls' nights
- Try new recipes
- Organize my jewelry box (that thing is a disaster)
- Maybe try working out again (if I don't pass out)
- Get our ketubah framed (so it can stop living in between acid-free matboard on our kitchen table)
- Start Hanukkah shopping (It starts December 6th!)

And as much as I'd love to detail my latest adventures in health insurance catastrophes, tell stupid cat stories, or expound upon the reasons why my mother is retarded, why Ken's mother is retarded, and why I wish we could buy a house sooner than we can... I have to go to my stupid A&P class.  15 class meetings left....

Stay warm out there!

- A

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