In Which I Move Onward

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again,"

                                       - "Breathe Again"
                                          Sarah Bareilles

First of all, where has half of February gone?  I mean, I know February is a short month and all, but what the heck?  It's weird, because every week seems to crawl towards Friday, but then I look at the calendar and boom, it's the middle of the month.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Time is weird.  One of my best friends maintains that this is the "stoner-est" thing I have ever said.  This is debateable.  (NB: I have never smoked pot, and neither has the friend in question.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never even seen pot in real life.  I am completely okay with this.)

Anyway, it was a good weekend here, mostly.  Friday night was exciting for 2 reasons.  

1. I fit into my size 6, Calvin Klein dress that I haven't worn in over a year.  I threw myself a party in my closet. 

2. Ken and I went to see the Philly Pops perform at the Kimmel Center!  

We had gotten $25 tickets for their all-Gershwin concert, and since Gershwin is one of my favorite composers ever (Let's be serious, I named my cat after the man) I really wanted to go.  The concert was incredible. Long, but incredible.  Marcus Roberts and his trio were there for the second half of the concert, and holy crap, they were unbelievable.  If it's not enough that Marcus Roberts plays jazz piano like I have never seen or heard before, the fact that he's been blind since he was 5 makes it even more ridiculous/amazing.  Seriously, if you ever get the chance to hear him play, GO DO IT.  

When we got home on Friday night, I was having some significant pain, so I basically just went to bed and slept for 12 hours... and then I woke up at 9:30 or so, read for a bit, and went back to sleep from 11 to 2.  I really wasn't feeling great, so I spent another 2 hours in bed.  I tried to get up to go grocery shopping with Ken, but I had really terrible chills and couldn't stop shivering, and just walking to the bathroom made me so tired that I had to sit down on the floor.  We were supposed to be having people over for game night a few hours from that point, and I seriously considered canceling it because I didn't think that laying on the floor in a pile would be a great way to host an event.  Ken went grocery shopping without me (because he is awesome) and I managed to take a shower and not fall over while doing so.  I still wasn't 100% by the time people started arriving, but at least I could remain upright for a period of time.  One of the best parts of the night was when this happened:

We were ordering pizza online and on the delivery form, there was a spot for "special instructions".  We joked about the various things that we could put there, but I went with this.  When the guy knocked on the door, I forgot to ask him for the password, but he just kind of stared at me and said, "Is anyone going to ask me the password?", at which point I did, and he said, "OCTOPUS!" and we all applauded.  The rest of the night was spent playing Catch Phrase and Cards Against Humanity, during which of course, hilarity ensued.  People left around midnight and Ken and I collapsed into bed.  

Sunday... I slept in again, did laundry, and dragged myself out to buy pants because I was tired of not having anything to wear to work.  I hate shopping for pants.  HATE.  Actually, I hate shopping in general.  I do most of my shopping online because most places don't carry pants that are short enough for my non-existent legs, and even if they do, I hate fighting through crowds of people and going through piles of stuff.... the entire process is just exhausting and if I can have pants and sweaters mailed to my house where I can accept the packages in my pajamas and try things on at my leisure, you can bet your ass that that is what I'm going to do.  Alas, I needed pants sooner rather than later, so out to the mall I went.  I tried on SO many pairs of pants.  So many.  A plethora of pants.  I ended up buying 2 pairs of pants at The Limited, because their Exact Stretch pants are amazing.  I also raided the sale racks and ended up with a top, a sweater dress, and a sweater (but I'm returning the sweater).  Success.  Of course, when I got home I was completely and totally exhausted, so I spent the rest of the evening just laying around.

And then the work week started again.  I spent most of the day researching post-bac programs (and doing work, of course) because, as per usual, I needed to make sure that my contingency plans (and my contingency plans for my contingency plans) were in order.  Previously, I had only thought to look in the immediate area for post-bac programs, so I had decided that I was going to apply to Penn, Drexel, and probably Temple, and see what happened.  Then I remembered that post-bac programs existed in other places in the country, namely Florida.  I lived there from July 2008-February 2009, and while the experience while I was there wasn't great and I thought I would never want to live there again, I finally separated the trauma of what happened when I was there (nervous breakdowns are no fun, even when you're surrounded by palm trees) and the place itself (which is lovely).  That took me almost 5 years.  A lot of that separation happened when I let myself recognize that I really do want to live in FL, mainly so I can be closer to my dad and my step-family (and also because it's never cold there and that would be nice).  

Upon this realization, I started investigating post-bac programs in southern FL and emailed people for information on the 1 year, MS programs in Biomedical Sciences at Barry University (near Miami) and the University of Southern FL (in Tampa).  On my way to the optometrist on Monday after work, I spoke with the admissions representative from the USF program and was greatly encouraged by our conversation.  She suggested that I apply to the Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences program, which is very small (10-15 students) and involves taking first year med school classes at USF with med students.  I didn't think that I was eligible to do a program like the IMS because it says that it is for underrepresented minorities in medicine and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and seeing as I am a white woman from a middle-upper-class family that grew up in White Bread, USA... I figured that applying to that program would be futile.  Apparently, because I am "older" (Medicine: The land where 27 is "old"), married, and a reapplicant who went to med school, left, got her MPH, and has work experience... that qualifies me as interesting and therefore, they might want to accept me.  In any case, if I don't get into the IMS program, they will literally carry my application down the hall to the pre-professional program office, which is the exact same type of program (1 year, MS in Medical Sciences) only it's a larger class, it's not with the med students, and it starts in August, not June.  

Interestingly, the admissions person that I spoke to also mentioned that if I retook my MCAT in the spring, I might be competitive enough GPA-wise to reapply to DO programs for Fall 2014.  I emailed and put in a call to Nova (where I went to school in 2008) to find out some information, but I had to leave a message.  That would be kind of ridiculously awesome, because not taking another year before going back to med school would be nice, but I am doubtful that it would actually work out that way.  I'm mentally prepared to do a year of post-bac classes, but it would certainly be nice to not have to do that.  I finished the first part of the application on Monday night, and today I worked on a few other supplemental things for the second part of the application. I have to write some essays (ugh) but that won't be too bad and I plan to do it this weekend.  I was freaked out because I knew that I needed to get two letters of recommendation from science professors, and I haven't talked to any "science" professors since 2008 when I graduated from Drexel, but I found out that my MPH thesis adviser (a biostats professor) would be an acceptable recommendation letter writer, and I remembered that Dr. Finster, my chem prof from freshman year at Witt (who I am now basically friends with) had written me letters in the past, so I emailed both of them yesterday and poof!  They both got back to me practically immediately and said that they'd love to write me a letter.  

That was a very long sentence.

ANYWAY, that's basically taken care of, although I feel bad because they have to write the letters really fast since the application is due on March 1st.  Fortunately, they can just fill out a form if they don't want to write a whole letter, so it's not that bad.  So, overall, I'm applying to:

- University of Southern Florida
- Barry University
- Florida Atlantic University
- Drexel University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Temple University (maybe)

This weekend will be full of essay writing and putting packets of information together... but I'm okay with that because Ken will be in Indiana visiting his sister (and because he can't go visit his sister and not visit his mother, also seeing his mother).  I will be... sleeping, writing essays, doing laundry, perhaps baking, reading, knitting, seeing Colleen for a Downton Abbey date (complete with tea and our stuffed llamas), and possibly having brunch with my friend Liz (last weekend's plans got waylaid by a stomach virus).  So hurrah.

In other news, I finally heard from USP, and as you can probably guess from all of this talk about post-bac programs, I was wait listed.  Honestly, when I opened the envelope, I wasn't all that surprised or upset.  I was kind of intrigued because the letter said that the wait list would remain open until classes started in August, which is a little ridiculous.  I doubt it would happen, but do they seriously think they can call someone in the beginning of August (or even the end of July) and say, "Hey, want to go to PA school in a few weeks?" and expect them to show up.  Since there's no clue where I am on the wait list (they took 20 students, so I could be 21 or 51, who knows) and no guarantee that they'll even have to use the wait listed applicants, I am going to move forward in the vein of "not going to PA school in the fall".

Honestly, it feels kind of awesome.  

I wrote an email to Dr. Finster, as both a way to catch up and to ask for a recommendation, and he said the following:

It is clear that you have to try to follow this path towards being a physician, and if you don’t you would probably regret it forever.  You’re a different person now that you were in the first go-around.  Getting in may still be a challenge for all of the reasons that you recognize, but you simply have to try.   Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.”    I hope it works out.

And he's right.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am finally being true to what is in my heart and soul.  In 2009, when I left NSU, I was crushed and broken in so many ways that when it came time to go back in August, I just couldn't.  The rest of 2009 and 2010 were an exercise in retraining my brain.  Every day, I told myself that I didn't want to even BE in clinical medicine, let alone be a doctor.  Somewhere in the middle of 2010, I reapplied to a few DO schools, interviewed at NYCOM, got wait listed, and took myself off of the wait list.  I barely told anyone, and decided it wasn't the right decision, and the point had been to reapply, just to say that I did.  I graduated in 2011 with my MPH and figured I wouldn't look back.  Then I applied to PA school at the VERY end of the cycle to start in Fall 2012.  I interviewed at Drexel, was rejected, and decided that I would reapply the next year, which I did.  That brings us to the current moment.  

Really, since 2009, I've been actively trying to change my mind about med school.  When I left, I was too much of a disaster to even think about it, and because I had been such a disaster, I guess I convinced myself that I couldn't do it ever again.  I also don't think it helped that my mother had told me that I wouldn't be a good doctor, and that I didn't have enough stamina to finish med school, and that really, I am just not as smart as I think I am (gee, thanks).  I wanted so badly to just STOP wanting it, but I never did, and now that I've finally accepted the fact that yes, this is what I want, I feel... lighter.  I don't think it will solve all of my problems, and in fact, will probably create more than I've bargained for, but I do know that like Dr. Finster said, if I don't try and follow this path, I will regret it.

And there you have it.  I'm moving on, and someday, I'll even breathe again.  Until then, full speed ahead towards... whatever the hell.  I guess I'll see when I get there.

- A




Friday, February 8, 2013

Unsurprising newsflash of the day: Life is hard.

Some days, life is harder than others.  This is also an unsurprising revelation.

Today is one of those days.  Sometimes, "one of those days" turns into "one of those weeks" which subsequently turns into "one of those months" and then if it goes on longer than that... I don't know what happens because the last time that happened... well, let's just not talk about that.


Anyone who knows me knows that I have been some varying level of diseased since 2005.  I got the actual flu (body aches, chills, fever,  my freshman year in college, right smack in the middle of first semester finals (because my immune system's timing is impeccable).  Second semester, I came back and while I no longer had the flu, I had joint pain, bone pain, headaches, fevers, petechiae, and exhaustion to the point of sleeping 12+ hours a day.  Doctors threw around diagnoses including mono, Lymes disease, Lupus, and even leukemia, but all of the specific blood work was normal.  The only things that were abnormal were my ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate, AKA: sed rate) which is basically one of the vaguest indications that there is inflammation somewhere in the body, and my ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) test was vaguely positive, which is the world's most subjective test for indicating that there might be some kind of autoimmune process occurring (or it could mean nothing, what fun!).  I managed to finish my semester, applied to transfer back home to Drexel, and moved home.  Over that summer, I had laparoscopic surgery to see if I had endometriosis (I did, it was everywhere, despite that all of my doctors insisted beforehand that I was insane), and I saw multiple doctors, all of whom said that despite the fact that I felt terrible, nothing was wrong with me because my blood work was "mostly normal".  Eventually, a doctor decided to treat me for Lymes disease, despite the fact that I didn't have the antibodies for Lymes, because apparently, I "had enough Lymes symptoms to warrant a treatment".  

[NB: I was told I didn't have the antibodies for Lupus, so therefore I couldn't have Lupus... but then was told that I didn't have the antibodies for Lymes, but still had Lymes... mmmkay.  Medicine, ladies and gentlemen.  It's an art, not a science.  I guess.]

So then I took a year's worth of antibiotics (I'm not kidding, I was on Ceftin and Biaxin for a year) which led to major GI upset and other interesting problems that occur when you wipe out your body's normal flora.  I also was told to avoid eating yeast and wheat, as that would only continually anger my body.  2005 was not the best year to be me.  Eventually, I was having such stomach problems that my GP at the time took me off of the antibiotics.  Surprisingly, my symptoms from before were mostly gone, so we decided that hey, I guess I did have Lymes disease, so hey, maybe that's over now.  And it was.  Kind of.

Over the next 7 years, I experienced my symptoms over and over again.  At seemingly random intervals, the joint pain, headaches, and fatigue would return, often incapacitating me for days.  I also got infectiously ill much more frequently.  I went from someone who was barely sick, barring the occasional cold or stomach bug, to someone who got 6-8 sinus infections a year, strep throat, worsening migraines, and influenza (despite vaccinations!).  Again, I made the rounds through my various doctors, all of whom said that my blood work was fine and that my symptoms were probably due to my depression, so I should just stress out less and things would go away.  Feeling increasingly like I was losing my mind, I was finally sent to a rheumatologist, who decided that I had fibromyalgia and put me on yet another antidepressant (because apparently, that is just how you treat fibromyalgia).  Of course, the drug they put me on was contraindicated to another SSRI that I was already on... so they took me off of it after a few weeks.  And magically, my symptoms were kind of gone.  So, whoo hoo, maybe it was just a random thing and now it was over for real.  And it was.  Kind of.

After a tumultuous 2008-2009 in which I had a nervous breakdown (literally) and fractured my spine and herniated 2 discs by falling out of a bathtub (this is why you are NEVER too old to have a mat in the bottom of your tub), I thought that things were going to be okay.   I still had recurrent and chronic sinus infections, migraines that laid me out for days, and pain, I figured that this was just how things were.  I had surgery in 2010 to correct a seriously deviated septum and enlarged nasal turbinates (they left the outside of my nose alone, thank you very much), and I continued to feel intermittently crappy with the same old joint pain/fatigue/headaches/fever symptoms.  My allergies, which were present since childhood, began to get worse, and I started collecting new and exciting allergies to food (raw fruits,  raw vegetables, shellfish, and nuts) and my seasonal allergies were so bad that I could barely function in the spring/summer, despite being medicated.  I tried allergy shots in college, but didn't finish the full 5 year course, so who knows if they would have helped.

Most recently, I saw a new allergist because I needed better allergy care and also had started breaking out in a rash, which was diagnosed as atopic dermatitis, but they're not sure why I suddenly have it now.  I was tested for allergies again (result: I'm allergic to ALL THE THINGS) and he sent a bunch of blood work for autoimmune diseases.  Not surprisingly, my ANA was positive and nothing else was... well, that's a lie.  I also apparently had Mycoplasma pneumonia ("Walking Pneumonia") and my IgE levels were elevated (IgE = Immunoglobulin that is active in allergic reaction... so... not surprising).  He sent me to another rheumatologist, who I saw a few weeks ago.  She examined me, sent more blood work, and said, "You kind of, sort of, maybe have a bunch of the lupus symptoms, so we'll treat you like you have Lupus," and put me on Plaquenil, which is a Disease-Modifying-Anti-Rheumatic-Drug (DMARD) and then two days later, decided that I didn't have lupus because my ANA came back negative (more on that later) and my Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 were super low, so that must be my problem (seriously?) and so she put me on prescription strength Vitamin D (50,000 units weekly) and I also started taking 1000 mcg of B12 and 2000 mcg of Biotin (to see if it helped stop my hair from falling out).  

So why am I telling you all this?  Because in all of this, if you had asked me, "Alison, do you have a chronic illness?" I would say no.  I realized the other day how bizarre that was.  I take 12 medications a day and more days than not, I feel like crap.  And yet there was some part of me that was convinced that if I didn't say that I was "sick" that it meant that I wasn't.  I think this is also compounded by the fact that I have been told numerous times over the last 8 years that there isn't anything physically wrong with me, and somewhere along the way, I internalized that as "my symptoms aren't real and I must be making them up and therefore, I am crazy".  I just kept telling myself that one day I would wake up, and I would feel better because if I wished it hard enough, it would happen.  That since this was firmly ensconced in my control (newsflash: It isn't), that I should be able to fix it and that if I continued to feel crappy, it was only because I wasn't trying hard enough to feel better.

How's that for convoluted and bizarre logic (or lack thereof)?

So Danna, my therapist, encouraged me to "make peace" with my illness.  Or at the very least, accept that I have one.  At one point, I said, "I just keep thinking that it will go away," and Danna said, "But it won't.  It's not going away.  This is how it is," and I just started crying because no one had ever just said that and it was some weird combination of catharsis to hear it and also sadness at the fact that yes, I am sick and it is not going away.  I might not have a diagnosis, but how I feel is reality.  I had this delusion that as long as I didn't say it, it wouldn't be true, but I realized on Tuesday that by that logic, I could say I was a bicycle and I would magically be one (which isn't true, in case you were wondering).  What I said or believed had no bearing on reality in this case.  In fact, accepting the fact that I have an illness might make it easier to deal with said illness.  Who knows.

And so, here I am, on the internet.  I'm Alison and I have a chronic illness.  I don't have a diagnosis yet, but that doesn't make the crippling joint pain, headaches, rash, inability to stay warm, chills, and plethora of other symptoms any less real.  

So what am I doing with this information?  I'm not sure yet.  Right now, I'm just trying to absorb that this is a part of who I am and that it doesn't mean I'm any less of a person... it just is something that I have to deal with.  Maybe (hopefully) not forever, but... for the foreseeable future. 

- A

Daily Dose of Poetry

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I've been sitting at my desk, doing data entry and listening to TEDtalks today.  You should seriously check them out because there is beauty and laughter and knowledge and so much... GOOD STUFF (TM) out there.  This was one of my favorites today.


If I should have a daughter…
Sarah Kay
If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.”
But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.”

Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.
I love this poem, “Point B” by Sarah Kay. Watch it here performed live at TED.  I love it.
- A

In Which I Am Baffled (and Injured) by Office Supplies

Monday, February 4, 2013

I love office supplies.  Seriously.  As a kid, going school supply shopping was one of the best parts of the year, and I often had to be convinced that no, July was not the appropriate time to buy school supplies.   In high school, I fully embraced the joy of a weekly/monthly planner, and by college, everything was color coded.  In grad school, I acquired one of my favorite things: a white board calendar.  Putting up a new month in color coded, dry erase, marker is one of my great joys in life.  Post-its are practically a religion, especially the super sticky ones and the ones with lines! 

Post-its with lines are the best!  They satisfy my need to stick notes on things and ALSO write on lined paper.

Anyway, I realize that I've made myself sound even more boring and nerdy than previously thought, but hey, it's the truth.  Multicolored pens, pretty notebooks, nice stationery, planners, and organizational stuff makes me happy.

I probably need to get out more.

Right.  So, staplers.  They're pretty straight forward.  Not the world's most exciting office supply, but definitely useful and necessary.  Last Friday, I realized that my stapler was out of staples.  This is my stapler:

Hello, stapler!
 I went to the supply room to get some more staples, and then promptly couldn't figure out how to OPEN my stapler.  These are the not-so-helpful instructions on the bottom of my stapler:

Okay.... so.... what?
I eventually figure out how to open the damn thing and attempted to insert the staples.  They didn't fit in the staple-shaped chamber that looked so meant for staples. 

Why do you refuse my staples!?
The secretary attempted to help me, but she was also unable to load the staples.  I figured they must be the wrong size staples, so I ordered the ones that were listed in the office supply catalog with my particular stapler.  This morning, the staples were delivered.

Ooh, premium!
I went to load them.  They STILL didn't fit.  I tried to force them.  Note: NEVER force a stapler to do anything.  It will fight back:

This is where I had 3 staples sticking out of my hand.  'Tis but a flesh wound.
 Then I noticed this:

I had not seen the "DO NOT PUT STAPLES HERE" sign imprinted in my stapler before this morning.  So now I was completely confused because there was simply NO OTHER PLACE that would hold staples.  Or so I thought.

Once again, the not-helpful instructions... that became slightly more helpful after I looked at them more closely.
 APPARENTLY, if you look at the tiny picture on the bottom of the stapler, you would find out that the staples load into the main body of the stapler...


Surprising no one (except for me), the staples totally fit there... as would have any other standard-issue staple.  So, now I have 15,000 staples (no, that is not an exaggeration... I somehow ordered three boxes of 5,000 staples) so if anyone needs some, please let me know.  Also, I am glad that I had a recent tetanus booster, so my stapler injury probably won't kill me.

So that's my very exciting Monday morning post about my stapler.

In other news, my weekend was somehow productive AND relaxing, so I think I win.  Things from my list that I accomplished:

- Gave myself a manicure and a pedicure (they look pretty good!)
- Read more of Far from the Tree (that book is STILL endless)
- Posted (and mailed!) books on Paperback Swap
- Reorganized drawers/closet and got rid of stuff that doesn't fit (I now need to go shopping...)
- Rented a horrible horror movie from Redbox (The Apparition is terrible... don't rent it)
- Baked something (brownies!)
- Slept (this is non-negotiable)
- Watched terrible reality TV (My Big, Fat, American, Gypsy, Wedding never fails to amuse)
- Slept some more

So... success!  I didn't get to knit, but I did find my DPN's, so that was good.  The closet still needs some organizational work, but at least everything in it is now approximately the right size.  I officially need to go shopping because I have 3 pairs of pants that I can wear to work (and one of them has split in the seam by the zipper, so I have to fix that), and two of my sweaters have holes in the armpits that I need to fix... or possibly just get rid of because they're from Old Navy and really, who fixes Old Navy sweaters?  I need to mail three more books for Paperback Swap, 2 of which I can mail on my way home today.  I didn't go to the gym because I am lazy (and also, sleep is awesome) but I am going to try REALLY hard to convince myself to go to the Pilates reformer class tonight... we'll see how that goes.

Last night, I ended up with some pretty terrible joint pain and could NOT get warm for the life of me, and then I woke up at 2:30 am with horrifically bad nausea and spent some time lying on the bathroom floor, so that wasn't really that fun.  I'm still in a decent amount of pain (argh), so we'll see how I feel by 6:00 when I'd have to head to the gym for the class.  I'm hoping that I have some leftover motivation from this weekend.

So it's Monday, and it's cold... not much else is new.  This week has some pretty good stuff coming up, though, including therapy, a coffee/dinner/drinks (not sure yet) date with a friend who I've known since middle school but somehow have not seen since 2008, teaching piano, pay day, and hanging out with my friend Lori (who is marrying Ken's cousin Steve in July!).  And then this weekend, Ken and I are having a game night on Saturday, and on Sunday I'm hanging out with my friend Liz, blogger and artist/designer over at Happy Sighs and Betsy Ann Paper, who also man's Ask Team Practical on A Practical Wedding.  That was a lot of links.  But seriously, check them out, you won't regret it.

But yes, hopefully this week will be good, I will have minimal pain and other disgustingness, and maybe I'll even hear from USP (although I am not holding my breath on that one).  And so my friends, faithful readers (all 5 of you out there), have a good week and be careful with staplers.

- A

In Which I Need to Up My Prilosec Dosage

Friday, February 1, 2013

It is like friggin' Groundhog Day over here... fitting, as that IS tomorrow, isn't it?

I called USP today and shockingly, someone answered the phone!  The first time that I called!  After I recovered from my shock of someone answering the phone, I got myself transferred to Catherine, the admissions director person (official title), apologized profusely for probably being her 900th phone call that day, and asked if any admissions decisions had been made.  Apparently, the admissions decisions have been made!  Cue panic!  Except that no decisions have been mailed because the admissions department (I thought this woman was the admissions department, but I was wrong) is printing their letters of acceptance...?  Or something?  She said not to apologize for calling and apologized that she couldn't tell me anything... and then told me to call back in 2 weeks if I hadn't heard anything at that point.

So yup.  Groundhog Day.

In other news, the weekend ahead of me is completely and totally empty, which is weirding me out.  Tonight after work, I'm going to Tria with my coworker (hopefully new friend?) Kristen for a glass of wine, and then I am going home and Ken and I are going out to my (very belated) birthday dinner.  But tomorrow... Ken is leaving for NY until Sunday (best friend's birthday), so I will be on my own.  I have no plans.  It's WEIRD.  So here are my Potential Weekend Plans:

- Give myself a manicure and a pedicure
- Read more of Far from the Tree (because that book is ENDLESS... good, but endless)
- Investigate consolidation loan nonsense at Wells Fargo (::twirls finger in air::)
- Post books on Paperback Swap
- Donate unsellable text books to library (they need to not be in my house anymore)
- Reorganize drawers/closet and get rid of stuff that doesn't fit
- Knit (and find my DPN's that I finally bought and subsequently lost in my house somewhere)
- Rent a horrible horror movie from Redbox
- Bake something
- Sleep (this is non-negotiable)
- Order high-resolution, nice, prints of our wedding photos
- Pick up our ketubah (which was done at Christmas, for pete's sake)
- Watch terrible reality TV
- Go to the gym, for the love of God
- Sleep some more

In other news, I may pre-order Neil Gaiman's next book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, because a local bookstore near him is pre-selling signed copies... and that would be awesome.  But this tour will be his last signing tour, so I'd love to go see him/hear him read and then get a copy signed... but I guess I could just have TWO signed copies, right?  Right?  (I'm such a nerd.)

And now it's 4:30 and I'll be heading out shortly to get my well-deserved glass of wine.  I'm going to focus this weekend on being sane and relaxed. I'll let you know how that goes.

- A

Quoteable Clinical Research II

So Thursdays are my days of endless meetings from 1-4, but they almost always provide good fodder for my quote collections.  Here are some from yesterday's clinical meetings and some stuff overheard at the office this morning...

Attending: I never thought I'd have to say "Please don't lick the baby...."

Attending 1: Is this a list of kids who have just died here, because some of those died at home institutions.
Attending 2: We literally just made this list right this second, calm down.  We can make it be whatever we want.

Attending 1: And Dr. X helped us out by -
Doctor X: No, I didn't. 
Attending 1: I lied, she did nothing!

(Looking at CT)
Attending: That'll make you breathe funny...

"Being able to operate implies that you can see something.  You can't operate if it's not there." - Radiologist

"You can come over for cookies, you just can't bring the zombies!" - Attending to another attending

Doctor 1: I'm going to send you five pages of science!
Doctor 2: "Science"? or Science?
Doctor 1: Oh, yeah, my Frankenstein science.  Psuedoscience.  I prefer "translational".  I don't know the mechanism... it might kill you... but it's kind of awesome!

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