Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Last rotation as a first year!

Today was my last time at Duke North grossing as a first year. It went really well, especially since when we arrived there were a lot of specimens to work our way through! I thought we'd run later than our 4 pm end time but ended up getting through everything about fifteen minutes early. Go us!

The next time I'm doing anything remotely clinical, it will be as a second year student. So, so very amazing!! I will miss seeing all of our med students every day though, I was talking to one of them today about how strange it will be! Ah well, there is always facebook and we'll keep in touch with the ones we're closest to!

In other news I was having dinner at my friend's house last night and was talking to a house guest of theirs. It was the best conversation I've had with a random stranger possibly ever! Her mom is a medical laboratory manager and her dad is heavily involved with the AACC and was a higher up in LabCorp and is a toxicologist. She knew all about clinical pathology, it was so nice! I love this profession so it is really cool to find a random person out in the world who also thinks it is great. :)

Test 8 finished!

I'm glad test 8 is done. I know a lot of people are waiting to take it on Friday but I just feel so much more relaxed with it out of the way. I can enjoy my week!

Except today our lectures were on pathology of the female reproductive system and breasts, which is much easier for me to get paranoid about having than prostate cancer! But as many EMBXs, POCs, and breast biopsies as you get in surgical pathology, it is good to have the background on what they are looking for!

We have exam 9, an oral pathology exam, a pathology small group final and then a cumulative course final coming up in June. It will be rough but soooooo incredibly worth it when we're done! I ran into the autopsy guys on my way out yesterday and it was good to know that in five weeks I'll be on my rotation with them! Yay clinical year!!! It is so close :D

Monday, May 28, 2012

Test 8 tomorrow!

I took a study break and had dinner out with the kids. Amazing burgers and fries one place and frozen yogurt two doors down. It rained during dinner. As in the bottom fell out of the sky and the asphalt warmed by days of southern heat steamed in the aftermath. My children were well behaved and said appropriate thank yous and everything. It was a good hour and a half.

Then back home... to study, back to my laptop that has been my near constant companion for the weekend.

I saw my best friend's girlfriend (as well as my best friend) for a little while last week since they were in town for a show, and she is in medical school doing the normal two year curriculum. We shared frustration about studying and being tethered to our laptops. Some times I dearly hate my laptop, I would like to close it and leave it alone for a few days... but I can't. Not right now. Maybe in a month (which is an exciting and terrifying thought! I must survive June first... I try not to get too ahead of myself).

I am mentally saturated today. And I may have halfway diagnosed myself with a handful of different random parasitic infections and leukemias.Thank goodness I don't have a prostate or I'd be worried to death about it! Studying diseases makes you paranoid!

I'll have four solid hours in the morning between the time I drop the kids off for school and the time the test starts to go over the IRA questions and Robbins review. It is good to have that type of question fresh in my mind right before tests.

Then... I'll have a fairly social rest of the week (at the moment I have plans with my Durham friends every night except, by the weekend they might be tired of being around me lol) and a weekend with not too too much new material to study. I expect by this time next week I should be much more relaxed!

PS: After the test I have to take my laptop to the IT guys again...because it has spyware again (I swear I am not going to sketchy websites!). I've lost count of how many times they've had my laptop. 6 maybe?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Plans for the long weekend!

We have a test on Tuesday, but if students are traveling out of town they've actually given us the option to take it on Friday afternoon. I will be taking it on Tuesday though because my weekend plans consist of studying and reviewing organ specimens for the oral pathology exam.

They've set up sample specimens demonstrating various pathologies with associated questions in one of the rooms that we can quiz ourselves. I want to go ahead and look at those to gauge where I stand on identifying diseased organs.

Also, I have to try to find a gym. My husband offered to get me a trainer, and having just looked at pictures of myself from last year, I really need one. A lot. And I started taking Metformin again, which I hate, but is necessary.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What? May is 2/3rds over?!

I had surg path last Wednesday at Duke North and we were discussing with our course director how time seems to be flying by. I can't believe how close we are to being done with the didactic year! We had our 7th Body and Disease test last Monday (I think it went really well!) and I can't believe how close it is to being June...

June intimidates me, really. There will be a lot of tests including an oral exam. I think my anxiety is well controlled, but I also haven't had to deal with a situation like we had in December where it was final exam after final exam and we just had a gauntlet of tests to go through one after the other. We will see what happens! My pathology small group instructor has provided very positive feedback about what I've said in lab, but honestly, I feel like I'm just pointing out the obvious.

May has almost been a relaxing month. I have been hanging out with my Pocket Robbins (made even more portable by my having purchased the Kindle edition so I have it on my phone, my kindle, and my laptop) in the evenings. I am going to try to ramp that up this week so I can spend more of June with Robbins Review. It can be a slog, but... necessary!

(Cross posted from FB) This has taken over my living room!
In personal news, life is good! The kids' soccer teams are doing really well and getting them to practice, while it eats two nights a week, hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be.  I tried to convince my husband to go ahead and move to NC and we would just carry the mortgage for the unrented house in Columbia. We did have a good conversation about it, but even I know what a horrible financial decision that is. Still... as much as I love being at Duke and I love living in Durham* and the kids are so much happier here, it is hard to apart from him.

*Seriously... I love Durham. It isn't a huge town but there's always something interesting going on and dozens of restaurants that are still on my to-try list. And there is another food truck rodeo coming up in June, that I will NOT miss this time, even thought it is on a pre-test weekend!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Congratulations to the class of 2012!

Our lovely second years received their Masters of Health Science diplomas today!

Our program directors hosted a party with the students, their families, and the staff PAs to celebrate! It meant losing some study time on a test weekend but luckily it is a test that isn't very lecture heavy. And the food and company were good! Plus party leftovers meant not having to come up with something else for dinner. :)

Congratulations to all of them and it was exciting to get to hear about the jobs that they have lined up for after the program finishes in July!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My poor neglected blog!

I realize I've been pretty quiet lately (or actually made the blog with pictures I mentioned earlier...) but I go through phases with social media and even though our course load is fairly light for this next test (Monday!) I just haven't been in the mood to blog or be on facebook (not to mention my incredibly neglected Twitter account!). The kids' soccer season is also in full swing and taking up several nights a week, which is actually a nice break from thinking about academic things :)

Classes are fine, but this far into the unit and with the summer weather around everyone seems ready for the unit to be over! It was really hard last week when other people (undergrads and other graduate students) had their final exams and started summer break! I might have been a little jealous! But you can't really compare a PA program to a traditional masters in some other discipline.

Our lab TAs switched out at the beginning of the week and it was sad to lose our old one. She is going to be chief resident next year and did a really good job with teaching. Our new TA also seems comfortable with teaching, but our old one is just such a tough act to follow! She was great! Ah well, they have their own rotations to deal with and it means we get exposed to a wider variety of the residents we will be working with next year. And by next year I mean two months from now!!!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

From now until next July!

Our course director sent out our rotation schedules for next year. It is good to know what I will be doing starting in July. After the preceptor week I start off on a week of autopsy, then a week of histology, and then a stretch of surg path split between the VA and Duke North.

It is funny looking at the schedule because the attitude is, "Yes! I'm working with _____, I love working with them!" but then it is also a lot of looking at it and going, "Awwwww, I don't get to work with _____, I really like them." But there are much, much worse problems to have in the world! We will all still see each other in the PA room, in other classes, and socially so it isn't like being scattered across a dozen different rotation sites in different states or anything like that.

In a way I'm really excited to see the schedule, in another it makes me impatient to be on rotations! I did have a stint at the VA this past week. The derm path folks didn't come in so I got to stay for the entire slide sign out. It was really interesting! For example, I've grossed in so many prostate biopsies (literally thousands! The guy I worked with didn't like them so I would always grab them when they they came in.) but it was the first time I've ever really seen them microscopically. The difference between healthy tissue and neoplastic tissue is pretty drastic. I am sure it will all be old hat by the time I graduate, but for now I like being able to see the whole process through diagnosis.