Monthly Archives: February 2010

Oops

I forgot to write this post. . .the frustrating thing is that I knew what I wanted to write at 4 pm, and, since I didn’t jot myself a note at that point, I now have no idea what I wanted to grace y’all with.

I suppose I can begin with the beginning. . . a song playing in my head this morning:

I will run – I will fly
I will live to be a sacrifice
Through it all I’ll rise above
Unafraid I will face what comes
I will run – I will fly
And for my faith I’ll live & die
I’ll be strong – I will press on
For the sake of Your beautiful
name
Your beautiful name

Should all life cease to grow
Should chaos take control
The only hope we know is You will save us

There’s stuff I could say, of course, it’s just that at this time of night, I can’t seem to remember anything more than the bare facts, facts which I think I are boring, and of which I’ve said the gist of them before. I could talk about my grades (boring), my analysis of school (likewise), complain about what I didn’t do today (pathetic), . . .in general, when my writing seems to reflect little more than the tedium of my tediousness, it becomes rather boring to write. That leaves me grasping; what can I write that isn’t boring and tedious?

There are some people who always seem to have a spark of life in them, that laughing light in their eyes that says “Yes, I know this is a perfectly normal, but can’t you see how special it is?” Those people are few and far between, but somehow that’s what I’m reaching for. That spark of wonder or delight that doesn’t see their surroundings in monochrome. I know they don’t have a different life; they just have a different way of looking. I just want to remember to look.

Now I’m a member of society.

I filed taxes for the first time in my life today. (On account if it being the first time I was required to do so.)

Note that I said I was a member of society, not necessarily and productive member of society, that I filed taxes rather than paid them.

It rather rings of futility and pointlessness, you know? I go through all this bother trying to fulfill the law and be obedient and all that, and all it really comes down to is that they give me back all the money they took before. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler for us both if they never took it? Of course, the bureaucratic world never has, and never will, run on simplicity.

To say the least.

The free program I used was very simple and straight forward and well made—there was never a point that left me wishing it was any better. But when you got to preview your own forms and see what they’d filled out for you, it was, naturally, quite the joke. More convoluted forms could not be invented if you were a 9-year-old whose sole purpose in life was to confound anyone trying to understand you. It was exceptionally random.

Nonetheless, having just given all the information to a streamlined program, I was able to pick out the thread of what we had entered and follow it through; everything was in order—or at least, the order the byzantine IRS wanted it in. Being able to pick out the thread of what you had to enter when you had no idea what you had to enter would have been quite the trick.

One would think that if you were trying to collect money, you’d do everything in your power to make it as simple as possible. All that I think is that at this point, they aren’t trying to collect money; they’re merely trying to avoid giving it back. The more labyrinth-like you make it, the more likely it is someone will mis-report in the IRS’s favor—that is, not claim a handicap of some sort that makes them give you more money back. If that is all they’re trying to do, I suppose they’re doing quite an acceptable job doing it.

Still, I can’t help but think that it would be simpler (there’s that word again) to merely allow less handicaps. Who’d have thought I’d get back $400 simply because I was employed (the “Making Work Pay” hoop)?

I’m dead!

My blood pressure this morning was something like 80/65.

No, I was not light-headed or dizzy.

Yes, the instructor double-checked it.

Yes, people were disturbed.

No, I was not the only one. Apparently several of us female type people get low blood pressure right before lunch, despite having just taken a stressful exam.

That’s the other thing; exams are cruel this semester. The material seems easy, but they are making the tests meaner. That is to say, last semester, if I guessed the questions the professor would ask on the test, I would be making a much more difficult exam than they would administer. Now I guess, and the exam administered is harder. One person said the test we took this morning was the most difficult exam of the whole program so far. I don’t know if I would go quite that far, but it definitely is not sufficient to have an understanding of the materials; now we have to be prepared to answer every picayune thing. Before, if I could answer questions like that, it would be all like “What do you do, study all the time?!” Nowadays, I’d better know that stuff, because it will be on the exam.

I still think I can do this; it’s just more stressful and I might not end up with such pretty looking grades this semester—not that I won’t try, but last semester sometimes I was getting full credit PLUS extra credit, and I don’t think you’ll see that happening this semester.

In other news, we finally got our list of clinics willing to take us as students. We’re going to try to have a pow-wow on Friday to see if we (the students) can make everybody happy before we submit our choices to the professors. Some of us say “I don’t care where I go as long as I get the time I want,” and some of us say “I don’t care what time I get, as long as I can get the place I want.” We’re hoping that we’ll all be nicely complementary and we can sift things out so we’re all satisfied. Murphy’s law says we won’t, but as a whole, we’re happier with our chances of negotiating with each other than blindly submitting our choices to our teachers, who will, if there is too many people who want the same thing, put our names in a hat and draw and assign.

Care for Health Care

The other day a classmate and I were discussing how stressful some healthcare jobs were, and how poorly some fields were treated. I mentioned that that was one of the reasons why I didn’t support healthcost coverage for everyone—it universally pressures people to care about money not care—and added that I didn’t currently have insurance myself.

“Yeah, well, that works fine,” she replied, “until the first time something catastrophic happens to you—” The same old line everyone has always thrown at me.

“Yeah, but, when you have something catastrophic happen to you, and the nurses are too busy and overworked to remember to reposition you and you get grade 4 bed sores that get infected and you die of blood poisoning, what good is insurance going to do you?”

People try to tell you that you may not be able to afford an apple, so you’d better get insurance, even if it is crappy insurance. But if all you can get is a rotten apple, what’s the point? You can pick those up for free off the ground, without even paying for insurance.

In my opinion, health care should be worried about the quality of health care; otherwise, we don’t have health care. We have overcrowded institutions with-over worked staff, and insurers who won’t pay for much more than a shovel to dig your grave (everything else is a “luxury”). Okay, yes, there are a lot of stupid-over-priced things. . .like putting a canvas strap to hold your toes in on a wheelchair and adding another $300 (yes, that is three hundred dollars) to the price tag. But insurance isn’t going to fix that. Transparency, responsibility and a good healthy dose of competition might.

Likewise, all the insurance in the world is not going to save me in the event of a catastrophic event. “You get what you pay for” is not just a trite saying; it’s an unfortunate reality of life.

Victory

My grades are now officially inline with what they really were!

In other news, the Seniors are. . .not carrying themselves with dignity. We’ve not ever felt like they welcomed us or condescended to have anything to do with us, but they have now taken it to the point of being childish with club politics. I am not the interim president of freshmen, so I avoided being as upset as the interim president of the freshmen. . .but I think it’s fair to say that we all feel that they’re acting. . .unprofessionally?

What I don’t understand is what initiated this change. In other words, as frustrating as this new thing is, I’m more concerned by what undercurrents may have initiated it. When you don’t know what has given birth to something else, you have no idea what else may shortly be birthed. In other words, what the heck?

I think what makes this situation so much more frustrating is that we really can’t figure out the point of having the club anyway, as it mostly just seems like a source of frustration, stress and annoyance. The more unpleasant things become, the more we consider just quitting, as scandalous as that might seem. Who needs a source of stress with no productivity or use?

In also other news, we were assigned project partners for our Pathology class. I told someone previously that it was our Rehab class, but that’s an error on my part. (The pathology class has three different programs combined for it’s main lecture, but then gives a PTA specific class on one day of the week—during which we meet in the classroom for Rehab; hence the confusion.) The odd thing is having assigned project partners, which means you can get some of the oddest matches. In my group there is me, a blond girl, and a quarterback. It’s very weird.

I’ve only used my “Big Sister” voice (it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it) on them once so far. Aren’t you proud of me?

Yeah, but we’re smarter than you

Last semester, as a whole, our class did very well. We didn’t loose track of what things were due when; we did the work; if we couldn’t figure things out, we helped each other. We had all been severely warned that if any of us had grades that dropped too low, we would have to attend mandatory structured study. No one had to.

In fact, we were repeatedly told what an awesome class we were, and how we were getting bragged up to everyone on campus as being such an good group. We all passed the first semester. If I understood correctly, we were the first class anyone can remember where everyone passed the first semester.

In general, our largest, collective problem was testing stress. Some of us were more obsessive than others, and we all showed it in different ways. But if we could just lick that testing stress, we did well. In response, we encouraged each other to relax, to chill, to remember what we knew we could do instead of getting fixated on all the things we weren’t sure if we could do or not, and to practice whatever scared us the worst. It was not something to rule us; it was just yet one more hurdle to get over.

This semester, things are different. We have two kids in our class who are here because they didn’t make it through the program the first time around. And these kids? All they want to do is tell horror stories. “Oh, so-and-so’s tests are horrible, this subject is so difficult, you think this is hard, you wait till you see what the other thing is like. . .”

It’s unrelenting, and it puts us in a tough spot. Having been repeatedly told by Every. Single. Teacher. how exceptional our group is, having watched each other pull through nearly every test with flying colors—we just don’t quite buy their stories about how we’re all going to fail and die. We want to do what we’ve always done—“Oh, come on, how hard can it be? If the seniors could do it, so can we! After all, we’re smarter than the seniors! We can figure it out.”

But now we’re in the presence of those who couldn’t and didn’t. It seems rather rude to rub it in their face that we’re smarter, cooler, stronger, funnier, quicker, more observant, more diligent, more-awesome-in-every-way than they are. And it makes it hard to encourage them. And it makes us a little resentful that they keep saying how hard everything will be. That’s our Achilles’s heel. You can warn us and offer to help. You can help us deal with our testing anxiety. But it’s really kind of unpleasant for you to just stand there and say “You will all suffer. Suffer! SUFFER!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!”

I want to be nice. I want to welcome them into our group. Especially since they have both said that, last year, everyone got into these “cliques” and all the smart people just hung out with each other in isolation, and didn’t have anything to do with the mere mortals. I’ve always been willing to help anyone out with their brain-work, if they wanted it. Why should they be any different? If they’re struggling, and I can help, I would. But since they’ve been through it once, they think they’ve got the experience, and they’re not looking for hope. They just want to let us know how sad we’ll be later on in the semester.

And that’s the reason that, the next time one of them tells me “Oh, Neuro is so hard. It is so, so hard. You can really worry, then. That’s the whole reason I’m here again!”, I’m going to have a very hard time not saying, “My friend, I have a 4.0 GPA. If you ever want a little help, just let me know and I’ll give you a hand. Maybe this time you can actually make it through.” And smiling.

Sweetly.

[In other news, I had a very “sweet” meeting today with my psychology teacher from last semester. I was all prepared to take the high road and be all nice and conciliatory and smooth everything over prettily. Then I rushed from one end of the campus to the other in an effort to be on time so she wouldn’t have to wait a minute for me. . .only to be stood-up for 15 minutes. That gave plenty of time for the pressure gauge to move from “conciliatory” back to “seething”. One does not know, exactly, how much my smile of greeting looked like a smile of greeting and how much it looked like a gritting of teeth. Or maybe baring of teeth. At any rate, she did get the brilliant idea to go and get the grade change form and sign it right in front of me. She said it would take “a few days” to “a week” for the changes to be entered in the system. . .and I’m pretty sure that even she realizes that if it, for some reason, it happens not be in the system within a week, she can expect another friendly visit. And I’m not entirely sure she enjoyed this one. Me, either, now that you mention it.]

I. Am. So. Sore.

I felt like I was kind of starting to figure out how to skate yesterday, as opposed to simply staying up-right and moving on my skates. But today, I am soooooo sore. I seemed to be getting more sore as the day went on. Which meant that I really benefited from today’s class where we had to do leg and arm massage. . .only, my “PTA” only did one calf. . .and just about every muscle in my body could have used a good going over.

Tomorrow is our first practical exam in our Intro to Rehab class, but the first half of the class has already passed with flying colors. If they can do it, I’m sure we can do it. Tomorrow we also get our “clinical choice” forms, which, as I understand it, means we get to see the list of what places are willing to take on students. We’ve all been dying to see it.

I feel like I’m on the cusp of “getting” this semester, figuring out a new rhythm and routine. I just can’t help but be impatient for me to actually get there, but it really can’t happen until after the first round of exams is over. But at least I have gotten far enough into it that I’m past the “I am so dreading this semester” feeling, and have kicked back into “schoolwork” gear.

I was thoroughly chastised, when I came home today, for how horribly I had been distracting my brothers. (Yes, it was said brothers who were chastising me. Apparently, it got so bad, he almost wrote me an email-cum-text to my cell phone to tell me how badly I was distracting him. I was saved by this onslaught of false accusation only because he didn’t know my cell phone number.)

I ice skated again.

This time there was a bunch—and I mean a bunch of little kids, about as high as my elbow. Most of them ignored me. Some of them said hi. A few laughed at my expense if I fell, but most either apologized at being the cause of my fall or asked me if I was all right. One of them, if I heard her right, referred to me as “Miss Braids”, and was very polite and said “excuse me” to anyone in her way.

Ice skating wears me out. It’s probably because I’m still learning, and I’m doing in a horrible energy intensive way. By the time I’m finished, though, I feel like I need to lay down and take a nap. I’m drained.

This semester is odd. Although I have, technically, one more credit hour than last semester (I’m up to 20), it feels like there is both less brain-work and less studying involved. As a result, I find myself sometimes at loose ends. Sure, I could technically read some of my textbooks, but if anything, it seems like textbooks are even more irrelevant this semester than last. We haven’t got a schedule down for studying with each other yet; there’s no expected routine of how much we need to study for different tests.

I was willing to pick up some tutoring hours, but the hours that I am free (3-4) I was informed that are not likely to be very popular, seeing as they were “so late”. If they would prefer, I can pick up some hours from 8-9, but I suspect then they will complain that they hours are “too early.” Well, sue me. I have classes at all the convenient times for tutoring.

Still trying to find my groove for this semester, I guess. . .

I have an appointment with last semester’s psychology teacher on Thursday. Hopefully I can finally get things straightened out then. People think it’s silly that I’m fighting to get my GPA from 3.95 to 4.0, but I freely confess to being indignant. I did the stupid work (and it was stupid; it was psychology after all), so I think it only fair they DO THEIR JOB that I AM PAYING THEM FOR, and actually grade my work.

Incongruous

* Mocking third-world countries for believing people who say they can see things we can’t (shaman’s seeing spirits), taking something to make you feel or get better that you don’t really understand (ritual foods for certain sicknesses) and believe in things you can’t really explain. Whereas, over here, we believe people who say they can see things we can’t (scientists who see germs, viruses and other microscopic things), take things to get or feel better that we don’t really understand (if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist!!), and, oh, have we mentioned the placebo effect? But, those stupid, superstitious third-world countries!!

* Having the audacity to write in the prefaces of our medical textbooks, “The mark of sophistication of any society is how well it treats the young and the old, the most vulnerable segments of the population,” while we ship our very young and very old off to institutions to be cared for by strangers (babies and children to daycare, elderly to nursing homes). Because we “have” to.

* “Honor” societies that “invite” you to pay them money. (If they’re honoring you, shouldn’t they be paying you? Otherwise, aren’t you just buying a vanity license plate?)

* Posting signs all over campus about how you should wash your hands for “at least 15 seconds!!” to prevent the spread of germs. . .and then having “automatic” faucets in the bathrooms that run for approximately 3 seconds (or less). In your building dedicated and specifically for learning the health sciences.

* Professors that not only do not have the most recent edition of a textbook, but did not even know there was a more recent version of the text. . .even though the bookstore insisted that the professors needed you to have the most recent edition that just came out. (And what do you know? The only thing different about the new edition is that they moved the chapters around! It’s still the exact same text!)