Complications

I try not to write about Crohn’s too much on here, but recently it’s been impacting my everyday life.  Currently I’m on two medications for it, both of which function as immunosuppressants.  So basically now I have an immune system so weak that I (apparently) develop such infections like shingles.  That’s right, shingles.  I know what you’re thinking.  You questioning yourself, “Is it 1930 or something?”  No, it’s not.  My immune system is apparently so weak that a latent infection from chicken pox (shingles is caused by the same virus) has taken charge and made some moves to take over.  Let me tell you, shingles is no fun.  At first I was mildly excited to play doctor and correctly diagnose myself, but now I’m not excited at all.  My skin is blistering and let me tell you, it hurts.  So all I can do is tough it out, take whatever meds I was given for it, and ride it out.  Hopefully it should all be over in a week or so.

At least, I hope it’s over in a week.

MS-II

Well, that about sums it up.  We just finished up our first year of med school, so I guess that makes us MS-IIs.  It’s nuts to think that we’re already done with an entire year of school already.  As cliche as it sounds, time really does fly when you’re busy as all hell trying to sip from the firehouse of information that’s constantly being splashed in your face.

But soon enough (probably next week) I’ll be starting my summer lab rotation in neuroscience, working on a project studying stroke.  I’m looking forward to a (slightly) less intense change of pace for the summer and getting back into the lab pipetting things and playing scientist.  And hopefully I will get in some good trips home and to Boston, spending time with my family and friends.

So farewell Patterson auditorium.  See you in six to seven years when I match for residency.

Thanksgiving

Finally, after the blur that was HB2, were we able to take a break from the seemingly relentless routine of class / anatomy / studying to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I split out of CT and drove home to Jersey Tuesday night after a face-stuffing meal at the potluck at RB’s house.  It was good to be home, and it was good to sleep.  I always like Thanksgiving because it’s an intimate dinner with my brother, mom, and dad.  It’s simple and relaxing, which is just what I needed.  And of course mom cooked up a delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, spoon bread, “pink stuff” (still not sure what exactly it is but it’s delicious), cranberry sauce, and of course pumpkin pie.  Amazing.

Plus in honor of tradition we went Christmas tree hunting the Friday after Thanksgiving up at the tree farm just past Skylands Park.  Normally we have no trouble cutting down the tree, but this year was different.  I have no idea what it was, but it took forever to get that thing down.

But now I’m back in CT for school, and we only have three weeks of class before winter break.  But my weekends will be busy, as my friend RM will be out this way this weekend, and the weekend after that is the Santa Speedo Run.  I’m still waiting to get my speedo in the mail.  I’m a little nervous as to how much of my whiter-than-white skin will be showing, but it’s all for a good cause.

Sigh… just two weeks to get into speedo-wearing shape.

Whiteboard

Ah, my new found love, the whiteboard.  Hidden away in my little MDL today (small classrooms with tables / chairs / projectors / TVs / whiteboards) I dominated the crap out of all of the metabolism lectures that we’ve covered so far.  Not to get too sciencey, but basically when your body takes in carbs for energy it all goes through a ridiculous process to turn that stuff into a single type of molecule, ATP, used by other things in your cells for energy.  But to go from carbs to ATP is a drawn-out process with a bunch of ways to regulate it to make sure you’re not making too much or too little ATP.  So, in order to see how everything fits together I littered a whiteboard with every enzyme, intermediate, substrate, inhibitor, and activator.

Yup, there are a lot of steps.  But taking over an entire whiteboard to write everything out (as messy as it may seem) actually makes sense to me.  Once you can see how everything fits and all the pathways come together, it’s actually easier to understand what happens when your body responds to something like insulin to regulate high blood sugar.  Despite the fact that a student passing by giggled at what I was doing, I know that I’ve got this stuff down pat.

Take that, metabolism.

Busy

Yup, I’ve been busy.  Little did I know that the month or so before med school would be spent getting ready for med school.  Ah, oh well.  But anyway, that’s where I’ve been.  Getting ready for school like a little first-grader, going to Staples for binders and paper and pens (because Wal-mart is ALWAYS destroyed this time of year and Dad had a few Staples rewards points built up), getting all dolled up for the first day of school to make a good first impression, and all that jazz.  I remember when Mom used to make us wear “nice” clothes for the first day of school and take a picture of my brother and me out by the front door.  Those were the days when all we had to worry about was what lunch box we were going to pick out.  Not this time.  This was going to be the big leagues.  Everything that I’ve worked toward all these years was finally happening.  Honestly, it was an amazing feeling walking in the first day of orientation and getting my ID badge with my name and “MD/PHD” written underneath.  Holy crap.  This was for realsies and there was no turning back.

And then we had our white coat ceremony, where all of the first years (MSI) are introduced and second year students (MSII) present us with our white coats.  Mom and Dad came up for it, and I’m glad they did.  When I said I wanted to go to medical school all they said was, “Okay.”  Never once did they try to talk me out of it, or snort with laughter in my face like my high school guidance counselor.  I knew it was going to be a lot of work, and they knew that I knew that.  But when I set a goal out for myself there’s really nothing I won’t do to get there.

And here I am, two weeks in of my first year of med school, swamped with reading and studying, and loving every minute of it.