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29 June 2009

What in your Black Box?

I always wonder about people on the subway. Where are they coming from? Where are they heading? What are they carrying? Is there a hubby/spouse at home waiting on them? Will kids greet them as they walk in the front door of their house, condo, flat, apartment? I wonder what book she is reading...It must be good/interesting... She smiled. How many years has that elderly couple been married?

As I left Harvard Med School the other day the security guard asked me if I had a ventriloquist dummy in my box... and as I tried to come up with an answer... her response became, "Ohhhh.... it's not a skeleton, is it?" The sadness on her face was a bit heartbreaking and made me rethink my own feelings/thoughts about the bones. She sees it as sad; thinking of the person(s) who lost their life. I think what a great sacrifice this person made in order for me to learn - and so that I can become a compassionate advocate for each of my patients. As I rode the subways and walked the streets to my apartment carrying my big black box I hoped no one would ask questions. For once I hoped no one would care.

But you can always count on kids. I was asked by multiple children of varying ages "What's in your box?" Each time I responded "school supplies." I just figured it would be easier for everyone involved. The box is large, heavy, and awkward to carry all of the blocks to my house but it was fun to listen to the guesses of people passing by. Apparently it is a trumpet, saxophone, oboe (a huge one :)), tuba, french horn (not hardly)....

How often do we assume we know what things are like on the inside by the outside? In our cadaver lab we all started off with whole idea of what was hiding underneath. Inside we discovered some had lungs that were in really bad shape, another had an adrenal gland the size of a kidney, and one of the group's body had an abdomen filled with tumors. The insides to people aren't always in poor shape but they can be bruised and battered. If we judge people by what they wear, how thin they are, or the accent with which they speak what are we telling them about ourselves? Is the girl who seems snobby really just shy? Is the talkative guy in the middle of the classroom really nervous? How much can we really know? How much do we assume?

The next time you think you know what's in someone's "black box" take a moment and think about what it would mean to them for you to assume positive things. Look for the bright side of people. It's the little things that matter. Remember their name, smile when you see them, hold the door open, etc.... These are things that can help people assume positive things about you....

22 June 2009

My Problematical Musings....

Life moves on and keeps moving forward. The weekend was full if not overly productive. I did a load of laundry (trying to get used to the idea of paying to do laundry again...). Prepped food for the freezer and you guessed it...... studied!

Lastnight I was lucky enough to be sitting in a seat at the Wang Theater watching The Color Purple!!! It was awesome! You should look at pictures of the theater online but keep in mind that the pictures don't come close to doing it justice. If The Color Purple is coming to a theater anywhere near you..... GOOOOOOO!!!!!

On the train home lastnight I was unfortunate enough to be standing near a group of young females. Upon further inspection and listening... it was discovered that.... they are medical students graduating in the next week to begin their residencies. That was a hard one to hear. Each of them is younger than I am and one of them is taking the pediatric track. God puts us where we are for a reason and I realize that. However, He could have placed me in a different car lastnight and I would have been fine. Where would I be now if I had followed my original track? Where would I have gone to medical school? Who would I have met in med school?

The path of my life has presented both heartache and blessings. Without the schedule and job I've had the last couple of years I couldn't have helped out at home or spent time with Grandmama before she died. I wouldn't have phlebotomy training, friends in Greensboro, a permanently injured back, or the car I (my dad) has. When I was in the wreck three years ago I gave a lot of thought to my choices and my path. Life had thrown some curveballs and without them I would not have been going around that curve on that particular afternoon. But life isn't predictable and if it was... would it really be any better or any more fun? Life is like my moving boxes....with each slice of the packing tape new surprises are in store. I'm a planner. I like to plan. It's why weddings are fun (stressful but fun...) to do. The best laid plans are often the first to go. Why is that? With no surprises and no struggles, would I really need Him? Would I really care? Without the last ten years....would I be who I am? No!

A small painting on my wall says "If You're Handed It. You Can Handle It." It's on my wall for a reason. The next time you have a heavier load than you think you can bear.....just remember. It's not about what I can do or you can do. It's about what we can do with each other and His guidance.

A story of purposeful paths:
If I had continued down the medical school road I wouldn't have gotten to know Christy so well. If I hadn't gotten to know Christy I wouldn't have lived beside her. If I had not lived beside Christy I wouldn't have fallen in love with her "psycho" cat Max and a stray cat on the front porch. Without Christy I wouldn't have picked my next two apartments. Without the second apartment I wouldn't have gained drug dealers for neighbors. (There is a point to the story... and no it was NOT Christy's fault!) But without the drug dealers I wouldn't have met a scrawny bundle of bones covered in fur. If I hadn't lived on the first floor I wouldn't have had a fur ball running in and climbing under my covers when it rained. The drug dealers were kicked out. They took their puppy and days later the tiny ball of bones covered in fur, mud, gunk, and fleas was found with no home.

She's a special cat. She cleaned up well and I had my first experience with how fast fleas can multiply. But she's special in another way. The vet's guess is that she ingested drugs at some point. She is smaller than expected and experiences seizures. The road that curved around the mountain with blind curves brought me to a degree specializing in children with special needs. That same wandering path brought me a cat with special needs. She is special and everyone who meets her falls in love. She is also a great comfort to me with the distance to friends and family being so great. God knew many years ago where this journey would take me and in a round about way He provided me with a traveling companion.

What curveball have you been thrown? What curvy path have you taken? How did you expect your life to turn out? What would you have missed out on without the wandering? What have you learned along the way? Do you ENJOY the JOURNEY??????

I am off to bed for I must be on the T (subway) seven and a half hours from now. Good Night all!!! (Please leave comments!!! and Enjoy the picture of my "special" companion)

19 June 2009

This Week...

...has been interesting... and LONG!

Monday was anatomy three hours of anatomy lecture and then more orientation seminars. (Can you feel my enthusiasm?) Tuesday was Professional Socialization ("P. Soc") lecture and then anatomy lab. I was able to use the rib cutters on our cadaver! Wednesday was a day of P.Soc. Lecture in the morning, a lunch break, and then P.Soc lab. It was really good to start getting our hands "dirty" with some actual PT skills. We worked on shifting patients in bed, rolling patients, from lying to sitting, etc... Thursday was GREAT! After lecture was more time in the dissection lab at Harvard... or "Hah - Vodd." I was able to remove the heart and lung from our lady. I can't begin to describe how honored I feel that this lady donated her body so that we can learn. What an amazing gift!

There is a lot to do in Boston but my schedule doesn't currently leave any extra time for exploration. This morning I spent some hours in the cadaver lab and then learned a valuable lesson. Between my back and my continued recuperation from surgery.... it is NOT a good idea to go grocery shopping with a loaded backpack and then carry the groceries home.... and up three flights of stairs. :) However, I am cooking to have dinners and also to have leftovers for lunches throughout the week.

My plan is to update my blog on a regular basis..... (We'll see)... and I'm going to add a list of items that are not found in the North ;)

What I've Learned This Weekend
  1. Friends are not instantaneous.
  2. Books don't study themselves.
  3. After almost 200 flashcards what's a few hundred more? :)
  4. Grocery shopping takes more time when items normally bought cannot be found.
  5. Some people make the amazing sacrifice to help medical people learn... their body.
  6. My favorite frozen yogurt flavor next door is Strawberry Peach.
  7. When it rains... I have a leak..
  8. It's hard to eat canned green beans when you can't find the can opener.
  9. My cat, Lucy, is terrified of the Swiffer Sweeper Vac..
  10. Foodie's market (in my neighborhood) sells balls of pizza dough for $1.37 and it's Delicious!
  11. Dead trains on the tracks can cause delays for the greenline of the T.
  12. I'm still not fully recovered from my surgery.
  13. Holding a human heart and lung in your hand is amazing.
  14. There are no scrub shops in Boston...
  15. The sound that breaking ribs make is not a pleasant one... but one that I enjoyed.
  16. Fresh fruit is my absolute favorite food.... (especially Watermelon!!!)
  17. Being away from friends and family is hard...
Enjoy the list...

17 June 2009


The original plan was that I would update my blog today.. But seeing as how I still have a million Gross Anatomy flashcards to make, cards to write, a dissection lab manual to read, dishes to wash, and sleep (at some point)... I will be posting tomorrow...

It has been a good... rough but good week... I'm hanging in there.. Lots of new info to learn..and trying to figure out how I will retain the info the best... I'll update more tomorrow...

Love ya!

10 June 2009

How I Feel

I took this picture in the Southwest Corrider behind my house. I walk a block down the side street and it opens up to a long walkway surrounded by flowers and gardens. It's a great shortcut to the T stop I use for school and let's be honest.... It helps to feed my photography addiction when I actually have time :)

This week has been interesting. We've (my fellow students) and I have been in orientation since Monday. There have been curveballs thrown at us and there are many who are unhappy. When interviewing we were told there would be no more than 49 in the class. We arrived on Monday to a room filled (literally) with 67 students. This causes complications...and yet no reduction in tuition. It means less hands on experience, less lab time with cadavers, more challenging to gain graduate assistantships, and less money for financial aid.... just to name a few. It's frustrating. We spend sooooo many hours praying about, thinking over, and contemplating all of the programs just to determine where to apply. Then the process is further complicated by interviews...and then acceptance letters are sent out and the stress level increases. It is a time when emotions are high and every detail is weighed.... We found on Monday that quite a few details had been left out of the information given to us. Do I love Boston? Yes. Do I love the medical access? Yes. Did I need a small class size? Yes. Would I have chosen MGH with a class size of 67? I don't know! But now we are stuck and tomorrow we will find out how bad it is.

Tomorrow we meet our cadavers. It is amazing and humbling to me that someone cared about our education enough to donate their body for science. It is what I plan to do one day and I hope the students who work on me take a moment to consider my life, my gift, and the emotions there with the sacrifice. It will be a touching and interesting day.

My classmates range from 22 years of age to 38 years of age. There are many of us who are 29 and we joke about creating a "29 club." Yesterday we were in orientation most of the day and then we participated in a mini "Amazing Race" around Boston. It was really interesting. I'll post some pictures (taken with my phone) along the journey. I was on the yellow team and really appreciated that they made sure I was okay even though I slowed them down. Our goal was to not be the last team and in that we succeeded. I was able to get to know some interesting young people along the journey. Below are some pictures from some of the stops on our race.... (sorry I couldn't get them to arranged as I wanted....)

Part of the yellow team at the Bunker Hill Monument. ( ) Our other teammate was a great volunteer and running up the stairs of the monument. I wasn't going to volunteer!

The Bunker Hill Monument! (This is a couple of blocks from my school). These are the stairs that one teammate from each team had to climb. It wasn't me ;)

The Ether Dome. ( )
This was really neat! I didn't know it existed until yesterday.

A view of the ceiling at the Ether Dome.

Fenway Park. Need I say more?
( )
Some of my classmates are going to the Yankee/ Red Sox game at Fenway.
BTW: The Red Sox are WON!.... ( I wonder if I'll be a Red Sox fan soon? I would love to go to a game...)

The Paul Revere Statue.... ( )

Mike's Pastry! This is an amazing pastry shop in the North End... It's known nationwide.... Be prepared to stand in line...and get a great little white box tied up with string. We had to buy a cannoli to take to the finish line...
( )

It was a fun day... and today has been a long day... I'm heading to bed. Tomorrow is gross anatomy.... I'll let you know how it goes :)

Please leave comments.... You can comment with your name even if you don't have an account.

07 June 2009

Sorry Guys! I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. The last month has been a bit crazy!

Here's a very short overview:
  • loan fell through
  • redo of loanage
  • abdominal pain
  • visit to ER
  • emergency appendectomy
  • four days in hospital
  • apartment fell through
  • frantic apartment search (by my realtor)
  • new apartment
  • possible abscess
  • another CT scan (infection but no abscess)
  • unable to lift anything that requires my abs... less than 10 lbs.
  • take it easy and recuperate (10-12 wks); as said by surgeon
  • packing (by everyone but me)
  • Mama stayed with me for a while
  • roadtrip from Greensboro,NC to Boston, MA with Daddy
  • moving changes
  • Christy flew into Boston
  • unloading of trucks (really good looking movers....)
  • Daddy staying in Boston to help unpack.....
  • Christy flies home (REALLY HARD)
  • Daddy's car gets towed....
  • Daddy leaves (REALLY REALLY HARD)
I begin grad school tomorrow! WOW! God is good... Please say a prayer and many more updates will come.

The picture is me in front of my new home.... One of the two pair of pants that fit me since the bloating of the surgery.