28 March 2007

Read this!!

Go, read.

I'd be willing to bet that the manufacturers never expected to have to put a warning against that use on that product! Snort!

22 March 2007


Big changes afoot here - again. There's a reason the word transition is in the title, my life seems to change drastically every couple of months. April 1st brings a return to full-time ambulance work, but this time on an ALS shift instead of a BLS shift. Instead of 5 8-hour days, I'll have 1 10-hour day on a 911 truck, 1 14-hour overnight on a 911 truck, and 2 12-hour day transfer shifts. Add that all up, 48 hours - guaranteed overtime every week. Until she leaves, I'll be partnered with Ellie which is disappointing only in the fact that I know she's leaving. I've heard only good things about her personally, her skills as a medic, and working with her in general.

A 48-hour work week on the ambulance, plus the 20-hour work week at the office job equals a shortage of time to volunteer with the FD. My two transfer shifts are on the weekend so I won't be able to volunteer on the rotating every-5th-weekend schedule no matter what. I could probably change to another night for the during-the-week portion, but I sent an email to the chief and I've gotten no response so I'm guessing I might be done with them. There are a lot of political issues swirling around and through the department, many centered on volunteers and call firefighters, and the short story is that the full-timers wouldn't really be sorry to be short another volunteer. It isn't anything personal, more of a negotiating tactic than anything else. Tonight might be one of my last two nights with the FD, so I'll have to hope for at least one call so I can leave feeling useful.

Still no official word from the last medical school yet. At the interview, they suggested everyone assume that no news was really good news because it meant you were still being considered. I'm fairly certain a letter one way or the other is going to show up in the next couple weeks and I'll let you know about it when I get done crying or hyperventilating over the financial burden.

18 March 2007

Season of change

Many places have four seasons. Most people refer to them as Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall and those words bring specific idyllic pictures to mind. Happy people frolicking in a couple inches of snow, all bundled up in scarves and sweaters, maybe a cup of cocoa or coffee steaming away. Beautiful flowers just pushing up through dark, rich earth under a beautiful blue sky and 50 degree weather. Swimming suits, beaches, drive-in movies and no responsibilities. Spectacular leaf color and crisp nights crunching through the early fall leaf litter, again maybe that hot cup of coffee near by.

In New Hampshire and Vermont, not so much. We do have four seasons. Winter, Mud, Summer and Fall. Winter lasts from October until mid-March or April. Mud season lasts from the end of winter until late May. Summer, from June until mid-August. Fall, from August to October. Now, for those not from this area, you may be asking what is mud season? Mud season is the delightful time of year when the weather alternates from 60 degrees to -5 and back again, frequently and quickly. When the snow melts and turns everything not paved into a giant sink hole of mud, and then it freezes, snows again, and repeat. When dogs and EMTs track mud everywhere they go, with a special affinity for white carpet.

This, my friends, is why I left for vacation in March. You might think that avoiding the bitter winter cold would be a higher priority - but you can't really avoid something that lasts for six months and I own enough sweaters to outfit a small impoverished nation (if they lived somewhere cold). But mud season - just plain aggravating. The day we returned from vacation, 67 degrees. The next day, 71 degrees. The next day, 25 degrees and 12+ inches of snow. Just makes you want to find Mother Nature and kick her ass for teasing you with the warm weather.

So, if you're dealing with the mud, or just longing for a taste of the tropics...here you go, a little taste of Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

02 March 2007


On vacation until 3/14!


Since I'm sure you're all waiting expectantly for the triumphant announcement of my unconditional acceptance to medical school - I'm going to give you a summary of interview day instead. Interview day is a combination of the medical school trying to sell themselves to you and of you trying to sell yourself to them. It suffers from split personality. Applicants show up in shiny new suits with their game faces on ready to put forth their best case for why they should be accepted, and then...you get a whole day of activity where only 2 moments really matter.

0845: Arrive, drink cheap free coffee (or not), make uncomfortable small talk with fellow applicants.

0900: First episode of "the sell". Admissions staff talk about everything the school wants you to know and appreciate about them.

1015: Financial aid staff come in and talk about all the money you're going to have to borrow because they aren't going to be giving you any. They want your tax returns, W2s, etc, AND your parents' because no matter how old, married, or parental you are, if your parents are alive, they count in the expected contribution although the financial aid lady said straight out that they really don't expect your parents to pay. Yeah, I didn't get that either.

1100: Bus to and then tour of the hospital by third year students. Kinda chintzy, we didn't get to see the cool stuff, although the closets that pass for on-call bedrooms were interesting to see. Cancer center, yes. Outpatient clinics, no. In-patient floors, no. Library, yes.

1145: Free lunch. In the hospital cafeteria. I agree with the admissions guy that it is good to see the kind of food you'd be stuck with if you were working long hours there, but again this is the split personality where if they were really trying to woo the applicants, they'd take us to any of the reasonably nice restaurants in the immediate area.

1400: My first 30 minute one-on-one interview. I interviewed with a professor emeritus, retired MD who now works solely in the admissions office. He had clearly studied my application in detail and gave me very few opportunities to talk at all. He did ask about my family situation in the context of telling me a story about when he and his wife were in residency simultaneously and had 3(!!) kids. I don't really know how to judge how this interview went because it felt more like a sell on his part than on my part. I'm hoping that is good news.

1510: My second 30 minute one-on-one interview. Again, an admissions person, this one not an MD. This one had lots of questions and gave me more than enough time to talk. She wanted to know about my path from undergrad, to grad school, jobs, and now applying. She asked how the teaching I've done relates to the desire to be a physician - a perfect opportunity to weave a nice story. We talked about all sorts of topics and I let her direct the flow of conversation. This means that I'm not good at staying "on message", but I feel like I want to be evaluated on who I really am and how I interact with people and I think she got a good representation of that. I left feeling like I'd done well.

1600: Campus tour by first year students. Some strange selections here as well, just two auditoriums, a student lounge, a lab and the library.

A 7-hour day where only 1 hour really mattered. Anyone you interact with other than the interviewers has no mechanism for feedback on your application and no bearing on what happens to you. For me, the best part of the day was actually talking with the other applicants and feeling somewhat normal. Since I'm applying at such an unusual point in my career, I spend a lot of time wondering if I'm doing the right things, going completely crazy, or just out in left field by myself. A chance to sit and talk with other people who are trying to make this jump, many of them coming from very supportive undergraduate environments, and finding out that I was right on track with everyone else.