Margaux in Med School

I'm just an average American med student... ok, well, sort of. That's me, top right -- and below that my dog! Isn't she cute? You know she is. Watch the dog...Be the dog!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lottery Baby. Lottery

I bought a lottery ticket today. It is the second I've ever bought in my life and mostly because I needed change at the gas station. (Plus I'm not counting the one a friend's mom bought me a few years ago).
But whenever I buy a lottery ticket - I think of my mom... Not because she is some kind of psycho inveterate gambler --- but because her favorite passtime for getting to sleep was to plan what she would do with several million dollars ala the lottery. No silly fence jumping sheep for my mom. Nope, no way, no sir. She planned her spending of cold hard cash. And so now of course, whenever I buy a lottery ticket I do the same.

The powerball jackpot for this week in Oregon is 360 million. Holy crap. Though I have no expectation of winning, here is nonetheless my plan for the earnings (so if you see this kind of money changing hands--- hint hint --- you know it's me!!)

1. pay off all credit card debts, car loans, and student loans (plus proactive for next 3 years including MPH year) : approx. $250,000 (+/- 10,000 = I try not to think of the exact amount)

2. hmm a lot left over eh? ha. Ok next pay off all Lindz's med bills and fix her credit: 2,000 (jeez that was cheap)

3. Set up trust fund for Anthony, Raymond, and Lisher's yet to be born daughter (Natalia?... maybe Margaux jr. after this) : 3,000,000

4. Pay off mom and dad's house and cars -- 2.5 million (yep you read right -- only people can spend more than me and stay completely afloat -- mom and dad)

5. Buy house across the street for Lindzer and Anthony : 1.5 million

6. Pay off Fabian to get a freaking divorce : couldn't be more than 500,000?

7. Give Lisher 1 mil cold to buy new house/quit crappy bank job -- but only if she takes some parenting classes and possibly kicks out Carlos.

8. Lindsay gets 5 million once she gets rid of Fabian. School and childcare galore!

9. Mom and dad get each 5 million to spend (new cars? quit the county -- yipee!): 10 mil

10. Pay off Domi, Sarah, Shika's loans and a at least 5 other friends will get all expenses paid for at med school : 1.6 million : Key here: Get Shika the hell out of the air force before they send her to some god forsaken place.

11. Set up monitored trust for the 2 crazy aunts -- maybe 5 million? Plus in home care for G-ma for as long as she needs it ... we'll say around 3 mil : total 8 mil

11. So we're at roughly 30 million.... how does Bill Gates do it? I'm running out of stuff.... hmm
Ok. New car and house for me in Portland - mini cooper? cool. Oh yeah absolutely personal chef and maybe personal trainer for me. Plus house for me in Carmel for when I finish MD school ... yes I'm still freaking finishing! approx: 2.5 mil

12. At least 10 million each to United Negro College fund, WWF (the wildlife one not the stupid wrestlers), Stanford, OHSU, and the NIH. Maybe another 1 mil to Lindz's Meat Out (not sure if I'm ready to give up a good steak... but maybe I'm just high on protein)

13. 1 mill to fix up and overhaul the MTC - north portland healthcare here you come.

Ok... total so far : 80 million. Hmm... I guess maybe I don't need 360 mil.. 100 mill would be just fine. So Oregon Lottery commission. I'm ready -- and perfectly happy to split it 3 ways.. what do you say?

Who needs sheep when you have Ben Franklin?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

When I wanted to be an astronaut

Today is a personally interesting day in history for me. It is the 20th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. 20 years ago, in 1986, I was about 7 years old. My life revolved around school, my two best friends and when they would next be coming over, and of course, candy. Every seven year old's primary mission in life involves candy. If you had asked me what I wanted to be in 1986 when I grew up, I probably would have said ballerina, then astronaut. If I could've been a prima ballerina in space, that would probably have been the ideal (plus plenty of money for candy). Picture a dancing princess leia, and you are in the ballpark of many of my earliest fantasies.

Even at seven, I liked the idea of being a girl in space. Of flying through the air in one of those cumbersome white suits (ok, maybe with a tutu -- I was seven). Regardless, even if I hadn't harbored a secret space-shuttle desire, I was certainly aware of Challenger. Every teacher everywhere was atwitter with the Challenger mission. It was the first space mission where a teacher would be going up, a woman teacher no less. It was huge, it was inspirational.

Students paid rapt attention as their instructors detailed the historic importance and role that educators would play in the world of the future. The world that is in fact now the present. At that time, still within spitting distance of the 1970's space odyssey movies, and practically on top of the star wars franchise, the world seemed rife with endless possibilities. Perhaps in just a few decades we would be commuting to Mars. Perhaps we would get our vegetables from hydroponic farms in orbit. Who knew?

We had won the space race to the moon, this was the modern age of space travel, ushering in a new era when even everyday teachers would fly up for the experience, just to better instruct their students. It was in this very theme that several of the maverick teachers in my elementary school convinced the principal to have students watch the broadcast live from the classroom.

We crammed our way into the third grade classrooms, full of awe at the spacious surroundings and times-tables on the wall that we would be learning next year. We sat on the carpet to watch one of the two tvs the school had purchased for educational programming. We watched as the astronauts got onto the shuttle. They waved to the crowd and the reporters were absolutely aglow with the excitement of an impending shuttle launch. They spent a lot of time on the young teacher. She was vibrant, full of life. With curly brown hair and lively bright eyes, they cut often to her smiling husband and children, waiting patiently in the audience for their mother's debut. If anything, this was the family - friendly version of NASA. Scientists and teacher all loaded up and the countdown began. The classroom hushed.

That day will live in infamy for me. My mother told me once that she would always remember the day that Kennedy died, even though she was young, because when someone came in to tell her teacher, her teacher began weeping. For me, the looks on those teacher's faces as they watched the Challenger, was like viewing a similarly palpable wave of devestation.

As most of you know, the shuttle began to catch fire and explode. It happened in seconds really, and was an eerily beautiful sight of red and orange lighting up the screen. However, like most emotionally intense moments in one's life, you are never more aware of detail. I remember not only the visually stunning spectacle of the Challenger explosion, but the feel of the orange schoolroom carpet under my knees, and the way the girl in pigtails next to me seemed frozen in shock with her mouth open. The teachers too, paused for a moment, all three of them open mouthed in disbelief at the sight of their hero, their heroine, exploding before their very eyes.
One began to cry as the other two quickly ran towards the television to shut it off, realizing almost immediately what the 60-odd seven and eight years olds had just witnessed.

Much like Sept. 11th was the end of feeling safe for most of America 15 years later, Challenger represented the end of security, the end of safety, for so many of us that day. It served as a stark reminder of the fragility of life, the unpredictable whims of nature, and the unknowable force of fate in all our lives. How could we assume the world would protect us, if we could be lively and waving just moments before the heavens and an icy shuttle ripped us apart?

The challenger mission is a blip in many people's history books, too far back for most college students to recall, and one of too many upsets to innocence in the baby boomer generation. Yet, despite that, for many of us in the between, it is unforgettable. I know that the next year when before, many us harbored the dream of space, third grade dawned with a renewed interest in other careers. None of us in that room wished to ever again so tempt fate by daring to leave the Earth. It seems in a world that is often unfair and frequently without reason, we must learn these lessons again and again. When I wanted to be an astronaut, the world seemed just. When I realized I did not, it became clear that perhaps we can only try to make the world just.

remembrance, and well wishes for the families of the Challenger victims.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hello I am Retarded

So would you believe I had lost the password for this site for like a freaking month? I finally followed up on my brain damage and figured out how to force the blogger folks to give me my password back. But not before I retrieved an incorrect password and thought my site had been accidentally deleted. Yipes. It is pretty sad over here.

Plus I have been down and out with the virus that will not die. The mental impairment may have been partially due to the ransacking of my body by these germs "bent on destruction." This is some kind of war of the worlds alien shit, nearly 3 weeks out and I am still feeling poopy. Although, as I recall... those bastard aliens died from the common cold... so maybe this is some kind of Tom Cruise scientology based illness or something. Whatever.
If you go by my mom and sister (which, although I love them, I don't recommend) I may have contracted bird flu from my thanksgiving turkey cleaning incident (don't ask - at least it made it in the oven, sans all but one giblet baggie - hellooo plastic poisoning) By the way - turkeys, and giblets, are kind of gross.

I also thought I may have had strep from a study partner, but aside from a new puncture wound in my esophagus (run-in with an over eager health service nurse) and an inability to speak for the first week of the illness, my test was negative. Granted the culture taking technique left quite a bit to be desired.

Anyway - as usual I am studying for one of the eternal tests that are synonymous with med school. Currently, I think I may have any one of about 13 different metabolic disorders, unfortunately the sympotms all overlap so barring a brain sinus sample and about 45 blood tests, I may never know until I suddenly drop dead! Or become a man or something. who knows? This shit is bizarre.

However, on a good front : hallelujah!! the epi nightmare has ended!!

We are epidemiology free here in the margaux universe. Joy! Love! Peace and Happiness to all! I don't even care what may have happened to my grade taking that test hopped up on cold and flu medication. And just say no to MPH courses in the middle of freaking med school!

Other than 450 pages of nightmarish tripe to memorize, I am t-minus 15 hours to a test free two weeks --> Yeah for X-mas!!
And yeah! for weather that would not freeze off my balls if I had them in sunny CA (hey, it might be applicable if I suddenly switch genders).

Happy Holidays and fingers crossed for a goiter-free life!!

p.s. no offense if you are goiter-bearing. I do not discriminate based on thyroid nodules, however, that shit does totally freak me out. :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's French, B*tch.

I watched the Colbert Report last night - pretty funny. Pretty weird, but pretty darn funny. D came over to check it out too so it was like a Siskel and Ebert kind of thing (yes, I know Siskel is dead, but really, Ebert and Roeper? it just sounds dumb). The best line of the night was the one where he said that you had to go by your gut, since there were actually more nerve endings in your gut than your brain. Now, me and D are both med students and we know that is just BS, but it is a testament to Colbert's deadpan delivery that both of us paused, looked at each other and D said questioningly, "That's not true...right?"
Then Colbert goes on to say that if you looked it up in a book that was obviously false - but if you felt it in your gut it was true "in your gut" -- ha. Hilarious.

Also the gravitas-off between him and Stone Phillips was awesome. Pretty sure this kind of quirky randomness will get his show canceled in about a month, but he has definitely captured my demographic (dorky no-life med students).

So tonight, as evidenced by the random relating of minutiae, is a last attempt at procrastination, since I have an epidemiology test tomorrow afternoon. It seems like I've taken this same class thirty five times, but I guess repitition is helpful or something.

I don't have much else to report -- but I'm going on shift with the super-theatrical ER faculty guy on monday night so I'm sure something weird or humiliating will happen to me. At the very least it will be medical and not tv-based. Unfortunately, I am a little worried and will have to do some pre-emptive studying before going in to the pit.

OR = odds ratio = odds of exposure in cases/odds of exposure in controls
OR for me in the ER = "The odds of exposure to weirdness in my 5 hours in the ER are at least 30 times the odds of exposure to weirdness for the average MS2"

Yep I know, super-lame
but probably "truthiful" - ha

Friday, October 14, 2005

Existential crap

Apparently my new theme is "coming out of a fog" as that is again how I feel, finally posting after several weeks, to my blog.

I just took a test this morning so I'm working on only a few hours of sleep. I am not sure if it is superstition or just the way I operate, but I just can't go to bed the night before a test anytime earlier than 2:00am. I have this horrible fear that being well rested equates with a crap grade. I am such a hypocrite too -- since I tell all my little Kaplan folks that they absolutely must get a good night's sleep before their tests.

So here we are, Friday evening and I have had roughly 3.5 hours of sleep -- but I passed my test!!! I even did pretty well. Sadly, it makes no difference how well I do on this or the next test since my previous test score pretty much safely keeps me in the decent-but-sucky grade category as long as I pass.

Re-reading this post it is horribly boring -- sorry. But apparently med school is a lot of killing yourself for small rewards. It pretty much is the ultimate masochistic endeavor. Who knew? (Ok actually both my parents knew and practically begged me to go to law school - but whatev).

Lately, all this obsessive studying is making me realize how single-minded my life is right now. I am sort of wanting to rejoin the dating masses. It is pretty darn frightening but there you go - honesty. I miss relationships -- they are sort of few and far between in my life, often a bit shallow - but even so, I miss it. The euphoria at the beginning. The excitement, tinged with fear, it is such a unique experience.

Unfortunately, med school seems like the most extreme realtionship killer ever --> the impetus to try something when you know it could permanently damage your career if it ends ... not so much. I am just pretty sure my grades post-break up would suck, if my past attitudes have been any indicator.

I think all this relationship gunk is a product of a study-group conversation. So we're sitting around SP, T and D, and of course Sex and the City comes up, as is wont to do anytime four girlfriends have a chat. We're talking, discussing our likes and dislikes in realtionships, and it just brought San Francisco rushing back to me. I missed my old, crap-job, roomate-stressed, med school-applying life in the City. Med school really is the right place for me, but I missed the old me. Once you leave your life as a functoning adult, with a job, friends and responsibilities, you change. It is inevitable.

The med school me is a new person, she's calmer, yet more intense. She feels an over-arching sense of purpose. Even so, she's not as confident as the old me, doesn't feel free to say exactly what she means, and live her life her way. Quite frankly, comparitively she doesn't have much of a social life, and hardly ever does stuff just for herself.

Just like I sometimes miss the emotionally-intense, irresponsible teenage me, I find myself missing the young adult own-person me as well. It is a true but unfortunate fact that you never get off scot free, everything has a price, and the old you must change if you want to fully embrace the new you.

I don't know -- this sure seems like a self-indulgent whine-fest to me, but I guess I had to get it off my chest --- too little sleep and way too much caffeine is a deadly combo.

don't think too hard

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Strength in hot water

A lot has happened in the two weeks since I last posted. I feel like I put Eleanor Roosevelt's women as teabags theory to the test (come on, you know, the "never know how strong you are til you've dunked 'em in hot water" deal). Since so much has happened I could probably write 8 or 12 posts about all the emotions and silliness that occurred. But instead I made a list. More efficient, even if it is slightly less revealing.
Here is the rundown:

I calmed down a bit -- since I was too busy to stay outraged for too long.
I put on a conference with about 5 other people with one notable exception, whose desertion showed me a lot about them.
I had nightmares about the glucose screeners lancing someone in the eye. ("ack! who cares if my blood glucose is 400? I'm bleeding from the eye here")
I had nightmares that a millieu of hypertensive diabetics would show up at the health fair and I'd only have 2 blood pressure and 1 glucose screener available.
I spent approximately 6 solid hours (not continuous) at a photocopier in the span of 3 days.
I am now friends with the 5am shift at Kinkos in SE.
Did you know they have this machine that can cut like a 2 inch stack of paper all at once? I had no idea - technology rocks!
I got to see some really cool presentations about health disparities in minorities at said talk. It was pretty awesome.
I studied really hard for like a week. And I think I can actually figure out when someone has atrial fibrillation and what axis their heart is on.
My study group is made up of really awesome friends.
I personally kept at least two Starbucks' in business for the last two weeks.
I was questioned on my dedication and ended a friendship over it.
I took my first test of the second year -- and passed! Yeah, thank goodness.
I wrote an entire manual on a clinic in like 8 hours.
I went three nights in a row with only 4 hours of sleep and woke up at 5am two of those days.
I spent time with a good friend when I needed to.
I taught someone how exponents work and how to use prespositions correctly.
I realized how awesome most of my classmates are - and how supportive and cool.
I was given a really nice gift for telling the truth when I could've said nothing.
I managed to survive an evening at my careers in medicine group leader's house -- trust me it is a survival skill based experience.
I remembered things under pressure and worked out a problem successfully in front of my colleagues.
I met my preceptor, the colo-rectal surgeon, and he was totally cool.
I saw an anal fistula, up close and personal.
I wheeled a man in septic shock to the ER.
I realized how strong I am, and how lucky I am that I have a good family who loves me.
I am incredibly, freaking, tired.

That, in a nutshell, is the abbreviated version of the last two weeks. I'm sort of in awe about how much can happen and how much you can cram into your tiny little brain in two weeks.

bring on the boiling H20

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What is wrong with us?

What is wrong with our government? What is wrong with us that we can't stop it?

I am shocked and dismayed by the devestation, and lives lost from Katrina, and I am equally upset by the bungling ineptitude, and lack of human deceny that our government displayed in the face of a tradgedy. This administration is blatantly racist and unforgivably heartless. How we can apporpriate 8 billion for an unfounded war in a foreign country, mobilize troops and topple a regime, but cannot manage to respond in under 3 days to one of the worst National disasters we have ever had is beyond my ability to understand.

If it wasn't for the American Red Cross, and generous volunteers from the US I fear nothing would have ever happened. Kudos to the press for blowing the lid on the inexcusable, absolutely inexcusable, lack of response from George Bush.

This timeline shows in detail the lack of response to the American citizens in Lousiana and Mississippi:

Plus another soldier has made known his disgust at the unbelievable behavior of the people in charge:

Clinton was impeached for an innapropriate sexual act; his actions did not cost hundreds, maybe thousands of American lives. We should be impeaching Bush. When will this administration pay for the crimes they have committed against the United States people?

This administration repeatedly puts money and contracts in the hands of underhanded corporations, shows blatant nepotism, and favors unethical business practices, while simultaneously costing the lives of the poor, the uneducated, and ethnic minorities. We send thousands of young men and women to Iraq to die for oil, or for a son's revenge... or who knows what? and nothing is done to stop it. Then when we need help, when one of the nation's most unique and special cities is devestated, we cannot even count on the government to help. A city that is mostly black, and who's citizens are mostly poor, is apparently worthless to this administration. It is normal everyday citizens who are the heros, who spent time, money, and gave aid when it was needed.
It is outrageous. I have just had it. Donate money to the Red Cross, volunteer, expose this for what it is.
Don't let them cover up the truth the way this administration has been doing for nearly 6 years now.
Here is yet another example:

Meanwhile, I think I am going to invest some time this weekend into setting up an online impeachment petition. In case you haven't figured it out yet... I am outraged.

the world is a darker place