Monday, June 30, 2008

eye opener

First day of clinical today. I was so nervous I slept nearly a wink last night. Staff was wonderful and the facility is very nice. Its not Promises in Malibu, but its really nice. Preceptor was nice, I will spending more time than I thought with our class instructor which is actually a good thing. So incredibly knowledgeable. We saw a few patients together today, tomorrow I will be on my own with review after the fact.

The big drug down here is heroin. Heroin is to Bucks/Philadelphia counties as methamphetamine is to Bradford county. Addicts are plentiful and guess what they look like? They look like your nephew, your daughter, your sons, your lawyer, your banker. Mostly your sons, daughters, nieces,and nephews. They are bright, attractive, ridiculously young, and healthy. It breaks your heart into a million little pieces to see them. And I have only been there one day.

Drug use/abuse/addiction is not sexy. It's not cool or trendy. It's not provocative. It's pathetic, ugly, disgusting, destructive, and tragic.

I know we all "know" that. But sometimes we don't (can't) really grasp it. To know that the struggle is now life long after an addiction, relapse can be forever right around the corner. Seeing these beautiful people with their lives essentially taken from them is sobering. no pun intended. Never again will they be without this huge albatross. For those who can't get clean, mental and physical health will deteriorate and a slow and uncomfortable death follows for someone with drug abuse as their lifestyle. That is if you make it that far and don't get a bad bag, or unknowingly mix it with other bad junk like xanax or alcohol and just not wake up the next morning.

I know this is sensitive, those of you who might be or are dealing with it in your lives, I don't want to open up a sore, but please please to your kids, your family. Do what ever you have to do to keep them away from this stuff.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

vags and bags

The META lab is over. Meaning- the pelvic and testicular exams are done. It was as bad as I anticipated, but in different and creepy ways that I did not anticipate. We split up into groups, then 6 at a time we went into an exam room to do the deed. The first was the testicle. 6 women in the room with one male instructor/model. He was the one telling us how to do it all the while holding up his gown- "more pressure when you squeeze the shaft" and "roll the testicle between your fingers". I swear. To make things even more gross, there was an air of inappropriateness because of the behavior of a few students. I am sure they were just nervous, but the instructor did little to maintain control/restore a clinical and professional atmosphere and it escalated the creepiness and made a couple of us extremely uncomfortable. It made doing the exam very difficult.

ok, so then we move on from that trauma to the pelvic. we have an instructor as well as the model/instructor and they were both women. A little better. But not much. I try to dissociate and complete the exam. Finally after almost 4 hours of hearing about sexual abuse, testicles, uteruses, trim pubic hair, and looking for lesions and wildlife, we are freed.

The last 2 days have been with our psych class and psych lectures. We have learned all about clinicals, the theory portion of the class, expectations..... Today a recent graduate visited us at lunch so we could ask her questions and she could tell us what it's really like.

"the worst year of my life" she emphatically declares.

I cry. (jk)

She echoes what the instructors are saying. We haven't seen nothin' yet.

I have often told the tale of the boy who cried wolf to my children, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes not so subtle. I have always wanted to help them to discern what was important to be told and what wasn't, especially in terms of complaining, tattling, and the like. I just want to apologize for all the whining have done up to this point because I now feel that it has been premature. I was sort of hoping that once I got to this point it would become so interesting and exciting that I wouldn't even notice that I was doing work. The recent grad said "double it" in reference to our last class with this instructor and the difficulty level.

I have possibly "the worst year of my life" ahead of me.

So also let me apologize in advance for all the whining sure to come.


I have 2 days left. It is sort of going fast; I am having a good time - learning a lot. But I can't wait to start heading up toward home. I am picking up the boys in Wyalusing on the way home on Friday. That will be so fun to see their faces when it is I, not their dad that shows up on their last day of daycare.

This is a picture of the psych class. The overall NP class is large, 100 or so, but there are just 8 of us. I guess there isn't that big of a draw for those who want to specialize in psych. I failed to get any pics of Jill and I at the Capital Grille last night. It was fun, and a great meal.

So, that's the update. A full day day of psych lectures today, I hope a half-day tomorrow, then home.

Monday, June 16, 2008


this day has been exhausting, relieving, fun, nostalgic, and exciting. I started off with the most stressful exam that I have taken since boards. The dreaded head to toe demo. i passed. then the standardized patient. the old lady that was my patient couldn't have been nicer. it was so intimidating at first. you go into the room like ou are entering an exam room with a patient ready to be examined. you interview them, figure out what to examine, what tests to order, and then diagnose. NOT graded or pass/fail=little stress. then we leave and go back in after 20min or so and they tell you what you did poorly at, what you did right, and what you failed to do at all. she was like my grandma! "oh teresa, you did a great job...but you didn't ask about my marriage..." "you have such a comforting face (lol) and are such a good listener, you didn't act shocked at all when I told you about how much I drank." I loved her! the other girls didn't fare as well, at least with the kindness and approval of their SP's.

Then we were done! My lab partner and I had the same schedule so we were both done (and we are both psych) at the same time. she was stuck in the city so we decided to celebrate. Then Jill was on her way and met us at the pub. We sat outside and had beers, cosmos, and laughs. It was great. Vicki (lab partner, and cute as a button) was waiting for her husband to get off work, then we walked her down to Merrill Lynch, then Jill and I had a great Thai dinner.

Overall, it was a great day to get that awful exam over, not have to be "remediated", to be moving on with the fun parts of school this week, and to see Jill again (and to have another dinner date on Wed!). I love it here.

Friday, June 13, 2008


picking strawberries. jeep ride without the top. all four of us together for the entire day. a clean garage. freshly bathed children. an early bedtime. bliss.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Good Day

Will graduated from Preschool yesterday. It was very cute, and he was very proud. My dad ended up coming, which made me happy, but made Will extra happy and proud. Dad spent some time with Nate on the train tracks while we mingled and got refreshments. Then he took Nate home with him. We headed over later with Will. It was exceptionally low-key, doing just a few simple things...taking the two old jeeps through the woods, a go-kart ride and the boys oogling their promised treasures (an old Jeep truck for Nate, and the yellow '48 Willy's Jeep for Will). We spent some time just shooting the breeze with Dad in the garage, then it was time for Al to head to the stable for chores and we were off for home.

It was so simple, sort of your average, quasi-nondescript day....almost.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Whine post

I am in deep....very very deep cover. I am playing the part of a dedicated and thoughtful NP student.

Seriously, I have gone underground and will remain there until about the end of the 3rd week of June. So, no I haven't fallen off the flat end of the earth, I am not ingoring you, I am not depressed (wait, yes I am...jk), I am just consumed. I know I complain and whine about my classes, specifically this one, more than I should, it is just that I feel like it has taken custody of my life and if I don't behave it will punish me severely. So I bend to it's will, that I spend every minute of my procrastinated day either in a book, at the computer, or running around ensuring my clinical sites and my health compliance are all in order.

I miss everybody, I miss being able to do things, to plan things, to have carefree or not so carefree talks on the phone...lots of stuff. I forget my kids school programs and dates for camp, I have abdicated cleaning and supper making (that's right Housewife...S.U.P.P.E.R) So please don't hold it against me, feel that I am a bad friend, that I don't try hard enough or that I don't like you enough, or even that I am just a self-absorbed pseudofriend. I think about all of you more than you know and wistfully pine for the days that I can interact guilt-free.

This is the hardest thing I have ever done, and some days I really regret ever having any ambition whatsoever. I feel a lot of responsibility to get this stuff right, like it's do-or-die (the patients, not me of course). And although it sucks almost every single day of my life, there are times when I get a vision of what I can do, what changes I might be able to implement, that will bring relief and comfort to individuals, families, and hopefully to communities.

I will be leaving for Philly on June 14 and will be home June 21. I will be home for 2 weeks, then will go back down for 2-3 weeks. Then I hope to be doing clinical at NTC for a bit. Prayer please!