October 26, 2014 § 2 Comments
Sunday night and I am giving up. It’s the end of a long weekend (four days total) and I have done nothing but study – and it has made me quite the bitter little student! I left the apartment once and that was only a 20 minute trip to return my stylus – for the third time. Yes, I use it so much that I have already gone through three. This model is battery operated and works amazingly for the first few days. The battery life is terrible (go through a AAA once per day, so we had to invest in rechargeable ones) and after a week or so, the entire stylus simply shorts out. They obviously didn’t have medical students in mind when designing it… I ended up getting a different one this round and am really hoping it lasts. Going back a fourth time will make me look like a lunatic.
So, why the four days locked inside studying? Immuno midterm on Wednesday and pathophysiology midterm on Friday. The best part? The immuno midterm is worth 40% of our grade (something I didn’t know about until last week). The weight of that didn’t really sink in until yesterday morning and when it did, my happy little study bubble popped. This feels like exam period all over again!
At one particularly low moment, Skjalg came in to the bedroom (where I’ve holed up these past four days). His little speech inspired the title of this post. He told me that this can be a great week if I want it to be. It can be a week where I face challenges head-0n and grow stronger, no matter the outcome. It can be a week of treating my body well, eating healthy and going to the gym. It can be a week of balance, a week of learning, a week of strength. My response at the time wasn’t so receptive. I told him that every comment he made elicited the same response in my head, “40%”. 40%. 40%. 40%. It’s not always such a nice place in there…
By 19:00, I was so wound up that I decided to stop and steal the night for myself. I took care of some bank things (someone in Indonesia apparently has a copy of my credit card, luckily the bank stopped the transaction of 3 million IDR and notified me right away), answered some emails and am now sitting in the massage chair writing this blog. Hopefully a little time to myself, a good night’s sleep and a trip to the gym in the morning will set me straight for the week ahead.
In other exciting news, there was a large demonstration that passed our apartment today. It was the largest we’ve seen since we lived here and concerned a very big topic: Hungary might be the first country to tax internet usage. Read more: http://www.thedaily.hu/hungary-plans-to-impose-internet-tax/ and http://www.cnbc.com/id/102111147#.
October 26, 2014 § 4 Comments
To accompany a *slightly* negative post I’ve written today (pre-exam jitters), here is one with photos from this past week. Didn’t feel right to mix the two in one post 😉
On Saturday, October 18th, Skjalg and I had our 5th anniversary. It was a Friday schedule for school, so we started the day with classes (unfortunately). After that it was an afternoon of EKG studying and then our official date started at 19:30. We enjoyed an evening-in with way too much sushi, some champagne and a good movie (The Good Year). It was nice to escape for an evening and enjoy each other’s company.
On Sunday Amir came over to study. He brought presents with him – of course! He once gave me a present for giving him a present. Let that sink in. Our present this round was a taste of home and a taste of home away. He brought with him some homemade bread made by his grandmother, olive oil made by his family and a special herb mix to make a dish of which I have forgotten the name (even though I asked him 20 times). That was the taste of home (he is Palestinian-Israeli). As for the taste of home away, he brought two bags packed with Hungarian pogácsa from a local bakery. There is a bakery in his building that has a bag with his favorite breakfast – mákos rétes – ready for him every morning after he’s finished at the gym. This specific bakery was closed that day (it being Sunday) but he had picked up the treats at a place that played a close second.
On Tuesday I made my way to the gorgeous Parliament library. I had to leave earlier in the afternoon than I had planned because I wasn’t feeling well. Luckily, the clouds had cleared (mostly) and the walk home was warm and beautiful. Wednesday night was a really special night – a surprise birthday party for our friend Mads! For the celebration, we planned for some cocktails at our place and then dinner at Pomodoro (which was amazing – I’d never heard of it before!). Skjalg was really inspired after our last cocktail night and it showed! The drinks he made were fantastic and so special.After physio TA class that day, I stopped at the gas station at Kalvin for 8 bags of ice – yes, 8! – which I had to carry with me home. By the time I got through the front door, I was exhausted. The sight that awaited me didn’t help – there was coconut EVERYWHERE. Skjalg’s first drink, pina colada, was to be served in real coconut shells. In the three hours before I’d gotten home, Skjalg had been hacking away at coconuts and gotten only three or four done. I spent at least 45 minutes vacuuming just the living room. There was coconut in the couch, in the carpet, on the window sills. Some had even made it’s way across the room into our bedroom! It all came together in the end though – and the night ended up being absolutely perfect!
October 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s a partly sunny Sunday morning – a perfect day for studying microbiology and immunology! I’m trying to convince myself… Midterms start the week after next and I have been spending all of my time studying pathology and pathophysiology. The department we are in for patho (our year is split between two) does not have midterms and our pathophysiology midterm will take place in week 8.
As I’m writing this, the Balatonman Triatholon is going on outside. Our apartment location makes it so easy to feel like we’re a part of the city.
This week went by way too fast, just like all the others. My week load is so heavy that the weekend is here before I even know it. I still haven’t figured out the best way to balance everything and I am really going to need to work on it if I want to avoid burning out. Skjalg suggested that I implement a “no studying after 22:00” rule, no matter what. I’m thinking about giving it a try because it might push me to be more efficient and will then leave me some time to sleep. My “will power” (hard to find the right word/phrase) is like a separate entity within me and it does not regard sleep as a priority in any way. This means that if there is something, anything, that needs to be done and it is time for bed, bed loses. So, here goes my first shot at a week of nothing past 22:00.
Though this week went by fast, there were a lot of things that made it stand out. On Tuesday, Skjalg and I were left alone to interview and examine a patient in Internal Medicine. For this class, we have two lectures and two practicals a week. In the practicals, we are together with a doctor in groups of anywhere from 3-9 people. For every practical, we meet the doctor in his ward and he takes us to see some of his patients. From the stories I’ve heard, it seems like these practicals vary greatly depending on the doctor you have been assigned to. Some groups focused on theory for the first weeks and are just starting to see patients, others have not even had regular practicals, while others still, simply look on as the doctor speaks and examines the patients. Ours expects us to communicate with the patient in Hungarian and translate what we think they have said when they respond. In the first couple weeks, he would tell us what to say to the patient and then translate his/her response.
On Tuesday, we were split into 3 groups of 2-3 students, each of which was assigned to a patient. Skjalg and I were together and had to take the patient’s history and ask him questions about his urine, stool, appetite, weight gain/weight loss, allergies and medications. Then, we had to examine him. This included asking him to remove his shirt and sit-up/lie down depending on what we were examining. So far, we’ve learned how to take proper pulse and blood pressure measurements, palpation (using hands to examine body parts), percussion (analyzing sizes of organs based on the sounds produced by tapping with our fingers) and auscultation (listening with stethoscope) of the heart, lungs and bowels. After having been alone with the patient for almost 45 minutes, the doctor returned and asked us to give him details of the patient’s history, diagnosis and our findings from our physical examination of him. There is still so much more that we need to learn, but it is finally feeling like we are, ever slowly, becoming doctors. We even have to wear doctors coats and stethoscopes to our lessons!
In Thursday’s microbiology class, we got to see the culture of bacteria we had collected at the previous week’s class. I’d heard about the culture preparations from my friend Mads, who has the same lesson on the day before ours, so before leaving home that morning, I’d washed my hands and used antibacterial gel. On the way to class, I proceeded to touch everything I could: escalator handrail, metal bars and handles on the metro and door handles. For my second sample, I did a sample of my iPad and one from under my fingernails (our teacher told us it is especially gross under there – note to those of you who bite your nails!).
After microbiology, we had autopsy practice in pathology. Our cases are usually in the age range of 70-90, but this one hit a lot closer to home: an 18 year-old female who had died from cancer only the day before. I can’t really describe the affect it had on me, other than to say that it gave be such an acute awareness of time, how fleeting life is and how lucky we are to be alive. That night, I thought a lot about the life I have lived these past 9 years and how every day should really be appreciated one at a time.
Last night we had cocktails and dinner with Skjalg’s former groupmates and their former anatomy professor. For the first two years, we are confined to a specific group and have all of our classes together with those people. Skjalg was a bartender for 7 years before starting medical school and wanted to have people over for drinks before heading to dinner at Iguana. It was a really, really great night and I hope that we get the chance to do it again soon. I take for granted how talented Skjalg is at making drinks!
We finally hung up some of the drink series pieces I did a few years ago. There is one more somewhere in the apartment of a drink Skjalg invented that won a couple of contests – just need to find it!