Friday, August 31, 2007

and so it begins...

Today was our first real day of class since yesterday was mostly orientation stuff. I am not at all surprised, but this is not undergrad, at all!! We are easily learning at least a semester's worth of genetics in 3 weeks and an absurd amount of anatomy, in far greater depth than undergrad, in a semester. I spent already about 5 hours studying (more than ever before in a night) and I didn't even do histology yet, or have to study from previous days. And, we're still in the intro days!

Even though it's a lot of work though, it is interesting. They related pretty much everything back to clinical situations. In anatomy, we don't just learn the parts, but how they interact with everything else and what can go wrong. Even genetics is interesting because the prof relates most of the stuff to medical conditions that we'll see eventually. So, it's clearly all relevant stuff, if not always fun to study. I sit back every once in a while and remind myself that I'm actually in med school and when i'm done this, I'll be a physician!

I went to Phillipsburg today to get my car inspected. Unfortunately, I drove all the way over there for nothing because I forgot my title!! So, I'll have to find time some time next week to do it. I don't know when I'll have time, but I'll have to make it.

Tonight is a party at the Lady C and then tomorrow I've got a beach party in the afternoon (yeah, i know, it's rough). The beaches here are amazing, so i'm looking forward to tomorrow. Since we don't have too much work yet (relatively), this is my last weekend to have a little fun for a while!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

First day...done!

I have officially made it through my first day of medical school. Since it was the first day, it was actually very easy, a lot of administrative stuff and not a ton of learning. I do have a little studying to do in genetics, but that was mostly a review. I've also probably got 10 minutes worth of studying for histo, but I'm sure that will all change next week! So far, so good.

There were also two other major events in my life, leading to a very good day. First, my car finally arrived!!!! So, all my stuff is finally here. It's about time! Second, the internet in my dorm room is finally working. Surprisingly, it's fairly quick. Not quite what I had at home, but far better than dial up and faster than what I had honestly expected...very usable.

This is my bed before my car arrived. You may notice the striking similarity to a cot since the Sonesta graciously donated their rollaway sheets to me. They were not aware of this at the time, but I'm sure it was ok. By tonight, I'll have my own (much more comfortable) sheets and pillows on the bed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

AUC wireless internet

is slooooooow!!

For some reason, my room is not equipped with an ethernet jack, although it does have all the necessary equipment with proper wires run in the closet and too many phone jacks. My guess is that one of the outstanding local workers installed a phone jack instead of an ethernet jack. I figured this out after hours though, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Of course, I don't have wireless in the dorms either since it would be too much to ask to get a password for it after only 3 days!

So, I'm using the internet at the school and as you can see, there are no pictures. This is because the internet is too slow for me to access my photo page and grab links off. Pictures coming just as soon as I can get a decent internet connection. It took like 3 tries for me to even be able to edit this post!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I've arrived!!!!

I got into St. Maarten yesterday (Saturday) at about 4:30, so about 1/2 hour late. The plane wound up stuck on the runway forever and the pilot did not feel the need to make up any time in the air. In any case, it was raining when we landed but quickly turned into a mostly beautiful evening.

At 7:00, Joel (the guy i'm staying with in the hotel) and I met about 30 other AUC students in the lobby of the hotel and went out for dinner and drinks. A ton of people showed up, which makes me very happy because my facebook group turned out to be a good idea! So far, it seems like I'm going to like most all of the other students, which will make my time on the island much more tolerable. We went to Bamboo Bernie's for dinner, where they had delicious sushi and good drinks, and then went to the Sunset Beach Bar.

We spent most of the night at the bar and had a great time. Lots of music, dancing, and drinking. All in all, a good night. Today, we spent a little time exploring the island and I got my first look at the dorms. My room is very nice with an amazing view, but it needs a little work. Pictures of the island and my room are coming soon. My parents just brought my camera with them today.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I was just about to get in the shower when for some reason, it occurred to me how much I really do have left to pack. The big stuff was all sent in the car, but man, I've got a lot left! Tomorrow (my last day in the US) is not going to be fun.

OK, back to showering so I can go get a root canal....awesome!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Today is Heather's Golden Birthday!!! This is a word I got from her and apparently it's because she's turning 22 on the 22nd. I guess mine just slipped by me two years ago without my noticing. In any case, Happy Birthday to Heather!!! Tonight we're going to dinner with her parents, so that ought to be interesting. Fortunately, they like me.

Here's some pink balloons, because heather likes pink. Well, loves pink :)

almost time!!

3 days left before I leave for medical school!! I am not excited to leave home, necessarily, but I am extremely excited to finally get to the island and get things started. The sooner I start, the sooner I finish! Pretty much everything is ready to go. After some customs issues with getting my car shipped, it should be shipping Friday. While it should have already been on the island by now, I will still only be picking it up a day or two late, so not a huge deal. I don't have that much to bring with me since I packed all the big stuff in my car. I say that now, but we'll see once I finally do pack everything up. I haven't heard much of anything from AUC lately, although the dean of admission did give me a call to check if everything was ok, so I guess there's not much more to do now than say goodbyes and get ready to leave.

Today, I renewed my ACLS certification and also got PALS certification. ACLS was very easy since I've taken it twice before, but I don't know why I never got around to taking PALS. I passed it with no problem but it was definitely harder than ACLS. Pretty much everything for ACLS is stuff you'd know just by being a paramedic (which I am), but PALS expects a bit more. For treatments, they wanted me to give a bunch of drugs that a paramedic would never give, like dobutamine and mannitol. So, I needed to do a little studying before I took the test. Fortunately, the stuff I use as a paramedic is usually enough to get you most of the way through a problem. In any case, I've got both now, current for the next two years. Maybe when I get into the upper semesters at AUC, I'll teach an EKG or phlebotomy class or something. I still can't believe you don't learn basic stuff like that in med school!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Shipping a car to St. Maarten

For anyone who may be reading my blog and wondering how to ship a car to St. Maarten, this is the post for you!

I decided to go with Carib-Link Services, a company which was recommended by some people on the forums. The total cost (with insurance) of the shipping was $1970. It was $1850 for just the shipping. This probably seems like a lot, but it's probably cheaper than what you'd pay for a car in St. Maarten and my car is much nicer than what I probably would have bought there. And when I'm going somewhere that is not the US...I'd prefer to have a dependable car so that I don't have to worry about finding a half decent and honest mechanic.

The price was competitive with other shipping companies (Tropical was the other company I looked at), but the deciding factor was mostly that they will allow you to ship your car full of stuff. They do not recommend this and you cannot insure the stuff being shipped in your car, but they will allow it at your own risk. They said that they have not had a single thing stolen from a car, but they can't guarantee anything and there's a first time for everything. So, it remains to be seen if my car while arrive as it was shipped.

Despite their advisement not to ship my car with my stuff in it, I shipped it pretty much totally full. I had a ton of stuff to send to the island and it would have been a fortune to ship separately. I am hoping that their streak of never having anything stolen will continue for a bit longer. I do know of other people who have shipped things in their car with carib-link and have not had problems. I'll let you know once I pick up the car if everything is still there [fingers crossed].

The process was very easy, no need for an appointment. Just show up at their office in Miami (not a very good part of Miami, btw) with your car, the title,and original sales receipt. They've got all the other paperwork there. Filling everything out probably took about 15 minutes and was a very painless process. Then, Joe (the vice president) drove us to the crap hole airport. If things continue to go well and all of my stuff arrives, I will definitely be able to recommend the company. So far, so good.

Their website is

Trip to Florida

As you may have gathered by my previous post on my total disenchantment with the Miami International Airport of Mexico, i have just returned from a trip to Florida. The primary purpose of this trip was to deliver my car to Miami to be shipped to St. Maarten (more on this in the next post), but Heather and I decided to make it into a mini-vacation.

We left Baltimore at 9am Friday morning and arrived in Boca at my grandparent's place at about 12:30AM Saturday. Overall, not too bad considering about 1/2 hour lost due to a missed turn onto I-95 and breaks for food and gas. It worked out to a little under 15 hours of driving. I am not at all a fan of driving, or anything really which requires me to be seated for that length of time, but at least having Heather to talk to made it more bearable. Really, the drive wasn't that bad and it was a little fun to see how little some people have changed in the past 40 years. Specifically, I'm referring to the fact that many 50 year olds in the South seem to maintain the same education they probably had achieved by age 10. It is not everywhere, though, that people are on a first name basis with the gas station attendants. Perhaps if they spent less time talking and more time cleaning the bathrooms.......but that is another store entirely.

Anyway, the trip was overall a lot of fun. Although it was supposed to thunderstorm every day while we were in Florida, the weather could not have been better. Mostly sunny and in the 80's every day. Surprisingly, Heather even got on a jet-ski! She was previously very afraid of them, but after a little convincing, she agreed to go. And even more surprisingly, when she took over the driving, she was jumping wake!! We also did a little shopping, went to the pool, played miniature golf, visited the beach, and just spent a little time relaxing and eating delicious food. Good way to spend my second-to-last weekend before heading to St. Maarten for non-stop studying.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Trip to New York

I went to New York this weekend with Heather and I'd have to say it was a pretty good trip, although both of us were ready to leave the city when we did! I think that two days in the city is definitely my limit! I like living near the city, but definitely not in one!

On Saturday, we caught the train at Baltimore Penn at just after 6:00...a little early for my taste, but oh well. We spent most of the day shopping all over the place. I had never seen the Apple store and since I'm a bit of an apple fanatic, we had to stop by the one on 5th avenue!! On Sunday, we wound up at the one in Soho also :) I didn't buy anything, but Heather definitely did! Food, both brunch and dinner, were absolutely amazing. New York has some pretty awesome food. We also went to Serendipity at around 12:30 AM for delicious dessert...although we had to wait almost an hour for a table!

Sunday, heather and I saw STOMP, which was pretty cool. I would have liked to have been in the show though, didn't look like anything I couldn't do. Unfortunately, no pictures allowed in the theatre, which was a shame because it was a neat theatre, and I could have gotten great pictures of the show!! Oh well...we went shopping some more after STOMP in Soho (where I visited the other NYC Apple Store.

Here's a bunch of the pictures from the trip...more on the flickr gallery.

Yay Apple!!!

Heather always says I don't mention her in the here she is, in F.A.O. Schwartz

We had great weather, but it was a little muggy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

New Lens

My new camera lens arrived in the mail today! It's a Canon 50mm f1.4 lens, so it's a VERY fast lens! I'm excited to have it since it's by far the fastest lens I've got and should greatly cut down on the amount of time that I need to use a flash! I did a little test with it yesterday when it arrived to see how much quicker it really was. With my other lenses at their widest aperture, the camera metered for 1/2 second shutter. With the new lens, it only needed 1/60 of a second! I also like the effect of such a narrow depth of field at f1.4.

Now, I just need to find things to take pictures of! Lately, I haven't been or seen anything interesting, so my flickr gallery hasn't changed. I guess it's not going to be terribly interesting until I get to St. Maarten, should be plenty to take pictures of there.

Speaking of going to St. Maarten, sorry if this blog has not been terribly interesting lately. However, I started the blog really for when I begin med school, to keep everyone at home updated and show the life of a med student. So right now, I'm just blogging to get used to it and hopefully get some people to start reading it. Although I am going to New York this weekend and Florida the weekend after that, so I'll have something to post then!

School's approaching

It's finally August..the month I leave for medical school! 25 days from today until I arrive in St. Maarten. I'm really excited finally get started on the way to becoming a doctor! But, there's still a lot to do before I go...mostly figuring out what I'm going to take there and how i'm going to get it there.

I ordered my books two days ago, some of them were on AUC's list, some were not. To figure out which books to buy, I talked to my orientation advisor and took some of the advice from the current students on ValueMD. ValueMD has a bad habit of going off topic almost all the time on just any question that's asked. But, every once in a while, you actually get some useful information. I am not, however, waiting to buy my books on the island. I like new books and don't want books with anyone else's notes in them. I'd also rather not have to worry about finding someone to buy them from when I get there. So this is what I bought:
Netter's Clinical Anatomy
Netters Atlas of Human Anatomy
BRS Gross Anatomy
Langman's Medical Embryology
Histology, a Text and Atlas

Everything listed above was available from AUC's bookstore website. Some people said to buy the histology and embryology books, some said not to, so I just went ahead and bought them. In addition to those books, I bought Rohen's color atlas which has actual pictures of dissections and is supposed to be very useful as well as Lippincotts Biochemistry which is supposedly the most useful book for MCB. It was pretty much unanimous amongst current students that the recommended biochem book is useless and Lippincotts is definitely the way to go. I should have all the books by the end of the week. I had them shipped home because I'm just going to ship them in my car.