Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My first piece of ICM equipment

...a tuning fork. How boring! My otoscope/ophthalmoscope, pen light, and eye chart have also come. I'm just waiting on the arrival of my stethoscope, tape measure (no idea why we need that), and BP cuff. Hopefully they'll come soon, because I'm not in the US for much longer!!
Christmas 022

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

And happy holidays to eveyone. Taco (the most adorable dog ever) is about to come with me to Heather's family's house for his first Christmas. I'm pretty excited for both of us since I've never had a real christmas either. That sort of happens when your family is Jewish, I suppose. In any case, here's a picture of the little man, getting some rest before all the excitement.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

2nd semester preparations

I ordered everything I'll need for second semester the other day, and man was it expensive! Most of the expense was due to the ICM stuff we had to order, including an otoscope, ophthalmoscope, stethoscope, etc. But, they'll last through the rest of basic sciences, so I guess it wasn't too bad. I would up ordering a pretty standard ophthalmoscope, but the upgraded otoscope. The upgraded ophthalmoscope looks like it would be very nice, but you have to clean it after every patient contact since it touches the patient, its not used in any hospital exam rooms that I've ever seen, and it works differently than the one that almost everywhere uses. That was actually the biggest reason I didn't buy it, since I don't want to have to learn to use two different pieces of equipment and I'm pretty sure i'm not gonna want to carry the thing around with me in clinicals. However, I am glad that I went with the more expensive otoscope. It gives you a much better view, but works the same way. So, if you go somewhere without it, you'll still know how to use the one that's provided. And, when I took a patient into St. Agnes' ER the other day, I noticed that every patient room there had the upgraded otoscope that I bought. So apparently, it was good enough to justify the extra cost to them.

Although I doubt I'll ever use the stuff that I bought again after ICM is over, it was kind of exciting to buy it. I've had a stethoscope forever from riding the ambulance (I bought myself a Littmann cardiology when I passed the paramedic class), but the otoscope and ophthalmoscope definitely reminded me that I'm in medical school and on my way to becoming a doctor. Sometimes, I forget that, because sitting in lecture for hours a day can sometimes feel an awful lot like undergrad. But, every once in a while, there's a little moment that makes me remember that I'm not in college anymore. I like those moments.

As far as books go, I think they were a little cheaper this semester than last. I bought the ICM books, which were pretty cheap, two physio books, and a biostats book. Following the advice of the valueMD folks, I decided to hold off on the immuno book, since they all said it was useless. Probably true since many of the first semester books were useless. Besides, if you do want a required book that you chose not to buy, you can always just walk over to the library and read it. It's not a big library, but they do have pretty much any textbook you'd need.

Friday, December 21, 2007

But then again...

I do actually do something worthwhile every once in a while ;)

At the firehouse

Sometimes things get slow, I get bored, and this is what happens

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas, from the mexican restaurant

I went to Los Portales today for lunch, a restaurant which is pretty much authentic Mexican. I was very surprised to see the place totally decked out for Christmas. They did do a good job though.

Eventually, I'll learn to stop challenging mexican and indians with spicy food! I told them I wanted real hot sauce, no watered down crap salsa. So, they gave me what had to be habanero purée. The stuff was hot!! I don't speak much Spanish, but I know enough to know they were laughing at me as I put way too much on my enchiladas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Artistic iPhone photos?

Not really, but about the best I could do with no flash and no editing.
This is from the wall by the bathroom...a bunch of tiles painted by little kids

I definitely do not like religion at all, but Christmas is just such a happy time. I do enjoy the decorations. :)

OK, so I lied

I just got back from the mall and Heather's pedicure. I have confirmed that she's every bit as much of a girly girl as I thought she was. But, I like it, so it's ok. Anyway, check out that directory...more stores than you'd ever need to visit in one day!! And the other as far as you can see. I think the only mall in St. Maarten (in Marigot) has like 10 stores. And, only one is half decent.
P.S.- Heather pointed out to me that she didn't know why I lied. Well, that's because i was referring to something that I wrote on ValueMD, saying that I was going to post the stuff that I missed about the US while in St. Maarten, but decided against it. It would seem that I haven't decided against it after all.

lots of new ways to blog!

Since I've been home, i've discovered quite a few new ways to post blogs, which will hopefully equate to more blog posts. First, I now use MarsEdit for blogging from my computer. It's a mac application that allows you to create, edit, and add pictures to posts without actually going online. When you're done, it publishes it for you. It's a lot faster and more convenient than actually logging onto blogger.

I also discovered that I can post photos and blog from my iPhone, both through blogger and Flickr. I think I like the blogger one a little better than the Flickr option. Basically, all I do is send an email to slevit1.****, where the **** is a secret word that you assign. It doesn't just work for the iPhone, of course, but that's the only time I could see wanting to use that feature.

In other news, I went to Chipotle today and walked around the Annapolis Mall for a little while. Coming home makes me realize how much we're missing in St. Maarten!! You have no idea how nice it is to be able to drive somewhere, find parking, and be able to buy just about anything you could ever want, all in one place, until it's gone. I also went to the MVA today to renew my driver's license. Of course, they never move very quickly. But, they sure were faster than the St. Maarten government place where you go to do the same thing. I never thought I'd say that anyone could learn a thing or two from the MVA's processes, but although they need more employees, they actually are very efficient.

We got an e-mail from Miami recently saying that there are available spots in the dorm now. Personally, I think it's a little late to just now be giving us this information!!! Not that I have any desire whatsoever to ever live there again (mostly because of NETstar), but a lot of other people probably would have liked to, if they didn't already find housing. And of course, all of the first semester students already have found alternative housing, since they specifically said we'd have to!! Looks like MEAS shouldn't have reserved every spot so quickly. Now, they're probably gonna lose some money. And we all know that's not something AUC wants to do! OK, off to the mall now to get heather a pedicure so she can feel prettier than she already is :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

First semester....DONE!

Well, first semester is over and I'm now back at home. I know it's been a long time since I've updated, but I've been busy getting life re-organized at home for the next couple of weeks. All in all, this past semester went pretty well. I can't believe how quickly it went by! It feels like just a couple days ago that I was feeling like that I'd never start med school, and now I'm done the first semester. Assuming my final score in MCB is accurate (which I'll be debating when I return), I didn't do quite as well as I would have liked, but still did very well. I passed everything without a problem and came close to honoring all of the classes. I would have liked to have done better, but I am pretty happy for my first semester, since it was a HUGE adjustment from what I was used to. Hopefully, I'll do better next semester since I now know what does and does not work for me.

Before I left, I moved all of my stuff out of the dorms and into my new apartment. I haven't officially moved in to the new apartment yet because it still has to be cleaned and the other people hadn't left at the time, but I can't wait to get moved in there once break ends. The dishwasher is being installed sometime this coming week and the whole building is being fixed up while we're gone for break. It's about a 10 minute drive to campus, but it's going to be sooo much nicer! Hopefully, I'll be able to get a little tan back since I'll have a pool to study by now, instead of being locked up in my dorm room all day. It will also be extremely nice to never have to deal with NETstar again. That is one company that I will definitely not miss. They'll likely not miss me very much either, as I was one of their most vocal opponents. :)

It's been very nice being back home for the past couple days. I've been spending most of the time with Heather and I've seen my family a lot also. I also spent a day at the firehouse, and will be there a bunch next week. It was good to catch up with everyone there and fun to get back on the ambulance and fire truck again. Last night, I went to Heater's parents' house and we decorated their Christmas tree, which was also a lot of fun. Not sure what I'll be doing today yet, but so far, it's involved laying around in bed until 2:15. Later, it will probably involve getting some food and actually experiencing decent customer service, something I missed a lot in SXM! At some point, I've got to order all of my supplies for Intro to Clinical Medicine (ICM) next semester. Fortunately, I found out that I had a bunch of points stored up at the firehouse that I had forgotten about, and so I got a $180 all black Littman Master Cardiology stethoscope for about $45! Oh...and my iPhone is now working in the US!! I got a new sim card for it, for the times I'm home, and an AT&T pre paid service plan, which wound up being a very good deal. If I had never been to SXM, I would think that 10 cents a minute was a rip off. But, after paying about 35 cents a minute for local calls there, and getting very poor service at that, it's great to be paying 10 cents a minute for AT&T! My new phone number is on my facebook profile, so call me on that while I'm at home.

Well that's it for now...more updates coming soon, so don't stop reading :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

2 more days!!!

I haven't posted much, but that's because it's FINALS TIME!!! The rest of today and tomorrow will be spent studying, Monday is finals, and then, I'm outta here!!! Well, outta here for the next 3 weeks. I can't wait to get back home to see Heather and the family, and to be back in the US! I do not enjoy this island and it will be very nice to be back home for a while!!

But, I still have a ton of work to do before I leave. This is a very important block of exams for me because doing well on these exams will put me on the deans list. All I need is somewhere around a 90% on each exam and I'll get it. And, I've done better than that in every class before. So, I just need to keep it up for one more exam! Fortunately, we should have our grades Monday afternoon, so I won't have to wait long to find out. One thing they do well here is get your grades back to you quickly. Certainly can't complain about getting your grades back just a couple of hours after you take the exam!

After exams on Monday, I've gotta move everything out of my dorm room and into my apartment. Packing and moving everything in one day is not going to be fun, but I don't have a choice since I don't have time to move before exams and I'm leaving on Tuesday. But, even though it'll be a pain, I am VERY happy to be getting out of the dorms. I will not miss NETstar one bit! And honestly, they probably won't miss me either, since apparently (according to them), I am using multiple computers to try to hack their network! ;) Oh make me laugh. Maybe one day they'll grow up into a real internet company.

Anyways...lunch time and then back to studying!! Wish me luck!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Digg visits my blog!!

My post about Apple corporate calling me was posted to Digg yesterday, and I've finally experienced the Digg effect...sort of!! Usually, I get around 70-120 visitors to my blog per day. But just today, I have had well over 500 visits, and my story only has 17 diggs!! I can't imagine what happens to blogs that make it to the front page of Digg! Thanks for visiting guys, I hope you'll stick around for a little while. It's gonna be sad when my visits drop back down to their usual numbers.

In any case, not too much new going on in med school this week. Very excited that it's the last week of first semester, but I've still got a lot of studying to do before it's all over. I've talked to all of my professors though, and it's still possible for me to make the Dean's list if I do well on the finals! So, that's even more motivation to keep up the studying.

Today was also the second to last day of anatomy lab...forever, which was very exciting! We are finishing up quickly with the dissections. Today, we had about 4 people cutting on the guy at once. Two of us were working on dissecting out the pelvic vessels, and two people were working on dissecting out the thigh muscles. I really feel bad cutting through certain parts of the just looks so painful!! ;)

Edit: 725 hits for the day, and still going!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Apple called me!!

Yesterday, I had an issue with spotlight indexing on my computer, so I decided to call Apple Care. Long story short, I was on hold for nearly 3 hours, and still never managed to reach tier 2 support (the people I really needed to talk to). I understand that AppleCare has recently gotten much busier because of Leopard, and that this is not a usual occurrence for Apple, but it was still ridiculous. I can understand 15 or 20 minutes, but not 3 hours!!

In any case, I decided to send an e-mail to Steve Jobs. From the time I worked at Apple, I know that he does actually read his own e-mails, and often responds directly back to you, or will forward it to the correct place. Well, I've never done it before, but I thought I'd give it a try. I wrote a decent length e-mail, explaining why I was so frustrated that I had to wait for so long, and how bad it would look for those people who are calling AppleCare for the first time. In the past, I have convinced customers to purchase AppleCare probably hundreds of times, but I would feel bad if this was the service they got from it. It was so easy for me to recommend because, before leopard, wait times were usually 2 minutes max! Really, although I'd heard he did actually read all of his e-mails, I didn't think I'd get a reply.

However, at around 3:00 this afternoon, not even 24 hours after I sent the e-mail, I got a phone call from a lady who works in the Apple executive office!! She said that she was calling for Steve Jobs, he read the e-mail, and requested her to call. She listened to why I was frustrated, explained what is going on with AppleCare, and was actually helpful! After 3 hours on hold yesterday, I did finally figure out the solution myself. But, she said that if I had any problems again, especially since I am out of the country and going to an Apple Store is not a possibility, to call her directly and she would put me straight through to a product specialist (tier 2), or even the person above that, if necessary (the highest level of support they have, usually reserved for businesses).

It would have been neat to get a response directly from the Steve Jobs directly, but I know he's probably way too busy to actually call someone and handle a problem like mine, which is fine. The e-mails that I have seen him send to people are usually very short or something with a definitive answer. But, I'm still very impressed that he actually read the e-mail so quickly and made sure it was handled. You don't get much better customer service than that!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

almost there

Only one week of class left, and I'll be done with my first semester of medical school!! Of course, I've still got 4 more semesters in SXM, then 2 more years of clinicals, but this semester has gone by fast! Seems like the other day, I thought I'd never start medical school, and now I'm almost done the first semester. The first day, Dr. Fogg tried to scare everyone in the class (somewhat successfully) with a cranial nerve diagram. He put it up and told us, this is just one slide of about 30 that you'll get in one day. But, we've almost made it through all of it. It's kind of amazing how much we've covered in such a short period, in all of the classes.

But, we've still got one week left, and these last exams are very important for me. If I get an A in MCB, I should honor the class. I need a very high A in Histo to honor that class, but it's possible. Anatomy is not possible, unfortunately, due to one block that I didn't study it nearly enough. I'm kinda mad about that because all my other anatomy grades were very good. Oh an learn. Also, If I do well on the MCB exam, I talked to Dr. B and it looks like I'll probably be the next MCB I tutor for next semester! It's not definite, but looking that way. I think it will be a very good way to keep the material fresh, so I'm hoping I do well and get to do it.

So, back to studying, to make sure I do well!