Monday, October 27, 2008

Prostitute's Pupils

Although I am entirely fed up with ICM since it is taking HUGE amounts of time away from studying for every other class, we did learn something very interesting today, which I thought I'd share. There's a disorder called Argyll Robertson pupil, which is a pupil that constricts when looking at a close object (accommodating), but not when exposed to bright light. It's very rare, but is usually caused by syphilis or diabetic complications. It has the mnemonic of "prostitute's pupil" because they "accommodate but do not react." Think about it :)

Come to my workshop...get free food!

I'm teaching the EKG workshop this coming Thursday afternoon, so everyone should come! They don't really teach EKG in med school, so now's the time to do it if you want to actually know something about them when you get to clinicals! Free food!!!IMG_0166.jpg

Sunday, October 26, 2008


gasprices.jpgAfter a long time of price gouging and making absurd amounts of money, OPEC (including Iran and Venezuela) are getting very upset at the dropping price of gasoline. I just can't seem to feel bad for them though. They thought they'd just continually raise prices, roll around in money, and nothing would ever change? Well fortunately, people have stopped driving as much, and gas usage has decreased more in the past month than it has in 66 years!! And, since it cost so much to drive, people are investing in ways to use even less gas with alternative energy sources. Just goes to show that you can only piss customers off for so long before it comes back to get you. So, OPEC, we'll be enjoying the continual fall in prices just as much as you enjoyed raising them!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Suture Workshop!

Today, AMSA hosted their suture workshop, which they do pretty much every semester. This is my favorite of the workshops since it's pretty much the only one that I have no experience with (and don't teach). Since they didn't have it last semester and I didn't wake up for it my first semester, this was my second time attending. The first half hour or so is spent in lecture with one of the anatomy teachers, who was a general surgeon before teaching at AUC. So, he's very qualified to teach the class and does a great job of it. After the lecture, we spend the next couple of hours in the anatomy lab suturing up the cadavers. It's not a difficult skill, but it definitely takes practice and getting used to it. I was certainly better this time than the last, and spent much of the time helping other people with the knots.

We went over the same suture techniques this time as last, but I also got Dr. Nwasu to show me how to hand tie the knots, which is completely different than tying with the instruments. It looks very easy, and once you get it, it really is very easy. But, it's a somewhat tricky maneuver and for about 5-10 minutes, it seems like you might never get it. So, I'm now fairly proficient with the basic suture knots, and can tie them either with the instruments, or manually. I'm pretty excited about that!

I would have liked to have gotten pictures of the actual class, but cameras aren't allowed in the anatomy lab. Unfortunately, this guy is maybe a bit beyond my skill level ;)
Yeah yeah, gross picture...but this is a blog of a medical student!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Harlem voters

I'm really not sure what this says about our country. It pains me that Obama has a good shot at winning, partly due to such offensively uneducated people as these.


I do not like ICM, I'm tired of ICM, I don't have time for it, and I don't want to go. But, I have off I go...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Gym Equipment!!

Today, the new gym equipment was installed! We now have all brand new cardio equipment, including 3 treadmills, 3 ellipticals, and 4 bikes. It was supposed to be 3 bikes and 4 treadmills, but we'll see what happens with that. There is also a new dip station / pull up bar / ab thing (don't know it's real name) that was added recently. Finally, AUC has a pretty respectable gym.

Hurricane Omar Damage

Here are a couple more pics of the damage from Omar. It looks like Sunset might be rebuilding, but the deck was definitely completely obliterated. The only thing left standing was the bar (which some might argue is the most important part).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scott - 1, Mosquitos - 0

The results from the dengue screening came in today. I have no idea how, but after being practically eaten alive by probably well over 100 mosquitos, I have managed to escape the wrath of dengue fever! 14 other students were not so lucky. Hopefully they won't all get sick, because it's not a very nice bug to catch!

Love and hate with American Airlines

story.lost.passport.jpgReally, the only thing I have against American Airlines is that they always layover in Miami or San Juan (lately, usually Miami). I'm not going to get into the reasons why again, but if you read my blog, you'd know that I hate everything that is the Miami International Airport and until proven otherwise, I believe it's the worst airport in the US. That being said, American Airlines customer service did (mostly) make me very happy today.

This morning, I woke up at 6:00 for a 7:20 flight, and the airport is 45 minutes away, with no traffic. Of course, there was traffic this morning, so the drive took a full hour. So, I arrived at the airport at exactly 7:00, 20 minutes before my plane was scheduled to take off. While the customer service lady on the phone was completely useless and unfriendly, the supervisor at the gate was amazing! She checked me in in about a minute and said she'd walk my bag to the plane so that it could be checked, even though it was going to leave in 20 minutes. So, I was helped quickly through security and made it onto the plane just as they were about to shut the door.

When I arrive in Miami, I realized that in my rush, I left my passport with security at Reagan airport! But, I went to the gate supervisor in Miami and she was able to call St. Maarten, speak to someone in immigration, and get approval for me to enter the country without my passport! So, despite doing just about everything wrong this morning, I made it safely to St. Maarten, on time. Thank you to everyone at American Airlines that helped me get here!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

St. Maarten has survived, mostly

Well Omar has now passed and while I did fortunately make if off the island in time, i'm glad to see that the island has mostly survived. I say mostly because it does look like there was pretty decent damage, but mostly flooding and trees down. When Omar did finally hit, early this morning, it was a category 3 hurricane! From what I've heard, most of the larger buildings are OK. I also hear that nobody was injured, although some people in Beacon Hill apparently lost everything. Sunset Beach Bar and Ocean Explorers are no more. The Harbor Queen restaurant sank into the lagoon. Here are a couple of pictures from Ashley and Jason's photo page. The link for more of there pictures is here

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Tropical Storm, no more...

I'd like to congratulate our friend Omar, who has now officially graduated from a tropical storm to a category 1 hurricane. He should be making his way to becoming a category 2, tomorrow at around 11PM, approximately 180 miles off the coast of SXM. The worst of it should probably be Thursday morning, when it looks like the center may come within 50 or 60 miles of the island, before making its way back into the ocean Thursday evening. The course has continually been shifting South though (closer to SXM), and the point at which it become a category 2 keeps shifting south as well, so who knows what it will do by the time it gets here.

Track Tropical Depression Sixteen, Track Hurricane Omar _ Stormpulse _ Hurricane tracking, mapping.jpg

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Class Tomorrow!!!

For some reason, AUC has decided to close tomorrow (Wed, Oct 15), a day before the storm even gets here! Oh well, who am I to complain about no school? I'm just really really really hoping the planes still make it here!

Here's AUC's Hurricane Preparedness Brochure, for those on the island:

Tropical Storm Omar is getting nasty!

A couple hours ago, Tropical Storm Omar was supposed to turn into a category 1 hurricane after it passed St. Maarten. After I returned from class, I saw that Omar has gotten particularly nasty and will now become a category one sometime very early tomorrow morning, and will turn into a category 2 before it passes the island around mid day on Thursday! The course has also changed slightly, which will bring it a little closer to us. Hopefully the winds will hold off at least until tomorrow afternoon so I can get out of here before Omar gets arrives!
Track Tropical Depression Sixteen, Track Tropical Storm Nana, Track Tropical Storm Omar _ Stormpulse _ Hurricane tracking, mapping.jpg

Tropical Depression 15

Well the storm in question is actually currently Tropical Depression 15, although it should be a tropical storm very shortly. Someone on ValueMD found a very useful site, which is where I grabbed this picture from. If you wanna track the storm, head to and give it a look. Assuming it's accurate, it looks like 15 will not be turning into a hurricane until after it passes St. Maarten. On Thursday, when it should be closest, there is only a 3% chance of hurricane force winds, and only a 23% chance of tropical storm force winds. I'll be watching it closely though over the next day to see if travel adjustments are necessary. St. Maarten is not necessarily where I want to be if a hurricane (or even tropical storm) were to hit.
#15, Tropical Depression, 2008 _ Stormpulse _ Hurricane tracking, mapping.jpg

This is what St. Maarten looks like after a decent rain. Yes, there is actually a road under there somewhere, and this is actually the shallow part! When you get to the area around all the trees a couple hundred feet ahead, the water could be above the level of the bottom of your car! This probably has something to do with why my car is not in quite the shape it was when it came to the island. I can only imagine what the place would look like if a hurricane hit!Loading “Things you will only see in St. Maarten. Please add your unique pics - ValueMD Medical Schools Forum”.jpg

Monday, October 13, 2008

This is not looking good!

I'm supposed to come home Thursday! Something better change between now and then!! If I get stuck here this week, I'm not going to be happy!Hurricaine Fifteen to hit SXM on Thursday... (Just a Category I) - ValueMD Medical Schools Forum-1.jpg

For those irritating feminine problems...

Pulled from WalMart Canada's website, which can be found here. I'm not sure what those women have got going on up there to need this, but I'm not sure I want to know either. Apparently, when they say extra strength, they aren't screwing around.

Welcome to Wal-Mart Canada.jpg

Thanks to Ray Ray for the tip ;)


I don't know where I saw that word, but it's very fitting for this post. I'm going to try not to go off on a rant, but it's about time that America gets off it's blind "we need a change" horse and comes to grip with reality. Obama constantly says that he wants to lower taxes for 95% of the population (those making less than $250,000/year). What he really means though is he wants the top 5% to pay the way for the bottom 95%. I cannot possibly wrap my head around how anyone thinks this is a good idea. I don't have nearly as much money as some people, but I don't go up to them and ask them to give it to me! Why should those people who work hard and are successful have to work even harder to support everyone else? And, there are plenty of small business owners out there who busted their ass to make $250,000/year, to try to live "the American dream." Now, because they have successfully done that, you're going to take it away from them? Recently, Obama made the infuriating remark that the country should "spread the wealth around." No, Robin Hood, we should not! I must have missed the point at which the US turned into a socialist nation. If it hasn't yet, it certainly will under an Obama presidency (the possibility of which makes me cringe). Maybe the unconditional meetings that Obama plans to have with Kim Jong Il and Hugo Chavez are not a bad idea, as they'll be able to give him economic advice.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Class Picture

Well it's taken me 4 semester to finally get ahold of the picture we took right after anatomy lab, in first semester, but here it is. Can you find me? Hint: I'm towards the bottom right. Clicking the picture will open a larger size.

just a thought... | ecards for when you care enough to hit send | Living a godless existence ensures no terrifyingly batshit religious figure impacts my election decision.jpg

Lal's Indian

I'm sure I've mentioned before that Lal's has the best Indian food on the island. I have been to three others, and none came close. Maybe it's just because Lal's makes the food so spicy that you can barely taste it (but only if you ask them), but it's just delicious. Anyway, I figured I'd post a picture (with handy captions) so people know what the place looks like. Unfortunately for me, they have decided to close for two months, so won't be open until the end of October.

Speaking of places being closed, what's up with Tijuana and Jimbo's both being closed STILL...for over a month! All we wanted last night was some decent Mexican food, and it was nowhere to be found. I sure hope they open back soon. I have no idea why places here close for over a month at a time.

Sonesta Maho Fire?? (probably not)

On my way to Matt and Geneva's birthday party today, there were 2 fire trucks parked outside of the Sonesta, which is basically the entire fire department for this half of the dutch side! Didn't see much of anything else going on, but I passed another two fire department pick-up trucks, two police cars, and another very odd looking fire truck which I'd never seen before (second picture below). I have no idea what it's carrying on the back of it, but it didn't look like anything you use to put out fires. The fire department here has very strange fire helmets! When I drove back from the party, the fire trucks were gone and the building was still standing, so I guess it wasn't anything that big.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Post-block update

After the first block exam of 4th semester, I think it's safe to say that I am comfortably on my way to 5th semester, and then on to clinicals. I made a couple of stupid mistakes on the path exam, but I was still only 1 question from an A (and I may get that point back). And, although I heard that the neuro exam would be very difficult, I did not find that to be the case at all and got a mid A. It was not necessarily easy, but it was not nearly as tricky as some people made it sound like it would be. The test required a decent understanding of the notes, but everything tested was in the notes somewhere. The average was around an 80, which is pretty much standard, so most people did well. For now, I think I'll enjoy one more day of minimal studying before I really get back to it tomorrow, and make some dinner!

AUC Facilities Improvement Committee

Recently, I was asked by the SGA president to serve as a student representative (along with one of my classmates) to the facilities improvement committee, along with a couple of the deans and heads of departments. We had the meeting today and I am happy to report that the faculty shares many of the same concerns as the students, and they supported nearly every change that we proposed (and we had over a page of them). The big ones included building a new lecture hall, improving our current lecture halls by upgrading AV equipment and replacing the chairs with desks, increasing individual and group study space, and continuing to build up the IT infrastructure, among many many other suggestions.

The most important thing, which is yet to be seen, is how much of this will get done and how long it will take. But, you have to start somewhere, and having the students and faculty in agreement about what needs to change is a good place to start. Also, AUC has undergone many changes recently, some of which have been pretty costly. So, it is at least nice to see that the administration is taking an interest and thing are changing for the better. A couple of semesters ago, I would not have believed that the progress that has recently been made would have ever been made, and much more seems to be coming. Even though I probably won't be around to see most of the changes, they should help to further improve the quality of students and graduates at AUC, which winds up helping everyone. If you have any specific questions about what happened or if we discussed something that's important to you, feel free to ask.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Block approaches...

I'm really struggling for something interesting to write today, but not that much is coming to me! Really, until Monday, it's just a lot of studying going on here. I did try a new Indian food place tonight in Cole Bay (sorry, can't remember the name). I heard that it was really good but while it wasn't bad, it wasn't great either. I still think that Lal's is the best indian on the island, and I'll be very happy when they return from their 2 month hiatus! Fortunately though, it is now October, so most of the businesses that close for the month of September (which is a good number of them) will be reopening very shortly.

I can't believe that it's already been a month since the first semester bus tour, when we discovered that the amazing bakery in Marigot is among the places that take a month vacation. I still haven't figured out why places close completely for a month, instead of just giving their employees staggered vacations (like everywhere in the US), and not losing a month of business. But, this was the last September that I'll be spending on the island, so I'll never have to worry about it again! For now though, back to studying...