Sunday, May 31, 2009

PETA would not approve

I don't know how I haven't seen this before, but there is a sticker on my window warning people not to touch the railing, or you may be shocked. I guess that explains the thin wire running on the top of it, which you can see in this picture. Poor unsuspecting bird just wants to rest on my railing, and then it gets zapped!



If you're curious, here's a pic of my room, where I spend most of my time lately.
And here is a picture of the ever-elusing Josh. He will not allow anyone to take his picture, so I had to be sneaky. Apparently, he forgot that iPhones have a camera in them. So, I just turned it towards him and snapped this picture. Now he's famous.

Comp Results

Well, the results of my comp exam are not good overall, but they are good relative to what we've done in Falcon. The comp breaks your score down by organ system and discipline, and my scores were all over the place. Fortunately though, my scores were above average in the areas that we've covered so far in Falcon. Not surprisingly, I did terrible in micro and immuno, which were always my weakest subjects, and not quite as poorly, but still pretty bad, in path and pharm, which we haven't covered yet either.

I did do very well in biochem and genetics, which I've never done well in before, as well as neuro, which I also didn't do that well on in the last comp. My anatomy score also went up a good bit, but unfortunately, they group it with embryo, which I'm still very weak in. It looks like I still have a lot of work to do, but at least it seems like Falcon is helping. If I can bring up micro, immuno, path, and pharm as much as I've brought up biochem and genetics, I should be good to go.

Time for another comp

I've decided to purchase and take another one of the NBME comp exams, to see where I am right now, how I'm progressing, and how far I have to go to get the score I want. I figured that now was the perfect time, since we've gotten through a lot of the foundations stuff, but haven't yet hit the really high-yield stuff (pharm, path, and micro). So, taking one now and another once the class is over will give me a decent idea of how much I've gotten out of Falcon. The last comp I took was in the beginning of 5th semester and while it said that I did well enough to pass the USMLE, it was certainly not a good score. I'm hoping that this one has gone up a bit! I finished part 1 or 4 yesterday, and I'll do the remaining 3 sections today.

For now, it's time to go get lunch downstairs....hotel buffet lunch which I am now beginning to get VERY tired of.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Friday would be a lot more exciting if we didn't have class on Saturday, but we did finish Biochem today! The biochem teacher was one of my favorite so far, which is good because we've had him longer than any other teacher so far. Although, starting next week, we're going to have more full weeks of just one professor. Fortunately, I've heard good things about the next couple professors and it ends with Dr. Goljan, which is the reason many people take this class in the first place. review of the biochem section....I liked it. The guy was interesting, funny at times, and did a great job of pointing out the most high-yield points, and completely filtering out the stuff that we weren't going to get questions on. I have not yet done the USMLEWorld questions (that's coming this week), but I feel like I have a better understanding of biochem than I ever have before. I definitely picked up on some major hints that I never thought about before, and would have saved me an awful lot of time trying to memorize little details for an exam. Unfortunately, I fell a little behind last night and although I recorded all of the day's lecture, I haven't had time to go back through it. But, tomorrow is only a partial day of genetics (not a very high yield subject) and then we have Sunday off, so I'll have plenty time to catch up. And, I really do have to get caught up before pharm starts next week!! After I do some questions, I'll let you know how I did, to see if this stuff sticks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Falcon Biochem

It just occurred to me that I hadn't written anything about the biochem section yet. We're now going into the third or four biochem days (5 if you count medical genetics). So far, I really like this guy, and that seems to be the general consensus. He goes at a good pace, is almost always exactly on time for breaks, lunch, and ending the day, and makes it very clear what is and is not important. Today we covered glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, and glycogen synthesis/degredation, in the afternoon. I definitely picked up a couple things from him that made it MUCH easier to understand everything, that I don't know how I never knew before.

For example, I just learned today that insulin dephosphorylates, while glucagon phosphorylates. In the past, I always tried to memorize every enzyme, and whether phosphorylating activates or deactivates the enzyme. Now, I finally learned that it's MUCH easier than that....if it's involved in glucose metabolism, phosphorylating it will deactivate it, and if it's involved in glucose synthesis, phosphorylating will activate. That could have saved me so much time and stress two years ago in MCB!

Also, I'm not sure if it's the Falcon study method, or just the fact that we're only half way through, but I"m finally remembering diseases that I could never remember before, such as the various lysosomal storage diseases or glycogen storage diseases. I just hope I can retain everything I've learned, because if I do, I should be good to go on the step.

Meet Roy

Roy is my friend, the crawfish. He was a very friendly crawfish...wouldn't pinch me even when I asked for it! He's also good with kids, even if kids are not particularly good with him. Unfortunately, I have a feeling he's currently in some Texan's belly.
Facebook | Geneva Guidry LeJeune_s Photos - Fun at Falcon-Who said its all work and no play!-1.jpg
Facebook | Geneva Guidry LeJeune_s Photos - Fun at Falcon-Who said its all work and no play!.jpg
Facebook | Geneva Guidry LeJeune_s Photos - Fun at Falcon-Who said its all work and no play!-2.jpg

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I would like to comment on Obama's choice for the next Supreme Court justice. I would usually comment on what I think of California's decision on the same-sex marriage ban. I'd tell you what I thought of the mother who decided to seek Native American holistic medicine for her child with a cancer that is usually curable with modern medicine. But, today, I am going to exercise some restraint. It's difficult, and I am often afraid for the world, but I'm going to just let you guess what I'd say. E-mail me your answer and I'll let you know how well you know me.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I just got the Falcon biochem book, which we'll be using for the next week. It's big, scary, and I don't think I like it. In the next 6 days, we've got about 600 pages of material to cover. If you thought studying for a med school exam was bad, try studying for an exam that covers 2 years of med school, in 7 weeks! I do not like particularly enjoy biochem, but I'm going to be living it for the next while. Actually, Falcon in general is about to get a lot more intense.

Up to this point, we've mostly been covering foundation stuff and things which are either relatively low yield, or I was already strong in. However, the most important stuff (like pharm, path, and micro) are coming up starting this week, until the end of the course. It's gonna be a rough few weeks, but hopefully it will pay off on the step.

Cardiology, take two

This cardio guy is so much better than the last one. I wish he was our original teacher so we didn't have to do this twice, but better late than never.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the battle wages on

And I am happy to report that Zyrtec-D is kicking some major allergy ass! I didn't think that Zyrtec-D would be this much better than plain old vanilla Zyrtec, but it is. I've barely even needed the Robitussin, since this gets rid of almost all of the itchy-throat (that's the medical term for it) that's been making me cough. However, I do still take Robitussin to get rid of the congestion in my throat. In any case, I can still tell I have allergies, but I'm about 95% better than I was. Oooh how I love pharmaceutical companies! I'd love them even more if they still gave out free pens, but that's not their fault.

Time to go to bed though. Although it's not mandatory, I figure it's a good idea to be a good little student and go to the make-up cardio lecture tomorrow. And, since I took most of the day off for the last cardio guy, it's probably a good idea. I'm not happy that Falcon brought in such a bad instructor, when they already knew he was bad, but at least they're making it up...even if it is somewhat inconvenient.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Alright, I've declared war

...against these god damn allergies! It was one thing when it was just itchy eyes, but it's progressed into itchy eyes, runny/stuffy nose, and productive cough. I'm officially sick of it. So, I took a trip to the Super WalMart today to plan my offensive. I am now taking Zyrtec-D and Robitussin DM Max - a different drug for each symptom. I spent a little while in the aisle ways looking for the best non-overlapping combination, and that's what I came up with.

I also gave out a little free advice while I was standing there. The guy next to me spent an awful long time with a box of Benadryl and a box of diphenhydramine (generic benadryl) trying to figure out if he had the right generic. After watcing him stare at the boxes for a couple minutes, I decided to help him out. See - I'm nice sometimes!

I should have been cajun

Tonight for dinner, I had fried alligator, 3 pounds of crawfish with corn and potatoes, and a little crawfish etouffee. It was amazing. Despite my terrible allergies, I am a happy man. Pictures to follow, but it's time for bed now.

Friday, May 22, 2009

good things for Falcon people

Well Falcon said at the beginning of the course that they couldn't guarantee that they wouldn't ever make any mistakes, but that they would fix any they did make. It seems that they're actually coming through with that promise. As I mentioned, the cardio guy was awful and half the class (including myself) left after the first two hours. Apparently, there were a lot of complaints about him, so they're brining in another cardio guy (the guy who wrote the original notes, who is apparently very good) to lecture us this Monday. Unfortunately, that means we lose a day off if we choose to go, but since I basically took the day off for the last cardio guy, I guess it's fair enough. Also, for people who don't want to go to the lecture, they're giving us access to that portion of the online program, which is also the instructor that they're brining in Monday. Since the second half is mostly EKG, I'll probably go to the class Monday morning, and then skip the EKG section. I taught EKG at AUC and have been reading them for years, so I don't think I'd get that much out of it.

Also, Elsevier (the publishing company that publishes a HUGE number of USMLE review and med school books), in conjunction with Falcon, has given us FREE access to their new USMLE step-1 Q-Bank!! I looked through it for a few minutes last night and did a few questions, and it looks like it will be very nice! It's got the exact same setup as the actual USMLE (as does USMLEWorld), but actually has more questions than USMLEWorld (there are about 2,700). The test bank is being endorsed by Dr. Goljan, which can't be a bad thing. From what I've seen, it's really very similar to USMLEWorld. There is one addition though, which is that after each question, along with the answer explanations, they give you a little high yield snippit from one of their many review books. I'll give a better review of it once I do more of the questions. Also included with the subscription is a 150-question practice test, which is supposed to tell you how you're going to do on the step. The web address, if you wanna check it out, is

My allergies are continuing to suck a lot, for those interested, but I have began taking phenylephrine today, which is helping a good bit. Unfortunately, it only lasts for 4 hours, and I forgot to take the second dose, so I'm currently waiting for it to kick in again, which should happen in about 15 minutes or so. Tonight, Brian's wife Melinda is coming into Dallas for dinner and to bring me chocolate chip cookies. I told her that when I'm a surgeon, I am not doing pro-bono surgery, but I will operate for cookies :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I generally HATE HATE HATE e-mails that being with FWD: and they are usually deleted immediately. In fact, i've debated filtering anything that is forwarded to me from certain people. But, I did laugh at this one:


More silly Texas cars

This has got to be one of the highest lifted cars I've ever seen. To enter the car, you need to either have a step ladder, or be a pole vaulter. I'm not sure why you'd want to do this to your car. Maybe they don't like having their forward view blocked by those pesky 18 wheelers. In any case, it was not the height of the car that made me take its picture. It was the fact that it's parked in a Handicapped spot! There is no way in the world that the owner of this truck is handicapped! It's just not a physical possibility. Actually, this picture does not even do the thing justice. The hood comes up higher than I do. I'll admit that I'm not the tallest guy in the world, but I'm not so short that I car's hood should ever be taller tan me! In the second picture, I've drawn you a fantastic picture of my approximation of a normal adult male.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I love days off

Today, I slept until 11:00AM, which is typical for a day off. Actually, it's slightly on the early side. I think I'll have to work on changing that eventually so I can actually have some modicum of energy when I begin clinicals. But, for the time being, I enjoy 11am wake up!

Other than that, didn't really do much today. I went to the laundromat to do my laundry, which I mostly despise, but there is one interesting character -- the laundromat worker. I'm not sure what his official job title is, but he's the guy who mops the floor, cleans up trash (the floor is usually filthy), and washes his car. I met him last time I was there when he approached me and asked, "is you a medical student." I guess he figure it out since the laundromat is right behind the hotel and something about me just doesn't look the same as everyone else there (I'm the wrong color). He then went on to talk for quite a while about how amazing of a black surgeon his father was, and how he probably could have also been a fantastic surgeon also if he didn't mind 15 years of school. Come to find out today, not only was his father the best black surgeon of his time, but he was also a special agent in the FBI, who ended a spree of hospital killing back in the day. Apparently, is father was quite the guy. That, or the man is delusional. Judging by the fact that this guy looks as if he's drank a good bottle or so of Vodka over the course of the day, I'm gonna go with delusional. He's friendly enough, but he likes to get a little too close into my personal space to tell me all of his fantastic stories.

Also today, out of nowhere, he decided to engage me in a religious debate. Seriously, out of nowhere, he came up to me and said, "you know, a lot of doctors don't believe in god." I said, "yup, I know." He really likes to talk to me for some reason, but I try just to smile and say, "yes, that's right, i'm sure." But then he said, "so, are you agnostic." I am not agnostic, I'm atheist, so I told him that. Then he said that I probably wasn't as smart as he originally thought I was. I assured him I was and he said, "OK then, if you're so smart, answer me this: The world is 360 degrees around, and lightning only strikes one little area, so where does it happen that way at once and why." Now, I had trouble understanding what he was asking me, but foolishly, I attempted to give him the best answer I could; I said it strikes wherever the disturbance in the atmosphere occurs. WRONG!! It occurs everywhere! Yeah, I know, neither the question nor the answer make sense, but it is what it is.

Then, to further prove my medical incompetence, as if the lightning question didn't do it enough, he asked what I'd do if someone's appendix burst. I said that I'd probably cut them open somewhere along McBurney's point, from pelvic crest to the belly button, remove the appendix, clean as much as I could, and then start them on antibiotics. WRONG AGAIN! According to him, and he knows because he has seen many, I should have cut them in a line parallel to their pelvis, and no need for antibiotics. Perhaps god will make the infection go away, and fix the blood vessels that you'd likely sever?

Finally, he told me that he'd never let me operate on him since I didn't believe in god. He told me he could see into my soul. But, although I have my thoughts on him, he makes me laugh, so I didn't want to leave with him pissed. I told him to be careful that he didn't get lost, because my soul is pretty dark! He laughed, I laughed, and we left as friends. OK, we're not friends, but I gave him a laugh before I left, which was good, and he did say, "see you later doc," as I got in the car. That made me smile a little.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good day to go to bed early

It's really no better a day than any other, but it's something I just need to do! We don't have class tomorrow, so my plan is to do a little more studying tonight, go to bed early, wake up not too late, and have most of the day tomorrow for studying. I'm just hoping I can keep myself from procrastinating too badly tomorrow!

Not much interesting to say about today, other than it was a half-day of class. So, Josh and I went to see Angels and Demons. I don't feel like writing a whole review (and you probably don't feel like reading it), but it was a pretty good movie. I even found a theatre that's still showing Watchmen, which I never got to see while I was in SXM. So, if I get a decent amount of studying done tomorrow, I may go see that. OK, time to study and then go to bed, or just go to bed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Falcon respiratory

Today was definitely an improvement from yesterday, with a pulmonologist from Hopkins doing our respiratory section. I've still got a lot of studying to do since some of pulmonary is very dense, but he did as well as you can, with only one day to teach it all. Not much else going on here, other than class and studying. Tomorrow is our last day of class before a day of break, so that will be nice. And, it's GI, so that shouldn't be too bad. Tonight is the season finale of 24 though, so that's pretty damn awesome.

Did you know superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas?
San Francisco named a street after Jack Bauer for saving the city so many times. Shortly after, they had to change the name because people kept dying. Nobody crosses Jack Bauer.

Something to look forward to

After weeks of crappy weather and a bad cardio prof, the sun is finally gonna come out this week. Maybe this is a sign that the next few instructors are going to be awesome. Not that we'll get to enjoy the weather much, though.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, May 17, 2009 sort of sucked

OK, I do like Falcon so far, but I did NOT like the cardio guy today. To put it nicely, he was pretty darn bad. I don't know if it was the fact that he changed the notes, twice, from what we were given, that he was all over the place, or that he wasn't entirely accurate with all of his facts, that I liked the least. Maybe it was a combination of the three.

I'm not a doctor, so I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that not a whole lot changed since the time our notes were printed. And, I'm positive that nothing drastic in cardio changed this morning while the guy was on the way here. However, he did manage to have a whole new packet of notes for us today, which he had further edited this morning! So, it was difficult to follow along, to say the least. After not being able to follow his notes, realizing that the notes we were originally given were a lot better, and listening to a couple things that even I knew were not entirely correct, I decided to leave and study on my own. Apparently, so did about half of the class. So, to make up for it, I was told by a TA that Falcon will be giving us access to the online portion of cardio, taught by another guy. As long as that guy's good, I'd say that fairly makes up for today. In the mean time, I'm going to go over the original notes some more, and also go through cardio in First Aid. If nothing else, med school will get you used to learning things on your own.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pollen sucks

I'm not sure what's up with the plants this allergy season, but the pollen is seriously kicking my ass here in Texas! I take zyrtec and it used to be amazing...taking care of all that ailed me. But lately, it's just not cutting it, at all! And, I'm taking twice the usual dose. In fact, I've decided to ignore the warning which blatantly says "do not take more than 10mg in 24 hours." Currently, I'm taking 10mg twice a day. It may have been a little while since I've had pharm, but I just don't see allergy medicine killing me. At least I've never heard of it happening. I could be the first, but I cannot deal with the sneezing and itchy eyes anymore. Maybe I'll have to switch to claritin and see if that works any better. Any docs out there want to mail me a prescription for something better?

Friday, May 15, 2009

2 days of cellular? really?

Today was one of our days off (we typically get them when we finish a section), but I think it is going to wind up much needed, as tomorrow we start two days of cell. i really have no idea what we're going to do with two days of such a low-yield topic. We only spent three days each on the whole of anatomy and neuro, but they think we need 2 days of cell? I guess we'll just have to see what happens tomorrow when we get our books. They were supposed to be giving us our books a day or two before each section, but that has not happened yet, so we have no idea what we're in for. At the very worst, I'll just have another couple days to go through anatomy and neuro.

On the positive side, USMLE World questions are still going well. If you haven't used USMLE World, it's a pretty excellent program. It has a tutor mode for every question which is fantastic. Whether you get the question right or wrong, it gives you about a paragraph explanation for each answer choice, and why it was right or wrong. So, it winds up being a really great way to refresh your memory, or sometimes pick up something new. For example, it may ask you which artery would be injured in a particular bone fracture. If you get it right, that's great, but either way, it will also tell you which type of fracture would cause all of the other answer choice's injuries! So, you wind up refreshing or learning 5 artery injuries, not just the one in the question. After 2,000 or so questions in the q-bank, each having about 5 answer choices with a paragraph explanation of each, you wind up covering an awful lot of info. I'm still not sure when I'll be ready to take the step. But, whenever I am, I'm pretty confident that I'll really be ready, and able to do well. I'm hoping for a 240 or better, and I really think (hope) I can pull it off.

Now, I better get some sleep, because staying awake the next two days is going to be hard enough, without being tired.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Celebrity Swine Flu Fatality

Thanks to Lauren for sending this to me!

Falcon review, so far...

We just finished with neuro today, so we've now completed anatomy, neuro, behavioral, and stats. Given, we have a ton to go, but I'm very happy with the course so far. Anatomy was my least favorite of the bunch, but I've heard that anatomy is the worst of the sections. And, as I've said, although i didn't love anatomy, I am doing significantly better in the anatomy portion of USMLEWorld, so he couldn't have done that bad. At AUC, I was doing about 50-60th percentile on USMLEWorld. Currently, in the sections that we've covered, I'm in the 80's. So, that's a huge improvement in less than 2 weeks, and before I've gone through any of the stuff for a second time. From what I've read, people that do 230-260 on the USMLE are usually in the 70-80% range on USMLEWorld, so hopefully I can keep up the pace! The real test will come once we get to micro though, which is probably my weakest area of the high-yield stuff.

It's about time!

I've been waiting for Apple to finally respond to Microsoft's grossly inaccurate laptop hunter ads, and they've finally done it. Unsurprisingly, they've done it in their usually very smug way, but that's what makes me love their commercials so much. Very rarely in advertising does one company come out and just blatantly dismiss another. When they do talk poorly about another company, it's normally in a roundabout way that you may or may not pick up on. But, Apple just comes right out and tells you what they think...gotta love 'em.

There are two others that also came out today, and are equally as amusing. They can be found on Apple's site, here

Monday, May 11, 2009

Apparently people like when I write

Well what do you know...people read my blog when I update frequently and leave when I stop. Fortunately, they come back when I start again. But, if they're not coming, how do they know when I start again? The world may never know.
Scotts blog - http___slevit1.blogspot.com_.jpg
I cut out the scale, but the peaks are at around 100 views per day. Not bad for a blog which I expected to be read by about 5 people! So...where are all of you from?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

One of the best things I've seen on the internet in a long time. SNL's really been picking it up lately!


Is it me, or are these wheels a little unnecessary? No matter how much you spent on the wheels, the car didn't change.

-- Post From My iPhone

At this point, Freud was probably out of cocaine...

**this post was supposed to be posted 2 days ago. I forgot that I had saved it to drafts, since the internet wasn't working at the time. So, here it is now.**

This is one of many things that our new behavioral science instructor said today, which helped to keep things interesting. In that particular instance, he was referring to Freud's latency stage of development, a time in childhood where really not much happens. This is in contrast to Freud's first couple stages which involve preoccupation with oral, anal, and genitals. Here's a few other which I jotted down:

Frotteur - probably a good name for a dog (frotteurism is a sexual fetish with rubbing against strangers)

Coprophilia - sex with an un-consenting dead person

Your Id wants to cheat on your wife, the superego doesn't like this situation, so the ego says, "I've got a good idea, we'll say your wife is cheating." (while talking about projection, a defense mechanism)

You want to hurt kids, your superego says you really shouldn't do that, your ego decides to become a pediatrician (while talking about reaction formation)

Partial emancipation - if it involves sex, drugs, or rock and roll, it's OK

When you give lithium, you want to monitor and look for things like death

This is just a small sampling of the things that were said today. Behavioral is typically a very boring subject (at least for me), but the instructor today did a good job of keeping it interesting. Overall, pretty happy with the class. Hopefully, things stay positive for the next 6 weeks or so.

some more behavioral gems

I only wrote down two today, but I thought they were pretty decent...

[On the topic of factitious disorder by proxy] Lets say you're giving your children some lead exposure, mixed in with some Cheerios

[On the topic of body dismorphic disorder] Well doc, everything seems fine, it's just these elbows...which is why I'm wearing elbow pads.

Sometimes I want to be a psychiatrist. Very rarely, and only for fleeting moments, but this stuff just makes me laugh. I'm kind of excited for my psych rotation.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Falcon, Day 4 - Stats

Usually, we have a day off in between each section, but I guess since anatomy was a short section (3 days) and stats is an even shorter section (3 hours), they decided to give us half a day today. So, we didn't have to go to class until 1pm, which was nice. I never mind getting a little extra sleep.

The stats guy today is actually a pathologist, but he was very good in stats. Somehow, after 3 hours of stats lecture, I feel like I understand everything much better than I did after 2 weeks of it at AUC. I'm going to spend some time recording the lecture, and then it will be dinner time.

I also got a car yesterday, which I'm renting for $500 from a guy off of craigslist. Since I'm splitting it with someone, it's only costing $250 for 7 weeks, which is a hell of a deal! It runs well enough and will get the job done while I'm here. It's nice to actually be able to go out and get dinner tonight, and not have to go to the gym when the rest of Falcon goes!

Unfortunately, the internet still sucks's actually very fast when no one's on it, but it cannot handle the load at all. Sometimes it works really slowly, sometimes not at all. If you're reading this, it's at least working slowly at the moment. The hot water has also been less-than-reliable. But, the important stuff is OK. The accommodations, as I mentioned already, are nice, the class is good, and the food has been edible.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Good stuff

King size Sleep Number bed... It's a good thing. At least for the moment, I'm a big fan of radisson hotels. Bed time!

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Falcon USMLE Review Day 2

Sorry for the short post yesterday. Falcon is going pretty well so far though, although it's hard to judge after only two days. As promised, the shuttle was at the airport waiting for us when we arrived. It was a large charter bus, which I was not expecting, but I guess they were expected a lot of people. There are about 120 people in the Step 1 class, as well as a bunch more in the Step 2 class. It doesn't seem crowded though, maybe because I'm used to my classes being about that size in school.

The first night was just a quick orientation on study skills, the hotel, and then a quick mixer (which I opted out of). The hotel room is pretty nice. I was actually pleasantly surprised. At least for the single rooms, which I'm in, there is a king size Sleep Number bed, a desk with a large leather chair, microwave, and a small refrigerator/freezer. I've slept better here than I have in any hotel before. Since we're staying for so long, they don't give us the little hotel shampoos after you use up the first bunch, but I'd rather use my own anyway. They do come to clean every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and do the rest of the stuff hotel housekeeping would usually do. The hotel also runs a shuttle for us a couple times a day which goes to the Super Walmart, the gym, the mall, and a few other places.

The first day of class was the first of only three days of anatomy. We don't have a long time to review an awful lot of stuff, but that's how it goes in review courses! Falcon is actually the longest of the 3 (Kaplan, Falcon, Pass) though and most people only study on their own for about that long, so I have no doubt we'll cover everything we need to. The anatomy guy is honestly less than amazing, but then again, it's kind of difficult to lecture anatomy. You basically just need to memorize it. The notes they give us have most of the important clinicals considerations highlighted though. The first day was all of upper and lower extremity, today was chest, abdomen, and pelvis, tomorrow is the rest. It's a TON of studying, but hopefully it will pay off when I take the step!

Speaking of studying, they do have their own method. Basically, we're supposed to go to class (obviously), read the notes right after class, and then read the notes, slide by slide, out loud into a voice recorder. Then, take a break before going back to listen to your notes while reading along. This way, you've been exposed to the information at least 3 times, and recording and listening forces you to pay complete attention to studying and not let your brain wander. It sounds a little silly, but it does make sense and I've heard it works. One guy in the step 2 program is from AUC and took the Step 1 course last year. Although he didn't start out with a great score coming in, he would up with a 50 point improvement! Falcon averages 20-40 points, but if I can get 50, I'll definitely be good to go. Even 40 would be nice!

The food is the only thing that's a little disappointing. The lunches have been pretty good, but the breakfast was pretty sad the last two days. So, instead, I've gone to WalMart and bought some cereal and fruit, which seems much better to start the day than fruit from a can and eggs from a box! Eggs are supposed to come in shells, not cardboard.

Falcon USMLE Review, Day 1

Short version: So far, so good

Long version: Look for it tomorrow, I should be asleep!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tired tired tired

I guess I better get used to waking up at 6 (or much earlier), but I am not right now and I am tired!! I'm sitting at the Atlanta airport on my way to Dallas and while this is not terribly exciting, at least I'm not going back to St. Maarten!!!

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Oh the irony!

Microsoft is at it again, with their mostly inaccurate "laptop hunter" ads. This time, they've got a lady who wants a computer for video editing. While a MacBook Pro would be the obvious choice, she goes with another HP (what a surprise). For her money, she got (just like the last guy) old and slow RAM, a low resolution display, and piss poor bundled software. Of course, these ads push price, not quality or features.

So where's the irony? Well, the ad agency making these ads for Microsoft is Crispin Porter & Bogusky, who are, like most ad agencies, heavily invested in macs. Take a look at Bogusky's desk:

No wonder they have such a difficult time coming up with reasonable commercials for Microsoft! At least they know what you really ought to buy if you want to any kind of creative work, even if they're taking Microsoft's money to try and prove otherwise.

last day home, for a while

Tomorrow, I leave for Falcon to study for the USMLE! It's going to be 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 7 weeks of nearly constant studying! Sounds like a ton of time, but we're covering 20 months of basic sciences material, which is 20 months of as much information as you can possibly cram into each day. As I've said before, I definitely now know where the phrase "I've forgotten more than you'll ever know" comes from, because it does feel like I've forgotten more about medicine than I ever knew before. So, hopefully Falcon will help me to remember everything I've forgotten! Their average score improvement is around 20-40 points, and I'm hoping to be at the upper end (or hopefully above) that range. Fortunately, some of my favorite people from AUC will be in Dallas with me, so it will be nice to see them again for a few weeks.

For today, I've gotta make it to the gym again, stop at Staples for some supplies to cover the next few weeks, and get to Best Buy to buy a digital voice recorder. I'm not exactly sure what Falcon's "patented study method" is, but I do know it involves recording yourself and then listening to it later. More info on that to come later. I suppose that now is as good a time as any to start the day.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Holy News Media Hype Batman!

death_by_zombies.jpg.jpegThe news people are officially out of control with this swine flu business! Everyone is going crazy, screaming about how it's about to become a pandemic, when NO ONE HAS DIED outside of Mexico! Yes, that's right..not a single death in the United States. Sure, there was one kid who crossed the border from Mexico and technically died in the US, but I don't think he ought to count. However, that sure does make for a better news story, if you do count it!

Each year, about 5-20% of the population gets the plain old vanilla flu, with about 200,000 people hospitalized from flu-related complications, and about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes! That number is probably surprisingly high for most of you, because really, nobody cares that much about the flu! In the grand scheme of things, that's just not a high enough number to be concerned about (unless you're elderly, very young, or immune compromised).

Just the other day, I ran an ambulance call for trouble breathing. Turns out it was a 23 year old student with asthmatic bronchitis. However, the lack of flu symptoms (such as fever, tiredness, runny nose, aches and pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) did not stop the police, who arrived on scene before us, from wearing surgical masks and attempting to get a full travel history. Would you wear a mask if you knew someone had the flu? No, you wouldn't! So why in the world are you wearing one for someone who likely does not have any flu at all, more or less one which would likely not be dangerous even if you did get it?

If you get swine flu, which you probably won't, you'll most likely have normal flu symptoms. Sure, it will suck for a while, but you'll probably just lay in bed, rest for a week, and go back about your business. Very few people are hospitalized because of it and if they are, surprise...we have treatment!

So please everyone, CALM DOWN! Unless you've been vaccinated this year, you're more likely to get the regular flu than swine flu. Heck, you're more likely to die of a heart attack, a car accident, or get cancer than die of swine flu! Can we please give this hysteria a rest?

Oh...and please stop bringing up the pandemic back in 1918 or whatever. This flu strain lacks the virulence factors that made that one so severe. Same name, different virus!

Note: As with anything I post on this blog, this is not meant to be medical advice. It's just the musings of a not-yet-doctor person.