Sunday, April 30, 2006

Powerful truth

So I was reading a blog earlier, and I came across this description of her experience with depression and how it has affected her relationship with her significant other. I'm linking to it because I find it such an amazing description of how I feel, and in much better prose than I could write.

Most people would never think I have depression. Even people who know me are surprised. When I break down, it's usually in private, because I want it that way and because I'm more likely to break if I'm lonely. I weep and weep, sobbing with grief over my life, trying to cry past the painful lump in my throat that keeps me from breathing. I then try like the devil to hide the red face and puffy eyes that signal I've been crying for 3 straight hours (a frozen spoon applied to the eyes works wonders). By the next day, I'm *fine* again, and the previous day's bottomed-out experience is nothing more than a blip, a dip in my road. What frightens me, though, is how low I go in those dips. Sure, I'm okay the next day, but that doesn't mean it's okay to sit here and weep because I'm just SURE I have no friends and no one could possibly love me and I don't want to live anymore.

Because it's past the horizon by the next day, it is very difficult to take my medication. Like any chronic, mostly asymptomatic disease, when I feel fine I think "eh, I can skip today's pill". One becomes 4 until I end up having a break down and realize it's been 3 weeks since I took a pill. I have no one to blame but myself for these breaks, then, and I then use that to beat myself up with.

My fiance is remarkably caring and supportive through all this, but sometimes I still feel a twinge of anger/jealousy because "how could he possibly understand, he's never felt this bad". I'd never want him to suffer, but sometimes I'm still angry because he doesn't understand my pain. He is the only person I will allow to see me when I'm really down (except my former counselor, whom I STILL miss since she retired). He will hold me and tell me he loves me and remind me that I have friends who care about me and that I'm not really alone, no matter how dark and cold it is on the inside.

It even feels shallow writing about it when I'm not down, because it's truly like I'm watching another person's suffering instead of my own (if I may use such a strong word as "suffering"--forgive my hyperbole). I can't allow myself to re-experience those moments because that could trigger another one, so I can't empathize with myself. If I do try to talk about such moments, it's either in the voice of a robotic cheerleader (most often) or through tears--I can't speak normally about my depressive episodes. Again, this contributes to many people not believing me when I tell them that I've been taking antidepressants off and on since I was 18. My father once asked me "if it wasn't maybe more of a woman thing, you know, a problem with hormones". Without knowing about me, I've heard med school classmates say things like "psychiatry isn't a real science--those people [the patients] need to just suck it up and quit whining". Since this feeds into my own fears and dislike of taking psychiatric medication, it's easy to let uneducated comments like these sting deep.

I could probably keep going, but sleep is going to be more cathartic. And that reminds me: I need to go take my SSRI.

Friday, April 28, 2006

New "Most Embarrassing Moment in Medical School"

So the former "MEMIMS" was the day I cried on a course director. I had gone to her to beg for mercy regarding my preceptor, as I wouldn't be able to see any more patients (and thus write them up) prior to exams, yet I was missing one patient + write-up. When I tried to calmly speak to her about my distress and panic regarding my ability to finish the assignment, I burst into tears and couldn't speak coherently for about 15 minutes. Yes, that was a proud day. Thank god it was a female course director, who let me sit down and gave me a cup of water and told me exams would be over soon and it'd all be okay.

The new MEMIMS: Today was my final exam for a pathophysiology/practice of medicine conglomerate course. I was stressed because I had procrastinated FAR too much and hadn't studied enough for this test. To add insult to injury, my studying skills were further cramped by an attack of allergies that began yesterday morning and were unfazed by the over-the-counter loratadine/pseudoephedrine I'd been taking. This stuff hadn't stopped my sneezing, but it had made me very sleepy yesterday. This morning, I decided not to take it, as I figured the sleepiness would hurt me more in the exam.

About halfway through the test, my nose started to run and I started to sneeze. I should buy beers for all the people stuck sitting near me, because I was a sneezing, sniffling, honking wreck. However, true to form, I FORGOT TO BRING KLEENEX INTO THE TEST WITH ME. So, when my nose started to run, and then to DRIP, I had nowhere to wipe/blow it.

Yes, I snotted on myself during a final exam.

I sat there and debated for at least 5 minutes--leave the test, or finish as fast as possible? Finally, in horror, I got up and asked the proctor to hold my test so I could go to the restroom. New policy dictated that she had to follow me, so she got to watch as I found a napkin outside the room to wipe my hands and blow my nose, and then as I frantically scrubbed my hands in the restroom. I then brought a 3' long section of toilet paper (the rough institutional kind) back into the exam room with me, where I'm sure 100 of my peers waited to slit my throat as I continued to sneeze for the remainder of the test.

I'm sure my mom would be so proud.

She joined the 21st century...

...and bought a 19" flat-panel monitor. Blogging never looked so good!

/end of shameless bragging

Countdown of exams until end of basic science: 5 exams and 2 finals down, 4 finals + USMLE step 1 to go...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Seester Rocks Out

My sister IM'ed me the other day wanting my address. I had no idea why, but I was kinda hoping she was mailing me the lipgloss I'd left in her coat pocket. Then she says no, it's something else. Hmmm. I had no idea.

So the package arrived today and it was small and flat. I opened it to find The WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook: Weddings. Awwwwwww. *sniffs*

Muchas gracias, mi hermana! And btw, what is YOUR address?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


So I'm working on my wedding invitations this week, and I have been panicking about it. I ordered 125 for a wedding that will hopefully be 50 (or less). My guest list had roughly 100 people on it when I ordered. Then, my mom sends me a list of "people who need invites kind of like an announcement who won't actually attend"--people like her college roommate, our old neighbor, and some distant relatives I've never met. Whoa, buddy. That was cutting deeply into my 25 invite safety zone! THEN, my dad was like "I'd better look that list over, in case you forgot anyone." CRAP!!!!!!

...Until I printed my guest list off of and remembered that most of the invitations will not be going to individuals, but to families, couples, etc. There may be 100+ invited guests, but that will only require around 75 invitations. No, I did not remember this until tonight.

I am the dumbest bride EVER.

I may wallpaper the dining room with the remainders.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Article on "Why Doctors Hate Hospitals"

Good article over at Time magazine about why doctors are afraid to be patients. A statistic I never knew before: "The average major teaching hospital typically sees a 4 percent jump in its risk-adjusted mortality rate in the summer, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research."

Shite. Intern 007, license to kill, here I come.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


To my dear friends, on the birth of their son. Mom and baby are well after a C-section. I can't wait to see him and hear all about it, but the family gets that first.

(I had to make this a separate post after the obscenity of the last one...)

Extreme Profanity Below (don't tell the FCC!)

HOLY GOD DAMN SHIT FUCKING CHRIST. That's all I have to say about the fact that I am listening to NEW TOOL. TOOL, for fuck's sake!!!!!! Holy Jesus! Their new album was predictably leaked to the internet 2 weeks prior to release, and my dear buddy called me to tell me. OH MY GOD. Orgasms this intense are should be ILLEGAL. HOLY GOD!!!!!!!! I'm in love, lust, adoration, passion, whatever with this music!

...And before anyone criticizes me for downloading illegal bootleg music, let me reassure you that I have already pre-ordered the album from, thereby spending my (not-so) hard-earned dollars on one of my favorite bands of all damn time. So there.

THE TOOL IS SO GODDAMN GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I'm trying to see how blasphemous I can get, apparently, which is fitting, seeing as I'm listening to TOOL!)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Just to see if I can make you cringe...

I think I've discovered one of the most painful non-lethal injuries possible. Sure, I'm excluding a swift kick to the balls, as I've never experienced one (having no balls) so I can't say how this compares. Still, for a quickie, do-it-yourself way to cause pain, this does the trick. Just follow these easy steps!

1. Staple a stack of papers that is too thick for your Swingline stapler (sadly, not red) to handle. Staple them again, about 1 cm away from the first staple, in frustration.

2. Reach for your staple remover and attack the first staple. Here's the key: Leave it standing up on the page. Don't remove it and throw it away before attacking the second staple.

3. With that first staple standing, attack the second staple.

Voila! The first staple will go underneath the fingernail on the third digit of your right hand, piercing the skin underneath the nail and rendering you totally incapable of coherent speech void of profanity for at least 5 minutes.


School = busy, blah blah blah. Wedding planning = sorta busy, blah blah blah. I did get to see my younger sister and my even younger stepsister recently; the former was all growed up (*tear*) and the latter has sprouted the hugest boobs EVER. Except maybe for mine, and that could be a stretch. Seriously, the girl is 5'2", maybe 110 lbs, and she's got D's. She is going to show us all up at the wedding. I may have to ask her to stand outside with a coat on or something, so no one can compare the, ah, rather larger bride to her 14-year-old hot stepsister. Watch out, guys. My stepdad's bringing his shotgun.

In sadder news, my grandmother was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma. When my mom told me, all I could respond with was "Oh", over and over. When I got home, I looked it up in my Robbins & Cotran, and there it was, as poor a prognosis as I remembered. That was a bad night. Since then, all I've heard is that she'll be starting thalidomide, but I don't know which regimen. The thoughts are so conflicting. I'm upset, of course, and I wonder if she's scared. I wonder when she'll start chemo. I wonder if she knows that the 3-year survival rate is like 60% or something like that, and I wonder how she'll spend them. Selfishly, I wonder if she'll come to my wedding, but I know that may be impossible now. That makes me sad for multiple reasons; they were going to be the only grandparents at the wedding, I would love to see them on my special day, and if she's too sick to come then she is sick indeed. I wonder if people think I'm making too big a deal out of this; after all, she's 74, she's had a long, full life. I'm selfishly sad, because I want her here; and I'm sad for her, I wonder if she's ready, and I wonder how my grandfather will cope. He's a tough old guy, alright, but they've been married 52 years (almost 53). My Grandmommy has always held a special place in my heart, and while I'm glad (in a way) that I know I have time to tell her I love her, I can't imagine life without that sweet, soft lady, who taught me how to knit and sends me Maxine cards and photocopies recipes at the library and who always, always wears a sweater, because she's cold if it's 90 degrees outside. The same for my grandfather, who used to smoke a pipe (even now, the sweet scent of pipe smoke reminds me of Christmas Eve at their house) and who gardens like a fiend and who makes the best homemade hamburgers and ice cream EVER. I knew I'd eventually have to say goodbye, but I guess I thought I had more time.

Thank God I have the time left that I do. I can call and write and tell her--she won't die without knowing we love her, and we won't live thinking she didn't.