Saturday, June 28, 2008

dorky confession

I had to go to the Dr the other day to get a bunch of prednisone (a hardcore anti-inflammatory drug) to stop the neuropathies and tendonitis that I sustained as a result of using my hand too much to study. I haven't been able to pick up a pen for a week. In fact, I used a wrist brace for three days before my test to prevent it from hurting any worse. so... yeah. dorkiest athletic injury ever. I wish I could call myself a mathlete because it sounds fun but really I'm a random-scientific-factslete. in other news, I split a pitcher of margaritas (aka misbehavior popsicles for adults) with my sister and my mom after helping my sister and her husband to move and unpack all day. If anyone is ever on the East side in Austin, I reccomend going to El Azteca and ordering chicken chalupas ( which my sister felt the need point out to me aren't that amazing as they are just flattened tacos). But really, they were amazing. And the restaurant has pictures of scantily clad Aztec boys and girls all over the walls. And you can get delicious pralines after dinner, although I think the Pralines available at Ojedas in Dallas are even better, but the food itself may not be as good. Ramble ramble ramble. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

one more thing about the test

today as I was driving from Dallas to Austin, I remembered a couple of funny things from my exam yesterday:
1. one of my blocks started out with a larger-than-life picture of a penis with a rash on it and asked me what STD was present. That certainly got my attention while also making me want to throw up a little.
2. I had a question that asked what the best method was for attaining penile tumescence in a paraplegic man. I think the answer choices included "watching erotic videos". I guess that just proves how broad they expect our knowledge of medicine to be. :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

stress... less? USMLE studying FINISHED!

I killed a beast today. Her name was USMLE step 1. I am officially on summer break! but before I get all carried away in breakiness, I wanted to share my study schedule so that everyone can be awed by my work ethic. yeah that's pretty much the only reason I would ever write this down--to self promote. but it may also help people looking for a plan in the future so there's another good reason for this post.
Books I used:
First Aid for the USMLE; cut off the binding, got it 3-hole punched and put it in a binder. During my first run through I took notes from other books and added them to my First Aid in order to create a comprehensive source for the later studying.
Rapid Review of Pathology, Rapid Review Gross and Developmental Anatomy, HY Embryology, Neuroscience, and Human Behavior, BRS Physiology, Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple, Lippincott's illustrated Review of Biochemistry. I bought Katzung and Trevor Pharmacology but didn't use it because it was too much info.
I used USMLE World as my question bank. I thought it was good preparation for the actual exam, although the real test had more questions that were very hard or very easy. The format was identical to that of the real exam. I did all questions timed and unused. After each section I first went over incorrect answers and read the explanations for the correct and incorrect answers carefully, inserting any notable info into my FA mash-up book. After going over the incorrect answers I went over the correct answers to make sure that I didn't get any right by lucky guesses.

May 11: reviewed pictures and margin notes from Goljan RR Path.
May 12: path NBME in the morning, packed my apartment up to move in the PM
May 13: Reviewed Pharm from First Aid.
May 14: pharm NBME in the morning, listened to Goljan audio lectures while moving in the PM. May 15: Moved all day while listening to Goljan, organized study materials.
May 16: Comprehensive NBME in the morning, Mommy came in for the weekend and I did not study again until Monday.
May 19: Biochem: Read FA and transferred corresponding info from Lippincott's Biochem
May 20: Finished Biochem Read-through and transfer from Lippincott's.
May 21: Anatomy; RR in the morning, BRS Physiology. 100 questions from Qbank.
May 22: Anatomy; RR, BRS Phys (+ transfer of info to First Aid), 100 questions.
May 23: Microbiology; First Aid; referenced tables from MMRS to complete missing info from FA.
May 24 and 25: planned to study but my sister came in town for the weekend so I didn't get much done.
May 26: Finished Micro, read First Aid Immunology (supplemented by course materials),
May 27: Cardiovascular and respiratory; RR Path, BRS Physiology, 50 questions.
May 28: Renal; FA, RR Path, BRS Physiology, 75 questions.
May 29: GI; FA, RR Path, BRS Physiology, 100 questions.
May 30: Heme/Onc; FA, RR Path (nearly killed me because there are like five chapters on blood in that book!) 110 questions.
May 31: Endocrine and Reproductive; FA, RR Path, BRS Phys.
June 1: pretended to try and learn pharmacology but really watched five Alfred Hitchcock movies.
June 2: Musculoskeletal; FA, RR Path, BRS Phys. questions in the PM.
June 3: Nervous System; FA, HY Neuroanatomy, BRS Phys. Question in PM. HY Embryology when I wanted a break.
June 4: Nervous System; FA, HY Neuroanatomy, RR Pathology. Questions in PM.
June 5: Practice NBME (#3) in the morning with mediocre results. Flew to DC for my cousin's wedding in the PM; read FA psych on the plane.
June 6 & 7: Nothing. Bridal showers, Rehearsal dinner, Wedding, Race for the cure, shopping, no studying atall.
June 8: Behavioral Science on the plane ride home, practice questions in the PM.
June 9: FA; BS, Biochem, Embryology. Questions in the PM.
June 10: FA; Micro and Immuno. Questions in the PM.
June 11: Practice exam on Uworld in the AM-score encouraging but not perfect. FA; Pathology, Pharm, Cardiology.
June 12: FA Endo, GI, Heme/Onc. Questions in PM.
June 13: FA Musculoskeletal, Neurology, Psychology. Questions in PM.
June 14: FA Renal, Reproductive, Respiratory. Questions in PM.
June 15: practice questions.
June 16-19: tons of practice questions. Finished UWorld. Wrote info from explanations into FA if it seemed important.
June 20-22: re-read weak information and memorized tables from FA. These days were shorter and I spent the evenings watching movies or reading books so that I wouldn't be burnt out for the test. Also, I ate a PB&J every day for lunch in order to build a food routine. it's my favorite food.
June 23: took the test. I ate a 100ish calorie snack between each block, plus a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. I saved a Dr. Peppr for the break right before my last block as a special treat. I also brought a coozie that says "never sweat the petty things" on one side and "never pet the sweaty things" on the other. I chewed like nine pieces of gum.
I should get my score on July 16th I think. I will be posting re: my satisfaction but not with a number.
Throughout the process, I listened to Goljan audio files during my commute every day, and relaxed in the evening by running a few times a week, watching movies, reading silly books, and drinking one glass of wine or one beer with dinner every night. My daytime study breaks involved celebrity gossip websites and drudge report.
I could have taken it a few days earlier and been okay. I kind of wish I had. But now I'm free of this study monkey on my back, and maybe my hand can heal from this carpal tunnel syndrome (or something... my entire hand is spasming in neurological rebellion from studying so much) . Tonight my church friends had a wine and hors d' oeuvres party and it was lovely (I made caprese salads on a stick) and tomorrow I'm off to Austin to see my family one last time before I start Pediatrics on the 30th. I'm super excited and I'm still getting used to the idea of not having to panic when I'm not on task..l because I don't currently have a task to be on! it's great!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

ultrasound my what?

Today I received this email from our student activities coordinator:

Dear Students,

Dr. Feely O'Feelerson needs your assistance to help with an ultrasound course next week.
Student volunteers will be paid $40 for their time. The course will be from 11:00 am - 12.30 pm next Wednesday, June 25th.
This will involve having abdomen, chest, necks and groins ultrasounded.

Please contact by email or telephone Dr. O'Feelerson asap.

excuse me? you're asking poor medical students to be volunteers for chest and groin ultrasounds performed by beginners? That just is not right, Dr, O'Feelerson. I never let anyone ultrasound my groin on the first date... let alone bumbling inexperienced strangers. I have a personal policy against getting myself into situations where multiple strangers may or may not molest me.

Apparently there were plenty of people in my school who don't have the same qualms: 13 minutes after the first email was sent out, we received this one:

Dear Students,

Due to your willingness to help with our project, no more volunteers are needed at this time. Many thanks for your prompt response!

The fact that that many people were willing to be violated by amateur ultrasounders for only $40 is disturbing to me. But the REAL worst part? the second email was written in Comic Sans. Writing a business email in comic sans is like filling out a job application using crayon. Except worse, because Comic Sans is both unprofessional and really annoying. If you use it, I will judge you. More specifically, I will irrationally think that I know everything about you, and that you suck. Comic Sans is like taking Cathy Comics and mixing them with tube socks, precious moments figurines, and a calender filled with babies dressed up as vegetables. It's that lame. Additionally, it's poorly designed and overused. My blood pressure goes up just thinking about how disgusting it is. Here are some examples of its awfulness:

this one really pierces your eyes with the giant comic sans E in the middle. It then promotes false science. And as a kicker, it has some poor random girl looking out at us and I don't know if she's the one who made "smart choices" or if she's the cautionary example. For all I know, she lost her leg to one of those "deadly blood clots".

Next: this was apparently posted in a university student center. Crackheads like comic sans too.This sign should be in the front yard of every person who loves CS, so that I can more effectively avoid them. The squishy triteness of the quote is a perfect compliment to the lameness of the font.

Finally: Comic Sans for Fairy Decor. gross.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I'm only 144 questions away from being FINISHED with usmleworld already. I'm going to own those suckers tomorrow. And my friends from church are planning a wine and hors d oeuvres party next Monday night which will be a perfect follow-up to a long day of testing!
During one of my very short but necessary study breaks today, I stumbled upon some lovely gold and chalcedony jewelry from Banana:

I love chalcedony but I don't have any and I probably won't get any for a while (at least not until my new loans come in) but if anyone wants to get me a spontaneous gift of jewelry, you know where to find it. The only thing I might worry about is that last necklace making noise. It's one of my biggest pet peeves in the world when I can hear my jewelry tinkling every time I move. I have a pair of earrings that do that and I only ever wear them if I know I'm going to be someplace LOUD.
I'm off to sleep, because it keeps me beautiful(ish). mwoah!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I don't usually remember any of my dreams, but last night I had a really weird one. I dreamed that I went to Target and bought a bunch of crack and smoked it in my apartment. Except that the crack came in packets like cigarettes. What does this dream mean? I don't habitually smoke anything (hookah for a special occasion, and the occasional cigar when I'm feeling a little like a 50-year-old man) and I obviously don't smoke crack. Maybe this is a sign that I need a vacation.

Friday, June 13, 2008

a bacon follow-up

I know that I've already talked about bacon at length, but I just found a few bacon products (available online of course) that I feel the need to share with the world. Bacon Chocolate bars, Maple-Bacon lollipops, and bacon brittle.

If you think I'm crazy, just remember that I'm not as crazy as this lady:
That's SUCIO.
I am almost finished with my second read-through of First Aid and my practice question scores are slowly rising, which is encouraging and the also the highlight of my entire week. Except of course for looking up fun bacon facts which has also been fun.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I hop, you hop, we all hop for IHOP!!

last night I went with my study group (we don't study together, just next to one another) to IHOP to get breakfast for dinner. I haven't been to one since college. Actually, that's not true I ate at IHOP a little over two weeks ago... but still, it's been a long time. I got the corncake pancakes that came with eggs, bacon, and hash browns. I think I may make corncake pancakes my new standard--although when it comes to IHOP, anything is possible. I think my next meal will be the Swedish international passport breakfast (same thing as a rooty tooty fresh and fruity but has crepes instead of pancakes and the crepes are covered in lingonberries).
I'm becoming like a knowledge meth head from all this studying. When I came home last night I was confused by my light switch. My actual thought was something along the lines of "I don't have time to deal with that right now". I then walked around in the dark for five minutes before realizing that light made living easier. I woke up this morning with my mind racing with different random science facts thinking "I FEEL AWESOME!!! I AM THE SMARTEST PERSON ALIVE!!!" and then proceeded to talk back--out loud--to the tapes of lectures that I've been listening to during my downtime. As if Dr. Goljan could hear me and would appreciate my input.
Also, I think I've gained 10 lbs in the last 2 weeks from stress eating. Food is the bright point in my life right now, and I am eating as much as I possibly can. I've worn sweatpants for the last two days because I don't want to try on my jeans and find they don't fit anymore. This is not a healthy practice. I only have 11 more days until I'm done with this insanity, then I get my wonderful and glorious 6 day summer break and go back to school on June 30.

Monday, June 9, 2008

DC wedding weekend

More to come later (if you're lucky!) but here are a few pictures from last weekend when my cousin Alex got married at the meridian house in DC:

This is when Uncle Dan said that Anna didn't look very Mexican
Three generations of Nelson descendants with the matriarch:

My Cousin walking down the aisle

Me and my sisters in the linden grove with Anna

Um yeah their faces aren't in this picture but that's why they hired a professional wedding photographer.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I spent an hour and a half online last night at cooking for engineers reading about the different ways to cook bacon and the different kinds of bacon that exist. To summarize: the best way to cook crisp bacon is in a 300 degree oven for several hours, on a cooling rack set over a jelly-roll pan. The best way to cook chewy bacon is on a grill; however, the downside is that you can't save the bacon grease to cook with later (which I am intrigued by but have never done). Cooking bacon in a microwave yeilds an inferior product, but will suffice if there is not time to grill your bacon.
There was an intense debate about the quality of American/Canadian/British/Australian bacons, and also of bacon cured with sugar vs smoked and salted. One southern gentleman suggested bacon with a rind on it (the skin!) which you could then save to chew on all day long to get the bacon taste and to assuage hunger pains. I don't think I'm ready for that quite yet.
Oh, and I don't even really eat regular bacon. The only bacon I ever make for myself is of the turkey variety--but I did enjoy perusing the discussions about bacon theory. I challenge you to read the articles and not immediately want a BLT!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

silly donuts

When Shannon and Ben were here we went to a place called "yummy donuts" on Lovers. I was hesitant to try the donuts because the inside of the store didn't smell like grease (which to me means that the donuts can't be that fresh). Then I saw the selection and was FLABBERGASTED. They had donuts with fruity pebbles on top, donuts with pop-tarts on top(!), with Oreos on top, and donuts dressed up as moon-pies, s'mores, ├ęclairs, and other such nonsense. What on earth is the point of having a donut that is trying to be a moonpie?
First of all, moonpies are officially the most random thing that anyone can ever eat. I've only seen one person eat a moonpie ever. I got one for my birthday as a joke because I think they're so weird... it's still in my pantry unopened. It's a banana-flavored moonpie and I'm saving it for some occasion when I feel self-destructive.
Anyways, about the donut experience. I was overwhelmed by the choices and decided to go with a simple apple cider donut. This type of donut is supposed to be sweet (but not sickeningly so) and dense, with a good amount of chewiness. The donut I ate was fluffy like a birthday cake-not the proper texture for a good apple cider donut at all. My sister got a thing that was like the lovechild of a long john and a cream-filled donut which they were calling a donut ├ęclair. She said it was good, but I still think that they're serving too much flash and not enough substance. I'm going to stick with June at Maple Donuts from now on. Besided the fact that it's less expensive, I have actually seen donuts go from the dough phase to the in my mouth phase while waiting for a large order to be filled. Super Fresh. Plus she always gives me extra donuts as a perk. Their simple glazed variety is solid, but the standout donuts are the blueberry cake and the old-fashioned buttermilk. I really don't think you can go wrong with anything from Maple Donuts because they put love in the batter.
Another place I like for sweet breakfasts is Aston's bakery on Lovers Lane near the tollway. I had the cinnamon roll and Erin had a cherry danish when she came and both were excellent. They also had a good-looking supply of cookies and petit fours (however, their muffin selection was limited).