Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cereal Fail

Tonight, my dinner of champions is a bowl of wheat flakes cereal with dried berries in soy milk. As I opened the box of cereal, the scent that rushed out of the inner bag and hit me in the face was the exact one that I get when I open up a body bag in cadaver lab.

Puzzled, I paused for a moment to be sure that I wasn't hallucinating and was really in my apartment and that a well-preserved hand wasn't in my cereal box.

I'm eating it but every damned bite smells like formyl preservative. I just wasted four and a half bucks on this shit. Fail.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

When It Rains...

After a wonderful weekend in which my wife, parents, sister, and mother- and father-in-law visited for my white coat ceremony, I've been getting ready for this week's exams. Last night, however, I came down with what I presume is the flu. Today, I stayed home and huddled, shivering under the covers most of the day while I tried to sleep and, in the process, get every bit of sweat out of my body. As night has fallen, I've been increasingly stressed out about class and exams and sad about missing Winning Run's building opening.

My plight was quickly put into the proper perspective when, a short time ago, I found out that a buddy of mine from my old neighborhood softball team, the East Atlanta Pillage, died either yesterday or today from a fall while hiking Lava Rock Falls in the Grand Canyon. Needless to say, my heart goes out to his family and everyone who was touched by his endless cheer and wonderfully unique outlook.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Stand and Deliver

Or Holy @$*!, They Know Our Names
Today's BioChem lecture found us with a new prof for the next several weeks. Today's lecture was on the intricacies of conservative DNA reproduction. Easy enough, we thought...until he started calling people's names from memory and asking them to answer questions. The tension was overwhelming. The first time he called on someone, we thought that maybe he simply knew them as their faculty advisor. The third time it happened, we were terrified. Each person's eyes were wide with fear; everyone screamed through closed mouths "They know our names! It is not safe here." You could hear the seat cushions being squeezed by room's collective ass clenching.

Like everyone else, I willed myself invisible, declined to make eye contact with him, studied his slides intently, and took amazing notes. It was to no avail: As he strolled around giving his lecture, he asked a question and then said my name. From me seat, I yelled the answer because he was on the other side of the room. The heads of everyone in the class spun around to look at me because, evidently, he was talking to someone else with my name. He casually looks at me, correctly states my last name, and asks me to stand and tell the class the answer. Well, for some reason, I geeked out and totally changed my answer to one less correct before turning beet red, peeing on myself, and sitting back down in my seat.

Next time, I'll wait for him to call my last name prior to spazzing out and yelling an answer.

This is awesome; it's not like I wasn't stressed out before. Super.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Man, We Make Our Own Movies

The Hold Steady's "Slapped Actress" has gotten me through the last few weeks. Holy smokes, I love it.
Don't tell my sister about your most recent vision.
Don't tell my family; they're all wicked strict Christians.
Don't tell the hangers-on.
Don't tell your friends.
Don't tell them we went down to Ybor City again.

Don't tell the dancers; they'll just get distracted.
Don't tell the DJs; they already suspect us.
Don't mention the bloodshed.
Don't mention the skins.
Don't tell them Ybor City almost killed us again.

We are the theater.
They are the people dressed up to be seated, looking upwards and dreaming.
We're the projectors.
We're hosting the screening.
We're dust in the spotlights.
We're just kind of floating.

Don't drop little hints.
I don't want them to guess.
Don't mention Tampa, they'll just know all the rest.
Don't mention the bloodshed.
Don't tell them it hurts.
Don't say we saw angels; they'll take us straight to the church.

They queue up for tickets to see the performance.
They push to get closer.
Looking upwards with wonder.

We are the actors.
The cameras are rolling.
I'll be Ben Gazzara, you'll be Gena Rowlands.

Sometimes actresses get slapped.

Sometimes actresses get slapped.
Sometimes fake fights turn out bad.
Sometimes actresses get slapped.
Some nights making it look real might end up with someone hurt.
Some nights it's just entertainment.
Some other nights it's work.

They come in for the feeding, sit in stadium seating.
They're holding their hands out for the body and blood now.

We're the directors.
Our hands will hold steady.
I'll be John Cassavettes, let me know when you're ready.

Man, we make our own movies.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Five Weeks In: Cracks Are Starting to Show

I guess the end of this week brings it to five weeks in medical school. So far, things has been barely manageable. Last week, my anatomy practical was the latest hurdle. This week, it was major tests in Physiology, Microbiology, Biochemisty, and Epidemiology. Next week, it is Histology.

Yikes. Any of these alone would be enough to have me drawn tight enough to devote all my time to it specifically. Together, however, it's a lot like being on The Tonight Show and keeping the spinning plates going: everything is precariously balanced and threatening to spin off into destruction. So it is with me: things are beginning to hit the floor.

When I Said I Wouldn't Have Time to Call or Write, I Wasn't Lying
Recently, I had a pretty big argument with someone dear to me. Conversation started fine enough but, I felt, turned into a questioning of how I'm spending my time and some guilt-laden pressure to stay in better contact. Naturally, I took umbrage at this assertion. Honestly, I have unreturned phone calls and unread email messages from friends and family. It is no joke: I HAVE NO EXTRA TIME. The first week of school was, in retrospect, pretty damned leisurely. Since then, it's been a steamroller that is crushing me.

So, I beg you not to take any lack of communication or of response as a personal slight. Often, if I'm not in class I need the time to recharge my batteries by doing something mindless, by sleeping, by being quiet, or by doing nothing. If I don't take care of myself, I'll be in no shape to be successful at this.

Please consider that I'm under some phenomenal stress here. Not only am I fighting to achieve a goal toward which I've worked for the last several years, I'm trying to do it in a place without the immediate support structure of family and friends.

Think of not hearing from me as "no news is good news." That being said, feel free to drop me a line or leave me a message if you're thinking of me; I love getting cards, messages, and email messages. When I can, I'll get back to you but it might not be for several weeks.

Labor Day Weekend
Last weekend, I went to L.A. for my buddy K's wedding. It was ridiculous. The hotels were fantastic, the food was great, the company was better. I loved seeing family (Winning Run!) and friends and letting them talk me off the ledge and give me some perspective on things going on in the "outside world." Needless to say, I didn't get much studying done for the four exams that I had yesterday (and it showed!) but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Nothing beats having an "In & Out Burger" catering truck show up after your reception to feed those guests who had so much fun dancing and taking advantage of the open bar. In other words, I enjoyed my double-double animal style.