Friday, December 3, 2010


Still feeling pretty upset about my academic situation, but at least I've been honest with myself this morning and accepted the fact that I knew it going to come to this for a while now. I was just in denial.

I've seriously explored changing my major. Again. Biology was never my strong suit and I don't know what possessed me to select a course of study that deals with its many intricacies. The only problem is that if I jump ship on my current degree, I'm essentially starting all over no matter what I pick. I can't afford (financially or emotionally) to start over, so I'm stuck.

Trying to accept the fact that I might fail one of my required courses. I can take it in the spring, but I don't know when I can take the second half of it...which means I might be in school an extra semester. Again, can't really afford it.

So, in a few minutes, I'm going to devote every waking hour to revision for that terrible class and pray that I make a high enough grade to scrape by. My, my. How my standards have fallen.

With the possibility of getting into medical school being equivalent to the likelihood of a white Christmas, I'm trying to refocus on a new target. PA school has always been second in line. I stand a fair chance for acceptance there, especially with good GRE scores. Maybe medical school can come later...if at all.

Other than that, however, I'm stumped. Graduate school isn't as appealing as it once was...perhaps with another area of focus, but certainly not this garbage.

This is a terrible position for someone like me to be in. I see doors closing left and right. The worst part about all of it is that I know I'm capable, and have demonstrated it time and time again in the past. The current run of things, however, leads any observer to believe quite the opposite.

Maybe I shouldn't worry about it anymore. Maybe I should just do what I can and see how things turn out, basically leaving it up to chance. Might be less stressful than what I've been doing.

At any rate, I'm going to hole up for the next 4 days, arming myself to the teeth with pointless knowledge to regurgitate in exchange for passing grades. Then, a whole month to relax and refocus.

Moving forward, moving on.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good News, Bad News

Good news: I'll have my entire Christmas break to do with as I please. No MCAT prep!

Bad news: ...this means no medical school for me! I don't even think a school in the Caribbean would take me.

Back to square one. What the hell am I going to do with my life? I'm sick and tired of my major. I'm sick and tired of not performing at the level that I know that I can.

Sick and tired. Done. I'm done with it.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Yesterday, despite today's exam hanging over my head, was one of the nicest days I've had in recent memory. In between studying, I found time to watch two films with my favourite of this year's flatmates. We later had a conversation lasting several hours that was full of all kinds of 90s nostalgia.

Before I went to bed, the urge to listen to Hootie & the Blowfish overwhelmed me. It rather came out of nowhere, and I very nearly side-stepped indulging myself.

So glad I went through with it.

I looked up "Only Wanna Be With You" on Youtube and remembered watching the goofy video when it was all the rage on MTV years and years ago. It's actually a nice little song, and I don't care what anybody says. There was a link to "Hold My Hand," which was my favourite of their songs... as I was listening to it, I thought a lot about the negative, judgemental, and stifled way with which I've conducted myself since my mid-teens, especially as it relates to any form of art. I'm a terrible film snob, and pretty snobby about music and television, as well.

I can't really help that I prefer my entertainment to, on the whole, be challenging and engaging...but I sure can help flat-out refusing to look for the good in mindless entertainment, and I think I'll be a happier person overall for it.

So, today, I decided I'd either dig out my old Hootie CDs (still have them somewhere) or just download them. Ended up going to download them. I entered the band name in the search bar of my favourite pirating system and the first result was called something like "Top 250 Hits of the 90s." Hmm. I read through the song list and saw a bunch of songs I haven't heard in years...even music I would be embarrassed to be caught listening to now. Or, at least, would've been embarrassed to be listening to before yesterday.

It's fantastic. I'm 30-something songs into it and am listening to Counting Crows - "Mr. Jones" at the moment. I always had something against the song for some reason, but I'm enjoying it now! Other highlights that made me smile:

Seal - "Kiss From A Rose"
Everything But The Girl - "Missing"
Boyz II Men - "Water Runs Dry"
Suzanne Vega - "Tom's Diner"
Dishwalla - "Counting Blue Cars"

All of these songs are bringing back some great memories!

I watched the Karate Kid remake tonight and really had to fight to not rip it to shreds. First of all, having grown up watching the originals, I'm naturally biased against a remake. The one thing I couldn't get over was the film's title... there was no karate! The acting was generally pretty terrible... BUT! I did find some enjoyment in the fight scenes and liked the music the little girl played. One of my flatmates commented that it'd have been one of his favourite movies had he seen it when he was 8 or 9. I viewed it from that perspective, and sure, I can see it. That helped put a positive spin on the overall experience.

This won't be easy for me anytime soon, but I'm tired of being an outsider of sorts. I gave "House" a shot a little while ago, but ahhh, the guy's too big of a jerk for my taste. Immediately following it, however, I let myself laugh at Family Guy which was almost like Jesus coming back and announcing that God doesn't exist. Shocking. Terribly shocking.

All of this is kind of a personal fix for my anxiety issues. I don't reckon it could hurt. haha!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Exam season

...begins now!

I have one this Thursday, one next Monday, and then another the following Monday. Finals start precisely one week from my last regular exam. I've got one per day Monday - Thursday...and then freedom!

The speed with which this term has passed is beyond my comprehension at this point. Perhaps it's that whole "the closer to the end, the faster it goes" idea so commonly used as a point of common ground between life and toilet paper.

Ah, the results of my ADHD testing are in:

It isn't ADHD, but anxiety. My psychologist has formulated a plan to help me sidestep this business and get back to making A's again. I'm incredibly hopeful and feel that the hardest part of the process is now over. Sure, I'm going to fight with it and will fail often, but I'll be winning more battles than I am presently.

In other news, it seems like I've been catching the eye of a few young women lately...becoming a daily occurrence. Today, a woman was flat-out staring at me as I walked by. She was pretty attractive. I just didn't know what to say that wouldn't sound cheesy. "Hi," probably would have worked. I'll have to keep that in mind.

Football (proper is going along nicely! My teams are doing alright. Sweden vs. Germany tomorrow! Hopefully I'll get a chance to watch it, or download it later. Still have the Stoke City vs. Liverpool game from Saturday to watch. Pulling for Stoke City.

Back to the books it is for me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The upswing

It definitely seems as though no intimate relationship will be forming between me and the young lady spoken of in the last entry. I've made no further advances, but now she's flat-out ignoring me. Let it not be said that I can't pick 'em.

Yesterday was bizarre. I was still wallowing in the gutter most of the morning, but the noon hour brought some surprises...err, well, just one, but it was huge...for me, anyway. After purchasing lunch in the union, I was on my way up to a favourite study spot and happened to run into a friend. We swapped exam nightmares for a bit and as I was about to make my way to my destination, a lovely blonde who'd been eating by herself stood up and gathered her things to leave. A cute one she was, indeed. No eye contact was made...blah.

But...she made it a point to exit through the doors nearest to me, rather than the more conveniently located ones. I looked, our eyes met, and she smiled. There I stood, dumbfounded. This woman was gorgeous...and she smiled at me, out of the blue. "Stop her...say something...go, go, go!" but nothing came out. I was at a complete loss for words.

I stood there for a while, mouth agape. My friend witnessed it and was having a similar reaction. Wow. When I parted ways with him, I scanned around for her elsewhere in the union but she was long gone, possibly to never be seen again.

It did wonders for my mood, though.

Then, a favourite football team (CSKA Moscow) decimated Palermo 3-1. It's the little things that help the most.

The rest of the day was uneventful, but I began to put things back into perspective and climb back in the steamroller so as to squash those items ahead of me which are causing me worry. Can't wait to get an answer next week...major, major source of anxiety and stress at the moment.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I've known a woman for a while now. She was interested in me, but my sights were set elsewhere at the time. It seemed like she never really backed off and I recently became very interested.

She's backed off. Way off, apparently. Luckily, I've saved myself the embarrassment of making her tell me so, but still. It almost hurts a little more this way.

While I'm in the midst of stressing out about everything else under the sun (MCAT, applying to med school, this, that, and the other...), this is just one more thing to make me throw my hands up and yell, "Yeaaaahhh, why not? What else can not go my way right now?"

Feeling really lonely. Just about convinced I'll be a lonely man for the rest of my days.Anxious about my ADHD testing results (next week brings the results). Tired of my classes. Ready for a break. Ready for something new. Ready to go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A young lady mentioned to me long ago that she felt like I become easily and intensely obsessed with things, only to later move on in favour of something else. At the time, I didn't really accept this idea...but now I know it's true.

Within the last two years, my major obsessions have been golf, medicine, and certain musical artists. There have been loads of miniature love affairs, which last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Most recently, the Bed Intruder song, as funny as it sounds, has been a tremendous draw for me. I was in the midst of studying for a series of exams and looked it up in a moment of desperation, needing a quick laugh. The result has been that I've listened to it several times a day since Saturday. I'm singing it over and over just about all day...just can't stop. During all of this, I was also obsessively watching clips from Mock the Week, as I mentioned earlier. I dropped that after a day or two.

Last year during Christmas break, I, for whatever reason, became intensely interested in football. Having never played a football video game before, I decided that I'd really enjoy owning a FIFA game for my xbox. I bought the latest edition, and sure enough, loved the tarnation out of it. I dropped it once classes resumed in January of this year. I had a brief revisiting during the World Cup. Several days ago, the idea to play it again hit me and it's been nonstop since. I've expanded it further by seeking out avenues by which I may watch actual games, despite not necessarily having the time to do so. Not sure if I'm going to let that stop me.

I remembered the other day, while watching Mock the Week, that I was intensely interested in Mortal Kombat video games at one time. I spent quite a lot of time memorising the button combinations that would perform specific moves for my favourite characters. Very clearly, I remember my mom saying, "If only you'd spend this much time and energy on your school work." I wasn't a bad student by any means at this time. Most of it came naturally and didn't require much study. My reply to her was something along the lines of, "Well, if my school work was this fun/interesting..." I've noticed that I'm not as excited to be at my current academic level as I was, say, a year ago. The material, especially molecular biology, is quite interesting, but studying it is tedious and uninteresting. I hate it. I'm bored by it... can't quite work out why. Maybe it's because I have to do it, whereas if I had the ability to do it at my leisure, I could be a molecular biology genius.

This is a problem. A big problem. I wonder what might happen if, by some miracle, I'm accepted into med school upon first applying. Will I burn out and be disinterested in learning the material just as quickly?


Saturday, October 23, 2010


  • Haven't had to resort to studying in the bathroom since last weekend.
  • Was below the curve again for one of my exams...oh, wonderful. Feel I did okay on the other; won't know until next week, maybe. One more to take next week.
  • Won't know the results of my ADHD evaluation for three agonising weeks.
  • I've taken to studying to the sounds of nature...found a bunch of mp3s of birds carrying on, ocean waves crashing, etc. It's quite lovely and almost makes me forget that I'm locked away indoors. Bird songs do wonders for my emotional state. haha
  • Couldn't turn up for volunteering this week due to having been a bit under the weather in the latter half of the week.
  • Rediscovered Mock the Week on Youtube and spent my last waking hour Thursday night watching clips of the "Things..." segment. Frankie Boyle, Hugh Dennis, and Milton Jones crack me up like few others can.
  • Briefly, yet seriously, considered abandoning my current degree and taking back up with being an art major. Physics II is my last required class for med school, and I'll complete that in the spring. Oh, temptation. Money is a factor that severely inhibits my ability to jump ship. Only three semesters stand between me and graduation.
  • Had a great time playing (getting destroyed in) FIFA on the xbox with my flatmates last night. Competition was fierce!
  • I've begun organising my Christmas break schedule. I'll hopefully get in to shadow in the ER for the duration of the break. I'll begin my MCAT prep...and if finances allow, I'll take a wee roadtrip with my flatmates!
The end. heh

Saturday, October 16, 2010

All things must pass

The peace and quiet in the apartment has now come to an end. Grad Student I decided to get drunk and watch football. He's every bit as loud as my flatmates were last year.

...all this, the weekend before a big exam week for me. Feels like I just can't win!

So, I'm writing this from my bathroom. It's got a really noisy exhaust fan, so it drowns out GS I's ridiculous yelling at the television. I wish I would've thought of studying in here last year!!

I'm here to cater to your needs, but only to a certain extent...

*Call bell*
Me: How can I help you?
Patient: Can you bring me some ice? ...A lot of ice?
 Me: Sure thing!

 I got a humongous mug full of ice and jaunted off down towards the patient's room.

When I entered, he and his family were very grateful. As I was leaving, I heard one of the visitors say, "On the rocks, please!"

I turned around and the patient had just opened a large bottle of rum.

I couldn't believe my eyes. He wouldn't give me the bottle, so the nurse had to go in and snatch it away from him. Unbelievable!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Had a rough day of those "Never gonna make it to med school" days. One of my flatmates provided some encouraging words that didn't sink it until lunchtime today. More on that in a bit.

For the first time since the beginning of the term, I understood precisely what was going on for about a 20 minute chunk of my molecular biology lecture. It was exactly the second wind I needed to ramp up my exam-prep.

After class, I went to take care of some small things around town and happened upon a gigantic antiques shop. I'm drawn to antiques shops like moth to flame. There is something so mysterious, charming, and worthy of praise about them... not much produced these days is built to last, so naturally, I value highly the longevity of these items.

As I wandered around from one aisle to the next, I saw all manner of trinkets, furniture, and books. If only I could take it all home with me. I decided that I'd let myself buy one item (or a combination of items, not to exceed $20 in total) if something really took hold of me. The closest I came was with a shelf full of very old cameras. I have one that belonged to my great-grandfather that is in the precise style as all of the ones in the shop, but definitely higher end. Still, though, to see so many was a joy.

...and I thought about my grandfather, for whom photography was a great passion. It's getting close to 20 years since he passed and I miss him greatly. I often wish that he was still here to see me on my path to medical school, and I sure could use his guidance on all things academic. He was a doctor, but not of the medical variety. Anyway, as I was turning the camera in my hands, I smiled and wondered what his reaction would be to these items...I wondered if he'd greet them with as much approval.

I took the long way home. I don't recall thinking about anything in particular, which is rather strange for me. During a study break, I thought a little about the girl I'd met yesterday. My flatmates say I should snatch her up now before someone else does, but I'd feel more than a little weird dating someone fresh out of high school. Some part of me agrees I should dive in and see what happens. Uh, the rest of me is waiting to dive in after she's above the legal drinking age. ha.

I also thought about the advice from my flatmate...he was very encouraging when he said that I shouldn't worry about failure, that I shouldn't worry about my last year of university not being outstanding, stop doubting myself, and just go for it. Since I last met with my pre-health advisor, I've been thinking a lot about his advice to stay for another year to show solid academic achievement. I really don't want to. Maybe it's foolish to ignore his advice, but I made up my mind to do just that. I feel like I'm ready. Full steam ahead!

No time was wasted whipping out the MSAR and evaluating all of the schools I'd bookmarked earlier in the year. I removed some bookmarks, added some new ones, and made an Excel sheet with all of the pertinent data on each school. I can sort it by GPA, science GPA, MCAT, etc... time well spent! I picked a half dozen schools to which I'll apply and felt more motivated than I have in a month.

Just a few minutes ago, I spoke to my grandma for the first time in a few months (ah!!). At the end of the call, she mentioned my grandpa and how he struggled and doubted himself plenty, as well. End the end, he got to where he'd wanted to go. She told me to keep my nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, and in those precise words.

After we hung up, I thought more about my grandpa, and about this morning in the antiques shop. Maybe he is witnessing all of this, and cheering me on, to boot. It's a lovely thought.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The loveliest of mornings

Mine eyes have laid upon a fine beauty, a mere hour ago.

Mine lips spoke to her words so softly and true.

My heart was aflutter, with enough energy to propel myself to the edge of the galaxy and back in the stretch of three short seconds.

Her hair, a lovely chocolate brown, draped alongside the edges of a perfectly oval face.

Her eyes, a striking blue, like the waters of the Caribbean, all the more enhanced by lightly applied black eyeliner.

Her voice, soft and gentle, and so incredibly feminine.

The blush on her cheeks, as red as any rose...

A stunning beauty, no question about it. For the better part of an hour we sat in close proximity, laughing, talking briefly of desires to run away to the countryside and leave the madness of the city  behind...looking deeply into one another's eyes.

Josiah fell flat on his face in love...

...only to find that she is ten years his junior.

Par. for. the. course.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Josiah the report-writer

I'm required to produce a report for tomorrow morning's lab. My progress thus far is outlined below:

12:45-ish p.m.: Computer on, Word open, let's do this.
12:50 p.m.: Title page and opening sentence written.
12:55 p.m. Checking email
1:00 p.m.: Facebook
1:20 p.m.: Typing and erasing a second sentence.
1:22 p.m.: "I should change my desktop wallpaper to something nice and autumn-like!"
1:40 p.m.: Facebook
1:45 p.m.: Glanced at report
1:46 p.m.: "I need new shoes." Resisted urge to visit various online shoe dealerships.
1:50 p.m.: Finished large mug of coffee
1:51 p.m.: "I'm going to get this report finished by 4 p.m."
1:55 p.m.: Facebook
2:05 p.m.: "I've wasted over an hour already." Feeling antsy. Wanting to do anything and everything not related to science. Looked longingly at unfinished painting... logged in here to write about my procrastination.

Now, for real, I'm going to get. this. business. DONE.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Out to sea

Wednesday morning was one of the most beautiful we've had since March, I'd say. Lovely, clear, and cool. Ah, come on, winter!

Each time the weather begins to transition in this manner, I feel like my happiness is in full bloom. There is great comfort in the cold! Women are also usually all the more beautiful in their cozy, comfortable, and warm winter attire.

My only class on Wednesdays ends just after 9 a.m. The crisp air was completely invigorating and put me in the most wonderful mood. After buying my favourite seasonal blend coffee, I strolled quite leisurely to my car and felt glad to be in the moment. I watched the limbs of trees swaying in the wind and took notice of the way by which the light hit the leaves, and the shadows it made on the ground. Almost instantly, I felt the urge to paint.

I'm a terrible painter. Always have been. Years ago, I swore I'd not bother with it anymore...

...but I found myself in an art supply store a short time later, stocking up on paints, canvases, and brushes. I couldn't wait to get home, put on The Beatles' "Revolver" and paint until the sun went down.

I got back around 11 a.m. and set straight to work. Hours whisked on by, and at 3 p.m., I sort of snapped out of it and realised that I had to keep an appointment with my psychologist for more ADHD testing. It was the loveliest, most stress-free couple of hours I've spent in ages. It was nice to not think about SNPs, calculating the velocity of a satellite orbiting the earth, or the lytic cycle of phage T4.

There hasn't been sufficient time since to finish my painting. It's all I've been thinking about, though... makes focusing on my studies that much more difficult. When I get into my artistic modes like this, I'm rather powerless to resist. I have to cave in, and it's always terribly satisfying. It's like being caught up in a current and carted swiftly out to sea...only, it's enjoyable.

Another two weeks until my ADHD testing is complete, by the way. I'm looking forward to getting answers, or even asking new questions.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts. We're experiencing some unusual turbulence.

The results of each of my first exams are in and disappointed me greatly.

Molecular Biology: 62 (with the curve); Class average: 80
Genetics: 73; Class average: 84
Physics: 56; Class average: 60

I found out my molec score in the morning, genetics in the early afternoon, and the K.O. punch delivered by my physics score came in late afternoon. Absolutely devastated, I was. Worse still, I had a meeting with my pre-med adviser the next morning. I was still busy ripping myself to shreds over my poor performance, and his reaction to my plans to apply to med school this spring came across as if I'd slapped his mother. He suggests I pick up a second major and stay an extra year.

My first reaction was to resist.

My second reaction was to get a second opinion.

My third reaction was to just give the whole thing up entirely...but that only lasted a few minutes.

My fourth, and final, reaction was to just go with it. He's been doing his job for over 20 years and is highly respected by the university, as well as many physicians and representatives from medical schools in the state.

So, I have no idea what I'll pick. He gave me a list of related majors that I could easily knock out in a year, but none of them sound too terribly appealing. Maybe I'll take another minor or two instead.

Also, I decided that if I am going to be stuck in university for another year, I need to be making money. I've applied to a limited access training program for respiratory therapy, which I'll begin in the spring if I'm accepted. I'm going to take a bunch of medically relevant, easy-A classes at my university in the spring (at my adviser's suggestion), and will have loads of free time. I should be able to complete the program by December '11 and then hopefully get right to work...perhaps at Big City Hospital! I know a guy who does it part time while he's finishing his degree; also a pre-med. Good guy, probably get an in that way, along with my prior employment experience there and my current status as a volunteer.

Things are still not looking good academically, though. I can't ignore this fact. I've been seeing an expert on learning disabilities and had my first round of testing with him yesterday. Two more sessions should be sufficient to have a better understanding of what sort of problem I'm facing, and then the work will begin on working around it. That's what I'm most looking forward to...I can't wait to start making those As again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


What would you like to know about it? You happen to be talking to an expert.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Everlasting light

I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a patient yesterday who has done more than I could ever possibly imagine to make the world a better place. When I walked into the patient's room, there were people packed in like sardines...all smiling, laughing.

Went through  my usual routine, got roped into conversation, and stayed for over an hour. It was impossible to tear myself away. The amount of joy and honest-to-goodness kindness and sincerity was absolutely overwhelming.

My face hurt something fierce from smiling so much.

The whole time, I kept thinking, "YES, YES! This is precisely why I want to go into medicine!" In all of my life, and in all of the different roles I've played, I've never been so lucky as to be a part of the lives of so many wonderful people.

I also had occasion to sit with a little old lady who'd been admitted only hours earlier. She was incredibly sweet, but definitely lonely and a bit worried. I sat and talked with her for a while and had her smiling within a few minutes. To enter a room and see someone a bit shifty-eyed and panicky, and leave with them happy and laughing...yeah, it's an indescribable feeling.

Lately I've been listening to "Brothers" by The Black Keys basically non-stop. When I got into my car, the first song to play on the disc is actually the first on the record (and my favourite)... "Everlasting Light." It's really more of a love song, but it feels appropriate when applied to my new-ish role as a volunteer. I especially like the second verse.

For quite some time, I've had a lot of pent-up feelings of wanting to just pour myself into doing things for people in need, and I'm really glad I've finally hit on something that allows me to do it...and gives me the freedom to pour it on as thick as I please!

Let me be your everlasting light
Sun when there is none
I'm a shepherd for you
and I'll guide you through
Let me be your everlasting light

Let me be your everlasting light
I'll hold and never scold
In me you can confide
when no one's by your side
Let me be your everlasting light

Oh baby, can't you see
it shining just for you?
Loneliness is over
Dark days are through
They're through

Let me be your everlasting light
A train going away from pain
Love is the coal that makes this train roll
Let me be your everlasting light

Thursday, September 23, 2010


  • Thinking of becoming an EMT for a little adventure
  • Having some weirdness with a woman. I know she's interested...or was. Not sure if I am. Hm. I have no idea what is going on with my life in the romance department, to be honest.
  • Practice MCAT exam in the morning...and I'm about to have a beer and watch a movie. I've been up since 5 a.m. Probably making a bad decision.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

My heart is heavy once more, my dear, all from the plight of several patients with whom I crossed paths this weekend.

On Friday, I went with a group to an abandoned children's home to assist the nursing staff. All of the children have moderate to severe medical issues, and almost all of them showed up on the doorstep in the wee hours of the morning. What could possess a parent to do such a thing is completely beyond me.

The children were all so very sweet and excited to see all of us. There was an awful lot of laughter and smiling...the duality of the situation was a right mind-bender. Inside, I was torn to bits with sadness for these little guys who never have the chance to play ball in the park with their dad, go to the zoo with grandparents, and all of the other little things that I remember so fondly of my own childhood. Christmas, Thanksgiving... mercy. It was as if a tidal wave had struck me. Several times I caught my eyes going a little misty.

One kid in particular latched onto me. "You're my friend?" he kept asking. Each time I answered, I was a little more enthusiastic. In turn, he giggled a little more.

Despite being in a van full of cute, intelligent women on the way back home, I couldn't bring myself to say much. No one really did. The trip there was a wildly different story...I even traded numbers with one of them. Heh.

The next day at Big City Hospital, everything was really upbeat and pleasant for the first hour. I volunteered to go on many side quests for the nurses and met some lovely people along the way. The Nurse and I kidded each other a bit, and some of the techs who always tease me were in playful moods, as well. I'd not forgotten the children I'd met the day before, but I wasn't weighted down by those sad was their smiles and laughter that I was thinking about.

One of my favourite male nurses was working, which is always a recipe for a good time. Great sense of humour. We passed in the hallway and after a brief chat, he asked that I go visit one of his patients who was having a rather rough time of it.

I marched into all sorts of misery.

As the man was crossing a relatively tame two-lane street to his apartment complex, some soccer mom going at least 10 mph over the speed limit in her stupid SUV ran the red light and struck the poor guy. He was a pretty simple man in all meanings of the word. Hard-working, humble, man of few words... and quite lonely. Apparently, his family lives nearby, but no one had been in to visit. I can't imagine.

We talked for a little while and he asked if I'd mind sitting down and watching television with him. It was all I could do not to burst out crying. His story really got to me. He was so could his family practically abandon him in this way? I tried to reason that perhaps they were in a bad way financially and were unable to come because they were at their second or third jobs trying to stay afloat. I tried to think of anything.

Without making a conscious effort to do so, I went into overdrive trying to find ways to help him feel more at ease and that someone cares about him. It was another moment in the hospital in which I felt so damned helpless. I knew he appreciated what I was trying to do, but I don't feel like I broke through to him like I wanted. Ugh.

As my shift came to a close, he thanked me for spending time with him and asked if he'd see me the next day. I hated to tell him that I'm only there once a week. He seemed a little disappointed.

On the drive home, I began wondering if I should show up again for a while the next day. Maybe I'd send him a card, or some flowers, or something. Maybe anonymously. Maybe not. Undecided. I felt, and still feel, torn in two over the issue. I have a monster exam for which I'm currently insufficiently prepared and feel the need to work on rectifying that. The other side says that the exam is not nearly as important.

I think I'll think it over over a cup of tea.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today at Big City Hospital

I walked out of Big City Hospital today with dozens of sincere "Thank you"s reverberating around in my head and feeling as though I really brought some good into the world. Furthermore, I impressed the pants off of a teaching doc by performing a simple act of courtesy.

All of this was proof that it's the simple things that oftentimes matter most.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Josiah terrorises the patients and staff at Big City Hospital

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

Another day as a volunteer at Big City Hospital has come to a close, and I cannot honestly tell you that I miss being an employee. The patients and nurses, for whatever reason, seem to appreciate my assistance more now that I'm doing just about the same thing but without pay...well, at least not in terms of cold, hard currency.

It was a great day....a busy day. I really enjoyed visiting with all of the patients and their families, and it felt especially wonderful to try and go above and beyond their requests to really make them comfortable. They all seemed so incredibly appreciative, and there just isn't any beating that!

There were, however, a couple of "moments" that made me squirm in one way or another. I shall detail them below:

1) While making my way around the ward visiting patients, I entered a room on the "quiet" side, where the patients who don't require as much aid are stashed. Before me, halfway between the bed and the closet was a patient...sprawled out face-first on the floor...

Oh, no. Oh, no. OH, NO!
I instantly saw the rise and fall of his back as his lungs filled and expressed air and felt a bit of relief. At least he's not dead!

Also instantaneously, I checked for consciousness..."Are you okay!?"

", NO," came the response. I felt a bit silly having asked, but hey, at least I know that he's alive and alert.

I pressed the emergency button on the bedside and let the patient know help was on its way. Within 30 seconds, his nurse arrived and I practically yelled at her to get others. A few techs and nurses came running and helped him back into the bed...he seemed to be okay!

The story of precisely what happened was never relayed to me. I (unnecessarily) apologised to the nurse I'd yelled at to get help. She laughed and wondered aloud when the world of medicine was going to knock loose some of my manners.

Ever since discovering him lying helpless on the floor, I couldn't help but be gutted at the thought over how long he may have been there. The fact that he'd fallen is enough to tug at my heartstrings, but the possibility of him having been down there for 20-30 minutes is very real and very upsetting. Wow.

2) I was given an item to return to the nurse's station on  another floor, a task I've successfully carried out many a time in the past. When I got off of the elevator, I thought the scenery seemed a bit different... I hadn't been on that floor in a while and I knew that there'd been some remodeling going on throughout the hospital, so I chalked it up to that.

Yeah, as I approached the nurse's station, I had a greater fear that I'd come to the wrong place... but I was stuck. No possible way to get out of this without any embarrassment. I told the nurse that asked what she could do for me that I must've gotten off on the wrong floor...another nurse called my ward and asked where I was supposed to go before I even knew what she was doing.

Oh, God, NO!

The ward clerk that was working is one of the ones who doesn't seem to have too high an opinion of me. Fantastic. It seems like anytime she's around, I just can't make an impression of any sort of intellectual ability. UGH.

When I got back, I just didn't say anything...and went and hung out one of the friendlier patients and their family for a bit. heh. I needed something uplifting.

3) On one of my many elevator trips, the doors flung open to reveal a man and his son inside. I told him to which floor I was headed, and he remarked, "Ah, the top of the line, huh?" as it is the highest floor in the joint. "Yessir," I said with a comical tone, "if you're going to jump, that's the floor to do it from!"

He did not see the humour in it.

Shock, horror, embarrassement. I felt my face turn bright, bright red.

The man said, "Oh, no. I'm not jumping!"

I didn't say anything for a second, kind of marveling at the stupidity of what had just come from my mouth..."Oh, no, sir...I didn't mean..."

He kind of laughed a little, but it was a polite laugh, and stepped off of the elevator.

I am the king of creating awkward situations. I immediately cracked up laughing when the doors closed. Only me. This could only happen to me.

It's fine to joke with the patients and visitors, but steer clear of the morbid kind of humour! I really shouldn't have needed reminding.

Can't wait to see what foolish things I wind up doing next week!

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Josiah and the nurse practioner

I made it to (and through) my lab this morning, but couldn't take the pain of my sore rubbing against my bandage. I, of course, had to park fourteen and three-quarters miles from my class (How does the parking lot fill up at 7:30 a.m.!?). It took me nearly 15 minutes to hobble to my car. I'm sure it was quite a sight.

I whipped off my pants in a careful frenzy. I noticed the pink which encircles the area of irritation had expanded. Also, the area immediately surrounding the wound looked a little like it was bruised. I began to wonder if the tissue was dying.

With some reluctance, I scheduled an afternoon appointment at a family practice just down the road. I psyched myself up for the absolute worst outcome, bandaged up my leg for the trip, and off I went.

First of all, everyone in the office (and I mean, everyone) was extraordinarily nice. The nurse who led me back to the exam room was not only pleasant, but quite lovely. She complimented me on my bandaging skill, and when I mentioned that I'm hoping to make that my life's work, she enthusiastically stated that I'm on the right path. Ha, I knew she was just saying that sort of thing to be nice, but it felt good to hear, anyway.

When the NP came in, she, too, was very pretty! With her was a student from my university, whose brother is in my major. Both of them were incredibly nice and supportive of my aspirations, as well as being impressed with my medical knowledge as it relates to my present condition...not that it's anything at all very difficult, but hey.

Luckily, I did not have to go under the knife! She put me on clindamycin (300 mg, 4x daily) and said I should apply a warm compress several times a day. If this still does not resolve the issue, I'm to go back and get diced up. much as I don't want that, I sure wouldn't mind seeing that nurse who took my vitals and whatnot again. hehe.

So now, I'm sort of nervously awaiting the intestinal discomfort that may come as a result of this medication. She was going to give me doxycycline, but relayed that info after she decided on clindamycin. I took doxycycline years ago and it absolutely destroyed me. In a gentlemanly way, I expressed this to her, as well as my thanks for not making me take it again. haha

I heard the MD who owns the practice milling about, talking to his staff and patients as I waited for the NP to come in initially. He, too, was extraordinarily friendly! I've never been to a physician's office where everyone seemed so happy and so kind to the patients. I may have just found a new PCP! I hate to have to ditch my old one, but since he's about an hour away...

In other news, I have my meeting with someone in the counseling center about ADHD in the morning, directly after my a.m. class. I hope my discomfort is minimal. My class and the office in which my meeting will take place are a long haul from the parking lot. heh

And so the saga continues...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Josiah and the abscess

Saturday morning greeted me with some slight discomfort behind my knee. Upon examination, I saw a small, red, raised bump. I thought that perhaps it was a pimple, although sort of a weird place for one to appear. It's happened before, so I wasn't too concerned.

As the day progressed, especially in the evening, it was irritating me a fair bit more. On Sunday morning, it was bigger and a little redder, with some pinkish colouration encircling it. Maybe it's some sort of bite? Whatever it was, I was not going to let it stop me from playing a round of golf (beat my best score by 8 strokes, by the way).

By Sunday night, I was in some agony...and wearing long pants...without anything between my source of pain and the pant material. I stopped into a drugstore and bought some Neosporin with pain reliever, some gauze, etc. and bandaged myself up.

The sore in question didn't seem to get any larger today, but it has become a darker red...and the diameter of the surrounding pink circle has grown a little. It's not too terribly sore if nothing touches it and I can walk pretty well (like 90%), so I'm using this (against my better judgement) as reason for not visiting a physician over the matter.

I went and did some research online, first with the idea that what I have is some sort of bug bite. None of the pictures I found really tended to match up very well. I eventually hit on abscesses, and this seems to be the closest match, although I'm not entirely sure.

Like a damned fool, I went and looked up how abscesses are treated.



My tolerance for pain is minimal, I'm not ashamed to admit. Oh, please let it be something that resolves spontaneously!

...not my kind of luck. Will probably go in tomorrow if there's no improvement.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Josiah the volunteer to observe all sorts of procedures, most exciting of which was a stroke assessment. Afterwords, the nurse who'd performed it went over the findings with me outside of the room and asked me how I'd rate certain aspects according to the provided scale. Also, we went to a computer and pulled up the CT and MRI images. There was one image in the MRI series that looked a lot like something from ERP's blog and I got all kinds of excited when I saw it.

I knew precisely where the problem was...

...and as I was thinking this, the nurse asked me if I could point it out! Heck yes, I can. Without a second of hesitation I pointed to a bright white spot and said, "There!" He was quite impressed and I felt on top of the world.

It was one of the better days I've had at Big City Hospital. This week I'd been having some doubts as to whether I'd made the right decision in quitting my job and becoming a volunteer, but all of that doubt was erased within an hour of turning up. Very much looking forward to what lies in wait!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hoooooly MOSES!!

I wrote an email to my molecular biology professor this morning after class, partly expressing my exasperation at having my whole conception of the professor-student classroom relationship being knocked for a loop. See, he very briefly presents an idea and then begins asking questions of the class...he won't tell us the answer unless we're really struggling, but sometimes not even then, in which case he directs us to seek the answers on our own. I'm so used to the standard model, in which the professor opens floodgates of information and we're to open wide and ingest it. His method shakes up that comfort zone and places a tremendous amount of responsibility on each student.

At first, this really had me terrified. Going into the class, I'd heard a few stories about his exams and how no amount of study beforehand can make you feel in the least bit prepared. A 50 is apparently a good exam score... uhh. Not exactly the kind of thing you hear that instills confidence.

Now that we're starting to sink into things, I find that I really enjoy leaving the lecture with more questions than answers. I enjoy seeking out my own answers instead of them being handed down, and I kind of enjoy the insecurity of it all. I told him I feel like I'm lost at sea and unsure of which was is up. In his response, which I received just moments ago, his response was, "When you find which way is up, let me know, please!" How many professors in how many disciplines would response to an S.O.S. signal like that? Not many, and that's what makes the subject all that more delightful. He's adrift, as well...but obviously in much deeper waters.

For once, I'm studying a subject in which not all of the answers are known. To think that I stand just about as good a chance as anyone to find an answer...or to ask a question that will lead someone else to an so incredibly appealing.

I also expressed these feelings in the email, as well, along with some questions about epigenetics from a PBS special I saw a while back. Turns out that he did some ground-breaking research in that field and that the programme I saw will be shown, in part, during the course. That gave me goosebumps and got me a bit worked up, but what came next made me grin ear-to-ear and yell out, "NO....WAY!"

What caused such a reaction?

First, a little backstory.

On the second class meeting, the professor had two former students come in and speak to us about the class and how to succeed. We were invited to ask as many questions as we could think of, for these folks were his brightest students,  he proudly proclaimed. One of them just received some tremendous grant and all kinds of accolades for work that she is doing in the field, and the other just scored a 39 on the MCAT.

A 39.

These obviously are not unintelligent folks.

The Q&A session was enlightening, but wasn't nearly long enough. We needed a few hours to really satisfy everyone's curiosity and ease their fears. haha

So, back to the response I received from my professor and the bombshell written at the end.

He'd given me some extra information about the subject in the PBS programme...just enough to really get me excited for section in which we study that phenomenon. It was followed by, and this is a (almost) direct quote, "I believe you would eventually perform very well in this class - you remind me of (the guy who scored a 39 on the MCAT), one of my guest student speakers on Wednesday!"

I've read it over and over again in the last half hour since that arrived in my inbox. What a tremendous compliment! That's even better than the one my genius anatomy professor gave me last fall. WOW!

Feels like starting over

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

This week marked my last day as an employee of Big City Hospital. Not much else to say, except that I start tomorrow as a volunteer. I'll be in the same department and everything, so the change isn't going to be too terribly apparent. The exclusion of a paycheck isn't so hot, but massively shorter hours and less responsibility (freeing me up to witness procedures and such) sounds lovely.

Having completed my first week of classes, I feel a bit exhausted physically and mentally. My molecular biology class is downright devilish, but alarmingly interesting. Never thought I'd live to see the day something like that came from my lips. Microbiology was always a bit more my speed. Hm!

One startling bit of news was delivered this week. I'd written an email to a medical student in which I, among other things, talked about how my university career is going so far (not good enough to get into medical school). I listed a number of factors that I feel contributed to my poor showing, and expressed a little frustration that I'd worked like a dog in some classes but still failed to produce an A or a B. The response I received knocked me for a loop.

She said that I expressed a lot of characteristics of having ADHD. She knows, because she has it.

I was skeptical at first. As we discussed the matter further, I began to see it as a real possibility. A lot of things certainly match up. I got a little excited, realising that this could be the starting point for a new direction in my life. I certainly know I have the intelligence and the potential to do well, but I've been having a hard time following through with it in recent years. With a little help, I could realise my potential and who knows how far I'd go.

With a bit of fear, a bit of embarrassment, and a bit of eagerness, I went to the university counseling center and scheduled an appointment to talk with someone about this and to see if I can go through a proper evaluation and such.

Even if I haven't got ADHD, I do have some sort of problem that needs sorting out, and I feel like I'm reclaiming a little of my life with this first step.

Who'd have ever seen that coming?

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Par for the course, part 23987209

Highly intelligent, extremely cute girl who was in my microbiology class last fall is in one of my classes this term. I worked up the nerve to speak with her today...

and she's only recently acquired a boyfriend. As in, within the last two weeks. She'd been single forever, she told me.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

haha. All I can do is laugh!

...and cross my fingers, hoping she's free again soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The psychology behind getting rip-roarin' drunk

In times of extreme emotional instability, while not the healthiest avenue down which to travel by any means, I can understand why someone would drink themselves stupid. Furthermore, I can also understand someone with little to no experience with alcohol drinking far too much, as they haven't got any feel for their limitations.

What I do not understand, at all, is why people (especially groups of guys) want to congregate and drink until the point of passing out...or why they plan these events with such enthusiasm. Bro, we're going to get soooo waaaasted!

 Logically, incapacitating oneself so severely should be among the last items on life's to-do list.

Some of ERP's latest blog entries deal with "partying" (a name for that activity that I always found to be so cheesy and silly-sounding), and Party Boy II made a comment to Party Boy I on Facebook about them getting all effed up when they reunite over Christmas break, which brought this on. It's something that I think about from time to time, but this holy collection of events all but told me that this post needed to be made.

Having a few drinks and getting silly is one thing (and an enjoyable thing, at that), but to take it to such an extreme... I never have understood.

I must admit that I am grateful for that behaviour on some level, though. It sure makes for great med blog posts.

Monday, August 23, 2010


They're good to have.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lucky charms

Ceci n'est pas une Josiah.

I've never been the kind of person who went much in to superstitions and whathaveyou, but one thing did emerge during mid-2009.

It seems as though I acquired a "lucky" pair of underpants.

As a child, many times did I hear tell of people having "lucky" items, such as pennies, a rabbit's foot, four-leaf clovers, as well as a wide variety of other interesting, and sometimes comical, items. There were several points in my early life in which I decided that I, too, should have some lucky article. I had a couple of lucky pennies, and somehow ended up with a rabbit's foot keychain when I was around 7 or 8.

What good fortune did any of those items ever bring?


So, for many years, I went through my life never so much as giving a thought to anything of that sort... that is, of course, until somewhere around June 2009.

I'd purchased myself a new package of underwear...and there was a bonus pair included. Lovely colours (solid), quite soft and agreeable to the most sensitive of areas. Ahh yes, money well spent. Whilst folding the laundry after the first washing of these new drawers, I noticed one of the new pairs. Light blue. A baby blue, even. That's always been a favourite colour. Don't reckon I'd ever owned a pair of similar hue. Exciting times. Cause for celebration, Carnival style.

Now, the next part of this story is a bit cloudy to me. Although I'm no longer sure of precisely what transpired on the day I first donned those magical underpants, besides taking constant note of how wonderfully they fit, I do know that it was fantastic. So fantastic that, when I was removing them, I made an immediate connection between my good fortune and my underwear.

A charm was born.

From then on, any time something big was coming up, I'd be sure that my bearers of brilliant luck would be clean and ready for wear. I wore them on test days, I wore them when I was likely to encounter desirable women on a Friday night, I wore them to my interview and to my first day at Big City Hospital, and on my first day at my new university...which, incidentally, is what brings me to tell this tale.

Yes, on that day nearly one year ago, my first day on campus brought many delights of the female variety. I met many attractive and intelligent young women that day and felt like I'd hit the jackpot. Of course, I learned over time that all of them were too young and/or already dating someone, but the fact of the matter remains that I'd met more girls in one day than I had in the last 6 months back home.

So, this afternoon as I was folding laundry, it just so happened that the ol' baby blues ended up being the last pair in the pile. Primed and ready to go for tomorrow, they are, which shall hopefully be even half as successful as the previous year. I'm crossing my fingers, looking out through the window for shooting stars...

That was it?

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

Well. The ceremony was lovely.

And she.



Almost better than I'd ever seen her. Once, on the best New Year's Eve of my life, she looked better...but the circumstances had something to do with that.

I scanned the church for attractive women as we were shuffling out and off to the reception, but came up rather empty. There were two women who seemed like they were nice, but boyfriends/husbands/whathaveyou entered the picture.

I'd thought that something like this might happen. The very thing that dragged my carcass in there with a big grin on my face...nowhere to be found. I have to laugh. This is my luck. I can't even meet women at a wedding!

The reception went just about how I'd imagined it would go. Her stuffy relatives either ignored me completely, even after making eye contact, or were very short with me. Excellent! Her mom was in full swing in her role as Ms. Socialite, bragging about this, that, and the other.

I found one of Old Flame's sister's friends to talk to, and that turned out to be really nice. Yeah, she's married. Wouldn't be terribly interested if the situation were different, though. I saw some other people I used to know through Old Flame that I really liked and we had a good, but short, series of conversations.

Old Flame and I only spoke for 2 minutes at the most before someone interrupted. Her husband stuck around for less than 20 seconds, no exaggeration. Fantastic. At least I made the sincere effort!

The best part of the whole ordeal was being introduced to a friend of Old Flame's mom. The guy seriously shakes my hand, eyes me up and down, and walks off. Just like that. Wouldn't even make eye contact with me for the rest of the time I was there.

I am so incredibly glad that it was not me inheriting that mess today!

So, Ol' Josiah rolls on.

Maybe this, finally, will close this sordid chapter of my life.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This is it

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

Today's the day. Old Flame will be Mrs. So-and-so in a few hours. I woke up yesterday morning depressed at the idea, and can't honestly say that today is much better. I did a lot of thinking about it last night before falling asleep, and it's got to be that I still wish things were as good as they were for a certain period of time. No better adjective comes to mind than, "magical." The whole affair was from way out of left field, completely caught me by surprise, knocked me for a loop, and so on and so forth. She was the funniest, sweetest, most compassionate, and certainly, most beautiful woman I'd ever met. Things were absolutely brilliant.

For a period of time.

Then she cooled off a bit. Then things were normal. Then she'd cool off again. Over and over. I knew she had a whole bundle of stress in her life, what with her family and some things in her past, so I tried not to pressure her or pry.

I was going nuts. A real miserable wreck during the down times.

I should've broken it off, but I was afraid that my doing so wouldn't make things any better. There was the distinct feeling of being stuck against the wall, nowhere to go. All I could do was wait for the good times to come round again...maybe make my break then.

But who was I kidding? Each time things were back to normal, I convinced myself somehow that they'd always be normal from then on. No more of this cyclic stuff, she's off that.

Wrong, each and every time.

She's the one who ended it, after three or so years of madness and ecstasy...never simultaneously. She reeled me back in briefly not long after, but then swatted me upside the head with the news she'd been seeing someone else.

It took a long time...a very long get over that. In fact, it wasn't until sometime in the last 3 months or so.

We've stayed in contact, still good friends...we have a lot of the great conversations along the lines of what we used to have, but the sparkle in her eyes is diminished. It's kind of similar to a re-rerun of "Good Times." First time was brilliant, second time was still pretty good...but the third time, there's nothing there. It's flat and void of originality and life.

I've only met the guy she's marrying a handful of times. I liked him alright, I guess. He's a little whiny and has some questionable items in his past, but whatever. I'm not marrying the fool, and with the way things have been the last couple of months, it doesn't look like I'll be hearing much about him either. She's been far more out of contact than she has been in the past. Probably for the best, really.

So, in a few short hours, I'll put on my best suit and make the drive back my old hometown. I'll sit in a beautiful church, surrounded by loads of stuffy society types, and let this thing blow on through. Maybe during the reception I'll meet a nice, eligible woman and we'll sneak off to some little restaurant and lay the foundation for something beautiful.

Or, Old Flame will introduce me to a few who are somewhere in the vicinity of less-than-desirable, and announce to them that I want to be a doctor. The talons will dig in and I'll have to concoct some calculated and daring escape.

Or, better yet, all the women will be astounding and Old Flame will provide proper introductions, but they'll sense that I'm not from a family of billionaires and turn their noses up. haw haw haw.

Whatever. I just want it to be over and done with quickly and come back home. Classes resume Monday, so I've got far more important things with which I should be concerning myself.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting better all the time

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

I packed my things and returned to my apartment Monday evening, only to find that the locks had been changed. Thirty minutes later, I had the new key and began  hauling things in... and found that one of my new flatmates was present.

Turns out to be Grad Student! We got on famously and spent the next five, yes five, hours talking about a variety of subjects. It felt so good to have a flatmate with whom I could converse about world matters and who perfectly understands the need for quiet and a reasonable amount of order. He's incredibly polite and, at 2 a.m. when we decided to call it a night, he mentioned he'd stay up a bit and watch television...and wanted to know if the volume was low enough so as not to disturb me! It was an incredible moment, after living with inconsiderate animals for a year.

As I prepared for bed, I noticed that I was feeling a little ill. Perhaps it was due to not eating enough... I got a granola bar and forced myself to take two measly bites. Nope, hunger is not the culprit here. I felt incredibly nauseous...and worse. Oh, my.

I submitted to the first wave of illness around 2:40 a.m. At 3 a.m., noticing Grad Student was still awake, I knocked on his door and explained the situation. I asked if he'd mind running down the street to get some crackers and Gatorade, my go-to food products during times of illness. He was all too happy to go, and I expressed my gratitude a million times over.

Barely 30 minutes would go by and I'd have to visit the facilities to carry out two of my least favourite activities. I was completely miserable, beyond any awful feeling I'd experienced previously. What a nightmare.

Things very slowly improved throughout the day Tuesday, but I was surely not without copious amounts of misery. After procuring some medication to settle the stomach, as well as some ginger ale, soup, and so on, thanks to my lovely mother, I was in far better shape. I slept for nearly 13 hours last night, completely uninterrupted.

Today, I ate for the first time in over 36 hours...and showered. I'll tell you, the shower was far more enjoyable.

Another guy is due to move in tomorrow, and the last on Friday. I do hope that I'm in proper shape to greet them and assist with the transportation of their belongings into their respective rooms. Furthermore, I hope that they're near as decent as Grad Student!

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Monday, August 16, 2010

There comes a time

My  dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

My return to Big City Hospital has been better than I thought it would be, but the magic and the excitement and my desire to be there as an employee have all slipped out through the back and are waiting for me to catch up in some destination unknown. Consider my two weeks notice to have been formally submitted.

Perhaps it's a mistake, and one that I'll regret greatly in the coming months and years, but this is what my heart says to do.

Some of the nurses weren't too happy, most didn't care (or didn't have time to). The idea of coming back as a volunteer was suggested by a few of them. I might do that...stay in the hospital environment, but only for a few hours one day a week. This will free up plenty of time to focus on my studies, decrease my overall stress level, and afford me the opportunity to still spend time with the nurses with whom I've forged a bit of a friendship.

We'll see. I'm still back and forth on having a medical career, and to what capacity.

Also, those who oversaw my management of the event I failed to organise all approached me recently and asked that I give it another go, but with several months extra to work on it. The realisation that the event would not be anything near the capacity to which I'd aspired was a crushing blow several months ago. Things have changed and I don't know if I feel the same passion for some particular areas of the project. I want to go through with it, but I don't know if I'll have the kind of people I need to  make happen.

Furthermore, Old Flame's wedding is almost here. My desire to go is slightly above my desire to wake and find a bald spot upon my head. She's my friend, I'm happy, etc...but ahh. It could've been us. I'm glad that it isn't...yes, finally glad... but ahh. Plus, her family members make me squirm with their high society airs. I guess the upside is that there will be plenty of women around and I'm at my best in a suit and tie. Ah, I don't know.

That's what it comes down to, all over again.

I just don't know.

I just need a little hint of what I should be doing, what decisions I should be making, what I should focus on and what I should let fall to the side.

Maybe I don't need any of that. Maybe what I need is to shut up, keep my eyes open, and press on.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lessons in Medicine, Act III

To recap where we've been:

Act I: Worship the nursing staff

I learned this well before ever entering the hospital environment, thanks to the blogs I follow. I feel confident that I'd have learned this on my own, but it's good to be prepared in advance.

Act II: Know everything

Simple enough. Be on top of your game. For me at this point, this entails just minor knowledge of the conditions of certain patients, but mostly the whereabouts and general goings-on for the nursing staff and doctors who parade through Comes in handy when you're answering phones. heh

And, without further ado...

Act III: Use your common sense

So far this week, I've seen a number of examples of how plain ol' common sense can play a tremendous role in patient care. To be perfectly honest, I'm having a terrible time trying to verbalise this point. It just goes without saying, similar to how one knows how to breathe. You just know. Err, well, you know what I mean.

A confused, mumbling elderly person who'd been pretty lucid previously probably needs to be looked at. Dizziness, nausea, and seemingly unquenchable thirst won't be resolved by dumping more Pepsi down your throat. Again with the nausea; a patient who can't keep anything down probably shouldn't be given pills to be swallowed.

On and on and on it went. Sometimes I wonder how we've survived this long. haha.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's such a perfect day

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

Upon waking this morning, I took to running, skipping, hopping, and ecstatically moving all over the flat. I even stood there, silently, admiring the place for several minutes. Excitement swept over me as I thought about purchasing a classically-styled wall clock, a nice floor lamp, and some other little bits and pieces to add a touch of character. Ooooh, I could even haul out my record player and show off my impressive jazz collection to several close friends. Some of them have never seen the place!

The possibilities sweeping through my head were exciting and endless. The realisation set in that, in two weeks, three new flatmates will have arrived to spend a year and that at least one of them might be sloppy. Sort of put a damper on my festivities, but I quickly brushed that aside to enjoy the moment and reassure myself that nobody could be as bad as Party Boy.

Pharmacology and I parted ways this afternoon. Overall, I was really disappointed at the shallowness of the material...the book seemed as if it were written for high school students. The biggest tragedy was the last chapter, and the one for which I'd been so excited all term: Neurological Disorders. I was expecting some good info on Parkinson's and dementia, but instead, received only 3/4 of a page for each. The majority of the chapter had to do with blasted headaches and those confounded seizures. Booooooooooring. Ah, should've known better. Now that I'm thinking about it, there wasn't even the slightest mention of neuropathy. To think!

My pharmacology book was a rental and was due back by 5 p.m. Seeing as how the bookstore is in relatively close proximity, I reckoned I could spend the afternoon watching a little golf before I subjected myself to the unbearable heat of summer.

4:30 arrived before I knew it and it was out of the flat with me. I dragged an armful of books with me to the car and started it up... but there was a bit of hesitation before the engine cranked up. Hmm, that's not good. I turned the car off and waited a minute or two. Upon trying to start it up again, I was greeted with a rapid clicking sound from the dashboard...nothing from the engine.


I know a great deal about automobiles. I'm so good (HOW GOOD ARE YOU!?), I'm so good that I can look at a car's headlights and tell you...exactly which way it's going. Thank, Mitch Hedberg, for the joke.

As I was saying, I know next to nothing about automobiles. I did, however, find that I knew enough to realise the battery was kaput. I phoned in for help at 4:40 p.m. Next, I phoned the bookstore to tell them of my tale of woe. The gentleman politely told me that he was sorry about my luck, but that if the book was not back by 5, I'd be charged late fees. Nothing anyone can do about that, so, there you have it. I thanked him for his time and disconnected. It took but one phone call to find a place nearby that could get me set with a new battery in under 10 minutes. Great!

At 15 minutes past 5 p.m. (nearing the expected arrival time of The Man With The Jumper Cables, everything capitalised), the bookstore phone and said that they'd be open a little later and that I could drop it off without charge until 5:45. I told them I was still waiting for assistance and then had to get a new battery, but I'd do my absolute best to be there before they shut the doors.

Help arrived at 5:40 p.m. Furthermore, I had to stand near my car in the heat for precisely an hour. Not only that, but it began to rain as The Man began to dissolve mountains 10 km high of corrosion crusts from the battery terminals. Perfect.

Ordinarily, I'd have been fuming mad. There's another situation which I won't go into that required my presence. I wanted to be there, as well. With all of this, however, it was looking like an impossible task. But yes, I decided to just throw my hands up and surrender to the circumstances I'd been dealt.

I'm so glad that I did.

The Man was rather friendly and we had a good conversation as he resurrected, however temporarily, my car's battery. I got the feeling, a feeling I don't often get, that he was a good and honest man through and through. A thousand utterances of thanks were delivered, and received well, as we parted ways.

The automobile service joint is, at least from what I remembered, right off of one of the main roads near the university. As I approached where I thought it was, I felt my phone vibrate. I'd missed a call and whomever it was had left a voicemail. I listened to it without checking the number of the caller.

It was the bookstore.

The time, it was nearly 6 p.m. The same guy I'd dealt with earlier said that they'd just closed and were sorry that I hadn't made it in time.

...BUT, as long as I could drag my carcass in there when they first open tomorrow, I can avoid being charged anything extra.

It was a beautiful moment for me. The money, ehh, even though I haven't got it (hurry up, financial aid!), isn't was bothered me. It was the situation. Another situation in which I find myself at the receiving end of a solid blow to the kisser, as they used to say. This, too, I resigned myself to and went about my business. To hear, however, that someone was going to cut me a break... cut me a break...really made me feel incredibly thankful! I tried to phone them back to thank them, but there was no answer. I'll arrive in the morning with chilled bottles of champagne, then. heh.

There were two university-aged guys in the auto store (which, by the way, was nowhere near where I'd thought)...and once more, I found myself in the company of friendly, talkative people. We laughed about how much we'd each paid for books for the coming year, and I spread to them the gospel of e-books via torrents and such. The younger guy, just starting out his college career, was beyond thrilled to find that he could return one of his brand-new, unopened books and take back his hard-earned $170-something. I was glad to have been a part of that moment. haha.

The changing of the battery was, of course, swift. The conversation as it was switched was lively and ended with the both of us wishing each other the best of luck in the upcoming year.

The situation in which I wanted to become involved had been canceled, so there was nothing left to do but go back to my lovely flat and do, for the first time since May, precisely as I wanted! I cooked a nice dinner and as I was sipping away at my Yorkshire Tea, my phone buzzed.

Miss South America returned today. She was on my committee for the project that failed, and I'm rather sure that she fancies me a bit. I wasn't too interested, being all swept up with The Nurse and everything at the time... but now that I'm off of that, and sort of in limbo with the lovely shy girl from lab, I realised that I thought of her frequently while she was away. Our conversation ended with me asking her to visit before classes begin. She agreed, but then took off on me... probably chased her off somehow. Ha.

Things are just lovely, all the way around. I can't believe my luck to be experiencing such joy so shortly after being such a miserable wreck. That much sweeter.

I'm off to watch a film on Netflix before bed. Haven't seen a film all the way through in a while. Nice treat, with a glass of Newcastle to accent it!

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

It is my great privilege to announce to you that, as of five minutes ago, I am the sole occupant of this flat. The clouds have parted and the sunshine is raining down in all sorts of heavenly glory.

...and the place is CLEAN!

There is nothing to step around, over, or on to get from my room to the kitchen. There is no need for a doormat outside of my bedroom door to scrape off the assorted deposits on my socks so as not to track them into my pristine carpets... erm, well, believe me, the idea was seriously entertained at more than one point in the last year.

It feels like a brand new start. New opportunities, new beginnings, new, new, new!

Tonight, I'll prepare myself a celebratory feast. Off to procure the ingredients!

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The plan

The plan, as it stands now, is as follows:

Number 1: MCAT next summer
Number 2: Apply to a couple of med schools and a couple of PA schools
Number 3: Look at graduate programs in the Scandinavian countries and the UK
Number 4: Look at employment with Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Number 5: Look at employment in the golf industry.
Number 5a: Look for employment in a laboratory...actually use my degree. GASP!

If I get into PA school and not med school, I reckon I'll do that a few years, which will surely strengthen my application. It'll also give me an even better look at the life of an MD and I'll make absolutely certain that's the route for me. I'll apply to med school 3 times, and if I don't make it, I don't make it.

Back to Big City Hospital later this week after three weeks away. I'm nervous, and I'm kind of dreading it to be perfectly honest. It was a disaster the last week or so I worked. Nothing to do but roll the dice and see what happens, though.

Major update: O-chem and I have officially, and finally, parted ways. I destroyed the lab; almost certainly made an A. The lecture...not so much. Probably another C. I spent a few days ripping myself to bits over that possibility, but now that it's over? Pssh. Whatever. I did the best I could, and that's all I could do. Gotta move on.

Party Boy still has loads of his stuff here, but half of it is in his new place and he is sleeping there...last night was the first. It's unbelievably lovely to have peace and quiet in the flat. It's absolute silence. It's beautiful.

Now's the time for a cup of tea and some work for my last exam of the semester...and I'm doing it with a smile.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This just in...

...only one flatmate selected for the apartment so far...and he's a grad student! His area of study is a mystery at the moment, but the lady in the office said that he was terribly excited to have been matched with someone studious.

Party Boy should be out this weekend, just in time for finals!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Josiah Orville Morris, this is your

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

I awoke before the sun graced this stretch of land with its presence today (5 a.m. to be exact) and have been frantically cramming mechanisms and random bits of organic chemistry trivia into my weary brain just about ever since. Two, ohhh joy, two exams this week. Lab final one day, lecture exam the next. 

In other news, the project is still a sinking ship. None of my committee responded to my phone calls and subsequent emails that I put through on Friday. Darling. Absolutely darling.

When I arrived at the apartment this morning, I opened the door expecting the usual nauseating aroma of Lord-only-knows-what that Party Boy left festering under five pounds of clothes, books, and assorted food wrappers... I expected to see rolling hills of clothing and trash in a post-apocalyptic landscape of neglect and carelessness...

...but what I saw (and smelled) brought great joy to my recently-troubled heart. Boxes. Boxes with Party Boy's stuff in them. The faint hint of various cleaning agents in the air very nearly got me excited in such a way that had only been accomplished by females in the past. Oh, boy, oh, boy. The time of his permanent departure is near! The place will be mine, all mine...all nice and clean...and QUIET for just about three glorious weeks!

Last night was a strange one, for it is usually the time I set aside to spend with my mom while I enjoy her fine home-cooking. However, she's moved into my brand-new step-father's place. Just a few things to tie up after the honeymoon and my ties with that old house will forever be cut. My ties to that part of the state, in which I spent almost all of the last 12 years, will also be almost completely severed. There are quite a number of big changes to wrap my head around at the moment, and I do say that I'm not completely processing any of them at the moment. The big three thoughts on my mind are as follows:

1. Must make an A on both my last lecture exam and final exam to make a B in the class.
2. Have to make the call to say my project won't meet its deadline next week.
3. Wondering if I should explore some other avenue instead of medicine.

Still struggling quite a bit with #3 there. I'll say one thing for certain; Boston Med is precisely the kind of kick in the pantaloons this young gentleman needs to stoke that old fire. Thursdays starting at 10 p.m. are the wildest, most focused times I've had since deciding to become a doctor.

Finally, my dear, Sunday morning brought a situation to me in which never before had I imagined I'd willfully engage... an online lonely hearts club. I've been reasoning that it's better to do something, anything, than sit round feeling miserable. My hope is that I'll come across someone with with intellectual depth the likes of which I've never known, who is tall in stature, and with creativity and genuine love for all beings oozing from her pores. So far, however, it's just been obese NASCAR and/or Twilight fans who couldn't spell to save their lives. ...par for the course?

Yes, I think so.

HA HA HA, laughs the Lord above, at poor ol' Josiah. Pooooor ol' Josiah who is purposefully being dramatic to avoid returning to the exciting world of aldol condensation reactions, and the like.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wasted on the...erm, elderly

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

I've just returned from taking part in the first of two weddings in the span of a month in which I play some role...other than groom. It's that detail that's got me down.

The wedding was nice, and I was in top form. Too bad my charm was wasted on a bunch of women who were 20+ years my senior or were otherwise involved. The realisation struck me in the shower before the big event that there might just be some lovely young women with whom I could become acquainted. Sure put a spring in my step. Oh well. Maybe at the next one.

So tired of being lonely.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trudging along

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

It occurred to me over the weekend that my recent performance problems at Big City Hospital are to do with the volume of stress currently circulating in my life. I've put in for some time off, citing a need to revise for finals...which certainly is true. That's stressor #1, I reckon. I must make a score of 87 or higher to earn an A for the A I so desperately desire.

Stressor #2: The project I've been overseeing for months is just about to fail. I've known it was going to happen for some time, but stayed optimistic. Our deadline is about to arrive and we have some major pieces missing. I feel like a lot of it is my fault. However, I think that I've done rather well considering the amount of leadership experience of this magnitude that I've had going into the project (none). In the coming weeks, I'm going to have to make a phone call that will make me feel three feet tall.

Stressor #3: The flat is a complete disaster. Party Boy is the individual responsible, as always...but he's outdone himself. Photographic evidence shall appear in the coming days on Living With Pigs. Let us all take a moment to pray that it will be the final update on that blog.

The rest are hardly worth mentioning.

I set my mind on sorting myself out after realising what was going wrong. Bright and early this morning I set aside half an hour for rigourous exercise. Pencilling in another half an hour later today, and continuing the trend indefinitely. Surely, the lack of exercise recently has been a major factor in my poor performance in almost all important areas of my life.

Furthermore, my diet is undergoing some changes as well. For the longest, I was the healthiest eater you'd ever want to come across. Sometime during the spring term, odd bits and pieces of junk food seeped into my diet, mainly for their convenience. Increasingly, I turned to these items without paying it much mind. At the grocer's Friday, I noticed my cart contained two bags of chips, two boxes of high-fat cookies, frozen dinners (Kashi, but still...), etc. I put most of it back and shopped like I used to. Fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits, whole wheat bread, and so on. Three days it's been now that I've reformed my diet, and I'm already feeling a bit better. Could just be a mental thing. Doesn't much matter!

Party Boy II, who I'd given a nicer nickname (now forgotten), moved out over the weekend. As the date approached, I thought how funny it was that I was sad to see him go. This time one year ago, I was dreading living with him. He was wild and out of control, at least according the the accounts of his nights posted on a social networking site. When I moved in, he lived up to the reputation for the majority of the autumn term. However, he got quite serious with a young lady and that mellowed him right out. He's still with her and whereas once he was an irresponsible party machine, he's now a focused, serious student who knows precisely where he wants to go. So glad to see that transformation. He's a good kid and I hope that he achieves all that he desires and more.

Still not sure how I'm feeling about a career in medicine. Really not thinking much about it...I'm going to wait until the fog I'm in blows over and go from there.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I don't know

The last couple of times in Big City Hospital were neutral, by way of two extremes: Completely terrible and completely amazing.

The completely terrible part has to do with my interactions with the nursing staff primarily. My mental game was completely off. Someone would phone and as I was telling whomever needed to take the call what the issue was and who was on the other line, my brain took off on holiday. What the hell do I mean I can't remember who is on the line!? They just told me less than a minute ago! I also had trouble with keeping phone numbers straight. Don't know how many times I rang up the wrong person.

I felt completely useless and incompetent. The ward clerk, who I'm not entirely certain ever cared much for me to begin with, really seemed to be raising an eyebrow at me. The harder I tried to get back into things, the worse everything got. It's such an indescribably frustrating feeling, especially for me. I hold myself to an enormously high standard of quality, and I know that no one can be 100% all the time, but I settle for nothing less from myself.

During my last shift, I got really down on myself...the worst thing in the world to do, I know. When I was telling people about myself and that I want to one day become a doctor, I had to cringe when I saw their expressions.

On the upside, however, I had nothing but lovely patients all week. Not a solitary problem out of any of them. They were all gracious and personable and almost all were with me in laughter. There was one family in particular who I couldn't tear myself away from. The mother was in for altered mental status and her children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and even neighbours were there from the start of visiting hours until the end. Fantastic support and love. It was beautiful.

They were all very scientific in their career paths, as well, which was just a joy to speak to them about. Highly, highly intelligent people. Usually when I speak to such individuals, I'm intimidated...but not this time, even in light of my performance on the administrative end of things. We discussed film, literature, philosophy, religion, and tons about the physical sciences. Every last one of them were extremely supportive and encouraging to me over my educational goals, which meant more at those moments than they could ever possibly know.

In the middle of the week, at the tail end of my shift, a stunning middle-aged lady (and I do indeed mean lady) stopped me in the hall and requested assistance finding a particular room. Turns out she was in the wrong wing. The important part here, though, is that as she spoke, I noticed something very familiar in her accent. She comes from an area in which I have strong family ties and spent the majority of my early years. I told her about this and she found it extraordinary. What are the odds? I escorted her to the appropriate area just to keep speaking with her. Haha, found myself wishing that she were maybe 15 years younger... or that I was 15 years older. My, my.

So, at the end of my last shift this week (my least competent day in dealing with the back-end stuff), two or three visitors from various rooms came by the nursing station on their way out and thanked me for spending time with them and so on. It was a bit embarrassing, but as I was driving home, I felt glad for it, if for no other reason than to prove to the ward clerk and such that I'm not completely incompetent and idiotic. Ha.

I've begun seriously analysing whether or not medicine is the right path. I feel like I know it is, but when I have days...several days in a I had, I really, really wonder. I've been giving serious thought to working for Make A Wish instead...still get to help people, and get to do even more of the part I love: making a real connection with people and making them happy.

I don't know what to do. I just don't know.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Having some serious doubts about the project I'm overseeing. It's now just under a month before our first major deadline, and we are dreadfully short of our goal.

I organised a fundraising event the other day. Several of my committee members had other obligations and were unable to attend. Fair enough. Three of them said they might turn up (might as well've said no), and the remaining three said they would be there.

Some of the materials needed were supposed to be delivered at a set time before the event began. The individual in charge of turning up with these things holds a high-ranking position in our parent organisation, known for trustworthiness, promptness, and all of those lovely characteristics.

None of those were displayed in our interaction when they turned up nearly 90 minutes late. To make matters worse, only half of the items we needed showed up.


By this point, I was already a bit hot under the collar due to the fact that none of the folks who'd said they'd be there bothered to show up. There I was, on my own...well, just me and our guest. Beautiful.

Things went as smoothly as they could've gone with me running the entire show. It was incredibly stressful, irritating, and depressing.

With half an hour remaining in the event, in came strolling one of the committee members with whom I'd previously placed an immense amount of trust, and on whom I knew I could always depend. There was a brief, insincere apology. To their credit, they did step up and did their fair share after arriving.

There were some other horrors and blood pressure-elevating moments before all of this even, but the details are too intricate and frustrating to relay. Just know that I spent most of the day telling myself that that was it, that I was throwing in the towel, and that the whole damned thing was a foolish idea in the first place.

Still kind of feel that way, but as I'm settling in for bed this evening, I'm seeing things from a different perspective. Seems as though I've lost sight of the goal; why I started all of this in the first place. I can't wait to really get started with this! turned into I can't wait until this is over! in the last four months, and I'm kind of ashamed.

...and scared.

I wonder if I'll one day feel the same about medicine. A lot of people seem to end up feeling that way at one point or another, at least according to the med blogs I read. I suppose it's normal. I can't help but wonder if it might also be dangerous, however. I don't think I could ever forgive myself for a bad mistake with a patient whilst in a moment of internal selfishness. Selfishness is not a game I like to play.

So, onward and upward we go.