enough fingers and toes

Okay so there are now less than 20 days until I leave Grenada. I told you I was bad at keeping track... I started with good intentions but then somewhere between day 30 and now I got busy and lost motivation to take a picture and figure out a Grenada memory each day.

But never fear, I'm back and here is a quick recap. I have been trying to stay motivated to study... it has been a loosing battle. However, I've shipped a large portion of my stuff, donated and sold everything I don't plan on taking home. We took the NBME today and tomorrow starts the final week of classes. Yep just one more week of class, and two exams to go. That is all that stands between me and home for the holidays. I literally cannot wait! 

Some pics to make up for lost time...
Christmas comes to Grenada early (this was the week before Thanksgiving at the campus bank.) Also  Christmas carols are now regularly played on the busses. Raggae Christmas of course, gotta love it!

Cheers and sunset from my old balcony with a good friend. I love good friends and Stag and random inspirations to watch the sunset...  I will miss this!

Yep, you read that right- "Don't Hate, Appreciate" on the same van that has a Baby on Board decal along with the Playboy bunny. Gotta love Grenada! And I've been looking and a few other noticed Reggae bus decals to add to the list including: "Street Smart", "Overcommer" and "Not Lucky but Blessed."  See Grenadians are thankful, as am I. And to celebrate American Thanksgiving I made pumpkin cheesecake. Yum!

And now a picture of my Chrismtas lights because I love all things Christmas (almost as much as my husband.) Who I will see in less wake-ups then my fingers and toes. How very exciting!
Happy Holidays!


first signs (leaving 29 days of island pre-Christmas to go)

Christmas is coming~

On my way to the grocery store, walking through the mall... what did I see?
but a wreath and some hollly and a Chrismtas Tree!

On the speakers overhead, carols filled the air-
Old Saint Nick is watching, so you'd better beware!

Here in Grenada, Thanksgiving has past,
so we are allowed to have our pre-Christmas!


hay is for horses and 30 days left

So I took the weekend off. Well not exactly off off, but off from blogging. We had a lovely 8 hour exam yesterday testing everything taught in the past 2 years.  While the stuff like path and pharm are pretty recent and therefore memorable, subjects such as neuro and anatomy are less so. Good times.

Anyhow, the weather yesterday was nice, it was actually cool, it almost felt like fall. And I saw horses on the way to the exam. I don't think I've seen horses in Grenada before... I've seen goats, cows, stray dogs, lizards, coakroaches, crabs, but no horses. Until yesterday. I'm not sure why it made me so happy but the horses coupled with the weather made me feel like I was somewhere else... not a tropical island.

As for things I'm thankful for and/or will miss upon leaving:

Flip flops-I have 10 pair here which I admit, is kind of ridiculous but I do love my shoes.  And since there is rarely a reason to wear anything else it is footwear of choice on all days.

Random facts learned in lecture- Did you know that cabbage can cause goiter? I mean, you would have to eat a lot of it over an extended period of time, but still... I thought that was a cool factoid. I wonder if other people get excited learning about such random things.


Only 33 days remain to spend time with my amazing friends

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." - Oprah Winfrey

Classic Rock is the kind of friend that will ride the bus with me. Just last week she missed Unity Ball (aka our med school prom) to do biochem with me. For 13 hours. The day after exams ended. Yep. Talk about a good friend...

This is her in Carriacou (another place I will miss) at Bogles Roundhouses where we were staying for a Hash earlier in the term...  (If you ever go to Carriacou I recommend eating or staying at Bogles. Roxanne is a great cook and the cottages are nice too.)

I am so glad that we are almost to third year, and finally being in the hospitals will be great, but I will miss my friends and classmates from Grenada. We are all going our separate ways... so this is my continued reflection on friends I will miss when MS II is over.


my kayak mornings, only 34 left (sigh)

On of my favorite ways to start the day is with an early morning kayak. Lucky for me, Miss P was also in the mood and so we went for a kayak followed by breakfast at the University Club. By 9:30am I'd gotten my exercise in, breakfast, some sunshine and water time. I WILL miss these mornings once I'm stateside.

Are you sick of the water shots yet? Too bad, I'm not...


Stag opportunities last for only 35 more days...

So, the official beer of Grenada is Carib, but I've never really enjoyed it. There is another option however and that is Stag. I will miss my Stag. Perfect with pizza at Prickly Bay or after a powder puff football game. My drink of choice post exams and for all around good times. Cheers!

Confessions of a Med Student Part III

This is part three of the series Confessions. Reflections on my medical school infancy and childhood can be found here: Part I and here: Part II.
Part III. The Third Term Breakdown.

One class. 5 subjects. 6 credits. 6 weeks.

aka. Psychiatry + Biostatistics + Epidemiology + Health care policy + Law and Medicine + Bioethics cont. = Behavioral Science and Medicine.

Maybe because I was a psych major in college, or maybe because I tend to like the non-science part of medicine- recall first term, my favorite class was the one most students couldn't stand (bioethics)- but for whatever reason I really liked third term. Because it was so many different subjects you couldn't really get bored or bogged down with any one thing. Perhaps I'd seen 80% of the material at some point in my prior education. I wonder if that is how the undergrad biochem majors felt during first term. Or how the students with master's degrees in neuroscience felt during 2nd term. In any case, I enjoyed what was for me by far, the easiest of terms. And I got to enjoy the island a bit too. I went sailing. I fully lived my weekends. I had friends over. I went out.  I baked. And I planned and anticipated fourth term.

Fourth term is known to be the hardest of all terms at SGU. You hear rumors. Like- the average of the 2nd exam is a failing grade, 1/4 of the class above you had to decel and 100 students are retaking the class. It is hyped up to be the big bad fourth term, the mountain you must scale and the raison de etre of medical school, it is pathology. All of pathology.  Taught in 4.5 months alongside microbiology and clinical skills because just one class at a time would be humane. Be scared. Be very scared. Or so the rumors go... (you'll have to wait for Part IV to find out my take.)

So in summary: third term is created to torture you before fourth term starts. Since four and half months away from home is not long enough third term ensures that you will be on the rock for a full six months and I think this is why it gets a bad rap. That and people have to do math. And read. Or so my theory goes. As for me, third term was finally a step in the right direction and a great start to what is the 2nd year of medical school.

Stay tuned for fourth term. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Or something like that.


36 sunsets to go...

The sunset over the Caribbean Sea is enough to give me pause, every time.

I'm so happy when I'm actually in the right place to enjoy it for a moment and reflect on the two years that were medical school in Grenada. I am getting excited about almost being an MS III and being done with the classroom, more or less... I mean I know there will still be lectures but not every day and not for hours and hours at a time. I just wish the next month would hurry up already. But while I'm here I'll try to enjoy the 36 sunsets I have left.


my Caribbean Sea doesn't expire for 37 more days

In a sort of random chain of events I found myself at La Source this afternoon with my sister-in-law. And yes I will miss the beautiful, warm turquoise waters just minutes from my apartment and the off chance that I can end up at one of Grenada's top resorts for the afternoon in lieu of pharm and pathophys.

I was too busy enjoying the pool to take a picture, but this is from another beach on the North side of the island taken last term on a day not so unlike today...
... and yes I am aware that I go to medical school in paradise.


Brothers & Sisters - watching with 38 days to go

So, I have to back up for today's memory. During first term I met a classmate and we were instant friends. Every Sunday night I would go to her place off campus and I would enjoy off campus living, complete with oven to bake in and TV to watch. We would normally have dinner (something baked), do some anatomy questions and then watch a mutual favorite TV show- Brothers and Sisters. And so it was, our first term tradition. 

But she is Canadian and was worried that an SGU education may leave her stranded in the USA so when she got accepted to a US medical school she decided to attend. And although she didn't come back to SGU we've kept in touch.  Every Sunday night that we are both in school (provided one of us doesn't have an exam the next day) we Skype and I watch Brothers and Sisters with her, virtually. It is one of my favorite med school rituals. And just another example of a friend made, gratis SGU. And the best part is I don't have to leave the friendship in Grenada. So today is reflecting on things that Grenada has given me instead of things I'll miss. But I will miss the school kids in their uniforms.

I know these picture are not the best but if you look carefully you can make out two boys in the first one, the older brother leading the way. The sisters had matching school uniforms and backpacks. Both were taken on the way to the Hospital last week. I love Grenada kids in their matching uniforms. And Brothers & Sisters always make me smile. And now it is almost time to tune in for my show....


the days dwindle: reflecting on friends far (day 40) and near (day 39)...

Un-inspired is hopefully over.

T-40: More good mail, this time in the form of a lovely pink box with yummy fall treats (think snickerdoodle cookies and home-made maple pecan granola.) Thank you dear K! The PERFECT thing to open after a week of difficult exams.

T-39: Happy feet, because your feet are happy if you are! 
And my feet are very happy here because I have such an amazing friend...


41 more days of random

i won't miss it all, but i will miss a few things.... like the random animals around campus and the island. you never know when you'll run into a goat or bull for that matter. and well it wouldn't be a day without seeing a gecko.

case and point....


hoping uninspired doesn't last (42 more days)

it is the middle of exam week and studying pharm tends to kill my soul. i forgot wasn't inspired to take a picture today (so here is one from my stockpile.) the view is one of my favorites from campus. i use to walk this way every day and take it all in on on my way to class. living off campus this term i have a different view, but sometimes i miss this one...


43 days left to hang my laundry

Today is laundry day and here in the Caribbean we dry our laundry on clotheslines.  I am not sure if I will miss it, to be honest I like my towels fluffy but hanging clothes out to dry is kind of fun. I'm not green enough nor do I have space to do this at home so it is another thing that happens only here....

And because I'm studying today and just had to create a MCQ for clinical skills I'll leave you with this.

A 48 year old woman presents to your office with goiter. Upon palpation the gland feels nodular and there is no tenderness. No bruits are heard upon auscultation. Patient denies any previous illness such as an upper respiratory tract infection but does have a history of rheumatoid arthritis for which she takes NSAIDs. Lab tests reveal decreased TSH levels and increased T3 and T4 levels. Antibody tests come back positive. Nucleotide scanning reveals decreased uptake. What is your patient at an increased risk of developing?

  1. Plummer’s Disease
  2. Hoarse voice and dysphagia
  3. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  4. Hypothyroidism secondary to treatment
  5. Toxic Adenoma


44 more days to bake (with ample room)

If you've read more than a post of mine you'll know that I love to bake. And what does a baker love? Counterspace.  And now that I live off campus I have an abundance...

I think it just might be one of those things I will miss. My counter space at home is not so plentiful.

Confessions of a Med Student- Part II

So the week before last I told you all about how much I adored biochem, not! But I survived it and so it was on to term 2.

This week I'll reflect on the term that was 2nd. (Genetics, Parasitology, Physiology, Neurology, CPM)

It started off with Genetics and Parasitology and truth be told these were well taught and interesting. Each one was only one or two hours of lecture a day, worth two credits each and only two weeks long.  It was compact, doable and a great way to start the term. Good times.

Side Note- I got a toaster oven. Now you might be wondering how this fits into term 2. But it made all the difference for me. I love to bake and having only a stove in my on campus apartment wore on me during first term (not that I would have had time to make anything but the option would have been nice.) Anyhow I made it my goal to get a toaster oven 2nd term and I think that it was one of the things that kept me sane. That and the hammock that I ordered for my balcony. Some people need to run, I need to bake. I like making something from raw ingredients and I love to give away my baked goods, which I did a lot of during the term. Now back to the classroom aspect....

The true fun began when we started Neurology and Physiology. We also had Community and Preventative Medicine to balance things out. In full disclosure, I am interested in Neuro and have past experience in the area so I expected to enjoy the class and was a bit disappointed. The team taught approach made Neuro seem like 5 different classes: there was neuroanatomy and then neurotransmitters and then the neuro clinical exam. And each subject was taught by a different prof which would have been fine except it was as if they never talked to one another. Each lecturer didn't seem to know what we had already learned so I found it frustrating and a bit disorganized. On the upside small groups were fairly useful, we worked through cases and identified structures on plastic brain models. And they did attempt to bring it all together at the end with comprehensive cases but by that point it was too late to be making integrations.

Physiology on the other hand was under the auspice of Dr. Holroyd who I would easily nominate at Professor of the Year. Entertaining in the way that only someone from Australia can be and well presented material, it was almost fun to go to class. Our 10 minute breaks would be filled with Dr. Holroyd's music and as he turned up the volume he would add the visualizer via the projector for full effect. You felt like you were at a rock concert instead of in medical school. But it wasn't easy. I had to work very hard in both neuro (anatomy again, ugh) and physio. Some of my classmates would talk about how physio was all just common sense, I never felt that way, but it was important to the basics of medicine and I felt like we were given a solid background. I frequently look back at my physio notes, they are golden.

So to sum up term 2: Much better than first term. Got a toaster oven.  Classes really depended upon the lecturer of the day. Dr. Holroyd was/is amazing.

So all in all it was an interesting yet difficult term.

Next time I'll tell you all about on one of my favorites, term 3!