Friday, April 28, 2017

Last Blog of the Year's complete! My final month of volunteering has consisted of a lot of tutoring for this pre-nursing student. It was nice that I knew more renal physiology because of this program, so rather than him asking, "whats the point of this?" I could say something along the lines of: "people who are hypertensive will often be on drugs that inhibit ACE....etc.". There was also a question he had concerning water intoxication. I was able to bring up an example of a radio station that had a contest over a game console called "Hold your Wee for a Wii". Unfortunately the kid died from the contest, and it reminds me of that quote based on Paracelsus' saying: "it's dose that makes a poison". In addition to that, Dr. Mielke needed soil samples for his project and he wrote us a letter saying that we were taking part in a community service project. I spent a few hours to find good sites to get soil samples. Most of my areas were in Kenner and Metairie. There is new soil out there that has been brought in from elsewhere and doesn't contain as much lead as some of the more poor urban areas of New Orleans. We learned a lot in "Environmental Signaling". I also learned about the water that we are receiving here in New Orleans. A lot of major cities in the U.S. still use lead piping, but because of solubility properties, if the water is "hard" enough, lead won't leech into the supply. (basic solubility/saturation chemistry). Apparently, the water in Flint wasn't treated properly, and this contributed to the poisoning. So, there are some filters out there that may be wise to purchase. In general nobody here in New Orleans likes to drink the tap. A lot of people order spring water. Perhaps it's the sociologist in me that believes there is some historically ingrained distrust of government here in the south. Then again...the levees...Army corp. of enginee...anyway!
Laissez les bon temp rouler! Good luck in life!
April community service hours:17
Spring semester total community service hours: 33
2016-2017 Academic year total community service hours: 67

Friday, March 31, 2017

March 2017

The shelf exam is over! This month I did community service in the form of tutoring. The tutoring actually covered basic physiology for a pre-nursing student. Another grad student and I helped him cover some basic immunology (granulocytes including basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, etc.) and other leukocytes such as monocytes, macrophages, lymphocytes etc. We talked about bone marrow and where/how leukocytes develop. We also discussed some basic heart physiology and anatomy (concepts in CV system, anatomy-coronary sinus, pulmonary circuit, systemic circuit, peripheral resistance etc.), ATP, creatine phosphate/muscle, and glycolysis. We also discussed what hematocrit was, erythrocyte functions, portal systems, clotting, and various basics. I've learned so much science! I am really happy about how much I learned in this program too. I also started dating someone in the biochemistry masters program here at Tulane. It's been a really good year. Luck in love and academics!

          Total hours this month: 2
          Total hours this semester:16
          Total hours this year: 50

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 2017

Wow. Finally a break! I've been meaning to tally last month as soon as I could. I cemented an A in my "Principles" class. The shelf exam went along with Mardis Gras. Convenient I guess 😜. Medical pharmacology will be over. Time to start preparing my application. I had to keep the volunteer work light. Plus I've earned the break. We have to attend meetings for our hospice group which I am finally tallying. This month I will be able to squeeze in more volunteer work because the NBME shelf exam is over. There is one more beast to tackle, a class called cellular control mechanisms. Overall, I say I made the right choice going with the pharmacology MS program. I learned real ACTUAL medicine. I learned how to treat diseases, and what to expect from the board exams. The coming months have been very well planned out by the faculty and we will be able to integrate time for the MCAT. This program has only solidified my decision to go into medicine. This is what I want to do.

Total this month: 2 hours
Total hours this semester: 14 hours
Total hours this year: 48

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Semester 2, Almost there.

Looks like the first exam of this semester is going to be material heavy. They've picked up the pace this semester but it looks like things are going to taper off a bit by mid-March after our NBME question cumulative final for med. pharm. I spent some time visiting people at the hospice again. This time I met another guy who was dying of cancer. I talked to him about his life. Apparently he fought in Vietnam. He explained to me how New Orleans has changed since he was a kid. I met another woman who was sharing a room. She kept thinking that her roommate was stealing things from her. Before making assumptions I spoke with the nurse. She explained to me that she had some problems with paranoia. I've actually seen this before, but in an AIDS patient. He kept telling me that the nurses weren't giving him his medications or feeding him. I looked into it. The volunteer coordinator explained to me that he was suffering from AIDS related dementia. Apparently he had tried to escape from the hospice several times. He died about a week later. I'm pretty used to seeing people I've gotten to know pass away through this work. You do what you can to lift spirits, whether it's playing poker or throwing a small party. It has been one of the most character-forming experiences of my life.

                        Total hours this month: 12
                        Total hours this semester: 12
                        Total hours this year: 46

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Last blog of the semester!

December 10, 2016

Yay! Another milestone in my long academic career. One more semester and I can put some letters after my name 😜. This last entry allows me to reflect on a little more time spent volunteering for the American Cancer Society. We had the annual Luminaria ceremony over in Hope Lodge. We're building up towards Relay for Life this spring. I hope to participate in that. Present at the ceremony were some cancer survivors, staff, and friends/family members of those who lost loved ones to cancer. Unfortunately, winter cold hit and we decided to hold the ceremony indoors. I also did my usual work with the hospice organization. I got to sit another veteran, this one had Alzheimer's disease. Sitting the patient with me was a veteran of the Iraq War and another time it was a physician assistant. The PA likes what she does but believes that she should be called an associate rather than an assistant. I mentioned it to a physician and the idea really got under his skin 😈😈😈 hehehe. I wish anyone reading this happy holidays.
Total hours this semester: 34
Total hours this month: 17 (mostly hospice sitting but including time with the American Cancer Society)

ACS New Orleans headquarters on River Ridge Rd.

Luminaria bags decorated in memory of those who died of cancer.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 30th: Happy Halloween! Fall is here...which means a week in New Orleans where it's not hot and humid or cold and humid. (Things only a true native knows). Watching my friends from the northeast acclimate to the south...hehehe, priceless. What to say....hmm...we have a test coming up. We learned about all the "Pfizer riser-me too" drugs this block. Tada! 17.5 hours. We started a new class,"Cell and Molecular Pharmacology". It's not so bad. I really need to gain some lab bench experience though. My contact at the American Cancer Society tried to get me out to some activity but notified me the night before through text. Seminar was a conflict with the volunteer work but I still got a chance to continue with my hospice this month. We have these group meetings for people who lost loved ones and they sit around and discuss how they are dealing with their loss. For example, this one woman keeps a box and writes letters to her loved one and puts it in the box. Apparently the act of writing the letter seems to help them deal with the tough days when their loss is unbearable. I think understanding how the family copes with loss will make me a better physician *hopefully*. The rest of the time I spent sitting patients so the family could go out to church etc. I meet a lot of interesting people. Even a World War II vet! Awesomeness. I emailed the physical sciences teacher for SciHigh but haven't heard back. I'm not sure what is going on over there. Lakeside Hospice: sitting patients, attending support groups, miscellaneous. Total hours: 10 10/30/16

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 29th

September 29th 2016 This month we had a pretty big test in Principles of Pharmacology. I managed to score significantly higher than the class average this time,which took a lot of work considering how smart my classmates are. But it will pay off plus it is important for me to actually earn this degree. I have a responsibility to this institution and its reputation. I'm trying to figure out the right balance between work and relaxation because some of my classmates are starting to burn out. The average test scores are falling. I was able to squeeze in some more volunteer work at Lakeside Hospice by visiting sick patients at Uptown Healthcare. They get lonely up there. I remember this one man who was unable to move. He was turned towards the window and he just stares out there all day. He is unable to speak so I just talk to him. Different topics, current events, etc. Its hard to tell if he hears or understands what I'm saying but I can't imagine what it's like to experience that kind of suffering. The certified social worker running the program says that it means a lot to just have someone there. I hope so. I'm trying to see if I can get involved in Sci-high too if they offer some sort of physics or biology. Alex, my contact with the American Cancer Society, is trying to start-up a young professionals group (related to the ACS) and we're still waiting on the information from his colleague. Until next month! My classmates can always ask me "where y'at" in class anyway. Lakeside Hospice/Uptown Healthcare, visiting sick patients Total hours: 4 9/29/16