Monday, April 27, 2009

Oral Examinations

Today marks the start of two weeks of midterms exams in the school of pharmacy. Compared to previous quarters of school, we actually have a 'light' schedule consisting of only 5 exams. However, this quarter also marks the beginning of the Therapeutics courses, in which we actually learn pharmacy. A lot of what we have learned up until this point has been the basic sciences behind pharmacy: pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, physiology, etc etc. In therapeutics, we start recommeding drugs, make dosing changes based on kidney and liver function, identify drug-drug interactions and adverse reactions that are from drug therapy. It's pretty cool. It's also really really hard, but it's the reason you come to pharmacy school.

Anyway, therapeutics exams consist of a written portion and an oral portion. For the oral part of the exam, we show up and are given a case, we have 30 minutes to try and figure out what's going on, and then we have 15 minutes to present it to a faculty member along with proper patient counseling, which may or may not be related to the case (example, inhaler use, how to self-inject insulin, etc). Needless to say, this has gotten my classmates in a tizzy. People are literally freaking out over the oral exam and therapeutics in general. I admit, it's a lot of information and there's a little fear of the unknown (like oh god, please let them ask me something I know or don't let me forget all of the drug dosages I just crammed). But I think this happens before all exams. It could go badly, or it could get well, depending on what they ask, right? Riiiight.

Now, my class isn't unique in freaking out. All second year pharmacy students at my school tend to freak out a little this time of year. However, in previous years a girl did pass out during the oral exam and had to be taken to the hospital (she hyperventilated), and it generally consumes everyone. It's impossible to have a normal conversation with people right now. You say "hey, what's up?" which I think is a totally benign converation starter. Invariably, I get the response "OMG therapeutics is killing me!" "I am so stressed out/far behind" " I am really nervous for the oral exam" blah blah blah. It's actually driving me crazy. Not the class or preparation for the oral exam, but my classmates, my colleagues, my peers, are literally driving me UP THE WALL!!!

How does a Ninja deal with the stress you might add? Well I have been downloading a lot of music lately, I have been most diligent about keeping up with my celebrity gossip, last night I watched two movies, and I am writing a blog post 1.5 hours before my first midterm (NOT therapeutics). For me, exams are like a game. You prepare, you train, and then your professor throws you either a wicked curveball or a big fat change-up. You either totally whiff it or you hit it out of the park. It's not a reflection of who you are, but it's usually a reflection of your training. And sometimes you just have an off day. So I don't typically let exams freak me out. I mean come on, what do you think you do as a pharmacist all day? You make drug recommendations, verbally, to a medical team. So really, the oral exam is perfect preparation for our future careers. We should be THANKING them for this opportunity, not freaking out!

I could on about this all day, but I will stop here. It's time to stretch and warm up for Pharmaceutical Chemistry!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Good Word

Tell me what it is with you! No posts? No news? No thoughts?

This past weekend was GLO-RI-OUS. And I made lamb. That's a good story. I'll trade one o' my stories for three others.

Linds - Do you still want me in your home in The Bay Area on May the 17th? I might take a week to chill out, though, so I might be there by the following Sunday Sunday Sunday. It's snowing again in Denver. Want to head out here for a weekend getaway? What are you doing this weekend instead?

Leilani - Question, Why do you never give me a chance to respond to your gmail chats? I'm usually in class, or late to work, or half asleep when I'm gmail, so you have to give me a second. What are you doing instead of giving me a second?

Melanie - I still haven't read that article I sent you a week ago. I'm back in bed so maybe you can call me and summarize it to me and I can fall asleep and dream of a similarities and differences. What are you doing now instead of sleeping?

Please answer your respective questions, and feel free to answer other unspecified matters, and please elaborate. I suggest to use where-what-when-why-how as a guide.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Boston, Massachusetts!

Before there was Lindsay in Denver there was Priscilla in Boston.

Lindsay enjoyed a blizzard in the mountains; I enjoyed sunny skies and three pleasant days.

Fresh off the plane my darling Melanie picks me up and masterfully negotiates through the patchy Boston traffic all the way home. Let me tell you how exciting it was to be in a three-story house: very. Can’t tell you why. I only got as far as the second floor, but it was great. AND! on my very own bed in my very own guest bedroom was what? Was “Eres muy especial,” the pillow with arms. What a promising start. Then I left my wallet on the driveway. Then I met Becka, FINALLY! The woman has a flight to catch to the other end of the country the next morning and is not-so-sidelined with a bad cold, but she still rallies and looks like one million dollars and hangs out. What a lady. Then we picked up my wallet, then we picked up Rachel! Yay, Rachel!
[I don’t tell a good story, I don’t and I know and there’s nothing that any of us can do about it.]
Can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to [terrible] but they had beets and I had Sam Adams like any good tourist on her first night out in Boston Mass. Ah, then across the street to Queereoke.
Alright, I live in the Rocky Mountains. That’s high-altitude. I can run forever, walk for longer than that, dance my pantalones off, yet I get to Boston and And everybody in there was, more or less, rocking the house. Nicki, I’m talking about you. And in Laguna at Main Street bar (or is it just called “Bounce” now?) and after several cocktails, I can hold my own. Um, not so in Boston. Maybe it was stage fright. It’s likely. I’m so bashful. But Melanie and her rad voice and pretty face saved me and the rest of the queereoke-ers from myself. And then Melanie put the o! in queereoke by performing a moving rendition of “Baby Got Back.” Rachel was beaming. I was awed. Everyone celebrated. It was wonderful.
Onward, Friday! Melanie gives me a map to get to Harvard Square while she was at work. I walked there just fine. I checked my e-mail at the law school. I walked back. The walk there took me about 20 minutes, maybe; the walk back took about 3 hours. I suppose that I took for granted the linear streets of Denver and D.C. In any case, it was a nice way to see things. I met a lot of people. Did you know that they have crossing guards for adults? Frankie was the nicest. He understood that I don’t like when people say “Priscilla? Like Priscilla Presley?” if I tell them my name. Thanks, Frank!
Then, warm tea, very necessary. Then, awesome dinner at a piano bar. As we’re waiting for a table, some guy just standing there exchanges a few pleasantries with us, then asks if we’re from here. I’m about ready to pour out our common life story, Melanie’s and mine, when Melanie just says, “No, California,” and I don’t know if it was the tone, which was still nice, or the mere absence of possible continuity, but the guy backed off immediately! I think we even got an “Enjoy your night.” Lesson learned. Awed, two-for-two.
Listen, then we go to this other bar. I meet Anastasia and her fiancée. The conversation naturally turns to tequila. Next thing I know, I’m doing Cristal body shots with very friendly strangers, Melanie’s grabbing onto one flaxen-haired suh-lut after another, and three of the Spice Girls, I kid you not, walk in and start dancing with Anastasia on the bar! It was a very memorable evening, and I use “memorable” about as loosely as…well…
the next morning I wake up with a rash on my stomach. And that’s the story. I despise lies. So the yarn before about citrus oils and prolonged exposure to the early afternoon sun is nothing more than a fairytale. And now I am free.
Sometime on Saturday, I’m going to say afternoon, Melanie and I find ourselves walking around a big tree park. I enjoyed it very much. I like huge trees because you can really access the wind that way, the noise and the feeling. Nice walk. Very good lunch at this place next to the Samuel Adams brewery! Big thanks to Melanie for causing us to snag a primo spot at the bar for the tasting part of the tour. She was telling me under her breath where I need to stand, stay at the back, ok, just stay right here in the back…and then we turned right around and were the first in line for the bar. Most people sat at big tables of about 10 people. We sat at the bar with 4 people. One pitcher per each such group. Subsequently feeling fine, Melanie and I take a nice walk around the town and get on the mofo green line. I make it about 5 stops out of 9 before I advise Melanie of the immediacy of the need to get the f out of there. Sweet, kind Melanie hangs out in some bar, drinking by herself, with a bunch of annoying chumps doing some kind of an annoying themed bar crawl while I get sick for a little while. We missed the museum, which both of us really wanted to see, and actually which my mom was also very sad that we didn’t manage to get to. But we walked some more, saw the big dig area, looks good, Boston! and made it to the North End where we enjoyed a slice of Europe, even to the point of, as Melanie pointed out, charging us for water.
OK, now we get to Two Women and This Dude. Melanie, you can tell this story if you want. For all you fans, it involves a tiger, a zebra, and Jiminy Cricket. And zoology.
After Melanie and I cycled around Boston the whole day, Rachel saved us from more possible physical ravages of unkindly metro trains and comes out to pick us up and we three watch “Flight of the Conchords.” It was a rerun for me because Melanie played it out for me earlier in the day while we were walking around. As always, I liked Melanie’s version best.
And so Sunday arrived, and we went to mass at this little convent, and there were all these kids, so many kinds, so much motion, and as the mass went on it seemed as if all the kids belonged to all of the adults. And we never saw the nuns, but we knew they were there. Then breaking bread over a super good breakfast with super good company, Rachel and Melanie and Anastasia and her fiancée. Afterwards I got to see some of Melanie’s and Rachel’s neighborhood which has some really cute and likely really addictive shops. Melanie got something from a cheese shop, Rachel got a doorknob, I got a sandwich and carrots.
Sad, then the airport. I’ve blocked it out. When I came to, I was still at the airport because my flight was delayed, delayed, canceled! But my quick-thinking mother had already called me with the info for alternate flights and alternate connections—and let me tell you, if you’re trying to get on another flight and another connection, you must know the flight number, the time it leaves, and the time it lands; otherwise, the United people will feign ignorance. Next to lies I despise that, disingenuousness.
Spring breeeeeeak!
And Melanie and I still have “Poker Face,” and I will check out the Watercourse restaurant per Rachels’ recommendation, and now I’m waiting waiting waiting for Mel and Rachem to come on out to the Rockies, for Leilani and I to have another Great American Pia and Leilani Festival, and for Lindsay to stop pretending that she hates the snow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Hi friends.

My spring break was last week and I visited AMDG in Denver, Colorado. When I told people I was going to Denver, invariably I was asked a) was it going to snow or b) would I be snowboarding or skiing. My answers to above were "I hope not" and "hell no."

I think this attitude must have cursed me because it dumped a foot of snow on my first full day in Denver. I have never seen snow like that in my life. I mean, it really did snow allllll day. And let me be very clear about something: I hate snow. It's cold and wet--what is so cool about that? Maybe I shouldn't have gone to Denver, but I wanted to visit AMDG and when else was I going to get a chance to visit the Rockies considering my aversion for all things wintery?

The upside to the snow was that AMDG's law school classes were canceled that day so we had all day to try and avoid the snow. I really wanted to go to the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art for a Damien Hirst exhibit, so we set out after breakfast despite the blizzard. We decided to take public transportation, which would have worked out nicely if we didn't have to transfer from light rail to bus. By the time we got off the bus and were only like 2-3 blocks from the Museum, we were so cold that I made AMDG take me home. I think the conversation went like this:

Ninja: I'm cold, can we go home?
AMDG: We're only like 3 blocks from the Museum.
Ninja: I know, but I can't feel my feet. Can we just go?
AMDG: No, we're almost there.
AMDG: Ok, let's go.

When we got back to AMDG's apartment we were greeted by the nice little suprise of snow inside the house. I guess that's what happens when there's a blizzard outside and you leave your windows open. Haha. I have pictures, it was amazing. Although not quite as amazing as AMDG cleaning it up and clearing off the balcony the next day while I watched. Heeheee.

Friday arrived with no more snow (horray!) and I managed to make it to Starbucks on foot. As AMDG found, I am incredibly unpleasant when uncaffeinated and so I will go to great lengths to obtain caffeine. And food, especially Jalapeno Cheetos, which are AMAZING and you must try. I introduced them to AMDG and some of her friends, and they are quite the delicious snack. Not too cheesy, not too spicy. Perfect.

Friday was also the Sangria Showdown. I will only say that AMDG was robbed. Sangria should not be so sweet that your mouth puckers. But the party was fun regardless, and now I know how to make quiche and a super-yummy secret desert that I can't share with you over the internet because it's a secret. All I will say is that Nutella + Marshmellows = sunshine and rainbows for your mouth.

We had big plans for Saturday, but considering we spent most of the morning watching Celine Dion in concert, we got kind of a late start. We did make it to the Coors brewery however, after eating some tasty burgers at Elway's, the restaurant owned by John Elway. AMDG tried to convince me to ask our waiter who John Elway was, but the waiter was French and I chickened out. I should have done it, but I'm lame. Sorry AMDG, next time.

Sunday was my last day in Denver and it was BEAUTIFUL. We went to Boulder, cruised around listening to the Beach Boys with the windows down (my favorite thing to do), and walked around a park. We ate icecream in the sunshine and it was awesome. Probably the best time all weekend.

Now I am back in rainy SF, getting my butt kicked in school and it's only the second week. I hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for a great vacation, AMDG, and I can't wait for you to come stay with me this spring!

Love Ninja

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whan that Aprile

Yes yes and yes. It's one of those afternoons when you're falling asleep inside the CLASSROOM AT 26 YEARS OF AGE and all is right with the world. It would be peaceful if there wasn't so much of a mess to complete in a very short amount of time. Leilani, have we ever met? I wonder if we did. I cannot remember. If only I had a blog-posted story to which to refer when I warmly reminisce about our earliest times together. School's out fortoday. Ciao.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 31

1. Posted my questions for Ninja (see below)2. Posted criagslist and facebook ads for softball players, I'm the team rep.
3. Emailed update to Coach and other Rep.
4. Rescheduled appointment with Dermatologist.
5. Emailed people interested in babysitting service.
6. Cleaned for the arrival of Kathy and Patricia.
7. Got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor, a la Cinderella.
8. Took example Food and Fun binder to office and explained how it should be changed.
9. Forgot to return Watchmen....
10. Didn't have a task.... 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Questions for My Pharmacist

Okay ninja, I've decided you're my personal pharmacist since I know nothing about drugs and you know everything.

Question 1: I started on a new allergy medication.  I used to take AllerClear -- 10 mg of Loratadine, of course I used to take two -- don't know why, so 20 mg.  I told my doctor it wasn't working well and said I thought I needed a new prescription.   She said it was very difficult to approve allergy medication prescriptions these days and that instead I should try Zyrtec first.

So I started on Zyrtec-D a couple of days ago -- 5 mg of Cetirizine and 120 mg of Pseudoephedrine HCI.  I haven't noticed a change in my symptoms (starting to think maybe I need a prescription nose spray again) but I have noticed something else.  The last two days I took the pill around 8 pm, it's a 12 hour extended release tablet, and both times I've woken up in the middle of the night.  The first night I woke up and had trouble falling asleep, then last night I fell right back asleep but I woke up around 5 times.  Then in the mornings I've felt both gittery and foggy.  Do you think it's related?  I'm going to start taking the pill in the morning instead, see if that helps.

Question 2: I have a dental appointment on Monday.  Ever since my ASD repair in '99 I've had to take antibiotics before the appointment -- something about being susceptible to infections. For the first few years I took it seriously, but then it just became a pain.  After my three year appointment my cardiologist told me the device was healed over and that my heart size had reduced to the smallest it would ever get -- the upper reaches of "normal".  It's been almost 10 years since the procedure, I'm normal now, right?  At least I don't need the antibiotic anymore, right?  They dental office called me yesterday inquiring, I told them it had been 9 years and I only needed the antibiotics during the first 5, but I might have made that up.  What do you think?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Two Days

I'm tired, I may not remember all....

1. Finally called car insurance company to find out if I really owe them money, yes, I do, now what to do about it...
2. Another load of laundry.
3. E-contested my parking ticket.
4. Wrote to my supervisors about my interest in greater responsibility -- in other words, I need a promotion.
5. Posted babysitting ad on Craigslist, now to just respond to the interested parties.
6. Posted old TV on Freecycle.
7. RSVP'd for Harvard Prevention Research Center community partners meeting.
8. Bought new allergy meds.

1. Last load of laundry -- phew!
2. Bought gardening bags -- it's that time of year again, Rachel's very excited.
3. Updated Curriculum Blog: A Focus on Reading.
4. Cut, pulled and hacked at dead plants.
5. Filled out Food and Fun proposal (after 5+ months of running club).
6. Wrote to friends about joining Rachel and me at the MOS, our library ticket is valid for up to four people.

New tasks???  I won't officially be done with the previous task until the 14th when my museum ticket is valid.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mappy to the Rescue

I really do think Mappy is helping my productivity.

1. Load of laundry, put away clean clothes.
2. Called Fenway Health back.
3. Put away dishes.
4. Dumped out and rinsed compost bucket.
5. Made appointment with Fenway Health.
6. Worked-out with Rachel!!!
7. Sent bio and picture for Anastasia and Kelly's wedding website
8. Returned and checked out Library books.
9. Next step on task: Went to Library to obtain Science Museum ticket.  

The last task was more difficult than expected because the woman was rude to me.  She took out the MoS calendar and started spitting out dates the tickets were available and then acted put-out when I asked her if I could see the calendar myself because I was having a hard time keeping track of all the dates she was giving me.  I don't understand.  Do people treat her badly?  Is that why she took it out on me?  But I was being pleasant, why spit in the face of the nice people?  Are you trying to get them to be rude to you too?  Maybe she thought I wasn't deserving of the free tickets?  Meh.