Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Things

A while ago the lovely Jennifer Hawke tagged me for 25 things. The rules are: once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habit or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged.

I'm going to break the rules because I'm just too lazy to tag 25 people, but because the lovely Jennifer was the one to tag me I will play along. If you would like to be tagged then go ahead and consider yourself tagged.

1. I recently heard that the average person moves homes four times in their life. This fact (if true) makes me a complete freak. I have lived in four countries in seven cities and have moved actual homes ... err ... thirty-three times.

2. The worst years of my life were spent in Baltimore, Maryland. I was lured by the Johns Hopkins name after graduating but was absolutely horrified to find myself living and working in downtown Baltimore. The city frightened me to death and Hopkins was not at all what it's cut out to be. When I left Baltimore it was the one and only time in my life that I bought a one-way plane ticket. I wept with relief as the plane's tires left the tarmac and I realised that I would never again have to set foot onto the streets of Baltimore.

3. I have ridden the Cape Argus Pick 'n' Pay Cycle Tour (109 kms & the largest individually timed bike tour in the world, with ~35,000 riders of all ages and skills) six times. Five of those rides were as a competitive cyclist and my best time ever was 3:04. It killed me to miss the fabled sub-3:00 time by 4.01 measly minutes but that 3:04 time is still something that I'm pretty proud of. Looking at me now you'd never guess that I used to be able to do that.

4. This global economic crisis couldn't have come at a better time in my life if I had planned it. The interest rate on my student loans has plummeted over the past few months (which already puts me two months ahead of my original -- "original revision" per #5 -- end-payments-date later this year) and housing prices are tumbling (which means that my original plan to buy at the end of this year is looking new and improved in terms of what I can afford).

5. Two years ago I put myself on a cash-only basis. This means that I give myself an allowance in cash every Friday and it must last until the following Friday. If I run out of cash, I stop buying until Friday. If I want to purchase something large then I save up the required cash in my savings account, buy on my credit card to get my airline miles and then pay the credit card bill in full from my savings account at the end of the month. I cannot begin to explain what a difference this has made in my financial well-being (see #4 -- this cash-only plan freed up many, many dollars that I had been spending without thinking (either on debit or credit) that in turn have shortened my student loan repayments by years).

6. I cannot stand ground beef. There's something about the consistency that makes me imagine an entire cow being shoved into one end of a large meat grinder and coming out on the other end as the stuff that is on my plate. Gross.

7. I once attended the post-mortem of a horse. If you've never seen one then you will be as surprised as I was to learn that it takes two people to pull the ribs apart to gain access to the internal cavities. Not only does it require two people but it requires two people with their feet on the horse's body, pulling in opposite directions with all of their might. You may not be surprised to imagine what kind of noise this makes if you think about how large horses' ribs are. I hit the ground in a dead faint and have not felt the need to attend a horse's post-mortem since.

8. Speaking of such fun, I have also assisted in blood collections from very large pigs. Apparently the best place to obtain large blood samples from a pig is from behind their eyes (the story goes that the blood pressure is highest at that point). The pigs knew exactly what we were up to as we approached in our space suits (the pigs were housed in a sterile research environment, hence the pre-entry sterilizing shower and space suits) and buried their snouts under their food trays. After looping a metal pole thingy around their necks to pull their heads out, I was horrified (horrified) by the almost human screams that pigs can very loudly emit as blood is being drawn from behind their eyes. This time I did not hit the ground in a dead faint but, in keeping with #7, I have not felt the need to draw pig's blood from behind their eyes since.

9. I have met one blogger on my blog reading list in real life. *waves* We shared an all-too short breakfast together but we have become great friends and I'm so glad that s/he (Ha! need to keep the rest of you guessing!) is now part of my life. I have no doubt that we will remain friends until one of us drops dead (hopefully many, many years from now).

10. I still sometimes marvel at the fact that a formal degree in education is required for teachers who wish to teach at the kindergarten to high school level but that any old idiot with a Ph.D. or M.D. (or both) can stroll into a medical school and teach our future physicians. I sometimes wonder if I should stop marvelling at that fact and become more appalled with it.

11. My favourite organ is the kidney. The counter-current multiplication system? Bring it! Scanning electron micrographs of its interior surface? Oooooh! Aaaah!

12. My least favourite organ is the GI tract. I think this dislike was first realised when I had to learn the histology of the entire GI tract. Good grief, how many times can an epithelium change? Don't get me wrong: I certainly appreciate the complexity of the GI tract and all that it can do, but the details just about brought me to tears.

13. I made the switch to Mac when ol' Bill Gates introduced Vista. Enough is enough.

14. I wish that Lance Armstrong would just stay retired already. I hope he gets clobbered in this year's Tour de France.

15. Although I have witnessed many medical students' tears, I have only been directly responsible for one student's tears. And even then it wasn't really my fault (I was simply enforcing rules), so I don't feel bad about it at all.

16. If a young physician is taking my Pap smear then I always ask them mid-procedure whether they feel that they are adequately sampling the transitional zone. Hey, I'm getting older and it's moving and I want to be sure that they know what they are doing. The answer is invariably "yes" so perhaps I should just shut up.

17. I once told (quite loudly) a parent on a plane that if they didn't make an effort to stop their child from crying then I would and it wouldn't be pretty. In my defense, I had already been in transit for 20 hours and was 6 hours into a 12 hour flight. I was exhausted and I snapped after the child had been crying for an hour and the parent had made no attempt (none!) to comfort/quiet the child. Following my words, the parent scooped up the child and started walking down the aisle (surprise, surprise, the child stopped crying) and the rest of the passengers in my immediate vicinity applauded me. Despite the applause, I have exercised more constraint since that incident.

18. I have seen -- and killed -- *flying* cock roaches. Enough said. Ugh.

19. I cannot stand when people say or write anywayS. It grates on each and every nerve in my body because it is Not. A. Word. The sooner that people realise this the sooner that I can stop feeling like I am sharing the planet with morons.

20. Mushroom egg foo young. I have died and gone to heaven.

21. The custodians in my University work building have taken it upon themselves to label which floor of the building each large, communal recycling bin belongs to. I don't blame them at all for that -- it's a good thing to ensure that the bins stay where they are supposed to be. However, I was walking through the first floor of my building this week and I noticed that all of the bins on that first floor are now labeled "FAST floor". I laughed and I laughed. I wonder if people who question the custodians about the rightful floor of these bins will be told to "go axe yur mudda".

22. There are sections of my hospital that I venture into only once per year (to teach medical students subject X). In one of those sections of the hospital is a coffee shop. I *heart* that it's been a year and the coffee dude still takes my travel coffee mug from me and asks "the usual?" (and gets "the usual" spot-on).

23. I started bike riding on a mountain bike. I then suffered a horrible accident that required surgery and bone grafts. Clever me, I stopped mountain biking and took up road riding (and later road racing). As a result, I have been hit by a car three times. As a result, I have suffered three serious concussions (even with a helmet). The worst of them left me able to literally stare at a wall for hours on end without becoming bored. I swear to you that I could feel my brain moving against my cranial vault if I moved an inch. I wouldn't recommend serious concussions to anyone. You should avoid them.

24. It drives me positively ape-shit batty crazy to see anyone riding a bicycle without a helmet. Seeing someone riding a bicycle, weaving in and out of traffic, without a helmet on the road sends me into a blind ape-shit batty crazy state. I have been known to pull over (both when driving and when riding my bicycle) to give the dumb-asses a lecture or two about the seriousness of head injuries.

25. I am still trying to decide whether problem-based learning (PBL) has a place in the medical school curriculum. If one is in a good PBL group then it works and has value. But such good (great?) PBL groups require so many seemingly cosmic factors to align that they are indeed rare. Perhaps (for the majority) PBL is not worth the time and energy?


Cathy said...

Oh my gosh, I just learned a lot about you. Blood draws from Pigs eyes just makes me sick to even imagine it. That horse thing also sounds completely gross.

I had no idea you have ridden so much and been hurt so badly on bikes. I agree completely about helmets. I see people every day riding motorcycles without a helmet. Are they nuts?

I haven't added them up but we may both be freaks when it comes to moving. Since birth, I'm sure I have moved at least 25 times. For a while Dad was in the Military and we moved constantly.

Good post!

Lutcakes said...
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