Saturday, October 29, 2011

Scary and Annoying Things

Today I visited the middle school where I used to work and saw a girl whose bumblebee costume was way, way too short and inappropriate for a 13 year old girl to wear.  The program leaders at the after school program definitely noticed it - the "skirt" didn't cover her butt and pantyhose are NOT effective for hiding undies.  I was very, very scared for her sake, and also disgusted thinking of people who would enjoy seeing something like that.  I have no idea why the school didn't make her cover up.  These days, I guess micro-skirts are okay for slutty girls and cheerleaders?

Aside from seeing a potential pedophile-magnet costume, today was pretty uneventful.  I went to work, and watched Paranormal Activity 3.  I will sleep early tonight, because now I'm scared to be alone in the living room in a dark house with a ceiling that randomly creaks at night.

Things at work have been up and down depending on my mood and what I get saddled with that day.  I can't tell if I'm just being very negative, or if I have a right to be resentful.  On one hand, I really like interacting with the patients at the secondary location.  The patients invite me to visit their rooms upstairs or to eat with them at Chinatown, which I think is super cute.

On the other hand, I dislike being at the main office.  I think the supervisor manages things very poorly and puts way too much emphasis on profit margins.  I don't think 30 minute appointments are particularly helpful for anyone, especially if the patient spends a third of that time on the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit.   My own physical therapy appointments run over an hour, although some people come and go in less time depending on the severity and phase of their treatment.  I also don't think triple-booking is a very good idea...On a super busy day, when EVERYONE shows up, it means the patients get more time on the TENS and even less time with a PT.  I understand the concept of double-booking in anticipation of a no-show appointment, but triple-booking can lead to a super exhausted and burnt out physical therapist who will leave the moment a better job offer (or less stressful job) comes up.

I hate that I even have to worry about things like my own paycheck, as in,

"Hey C, before boss left on vacation, did he tell you what to do when the pay period ends?"
"He didn't say anything."
" uh, who do we send our hours to?"
"Maybe ask [nicer second in command dude]?"
"Oh...ok....... =/"

Additionally, I don't feel comfortable carrying patient charts around when the PA-C comes to the secondary site to see patients.  This has to be a HIPAA violation.  I probably shouldn't have said anything about it, LOL.  We have an EMR system which is pretty good in terms of layout and user-friendliness, but only a few people use it for charting and notes.  When I first started, the PA-C refused to use the computer to read notes (uh, Shakespeare called and wants his doc back).  She also refused to put her progress notes INTO the chart.  Every time she hands a chart to me, I think, "Really?  Is your life SO hard that you can't even use these low-tech fastener tabs to secure a piece of paper?"*

At the end of the day, I try to remind myself why I do what I do: for the patients, and for the experience.  I like the patients, and I think they appreciate being able to talk with someone who can stick around.  It's still pretty tough though.

*Edit:  I'm starting to learn that I'm really passive aggressive.   I'm not sure whether it's a bad thing or not.  So far, most people seem entertained by it.  I like being entertaining.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Made It!

These last two weeks really sucked.  Last week, I wrote a draft of my personal statement because one of my letter of rec. writers requested it, then discovered during our meeting this week that my professor didn't even know I e-mailed the draft to her.  While I worked on that, I managed to keep up in class, but lost a lot of sleep.  On the bright side, I can now say I've written a draft of my personal statement and will feel guilt-free about procrastinating some more.  Woohoo!

This Tuesday week I drove up to the University of Cows to meet with two of my former professors to hammer out the details of my letter of rec.  I expected a serious interview with serious questions about my motivations, student history, current work-life, etcetc, but they only asked about deadlines and for documents I could easily have e-mailed.  I know they probably wanted to get a sense of who I am as a person, buuuuuut it felt like a big waste of gas and parking money =/

While I was there, I remembered one of the reasons why I disliked campus - people can't drive OR park.

Seriously?  I could park this while wearing the UltraSling II WITHOUT the parking guidelines AND in a giant SUV 

The trip was worthwhile only because I got to meet up with my former P.I. from lab.  He's a hilarious guy.  Now that I'm out in the real world, I can really appreciate how hard it is to find a good boss to work for.  I was really lucky as an undergrad.

Today I met up with one of my liberal arts professors in Oakland to ask her to update my letter of rec as well.  I had a REALLY good time talking to her, which I wasn't expecting because she usually seemed very busy and distracted on campus.  Our meeting ran much later than I initially anticipated - which is good, because I feel like she can write a strong letter on my behalf.

Unfortunately, traffic coming back into the city was seriously bad.  Like, 'dude, rush hour traffic is supposed to go the other way, why are all ya'll on THIS side of the road?!' bad.

I was half an hour late to MCAT class.  =/  Under normal circumstances, I could have made it back into town with 20-30 minutes to spare before class.  The Kaplan instructor probably thinks I'm a total slacker now, what with showing up late and occasionally falling behind on homework.  But that's okay!  It means I will look uber awesome when I finally get back on my game.
Next week, I won't have so much crap to deal with, so my schedule should finally settle down.  I'll get a chance to make a stable study routine (READ: camping out at any and all Starbucks locations).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Playing Catch Up

I've been having trouble keeping up with the MCAT course.  Actually, I'm probably juggling too many different things at once and not setting limits as to how much time I spend on each activity.  Hopefully things will calm down after this week, once I meet my professors and get the ball rolling on my letters of rec.

Yesterday's weather was great, so I went out and took a walk.  I made it all the way up this big fat hill and had originally planned to go buy a tapioca drink, but after I realized how far I would have to walk:

I thought, "Yeah....Nevermind."  So I walked to Starbucks instead.

All in all, a good break.

I didn't make good progress doing Verbal Reasoning "homework" though.  I think they purposely picked the most boring and verbose passages possible and crammed it into a mock VR quiz...It was so terrible that I gave up doing VR exercise in favor of reading for OChem tomorrow.  How sad is that?
What failure looks like.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where Did My Week Go?

Somehow I thought having class Monday/Tuesday instead of Tuesday/Thursday due to the Kaplan instructor's scheduling conflict would leave me with a whole week to do stuff/live a life/AND get ahead in homework.

I didn't get very far.

On Tuesday I finalized all my plans to meet with my former professors to discuss the possibility of writing me letters of recommendation.  I don't know why, but it was stressing me out waiting for them to e-mail me back.  I just really wanted to fit everything into one day without having to a) take a day off work and b) drive three hours and c) pay $10 in bridge toll fees just to meet with ONE professor.  I would do it, but it would suck, especially the toll fees.  I'll be meeting with my biochem and embryology professor on Tuesday followed by lunch with my former research PI; on Thursday I will meet with my old Asian American Studies professor a little closer to home while her daughter is in choir class (lol).  I'm looking forward to lunch with my old boss.  Cool bosses are hard to come by and he's freakin' hilarious in a way that only someone with a really dry sense of humor can appreciate.

I guess it worked out okay.  At least I have a car, but I will be cutting it close on Thursday.

Since I was meeting with my professors on Tuesday, I rushed to write a draft of my personal statement.
It came out okay.  I have been thinking about what to say, so in this case it was a matter of putting that down coherently on paper.  Now, when anyone asks, I can honestly say I worked on my personal statement.  Woohoo!  

One of the Board members from my old job finished her letter of recommendation.  She almost had the staff mail it to me AFTER I had explained in writing that it needs to be sent to Interfolio.

Thank goodness someone asked me to make sure.  I would be scared if it actually came into my hands, since I signed that confidentiality waiver and all and totally paranoid that the admissions committees will go all CSI on the envelope and ban me forever (And yes, I know that's overly dramatic).      

And now, for the Nom of the Week:

Super Duper Burger!  Off the restaurant's Yelp page

Friday, October 14, 2011


I think the biller at work had a panic attack because I accidentally left out one out of a total of ten columns on the worksheet.  The billing categories/codes aren't even that complex, and although I sent a clarifying e-mail about it, she must have complained to the office manager because I got a "talking-to" the next day.  The talking-to doesn't annoy me as much as the fact that the biller couldn't tell me herself.  Anyway, I did screw up the billing spreadsheet so that was on me, but the person who checked my work didn't catch it either and the columns are labeled very clearly.  ANNNND who the heck does billing on Microsoft Word anyway?!  Why don't we use spreadsheets?!  I'm trying to resist the fact to point out things around the office that could be done more efficiently and effectively.  Sometimes, people don't take very kindly to it unless it comes from the Big Boss.  Suffice to say, I've learned to pick and choose my battles and MCAT studying is higher up on my "List of Things to Spend Energy Caring About," right after eating Mac and Cheese Spring Rolls.

Anywhodiddlydoo, my coworker today was looking for alternate jobs online.  I like working with him so I feel bad for the guy because he's currently the sole physical therapist and ridiculously overbooked.  His schedule is borderline impossible for one person to follow without increasing his risk of burning out and seriously compromising the quality of care a patient could receive.  I get the vibe that the owner is trying to make as much money as humanly possible.  I'm not sure whether the owner is struggling to break even between or  shooting for profit.  I understand the business principles behind it - my former boss at the surgery center had similar concerns about patient volume and income.  The difference is at the surgery center, I don't think we were sacrificing quality of care to achieve our goals whereas here, I am not so sure.

It's partly why my two coworkers and I, who share a tiny tiny walk-in-closet-sized office, like working at the senior home more.  The treatment schedule is SO much more relaxed, to the point that I have to politely shoo overly talkative grandmas out of the office so I can help the next patient.  The staff is also really nice.  One of the senior residents invited me upstairs to visit her and her husband in their unit.  SO cute.  I'm glad I'm at the senior home Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays.

This weekend I will be catching up to the MCAT class homework and trying to review the optional study materials because I suck at physics.  Annnnd drawing comics during my study breaks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Artery-Clogging Goodness

Today I reviewed my basic Physics - vectors, scalars, math that I used to be able to do and now have to break into a sweat to figure out.  Also, I woke up at 7 to stare blankly at the AAMC website to wait for my turn to register for the MCAT.  I was able to reserve a spot in San Francisco, even though I forgot that the database doesn't officially support the awesomeness that is Google Chrome, and am scheduled to take the test in late March.  My class ends in late January, so it will be up to me to keep up my studying pace for another two months.

Since today was ridiculously hot, I went and met up with a friend to try out one of the Off the Grid food trucks.  There was a Creme Brulee truck, a truck called 3-Sum-Eats, an Indian food truck, a Filipino food truck, and a Southern BBQ truck.  The food is pretty pricey for someone that doesn't have a stable full-time job and for a place that doesn't have things like restaurant seating, but it's fun to splurge every now and then on something random.

I never made it to this sandwich because I decided to eat the appetizer, which was the ultimate artery-clogging goodness.
A pulled pork sandwich (pulled pork is under the ham)

Mac and cheese spring rolls were SO DELICIOUS.  It came with a cheese fondue dip, which I didn't even touch.  The cheese inside was surprisingly light and fluffy.  At first it seemed like a questionable thing to eat, but I thought it was worth a try.  It also came with a yummy pineapple-lemonade drink with mint and basil.

I ate this like an animal...With no shame.  I don't think anyone around us cared either.  I'm sure they ate it like animals too.  There are some things that you can forego dignity and propriety for, and this was one of them. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Out and About

On Sunday I took an MCAT studying break to attend my cousin's baby shower (it was a male-friendly event, complete with football and beer).  I got the baby a little body suit from Pumpkin Patch.  Normally I don't get into the baby clothes, but I have to admit that the itty-bittyness is cute.  ALSO, the bottom of the feet had little paw prints on it, which was also super cute.   
Pumpkin Patch USA

Tonight I got dessert with a few friends, which was a good change and a nice, easy-going time out (besides work).  We found a new place called Purple Kow, which sells milk tea and tapioca/bubble drinks.  These were FREAKIN' HUGE.  I guess the supersize-fad finally hit the Chinese dessert market.  It was fun to try the place for the novelty, and even though the milk tea wasn't that great the coconut pudding they put in it was good.  I'll probably be waking up every few hours to use the bathroom =/ 

Courtesy of Sandy T. on the establishment's Yelp Page

Today I finished the Physics and OChem portion of the Science Assessment test.  The OChem stuff is slowly coming back (or at least looks familiar) but I am soooooo totally lost on physics.  Physics is the first thing on the syllabus though, so hopefully I'll relearn the concept again.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I took the abbreviated MCAT diagnostic test today for my prep course.  Ouch.  Even my verbal score wasn't as high as I had hoped.  After being out of school for some time, my brain is pretty rusty.  I've been reading my biology prep book but I haven't touched upon the physics and general chemistry sections because I hated them in undergrad with a passion.  Also, at this point my analytic skills are terrible.

I am worried about the physics part of the test though.  I did fine in the undergrad classes, but I was also forewarned by several physics tutors during undergrad that the regular not-for-physics-students physics program at school had a crappy way of teaching physics for students that planned to take the MCAT.  Three hours of lecture each week seemed really inadequate to learn.  We spent 6-8 hours in lab each week, but many of the TAs openly admitted that they were so far into their own graduate work that the grossly oversimplified undergrad physics stuff seemed foreign.  It was very reassuring (not).  And sometimes, some people just aren't very good at teaching.

Despite that, I had a blast in one of the three physics classes I took.  Mainly because the TA brought her rescue tripod chocolate Labrador to class and everyone got to play with a happy dog that hopped around on three feet.  "What? I can play with the dog if we finish our work early? Hell yeah!"  She was a good teacher too.  Circuits is probably the only thing I remember out of a whole year of physics.

The TA for the following quarter wasn't so great.  One day a girl broke down sobbing, "Why are you so mean to us?!"  Lab was really awkward after that incident.

And that is what I remember from physics =D

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I'm free!!  Free from the contraption known as the ULTRASLING II. 

Even though I got used to wearing it, I don't think that cushion is made for a 5'1 person with short arms.

I'm starting my basic exercises tomorrow - few rotation/flexion/extension exercises to get reacquainted with basic movements.  The doc suggested that I continue wearing my sling when I leave the house for errands and to go to work (but without the cushion) just to be safe.  Even with a sling, I don't really trust people to be careful.  Also, some people at work have been patting my shoulder (Uh, hello?  That's my bad arm you're hitting.)  Even though they don't use a lot of strength, it still jars some of the muscles that are still tender from inactivity and healing, so I am going to continue using my sling until I can at the VERY least bend my arm at the elbow without shaking and sweating up a storm.

I will be starting physical therapy in about two weeks/whenever they can fit me in.  The facility I am hoping to use is somewhat near my MCAT prep course classroom, so with any luck I'll be able to schedule it so that I can hang around at a nearby cafe in between class and therapy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crappy Roommates

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the crazy nit-picky one...I've shared rooms and had my own room, and either way I seem to encounter a few nutty ones along the way.  The only person I never had a problem with was my other fellow pre-med roommate.  We were civil to each other and our schedules were such complete opposites of one another that we never had any sort of conflicts (or none that we mentioned to one another).

I've had
  • A dorm roommate that brought friends that would use my laptop until I password-locked it.  The roommate was cool but as for her friend - really?  Where was your mom when you were supposed to learn manners?
  • A housemate who slept with her boyfriend on the couch fold-out bed almost every night during the school year.  She finally stopped after a while.  What I didn't like most was that there was basically an extra person using our kitchen/bathroom/living room, but not contributing any rent.  
  • A landlord who seemed nice and put together at first, especially because she ran a nursery home out of her house, but turned out to be nutso.  She did yoga and let the kids watch Baby Mozart and I don't think she cuddled her infant charge much or really played with the other kids, unless you count gardening while they waddled around the cul de sac as "playing."  I also could not for the life of my geeky self figure out how to connect to her Airport wi-fi router, not even with Apple techs, and her router was in her colon irrigation office, so I only used internet via Ethernet late in the evening.  She also ate my entire, brand new tub of Dreyer's ice cream in the time it took me to pop into the office one Sunday to check e-mails and take care of other things via internet.  The last straw was when my landlord's fully grown daughter moved in with her three kids after some family drama.  If it wasn't for her nutso self, I wouldn't have minded staying there - the kids were really cute and it was fun playing with them on a day off and in the mornings, but I couldn't stand her anymore.  
  • A landlord who seemed like a really cool hippie...until her girlfriend moved in and they started planning their hippie screw-the-legalities wedding.  It seemed like my landlord was footing most of the bill for this event, and when they argued about it, I felt reaaaally awkward cooking my dinner right next to them.  She would also have near meltdowns over something really small - like when Bubbles the cat lost her collar one day.  I think Bubbles actually avoided my landlord completely - the poor thing was really skittish.  

I think I'll try my hardest to find an itty bitty studio or 1 bedroom in the future...Some place where I can bake and cook any time I wanted to, not have to listen to crayzee couple spats, and can actually enjoy being in "my place" as opposed to feeling like I'm hiding out in my bedroom or avoiding the house completely.  

Monday, October 3, 2011


Reading Michelle Au's post on Doctorate Nurse Practitioners and other "physician extenders" got me thinking about how I introduced the Physician's Assistant as "Doctor Impatience" instead of "This is Impatience, the Physician's Assistant."  Everyone in the office refers to her as "doctor," for simplicity's sake or because the PA requested it, I don't know.  I did the same thing to the patients, namely because I have no idea how to introduce her without launching into a tirade.  There isn't a title for them in Chinese since DNPs and PA-Cs do not exist in Asia (as far as I know).  After thinking about it, I do like the idea of transparency.  I don't think it is as simple as "Well if they wanted to be a doctor, they should have gone to medical school*,"  but I do think people should know and understand who the heck is managing their health.  But in all honesty, it would be up to Dr. Impatience to decide how she would like to be addressed.  

*This was an opinion uttered by a few commenters.  I might have agreed a few years ago, when I was younger and stupider...But now I see "physician extenders" as professionals spawned by an increasing need for health professionals in places that do not necessarily need/cannot afford an MD/DO.  

Today I got to watch the physical therapist lead an exercise class.  It was freaking cute watching little old ladies swing their arms and feet (carefully) doing exercises.