Tuesday, August 02, 2005

traveling yocks, car conundrums and lemons

The past two weeks have been a blur. I somehow made it to the airport for my flight to Salt Lake, and then, before I knew it, it was time to hop another plane to return home! My apartment has been packed, moved and cleaned, and though there were a few untimely car problems (separate from the inspection saga; see also "how I almost had a state representative's cell phone, below) I got into Albany late, late Sunday night. The cats seem indifferent to my presence, but I'm happy to be here. (I went to college here and have been taking care of these cats and house (and the kids who live here) for 7 years....look for a future post on how nice it is to return to this area and be welcomed with open arms)

picture note: all of my pictures are stuck in my camera. The cord/dock are somewhere in the pile of things that I brought in from my car, but I have no way to get them from my new laptop to the internet yet. They have wireless here, but it appears to be password protected and I'm currently without a password. As soon as they are internet-able, they'll be here.

I have been reading Margene's page for awhile, and felt sufficiently prepared for the amazing landscape. Ha! Imagine my surprise when I saw the mountains for myself - they are indescribable. They're towering and *right*there*at*the*edge*of*the*road - they don't mess around with peaks out there. Everywhere I went I saw another unique looking mountain; they were everywhere, and I never got tired of seeing them.

Margene kindly spent part of her Saturday knitting and talking with me at a wonderful little coffee stop and cafe. It was refreshing to converse with someone who's views are similar to mine, and 180 degrees away from the people I'd been staying with. (I knew the background and political stance of my friends who hosted me before I went and I respect that they have their own views of the world, but by the end of the trip it was exhausting.) It was also nice to sit and knit, something I didn't get a lot of time to do when the youngsters were awake! Seeing her socks in person was a treat - they are more beautiful in person then pictures can show. Thanks to the pattern names she shared with me, I now have a few ideas about my next pairs of socks. I tried my darndest not to flake out and sit there with a blank look on my face while the "I'm knitting with Zeneedle" phrase zipped around my head. Meeting up with people is getting easier.
Before we parted we ran by a local grocery store for some "local" candy that I'd never seen before. Five pounds of cinnamon bears and a few boxes of orange sticks traveled home with me and the verdict at my parent's house is that the stuff is "really good." Throughout the rest of my visit I kept my eyes out for some Idaho Spud candy bars and on one of the last days I was there I found a few to take back as well. All in all it was a good visit and I'm sure it won't be my last trip out to Salt Lake.

The Yocks
My yarn and socks (at some point "yocks" fell out of my mouth, and it's stuck) have almost transformed themselves into an honest to goodness pair of socks. I need to dig my chibi out of the pile of things so I can sew up the toes, but the end of this pair is near! I brought a borrowed copy of "The Knitter's Stash" with me in hopes that I'd re-start the Meadow Flowers shawl, but the closest I've come is rebelling the yarn. Rogue is on hold due to the heat, and now perhaps because I love the new pattern that is out as much or more then Rogue. I was aiming for something that I could wear to work with patients in, and I think the new version fits the bill better.

Car conundrums, or How I almost wound up with a state representative's cell phone
at this point in time my dear Kennedy the 13 year old, 172,000+ miled car is doing okay. The long, looong story short is that one thing led to another and in order for it to be safe to drive I needed a lot of work done. After all of the car appointments were done and my credit card had been charged I found myself stuck in traffic on the interstate (stop and go traffic, though it felt much more like stop, stop, stop, still stopped, stop, go, stop, stop, stop traffic). I kept one eye on my temperature gauge, and worried when the needle started approaching the carrot colored "danger zone." Out of the corner of my eye I saw white, then gray smoke appearing from around the edges of my hood, and then I started to smell something burning. I immediately pulled over to the side of the road and while I readied myself with a water bottle all the thoughts of what could be going on ran through my head at top speed: a fire, my engine blew up, a fire, my radiator burst, a fire). Once the hood was up and the accumulated smoke was cleared I saw steam rushing to escape from one of my radiator hoses.

I was cellphoneless at the time that it happened, and after no less then a dozen sympathetic looks, a trucker driving a rig full of eggs offered me a ride to take me anywhere I wanted to go, and a carload of non-shirted teenage boys stopped to see if they could "help," a nice, safe looking couple pulled over and offered their cell phone so I could call a car problem company. They have a daughter close to my age, and both felt compelled to stop because they hope people like them would stop if J is ever stuck. After a tow truck was dispatched the woman insisted that I call my parents to let them know where I was - after all, she was a mom and she'd want to know. I eventually convinced them I'd be fine, and they should continue on their way, but neither one felt it was a good idea to leave me communication-less. He offered up his cell phone, and they said they'd get it back from me later. Nevermind that they lived nowhere near my parents, and I could sort of get to their house from my apartment - they didn't care. It was more important that I have it then they did, and they said (more then once) it's (state name here)! We're true to our people. Only after I'd been hugged and gotten her card did I realize she's an active member of state government. I love that state.

The radiator hose that burst (it was probably the original hose) has a funny sensor thing on it, and wasn't in stock at the local snaab repair place. They sent me on my way with a different part as long as I promised to get it replaced with the correct one this week. I have a call into the place down here, and will get it really fixed later this week. (the sensor is apparently important and of course it drives the price through the roof.)

When life hands you lemons...
shove'em in your bra.

I have to preface this with a reminder that I'm a med student and that I'm also human. Things used to be easy for me - I glided through my years of college without any real problems (my own stubborn-ness isn't included in the "problem" category) and became used to reading something once and then remembering it forever. Then the craziness that is known as med school hit, and things changed and got harder.

I got news yesterday that I need to re-take the national boards this fall. I feel defeated. I am also frustrated, disappointed and anxious at the thought of putting in more hours of studying for an exam that appears to have no rhyme or reason. I've tried quiet meditation to turn the dark, heavy feeling into something more positive, but right now I can't do it. The all too familiar thoughts of "is this really what you want to do with your life?" and "is this even worth it?" are taking turns running through my mind, and even though I know it's just one exam that I can study for (again) and (in theory) pass, I am tired. It took me several weeks to snap out of my "reviewing" funk and now I feel like I'm falling back into it. I don't want to do this again. My mom said "I know this isn't what you wanted to happen" and I held back from screaming "yah think?" or "that's an understatement." Then I think about how much trust people may someday have in me and wonder if they'd still trust me if they knew I couldn't pass a national exam. Did I mention that thinking about studying this material again makes me tired?

My ego is bruised, my spirit is a bit crushed, and I am still not emotionally settled with what happened but I have my board review books in the car and will start reviewing tomorrow. The next exam dates are October 11th and 12th, and Rhinebeck is the weekend just after. Looks like I might get there from here - incentive is a wonderful thing.

(right now they are trying to figure out what my schedule is going to be; I'm hoping to be able to take the two weeks before the exam off, but it's going to take some finagling. My rotations of Internal Med and OB might be moved so that I can get the time off when I need it. This summer has been a good lesson in going with the flow and dealing with things as they come up.)


Anonymous Jess said...

So sorry about your national exam. Have courage.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DANG - I'm really sorry about the exam. It's-just-a-hoop - a really big-ass annoying one - but you just gotta jump through it. Focus on the goal kiddo...and all that.

Ha HA about Yocks - my rogue is on hold too for the same two reasons :) Sara

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Oh, that's horrible about the exam. Take a couple of days to clear your head about it before you plunge back into the studying. I'm sure you'll come through with flying colors in October, and then we'll all celebrate at Rhinebeck!

7:20 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Oh Kristen, I'm so sorry about the boards. Have faith and you will persevere. Sending you a big hug.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Norma said...

Crikey, what a rollercoaster-ride post! That is a big fat BUMMER about the boards. I'm so sorry. At least you had a great time in Utah, a good experience with some good Samaritans in another state, and Rhinebeck to look forward to. That's something.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Cordelia said...

Adding my sympathies for your bad news. Here's wishing you a little early good luck. Good thing Rhinebeck is after, and right after: it's perfect motivation for a knitter/spinner!

9:16 AM  
Blogger Katy said...

Major bummer about the boards. But be kind to yoruself--passing exams has little to do with being a good doctor.
And maybe I'll see you at Rhinebeck!

11:30 AM  
Anonymous margene said...

When life hands you lemons...
shove'em in your bra. Grrl, that is a great quote. Sometimes it is hard to imagine how we get through the rough spots in life...but we do. You don't have to like it but we do come out stronger on the other side.
It was so much fun to meet you. Good luck with all you have on your plate.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Micky said...

You will pass. Just think that you already went through it once so now you kinda know more of what to expect.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous mia said...

hey girl, sucky news about the boards! yours sounded so much worse what with the two days and all...I have total faith that you'll be just fine and pass them your second time around. I'm crossing my mental fingers for you all the time!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Sorry about the boards. let me know if there is anything I can do to help. You will get through this.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

Hugs and whirling spindles to you. Take some deep breaths, take it easy for a few more days, and then dive back in. If you need a pep talk from the other side of lemons, let me know.

10:00 PM  
Blogger CrazyFiberLady said...

Hugs to you. I'm sorry about your national exam. That sucks. I do love your quote on the lemons. That's priceless. I admire your attitude and am sure you'll succeed.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Oh dear....what a disappointment, but knowing you the short while that I have, I know you can make it work next time.....you are a strong girl :-)

Just think about Rhinebeck....definitely a wonderful incentive!! We all have such great fun at that festival. Keep your chin up!

7:46 PM  
Blogger Lorette said...

Oh NORma! about the boards. That sucks. You will probably think that I'm just saying this to be nice, but years from now, when you are a successful practicing doctor, you will realize that the crap on the boards has nothing to do with real medical practice. All it really tests you on is your ability to take tests. And a bad test day can happen to anybody. Lemons in your bra, indeed!

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Whitney said...

You don't know me but I just wanted to say about the exam...My aunt is a doctor and it took her three times to pass the board exam, and now her patients love her and trust her. I know it's awful to have to take the exam again, but if you really want it, you'll pass and your patients will never know or care that you didn't pass the first time.

9:44 AM  

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