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My hands reek of bleach... - Nobody wears a white coat any more... — LiveJournal
...a tribute to becoming a doctor.
My hands reek of bleach...
Trying out the LJ client for Mozilla Firefox, Deepest Sender.  Why?  Because I can.

I look cyanotic, O Best Beloved.  My hands have the faintest blue tinge to the fingernails and fingertips.  It comes from not thinking about our toilet bowl cleanser.
The toilet in the downstairs bathroom was, as many of our friends and guests can tell you, an adventure in the using.  The bolts had come unlatched from their respective slots in the seating of the toilet, meaning that we had a large ceramic object resting on our ceramic tiles with nothing holding it down whatsoever. It tended to tilt and rattle when one tried to sit on it, making for an unsteady and nerve-wracking seating experience.  Plus, we were absolutely certain that the seal was going to break one of these days, spilling fetid toilet water all over the bathroom floor, where it would fester and rot forever.  None of us really knew how toilets worked.
I got tired of it.  I decided, after being advised by two fathers - mine and Angel's - that I would take the toilet off its ring, reseat the bolts, and resettle the toilet in place. 
Quinby figured out how to drain it.  There was still water - not a lot, but water nonetheless - in the bowl, and a little in the tank.  All of it was a lovely blue shade, thanks to the tab of generic 1,000 Flushes in the tank.  I undid the bolts holding the tank to the bowl, figuring that if I removed the tank portion first the toilet would be less unwieldy to handle.  I should've just taken the unwieldy bit.  The bolts holding the tank to the bowl go through holes drilled or molded in the ceramic.  They have a plastic washer on the inside of the bowl that serves to form a sort of seal, preventing the water inside the bowl from enlisting the aid of the gravitational constant and dripping down through the holes to puddle in cerulean lakes on my lovely ceramic tile.  When I undid the bolts, the seal was loosened.  Fluid, slightly-more-viscous-than-water and a deep azure of the shade that screams "I am indelible", poured out onto my hands. 
I recalled the warnings emblazoned on the cardboard carton I'd gotten the tabs in - dire imperatives never to touch the tabs with one's bare hands.  "Keep out of reach of children and pets," the box said.  Neither a child nor a pet, despite some people's opinions, I was nonetheless coated in what, at that moment, I was certain could be no less corrosive than battery acid. 
I washed my hands, let the stuff drip onto the tiles while I got an old sour cream container from the pantry in which to catch whatever fluid was still dripping.  It didn't matter that my floor was already a shade that would never pass muster as a tropical ocean; I was going to catch the drips.  And I did, a whole inch worth in my cup.  Angel found one of two rubber gloves, another bit of too-late, but it helped as I finished undoing the bolts and dropping them in a Dixie cup to await judgment.  I disconnected the water hose from the wall and picked up the tank.  Quin and Angel had made a bed for it out of useless plastic trash bags only a fraction of a mil thick; they're left over from the giant supply of them we got when we first moved in, when we forgot that "cheap" and "effective" are mostly mutually exclusive when it comes to trash bags.  But they're good for other tasks - paint tarps, toilet rests, covering my cast when I had my broken arm. 
We propped it up against the lid and I then lifted the bowl off.  It was much easier, and did not, notably, leak blue water everywhere. 
I spent the next ten minutes using Soft Scrub to bleach the grout of its blue colour, scrubbing until it was all clean, even the nasty bits where you can't get a broom or a mop normally.  After all, I had a package of rags and a rubber glove; what better time was there?  The bolts were a matter of seconds to align back in their slots; much eye-rolling ensued when we discovered that if we wanted to be really secure we'd have to twist the toilet at an implausible forty-five degree angle to the corner of the room.  We settled for marginally secure and left the bolts half an inch from the larger keyholes of the slots. 
Putting things back together was fairly quick, with the judicious use of a wrench here and there, except that the toilet tank had once again had a chance to soak caustic blue flushy-stuff into the remaining water, and the one rubber glove I had made my fingers so clumsy that I couldn't fit the nut onto the bolt (or, as certain persons who remember Mr. Fed and the garage will be acquainted with, the thingy on the thingy).  So I drenched myself in blue liquid once more - this time, even more viscid and determined to coat my precious hands - and Angel took the pliers and held the top of the bolt still.  It was tight enough when I was no longer getting dripped on.
The water hose required the application of Teflon tape to the threads; a substance I would never have known about had it not been for the recent do-it-yourself installation of a new dishwasher (something which, like anchoring a toilet, my father assured me was hardly difficult) but without which I would be still sitting on the floor, draped over the toilet seat, trying to get the stupid thing tight enough to stop dripping.  I like Teflon tape.
I washed my hands with Soft Scrub when it was all done; it was either that or Clorox, as only bleach seems to remove part of the blueness from any surface.  I washed them again with the coffee soap my mother gave me, and then I moisturized them, but the hideous corrosive battery-acid feeling is still afflicting my fingers.  Plus, I look cyanotic, because not all the blue came completely off.

So the toilet is repaired, O Best Beloved, and I still had time to do a set of questions from my Pretest : Medicine book.  Bonus points to anyone who can tell me how low you're supposed to keep a diabetic's blood pressure in this day and age.  I didn't go to Chappell's for the drug rep dinner, mostly because my preceptor wasn't going and I'm too shy to go without being guaranteed that I'll know someone there.  Furthermore, I didn't want to call the RSVP number.  I'm a coward.
Today's feedback (Dr. G likes to give feedback) was the following statement.  "Don't speed up.  I'll barge in if I have too, but don't speed up.  You do a wonderful job of building rapport with your patients.  I see a lot of patients who have a lot of issues, and some of them just need to talk.  What's going to be hardest for you is learning to pick out what needs to be addressed first, and what can kind of be tossed to the side.  You're doing well, though.  You'll be surprised how good you feel about your fourth year sub-I."  I think that's a compliment. 

Got to Curves to weigh in.  I weigh more than last time but less than a year ago; I've lost inches again and I am determined to lose these nagging seventeen pounds.  I want to weigh under 200.  That's my first goal for now.  I don't like weighing 217 lbs; it's like a stigma that claws at me.  The BMI charts and my own experience suggest that 150-160 is a reasonable amount for me to weigh; my dreams want me to revert back to a high-school 140.  I was 120 once, after I had mono.  I looked skeletal.  At 140 I was nicely curvy, despite the then-D cup I despised.  If I had told me then that I would be wearing an I cup and still wondering if I were a size larger, I would have tried to perform an amateur mastectomy.  I have a hate-hate relationship with my breasts.  But I won't consider surgery on them because I have every intention of breast-feeding my children, and there's a risk of being unable to breast-feed with reductions.  Anywhere from 140-160 or so is a reasonable BMI for my height; considering that even if my chest shrinks as I lose weight I still have big-boob-genes (thanks, Mom) I'd say 150 would be reasonable.  Losing 70 lbs is too big a goal to set, though.  I'll settle for losing 18 right now.  At an acceptable weight-loss-ratio of 2 pounds per week (more tends to be difficult to maintain), that'd mean I want to weigh 199 lbs sometime in May, which would be lovely.  At a reasonable anticipation of 1 pound per week (more like what I actually manage usually), that means mid-July.  Just about the time I take my Boards.   I could do that.

But that's plenty of introspection at the moment; I have to report at 0700 tomorrow and it's 2330 now which means I have just about enough time to get my requisite 6 hours of sleep.  Tomorrow and Wednesday I just have to slog through...just have to survive, I suppose.   And convince myself to get up to do that. It's hard to get out of bed, here at home.  I keep letting Angel hit the snooze, just to steal a few more precious moments in his arms.  It's so nice here at home.  So...homey. 

Coming attractions: Why do I have to spend $900 to take a test my school gives me for free?

now feeling:: content content

8 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word
reignofjade From: reignofjade Date: March 15th, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
I hear that if one doesn't pass the boards, they don't get another chance. Is this true?
ayradyss From: ayradyss Date: March 16th, 2004 03:23 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Absolutely not true.

You have to wait 60 days and take the stupid things over again.

"If you fail or do not complete a Step and want to retake it, you must reapply by submitting a new application and fee. You may take the failed or incomplete Step no more than three times within a 12-month period.

No Step may be taken sooner than 60 days after your previous test date. For Step 1 and Step 2 CK, you may retake the Step no earlier than the first day of the month that begins at least 60 days after your previous test date. When you reapply to retake Step 3, the FSMB will assign an eligibility period to you that begins no earlier than 60 days after your previous test dates. Details on the retake policies for Step 2 CS will be provided on the USMLE website and the website of your registration entity."
reynardo From: reynardo Date: March 15th, 2004 09:59 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
Plus, I look cyanotic, because not all the blue came completely off.

It's really just because you're holding your breath, waiting to see if the toilet leaks or not.

Remember to breathe.
turnberryknkn From: turnberryknkn Date: March 16th, 2004 12:16 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Why do I have to spend $900 to take a test my school gives me for free?

(bitter laugh) You mean the Clinical Skills Exam, the Step II.5?

I have a particuarly bitter viewpoint on that one because I've personally spent the better part of the last six years fighting that thing.

Originally, way back when, the National Board of Medical Examiners wanted to roll that exam out in '99 or soish. I and another med student from Georgia first started the AMA fighting against it in '98, and it's been a major part of my medical activist work, including a stint as the AAMC's student liason to the NBME: our board gave them so much trouble they ended up dissolving the board. The battle went back and forth and back again --delaying the exam for five years at least, long enough for my brother to clear through medical school, but not long enough for me. So I suppose it was a victory of sorts. But I learned, from the NBME, just how dirty politics and political warfare could be.

Someday, I'll find the time to write up the whole sorid affair as a story. But yeah, it's been an ugly fight, and one we eventually lost. Now the battle is to prevent the NBME from requiring you and I to *retake* the exam every five years as a physician...
turnberryknkn From: turnberryknkn Date: March 16th, 2004 12:17 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Do you know a William "Bill" Walsh? IU med student, currently doing his fifth year torwards a public health degree? He's been a major fighter in this issue, too, as student member of the AMA's Council on Medical Education.
ayradyss From: ayradyss Date: March 16th, 2004 03:16 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
I don't know Bill personally, but I know him via the school listserv. I did my share of letter-writing the last few years, but it hardly seems to have helped. Good to hear you had some success in pushing it back, even if only temporary.
From: dr_bobbie Date: March 16th, 2004 02:43 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Bonus points to anyone who can tell me how low you're supposed to keep a diabetic's blood pressure in this day and age.

<120/<80? It's a guess.

Coming attractions: Why do I have to spend $900 to take a test my school gives me for free?

Amen! I've been asking myself that all along! Our school does something called a CCCE that's even more complex than the national CK exam, which gets me thinking that Step II CK is just a money-making crock. :/
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 16th, 2004 02:56 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
I love you. (Big boob genes and all, although I admit I got the lucky end of that straw) Thanks for the supplies. The kids haven't seen them yet, but the teachers were all smiles. :) I saw the river turn green yesterday. --Chelle
8 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word