When I first went to college, I wanted to be a pre-med major but was intimdated by the amount of schooling it required, how rigorous it would be, and the fact that I got pregnant my freshman year with my first child. Being the first person in my family to go to college and not really being prepared when I got there...all added up to me finding a new major. I had two more children, and I graduated with computer information systems bachelor's degree, because I could work, take care of my children, and handle the course load. I worked in the industry for four years.
Long story short, I was miserable after two years. It became almost unbearable after three. This last year, it became all the way unbearable. I recently *tried* to quit my job, but was asked by my supervisor to take a leave of absence and think about it. So that's where I'm at now. At home trying to sell my home (because money will be tight on one salary), and gearing up to take summer classes.
This summer, I plan to take General Chemistry I and II. In the fall, I plan to take Science of Biology (Biology I), Organic Chemistry I, and Physics I. I hope to finish up my pre-med classes in Spring 07 with Zoology, Org. Chem. II, and Physics II.
I discussed all of the changes with my job and beginning school with my husband extensively. However, he wakes up somedays and acts completely brand new. I don't understand it, and it is really trying my patience. I'm trying to be understanding. We were both poor growing up (still are if you ask me...just more debt), and I think he fears the downsizing that we are about to do. Plus the stress of medical school scares him too. He has a stressful career (construction manager). I have to find ways to manage this process as to least alleviate the stress on my family. I will not neglect my children or my husband, but I also want to be a doctor. When I was contemplating quitting my job, I asked myself, "Would you do this work if you didn't get paid?" The answer was "Heck NO!!!" So then I asked myself what I would do if I didn't get paid. The only answer that I could come up with is being a doctor. So that's where I am and what I'll be.
So I just lost a really long post that I was almost finished with. Ugh!
Anyhow, today was a good day. I *tried* to take my kids to the zoo, but we didn’t make it in time. There was only an hour and a half left before they closed, and I knew that wasn’t enough time to really enjoy ourselves. With our money being funny, we need to really make it count!
So we went to the mall. They are so cute. They hear older kids talk about going to the mall, so they think it is so cool. They have no idea why yet though…LOL. They just know it is. Being my typical “why” children, one of them asked me precisely that. “Why do people think it’s so cool to go to the mall?” Then I had to explain that usually people have money :twocents: to buy things, unlike us…LOL. For real, my kids don’t want for anything, but they do not get everything they ask for. In fact they don’t get most of what they ask for. I think it’s good for them. I want them to grow up thankful, grateful, and unspoiled. I want them to realize how hard it is to earn a dollar, so when they do get gifts…they value them. I make them take care of the things that they have.
Anyhow, we went to a bookstore on the mall, and I made a lucky find. A 4th grade workbook for my daughter. She’ll be a big 4th grader next year! Older kid workbooks are hard to find. My younger son’s already have theirs (almost 5 yrs and 6 yrs old). No sitting around my house being idle this summer. I supplement their education year ‘round in fact. I think it is a must, being African American. A lot of times, the children are taught that their history consists of slavery and Martin Luther King, Jr. and that’s about the bulk of it. While that is all well and dandy, and we are not ashamed of that, that is a VERY SMALL part of African history. I lived long enough to see too many African American children become disinterested in school and develop low self-esteem due to the curriculum taught in the school system. The only way my children will fall prey to it over my dead body. In fact, I was one of those kids myself. I was a talented and gifted student (TAG), but often had only okay grades and did enough work just to get by. School was a joke to me. It was boring, and I didn’t really see how it would benefit me all that much. College was the same way. Other than my major classes, I thought the rest were a waste of money. It was a “game” that I was forced to play to get a decent job. Amazingly, I don’t feel that way about medicine. I think all of my classes required will prove to be very useful. I will have to learn how to study for the first time in my life. I will have to develop discipline. I’m totally pumped about that and looking forward to it.
Speaking of TAG, my oldest daughter (almost 9 yrs. old) just got accepted into the TAG program at her elementary school! Yay!!! It just so happens that she attends the elementary that I grew up attending. She’s so excited. Last year, her teachers recommended her to be tested for the program, however she didn’t do well on the test. She didn’t finish it…I believe because she didn’t know what to expect and was intimidated by it. As a result, she didn’t get in last year, but she didn’t let it get her down. She kept working hard (no pressure from us other than the normal), and she got recommended for testing again from her teachers who were very upset last year. She did it! She was SO excited. She even got invited to attend a new elementary school. At her current school, there is a TAG class that meets once a week. At the new school, she will be in TAG classes all day every day. I really want her to go, but it is sort of far away. At least 40 minutes. However, her father works nearby so that is a plus. He wouldn’t be able to take her to school though because he goes to work at 4 am. However, I’m hoping that they have a bus that will pick her up. If not, I think I could manage to get her and her brothers to school on time and then myself. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or at least that’s what I’ve learned.
I splurged today on two planners made by Franklin Covey. One is a large planner that will more than likely stay on my desk. It has the monthly details, address book, etc. The other is a thinner portfolio planner that contains the daily details. My plan is to keep the thinner one with me to plan my days with, and then transfer those to my larger planner at home. I’m trying to get organized, since I believe that will be key to my success!
I checked out a book at the library and read it in one day! It was such an interesting read. It is called, “The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream” by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt with Lisa Frazier Page. It is about three young men who decided to become doctors and succeeded due to their friendship. These young men came from very rough backgrounds, and were lucky to be alive…let alone be doctors. Their story is amazing. I gained so much hope and inspiration from them. They have no idea how much my life has been touched. Each day I gain more and more confidence on this path. It was tremendously hard to leave my job and put my house up for sale with three children and a husband who wavers back and forth on supporting my decision. But I can do this. I must. It is who I am.
So this thing is becoming more and more real everyday.
I never did the why I want to be a doctor spill in depth, so here goes. There are several things that happened in my life to make me want to be an md. Here are a few.
As a child, I was always the one picking someone up, dusting them off, applying a band-aid, etc. I’ve always had a natural knack for being concerned about others well-beings more than most folks that I was around.
As long as I can remember, I have always had allergies. My seasonal allergy symptoms of a runny nose, stuffy head, stuffy nose, sneezing, and red, itchy, watery eyes lasted pretty much year round. The only difference in the summer was that my symptoms got worse. My eyes would mat so bad that I would have to holler for my mother or grandmother to bring me a wet towel to wash them before I could even get out of the bed. I would literally be blind because my eyes were glued shut. We ate alot of fatty fried foods, gravies, pound cakes, etc. In fact, almost all meals were fairly heavy because "hot" meals were considered to be good diet essentials. I loved the outdoors, but as a teenager...I began to hole up in the house. Not only was I talking on the phone and sleeping as much teenagers do, but I was also trying to maintain my appearance. Being outside made me look wrecked. Bloodshot eyes and snotty noses were not cute! I could control the environment in my room better than I could control outside. I still had not figured out that perhaps the way that I was eating was the cause. In fact, that connection only came to me about a year ago. Only recently since I have began to modify my diet have my allergy symptoms began to decrease. They are now almost minimal unless I’m eating junk. No doctor ever talked to me about my diet in relation to my allergy symptoms. Instead I was offered steroid shots and medicine.
Growing up, I had very heavy and painful menstrual cycles that I saw the doctor for. I was told that my cycles were inherited from my mother, so basically I’d just have to deal with it. Take some advil and don’t call us anymore because we can’t really help you. That’s what I did. They were so unbearable that I’d definitely miss the first day and maybe even the second day from school. If I did manage to make it to school, I learned absolutely nothing that day. After I began having children the pain and heaviness got worse. The heaviness was so bad that I was often afraid to leave my house. I would either call in sick or work from home. I can't even count the missed days of school/work because of my jacked up cycle which lasted 7 or 8 days, and the horrible mood swings which began the week before my cycle. I was miserable for two weeks every month. Basically, 50% of the time. I found out that a co-worker of mine was going through a similar experience. I had blood work drawn up, tests run, and ultrasound…all perfectly normal. Throughout the whole process, none of my doctors (who I think were just wonderful) ever once asked me about my diet. Frustrated over this and a few other medical issues with results that basically said there’s nothing wrong with me, I took to the internet. I began to do a little bit of research and found that there may be a connection with diet and cycles. I would change my diet during that time of the month and see a HUGE improvement. This absolutely fascinated me. No drug could do for me what vegetables, fruits, and herbal teas could. I believe my co-workers symptoms may come from something else because she is a vegetarian. However, I am aware that her home life is very stressful. She’s forced to suck it up and stick it out because the doctors have said they’ve done all they can do (which was to give her birth control pills that she cannot take because they give her horrible yeast infections).
In tenth grade, I was sitting in class one day when I just began to itch. Wepts started developing on my arms and soon I had hives over most of my body. Over the next few days it got worse. My mother took me to the pediatrician for him to misdiagnose me and give me medicine that did not work for a condition called scabies, which I did not have. So we went to the dermatologist, who said that I was allergic to soaps with fragrances. I changed soaps and was given a topical medicine cream. That worked for a while. Later, after being tired of paying $3 for one bar of soap, I began to try commercial soaps again- the ones without strong scents. I was able to use them, so I did. Again, since I do not eat the same as I did back then, the soap allergy to fragranced soaps is non-existent.
About two years ago, I began to get a sinus infection every fall. I would be prescribed antibiotics and then have at least 3 or 4 more before the winter was over. Concerned about the over-use of antibiotics on my body, I began to try a natural lemonade mix that I have used before for fasting. It consisted of distilled water, organic lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. It worked. No whenever I feel stuffy, I grab a glass instead of the antibiotics my doctor prescribes. However, believe you me, if it ever stops working, I’ll gladly go back and get some medicine.
It fascinates me that I can feel better simply by changing my diet, addressing my stress issues by meditation, etc. and sometimes end up feeling better than anything the doctor can prescribe for the pharmacist to give me. I really want to practice a more holistic concept of medicine, rather than just treating one disease/symptom, which is more than likely just a symptom of a much bigger issue. I believe that when natural medicine can get along with chemical medicine and work together, this world will be a much better place.
On that note, I’m reading a rather fascinating book called “Return of the Rishi: A Doctor’s Search for the Ultimate Healer” by Deepak Chopra, MD.
Another issue that sort of cemented my want to be a doctor was a study I read along with other experiences in health care. For many years, studies were presented that basically said that African-Americans weren’t going to the doctor as much as other races were, so that is why our health care was often so poor because there was less early detection. A few years ago, a study came out that showed that African-Americans were going to the doctor just as much as other races, but the health care was still poor. This really concerns me, especially since I’ve experienced it first hand with my own family.
My daughter had been sick every since she was born. She had projectile vomiting, which meant that she couldn’t drink much milk at a time. Also, she would get very constipated. The pediatrician told me that it was normal. Lots of babies have that. Her weight was always on par, so they didn’t think much of it. What they didn’t seem to listen to was when I told them that I had to feed her basically small amounts of liquid every hour because she couldn’t hold down much at a time. Being a new mother, I just kept it up. They were the doctors, so they should know. As she grew older, she would often be sick with a “virus” that no one else would catch. Anyone with a child knows that if you show up with a vomiting child, it is usually deemed a virus and you are sent home to wait it out. After being turned away so many times and paying for nothing, you finally quit going before you are deemed an unfit mother.
When my daughter was 3 years old, she was admitted to the hospital for dehydration related to one of her “virus” episodes. I remember being in there with her around the clock, because I had been warned about hospitals. Unfortunately, the warning was very necessary during this experience. The doctor had been in to explain to me that he was lowering her iv (potassium). I didn’t understand the numbers and symbols, but I knew what lower meant. The nurse that was to lower it came in. She changed the iv, but the numbers were the same. I asked her about what the doctor had said and why she didn’t lower it. Do you know what this heffa had the nerve to say?
“Oh, I guess I should have read the chart first.”
The whole experience was so surreal. It took me a while to even figure out if what I thought I heard was what she said. Why would you ever come in and do anything to a patient without checking out there chart first? Who was the doctor preparing the chart for if the nurse wasn’t gonna bother to read it? Mother Goose? If something had of happened to my child, someone would still be prying my arms out from around that nurse’s neck. I understand being tired. I understand overlooking a detail on a chart. I do NOT understand completely not looking at a chart. It didn’t help that I had recently seen a tv show where a woman, who was at the doctor’s office for a minor outpatient operation, had been drowned from the inside out because of a similar incident.
My daughter made it home. But she kept getting sick on and off. My baby son at home never caught any of her “viruses”. Finally, she was losing weight again like she did during the last dehydration episode. The “virus” lasted two weeks. At my wits end, since the doctors were NOT helping (told me she might just be a vomiter), I took her to an allergy clinic since they would see her without a referral. The allergist was a WONDERFUL lady. She informed me that my daughter did have allergies, but they were of the hay fever type and nothing that should be causing her symptoms. SHE referred me to a gastrointestinal specialist and set an appointment for about two weeks later.
My daughter got really sick, however, and we ended up in the emergency room at the children’s hospital. It was there that we found out her condition. Since BIRTH, she had a condition where her small bowel would rotate and not allow anything to pass. She needed a Ladd’s procedure to fix it (surgery).
The poor resident that came to deliver the news also informed me that her surgery would be scheduled a month later. A MONTH? Whatever. We weren’t taking her home to watch her vomiting all day long and losing MORE weight for a month. So after we informed him that they needed to find her a room and get used to us for a month, the surgery was scheduled for the next day. He had the nerve to use as a defense that she had lived with it for 4 years, why couldn’t she wait one more month? Our defense was, she has lived with this MISERABLY for 4 years, why should she have to wait another month? We won. Maybe law could be a follow up career? Naw…not my cup of tea. I learned the squeaky wheel gets the oil lesson first hand. I’m a very loud wheel now.
My mother works as a physical therapist assistant. She had high blood pressure and kept going to the doctor trying to lower it. He recommended that she change her diet to less salt and take up exercise along with some medicine that he prescribed. She did so, but every time that she would go back to be checked, he would fuss that she wasn’t doing what he asked her to. Finally, she got a hold of a reference book that contained an entry on the medicine that she was taking. It said, “Not for African-Americans.” Well, no wonder it didn’t work! Of course the obvious problem with that is that if my mom, having no degree at all, could look in this book and see that this medicine was not good for her…then why couldn’t this doctor do the same? Why would he prescribe a medicine that he is not familiar with?
My mom is notorious for finding the doctors that no one should be seeing. I don’t know what it is with her. She began having terrible pains in her side that she went to the doctor for (different doctor than above). She went to see this woman for 9 months. The lady wouldn’t do anything for her. When she finally told my mom to put some bricks under her headboard so that when she vomits at night she won’t choke, my mom finally saw that this doctor wasn’t working with a full deck.
My mom made an appointment with a new doctor. However, being a new patient means that it takes longer for you to get an appointment. Before the appointment came, my mom (brown skinned) turned blue in the face and became short of breath and very in pain. Her co-workers rushed her downstairs to the emergency room where they promptly admitted her and performed surgery not long after. She had a very bad case of gall stones that needed to be removed.
So there it is. A lot of anger mixed with a lot of love = the passion that I have for wanting to be a doctor.
The washing machine thought it might be funny to begin making really loud knocking noises, smell like burned rubber, and spill water all over the washroom floor. Ah well. It was really cheap and lasted about 7 years. I figure rather than deal with trying to repair it and hope it lasts longer, I'll just get another cheap new one. Maybe I'll manage to get at least 10 years out of the next one. That washer was too small for us anyhow. When we purchased it, we were a family of 3. Now that we are a family of 5, that washer was struggling to keep up! I think we killed it.
Little things that crop up like this are making me rethink my plan to quit work completely. I may go back and try the part-time thing like they asked me to, as there is probably no other job that will pay me $17.50 an hour. That $17 sucks when working fulltime knowing that they owe me at least $24 for the work that I do. However, when working simply to save money for my new career...it's not so bad. I am enjoying my time off though, so I do not anticipate going back before my two month leave of absence is up.
I applied at a local hospital for a weekend position as a unit coordinator. The hours are 7am - 7pm on Sat/Sun. Basically, it sounds like an office manager position for the nurses station. I have a lot of office skills from working in IT, and it's right in the middle of the action which would be good medical experience. I hope I get it. I took a gamble and let them know on my application that I was a pre-medical post-bacc student so that they wouldn't see my bachelor's degree in IT and automatically write me off as overqualified.
Still trying to do the house selling thing. I have made quite a bit of progress. All of my baseboards and crown molding shine beautifully, which was a major feat b/c this house has crown molding on top of crown molding. I'm going to miss that especially. If my new house doesn't have it, adding it will have to be a side project. I need a new entertainment center for my den. My kitchen just needs for me to remove the extra papers that seem to accumulate from the junk mail (I need to design a mail station complete with a shredder and put it in my office). I also need to take a razor blade to my stove and shine it with that ceramic stuff. I need to shine up my dining room table and light fixture. I'll be through with the kitchen, den, and dining room when I do that!
I really feel like I should be studying for this mcat. However, I'm still settled yet. I figure even though I haven't started my pre-med classes yet, I could still begin with the verbal section. I will develop a schedule soon. Anyone who pays attention to my blog knows that I read like crazy. A book that I have should help with that schedule making process. "Planning a Life in Medicine" by The Princeton Review (John Smart, M.S., Stephen Nelson, Jr. M.D., Ph.D., and Julie Doherty)
My hubby is really coming around. He's stubborn as a mule, and it takes him a minute to get used to change. He really seems supportive now though. He asks everyday about any progress that I'm making toward getting the house sold. He also asks what sort of new information I have found out about applying to medical school and taking the mcat. I can get used to this. I hope he stays this way.
So my kid's stayed over "Holier than Thou's" house last weekend, and apparently watched music videos. (Holier than thou is my mother who is very religious and likes to think of me as a heathen b/c I'm much more spiritual than religious, and you can't pay me to sit in a church.)
Anyhow, my 4 year old is now singing something about the po po's trying to catch him riding dirty and my 6 year old is singing about pushing up on a chic that has to be so fly and super duper thick. Of course they like to repeat said lyrics over and over again, and they come complete with dance moves that involve grabbing their crotches. Too funny! I just had to rub that in. I hope they perform them at church...LOL.
(NOTE: I have nothing against people who attend church, and actually encourage my children to attend with their grandmother. I do have a problem with bossy church folks who damn everyone to hell b/c they do not agree with their traditions and judgemental attitudes.)
I managed to get my new washer, but it was so loud that I was about to take it back! Apparently we left a rod in that was supposed to come out. I guess directions are good for something after all...LOL.
Must research out how to sell a house to make sure these real estate agents don't poot me.
One of my best friends seems to think we need to talk everyday (which we never do and is an important part of how we are able to remain best friends...LOL). Anyhow, she gave me a sob story about how she needed someone to take her to the dentist b/c she has to have surgery to get her wisdom teeth removed. I found out that she really didn't need me. Her mom was willing to take her, but she wanted me to go. So now I'm a little upset b/c I have to drag my three little ones to the dentist with her, when I really didn't have to. Back to not answering the phone again for a while after this. (I'm notorious for not answering the phone or returning calls unless they sound important on the answering machine. See what happens when I try to do good?)
So get this...yesterday it was raining so much that our area was under a flash flood warning. I live near a river...so close that I can walk to the end of the block and actually put my foot in it if I feel like trespassing in my neighbors backyards. For some reason, we are not considered to be in the flood plain, so we don't have to get flood insurance (however, my family has lived in this area for many years, and they can remember a time long ago when this area did flood. It was all farmland back then though.)
So anyhow, yesterday I'm watching the rain to make sure it doesn't flood. My backyard was a swimming hole but today it's all dry. The rain quit by noon, thank goodness! My friend kept calling to see if I thought I'd be able to take her to the dentist. In one of the conversations, she let it slip that she wasn't having surgery. She was just getting her teeth pulled. Grrr!!! So I'm going to check my kid's out of school, drive 30 minutes in the wet streets, and sit in the dentist's office for who knows how long while you get some teeth pulled? She wasn't going to be put to sleep for it. They were just going to give her a shot to numb it and some laughing gas. We hardly ever argue because I normally hold my tongue...but I gave her a lashing. By that time though, she didn't have time to find another ride to the dentist which was only 10 minutes from her. Her car needs fixing, but I wasn't coming for that reason. I was SUPPOSED to be coming so she would have someone with her to help her after she woke up from anestesia (sp?). Everyday, she catches a ride to work and back home, so she could have gotten that person to take her 10 minutes away to the dentist! Re-darn-diculous. I guess it upset me b/c I would never put anyone through that type of drama unless it was REALLY necessary. Her husband has two cars in the yard (not including hers that isn't working right now.) He won't let her drive either one of them. That's their business though, just don't make me drive for an hour to take you 10 minutes to the dentist. And she CLAIMS to have thought that she was originally having surgery. Everytime I was having surgery, I KNEW it. I just don't get it. She's just being worsome for the sake of being worsome (southern term that I believe is derived from the word "worrisome"...if that's even a word!) She knows that I'm off work and thinks that is a license to bother the crap out of me. She has another thing coming. I'm going to call and check on her today, and then sister gal won't hear from me for another week. Maybe even two.
I'm making more progress on getting my home into shape for selling. Hubby has been planning to clean the garage out for a while now. I see that plan is probably not going to come to pass for a while, and I need space to put these boxes that I'm packing up. So I decided to try to tackle it. I got halfway through this morning, and I'm pooped! We have a lot of crap! He hates to throw away stuff, which is why I'll have to throw this junk away before he gets here. Maybe it's best that I clean the garage after all. He brings home all this junk that he swears up and down is good...and it may be. We just don't need it. The peach office chair that works. Cool, I'm glad it does work. Now what do we do with it? Not a thang. It's not coming into my house because (1) we have three desks and three office chairs to MATCH already and (2) that thing is just ugly. Then there is the rocking chair that I had when my children were babies. It's ugly too now, the decor has changed, and I asked him to get rid of it two years ago. He decided that it was still a good chair, and he wanted to keep it. So it has sat in the garage for two years taking up space.
Anyhow, this has nothing to do with medicine I guess. But so what?! Well it kinda sorta does in that I have to sell this house soon and find another so that I can attend my classes in peace.