Saturday, August 29, 2009


Break...between terms. A great time to take inventory and figure out how to regroup for the next assault. And the next one will be one for sure. The pinnacle of image processing thru the first two years of medical school is the "first" Step exam (part 1) assessment of knowledge since starting medical school. It is daunting at best, for even the smartest 20 something. For me, it seems like a beast. But I am blessed with some insight, motivation, and at least a sense of what I need to do to get ready for it. I'm sure I'll be as ready as I can be after the next few months, but I have to stay focused on the goal and the path to success that lies in service to others without expectation of reward.

The other inventory taken during breaks is that of the "other" life; often the one we leave behind when engaged in graduate school. That other life seems more uncomfortable and I feel as inept in it as ever. For nerds like me there is comfort in the one on one study that is medical school. With only me against the process and the knowledge. It is what it is, and so be it is what it is. My worry about it won't change it, or make it feel any more comfortable. Why is it that those so close have the propensity to do the most harm and show the least respect and most disregard? I should cherish and even revere their "honestly", but I don't.

I go back to school more hopeful than ever about the learning, the environment, the stability of the institution, the faculty, and the organization as a whole. The rest, as it has been so eloquently stated, is up to me and I accept that challenge. It's far easier than real lifeimage in that regard, and there are no photo reminders of more brutal times. Bearing it alone is so better. A shame I wasn't born in the Aussie "Outback". I believe it's time for a walkabout.

"Without hope of reward, provide help to others. Bear suffering alone, And share your pleasures with beggars." - Nagarjuna, "Precious Garland"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It is finished, almost

Summer term is OVER! At least the lecture, classroom part. Final exam are next week and they can't come too soon. I'm really already ready for them since I come in with pretty good grades and have been keeping up, but wait I will. And then break, and home. Can't wait. YAY!


40 Years

"And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn..."

In the hills of New York state, 40 years ago, there was a  failed concert. There were too many people, no organization, too few services and some ofimage the worst rainstorms of the season. But it was an event that probably changed many people. Today is the anniversary of that concert.

I'm pretty sure at the age of 12 that my parents wouldn't have let me go to Woodstock, but it influenced my choices in music for the rest of my life. I still have some of the greats on my IPod: Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Ten Years After, Sly and the Family Stone, John Sebastian, Jefferson Airplane, Paul Butterfield, Arlo Guthrie, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Richie Havens, Country Joe and the Fish, Joan Baez, The Who, Joe Cocker, Sha Na Na (yes, "Bowser"), and Canned Heat. The first real album I heard and owned in college was Jefferson Starship. I still get silent listening to a full rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Jimi. Am I still listening to Santana's imagemusic after 40 years? Amazing! And when I met Stephen Stills in Hawaii I was speechless.

But the real effect was the thread of spirit and thought it laid down in future friends, camp counselors and bunk mates, relatives and in my heart, and the sense of rebellion it kindled in my psyche. I'm not sure that is all a good thing, but it's there none the less and I'm still marching to a different drummer after all these years. Happy 40th Anniversary!

"And I get by, with a little help from my friends..."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Looking NE just right of St. Maarten around midnight thru the early morning we should have a nice view of the Perseid (the constellation) meteor shower. They predict several 100 per hour and I'm sure I'll be able to find a lonely location far from city lights. Oh wait, we have no cities! COOL!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Finals and Storms

I'm getting into that mental frenzy called finals prep, but I don't feel to panicked at this point. I guess I'm either delusional that I know this stuff, or I'm just getting used to the routine. This is, after all, the 16th barrage of block exams. Maybe I am just getting used to it. I still have about a week to study. Plenty of time by standards, if I've been keeping up, and I have....eating those pancakes everyday. can't wait for break though.

The only imponderable in my otherwise drab island existence of study and island life is the impending storm season and one particularly interesting one just coming off the African coast to our east. It's got no name, but it's heading our way. This is the predicted Aug 16 position based on my trusty sailing wind predictor.


At that rate, and if it continues its course and path of development, it will strike the island when I'm safely in Florida. But that could be good or bad. I'm going to have to watch this one. I don't like the idea of a "big one" hitting when I'm not here, but nothing I can do about that now. Waiting, watching, studying....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Leash Laws

I think you can judge the level of society sophistication and progression by it's leash laws. I am officially in a 4th world country. I got attacked on the beach by a vicious dog today. No blood. Fortunately as imageI emerged from the water, I had my mask and snorkel in hand and as the beast leaped for my calf I hit him with the mask. He was pissed, but I wasn't hurt. Statia is no place to get bit. I'd probably have to be airlifted to a 3rd world country for treatment and that would suck just prior to finals.

What is it about places like this and their attitudes toward dogs? Dogs are mistreated, chained to car bumpers, running wild killing sheep and attacking humans...and there doesn't seem to be a care about it. A place can truly be judged by how it treats it's animals.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The End of the Season

image The end of summer, and my time here, is almost over. Summerfest ends today. The parades this past weekend heralded the end of the Carnivale season and the end of summer. Only a few weeks more til finals this term and I can already feel "break" ahead. Time to really hit the books hard for cumulative final exams.

It is also nearly the end of my "season" here. As I left immigration with my new annual "license" to be here, I realized I've been here over a year and that my time is imagecoming to an end. The tell tale sign? My old immigration permit was punched with three huge "invalidation"  holes punctuate the end of one year.  National U.S. boards will be upon me soon enough and clinical rotations will begin the trek toward M.D. hood.

It was a busy weekend with lots of end of summer events, some amazing diving and lots of thoughts about life beyond Caribe medical school. It's been an amazing experience. I'll miss it.

There was a series of amazing "fly overs" this past weekend of both the shuttle (before in landed) and the Space Station. The night is so dark and filled with stars that the view was amazing. Note to self: Walk up slowly on free ranging donkey encountered on night time walks to view the Space Station flying by. They spook easily, protect their young, and don't like humans much.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Quiet Weekend

Our perceptions about the world around us, and how we interact with the world, are filtered through the perspective of who we really are and what we thrive on. As I watch the sunset, sitting on my Caribe island, studying the depths of human physical illness, I've discovered (again) a tremendous pleasure that I can only enjoy when I am alone, therefore the desire to be with people or to run after things or position or title has vanished away by itself again, as I have been here.

More importantly I prefer it to anything else. It will be a challenge to reintegrate into the real world, and my recent brushes with the real world hasn't been too pleasant. Question: How do I combine my love for the healing arts, and contributing to the elimination of human suffering and creating more health while being true being alone and not running after things or positions? Is there such a position in medicine?

I remain open to the possibilities.