Year Two

I’m officially a Second Year now.

So, in April I…

  • turned a year older
  • received my White Coat with my name embroidered all fancy on it, which also happened on my bday
  • took a bunch of finals and completed my classes (AAP technically finished the beginning of May but whatever)

Now I’m officially into my first rotation. I just completed my first week actually at the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office. And I am having a BLAST! I’m seeing so many cases you wouldn’t see anywhere else. I’ve seen suspected elderly abuse/neglect, suicide by firearm, firearm victims, motor vehicle accident victims, and I even experienced my first decomp yesterday! Most of the people who work there are super nice and patient with me as I learn the ropes. The other interns that come in once a week are super cool, too. The pathologists are nice and helpful for the most part.

It’s physically demanding and draining more than anything. There’s a lot of pushing, pulling, lifting bodies. Not to mention constant cleaning and scrubbing. I’m learning to pull bodily fluids like blood and vitreous from the eye. I can sew up bodies and the head after they’ve been eviscerated like no other. I’m slowly getting to do more and more, which is so exciting. I’ll never get this anywhere else so I’m trying to soak up as much as I can and do as much as possible. This is my wheelhouse. Full body stuff as opposed to surgical. I didn’t spend all those years in cadaver class for nothing.

I’m also going to be the Gross Anatomy TA for the new first years (omg, that’s so weird to say). They asked me if I would be willing to since they’ll be coming to the Coroner’s for lab, and I said why not. I did this forever at Mt. SAC. I can do it again. Plus it’ll be a good way for me to practice my anatomy too. And I’ll get to work on cadavers again. Wheelhouse again.

So far, I’m enjoying my second year much more than my first. When I went to visit my program manager to pick up some masks, the first thing she told me was, “This is the most relaxed I’ve ever seen you.” It’s true. This is the most relaxed I’ve felt in a long, long time. It’s nice. I can enjoy doing what I do without worrying about lecture and tons of exams. We only have the monthly pathology exams starting in June. So right now I can kind of take it easy. It’s a welcome change of pace, for sure. I hope that it continues being this awesome.

Awesome News!

For once! I finally have something really positive to say!

THE NEXT CLASS WILL BE COMING IN MAY!!!

Despite the previous post about Drexel Sac closing, Tina and everyone worked super hard to get the next class in. This program isn’t dead yet. All the work put into these rotation sites and setting up this program on the West won’t go down the drain after all.Β It’s just a matter of where it’ll be located next. They’re technically taking away our fancy classrooms, but it seems this program is here to stay… somewhere. We’ll just need classroom space for future classes, since everything else is off site. For example, Coroner’s office for gross anatomy, AAP in Kaiser South Sac, Histotech at UC Davis. The rest just need a room with desks, chairs, a computer and a projector to lecture in. Hopefully that’ll get set up during the next year or so, so when we leave One Capitol Mall, it’ll just be a different building maybe somewhere else in Sacramento. That’s purely speculation. I have zero idea, and I bet the higher ups have no idea where to go next. Who knows, classes could be held at Davis or in some crazy building they rent out in the middle of nowhere. πŸ˜›

I’m just glad we won’t be the last class! There’s one more! I was looking forward to kind of ‘mentoring’ the next class in the same way the second years have done with us. Pay it forward kind of thing. So major congratulations on the brand new class of 2017! (I bet you all can breathe now, am I right? ;)) I can’t wait to meet you all in a couple of months.

Sad Day

I know I always seem to post sad things lately, and unfortunately, I have more bad news.

Drexel Sacramento is closing.

We just found out this morning. They announced that Drexel Sac will close and no new students will be admitted in Fall. They will stay open until the very last class graduates, and then, they shut down for good. I don’t know why. I don’t know what this means for the PathA program or for the new incoming class. I don’t know anything. I’m hoping the Sacramento/Bay Area rotation sites will still be available for future classes, but there won’t be a campus here. I don’t know what will happen to faculty and staff.

I don’t know a thing.

All I know is my class will be the second and last PathA class to graduate from Drexel Sac. (Unless they miraculously let the next class in in May.) We will be able to continue and finish the program here, which is a relief. Because if I suddenly had to relocate to Philly to finish this program, I’d be beyond angry right now. Instead, I’m heartbroken and I’ve been trying not to cry all day. I was able to put my emotions aside during my physio exam today, but now that it’s over, it’s hitting me.

This was everything I strived for, and I got in. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. The Lord somehow found a way to let me continue going to school in California like I wanted, in the program that I wanted, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’m sad that future students won’t be able to experience and meet all the kind and wonderful people on this faculty and staff. They are seriously the nicest and most hardworking people here. They put up with our demands and our crazy moods, listen to us vent, especially when we have a lot of exams, and do it with a smile. I truly hope that they do find other opportunities soon.

It seems like this really came out of left field. Everyone is suddenly busy and scrambling, so this must be new to them as well. I don’t know what else will happen with the other DUCOM programs here. Or the business/education/etc. programs either. I’m sure there will be future announcements heading our way and I’ll keep everyone who reads my blog up to date as much as I can. I can’t even imagine what is going on through my program director’s head right now. All that hard work to get this program up and running — the first on the west coast — suddenly up in smoke.

I know when I graduate, I’ll look back at all of this fondly. Despite all the stress this program has put me through, I can truly say that I’m one of 10 who had the privilege of being in the Drexel Sac PathA program.

Honeymoon Over

Happy New Year… two weeks late. Well, I hope it was fun for you either way.

My break was nice. I got to sleep and eat lots of food. My cousins came for Christmas and we had fun playing games and whatnot. Then my dad and I drove my bro and his stuff to Utah to move him back to school. It was right before school started, so I was very tired. In fact, we spent New Year’s Day driving down to SoCal, spent the night, then drove all day to Utah. We spent the night in a hotel, then moved him into his dorm the next day and then literally drove the 12 hours back to California right after. Absolutely exhausting with all that driving. Then I had to drive the 2 hours to get back to Sacramento the day after. It’s a good thing we don’t have classes on Mondays or else I would’ve never made it.

A week and a half into school and I’m starting to feel the pressure and stress again. Week 1 was nice and easy as usual, and I thought maybe Week 2 would be the same. Nope. We had a brutal 4 hour lecture on autopsy procedures and basically found out that our exam next week is basically an in depth look at the entire textbook. We had TWO lectures. Now we have some crazy scary exam. Yeah, I’m terrified and stressing out like crazy. Plus, I’m super behind on path because I decided that doing nothing this weekend was more important. So there’s that.

Life’s a ball right now. Most of it is my own doing, but not all of it this time. That autopsy exam is definitely not my own doing. I just hope I can photocopy the right pages and somehow jam all that info into my brain in the next few days.

On the bright side, I had a few packages come in that totally make my life so much happier. I’m easing my way into the world of fountain pens. I bought the Pilot Metropolitan (Animal Print, White Tiger edition because I have a thing for white pens) because it’s cheap and everyone says it’s one of the really good starter pens out there. I splurged on the ink and bought the Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo ink. It’s this ‘moonlight’ blue that’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s THE reason I even bothered with fountain pens. I wanted to write with that color ink for pages and pages. I could take notes forever with it. I could write NOVELS with it. Which I plan on doing eventually.

I went ahead and purchased more notebooks from Baron Fig pretty much so I could use this pen. I got the limited edition Three Legged Juggler Confidant and the new Time Travel limited edition Apprentice pack. I’m so excited to do this. It’s completely old school and I don’t care. The pen writes wonderfully. The ink looks gorgeous on paper. The notebooks are quite excellent for the fountain pen. There’s very minimal feathering and no bleed through. I can write on both sides of the page! Huge, huge plus. I have plans for these notebooks and I fully expect to use them all up this year. I’ll just have stacks of notebooks and journals piled up. Especially once I start rotations. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say then.

It’s these little things in life that make it more bearable with all the stress and pressure of this program. Now let’s see how long this lasts. πŸ˜›

Another one down…

Fall semester is finished. Done. Complete. I even got my grades back and I’m pleased to report that I did very well for all the craziness that happened. I managed to get the B I wanted in Med Path and As in everything else. 20 units of evil and I survived with all my grades intact. I’m incredibly proud of the B in Med Path. Now you might wonder why I didn’t shoot for the A. It’s because I’d still like to have some sanity left. It was a med school course, so the fact that I’m not in med school and pulled a B out is more than enough for me. Plus it was a 6 semester unit course. Don’t give me crap about not getting straight As.

This semester was full of ups and downs as usual. 18 grueling weeks of cramming all that info in my head was quite an adventure. This program is relatively new out here in Sacramento, so there were some hiccups that should hopefully be straightened out for the next semester. I’m excited to see the changes. We started implementing some of them at the end of Fall, and it seemed to be working out quite well.

It’s crazy to think around this time last year I was freaking out about applications so I could get them in on time to Drexel. Now, here I am, two semesters in and one left to go before we go on rotations this summer. How insane is that?! I feel like I’m not ready for it, and yet I can’t wait to go. Everything will start making more sense once we start practicing what we’ve learned.

Next semester we have a course that’s exclusively for our program, Applied Anatomic Pathology (AAP), that will basically teach us how to do our job. We’ll practice sectioning and dictations for both autopsy and surgical path BEFORE we go on rotations so we’re not going in blind. Our instructor is one that’s been with us since the beginning and he’s been in this field for about 40 years. He specializes in autopsy, but lately he’s been doing some per diem work in surgical at Kaiser, so he’s definitely got the experience to teach us. I’m very, very excited about this. I can’t wait to get my hands on stuff. I’m much better in lab settings than I am in lecture, so it’s been a long time coming.

But the thing that I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around is the fact that our white coat ceremony is only a few months away. On my birthday! So I get an awesome gift of receiving my white coat. Then I’ll be legit. We’ll have the Drexel patches on the shoulders and our names embroidered on our chests. Freaking sweet.

Now, it’s the holidays and we get three weeks off. I’m going to enjoy every last moment of it. It won’t be long enough, but I’m just glad I can let my brain rot for a little bit after getting beat down so hard. Time to catch up on everything — my tv shows/anime/manga, do some art, maybe get some creative writing done since I missed out on Nanowrimo this year, and SLEEP. My goal next year is to update more regularly. I totally dropped the ball this past semester, so I’m hoping I’ll have more exciting things to post next year/semester. So hang around a bit longer. I promise I’ll come back with awesome stories.

Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!