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Catherine Fischer

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First Week of School [Sep. 6th, 2002|05:31 pm]
Catherine Fischer
Well, it was a pretty interesting week, to say the least -- one usually doesn't feel this far behind at the end of just the first week of classes!

I stayed up late last night, working on an assignment I was enjoying: looking up the Latin etymology for the myriad medical terms I'll need to know by, say, next week. Woke up bleary-eyed and disoriented. Note to self: Mustn't Do That Again! Looking forward to catching up on sleep tonight. I had an interesting dream, though; I was in a supermarket/bank (it was somehow both), and I was attempting to cash in some checks that I'd won in a contest, and Kevin was trying to tell me that they weren't real. I kept letting him talk, and then finally convinced him that they were, in fact, good -- and worth $100,000. And then I cashed them in, with a feeling of disbelief and terrible, weak-at-the-knees relief: I'd been in some sort of deep financial trouble, and this solved the problem.

This dream was a little too close to today's reality for comfort: the main New York financial aid department, because they lost my paperwork, won't have a check for me until mid-October sometime. I was furious, but managed to remain civil as I walked out of the office. New York is really not making being here easier. At least the local office has emergency loans, which will come out of my financial aid checks when they arrive, so I shouldn't starve.

This morning, in the middle of our Nutrition lecture, a student jumped up and started stomping something to death. When Dr. McNeal calmly asked, in her unflappable southern accent, "What's attacking you?" The student, terse with fear and loathing, replied "Centipede." Which gained Dr. McNeal's approval, as nothing else would (she told us). The sucker took quite a bit of stomping, too. I saw it later, after the student swept it out a side door: about 4 or 5 inches long, thick in the middle, blackish-green with red legs. Even after being stomped on repeatedly by a 75-kilo or so student(he was a pretty big guy, and wearing boots), it looked quite intact. It also looked like a monstrous thing to have attacking one. Rather like having to stomp a Sydney funnel-web to death. Yeeg.

We began dissection on our dog today in gross anatomy -- gave new meaning to the class title. Yucky yucky embalmed dog juice everywhere. I really don't mind living bodily fluids -- blood, lymph, synovial fluid, blood serum, even seminal fluid or urine -- getting all over me in the course of a day of veterinary surgery, but DEAD stuff in lots of carcinogenic chemicals...ewww. I enjoyed the dissection, though; I got to use some of the many techniques I'd been watching performed for two years. Dissecting away all of the subcutaneous fascia and adipose tissue was tedious, but I've never minded most minutely repetitive tasks. Just retarded that way, I guess (at least, that's what Mom used to say when I was growing up).

Despite the fact that we were supposed to be able to palpate certain osseous landmarks by which to navigate our skin dissection, our dog was frozen pretty hard, making this practically impossible (we ended up making educated guesses). So we named our dog "Froz Roz" (it's a female cadaver). My two lab partners and I already have plans to work on dissecting our dog on Sunday. It will most likely be a weekly thing. (Instead of Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, I'll be Dissecting the Doggie in the Dark.)

Once I got home (and made further useless attempts to scrub THAT SMELL out of my hands -- and I wore gloves, too), I decided to treat myself to my weekly meal of meat: I headed for Chicken Man downtown. Downtown was, of course, a zoo; it always is on Friday afternoons. (The traffic policeman was doing his thing in one of the main intersections -- you really have to see this performance to believe it. It's something like a cross between conducting, sign language, and modern dance. With white gloves! Seriously, I'm impressed with the ability of the local police to look sharp and crisp in their woolen uniforms in the wilting, withering, sticky tropical heat.) The parking space in front of Chicken Man was available, to my glee; I got a house-made guava drink to go with the barbecue chicken and breadfruit-salad. Yum. If only I'd had someone to share it with! More than at any other time, I am sad at eating alone -- it just seems so piteous, sitting dejected off by myself on campus, or solitary at home. I sure am looking forward to Kevin getting here. Although when he does, I'll probably stop losing weight -- his cooking's pretty darn good. It might be the heat, but I just haven't had much of an appetite. (The famous "Don't Eat So Much" diet. Coupled with lots of stairs.)

Yesterday, Dr. Hutchison gave his annual hurricane talk. (He's our gross anatomy professor, from Alabama, I think -- Dr. McNeal's husband. I keep wanting to call him "Hutch", but, being the consummate professional that he is, he would probably take it amiss.) The man is amazingly good at giving an objective presentation: beautiful graphics, statistics, column charts showing years where the hurricanes touched St. Kitts and how fast the winds blew, a year-by-year chart showing the pathways of the hurricanes, meteorological classifications, tracking coordinates, what to do before, during, after. Lots of pictures of what the various hurricanes he's lived through have done (he's been in them in the States, as well as here). Stories about the year St. Kitts got nailed by two hurricanes, 9 days apart. Things students have done to the detriment of the campus animals; what never to do. It was fascinating, but inspired a wish to comply with suggested preparations, rather than fear. He used one delicious simile, comparing the sound of the hurricane eye wall hitting his house to a locomotive in a car wash. One main point stuck indelibly in my mind after that presentation: on all of the charts, tracking each year's hurricanes, St. Kitts was smack in the middle of "hurricane alley" -- the preferred pathway of hurricanes spawned off the coast of Africa, following the Trade Easterlies. I'll keep my fingers crossed. After all, from the 1920s to the 1980s, no hurricanes hit St. Kitts. I could get lucky. (And even if not, I live in a fairly new concrete house. Safe from burglars, centipedes, mosquitoes, tsunami -- I'm way up the mountain -- but a bitch to try to put anything on the walls of.)

Well, I should get back to studying. I'm currently applying Hutch's suggestion of making a terms list. Next, I'll make charts and sketches of skeletal structure with muscle attachments, major nerves and arteries, lymphatic system...it never ends. It never will.

Oh well; do what you love, love what you do.