Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Still here!

My poor, neglected blog!!! 

I must admit that getting back into the thick of things for second semester has been somewhat challenging...but I am getting there and starting almost panic given that my first mid term exam is next week!  That may just be exactly the "fire" I need to be lit under me, to get moving.

This term is exponentially more difficult than last semester.  Having the two anatomy and physiology courses is almost overwhelming.  Luckily, one course focuses on physiology, which is relatively easy for me -- it is still a ton of studying, but at least it is systems that are being studied.  The digestive system tells a story - so to speak - that can be told as the digestive process unfolds. (And I should add, my kids think it is beyond hilarious that I am learning about "poo" in school!)

The other course, however, is anatomy.  Pure. Rote. Memorizing.  There is no story to be told, just hundreds of bones, their bumpy bits, their various openings, their muscle attachment sites, muscles, blood vessels and nerves that need to be memorized.  It is somewhat daunting a task.

This term I also have two of my courses in the evenings.  And my other two courses are smattered throughout the week in little bits.  So I find I am spending a lot of time commuting to and from school.  Last semester, the course schedule was much more compact.  That made for a long day once a week, but it was better than all this driving.  In theory, I could easily take the bus, except that public transportation in my city is a disaster, and even though I have a full hour between when my classes end and the kids need to be picked up from school, and the actual driving time is only 25-30 minutes, there is no way on earth that I could depend on the bus to actually get me to my destination in an hour.  Sadly.

So most of my time seems to just disappear commuting, playing with my youngest in the mornings (that's a good thing!), running errands for our family, doing the basic household stuff like cooking and the occassional cleaning.  I must admit, though, that house cleaning sometimes takes on an interesting proportions that it never had before, on the days I feel like procrastinating with my studies!  Lol!

Must get going...the morning is flying by.  I haven't been very successful (rather, haven't been successful at all) yet this year in trying to meet my New Year's resolution of having time to be more social.  Complete. Adject. Failure so far.  It's just crazy how much there is to do in the course of the week....and it is not as if I am spending the majority of my time doing housework, either!  ;-) 

I'm guessing that resolution may not be able to fully come true until September, when my littlest is in school full-time.  That will make a huge difference in how much time I have in the day. But for the time being, she is the priority, and family time is one of the main reasons I am doing this career change -- both for the present, to be able to be home more now, and for the future, to pick work whose schedule works with our family time.  Oh yeah, and that "little" detail that I've been passionate about all things medical since my earliest childhood memories...


Friday, January 13, 2012

Ethics in Health Care

This is a course I started this week, and it is one I've been looking forward to taking for awhile now.  The prof is dynamic, energetic, fun and clearly loves the topic.  It is going to be one great course.  The list of topics to be discussed covers a wide range of ethical issues that a reality in today's health care reality...from one end of the life spectrum to the other...from the ethics of pre-natal genetic testing to end-of-life issues, such as assisted suicide and brain death, and many things in between.

I am seeing "ethics" now almost everywhere, since the first class.  Last night, my son was watching YTV, and a commercial came on advertising an upcoming TV series, called, "Switched".  It is about two girls who were accidentally switched in the newborn nursery, and the wrong family took each one home, and in the TV show, they are being re-united with their birth families.

I'm watching this preview, and thinking, "What's the ethical answer to that situation???"  Clearly, all the people involved, children and the parents, have a right to know the truth, but at what cost???  To what extent is it going to just mess them all up psychologically, after a decade of "normal" life?  Is knowing  the truth worth the cost of the psychological upheaval? 

Clearly, this course is already making me think!!!  I love thinking. :-)  This is going to be a great course. It will be very interesting to see where discussions lead, and what conclusions are reached on the various topics.  Yes, I very much like this kind of debate.  And, it is a very refreshing change from simply memorizing entire textbooks!  :-)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Last day of holidays before term II starts

I don't know where the three weeks of vacation went!!! It was a whirlwind of Christmas preparations, visitors and viruses (the latter were unwelcome visitors!).  There was much excitement and some very happy children, and adults.  Today we are finally taking the tree down, as well as the remaining few decorations.  And yes, we are still finishing off eating the Christmas baking...

It was a strange Christmas, with most of us being sick.  I ended up in emerg on Christmas eve, as I realized I most likely had been fighting strep throat all week.  No walk-in clinics were open, our family doctor's on-call service was closed, and my good friend and neighbour, and MD, was not home.  So off I trotted to emergency for get a prescription for antibiotics, just as the last of our guests were arriving and Christmas eve dinner was almost ready.  At the hospital, my fellow patients and I were serenaded by a choir, which I must admit, as nice a gesture as it was, and I really appreciated it, it did feel somewhat strange being on the receiving end of such a gift, in a hospital.  Gastro viruses followed soon after the strep, and now pneumonia has made an appearance at our house.

I am tired.  Simply tired.  And I know that tomorrow another semester being anew, one that promises to be much more intense and a heavier work-load than the one just finished.  This term, I will have two anatomy/physiology courses, compared to the one I had last term, which was extremely intense.

Maybe part of the reason I still feel somewhat disconnected about starting another term tomorrow, is that I am still waiting for the results of first term.  It feel very unfinished, not having results yet.  I found the results of one class posted on a course website, which has since been removed, and nothing yet where final marks are to be posted.  And the university has a policy stating that "marks are considered final as of January 19".  I blasted off an email to the school today, about their lack of feedback of advantage of being a second-career/mature student.  I wouldn't have done that when I was 19.  Now I'm no longer 19, and I wrote the email (polite, yet definitely to the point and expressing my views on their policies), and damn, it felt good.

My immunology/microbiology class prof has posted his lecture notes and slides, and I have already dutifully downloaded them, and even glanced through them.  It looks very interesting, but at the same time made me cringe inwardly, given that I still have zero energy when even thinking about beginning another semester.  At times I think I am just too old to be doing this now, at this stage in my life, and yet I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this at this stage in my life!  Such conflicting feelings are still part of my thinking, even 4 months into this adventure.

On a more positive note, I had a great interview with a local hospital about volunteering with them, an interview that the interviewer quickly turned discussion to my doing clinical placements there, who I will be put in touch with, and she even ended by saying that her best volunteers always get hired there.  I must say I left there feeling very happy, with the way the meeting had gone.  For some strange reason, and I'm not about to question why, I am not worried about finding work as a nurse when I graduate.  Yes, there is something I am actually not worried about!!!  The worrying part is trying to visualize actually getting through the next 7 semesters.

On another positive note, this coming semester will be much easier in many ways, compared to last term.  I have already made the transition from being a full-time professional, to a student, I have made many new friends who are great, I have figured out how to best use the materials that profs make available to students via the Internet -- something that didn't exist when I was a traditional student!  That last point was a real learning curve to be when I started nursing school, figuring out how to best use the on-line learning materials. 

So much information and supplemental learning material is available to students today, it is simply overwhelming.  I had to figure out how to make the best use of it, finding a balance between learning from the textbook, the on-line material and the lecture notes the profs post ahead of time.  All that should be much easier now, as I finally did manage to figure out how to best and most effectively use all the resources. 

There shouldn't be all the "new" experiences that September to December held.  I have now (successfully!) written mid-terms and finals, have done assignments, learned so much interesting information and learned how to balance school with family life and all the requiements that that entails!  I've found the parking spots at the school, I've volunteered at my children's school, and I've even found time to go for coffee once with a friend in four months.  That last point has to change, and I am certain it will, given how much more routine my new life will be in the second term. I was never lonely, never feeling isolated or alone in the first term -- quite the opposite! I always had lots to do with many people always around.  But there was never (OK, once!) just time to turn-off the "shoulds" and the obligations, and just relax a bit and have fun. That will definitely have to change in the coming four months, and frankly, is something that should change from here on in, in general!

Hopefully the coming four months will be simply a case of just learning the class materials, and successfully completing another term.  Hopefully I will muster up more energy and enthusiasm  once I'm in the classroom again.  And then I go back to my job on May 1, and all this may seem like it was just a dream...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Wow, 2012 already.  Only 3 calendar years now until my April 2015 graduation...OK, better just think about one semester at a time, as that other date seems too surreal...

Less than a week until classes begin again.  Not sure I'm quite ready for that yet!

Still waiting for the results of two classes.  Still recovering from the various viruses that invaded our family over Christmas.

Here's to health, happiness and success in the coming year.