I Dream of Bones

I heard a quote today that I rather liked:

“When something goes wrong in your life just yell ‘Plot twist!’ and move on.”

As a result of the many plot twists of 2012-2013 I decided to go back to school this past spring.  I am a nighttime student; rushing off after dinner for four hours of the relative peace of classroom and lab work.  I’ve got a 4.0 GPA so far on my return; with microbiology, nutrition, infant/child developmental psychology under my belt.  I am now working on anatomy.  Despite a B.S. and a M.S. I didn’t take any classes remotely related to human beings so I have quite a few classes to get through.  All of these classes are prerequisites for my entering a lactation consultant program next fall and are also prerequisites should I decide to pursue medicine further as a certified nurse-midwife, nurse practitioner, or an MD.

I am enjoying school more than I thought I might.  Being back in school has made me realize how long it has been since I really learned anything new, which is a little bit sad.  The last new things I learned were all cooking related; I went to pastry school at night for a year while I was pregnant with Baby and have also taught myself canning.  But in terms of academics, it’s been close to a decade.  This realization makes it clear to me just how stagnant my old job was; I felt like my brain was suffocating at work and it is clear to me now, that is it was.

School hasn’t exactly been easy.  Conceptually the material is simple.  You know, the leg bone’s connected to the hip bone and all that.  However, the amount of material is staggering.  I expected to have to memorize all 206 bones.  I didn’t realize that was the easy part – that each bone has up to a dozen or more “landmarks” that we had to memorize too.  I have a new found respect for nurses, doctors, or anyone else who has had to take a rigorous anatomy class.  I have also had to relearn how to take a class.  College was all open-book, take-home exams, often without time limits; and all conceptual nothing practical.  Lest you believe that made for easy exams, let me correct you. The exams were brutal – I remember working on them for days; 50% was often considered a good score.  My master’s degree was all projects and essays.  Then this year I was thrust back into the world of multiple choice and true-false.  I hadn’t filled in a bubble on a Scranton since the SATs in 1995!  I find multiple-choice tests maddening; I tend to over think everything.  But such is the nature of the anatomical beast and so I feel a little like a kid again making up flashcards (although on the ipad rather than on index cards).  Studying is surprisingly fun; anatomy lends it self well to dirty mnemonics “Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can’t Handle” (Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrum, Pisiform, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, Hamate; the carpal bones).  I don’t expect that remembering the name of the bump behind the ear (Mastoid Process!) will be particularly useful information for dealing with lactation issues or catching babies,  but it does feel to realize use my mind again.  I feel like I am waking up from a long sleep; my mind is perhaps a little slower and I certainly have more on my plate than when I was a twenty year old college student, but it feels good to be alive and moving again.


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