Archive | 11:37 am

scraping by

26 Feb

Remember that string of good news I wanted to document?  Well, six days prior to our first five-hour Brain & Behavior exam, it’s hard to think back on MDTI.  But, as motivation to myself as I feel somewhat paralyzed by a fear of failure, I would like to declare: I did, surprisingly, pass MDTI.  It was quite possibly my poorest performance ever on an exam, and I could not be more thrilled.

I opted to take the test on time so that I wouldn’t have it hanging over my head during this 10-week marathon of brains (hmm, sounds like the name of a really geeky quiz show).  It was my first morning (and the last for at least another week) off percocet; what a trip.  After the test, I went out to lunch, downed enough narcotics to kill a small animal, went home and fell asleep to West Wing while Eric did my dishes…have I mentioned how wonderful my classmates are?

A few days later, our class got an email from the course director saying that we all passed.  I don’t think I’ve ever had classmates come up to me specifically to congratulate me on passing…I might have worn my concerns over this test on my sleeve (to put it lightly).  My getting through this class was very much a team effort.  I don’t take for granted how fortunate I was to have friends taking care of me post-op (which included bedtime stories ranging from Christina’s rendition of Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup [thanks for the book, Sass!] to Nathalie’s “story” differentiating the types of arthritis), a learning team sending me updates and including me in group assignments despite the fact that I was not in class, fellow MS1s coming out of the woodwork, offering me kind words, study guides or personalized teaching sessions, administrative staff and faculty encouraging and supporting me throughout (Penn rules!), family and friends across the country sending me loving notes and care packages.  Whew!–longest sentence ever, and I’m sure I still missed some acts of kindness.  My point is this: I don’t think I could have passed without you, or at least it would have been a lot less pleasant.

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four weeks since the surgery, and my peers have not tired of me (or at least they’re keeping their mouths shut about it).  Doria comes over periodically to help with laundry.  Sara takes me for long walks across the city in place of our traditional runs down the Schuykill.  Jon, Eric, and Christina parallel study and encourage some fragment of productivity on my part.  Anant listens to me as I emotionally disintegrate.

And you, readers, whoever you are, thank you.  My posts have leaned toward tirades of complaints and embarrassing moments self-pity (this post was initially just supposed to be a few sentences announcing my continuation as a student in “good” standing…and look what it turned into).  I’m less than pleased with myself, but sharing this past month with you has been incredibly cathartic, and I cannot tell you how touched I am that more readers have “hit” these update posts than any others in the past.  Thank you.

Arm update: I can now bend over and let my right arm hang at a right angle to the floor.  While standing upright, I can abduct my arm about 45 degrees.  Booyah!