Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This is the exact noise I made as soon as I reached maximum capacity for information at the orientation today. It was a kind of guttural and savage cry for help that I'm sure my cave-women ancestors made every time they got beat in the head with a large club or attacked by some sort of saber-toothed cat. This, my friends, is apparently the sound of complete and utter submission to the fact that you are totally fucked.

After the initial meet and greet with the instructors, the orientation to the Nurse Practitioner Master's Program started with a calm explanation about what to do when you begin to have a panic attack. It started off as a light-hearted joke, and then quickly became "no, seriously...when you start hyperventilating and throwing up, just sit down and breathe. We need to take this one day at a time. Don't look at all your text books when they are stacked up all in one place" etc. (I looked at my text books all stacked up in one place and had a panic attack last week).

So, then we got an 8 hour lecture describing what we were expected to do. As all of us were reviewing the syllabus (for the ONE class...out of FIVE) and furiously scribbling notes and highlighting important dates, I glanced around the room. I could tell that people were starting to lose it. I'm glad I wasn't the only one, but at the same time, it was a terrible sight. People were chugging their coffee, grimacing, tearing up, breathing too fast. I even saw people at some points just drop their pens on the desk, slack-jawed and blank, and put their heads down on the table. I'm also 95% sure that one person ran out of the room to puke. I was somewhere in between feeling like laughing with insanity while shredding my notes into confetti, and sobbing uncontrollably while I scream "I-JUST-DON'T-THINK-I'M-GOING-TO-G-GET-ENOUGH-CLINICAL-HOURS! I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO ANYTHING!"

During the lunch break, we all huddled in the cafe at the library shivering like we were going through delirium tremens, even thought it was about 100 degrees outside. Nobody said too much. We all just bought some coffee or tea (for me a giant-ass iced tea, which always seems to cheer me up. Today it just barely got me through).

After lunch, we reviewed the assignments, in addition to the clinical hours we were to do. The weekly write ups, the on-site evaluation by clinical faculty, the complete history and physical paper, the episodic papers, the patient logs, the text books that we need to consult nightly and whatever else there is that I'm forgetting. At the end of the day, Dr. Professor says "OK well, that's the clinical portion, I will see you all day Tuesday to have the orientation for the didactic classes. Those will be challenging compared to this".

And that's when I, along with most of the class, made the noise.

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