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I have somehow accumulated four--no, five--essays that are due next week. Plus I'm flying to another city for four days, where I will presumably have a little bit of time to work on papers, but it's going to put a serious break in my workflow. Today is Thursday, which has been a decently productive day for me in the past, not quite as good as Friday. Since I'm wondering right now if I've bitten off too much, I am almost ready to start working. If I put things off for a few more days, I would be certain I had bitten off too much and would immerse myself in frenzied essay preparation. I'm hoping to access frenzied essay preparation today, for the pipe dream of finishing early.

But first I am learning how to build a poster. Posters are these excuses for scientists to get together in pleasantly distant cities like Las Vegas and San Francisco. Because all the information that really matters is on the poster, and all the posters are gathered into a big room for the duration of the conference, it's easy for the scientists to browse through, get the scoop on the newest research and (with the better posters) what the current state of the field is. And then they can go goof off for the next three days.

The brilliant part is that it's relatively easy to get a poster accepted, so there's a huge number of scientists who come to these things to "present" the poster, meaning they stand by it and talk to browsers, and then they are done. There are speakers and seminars and sometimes workshops at these things too, but thanks to the poster session, scientists can be choosy about which ones they go to and how much time they spend in other, more diverting pursuits.

So you can see, it's very important to know how to put together a poster.
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Wednesday was pretty horrendous. I was doing that half-asleep&dreaming thing you do when you haven't quite reached the walking-into-walls stage but are considering it just because you would get to lie down for a moment. I kind of sleepwalked out around 5:30, went straight home and read for an hour or so (biking revs me back up a little, so even though I can't think straight I still can't fall asleep right away when I get home). The sleeplessness also meant I was in no state to handle three and a half days with no communication from Ix, but so tired I really just wanted sleep. I figure I had an immediate sleep debt of 14 hours, since I had two weeks of staying up late and no good sleep over the weekend.

I slept for 11 hours and woke up a bit tired, but functional. Way more functional than I'd been all week, as I realized when I went to the clinic and discovered there'd been a miscommunication about the discharges...whoops. Whatever state of incompletion I'd left them in, they were worse than the resident had expected. And being the sort of...hmm, control freak is definitely not the right word to use here...being the sort of driven individual most residents have to be to survive their education, she had finished the discharges with high polish. They were really beautiful discharges when she was done with them, and I have to admit I was secretly glad I got to see how exactly she writes them when not working around the constraints of student workmanship.

And since I was actually halfway rested, I was able to bear up under the shame/humiliation/learning opportunity without breaking into tears.

Today my insides decided they hated the world despite have gotten a second full night of sleep. I gave up on working in the super-busy ward and took my case file to the lounge, which has comfy couches on which one can sit in innard-placating positions while continuing to work. So that was a good decision. I helped another student with her discharge today too. I like very much the helping-with-discharges. I feel smarter, not so much with the being able to spell (which is an inexplicable and occasionally fallible skill), but with the being able to explain things. In english. Not medicalese.

I like it so much I have to keep reminding myself that most people will never read the discharges, and it's more important how well you practice medicine. But still. Words, eee!

June 2014

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