Saturday, August 30, 2008

And the verdict is...

My first test in medical school is officially in the books. I started the test at 1:16 pm, ended at 1:49 pm, and the answer key was posted at 5:00 pm.

They had given everyone a sheet of paper to record your answers so that you could check them against the answer key.

And the results....out of 45 questions, I only missed 4, giving me an A on my first major exam in medical school.

(HUGE sigh of relief)

Now, I have to get back to studying, as I have examinations on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Tuesday: "Gross Anatomy and Embryology"
Wednesday: "Microscopic Anatomy" and "Foundations on Becoming a Doctor"
Friday: "Biochemistry"

Its too bad that college football starts this weekend. I'm only letting myself watch one game (Alabama vs. Clemson), but once I make it through this week I'll be able to watch college football and the NFL all next weekend.

In other news, Lauren and I talked on Skype yesterday to Jesse and Jenny Eyer and to Ryan Mack (even though Ryan lives down the street). It was pretty fun, so I think that sometime soon Lauren and I are going to buy a webcam so we can video chat on Skype as well. So if you have Skype, let us know so we can add you as a friend and chat online.

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey D. Edwards

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Lady of Victory...pray for me!

Just to let you all first test is tomorrow (Friday) at 1:00 pm CST.

This will be my first examination in medical school; now is when we see if all that money spent at ACU was put to good use.

Who: Me
What: Module 1 Exam in Immunology (Microbiology)
Where: UTHSCSA Parman Auditorium
When: 8/29/2008 at 1:00 pm
Why: Because they say I have to take tests if I want an M.D.

I'll be sure to post something tomorrow about how it all went down. In the meantime, I'd be much obliged if you would say a little prayer for me.

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey D. Edwards

P.S. If anyone knows what movie the title of this post came from, then I'll be very impressed.

Hint: I substituted the word "me" for the word "us"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wax On, Wax Off

I'm feeling like the karate kid these days. (Minus the 80's haircut and and squeaky puberty voice.) Remember in the movie Karate Kid how when the boy went to learn karate from Mr. Miagi (how do you spell that?), Mr. Miagi just made him do lots of chores, like painting the fence, waxing his car, and other menial jobs? If you haven't seen the movie, I'll spoil the plot for you--the boy gets frustrated at his lack of karate instruction and is about to leave when Mr. Miagi shows him that the moves he makes when he does these menial tasks (paint the fence, wax on/wax off) are really karate moves.

Well, in my case I really am putting wax on and wax off. We're waxing teeth! Our assignment for dental anatomy class this week is to make a top central tooth out of green wax. The problem is, none of us are very good at using the wax yet, so there is a lot of weeping, gnashing of teeth, and general frustration in the lab because you might look at the tooth and see that it is a little thin, so you put some wax on. Then you will see that your tooth is a little thick, so you scrape some wax off. But inevitably, your unskilled hands will slip and scrape too much wax off, so you will have to put more wax on. Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax get the picture.

It's really not a terrible as I'm making it sound. It actually can be fun since you can talk to your classmates while you wax. Hopefully, though, we will soon stop being so "Karate Kid" and start being more "Really Really Good Dentist Kid."

Another fun part about school lately has been gross anatomy lab. We dissect cadavers and identify all the parts required and then get tested over them later. Since there are so many branches and arteries and nerves and muscles and stuff, mnemonic devices are valuable in helping us remember the orders of these things. Some of Jeffrey's and my favorites are:

Real Texans Drink Cold Beer
(To remember the branching of the brachial plexus--Roots, Trunks, Divisions, Cords, Branches)

Only Older Octagenarians That Take A Free Viagra Get Very Aroused Here
(To remember the order of the cranial nerves--Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Abducens, Facial, Vestibulocochlear, Glossopharyngeal, Vagus, Accesory, Hypoglossal)

Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can't Handle
(To remember the order of carpal bones--Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetral, Pisiform, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, Hamate)

And these are just the ones we felt like were "PG-13" enough to put on our blog (AKA, Jeffrey didn't blush when he read them)! Apparently, medical/dental students don't get out much...lots of sexual tension coming out in the form of mnemonic devices. Scary.

Also, we had some additional entertainment today from one of my lab partners. We were asked to identify the duodenum (pronounced "doo-WAD-in-UM" or "DOO-whoa-DIN-um," depending on who says it) today during lab. After identifying the structure, I heard the sweet little voice of my lab partner singing, "There she was, just a walkin' down the street/Singing "doo-WAD-in-UM" ditty dum ditty doo...."

Just a little entertainment to help the time go by faster--well done, Alexandra!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The preacher made a good point in church this morning. We, as people, try to put everything and everyone in a box.

[question] "Who is that girl?"
[answer] "Oh, she's that spoiled girl from school."

[question] "Why don't you like Obama?"
[answer] "Because he's a democrat."

[question] "Which one is he again?"
[answer] "He's the fat one, remember?"

Everyone does it. And we do it all the time. Even if we don't know everything there is to know about a person or subject, we feel compelled to describe everything as one thing...she is this, he is that, this is stupid because it's this, etc. It's as if we can be identified by one adjective only, and the adjective that someone chooses for us will remain attached to our personalities until we can prove that another adjective is more befitting of our current situation.

Why do we do this? Do we have some compelling need to organize everything into neat, little categories to make our lives more manageable? Or do we simply grant people one descriptor to ensure that we remain ahead in certain categories? Whatever the reason, its not a practice in which to engage oneself. It leads to discrimination, biased thoughts, and judgmental attitudes.

We as Christians are called to imitate Jesus Christ, and in doing so we are called to treat everyone 1.) as Jesus treats us, 2.) as we would want to be treated, and 3.) as we would treat Jesus.

This morning, Max Lucado eloquently described the scene of Jesus' transfiguration on Mount Herman, explaining how the disciples had put Jesus into one small box, and this moment on the mountain was when he burst out of the box. But this was not the only "box-bursting" scene for Jesus in his life. He lived counter-culturally to everyone's way of thinking, and when everyone said it couldn't be done, Jesus did it. Thank God that Jesus refused to be pegged as a liar and hypocrite when everyone said he couldn't die for our sins! So although Max didn't say this, I assume that Jesus would want all of us to stop placing people in those same boxes.

What if we as Christians were eternally pegged by the word that best describes us when we drive in traffic? When we engage our fellow co-workers or school mates? When we interact with our families? When we're alone? I love the fact that each morning I can wake up and be free from everything in past and future without fear of judgment or condemnation from God Almighty. I love have a blank slate every day on which to draw the new descriptors for my life. And so my new challenge in life is to be that forgiving with everyone else around me, and that includes being less judgmental.

Boxes are good for clothes, food, books, blankets, toys, appliances, and shoes.

But they are not good for Jesus, and they are not good for you and me.

Good night, and good luck.

--Jeffrey D. Edwards

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

90 Seconds

90 seconds. That's how long we get to answer each question during a Gross Anatomy Lab Practical. At 90 second intervals, a buzzer sounds to signal you to move to the next station and the next question. You may not return to any questions after you have passed them, and you may not move to the next question until the buzzer sounds. If you feel the questions or tagged structures are unclear, the professors will be happy to NOT explain them to you, because there is no time.

Here's the rub: 90 seconds feels like an eternity when you know the structure immediately. You walk up to #7, look at the tagged specimen, write down "communicating rami," double-check it...and then what do you do with the other 82 seconds? You think about how gross it smells down there, you wonder about how this particular cadaver died, you ponder whether or not you will donate your body to science, you sing your favorite song in your head, you pick out some of the wax that is in your hair from this morning's dental anatomy project (glamorous, I know), and then you check the clock: 70 more seconds! When all else failed, I sang the anatomy song in my head--the hip bone's connected to the (clap) leg bone...--the song is so appropriate!

The other problem with this style of test? 90 seconds is so incredibly short if you are unsure of your answer. You walk up to #8 (a little cocky because #7 was easy for you, and still humming the anatomy song) and look at the pinned structure. It looks like a vein, but it's stemming from a nerve. Ok, think Lauren, what could it be? One of the pectoral nerves? Lateral or medial? It just doesn't look like a nerve. Maybe it's an artery...but it's collapsed like a vein--BUZZER! Dang...I'll just guess pectoral vein (correct, I found out later) Why was that 90 seconds only 12 seconds long?!

Seriously, the practical wasn't all that bad, but it's just another example of how most things in life are all about perspective...and good guesses.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lessons Learned

Confession: I have had a bit of a difficult time switching churches. It's not so much that I have particularly missed the sermons or classes from my church in Abilene, but I have sorely missed the friendships and familiar atmosphere there. I miss little Marlee and Lily Goode coming to sit on our pew (mostly because my mom left little trails of goldfish crackers on the floor to lure them over), and I miss getting a big hug from Sug Springer (that's the only way that she knows how to say "hello!"), and I miss watching all my favorite "church babies" grow up from week to week.

It's hard moving spiritual homes, but luckily for us we have found a great church here in San Antonio. We have been attending Oak Hills every Sunday since we moved and have felt a true renewal of our spiritual focus. Oak Hills just hired a new pulpit minister, Randy Frazee, and he has preached his little heart out every week since he started. Both Jeffrey and I were quite moved by his sermon a few weeks ago that talked about loving matter how hard.

Last week was special, though. Last week Randy gave a great lesson on gentleness and how to carefully correct each other with love. Jeffrey and I talked all the way home in the car about what a good sermon that was, and then promptly got into a fight about the electric bill where both of us raised our voices at each other. Sorry, Randy.

Yes, it has been said that couples fight most often about money. Unfortunately, Jeffrey and I don't really have any, but in an effort to prove the saying true, we just fight about our imaginary money (that money which we will presumably have someday when we get out of school...and get out of debt). Yes, readers, I know this is stupid, but love is foolish--and so are we.

On the up side, we have both been studying all weekend and may be considered anatomical experts. If any of you out there are having a difficult time locating your cephalic vein, pectinate muscles, or cranial nerves--give us a call. We'll help you out. Just a little public service from us to you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Great Potato Peel Fiasco 2008

Jeffrey and I are having some friends over for dinner tomorrow night, but I won't get out of gross anatomy lab until five...or six...or later--Boo!

In an attempt to have dinner ready on time for tomorrow, I started cooking tonight. First item on the agenda: mashed potatoes. Not a difficult dish to make, but a bit of a process. I took the potatoes, peeled them in the sink, and cut them into pieces to put into the big boiling pot of water. After all the pieces were in the pot, I went back to the sink to dispose of the potato peels--and that's when the disaster started.

I turned on the disposal and the water in the sink and started to push the potato peels down the drain. Now, for those of you who are reading this and thinking, "Lauren, you're not supposed to put potato peels down the disposal," my response is: "I know" After a few seconds, it became clear that there was a problem when the disposal started to growl at me.

At this point, I did what any good wife does when something breaks--ask my husband to come and fix it. Jeffrey came in and thought we might be able to grind down the peels that were trapped if we let the disposal run for a few more seconds. He ran a little water in the sink and turned on the disposal again, and a tidal wave of frothy potato water splashed all over both of us and the bar, the sink, the countertop, and the kitchen floor. Lovely.

After sticking our hands down into the potato filth of our drain and trying to physically unstick the clog, Jeffrey thought we might be able to plunge the sink clean. He tried using the drain stopper to plunge the drain, but to no avail. (And we found out that doing this ALSO causes the trapped water to erupt out of the drain like a potato geyser onto the floor.)

At this point, we got desperate. It was time to bring in the big guns. Jeffrey went to the store to buy a full-sized plunger, and as he was on his way home, I fixed the sink. (You have to clog the other side of the double sink to create a good seal to plunge the clogged side--who knew?)

In other news, I met my academic advisor today from the dental school. I had a great time talking to him, and he gave me some really great advice, but I still somehow ended up leaving the meeting feeling like an underachiever. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my advisor is a retired colonel from the US Air Force, fluent in German and English, has an M. D. and a D. D. S. (completed dental school and medical school, in other words), works regular ER and OR rotations, is a part time faculty member, and a lobbyist in Congress for access to health care in America. What a guy! I can't even make mashed potatoes--haha!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Well, it's about that time...

...for me to write another entry on our blog.

I don't usually write a lot on here for three reasons:

1.) I usually don't have anything exciting happen in my life that's worth writing about. I mean, really, who cares about my dorky science classes?

2.) I would rather spend my daily 15 minutes of free time watching ESPN or Family Guy

3.) Lauren's a lot better at this than I am.

But since this is technically "our" blog, I guess I should at least try to post something once a week. For this week's entry, I have decided to post some of my thoughts and feelings about life from the past week, so here goes...

Live from Beijing
Michael Phelps is incredible. He is one year older than me - ONE! He is so much fun to watch, because even though you know he's going to win, you don't know by how much he's going to win. And even though my body looks very similar to his, he is still a much better swimmer than me, which is why he's in China winning gold medals and setting world records and I'm at home writing on a blog about him. (At least my teeth are better.)

Medical School Update
My first round of tests starts two weeks from Friday, so I'm starting to gear up for those. I am now a proud member of the Texas Medical Association and a soon-to-be member of the American Medical Association (Medical Students' Section). We dissected and removed our cadaver's brain on Monday, which is more proof to me that God is alive and well. I don't know how he created this mass of cells in which we live, but the human body is incredible. If you want to know exactly how incredible it is, call me and I'll tell you. Anyway, the brain was really cool (as were the saws that we used to cut open the skull), but now we have to be able to pick out all the major cranial nerves and branches from where they exit the brain and the different holes through which they pass in the skull. Looks like a long weekend in the lab.

From the Weather Channel
It is HOT outside. I would say, "Thank goodness, August is here, fall is coming, cooler weather can't be far off!" But, we live in Texas. And now we live in the Southern part of Texas, meaning it will be hot and humid until January. The temperature spiked above 100 yesterday, but hopefully the rain will actually come through this weekend and cool things down.

If Only I Were a Doctor Already
Last Wednesday I came down with a bad cold - sore throat, runny nose, nausea, etc. I am still trying to get all of the congestion out of my system, but since we're so poor right now, I refused to go to the clinic, because I knew they would just tell me to buy antibiotics. Even though the cough drops and orange juice has helped, I am still coughing and sneezing quite a bit. Thankfully, Lauren hasn't gotten sick yet, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

OK, my 15 minutes are up...time to get back to studying. Or maybe I'll make dinner. I don't know, but I do know one thing: those Chinese gymnasts were definitely NOT 16!

Until next week...

Good night, and good luck.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Latest News

Good evening, and welcome to the weekend update from the Edwards.

Gas prices continue to fall, declining for the twenty-second day in a row (says my husband, who enjoys reading about such trivia on the internet in his leisure time). People have been seen all over the city high-fiving at gas pumps. Some have chosen to use the extra money to pay off their debts, but the Edwards family here in San Antonio has decided to funnel the overflow from the monthly gas budget directly into the monthly ice cream budget--Yeah!

While gasoline prices have shown a decrease, homework, on the other hand, has shown a steady increase over the last few days. Jeffrey has his first round of tests coming up in three weeks, and I have wasted away countless hours attempting to make anatomically correct models of teeth out of wax.

In other news, San Antonio apartment complexes are trying new methods to keep their tenants. My friend Carly woke up last Thursday as usual, got ready for school, and attempted to leave, but realized that the power at her apartment that serves the entrance and exit gates had been turned off. Every person in the complex had been effectively locked IN. In an event reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin wall, Carly's fellow apartment dwellers worked together to pry the oppressive gates open and go on their way to work and school. Luckily, Carly only missed the beginning of a very boring lecture on biochemistry.

Casey Cope is staying with us this weekend while she goes to a wedding. We have really enjoyed having her, but I hope that she hasn't been disappointed with the "luxurious" life of the Edwards. The big events of this weekend so far have been eating chicken tenders and watching the Olympics on TV...very exciting. Casey assures us that this is what she would be doing if she were at her own house, so I guess everyone's happy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Yesterday we saw some familiar faces. A horde of young men and women all wearing identical suits, men with red power ties, women with lucky earrings, all armed with a notebook and a "go-getter" attitude with an air of confident awkwardness. No, we did not recognize these faces because they were our friends, per se...we recognized them because we were in their shoes one year ago. They were this year's medical and dental school applicants visiting for interviews.

Jeffrey decided that even going to anatomy lab for hours on end AND smelling like formaldehyde for the remainder of the week (seriously, what is the deal with that chemical?) is still better than going through the nervousness and sheer terror of the application process again.

Adding insult to injury, the poor applicants are given little to no direction as to where they are supposed to meet in our labryinth of a school (Even with a map, navigating through the Health Science Center can feel strikingly similar to the 15th century's sailors--"Is is Cuba? Florida? Either way, it's a whole new world.).

Jeffrey had a quiz today. He made a 100. We are waiting for the graded paper to get back so we can hang it on the fridge next to our coupons...yeah, we cut coupons. We also take donations. Cash, check, or money order. For only $.80 per day, you could support one starving med/dental student...


Friday, August 1, 2008


So the dental school decided to offer us a chance at exemption from biochemistry by taking an examination. Students scoring an 80 or above would receive a passing grade for the course and not be required to take the actual class. Of course, many of us took the test because many of us like the idea of having a little more free time during this first year.

Some students studied more than others, but all of us were somewhat prepared for this type of test, having taken undergraduate courses in chemistry. Unfortunately, the test turned out to be considerably harder than I expected. For example, sometimes I just answered "B" because I hadn't used that answer in a while...impressive, right?

This morning we met for biochemistry lecture (because no one has found out their exemption status yet). After the lecture, one student raised his hand and asked a question about something that had been asked on the exemption examination. The teacher gave a rather vague answer to the actual question, and explained that this type of question is very difficult, and would never be asked on an exam...go figure. Guess when they said that we could test out of the class they really meant--You can test out of the class if you are a genius. Clearly, I do not qualify!