This was, as typical for this first week of school, a very busy day for me. Last night was my first A & P class, or Anatomy and Physiology for you non biology types (of which I have a sneaking suspicion I may be one of). My friend, Erica, had given me her impression of this professor: “He is old and boring and puts you to sleep, but he tells you everything that will be on the tests.” Prof Ports is a slightly built man somewhere in his late 50’s/early 60’s. His voice registers a bit on the high-pitched end, and his shoulders seem perpetually hunched. The young man seated next to me currently teaches some business type classes, but has medical aspirations. Upon request, he lets me examine his book; mine is still shrink-wrapped. The entire class is spent going over the syllabus. When I get home, I take off the plastic and have a look at my own book. It is full of richly colored, intricate drawings of the human body and its systems.
I spend the next several hours reading Chapter 2 of my Cellular Biology book and the chemical properties of several common atoms and molecules; chiefly, good old H2O. Late to bed, but at least class the next day (today) wouldn’t begin til 9:30 A.M.
I have GOT to start leaving the house a little earlier on school days. I was the next to last on to arrive in C.Biology. The lecture is full of molecular diagrams, different types of molecular bonds and the periodic table of elements. My mind struggles to stay above the comprehension line.
Next is yoga class, much a repeat of two days earlier. I get some good stretches and almost fall asleep at the end of class when we lie supine for nearly 5 minutes.
Then, a few errands around town, and home in time to catch a brief cat nap before returning to Elko for Weightwatchers, where I led the meeting this week. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a hypocrite, as I don’t always practice what I preach, but the meeting seems to go well and we have 6 new members. We (employees) all got out of there pretty late, though, because the paperwork part of the meetings is in the process of changing, and not for the better, despite all the rah, rah, go team go, speeches we have been getting from management lately.
For once a morning where I didn’t have an appointment or class! I slept late, took the dogs for a walk and made a stew with a rotisserie chicken I had purchased from Walmart the day before, and herbs & veggies I either had on hand or harvested from my garden. I must say, it turned out pretty good. Work at the prison at 12:00, then A & P class in Elko at 5:30. I’m getting better; I was only a trifle late today. This instructor, in many ways, is the antithesis of my Cellular Biology teacher. He passes out a handout and proceeds to pretty much read it, though he adds a practical anecdote from time to time. There is no computer enhancement for this class; strictly old school. In fact, it sounds like he even uses essay questions on his tests and quizzes. At 7:00 pm, half the class troops to the technology building for our first lab. The other half of the class did this lab yesterday. We are told we will be dissecting a fetal pig and viewing Bernice, the cadaver. But first we must watch a video on lab safety. Next we each make a sign with our name and class date on it so the lab assistant can take a digital picture of each of us. This is the method Prof Ports has devised to help him learn our names. Then comes an array of information that I only half follow. Finally, with 1/2 hours left, we can get our pigs, and I carry the metal tray to the sink to collect the one for our group. The pigs have already been cut open by the previous class; all we have to do is identify a few things: fascia, parietal pleura, visceral pleura, pericardium, visceral pericardium, parietal peritoneum, visceral peritoneum, mesentery and omentum. Whew! I’d assumed we would be finding such things as the heart, liver and spleen. There is one large, tattooed guy in the class who was formerly a medic. He knows a lot and is generous helping our group locate these membranes, or serosa. Bernice reeks of formaldehyde. She has definitely seem better days: she is probably on the tail end of her lab-cadaver days. We gather around as our instructor points out various organs and systems. Somehow, I am the last student to leave the room, which means I have to find my way back to Health Sciences parking lot by myself, which I do with only a minimum of wrong turns. UltraDad made it home tonight, but he was already in bed when I got home.
I’m looking forward to only going to work tomorrow and of having an extra day (Labor Day) to try and make sense of everything. And this is only the first week!
UltraMom (May she be excused? Her brain is full!)
Okay, first day of school, and a couple of first impressions.
I entered the Cellular Biology classroom and took a seat near front/center. Dr. David Freistoffer is one of those slender, energetic sorts who are intimately acquainted with and passionate about their subject. With this type of teacher, there is usually a trade off: interesting lectures, difficult exams The class is a large one, and is probably 95% female; most of the students are pre-nursing or education majors. There is one black guy in the class. Of course most of the students are young. The friendly girl who sat in front of me asked, “Have you taken this class before? You look familiar.” Turned out she remembered me from PoliSci a year ago. As the instructor talked, I slowly removed the shrink-wrap from my textbook. No turning back!
In Yoga, I do not think I am the oldest one! There is at least one other woman who, if she isn’t older than I am, at least looks like she is. Hopefully all this deep breathing and sustained stretching will do my aging, arthritic body some good. The Yoga instructor rather reminds my of Professor Sybil Trelawney, the Divination teacher from Hogwarts, Harry Potter’s alma mater. She was thin, willowy and a little wispy, with large round eyeglasses and a calm, nearly hypnotic way of speaking. The young girl on the mat next to me was really cute; sandy-reddish hair, with lots of ear piercings and a lip stud. She was also quite flexible, which I guess gives me something to strive for or at least envy. She was also very nice about helping me find my way back to Health Science building, where my car was parked, from the fitness center. Once I get it down, and go in the right direction, it is really near by.
Johnny was nice enough to mail me “Office for Mac” for my MacBook. We have a tradition of sending a dollar or two when we mail something to each other. I thought he was kidding when he said he was going to throw in some tic tacs in lieu of cash, but when I opened the padded envelope, 6 little pink candies spilled out. He had warned me not to eat them, as they were grapefruit flavored Breast Cancer Awareness tic tacs. I tried one anyway and it was delightful and citrusy.
I find I so much prefer on site classes to internet only. For me, being a part of a classroom with actual physical interaction with instructor and other students is a big part of what I enjoy about being back in school. Tomorrow: Anatomy and Physiology. Tonight: Bed!
Cellular Biology:4 Credits. Class time Mon & Wens mornings with a late Tuesday night lab. Anatomy and Physiology I:4 Credits: Class time Tues and Thurs nights with a late Thursday night lab. Human Growth and Develpment:3 Credits. Online class. Beginning Yoga:2 Credits, Mon & Wens after Biology, but before work. Weightwatchers on Wens evenings, work on Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri afternoons. And there you have it: UltraMom’s tentative next semester schedule, which starts, gulp, next week.
Actually, starts in 2 days. I am surrounded by my horribly expensive text books, which cost nearly as much as my tuition for the semester. I could have saved some money buying online, but not all that much. The new biology books are still in their shrink wrap. Once that is removed, there is no returning to the bookstore. The used lab book turns out to have missing pages; I wonder if they are important? There are no more used ones; only new. In the back (not all that far back, actually) of my mind is the thought that I won’t be able to handle this while working, doing Weightwatchers and leading my disjointed, unorganized life. It is gratifying that those closest to me think I can; I hope they are right. I asked my friend to pray that a) I can do this or b)I am able to realize quickly that I can’t and c) that in any case I develop some organizational and time management skills, which have never been my forte.
A very good thing tonight; got to videochat with my favorite baby and his parents. LInc is adorable and favored me with some smiles and nearly a laugh. UltraBob says Linc enjoys watching Beaker the turtle; in fact UB insists he considered naming Linc “Beaker, the sequel, this time it’s PERSONal”, but I’m not sure I believe him. UltraGirl is looking terrific, and UltraBob is sporting a shiny, newly-shaved noggin and a stylish beard. UB said he could hear the crickets chirping at my house. I thought they were at HIS house. He plugged headphones in, and the crickets went away. Interesting.............
UDad and I attended a funeral on Friday for his sister’s mom-in-law. Louise was in her 90’s when she passed away, and until her later years, led a full, active life. It seems she had a way of taking care of any kids that happened her way. When the preacher asked how many of those attending the funeral were her ‘adopted kids’, a lot of hands were raised.
We had arrived in town early to take care of some errands, and had a little shopping to finish up afterwards. UDad was looking good in his jeans, cowboy shirt and stylish loafers that I didn’t remember seeing him wear before. I noticed he pulled them off when in the car, and he admitted they were hurting his feet not a little bit. “Where did you get those shoes? I really don’t remember them.” I asked.
“I don’t know,” UD grumbled. “They were in the closet and the only ones that looked halfway decent.”
I had a sudden thought. “Let me see that shoe. I want to check the size.”
Just as I suspected. UDad was cramming his size 13 foot into a size 10 shoe. So that was what had happened to the pair of shoes Johnny left behind. I had looked everywhere for them so I could mail them to him, but couldn’t remember where I had put them, which was apparently in the closet with UDad’s boots and slip-ons.
The whole thing struck me as incredibly funny and I laughed til I cried. UtraDad was not nearly as amused, and declined to go into Walmart with me to pick up a few groceries.
Although he had been wearing the shoes all day, now that he knew they were 3 sizes too small, he just couldn’t face walking around in them any longer.
Okay, it’s late and I’ve got to get to bed. I’ve been enjoying watching the Olympics and some amazing athletes, but it has been cutting into my sleep time. Stay tuned for scholastic updates.
SCREEN SHOTS OF LINK DURING ULTRAMOM VIDEOCHAT:
Linc can’t hear me; his parents are hogging both earpieces.
Ah, that’s better. I am telling him what a good and handsome boy he is. He seems interested......"Tell me more!”
Definitely interested here. I start singing “Amazing Grace”, which LInc’s father says is one of his favorite songs
This Grandma sounds funny. She is singing a very silly song about “Lincoln the Snowman”........Daddy, what’s a snowman?
THis is fun and funny. I hear a funny voice in my ear, but I can only see Mommy and Daddy
Okay, this is starting to get a little boring. The owner of this strange voice either needs to show herself or go away.
This last pic is ‘just because’. Just because Linc is so dang cute. I tried to zoom in and cut mom and dad out of this one, but part of dad wouldn’t leave
UltraMom here. Having watched UltraBob’s nearly idiot-proof (translation: UltraMom proof) video on how to post with this new system, I think I’m ready to get my feet wet. No, I’m not sitting outside with me feet in my pond, though of course I could be if I wanted to what with my oh so portable macbook. That was just a figure of speech. What I meant was.............aw just forget it.
I have had several momentous events n the past month or so. We could choose from a virtual smorgasbord of family fun. There was ‘Johny comes for a visit”, “We go to Howe to start gathering up our junk” “We go back to Howe to finish gathering up our junk and try to sell our Idaho house” “ Going to Boise to pick Johnny up from the airport”, and my personal favorite: UltraMom has Another Birthday.
I could put my posting subject up to a democratic vote, but as this is an autocratic computer, none of your votes would count anyway. So without further ado ( I know, I know, way too much ‘ado’ already)
UltraMom was anticipating a very special birthday this year. Not only would she be turning the very interesting age of 54, but she would be joined by UltraDad and the two youngest UltraSons, whom she didn’t often get joined by. Johnny had recently come out from Tennessee for an UltraMom sponsored visit. I was having quite a nice time, in spite of the constant nagging from Johnny-sponsored driving instructors “Ten and Two” who spent most car rides reminding me of safe driving positions for my hands on the steering wheel. I have since heard that those particular hand positions are no longer the recommended ones, but try telling that to “Ten and Two”!
UltraMom had been contemplating trying a new activity this birthday; something she had never done before. She considered canoeing or kayaking, but finding a place nearby where such conveyances could be rented seemed unlikely. LIkewise, skydiving and bungee jumping. ( wasn’t seriously considering those anyway:) What to do? The guys were depending on me to come up with a fabulous idea. And then I had it: we could go to Ely and take the old-timey, historic train ride!
Ely Historic Train Ride
We would be going on Saturday, July 12th, which was actually the day AFTER UltraMom’s birthday, but I never mind getting a little (or a lot) of extra mileage out of my special day.
It happened that July 11th was the day UtraMom had signed up to take her state of Nevada Board CNA test at Great Basin College. Johnny kept reminding me I had best be studying if I didn’t want the ignominy (and wasteful expense) of having to take the test over again. He even went through my homemade flash cards with me, shaking his head ruefully at my dismal performance. He wished me luck and the look on his face told me, in his opinion, I would need plenty.
Of course, in the end I did just fine, scoring a 98% on both written test and practical skills test. The written test is a 54 question multiple choice test taken on the computer. The questions are chosen randomly from a testing bank. The one I missed had to do with how upright should be kept a patient with a feeding tube. Turns out it is more than the 10% gradient I guessed and less than sitting bolt upright. I hope I never have need to personally find out the importance of this. Two out of three of my randomly drawn skill tests were actually the same ones I had tested on in my class: Changing an occupied bed, and perennial care. The third one was upper range of motion exercising, or guiding a patients arm through an array of movements. The bed-changing and ROM involved a student volunteer; we, of course, used a mannequin for the perennial care.
This testing was a lot different than the end-of-class testing where helpful Jo Dean, our CNA instructor, gently reminded us of forgotten steps and we joked about our mannequin’s missing arm as we pretended to check her wrist ID. My tester said not a word after reading me the test guidelines, until all procedures were completed. I missed only one step: forgetting to state that I would have washed my hands at the end of my first skill. I did not forget again.
In a combo-celebration of me passing my test and of having a birthday, UltraDad, Johnny, Jimbo and I had lunch at The Star, where, as I may have mentioned before, they serve the best steak sandwiches and fries in the entire world.
That night I was in for an even bigger treat as Jimbo made his famous chicken tacos, complete with tater tots and his secret ingredient, which I believe is Yoshida sauce. Perhaps not so much of a secret as he thought.... We finished off with the strawberry cake I had selected from Walmart’s bakery earlier in the day. Another highlight was going to the park and playing a little frisbee golf with two of my favorite sons.
Getting this MacBook is my birthday/Christmas/St Patrick’s day gift from UltraDad for several years to come. Johnny and the ULtras got me an external hard drive for easy backups, and Jimbo got me a shield and case for my new ipod touch. Heather gave me cash for a shopping spree. Thanks, guys. You rock!
Saturday, we drove the 3 or so hours to Ely for our much anticipated train ride. We ran into some rain, which gave the air a nice fresh smell. We had purchased our tickets online, and easily found the depot. Unfortunately, we had just missed the tour, and the main museum was not open on Saturday, but we still found lots to look at.
My research indicated we would be riding in a closed passenger car with lots of windows, but the conductor had a surprise for us. “Usually it costs an extra $10 to ride in the caboose, but today you get that upgrade free. Or you can ride in the open flatcar.” The passenger car, as it happened, was being prepared for the special ‘Wine Tour” for that evening and would not be available for our little ride. I had to admire the positive spin the conductor tried to put on this unexpected turn of events as we informed the dismayed family-with-small-kids that there would be no restroom facilities or snacks for purchase.
There were two cabooses, but only one also gave you flatcar accessibility. Everyone chose that one, and most rode, with us, in the open flatcar. It was interesting listening to our guide tell us about the history of the Ely trains, railroads and historic events. We went through several tunnels, one quite old. I found myself wishing I could experience riding up in a cupola in the caboose, but these perches had seemingly been homesteaded by a couple of kids. When we reached the turnaround point, I asked the conductor if we could move to the other caboose. The answer was ‘yes’, as long as I realized I had to stay there for the rest of the ride. In the end, UltraDad and I moved and each had our own private cupola (and largely mute volunteer conductor) for the trip back to Ely. The boys elected for remain in the open flatcar. At one point, our personal conductor pointed out to me a handle within my easy reach. “You see that? Whatever you do, don’t pull that. That will stop the whole train.” Well, before he told me that I had no intention of doing any such thing. And of course I didn’t, but I did think about it. Later, when I was telling this story to the boys, Jimbo had a thought. “If you had pulled it and stopped the train, I’m not sure we would have noticed the difference.” He had a point; the train was moving pretty slow. All in all, a great time with people I love.
So, there you have it: my birthday post, only a month late.
Turns out even the new MacBook can’t make me post more frequently.
It was a very hot day and Linc seemed to already be tired and sleepy when we got to the clinic for his mandatory BCG shot which is provided to all babies in Japan for free. I was thinking he would be grumpy by the time he got his turn, as would anyone after coming there under the horrible heat on a summer day and waiting for more than 40 minutes at the clinic.
While sitting in the waiting room he was quiet and smiley, but I could tell he would need a little nap soon with his little yawns between smiles. Then a nurse came to take his temperature. As she grabbed his arm and stuck a thermometer under his armpit, I thought he would not like that. I was wrong; He actually gave her a big smile and started giggling (talking to her might be a more accurate description). The nurse was surprised and said “Oh I totally didn’t expect to get that from you! I rarely get smiles from babies here.”
Later he started sleeping in my arms as I expected. I thought I was going to have to wake him up while trying not to make him too grumpy to take the shot. Let me tell you I’m not joking, but he woke up by himself just 10 seconds before we were called to come into an examination room! No Tears!
The doctor needed to see inside of Linc’s throat to make sure he is OK to get the shot, and so he got a long metal tool and a small flashlight. Then a nurse grabbed Linc’s chin and opened his mouth so the doctor could push down his tongue with the tool. Linc seemed a little bit surprised with all the actions, but was still a good boy. Finally with the doctor’s approval it was injection time!! I had to hold his body and stretch his arm out and a nurse helped to hold Linc’s head so he couldn’t wiggle. He didn’t like having his head held immobile and cried to complain for a few seconds. In the meantime the doctor pushed those needles down and made some holes on Linc’s arm.
After all Linc didn’t cry because of the shot or coldness of the BCG vaccine the nurse put on his arm before those needles come down. This was interesting. Some babies don’t like the liquid put on their arms, some get scared of the doctor or nurse, and some just don’t like the clinic!
My mother told me I only disliked the dentist and mostly was a good girl, and I wonder how UltraBob was. (editor’s note: UltraBob was, and is, totally awesome dude™)
A couple hours from now this website should go as I do a server upgrade. When it is done you should see no tangible improvements and you will be left feeling slightly cheated and used.
UPDATE: We’re back online, and for all the irrelevance of Aunt Debi’s comment to the content at hand, there was really no better place to put it, and she’s probably right.
to let you know that I updated the video from the last post to an hd version. If you want to see the video in its full hd glory:
1) Push Play
2) click the hd is off indicator near the top right corner
3) click the hd icon that pops up in the middle of the screen
4) click play in the vimeo window that pops up
5) click the full screen button to make it big
Hope the extra detail is worthwhile for somebody, the file was huge!