Monday, March 31, 2008

"Life is pain, highness...

... Anyone who says differently is selling something."-Wesley, The Princess Bride

I'm working on a research paper for my Medical Sociology class about pain, and the social factors involved. I've noticed that when a little boy or a little girl gets hurt, they're treated differently. To the boy, the parents or teachers may say: "Come on, don't cry. Big boys don't cry", and encourage a "macho", tough attitude. However, the girls get comforted and/or held, and hear a very different message: "It's okay to cry". Also noticing that men and women seem to have a different pain tolerance as adults, I've wondered how much of that is due to the socialization of pain as children(especially), and all throughout life.

Not only with pain, but with many emotions, boys are expected to hide them, whereas girls are allowed or even expected to openly show their feelings. A boy that encroaches upon the line may be thought to be a "fruitcake". Girls don't seem to be judged as much... in fact, the "tom-boy" girls are admired, at least by other girls who are frustrated with their own emotions.

Isn't culture amazing? It's been so exciting to see it become more prevalent through research and lectures. If I don't get this paper done by Thursday, however, I might break down in tears... as is acceptable for my gender role. :D

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Choose to Take

Spring is here and it's so beautiful! My allergies haven't given me as much grief as they have in years past. The semester in going fairly well... I'm not drowning in everything I have to do, and I still like my classes. Especially my Medical Sociology class; it's fascinating!

I'm glad I decided to major in Sociology. Everyone asks me what I want to do with it, and I always have to admit that I have no idea, besides having the desire to travel and try to understand different cultures from my own. I don't think we pick majors to decide what we'll be doing for the rest of life. There's no way that we can predict that! A major is simply supposed to teach us a way to view the world, and we should choose one that's enjoyable. And I have! I love thinking about topics that seem so concrete and definite (such as love, pain, appropriate behaviors, etc.) in a new way, where there isn't necessarily one right answer, but many different points of view that have value for different reasons. I am opinionated and stubborn about some things, but I feel like a lot of things can be and should be seen from all sides, and we should strive to understand each point of view. You don't have to agree. You just have to understand.

On campus there have been a lot of people volunteering for Choose to Give, where student donations go back to the school through scholarships or other ways. The first day that I saw them, I gratefully ate the free hamburger and listened to their little shpeel, but as time has gone by, I feel like I've been bombarded by them. During class breaks they wave, jump up and down, and scream for my attention. "Just a dollar!" they say. "Every little bit helps". Well, I gave a dollar last year. Can we have 50 cents of it count for last year, and 50 cents of it count for now? So, instead of being annoyed and avoiding eye contact as soon as I see a flash of yellow, I've determined to Choose to Take. I'll take the hamburger, the fresh bread and the wonderful BYU brownies. I'll take the stickers and the vibrant envelopes and the pamphlets. Maybe I could make an artistic yellow collage. It's kind of fun to get free stuff just for existing. It's like it's my birthday or something.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

These are a few of my [least] favorite things...

"Mondays" made it to my "Bottom 15" list today. "Centipedes/Millipedes" are a new addition as well (we discussed them and other dangerous Arthropods today in Biology). Both give me major chills and make my stomach feel like it's floating around in the dark, damp, hollow cavity of my body. Not that my body is hollow. But it feels unnaturally so when I come in contact with these detestable things. The chills and the unconnected stomach: it isn't always a bad feeling. An example of it being a somewhat pleasant sensation would be like when I'm going up (click click click) the beginning part of a roller-coaster ride, and I get really scared, and start muttering to whoever is next to me "I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die!" and have an urge to feel the ground under my feet, but at the same time I'm really excited, and pretty soon I'm giggling uncontrollably and trying to keep my eyes open and not lose my sunglasses when we go through the loop-dee-loop part. And after the roller-coaster the first thing I do is run to the end of the line to "enjoy" the thrill again. However, there is no excitement whatsoever when it comes to creepy crawly scuttle-y things. All through the lecture, Robyn and I felt them crawling all over us, but when we looked they must've gone invisible. A new strategy for survival, I'm sure of it! And Mondays? I can't think of a Monday in my life when I haven't felt at least somewhat frumpy, grumpy and annoyed.

Why do these things even exist? If I could go straight from Sunday to Tuesday... how marvelous would that be? Pretty darn. And if centipedes/millipedes could just exist in science fiction novels, I wouldn't ever have to even imagine them (as I try to avoid that genre like the plague).

Just to prove I'm well-rounded, I have a "Top 15" as well. Two of them include
*Sitting on a ledge or table where my legs can swing and my feet can't touch
*Finishing a good book

I spent a little too much time on this blog. I've been a little "blog-conscious" ever since finding out that mine is sometimes read by the notable Ben Crowder, king of Blogdom. And it's not even that good. Sad.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Service with a Smile!

Service is amazing. The feeling of making someone smile, or even making them think I'm weird by being friendly (I guess it's not in style these days to say "hi" to strangers.) is enough to keep me happy all day long. There have been times lately that I've been so grumpy and self aware and bitter, and I block everyone else out and wallow in self-pity. But then I realize how blessed I am and get a prompting to serve others, and I'm the one who really benefits from it because of how extremely happy it makes me feel. Wow. The gospel is truly incredible.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pucker Up!

Today was St. Patty's Day! It was really fun to see Campus crawling with green. I wore a little badge all day that said "Kiss me, I like kissing", but, as usual, no one took me seriously. I guess I should've had one or two more badges clarifying, "No, really" or "Come, on. It's St. Patrick's Day! Share the love!" I got one stage kiss, and a good friend of mine complied to kiss me on the cheek. But no special moments or facemasking. Sigh.

This is all fun and games, but on a more serious note, I feel like it's a little bit revealing of my love life lately (did you like that alliteration?). I've had some good and some bad experiences dating in the past, but mostly I have a "let's go for it" kind of attitude. If there's a person that I'm attracted to, who is happy, uplifting, and has attributes that would rub off on me and make me a better person, I don't understand why we couldn't date. I have a lot to learn, but in the meantime I think I have a lot of traits that could benefit others. I like getting to know another person well enough to know how they would act or what they would say or even what they would think in any situation. I like finding out someone's deepest fears or what makes them most happy in all the world. I love serving someone in little ways that would keep them smiling all day long. I love the feeling of loving someone. But just like the badge, no one takes me seriously. They flirt, they laugh, they value my friendship, and then they refuse to let me come to love them.

Wow. This is a really revealing blog. I guess I just felt like venting a frustration I've had. And now I make the choice of pressing "Publish Post", or deleting the whole thing. And I flipped a coin... and here it is.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Under the Knife

I just finished a book for my Medical Sociology class: Complications: A Surgeon's Note on an Imperfect Science, written by the surgeon, Atul Gawande. It is a brutally honest account displaying an inside-view of how the medical field actually is.

Just to give you a taste:

"Medicine is, I have found, a strange and in many ways disturbing business. The stakes are high, the liberties taken tremendous. We drug people, put needles and tubes into them, manipulate their chemistry, biology, and physics, lay them unconscious and open their bodies up to the world. We do so out of an abiding confidence in our know-how as a profession. What you find when you get in close, however -- close enough to see the furrowed brows, the doubts and missteps, the failures as well as the successes -- is how messy, uncertain, and also surprising medicine turns out to be."
"You have a cough that won't go away -- and then? It's not science you call upon but a doctor. A doctor with good days and bad days. A doctor with a weird laugh and a bad haircut. A doctor with three other patients to see and, inevitably, gaps in what he knows and skills he's still trying to learn." (p. 4 - Introduction)

These were some issues discussed in the text, in my class, and in my mind:

1) Doctors have to practice. We know this and support them, as long as they aren't practicing on us or someone we love.

2)We expect perfection and omniscience, but doctors are human and sometimes make mistakes. And when they do, we sue them. Granted, malpractice definitely exists, but often the mistakes are honest and/or something due to the situation being out of the control of the doctor/surgeon.

3) Many people go into medicine with the intent of helping people, but become desensitized through medical school and experience. Instead of someone to help, the patient becomes just another hernia case, or just another heart surgery. Some doctors become obsessed in making as much money as possible instead of doing what it takes for each person to receive the best possible care.

4)Does the patient or the doctor decide what's best and in which situations? The doctor may have a fuller knowledge on the subject, but sometimes the patient is right... and besides, it's the patient's body.

5)Health care is actually a business, dependent on sick people, and having "care" connected to the term makes it absurd to critique, because who would dare be anti-care or anti-love?

6)What is pain? How much of it is influenced by culture and society rather than neurology and chemistry?

Medicine seems so objective and scientific. I really enjoy looking at the subjective side of it, and thinking about questions like these. Perhaps they are unanswerable, but they reveal a lot about our society and culture, and what we value or deem unacceptable.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Narcoleptic Kleptomaniac

Well, not quite. I don't compulsively steal things. It just seemed like a catchy title. But I have been so tired today! I was extra groggy and grumpy this morning when I rolled out of bed. I complained to Robyn all the way to school about how it was actually 7:30, not 8:30 (still adjusting to daylight savings), and no one should have to trudge nearly a mile to go to school at such an hour. In my first class, Survey of World Religions, which is quite fascinating, I was dozing off the whole time! I hope I didn't offend my professor or distract my classmates by my constant head-jerking. Right after, I went and found a couch to "study", and presently slept until my 11am class, Biology. Why I paid attention in Biology today, of all classes, I'll never understand. Then after that class and some sisterly bonding time, I found another couch to again attempt to "study", and slept until my 2pm class. After each nap, when I woke up, I felt very self-conscious, worrying that I had been talking in my sleep or had drool coming out the side of my mouth, and it was valid that I felt so, as both are regular occurances. Sleep is such a personal thing... and I always feel really awkward sleeping in front of complete strangers on campus. So why do I keep doing it? After my third nap of the day, my eyes were screaming for oxygen, and I was guiltily reminded of the instruction from my optometrist to never sleep while wearing contact lenses. But I'm not a boy scout, and I didn't bring any contact solution, so I just dealt with it and hoped my eye spasms weren't ever misinterpreted as winks.

Moral of the story: I can't ever study in my apartment (too fun), on my bed, or on a couch in a quiet corner of campus (both too comfortable). I suppose the only solution is to find a hard chair, possibly with spikes, and connect a device to my eyelids that will cause a shock or alarm each time my eyes close for more than 6 seconds. Wow. Sounds horrible. But then, nobody said studying would be fun!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

And I would run 3.1 miles, and I would run 3.1 more...

Forgive me for being blog-happy, but I'm pretty psyched. I just signed up for my first race! It's the Rex Lee Run, and it will be a week from Saturday. I'm only going to run a 5K, but that's a pretty big deal for me.

Three weeks ago, when we had a little fake spring, I decided it was high time for me to get in shape. I've been running 4-6 times a week since. I want to be able to do fun outdoorsy things this summer without the embarrassment that accompanies lagging behind, or being unable to participate. I've always hated running. But for almost a week now I've been loving it! It's as if I've had a change of heart or something. I feel the healthiest I've felt in a long time.

I can now add running to my "new discoveries" list: along with country music, blogging, peas, and Spanish. Things I used to have biases against, but now have appreciation and even love toward.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Honey...? Pass the Honey please.

I love spring time. I think it would be my favorite time of year if it weren't for the allergies that I get as soon as the weather warms up. About a week ago, when I woke up, I felt as though a truck had run me over, then reversed and run over me again just for spite, and I knew they had arrived in style. My allergy symptoms usually consist of a scratchy throat, stuffy sinuses, headache, inability to focus, and pretty soon I can expect itchy, watery eyes.

When I was mentioning my allergies to my eldest brother Jason, he suggested that I should eat honey made from bees in the area, and my body should be able to build immunities to the pollen that causes these maddening, distracting symptoms. Around the same time, in Biology class, we read an article about the correlation between honey and relief from coughing, because it coats the throat and makes it easier to breathe. This amazing substance, which is basically the regurgitation from honey bees, may have the ability to make me feel healthy and left without anything to complain about.

My grandparents had honey bees on their property last summer, and gave me some honey to try. I'm going to be really excited if this is the cure. It's more natural and cheap than the allergy medicine I've stocked up on (which doesn't even work very well), and besides all that, it tastes great! So, I've decided to give honey a try. I will post any significant results in due time.