Monday, October 27, 2008

The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak

Today I had my Embryology exam. It was in the University of Toronto's new examination building (the old... school board building, or some such thing), and they instructed us to arrive 20 minutes early. This meant that I had to get up at 5:30 AM, half an hour earlier than usual. This is what the world looked like when I arrived downtown - I felt like I was getting up in the middle of the night to catch a plane.

The exam itself pulled no punches. It was not easy, but it was of the expected difficulty level. At one point during the exam I flagged the professor down to ask a question. Before I had even said a word he interrupted, "Sorry, I can't answer that." "What?" I barely managed to squeak out. He took control of my paper and flipped to the first page where it said, "No questions will be answered during the exam." "Oh," I replied gingerly.

When it came time to hand in the exam, I saw people trying to hand in both the exam paper and the Scantron answer sheet (standard procedure), only to have the proctors inform them that they could actually keep the exam paper. I wracked my brain to think if I could remember any other exam where I had been allowed to do this, and while I was fairly certain I could recall at least one, I couldn't quite remember when. Of course, actually having the exam paper in hand, I couldn't help but compare answers with a few of my friends after getting out. Some of them were not so eager to open that particular can of worms, but even the ones who didn't want to participate eventually caved after watching the rest of us compare.

As it turns out, the answers to the exam were posted on the bulletin board by the time our final dissection period was over. During our last lecture of the day our professor proudly declared that, "the exams are all marked" and then proceeded to show us a graph of the distribution, which was surprisingly high. Having now been assured of my mark, I can really stop thinking about Embryology now and relax for a moment before switching gears to Gross Anatomy again. The exam was a total data dump. Unload then purge. I had studied Embryology so intently for all of Saturday and Sunday that by the time I went to bed last night I felt like I genuinely was breathing Embryo.

The tricky part about getting through today has really been health. I'm still sick... and in fact, I think that while my immune system has been busy fighting the battle in my throat, the resilient little buggers have moved on to my airways. As a result, yesterday and this morning I had an uncontrollable and often involuntary cough. Luckily this morning I finally caved and took an Advil Cold & Sinus. I was loathe to take it because I vaguely recall my fourth year Pharmacology professor telling us that most of those over-the-counter cold medications don't work. But I swear, either my immune system kicked into high gear or that little pill is a miracle worker, because I felt surprisingly better after taking it.

Still, I was rather irritable for the whole day. My head was hurting, especially after hanging out in the lounge where there was a bake sale going on - it was destructively loud in there. My throat has also been hurting for almost the last week... and there's only so long you can deal with that before getting a little cranky. But the worst I really do think is the smell. You know that weird smell you get in your nostrils when you're sick? I don't know if it's cells dying or just a artifact of your nerves under attack... but it is killing me.

I think I didn't really look that worse for wear though, since people didn't really seem to think I was actually that sick. I found myself at the butt of a lot of jokes, which usually I would have jabbed back at, but today I was just kind of dead weight.

A lot of my class is out partying tonight, and listening to Orbital Groove, the Meds band. But I really kind of felt too lousy to be out today. I was itching to go home even while classes were still going on. But don't worry, I'll party with the new episode of Heroes (and My Own Worst Enemy, which airs afterwards).

I also spent a few hours tweaking the website, so pretty much all the minor layout errors that I never got around to fixing are fixed. Hooray!


eleasa said...

hey andy! i finally stumbled across your website & blog, & wow, there's lots to read & see here! which i love. so let me slowly peruse through it all.

that's an amazing photo of downtown toronto in the early morning. & i do hope you feel better soon. can't believe you wrote an exam through all that suffering.

omg, heroes! i highly anticipate 9pm on mondays.

Anonymous said...

and Advil is NSAID.... remember what nasty stuff it does to your stomach amongst other stuff (taylor's personal melena story)?

well, pick the boogers out...