Tuesday, June 26, 2007

So, for a week now I have been among the gainfully employed. At the moment I'm still going through the usual training hoopla, and I still don't feel like I really understand everything that's going on, but I'm assured (by people varying from my PI--principal investigator--to my mother to Dilbert comic strips) that this is a normal part of this very special time in a young woman's life. Whatever.

I am in--wait for it--a cubicle. I'm thinking about what I could do to jazz it up; an entertainment center would be nice, or maybe a fish (several of the other people in the office have bettas--beautiful little guys with gorgeous fins that look like Japanese screens come to life). Something, anything besides the standard taupe laminate and let's-not-offend-anyone's-sensibilities gray sackcloth walls. I find that the environments most calculated not to offend anyone are often the ones that offend me most. One of the apartment ads I looked at boasted "Neutral color schemes," which made me want to hurl. Neutral color schemes are not a selling point; they're depressing. I'm not saying I want traffic-patrolman-vest orange on my walls, but a nice wine color would be OK. Even a Spanish red, or a sky blue, or the color of moss. Just not eggshell, or taupe, or 'colonial white,' or 'harvest wheat,' or any of the other colors that are really white with about an atom of color per gallon. I'm talking to you, Scherwin-Williams. I'm wise to your tricks.

I'm not meant to be an 0ffice-ite. Of course, once my work really gets swingin', I'll be spending a lot less time sitting, grublike, in the cubicle and a lot more time hatched-out, flitting through the halls of the hospital (speaking of dull, offensive color schemes). I'm working for good pay in the research department of the best hospital in the city; I have absolument rien to complain about. The people are friendly, there are frequently bagels in the breakroom, and periodically drug reps bring in lunch (something I'm wary about, but still). And I'm learning a lot about medicine and clinical research too. Bonus. In fact, I may start an occasional feature called "Learn to Speak Doctor," in which I explain convoluted medical terms in, how you say, plain English. In fact, let's start right now!

Abbreviations.
MI. This means 'myocardial infarction,' and is another way of saying 'heart attack.' Myo=muscle, cardial refers to heart, and infarction means there's a lack of blood (and thus of oxygen) reaching the area in question. So, an MI means the heart muscle isn't getting enough oxygen, a condition that--if it persists long enough--leads to another nasty condition called ischemia (iss-KEE-me-uh). If an area of the heart-- or of any organ for that matter--remains ischemic (oxygen/blood deprived) long enough, it dies. Bad news.

CAD. This is coronary artery disease. Coronary, again, means heart. Your coronary arteries are the vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle itself (your heart pumps all the blood in your body, but the blood in the atria and ventricles doesn't actually nourish the myocardium). There are three coronary arteries--the left, the right, and the circumflex (which sort of wraps around the back). When one of these arteries becomes blocked--with accumulations of cholesterol, usually, though other things can do it too--CAD results. And CAD can lead to an MI.

That's enough for today. Updates as events warrant!

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