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I developed an abrupt interest in medical training, so I picked up… - Silicon Rose [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Silicon Rose

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[Sep. 8th, 2009|07:19 am]
Silicon Rose
[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

I developed an abrupt interest in medical training, so I picked up two books: Becoming a Doctor, by an anthropologist who decided to become a doctor in middle age, and What Patients Taught Me, by a woman named Audrey Young. Becoming a Doctor turned me off at first -- it's Penguin books, which to me generally means low-quality printing and small text -- but I found myself engaged with it and finished it during vacation. It definitely reads like a book about becoming a doctor written by an anthropologist; it's very focused on people and how they adapt to being doctors, what changes it makes in them, what the culture is like. I found it both chilling and insightful. What Patients Taught Me was a much shorter read, which I finished during my vacation recovery (specifically, this morning), and while it was vaguely interesting, it read more like a disconnected series of memories that came up while the author was writing. I didn't really feel like I got an insight into anything from it, aside from the idea that general practice, particularly in rural areas, is falling out of practice, and that the condition of medicine in Africa is just as bad as I'd always heard it was.

I suppose something in the back of my mind was considering becoming a doctor. I've wrestled with the fear that I'm not contributing enough to society as a whole doing what I'm doing now. However, one thing I confirmed is that being a doctor would rip me apart inside. I'll just have to figure out how to apply my current skills to helping people, or develop new technical skills that make me more effective in doing helping people. One thing that I've been playing with, which I'll probably go through with, is getting certified as a HAM radio operator. I've heard that people with certifications can be really helpful during situations where the fundamental web of technology has broken down, something that happens frequently during disasters.

In other news, I've confirmed that I still love programming. The first thing I did when I got back from vacation (after sleeping and sleeping -- I think I picked up something while I was abroad) was add a handful of features to my dragon-tracking application. I've got so many dragons now that it's hard for me to track what their names are; I've accidentally duplicated names twice already. So I added a list of dragons by name, which I can check against when I'm naming new dragons. I also added a list of the breed suffixes I use. I minorly changed up the sorting and fixed up the program to work with TJ's latest changes to the page format. Unfortunately, I returned to find that my three neglected experiments had all both failed and died. However, new dragons were released, so I've begun my collection of those. I've pretty much completed my goal of a caveborn male and female for all dragons for which that is possible (aside from silver and gold, which are going to take a while), and I'm filling in my collection of distinct frozen hatchlings.

During vacation I got totally sucked into Sigma Harmonics, an RPG-adventure hybrid revolving around solving mysteries. I managed to S-rank the mystery solving for the first, third, and alt-third stories, but when trying to get the second... one of the symbols just totally eluded me, and I tried several attempts at solving the mystery with no avail. I eventually surrendered and checked a FAQ. The final solution was... obtuse. Well, on to the fourth (possibly last?) story.

I also tried Blood of Bahumut while I was out, which was horrible. It consisted of jabbing at the screen repeatedly with the stylus. Uncool. Of the third game which genedefect randomly grabbed from the shelf at Pink Godzilla, Summon Night Twins Age, I actually didn't get around to trying it. Instead, I got back into Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, which is just as random as I remember it, though I'm aiming for completion this time.

I... actually didn't even touch my laptop while I was on vacation, despite bringing it and all its related goodies. Instead, I wrote down the four or five whacked out dreams I had in a little notebook. I might get something good out of them. Sight-seeing was interesting, but it feels just as arbitrary as it always has to me -- I feel more like I'm checking things off of a list (Vesuvius, check; Mdina, check) than really doing anything significant. For experiences, the best I had was the trip to Villefranche, where we discovered a patisserie, Maritime, with an uncordial owner but completely awesome pasteries. Mmmm, strawberry tart. AAAAAGH, strawberry tart.

Cat-withdrawl was something fierce, but I have been rewarded with all the precious cat-love I could have wanted on my return.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: benabik
2009-09-08 04:27 pm (UTC)
One thing that I've been playing with, which I'll probably go through with, is getting certified as a HAM radio operator. I've heard that people with certifications can be really helpful during situations where the fundamental web of technology has broken down, something that happens frequently during disasters.

Emergency response is one of the major reasons for Ham Radio to exist. The other is to "further the radio art", which AFAICT means "playing with radios". There's also a "talking to people" aspect that I'm less fond of, but lots of people enjoy. Local clubs and hamfests are good reasons to get out of the house and meet new people.

I highly recommend "The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual" for studying for the test. There's a smaller and cheaper book "ARRL's TECH Q&A" that just contains the test questions, but the full manual explains the why. I personally also found the iPhone exam prep application highly useful for the General exam. I took a practice exam every day for a few weeks prior to the exam (and after reading most of the book). There are other practice tests available online for those without an iPhone.

My local newbie net has a variety of interesting information and is podcasted by Mike Wren. (You'll occasionally hear me check in as KF4JBM on Sundays that I'm not gaming.) It's not a good method of studying for the exam but is a good way to find out interesting things you can do once you have the license.

If you have any other questions about the service, I'll be more than happy to be an Elmer for you. I'm available here, on AIM, or by e-mail.

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From: cloakedwraith
2009-09-09 07:53 am (UTC)
Welcome back!

I suppose something in the back of my mind was considering becoming a doctor. I've wrestled with the fear that I'm not contributing enough to society as a whole doing what I'm doing now.

Why do you consider contributing to society a moral imperative? The reason to do productive work, other than earning money for the things you need or want, is because it's a value to you. You justifiably take pride in the fruits of your labor, which is as it should be. If those fruits happen to help society as a whole, so much the better, but it's (literally) self-defeating to use altruism as your moral compass.
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[User Picture]From: siliconrose
2009-09-11 06:44 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I find it incredibly difficult not to consider contributing to society an imperative. If I could actually turn off that part of my personality, I'd probably be in much better shape psychologically.
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