Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Wrote the Title after Writing the Entry

We have our first test on Friday the 26.  I was doing okay at understanding the material until we got to the nerve branches of the brachial plexus and the branches of the arteries in the upper extremity.  Muscle mechanics make quite a bit of sense to me as long as I know where they attach to the bones.  Anatomy can be rather dry but our professors do a great job of keeping it clinically oriented and therefore interesting.  Dr. Benninger is a fantastic anatomist and also has quite of bit of clinical experience and so we also get to learn radiology and imaging on top of the dissections.  In fact, he is convinced that ultrasound, because it is so benign and inexpensive, is the "stethoscope of the future."  Part of the test on Friday is finding anatomical landmarks with a portable ultrasound system he has in the lab.  If Shelli can handle the smell of embalming fluid I think I'll keep my money and tell her the gender of our child myself. :)

Speaking of medical equipment, I just filled my medical bag with the stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, blood pressure cuffs, etc.  Who knew that stuff was so expensive?  Medical-grade has taken on a whole new meaning.  Seriously, a normal stethoscope costs about $120 and the ophthalmoscope set costs almost $500.  There is no sales tax here which is nice and saves about $50 compared to California with it's 9.5% sales tax.  I understand the need for quality equipment and I understand supply and demand curves, but I suspect some designer syndrome (the minute you assign designer status, a $3 t-shirt becomes $120.  That's how it worked with a superman shirt in Pisa.)

I mostly spent the week studying and trying to figure out how to be most efficient.  We are in class from 8 to 4  plus or minus an hour with an hour break for lunch at noon.  I have discovered that I become irrecoverably tired at about 9:00 pm.  It takes me about four and a half hours of study time to prepare for the next day and that includes minimally reviewing what I have gone over that day in class.  So, I either need to increase my window of wakefulness or become way more efficient at studying and preferably do both if I can.  I tried studying at home this week which means I am closer to Shelli and Chiara, but there are so many distractions.  I think this week I'll try studying at school and see if I can become more efficient, but I'm afraid I won't ever see Shelli or Chiara awake.  I guess I'll let you know how this next week goes.

Last post I explained that Chiara has figured out how to work the child protection covers for door knobs.  This week we bought a weapons-grade cover to see how long it would take her to figure out how to undo it.  It took her three days and just this afternoon she brought me the two halves as if to prove her relentless fascination with freedom.  I would have laughed and congratulated her if it didn't mean more work to keep her contained and entertained.

Also on the list of things that I have noticed is that you cannot fill your own car with gas. State Code 480.315-320, find it on State government website:

"An owner, operator or employee of a filling station service station, garage, or other dispensary where class 1 flammable liquids are dispensed at retail may not permit any person other than the owner, operator or employee to use or manipulate any pump, hose, pipe or other device for dispensing the liquids into the fuel tank of a motor vehicle or other retail container."

ORS 480.385, The penalty for pumping your own gas is:
Civil penalty shall become due and payable 10 days after order: $500.

There are 17 declarations listed which try to rationalize this law.  I don't understand it in these terms, but maybe some natives can correct me if there is any reason beyond economic gain for the "trained and licensed petroleum dispensers."

I've included a few of my favorite reasons straight from Oregon State Code.


1) The dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids by dispensers properly trained in appropriate safety procedures reduces fire hazards directly associated with the dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids.

7) Exposure to toxic fumes represents a health hazard to customers dispensing Class 1 flammable liquids.

10a) The significantly higher prices typically charged for full-service fuel dispensing in states where self service is permitted at retail discriminates against customers with lower incomes, who are under greater economic pressure to subject themselves to the inconvenience and hazards of self-service.

11) The increased use of self-service at retail in other states has contributed to diminishing the availability of automotive repair facilities at gasoline stations.  (What does that even mean?)

14) Self service dispensing at retail contributes to unemployment, particularly among young people.

My personal favorite is:
17) Small children left unattended when customers leave to make payment at self service stations creates a dangerous situation.  (I'm not making this up!  Somehow that makes it even more funny.)

Frankly, I'd like to pump my own gas.  During my interview back in January, I was trying to return my rental car with a full tank and catch my flight and happened to find the station at a shift change and waited 16 minutes for the licensed operator to make his way to me.  I didn't move on to another station mostly because my incredulous shock kept telling me that it couldn't take but ten seconds more.

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