Embarrassing, if nothing else

Yeah, back in High School I was a math guy.  I did Geometry, Trig and even started Algebra 2.  I used to love math.  That was 30 years ago. ———————–

Flash forward to today, doing the math assessment for DMACC.  I needed a 30, wanted a 46, got a 25.  25 doesn’t place you in much of anything of a math class.  I will be taking MAT063, which is Intermediate Algebra I this summer.  Yup, I am gonna pay for a class which counts for nothing.  But that’s ok, the stuff I didn’t know (which was a lot apparently) I really had no clue how to do anymore.

I have the option of doing these online learning modules to improve my rating, but I just don’t know if I want to do them.  I can sit in class with the other brain-dead flatliners like me.  At least I don’t think I’ll need a tutor.

I do have almost 2 months within to change my mind and do the modules and retake the assessment.  At least I now know what I don’t know, what I need to study.

It’s not like anyone but me and my adviser and anyone who looks at my record and all you guys who read this and everyone else I tell and anyone you might tell (not that my score on the math assessment would be any of your topics of conversation) is gonna know I bombed the assessment.

Funny thing is, I had a bad feeling going into the assessment.  Before I ever clicked start I knew I was going to do bad.  I suppose I could have did worse.  I could have ended up in MAT053 Pre-Algebra.  <Shiver>  At least I scored high enough to not be there.

When I took the Compass assessment in 2013, I scored high enough to get into Statistics.  With the Aleks assessment in 2017, not so much.  Did I get stupider as I got older?  Or is math one of the subjects I lost to chemobrain.   We shall never know.


Yeah, I think I need the refresher courses.


4 semesters of a foreign language

You see the title of this post?  This is the new bane of my existence.  University of Iowa (one of my 2 top choices for my Bachelor’s degree) requires 4 semesters of COLLEGE LEVEL foreign language (or 8 for high school, which I can’t very well do now).  That is 18 credit hours.  Er, um, there is no bloody way I am going to fit 1 semester, let alone 4 semesters of a foreign language into my carefully laid out plan.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be fluent in Spanish, or close to fluent at least.  But on my quest to become a doctor, a foreign language is NOT going to be a priority.  Certainly not a priority over an important Science class.  I just won’t do it.

The requirement is for transfer students to UI.  Yeah, that is what I would be.  I don’t know what to do about it.  It’s just can’t be done unless I stay at DMACC a 3rd year.   Which would put everything off a year.

And putting everything off a year, would totally make me 52 applying for med school.  Older is not better in this case.  I think I mentioned this before.

So it is Drake or Iowa State.  I have mentioned Iowa State before.  They have never really been in contention, but Carver school of medicine pulls from there, so it’s a possibility.  I will have to look at the transfer requirements at ISU and Drake for that matter.  (Drake’s are not listed on their website as far as I can tell).

Oh yeah, I am getting tired of having people suggesting becoming a  Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner.   I don’t want to be either of those.  I want to be a doctor.  Can’t make that any more clear.

Oh, by the way, I found those 3 credits in fuzzy science that I thought I couldn’t place.  I had already placed them, so that’s all good too.

I probably should stop thinking about all this for a while.  A mental health break perhaps.  After I look into the transfer requirements for ISU.  That I will still do tonight, it’s only 11:06, shouldn’t take too long.



Random stuff.

I did it, I worked out my schedule for the next 2 years at DMACC.  Let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.  I would post it here, but I don’t want to scare anyone off.  I only have one semester which is SCIENCE/SCIENCE/SCIENCE but I have a couple which are SCIENCE/SCIENCE/HARD MATH.  I have another issue though, I am short 1 class for the AS degree, a fuzzy science I think, but I have no where I can put it.  DOH.  I don’t want 18 credit a semester and I don’t want to go over the 2 years mark for one 3 credit class.  Oh well, I will figure it out or I will go see Kris, my adviser.

I already have most of the stuff I need for school from my failed attempt in Fall 2015 (don’t try to do school BEFORE your doctor releases you to go back to doing things).  Paper, pencils, pens, a digital recorder, sticky notes, all sorts of stuff.  Wish we hadn’t thrown out the books, as at least 1 of the classes I found out uses the same book still.  DOH.  I’ll have to buy new or used books for everything.  Those add up quickly.

I’m probably going to have to beg my way into College Algebra 😦  I don’t think I scored quite high enough to get in.  I know I scored over 30 which gets me into statistics, but I don’t think I got 36 which would get me into College Algebra.  We shall see tomorrow.  I do not really want to take a intro to college math class.  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

I’ve decided that I am going to try to get into the Honor’s program at DMACC.  I have to write an approximately 800 word essay, but I have until basically next Spring to write it, so it should be PERFECT.  And I have to get good grades, which I plan to do.  The Honor’s program gives you a scholarship to DMACC (not the whole amount, but every little bit helps) and gets you automatically added to the Honor’s programs at the State Schools which looks great on a Med School application.

Yup, being as I will be 51 when I apply for Med School, my application HAS to be as good as it possibly can be.  If I can pull the 4.0, great.  If I have extra-curricular activities, great.  If I score really high on the MCAT, really great.  All these things go towards getting me admitted to a decent med school.  The average age of a beginning med school student is 29, I will just be a little of 20 years late to the party.  I’ll just have to convinced the admitting panels that I am a good choice, even if I am older.

Oh yeah, I have sorta decided where I am going to get my Bachelor’s degree.  If things go right, and I can get enough financial aide, I think I will be going to Drake University, right here in Des Moines after I get done at DMACC.  Why?  Not because of the biology program they offer, not because of the school itself, but because I will be able to stay home with Teresa for a couple more years.  Yeah, seems a sappy reason, but I happen to really love my wife and want to spend as much time with her as I can.  Simple as that, if I have to go away for school, I will miss her terribly.  Plus there is the cost of having 2 households.  However, Drake is 45,000+ a year, University of Iowa is 29,000+, I suppose for 15,000 I can have an apartment in Iowa City.  I am really gonna have to weigh this out, at least I have 1 1/2 years to think about this.

This is all still surreal to me.  I swore last time I screwed up school was the LAST TIME.  Schools starts for me in a little under 2 months.  These 2 months are gonna crawl by.  And my anxiety level will just increase and increase, which probably means even more posts here. lol.

I do have the CPR/First Aid/AED stuff in early April to deal with.  Which reminds me, I have to watch the videos before the classes.  Need to get on that.  Anyhow, that should take up some time, especially if the Red Cross decides to use me this time when I volunteer to help teach the classes.  (NOTICE:  Extra-curricular, volunteer, medical related stuff).


I found out that WordPress keeps track of the number of people who click thru and see this.  More than just the Tannenbaums are reading my babble.  LOL.  Thank you for reading.  I write this more for me than for anyone else, but if you find an inkling of interest or enjoyment out of these drawn out anxiety driven posts, I’m happy for you and I plan to keep writing them as long as I have something to say.

Talking with my therapist yesterday, I realized that its been 10 years since I was basically a shut in.  Amazing what a little determination can do for a person.  Yup, from shut in, to people person (OK, I wouldn’t go that far, but I’m not afraid of people anymore) in 10 years.  Large crowds still bug me, but hey, I know people without (diagnosed) mental issues that don’t like large crowds.  So that’s all good.



This Title Intentionally Left Blank

Showed up for my 1:00pm Therapy appoint at 12:45 only to see I got a text on the elevator ride up to her office asking me to come at 1:30 instead.  DOH.  I finally got in to see her at 1:45.  I was there til almost 3pm.  She has a couple new therapeutic toys she had to show me, this weird magnetic clay and her box of sand and collection of stuff.  By stuff I mean toys and figures to use to build how you feel in the box.  She didn’t have a blown mind person, so there was no playing in the sand for me.

This was an unnecessary Therapy session.  Whereas I was mind blown a few days ago and in desperate need of someone else to talk to, today I was mostly calm and collected.  The fireworks that were deciding on my future plans have went off and now is the calm smoky part.  Heck, if she’d seen me yesterday, I was pretty messed up going over my proposed schedule.  <shudder> (Guess I am still a bit messed up about it).  Today we just talked about my plan and she gave some suggestions, most of which I had already thought of.  She is good at her job, she knows when to push and when to not with me, that is what the years I have been seeing her has developed.

She is concerned about my weird sleeping and fired off an email to my shrink asking if he had some other sleep med her could put me on that would keep me asleep for longer than 3 or 4 hours a night.  The concern is that lack of sleep can cause bipolar symptoms… mania.  And we don’t want those.

Oh, I heard back from the admissions people at WGU and my essay passed.  You remember, the one I said I bombed.  LOL.  It was bad.  They must just want the money.  Oh well, I am off to DMACC in 59 days.

I may be adding a Math class to my schedule for summer.  I don’t want to, but if I want to take Calculus next summer, I need to take College Algebra and Trigonometry (YUCK) between now and then.  And then there is also the Statistics class I have to take.  So 4 Math classes and 13 Science classes in 2 or 2 1/2 years.  I need to get on those right away.  YUP YUP

I did some research and found out that DMACC has free tutoring.  I have the feeling that I will be on a first name basis with a bunch of tutors.  That is ok, if you weren’t supposed to use them, they wouldn’t have them.

I read the list of classes I need to take at DMACC.  He said and I quote, “Good luck”.  LOL.  My brother has a way with words sometimes.  I can’t wait to go back there again this summer, it’ll be so nice to see Jim and my Mom.  And my friends who never escaped the Region, and the rest of my family who makes the effort to come see me.  Don’t get me wrong, some of them I go see, but most that I see will be there for my brother’s party.

Which reminds me, any of my friends are welcome to come to my brother’s party.  It’s going to be June 3rd, which is a Saturday.  It’s BYOB but food is covered.  So, think about it and come and eat and hang out with me, so I am not surrounded by my brother’s friends who think I am rude when I don’t speak to them.  Maybe I am?





1 dead mouse

My laptop is dying a slow painful death, I have mentioned the before.  However, before my laptop dies it’s final death, the mouse has perished.  We figure this mouse to be about 12 years old or older, like maybe Vegas old.  Well anyhow, intelligent me had bought a backup mouse, the same one I use on my desktop computer.  A Logitech Performance MX wireless mouse.  So, cool, I should have this covered….. stupid laptop won’t recognize the wireless receiver.  DOH.  Luckily, Teresa had a spare mouse of many colors (it changes colors) which the laptop graciously decided it could see.

I found out a little more about my pre-med program at DMACC.  My adviser, Kris, had it all set out for me.  Good on her for being on the ball.  She presented me with the pre-med stuff and the Associates of Science degree info.  All good there.  2 1/2 years I think its going to take me to do.  I could technically do it in 2, but I am thinking 2 1/2.  No problem.

I am going to have to take a lot of classes that I have no idea what to expect in…  Calculus, Physics, Chemistry.  And a whole lot of you have to take this before you can take that is going on too.

This summer I am taking English 105 Comp 1, History 113 Modern-Present, and Student Development 108 Becoming a Master student or some such.  8 credits.  Full time over the summer.  I SHOULD be able to ACE all three of these.

But in Compositions I still put 2 spaces after periods, which is apparently a no-no now.  And I am not a fan of the oxford comma.  If the teacher is a stickler for those kinds of things, I might be in trouble.  Hard to get out of the habit of space space.  I can put in oxford commas if that is what he wants.

History I have already taken at the college level and I ACED it then.  But I can’t transfer the credits cuz at the same college I got a bunch of Withdrawal Failures, which would be a bummer to drag my GPA down.

Student Development is a class that DMACC makes EVERYONE take.  Its 1 credit, so not a lot of class in that.  My adviser said a great deal of time is spent plotting out your schedule.  Well, to be honest, my schedule is going to look SCARY.

Intro to Bio, Intro to Chem are on my schedule for FALL.  Probably Statistics too.  That’s my 12 credits to be considered full time right there.  Heh, might HAVE to go 15 or 16 credits to graduate in 2 1/2 years (might be 3), maybe throw the Speech class in there or Philosophy.

After that semester all Hell breaks lose with Sciences and the oh so daunting Calculus.  I get to take a few non-STEM courses, like sociology and psychology to fill out my Associate degree.  But I am gonna take a LOT of science, which is understandable since I want to be a doctor.

I’ll take next summer’s courses online too, so I can make my pilgrimage to the Region in June.  But after next year, I don’t think I am gonna be able to do that with summers.  I think I will be taking Science classes.

Note to self-have to take Calculus BEFORE I can take Physics.  Calculus and Comp 2 next Summer online.

Can a person learn Biology and Chemistry at the same time?  And what about Biology and Physics?  Chemistry and Physics?  Mind numbing to think about what I am gonna try to do.

13 Science courses.  Even at 2 a semester (not counting summers) that is 3 1/2 years.  I may end up with a science/science/science semester.  BOOM. <brain explosion>

8 summer+12 Fall+12 Spring =32×2 years=64 for the Associates degree.  If only I could pull that off.  I am gonna need 1 more summer and 1 more Fall.  Just to get all the recommended Sciences in before transferring to somewhere else.

Oh, this is a little intimidating when I put it out on (virtual) paper.  My mind is just having problems wrapping around all these science courses I have to take, with the you must take this before you take this going on for a bunch of them.

Oh yeah, I was gonna throw in Biochem at DMACC, but the med schools require it to be a 300+ level course, so it has to wait until University.  At least that is one science I don’t have to worry about YET.

I am gonna have a metric shit-ton of studying/memorizing to do over the next 2-2 1/2-3 years.  It actually should lessen a little once I get to a University.  Go figure.










Big Sigh

LOL, I just let out a huge sigh (thus the title of this post).  I have made and changed my mind so many times over the last week its a wonder my mind is still holding itself together.

Finally choosing my major for good is a great relief, none of the others sounded right in my head.  Even teacher didn’t quite sound right, although I am sure I would have enjoyed it and been damn good at it.

Just to think a week ago, I wasn’t planning on going to school, I wasn’t planning on being anything.  I was learning SELinux in hopes of getting my RHCSA (Red Hat certification).  It made no sense to me and Teresa doesn’t know it very well or couldn’t explain it very well to me.

Then I discovered WGU.  I still think I would have thrived there.  The cram as many classes as you can in a semester for a blanket cost has an incredible amount of appeal.  Yes, I have read about people who got bachelor’s degrees in 4 months there.  It can be done, not easily, you’d REALLY have to know the topic.  WGU respawned my desire to go to school, for that I will always have a soft spot for that University.  It’s my backup for if I don’t keep a 3.75 GPA.  Its cheap and I could get a degree fairly quickly.

I kicked around a couple different majors at WGU, both in IT and Teaching, finally picking Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8) as my goal.  Teaching is an honorable profession that more people need to get into.  It is my #2 dream… to be a teacher.

Which brings me to DMACC.  Iowa has a nice system set up here.  Community Colleges are basically local low level University extensions.  What I mean is, if you take English in a Community College, that exact English Class will be offered in the Universities. 1 for 1 translation.  Which is pretty cool in my book.  My plan is to get an AS (Associate of Science) degree from the Community College.  Doing it slowly as to not put any undo pressure onto myself that might trigger anything.

When I graduate from DMACC in 2 1/2 years, I will probably end up at Iowa State University, because it’s only an hour away and I technically could drive that every day for class, I wouldn’t want to but I could.  But I would prefer to go to University of Iowa in Iowa City.  Why?  The Carver School of Medicine is part of UofI and they give special consideration to graduates from UofI for admissions.  UofI, however, is 132 miles away or 2 hours.  Too far to drive every day, so I would have to rent a room somewhere for school and come home on the weekends.  Not optimum, but doable I guess.  I also will probably end up doing the same thing at ISU, so I change my statement, I will probably end up at UofI.

Then hopefully, I would end up at Carver School of Medicine, the 25th ranked medical school in the nation, local tuition vs out of state.  Have to save some money where I can.  There I would probably stay where I was staying while attending UofI.  Makes sense if I don’t end up in a pit.

So it would be 3 years at UofI to get my bachelors, 4 at med school, then hopefully residency at Lutheran Hospital here in Des Moines.  In Iowa, Residency is 3 years for Family Medicine.  Then I would be a doctor.  So I am looking at 12 1/2 years to become a doctor.  The long haul.  So, instead of a 57 year old doctor, its looking more of a 59 year old doctor.  But I will start treating patients in 7 1/2 years, while on med school rotation.  Heck, if I get into med school I will be helping with surgeries and other medical things after 2 years.  A little intimidating at this point.  But nothing I won’t be able to handle.

I thank those of you who actually read these posts.  Most of them are thinking out loud.  Plus, they are anxiety driven most of the time.  This post wasn’t.  I am actually pretty mellow right now (as I scroll back to see the little book this post has become).

I want to do this.  I want to succeed where I have failed oh so many times before.  Heck, if I can make it past 1 non-summer semester (summer semesters don’t count, they are short) I will be doing better than I have ever done before.

Oh yeah, I have done some math to figure out debt to become a doctor.  About a quarter of a million dollars is what it costs.  But starting you make between 150-250k a year, so it’s all good.

Well, there it is.  The past week and a bit of the hopeful future summarized in just over 800 words.





Back up plan

OK, I know I screwed up my essay.  I know that Teresa isn’t happy with my choice of major.  I know a lot of things that go against going to WGU.  So, I made an appointment for Friday morning with an advisor at DMACC, the localish community college (35 minutes or so).  Yes, DMACC actually costs a little more.  Yes, it’s not as convenient as having as many classes that I can cram into a term.   Yes, I would be giving up my #2 dream to be a teacher.

That being said, I have looked into and talked to a couple medical schools.  Yup, if you are gonna dream, dream big.  My head shakes, but my hands are actually pretty solid, and the head shaking is mostly when I am nervous.  I have asked 3 medical schools if bipolar and head shaking would rule me out and they all said No.  That it’s mostly grades and MCAT and extra curricular stuff.  So, I am gonna talk to an adviser at DMACC about pre-med.  Yeah, I would be the oldest guy in school to be a doctor, but its not unheard of.  And the #25 in the nation med school is in Iowa City.

I have no idea where I am going with this.  I sincerely want to be a doctor…  Family Medicine Doctor to be exact.  Wanted to be one all my life.  Before teacher, before race car driver, before anything, I wanted to be a doctor.

So Friday, I talk to my adviser at DMACC and see what options there are to be had.  Who knows 11 years from now, when I am 57 years old, I might be Dr. Jeffrey A Campbell.