In PA School, we learned about the DASH Diet for patients with high blood pressure. What they neglect to tell you is the PA-S Diet, which is what a majority of students will develop because life becomes something else.
FACES…and no, this time this acronym doesn’t stand for signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF)…although they probably go hand to hand. This time, FACES is the acronym that I’ll be using to describe the PA-S diet. The first part will denote the PA-S Diet while the second part will be what is means for CHF.
- Fast food vs. Fatigue
- When you’re sitting in class from 9-3pm on a daily basis and then have to study all night, the time to plan your grocery list, cook, and meal prep tends to go out the window. Shout out to Chick-fil-a, Cane’s, Whatabuger, a mom & pop donut shop, and Pizza Hut for pulling through on many days/late nights at the library.
- But honestly, in PA School you’re constantly fatigue because it feels like you’re body has been running a marathon x forever, and at this point in my PA School career, things are breaking down and I’m burning out.
- Alcohol vs. activities limited
- Sometimes the stress of school causes you to subconsciously grind your teeth in your sleep and your jaw becomes constantly tense that you can’t fully open your mouth. Sometimes after studying/doing school for 10+ hours for multiple days in the row prevents your brain from turning off and all you can think about as you try to fall asleep and watch TV are the characteristics of an arrhythmia in an EKG strip. Solution: Alcohol. Nothing like a glass (or half a bottle) of wine to tell your body, “Hey. It’s going to be okay,” and puts your body in a “relaxed” state so you can fall asleep and do the day all over again..and again..and again..
- There are some mystical creatures in my class who are able to run and work out everyday, so I’m pretty sure activities limited only applies to a select few like myself. But when I’m tired or stressed, I just want to curl up in a ball and lay in bed to avoid all of the responsibilities, not go run or workout. I’m a rollie pollie basically.
- Coffee vs. chest congestion
- A classmate of mine told me that for her, coffee is like, “a slap on my ass telling to go get the world”. Pretty accurate statement. Whether it’s sleep deprived nights or the night before the test and you just can’t hit REM because you’re worried you may accidentally oversleep and miss your morning test. But like my classmate said, nothing like a cup(s) of coffee to get you “more ready” to face the 9am with the other 74 people in your class who are in the trenches with you.
- I had to look up what “chest congestion” was compared to in order to make this connection. It’s that feeling you get when you walk out of a test and it was nothing like the practice questions or previous tests. It’s that test where you throw your “tf hands” up in the air with a shocked face because HOW DARE THEY ASK THAT. Yeah, if you’re in any form of higher education, you know that feeling where you walk out and your heart drops because it feels like that’s the last test you’ll ever take at the institution since you dropped the ball and rolled down the hill. .
- Energy drinks vs. edema or ankle swelling
- Sometimes/more than likely, you get that 2pm and you need a pick me up. Whether it’s actually at 2pm or it’s 5pm and you’ve just gotten home, an energy drink gives you some encouragement to help you focus through the 200+ slides of one class you should go through. So you shoot for the moon and try to just do one of the two classes you sat through today, attempt to swim through the disorganized layout and structure of the course, only to have missed the moon and be stuck in space while drowning in the oceans of powerpoint slides that grows day by day. Suddenly it’s 8pm and you’ve done 1/4 of a powerpoint set and the goal of showering becomes more distant. But it’s okay because you can count on coffee to slap your ass in the morning and it can ideally only get better…
- When you sit in class for long periods of times and start walking again on your breaks, sometimes your leg hurts with every step you take and you’re genuinely worried you have claudication or even a DVT. And then summer comes around after a year of PA school and you noticed you can see the veins around your legs more prominent…is it venous insufficiency or is it the simple fact that you haven’t gone out into the sun for a long time and this is a “natural part of aging”. Nobody knows and I don’t want to know.
- Sugar vs shortness of breath
- I like to snack on flavored popcorn when I study and I have weird sugar cravings like cookies and milkshakes. My logic: I need more glucose for my brain…so I think it’s okay.
- Shortness of breath makes me think of test anxiety. You know, how each question is worth 1% of your grade or how a test is worth 45% of your grade and so you read the questions and you want to throw up the TF hands but at that moment you’re paralyzed by fear and contemplating about what if you walked over to that trashcan across the room to vomit or just walked out of here forever and go to Mexico.
All jokes aside, there is a painful twang of truth sprinkled in this post.