Friday, November 26, 2010

Trinidiom #91

"Today is the best day to shop [this makes me gasp, I can hardly get her to come with me to the grocery store most of the time], It's the all that bustle and hustle."

Trinidiom #90

Trina: "We could nail all those birds."

Ron: "Huh?"

Trina: "You know, with a stone. Like 'nailing two birds with a stone.'"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Trinidiom #89

"Ron, I believe that deep in my fiber!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trinidiom #88

"I'm here for your back."

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Trinidiom #87

"That's such a load of crack."

Trinidiom #86

"That's such a load of crock."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Trinidiom #85

She says these all the time, but I haven't been writing them down so much lately. Today's was discovered by my father-in-law, Ron.

"They're going to laugh you out of the water."

Friday, July 16, 2010

I know it has been forever

...but life is like that.

So, hey, a little interesting piece of information. You may have seen the very buff lady trainer that teaches my Insanity class here (or scroll down to "Our new Life in Philadelphia").

As it turns out, she was Ms. America. Uh huh. Now I don't feel so badly that she can do more pushups than I.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The first time in my whole life

For the first time in my whole life I snoozed my alarm so many times that it shut off.

I am on summer vacation!

One of my favorite parts is not keeping my cell phone on vibrate.  There are no lectures to interrupt or labs to disturb.  My phone can happily sing, beep and chirp.

I haven't dried my hair in weeks.  I can wear the same thing three days in a row and no one cares!

It is good to relax.

My only appointments are at the gym where I'm learning to loose my inhibitions dancing salsa, mambo and cha cha.  I am kind of a troll of a dancer, especially compared to the tall, lanky, graceful Tahitian-dancer instructor.  But, I just close my eyes, pretend I'm thirteen making a music video with my cousins and go for it!  My instructors generally smile at me, with that kind of pity/entertained look that says, "you're hopeless, but good effort."  The goal is simply to sweat and enjoy myself, both of which are happening in large measure.

 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Last Philadelphia Apartment


Four weeks into our stay we transplanted from the Washington Square side of town to the Rittenhouse Square side of town. Our new place is urban, chic and tall.  
Welcome to our place...
Look at how tall this place is...
Here's where we eat...

This chair makes my neck bend forward...
This couch is more comfortable.  The lamp to the right of Ron has a red bulb in it.  It looks creepy at night...

Doorway between the kitchen/eating/living area and bedroom/bathroom area.  Look at how tall the doorway is!

Very comfortable bed.  And, our air conditioner that we brought from home.  It's one of the hottest Junes on record here.
Closet...
Last, but not least...the bathroom.

That's the tour.

First Philadelphia Apartment

We're only here in the city for eight weeks, but we are living in two different places.  For the first four weeks we were living on a quaint street, in a cutesy part of town, in a bed and breakfast full of antique furniture.  We moved in late at night, so it was dark outside.
Here's the front door to the building.
Then, the hallway of mirrors...
Shared sitting room #1...
Shared sitting room #2....
Hallway to our room...
The bedroom/sitting room...
The kitchen...
This last picture is a little blurry, but you can see the main room and the kitchen in the back.  There was a bathroom too, but who wants to see a bathroom?

All in all it was a charming little place.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our New Life in Philadelphia

Hi.  Welcome to Philadelphia.



Right now, we are living in a bed and breakfast in a cute neighborhood right in the center of things (we're on Clinton St, near 11th and Spruce).  This is Clinton St, but it is not my picture.  It's a pretty good one though.


We are here because Ron's got an internship at a legal firm called Berger Montague.  He is working on antitrust litigation.  If you'd like to know what that is, please ask Ron.  I do not really know.  He seems to like it because it involves lots of arguing and having opinions and depositions.

I am a stay at home Trina.  Basically I have 11 weeks off this summer before I am a full time med student/resident for the following six years straight.  So, while many of my classmates are off doing research, etc. it seemed like a good idea to me to not.  I'm working on editing our book that we wrote while traveling around the world, trying out new classes at the gym, baking these new blueberry bars my mom invented and stuff like that.  These intense med students need to learn to relax!  I am enjoying remembering that I am a person and not just a memorization machine.

Speaking of the gym,


it is called 12th St and it is pretty cool.  It was a great deal and they have tons of amazing equipment and really strong trainers, etc.  I picked it for the deal.  An anonymous source recently confided to us that this gym is the center of the gay pickup scene in Philadelphia, which explains all the guys with hairdryers and the men's only spa.  But, as far as I'm concerned that just makes it an easier place to learn salsa dancing.  We are both having a blast with our classes.  Ron's first was one called Insanity taught by Midge.

Here's Midge:

She's a really nice lady who provides an excellent workout.  Yesterday I went to a Tae Bo class taught by this lady whose sweats said "Tae Bo Extreme" and shirt said "Boot Camp."  I accidentally went to the advanced one.  Oops.  I didn't know I could get sweat to pour off my pony tail like that.

Today I tried out Zumba for the first time.  There were elderly people in there, so I felt like I was in less danger of passing out or throwing up than last night.  It's like a "learn to be a latin lover dancer" class.  We wiggle our hips and shake our top and make seductive faces.  The old guys are my favorite.  No one really keeps up with the steps, but I theoretically salsaed, mamboed, sambaed and generally felt like I was on Dancing with the Stars.  Tonight, Ron's trying one called Muscle Attack, but since that is more of a description of my body right now, I'm going for the Easy-Does-It-Gentle-Vinyasa-Yoga.  I'll let you know how it goes.

This is generally a way cooler city than I thought.  I had in my head that Philadelphia was kind of a rough, industrial place.  Ok, I admit, a large portion of my knowledge about what Philadelphia was was from the beginning of Fresh Prince of Bel Air ("in west Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days") - don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about!

In actuality, it is a clean, friendly, major metropolis.  It's the fifth largest metro area in the country!  Who knew?  (The first four are NYC, LA, Chicago, and Dallas...at least according to Wikipedia.)

Philadelphia is exceptionally walkable, with friendly little maps posted every couple blocks.  FYI, we live in the purple section, approximately three squares down from the little star.



 I get a little confused because they rotate the maps so that the top is whatever direction you are facing.  I'm still working on keeping left and right straight, (part of my decision to avoid surgery as a career), so you can imagine that putting East at the bottom of the map doesn't really work for me.  I usually end up cocking my head to the side trying to put North on top, like this.


Ron came up with this helpful little mnemonic so I can stop making a fool of myself.  Merry Christmas Santa, We Love SPiLLS (Market, Chestnut, Sansom, Walnut, Locust, Spruce, Pine, Lombard, South).  So now I'm wandering the streets muttering to myself "Merry Christmas Walnut, what was that about knocking things over?"  I'm not sure if its a lot better than the head tilting.

That's about it for me.   

Since I'm working on the book, if you have any particularly favorite stories from our trip, please let me know. I want to be sure I don't leave out the best part!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rage Against the Law Review

The Harvard Law Review is a truly venerable institution. But beside its impressive exclusivity (if such a thing can truly be impressive) and the fact that it has produced major leaders of several fields (including, "The Free World"), I'm a bit skeptical about its application to my own life.

After I arrived here, it didn't take long to find out that the really amazing students tend to go for law review. I've heard "everyone tries out for it; at least everyone who thinks they have a shot" and "it's the ticket."

There's that darn ticket again. Who knew I'd meet so many tickets that led to more tickets? I used to think the ticket was a good SAT score and getting through calculus my junior year (oh, and student leadership and sports). Those were 13 years ago! Since then, the ticket has included (but has not been limited to) college, excellence in college, good graduate standardized test scores, good professional credentials, good networking, law school, an amazing law school, Harvard Law School, top grades at Harvard Law School, and now law review. Or legal aid bureau if you aren't quite Law Review material or you are woefully bent toward the practicalities of actually doing something for resource-less people.

Now, I'm sure law review has its place. It is, after all, a proxy for "hey you, I'm smarter than smart." (better translated as, "I'm smarter than you"). And, frankly, that opens doors. So does wiling countless hours away with brilliant peers who will go on to do great things and be the connections you need in a connection-driven world.

And, if you are a future academic, it will look odd if you didn't do law review.

But that's my point. This whole prepackaged path you should take thing is starting to really grate on me. Really? Another one? THIS one, finally, will be the one that makes it so I don't have to find any more of these super-panaceas for my professional launching? I'm skeptical.

The law review competition lasts about a week, and, I'm told, includes scouring a couple thousand (!) pages of legal documents so that you might write some sort of document that impresses the readers. And correcting another document.

Of course, if you are smart enough to get in, you get to spend 20 hours a week for the next two years working for them. The first year, though, involves mostly technical work (what we call sub-citing here). That means that you spend your time looking at the citations in scholarly articles to make sure they are correct. Formatted correctly (there's the 300 page bluebook for that--just for formatting citations!) AND cited correctly (is that really what that document said or implied on that page or in that chapter or as a whole?).

Sound fun? Nope. But each year, hundreds of geniuses line up like lemmings to try to do it.

I've done some subciting for a journal (two days of it was enough to make me want to swallow turpentine). I'll maybe do a little more, just to make sure I have the skills I need. But I'd rather, I don't know, enjoy and engage my classes than do it 20 hours a week. Take the extra time and have a life, or even if not, choose academic pursuits that aren't hellish.

True, maybe I could get on law review and publish an anonymous note that I might later get credit for. That's publishing (sort of). Or maybe I could try doing novel research and actually get myself published in a law review, rather than being the publisher's slave! Perhaps I'll get better grades if I don't spend all that time running over my soul. Might I make friends without getting on law review? Maybe? Might I start chasing down people who are already successful professionals, rather than just betting that some of these smarty-pants will end up in a position to help me? Perhaps.

There are people who genuinely belong on law review, and I'm thrilled that they are going to compete. They should and I'm proud of them for working hard and making it. But I'm stunned by how many people have fallen into the herd and have abdicated their greatest talent--independent thinking.

Not me, not this time anyway. I didn't give up a lucrative professional career, leave my extended family and quit traveling around the world so that I could go to law school and ruin it as quickly as possible by over-committing to something with mostly replaceable benefits and purgatorial demands. I'm not going to do it just because it is someone's twisted idea of more and better, especially when it is, in so many ways, less and worse (if you are me, anyway).

Nope. I plan to sing along with Sinatra when I finish law school: "I did it my way."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Justice

Great news! Yesterday, I was offered a job teaching for Harvard College. The position is for a hugely popular, internet-published class called "Justice" that examines contemporary moral and political conundrums in light of the western (political) philosophical tradition. Perfect!

I'll have a group of 18 (or two groups of 18) students, who I'm responsible to further the weekly lessons with. Apparently I'll be posing novel problems (not the ones he addresses in lecture) and working the discussion to teach whatever it is I'm supposed to be teaching.

I'll also coaching the students on paper writing, and grading their two papers to boot, as well as preparing them for their final. It should be pretty exciting.

Check out the link to the online course; it's got a promo video that explains the course.

http://www.justiceharvard.org/

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A little hard to study


When I think about where we were headed a year ago. Why again did we decide that law/med school were a step up from living in Cabo for six weeks?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mother Teresa Interview

http://sarahthomasbaldwin.blogspot.com/2008/06/unstoppable.html

What a woman.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

No More Launching

Once again, it has been a long time since I have blogged. The last few months have been very full: We've had a parade of friends and family visiting, we had a dear family friend in his early twenties die, and we've been continuing this whole medical and legal thing.

All this has had me thinking. Yes, I've been thinking about whether a contract was unconscionable, when the police power goes too far in land regulation and should be called "a taking", the role of international law in shaping behavior and of course of litigation strategies.

But I've had lots of bigger questions on my mind. The really big ones, life, death, faith, security, will be left for another time.

But behind those has been a nascent realization that I'm going to try to put in words.

I've spent my whole life launching. From the beginning, it's been "reach for the stars" and "you can do anything". And, sitting at this place and time, it feels quite true. Just graduating from HLS, I can access and be a part of the highest echelons of US money/power culture: politics, corporations, government, investment banks, consulting and law firms. I can do more, get bigger, better, keep on expanding until...what exactly?

I guess I'm starting to fixate on this "what, exactly?" I kind of asked this question when I chose against my burgeoning corporate career and came here, because I had to stop a lot of momentum, economic and otherwise, to choose to travel and go back to school. But it still all bore the mark of more, better, launching into a new stratosphere of challenge and adventure.

Maybe this is just my impending thirtieth birthday talking, but I'm sort of done with this whole launching-expansive thing. It's not that my eyes aren't set high. Sure, it would be fun to run a Fortune 200 company, or sue one, or work for justice department, or be the guy who appoints the head of the justice department (that means be president). Yes, I'd like to remake the academic/legal/political/technological world. I want to chase interesting adventures and find ways to use those adventures to make a real difference in people's lives.

But I wonder if Solomon is a few steps ahead of me. It seems that this is all a bit of a meaningless chasing after the wind. More isn't necessarily better. In fact, it seems they often have an inverse relationship (gasp, there went my chances at the Presidency).

I guess I'm struggling to ask, how much is enough? Or, better yet, what is a better measure than quantity/prestige/power/exclusivity/impact? I'm sure that the answer lies in the words of the One who said, "blessed are the poor in spirit", but I just haven't quite figured out how to integrate all that.

I've noticed something. That almost always, those who are chasing these windmills are working themselves literally to death. Maybe that's worth it, if you have something or some end you are working for that is worth giving your life (and relationships too). I can't imagine any worldly cause worth sacrificing my relationships for (although that may just be a measure of my selfishness too, hard to say). Certainly it wouldn't be worth it for a "cause" that merely represents my own desire to have engaging or satisfying work. In the end, those sacrifices would be the opposite of satisfaction.

The truth is, I don't find these people all that impressive. They are a bit smarter and savvier than average, but not disproportionately so. They work hard yes, and were in the right place at the right time, usually by accident. But they aren't larger than life. In fact, a lot of them seem kind of small.

Anyway, I don't have any answers. I don't know what my life will ultimately look like. I don't know what dragons I will slay, or whether I will be a stay-at-home dad dragon slayer. What I do know is that I'm done graduating and getting sent off...I'm almost thirty years old now. Yes, I want adventure. I want intellectual challenge, to continue to see the world, to be pushed. But I also want to be rooted, to make choices that are judged on a value scale more worthy of the Kingdom I'm inheriting.

Maybe I'm just growing up?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Update

I just finished a week of exams, a week of Spring Break and now Ron's on Spring Break. The good news - we've generated a lot of stories and pictures for the blog. The bad news - we won't have time to post it for another week or so.

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Trinidiom #84

It feels like it pushes my bristles the wrong way

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Trinidiom #83

I'll stand vigil for you.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Trinidiom #82

"It shoots them"

(They're shot)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trinidiom #81

"You are bouncing all over the bottom floor like a ping pong ball!"

Friday, February 26, 2010

Trinidiom #80

"You're between a hard place and a wall."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trinidiom #79

"I'm on my last legs!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Trinidiom #78

"Sorry for being such a pain on the side."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Trinidiom #77

"I'm covered from tip to toe!"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Also present on New Years Eve...

Romy was the most fun to take pictures of...but there were a few other people there =).

My gorgeous cousin Jossie.
My aunt Linda, Mom, Dad, Ron and directing the scene...Romy.


Last but certainly not least...I got to spend a wonderful afternoon with my grandparents on New Years Eve. It was great to see each other again!

It's Dec 31st!

Speaking of adorable little girls...here's Romy! I can't believe how much she's grown and changed since last time we saw each other.




Trinidiom #76

"Suck it for all it's worth!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chocolate is important

I love Trader Joes 72% dark chocolate. Love it. Plus, it's good for you. And, that's a great justification.

Lucky me, they sell it in "pound plus" sizes, so one bar lasts quite a while. Unlucky me, we ran out the other day. This upset me.

We do not live with easy access to Trader Joes, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I figured out if I took two buses and walked about ten minutes I could get there.

Relieved to see a full supply of them, I loaded ten bars in my basket and got in line. The woman behind me in line said, "Wow! That's a lot of chocolate! What are you going to do with all that?"

"Eat it." I said, totally straight-faced.

"Oh!" she said, nervously laughing. "Well, enjoy!"

"I will." What's wrong with these people. This is awesome chocolate. Why would I need to "do" something with it?

I get to the checkout. The clerk says, "Oh my! 10 lbs of chocolate! Are you having a big party or something? Fondue?"

"No. I just like it. We ran out."

"I'd say so!" Same nervous laughter. Weird, what's wrong with everyone here.

I walk in the door with ten lbs of chocolate in my arms. Ron looks at me, a little surprised, but with a huge smile on his face and says, "maybe we shouldn't have sent you there this time of the month."

Trinidiom #75

"I'm falling off my job."

Monday, February 15, 2010

White Coat

It's the strangest thing. The white coat has power. It gives entrance to the most private parts of peoples' lives. Someone you've never met lets you look inside their ears, listen to their heartbeat, take off their clothes and touch them. It's a weird amount of power. I think I notice it so much because I feel so wholly unworthy of it.

When I'm in the exam room I am not a person, a woman, a wife, a daughter...I am a doctor. When I greeted a teenage boy patient...I have never been looked at so utilitarianly in my life. It was as though I was the most uninteresting thing in the world. I wasn't a girl, I was a doctor.

I think it says something about how we rationalize the gross invasion of privacy. I go to the doctor, he is a man, I am a woman...about the same age. In any other circumstances him instructing me to remove my clothes, then touch, look, ask probing questions...this would be totally inappropriate. But, when it's a doctor, it's ok. Even when you're little and they teach you about stranger danger and everything...they say no one should touch your bathing suit areas, except your doctor. It's really intimate. So it's like everyone involved compensates by detaching. I, the doctor, see you as this machine that needs fixing. You, the patient, see me as the mechanic who can help you figure out this problem. So, I think it's a little weird.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trinidiom #74

"I'm gonna throw trash at you!"

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cadaver Thoughts (last week or two of Anatomy)

We removed his brain today. The only thing I can imagine is like it is watching a baby be born. Emotional, amazing, scary, wonderful, supra-human.

I want to hold it! I want to love it. I want him to know it's going to be ok. God is so incredible.

This nerve between my fingers is how he could smell. This right here is how he saw the world for 83 years. This one gave him the ability to wiggle his tongue.

This was him. All of him. In my hands. I want to love it and hold it.

What an incredible honor. An intimacy beyond all intimacy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

First day in clinic!

I get to spend one afternoon every week following around a family medicine doctor, wearing my white coat, my stethoscope and pretending I'm totally official!

I feel like such a fraud. I walk in the room, introduce myself to a patient saying, "I'm a first year med student" meaning - I know nothing! Don't trust me! Don't believe anything I say! The patients hear me say, "I'm basically a doctor." I find this unnerving.

My teacher-doctor will put his stethoscope on the patient's chest and I'll mimic him and nod knowingly. The first time I couldn't hear anything. Turns out I had my stethoscope on backwards.

One of my fellow students said it perfectly the other day. "I go to do the heart and lungs exam and basically when I hear the beat, I think to myself - he has a heart, check!"

Everyone has to start somewhere right?!

I have to say though, I am learning so much. It is fascinating to watch it all come together. We have spent the past many months absorbing incredible amounts of information. To see why it matters and how it fits is wonderful.

Trinidiom #73

"Don't bust with me right now!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cadaver Thoughts (November-ish)

Our poor guy. He's had a lot of surgeries. Given all the creative re-plumbing, his intestines are very confusing. But, they're his. We're studying for the practical and even when the tables get moved around, I always know when we're with our guy because of his look.

I find myself holding hands with or gently touching the head of whoever we are studying on. These bodies don't scare me anymore. They are wonderful, interesting and sometimes I think a little lonely. Probably not really. But, just in case, it doesn't hurt to quietly hold a hand while we identify the splenic artery.

In order to do the pelvis dissection we have to bend his knees into the stirrups. This requires severing the patellar tendon. I'm cutting it. It gives way and what in the world is that?! It's metal! He had a knee replacement. No way! He was holding out on us. I didn't know that. It feels like I just found out that my cousin Jossie got to go to the mall alone before me and didn't tell me.




Tuesday, February 09, 2010

It's Dec 23rd!

We got to spend December 23rd with two of our all-time favorite people...Melia and Joe.





Found a couple more priceless ones...


There were other people there too...

It was so wonderful to be home and spend time with our friends. We miss you so much here on the other coast.

Aaron and Holly

Melinda and me.They're still the stars of the show =).
It was

Trinidiom #72

"The bug in my boo."

Monday, February 08, 2010

Cadaver Thoughts (October-ish)

We're done with Back and Limbs - the first of three sections of Gross Anatomy.

Today we need to remove his chest wall to visualize the heart and lungs. His ribs need to be disconnected to get the chest wall off. No one wants to do it. It doesn't bother me. I feel increasingly close to him. We have all spent a lot of time together. He's ok with this. He knew exactly what was going to happen to him when he decided to give us this ultimate gift. I can almost see him winking at me as if to say, "you ain't seen nothing yet."

We lift off the chest wall. OH MY GOSH. I can hardly catch my breath. It's the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Oh my gosh. I have tears in the corner of my eyes. I look over and one of my lab partners has them streaking down her cheeks. It's his heart! It's his lungs! I finger his lung lobe; it's soft and spongy. His heart is like a centerpiece. The aorta feels like a rubber hose. It is so strong. It's tough. This is his heart!

Heart removed and we can hold it. I had no idea it would feel like this to hold a human heart. And it's not just "a" human heart, it's his heart. It's strange how we all feel increasingly close to him. It's like he keeps inviting us in farther and farther.

Next lab, we open the abdomen and there's no omentum! I'm still a little rusty on exactly what the greater omentum does, but I'm pretty sure there's something missing. And, where's his stomach? They told us in lecture it is often a lot smaller than you imagine. I ask my lab partner. We can't find it. I feel dumb asking a prosector to show me his stomach. They just posted the cause of death on the board. Do we want to look?

He's 83. He died of stomach cancer. He's 83. I'm so glad to know. He has no stomach. They took it out in a surgery. Someone has seen this before. Weird. Some surgeon had his hands inside our guy. How violating. I'm sure that surgeon didn't love him like we do. Did I just say "love"?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Trinidiom #71

"You're like a drunk in a crystal shop."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cadaver Thoughts (September-ish)

I didn’t expect to feel much the day we met our cadaver. I took Anatomy in college, studied on a cadaver. I remembered that each day my heart would catch in my throat when I first glimpsed a skinless body from the door. But, one deep breath later, I saw Flexor Digiti Minimi, not someone’s finger.


I walk in the room. We unzip the bag. It’s a man. His legs, stomach and arms don't trouble me. Fingernails. Earlobes. Forehead wrinkles. It isn't passing. He still looked like he, not that. We gently wrap his hands, feet and head to preserve the delicate structures. I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t covering up the most “human-looking” parts of him to make it easier for us to begin cutting into him.


This man lays before me, a wonderland of learning. The pinnacle of biology, chemistry, physics, all wrapped up into what was…a life. I’m going to get to do something no lay person gets to. I get to look inside. I get to see how it works. Touch it, feel it, look at the actual inside of a human body. It’s amazing.


The first cut is the hardest. Piercing the skin seems violating. His outer shell now has this penetrable opening. Task at hand is removing the skin of the back. We’re trying to “find a plane” and not cut anything too important. Not a lot of time to feel how weird and gross it is that we are taking the skin off a person. Not until I close my eyes to go to sleep. The dreams aren’t upsetting, and that’s upsetting. It’s so matter-of-fact to visualize skin systematically removed.


By the second lab, removing skin isn’t a big deal. It’s a hassle, and we are flying through it.


Third lab, we are dissecting his Axilla and Cubital Fossa. I don't have any idea where that is. The armpit. Why can't they just say armpit? To get to his armpit and visualize his Brachial Plexus, we have to put a rope around his wrist and tie it to the post at the head of the table. I'm holding his hand as I'm awkwardly trying to tie up his wrist. It feels good and strange all at once. I drop my tweezers and as I bend over to pick them up, his hand slips into my scrub pocket. I jump, and laugh and the whole thing is just so weird. How am I supposed to feel about a dead man's hand in your pocket?


The experience of lab feels increasingly normal. Ron has to remind me to take off my scrubs before I come in the kitchen because I don't notice the smell anymore. I don't know his name. We've taken to calling him "our guy." Officially he's Pod 1, Table 1, but by the time we've reflected his biceps brachii, it seems like he's ours.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Thoughts (Later October-ish)

I think the human body is amazing. It is utterly complicated, yet filled with elegant patterns. It’s inspiring. I think it’s because it’s so immediate. The concepts are so instantly relevant. Where does my Sartorius attach? Where does the cleaned blood from my liver meet up with the inferior vena cava? What happens to the triglycerides I ate at lunch? Unlike a lot of my classmates who are so eager for the “clinical correlations” (aka what can go wrong with this part of the body), I’m eager to understand how it goes right. It really does seem like a miracle that eating top ramen doesn’t completely throw off my sodium/potassium balance, that drinking toxins (alcohol) doesn’t poison me and don’t even get me started on how in the world a baby comes to be and be born. Points for creativity there, but whoa. Not exactly run of the mill.


It’s intoxicating. The wonder of it all. I like to glory in the wonder. I imagine next year, which is devoted to pathophysiology (what goes wrong) might leave me a depressed, hypochondriac mess, but for now, I’m soaring.


The only interruptions to my ecstatic happiness are the occasional exam and the beginnings of clinical instruction. As they say over and over, “During your career, most of what you learn in medical school will become obsolete, but anatomy never changes.” So, the material stands alone. It is the obturator internus. Lining the inside of the obturator foramen, pierced by the obturator nerve. That’s just what it is.


But, what about teaching us to interact with patients? The same approach is taken and I find it a little offensive. There is a way. A professional, best practice, code of conduct way to interact with patients. But, patients aren’t body parts. They’re people. “Yes, of course. That’s why we’re teaching you Human Behavior in Medicine. We’ll cover the typical personality types, methods for handling them and ‘anomalies’ you might encounter.” Really? I’m already impressed and upset that you can teach me the entire anatomy of the human body in sixteen weeks. But, now you’re going to logically and coherently explain to me human behavior!?


I don’t buy it. I understand that there’s a level of professional distance that must be developed and maintained to function as a physician. But, my humanity must be tempered so I can do my profession?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Snow! (It's Dec 20th)







Thank goodness my Neuroscience midterm forced us to delay our flight from "today" (airports shut solid) to "tomorrow" (airports all clear). We enjoyed our first big Nor'easter!