Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thoughts (October-ish)

Something happened the day I said, “I think I want to go to medical school.” Something shifted in the universe. All of a sudden I was a pre-doctor. I was going to become a doctor. People looked at me differently. They assumed a set of things about me – you must be smart, you want to make a lot of money, you don’t believe in natural birth, you might know why my glands are swollen.

If I’d said, “I think I want to be a veterinarian” or “an accountant” or “a firefighter” it would have been different. Everyone experiences being doctored. Everyone has an opinion about health care. Everyone knows someone who was saved by a heart surgery and everyone knows someone who knows someone who died at the hands of an incompetent physician.

With one small statement, I felt the weight of all that hope, grief, anger, fear and expectation come swirling at me. A literal tornado heading directly toward me with my feet cemented in ten feet down. I feel dizzied and blown around and important and compassionate and angry.

Stop it! Stop assuming you know anything about me or what I think about diabetes or ADHD or that you know I’m called to be a neurosurgeon.

All of a sudden I’m asked for my “position” on everything from childhood immunizations and autism to health care reform and the appropriate salary for primary care physicians.

Not that long ago I was a marketing manager for a software company. I loved the communication challenge, but over time, found the subject matter to be a little thin. Having always loved biology and nearly missed a pre-med major I began wondering wistfully if medicine could honor my communication side. I had an epiphany at a doctor’s appointment a few weeks later. This doctor spends his days remarkably similar to how I spend mine. He interacts with a wide variety of clients, building rapport and asking questions. He’s listening for what they’re saying and what they’re not saying and running it against the problems he’s equipped to solve. He quickly determines what the first line of action ought to be, but takes time strategizing about how to enact his desired behavioral change. He’s interested, enthusiastic and competent. And, he’s on a tight schedule.

I come to medicine looking to harmonize my deep interest in the science of the human body and my love of communication. I want to help people, but more specifically, I think my constitution is really well suited to the daily work of a doctor. I think I can not only do it, but enjoy it, help people and do it well without burning out because I’m not working against my natural grain.

I begin to learn something about the culture of medicine in my first application. “What do you think it takes to become a physician of the future?” “What historical figure do you most admire and why?” “What challenge have you overcome that best prepares you for a career in medicine?” Asinine. They are seriously going to decide who gets to become a doctor based on icebreakers?

On my mind

During this harried fall, I didn't find time to post blog pictures, or posts...but I was still writing. Much of it was unfinished, but I managed to capture my thinking and feeling process during the first few months of med school.

I'm reading back over it and it seems to fall into basically two categories - experiences with our cadaver in Gross Anatomy, and bigger questions about medicine.

Read my thoughts knowing that they were (and are) half-formed and the musings of someone who had been breathing a lot of formaldehyde!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Coat shopping

First, I hate shopping.

Second, ever since I showed up, everyone says, "Oh, just you wait until the winter! You have no idea what you're in for." Given that I was the 3rd grader intimidated by the 4th graders who told me I'd have to "have a notebook" and "take notes," I'm easily spooked.

I've been stressing about this winter coat thing. I've surveyed most of my new friends here and the consensus seems to be: must be down, must be knee length or lower, must have a hood (preferably with fur for blocking wind), must be water-resistant or proof. Some quick looking informs me that this will cost a minimum of $200. I do not have $200. But, I am afraid of the winter.

One day I'm riding home on the bus, staring out the window and I notice an Eddie Bauer outlet in the middle of downtown that says "Down Sale." I pop my head in and find a coat that meets all the requirements, but is still $150.

The morning after Thanksgiving, Ron casually suggests that I call to find out if they're having a Black Friday sale. Sure enough, my coat is selling for $102 until noon!

Here's a sneak preview.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (aka Nov 22)

We get a little Christmas crazy. By we, I mean Ron, and I'm suggestable. Living on a tight budget might make our celebration a little chintzier, but it did not dampen our decorating spirit.

Our fake Target tree, Dollar Tree ornaments and Santa hats and many thousand five hundred lights adorned our home for seven weeks! (Come on, we were gone for two of them =).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving (It's Nov 27th)

I love turkey. Seriously, you probably don't know anyone who is as devoted to the bird as I. By devoted, I mean like to eat.

When it came time to select our bird for our family celebration (my parents found a last minute deal and decided to fly to Boston for the week!), it was clear to me that only one size would do. 22.5 lbs. That was the max the cooker bag would hold, thus, that must be the size of our turkey.

We laughed hard and had a wonderful time together.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Boston in the Fall (It's Nov 7th)

Every day I commute to school, I walk along the edge of the infamous Boston Common. As fall was progressing, it was increasingly hard to just walk by every day. I wanted to stop and stare.

Actually, I wanted to see myself all bundled up for fall, carrying a warm drink in my hand, enjoying the New England leaves.

So, Ron humored me, and we did!

We popped up out of the subway at Park St, just opposite the historic Park St. church...

And, Boston Common!

Then, to the adjacent Public Gardens...
With the Make Way For Ducklings statue (the story takes place right here in the public gardens!)

Ah, happy fall.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Romantic Nov 6th Evening

On a whim, I decided to surprise Ron by recreating our favorite Portland restaurant, Urban Fondue, at home. He was coming from a presentation at school and was all dressed up. I used their online menu, my creativity and a little rogue substituting to create a pretty great night!

Course 1: Cheese fondue with swiss, mozzarella, gruyere, parmesan, garlic and some white wine (but I didn't have any so I used champagne,) artisan bread, apples and red peppers to dip.
Course 2: Chicken cooked in chicken broth, dipped in one of seven sauces (inspired by Urban Fondue, adapted by Trina). Peanut butter, Maple syrup/soy sauce, Pesto, Raspberry fruit spread, Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard and one other I can't remember. Sounds weird, but it was fun. Chicken is pretty flexible.

Course 3: The most important, chocolate! Strawberries, graham crackers and homemade macaroons dipped in Trader Joe's 72% dark chocolate.

We don't have a fondue pot,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's Halloween!

We went to two Harvard Halloween parties in our matching Ao Dai's from Vietnam. Ron wore his Superman wig from two years ago.

Now I can't go and say that without showing you the Superman origins...

(I was a banana)

The year before we were anxious for Christmas, spent a few hours at the Dollar Tree and ended up...Please notice the bows on my toes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's October 24th!

The Angells are here! My beloved college roommate, Sarah Angell and her family were in town for a cousin's soccer game and we had the privilege of hosting them for a meal.

It's September!

So, after Family Day, my parents, Ron and I flew to Boston, it was killer hot, my dad and Ron started the move by hauling an enormous couch up three flights of curly-que stairs in a non-air conditioned house when it was in the nineties (both temp and humidity) after flying all day and not sleeping the night before.

We worked feverishly to get air conditioners installed. Despite seventeen 70 lb boxes being held at the post office waiting for us to "pick up" and bring home on foot, a delivered bed with half the mattress missing and the enormous picture frame glass that shattered into the box containing every pair of our underwear...we made it.

I got my white coat, my parents left, Rick came, Ron/Rick went to Kennebunkport, Rick left, Ron started school, I started hanging out with dead people and Ron started to say "I'll sue them!" in response to every small irritation.

We spent the month in awe of how fast the people here walk, how funny they talk and how in the world they stand the excessive heat.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's August 2nd! Come on, pretend with me...

My dad's side of the family has this great tradition of gathering together once a year at this lot in the Cascade foothills for "Family Day." It's a day of food, togetherness and GAMES. Every family makes up a game and everyone has to matter how silly.

This year we had Pirates of the Lot, Family Day at the Fair and a game that is most memorable for the torrential soaking of brother to brother, to grandma!

Romy is the cutest pirate.
Who else has a Grandma who will don a pirate hat and jump into all the fun!? We have the coolest family!

Two days later, we are moving to Boston.