Monthly Archives: January 2016

Back to reality

Welp, it’s time to put those yoga pants away and trade them back in for my light blue scrubs. After 6 weeks of break setting an alarm again is torture. I am definitely feeling out of practice–especially since I am diving right back into the shark tank with my Surgery rotation. I was assigned to the cardiothoracic service and I can imagine those are not sissy surgeries. My days will be filled with open heart surgery, lung resections and endless CABG procedures (coronary artery bypass grafts). I am a mixture of terrified and excited. However, if I am going to wake up at 4 am for something, surgery pretty much tops the list. Being in the OR is unlike anything I’ve ever done. It is an adrenaline rush, a stopper of time–it drains you of every ounce of energy, yet leaves you curiously wanting to come back and do it all over again. I am preparing myself for the most physically and mentally exhausting 8 weeks of my life. Good thing I just had a seriously long vacation.

I made the most of the last 6 weeks managing to jam pack it with travel, family & friends, a little work and even an elective! Here are the highlights:

  • Spent the holidays with my family in Maryland
  • Took a road trip to NYC
  • Finished the whole House of Cards series, finished the whole The Knick series, finished the whole Making a Murder Series, caught up on all the various versions of Bravo’s Real Housewives
  • Wrote two papers for publication!
  • About 75 Surgery practice questions…
  • Started a Go Fund Me campaign
  • Did some voice over work for a promotional video
  • Did some design work and drafted an Annual Report for one of my clients
  • Got my nails painted by a professional!
  • Went shopping and refreshed my wardrobe with some killer boots, a couple of amazing dresses and the perfect lace ensemble for my best-friend’s summer wedding
  • Completed my first thoracotomy and learned how to place a chest tube (on a generously donated cadaver)
  • Booked my trip to Las Vegas, where I’ll be presenting two abstracts
  • Convinced my husband to come to Las Vegas with me (this took 5 seconds)
  • Went wine tasting in Napa with my girlfriends of almost 20 years
  • Explored San Francisco like a champ
  • Made a couple EM podcasts which are part of the Residency curriculum at my Medical School
  • Did a photoshoot with my awesome friend and a guest appearance on her YouTube channel
  • Slept in, a lot
  • Started running regularly again
  • Finished decorating our living room with some amazing photography from my father in law
  • Went on lots of overdue doctor’s appointments and other things regular people do not typically wait for a vacation to complete
  • Did a couple shifts in the ED–spending time in my favorite place in the hospital
  • Ate a lot of really amazing food
  • Forgot for 6 weeks how difficult it is to be a third year med student

Fun is over friends. Time to get back to reality.

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Turning 30

As the youngest in the family it feels strange hitting the big 3-0. My entire life I always wanted to be older. I wanted to be able to do the things my sister, who is 5 1/2 years my senior was doing. It all began when I was 4, she knew how to read, so I decided I would need to know how to do that too. When I was 10, she was going on dates, so naturally, I needed to tag along on those too. And when I was in college, she was out making her own money, so I definitely needed a real job. I raced through my twenties.

Never satisfied, I crammed as much as I could into the last 10 years and looking back–that really wasn’t such a bad idea. All in all, it was a great decade. By 23, I had finished graduate school and was working as a program manager, which meant getting to travel around the world, keeping my wanderlust at bay.  By 21, I had met and started dating the man I would marry. The kind of guy who watched Titanic and wondered when he would meet the Rose to his Jack. A perfect match to my zany nature, who wasn’t phased (or too impressed) by my endless need to do more–which is exactly what I need to keep doing more. By 25, I had moved 3,000 miles to start our lives on the West Coast and by 27, I was embarking on my first year of medical school. Now at 29 and 362 days, I own my first house and I am months away from starting my final year of med school.

My twenties meant growing as a person. Luckily, my husband and I grew along side each other. Evolving into two people who deep down really just like each other. Our dreams have evolved from dreaming of a wonderful wedding day, medical school acceptance, great job offer, awesome apartment, awesome house…to now one day, a healthy baby and retirement in a Mountain cabin…or Mexico.

My life is still just as hectic as it’s always been. I am continually searching for the next challenge (enter my Surgery rotation which starts on Monday) but I do feel more stable. Perhaps because of medicine I am more logical, concrete–less emotional. I am exactly where I wanted to be by 30: to have a passion I work for every day and a partner to share it with.

As you age, your perception of what’s “old” seems to continue inching forward–a self-preservation mechanism, I guess. I’m still the youngest, which also helps. And so true to form, being 30 just really doesn’t feel that old. I still love staying up late (maybe not at a crowded, late night happy hour) but Netflix marathons are totally things I’ll lose sleep for. I still work-out (ok, so the last time I ran a marathon was 2005) but I am still the same weight I was in high school! I love hanging out with my girlfriends (yes, we recently spent exactly 6 seconds in a college bar before hailing a ride to the ritzy wine bar in the posh financial district) but at least we are still doing girl-talk over cocktails and I can still wear the hell out of my suede pumps. Sure, things may look a bit more refined. But that is just what happens with age.

The best part of entering my 3rd decade–you don’t have to waste any more time figuring out who you are and what you want–because you are already there (that’s what my 20s were for and all those random life de-tours). Knowing exactly what you want is half the battle. And that is probably what excites me the most about my 30s. The “go after it” decade.

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1st Break

I’ve been on vacation for exactly 14 days now. It’s amazing how quickly I’ve made the transformation from over-worked, dark-under-eye-circle concealing, one-track mind, med student zombie to a life of carefree leisure. I’ve been wearing make-up, blow drying my hair, going to the movies, not setting an alarm clock, seeing friends, spending precious time with my family, updating my closet and decorating our house. All things I forgot I seriously enjoyed. One could get used to this. For those of you not in medicine, the list above, taken for granted by most people reading this blog, are actually a rare luxury during medical training. Luckily, I have 4 more weeks before I start my next rotation. Sometimes working hard until an overdue, extra-long break is worth the sacrifice.

To catch my readers up on my life: Since I last wrote, I finished my pediatrics rotation. Tiny people patients are awesome. They are guaranteed to make you smile no matter what type of day you are having. I definitely enjoyed inpatient pediatrics more than clinic, but that is because I prefer acute medicine. Case in point, the time I enjoyed clinic the most was when we had to send one of our patients to the ED because they were too sick to be in our office. Identifying critical situations is kind of my thing…the thing I hope to do as a specialty.

I’ve completed 5 out of 8 rotations, with just a few more months of third year left. When I look back I can’t help but feel happy that I can put all that hard work behind me. It’s kind of like getting to mile 19 of a marathon, you’d be feeling pretty good you are there, but if someone told you there was a mistake and you need to re-run that distance–well you’d probably feel devastated to do it again.

After all that running, it feels great to hit pause. I need this time to soak in what I’ve learned and let my brain compartmentalize. To enjoy medicine. Funny enough, I still want to read, to do practice questions, even more than when I had to do them for the shelf exams. What can I say? Medicine is a deep-seated passion, even while on vacation.

Because I am not the type of person who can just leisure for too long, January is filled with exciting projects, including a research elective, supporting a dear friend’s campaign to provide girls education in the developing world, photography and spending a few days here and there in the emergency department. Not a bad way to start off the year!

I also turn 30 this month. So there is that. I’ll be celebrating with my best girlfriends of almost 20 years, doing a mini-road trip in Northern California.

Stay tuned. This month should be a good one.

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