I am still alive. I am still a medical student.
Now that we have established these basic truths, here's the story. I was on my way home on Halloween night, on the bridge on my bike close to 3 in the morning and I pass a guy who had dropped his wig, dressed as a ConEd guy. We chat. He claims to really be a ConEd guy, to live in a squat, a lot of things which are outrageous lies, and comments on the nice evening, and we part. Guess who didn't get my card that night, out of all the douchebags who did.
So I wrote a missed connection. And I got an email in response. Containing only a photo, of his bike on the floor, with his costume arranged around it, as a phantom rider.
I'll update the story if it ends well.
I figured the internet deserved a story about itself.
my window just fell out of its frame. not onto me, though that has happened before. it fell on my camera, but all that seems to have suffered was a tub of moisturizer and a mechanical pencil.
now with my barely working hot water faucet, i am now officially forced to call on my super.
my work hours these days appear to be approximately 11am-2pm, leaving time for such follies.
la la la.
I continue to be alive status-post half marathon, though now I am in significant pain. Most notably in the front of my hips, where a muscle on the right makes me limp on stairs and my previously problematic right knee. I am also still body-confused about fluids/food. I don't feel like I'm eating or drinking enough, but I feel like I'll get sick if I overdo it.
I am awake before 7am on a Sunday because I'm on call today. Together with 6am wakeup for running yesterday means no sleeping late for two weeks! Ow.
I am setting myself up to be late, though, by farting around on the internet. Mostly looking at stuff to do in Dallas, where I might be going for Memorial Day. Any good thrifting? Food? Or should I just drive to Austin?
This morning I ran the Brooklyn half marathon, from Coney Island to Prospect Park with some running back and forth at each end, which is 13.1 miles. My only goal was to NOT STOP, which I didn't. I ran it in two hours and one minute, which is a 9:17 mile, which is way slower than I run 5ks, but that's ok. This race was four times as long. I also did not have to stop to go to the bathroom, and I successfully drank extra-salty gatorade on the course three or four times. I have never needed to hydrate/feed while actively racing before.
I feel okay now. I am tired and GI upset and my hips hurt a little, but I could easily feel worse than this after a hard afternoon of Frisbee.
Now I will retire to a luxurious life of yoga, ballet and occasional weightlifting, forever and ever amen, until I get bored. I give myself a month.
I rejoined Crunch!
Everything's coming up gastrocs.
i have TWO FREE PASSES to the movie 'Trucker' at the Tribeca Film Festival this afternoon at 3:30 at 19th street and Broadway. Of course, I will be at work! But you can pick them up if you have the email from me. Let me know if you want it and leave me your email address.
I am otherwise doing ok. I am perpetually rocking a career existential crisis. I am 90% on my stance of: YES, PSYCHIATRY, though this week I went to the info meeting for Emergency Medicine and again got it rubbed in my face that the attendings have a lot of fun at work and are quick and hilarious observers of human nature. It doesn't hurt that the administrative dude has a reasonable obsession with me, and that when I asked, "What would you have been if you hadn't been an ER doctor?" they loved it. And when and attending explained why he couldn't do Peds or Medicine, I murmured to Brienne, "Let's just call it what it is - a commitment problem," the guy heard me and said, "Actually, yeah! I do have a commitment problem!"
In Psych news, I met with the medical student director, and told him that I feel my interest in psych is nonspecific at best, he offered to assemble an elective for in which I will spend one-on-one time with: the psychiatrists deciding if criminals are competent to stand trial, and deciding how to treat them if they aren't. The sex therapist at my school sitting in on sessions she conducts. The doctor who does cognitive-behavioral therapy for patients dealing with chronic pain from chronic kidney failure, learning how to do it, and then doing it myself. Woo!
You are probably not surprised that I am greatly pleased that it looks like the bill protecting the rights of people with genetically-mappable disease risks from discrimination. It is the only time during this presidency that I've had a chance to feel good about the rights of anyone for any reason. This one seems like common sense, but I'll take my warm fuzzy non-discrimination where I can get it.
This week was exciting. I am very tired. It was ups and downs but mostly ups. I won a spelling bee and came home to the New Yorker in my mailbox. And then I read it in a day, and marked up the gallery shows I want to see, and tonight I ripped out those pages and will recycle the rest. Reassuring me that I do have time to read it after all. I bought many tiny milk cartons with my meal tickets, saving me perhaps $2 in milk costs. I bought many tiny Hagen-Dazs ice creams, saving me, nothing. Costing me calories. I also ate oysters, and some more food, and have some secrets. I ran farther than I've run since high school and tomorrow I'm adding two miles to that number. And I have plans all day! There are freshly baked pumpkin cupcakes in the kitchen, waiting to be frosted, and I have a new long short sleeved gingham buttondown from the gap. My tummy doesn't hang out and life is goooooood.
As long as you don't count my thundering anxiety that one of my patients might die this weekend, which is 100% fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
today was my first routine mammogram. um, i guess it's routine. though what i have planned will make it NOT ROUTINE. bitches. take that, mammograms. i really feel like i'm sticking it to imaging. imaging doesn't have feelings, i know. i need this to be me against something, and i am referencing the actual cancer as infrequently as possible. mammograms with the squishing are INTENSE. my mom tried to tactfully ask how it would work on my minimal resources, if you will, and it seemed rather tricky. lots of pulling and mushing and grinding of chest bones into xray machine. nonsexy. also extremely weird: the waiting room full of women wearing nothing but these blue seersucker robes on top. it felt like we should be doing each other's makeup, but no, we were just there for our boobs. everyone else's boobs seemed to stay covered, but the robes are large and i am nonlarge and i had robe opening all over the place. i also looked at lidsay lohan's boobs in the marilyn monroe shoot in new york magazine while i was there, to keep it thematic. oh, and there is a strange sticker over a little mole i have on my boob, so it could be noted on the mammogram. the sticker says on it: "O-Spots" and "Soft & Stretchy". I suppose these are good qualities in a boob sticker. i have no idea.
i am eating up this warmer weather. yes, i just had a week of 100% tropicalia, but i missed new york, and new york right before spring explodes in your face with hyacinth and daffodil is one of my favorites. also: coming home from an uptown doctor's appointment on the 5 to union square, stepping onto the platform in a crush of black-wearing commuters in suits and nice shoes was like a giant 'WELCOME HOME' sign. some of the things about new york that are my least favorite if they are routine are the best things to experience when lifted out of the daily routine.
other great things:
- trader joe's restocking trips
- the $.99 trader joe's wine bag which is cordoned off to carry six bottles. i would die carrying six bottles, but it's a nice gesture and allows me to carry four in style.
- spending the morning mending socks and laundry bag and jeans too torn to wear in public, handwashing everything in the world, dropping off shoes for fixing and dry cleaning, taking out garbage. my apartment doesn't look spring clean, but i feel like it
- this afternoon's lack of work, allowing seared tuna and glass of dry reisling
I hate to blow the lid off of this one, but going to see a plastic surgeon really DOES make you feel better about yourself.
This would be actually awesome if I really wanted to go in the first place.
The piece of unexpected good news is that he said he would revise my belly scar FO FREEEEES. Hello, I've wanted to do that since college. Three surgeries for the price of...well, zero dollars. Yay insurance!
In addition, my plastic sturgeon is hot.
You went and sprang forward while i was gone! that is why it was so late when i got in.
of course everything in the world has gone to hell in a handbasket while i was gone.
tomorrow i have a 7.30 appointment with a man who has my body in his hands, quite literally.
Now I'm on vacation! Which means most of life's problems involve: how do I get wine into my face. Actually, this quandary was supposed to have been pondered with a lot more weight and frequency this weekend, but I ran out of steam after the weekend contained drama different than how I had imagine. Also: I'm just freaking tired. And completely freaked out about leaving the country in a day and a half. It's still going to be awesome, I'm just not even closed to packed, and I have 25 chocolate cupcakes in my house that need to be eaten by someone...who is not me.
Almost finished! This is the best I've ever felt going into the shelf. I think it's euphoria from never having to go back to the hospital for surgery and no more 24 hour call as a medical student. But I also know that I'm going to pass, and I'm ready to focus on efficiency and thinking clearly tomorrow. I've packed my giant pencil, a backup pencil, a sharpie to underline on the slick paper. I'm going for a run at 6:30, I'll be at Blue Sky when it opens at 7:30, I'll leave for the 10:30 exam at 9:30. Right now the the world: it is a much rosier place than it has been in a long time. At 1pm tomorrow? It'll be MAGENTA.
Today was my last day on the god-forsaken surgical floors at my second rotation site. I had a harrowing presentation to make - it was poor quality, and I knew it, but I couldn't rally the strength to improve it. I started with, "Well, my presentation is a little different; it's the story of what happens when things don't go so well." and I told the story of my patient, who had a bunch of surgeries to repair a pretty common problem, but kept coming back to the hospital with these huge abscesses in his belly and he would have them drained and go home and do the whole thing again. He has a lot of weird lab values from being in this state of perpetual bodily alert, from the infections. The inflammatory state causes a lot of changes in the body - higher platelets, anemia, stuff like that. Inflammation is a concept it took me a long time to understand. Infection is real, infection is that cut on your hand or the cold in your sinuses, or whatever. Inflammation is real and dangerous but maladaptive, to some extent, in our world of constant stress. Being on high bodily alert isn't really sustainable.
And neither is it for this guy.
So I'm setting the stage, and I think my professor is into it. He is the boss of the medical students at this site, and he has known my name since the first week when he called on me by name. It is a little unsettling, but it reminds me that I am not invisible. Then I mention that my patient is a retired cobbler. My professor says, "Cobbler?" "Yeah, he used to repair shoes." "But COBBLER?" "Yeah, I know. He didn't know the word, either." "I love it!" And then we talked about shoe repair in general, and where we get our shoes repaired, and he talked about the cobbler in his town. And we talked about this guy isn't better yet, and he was like, "We should have presented this guy at M&M!" And my ass, it is saved.
Also, last night I went to Vascular Journal Club, which sounds super fun, but is just doctors and me and another medical student eating a fancy dinner for free at a bad restaurant uptown that caters to old people while the residents and this attending talk about articles from this month's Journal of Vascular Surgery. And I get really toasted on two glasses of wine and end up smoking halves of cigarettes (I know!) behind the back of one of the vascular attendings with my old resident, who turns to me and asks, "Do you have a boyfriend?" and then, "Do you want one?" He's gay and we share a cab home and I get another night of four hours of sleep.
until it's done.
i'm so tired. i'm so, so tired. i was in a case this morning and while i wasn't worried i was going to fall asleep into the sterile field, i did just want to be anywhere else. gyn, dentist, you name it. just somewhere.
guess what? if you ask me right now, i don't want to be a surgeon.
total lunar eclipse, tonight at 10:26! i will be asleep.
this weekend i was making a grapefruit tart and when i opened the oven, slid the cookie sheet directly into my arm, the one that is covered in human flesh. a scary burn resulted which did not hurt in the moment and now only hurts because it is disgustingly scabbed and everything pulls on it. at least i have special hospital cream for it, and am in the right place in case i need EMERGENCY ARM BURN SURGERY.
by which i mean, my bed.
time to edit photos of pancreas! holla.
besides stuff like "i accidentally woke up late today. at 4:15." or "i was supposed to read a chapter while on the train home, but i fell alseep. i was probably drooling." or "is the OR really the happiest place i've been in medical school?"
today, i was supposed to operate. i didn't.
if i'm going to only going to be not asleep, commuting or at work from 7pm-9:30pm, i'd better be doing stuff at work. i'm not!
A post not about feelings, but about things. Because I am an emotional midget these days.
So here's stuff that I'm into!
For a dinner party at Martha's, I made this tart: Smitten Kitchen's Whole Lemon Tart. I was like, whole lemon, whaaaat? Use zest, juice, maaaaybe sections, never pith! But pith, it is bitter, and bitter is one of the flavors I have started to like as an adult. So pith adds a little tiny edge of bitterness, though I wished there was more, so I vow to make it with less sugar next time. Next time is kind of right now, though I am making it with five ounces of ruby red grapefruit instead. I also use a different tart dough, though I follow SK's link to get directions for parbaking. The Martha Stewart tart dough is flaky and reasonably easy to work with, though rolling out pie/tart dough is one of my least favorite baking tasks. I have to use extra to get it to cover the pan evenly - don't split the MS recipe and expect it to really make two shells. I kind of resent that, since dough is what makes tarts and pies so unhealthy. Anyway. I don't use SK's recipe because it has almonds, and I have a strong aversion to anything marzipan-y.
Alba's TerraTints lip gloss, in Garnet, I think. Pretty and not overwhelmingly pinkish, not smelling like pukey fruit (most fake smells remind me of vomit), not sticky, and actually moisturizing. I bought it today because I was in Kensington with Brienne, lip gloss-less, and that is not ok. It is one of my new favorite things to do to meet Brienne for brunch the morning after we've been out drinking at a place in her neighborhood, The Farm on Adderly. The Farm in my neighborhood is probably my favorite place to do happy hour or post-dinner drinking when I'm local and not needing to get loaded on $2.50 margaritas (for that, there is Burrito Bar). The outpost in Brienne's neighborhood has fabulously cheap brunch - $8-9 for their thoughtful, satsifying entrees, which are $12-14 on my end of Brooklyn. Brienne is recently out of a live-in 8-year-long relationship which ended painfully and dramatically, but it's really nice to have her as part of my essential weekend crowd, especially since she and I are equally unable to sleep late on weekends.
I am also into:
- my new across-the-body satchel which is definitely not a messenger bag
- fuschia lipstick, applied sparingly
- gazing on my wood floor instead of a rug
- grapefruit juice, cocktails with campari, spatezel
- packing my bag and laying out breakfast before i go to bed at night
i am pretty much the most tired i've ever been in my entire life. and i have to go back to work. right now i am rebelling because i stopped at home between lecture at school and going back to work to work all night, because i needed to shower, and oh, feed my cats, because i haven't been home since 4:30 tuesday morning.
it is worth mentioning that yesterday i saw the HOLY GRAIL of surgeries. and then i got to PHOTOGRAPH IT. and then the surgeon got tense because the patient lost 500ml of blood (a small poland spring bottle) in about 2 minutes. so i left.
friday post-call! it roolz.
i am excited about a new bar in my neighborhood but i am being an ass and not telling my friends about it because i kind of want it to be MINE.
yeah, i'm so tired i'm completely illogical. it's awesome!
i just ate a lot of hazelnut gelato.
now i will go to bed.
i got up at 3.45am yesterday!
yesterday at work i wore the boy hat in surgery. prodigal return to! it rules.
i also confessed my love for surgery and one resident was like, "that's good! there aren't many women interested in general." and i felt like i was militantly pro-woman in a man's world, junior-high-style, because hearing that made me happy.
while on call, i decided that i am going to cut off all of my hair again.
you can't stop me!
it's going to be awesome.
i just need the blond again.
oh - and my intern's name is SETH C0HEN!
do alarm clocks go off before 4am? tomorrow morning: i find out.
i'm at a new hospital for my last four weeks of surger which offers the charming combination of starting earlier and being an hour away. oh, and rounding later. still with that awesome hour-long commute. at least it's a gorgeous walk to many subway stations.
i can't tell you the best part because i have to tell allison first! blame her.
the university of virgina tells me, via a stupid online quiz that i don't really trust. it did have 130 questions, though. i have no idea what the 'score' part means. my actual interests are in bold. and i have to tell you - i really have only a very vague idea what 'nuclear medicine' actually means. i really think i would just strap people into machines which would take their pictures, which is really my worst nightmare. actually, that isn't true. i'd probably look at the pictures, mostly, and interpret them. i do love playing with the interactive CT scan images, particularly the ones that are 3-D renderings that you can ROTATE. how cool. it's the best way to reinforce and augment my knowledge of anatomy. also, see what gunshots really do to people's insides. holy shit.
Rank Specialty Score
1 nuclear med 43
2 neurosurgery 43
3 pathology 42
4 emergency med 42
5 endocrinology 41
6 urology 41
7 general surgery 41
8 thoracic surgery 40
9 occupational med 40
10 plastic surgery 40
11 allergy & immunology 40
12 radiation oncology 40
13 dermatology 39
14 cardiology 39
15 pulmonology 39
16 infectious disease 39
17 hematology 39
18 gastroenterology 39
19 physical med & rehabilitation 39
20 radiology 39
21 orthopaedic surgery 39
22 neurology 38
23 aerospace med 38
24 ophthalmology 37
25 otolaryngology 37
26 nephrology 37
27 general internal med 37
28 preventive med 37
29 med oncology 36
30 rheumatology 36
31 obstetrics/gynecology 35
32 psychiatry 35
33 colon & rectal surgery 34
34 anesthesiology 31
35 pediatrics 31
36 family practice 30
The past two nights I've done food coop things, both working my regular shift and paying back the debt for having a shift scheduled when the coop was closed. Tonight I did that makeup by attending a general meeting, at which I can eat some snacks and read and even fall asleep on squishy gym mats in a big auditorium with peacock grates on the air vents. Tonight's meeting went excessively long on awful topics like the federal reserve (though a woman who works for the new york reserve is a coop person and very smart and interesting to listen to), but on the topic of plastic bags a guy said something that really rang true for me. He was talking about how if a group of self-selecting hyperconcerned yuppies can't purge plastic bag use, we're fucked. But before that he said, "I didn't join the coop thinking it would change my eating habits, but it did, completely." How nice.
I am really glad that I'm not adrift in the wastelands of C-Towns or Associateds anymore, where the most appealing things are processed, and its hard to get excited about produce shrink wrapped in those awful styrofoam trays. Of course, I still find myself at Key Food every once in a while, too, but I really love that most of my shopping is spicy-smelling, inspiring, and - hello - cheap.
Relatedly, today I not only made it to the gym after work, but went to Target afterwards, and now own a tart pan! Watch out, world. I'm making TARTS.
in addition to the services i already offer as a pretend doctor, such as giving you my prescriptions if you need them real bad, and offering semi-confident advice, and recommending actual physicians, i now additionally provided entended hangover care. you may already have experienced my concerned phone calls and delivery of bland foods, but now you may also request invasive services, limited to placement of one (1) intravenous line, and delivery of up to one (1) liter of IV fluids appropriate to your severity of illness. services are also available in the event of food poisoning, or viral or bacterial gastroenteritis.
yes, i have stolen from the hospital everything necessary to tank you up after a night of inadvisably heavy drinking, and yes, even if it is drinking you did at my birthday party.
i have placed a decent numbers of IVs, but if you are puking, you will be dry, and it will be harder to poke you, but i can gay-run-tee you'll feel a thousand percent better.
bonus: sucking on a hard candy will make you less nauseous! and maybe able to keep down some fluids, even if you don't call dr. p.
i slept for a long time. i feel good now, though still kind of confused and weary, which is typical post-call. i am slowly catching up with life things, like paying my giant billz for my hpv vaccines. so fun. i needed to order checks, so instead of ordering checks like a normal person, i signed up for this high-yield checking account from charles schwab, recommended by mevans, though he would like me to tell you that he prefers vanguard:
"2. Unlimited ATM fee rebates apply to cash withdrawals using the Schwab Bank Visa® Platinum Check Card wherever it is accepted. ATM fee rebates do not include currency exchange fees; fees imposed by merchants for POS transactions; or fees for stamp purchases, balance inquiries, or any transactions other than an ATM cash withdrawal from your Schwab Bank account. Schwab Bank makes its best effort to identify those ATM fees eligible for rebate, based on information it receives from Visa and ATM operators. In the event that you have not received a rebate for a fee that you believe is eligible, please call a Schwab Bank Client Service Specialist for assistance. Schwab Bank reserves the right to modify or discontinue the ATM fee rebate at any time."
i can use ANY ATM! even the shady ones at delis! for no cost to me! omg new yorkers, your time to stop having to go blocks out of your way to go to the atm has come. also, it has come with a good interest rate, and all the normal checking account stuff, like a debit card and checks and bill pay.
ok, NOW i'm going to put socks on and go to blue sky for breakfast and henry miller.
post-call! nothing happened last night. tomorrow, by which i mean, when i wake up in three hours: coffee and pastry at blue sky, balls to the wall necklace at flirt, shopping to make gnocchi tomorrow night, being impatient about my new headphones and fun reading book getting here, the same about a couple new magazine subscriptions (readymade! new york!). continue cleaning apartment, hope for snow, go back to school for senior meeting, hopefully convene for drinks with the whole crew after.