I can explain. (No really. Just keep reading.)

I’ve started and then just never been able to post a bunch of posts in the last year for one reason or another. I noticed that it’s been pretty much exactly one year since I’ve posted. And a year it’s been. A rough year? An interesting year? I guess I’d have to say a year, so full of terrible and good things, that I have no idea how to classify it at this point.

One year ago I found out that my Dad, my primary parent, one of my best friends and biggest supporters in life and in all things medical, had cancer. A very bad cancer. After The Diagnosis he came to live with me for awhile and sought treatment at the Big Fancy Medical Center where I’m training. Soon after The Diagnosis, I got dumped, in an email by the guy I’d been dating for 3-ish years. I was on Gyn Onc at the time. (Anyone who knows anything about an OB/Gyn residency probably knows what I mean when I add on that little tid bit. Yeah.) Oh, and my laptop broke. I was too broke to do anything about that. Aside from using the computers at work to do strictly work-type things that did not include blogging.

Since all of that happened, almost exactly a year ago, a lot more good and terrible things have happened.

My Dad died.

And it was the most terrible thing. I can’t even explain right now, how terrible and horrible it was. Watching the rapid decline, and eventually being there at the end, seeing him suffer, waste away, his pupils dilate the moment that life left his body.

It was the most terrible thing I have ever seen, and I have seen many terrible things having been in medicine for a relatively long time by now. And I won’t write about it any more, I can’t at the moment. Maybe some time when I have a little more time to collect my thoughts and write something more eloquent and appropriate.

Somehow, in the middle of the terrible, horribleness, I also met someone. For a fair amount of time, after the unceremonious email dumping, I didn’t think this was possible. To meet a ‘someone’ again. But, through the magic of many, very encouraging friends, a couple of internet dating sites, and fate (?). It happened.

And that is primarily why I say that even though it has been a terrible year, it has had some good as well. While I watched one of the loves of my life disappear in a terrible, horrible way, another swept in and has carried me through it all.

I called him my Prince the other night. And in his typical, self-effacing way, he poo-poohed it a bit. I don’t know if he knows how much I mean it. The guy might well as ride around on white horse as far I’m concerned.

Through it all, I’ve still been in residency. I was at my Dad’s funeral the day I would have been starting third year. They said a little something about it at the service, which I found embarrassing but Dad probably would’ve liked it.

Several people have commented on the Nurse to MD thing since I’ve been in silent mode, I apologize for the lack of response and promise that I will respond eventually. The middle of third year of surgical residency, after all I’ve just mentioned above, is probably really not the best time for me to objectively comment on making such a move.

So, for the moment, I’ve explained as best that I can.

I am still in residency and of course have to get up early up in the am to get back to it, but I’ve ripped of the proverbial band aid, the new laptop is ready and roaring to go, and hopefully in less than a week, and in much less than a year of good and terrible things I’ll be posting again.

In the meantime, I’ve still been taking pictures. Here are a few I managed to get in the Year of Good and Terrible……..

IMGP3052 IMGP3040 IMGP2985 IMGP2942 IMGP2650 IMGP2814 IMGP2833 IMGP2835 IMGP2646 IMGP2621 IMGP2611 IMGP2623 IMGP2565 IMGP2343 IMGP2352 IMGP2532 IMGP2562 IMGP2404 IMGP2276 IMGP2282 IMGP2285 IMGP2327 IMGP2334 IMG_0098 IMGP2183 IMGP2197 IMGP2215 IMGP2257 IMG_0097 IMG_0096 IMG_0094 IMG_0079 IMG_0076 IMG_0048 IMG_0026

Imagine.

I was saving up a link to share today, and as I went through the day, clinic, staying late to work on research, etc, I kept adding on to my list of more Things To Share.

So here they are:

#1.10 things you need to give up to become a doctor.

 

DocEatDoc2

 

One of my friends sent me a link to this article. Of course I don’t agree 100% with everything in the article (The creativity point, obviously. And the bit about changing the world, it might not be happening as quickly as I’d like, but it will happen. Oh, it will happen.), but they do offer some excellent food for thought.

I’ve gotten some comments and emails about getting into medicine, especially going from nurse to MD, and I see a lot of people find the blog with search terms in this vein. I’ve given some advice on technicalities of going from RN to MD, but I also (in hindsight) think it’s important for people to consider the implications that the choice to be an MD will have for their lives as well – which is a lot of the stuff in this article (especially as a non-trad when giving up the majority of your free time, sleep, financial security/money, and family time might be more difficult – because it is very true that that you will be sacrificing all of these things – especially if you are a compulsive perfectionist like moi and want to get good grades, get into the specialty of your choice, and ultimately do well taking care of real live human beings in residency/as an MD).

I would say (again, in hindsight) that the one thing I would make a concerted effort to firm up before taking the MD plunge as a non-trad, in terms of Other Life Stuff, would be the whole significant other business if you are at all interested in firming that sort of thing up, and are a hopelessly awkward-outside-of-work introvert. Because, good luck trying to do it afterwards. (Note: But if you are like most of the population, and not utterly handicapped at meeting new people who are not your patients and/or not in a specialty where you are completely surrounded at all times by people of the opposite gender from those which you like to make a significant other of, like most of the other medical peeps I’ve observed around me – Introverts = Good at observing, baaaaaad at interacting – feel free to disregard, you’ll be fine.)

I’m not posting the link to be a big, scary, downer.

I’m just saying, think about it. Hard.

Because one thing I do completely agree with in the post, is that medicine is not just a job, it’s a way life. And this quote (from Spider-Man, I know, in my defense I have never professed to be anything but a massive nerd-geek), has resonated many times over the last six-ish years:

With great power, comes great responsibility.

And then, when you decide that you want, and are ready to take on that responsibility and everything that goes along with it (the awesome, and the-not-so-awesome), go ahead, and send that app. As much as I might complain, knowing my own ridiculously single-minded and stubborn tendencies, I am 99.9% sure that I wouldn’t have done a d*mn thing differently. Not to mention, I am also completely, still makes my heart skip a beat, would (again, obviously) go through or do pretty much anything for it, in love with my job. (Not to mention, there’s no going back for me now, so it’s a pointless waste of time to wonder. And I have more important things to do like study, do research, work, sleep, complain, and keep up with this blog!)

 

 

#2. The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.

 

Neko

Neko’s new album is streaming for free on NPR. And speaking of my love affair with medicine, the title says it all.

 

 

#3. #the world needs more

 

WHD

 

I said love. There can never be enough love.

When I said love, I thought of The Beatles and All You Need Is Love.

But I think this song says it better………

 

 

Imagine, be a dreamer, send that app, start or continue your own love affair, and change the world. Because even if it’s a small change, a small piece of the world, you will, and it will be worth it.

The Waiting.

This was my Perfect Song on Friday morning………

 

 

I sent it to one of my best friends, a fellow Vedder lover, also stuck in the middle of one of life’s unavoidable, at times almost unbearable, holding patterns.

I feel like I shouldn’t have anything to complain about right now. I’m on the last of three weekends off, basically unheard of, but most likely due to the hellacious call schedule I’ve got looming over the next two months.

I am absolutely dreading/terrified of it, it’s been building over all these weekends off, just waiting for it to start.

Mostly I am terrified of the 24 hour, Big Girl call shifts we start taking second year at the Mothership.

Last year it was all 12 hour shifts on L&D. Really, no big deal, and after I’d done a few, mostly just fun. But this year, my remaining (we are down one resident, hence all the extra call I’ll be taking over the next few months) 20-something, Energizer Bunny-esque, classmates have decided to switch even L&D calls to 24 hours.

I have no idea how my body and brain are going to take it, but I’m thinking, it is not going to be good. When I mentioned this to one of my cohorts last week, they replied that I am definitely in the wrong specialty if I don’t want to be taking 24 hour calls, as many of our attendings do all the time. Which stung, until I remembered and replied with, well that’s why (at least one of the reasons why) I want to be a hospitalist on L&D (with the much more humane 10-12 hour shifts that will entail).

 

OhSnap

 

Career aspirations aside, I still have all those imminent 24 hour calls to deal with as long as I’m in residency here. I say that because I really am so freaked out about being able to do them. Like I said, especially at the Mothership, where I’ve had mostly horrible experiences so far. I’m pretty sure (/very hopeful) that they won’t actually, literally, kill me, but I am still extremely concerned about my ability to metaphorically survive them (and, therefore residency here), while maintaining competency, and a modicum of sanity.

Today I coped with all the dread by burying myself in bed, the (really, thankfully) meager food supplies I had on hand, and book two of the Game of Thrones series (which, btw, is also thankfully freaking amazeballs). Until my temporary roomie (it’s a long story) came home from her own over night call shift at the Mothership and (unintentionally, but again thankfully) shamed me out of my gluttonous, dread cocoon.

Mostly to go buy the third book of the series, but as long as I was up and briefly disengaged from the battles of Westeros (Okay, the girl at the book store who checked me out just named her new dog Drogo, I’m not that bad. Erm. Yet.), I also cleaned my apartment and did laundry.

And now I’m blogging. Seems a more productive step in coping with the dread than just going back to bed, reading, and dreading. And cheaper than therapy (as if I would actually be able to make it to an appointment).

And as I’m blogging about it, as I told a friend recently, I can’t help but think of all the tests and trials (sometimes seemingly insurmountable) I’ve made it through to get this far. I just seem to keep making it, and hopefully, I’ll make it through this too.

Until then, I’m waiting.

 

 

 

I want more.

I love art, and one of my very favorite mediums is music.

Of course I can’t carry a tune with a five gallon bucket, and I’ve always been too impatient to learn to play any musical instrument with any sort of skill. But I love searching for and finding, or just by chance hearing that Perfect Song that pumps me up, makes me laugh, soothes, or expresses exactly how I’m feeling at the perfect moment. (I was lucky enough to discover The Black Keys during Gyn Onc last year – Yes, yes I have been living under a giant media-deprived rock – irregardless, fairly certain that was the essential factor in surviving until the next rotation.)

My brother and I have developed a habit of exchanging mix CDs of these Perfect Songs we find since I started med school. We send them to each other as gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and at random intervals just because we’ve accumulated enough of them or one of us really needs a new infusion. I’m not exactly sure how he feels about them, but not being a big accumulator of ‘stuff” myself, they are some of the most useful, meaningful, very best, and really my favorite of gifts to receive. (I’ll never forget my study buddy’s horror second year when he introduced me to the Drive By Truckers with “Nine Bullets” and “Gravity’s Gone”. I was busy falling in love with a new band at the time, but it still managed to register. Hah.)

So, my contribution to the Intern Welcome Basket this year was a mix CD. Initially I asked for input from friends for songs for the Perfect OB/GYN mix CD, needless to say the majority of the suggestions were not fit for general public consumption, but did give me a good idea of what the general population thinks of our specialty (and let me just say: #1. Yikes!! and #2. Really guys???!!). Luckily I have headphones or the radio on most of the time when I’m on my way into or out of work so I heard a lot of those Perfect (and not necessarily X-rated) Songs over the course of intern year and I ended up compiling a list of songs I thought embodied the ups, downs, and in-betweens of OB/GYN intern year.

I made a bunch of copies for the interns and one for myself, and listened to it constantly until a couple of weeks ago when in a fit of 5 am, sleep deprived, pre-coffee frustration/irrationality I tried to fix my car’s CD player by cramming two CD’s in to try and make the mix play. (Yes, yes I realized then, and still do, what a terrible idea this was, and have to reassure that I am a much better MD than user/fixer of technological equipmentry. Much better. I swear.)

That being said, here’s the mix:

  1. First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
  2. Portions For Foxes – Rilo Kiley
  3. Help I’m Alive – Metric
  4. Blackout – Breathe Carolina
  5. Land Down Under – Men At Work
  6. Let’s Talk About Sex – Salt-n-Pepa
  7. Push It – Salt-n-Pepa
  8. I Wanna Be Sedated – Ramones
  9. Over My Head – The Fray
  10. I Need A Dollar – Aloe Blacc
  11. Breathe – Anna Nalick
  12. Paradise – Coldplay
  13. Some Nights – Fun
  14. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
  15. Hold On – Alabama Shakes
  16. Keep Your Head Up – Andy Grammer
  17. Do It Anyway – Ben Folds Five
  18. My Body – Young The Giant
  19. Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
  20. I Love It – Icona Pop

I haven’t heard any the of interns’ reactions to the CD, or if they even actually got their copy as I was in the middle of my South American Medical Mission Adventure when they were supposed to have received it, but I really miss being able to play that CD. There is a Perfect Song for everything I am needing or feeling on my way into or leaving work if I can’t find it on the radio.

I just finished my first rotation of second year on L&D and the song I most listened to on my way home, and most wanted to hear before I completely ruined my CD player was #18. The lyrics of the chorus played through my head most nights as I walked out and drove home after the ruination anyway, “My body tells me no oh, but I won’t quit, ’cause I want more….’Cause I want more!”

It was, hands-down, the best rotation of residency so far.

I was exhausted most days, after 12 to 15-ish hours of non-stop L&D action – high-risk, high-volume, 5000 deliveries per year, one resident on at any given time and responsible for pretty much everything action – and I loved every minute of it.

I think, I have found my calling, and I absolutely loathe leaving it, even for an out-patient “vacation” rotation (followed by another Gyn Onc rotation, the very contemplation of which makes me nauseated even though, rationally and logically, I know The Worst Rotation Ever was primarily due to the The Most Giant A-Hole Chief Ever, so I’m going to not think about it until approximately 5 seconds before it actually starts).

Until I am happily running up and down your hallowed halls again L&D………..

The Daily Something: Concentration.

I developed a habit over the course of intern year of randomly texting people lolcats in spare seconds of stress, during inordinately boring meetings or lectures, and/or frankly, whenever the mood strikes.

(I have no idea, it just makes me happee. And luckily I haven’t been permanently blocked from any major calling plans for harassment. Yet.)

I was searching for the perfect lolcat to represent the fickle moods and feedback style of a certain, well-known and well-intentioned, though highly labile staffer last night to send to a fellow resident I was sure could commiserate, (i.e. got my you-know-what-chewed with a full and rapt audience of ancillary staff, once again, for L&D circumstances I am as likely to be able to control and predict as well as the next jackpot Powerball digits, and felt compelled to cope with a little lolcat humor) and in the process found this guy:

 

concentrationcat

 

Thought #1: “Dang! Hope I don’t look that when I’m delivering somebody’s baby. How scary would it be to be all pushing your brains out and look up to see that?!?”

Thought #2: “Oh wait. I’m wearing a mask. Probably a good thing.”

Thought #3: “I think, I should probably go to bed now.”

Thought #4: However much I might be enjoying this 12-day stretch of L&D insanity/awesomeness, part of me hopes whoever thought up medical residencies and 12-day stretches is reading this post.

The Daily Something: Really?

Literally, just had the WORST day of residency so far. Even worse than that first Hellacious call shift on L&D nine months ago (that I will never, ever forget, that still inspires a healthy bout of nausea every time I think about it, which should give you some idea of how bad today was).

And, at the end of the day, after 15 hours of pure terror, humiliation, helplessness, and several bouts of bathroom crying, I saw they emailed me my annual contract renewal to be signed today.

Really?

It took me the last two hours just to talk myself into go back to work tomorrow, I hope they don’t expect that thing to be returned any time soon.