Thursday, January 26, 2012

This Won't Hurt A Bit

   Ever since I got the "save the date" way back in July, I have been extremely excited for one of my favorite bloggers (and author of This Won't Hurt A Bit), Dr. Michelle Au, to visit my school.  She gave two separate talks, both having to do with work-life balance in medicine, and the different expectations that are put on physicians (and trainees) by society, tradition, and ourselves.  One of my favorite things she said was, "To train humanistic doctors, you have to treat them like humans."  I feel lucky that my med school seems to share the same thought.   

   My roommate (who is also a fan) wasn't able to go, so I brought her copy of This Won't Hurt A Bit for Michelle Au to sign.  Sadly, I do not own the book, so instead, I decided to make a (somewhat creepy, I admit) bookmark for her to sign.  Hey, what could I do?! I am a fan, and I knew this would be my only opportunity to meet her, so I had to be creative... She didn't seem to be too weirded out, so that's a plus!

   One of the things she mentioned about in her talks was the importance of finding mentorship, especially for women in medicine, who are sometimes faced with obstacles that men in medicine don't necessarily face.  Though I have met a lot of really inspirational women in medicine in my journey so far, I haven't really gotten the privilege to get to know of any of them on a really personal level - which brings me to why I love Michelle Au's blog and book so much.  I feel like they really give me insight into what life outside of the hospital is like for a female physician, which I otherwise wouldn't know all that much about.  Though I only met her for a brief moment today, her honesty and candor in her writing make me feel like I know her on a more personal level, and I can say that she is definitely someone I look up to in medicine.  I absolutely love the fact that even though she is a physician, not only does she still blog, but she even wrote a book!  I would have never even considered being able to do something like that as a physician, but now I have actually made it a goal of mine to write a book sometime in my life.  
   On a more personal level, I was always unsure about whether I could ever see myself having children.  I'll admit, I used to have a really narrow idea in my mind of what being a mother would be like, and in my mind, it just didn't fit my idea of what kind of woman I wanted to be.  But after reading This Won't Hurt A Bit, I feel like Michelle Au painted a really good picture of what type of mom I could see myself being.  So, you can see why I am a fan.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


   My last year at UCLA, when I was applying to medical school, I decided to watch the entire series of ER sequentially.  ER has 15 seasons, each with a ton of hour-long episodes, so this would be no easy feat.  Especially since the show isn't streamed on Netflix, so I have to watch it the old fashioned way - one DVD at a time.  Anyway, I watched several seasons that year, got through a few last year (during my first year of med school), but this year, I have been hard-pressed to find time to watch it.  I have been on season 11 since my second year of med school started, and I have had the same disc out for a few months now.  Just goes to show you how busy med school gets.  I still plan on finishing the series, it's just going a little slower now.
   A couple of months ago, we had one of our simulation sessions, where we go to the simulation center in the hospital, and perform a code on a dummy.  It was really entertaining, because none of us knew what we were doing.  We decided to take a "serious ER-style" picture.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My New Favorite Distraction

   A few months ago, I realized that once I start working in the hospital, I'm probably not going to be allowed to wear nail polish anymore.  And then I thought, "Wow! I might not be able to wear nail polish for the rest of my life depending on what specialty I go into!"  (Yes, these are the things I think about).  So... ever since then, I have been going WILD on my nails!  I've even mastered the technique of painting my nails while studying, because let's face it - who has time to sit around and let their nails dry?! I sure as hell don't.  

   Painting nails has also been a great excuse to get together and have girl talk with some of my friends.  We like to call it "nail salon".  Every time one of us has a bad day, we text the other, "nail salon?" and talk it out over some nail decorating.  It's quite therapeutic!

   I even made an entire album on my iPhone of my nails... yeah, don't comment on that.  Here are some of my creations:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Is He Sponge-Worthy?

   As you may or may not remember from my "recap of 2011" post, towards the end of last year I tried out online dating and started dating someone I met there shortly after.  Well, that didn't work out.  So now I'm single again.  I guess it's good timing since boards are getting closer and closer...

   Anyway, here is a funny story.  If you are a fan of the show Seinfeld, you'll probably remember the episode where there is a shortage of sponges (the contraceptive kind, not the cleaning kind). Elaine, who prefers sponges as her contraceptive of choice, decides to stock up since they are no longer being made anymore.  She buys the very last case in town, and becomes super critical of men she dates, trying to decide if they are "sponge-worthy" or not (worth using one of her precious sponges for).

   I noticed in the last couple of months that the price of my very favorite thing to eat - Kraft macaroni and cheese in the Spongebob shapes - has gone up.  You might not think it's a big deal, but it really upset me to see that the once 88-cent boxes are now $2 a piece.  So, in my own way, I have become a sponge-hoarder, just like Elaine from Seinfeld.  So now my friends joke around that I, too, will have to determine if future suitors are "sponge-worthy".  My friends are the best.

Found this lovely surprise on my doorstep

I love my friends

Saturday, January 14, 2012


    I'm not sure if other med schools do this too, but at my school we have a very interesting way of picking our third year clinical rotation schedules.  It's infamously known as the "lottery", and this year it coincidentally fell on Friday the 13th.  The staff at school decorated the lecture hall with all sorts of omens of good and bad luck: black cats, ladders, broken mirrors, four leaf clovers, lucky charms, etc.  It was pretty exciting!

Filing in to pick our numbers out of the hat

   You might be wondering, "Why the big fuss over the order of the 6 rotations that everyone has to do, anyway?"  Well, there are pros and cons to doing different rotations before or after one another, depending on what is important to you.  For example, the benefit to doing things sooner is to get them over-with, or they can help prepare you for subsequent rotations, however, you are more inexperienced early on.  The benefit to doing things later, is that you will have more experience under your belt by then, but you run the risk of being burned out by then.  The only thing I really cared about is having Surgery some time before OB/Gyn to help prepare me for it.  In the end, it doesn't really matter which order you do your 6 clinical rotations in, like I said - pros and cons to everything.  But some some control freaks get pretty worked up about having a particular order.

    So the way it works, is that we all filed into the lecture hall, picking numbers out of a hat.  There were six rounds of picking spots in each rotation, one for each time slot in the school year.  To make things fair, each round started on a different random number, so that different people would get chances to have first pick for each round.  I didn't think it was going to be very stressful, but it was hard not to feed off the tension in the room.  The whole picking process went really fast, and it was pretty nerve-wracking trying to come up with strategies in the moment, as you had to adjust for what other people were picking and filling up.

Before all the spots filled up

All the spots almost full!

    I didn't end up with exactly what I originally wanted, but I'm pretty happy with my final third year schedule:

1 - Psych
2 - Surgery
3 - OB/Gyn
4 - Pediatrics
Winter Break
5 - Family Practice
6 - Internal Medicine

Now that I know exactly when I am going to be doing certain rotations, it makes third year all the more real, and I'm getting really excited to be in the hospital!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rosemary Scones With Lemon Icing For My Partner-In-Crime's Birthday

The other day it was my friend/study buddy/partner-in-crime's birthday, so a few of us surprised her in the morning before class with cake and scones!  I made the scones, and of course I made rosemary ones with a lemon icing.  I tend to make everything with rosemary in it these days.  I got the recipe from good ol' Giada.

Was zesting the lemons and accidentally zested my finger...

Getting ready for the surprise...


21 (again)!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Med School Ruins Your Eyes

Ever wonder why you see most doctors wearing glasses or contacts?  I'll tell you: it's because med school ruins your eyes.  We spend so much time staring at a computer screen/power points or books/notes that it destroys our vision.  I started med school with 20/15 vision.  Now, halfway through my second year I have decreased to 20/30 and had to get glasses.  Womp womp.

Oh well, at least I'll fit in with all the rest of my colleagues now!  And my friend told me they make me look smart, so that's a plus!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hello 2012, I've Been Expecting You

I'm about a week late, but Block 5 has already started out busy, so it took me a while to finish this post.  Before I talk about my goals for 2012, I wanted to look back and see how I did on my goals for 2011.

Last year's resolutions revisited:

  1. "Do some serious soul-searching/spiritual discovery": I honestly did give some thought to this throughout the year, but I interestingly ended up in the very same spot I started out.  Which is okay with me, it just means that now I am more sure about how I feel!
  2. "Lose weight/maintain a healthy lifestyle": I definitely accomplished my goal of getting back to my normal weight after the holidays last year.  As far as eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis, I tend to go through phases.  At times I eat ridiculously healthy and at one point was training for a half marathon, and then there are other times where I gorge myself and don't work out for over a month.  I think overall, the two phases end up canceling each other out so that my overall lifestyle is about mostly healthy. Also, I have been able to keep off all of the weight I lost in 2010, so I'm really happy about that.
  3. "Put more effort into establishing and maintaining relationships":  Friendship-wise, I think I lived up to this goal as good as I could have imagined.  I feel like I've really strengthened a lot of my friendships here in med school, and I've learned to appreciate all my friends for all the different qualities they have to offer.  I've also really enjoyed the cooking/dining out adventures I've had with my friends this year, and I can't wait to have more.  What can I say, we just LOVE food!  I've tried to keep in contact with my UCLA and high school friends as best I can, but this is still a work in progress for me.
  4. "Take pictures whenever possible": Along with my diet/exercise goal, I went through phases with this one too.  I think I managed to take a lot of great pictures in 2011, and can't wait to take more in 2012.  I will just have to find more opportunities to take them!
  5. "Cook some delicious stuff": I more than exceeded at this goal.  2011 was FULL of cooking adventures with my sister or with my friends.  I grew an appreciation for the Food Network.  I also discovered my FAVORITE cook book store in San Francisco: Omnivore Books.  Towards the end of the year, I stopped cooking as much due to lack of time and excess laziness, but I got a professional mixer for Christmas, so I've been re-inspired to cook again!

New resolutions for 2012:

  1. Continue a healthy lifestyle:  I would like to continue to eat FAIRLY healthy.  I also would like to get back into an exercise routine, especially with boards studying coming up, I don't want to just be sitting for 12 hours per day for three months.
  2. Gun it up for boards (in non-malicious way):  Since all of our classes are graded Pass/No Pass, I've made the conscious decision to spend less time trying to "get an A" in my classes, and more time keeping my life balanced with friends, relaxation, etc.  After an extremely encouraging meeting with one of the school's student advisors, I am feeling energized and ready to work my ass off for boards.  OB/Gyn doesn't require a ridiculously high boards score, but I would really like to have options when I apply to residency programs. I'm feeling like I can get a really good score if I put in the time.
  3. Maintain a balanced, happy life with boards studying (and later with clinical rotations).
  4. Blog more: about whatever! Towards the end of 2011, I sort of dropped the ball on blogging.  I got really busy, and also felt like I didn't have much to say.  

So here's to another amazing year!  2012 is going to be a year of hard work, and hopefully worthwhile rewards.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jezebel's Woman Of The Year

No, it's not Hilary Clinton.  No, it's not Oprah.  It's Dr. X: an abortion providing physician who chooses to remain anonymous because she risks her life every day for reproductive rights.  I'm happy with that choice.  Don't get me wrong, I love Hilary and Oprah, but I LOVE repro rights!  The full article is here.

On a related note, if you would like to read a memoir written by a physician similar to Dr. X (but obviously not anonymous) check out this book: This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund.  It's quite eye-opening and made me cry in the first chapter, so that's always a good quality.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot, And Never Brought To Mind

    Another year gone by, another year of my youth spent buried in books, but another year closer to my lifelong goal of becoming a doctor.  Okay okay, so I don't spend all of my time studying.  I try to keep a good balance, and I think I do a pretty good job.  And I still love what I'm doing.  Sometimes I just like to be dramatic.

   2011, overall, was a year of growth and discovery in my personal life, a year of cyclic burn out and energization in my professional life, and a year of prolonging the delay of my future "gratification".  Now that 2011 has come to a close, here is a recap of some of the highlights (and lowlights?):

The year I shadowed OB/Gyn's in jail and in L&D several times, falling even more in love with women's health

The year I went to Vegas with my med school buddies...
... Then went again with my sorority friends...  
... Then went again-again with my sorority friends

And apparently, I just keep wearing the same dress

The year I rode Amtrak all the way from San Diego to Sacramento all by myself
The year I took up a new hobby and ran my first half marathon (the farthest I have run to date)
The year I became a student leader for reproductive rights through Medical Students For Choice

The year I traveled to Baltimore, MD for the MSFC Annual Meeting 
The year my "UCLA relationship" ended (which subsequently allowed me to discover the triple threat of comfort food: egg rolls, shapes mac & cheese, and wine)

The year I tried online dating, and dated a ninja turtle

The year I went on a fantastic Eurotrip with my family

The year I went to Hana's beautiful wedding in Hawaii

The year my grandma scared the crap out of us all when she had her TIA

The year my sister unexpectedly had to have her ICD replaced
The year I helped write and direct a nerdy med school video

The year I rediscovered how much I love to sing

   Well, that sort of sums up a lot of 2011 for me.  I'm excited for 2012: I think it's gonna be a good one.