Friday, August 30, 2013

Dear Right Side of Brain, Please Wake Up

   One of the unfortunate consequences of going into a super left-sided-brain profession, is that if you don't make an effort to nurture the right side of your brain, it atrophies*.  I can make a ton of excuses about lack of time, lack of energy, blah blah blah.  But the truth of the matter is that I have done a piss-poor job of paying attention to my right brain.

   I wasn't always this asymmetric.  Back in high school I was extremely creative and working on projects ALL THE TIME.  I used to sew, paint, collage, draw, dance, you-name-it!  College rolled around, and I sorta lost my creative juices in the midst of studying and doin' what college kids do.  Flash forward to med school where I briefly went through a photography phase, taking a ton of pictures of everything and everyone.  But once I started studying for boards, I turned off the right side of my brain in order to buckle down, and I recently realized that I may have forgotten to turn it back on...

   There have been times in med school when that poor half-a-brain tries to take a breath of air to come back to life. For example:

   I have no excuses to continue neglecting my creative side now, and anyway, my head feels lop-sided.  So I am gonna turn on my creative juice faucet, just let it go and see what happens.  First on the agenda: I really wanna start journaling again.  I've done this from time to time in the past, and I'll keep up with it for months, but then I'll just get bored of it.  Also, I love blogging and all, but there are a lot of things that I don't feel comfortable writing on here for anyone in the public to see.  I like to use my blog more as a memoir of this crazy journey called med school - something that people can read, and either learn from or something they can relate to.  My goal is not to air all my dirty laundry.  

   Another reason I'd like to make artsy projects is because it really makes me happy.  I'm feeling so tired and burned out, and I just wanna feel like a fun, happy-go-lucky person again.  The happier you are, the more confident you are.  Besides, I could really use a confidence boost before I try to sell myself to residency programs during interviews.  

 *This is most likely not true; I'm just exaggerating. Though if anyone knows of any studies exploring this topic, I'd love to hear about it...        Oh great, now I'm using the left side of my brain AGAIN

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Residency Rush

   How is it almost September?! Time is just flying by.  So far, 4th year rocks!  It was super intense in the beginning, but things have calmed down now, and my residency application is really starting to come together.  I have my personal statement done, my letters of recommendation uploaded into ERAS, and I've taken Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS.  Really, I just need to enter things from my CV into ERAS, and I'm finished!  I'm applying to a grand total of 32 programs. Normally, you don't have to apply to this many programs for OB/Gyn, but I'm couples-matching* which complicates things, and I just like to be extra cautious.  BF is applying for General Surgery, and we're applying all over the East Coast, all over the West Coast, and some random places in between.

   My amazing OB/Gyn advisor** has put together a series of workshops on applying to OB/Gyn residency for us MS4s, and today we talked about interviewing.  From what it sounds like, it is exactly like rushing for a sorority.  You go and interview, and they sit down with your picture, say what they thought about you, and rank you in order of how badly they want you to match there.  It is a "mutual selection process," where the programs rank the candidates, and the candidates rank the programs.  Then some crazy computer algorithm takes these rank lists and computes where you are supposed to match. And come that special day in March, you open up an envelope, and the piece of paper inside tells you exactly where you'll be spending the next 3-5 years of your life.  (This is the equivalent of a sorority bid).
There's no negotiating, no waitlists, no choosing between different acceptances.  The decision-making is done for you, and fate nudges you in the right direction.

* For you non-medical folk: couples-matching is basically where you apply to residency programs as a package deal with your significant other, that way you HAVE to end up in the same geographical region

** Who, by the way, I totally wanna be her when I grow up. She is amazing.

   Speaking of sorority rush, I recently went to a super fun wine and cheese event for the local Gamma Phi alumnae chapter.  It was a lot of fun, and I hope I have time to go to more events this year.

 Alpha Iota Alumnae!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Quarter Century of Life

   Recently, I turned 25 years old.  It's weird because in some ways, I can't believe I'm already 25.  I feel like the past 5 years have flown by.  In other ways, it's weird that I'm only 25.  The field of medicine forces you to grow up really fast, and a lot of times I feel much older than 25.

   Since 25 is considered a milestone to some, I figured I'd write a post capturing a snapshot of my life right now.

Who I Am at 25:

  • someone who knows who I am and what I want
  • someone who is not afraid to stand up for things I believe in
  • someone who still needs reassurance from time to time to feel good about myself - I'm still working on this
  • 4th year medical student
  • pro-choice feminist
  • gung-ho about OB/Gyn and anything women's health related
  • in a wonderful relationship with my best friend, living together in a super cute house
  • loves to cook, loves to eat even more
  • addicted to spicy food, macaroni & cheese, and taco bell
  • secretly wants to meet Honey Boo-Boo really bad
  • co-owner of two silly, fluffy kitties, and one adorable golden retriever
  • loves to garden, take pictures of people, and make crafts
  • loves to blog
   So here's to 25 years of life! I hope the next 25 are just as fun, and can't wait to see what happens next!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


   There are always patients on a service that the team will deem "crazy."  And this can have many meanings.  Sometimes it means that the patient is difficult to deal with.  Sometimes it means that the patient is a little odd.  And sometimes, it just means the person has a diagnosable mental illness.  For some reason, I tend to gravitate towards these "crazy" patients, and I find myself wanting to interact with them.

   When Rosemary*, an eccentric and talkative woman, was admitted to the Gyn Onc service, she was immediately given this title of "crazy."  When we would come in to round as a team, she would always say off-the-wall comments, all the while with a smirk on her face showing she just wanted to get a laugh out of us.  She even commented once that the cardiologist was no fun, as she had "tried to make him laugh and he didn't even crack a smile."

   She was very sick with interesting medical problems, so I took her on as one the patients I was following.  Every morning as I'd come in to pre-round on her, and we would chat for quite a while.  In fact, I learned to allot like 10-15 extra minutes to spend with her, since she was so chatty.  But I enjoyed it very much, as most of the time she was quite entertaining.  And she often had very insightful wisdom or advice.

   Since she was in the hospital so long with such a complicated course, she began to keep a written log of who she would meet and of the events that happened each day.  Early on in her stay she had me write down my name and title ("medical student", nothing exciting there).  A couple days later, she had one of the fellows write down her name.  So after she had written her name down, the fellow handed me the paper to show me something. It was the same paper I had written my name on a few days prior, and next to my name, Rosemary had penciled in "NICE GAL".

* As always, name and identifying information changed to protect privacy

Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy Medical Monday!

   Hey there! Happy Medical Monday!  If you haven't had a chance yet, make sure you head on over to Your Doctor's Wife for the monthly blog-hop!

   It still hasn't hit me yet.  I finished my Gyn Oncology Sub-I on Friday, and I still can't help but feeling like there is something I'm supposed to be doing.  Overall, it was an insanely busy month, but an awesome month nonetheless.  I actually ended up working way harder and for more hours than I did on SICU! My favorite part: the patients.  I had the privilege of helping take care of some of the most interesting, inspirational women I've met.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to blog in more detail about some of my favorite experiences now that I'm starting a super relaxed month-long elective, Emergency Medicine Ultrasound.  My requirements for this month are to work a total of 16 hours per week... which is what I was working in one day on Gyn Onc.  

   It hasn't quite hit me yet, but I'm officially done with all of my "hard" stuff for this year.  I finished my two hard Sub-I's, SICU and Gyn Onc.  I finished Step 2CK, Step 2CS.  I have asked all my letter of rec writers, and they've said yes.  I'm still working on my personal statement, but I already have a solid draft and a more clear direction about where I'm heading with it now.  So I'm basically just tying up all the loose ends on my residency application (and actually entering it in ERAS).  

   But the one major thing looming over my head that I've had to put on hold for a few months while things have been crazy, is my research project I'm working on for my senior project.  I'm way behind. :(
Also, I recently read an article saying that someone at UCSF was doing the exact same study, so that kinds sucks.  But at least I can have more information heading into my project, I suppose.  

   Well, it's nice to human again after putting everything in my life on hold for a few months.  And I mean everything.  I'm back, y'all!!! :)

Puppy was mad that we left him alone so long...