Sunday, December 28, 2008

Updates, etc.

Hey all, thought I'd write to say thank you all very much for the nice messages, and update the eye situation. The good news is that there were no other spots on the MRI, so I am in the super low risk category for MS. Wahoo! The bad news is the optic neuritis has spread to my other eye. It started when I was just leaving Boston, and for that I'm thankful! I got to see my friend D and her awesome baby girl and for that I am thrilled. I will be posting pictures, etc (but not of the baby, you gotta get those from her!) of the trip later. The pain (I think) is about over. From everything I've read, and those who know me know that's probably been a lot, when the vision starts to go, the pain usually stops. So that's the bummer of the deal. I am significantly more blind than I was a week ago. I've been trying to explain to J what it's like, and the best I can come up with is that I have these spots in both eyes (one per eye) that looks like the imprint you get when you look directly at the sun. Not that anyone's ever done anything like that. When I look at something straight on, it's really not that bad, just feels like I forgot my glasses. But peripherally I don't really see much. So, still not driving. But outside of that inconvenience, it hasn't been so bad since I've been on vacation and all. I've been listening to lectures for board review and that doesn't really require eyeballs, so - so far so good. I have noticed an increase in the times I've knicked my hands in the kitchen, so maybe I can get out of cooking dinner too....Actually that would make me sad so I'll just have to be more careful.

Besides, I made so much food for Christmas we won't actually have to cook for like a week! I took some pictures of the food too, because I'm a nerd like that, but again, I'll post more later. For now I'm feeling lazy, and since it's vacation and I can actually afford to feel like that, I am going to milk it for all it's worth. I hope everyone had a great holiday, or are enjoying thir holiday right now for all my Jewish friends out there. As always, I'd love to see anyone who has some extra time like I do, and as long as I can find a ride, will travel!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Optic Neuritis

Well, the fun never stops. The past few weeks I've been a hard one to get ahold of, so I thought I'd fill people in on what's been up. Last week I woke up and couldn't really see out of one eye. Bummer. So I got my butt to the doc. They tell us in school that nothing sends a patient in faster than visual changes and they are right. You don't realize how much you truly use your eyes until they aren't so much doing their job. I was amazed at how quickly I got shuttled off to the specialist, and to be honest it freaked me out just a bit. But ultimately they got me figured out and I have something called optic neuritis. Basically my immune system got all pissy at my optic nerve and decided to tear the myelin covering off of it. The good news: 92% of people who get this recover full vision and the pain that is associated with eye movements almost uniformly goes away. The bad news, I can't drive and since it's a problem with the nerve and not the lens, my glasses don't do a thing. So, although it's creating some unique problems with my studying abilities, it could be worse and I don't want anyone to worry.

If you're like me, you're probably already opening google to see what exactly this is all about, so I'm saving you the effort. Before anyone freaks out, there is a risk of multiple sclerosis but it is SMALL and since I really have no other symptoms I think that is not a problem. I had an MRI last week and we're having a follow up appointment today, so it should get figured out soon enough. This is all very treatable, manageable stuff so I appreciate all the thoughts, prayers, juju, whatevs, but everything is fine. I will say, however, that the countdown to boards is looking a little more daunting when I can only see it out of one eye.

But, the good times keep rolling. This weekend I'm off to Boston for my first time ever to see my friend D and her adorable daughter. I'm super excited, even if I have to have one of those golf cart-driver thingies get me to my airport gate. In a strange coincidence my preceptor and favorite doc in the world is actually flying to Boston on the same flight, so I'll have someone else who is afraid to fly to have a cocktail with. Bonus. Plus he should be able to point me in the right direction, at least to my seat.

So, I'll keep you posted and I hope all is well with everyone. Rest assured I am still super excited to see everyone who is coming to town and you can bet this is not going to slow me down too terribly much. I am a Christmas junkie and I would enjoy it with no eyes, hope you all are feeling the same!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Palm trees and cookies

We stink at taking pictures. I think the only pictures we snapped over the weekend was a few at the airport bar before we got on the plane (I have a slight fear of flying) and one of J, my grandma and I. I'm a little sad that we don't take more pictures more often. I really need to work on that.

I caught some sort of stomach flu in the days since I've been back. It hasn't been the most fun thing ever. I'm catching up on some rest though, and that's been good. Today while I'm working on some school stuff I'm being serenaded by Mugsy's loud snoring! That little puppy is more like an old man. Better than his barking though.

Although I'm not making it into school today, I am slowly starting to feel better. The soup I had for breakfast is staying put, so I think maybe tonight we'll be able to put up the Christmas tree. And the Chanukkah candles. We're funny like that. I love this time of year. We always end up seeing friends we haven't seen in a long time, and even though its hard to believe sometimes, people are just nicer this time of year (unless they are shopping at Walmart in NY). It's always nice when people pleasantly surprise you, and I think that happens during this season more than others.

I'm doing my best to get in the spirit today rather than get bummed out by the weather. The temps are in the low twenties/teens which totally grosses me out, especially when I have to take the little goob out about 10 times a day. So, I picked a good movie that definitely does not gross me out to watch and decided to make some cookies. But, I'm not jumping into Christmas with both feet, the movie is set in southern California (Tortilla Soup) and I'm just making oatmeal raisin cookies. I'm not going to the store in this ridiculous weather to get the stuff for mexican wedding cookies no matter how much I want them, and while some people have dreams of white Christmases, I think I'd take palm trees from time to time. So maybe it's just what I need.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Well, Happy Early Thanksgiving!!! And happy 100th blog post to me! For a while there I didn't think I'd ever keep it up this long, but I'm glad I have.

Well, I don't have any cool pix today, but we are heading out to the great white north on Thursday and we'll be sure to bring the camera with us. Hopefully we'll have some pictures of our adventures.

I am also super excited that in a few weeks I'm heading east to see my friend D and her adorable little daughter! It's going to be great. I"ve never seen Boston and I have never seen her daughter (in person of course) and so I can hardly wait! Most of all I'm just excited to see D. She's the one friend I've met throughout the years that is always just a phone call away and always, always keeps in touch. She's so much better at that than me! (Thanks for always calling D!)

Tomorrow morning, though, I have my last excursion into biochemistry (until the weeks before the boards) so good riddance to that. I am pretty worried about that test, there's waaaaaaaaaay too many lysosomal storage diseases. I have a chart that's 9 pages. Ouch. The really great part of this test, though, is that there's loads of stuff about obesity. We had 4 lectures yesterday and 3 today on obesity. Yes, this is a big problem that needs our attention. Does it need my attention the week of Thanksgiving? I think not.

Well, I better get back to it. Less than 12 hours from now and I will be in the thick of it, better shove as much into my little head that I can!

(I already have a bucket of fun getting ready for me in the freezer for after the exam. I am always prepared.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008


So I've had some time to think lately and that's gotten me nowhere with school, but it's let me put some things in perspective.

First, I've decided that people hold onto their angst with every bit the tenacity they hold on to their dreams and hopes. Even though things might not be as bad as they make them out to be, very few people want to be told otherwise. They'd rather have the angst to keep them company than to give it up and look at the flip side of the coin all by their lonesome. I find a lot of my classmates in this position right now. We are an angry group. Overall, at the end of the day we are all angry because we have to work hard to end up as doctors, really not such a bad thing. But don't tell anyone that...

I've also been spending more time working on my project with my old boss JW. We do a lot of waxing philosophical about what it takes to really reach students these days. Why can't students see how intrinsically cool this stuff is and let that be their motivation to soak it all up? We go around and around about it, and what I've decided is that the longer you're a student, the more bitter you get about being taught. Likewise, the longer you're a teacher, the more cynical you get about the mental capacity of those you are teaching. I feel kind of lucky that I get to see these things from opposing perspectives. Now if I can just temper my bitterness with cynicism...wait, that might not be the greatest combination... But in all seriousness, I think if I can remember how great it was to see students who were truly interested in the material for the sake of just being interested, it might help take the edge off that stuff that just doesn't seem too "clinically relevant."

Speaking of working with my old boss, I have some exciting news! He's asked me to not only edit the figures in his electronic text book, but write a chapter. That's right friends, LG is gonna get published. I'm super excited. Did I mention its the reproduction chapter? Yep, Birds and the Bees by LG. Cool. I'm excited to do it because I think the hormones involved are really quite cool and I took a fair amount of graduate course work on the subject, so it's definitely something to look forward to!

And in news of looking forward, I completed my registration for the Untied States Medical Liscensure Exam (aka Step 1 of the boards). Yikes. The countdown begins. April 8th. Lots of beer that night. You're all invited. Yes, it's a Wednesday, yes, you still need to come. But in the event you can't make it, I think we'll be trying to get some sort of party together that following weekend so long as we're not out of town on vacay. Something to keep in mind.

Last night we got to see some friends from the college days when one of my college friends was celebrating the receipt of her MBA! Congratulations KV! It was good to see everyone again, I'm glad we made it. And in honor of KV and her husband C:

SuperMugs says hi.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Well, I've been slacking. There's no doubt about it. Although I have had 2 exams since I last checked in, so I've been at least a bit productive. We also had Halloween. J and I just stayed in, but it was a nice night and to get in the spirit I dressed up the dogs! - Before you ask, no I didn't go out and buy them costumes, I'm not that kind of girl -

Unfortunately, them being boy dogs and all, everytime they have to go out the costumes have to come off. Oh well.

Mugs and I have been bonding lots lately. He's a cuddler. Still drives me completely insane when I want to study in the afternoon, but he's pretty cute. He likes to crawl up into my lap and make himself comfortable.

Last week we had a little excitement as J got his windshield smashed by some sort of unidentified flying object on his way to work. We ended up both staying home last Thursday after it happened, he was fine and the rest of the car was fine, but we had a good day anyway.

The next morning I had an exam which was good, then we got to spend a whole weekend hanging out together without any (well much) studying from me. This week is really busy with school stuff, and it will undoubtedly fly right by, then next week we're off to the Great White North for Thanksgiving. To all those already up there, wanna get sick? It's 70 degrees and sunny today....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Personal day

So, sadly I overslept so much today that I actually had already missed the first hour and a half of lecture by the time I rolled out of bed. I blame benadryl. I had an allergy attack last night and had to take some, but I guess I need to start actually measuring the dose of the kiddie benadryl, because this whole gulp and hope it's right approach didn't work out so well. Alas, it's nice to take a personal day! The dogs are sound asleep, I'm working on some school stuff and catching up on some blog reading. Also, I have the TV on. Not great for productivity, but I saw the most entertaining thing. There was a commercial for 7news where all they did was show a video of people riding up the ski slopes on the lift and in the bottom corner they had a countdown; 30 second break from political ads. I thought that was pretty clever. Not to mention appreciated. Seriously, my ballot is already in the mail. I'm over it.

Throughout the last week J and I have been catching up on our netflix movies, which we had been very behind on lately. The reason for that is the fact that we had Atonement. I was underwhelmed. I knew it would be a sad movie, but there are lots of sad movies that are so good you can't help but like them. This one was not in that category. We powered through it, but I don't think either of us were blown away. The great one, though, was Run, Fatboy, Run. I love Simon Pegg. He's fantastic, and really funny. This was not a letdown at all. In fact, we don't buy a lot of movies, but this one might just have that much potential. And if you're looking for even more Simon Pegg goodness, check out Hot Fuzz. Also fantastic. Of course, I'm in love with all things British, so I may be biased.

I'm completely in denial that it's already almost November. I love the fall, and I despise, loathe, abhor, the winter. The good news, we're flying back to the great white north to see the fam for Thanksgiving, the bad news, it's still winter. Gross. Oh well. The Thanksgiving trip will be great. I'm excited to see everyone and get out of town for a little while. It's always good to shake things up. I love it here, but I've been itching to go out of town for a while now. Luckily, I also have a trip planned in December to visit a good friend from college, so I have some fun sprinkled in among the drudgery of med school, and yeah, right now that's pretty much what it is.

Well, I better get some work done, but hopefully I'll be updating more often these days. I really need to take some more pictures of the little guy before he's no longer little!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thinking Positive

So, yesterday I had a bit of a funk going on about med school and how it has taken over my life. In a way, it has. I can't relax without thinking about studying, I can't look at people without thinking about what they might have wrong with them, and I can't help but think, with almost everything I will this help me get a better residency. All ridiculous for the most part. So, I took the little monster dog for a 4 mile run to think things through. I think I will never need antidepressants so long as my knees hold out for running. And I also think that not working out is tantamount to going off my meds.

The run worked, I calmed down and actually got some studying done. Furthermore, I got an email from my old mentor at CSU today. Last week, as I neared the very end of my fraying rope, I contemplated the idea of taking a year off after boards to do research. I am actually not all that into research. I did, afterall, quit a PhD program because it isn't what I can imagine myself doing in the long run. So, although I'm not overly excited about research, I thought by taking a year off to work for my mentor up at the Fort would do me good, recharge the batts and of course...look good for residency. In his email today he said he'd love to have me in the lab, but that it's just not a really productive lab these days. He does a lot of teaching, and that takes most of his time. I kind of expected as much, but I had hoped. But, rather than leave me hanging, he offered me work on a project editing the impending publication of an e-book of his physiology lessons. It's something I could work on from home, and I'm pretty sure I could wrap up this whole mentored scholarly activity quite nicely in this project. Which means I could get it done before 4th year, which means that 20 weeks of vacation time is looking like a real possibility. All good things...very good things. And best of all, it's an MSA to do with teaching. Since I really am holding out hope that a large amount of my career can be wrapped up with teaching, this is a step in the right direction. Did I mention I'd get paid...

Overall, I think I need to remember a couple of things...noncompliance is bad, and just like I don't want my patients off their meds, I don't want me off running. Also, thinking positively really can help. It's better than feeling so stressed that I can't even concentrate, which is where I was last week. And last, but not least, always keep in touch with those people who have meant a lot to you. Keeping in touch with my mentor not only always makes my day, but often times, good things will follow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm back

Well, we're in a new block, and I'm sad to report I completely neglected to take any pictures last weekend. But, Beer Fest was the greatest! We had such a great time, and it was exactly what I needed after that brutal neuro final on Friday (good thing for that cushion...). We tried some good beers, and some really bad beers, but my favorite discovery of the day was that there is a microbrewery less than 2 miles from my house. Awesome. Even better, they did not have the bad beer. So, I'm definitely looking forward to paying a visit. Check out the website at Turns out next weekend is their 3rd anniversary party. Sounds like a good time to me!

So this week has mostly been about getting into the swing of a new block. Harder than it should be I think. I just want to have a good time this year while I can, since we had a class meeting about 3rd year that convinced me life as I know it is about to end. It's hard to make yourself work so hard in the face of all that. But, I'm going to have to get it done somehow. That and studying for the boards. Yuk.

It was a great day today though. Lecture was so-so at best, but I finally got some stuff off in the mail (which I've been meaning to do for way too long!) so I feel like I at least accomplished a little bit. And then I got to talk to my friend DO for a long time, for the first time in a long time. So, I have to say that, you know other than waiting for the Comcast guy for what is now 4(!) hours, it's been a good day. Now if only our house phone was working...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One more day

Well, I am sad to see it go, but neuro will be over tomorrow. It's a lot of work, this class, but it's been by far the best run block of med school and I've learned more in this block than any of the others. This is a big deal to me because I've already taken 2 years of this stuff, but I still learned more than I have in any other block. So, it's not been easy, but it's really been worth it.

Tomorrow morning is our final exam, and I pretty much have to fail it to miss the mark I'm shooting for. I won't let that happen, but it takes a lot of pressure off for today to allow for some daydreams about....

Beer Fest!

That's right, the Great American Beer Festival is tomorrow (well it starts tonight, but it's tomorrow for me!). I am so excited. Tomorrow after the exam, as I had planned, I will be making pretzel necklaces and watching Beer Fest the movie! I also have plans to go for a (long) run...we'll say that tomorrow I'm doing a bit of carbo loading.... And I plan on stopping for a (hopefully) celebratory lunch at the brand new Sunshine Market that's opening up by us. I'm really excited for that place. So, it should be a busy day. After the necklaces are made and I"m all set to go, I'm meeting J and his sister at their parents' house and we're leaving from there. I think we're all going to stay downtown with J's sister's boyfriend. It'll be nice to not have to pay for the light rail or have to worry about who will pick us up. We're going to meet some of my college friends and med school friends at the fest, and I'm so excited to see everyone out in celebratory mode! It should be awesome.

Well, just to make sure I don't fail this exam, I suppose I should get to it. The school has kindly given us this one day off for preparing for the final, so big of them. So I better take advantage of it. Can't guarantee another post for a little while, big weekend plans you know!

Monday, September 29, 2008



Exams that go well...

4 year old birthday parties....

Macaroni and cheese....

That color that white wine turns in the dusky sun in the fall....

Puppies that are afraid of the shower and hair dryer....

Hair cuts....

Running into a random acquaintance from high school 9 years and 1,000 miles away....

Running into old friends again....

Meeting new people and watching people come together to change their lives....

Running tights....

All the things you can learn about yourself from your patients....


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Well, I'm in a big rush to get to studying today, but I had to stop in and write about my awesome day in the OR. Today has been a really good day.

It started out well, oddly enough, thanks to psych. Weird, I know. While I have no interest in psychiatry, outside of a purely intellectual desire to learn about psychotic disorders, I find it really interesting to hear from my facilitator and his stories about actually being in psychiatric practice. I also find the questions he asks the patients very insightful and they always get to the root of the problem before any of us students know there's a problem to begin with. Today was no exception. We interviewed a schizophrenic patient and it was a pretty interesting experience.

Then I hauled my cookies over to the hospital where my preceptor practices for the tubal ligation he asked me in on. He met me there and showed me to the changing room where I got in some scrubs, then we were off to the OR. Some of you might remember the last time I went into the OR with him; you know, the time when the scrub tech didn't let me touch any intruments whatsoever because I left my ring on under my gloves (my wedding ring, not the engagement band). Well, this experience was just as great as that one was bad. After Dr. B made the incision, I was able to "poke the hole" in the abdominal wall to get to the guts. Then he let me work the camera (one of the tools in a laparoscopy) for the whole procedure. After he was done clamping the tubes, he let me work both tools, the camera and the blunt probe, to look around INSIDE THE ABDOMEN! I feel like such a rock star. He was just like, "so, why don't you go find me an ovary..." and handed over the tools. It was like playing a video game, and I have to say, I loved it. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm really able to let the whole surgery thing go so easily. We'll see.

Anyway, it was a really cool day. The evening will undoubtedly not be as cool, I have a lot of studying to catch up on. Yesterday when I got home I was feeling very unmotivated and altogether blah, so I watched some tv, went for a seven mile run, and watched some more... Not really productive, but I felt better after it was all said and done. Now I have to make up for it a bit.

The rest of the week is mostly going to be a blur. A friend of mine is getting married on Saturday, so tomorrow I'm going out to dinner for her bachelorette party. I can't go out with them all since I really do need to do at least quasi-well on the exam on Monday. Then Friday, J and I are going downtown to Oktoberfest (yes, in September) and Saturday is my friend's wedding. Which reminds me, at some point I have to go get her a gift...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some pictures for you all...

So here's the little guy, the first pix are from probably a month ago, the later ones are up through last Friday. He's gotten so much bigger, and from the looks of those paws, we're in for another bigger than usual dog.

His little paws looked like they had a french manicure when we first got him. The vet even called him a "little girly boy" and thought I had painted them...Those who know me will think that's funny...

He's been going running with Rocky, J and I lately and he's starting to really keep up...obviously in better shape than I am from the looks of this...

The two boys are starting to get along a lot better than they used to, so that's a bonus..

And three days before the big surgery...

I've also been on a cooking kick these days. On Saturday night I decided J and I needed some romance, so I made a 5 course dinner for us. It turned out to only be 4 since we were way too stuffed to eat the last course, so we had that on Sunday night.

The first course was an ensalada caprese with a little plate of some cheese. I'm a sucker for the "try a new cheese for under $3" bin at Whole Foods.

For our second course I made a butternut squash soup from a squash I picked up at the farmer's market in the morning, but I didn't take any pictures. Our third course was homemade raviolis. I used wanton wrappers and made a filling from mozzarrella, crimini mushrooms, and leeks from the farmer's market. We had a mushroom sage alfredo sauce over them. A bit on the rich side for me, as evidenced by the two day stomach ache that followed...

We made it through a crab cake with home made poblano pepper sauce, but after that we were sleepy and full. It took us more than 2 hours to get through all that food, but it was delicious. The next day I made some lamb chops with garlic rosemary potatoes and greens.

Overall we ate pretty well this weekend. Now it's me desperately trying to get back on the horse and keep up with the running regime. Oh yeah, and studying like a maniac. That too...

Catching up

I have got to stop reading blogs in class! After stumbling across some seriously funny ones while browsing, I almost lost my cool and giggled out loud. Seeing as this lecture is neither funny nor entertaining, that would have been unfortunate.

Also unfortunate...I don't know how to put my phone on silent. So, I put in on vibrate. Vibrate is no more silent than my ring. In fact, I woul say that I hear my phone on vibrate much more often than I hear my phone when it's ringing. So, when my preceptor called to tell me that tomorrow I'd be scrubbing in on a tubal ligation instead of measuring bellies for the afternoon, the class was treated to a nice long hum of the obvious vibratory ring. Then another when the voice mail was received. Nice.

The surgery tomorrow should be really interesting. I'm looking forward to it. Plus it starts an hour earlier than I usually get to preceptor which means I don't have to kill an hour lurking around campus while Dr. B is out to lunch. Very cool. Oh yeah, and did I mention that wearing scrubs is infinitely more comfortable than dressing up for class only to spend the afternoon uncomfortable while Dr. B is wearing his comfy scrubs? Double bonus. More on that tomorrow.

In other news, my little Mugsy lost his manhood, or doghood, or whatever, yesterday. I have to say he's recovering quick. J is sure it would be a much more traumatic operation in a human, and so am I. In any case, I know that I am pitifully overdue for pictures of the little guy, so I'll do my best to make it a study break plan for today. The board review has begun and so I am trying to fit in a lot more stuff into the same 24 hour day. It definitely cuts down on the blog time.

Well, here's hoping I get a little more posting done than I have been. Three more weeks (well, 2.5) and a new block will begin. Somehow it always makes me feel like I'll have more time, but that really never happens. Oh well, there's always something to look forward to....17 days to Beer Fest!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I hate guilt. I think it is the most useless of human emotions. At least anxiety has some sort of evolutionary purpose in that it prepares people for the worst. But guilt, on the other hand, is like the "too little too late" stepchild of anxiety. And unfortunately, while I sit here on the couch, completely without agenda, I can't help but feel a little guilty. I totally blew off the two hours of lecture we had after our exam and I am having a terrible time doing anything now that I'm here. But, I just don't want to do anything. I've always thought of test days as rest days. Once the exam is over, I feel like all the work that went into the exam should be acknowledged by taking a mental health day.

Intellectually, it makes perfect sense that a person has to rest after a load of work. It prevents burnout, lets your mind get back to baseline and ready to start again. Like I said, intellectually and logically, it's a sound theaory. But guilt isn't based on logic, and the brain does have this whole irrational system of emotion called the limbic system. Well, look at that, neuroanatomy. Looks like I'm off the hook afterall!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Well, I've had it. I don't think I've ever quite spent this much time studying for an exam since anatomy. Let's just say yesterday at 10 I was still leafing through stuff (that's pm) and it was the weekend! I guess that should make me feel better about calling it quits to get a decent night's sleep. It sort of does, but I will only really feel better about it if the exam goes well in the morning. All I know is my head is tired from reading and my back is tired from sitting (I may detect some pressure sores growing on my darierre...) and I think anything else I look at at this point is not going to stick. The dogs are finally tired and not trying to eat each other, bonus. So I think it might be time for some tv in bed. J is off at his hockey game, so the house is quiet. It's time to relax.

Afterall, tomorrow it all starts again. T minus 26 days to Beer Fest....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Psychoses...mine and others

Well it's been a helluva week so far. I've been kicking like a duck staying above water. We have an exam on Monday over just about every neuropathology known to man and I feel swamped (obviously not swamped enough to stay off of blogger...). This has been a week I've been dreading since school began. Why? Because it was my turn to face the music and interview my very own crazy person.

We are all split into psychiatry groups of about 8 people with two facilitators. The super fun part is interviewing a real, live psych patient that answered an ad in the paper in front of the whole lot of them. All this with no real training in how to interview psych patients, just information on whatever disease they are supposed to be suffering from. I chose the chronic pain interview because I felt that there was at least a likely somatic (bodily) diagnosis that I could interview them about when I started to get squeamish about all those suicidality questions. Boy was I wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I feel grateful that this person was able to share their time with me and I really did learn something about interviewing psych patients, but not from the experience of actually interviewing. I spent about a half an hour talking with this person, who was obviously here to lecture us about pain treatment, and how their pain was misdiagnosed for too long in a clinical situation. Mostly they talked about the actual feeling of pain and the procedures they were undergoing to correct said pain. I managed to direct some of the interview to psychiatric issues, although it was tough to get a word in edgewise, and it proved to be enough to give our facilitators all the information they needed to launch a frontal attack on the psychiatric front. When it was opened up to group questions, they came fast and furious, asking about everything from depression to self-mutilation to suicide, and getting answers none of us expected. I'm sure the 20+ years of practice they each have led them to know what to ask, but I was pretty impressed. While all of us spent our time trying to get to the root of their physical diagnoses, the mental picture was as clear to them and it was unclear to us. It gave me a whole new appreciation for two things: 1)their obvious ability to read between the lines, and 2)my own (apparent) sanity. They were mad as a hatter...yikes.

Obviously I must be the luckiest person on the planet to get stuck with that interview. I think I'll probably go buy a lottery ticket just in case.

Oh well, it is fall, the weather is perfect for running with the big guy (and tiny little runs with the little guy, if only I had a video camera...) who is too hairy to really enjoy running in the summer, and...wait for it.....we're going to the Great American Beer Festival!!!!

I know what a lot of you are thinking,'ve been to the Beer fest before, what's so big about this deal? Well, for starters, it just happens to fall on the day of my neuro final. Awesome. It's on the beginning of that one special weekend that only comes about every ten weeks or so...the weekend when there is nothing to study, even if you want to (well, this isn't entirely true, refer to the post about the big bad boards...but there will be no studying that weekend, for the record). For school and many other reasons, I didn't think I'd be able to go to the beer fest this year, but fortune smiled. That lottery ticket is looking better all the time! Best part is, lots of great friends are going with me. Sure makes the rest of neuro look a lot more doable...even with the crazies.

**Disclaimer: according to our psych professors, there is such a thing as a crazy patient, I'm not just being a crass jerk; at least not too much so.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Well, since I haven't exactly been a blogging machine lately, I felt the need to change it up around here. I think I'm a fan of the change.

It really feels like fall is officially here. The weather is distinctly brisk and the farmers markets are full of great stuff! Fall is my very favorite time of year, partly because I've always gotten a jolt out of starting a new school year, and partly because I just love everything about it. But the fact that it's fall is definitely distracting when it comes to school work. All I want to do is get out of the house, try new fall-y recipes, curl up with a good book at night. Alas, this kind of apathy can't go on unchecked. This is a big year for me, and the big bad boards are going to be in my lap before I know it. I feel utterly unprepared. In fact, I don't even know how to prepare. It's just a big ominous black cloud in the distance. I can't see through it (I don't even know a thing about what to expect 3rd year, but can't seem to care because it's past B-day) and I don't know what it holds. There is such a mosterous pile of information I need to weed through that I don't know where to start. Not to mention, I want to keep up with course work so I'm not doing double duty in the weeks before the actual exam. No reason to completely need to learn the neuro/endocrine/micro sections on my own because I spent the fall studying pharm.

I know from experience that panicking is not a good strategy for me. I can't let myself think about the entire big picture or panic sets in and I am like a deer in headlights. I try to do everything and then suddenly can do nothing.

Oh well, blogging about it at length isn't going to help the situation either. And the exam is still 7 months away. My plan is to actually start, schedule in hand, in October. By then I will know more about how to study for the exam and what kind of schedule is reasonable. Until then, J and I are planning the vacation we will take after the boards. I think it should help with the motivation issue. I have several little nuggets of motivation scattered throughout the year, so that should help me focus. Should....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Well, in keeping with the positive theme I've been going for, today is a truly great day. If the spirit of Labor Day is eschewing work and making with the leisure time, today lived up to that spirit and then some. As I sit here, I am drinking a lovely shiraz, eating my favorite mediterranean foods, and watching the ANTHONY BOURDAIN MARATHON!!!!! That's right I said marathon. My favorite travel show hero has been quietly recording on my DVR all day, and at the moment, I am with him in Hawaii. Not a bad place to be.

The whole day has been this kind of bliss. We started out with the all-time best breakfast there is: egg in a hole. It's pretty much what it sounds like, toast which is fried in butter with a hole in the middle filled with a hard fried egg. While we digested our food we filled the time watching I Heart Huckabees, which I have to say, is pretty hilarious. After that I went for a run in what I thought would be a nice early fall morning. It pretty much felt like July on the surface of the sun, but it was good to get some activity anyway.

My great friend from med school, also an LG, came over for some drinks and to see the house in the early afternoon (hey, it's 5:00 somewhere). It was great to hang out with her and catch up while having some fun drinks and good snacks. After a little while, J's mom, whose birthday is today, and dad swung by and picked us up to go to a local Asian market. We went to the most authentic Chinese restaurant I've ever been to, and it was tasty. If one can have good seafood in Denver, it was in my dish. We also checked out a couple of Asian supermarkets, which were really awesome. We picked up some baked goods and some lychees and headed home.

Once we got home we watched one of my all time favorite movies, Strictly Ballroom, with J's parents and had some espresso martinis. And that about brings us to my current state of aforementioned bliss.

All of this occurring knowing that I have class at 8 am tomorrow morning. I must be chilling out in my old age.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Making the saddle more comfy

In an effort to be more positive about school this year, I am compiling a list of things I'm stoked about now that the new semester has started:

1. I can do things as a student that I could never do if I was working full time. Case in point: last Thursday I got done with class and went to the local farmer's market where I caught the Miller farms people as they were closing and trying to get rid of all the produce they could. I got some serious deals. Then I went to Cost Plus to stock up on some sweet Indian food.

2. I have social interaction with real walking, talking people every day. I know I've complained about some classmates in the past, but trust me, compared to doing nothing but screaming at a puppy all the time, I am relishing the opportunity for conversation.

3. I am remembering all the stuff I love about the brain and it keeps my head in the game. I spend the three years before I started med school and after I finished undergrad studying the nervous system and I fell in love with it. It's really coming in handy and it's letting me enjoy....

4. The espresso martini! This is not a great picture, but the recipe is as follows: 1 oz each of espresso, creme de cacao, vodka, kalua. Packs a mean punch but is super fun to drink, and delicious.

5. I get to spend time with my favorite guys; J, R, and the Mugs. Here's a picture of Mugsy to take us out; enjoy your nights!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back in an Uncomfortable Saddle

But a saddle nonetheless. School started on Monday, and though I'd really like to complain about lecture, I know that the stuff we are covering right now is pretty much my favorite material there is, the nervous system. I've spent a lot of time studying the nervous system up to now, and I hope that will serve me well come exam time.

We are, unfortunately, also doing psychiatry in this unit as well. Today was an especially difficult day as the patient, who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, described in detail a previous suicide attempt. This was really hard for me to swallow as it just hit too close to home. I hope that someday that will stop being an issue for me but I have to wonder if it's even possible to completely move past that kind of an experience.

To cheer myself up when I got home I watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain that I'd DVR'ed. This time Tony was in Spain. Very cool. Does he need an assistant? Could I give up medicine to travel the world, eat crazy stuff and try adventure sports? Sadly no. But it sure makes for great television.

Monday, August 11, 2008


So, the newest future graduates of CU Med made their first official appearance on campus today. I am on the orientation team this week, and I have to admit, I really appreciated it. These fresh young souls are excited, and gung ho about absolutely everything. It almost makes me ready to get back to it. Almost. Definitely not there yet.

When I say fresh young things I really mean it too. There are 5 people in this class who are not yet able to legally buy a drink to wash down the medicine their about to drink from the firehose. There is one who is not able to vote for who will be our president. Yes, a 17 year old first year med student. What's more? He also went to undergrad with me. Having had several classes with him at my undergrad university, I can vouch that he is a verifiable genius. It's not just a memory either. A photographic memory could do a lot of good for gross anatomy, but this kid can think. He's pretty much the most amazing physical chemistry prodigy I've ever seen. And that's some complex stuff. But I have to wonder at how he must feel about life being so so young. I did not take the most straight and narrow path toward medicine, neither the most circuitous. I am pretty much of average age. But I've had a lot of experiences before the all encompassing med school took over. I've made great friends and had time to make mistakes. One would think someone who is only 17 wouldn't have that chance. College was the best time of my life thus far, and med school...well, it is the path I want to end on, but certainly not breaking any fun records. Would I have been ready to take on such a serious undertaking without having the much less experience of undergrad behind me? Could someone who was 12 in undergrad have had such experiences? I kind of doubt it. But I could always be wrong.

Anyway, here's to the newbies. And here's hoping school will be just the right amount of fun and business for them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Birthdays, anniversaries, and puppies

Amanda Peet is my new hero. I just saw her on the Today show speaking about vaccinating children. She was very well spoken, and best of all, consented she is not an expert, but cited rather every medical organization in the country, all of which recommend vaccination and deem it to be safe. She also spoke with a huge amount of modesty and seems to really listen when other people speak, which is refreshing. I get tired of listening to "discussion" where it's really just a competition about who can speak the loudest.

In puppy news, he's sleeping a lot more, which is exciting. He pretty much needs to be taken out once a night, which is not too shabby really. And he's good with waking up at about 6, which is perfect with school coming up. At least it won't be a huge shock to the system. He still really keeps me on my toes these days, when he's awake. But the big guy is tolerating him better, and that makes me happy. Today I think I'll walk them separately. It's really hard to take them together alone, and the puppy can't go nearly as far as R can.

Possibly the most exciting part of today: my little sister turns 21!!! Wahoo! Finally the whole clan can go out for drinks. I've long felt like my sis should be able to come out with us, and I kind of forget she can't since we're so far apart in age. But now she can and I know she's excited; maybe as much as me!

It's also my second wedding anniversary today. Sadly, J's employer really screwed us on this one. Not only did they end up sending J for a very truncated trip to Cali (which I couldn't go on because it was so short it wouldn't be worth it) but they sent him over our anniversary. I guess I'll just be taking myself to dinner. Maybe to lunch actually since I feel kind of lame at dinner time alone; but much less so at lunch time.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Well, Our newest addition is here and robbing me of any and all sleep. I feel like he is preparing me for a (small) portion of motherhood someday and I am terrified. Luckily he's pretty good at knowing where he is supposed to go to the bathroom (i.e. not in the house). Enjoy the pictures!

This was taken at the breeder where we picked him up.

He's already gained 2 pounds since we got him, so I'll try to post pretty regularly so we can all see him growing like crazy. He won't be this little for long!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I am so lame...

So, no trip to Golden today. Instead, I decided to work on cleaning up the house in anticipation of the new addition tonight...a boxer puppy we've named Mugsy! I'll be taking a bunch of pictures, so stay tuned.

But, this is not why I'm lame. Right now, I'm sitting on the couch watching 7th Heaven. Why oh why do I care who Lucy is dating????

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Well, despite my argumens to the contrary, I've pretty much fallen into the literary coma I was trying to avoid. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on as fast as I can. Essays, short stories, fiction, nonfiction, total fluff, nothing is off limits. I've been to the library more than I care to admit lately. But I'm loving it. It's kind of ruining my attempts at my to do list though.

Re-evaluating the list, it's not going so terribly badly. I've been to Golden three times, and even managed to make it to Coors (despite one attempt where they were closed, apparently they no longer do tours on Tuesday and Wednesdays!?!). I still haven't made it to the winery though, so that's still left to be done. I intend to go there tomorrow and have a "me" day before school starts up again. I'm going running, maybe to the new Mines rec center, I am going to have to shower after all. I plan on finding someplace for lunch that I can't go to anywhere but Golden, then hanging out in a coffee shop for the afternoon and blogging, maybe just writing, and of course reading. Hopefully I'll stop by the winery for a glass in the afternoon as well. So, if anyone's reading and up for a glass, let me know!

I didn't make it through the 10 pounds I was hoping for, but I did get through 5, and I'll take it. I kind of doubt the whole running the rocks thing...we'll see.

Overall, I can't really complain about my summer. It hasn't been all roses, but I think with J's help, I've made the best of what we've been given. Overall, I'm pretty happy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Crunch time

Well, we're back. It was a hard week for me, but I'm so glad that we made the trip. I know we were able to help out my family, and that would have made it worth it in and of itself, but there's something (for me at least, everyone's different) about being able to say good bye. And, as with any time a person is faced with their own mortality, I came back panicked that I'm letting time just slip away.

I know that all time is precious, but there's something in me that knows, without any shadow of any doubt, that this summer is about as precious as it's gonna get. I have time, real time, that I can use as I please. And as much as I'd like to go into a literary coma, leaving the couch only to pour more coffee (or more wine, depending on the time of day), poking my nose into every book I can get my hands on and leaving the house for only the occasional walk for the dog, trip to the library, and day at work, I can't just let the whole summer go by the way side like that. Oh, don't get me wrong, there will be reading. Books are one of the things I miss most during school. But they're only one thing. There's much to be done, and, I've decided, they don't really include First Aid and boards studying after all. So, don't be surprised if you hear from me soon, hoping to get together (perhaps on short notice, I apologize for that) and spend some time before I have none left to spend. I have a month before school starts, and I need to enjoy it to the fullest. For now, I'm off to send some highly belated texts and then finish my chapter... I can't conquer the whole world at once.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sad News

Over the weekend the world lost a great man. My grandpa passed away on Saturday evening peacefully. He was an amazing person. A farmer from a (very) small town, he started out with eight bucks, a cow, and my amazing grandmother. Nearly 10,000 acres and 63 years later, the world is a sadder place without him. I'm happy I've been able to have him in my life for so long.

J and I will be leaving for the homeland this evening, and will be out of town all week. I appreciate everyone's thoughts, and I'll post when we return.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Before the weekend

Well, since I'll probably be out of touch for the next few days I thought I'd post one more time before the big holiday weekend. Labs were cancelled today, so I got the afternoon off. When I called to let J know I would be home all afternoon, he said "good, now you can make me a pie." Now, this was an obvious imitation of South Park's Cartman, but I got to thinking, ya know, I've never actually made a pie...

So I spent my afternoon making a strawberry pie from scratch. And I have to say, in the future I'll be buying pie crusts.

It's definitely making the house smell great. The only unfortunate side effect is the fact that I forgot to stick a cookie sheet under it until about half way through baking, so we had some drippage. Here's what the pie looked like before I ate a way too big piece:

And between you and I, I'll be having another rather large piece later on!

As for the holiday, we're taking a long bike ride downtown tomorrow morning to kick things off. Then J's sister is throwing a party so we will be going to her boyfriend's house for that. I still am not sure how the day will end but it should be fun no matter what.

Saturday I think the plan will be to visit the breweries in Ft. Collins. I'm looking forward to it a lot because it's so fun up there. There's also this little cafe called Panino's that's really great. I used to eat there before I gave a big review lecture in grad school. It was right across the street from my office. And I never paid for parking the entire 2 1/2 years I was there because I parked in their parking lot. Good memories.

Well, I'm off. I'm looking forward to a great weekend and hope you all are too!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Oh my god I'm so excited I could pee my pants. J has a work trip to...wait for favorite place....San Francisco! Wahoo!! We're not completely sure which week in July it's going to be, the big corporation he works for doesn't so much care about deals on airfare. But southwest is pretty reasonable and nothing seems to be selling out too soon. The best part is having a great trip to look forward to. Now when I get bored and surrounded by nothing but way too hot weather outside and Dr. Phil on TV, I can look up all the fun things there are to do there. And they can be things just I want to do, because J will be working all day. Wine tastings here I come! I can't wait to go back to Ghirardelli square and see the condos they had started building last year when we were there and the cute shops, and of course, the ocean. I was so excited last night when he told me (right before bed, what was he thinking!?) that I couldn't get to sleep for hours thinking of all the great stuff to do.

The only downside of the day (I have the day off, looks like I'll be going in tomorrow afterall) is that I have to bring the big guy to the vet. So, that doesn't make me happy, because it doesn't make him happy. But he's been sick for a week now, and it's time to figure out what's going on. I think he might just be forcing himself to stay sick so he can keep eating the "bland food" that the doc prescribed last week - it's rice and beef and he eats it so fast I'm not even sure he tastes it. Anyway, his appointment is coming up so I better skadaddle. I think I'll stop at the library for a travel book too!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Disgusting and Delightful

Well, it's been an interesting week to say the least. It started out with us visiting our friends in Golden. We got to see a lot of people we hadn't seen for a long time and found lots of fun things to do in the coming weeks. It should be great. I am always amazed at how, even though we all came from the same starting gate (college) we've gone on to all lead different and in their own ways interesting lives. It makes me feel kind of proud really.

The next day in lab, I came across the first thing in all of medicine that has made my stomach turn. Now, I have to preface with the fact that I truly appreciate the gift that the cadaver donors have given us. It truly is the most effective way to understand human anatomy in all its glory. And in all its nastiness. I'm a teaching assistant for the physician's assistant and physical therapy students, and for the first time they were opening the chest cavity. This is always an exciting day in the lab because everyone is interested to see just what makes us tick, literally. Be warned, the rest is quite gross, so hide your eyes if you're squeamish. One of the PA groups opened up the chest to find, not a normal lung, but a giant glob of, well, goo. Looking at it (like a pathologist, here comes the food analogy) was like looking at severely overcooked macaroni, and me being curious me, I had to stick my hand in it. I mean, in anatomy texture is everything, it tells nerve from vessel, muscle from fat (as if the translucent yellow color didn't do that anyway...) etc. Never in my life has my stomach actually turned upon feeling something until I stuck my hand in that goo. I honestly thought I might be sick. I won't go into the details of what it felt like, but suffice it to say, nasty. I had no idea what it was at the time, but I was quite sure it was not a lung, nor was it ever a lung. I was right about that. The professor found her way over (remember, imangine tiny little Edna from the incredibles) and told us all it was what happens to infection during the embalming process. Then she grabs a bucket, reaches in and scoops it all out while we all stare aghast (with mouths closed, that's one mistake you only make once) as if it were nothing. And to her (after 20+ years in the lab) it probably was. Turns out the cadaver had an abscess in the pleural cavity and during embalming the protein mixed with the fixative and voila, gooey mess. Once all of the goo was out, the lung was found, compressed into a tiny fist sized mass at the very back of the thoracic cavity. The cause of death of this cadaver was COPD, and I'll give you the obstructive part, but I think there may have been more to it than emphysema might infer.

But moving on from the disgusting, onto the delightful. On Wednesday last week I flew back to the homeland to see the fam. I am not a great flier. I get really nervous and I suppose I could be described as a "white knuckle" flier. I'm too embarrased to talk with my doc about getting some meds prescribed, so I medicate in my way with a prescription for vino. Before J brought me to the airport I polished off the organic white I got from whole foods for just such an occasion (to be fair there was only one large glass left!), then made up a mojito, a double, and we headed off to the airport. By the time my "treatment" was over and I made it through security (why am I always behind the person who has 47 million electronic devices to dig out of their carryon, seriously, who needs two laptops at a time?) I had to run to catch the final boarding call for my flight. But I made it. And unfortunately it was the most turbulent flight I'd ever been on. I told myself I wouldn't buy a drink on the flight, but no sooner had I asked for my water than the pilot gets on the overhead to explain the turbulence. One of our breaks on the landing gear was overheated and they had to let the landing gear hang out to cool off. He tried to say it was "something that just happens at high altitude." Right. In anycase, this is what I had in front of me in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately, within another matter of minutes, I had a red mess as I spilled my little glass all over with nothing but my little cocktail napkin to clean it up, so my copy of the Onion was lost to its higher purpose of cleaning up my wine spill. Luckily there was still plenty in my mini bottle. Crisis averted. When we eventually landed, there were fire trucks waiting for us, high altitude my arse.

But, I made it home and had a great, albeit short, trip. I tried my hand at the Wii for the first time, and I came home actually sore from the experience. Time to take up weight training I think. So, so sad when little miniature tennis makes you hurt.

I got back to high altitude on Saturday (sans break incident this time) and pretty much slept the whole day away.

Sunday I had the privlege to attend a birthday party for one of my good friends from med school. She made a point of telling everyone there how much we all mean to her, and all of her family and friends from when she was little were there. It was a great time and I felt really special for being able to participate. I am glad that med school has been bringing unexpected rewards such as friends like LG. It makes the whole process so much more bearable.

Well, it's a holiday week, and it might turn out to be an even shorter week for us than it is usually. The PAs are the only group scheduled in the lab on Thursday, and in the interest of having a long weekend, they are probably coming in tomorrow, leaving me with 4 days off. Sweet.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pity party - you've been warned

It's been a really fun weekend. Yesterday we saw some old friends and had a really good time. It did get me thinking though. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a very strange place. My friends, and J's friends too, pretty much fall into 3 categories. The first are the ones who are married, both working, with no kids. These people are really living it up. They're traveling, getting themselves situated into wonderful homes where they are ready for a bigger family but aren't in any hurry to fill it up. They're becoming accomplished in their careers, so that, and having fun, is their focus right now. The next group has already moved past that and are focusing on their family. They have kids, or are having them, and are all great parents, or will be soon. Many of them have already been accomplished in their careers, some are continuing to work, some are not, but all of them seem to have a clear path ahead of them and a realization of their new responsibilities as a parent as well as a wife/husband/friend/sister/brother/daughter/son. Finally, we have our single friends who are truly still living it up, working in great careers and really focusing on figuring out who they are and what they want in life. They can go anywhere, and do anything they want (obviously within reason) because there is no one in the world to tie them down but themselves. And in watching all my friends (proudly I might add) maneuver through life so gracefully, it sometimes makes me wonder where that leaves me.

I'm married, and very happily so. But I don't exactly fall into any of these categories. We don't have kids yet, I don't have a career yet. All I have is potential for these things. I feel like for my whole life, all I've had is potential for great things. Potential is fantastic when you're 18 and the world is your oyster, but the older I get the more I wish the potential would be realized and I could move on. People always talk about how when you go into medicine you have to put your life on hold for about 10 years. Well, I'm not ready to make peace with that. That would make me 36 before life really begins. What the hell is that? I'm not even remotely interested in putting my life on hold for 10 years, but it's a very odd place that leaves me in. No kids, no job, just school.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not really unhappy. I like school. I want medicine to be my career. But I can't help but get a touch green when I see all the great things my lovely friends are doing. I can't help but feel a little lonely in my odd position. And I can't help but feel a bit bad for J, he would be one of those successful friends if he didn't have me to take care of. Although he never complains, and is much more farsighted than I am when it comes to all this. He realizes that in taking all this time to do this, we'll end up in a better place over all. I suppose I should take a page from his book and appreciate the potential for a little longer. I'm sure it will work out, but sometimes I can't help but hop into my own personal pity party. I suppose in a couple days I'll realize that summer is too fun to worry about this stuff, and the party will end but for now, a little venting was necessary. Thanks for hearing me out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Keeping busy

So, it's felt like a relatively slow week. Getting over whatever I had took a lot longer than I expected, and even today I am not 100%. But, I find that I don't notice it as much when I stay busy, so I'm looking for some activities for today to keep my mind of my stupid headache. I get the feeling Rocky will get a long walk out of the deal. Yesterday we went to Chatfield state park, and that was awesome! It was pretty empty since it was mid-week, and the weather was perfect. There's these dog beaches where dogs can run off leash and swim, which is pretty much Rocky's best day. While I ran laps around the central pool, with the GPS to see how far I was going, Rocky jumped in the pool and swam along the shore and would hop out and run with me for awhile before jumping back into the water. He had a blast, and all the people there thought he was a trip. Of course then he needed a serious shower when we got home, but it was worth it, and now he's all soft and smells good for once!

I'm thinking today Rocky and I will go for a walk, I'll do some yoga and then I'll work on baking some rolls. I've made lots of loaves of bread, but never sandwhich rolls, so I think it's time to try. And I have some good movies from the library too, so that should keep me busy. Tonight J and I will be heading ot to Cherry Creek State park to a long bike ride, so I better tucker Rocky out during the day, because I don't think it's the best idea to bring him along while we're on our bikes, he tends to lean into you when he's on a walk, and I'm not all that steady when it comes to biking.

Well, I suppose none of these plans will come to fruition if I don't get off my butt and get moving. It promises to be a busy and fun weekend, so I'm not sure when I'll be back, but I'll have lots to report when I am!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One more sick day

Well, I'm still all plugged up but I think I'm turning the corner. I feel like every year in June I get the dreaded summer flu. I know I should feel like it's better than during school, but I definitely would rather be more miserable during school than the least bit miserable during vacay. I am feeling a bit better today though. Not well enough to go get elbow deep in cadaver juice, but hopefully well enough to take the big guy for a walk later, definitely not a run though.

I've come to the realization, after doing nothing but sitting on my rear for the last two days, that I need to learn to shut the thinking machine off. When all you have to think about is whatever terrible daytime tv is in front of you, no good can come from it. I sit here and overthink everything about my life. And inevitably I worry that every choice is the wrong one. One choice I decided is a total waste though, and quite rightly, is the choice to hang out in a derm clinic over the summer. What was I thinking? Derm may have a spectacular lifestyle, and it might be the ultimate challenge to match into, but I have absolutely zero interest in it. So this morning I promptly dropped the class. No thank you.

I am seriously jonesing for a vacation these days. Next week I take of to fabulous Fargo to visit the fam for a couple of days. I fell victim once again to undisclosed flight times for a reduced price and ended up getting into town really late on Wednesday and getting out of town really early on Saturday, so what should have been a 4 day trip is pretty much a 2 day trip because of it. We'll have to make the best of it. J is supposed to be sent out to Sunnyvale CA for a time this summer, and I hope it falls on one of the very few weeks that I could travel with him. Free lodging + southwest fares = affordable vacation to cali for me. It's certainly not a guarantee but my fingers are crossed.

Well, I have the latest JAMA to keep me company today. Probably better company than the trash that's on tv.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Well, it was a really good weekend. We went to the little league game (and didn't get burned this time) and did plenty of baking through the afternoon. We made it to the 80s party and I am sad to report, I have no pictures to post. We just never took any! But I was in full on 80s attire and still can't believe that was ever a good way to dress. Wow. By far the best part of the night was seeing all those lovely ladies I got to know in college. It had been too long and it was a great time.

This morning J and I got up early and got to work on our father's day brunch. I think we did a prety great job because everyone stayed so long that we made dinner too. We now have enough leftovers to last J all week for lunch and probably tomorrow for dinner too. I planned out a whole menu that included a breakfast stromboli, potato casserole, home made caramel rolls from scratch, and Carmine's breakfast sausage. As with any good brunch we had some cranberry pomegranate mimosas too. Because it's never too early to drink from a champagne flute! Let me know if you want the recipe for the stromboli, cuz it was pretty good. I borrowed a bit from my godmothers recipe and another that I found online, but it was a good combo. In the afternoon we watched Tiger Woods tie up the US Open. I'm not a golf fan, but I am a Tiger Woods fan, so I was pretty pumped to watch it.

The only bad thing about the weekend is that I've come down with something. Since last Thursday I've had a killer headache and now my ears and throat are super sore too. And I feel really tired constantly. I emailed in sick for the derm clinic I was going to attend in the morning in the hopes that a really good night's sleep would remedy the situation. I really hope it does so I can get on with my super summer.

I have to say though, I've been having some anxiety over school. It's not fair, I tell you, this is supposed to be the stress free time! It's certainly not as bad as during school, but it's annoying nonetheless. I know I previously wrote about my super sweet MSA project that entailed a summer of watching Grey's and writing about the plight of women in medicine. I have since decided that project is way too fluffy and I need to do something that will at least help a little on the way to residency. But finding a project that won't eat up all my time (and certainly not over the summer) and still be a good project seems like too big a task. The thought of it really freaks me out. I know I have to get on it, but I keep putting it off because I'm tired of feeling stressed. If anyone has any bright ideas on the situation, please let me know, I need all the help I can get.

Well, here's to benadryl and it's fabulous power to lull me to sleep no matter how crappy I feel. Ain't no faster way to forget school stress. Hope your weekends were as fun as mine!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Second week of summer

Well I obviously make more time for blogging during the school year than I do during the summer, but what a great summer it's shaping up to be. This week the big guy and I went running almost every day. He's exhausted, but that's a good thing when we need to be out and about.

Yesterday J had the day off and so we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. It was way different than the others had been, but I was still having a great time. It may have something to do with the fact that I haven't seen the inside of a movie theatre for over a year... Hopefully I'll see the inside of one again soon so I can see Sex and the City...

Today we're going to walk over to another little league game (fully slathered with sun screen) with J's dad. After that I am heading out for another run, and hopefully that doesn't go too late in the day because it's gonna be a hot one.

This afternoon we have a neighborhood barbeque, and that should be interesting. I'm not counting on a great turn out. Our neighbors are so antisocial that they actually drive into their garages, and before they even turn off the ignition, they shut their garage doors. If you don't want to talk to people, whatever, but at least spare yourself the carbon monoxide.

After the bbq my friend KV is having a birthday party. It's going to be great. There's an 80s theme, complete with clothes, hair and music. I'm pretty pumped to see her new place too. Should be a fun day, but somewhere in there I need to get ready for the fathers day brunch we're having tomorrow. I'm sure it will get done!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A better schedule

This weekend was fantastic. We met up with our great friends Sonny and Becky at my favorite little brewery in the world. It couldn't have been a more beautiful day either! Then our friends Kevin and Brianna had a barbeque and we got to see their little two year old son, who we have never seen in his whole little life! Brianna is also 8 months pregnant, so there will be another little one running around before you know it! Then Saturday morning we went to see a little league game for a family friend and it was a lot of fun. The diamond was only a mile walk from our place so we walked over with the big guy and J's dad D. The only bad part about it was that we forgot the sunscreen. I'm the worst future doc ever. Luckily I was wearing my fabulous hat and jeans, so only my arms took the brunt of it. J's neck is pretty red and the backs of his calves, but needless to say, lesson learned. Overall, the rest of the weekend was really lazy. I went to the library and got a bunch of great looking cookbooks to get ideas for the summer. We watched three movies and drank some mojitos. Lazy and lovely.

Last night J had a hockey game really late (and he had to work this morning, sucks to be a responsible adult) so I made him a snack that I have to say I am very proud of! And don't worry, J, I will post them on our blog too!

As summer sets in for me, I feel myself slipping into a nice lazy schedule. Don't get me wrong, this is something I want. But, I do have some extra goals to add to my schedule, and one to cross off (one trip to a Golden brewery down!)

I truly plan on losing about 10 pounds. I know that I'm not an overweight person, but I talked about it with my doc and she agrees it's a good idea. My family has such a strong history of diabetes that it really freaks me out. Plus, I want to be in the best possible shape I can get myself into before we start trying for that family again at the end of the summer. I figure the better shape I can be in going into it, the easier it will be to get back into it after we have a baby.

This is turning into a long post, but I swear I'll wrap it up soon!

I think the best way to get into great shape is to start running again, so a big tired R will be a common event I think! It should be fun too, and R could afford to lose some pounds as well...

This past weekend put the baby thing into perspective for me. After what happened this spring I was having a hard time even thinking about it. As a med student, I find myself constantly surrounded by people who are not only content to put their entire lives on hold, but who think it's crazy not to. It's easy to slip into thinking that this path is not only difficult but impossible if you want to have a family at the same time. This weekend, being surrounded by people who obviously put family first, put that into perspective a bit. In 30 years (wow, I'll feel old then, but really it's not that bad) what will matter? The fact that it took a little longer, or was a little harder to get through med school or the fact that I have a big family that gets together and has crazy raucous holidays and weekends together? I'm going with the latter. (But I'm just competitive enough to know that a little harder time in med school, does not equivocate to poorer performance, just in case J was worried) Anyway, it was a calming thing for me. It made me ready to try again when the time comes, but it also makes me feel excited to take advantage of this summer where I'll be able to do all those things I wouldn't have been able to if the first pregnancy had worked out.

So, long story short, I'm still looking for takers on our tour de beer this summer, and I'm hoping to hear from lots of friends to have super fun gatherings!

Oh yeah, one more thing...everyone cross your fingers, say a prayer, do a dance, whatever you do, for Medicine Girl on June 12th when she is certain to crush the boards into submission!!! Good luck!!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Old Friends

Hurray! Our friends the Lewises are in town!!! I'm meeting them this afternoon, and as Becky put it "we'll go to Golden City so you can cross that off your summer to do list." I'm super excited. Then tonight we're getting the band back together for a bbq at our friends Kevin and Brianna's place. Another great day in Golden! I'm very excited. And the weather even decided to cooperate. It's a gorgeous day!

In other news, I've decided to become a hat person! I bought this great lime green straw hat at my favorite store over the weekend. It's cute and I'm slowly getting used to it.

Well, Becky just called, so I'm off to my favorite place on the planet! I hope everyone is well, I know I am!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Not really the plan..

Well this is a bummer.. It's such a dreary day here! This is not the kind of day I was expecting for the summer. But, I can't really complain. In Colorado we pretty much have 300+ sunny days per year, so when the weather gets dreary, it's like something new and different and that makes it more fun than annoying. It also makes it very unlikely that I will be running outside with the big guy. Instead, I'm doing the absolutely unthinkable....

I'm studying.

I know. I don't get it either. I'm going to spend a couple of hours this morning preparing my board studying plan for the summer, and getting out the anatomy books so my students don't end up knowing more than I do. Part of me is sad about it, but I know that it's the right thing to do. I'm still planning on reading lots of books for fun and getting my butt out of the house as often as I can, but while I'm here, there's no reason to forget a whole year of hard-learned information, no matter how much I might like to.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yeah summer!

Well, I know I've been a bit absent, but I'm back! And so excited to have a lovely summer break to regroup. I really appreciate all the happy encouragement from everyone for finishing the year off strong. I'm excited to move forward into summer now! Even though summer will smell like aweful formaldehyde.

I'm TAing the anatomy classes for the physical therapy and physician's assistant courses at CU. I'm really excited about it, though you never truly get used to the smell. Anatomy lab always gives the greatest stories. I'm looking forward to sharing them with you. Already I've been laughing. The professor for the class looks exactly like Edna from the Incredibles. She must be 4'9 or so. And she cracks me up like no one's business. She won't let the students play any music, and won't let us spray Febreze in our office because she says that it triggers her asthma. So, needless to say, it should be an interesting summer.

But it's not a huge amount of hours a week, so I'm mostly looking forward to all the great stuff I can do in my free time. There will be many walks and runs with the big guy and the house will finally stay really clean. But I also want to make a list of the things I want to do before school starts again. I might not get another chance like this. So, here's the start of the Summer List:

1. Go "revisit" the breweries in Fort Collins. There is supposedly a beer bus tour in colorado, and I am going to figure it out. Who's coming with me??!

2. Run the Rocks. Red Rocks amphitheatre is gorgeous and I've been dying to try to run up their crazy stairs. It'll probably nearly kill me, but I can't wait to try.

3. Make at least 3 visits to Golden to visit the two great breweries and the new winery (did you even know that existed, I didn't). And of course run the creek a bunch.

4. Write some letters to my grandparents. I'm the bad one.

5. Get cozy with First Aid (I can't slack the whole summer).

6. Try to visit one farmer's market a week. I love those things!

Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated. It should be a really great summer and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope it brings as much excitement to you all as it does to me!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, last night I decided I really had no plans for studying for the final so I would take all of it last night! Woohoo! It's all over. Yesterday was seriously stressful, but I'm so glad to be through with it.

We had an online final, and they've never done anything like that before. So of course there were technical difficulties. Each part, open book and closed book, was split into eight or nine cases. Once you started a case you could not stop it and the system was a little finicky, twice I had to have them reset my questions because it gave me weird errors and was going to give me a zero. But, now that it's all over, I'm pretty happy with it and I made my goal. Today I pretty much just took it easy, and tonight is the keg olympics brough to you by the CU school of medicine class of 2011. J and his sister J are coming too and it should be a good time for all of us, and a reminder of all the fun we had in college.

Tomorrow my mom and sister come tomorrow and that's going to be great! It'll be the first time my mom has seen the house which is great! And now it's getting all painted and gorgeous courtesy of J and his week's worth of work. So, long story short, lots to look forward to, very little to get done! Awesome!

Hope all is well with all of you!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I wish for sleep

I know that I should not be freaking out this much at this point. I've worked hard, spent most of my weekend studying up a storm. I've written almost 60 pages of practice questions for myself and my classmates, and I can't help but feel that I have a lot more to do. I need to remind myself that really, it's just another test, but I'm in such a panic right now. Part of me just wants it to be over, the other part of me needs another day or so to get ready. The biggest part, though, is just tired of it. I need to stop. I need to rest. But I have at least one more day of this. It'll be alright, I just have to pace myself, or I may never actually finish this final afterall. Let's all get excited for tomorrow this time!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Half nighter

Well, I don't think I'll ever be able to pull off an all-nighter to study again. I guess I'm just old these days, or maybe it's just that the thought of reading about renal failure all night makes me want to vomit. Either way, it's about 12am, and though I might be burning the midnight oil, I definitely won't be watching any sunrises any time soon. J is playing some poker with friends tonight, so I'll probably keep at it until he's on his way home to make sure he doesn't need a ride, but after that, it's lights out in the LG household.

That's pretty much life this week though. J is on vacay this week so he's doing things we've been meaning to get to for quite some time, like painting the house! It's starting to look great on the main floor. Makes the place feel really homey. Tomorrow we're going over to barbeque with his fam, but I'm bringing along all my study stuff so I can keep at it. There's no point in letting up now. Not when I'm so close to being done and being happy with the way things turned out. Really, it's only about 2 more big days, then the renal test will be upon me. I'll wait till then to determine if I need to overextend myself on the final. Regardless, 4 days max and I'm a free woman.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Part Deux


I'm done.

Not with finals, and I know that I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm done. I'm done attending obnoxious small groups for the year, I'm done listening to terrible lecturers for the year, I'm done going to school for the year. And it is awesome.

Now, I should think that knowing I have a very difficult weekend (week really) ahead of me, I wouldn't be ready to celebrate just yet. But I would be thinking wrong. Being in school this long has made me approach things in a very goal oriented manner. And I've decided that this is not the best path to mental health. Bear with me for a moment of psychology brough to you by LG. Being so goal oriented has made me a very focused person, it's true, but has it made me a happy person? Sometimes. And sometimes isn't good enough. When all you do is focus on goals, it gets really easy to focus on what's coming up in the future, and really easy to forget about all the great stuff that's happening right now. Even the little stuff is great, really, but it gets swept under the rug when you have something big and huge looming in the distance. So, starting today, I'm making a concerted effort to focus on the good that happens every day, without forgetting about those big things that stand looming. And today, that means relaxing and enjoying the fact that even though I have more to come, today is a milestone in and of itself.

So, being the enormous nerd that I am, my small group and I are meeting for a "fluid and electrolyte conference" at a bar this afternoon. Clever, eh, studying the kidneys and all...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Great afternoon!

So there comes a time when things are really stressful where you just step back and realize that it is more exciting to be done than it is stressful to get there. That's where I've been since I walked out of class this morning. We had a really light hearted small group (am I feeling alright, I usually hate these things...) that made me realize how glad we all are to be finished with one year of med school. And not only that, but we've really learned a lot. It wasn't all stress for no pay off.

After small group I drove downtown to meet up with my dad, who is in town for work. I figured I would rather go get him downtown in the middle of the day than during rush hour, so I'm spending my afternoon studying in his hotel room. His room is amazing. I hope someday I get put up in a cool place for work. It's right on the 16th St. Mall and it's attached to the Rialto Cafe (where I just happened to have my bachelorette party!). So I spend about an hour while my dad's been in a meeting sipping this gorgeous teeny and people watching in Denver. It couldn't be a more beautiful day for it either!

So I better get back to work or this will truly be a day wasted and I'll regret it over the weekend. For those of you keeping score, there's really only 3 days left, two days of class and one day for a test. There should be 4 but since the final is take home, I won't be making it in. Pity.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I worry too much. I know this. Probably always have, but med school has brought out a new kind of worry monster from me. My worry d'jour is the one probably everyone has. The worry about the future. I worry about what is going to be expected of me.

I know that I am SOOOOO looking forward to 3rd year and moving toward less nightly studying and more "on the job" training. But with that comes a different kind of expectation. Attendings, residents, and most people in general, expect you to be there all the time, and give up the rest of your life to do it. Don't believe me? Ask yourself about the last time your doc didn't get back to you when you thought they should have. Or that time you couldn't actually talk with the doctor when you called the office. Did you think, "good for that doc for having a life of their own. Way to keep life in balance!" ? Or did you think: "Damn doctor. They never really care about their patients. They're all overpaid and underworked."? My money's on the latter. And it scares me.

All I ever wanted was a good profession to complement a good life. But sometimes I worry that I'm in way too deep and don't fully comprehend what I've gotten myself into.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finals await

So today I got up early and made myself a simple breakfast and now I'm ready to hit the books. We only have one more week of class and it's not even a full week. Thursday is my last day of class as a first year medical student. Sweet. After Thursday we have 5 days off to study for finals week. This is excellent news on many levels, but particularly on the level of what our final exam will now entail.

A week from Wednesday we have our first exam. It's not a true final, it's only over the renal system. I have been dreading this exam since I got into med school because I know how hard kidneys can be having taught "baby-renal phys" to undergrads. And I do mean baby renal. Nothing too hard, but it was still complicated! So I imagine most of my effort will go into that exam. If I get a 90 on it, I only need a 67% on the last final to honor and end the year on a truly good note. And that last final is gonna be a doozy.

It's take-home. It's to be completed online. So these are good things. But only 50% is open book, the rest is closed book, closed notes. I have no idea how many questions it is, but since it allows 3 hours for the closed book portion and unlimited (within 48 hours) time for the open book, I imagine it isn't A)easy or B)short. Hence the importance of blowing renal out of the water. And the best part about the final is that we can do it at any time we deem worthy between Wednesday at noon when our renal exam is over and Friday at noon when the final is scheduled to end. My goal, as of this morning, is to have it done by Thursday night so I can enjoy myself like crazy for one night then get my house seriously clean because we are having company!

My mom and sister are coming out at about 1 on Friday and I was nervous about getting them set up in the guest room/pull out couch after spending a week destroying the extra bedroom studying my booty off for Finals. This schedule will definitely help with that dilemma.

And in other news of seeing family, my dad is coming out to D-town on business this week and I'm picking him up to come see our house. Only my sis has seen our new digs since we moved in over a year ago, and seeing as my fam is so far away (they live on the frozen tundra up north...) I sometimes worried they wouldn't see my house for a really long time, or at least until we have kids. Then it won't look nearly as clean and nice. I was about the messiest kid I have ever met (to this day) growing up, so the fact that I can keep a house clean, even in the presence of an incredibly sheddy dog, and during med school (owing in no small part to J) makes me proud, and since I don't really have anything to hang on the fridge anymore, this will have to do!

Anyway, I'm sure I'll need lots of study breaks. Intense though the kidneys may be, they are far from page turners.

6 days and I am one quarter MD. Awesome.