Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday break!

The holidays are finally here! Last night we had an early Christmas dinner with J's family and tomorrow we leave for the great White North. I'm so looking forward to seeing my family! There are just some parts of holidays from home that really resonate with you and make them sseem more like holidays. That and we'll most definitely have a white Christmas! Hopefully I'll be more motivated to blog when we get back. Have a great holiday!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Well, tomorrow this time I will be done with surgery, for now. Feeling under the weather has made me do the one thing I vowed would not happen during third year....I missed work. And I mean a fair amount of work. Enough work to be forced to make it up after 3rd year is over. Blah. Of course this happens when I have just made a sparkly schedule for 4th year (at least an outline in my head) that would maximize my chances for a Denver residency. But oh, well. All is not lost I that front I think. I'll just need to come up with a slightly different timing.

If I don't include the time I need to make up for surgery, I have 16 short weeks separating me from the end of my clinical 3rd year experience. I know it seems silly that I would be counting that down. This is what I want to do, no? Well, yes and no. Ever since I let myself come to the concusion, the very real conclusion, that the only area of medicine that will really make me happy is OB/Gyn, I find it much harder to get excited about the upcoming internal medicine rotation. Family practice should be better, I might actually get to deliver a baby and do women's health-y things during that block. Fourth year is going to be much more exciting as I will be doing the things that I want to do for a living. Now I'm pretty much 2/3 of the way through my 3rd year and really looking forward to the future.

And all along the way I still have my preceptor visits. Today is an exam day and I'm still going in to see him. I just learn so much from even watching him interact with his patients. Not to mention it's a once a week dose of what I want to do.

I'm also super pumped to head up North to see the fam for Christmas. I am excited for the change of scenery, even if the change is to a flat, white expanse that's so cold the exhaust from the relatively few cars hangs in the air like a San Fransisco fog. But more importantly my fam is part of that change of scenery and I'm excited to see them. Lots of relaxing, baking and Wii playing.

Of course, I still have a week of class on "Death and Grief." So cheery for the holidays. Great timing school of medicine - well done.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm starting to get the blah-blah-blahs. It seems to happen in every block, that point where you are over the initial excitement/nervousness, and just ready for it to be done. I've enjoyed my time in surgery, but I'm starting to question whether I'm learning anything useful at this point. You have to wonder whether it's important for me to hold a camera to see yet another gallbladder taken out, or a retractor to see another lumpectomy when these are things I'll likely never see again, and have seen many times thus far. I just need to heed the advice one of the OB residents had for me on my rotation - enjoy all these things you'll do this year as much as you can secure in the knowlege that if you hate it; you'll never have to do it again. I only have 9 more days I need to go into the hospital for this block, and that's pretty great too. I'm looking forward to heading up to the Great White North for a week to see my family. I love Christmas and I'm looking forward to celebrating.

I am getting pretty antsy to just GO somewhere I have to say. Christmas trip notwithstanding I think it might be time to plan a mini vacation...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So, taking a cue from a friend on facebook, I thought I'd write about what I'm thankful for. First, I'm thankful for my family and friends. I could not make it through this year, or this path in life, without them and their unending support. Being able to have someone come to pick up the dogs when we need, someone to help me by cooking some dinner when I can't get home in time, people to just vent at when work is tough; these are things that are priceless and that I couldn't live without. I am so lucky.

I'm thankful that I have all my faculties and that, even though med school is hard, it is not as hard for me as it is for some. I am thankful that I don't have to study as much as some people which gives me more time with those I care about.

I'm thankful I have found such fantastic mentors all along the way that will hopefully continue to be fantastic mentors and collegues throughout my career.

I'm thankful that I can be a part of patient care. I'm thankful that even though I can't, right now, take out someone's cancer, that I have the ability to offer empathy and compassion when the others around me don't have time to do so.

I'm thankful that I didn't find out today I have pancreatic cancer, unlike my patient. I'm thankful I could be there for them when all the pieces fell apart, and I'm thankful they have a great family to be there for them as they get put back together.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Few Things

Surgery has been a positive experience (so far) in so many ways:

1) I know what I want to be when I grow up! (No, for real this time!) Barring some life-altering event in the next year, I will be applying for a residency in Ob/Gyn. I've learned from my rotation that I love the OR. It's my favorite place in the hospital; well, favorite next to labor and delivery. I also have learned that I really don't mind heading to the hospital at 4am on a Sunday when it's to do something I enjoy. Knowing that makes the idea of a tough residency (as if any are easy) much more palatable. I've learned that I am tougher than I thought I was and that I can take what's given and smile knowing that in the end, I win! I get to do what I have wanted to do for so long.

2) I gots myself tough. Getting told you're dumb all day everyday will make it run right off ya.

3) I've learned how to be a more effective team member and, someday, a better senior resident, etc. How did I learn this? By watching what my chief does and knowing that I can do so much better. I've had some great teachers, and the people coming behind me deserve the same.

4) One handed knot tying is sexy.

5) Having a beer after 3 nights of call is the best beer you'll ever have!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Keepin on.


That was a long night.

24 hour shifts are for the birds.

Trauma surgery is for a tougher person than I.

And getting hit by a car looks like almost the worst experience a person could have.

I'll write more later when I have more wits about me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Tomorrow night I will take a night of trauma call at the infamously busy Denver Health Medical Center. I'm freaked out. More than that, really. But this too will pass.....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why did I want to do that?

So I am on my anesthesia week, and clearly when I decided a long time ago I wanted to be an anesthesiologist, I was not thinking. I don't like it. It's not a bad week, the days are short, the people are (mostly) nice, but...the patients are asleep. Universally (almost!). I also have started to believe the addage of anesthesia - 90% boredom, 10% panic. They are amazing critical care docs. They can stick a breathing tube in faster than anyone in the hospital. They can get access to pretty much any vein, or artery, for a line when it's needed. If you are really sick, you want an anesthesiologist around, even if you never have to actually know they are there. But do I want to be one? No. I got to intubate today, and I really didn't like it. Something about shoving a giant tube down someone's throat just rubs me the wrong way. It's good, I suppose, to knock a few choices off the list, and start to narrow down what it is I want to do, but something about watching my attending get to work at 7 and leave at 1:30 in the afternoon makes me wish I could find a redeeming quality. I just don't think I can.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

On Surgery

For everyone who I have been neglecting...I'm so sorry. Surgery lives up to its rough hours even when you're at the "good" place. I'm on call this weekend, so yesterday I was there from 4am to 4pm. Today I was in at 4, but I was able to leave after rounding was over at 10. That was a nice surprise. There is a case going later today, but we'll see if I get called in since it's just a laparoscopy and probably quicker for the surgeon to not wait for me to come in. Plus he asked me if I was getting enough rest today, so maybe I looked like hell and he wants me to sleep. Either way, I'm feeling lots better after my little nap. Refreshed, at least a little, and almost ready for the week ahead. And there's no excuse for complaining since after today, I only have 2 weekend calls left, and I don't mean the whole weekend, 2 weekend days.

On the whole, once I'm out of bed I am really digging surgery. I think the OR is a really fun place, after you're comfortable with how to stay sterile or stay out of the way of the sterile people. Even though I can do less during them, I love the laparoscopic procedures. I think it's amazing the stuff you can do through such a tiny incision. And I'm hoping that with the exception of C-sections, most of the procedures I'll do in the future will be laparoscopic too. If the rest of this rotation goes well, I think I will be able to safely say I can handle Ob/Gyn. It might not always be pretty, and the hours, especially during residency, can be really long, but if I love it and love the OR it's the right place for me to be.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Study break

So, the good news is I only have 3 more shifts in the ED. This is great because, as it turns out, I don't really like emergency medicine. I like continuity of care. ED is the opposite of that. The other good news is, working in the ED gives the greatest stories ever. My new personal favorite: A teenager came in to the ED stating "there's a piece of chicken stuck in my throat!" This kiddo had no respiratory distress so for a while we all stood around looking at him like "so, should we do the heimleck?" We figured we shouldn't, though, because he clearly could breath so it wasn't stuck in his trachea or airway. There was almost certainly something stuck in his esophagus though, since he couldn't even swallow his spit and everything we tried to put down his throat promptly came back out. We told him he should vomit. He said he knew that. We said, put your finger down your throat and make it happen. He said - "don't you have something a bit more medically advanced than that!?" We grabbed a tongue depressor. He actually managed to throw up gastric contents, but not dislodge the piece of chicken! After that he continued to vom Dr. Pepper, but no chicken. We were starting to think maybe his hot chicken sammie burned his esophagus and it was actually so inflamed it was closing. The Dr. Pepper coming out was so dark we couldn't tell if it was bloody or not, so the doc asked him to throw up in the emesis basin rather than the trash can just in case we needed to test it. At that he promptly barfed up the piece of chicken and asked "so can I finish my chicken sandwich now?"

We have a large, tough, written exam on Friday, so that's a bummer. But as always, I love test days. It's great to have a weekend where nothing is due, there's nothing to study, and you can really, truly relax. That'll be me come Friday afternoon. Then I start surgery.

I'm actually pretty excited about surgery. Do I want to be a general surgeon? NO. But do I think my future career will entail some surgical procedures? Yes. So, it'll be a great learning experience. And let's not forget, it's at Rose!

On the down side, since I've been working nights, I've had hardly any time to do all the fun fall stuff I love. There have been no recent visits to the Farmer's market, no pumpin patch, no homemade apple cider. Three more shifts. I really hate nights. And rest assured, there will at least be apple cider this weekend!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

From the Wards

So, I've seen the good, and some of the bad. Here's a couple of the not so great things I've seen in the last few months:

-A patient was denied pain medicine after hitting a wall (quite literally), the provider claiming a possible drug interaction. After the patient was in their room, the provider makes the comment that the pain in their hand was just cause and effect, and the provider likes cause and effect.

-A mother abandoned her baby in the nursery after delivery. Yes, there are many silver linings here, but the gut reaction is disgust.

-A group of providers laughing at a patient with dementia secondary to a progressive, and inoperable, brain tumor. Worst of all, the patient knew they weren't making any sense, and was incredibly frustrated by the situation.

-A nurse rolling their eyes and making fun of the provider every time the provider turned their back.

Man. Medicine can be a catty, crappy world sometimes. But then there are the good times, like my preceptor talking to a little girl, the daughter of a patient, who he delivered and being so excited telling her how he was the first person in the world to see her. His excitement made me realize that there is a reason to do this. And it's a pretty great reason.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I had my own beer festival....

And didn't take any pictures! Last night we had some friends from college over to have our own version of the Great American Beer Festival. We've been to the GABF 3 times in the past, and for those who aren't familiar, it's a giant ruckus with breweries from all over the country pouring one oz. samples of their products. The Denver Convention Center gets so packed with people, they line up 12 across and the line goes all the way around the Convention Center for 2 days of beer drinking debauchery. It's a good time, but it's getting to be too big, too loud, and too crowded for our aging tastes. What can I say, we're getting old. So instead, this year we decided to have our own version. I went to a liquor store near us that lets you buy individual beers and mix and match your own six packs, so I found 24 different beers we'd never tried, or had tried and liked, and asked everyone to grab a six pack or a bomber of something they liked or wanted to try. Our friends S&B just got back from the real thing Oktoberfest in Germany so they brought their faves from there. Let's just say that this morning we have a LOT of leftover beer, so we'll obviously have to have some more fun next weekend.

For food we went German style and grilled up some brats in the afternoon, then let them cook in beer and sauerkraut for 6 hours. They were delicious (but my stomach is none too sure about them this morning). We also had some homemade beer cheese soup, that would have been helped greatly by some croutons, but hey, lesson learned. I did buy a bunch of those super pretzels, but we didn't make a single one and now the freezer is packed to capacity plus some. The food was really tasty though!

Overall, I think the party was a great idea, and next year, look for an evite early. I think this could catch on!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Well, crap.

This week I have spent every morning at the University Hospital Level I nursery. This is the happy nursery. The nursery where the healthy babies go. It is awesome! A very happy place in medicine, that's for sure. The thing about it, though, is that it has reignited my interest in ob/gyn. I just love that stuff. And I wish I didn't love that stuff. I want to have a life. I'm afraid of that residency. But, when it comes down to it, maybe I'm just afraid of residency. There is no easy residency. I just have to face that fact. I guess I'm right back to where I started.

So at least I get one more day with the cute babies, and one more day at the private practice peds office! All good things. I'm looking forward to a nice weekend, and hopefully getting organized again. Ever since this clerkship started I've just been kind of flying by the seat of my pants. Hope everyone is doing well, and hopefully I'll have some fun pictures to post after the weekend!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rocky's Day Out

Today I took Rocky to the farmer's market with me. He was great! I love having (at least) one good dog that I can bring in public without worrying he might eat a kid or pull me into a vendor's tent.

I have to say I'm enjoying the fall. It's the best time of year for farmer's market produce, the weather is nice and cool but still warm enough to enjoy it, and for me it just seems to be the most optimistic time of year. This is only fueled by the best news I've gotten all year - I am going to do my surgery rotation at Rose Medical Center.

Why is this great news? Because at Rose your life doesn't suck. That's why. Students work one weekend a month instead of every weekend. Students get meal tickets! Students get free parking! Students (so far) don't get yelled at! I've been so dreading this rotation (which starts in the middle of October), and now I don't feel nearly as scared. So far third year has shaped up to be better than expected. I hope I don't jinx myself for saying that!

For now, I am just enjoying my time in private practice pediatrics. Everyone has been so nice, and I enjoy working with kids and families. Right now, life is good!

Monday, September 14, 2009


I have actually read books - fiction! This is an exciting perk of 3rd year I never anticipated. We had a really great relaxing weekend. Saturday, after my donut-eating, movie watching rest time we headed up to Superior CO for the Mile High Chili festival. It was great! For 5 bucks each we got all the chili we could shove in our bellies and 2 free beers. Plus there was a great live band too. It rained a ton for a long time, and it was really cold, but overall it was a great day!

I also read the Time Traveler's Wife. I cried like a baby. I don't think I will watch the movie.

It is really starting to feel like fall, which always seems like the time for starting new things. I know I feel this way because I've been in school for-well- ever. But I think I'd like to try a new hobby. Any ideas?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lazy mornings

Pediatrics is a fantastic rotation! Don't get me wrong, it is definitely not for me. My stomach turns a little everytime I have to give a little baby shots and hear the inevitable screams that follow. But the kids are almost always great patients. They are unassuming, trusting, and honest. That's the best part. It's fun to work there, and the hours are great. That's about all I can ask for!

Plus it lets me spend my weekends here on the couch with J, eating some Winchell's donuts, drinking coffee and otherwise being lazy and happy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

And we're one third through it!

I am so excited that neurology is over! Tonight J and I and a bunch of med school peeps are headed downtown to Great Divide Brewing Co. for their release party for two new beers. It should be a lot of fun. I'll take pictures and for once maybe I'll post them!

To leave everyone on a fun note, since I promise I didn't actually hate neurology, I have a great patient story, two actually.

#1: I walked into the patient's room (one who was admitted for altered mental status and what was starting to look like a possible dementia) and asked how the patient was doing that morning. Patient says: "I'm great doc. Ask away, I'm ready to think!"

#2: A patient came in after losing consciousness. He was in a coma. This was the third time he'd been in this year. He continually was stopping his insulin and skipping dialysis, having a seizure, going to the hospital, getting righted and heading home. Not the fun part. The good part is what his daughters did the last time he came in. He had a small stroke and couldn't really remember anything afterward. So what did his daughers do? He asked for a cigarette and they told him he quit smoking 3 years ago. He couldn't remember so he just believed them. And quit smoking cold turkey.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Well, the final verdict is, I didn't completely hate it, but I sure don't like it. I'm pretty sure I'm going to walk in this morning and my patient will have died. This is not a rarity in neuro unfortunately. Brain tumors are not good news.

But, I don't have to love everything. And in fact, I'm relieved that I don't! Looking at how I feel about neuro (and if I'm honest, inpatient medicine in general) it makes me feel certain that by the end of the year I'll know for sure what I want to do. More and more often I think that something is OB/Gyn. The lifestyle scares the crap out of me. But not all residency programs are as scary as the one I did my rotation at. I think a small community program might just be ok. I still have a lot of thinking about it to do. And I still love psych. Also, I have two weeks of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation coming up, and that sounds pretty fun too! I can't rule that one out either.

I was able to be the first assist on an oophorectemy (I helped my preceptor remove an ovary) and I haven't felt that excited about a piece of medicine for months. I think it might be a sign. I know I can choose anything I want, especially because I have such a supportive hubs. And residency won't last forever, so it's silly for me to choose something that has an "easier" residency but that I like less. Lots to think about I guess.

But, next week is vacay! I will write more later, but for now, it's back to the wards. TWO MORE DAYS!!!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

3 days down 17 to go...

So, I thought for sure I'd love neurology. After all, I've pretty much loved everything else, and I did a master's in neurobiology. But no. I have never been so bored in my life. I got there at 7 yesterday and didn't get done rounding until 1pm. Gross. Psych is looking better and better everyday. I can deal with a little cognitive dissonance for a career that I like to do.

Not that I wouldn't like OB/Gyn, I definitely love that field. But the lifestyle is hell and frankly, I find myself liking my life so much better, regardless of what I do during the day, if I have a lot of free time for my real life. When I think about it, forensic psych might actually be perfect for me. I had a lot of angst out of college about whether to try to apply to law school or med school. I decided med school because I like science more than liberal arts in general (but not always). This might be the best compromise.

At least neuro is not the longest rotation, and not the longest hours. But it's not a lot better than OB/Gyn was, and the time isn't filled with babies. No call. No weekends. I should not complain about that one.

But the best thing is: there's a wedding this weekend! Hooray! A couple of our college friends are finally tying the knot. It's going to be great to see everyone and reminisce a bit. Plus it'll be nice to catch up on everyone's lives. Everyone has accomplished so much! I'm very excited. Just need to get through, really one more day. Tomorrow we are in the epilepsy clinic, which should at least be really busy, and I am pushing to have my preceptor on Friday afternoon, which is always the best part of my week!

Wow. That was a boring post. But I felt like I had to write since it had been a while. I'll write again later about my evil OB attending and what he wrote on my eval. Jerk face.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance

So, I'm conflicted these days. I really love psychiatry. I never thought that was possible. I often think it would be the perfect compromise between trying to have a great personal life and a rewarding professional life. It seems to be for my attending. It would be a bit hard for me because I don't know as much about matching into psychiatry as I have learned about OB/Gyn or anesthesia. But, not so hard that I couldn't do it. The main thing stopping me from doing more research is my own stupid ego.

Think about it this way. If you were going to be a physician, would you want to be able to offer medical advice to your friends and family? Or do you want to send them off to a "medical doctor." After all, what is 4 years of medical school worth if not to end up a medical doctor? There's some excitement and privelege in being allowed to see someone from the inside in surgery, or help deliver their new baby. I know that the absence of those things does not make psych any less noble a profession, but it's just not what one, at least this one, pictures when they go into medicine. "Is there a doctor on the plane," "Well sort of, I"m a psychiatrist." Does that count?

Alas, I have a whole year to figure it out. But this is my last week to really see psych and all it offers. I was always raised to believe that women can do everything that men can do, that I am capable of anything, and somewhere along the way, I determined that that should be the hardest thing possible. Maybe that's just not the lesson I should have taken from it. Maybe it's fine to want to be there when my future kids have band concerts (blah) or swim meets, or (please) track meets. And maybe, just maybe, there's an area of medicine where that's possible.

What do you think? Does being a "head shrinker" make one less of a doctor?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My Psychation!

It's been a fabulous 2 weeks! I have to say that maybe I was premature declaring I would be an OB/Gyn. I am having an excellent time in psychiatry. I actually look forward to going in every day. The patients are incredibly interesting and my attending is a great mentor and lets me ask the patients anything I want (with some direction for those patients that have a violent history!). The lifestyle is really great and I think that's something that has to be considered. Let's just say it's on the list!

And even better, during psych I've actually had time to do things! Last Saturday J and I hiked our first 14er together. He's done some before but I never had. We climbed Mt. Bierstadt. It was definitely harder than I expected! But the view from the top was pretty great:

We brought the dogs with and they had a blast. The big guy kept laying on the snow on his back and squirming around until he slid down upside down and backward. As soon as he got to the bottom of the snow field he would run back up to the top and do the same thing again. All the people watching thought he was pretty hilarious.

Mugs had way more energy than the rest of us and on the way down he would run in circles around us on the snow. Then he slept for three days. So did the rest of us. I actually started to feel a bit under the weather after the trip, so I felt a little down for a few days, but I'm getting better in time for my long weekend! It's hard to believe that in 3rd year so far I've had 2 three day weekends. I really thought that by this time I would feel like I've been hit by a truck. I've been lucky so far. It also makes me think about what I really want in a career. I am happiest when I work normal hours and have free time. I love medicine, but I'll never be so gung ho that it will be my whole life. Maybe that makes me less of a physician, but I think it makes me human. I do have my preceptor today, and I think it's good that I will get the opportunity to compare how I feel about OB to whatever I am doing at the moment. Should be interesting.

The fourth of July should be a good time. J and I are going to run a 4M race in the morning and then head out to a BBQ with his fam. That night we're going to a soccer game and fireworks show. Friday should be great too! We're planning on going for a hike in the morning and stopping by Oscar Blues in Lyons. We are huge fans of Dale's Pale Ale and have been looking forward to going to Lyons to check it out for quite some time. Who knew that it would be 3rd year when I had time to do it!?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Things to Learn in Psych

Number 1: Never place anything heavy or throwable within reach of patients.
Number 2: If you forget rule number 1, be quick to duck.
Number 3: No neckties for men, no dangly earrings for the ladies.
Number 4: Just expect to be surprised, and work on your poker face.
Number 5: Did you know Mensa is a "support group for gifted and talented people" like my patients?!

Overall, it's pretty fun thus far. Something new everyday. And something fun at home everyday since I have all this free time! The dogs are mucho grateful. And I am grateful for the peace and quiet. J has been working like crazy on finishing the garage, and he's getting pretty close. I'm pumped to park inside again. I have been spoiled. Plus it'll be nice to get the contents of the garage back in the garage and not in the house. But he's been really quick on this one and I appreciate it!

For those of you without a huge commute, remember it's bike to work day! Not very feasible for me, but hopfully I'll be able to make it up later on when I am closer to home!

Well, time to get going. Gotta walk the dogs and take a peak at the materials for our "student study session" this afternoon. Did I mention that's done at 3!?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

End of the (Very) Beginning

So, I have one block of 3rd year behind me. One sixth of the way to being a 4th year medical student. Baby steps, people, baby steps. In the end, I found a new love in my life. I hope that the OB-Gyn world will work out for me. But I do have 5/6 left to change my mind. If anything keeps me from doing this, it will be the lifestyle. It's a tough balancing act, deciding on having a fam, being the best doctor I can be, and really enjoying what I do. I have great support, so I know it's very possible. But to me, the whole thing is like breaking in a new pair of shoes that you absolutely loved and HAD to have. It costs a lot and you know it's going to hurt while your getting them just right. I guess I will keep shopping over the next 10 months and hopefully find just the right pair. I know myself though, and more often than not, when I really love something I tend to know it right away.

Yesterday I started my psychiatry rotation, and can I just say - I couldn't be more thankful that it's only 4 weeks. I am working with a "dangerous population." And I'm not super thrilled about it. But, my preceptor has promised me every Friday afternoon off, no weekends, and getting out by 4pm every day. There is a reason why I picked it for summer. I am quite sure, though, that I'll have a lot of stories. I also don't have to be there until 9am. So, I'm off to take the dogs for a walk. We finally have some nice weather!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


But it doesn't feel like it. Today is about 50 degrees and not all that nice. Actually, crappy. Rainy, windy, cold. Add the fact that the pup is ridiculously enthralled by the umbrella and hence won't actually go to the bathroom while I have it open, and it's been on the miserable side this morning. But I have no where to be until 3 this afternoon, so I'm cozy in the house. I feel like I have so much to do, all my thoughts about it could come rushing out of my ears at any moment. I've always been less than productive when I start freaking out about how much has to be done. So I'm trying to break it into managable bits and work from there. We'll see if I still feel sane by the end of the weekend.

My weeks in emergency medicine have gone exactly as I expected. The shifts are quick and kind of fun, but leave me knowing that both emergency and pediatrics are not for me. I get really sad to see kids so sick. It is handy to learn about peds since it will make me feel more well equipped to take care of my own kids one day without being that parent that runs to the ED everytime the kid has a fever.

I better get to working on some of this mountain of work. I feel like I'm pretty much swimming in it at the moment. So much busy work, it makes the 14 hour shifts of L&D seem easy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Feels like summer

I can't help but feel like I'm on summer vacation while I am on this emergency medicine block. Yesterday I had a ride-along with the Fire Department EMS division. It was a pretty low key day, and they were pretty hilarious. I also think they would have let me do pretty much anything I wanted on calls, so it was good experience. I was glad I got to ride with the fire fighters, especially when I ran into a classmate on the ambulance. She wasn't really able to do anything.

Today I don't go in until 3pm. I stay until 11. This is awesome. Although I won't see J today, I'll still get to sleep at night when it's dark and J should at least have part of tomorrow off so I'll see him before I go in tomorrow again at 3. Plus it's a beautiful day outside and I get to take a nice run/walk with the doggies. I have stuff I should be doing for school, but I am really enjoying this "free time." Working 8 hours after my 14 hour days last week feels like a vacation in and of itself. Plus there is a lot less stress on this block since it is 100% pass-fail. No way to honor, you just show up and learn all you can. I don't have any interest in doing ED work as a career, but it'll be nice to get familiar with it a little for future ED consults, etc. The best part about the pass/fail thing is that a 70% on the test next friday shows up the same as a 100%. It just makes things seem less stressful, which is always appreciated.

I think it always helps to have something to look forward to as well! The awesome thing is that the day after our exam for emargency there is a beer tasting event at Great Divide Brewing Co. For 20 bucks (part of which goes to charity) you can try all the beer you want and they are even having food! Pretty good deal for a 5 hour event. Plus it's Saturday afternoon, leaving the evening time to get some good sleep and still be refreshed to start GYN clinic on Monday morning. So, I'm adding a countdown to the top of the blog. I do love a countdown!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Up Side

*not the real baby, that would be wrong on so many levels...
**I only tell this story because I know you'll all hear it from her, I won't say names in the interest of patient confidentiality, but among friends, I know she'll be telling the story too!

So, the week of nights turned out to be much better than my week of days. In the last two nights on service I delivered 3 babies! But by far the best story happened on the last night, Thursday! I guess technically it was very early on Friday morning. It was shaping up to be a slow night, steady in triage, but no one, not in the whole hospital, was in labor. So, myself and the residents were going to head down to the caf for a snack. As we were walking out toward the elevator, I saw a familiar face in a whole lot of pain. One of the ladies from my sorority in college was coming in to triage in labor! The residents assured me we still had time, the nurses would check her in and get her set up. I ate "lunch" and my intern checked to make sure she was ok with me being present during delivery. She was fine with it and being transferred to the low risk floor. I got her stuff together and was headed up to get her history for the admission paperwork. When I walked in the room, I knew there was going to be no history taking. She was complete and ready to go. I ran out, called my intern, and went back into the room. I realized there was no time for waiting for the docs and grabbed a gown and gloves. My intern made it up to stand behind me for support, but the little one was not waiting any longer for the grand entrance. I was able to deliver my sorority sister on my own. It was so exciting! All the docs thought it was a hilarious story, and my attending let me sign the fake birth certificate that goes in the baby book. I felt so lucky, priveleged really, to be part of it. I think my interest in ob/gyn is secure.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tough Stuff

If I still have an interest in OB/GYN by the end of this rotation, it must be meant to be. Today was probably the toughest day of my (very short) medical career. It was my very first vaginal delivery. Yes, after an entire week on a very busy labor deck, I had yet to see a vaginal delivery that did not involve forceps. Lots of cesarean sections, not a lot of your normal births. So you would think this would be a big exciting moment. But, on said first delivery, the baby died. After just spending my last week on oncology, I thought this week would be so much more up beat and exciting. However, there have been 3, countem, 3 dead babies this week. And a multitude of other bad situations. This was such an anomolous week, the head of the OBGyn department footed the bill for a nice lunch for all the residents and students on service, about 8 of us, and talked to us for about an hour about all the great things that so often happen in this field and why he feels it is the best field there is. It was really nice of him to do that, and much appreciated by everyone, but certainly by me. I have always known that regardless of what field in medicine you go into there are horrible low points. But keep in mind, this is my very first clinical rotation of medical school, and it's been full of badness. My first ultrasound I looked at was a confirmed miscarraige. The first big surgery I was scrubbed for took 9 hours and involved a much more advanced cancer than the patient was aware of, causing her to wake up from anesthesia with no spleen and a colostomy bag. It has not been an easy rotation. To say the least. If it weren't for J I would be a puddle of sadness on the floor by now. It does put your problems in perspective. At least there's that.

I am on OB nights next week, and I"m cautiously optimistic. I can't let myself believe anymore that it will be nothing but exciting and fun. I don't think any part of medicine is that. Sometime this week the rose colored glasses fell off and I stepped on 'em. But I keep going in, because I've tried other things, and nothing else makes me want to come back for more. For now, I"ll enjoy my awesomely understanding husband and my tired and affectionate pups and just enjoy the fact that I am home for the weekend. Sunday night is the farthest thing from my mind.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo!

And I'm home at 5:30! OB/Gyn is pretty great as services go. I don't have OB until next week, and I know that will be more labor intensive, pun intended. But overall, I have learned a lot and I"m seeing interesting patients. The great news is that boards went really well. I set a goal for myself and I got just over it! So that's fantastic. I have noticed that since I have been getting less sleep my eye is bugging me quite a bit more. I'll have to keep the other eye peeled to see if it's something that needs attention. It probably just needs some time to adjust. Good thing for the weekends. J calls me a sleep camel, because I'm storing up sleep for the rest of the week! It seems to be working! Haven't had the urge for a nap all week!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just Awesome....

Did I mention I don't have to go in tomorrow until 8:30? I think I am going to love clinic.

Here we go!

Well, so much to catch up on!

First of all, I regained my sense of taste just in time to enjoy my trip to San Fran! We had such a great time! As soon as we dropped off our bags we walked straight to the Ferry Building for the farmer's market. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we ate some delicious eats while looking out over the bay. While doing some research online I found out about this little Mexican food cart that is at the market on Saturdays and J was naturally super excited. He got a plate of chilaquilles, I got my salumi cone. My vice is mystery meat after all... It was super funny though because as we walked through the ferry building a girl came up and started to offer us a sample of some organic produce, but then saw my cone and asked "did you get meat in a cup?" I said yes, and she said "oh." and just stopped offering anything to us. Oops. We spent the rest of that day doing all the touristy stuff along the wharf, heading over to Ghirardelli square, then bussing it back to our hotel. We made a trip to Trader Joe's to get stocked up on some snacks and wine and then walked to dinner at Tommy's Joynt, which we saw on Diners, Driveins and Dives. The next day we spent mostly in Golden Gate park. I'm super jealous that such a huge, gorgeous, GREEN park is in the middle of a great city. I wish we had it here! I also got to meet up with a friend of mine from high school at San Francisco brewing company. I haven't seen her since I was a freshman in college. I was pretty pumped. We had a great time and then had some dinner at yet another diner we saw on triple D.

Monday in San Fran was the highlight of the trip. In case you couldn't tell, we are beer people. I set up a tour of Anchor brewing a long time ago and I'm so excited we went! It was a great tour, with great beer (in unlimited quantity...) and we even met some fellow Coloradoites who we talked with for quite a while. It was a really good time! We walked up to Coit tower and had a nice dinner overlooking the bay. For some reason I'm having problems uploading pics right now, so I'll skip through some of the details and save em for picture captions. The next two days we spent in Napa, and that was a lot of fun too. I was really sad to leave, as usual, but happy to get home at the same time. At one point on the way to a bus stop, I walked us right through the heart of the Tenderloin in SF. Not a great place for tourists to walk. I'm just glad it was daylight and we weren't too far off the beaten path. Makes the suburbs of D-town look a little brighter.

Right away when we got back my mom and sis came to town! Also super exciting! We had a great time, except for the giant snow storm we had!! I can't believe that they came to Denver from Fargo and we had such a snow storm. But I was able to bring my sis (who is recently turned 21) to Coors brewery, and that was awesome! We also had some great meals and went out for a "Ladies' night" on Saturday with some family friends. It was a great trip!

All of last week was spent in orientation sessions getting us all ready for third year. I think it was pretty helpful for the most part. Only time will tell. Yesterday and today we have had 2 days of 10 hours of lecture straight (no breaks, no not lunch either). I'm starting my OB/GYN clerkship and this is all material we should know before we all go to different sites. I am so looking forward to this rotation! I am really lucky because I am able to spend the rest of this week in the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility clinic. I think this is something I might really consider for my career, and I am the only student in this session that is able to spend any time in this clinic. I feel really lucky. The best thing about this clerkship? No weekends! That's right! I will have every weekend free!!! That means I'll have two blocks in a row with weekends off! I might not forget what my husband looks like afterall!

I know I have lots of phone calls to catch up on and emails and everything else. Lots of people to meet up with in the near future! I promise I will get on it starting this weekend!

Apparently tomorrow is "score day" for boards. I sure hope that's true. I am really looking forward to getting that behind me. Then I can really move on to third year!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Yikes. So, I have a way overactive immune system. So much so that even when J got really sick at Christmas, even though I was immunosuppressed with high dose steroids, I never got as much as the sniffles. However, apparently the long term stress of preparing for and taking the boards is a much more effective immune suppressant than prednisone. I am SICK!!!! So sick. J had it last week and is just feeling better. I can't really get solid foods past my gigantically swollen throat. It is no fun. I figure, I have 3 days to get better before my awesome trip. I've been planning this trip for months and months, so I will do absolutely everything I can to make sure this thing gets better quickly. We're already planning to bring all those symptomatic meds just in case we're both not up to par. But I'm willing to try any home remedies that might have some validity. If you have any ideas, let me know! And I promise I'll be resting with loads of fluids. So outside of those, please send ideas!!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Well, it is over. I can hardly believe it, and it took me a while to decompress, but it's done. Overall I think it went well. The first and last blocks were the worst and I can't help but perseverate on the ONE question that I am absolutely positive I missed. But, it's rapidly leaving my thoughts. I have this to think about right now instead...

What can I say, my J knows how to take care of me. Off to have beer and pizza, then more beer!

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I'm tired. I'm grumpy. I think "maculopapular rash" is a term designated for "anything on the skin we couldn't come up with an eponym for." As of 2pm tomorrow, I give up. But tonight at 7:30 it's time for a Blue Moon and a movie.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Adding insult to injury

Tomorrow night is not only E-days, my favorite Mines festival, but The Flobots are performing. So sad. Alas, micro calls. But at least we should get a chance to see the Lewises! See you tomorrow Sonny and Becky!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

One more week

I have the attention span of a two year old. I am dragging this week. I give my classmates and all who have gone through this before me a lot of credit. I can only handle this for so long. This last week is going to be a tough one for me. I can study hard for a lot of the day, but I'm starting to need longer and longer breaks. But, it's coming fast, and I"ll get there. One more week. One more week. One more week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My typical situation

I feel like all I talk about is "I need to study for boards!" And it occurred to me this morning that most people won't have the pleasure of ever finding out what that is like. Hence I present "a day in the life of a medical student who is studying for step I: written in my 10 minute lunch break."

For these 3 study weeks, my typical day starts with Mugs crying in his kennel so he can go out. I know J just let him out about an hour ago, but I'm a sucker, and he's really, really annoying, so I get up. I brush my teeth, get dressed (sort of, I put on a sweatshirt and socks and remain in my jammie pants...for how long, who knows?) and let the monster out of his cage. The three of us go downstairs and I take the little one out on his leash and let Rocky have at it. Inevitably, they leave a present on the lawn and I take care of it.

I go inside, go to grab a cup of coffee. J left me a quarter cup...sigh. So I put my pan on the stove for my morning egg, let it heat up and start a new pot of joe. I eat my egg and fake breakfast sausage in about 5 minutes while I check my email and the weather on my AWESOME new iPod touch. Once said breafast is down the hatch it's time to hit the books. I read the review book, take notes in First Aid, then make flashcards of all I've done. This goes on for about 4-5 hours; usually from 7-12ish. At about 11:30 I could eat the aforementioned review book, so I throw some sort of garbage in the microwave and chow down while I continue to write flashcards. I usually take about 10 minutes to read blogs about now. I go on with this for about another hour.

Around 1 I take off to my "safe haven" which has now become the gym. I am a lazy person in my nature, so you know it's bad when the thought of a sweaty workout gets me all excited. Being as it's my only real break of substance throughout the day, I'll take what I can get. I usually take my time in the gym, shower there so I don't have an annoying puppy licking my legs as I get out of the shower, and head out. Break time's over. By about 2:30 or 3 I'm back at it. If I am very likely to kill the dogs on that particular day, I go to the library and set up shop there; if they aren't on my last nerve, I go home and study there. Usually I head home. The kids in the library are equally annoying after 3 so it's kind of a wash anyway. Around 6 J comes home; I tease him about leaving such a huge cup of coffee for me we whip up some dinner; I chow down and leave him with the dishes. I head upstairs for about another 3 hours of Kaplan Q bank filled fun. Then straight to bed to start it all again.

All told, this is not very fun. This is why I am taking the exam as early as I feel I can get away with. It makes me glad I am not a lawyer studying for the bar, since I hear it's just as bad if not worse.

Rest assured though, I'll be looking back fondly on this time when I need to be at the hospital by 6 (or earlier) for rounds in a few months. Grass is always greener..

Back to work!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


In an odd twist of events I've decided to take the Step 1 exam a few days early, on April 6th. I figure, it's my dad's bday, so it's probably lucky, and my scores are going well on practice exams, and I really don't want to forget any more of the little details I've crammed into my head in the last week, and will cram in there in the next two weeks. So, I need to update my countdown. This also gives me a little more free time before third year so I'm looking forward to meeting up with friends and forgetting all about that test.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Git 'er done

I really never thought I would study so many hours in a row the day after my finals. I am beat. I have to say though, I had a great birthday yesterday, and I really loved getting together with those who could make it. Knowing that everyday from here on in is going to be this long is a bit of a downer, but the material is interesting and I'm ready to get this thing done!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

I love my birthday! I always have, I always will! Today I love it even more because today is the last day of my pre-clinical curriculum in medical school. From here on out, I'm actually going to be reminded of why I did this in the first place. Don't get me wrong, it's a little scary. I've never really been anything but a student, and so this is going to be an adjustment. But I'm so excited for it. I know I have to get through boards first, but it's just another necessary bump in the road. And honestly, I've been looking forward to this time of boards prep. It's not hard to study when that's all you have to do.

It's shaping up to be a great day. This morning was hilarious. During our microbiology course we've learned about fungus (and a lot of much more disgusting stuff, but, another time). The professor who talked about this would constantly say "when you see that under the scope It's Miller Time, that's your diagnosis." He must have said "It's Miller Time" 30 times per lecture. So, during the exam, when someone got up and wrote "Miller Time" on the board with an arrow pointing out the door, I chuckled a little and finished my test, thinking nothing of it. I couldn't help but giggle when I turned in my test and left the room to find a sign on the wall that said - "Now it's really Miller Time" with an arrow pointing down - to a big ice bath full of Miller Lite. I took some pictures, I'll post them later. For now though, I'm off to call my friend from college to catch up, pop the cork on some bubbly, and just enjoy one more day before the road to Boards really begins. Feels good.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Sorry for the hiatus. Let me just say I am trapped behind a pile of books and can't get out. If I never hear the name "Bronfenbrenner" again it'll be too soon. And parasitic worms are the single most disgusting thing I've learned about medicine thus far. I'm out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Everyone has a bucket list somewhere in the back of their mind. You know, that list of things you absolutely must do before you kick the bucket. Well, mine came to the forefront today when we did our geriatric interviews. I felt honored to meet the wonderful woman (89!) that I met today. She still had every one of her faculties, and was quick-witted to boot. We practiced doing screens that we should do on our geriatric patients, including a depression screen. When my classmate sitting next to me asked this lovely lady if in the past month she's felt depressed or hopeless, her response was "I feel every morning that this is going to be the best day of my life!" And my classmates' response was "That is sooooo lucky." We all cracked up because I don't think she meant to say that last bit out loud, but it was hilarious. I think that attitude of seeing everyday as (at least potentially) being the best day so far is one that I want to adopt so badly. I think that with my eye problems, I've been trying to take on a new attitude. That the things that happen to us, are just that, things that happen. They aren't retribution for some sort of past life, they aren't perpetual bad luck. They are just things that happen. And I think that looking at them that way makes me realize that it's not about the things that happen, but how you deal with them that counts. And I know that I can deal.

So, that bucket list. I think I have less of a true "bucket list" and more of a "third year list." Gotta start somewhere. More than things I need to do, there are people I need to see before I get swept up into what will surely be just the beginning of a very fulfilling, but very busy clinical career. You know who you are. And if you don't, just call me! Chances are excellent you are one of them!

One thing that I never pass up the chance to do is visit Golden. My alma mater is here, but much more importantly, it is just a place I love to be. I'm sitting here, in Golden, writing this in a coffee shop just off campus, and it makes me so happy. Even better, it's 70 degrees outside and I took a nice leisurely (read: slow) run along Clear Creek this afternoon after meeting with our geriatric patient. Life is good. I actually did come to Golden for a reason, though. Tonight I'm giving advice (who me?!) to the newly formed Mines pre-med society. When I went there, there was no such thing, and I'm glad they have one now. I always get excited to see Mines students applying for med school, and even more excited when they get in. Afterwards, I am meeting with some friends from college and that just makes me all warm and fuzzy.

It's always a little bittersweet to go to Golden when so many of my friends are all over the country. Some of my best memories are of walking to the restaurant/bar at the end of the street with my friend D for happy hour. Toward the end of school we did that...a LOT! But it was always so much fun, and a great way to fill up a lazy afternoon. I thought about going there today to kill the time before the pre-med meeting, but it just wouldn't be the same on my own. Oh nostalgia.

Well, this is a pretty random post, but I wanted to wish everyone well, and here's to the hope that everyone can wake up in the morning and think "this is going to be the best day of my life!" It's at least worth shooting for.

Funny stuff from lecture

So med school isn't all work, work, work. The lecture today was actually pretty entertaining. He opened with this joke:

"A priest is talking to a rabbi. The priest says, 'Rabbi, have you ever eaten pork?' and the rabbi blushes a bit and says 'Yes, Priest, occasionally I have partaken of pork.' Then the Rabbi says 'Priest, have you ever had sex?' and the priest says, 'yes, before I was a priest.' The rabbi says 'better than pork isn't it...'"

Then he tells us about a worm (a parasite of the human GI tract) that can easily be treated with drug therapy. There is actually a group that is against the use of drugs to cure this bug because it may lead to the eradication of the worm and its subsequent extinction. Unbelievable.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Keeping the Faith

So, yesterday was my final follow up with NeuroDoc. I feel terrible for the patients that came after me, because NeuroDoc really, really, really likes to give me advice about med school, careers in medicine, handling a marriage while being in medicine. I really appreciate all the advice he can give me, but when I walked out of there, I'd been in my appointment for over an hour, and there were people waiting when he got to me in the first place. I really do learn a lot from him though. One thing he has me working on is changing my dominant eye from my right to my left. He's pretty convinced, and I am too, that my eyes will stay the way they are for, if not forever, a very long time. That is to say, by the time I'm a third year medical student using ophthalmoscopes (to look in eyes) and otoscopes (noses and ears), my right eye will still be sub par, and the blind spot might keep me from seeing all there is to see. So I need to be able to look with my left. To me, this is like trying to write with my left hand. Not easy. So in order to do this, he recommends that I use a patch on my right eye for about a half hour or 20 minutes a day while I watch tv. This way my brain will start to pick up on the fact that it's my left eye it needs to get the most info from, rather that my right eye like it's used to. I also need to practice, practice, practice. It's not just the lack of vision that makes this little maneuver difficult. When you get used to holding an instrument in a certain way it's really hard to switch your technique. But, I'm lucky to have J, Mugs, and the big guy to practice on. I'm confident that by the time my neuro block rolls around in June I'll be much better at it.

After my NeuroDoc appointment, I had to get the registration renewed on my car. And by had to, I mean that I was on the last day of my grace period and really had no choice. Being the last day of the month it was incredibly busy. I waited in line, pretty happily since it was a nice day, and a Friday to boot, and everyone else seemed pretty cheery. But the very second I got to the head of the line, was called over, and sat in the chair, the computer system went down and no one was going anywhere until it came back up. I have to say I was impressed with the patience of these people. At first, there were of course those jerks who walked out and slammed the door. The woman I was sitting across from was dismayed about that, as anyone who is in the door by closing time is going to be helped, regardless of how many hours of overtime they had to put in. But then, everyone got really happy. Everyone knew they had to be there, and the employees had to be there, and that everyone was doing the best they could. The security guards came by with little lollipops for the kiddies in line, and everyone was just pretty collegial about the whole ordeal. And the computers stayed down for 45 minutes. It gave me back a little of the faith in humanity that shopping at Walmart on a Sunday often takes away. Overall, I left there pretty happy, amazing for a trip to motor vehicle hell.

The weekend thus far has not been productive. I studied a bit this morning, but then gave up when the dogs would not stop playing around and making a TON of noise. So I went to the gym for an hour and then got the grocery shopping done. By the time that I was home, J was almost home (work on a Saturday, yuk, it's like looking into my future). Did I get lots done since he was home to watch the dogs? Nope, did all the ironing. Eh. I figure, it's probably my last weekend to get to all the stuff that really needs to get done around the house, to plan for VACATION (!) and for my MOM and SISTER'S TRIP! After this weekend, not much other than boards is going to occupy my time. Yes, I feel that I can get a decent score if I took it right now, but there's nothing wrong with working a little harder. After all, on Friday I found out that the average board score of the interviewed applicant for an anesthesia position in residency (not from CO), is 255. That's 35 points over the national average, and hence 35 points over my practice score. I'm not saying it's completely impossible. But damn near. Good thing I'm expanding my career differential to include ob.

Overall, though, things are good in LG land. School as I know it is over in 2, count'em 2 weeks, and I'm so ready to keep moving forward!

Also, I made the coolest find for our San Francisco trip! Pretty much the first thing I want to do when we get to the city is drop our bags off at the hotel and go to the Ferry Building to the Farmer's Market. It is a year round farmer's market that is just awesome. Well, it's always been awesome for me. Last time we went J picked up EHEC O157:H7, a form of E. coli that causes really bad enterocolitis. He was lucky in that he didn't have any kidney issues with it, but he was so miserable. So, I figure - number 1, I'm really lucky because more often than not my overactive immune system is an annoyance to me, but it might protect me from all these crazy pathoogens, and number 2, maybe J developed some immunity from the toxins that make this E. coli strain so dangerous. In any case, we will be sure to make a trip into the actual Ferry Building for - wait for it - Salumi Cones! Oh. My. God. It's like a Sno-cone full of my favorite salami goodness!

I am so excited I can hardly stand it sometimes. Wow I love that city!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's all gravy...

So last night J and I found ourselves in great company of my friends LG and DG. We were all out at Red Square Euro Bistro to participate in Denver Restaurant Week. For those not from the area, restaurant week is the week (or this year...2) when some of the most upscale, fancy-pants restaurants in the metro area create a prix fixe menu for two people for only $52.80. It's wonderful. The Red Square's schtick is an infused vodka bar. It took the four of us a while to decide on one to try, but we settle on a carafe (yes, a carafe) of the fig infused vodka. It was truly the baby bear of vodka. Not too sweet, not too strong. Just right. In fact, I felt a little like I was sipping on the liquid verson of a fig newton. First course was great. I decided to be adventurous and try the house pate with red onion jam. I'm really sad I didn't take a picture of it. It was delicious. I should not be surprised I like this paste of liver as I am a big fan of mystery meats of the world. The red onion jam was really tasty and was the perfect complement to the extreme creaminess of the pate. Overall I was really pleased, and I even got everyone at the table to try it. Everyone agreed it wasn't so scary after all. For mains I got the pan seared salmon with a saffron risotto and J ordered the pepper encrusted NY strip. J's steak was huge. And very tasty. I also loved the salmon. It was perfectly cooked, not over done, and the risotto was tasty, though I had a hard time picking out the flavor of saffron, so I was a little disappointed with that. J's steak came with a mixture of cannelini beans, green beans, and tomato which was a great complement to the pepperiness of the steak. The dessert course was really good too. I had a shortcake with fresh fruit and a cream cheese-honey drizzle. It was a perfect light way to end the meal. J had a much more decadent chocolate dessert that was very good, but a bit on the sweet side to me. All in all, though, I loved this place. The ambiance was beautiful and I could just see us sitting out on the porch in the summer sipping on some more delicious infused vodkas and people watching at Writer's Square. Good times. I did manage to take a few pictures:

The entire bottom panel was all vodkas. Wow.

Liquid fig newtons...

It's a good thing that dinner took us 3 hours because soon that, turned into this:

My salmon was so pretty

And J's steak was huge!

My dessert was also pretty and tasty. I walked away feeling more full than I have in recent memory!

Overall, we had a great time and a great meal!

We took the light rail home and J's dad picked us up at the station to bring us back home to see the monsters. I had taken them on a walk earlier so they would hopefully sleep while we were away. They seemed pretty awake to me!

It has been so warm here that we even got to sleep with the window open! It was so nice to get some fresh air in this house!

I also got the results of my practice USMLE last night. The score was exactly what I could hope at this point. Although I would be slightly disappointed if that was the score I pulled in April, it would be totally acceptable and I am quite certain I'd get the residency I'd want with it. So pretty much, from here on out, it's all gravy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I love Food

So, I think it's only fitting during Denver Restaurant Week that I should wax philosophical about my love of all things gastronomical. I love food. And I don't mean in that sad Kashi-esque commercial way (we eat only the most natural ingredients...). No, I've tried my "all natural" "vegetarian" lifestyle, and I say bunk. I LOVE food. I love looking at a recipe for something that (when I'm really honest) I've never even heard of, and deciding, what the hell? And in it goes. More often than not, it's awesome. I love butter. And when I really want a fry up, I love butter WITH olive oil...less smoke that way. Even better, I love my fried fish, chicken, even veg, with a deliciously bitter beer that is dark enough to be opaque and awesome enough to get a double take. I love food. I love beer. I love wine. I love the whole dining experience. I may never be as thin as a supermodel. In fact, I would rather train for a marathon for the rest of my life than give up the foods that I love. I love preparing food and drink and ambiance for friends, family, and anyone else who wants to stumble along. I love reading about food, learning about food, watching other people make food. I love food.

I know that so many people who venture into medicine feel that medicine is the one true love in their lives. I respect that. But I must say that, other than J, food is it for me. I'm not yet sure how to meld my love of food with my love of medicine, and if I can do it to make a buck, be sure that I will. But if not, you can be equally sure that on every day off; every day post-call, I will not be sleeping away on the couch. No sir. I will be raking over the latest cook book I've gotten from the library. I'll be checking out and (thanks B.H!) and finding new ways to make these mine. Someday when we have kids, I hope I can pass this one love on and that no matter what we all have going on in our lives, food (and great drink to accompany!) will bring us all together. I just love food.

Tomorrow night we are heading out with my friend LG from med school to sample the wares of Red Door Euro Bistro in Larimer Square. Stay tuned for our delicious adventure. Next week we'll also be headed out with friends to Chef Kevin Taylor's at the Opera House. So much delicious food, so little time. Especially with studying for boards. But as I'm totally tired of blogging, thinking, dreading, obsessing about this, it'll be all about the food for quite some time. And the drink. Did I mention Red Door has a vodka bar full of delicious infused vodka? I will take as many pictures as I can remember. J and I are getting a ride to the light rail, and there are no required classes on Thursday morning, so it should be a great time had by all. As it's also the Top Chef finale, it should be an adventure of epicurious proportions. Have sweet, sour, or savory dreams. I know I will.

Monday, February 23, 2009


So, it's been a really long 2 weeks. Four exams, 12 days. It seems like such a trivial thing to be concerned about, I know other people have real problems, but such is the stress of my life. On the one hand it's such a relief to have those over. On the other hand, the exam on Friday, well...that exam!

So Friday was an exam where a standardized patient is assessing our ability to perform a physical exam and take a medical history. That part was not so bad. We knew exactly what exam we'd be performing and pretty much if you aren't completely mute you'll be alright with the history. Then we had to write a SOAP (subjective, objective, assessment, plan) note. This is where the trouble started. I think mine was way too narrative and I really ran short on time toward the end. After the SOAP note we had to give an oral presentation of the patient to a fake attending, also a standardized patient. I felt like my presentation was a bit on the rushed/disorganized side. We won't get our results from that one for about a week I think. Worst case scenario I have to re-write my SOAP note, which might actually be a good thing since we'll have to do these third year, and I feel utterly unprepared. If all goes well then a week from Friday I'll have a review of the assessment with a real doctor to just go over what I did well/need to improve upon.

The exam this morning didn't feel as great as I'd hope. Big surprise. The last 4 exams I've taken have felt like I've done poorly, but they've all turned out alright. Hopefully this one will too. I should find out in a few hours.

Also this week I should get the results of my practice boards exam. I am anxious to find out how I did so I can tailor my studies to do as well as I feel I need to. But I'd rather not find out today. I just feel too stressed out to deal with it today. I think it's just the let down of the exams being over but not having many scores.

I know these are trivial things, but in med school it seems like they take over your whole life. I think I will take the dogs for a nice, long walk and clean the house a bit to destress.

On the plus side, though, it's Denver Restaurant week! Wednesday we're heading to Red Door Euro Bistro with a friend from med school. I'm pretty pumped about it! I will take pictures, so at least there will be a fun post to read rather than all this gloom and doom. I'm sure once I'm organized and get my score things will be on the up and up.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Foodie Stuff

Well, in honor of Top Chef night, I like to make something a little more labor intensive than our usual fare. Tonight was my attempt at persuading J to like fish. It's funny because he knows he wants to like fish because it's so good for you, but he is convinced it keeps him less full than other food and he just has some sort of aversion to it. So tonight's offering was tilapia. It's a pretty mild fish and doesn't leave the house smelling fishy, so I think it was a winner. The recipe is my own design, so hopefully you'll like it.

First, I made the red pepper sauce. I sliced up about 3 bell peppers, today it happened to be 2 reds and 1 orange, and sauteed them in a little bit of olive oil until they were soft. After they softened up a bit (lot) I took them off the heat, out of the pan and let them cool a while. When they were cool I added them and one seeded chipotle chili in adobo sauce with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I pureed this and let it be until the other components were done.

After I had the sauce done (and J was on his way home), I drizzled a bit of olive oil, kosher salt and ground pepper over the brussel sprouts and threw 'em in a 400 degree oven for about a half hour, till they looked overcooked but were actually carmelized and delicious!

Next came the cauliflower puree. I took one head of cauliflower and cut it up into pieces, then boiled it in milk with salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic powder. It really only took a few minutes for the cauliflower to be fork tender, and then I took the cauliflower out with a slotted spoon and pureed this in the food processor, adding some of the milk it was cooked in to make sure it was smooth.

The fish was the last to go since tilapia cooks pretty quickly. I sauteed it in a little olive oil dressed only with salt and pepper. I sauteed on each side probably for about 4-5 minutes tops. The fish had a nice crust to it, but was flaky when we took a fork to it.

To plate it all up, I laid out a bed of the cauliflower puree, laid the fish on top and dressed it with the red pepper sauce. The brussel sprouts were on the side. It was really tasty, and even J liked it! We had about 10 times as much red pepper sauce as we needed, so this weekend we are going to use it as a spicy pasta sauce with rotini and grilled chicken.

On Valentines Day I tried out my baking skills on an incredibly rich devils food cake. The cake and frosting were so rich I decided to add strawberries for some contrast and it was a good addition. I think it turned out very pretty too!

Oh yeah, and it fed J and I twice, and his entire family. I think I maybe should stick with cupcakes.

Happy Top Chef night!

Holy Crap!

Wow, so seven weeks eh? Where does the time go? This week is completely ridiculous for me, I had an exam yesterday, another on Friday, and then one on Monday. So, I'm keeping busy. I left the exam yesterday 100% certain I'd done poorly, only to find out that I am a much better guesser (yet again) than I give myself credit for. Luckily, though, when I got home from the exam I was still feeling like a failure, so instead of taking it easy I got all caught up from last week and got organized for this next round of exams. So, for the first time ever, I was not completely worthless after an exam. This is good because I don't really have time for that just yet. That'll come in 7 weeks! Anyone from around D-town who has ideas about what I should do on a Wednesday night after the most grueling exam of my life....please leave a comment! And if you want to accompany me to said locale, even better! The exam starts at 8 and overall we have 8 hours to complete it, including break time. I would like to tell you that I am a very thorough test taker who always takes all the time allotted to make sure I didn't make stupid mistakes, but this is simply not the case. I am an incredibly fast test taker. I am the speed racer of test takers. For better or worse, the longer I stick around in an exam, the more right answers I change to wrong ones. So, I will likely be done a bit early, but not too early. I'm already starting to formulate a plan in my head of how this test taking should go. We have a total of one hour of break time and 7-one-hour sessions of test time. I've never been one to enjoy lunch breaks. During the MCAT it only served to make me anxious for the upcoming sections. I think my strategy will be to take a break, probably about 15 minutes, after ever 2 sections, with a longer break after the 6th section to collect my wits before the final leg. We'll see how it goes.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about OB/GYN yet again. I spent a long time at my preceptor's office today talking about the field, what I think about it, would I want to do it, etc. I'd probably have to change the name of the blog to obstetric medic, but let's not put the cart before the horse. OB is my first clerkship of 3rd year. It's a bummer in some ways, but I actually requested it. I figured I actually know a tiny amount about that field and so I won't look like a complete moron, and at the time I requested it, I didn't have any desire to do it. I don't really think that's true anymore, but it is one of the more dreaded clerkships so it will be good to get it over with I guess. Ultimately when I decided while I was talking with Dr. B was that I will just have to try it out during 3rd year and decide for myself.

Well, I'm off to do some practice questions. I can't completely neglect the boards studying with all these other exams on the horizon. Plus, it's the one thing I can do while I watch Top Chef.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Med Updates and Other Tasty Treats

So, went to Doc Neuro yesterday to get the scoop on my latest MRI. This MRI didn't take nearly as long; the last one was 2 hours and I couldn't move my head, all the while wearing this:

This time I just had to wear the little face cage of mri gear, so that wasn't so bad. The only bummer is that, since I needed contrast, a doc had to be on the premesis, and she was called away on an emergency right before they gave it to me; so I got an extra 20 minutes of hanging out, again not moving my head. But at least he pulled me out of the machine.

Since I'm a medical student, and have spent a fair amount of time thus far looking at MRI's, I was pretty excited to have a CD of the images to look at on my own. I wanted to see if I could pick out any problems. Imagine my surprise when I saw something that looks like this (not my mri, found on google images):

Now, mine looks more like a well circumscribed circle, but you get the drift. No one likes to see a big lump on one side of their brain. So obviously for two days I was freaking out and googling everything I could think of that might be back there. When we went to Doc Neuro yesterday and he said everything looked great I was totally confused; how does a giant brain tumor look great?! Well, turns out it's something called an arachnoid cyst, and was found only because I had an mri. It won't ever cause any problems, just an "anomaly of development." I always new my head developed abnormally.

Anyway, the rest of the news at the doc was similarly good. It seems that the hand issues my be an adverse reaction to the drug I was prescribed for my optic neuritis. Hopefully within a few days of not taking it, the hands will get much better. The only unfortunate thing is that it appears I may not get my complete vision back in my right eye. I may be stuck with a blue hole in my vision for good. It's a rare but unfortunate complication of optic neuritis. But, other than that, all should be good!

Last weekend we had J's parents over for dinner, so I decided to make some dessert. I made these tasty red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They are so delicious!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Few Pics

So I did take a few pics of the dogs in the last few months, just not many! Some of my favorites are from New Years, when I tried to give both dogs a celebratory beer. Rocky is pretty used to this tradition. In fact, I give him beer whenever I can find a reason! So he pretty much attacked the bowl and drank it as fast as he could. But when I set the bowl of beer down for Mugs, he freaked out and backed away. He was really scared of the beer! Rocky took it upon himself to rid Mugs of the threat though!

As you can see, I tried to give the Mugs a taste for it, but no dice. He has been giving my beers a sniff a lot, so there is hope. Afterall, we can't have a non-beer lover in this household. Just wouldn't fit in.

Hope all is well!

Wishing for warm climates

I can't believe that little test is less than two months away! You know what that means...two months from tomorrow I'll be on a plane headed to San Francisco! Wahoo! This morning, to make myself happy, I'm watching all the pictures we took the last time we went. I love to look at these pictures because both J and I looked SO happy. It was probably the best trip we've ever taken together. So, to get excited, motivated and happy I'm watching the pictures and listening to some of my favorite music. And drinking lots of coffee. Over the weekend I spent a lot of time listening to pathology lectures for board review and watching these pictures yet again. I've been so distracted with my health lately that I feel like it's been really helpful to watch this and get my mind focused back on why I'm doing this.

On this trip, rather than take a bus tour up to wine country we are renting a car and spending a night up there. I found a really good "winter" deal at a hotel/brewery and I'm really looking forward to heading up. I think on the way up we'll stop in Sonoma, then hit up the northern wineries via the VINE shuttle system, then the next day on our way down we'll go through Napa. If anyone has been and has some favorite spots, send'em my way!

One of my classmates is every bit as countdown-happy as I am and sent out this link, It counts down the time to the end of our last final. Which happens to be my birthday! Wahoo! It's coming fast, I can hardly wait!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Looking foward to it!

So, as everyone knows I am so pumped to get to San Francisco after boards. One of the days we are there we are planning to visit the anchor steam brewing company. It's a small, fun microbrew, just like we like'em. The big deal is that their tour is A)free!, and B)so busy you have to make reservations....a month in advance. So today I called 'em up and made reservations for Monday, April 13th! I am so pumped. Our trip is shaping up and it's fun to have a reward for this goal that is so huge!

Also a bonus, today I was able to get out and take a walk with the boys. I've been fairly immobile and tired lately, so getting out of the house and soaking up some Colorado sun was fantastic. It did wonders for my mood and it's gotten me ready to spend the afternoon studying for boards. I know I can do this. I've been pretty distracted, but anything I put my mind to I know I can get there. Just need to get my will power behind it as much as my good intentions!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You know it's bad

When you turn on House Hunters and you've seen the episode

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Wow, has it been almost a week already? Well, another test is over and I have to say I feel like a crazy good guesser! The test went much better than I initially thought after leaving school and the rest of the day was nice and relaxing. Who schedules an 8am exam after the Superbowl anyway?!

The exam next week is not a real exam for credit. Actually it's a practice USMLE that the school makes us all take. It's supposed to be pretty predictive of your ultimate score, but I can't help but think our scores should actually increase seeing as we still have a lot of time to study. Though that time is slipping away a lot faster than expected!!!

On the home front, lots of exciting stuff. The first is the worst, though. It seems that whatever immune process took it upon itself to attack my eye, has elected to do so to the muscles of my arms/hands as well. So, needless to say, I'm back in the care of my trusted neuro guy and I'll keep you all updated. When I know, you'll know, as they say. It's been a bit more than an annoyance but less than an emergency so while it's stressing me out, I don't want it to stress anyone else out. Rest assured that I am really doing fine, albeit annoyed, and hey, it's the perfect reason to get out of microbiology lab. What could be better!? The thought of all my classmates elbow deep in MRSA while I sit in front of the fireplace reading notes and watching lecture does tend to make me forget any discomfort I might be having.

Less appointment. Ugh. Yes, I know I've fallen off the floss wagon. I swear I will get back on it...just don't make me bleed!

I'm also super pumped up for Denver Restaurant week! It's Feb 21-27th (or 28th, I forget) and J and I are going with a friend of mine from med school to this cute Euro-bistro in Larimer Square. Double super bonus...they have a crazy cool vodka bar that has tons of different types of infused vodkas. Since my buddy is rustling up a date, the vodka should rid us of that awkward "getting to know you" period! We'll probably just go once, but it's definitely something to look forward to. For those who aren't familiar, Denver Restaurant Week is when a bunch of (usually) expensive restaurants put together special menus, usually 3 courses, for two people for $52.80. I'm really looking forward to it! Extra super exam that week!

Valentine's is also coming. Not overly exciting, but who DOESN"T want a heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's?

Probably the most exciting thing for me right now, though, is the fact that January is over. I think I may have mentioned how much I hate winter, and even though that little rodent sees his shadow every damn year I can't help but feel relieved when bitterly boring January reaches its end. It feels like spring must be coming soon, even if it really isn't.

Well, I think that's about it for now. Still no pix of the Mugs, I know. I'll get the camera out one of these days so you can all see his cuteness. Hope all is well!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Wow, 10 weeks from this very moment I'll be sitting down at a computer getting ready for the big event. It seems like time is going extra fast this semester. We had an exam on Monday, so last weekend was totally devoted to that and since then I've not gotten much accomplished. But it's back to it today, for oh so many reasons. First of all, we have yet another exam on Monday. In fact, I worked it out that we have an exam every week until the end of February. Yikes. When we have 2 blocks at a time it seems we all end up playing catch up constantly just to stay on top of things. This block is just a worse version of that since we are all also studying for boards.

I want to add a huge CONGRATULATIONS to the Maiden Metallurgist on her wedding. If you don't already read her blog, or her husband's (!), Berg with Fries, you definitely should. I'm really happy for you Drea!

The bad news in the midst of all the good is that the optic neuritis came back. Everything was back to normal, but as of last Friday, it's back with a vengence. I can't see the color red from that eye and it hurts to move it. I just can hardly believe how often you really move your eyes. But, I will go see my neuro guy next week and if last time was any indication, it won't last forever. Until then, I will be listening to my friendly online pathologist, Goljan, to guide me through the boards.

Well, I better get to school. And by "get to school" I mean fire up the course cast and watch class from the comfort of my couch. The dogs are even bigger fans of this "class recording" system than I am. I promise to get some cute pictures of Mugs and Rock up later this week. Mugs really is at a great size. When J took him running last weekend he was stopped by all sorts of people and one lady in particular was very disappointed that he was going to get bigger than he is. I am too. He is the perfect dog size right now, no offense to the big guy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Record breaker

What an awesome day! It's 70 degrees, sunny, and still. It's probably the nicest day I could imagine in Colorado in January. I got up early, went to see Dr. B, my preceptor and got out of there pretty early since he had a slow morning. J and I got a gift card to Whole Foods for Christmas and there was still some money on it, so I headed over after preceptor and picked up some fun stuff for dinner. Once I realized how gorgeous it was outside I knew I had to bring the doggies for a long run. We pretty much got lost in the neighborhood across the street, but it was so nice to get out in the sun and forget all about studying for a while. I don't know why I'm acting like I have nothing to do, but even though I do have lots to do I can't pass up this kind of day in January, particularly when it's going to snow all weekend. Yes, I have an exam on Monday, but I feel like I've kept up with the material and even survived giving my first prostate exam. If that's possibly a reason to celebrate, I'll take it.

There is another plus side to getting all three of us out in the sun...I don't think the dogs are going to make a peep all afternoon. Awesome.

Another thing to celebrate - my mom and sister got plane tickets to come out after my trip to San Francisco in April! Hooray! It's the first time my sister has been out here since she's been 21. This is extra exciting because Colorado is the Napa valley of beer after all. And she's never even been able to partake of my favorite place - Coors lab! Super exciting. Just have to get through that itsy bitsy little test first. With motivation like this I can definitely do it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History in the Making

Well, for all my good (?) intentions of keeping buried in books today and not watching the inauguration, there's no way I can let that happen. This is history. I can't actually be in Washington DC today, but I can watch it on television. I've watched every bit of the election season, and remember several points knowing that this was history that I would someday tell my kids about, and I suppose I shouldn't let the culmination of that go without me watching.

Besides, infectious disease is so ewie.

Monday, January 19, 2009

11 and change

So last week went entirely too quickly. It was a really busy week. Last Monday we had our 2nd year "retreat." It was held on campus, was mandatory, and probably could have been accomplished in 2 hours rather than 6. Once again they got us all nervous about 3rd year, all the forms that need signing the badging and blood work that needs doing. Vaccinations, etc. etc. All the while all any of us can think about is that teensy little exam that stands in the way of us actually becoming 3rd year students. The timing of the whole event seemed pretty bad and overall, all I got out of it was a sense of urgency and a pretty awesome brownie.

That aside, I did manage to get a little excited for third year. It will be so nice to learn by doing again. On the job training has always worked better for me than reading things ad nauseum. I really am looking forward to working with patients. That was the whole point of leaving the PhD program in the first place. I requested to take my OB/GYN clerkship first since that it what I am by far most familiar with, and yet don't really have a desire to go into. A good learning environment, I hope.

Speaking of gyn, last week was my group's turn to "learn" how to do pelvic and prostate exams. The sessions were really well run and I feel like I'm that much more prepared for 3rd year having that out of the way. It helped that I've done loads of pelvic exams already. But I never really understood what "turn your head and cough" meant until last Tuesday.

J has also been training for a marathon. I think this is making all 4 of us more active and that's a good thing. It would be an easy thing to forget about when all I can think about is study, study, study. Last week though, he was taking both dogs with him on a run and R mashed into his leg. His knee is really messed up. We tried to do 5 miles on Saturday but at the 4 mile mark, after he stopped to wait for me, his knee was so tight that we had to walk the rest of the way. I hope there's nothing any more wrong than a little inflammation that will clear on its own.

It's a long weekend for us as we get Martin Luther King Jr. day off. So instead of writing this from class today I am at home. I keep wavering between studying for class or studying for boards. There's these audio lectures that I listen to that would really be best done today since I have no distractions. I'll probably do a bit of both. We do have a micro exam next Monday after all.

Not that anyone is counting, but we only have 37 actual days of class left. Wow.

I hate to waste these next two days slaving over books since it's such a historic time, and it makes me feel inspired. But, I guess that's what the DVR will have to be for. Of course, with all the stuff I want to record and save for after boards, I will be taking a year off instead of starting 3rd year, just to catch up on my shows! Happy Martin Luther King Jr day and Inauguration Day all!!