Friday, March 15, 2013

Oh Medicine, how I love to hate you.

This has been a difficult past 8 months for me, psychologically. I can't even begin to describe in what ways because medicine is like an alternate dimension; you can't fully understand it unless you're in the midst of it. There have been times where I wanted to quit, a couple times where I thought I would, but yet I am still here. The reason: I love being a doctor and I love serving patients. Embedded in all the mindless tradition and frustrating peculiarities of my job is the joy I experience when I am able to sit down with a patient and hear their story.

What makes me most upset about medicine is that it is still a business. I'm not even talking about the health insurance part of it. (As a resident I am spared from that monstrosity.) I'm distraught by the fact that I cannot spend the time to talk to patients, get to know them, assess their physical health, provide education, and offer recommendations if I have 4 to see in an hour and must give everyone equal opportunity to speak with me. In medicine, if you spend too much time on tasks, you become a bother to your colleagues and can even be reprimanded for exceeding duty hours. (first year residents cannot work >16 hour shifts or >80 hrs/wk.) I won't even dive into that topic. I understand that I need to be challenged to become more efficient, but patient care should not be the entity to suffer. I constantly hear that patients don't ever see their doctor in the hospital; they feel neglected, they feel out-of-the-loop. Understandably so! If I make it in to spend a total 15 min. face-to-face with each of my patients each day, I feel like a freaking rockstar.

Revelation #1: If health professionals communicated better with patients, there would be far fewer malpractice claims and much healthier doctor-patient relationships.

I believe that most residents, if we had more time, would be better communicators. You really can't fault us if we would rather go home after a 16 hour shift than catch up with the latest on our patients. After, all we are only human. Does that mean I disregard patients that need my attention at the end of my shift; absolutely not. Does it mean that I put off hearing about my patient's BMs until the next morning; yes it does.

Revelation #2: Most people don't know that residencies are funded by Medicare. Crazy, huh? Guess that explains why I work my tail off for a paycheck that is half of that of my husband.

I hope to be doing more blogging the coming weeks as my schedule is lighter and I start my vacation next week! Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time!


Monday, June 11, 2012

A Month of "Firsts"

Those of you that are reading this post are probably well aware of all the changes that have been going on in my life for the past few weeks, however just for funzies I'll sum it up.

First, I graduated from medical school. Then I got married. Then I "officially" moved to Washington, DC. Then I officially start work as a "real doctor" in a week. Holy cow. Needless to say, life has been hectic. And despite a few meltdowns over U-boxes and missing makeup bags, I think I've handled it pretty well. It's really quite a bit of progress if you know a little about how I used to be. I could talk for hours about the things I have experienced in the past few weeks, about graduating, and moving, and trying to navigate DC without a GPS, but really I want to talk about marriage.

Chris and I have been waiting so long to call each other husband and wife. I have had plenty of time to work out possible obstacles and challenges we may encounter; you all know how I like to think ahead. Really, so far, we haven't run into too many husband and wife scenarios that I had not already considered; yeah that's right, not "too many". So what is one of the challenges I have unexpectedly encountered?

Wait for it...

Keep waiting....


In case you were wondering, these are some of the images that pop up when you type "surprised animals" on google image search.

Now onto serious matters: the first challenge I have hit, is mealtime. Pretty anticlimactic, huh. Well, it wasn't for lack of trying. I really just wanted an excuse to show some cute animals. Seriously though. I have never been much of a cook; I mean, I can cook for myself, but usually it's super idiot-proof stuff like salad, mac-and-cheese, and ramen. Thus we encounter our first food dilemma.

1) I don't know how to cook I don't even know what good food should taste like if I've been spending the last 8 years of my life eating ramen and hamburger helper. Oregano, cumin, basil, salt pepper, I have no idea. Does it really matter which spices you add, really?

Chris grew up eating....a lot. And eating lots of rich hearty foods. I grew up on the standard low-middle class American cuisine: hamburgers, tuna casserole, and spaghetti. (of course we ate more than that, and my mom is a very good cook. I'm just trying to illustrate a point.) So the point is:

2) Chris and I have very different expectations for food Chris consistently tells me in a playfully teasing, yet truthful way, that I make bland foods. So what if don't add spice to my store-bought spaghetti sauce and I don't season my rice with anything besides bouillon and minced onion? Also, Chris is a "live to eat" type of person, while I'm an "eat to live" type of person. The only requirement I have of food is that it should fill you up without being disgusting. Am I right?

Lastly, and probably the most challenging problem is our schedules. We will both be working full time and my schedule can be a little unpredictable.

3) Who has the time to cook a balanced meal for two? I've heard that meal planning is key for the most cost and time-effective meals, but it's hard to plan meals when you're not sure if you'll make it home at a reasonable hour or not. I guess pre-prepared meals will have to become our mainstay. Meal planning advice, anyone?

That's probably enough jabbering about food for awhile. I'm hungry now.

Seriously though, if anyone has any advice on this, or any recipe sources that they like, or really, anything at all to contribute to this dilemma, please do!

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Life is so Good!

I seriously had one of the best weekends ever this past weekend. I look back and a big smile spreads across my face and my eyes fill with tears. I graduated this weekend.

Initially, I was being a little grumpy about the whole graduation thing. I just wanted to be done and move on with my life. So many exciting things are happening for me right now, and I didn't want to be bothered with all the graduation hoopla. I kind of got roped into all that, but as I was reminded, "sometimes graduation isn't so much about you as about allowing your family and friends the chance to celebrate your achievements." My particular graduation consisted of  2 main events: the hooding, and walking down the hill. The first is on a Saturday night, the second on Sunday morning/afternoon - so it pretty much takes and entire weekend. I did not want to go and felt that I was essentially being forced to go against my will so that my family could be a part of this event. Even in the beginning, I knew I would be glad that I took part, but that only made it a little easier.

I can't even express how glad I am that I went. First let me talk about the hooding. This is something that happens when you get your doctorate; they adorn your plain black gown with a fancy drape. Otherwise it's pretty much on par with most other graduation ceremonies: speakers speak, they call your name, you walk across the stage, and leave with a diploma. Internally though, this felt so much different than any other commencement I have been a part of. I think that it's because we as a class have been through so many difficult times together that it really does feel like the end of an era. We walked in as normal people and left as doctors. Our class speakers were SO wonderful. There could not have been 2 people more fit to speak to our class. Reminiscing about the past 4 years and offering encouragement for the next step in our lives left me with a great sense of pride, camaraderie, accomplishment, and hope. Having to separate from such a great group of people is very bittersweet.

Then on Sunday, was the university commencement. This was just a fun informal thing all the graduates of the university opt to be a part of. At this particular ceremony it has been tradition for years for the school of medicine graduates to sneak champagne into the ceremony (which takes place in the football stadium) and open it spraying it everywhere when the dean presents the candidates for degree. Although efforts were made to stop this tradition and threats to future medical licensure were made, it survived. Some of us have been looking forward to this day since seeing it done by other classes of medical students when we were just undergrads. What's a few broken rules in the name of tradition and clean (sticky) fun? After we were announced the entire section erupted with sound and suds. Though I was covered in champagne and reeked of yeast, I never felt higher than I did leaving that stadium.

Lastly and most importantly, my family and friends really topped off the weekend. Even though I'm getting married in less than 3 weeks, my family and friends still made the effort and took time out for travel and ceremony just to make it special and memorable for me. I didn't even ask them to; they just did it. What did I do to deserve this wonderful life I've been given? As I drove home from my exciting weekend, I was so full of gratitude that I just cried. I'm so lucky. I hope that I never forget the events of this past weekend, and especially all the people that helped make it possible. It truly was the experience of a lifetime.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Things I want to do before I die.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to get out of life. So far, the only conclusion I have come to is have a career that I can be happy with (or at least live with) in order to have the finances to do the things I enjoy. Making a top 10 of this list was VERY difficult, plus the list I make today may be different from the list I make tomorrow, a month, or years from now. Even still, I think it's a good idea to set my sights high and remember that we only have this one life to live and we never know how much time we'll be given. So, onto the list!

10. Run a half-marathon with Chris (Who saw this coming?! Not me!)

9. Spend the night in the Grand Canyon and in an over-the-water hut in Bora Bora. Seriously, who wouldn't want to spend the night here?
Grand Canyon - Colorado River

Over-the-water Hut in Bora Bora

8. Eat nothing but dessert, all day

7. Go SCUBA diving in the coral reef

6. Buy a black Cadillac SRX (isn't it pretty?)

5. Provide medical care in a disaster area or undeveloped country.

4. Fund a family vacation with a huge cabin for everyone, next to a ski lift in Colorado. I've probably seen way too many movies with this setting, but I can't help it. I want it for my family!

3. Host Thanksgiving Dinner - complete with traditional turkey, stuffing, potatoes, but with some Jessica flair in the form of unique alcoholic beverages!

2.  Buy a house in the country. If I die before I get my own house, then I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered over my mom's parent's land. I love it there. Now it's in writing.

1. Have kids. But I'm in no hurry, well not too much of a hurry. I do have a ticking clock...

It's so much fun to day dream about the future. I should make a habit of doing this. :) Having a blog is like having a time capsule. I really want to look in the future and see what my list will look like in 10 years! Also, I LOVE lists of any kind. And I firmly believe that there are few things more satisfying in life than crossing off a task when it has been completed.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why People Only Want to get Married Once.

Planning a wedding is freaking expensive, and it's a festering pool of anxiety provocation. I only plan on getting married once because let's face it, the only thing cool about preparing for a wedding besides the white dress shopping and cake tasting is the actual wedding day.

Revelation #1:
I should become a wedding caterer. Seriously, how do hotels get off charging $255.00 for a keg of domestic beer? That's almost a 400% markup. and $20 for a plate of mediocre food?!

I haven't calculated, but I fairly certain that I have done something wedding-related for the past 90 days in a row. How much planning can go into one day? This better be the most freaking special day of my life! Besides the money and the time, preparing for a wedding makes us (as women) feel the need to change the way our bodies look. Diet, exercise, tanning, etc. My fiance, being the sweet guy that he is, assures me that I don't need to do any of these things, but the fact of the matter is, I want to. I don't want to do these things for other people, because THEY DON'T CARE (see previous post).

Revelation #2:
I am my own biggest critic. I want to be in the best shape of my life before the wedding because if I'm not, I'll look back at my wedding photos and wonder why I didn't work harder.

Seriously, dieting and exercising sucks. I keep hoping it will become easy, but I'm still waiting...Don't get me wrong - it does get easier. I guess I have unrealistic expectations; going for a run will probably never be easier than sitting on the couch watching TV. Darn. I'm also fairly certain that french fries will always taste better than celery. But I'm still hoping. If you're looking for motivation for diet/exercise, there are some great sources on the internet. I really like the motivation posters from Also, Pinterest has some good stuff. Need some motivation?

BOOM. There you go. This one always helps me.

The moral of today's post is to vent about wedding stuff. And to urge you all to have a courthouse wedding (only kidding). I am so excited for the big day and I know that it's more about what the day means to my fiance and me than about how much the beer costs and what the flowers look like.

Revelation #3:
Modern-day wedding planning seems to take away from the big picture.

If I have to stop every so often and remind myself why I'm doing all this work, there's something wrong with the way things are. If I have another life after this one, I'm doing a smaller, more intimate, less detail-oriented wedding. The problem with life is that sometimes, you only get one shot, and sometimes you just don't know enough about yourself until it's too late. Life is all about learning.

In order to end on a positive note, I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend in less than a month! Woo!


Explanations and Revelations

I've been obsessed with blogs for the past few months and have one of my own, but am weary to share it with people I know out of fear of judgement. Overall, I like that my blog is generally anonymous. However, there are times when it seems silly to allow complete strangers view my handiwork, but not my friends.

Revelation #1:
My friends and family are good people and they don't care if I love scrapbooking and cardmaking, take pictures of my creations and post them on the internet (the topic of my other blog). No matter how nerdy, it may be. They may tease me, but really and truly, THEY DON'T CARE.

The reason I'm weary of alerting everyone to my blog is mostly due to the teasing I would likely endure. It's just a little teasing, I say to myself, "what's the big deal?" Well, I am a serious person. After years of denial, I'm finally ready to admit this. In 10th grade math class, I was voted "most serious" by my classmates. I was downright offended. (I would say that's ironic, but I'm not sure that it really fits the definition). These informal awards were meant to be fun, the title of "most serious" did not sit well with me, and to be completely honest it still doesn't, but I'm working on it. So, I guess I just need to learn to take some things, like teasing, a little less seriously.

Revelation #2:
Being serious doesn't mean not allowing yourself to have fun, or tell jokes, or laugh. It's having a purpose, getting things done, being highly motivated. 

Revelation #3:
Shy people are at times perceived as unfriendly and serious. It's just the way things are. I'm often most comfortable listening to a conversation without contributing anything but eye contact and the occasional head nod, but I understand that saying nothing unfortunately projects the idea that I have no desire to contribute.

As I've gotten older the shyness thing has drastically improved, but when in groups of greater than 3-4 people, I still struggle. Life is a process. You live to improve each day. My improvement today is linking this blog so that my friends can read it, and tease me accordingly.

I wasn't really sure what this first post was going to look like; it's kind of taken a life of it's own...And I promise future posts will be more interesting. Thanks for sticking through to the end!