Like Mother, Like Daughter

Ladybug is 6 months old today! It’s amazing how much she is learning and growing each day. Lately though, she has become more interested in books. She wants to hold, touch, turn the pages, lick them, etc. The normal kid stuff.

This morning as we were getting ready, she would not stop squealing at me until she got to touch the book she wanted. The book she wanted just so happened to be my copy of First Aid for the USMLE Step 1.

She may or may not have had a reading out of that book this morning. Maybe Ladybug will be a doctor too when she grows up; for now though, I’m happy with keeping her little for as long as possible.

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Upcoming Webinar with Accepted.com

The first time I applied to medical school, I was pretty much on my own. I have always wished that I’d had a help with the application process instead of relying on what I could find online. A mentor would have really helped, for some guidance and insight into the process, since I’d never done anything so intricately involved before. Sound familiar? Accepted.com is broadcasting a webinar this coming Wednesday, so if any premeds out there could use some guidance, this would be a great opportunity! See below for details!

Follow the yellow brick road…

…to acceptance at your top choice medical school by applying the tips that you’ll learn in Accepted.com’s upcoming webinar, Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016, to your application. You think it’s easy to navigate the road to med school admissions success? Think again! Without a map and some handy tools, it’s easy to get lost!

Webinar details:

DATE: Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TIME: 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET

Get the tools you need to start the application process early and get accepted! Register for Get Accepted to Medical School in 2016 now!

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Perspective

“You do not have problems. The people that come see me in the hospital, those are people who have problems. You do not have problems.”

“The ones that should not have died… those are the mistakes. Those are the ones that eat at your soul.”

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Full of Thanks

Our gloriously long Thanksgiving Break is coming to a close. This year, we got the entire week of Thanksgiving off… I don’t think I have ever had a Thanksgiving break that was this long, but it has been used very well.

November seemed to be a very short month. We had an entire week to study for the Block 3 exam; an entire week of bioethics for ICM; and now an entire week for Thanksgiving, and tomorrow is December 1st. Time seems to go by much faster when school is in session, and much faster now that Step 1 is coming up in the spring.

Almost immediately after Block 3, we got hit with the stomach bug that’s going around. I wasn’t feeling so great on Sunday, but I had a mandatory Journal Club meeting for the Global Health Distinction Track, so I went anyway. We had a great time, and it was so wonderful for Dr. C to open up her home to us. My stomach was in knots the whole time, and I really couldn’t wait to just go home. Once I did finally get home (and a snowstorm had just started by the time I left Dr. C’s house), I could not for the life of me get warm. I would cover up with our thickest blankets but I had the chills and a nasty pounding headache. David turned on our electric blanket for me, but even with it on, I still had the chills. We wound up getting several inches of snow from the storm, and I really hoped that the school officials would cancel class. I was still sick that morning and really didn’t want to have to make the drive in for class, and with being sick I didn’t want to be penalized for missing if I had to go to Urgent Care. However, at 3am I was awoken by the sound of David being sick… over and over. It was horrible knowing that he had caught whatever it was that I had, and I was too weak to really care for him either. Unluckily for me, even with every other school and college at least on a two hour delay, ULSOM did not close or delay any classes. I had already made up my mind that I wouldn’t be in to school that morning, but if I felt well enough, I hoped to go in for the afternoon classes that had points assigned to them, and I’d just Tegrity the morning classes.

At 6am, I called my parents. I was still not feeling well and David was still sick; luckily, Ladybug was still sleeping soundly, and didn’t show any signs of being sick. I called my parents to see if they’d be willing to take Ladybug to daycare, and possibly keep her overnight if we were still sick. They agreed, and packed her up to head to daycare while I went back to bed. I was still so weak and couldn’t wake up. By 10am, David had woken me up because he was sick for the third time. My headache had subsided a bit and I was no longer dizzy, so I went to check on him. He looked absolutely awful–dehydrated and the palest I had ever seen him. He was a lot worse than I was, and it was scaring me. He’s not one to go to a doctor very often (I have a feeling that will change), so I threw on some clothes that were acceptable to wear in public, forced him to get dressed as well, and drove us both to Urgent Care. I probably shouldn’t have been driving, but we had no other options. His white count was elevated and the docs were really concerned, so we took our first ambulance ride to a local ER for fluids and to check for possible appendicitis. By then I had already contacted school and told them the situation; needless to say, I didn’t make it in to class at all on Monday. Much later, we were able to leave, get his Rx, and went home. By then, all classes were over and we both just focused on getting well. My parents wound up taking Ladybug for a sleepover, because I could NOT have her catching this bug from us.

The next morning, I felt a little better (at least, well enough to drive). I had a mandatory LSP lab that afternoon, so I packed up all of my gear and attempted to make it through an entire day.

That was not to be. I felt myself going downhill the whole day. At 1pm, after all of the morning lectures, I didn’t have anywhere else to be until the LSP lab at 4pm. The longer I sat at my desk, the worse I felt, and the dizziness had returned. After talking to the ICM office about what I should do, they told me to go home. David had stayed home from work to recover, and he finally started to look like himself again. We both went to bed early after a dinner of only chicken noodle soup.

After that, things went back to normal for the week, but now I was behind on a presentation and a LSP lab. I was still so very tired. The week couldn’t go by quickly enough for me; I just wanted a break, and to sleep. So even though it was an easy week as far as med school goes, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful to have a break after an easy week. Our saving grace, though, was that Ladybug didn’t get sick.

Until Monday. Even though I had the entire week off, I sent Ladybug to daycare so I could get some Christmas shopping and Thanksgiving cooking done. I had an appointment to donate blood that day, and I was really happy with how much I had been able to get done now that I was finally feeling 100% again. At 2:30, daycare called as I was leaving after my blood donation to say that she had a fever of 102.8F. I quickly called the doc’s office to get an appointment, picked her up at daycare, and off we went. I could feel the heat radiating off of her when they handed her to me, but she was still smiling and giggling. The doc confirmed a high white count, so it was off to the pharmacy again. This put an end to my plans to catch up on projects over break, and instead I spent it doing what was the most important: being a good mommy and playing with my baby while she got better. Now I also get to sport a huge, lovely plum-colored bruise on my arm–“no heavy lifting after donating blood” be damned.

The holidays themselves have been pretty good so far. All of my Christmas shopping is done (including a huge trip to the grocery so I don’t have to fight holiday shoppers until after it’s all over), we all got some rest, we’re all feeling better, and we got to see family. It’s been a wonderful break. Thanksgiving always seems like it’s not long enough to actually be a break, since we usually only have off for two days, but having off the entire week was good for my body, mind, and soul. Am I ready to go back to the last three weeks of classes for the semester tomorrow? Ummmm, not really. But I’m in a much better place than I was two weeks ago. It’s been so refreshing to forget about classes and Step 1 for a bit to remember who I am and what my values are outside of medicine.

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You don’t have a soul

Originally posted on Bright, shiny objects!:

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Projects

I haven’t written anything lately for this blog. Block 3 is already upon us. (Seriously. There’s only 7 blocks for the YEAR and we’re at the 3rd one already?) I have no idea where the month of October went, but it went far too quickly.

Here is what has been keeping me busy, outside of schoolwork and wife/mom time:

My sister-in-law’s wedding. Megan and Dustin got married on the same night as our annual Halloween party at school, affectionately called Cadaver Ball. I didn’t get to go last year due to being sick (from pregnancy….that no one knew about at the time), and I was really hoping to go this year. The wedding was pretty nice (given the pickup trucks that served as an aisle, the barn in the background, and the Jack Daniels’ label invitations…), we got to see family, and our sweet Ladybug was good as gold, as usual. It was wonderful, but we got home really late, which I hadn’t planned on.

Aunt Kathy’s Kicked Cancer Party! My aunt(-in-law) finished her chemo for breast cancer, and her daughter planned a wonderful surprise party for her. It was so much fun to get to surprise her (and she loved spending more time with Ladybug!). We are so proud of her!

My birthday! So this year has been nuts so far and I kinda forgot my own birthday. Because it’s not a big deal anymore. I’m fine with keeping this number as my “last birthday” and letting that be that. I had family and a friend over for chili (that I made), we ate a grocery store cake (I wasn’t baking my own cake on a Tuesday…), and I went to bed early. Such excitement, I tell you.

My article was picked up by SDN! And…. my editors have asked me to start writing a column since the feedback and viewership of my last article was so positive! I am very excited about this!

In speaking of publications, a piece I wrote has been accepted for publication it the next edition of Abaton! This makes my second piece published here.

The Biennial Conference of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation was held in Atlanta, and my abstract was presented! I’m hoping to get to go again during 4th year; maybe as a spinoff project from my Distinction Track.

Ebola Fundraiser: a professor at my school has been at home in Sierra Leone treating Ebola patients while working for an NGO, and has finally been allowed back to the States to teach. She has graciously accepted our invitation to speak about her experiences to our Global Health Interest Group. Ebola is ubiquitous in the news lately, and there is a lot of misinformation (or just plain BAD information!) circulating in every form. Because of this, and because the problem in Sierra Leone is so severe, a few colleagues and I have been working with the faculty at the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health to put on an information program for health science workers as well a fundraiser to ship supplies to Sierra Leone. This program took place yesterday, and we had a great turnout with lots of great discussion! We are hoping to raise some funds tomorrow night at the “Beers for Ebola” event at a local newspaper.

SMILE: I adore this program. Two shifts every month, I have the privilege to spend time playing with the kiddos in the hematology/oncology ward at our freestanding children’s hospital. This has been an eye-opening program and I have learned so much about the humanistic side of medicine through interacting with these kids and their families. I admire the courageous kids and the strength of the parents. I have no idea how they are able to cope, but they are an inspiration to me.

St. Baldrick’s: St. Baldrick’s is an organization that supports children with cancer. Volunteers (“shavees”) shave their heads to be in solidarity with these kids, while raising funds for pediatric oncology research. While I have the opportunity to shave my head, I think I will bypass that and offer to donate my hair to make wigs for pediatric cancer patients. I’ve donated my hair before, but this offers the opportunity to also raise funds for a worthy cause! Feel like donating? Visit their website at:

Systole: Our school’s literary magazine is now completely student-led, and is currently accepting submissions. I haven’t worked on a literary magazine in a few years, so I’m excited for this opportunity.

Heart2Heart Discussion Series: There is a group on campus composed of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to fostering humanism in medicine. This group is an umbrella for several programs–a chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, the literary magazine Systole, and the Heart2Heart discussion series. Last year a session was held on human trafficking, including how to spot instances of trafficking and who to turn to for help for these (usually) women. This year, we’re working on having two sessions, one later this semester and one in the spring.

These are all the projects that I’m working on for the year, which keeps me engaged and foster my interests outside of medicine. Sometimes, I get volunteered for stuff that I don’t want to do. I don’t know who thinks this is funny or a good idea, but I am definitely going to have to start saying NO. For instance, back at the beginning of the semester, someone gave my name to a professor who needed volunteers for an event. The professor asked that information be shared with the listserv email addresses, and I was cc’d on this email. Since I had no idea what they were talking about and it didn’t seem to pertain to me, I ignored the email. A week later, I got a very nasty email about not having a list of volunteers yet. So I rounded up quite a few volunteers, only to be told the very next day that they weren’t needed. This was a giant Charlie Fox that I hope to avoid in the future.

This year is flying by. I’m having so much fun (But I’m still learning a ton and working really hard!). Overall, though, this is exactly why I love medicine so very much–you can do just about anything you want, from teaching to research to literary art to fundraising for good causes… it’s incredible. I’m still going to lectures, using an insane amount of resources (including First Aid for the USMLE Step 1–which I officially registered for today!), sleeping, playing with my Ladybug when I pick her up from daycare, and doing well in classes. There IS time for life outside of school and doing stuff that I love. I’m having a blast as a second-year medical student!

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MMI Interview Prep Webinar

When I was interviewing for medical school, one of my interviews was an “MMI”… a multiple mini interview. This was my only interview in this format, and I didn’t know how to effectively prepare for it. The interview I went to consisted of multiple scenarios and we were to explain our thought process of how to handle the cases. I could have used some help in preparing for this format. If you have an upcoming interview scheduled that is an MMI-format and are looking for some guidance, see the details below for Accepted.com’s next webinar!

3 Ways to Get in Shape for Your MMI

Your Multiple Mini Interview is coming up. Are you prepared? Here are three things you can do NOW to ensure totally MMI fitness:

  1. Learn the ropes. Once you understand how an MMI works, you’ll be a lot more confident walking in. While you can’t know every question in advance, you can certainly familiarize yourself with the interview concepts covered, significantly increasing your readiness.
  2. Rest up. Like a triathlon (which is not so unlike an MMI), you’ll need to do lots of prep, but the night before the interview/race, you need to take it easy. Relax and get a good night’s sleep. Exhausted competitors don’t generally fare well!
  3. Register for Accepted.com’s new webinar! The best way to ensure that you’ll ace your MMI is by being well prepared and knowing what to expect. Accepted’s webinar will give you the tools you need to impress the adcom and snag your seat in the next med school class. Sign up for Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness? to learn additional secrets to beating the MMI! See details below.

The MMI format ensures that you are given a fair evaluation. It’s designed to help med school interviewers identify the strengths that you will bring to your medical training by going beyond the traditional conversation interview style. Seeing you in different scenarios will help them envision you in different scenarios in med school and in the medical field. You can do this!

Webinar Details

Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2014

Time: 5:00 PM PST/8:00 PM EST

Registration link: Multiple Mini Interview: Method or Madness?

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Spreadsheet

There are some days where I absolutely love where I am in my life. Some days, it’s hard to see the big picture. Some days, I’m just exhausted. Most days, I feel like I’m not being a good student, wife, mother, or all three. And then there are days where David shares a project he’s been working on–a massive spreadsheet with every residency program in my desired (for now) specialty, cross-referenced with programs that have my desired (for now) fellowship, listed by state, and whittled down by what states we’d consider living in. It makes a world of difference knowing he believes in me even on my off days where I can’t think long-term. I love him so much. I couldn’t do this without him.

And now–back to biostats. I promise I will eventually finish the drafts in my queue. There are so many projects in the works that I am excited to share!

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Prioritizing Date Night in Med School

I couldn’t be a successful medical student if I didn’t have David in my life. He has encouraged and supported me throughout this entire mess, ever since I met him when I was in grad school. My relationship with him has been challenged because of my pursuit of this dream, which is why I chose to write about what worked for us, as far as prioritizing time together even though I have very little free time.

And so, here is the link for another piece I wrote for in-Training.org, about how we make our relationship work while I’m in medical school.

Married Medical Student: Prioritizing Date Night

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Milestone

As I’ve mentioned before, at the end of second year, we take the first of our exams that allow us to be licensed physicians, the USMLE Step 1 exam. There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t talk about it. But last night it became a lot more real. I submitted the first part of my application to be able to take Step 1 (and then promptly got nauseated!). There’s still more paperwork to finish and a latent period, but the first steps have been taken. It’s real now. I plan on taking the exam around the beginning of June, so I am 8 months away.

As far as school goes, though, second year has not been the nightmare I expected. Maybe I’m just used to the pace by now. (Maybe I’m doing better because I no longer have pregnancy brain?) Granted, we have an ICM block exam this Friday, and our second Block exam is next Friday. I’m hoping these go as well as the first one.

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