Long Time No See

The last time I posted, I had just found out that I matched into one of the programs on my Rank Order List for a residency in pediatrics, accomplishing a goal I’ve had since I was 14.

It has been such a long time since then, and I haven’t written about it. After Match Day, there was so much to do, and it felt like we had no time. It all went by so quickly.

We immediately went on the hunt for a house. On one Saturday, we toured 19 properties, put in an offer, and bought our first home.

My brother got married with my Ladybug as the flower girl:

I finished my final med school rotation in the NICU, which I absolutely loved.

We had to find a new daycare and it completely broke my heart to leave the one we’d used since the Ladybug was 8 weeks old.


We took a family vacation to Key West, FL, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Savannah, GA.

We spent two weekends painting the house and moving in, with the help of the best family and friends.

Then the fun started. Mountains of paperwork and training and licensing and certifications before even starting orientation.

And now they call me Doctor. Paging Dr. Allie. It is real, and no longer a fantasy or far off in the future. It doesn’t feel like it at all. I’m currently on my second rotation, which means I have “survived” July of intern year, but not without rubbing one of the children’s hospital’s ladybugs for luck on my first day.


First Day

Today was full of many firsts. I got to class early to shove my spare set of anatomy scrubs into my locker and drop off brownies in my unit lab. Our ICM (Intro to Clinical Medicine) instructor is awesome. He references movies that I like, and he’s just plain funny. I think we’ll get along famously. Histology was a bit different. Even after spending a large chunk of my last day of summer printing off the notes listed for that day, I somehow still ended up with the wrong ones, which proved to be annoying but overall, not bad. Anatomy lecture proved to be my favorite part of the day (and I am SO THANKFUL that I have already taken anatomy before now… it is already making a big difference), and is now the frontrunner for my favorite class so far, just because I enjoy the material.

Anatomy lab: Oh my goodness. It’s amazing. It’s wonderful. It is so much hard work, and today was not even my day to dissect. Our group had some issues and we were a bit behind, but I stayed late to help the guys finish and clean up. There were just so many firsts. And it totally blew my mind. This is going to be a wonderful, hard semester, and I am already learning stuff that fascinates me. I have already learned so much in a very short amount of time.

The one thing I noticed that I had not thought about yet was the volume. For our first day, I thought that the amount of material was fair & appropriate. It didn’t really seem too bad to me, and even now doesn’t seem overwhelming. (No tears yet! Goal #1 accomplished!) Although, after Histo, I heard two classmates discussing how much material the class had covered, that basically we’d cover a whole semester of Cell Bio in three days of this lecture. Since I never took Cell Bio in undergrad, I cannot comment on that, but it did not seem like the amount we covered was unreasonable. (Maybe I’ll feel differently after I review the notes immediately after posting tonight.)

So at the end of this first day, I am very much enjoying being a medical student. I can tell that even though the schedule doesn’t look too terribly bad, the labs may regularly take a longer amount of time than I was originally expecting.

And don’t get me wrong, I’d love to still be here, soaking up every single ounce of summer:


The New Job

To my intense excitement, I started a new job in August, in a new department. I am now in Nephrology, transferring from Hem/Onc.

There are so many fewer frustrations. There are almost NO headaches anymore (there for a few months earlier this year I was having one every single day at 2pm, if not before–not to mention the migraines.). I’m no longer alone all day. I no longer have stress so bad that my back knots up. I work my 40 hours and then I’m done, no more of this “comp time” nonsense. I love my boss, T. He asks regularly if I’m happy, because he likes a “happy lab.” I laugh at work. I have friends at work. I get to go to seminars and learn something new. I get to participate as a team. My workload is reasonable. When I need a day off for an emergency, it’s no problem (I missed two friends’ weddings because of the previous job; and when there was an emergency, I was required to come in anyway, even when I had no means to do so.). At this job, I actually get to participate in researchwho knew that was a novel idea! When I already have skills, I get to showcase them and take the lead on projects. When I have ideas, they are acknowledged and I feel valued. When I do something well, I actually get a “thank you” and “good job!”

In short, I love this new job!

I’m also learning a lot of new techniques. I don’t do nearly as much cell culture or qPCR anymore, but I’ve learned sectioning on the vibratome and the microcryotome, as well as different staining techniques. I’m also getting very good with the Olympus2 microscope system. We’ve also started Laser-Capture Microscopy (LCM) and Flow Cytometry, which are both new to me. I’m gaining expertise in survival surgery and I’ve had my suturing skills praised. (“You should be a surgeon,” says T (he’s an MD); of course I’m good at suturing, have you seen the magic my grandmother can work with crochet hooks? It’s totally in my blood!) =)

My biggest challenge so far, though, has been teaching. I’ve had a difficult trainee, so I’ve had to battle some of my own habits. When I get frustrated, I’ve noticed that I say things curtly which makes my words sound condescending, which is not what I intended… and I don’t like that aspect about my habits very much, so I have tried to change. It’s gotten so much better now that I know more about how to get through to this person based on his/her learning style. I’ve tutored before and helped other peers during college, but this was quite the struggle for me. Knowing that teaching is tenet of medicine, I knew that I needed to start cultivating better teaching skills now.

“See one, do one, teach one! Your turn next!” I will never forget Dr. M. for that quip in my first hospital nursery. I’m fairly certain I’ve been preparing myself every day since then.

So the new job is wonderful; I’m so much happier in general now. I should have done this so long ago! God will always provide!