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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, New Goals

I'm a firm believer that success and happiness are not things you stumble upon, but instead feelings you acquire through hard work. Most things in life that are worth having require dedication and work. While I have lots of different goals, I have never set a new year resolution or goals to accomplish in a given year. This year I am going to give it a try.
I think my sister said it best over the weekend when she said, "2015 is going to be the year of Jamie." Meaning this year was the year she was going to do what was best for her, be dedicated to her own happiness, take better care of herself. This is also my New Years Resolution for 2015.
For the last several years, I have put my whole life into becoming the best physician possible and have throughout my life put others' happiness before my own. While it has been an amazing journey, it has definitely had its toll on me and now to be the best physician I can be I need to take some time to take care of me.
I am also a huge fan of bucket lists and thought it would be fun to come up with 10 goals I would like to accomplish in 2015. Some are a bit vague and others are very specific. I am looking forward to having an incredible year!

1. Go on a Road Trip
2. Go on at least 5 hikes
3. Finish that Cookbook
4. Start writing short stories
5. Go to a big Aquarium
6. Go Sledding(it has probably been 10 years)
7. Visit a Farmer's Market
8. Do something for a complete stranger
9. Go on a shopping spree
10. Take one photo everyday of 2015

Happy New Year Everyone! Have an fun and safe night out.

Monday, December 29, 2014

On to the New Year




To say that I had an incredible Christmas and Christmas weekend would be a major understatement. My 4 day weekend(with clinic in the middle) was full of giggles, family, games, and pure happiness. Though it was a little short on the sleep. With a split family it is sometimes difficult to balance my time, but it seems I am getting better at it. I spent Christmas Day with my mom's family and the day was wonderful. Every Christmas we do Christmas morning at my mom's where we take turns opening gifts in the living room and then have breakfast. My favorite part of gift opening is to watch people open what I got for them.
My mom has been caring for 2 children for the last several year and this year I got the little man one of the lighting/electricity lamps. It was a big hit and he loved it. For her I made a princess necklace complete with Cinderella's Carriage. The new baby got a whole bag of things as we haven't had a baby shower yet. After breakfast, my mom typically has to head to work for several hours and this year my youngest sister and I opted to head over to my grandma's for the afternoon. The day was full of story telling, great food, and of course lots of laughter. I finished the day at my grandpa's. This was by far the toughest part of my day, he is currently dying from lung cancer.
Friday I worked the clinic for a friend so she could spend the holidays with her family and then finished getting ready for round 2 of Christmas before heading back home. It has been 2 months since I have seen my niece Merideth and I definitely got in so much needed bonding time with her this weekend. Friday night we talked and played our family card game at my grandparent's before calling it a night(@ 11 or was it midnight?). Saturday we celebrating Christmas with that side of my family. Stockings always come first and are a huge part of our tradition. I have had the same stocking that I picked out when I was probably 7 years old. My grandma always makes a big Christmas breakfast and breaks out the nice china and Christmas wine glasses. We then follow up with taking turns opening gifts in the living room. This was Meri's first Christmas where she had to learn the art of patience by waiting her turn, but she did pretty good. She came up with a new game over the weekend which consisted of her and I running from the Christmas tree and diving onto her air mattress. This by far was one of her favorite things to do this weekend. We spent the rest of the day over at my dad's where my step-mom made a huge Christmas dinner, we watched Polar Express, and finished the night with playing cards and Cards Against Humanity. It was definitely a night full of giggles.
Sunday, I got my Christmas gift to myself...a new iPhone. I have officially converted and finally upgraded my phone. I've been using my Evo for a little over 3 years now so it was time for something new. So far I am still learning how to use it. I split my Sunday, by having breakfast with my dad's family and dinner with my mom's family. I got some much needed quality time in with my new baby niece, Aurora.
All and all I couldn't ask for a Christmas. I definitely got some things I wanted and needed. I got some new earrings, a new water bottle with my name on it, a little cash, and lots of socks. Some girls collect shoes, I collect cute socks.
This week I will be trying to get my life together in preparation for the new year and my trip to Texas next week for my last 2 interviews. I've decided that I am not only going to make a new years resolution, but also a short-term bucket list for 2015. I am definitely excited to see what the year brings!
Note: I don't have pictures from my mom's Christmas, because I took them on my mom's camera and don't have them yet.






Wednesday, December 24, 2014

So it's Christmas Eve?

It is hard to believe tomorrow is Christmas. I have no idea where the time went. Most years my home looks like the North Pole and I surround myself in Christmas Spirit some time in November(or October), but this year I have been so busy I'm lucky to have my gifts wrapped(or bought). I have a few days full of Christmas activities ahead and I'm looking forward to seeing all of my family. 
In the last week we added a brand new bundle of joy to our family. Little Aurora Khalessi Cross was born this past weekend and has already stole the hearts of everyone around her (and has as many bows as she can handle courtesy of Grandma). We are very excited that she is here in time for Christmas. 
This Christmas Eve, I opted for staying in my own home, snuggled up near the fireplace in my Christmas jammies with my hot chocolate, but the car is packed up ready to head north first thing in the morning. Every Christmas, I start the morning in Christmas jammies with Santa hats at mom's followed by house jumping. Tomorrow I will cover all of my mom's family in the span of a day. My father's family is much smaller and we all gather at the home of my grandparents one weekend around Christmas each year. This year we are doing it this coming weekend and I'm very excited to see my not so new, but equally adorable niece Meri. While "Christmas" morning at my grandparent's home has always been a big tradition that starts with stockings, followed by breakfast, and then gifts, this year we are adding a new piece to the tradition: a Christmas movie night at dad's. This year's movie is one of my favorite Christmas movies: The Polar Express. 
I'm sure the next few days will go way to fast, but there is nothing like spending time with the one's you love and I think that is the most important part of Christmas. 
Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope Santa brings you everything you wanted, you get to spend every moment with the people you love, and the catastrophes that always come with a holiday are small and easily laughed off. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Birmingham

Like so many things in my life, I have underestimated interview season. I think part of my general personality is that I try to do so much more than one person can possibly do in a given day/month. While I am not doing a whole lot of "school" stuff right now, I decided it was a great time to go back to work, start dating, do a mostly handmade Christmas, and catch up with all of my friends and family while also flying/driving around the country to interview for my future job(residency). To say I am exhausted is an understatement, but it has been one hell of a ride so far. I'm definitely a go big or go home kind of girl and sometimes I overwhelm myself.
This weeks interview was in Birmingham, Alabama. Due to some administrative/financial difficulties, I was unable to book my trip until last week and by that time flights were $700. So I decided it was a perfect time to take the road trip I always wanted to take. The total drive time was a little more than 11 hours and after adding in stop time ended up being about 12 hours each way. I also figured since I would have an extra morning and afternoon, I would take advantage of the time by hiking at the state park before my pre-interview dinner. And then would wrap up my trip with my interview Tuesday morning and make my drive back Tuesday night. It was an incredible trip, but very tough on the body. I slept most of today to try to recuperate.
The actual road trip part was pretty fun. I found I was the most tried the first couple hours of the drive and I got bored the last couple of hours of my trip. Tennessee and Alabama are absolutely beautiful to drive through. I found driving through St Louis was really the worst part both ways. I am very thankful for my Ipod and GPS. Lifesavers on a road trip. I basically rocked out for 12 hours each way.
Lessons learned: 12 hours is a lot for one driver on one day. Don't drink soda on a road trip. Bring more snacks.
On Sunday night, I stayed in Pelham, AL a small town about 20 minutes from Birmingham and home of the state park. I spent all day Monday doing a 16.5 mile hike through the park. As part of my go big or go home mentality, I decided when planning my hike I was going to see as much as the park at possible. It was a very relaxing and beautiful hike. The only people I saw all day were the rangers on the way in and the rangers on the way out. I would bet that it is even more impressive come spring time. I definitely underestimated the hike time and intensity. Overall I would say 80% of my hike was either up or down very steep hills. It is actually the downhill that really puts the most stress on my body. The last couple of days the back of my legs have been protesting to anything other than laying around. But it was totally worth it!
Monday night I headed to have dinner with the UAB residents at a pizza place and had a great time. The dinners are always the most interesting part of the interview process. Some of them are incredibly awkward and you spend the whole time thinking, please someone leave so I can also leave. It is all part of the process of figuring out where you fit in. This dinner, however, was very enjoyable and the residents seemed to go out of their way to try to include us in their conversations. We swapped interview, trauma, and road trip stories.
Monday night I stayed at a hotel a couple blocks from where I would interview in the morning and was very thankful for the big screen TV and big bed after what ended up being a very hectic day.
My interview in Birmingham started at 7:15 on Tuesday morning and it was definitely the earliest interview day I have had so far. Most of the interviews have a very similar set up. We typically start off with a presentation about the program highlights, take a tour of the facility, then settle in for 3-5 interviews with different staff members or residents, and finish with lunch. Probably the most interesting part of the process is what is going through your head.
For example all of the following thoughts have ran through my head during interview season: Am I sitting too straight? Is there something wrong with this chair? Should I unbutton my suit jacket? Should I button my suit jacket? Is my suit jacket too short? Should I have wore flats? I wonder if my eyeliner is running. Do my blacks match? Oh no, I forgot to put my necklace on this morning. What exactly is he wanting me to answer? Oh my Goodness, how am I going to answer that? Seriously you can give a whole presentation off the top of your head on arrhythmias and you can't think of an answer to What would you change about yourself? What are you doing with your hands? Did you really just say that? Why are you so awkward?
It is like a mind game with yourself. I am very curious what they are thinking during the process. I had a really good interview experience in Birmingham and was able to have a good conversation with each of my interviewers. So either the atmosphere was a lot more laid back or I'm finally getting better at this.
My drive home was slightly more difficult than I drive up and I think it was because it was on a weekday, but I got back into town around 2 this morning. I'm happy to be back in my own bed. I think sleeping in your own bed is one of the most amazing feelings in the world and I look forward to it each time I leave home.
Next week I have 2 more interviews. One in North Carolina and one here in Kansas City. In no time it is going to be Christmas time and at this rate I am not going to be ready for it when it gets here. While life is keeping me crazy busy, I am loving every minute of it. So many more adventures ahead!





Note: I have found most people don't know what The Match is or how it works. I wanted to take a moment to explain what I mean by The Match and how this whole process works. After medical school, the new doctors all around the country go into residency. It is in residency that you specialize in whatever you are going to be when you grow up. I'm specializing in Emergency Medicine. The Match is the process of getting into residency. In September, we put all of our information into a computer system called ERAS and this system then send out your application to the programs of your choice. Everyone applies to a different amount of programs, but I applied to 25 this year. Depending on your specialty, after applications go out different programs who are interested in your will send you an invitation to come out and interview at their program. We spent November-January traveling around the country interviewing at different programs. In February, we rank the programs we interviewed at on where we want to go and the programs rank the people they interviewed as well and then a separate computer system does The Match and matches you up with a program based on these lists. There is a possibility of not matching to a program which is every medical student's biggest fear.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Charlotte

I have definitely lost track of time. I have been back home for a little over a week and it has been very hectic getting back into the swing of things. There is so much going on in my life right now that it is hard to find a moment to write about it.
Charlotte was absolutely wonderful and as my grandpa put it, "well worth my time(and money.)" I truly believe that the experience reminded me of who I am as a person and really drove home why I am going to be an Emergency Medicine doctor.
Charlotte is a very young and healthy city which brought that out in me. I did a lot of socializing, saw the sights, and kept busy. In my high school years, I was a daily runner. My favorite runs were always trail runs. There are lots of runners in Charlotte and a ton of ultra runners(meaning lots of miles per day.) I even witnessed people crossing the finish line of a 50 miles race. No joke. Being in Charlotte reawakened my love for being active and doing trail runs. The weather definitely helped! I did my longest and prettiest run out at the Whitewater Center. I had a minor mishap and banged up my knee a bit. 3 weeks out, I am getting pretty close to having a normal looking knee again. It was well worth it though.
The Whitewater Center was an amazing experience! I did my running before they opened and then did whitewater rafting, paddle boarding, obstacle courses, and some ziplining. It was incredible and a ton of fun. And I literally couldn't move the next day. Luckily for me it was a sunday and I find no reason to leave the couch on football sunday anyway!
The hospital was incredible and my actual learning experience was invaluable. It really gave me some perspective on what I should be looking for as I start interviewing for programs in the future. The physicians were all very dedicated and I loved every minute of it. The amount of energy I had everyday was invigorating.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever gotten was "find something you would do for free and do that for a living." I can say that I have truly found that. I look forward to my shifts in the ED and can't wait to go back. My next time walking into an ER won't be until March unfortunately, but in the not so distant future I will get to spend every working day there.
Arrival

Night Shift

Just a little scratch


Whitewater Rafting


Whitewater Center

Walk to the hospital


Trail runs



All Packed up

Last Day

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The First Adventure

I have only been in the city a little over a week and I can already tell that October is going to be an amazing month! The city is very young and healthy which has brought back my love for running. I have ran a few times since I have arrived and I even found some trails to run yesterday. Trail runs have always been my favorite! I have become so much more active over the last few days and my energy levels seem to have skyrocketed. 

I have had the opportunity to work in a couple of different areas on the Emergency Department here. It is very similar to my Pediatric Emergency Medicine experience, where I act as the first line physician for the patients I see. I have gotten into the trenches, learned some new techniques, and have already greatly expanded my experience level. Over the last few months, I have started to make the transition from the learning medical student role to feeling more like a "real doctor." My level of responsibility has changed and I have found that I enjoy the new expectations. 

This program has been incredibly welcoming from day one. Night 1, I went out with the other visiting students and several of the EM residents to a BBQ place for what they call cardiology rounds. Basically drinks, food, and laughing. Over the weekend, I checked out "uptown" with some of the other students who are rotating through the ER this month. I have really enjoyed getting to know them and checking out the city together. We went to a Sushi/Hibachi restaurant which was WONDERFUL and then walked the area. We found a little alley of local pubs, had a couple drinks, and plays darts. A very low-key, laid-back evening which is right up my alley.

Yesterday, I received my first interview for residency. Come mid-November, I will be headed to Texas to check out another program. It was a very exciting moment for me! Emergency Medicine is very different from many of the other specialties. Many started offering interviews shortly after we applied in September, but Emergency Medicine programs typically wait until October. The waiting was making me nervous, so the first offer was very exciting. I am hoping that I will get several more offers over the next couple of weeks. I am also expecting to get my step 2 score tomorrow afternoon. Lots of exciting events coming up and plenty of exploring to still do!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Out of the Comfort Zone

It has been a couple weeks since I have gotten a chance to really sit down and blog. I have done so much in the last few weeks and I will try to write about them soon.
This weekend was a perfect last weekend in Missouri. I watched the little ones play ball on Friday night and then spent the rest of the evening drinking wine with my mom, grandma, and sisters while enjoying some girl talk. Saturday I had lunch at my grandparents and of course played a last couple games of pitch(the family card game.) That was also the day I finished getting everything ready. I am very thankful for my step mom and dad helping me switch suitcases and making sure I was ready to go this morning. I was able to round out my evening on Saturday by having dinner with my Mom and Grandma. I spent my weekend surrounded with some of the most important people in my life. 

Today marks my first day on my Out-of-Town rotation in Charlotte, NC. I have been looking forward to this experience since I applied for it last spring. I scheduled my flight and arranged where I was going to stay months ago and so this week when I actually had to start getting ready to go it felt like it crept up on me. This is a whole new experience for me and as my grandpa said, "a chance to get out of my comfort zone." I grew up in Missouri and have always lived within a couple hours of my family. I have never been on a plane alone, been without my a vehicle/depended on public transportation, or been away from my own bed for longer than a week. This month all of that changes.
My plane took off at 6 am this morning and I was lucky to have my dad see me off and make sure I got through security. My layover was in Atlanta which is a huge airport that requires you to take a tram from terminal to terminal. I managed to get through my morning without any major events and was picked up by my shuttle service in Charlotte. I have spent the day unpacking, walking the neighborhood, and trying out what will be my daily walk to the hospital. The area is absolutely beautiful and the walk is peaceful. I look forward to everything getting started tomorrow.
I have been incredibly lucky to have so much support from friends and family(and friends of family) through my adventures. It is overwhelming how many people are excited for me. So far, everything has been very smooth and I feel at peace. I look forward to continuing to get out of my normal comfort zone over the next couple of week and sharing this adventure with everyone else!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pediatric Emergency Medicine

What an amazing, stressful, crazy month this has been. I have seen so many different illnesses, helped so many families, and grown as a future physician. As I finished up my last night in the ER, I left feeling accomplished. My final day, I left right around an hour late. I saw 15 kids during my shift which is quite a few for a medical student and worked as hard as I could. The virus going around town has really kept the hospital hopping and the ER super busy.
On my last day I saw a collection of everything. A girl who cut most of the tip of a finger off, kids struggling to breath, appendicitis, lacerations, fractures, a kid who swallowed a penny, babies with fevers, motor vehicle accidents. From spinal taps to stitches to casting to breathing treatments. One by one I got to take care of them.
It has been an incredible journey and I am very thankful to those who made it a good experience for me. 
Next I prepare for my upcoming licensing exam on the 15th and start preparing to leave for North Carolina at the end of the month. I have to find luggage, a suit, business-casual dresses, and more scrubs. I'm working on getting better at curling my hair and trying different looks. It is all about making a good first impression as I start doing interviews in the upcoming months.
Today was the first day of a new month and it started with a little bump in the road. After making my balanced breakfast, I headed off to the gym. Half way there, I realized I had gotten a flat tire! I wasn't too worried initially and pulled over to the side to call AAA for assistance and realized I had left my cell phone at home. Something I do all too often. I learned to change a tire when I first started driving and so I set to work. Turns out I'm not very strong and couldn't get the lug nuts off. A couple driving by took pity on me and stopped to give me a hand. We got the tire off, the temporary tire on, and they offered to follow me all the way to the tire shop to make sure I got there. In a mean world, I have been helped by complete strangers several times while living in the city. I am constantly thankful for those who offer to help others even when they get nothing back in return. With the help of a couple strangers, I got my day back on track and still got my workout in!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oh Happiness

I am a between freaking out and absolutely excited about everything that is about to happen in my life. The next stage of my life truly begins on September 15th. I will be taking my USMLE Step 2 exam and applying for residency that day(all in the same day of course!) AHHHHHHH!!!! I am putting together the list of programs I am going to apply to and putting on the final touches to my application. Oh yeah...and I'm writing my personal statement. In the next week I hope to finish up getting it all together so I am ready to hit the submit button when the day comes. From there I will hopefully be offered interviews all over the country. I am hoping to do 11-12 interviews total. Which means tons of traveling and new experiences. I've only been a few places in my life so far and I'm about to triple that in the next few months. It will be the first time I am going to travel alone.

My first flight out will be to Charlotte, NC where I will be spending a month working in their ER. I am extremely excited about the experience and I am feeling more and more that I am ready for it. I'm a little nervous about living with someone I've never met and learning a whole new city, but life is all about adventures!

It has been the last few weeks in the ER at the Children's hospital that have really made me feel ready for this. This week I did my first lumbar puncture and after it was all over the supervising physician who did it with me said "how many of those have you done now?" I was like, "oh, um 1." His response? "Really? Awesome! Sprite for your first tap!" You are supposed to get champagne, but...well...we had kids to take care of. I got my first "slam-dunk" appendicitis this week too! Which means it was the first time I got to call surgery and say "I'm confident this child definitely has an appendicitis, will you come get 'em?" Typically, I say something like, "um...this kid has tummy pain can you come look at them?" I also put stitches in a squirming kiddo a few days ago. Thanks to the ER residents who taught me how to stitch so many months ago! Everyday I am growing more and more and have gain confidence in my skills. I am starting to feel like I can function on the same level as a resident which is very exciting!

I continue to prepare for my SimWar competition which I will one day explain. For now I will just say that it is also better preparing me for my future career and teaching me how to take charge of a situation.

Typically I'm rock-alternative kind of girl when it comes to music, but my guilty pleasure is Taylor Swift. I am so in love with her new song. I'm also in love with The Bleachers song "I Wanna Get Better." I definitely suggest checking them both out!

I'm a true believer that happiness is all about your attitude. We are all responsible for our own happiness and right now I couldn't be happier. I'm about to go through some amazing experience and the whole world is ahead of me! I have no doubt there will be a bump or two ahead in all the chaos, but Bring Them On! I am totally ready for it. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Saving the World

I decided I wanted to be a physician so many years ago. I was about 8 in the backseat of my grandparent's car.  Around the same I decided I was going to save the world. I held on to both dreams for many years, but when adulthood hit I struggled to hold on to both goals. I quickly realized there was so much pain and suffering in the world and trying to save the world was not a very realistic goal. It was something that I struggled to give up on. Instead I quit watching the news and avoided sad situations.

I had decided that even though there was so much pain, becoming a physician would allow me to save people one at a time. There are days that this holds so true and then there are other days when I can't save someone. Sometimes I can't save their physical life and many times I can't save them from themselves or their situation. I care for some of the poorest people and many of these people have never had any stability and have never felt safe inside their own home.

Over the last couple of weeks I have spent over a 100 hours taking care of sick children and even in a children's hospital I have seen pain and death. I have seen children thrown from cars because they were not in seat belts or car seats, chronically ill children in cardiac arrest, and more abuse than I ever care to imagine happening in one city. Some days are emotionally exhausting.

 I no longer believe that I can save the world single handed, but I do believe that I can make a difference. I can help people in both my career and in my everyday life. While my life may not be easy, I become increasingly more thankful for what I do have, because there are those who have so much less. I have found life is much happier if you love more and are angry less.

Note: I have had some absolutely amazing and beautiful things happen during the last couple of weeks as well and I promise to write all about them very soon! Today my heart is just heavy as I see all the pain in the world.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peds EM: The experience

I don't even know where to start. This week has been one of the most challenging, exciting, and wonderful experiences I have had while in med school. I have never been so sure that Emergency Medicine is exactly where I belong and where I will be the happiest. In my first four 10 hour shifts, I haven't seen the same thing twice. The variety is unbelievable and I have already learned so much.
The thing about this experience is that it is so different for me. On most of my rotations, my role as the medical student is to see patients and present my ideas to the attending physician(the boss doctor) based off of the information that I collected. The attendings put in for medications and tests and are the main provider for patients. They talk to the other specialties like surgery or admit the patient. My role is to learn from what they do with the information that I collected. On this rotation it is very different. I act as the provider. I put in for medications and tests. I am the main person who talks with the patient and families. It is my job to call surgery or the admitting team to discuss a patient. As well as do all of the charting and paperwork. It is a challenging experience as I start to really learn the dosing on medications, the tests to order, and the art of talking to other specialties. I am taking on a new set of responsibilities which is exciting and scary all at the same time.
My very first day, I was paged overhead and I remember thinking "who the heck wants to talk to me? I'm just a medical student." But that wasn't my last page of the day and most certainly not the last page for the month. When something happens, the nurses come to look for me. All of a sudden I have so much more autonomy and responsibility as I step into this new role.
Some days are easier than others emotionally. Seeing kids who are sick can be very challenging, but I love knowing that I can help them feel better and get well. Keeping that in mind allows me to love what I'm doing and keep moving forward even when a child is very sick or I have to make them cry, most of the time. Sometimes we see terrible things and children who are in excruciating pain which can be very heartbreaking. Thursday was one of those days for almost everyone staffing the ER. I think everyone was emotionally and physically exhausted when the walked out on Thursday. In medicine, some days are bad days.

After 4 solid days of 10(more like 11-12) hour shifts and actually 16 hours on Monday if you count orientation, I was ready for a couple of days away. The key to a happy and successful life is balance. Medicine is my life and I love that, but I still have to get away for a few days to recuperate. I spent my first day off in my normal fashion, going 100 mph. I had 2 different family get-togethers on different sides of the family. My baby brother is in town visiting from Arizona and my cousin has joined the Marines and leaves for California on Monday. After a couple of different cookouts, catching up with some family on both sides, and running around town, I settled at my grandparents for cards. Playing pitch is a family tradition on my dad's side of the family and I learned to play when I was 9ish. A visit to the grandparent's is never complete without a game of pitch. My family is very complicated, but I am the only child that my parents had together. Typically I spend time with each side of the family individually, but yesterday my younger sister(my mom's daughter) joined us at my grandparents and learned how to play pitch. She was a natural! It was the perfect way to end a perfect Saturday. Tomorrow it is back to the ER and I can't wait. I've gotten some rest and giggling in and I'm ready to go!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pro-Vaccines and other medical issues

This is probably the most controversial post I will ever write on my blog, because overall I believe everyone should do what is right for them and I don't think it is my place to have an opinion about someone's personal life. The thing is that I am completely perplexed as to why these are controversial issues. My grandfather once told me that it was my duty to share my opinion about big issues within my field(medicine), because I have the education and information to form a well thought out opinion. So maybe it is all of the facebook statuses or the news articles, but I think maybe it is time to share my thoughts with others.

Vaccines
This is the most important part of this post and something I am actually very passionate about. I truly believe that those who chose not to vaccinate their children believe they are doing what is in the best interest of their child, but well-meaning people don't always make the right decisions. I am completely clueless why this is an issue and why with the recent emergence of preventable illness we are still arguing about vaccines.
I want to share a story about my first interaction with an anti-vaccine family. It was during my pediatric rotation and we had a 2 year old come in who had an abscess(collection of bacteria and pus) in her neck and was septic(bacteria in blood). I remember taking her history from her family and being floored when they said that she had not been vaccinated. The mother lay on the bed holding her while she wailed. Her father sit close by. They clearly loved this child dearly. But she was miserable and very sick. She had a very high fever and my supervising physician ordered tylenol to bring the fever down and something like IV ibuprofen(tordol) for pain relief. Shortly after the orders were entered the nurse came in and let us know the family had refused the medications, because they had too many ingredients in them. Everything we wanted to do medically was a struggle. We had a long discussion about antibiotics which they didn't want her to have initially and pain medications. Every time I went into that room the little girl was crying. It was heartbreaking, but not surprising. She was sick, was being refused pain relief, and had a fever of 103F. Her medical course was long, painful, and difficult to watch and when she finally was able to leave the hospital her parents were just as anti-vaccine as they were when they arrived. Something I still can't understand.
I think the most important thing when making decisions that are life-changing or life threatening is to be well informed. I am pro-vaccines and I believe it is the responsibilities of parents to protect their children from what could be deadly and dangerous illnesses that are preventable. I want to share some of the evidence based information that led me to this opinion and I hope some of you will take this information into consideration when making this very important decision.

1. While the cause of autism is still unknown, there are a large number of studies out there which debunk the vaccines cause autism myth. In addition, there have been several cases of autism in non-vaccinated children. 

2. Measles
  • In the last 7 months, there have been 18 outbreaks and 585 cases of measles in the United States. 
  • 1 in 2000 cases results in encephalitis(swelling of the brain) 
  • 20 in 1000 cases results in pneumonia
  • 1-2 in 1000 children who get measles will die. 
  • In 2012, 122,000 people died from measles globally--about 14 deaths an hour.  
  • Before the MMR vaccine, measles killed 2.6 million people a year globally.
3. Rubella
  •  Rubella causes congenital deformities in infants and roughly 110,000 babies are born with these defects every year globally. 
  • Before the vaccine, 1-4 in 1000 infants born globally were born with defects from the Rubella virus
  • Defects include deafness, cataracts, and heart issues.
4. Haemophilus influenzae type B
  • This nasty little bug is famous for causing epiglottis. A highly contagious bacteria that can lead to your airway closing off. It also causes meningitis, pneumonia, and ear infections
  • There were 12,000 cases of meningitis from H influenzae a year before the vaccine. 
  • As many as 1 in 20 cases of meningitis leads to death even with treatment and as many as 1 in 5 surviving patients who had meningitis will have long term brain damage, blindness, or deafness
  • Before the vaccine, 600-1,000 children died a year in the United States alone from H influenzae.
5. Diptheria
  •  Diptheria is a bacteria that causes a cold like illness that is accompanied by a thick coating on the back of the throat that can cause you to quit breathing. The bacteria can also attack the heart leading to heart failure or attack the nerves leading to paralysis
  • 1 in 10 children who get diptheria die and up to 1 in 5 children who get diptheria before 5 years old die.
  • Diptheria once caused 15,000-20,000 deaths per year in the United States alone until the vaccine became available.
There are a similar list of reasons for every illness we can vaccinate against. It is my opinion that every person's life is important. 1 death that was completely preventable is 1 too many. Many of the people who die from preventable illnesses are children who have their whole life ahead of them. Protect your children, your neighbors, and your love ones by getting the proper vaccinations. 

Birth Control
I will make this short. I believe that every woman should have access to the birth control of her choice and it is the responsibility of women to make good decisions. I recently read a buzzfeed post where women held up signs about why they didn't take birth control. I found many of their reasons to be based off of incorrect information and didn't quite understand how they saw the world, but I also think if you don't think BC is for you that is okay. Just don't make it your goal in life to take it away from other women. 

Trauma
1. Wear your seat belts. For the love of all things, just wear the damn thing. You are putting yourself and everyone else in the car at risk if you don't wear it. Not to mention the poor paramedic who has to try to save your life or the poor police officer who has to notify your family. Wear it!
2. Look for motorcycles! And for the bike riders, don't drive recklessly. Don't try to beat lights or swerve around cars. Some of the worse traumas I have seen in the last year have been people who were on a bike. 
3. Firework safety. Dynamite is dangerous. No seriously, it could kill you or leave you mangled or permanently disabled. Please use your common sense.

Drinking and Driving
1. Don't do it! 
2. 28 people die a day due to drunk driving in the US.
It is heart breaking for everyone involved. Call a cab, sleep in your car, call your mom. Whatever you need to do, but don't get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have been drinking.

Other Notes
  • Quit smoking. This both is a personal and medical issue for me. For the last year, my grandfather has been battling lung cancer. He is only in his 60s. He quit smoking 10 years ago, but he was a regular smoker for almost 30 years. Do your lungs, heart, blood vessels, brain, and family a favor and put down the cigarette
  • Everyone needs a living will. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and there should be something put in place if you are unable to make your own decisions. 
  • Put your child in the proper car seat. The new recommendation is for you child to be in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old.
  • Along those lines, do not leave your child in a car or your pet. No matter what. Even if it is only going to be a minute or 2. When it comes to this it is better to be overly cautious.
  • Be kind to each other. This doesn't really come from my years in medical school, it is just something that will make your life and the lives of those around you happier.
So that's it. My thoughts and information on the current issues that we talk about everyday. I hope the information is well received and that one day these will no longer be controversial issues. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bucket List

One of my assignments when I was graduating high school was to come up with a 30 before 30 list. 30 things I wanted to do or accomplish before I turn 30. While I am several years away from 30, I took a look back at my bucket list from when I was 18. It is funny how things change as you get older. Your outlook on life changes and with any luck you get a little wiser.

 I have had a lot of different experiences over the last several years, both good and bad, that have shaped me into the person I have become and my bucket list had definitely changed. Some of the goals on my 30 before 30 list I have completed like:

1. Give a great speech at graduation
8. Read the Harry Potter Series

Others still remain on my bucket list:
10. Establish a scholarship
13. Visit Rome, Paris, Spain, and Hawaii
18. Run a half marathon
27. Scuba Dive

While some seem to be a little ambitious
 11. Learn to speak Spanish and Italian
12. Work in a foreign country
23. Get out of debt(by 30??? Maybe by 40)


Still others I have completely changed my mind
5. Complete a pediatric residency
20. Spend a month in New York

So I thought I was due for a new bucket list.  I love the whole idea of the bucket list. It gives you some goals and things to work for and it is a list you write down to look back at 5-10 years later and see how different your priorities were at the time.
My goals before 30 are simple:
1. Get into EM Residency
2. Fellowship
3. Sleep


So maybe this is more like my before 40 list:
Adventures
1. Go Scuba Diving. Anywhere really, but I would love to scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef(who wouldn't?) or Hawaii. This has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Part of this goal is to also see a sea turtle in the wild.
2. Go Sky Diving. My brother went sky diving last November and absolutely loved it! To be honest, I have no idea if I could actually jump out of a plane, but I like the idea. Ideally I'd like to fulfill this goal with my brother at my side. You know, kind of a bonding experience.
3. Go kayaking. I have no idea why. It just looks like a lot of fun.
4. Hike the Inca Trail. 4 days of total beauty(and sweat).
5. Puerto Princesa Underground River! Perhaps I should just say all of the new 7 wonders of the world. But definitely this one!
6. Disaster Medicine: anywhere. I absolutely love the idea of disaster medicine and everything I hear about it is awesome. You are truly making the best clinical decision you can make in an emergency situation and you can help a lot of really desperate people in a single day. One of the main reasons I got into medicine was to help people and what better time than during a disaster situation!
7. Go on a Road Trip. I'm not super picky on this. I have a lot of different places I would like to visit, but this is more like getting into the car and just driving and see where I end up.
8. Visit a Volcano. When my sister and I were 8-12 we spent the summers with my grandparents and my sister had a major fascination with Volcanoes. So of course as the little sister I also got interested in Volcanoes. So this is a sisters trip to fulfill a childhood dream.
9. Sail around the San Francisco Bay. I have lots of travel wishes that I could write about, but this one is more of a repeat. In 2009, I went to San Francisco for a wedding and had an amazing time. It is such a beautiful place(with no parking) and while we did take a quick boat ride around the Bay, I would love to just sail for a full day.

10. See all of the US "things to see" like the Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, Nigeria Falls.

Personal
11. Write a book. I have no idea what I would write about, but I have always wanted to write a novel of some kind. Maybe during Novel November one year.
12. Establish a scholarship. Paying for med school has not been the easiest thing to do and I truly believe that anyone who has the ability should be allowed to follow their dreams even if graduate school is entirely too expensive. I received several private scholarships my senior year of high school to help pay for my first year and I hope to be able to help someone else in the future the way people helped me.
13. Build my dream house. I have been working on my dream house for years. The most important thing is the master bathroom(of course!). But I'd like to have a large kitchen with 2 stoves, a walk out basement, a craft room, a library, and guest rooms to have family stay on holidays. That is the short of it. I could probably write a blog post just on my dream house!
14. Go Technology free for a week. One week of no internet, no phone, no TV. Live off the grid for a few days. Preferably on a beach.
15. Play Messy Twister. What a fun idea! I equally like the dart board with paint filled balloons idea.
16. Get my pilots license. One of our family friends(Stan), once told me the natural progression is to go from snorkeling, to scuba diving, to sky diving, and then to flying the plane. So of course this only makes sense!
17. Spend a week laying on the beach(I think that speaks for itself)
18. Spend a full day baking lots of yummy things from scratch! Like breads, cookies, cake, cheesecake, and something totally different!
19. Make baby/children's quilts and donate them to the local children's hospital.
20. Be my ideal weight. I just think that as a future physician you just have to have on your bucket list. The odds are probably better that I will see 100 if I'm my ideal weight.


One of the things I love about this bucket list is that there are things on there that were never on my bucket list before, because I'm not as afraid as I use to be. I have no idea if I will get through my list before 40, but I'm hopeful and I'm sure I'll add more things along the way!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Aunt Katie time

I became "Aunt Katie" in March of 2012 to Merideth Ann after a long day in the waiting room. Now a little over 2 years later she is a walking, talking little human who steals my heart every time that I am with her. My sister and her husband had tickets for a starlight show here in town and had asked me to keep Meri all day so they could have some couple time and then go to their show. I was very excited, because this would be the first time we would have one-on-one time together. Over time our plans changed a little. This is my last year of medical school and my last guaranteed year here in the KC. The probability that I will be packing up and moving half way across the country this coming spring is pretty high and so my sister decided that she would rather have a day together to get in some sister time.
We structured our day around what would be fun for a toddler and had an amazing time. We started at Fritz the railroad restaurant where Mer was completely at awe with the trains that ride around the restaurant delivering food. From there we went to the Chocolate factory where she got to watch them make fudge and pick out a train chocolate sucker before heading off to check out some of the shops.
After a needed nap, we headed out for the splash park. I had no idea there were free splash parks around the city, but they are a great idea and she had an amazing time. She has absolutely no fear and her and daddy got soaked. We finished up our time with the parents having dinner and watching Frozen(she absolutely LOVES frozen).

Once we had the adults out of the house and on their way to the show we set to work making homemade salt clay. She had a great time helping me dye the clay different colors and we of course used it to build a snowman.


I have a large craft room filled with a number of different things including 50 different colors of paint. So when we were done with the clay we headed upstairs to pick out a couple of colors for hand painting.


After hand painting we took a bath and did shaving cream painting while washing off. We finished the night with a story and a second round of Frozen.


The day was wonderful. There was no stress, she says the funniest things, and overall we mostly just laughed. It has been amazing watching her grow over the last couple of years. If come May I find myself packing to pursue my dreams, I am going to miss having days like that, but for now I will enjoy the time I have and try to create memories with her while I can.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Dating Chronicles of a Lady with Dreams

Note: If you are a 20-something who is married and has children, I'm happy for you! We all chose our own paths and no path is better than the other. This is just about my path. I have thought a long time about writing this post, in fact my sister encouraged me to write it months ago, but out of fear I didn't. But overtime we all conquer our fears.

When a woman turns 20, she catches the "I'm going to die alone" bug. No one is immune. It doesn't matter if you have plans, dreams, or goals. If you had planned on having children in your 30s or wanted to wait until traveled the world to "find the one." You magically start thinking that all babies are adorable and if you don't hurry up and get on with it then you are going to end up alone. I have watched this happen all around me and maybe even a little before I turned 20 I caught the bug.

I had had a high school sweetheart that I had been sure I would end up with, but alas that ended shortly into my med school career. When I ended that relationship, I had no regrets. I knew we were headed down very different roads and had nothing in common. He was a safe first, long relationship. So while I'm glad I had the experience, I am also happy with my choice to move on. I spent a year after the end of our relationship with friends, experiencing college life, and dealing with family issues.

At 20, I became obsessed with finding "the one." The rest of my life went on the back burner. All I knew was that I wanted to get married desperately and my new biggest goal was to have beautiful children. When I look at the my family and culture, I am not surprised so many young women get "the bug." 20 is when your friends from your hometown start getting engaged and having children. It is when your family starts asking about your love life and lack thereof. It is when society starts pressuring women to get on with it already. I attended 4 weddings during that year and just as many if not more baby showers. And heard countless times, "I just don't understand why you're single."

Shortly after my 20th birthday, I made a bold move and confessed my interested in a nice guy who was several years older than I was. But he had been through hell and back in his relationship life and after a few weeks of friendly conversation I was back to page one.
In the winter of that year, I decided to have a casual relationship. While the whole couple of months seemed very casual to me, perhaps it was very different for him.  I was in a point in my life where I didn't really know what I wanted and the pressure at school made life difficult. When he told me he loved me, I couldn't say anything. I knew I didn't feel the same and that I didn't want to lie. He became upset and over the next couple of days refused to talk to me. Out of no where, a weird feeling of desperation set in and I lied. Perhaps it was lucky for me that the damage had already been done.

Things weren't much different when I turned 21. I had taken care of many of my family issues, I was healthy, and I had finally found my stride in school, but on a relationship level I was still looking for "the one."

My mom always encouraged me to date, I think she was afraid I would die alone too. When she took me out for my 21st birthday, she invited several of the guys who worked for her. I set my eyes on the one who seemed the nicest(I'm a sucker for nice guys) and after a few weeks I settled into a relationship with an emotional distant guy who liked his space. Our relationship moved entirely too quickly and within a couple of months he had moved in. I think if we both had to do it again we would have waited, but I also think we would both agree that it wouldn't have worked out anyway.  Throughout our relationship, I became more and more committed to my career. I had suddenly realized that I was capable of being an incredible physician. While I had been upfront about the time required to pursue my career, even for a guy who wasn't sure about relationships to start with it was too much time.

We were together just about 18 months and it was an interesting journey(for both of us.) We were 2 people from 2 very different worlds and even if my future self had told me that it would never work out, I would do it again. It was through that experience that I got to where I am now.

So let me now answer all those questions about my love life that people like to ask...

I just turned 24 a little over a month ago and I am entirely too young to have a family. Over the last year, I have done incredible things and have proved to my self and my peers that I have an amazing career ahead of me and I think that is pretty good for 24.
I've decided it is okay not to have a family in your 20s and in fact it is okay not to have children at all. I want to live the life I want to live and not the one others think would be good for me.
I like being single. When I come home, there is no one to feed, no one to make feel better, no one to clean up after and after a 12 hour day at the hospital, it is nice to come home and lay on the couch. No one is mad about my socks on the floor or my 15 textbooks on the coffeetable.
Am I opposed to love? No. In fact I look forward to the day I find someone to share my life with. I still get weak at the thought of that guy I once knew. But I'm not in any big rush and I don't structure my day around the idea I might meet someone while I'm grocery shopping. (I mean honestly, how many amazing available guys do you run into in the milk aisle?)
My number one goal in life is to do everything I can to provide my future patients with the care they need and deserve.
So maybe a year from now I'll be in a strong committed relationship or maybe I will be trying to get my pilot's license(I'm getting that either way). In the end it will all work out and I won't die alone. And maybe, just maybe, when I do commit myself to someone again, I will be able to support them and compliment who they are. Because I think a relationship is much different between 2 people who need someone else and 2 people who simply want to be there.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A New Chapter

11 months ago, I started my "core" rotations: Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, and Surgery plus I smuggled Emergency Medicine into the mix. It has been an amazing journey and I have had an incredible amount of opportunities, but I am happy I have officially finished them up. I planned on taking yesterday off to do all the things that I haven't had the time to do over the last few months: clean, pay bills, do laundry, run errands. It turns out that I have let so many things stack up that one day was just not enough. Come tomorrow I will start studying for my Step 2 USMLE exam. A month of studying, healthy eating, exercise, and a normal sleep schedule is just what the doctor ordered.
Last year when I studied for my Step 1 exam, I used the time to disconnect from electronics, spend more times outside, and take some "me" time. I look forward to having the same opportunity over the next few weeks. Come August 1st I will be starting my Pediatric Emergency Medicine rotation. Senior year is officially here!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Silver Linings

Maybe I sensed something was off, maybe I had left on the bathroom light when I had left hours earlier. Now I can't really remember why I didn't walk into my bathroom and turn on the light last night, I just remember the shock of seeing the bathroom mirror shattered into millions of pieces. It must have happened while I was away during the day yesterday, because I am certain the crash must of been very loud. It somehow managed to fall directly off the wall. All I could think was thank goodness that I hadn't been in there, that I hadn't walked barefoot into a room of glass shards, and that I have a maintenance man who is extremely nice and willing to come help me clean it up on a Saturday morning. This may not have been my plan for Saturday morning, but in life things happen. So often things just don't go as planned and in life we get what we get. Right now I can just been thankful that it wasn't worse.


Over the last several weeks, I have been under an incredible amount of stress. Surgery was not my favorite rotation(though I did learn the skill of suturing.) It has become more and more obvious over the last couple of weeks that though we had an amazing team that got along, we now need some time apart. We are all tired, frustrated, and stressed. The early mornings, the long days, and the dread of dealing with people who are difficult to please has made us all a little cranky and makes the silver linings seem very dim. Maybe my silver linings are a little brighter, because I know I am down to one more day.
The stress over the last few weeks isn't only from my rotation, but from the idea of the future. It is a crucial time in my life where I have to make very important decisions about what I am going to do with my future. I am one of the lucky ones, because I have known I want to do Emergency Medicine for over 2 years, I know what I am looking for in a residency program, and I have amazing mentors to help me through the process. But the pressure is on and the next step to my board exams is a little over 4 weeks away.
All and all it has been a very tough year for my family. When I was a little girl my mom was middle class single mom raising 3 girls and in my early teenage years she met my step-dad. He was a man who had demons in his past, but was now on track and took easily to the idea of being a parent.  The first year they were married he coached my baby sisters basketball team, attended all of my debates, and cheered on my middle sister at each of her tennis matches. Over the years he became one of our biggest supporters and was just as strong willed as my mother(which is tough to come by.) But sometimes in life we can't escape our past and though my mother spent a year trying to help him to get help she filed for divorce a couple of months ago.

Two weeks before part one of my board exams last July, I came home for the 4th to very difficult news. My grandpa had collapsed the day before and had been diagnosed with Stage IV Small Cell Lung Cancer  that had metastasized to his brain. He started radiation right away and spent most of August in the hospital for severe thrush and sepsis. After shrinkage of the brain masses from radiation, he started multiple rounds of chemo. In March he was declared cancer free, but this week his oncologist found 2 new masses in his brain. The decision on further treatment is undecided and he is very unsure of the future.

While the last year has been a whirlwind, difficult, and stressful it has also been wonderful, enlightening, and a blessing. I have had amazing opportunities to rotate in lot of different departments, get involved and do things that I love, and grow as a person. I have been able to be successful even in the midst of a difficult time. While it is heartbreaking to see someone you love throw away their life, I am thankful for the times we had with my step dad and thankful that my mother has the strength to move forward even when it is an extremely difficult decision. As for my grandfather, it is hard to know what the future holds and how long he has left, but he has lived a very full life and bought a year to watch me progress in medical school and meet his youngest grandson. We may get what we get in life, but so often even when times are tough there are silver linings. I am thankful everyday for the opportunities that I have had to go to medical school and have the experiences that so many people never get. I am blessed with people who are rooting for me everyday, the values instilled in me that have helped me get this far, and roof over my head. My life may never be easy, but it is always worth it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Light in the Distance

54 days ago I started my surgery rotation and with 13 days left I am looking forward to the end. I had 4 tough 30 hour calls and 1 laid back call. I have spent countless hours in the OR. I wake up every morning before the birds and long before sunrise and it is still pitch dark outside as I walk from my car into the hospital. I go to sleep before the sun and most nights I can still hear the neighbor kids playing in the backyard as I close my eyes. Everyday is exhausting and I don't want to do anything but lay on the couch when I get home. Studying seems almost impossible and my brain doesn't seem to function until hours after I leave the house.
But 2 weeks from today I will be starting a new month and a new time in my life. At the end of July I will be taking my step 2 board exam and I will be spending the month studying. It is something I look forward to just for the structure, the sleeping in, and having some dedicated time to review what I've learned. After I finish the last couple of difficult weeks, I will only be doing the things that I love. I have several months in the ER and I even have vacation time coming up. The light in the distance is all that is keeping me going as we finish up this rotation. Because everything comes to a stop, eventually.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Birthday

This past weekend I got another year older. I haven't celebrated the last couple of years, because of various school responsibilities. Let's just say I made up for it all in a couple of days. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday and I'm glad I took an extra day off to sleep. It was just what I needed to give me the strength to get through this next month of surgery. I'm going to celebrate again with my dad's family this coming weekend and while it will be a little more laid back, I'm sure it will be another amazing weekend!
I was also officially promoted to a senior medical student yesterday! I can't wait to see what life has in store for me this year. I have no doubt it will be anything short of perfect insanity.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More to Life

I've been saying I want to be a physician since I was 8 years old and at 15 I made it my mission to get into the medical program. My 17 year old self had confidence I would sell my soul to have(ok I probably would sell my soul.) I didn't have a back up plan if i didn't get into the program, I was just so sure it would work out for me. I was so sure, I didn't apply anywhere else. I didn't realize how competitive it was to get in until after I interviewed and met the "competition." The day my letter came, I remember calling my grandma while I cried. Somehow I choked out, "I got my letter." And her response was, "oh honey, I'm sorry." The tears were misleading. The following fall I started my journey that would prove to have some major bumps, but brought me here to this point in my life. The last stretch, the final year.
It is a startling reality that I have less than a year left of school and I am finally there. I guess the thing is that while I have been saying that I would be a doctor for the last 16 years and have been in medical school for the past 6 years, I never really imagined myself getting to this point. I suppose I thought it would never get here, but here I am. In less than 1 year, I will be introducing myself as Dr.
This last stretch comes with its own challenges and a very different kind of stress. Over the next few months, I will be collecting letters of recommendation, writing my personal statement, and deciding where to apply for residency. It feels like every decision carries a lot of weight in the outcome of "the match."
With the stress of everything that is to come and being on my core rotations, I quit making time to do the things I love to do(aside from medicine). Like sew, bake, hike. But I stepped into my craft room for the first time in months a couple of weekends ago. I had forgotten how great it felt to finish a project or how fun it was to pick out fabric. I've settled on making myself skirts and putting together quilts to donate to the local children's hospital.  I've also started walking trails during the evening, something that totally puts me at peace. The beautiful pond and all the newborn animals have a very relaxing effect.
Remembering there is more to life than school has been totally rejuvenating. So while I have tried to plan out how everything is going to work out this last year and attempted to be completely prepared, I've realized that I have given my education everything I had and now it is time to give up the reigns and see what life has planned for me. I'm sure it will be amazing. After all every time things didn't go as planned, life ended up being great. Sometimes life isn't about planning, it is abut living.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Shoe, The Zoo, and The countdown(+small pleasures)

I have never had a "traditional" family. There is my mom's side and my dad's side. So last week I went to the zoo with my dad's family, where we lost my niece's shoe to the zebras. The good news is that the zoo keepers were able to retrieve it a couple days later and it looks almost perfect!


This week I went to the zoo with my mom's half of the family in celebration of mother's day. We had a blast! With 2 energetic children, we were able to see every exhibit and catch a couple of shows. The little ones loved the animals, but not the walking.



On Surgery
Last night I completed my 2nd of 5 thirty hour calls that I will complete over the next couple of months. Making it 14 days down and 47 days to go before I finish up with my final core rotation and get closer to being back in the ER. I have decided to make the best of my time while I'm on surgery, relearn some anatomy, and reenforce why I chose Emergency Medicine over Surgery(not a difficult task). As I was standing in my 6 hour surgery last night, I considered renaming this post "Surg-1, Katelyn-0" but instead I decide the point goes to me. While my feet were killing me about half way through, I made it and that is a victory. We resected cancer out of a man's colon and that is definitely a victory for everyone. And the case confirmed that I was never meant to be a surgeon, mostly because I don't have the attention span.
I will say overall on surgery, the days don't seem as long as I thought they would, but the mornings do seem just as early if not earlier than I imagined. If their days started a couple hours later than they do I think it would be much easier on my body.  So while I've decided to make the best of it, I am also going to countdown the days.


Small Pleasures
One of the pros of being so busy during your core year of medical school is you remember to appreciate the small pleasures in life. For me that includes listening to music during my drives, diet mountain dew, a full night of sleep, taking a walk, and catching up with old friends. I'm pretty sure that the only thing that kept me going through the last hour of last nights surgery was knowing I had a diet mountain dew waiting on me when I finished. It is the little things in life!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

An Update and the future

It has been so long since I have posted anything on either of my blogs and I am going to blame that on pure exhaustion. When I first came to medical school I was sure that I would be a Neonatologist and 2 years in I decided I would go into OBGYN and specialize in infertility. It turns out that I was not meant to go into either of those fields. A couple years ago, after I realized that OBGYN was definitely not for me, I took some time to think about what I loved about medicine and what worked well with my fast pace personality and I decided on Emergency Medicine. Like so many things in my life, once I set my mind to going into Emergency Medicine I was sure that it would just work out that way and for probably the first time in my life I was right.
After lots of thinking and switching my rotation schedule, I started my Emergency med rotation at the beginning of February. I was completely nervous and for so many reasons. I was worried I wouldn't like it and then I wouldn't know what to go into, I was worried about making a good impression, and I was worried I would be no good at it. However, the month was pure bliss. I loved the excitement, I loved the fast pace, I loved the people attracted to the specialty, and most of all I loved how natural it felt for me. Aside from confirming that EM was the best for me, that month also opened up many doors. I met a number of extremely experienced and respected EM physicians who opened my eyes to EMS and toxicology. Both areas I am now interested in doing some further training in.
After Feb came my March/April rotation in OBGYN. I won't say much about it here other than as a subject I enjoyed it, as a rotation, well not my favorite.
And now I am 4 days into my Surgery rotation. I haven't had a real first day so far, but this week is sure to test my physical abilities. While I don't think it will be the most mentally challenging rotation, I do believe it will be the most physically challenging. Tomorrow is my first 30 hour call and I am sure it will be quite the experience. I am kind of excited about it to be honest. It is the only chance I am going to get to see traumas while I am on surgery which is my main interest. However, with the waking up at 3:30 in the morning and getting home close to 6 in the evening, I am sure to be MIA for another couple of months.

In the midst of all of my core rotations, I have also been working on preparing for my future. In just a few short months I will start interviewing for residency all around the country. I am getting very excited about moving forward in my career, but I'm also very nervous. As part of the process I am going to do a couple of "away" rotations in Emergency Rooms around the country. Basically all that means is I will spend a month working in an ER at a different medical school. I was offered a rotation in North Carolina and I am very excited for the upcoming opportunity. I will leave at the end of September and can't wait to share all of those experiences. I have also applied for a couple of other rotations and I am waiting to hear back on whether or not I will be offered a spot.

In other news, I housed my grandparents, sister, brother-in-law, and niece overnight this weekend. I have lived in the same home for the last couple of years and I have rarely had company and never company quite like this. We had pizza, played cards, and shared lots of stories during the evening and then got up the next morning and headed for the zoo. Mer turned 2 this year and she is just a little jabberer. Roughly every few minutes I would hear "come on aunt katie." I am definitely her favorite when I'm in the room and I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that I provide the brownies and don't handle any of the discipline.
We had a wonderful day at the zoo and the zebra's gained a new toddler shoe. I'm not sure my sister was thrilled with that last bit, but I'm sure there is some zebra out there right now who is very thankful for their new stylish hoofware.
Having everyone over was something I definitely enjoyed. I have known for a long time that I want to build my own home one day and part of what I want is many furnished rooms to have guests stay comfortably. My sister and her family spent the night in the craft room and shockingly they all came down not covered in glitter. But one day I will be able to provide them with an actual room and a bed.
For now however all I can offer is a glitter covered room and an exhausted Aunt Katie.