Archive | November, 2010

anatomy round two

15 Nov

…and to think, two months ago I didn’t know the meaning of the word “cutaneous.”

Wonder if any of my former English professors are reading this post and cringing.

he’s here!

13 Nov

John just walked in my front door!  We’ll be spending tomorrow working side by side–he on his book, me on the brachial plexus (it’s a bitch)–then he has an interview Monday morning, and he flies back to our Boston home at around midday.  A whirlwind, to be sure.

Maybe on his next visit we’ll have a moment to breathe and he can meet some of my classmates to prove that he is not, in fact, a figment of my imagination.  Plus, John’s a pretty rad guy–I want my friends to know him and for him to know them.  Worlds colliding!

harry potter the scientist

13 Nov

harry potter fix in anticipation.


stereotype me

11 Nov

At UVA, I was part of this awesome organization called Sustained Dialogue.  It’s a little difficult to explain in a few sentences and do the cause justice.  Basically, racially diverse small groups (8-12 students) meet once every two weeks for a few hours to discuss race, within the context of the university predominantly, at least to begin with.  It’s a five-step process that begins with story-telling and moves toward action.  Might sound trite, but I found that simply opening up the conversation in this safe space was eye-opening in unexpected ways.

One year, a bunch of SD groups got together and created De-stereotype Day.  White shirts were passed out that said “Stereotype Me” on the front, and on the back the wearer wrote a personal characteristic that defied a stereotype that might be held against him/her.  For example, one of my friends whose family is from China wrote, “I don’t know how to use chopsticks.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about stereotypes recently because it seems like, as med students, we so easily fall into them.  And I don’t just mean as the “typical med student”–type A, overly anxious and competitive, sleep-deprived, socially inept–but also within the context of what type of physician each of us will become.  Here we are, not even a full semester into medical school, and we already seem to be segregating each other: the former Peace Corps volunteer who will likely win a National Health Service Corps scholarship and go into primary care in rural America; the smooth-talking econ major who will get the joint MD-MBA and likely not work in a clinic past residency; and–my favorite–the orthopedic surgeon.  This stereotype is pretty incredible.  I’d heard about it from John and other friends who had gone to medical school; you can literally pick out these kids a mile away.  They are young, male, incredibly athletic, fratty (in the best ways…incredibly comically so), and completely tunnel-visioned in anatomy lab.

So, I’m curious.  What’s my stereotype?  I don’t think I fit any of the categories above, and I’m sure my own preferences will change 8-12 times as soon as I start clerkships.  But seriously, I’m opening up the floor to your comments: What type of doctor do you think I’ll become?

2nd floor pottruck

10 Nov

I did it.  I spent–oh–at least 25-30 minutes on the 2nd floor of Pottruck, the main gym at UPenn, this evening.  It’s the weight-lifting floor.  No girls allowed.

In all seriousness, I have never seen a girl on this floor.  Except today, just as I was leaving.  I swear she decided it was safe only after I broke the mold.  I give myself far too much, completely unnecessary credit.  Please note that this post thus far is dripping in sarcasm.

I learned two things:

a) My biceps brachii, brachiali, and brachioradiali are in terrible condition.  I am as weak as a limp noodle.

2) The gym plays Christmas music on the second floor.  Kids’ sing-a-long type Christmas music (“Rudolf” and the like).  Meanwhile, pump up rock is being played on the other three floors.  Why this discrepancy, I have no idea.  Is there a new theory suggesting that forced exposure to carols can benefit the burly gym rats in our community?

my main squeeze

9 Nov

This evening I caught myself actually flirting with my husband over the phone.  How in the world did I get that kid to marry me anyway?

Did I ever tell you that we shaved our heads a few years ago?  What a fun experience!  If you ever have the desire to feel the wind on your bare scalp, consider going bald with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

We were cute, no?  It was the growing out part that got a bit rough.  Months 4-8 post-shave, I looked like chia pet.

south street bridge

9 Nov

At 2pm on Saturday, the South Street Bridge opened its gates.  My life, or at least my commute, may never be the same.  And…what a skyline!  I need to learn how to take pictures on the iPhone without having them come out all pixelated.  I have a very unsteady hand.

table 6

7 Nov

The lovely ladies of table 6, room 212, anatomy lab.  Bellies full and warm after, what I hope will be, one of many potlucks.  So lucky to be discovering/butchering the brachial plexus with these fabulous women.

two weeks three days

6 Nov

I can’t believe we’re already into November.  Three solid months of med school under my belt (it’s starting to feel legit), and less than eight months until John and I get to be roomies again!

And there’s so much to look forward to in between.  Like Thanksgiving…I don’t think I’ve officially revealed our big plans: John and I are going to Tuscany!!!  He has a conference, and I get to tag along; I could not be more excited!  It’ll be a super quick trip–I’m leaving straight from my epidemiology exam that Tuesday to hop a flight, and then back Sunday afternoon–but so worth it!  And it turns out that the airline prices are in our favor over this very American holiday weekend.  Plane tickets to Rome are equivalent in price to tickets to Chicago.

We booked our tickets only about a week ago.  A few minutes after clicking “Purchase,” I got a phone call from John: “Please tell me you changed your name on your passport?”  Hmmm…I’m pretty sure the government scans that shit and decidedly does not let you leave the country if your passport does not reflect your name in social security.

So, on Monday after anatomy lab, I sped over to the local CVS to get quick passport pictures–had not been aware until then that it was possible to take a picture of just my head and make it look like I’m 300+ pounds but, somehow, CVS digital assistance and I made it happen–and then I peddled as quickly as I could across town to the passport agency.  Why why WHY is it that these agencies are only open from 11am-3pm?!  It makes me seriously sorry for anyone who actually has any remotely complicated problem–how do they do it?  I showed up breathless at 2:25 only to be greeted by a woman at the desk who said, “Well, you know, technically we’re closed.”

No, you’re not!  Clearly the website and all the signs you have plastered on every teller’s window specifiy otherwise.

“And, if you want to change you’re name, we’ll need $170 and two copies of your marriage certificate.”

Disagree. Luckily I had printed off the website the instructions that any government-issued ID with the new name would work just fine.  Crazy bitch.

Okay, I should tone it down a bit.  After all, she did, I assume, get things taken care of at the end of the day (knock on wood…still waiting to get said passport back in the mail).  And it only cost me $170 and a few well-timed tears.  On November 23, I’m meeting my husband in Italy, dammit.

Until then…

a note to possible premeds

4 Nov

Don’t bother with AP bio, chem, and physics.

Forget the biochem and applied mathematics double major.

Take Latin.  Lots and lots of Latin.  And, while you’re at it, throw on a classics major.  It will save you hours and hours of mental gymnastics in your anatomy lab.