Archive | June, 2011

adam west–batman–HOLY carmina burana

28 Jun

Okay, now I’m excited.

(Apologies for the radio silence of late.  It’s been an…unconventional week.)

Last night we had our first rehearsal with the guest conductor for tonight’s concert.  I don’t think I’ve had so much fun at rehearsal in, I don’t know, 5+ years?  That crazy, dirty Costa Rican conductor!

I need to scoot off to this morning’s rehearsal at the Mann Center, and maybe allow myself enough time to get lost on my bike…thank goodness for smart phones!  But…if you’re itching for a fun/ky outdoor concert tonight (you can bring your own booze!), you can buy $10 lawn seats here!

Also, I know I used to bitch about the TFC’s policy of memorizing EVERYTHING (oy, Mendelssohn!)–I mean, it’s kind of a party trick, yeah?–but I have never been more thankful for knowing a piece cold.  Guerrero, you want to push the tempo of “Veni, Veni, Venias” beyond the limits of sanity??  By all means.  My eyes aren’t leaving your right hand.


brimming with pride, as always

23 Jun

On Monday, John graduated from residency.  I’m putting it lightly when I say that he kicked ass in Boston, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Not only was he recognized for his work, dedication, and leadership as one of the chief residents, but he also received an award of scholarly achievement, newly created to recognize his level of bad-assery.  Perhaps the best demonstration of his impact is in what his patients and his colleagues have to say about him.  Some of the notes that patients submitted on his behalf were read at the ceremony…it’s hard to fathom how many lives he’s touched, how many have been made a little (or a hell of a lot) better due to his service.  But some of my favorite moments had to be while mingling with other residents or the incoming intern class.  It takes a special kind of leader to be so unanimously well-liked and respected.  John’s simply amazing.  And now he’s an attending physician.

John and I were both so honored that Matt could join us for the celebration.  He’s been such an integral part of our lives in Boston, both personally and professionally.  And he and John make quite the research team–I love it!  Then, on Tuesday, we learned that Matt destroyed the MCAT.  I have three responses: 1) CONGRATULATIONS, you deserve it!  2) I f—ing told you so.  3) Come to Penn!

I couldn’t decide whether to include the picture of us with or without flash, so you’re getting both:

Especially when next to such handsome men, I look a bit disheveled.  Let’s just recognize that I still, at least, have both eyes intact after applying mascara on a turbulent airplane.  Score.

Quick story: Matt was actually the first person I told when I got my MCAT scores back from my third time taking that hellish test.  We had just had rehearsal with the TFC, and he and Tom (another totally inspiring dear friend who, incidentally, has a voice like melted chocolate) had been charged with the task of keeping me distracted (with a fair amount of alcohol and Pandemic, as I recall), so that I wouldn’t continually check to see if my scores had been posted.  I got my scores when I got home that night, around 1am.  I tried to call John in the ED, but had to leave a message…and I simply had to tell someone I loved.  So Matt was the lucky person I woke up in the middle of the night.  His reaction: “Oh, I’m so happy for you…what should we do?  Do you want to go out and celebrate??!”  Um, dude, it’s 1am on a Monday…go back to sleep, buddy.  But how sweet of him, right?

CliffsNotes: SO proud of these two gentlemen.  I love them both, so much a lot.


on radiology

20 Jun

When the course director says during a review, “It’s good just to be aware with radiology that it exists,” I really hope I can interpret that to mean that it’s okay that it’s midnight before a final and I still have a hard time identifying the organ of interest on a barium follow-through x-ray…let alone whatever minute ulcer I’m supposed to be observing…

Getting psyched!

the journey behind

19 Jun

Every now and then, it’s really nice having one or two old email accounts, mostly now serving as spam repositories.  Today I sifted through my UVA account to find an email from a college mentor (and dear friend).  I was reminded of it during the celebration of Bloomsday a few days ago, since he and I, having taken a class on Joyce and Eliot together, felt compelled to reread Ulysses over the summer and engage in a conference call discussion with a friend in Denver following each episode.  He was one of the first persons I told about my itching suspicion that I might want to be a physician, and my subsequent sea of concerns (one of which was certainly the length of study and preparation required).

July 10, 2006:

I just wanted to follow up with your thoughts about the future with a couple of thought of my own.  When are you thinking of starting?  Where are you thinking of going?  […]

Oh yeah, one last thing…I’m going to pass along something that I said last week to a first year advisee who seemed conflicted about her love of English Literature, and her desire to go to medical school.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a well-read doctor.”


I love rediscovering this email.  When I get anxious that I’m going to be “training” to enter the medical profession for half of my professional life, the date at the top of the email feels reassuring.  I can’t believe it’s been five years…at that time, I couldn’t believe that I was capable of passing basic chemistry, let alone being medical student, hopefully completing her first year in about 34 hours.

More importantly, the content of the email…I love how immediately this man encouraged my radical change of plans, particularly after he had helped foster my love of music and English throughout my time at UVA.  While I am not well-read by any stretch (I don’t remember the last time I looked at fiction), I am simply relieved by the sentiment that I didn’t do anything “wrong.”  My utter lack of training in the sciences might not have done me favors in immunology…but it’s June 19th, and I’m only (fingers crossed!) a little over a day from being one quarter done with medical school.  Please wish me luck!

summer read

18 Jun

It’s become commonplace, this sense of awe and amazement I feel toward my colleagues here.  You’ve already seen me go on about their brilliancecommitment to outside passionskindness and generosity, and ingenuity.  Well, just bear with me one more time.  Utpal wrote and published a book…a really great book.

(I’ve actually only read the first two pages [exam on Monday and all]…but I am stoked for 2:15pm on Monday, when my flight leaves for Boston and I can let myself become immersed in Utpal’s depiction of the Machhu dam disaster.)

And he did it all while working toward two doctorates.  He says that this was a story that simply had to be told.

here’s to you, leopold!

16 Jun

As if I could forget Bloomsday!  Although, in the midst of GI panic (oh, that could be taken soooo many ways…), I did overlook it during Dublin time…it’s only appropriate that I remember our Joycian hero as I go over my slides on alcoholic liver disease, to which I really need to return.  Still one of my favorites:

— Force, hatred, history, all that.  That’s not life for men and women, insult and hatred.  And everybody knows that it’s the opposite of that that is really life.
— What?  Says Alf.
— Love, says Bloom.  I mean the opposite of hatred.

James Joyce, Ulysses

Best.  Protagonist.  Ever.

God.  It’s hard to imagine that there was a time not so long ago when my “work” was reading.  I need to remind myself of all the reasons that wasn’t personally fulfilling: I want to be a doctor.  I want to be a doctor.  I want to be a doctor…

By that I mean: I would be privileged for the opportunity to one day serve others as their physician.  And, for the record, I think Leopold Bloom would have been an excellent one, so maybe I’ll be a better physician for having hacked my way through Ulysses.

Four days.

should men be doctors?

14 Jun

In the last 72 hours or so, this article and this response have been making waves, well, pretty much everywhere, particularly throughout the medical community.  Like most of my peers, I have a lot to say, though I’m gathering I’m a bit more ambivalent than most (note: ambivalence does not equate apathy).  But I’m starting to get a mini-pit of anxiety in my stomach (or maybe it’s a gastric ulcer?) regarding our upcoming exam, so I’m just going to leave you with this excerpt from the response:

I think that argument gets it backwards. The problem is not that workers — mostly women at this point — are demanding too much, but rather that professions are archaically structured. Also, that the push for change still comes mostly from women. The answer is neither to shut up, nor to buck up. The answer is to recalibrate the hours and expectations of professions so that they can be done by the “new worker” — not a man with a wife at home (which is the assumption of the old structures) but rather a mother or father with a working partner and responsibilities at home.  (Lisa Belkin)

Clearly, I’m a big lover of women.  We’re fascinating (at times terrifying) creatures and, while I readily agree with Belkin, I don’t so much mind that we have to keep having this life/work balance debate over and over (and over) again, cycling around somewhat stale, though consistently provocative, arguments.  What gets my goat is how infrequently men enter the discussion…which is, by the way, a total disservice to all our men.  As complicated and frustrating as life/work choices are for women, I might argue that they are more limiting for men.  Who ever heard of a male physician taking paternity leave?

objectives for a happy life

11 Jun

One of our course directors for GI is this unexpectedly adorable physician from Tennessee.  He used to play competitive baseball.  Now he wears bow-ties to lecture, gets the class to simmer down at the start of lecture by either singing or repeating firmly into the mic “yo!  yo!” and hints at high yield facts with, “Now listen up, lads…”

As I fake it until I make it this weekend (we’re trying a little experiment: pretending our final is this Monday), I’m remembering Dr. F’s personal everyday objectives, finding contentment in the simple (albeit incredibly important) joys of life:

  1. To be able to get from home to work to back home without getting lost.
  2. To maintain continence.
  3. To not wake up dead.

I’m three for three today!

why am i only now hearing about this band?

10 Jun

Even during my Smashing Pumpkins phase (in 6th grade, I think), I never liked the single “1979.”  Well, I like it now, at least the way honeyhoney covers it.

Have you heard of them?  If so, why have you been holding out on me?!  This is what I do to cheer myself up after learning about pancreatic cancer.

Their cover of “L.A. River” is hauntingly beautiful, a refreshing study song.

all i want to do

9 Jun


…is go on an adventure…

or at least plan my summer…I think it’s going to be a really good one.

11 days!!!

In other news, I attended a workshop on how to place an IUD.  Here’s a question to my lady friends: do you want to get pregnant in the next year?  If the answer is a resounding “no,” let me know if you want to chat about IUDs with someone (me) who has a genuine interest in women’s health and happiness but is a good decade away from being any sort of medical professional (not sure if that’s an incentive or disincentive).  The Mirena sounds like an ideal option.  One of my best girlfriends calls it “the magical club.”  LOVE it!  Do you want a statistic?  How ’bout this one: 18% of female obstetricians/gynecologists in the U.S. use an IUD–more than the fraction of Ob/Gyns that use any other form of contraceptive.