Archive | September, 2011

then and now

13 Sep

It’s hard to believe that almost exactly a year ago we were donning our HUP scrubs and nitrile gloves for the first time, preparing to meet the body we would soon refer to as Samson:

photo by Candace diCarlo

Reminiscing about anatomy at our monthly table six potluck:

Happy birthday, Christina!

two years ago…

12 Sep

…John and I chose to spend the rest of our lives together.  Then we celebrated with feast and revelry and our favorite people in the world.

This time last year was very different.  I celebrated our one year over embryology, cell and tissue bio, and genetics study materials in preparation for the next day’s examinations.  Jon and Jamie were kind enough to have me over to a fantastic dinner at their home while John and Alon went white water rafting.  It was a great day, but now I’m looking forward to spending anniversary number two with my main squeeze in the same city, under the same roof.  (And it’s the first day of restaurant week!!)

Nothing could be better.  Two years…we’ve lasted longer than Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria; we’re on our way.  But in all seriousness, thank you, John.  I love our life together.



in september 2001

11 Sep

I remember being told that it would be for our generation analogous to the Kennedy assassination: “Where were you on 9/11?”

I was a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, eight miles from the Pentagon.  Some students who happened to be outside, attending PE class or perhaps arriving late and still parking their car, claimed to have seen a plane flying unusually low.  I was signed into the library during first period because I enrolled in online statistics with a former teacher who had taken a position at Cal Tech.  The first thing I remember was one of the librarians turning on the television a few minutes before 9am; slowly, more and more people gathered around the image of the smoking North Tower.  We watched in silent disbelief as the second plane plunged into the South Tower.

Things get fuzzy after that.  I remember going to my other classes (geosystems, whatever I had during fifth period, government), but it was like attending class on the last day of school: nothing is taught; no one is focused.  I don’t remember when we heard about the Pentagon, whether it was a circulating rumor or a formal announcement over the intercom.  Secretary phone lines were being used to call family and loved ones.   I felt shaken seeing some of my usually stoic peers in tears, frantically trying to get a hold of their parents who worked at the Pentagon, before cell phones were widely used.  I had a bulky car phone that, thank God, was actually working that day, and I was able to get in contact with my dad who had received word that my brother in NYC was evacuated and safe.

Field hockey practice (like all after-school extracurriculars) was canceled, and Ashley and I drove straight home after last period.  I remember feeling taken aback by how clear the sky was, how empty the roads were, and how some radio channels still bothered playing music at all.

I believe only one TJ student, a freshman at the time, had a parent who was killed on September 11th, 2011; he was on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon.  A lovely service was held for him at Arlington Cemetery in February 2002.

Today my heart is with the loved ones of those who perished due to the attacks of September 11th, with the cities of New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville.  I can’t believe it’s been ten years.

carnegie hall in may?

10 Sep

So, I was just offered a contracted position to sing with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, May 2012.  It’s Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe.  Right smack in the middle of clerkships.  I have until September 30th to decide.

Thoughts?  Do we think med school will release me for a couple Friday and Saturday night performances?

I feel like I keep grasping at performances, thinking they’ll be my last.  While I might be able to swing it in med school, I do think residency will make participating in a choir somewhat impossible.  Am I a total idiot if I agree to this?

I should pause to recognize that I am very much tickled pink by this unexpected opportunity.  In the words of the great Albus Dumbledore: “Ah, music…A magic far beyond all we do here!”

carnegie hall, during my tfc days...

scenes from colorado wedding weekend

10 Sep

Thanks so much to Caitlin and Chris for getting hitched and bringing us all together, to the y’s & co. for a fabulous weekend, and to Jackie for being the responsible one with a functional camera and documenting so many wonderful memories!  xoxo


jonathan larson

9 Sep

Midweek we started learning about hypertension, aneurysms, and aortic dissection.  We touched briefly on Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder of the connective tissue.  People with Marfan’s tend to be unusually tall, thin, with thin, long limbs and fingers.  Weakening of the connective tissue in the ascending aorta can cause aneurysm or dissection, the latter of which killed playwright and composer Jonathan Larson.  He died the day before opening night of Rent.

a toast

6 Sep

I’d like to think it might have been less hokey/more dazzlingly witty if I had more time to prepare but, considering it made the bride, groom, and bride’s mother cry, I think it worked.  So honored to have had the chance to speak on behalf of one of my best friends in celebration on her marriage…

*   *   *   *   *

Caitlin is a hard woman to keep up with, and I don’t just mean on the race track <allow for courtesy laugh in response to awful pun–thanks y’s & co!>.  I was just thinking about this undisputable fact as I chatted with her mother earlier today.  I was lamenting the Diffleys’ impending move away from our home state of Virginia.  Then I remembered that the last several times I saw Caitlin were in North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and, of course, in her new home in Colorado, even while she’s currently working halfway around the world…

Which brings me to two of the many characteristics I adore about Caitlin:

  1. her ability to continually find and create her own adventures; and
  2. her talent and capacity for including her loved ones in said adventures, consistently enriching their lives.

Yes, Caitlin is a hard woman to keep up with, and I am simply so happy for my friend: she has found the man who can not only keep up, but contribute his own explorations, foster her pursuits, and enable them both to find greater fulfillment in embarking on them all together, if not always in person then certainly in spirit.

When Caitlin and Chris first got engaged, I tried my best to begin to get to know him over email.  In response to one of my many questions (Chris, you were such a good sport!):

It’s not easy [to pick a favorite memory] because in the last six months we have had so many.  If I had to pick one today, I would say the first time we went swing dancing together.  I love to see her laugh and smile.

After only a little over a year together, Caitlin packed up for a year of service in Korea.  Chris wrote:

I am so thrilled for her…I miss her move than I thought I could miss anybody.  We will see each other every three months, and [we] are using this separation to improve communication and strengthen our marriage.

I am simply in awe of the two of you.  In the last year you have created such a beautiful life, very much together even while living mostly on separate continents.  It’s been a thrill to hear how you’ve managed to swing dance and run marathons around the world together…complemented by the great value you also place on faith, family, and home.  The warmth and peace I’ve glimpsed of your life here is reminiscent of that I’ve always felt at Caitlin’s home in Virginia, staying up all hours lounging on her kitchen floor with the yayas, brownie batter in hand.

Yours is the type of marriage to which others aspire: true partners who encourage one another relentlessly in his/her separate and joint pursuits, who build a home together, both strong and welcoming.

In the words of William Penn:

Nothing can be more entire and without reserve, nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere, nothing more contented than such a couple, nor greater temporal felicity than to be one of them.

Congratulations to Caitlin and Chris!  I love you both!

exercise physiology-related colorado wedding

3 Sep

It’s only appropriate that we had a cardio workshop on exercise physiology yesterday.  I’m about to jet off (literally–I’m at the gate) to Colorado for the wedding of one my best friends, who happens to be a many-time marathon runner (in truth, I’ve lost track of the number, but it has to be at least 7-10 at this point).

As we compared the stroke volume, heart rate, arteriovenous oxygen different, etc. between the marathon runner and a relatively fit med student (we later gave the marathon runner metoprolol, then congestive heart failure), I couldn’t help but think of Caitlin.  As a member of the U.S. Air Force, she once had to jump up and down on one foot for several minutes (at the encouraging of her NP) in an attempt to raise her resting heart rate above 60 and within the acceptable range for military service.  In the end, the jumping didn’t work well enough, and the NP had to lie about Caitlin’s measured heart rate in order to clear her.

Caitlin, my dear, only you can get your family and friends to run a 5K (at altitude!) a mere hour before your wedding ceremony.  Love your crazy self!