Archive | December, 2011

vermont food tour 2008

19 Dec

Our first year in Boston, Ben came to stay with us for a couple weeks.  Even though it was October of his intern year, John looks back fondly on that time.  One of our best friends agreed to share his non-writing time with us, had dinner waiting when we got home, and even finished painting our dining room as a sweet surprise one day.  It was pretty tough adjusting after he left us for Argentina.

One weekend, we decided to take a quick jaunt up to Vermont, for no other reason than that neither of us had been there…and, I believe at that point, Ben had already been to over 40 states!  Of course, we knew nothing about the state, and we just started driving sans plans or expectations one Saturday morning in October.  We thought we’d hit up Cabot Creamery, the Ben & Jerry’s factory, and the Cold Hollow Cider Mill…economic because they satisfy both our hunger for culture and our craving for all things of the dairy and apple variety.

The wonderful thing about loose plans is that they allow for plenty of opportunity to be spontaneous (which, let’s be honest, I kind of suck at).  Somewhere in New Hampshire we saw a sign for Robert Frost’s home…why not, right?  Which brings me to my purpose: I know it’s trite; I know it’s over-used and over-quoted…I can’t help myself.  To me, nothing better illustrates the peace of the season than Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.”  A placard hung outside of Frost’s barn:

This weekend I got to celebrate the end of the semester, the joy of the season, and Brad Pitt’s birthday with some much-treasured heart-friends.  Some of my favorite peers in school clustered in Eric’s studio on Friday to have a glass of champagne or tumbler of whiskey while quoting and singing along to Love Actually.  Then Megan–my brave, creative, and wise Alaskan adventurer–arrived just in time to see the Octopus, 1st Lobster, and Spiderman make their nativity play debut.  When Ben was able to join us the next day, we made Christmas cookies and a fire in our freshly-inspected fireplace, and watched my bootleg copy of A Muppet Family Christmas, the best TV Christmas special of all time, even if it turns out to have no plot–it’s pretty awesome what you don’t notice as a four-year-old as long as all your muppet, Sesame Street, and fraggle friends are present.

A few more from Vermont, because it’s spectacular…


school pride

16 Dec

I have perhaps an unfortunate amount of UVA pride, most certainly encouraged by the role two alumni played in the unraveling of Sarah Palin’s image preceding the 2008 election:

Yesterday, Paul Offit gave one of our last lectures of Mod 2–a two-hour story of vaccines.  I have to smile every time I remember that I’m at the same institution as the guy who left Stephen Colbert speechless, not to mention my bioethics prof who made Michele Bachmann eat her words.

differential diagnosis

14 Dec

Every afternoon, for the last two weeks of the semester, we watch a physician (top of his/her field) take a history and perform a physical exam on a standardized patient, who presents with anything ranging from cognitive impairment to vaginal bleeding to “belly pain.”  They pause during the examination to take questions from us, and we’re allowed to shout out what other information we’d like from the patient.  Then we break up into small groups with a preceptor in the given field of the case of the day, regurgitate information, throw out any possible explanation, and then narrow our differential.

To Us: May we continue to consider the zebras with the horses, and may we not be afraid to be wrong and strong as we start the on the wards.

the twelve days before clerkships

12 Dec

Okay, I’m really fudging the number in an attempt at cuteness.  Throw me a bone.  I’m referring to the last two weeks of Mod 2…and if you consider it as Monday the 5th to Friday the 16, it kind of fits…

We’ve wrapped up pulmonary, and now we’re doing a sprint through the parasites and fungi in microbiology part 2 coupled with the more clinically-oriented “differential diagnoses” class.  I might never walk barefooted on a sandy beach again.  More to come…

A few snapshots from prom this weekend…will also try to steal more of Lucie’s pictures once I have her permission.

It was on a boat.  Sweater strategically worn at all (well, most) times in order to conceal gross wardrobe malfunction.

tidings of comfort and joy…

11 Dec

Coming home to the soft glow of a Christmas tree is the best!  The product of Doria’s first tree-decorating endeavor:


bromance at perelman

8 Dec


Way to represent team 10blue, Joe and Phil!  You truly are the best bromance this side of the Schuylkill.  Christian, you and your nipple rings make them more aesthetically pleasing.  Too bad Jared and his mad female genital exam skills weren’t present.

In a hope to mitigate some of the horror of readers, this post is based on our class-wide superlatives, which were presented at a Mod 2 professor recognition ceremony today.  The stuff we revealed to teachers…perhaps I’ve left you more horrified??

encouragement from our course director

4 Dec

“There are no stupid questions, only stupid students.”

Wish me luck on my pulm final tomorrow!


3 Dec

The other day, an MS1 said something pretty great to me.  I don’t think she meant it as a compliment–I’m not sure it is one–but I’m using it to help my mind during this weekend leading up to our pulmonary final:

“It’s clear that you have a full life outside of school, and it’s intentional.”

Sometimes I worry that part of my motivation to maintain a life is to justify not being the most stellar medical student.  And I think about how much I want to be a great doctor (not to mention all the money throwing on my education)…am I wasting too many minutes/hours/days in a week not working to that end?  Is there any evidence that says that well-rounded individuals can be good doctors?  Or is it just a belief, a hope so many of us have?

Well, for lack of a better way to conclude, and needing to get back to the books, ’tis the season for believing.

I secretly kind of love the weekends before exams.  No new material, everything starts to come together (even if it doesn’t quite get there), and I studying on my own time, in my own way, focusing a little more on the topics I actually enjoy (so, heavy on the disease processes, light on the physiology).


2 Dec

Gee wiz, I swear, I used to have it.  Alas, all-nighter anna is no longer.

Also, while I used to complain that the undergrads start later and end way earlier than the med school (please note above: “now through final exams…Nov 28-Dec 11”), I kind of love the stillness that descends over the campus after the masses disperse.  Let there be peace on earth.

the little ones

1 Dec

“All that wheezes is not asthma, and children are not little adults.”

The latter phrase was a common theme of yesterday’s lectures.  Here’s the thing–and this is not my opinion but more an observed general consensus among my peers–the lectures on pediatric asthma, pediatric bronchiolitis, and cystic fibrosis were…somewhat mediocre (I feel hugely guilty for being negative in writing, but there’s a point, promise).  Yet I thoroughly enjoyed them.

I like geriatrics.  When people ask why, one of the first things that comes to mind is that older individuals present the “same” diseases (bacterial pneumonia, for example) in more complicated and nuanced ways (not to mention the fact that there is frequently more than one illness or condition competing for attention in this population).  It’s stuff like this that makes work fun.  Now I’m starting to find that I’m attracted to pediatrics for much the same reason.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I just gave my final pediatric ICM history and physical exam last week.  Puddle of heart on the CHOP floor.  They sure are cute little germ bags, even when they cough in my face.

And random: happy first day of December!  I very happily listened to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” on my walk to class from the train this morning, and dreamed about celebrating the end of Mod 2 in 15 days with Love Actually and a stiff drink (or several).