Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It's 2 weeks in to hospital orientation. Currently, I'm sitting in Georgetown's M st. Starbucks. I just finished a long day of Critical Care Lectures, then ran, and now will soon be off to bed. Tomorrow will bring a Basic Life Support refresher course in the AM. I have an appropriately overwhelming feeling that I'm being prepped in life-saving techniques that will frequently come in to use this year more than during any years past. Now, done with medical school, I'll start working on the 1st of July as a physician of my own.
Until then, I'm soaking in every pearl of wisdom I can find anew and resting myself where I sense this calm precedes a storm of sorts...

A good storm. One you've chased your entire life so far.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

la Petite

I had a patient earlier this week. She'd been visited by her French sister every day on the dot. 2 o'clock in the afternoon and they'd be jabbering French - back and forth. I'd walk in to the room, and sister would say, "Ah! La Petite is here. Let me go take a break in the solarium and let the two of you talk." So we'd exchange smiles and she'd sweetly let me and the patient converse over the day's issues. She called me la Petite - presumably for my size - but unknowingly more appropriately for the level of my self-awareness as an experienced 'doctor.'

I was la Petite. But, mostly in my mind, 'la-she's-got-a-lot-to-learn.'

The very next day, I adopted a new patient and his wife. She'd assumed me to be a nurse when she stated they couldn't leave yet because the doctors hadn't stopped by.      : )   I smiled inside, then made a sure re-introduction.  I had been the one to stop by - various times throughout the day. I had taken the patient through many steps (diagnostic and therapeutic) for that day's events. I humbly re-introduced myself as ... yes, only the medical student ... but as the one who was entrusted with their case and who had diligently run through every item line with my superiors (resident and attending physician). There was nothing left to be done before she and her husband could go home. She looked very pleased and stretched out her hand to shake mine. I further re-assured her that I'd be happy to answer any final questions if I could. Without having any to mention, she thanked me and was happy to leave for home.

Today, I cherish those stories - as I face a much more difficult patient case. Difficult in the sense of "my first one." And "I've never done this before." And "okay, now or never." When it comes to learning, there is little better than having a good teaching mentor. When such is lacking (as is not the case on this one), the next best thing is books. Currently, I am surrounded by every book that I could fit in to my suitcase while packing for this rotation -- and each book is currently open, on the table in front of me. About to delve in to the world of low blood counts and oncology galore, this is day #2 on the Heme/Onc service and I am gladly feeling happy to be a student ... given the luxury of time to learn.

I'll have to go in to work tomorrow with some better semblance of what is going on with my patient.
Medicine is exciting and challenging to me - for the simple fact that I highly doubt, no matter how far I get in to this profession, that there will always be cases that will baffle my mind. So, this patient will be occupying my thoughts every hour that I am home resting, until the very hour that I re-enter the hospital to tackle another day.

 Whether speaking French or speaking medicine - sometimes they both sound like a foreign language.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

polished black grand.

There are a few images in life you will never want to forget. I want to remember the one of this evening.

A young, well-built soldier, uniform and combat boots on, seated on the bench of a grand piano in the foyer of a hospital where lights were dimmed and the normal patient bustling was quieted to a dull hum. Playing the tune of a melancholy stanza, his rugged persona contrasted deeply with the lacquer finish of the polished black grand. Leaving the hospital at the end of a work day, my drive to patient-centeredness and patriotic respect for my country--- rose.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A lamp unto my feet.

Isaiah 54:10-15

"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. "O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you."

Monday, October 1, 2012

On board.

Learned a particularly difficult diagnosis today. Had heard of it before, but my reading of it had never been so vivid as now, after seeing a patient with it.

Barely in her early fifties, we uncovered her diagnosis of a terminal dementing illness. Capable of making her mute or unable to understand written/spoken language within just 10 short years, her difficult diagnosis couldn't be processed easily by even the strongest of any of us.

With her clearest words she had ever spoken since the moment I met her (just a few half hours before), she whispered softly to her husband across the room when she comprehended the news. "We'll make it through this" she mouthed confidently. Not a shutter in her voice or mispoken syllable. As if she saved her very strongest cognition for comforting someone else- the one she loved most.

I was humbled by her next gesture. As she grabbed my arm, like a dear child who wants to know his parent is thanked, she stated out loud, "as long as we have people like her on board. We know I'll be okay." As if speaking to the future's generation of doctors, she was laying the responsibility of good medicine and an undeserved merit on my shoulders.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

grain of Sand.

I've typed out this first sentence and backspaced over it about 7 times so far. I guess this is the line that's going to stick. Not sure where to start for today's blog. But, nonetheless I'll start it. Even if like this. : )

It's been a beautiful day. With the life I am so blessed to live... I think I'll never have any right to claim one not a good day. Especially today, I was blessed to see the sun rays on ocean swept sand and photograph beautiful pieces of art. If Melanie is reading... please know I thought about you the whole time. And how you could have snapped every gorgeous photo with me.

My Sunday started with a service in church. And, the reading came from Philippians. The ultimate definition of humility. When the One Man himself, who could have considered himself at 'equality with God' --- He did not.
That always blows me away. Every time. But especially today. Like a sand sculpture on the beach. What absurdity if the sand thought it at 'equality' with its Sculpture? Absurd.

Like a grain of sand. I am only beautiful when my art is crafted by greater Hands.

For a less thoughtful end to this posting...I am going to wrap up the evening with a few to-do's. Things like finishing off emails, submitting a few forms, and making sure my brain is ready for its last week on Neurology. Virginia has been lovely. Can't wait for DC...

Friday, September 28, 2012

a little bit of chocolate.

Chai tea. An oversized chair. And a little bit of chocolate.

So, why do I blog?  I am often presented with the question... if you didn't go in to medicine, what would you do? Well, I've never really thought of doing anything else except medicine (because I feel my fabric is suited only for medicine), but, for the sake of entertaining the thought, I never hesitate, and the answer comes, "A travel Writer." I would write, and I would travel. : )

Nifty enough for me, I am thankful to be travelling currently for work and school. I do feel I can write here ...on a blog for now... and maybe one day, could write something publishable.

I think it would be great to write a book-- of course. A little more life to live, and a little more decision on what I would write about. But nonetheless, between my studies and work...I will continue to find myself reading and writing.

I heard someone say recently: look at what you do in your free time, and that will tell you quite a bit about what your 'other' passions are. Well, aside from people (  : )  ), and aside from spending time with them, I truly enjoy reading and writing. While in the field of medicine then, I hope to find my niche.

Currently, sitting in a Starbucks, sipping a chai tea and eating a bit of chocolate. I've had a great week on the Neurology service and am continuing to learn a tremendous lot -- many interesting patients and good-for-life medicine pearls from my Attending. Pearls like:    'if you're not looking for it, you won't see it.'   'if you're not aware of the diagnosis, you will never make it.'   'neurology is more often than not: treating the un-diagnosable, and diagnosing the untreatable.'

I guess, with all this travelling and changes of scenery, I feel that blogging gives me a record of my happenings. I do have an ultimate Witness to my life.  But here, I can invite others to witness it too.

Thanks for reading! if you made it to the end. Cheers to callings, and to 'other' passions.