Saturday, June 9, 2018

Spring into summer update

View of the green, green Colorado River from the South Kaibab trail
None of these pictures are in order. I think my dad took most of these. But since I'm probably going to take an eternity writing up a post about the Grand Canyon hike itself, here are some pictures.

Hello from third year of medical school. I'm starting on OB/Gyn and like it so far. Still waiting nervously for my Step 1 score and having catastrophic thoughts of not scoring high enough for my dream specialty. Felt all kinds of sadness and guilt and inadequacy when my research attending and some of the ortho residents I worked with last year said hello to me on the day I thought I would get my score back (they're delayed and I have to wait longer). Felt something similar when the resident who mentored me since first year called me volunteering advice for my surgical rotation (and then gave me some advice as a new parent whose wife delivered her baby on the floor I'm working on right now). Keeping an open mind is surprisingly not hard, since OB/Gyn is really cool, but it's also not hard to remember how happy and excited and home I felt in orthopedics.

I'm learning some things about myself. I'm getting better at talking to patients. I like our patient population (safety net hospital, non-white, non-rich, many immigrants, many complications). I have more role models now: two gynecological oncologists whose patients trust and adore them. Gyn-onc doc #1 speaks fluent English and Spanish, and proficient Haitian Creole and Cape Verdean/Portuguese Creole. Gyn-onc doc #2 speaks fluent English, Spanish, and Mandarin. About 1/3 of the patients that go through our hospital don't speak English (most common languages Spanish, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean, Vietnamese...I would have lost my fucking mind if I had heard Doc #1 speaking Vietnamese). I don't think I'll go into OB/Gyn, but I do think I'll eventually work somewhere where I'll need to speak Spanish on the regular. Eventually I'll find my way.

My Spanish is getting good. I thought it was good until I heard Doc #2 speaking with perfect, perfect grammar. Subjunctive tense, correct yo forms of irregular verbs in all tenses, correct conjugation of mandates and everything. The feedback that I treasured most from last week was when a patient I interviewed asked me where I was born and raised, and if my parents were from Latin America. Like everything in third year, I'll get better at the things I want to improve on if I actively seek out opportunities to try. So on I go.

I'm moving into my new apartment at the end of the month, and I'm doing it slowly over the next few weeks. Always kind of been into ~~~minimalism~~~, but I've accumulated some junk during my first two years in Boston and am downsizing. Namely, I'm giving away some of my plants, since I propagated too many of them.

Lastly, I was really affected by Anthony Bourdain's suicide. I loved his shows, and his overall attitude and approach to life. He, too, spent some of his formative years in Massachusetts, and I'll spare the details so you read Kitchen Confidential. Part of this was because it came after the death of one of my friends and mentors from the free clinic I was part of in college. The O was the coolest almost-octogenarian I've met. He helped me find my feet when I was struggling with new leadership and more responsibilities in the running of the clinic. He gave me lots of solicited and unsolicited advice. I owe a lot to him, more than he knew. Wouldn't be in med school if it weren't for him, wouldn't have even wanted to become a doctor if it weren't for him. He said he'd thought he'd die in his 20s, then in his 40s, then went quietly a few days after a stroke pushing 80, surrounded by friends. I wish I could have seen him again.


  1. Darn about the delay and best of luck! If a bunch of law people were promised an important score by a certain date and didn't receive them, we would generally not take it well at all. People would be in revolt and someone out there, at least one person would probably try to sue the central testing authority, with a class action.

    I'm still so gutted about Anthony Bourdain. If more people approached the world and other people like he did, the world would be a better place.

    1. Thinking back about Anthony Bourdain...I remember when I watched that one episode where he was in Italy catching octopus, and saw that his guide was throwing frozen dead octopi into the water for him to retrieve and present to the camera. He had this really intense, despairing monologue about the experience and I felt really sad, but also appreciative that he -went there-. Anyhow, on the opposite side of the spectrum of despair-delight, I loved the crazy seafood tower he got in the episode about Brittany (?) and how excited he was about feeding into all the stereotypes of the northern coast of France.

  2. Ohh wow that is some amazing scenery. I definitely need to take up hiking - I'm missing out on too much beauty by being so physically lazy. Hope the rest of you O&G rotation goes well!

    1. Obstetrics has been pretty bananas, but by unluck of the draw, I didn't get to scrub in to many c sections. Starting gynecology this week will be great, though.

      I think if you think of hiking as less purely of a physical activity and more of a whole experience (+ friends) it really is improved. I would absolutely not be ok with carrying a backpack and going on the stair machine in the gym for a few hours. It really helps if there is some great payoff at the end (or during the hike) in terms of scenery. The eating outside part is really important, too.

      Weather is important, too. I read that temps (in the shade) reached 114F/45C at the bottom of the canyon, when it was in the mid 90sF when I was there.

  3. Great post - those pictures are absolutely gorgeous :) I am also trying to switch into a more minimalist lifestyle, so let me know how that goes when you are done moving into your apartment :)
    -Jenna <3
    Follow me back? The Chic Cupcake

    1. Hi, thanks for visiting. I dig the new digs, but there isn't enough space for my plants. Bad minimalism