Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two shorts

Windy. Very windy.

Tomorrow, I'm interviewing with someone who asks questions like, If you were a color, what color would you be and why?

When I heard that, I thought, I'm the color of you've got to be kidding me. I should probably try to come up with an alternate answer before tomorrow, though, eh?

Otherwise, so far, Chicago is sort of like New York without much imagination. If you love it here, tell me why. I'm sure I'm just in need of a good tour guide.

Maria's question

I think I'm interviewing for my dream job in anesthesia. I just finished a month of pediatric ICU. The first time I did peds--my general pediatric rotation last year--can best be described as Ugh. Ugh with a side of Suck. After that, I didn't have very high expectations for PICU. I thought, well, maybe I'm just one of those people who hates all kids except her nieces. Turns out, though, I sort of like kids. I just like them best when they're intubated.

I'm kidding.
(Sort of.)

The point is, the month went well. I learned a lot. And, it reinforced what I already thought to be true. I like really sick patients. I enjoy the ICU. I don't mind answering the family members' 5746 questions (even when 5745 of them are really just variations of the same two or three questions). But, I don't want to do that full time.

I want to be in the OR, too. In the OR, I don't write orders for nurses, I do the work myself. I start with talking patients, give them a lethal dose of medication, keep them alive anyway, and then wake them up to tell them they did great. Ahh...such fun. Sure, things don't always go quite that smoothly. But, when it all works out in the end, the not-so-smoothly can be even more fun.

Between the OR and the ICU, what more could a girl want in her job?

Oh, and as long as you're still here, what color did that seem like to you?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I could bedazzle you an eye patch

Written on my way home the other night...

Three days of interviews. Everything went very well. (I think. I don’t know. It’s hard to tell. They’re nice to everyone but they certainly don’t love us all equally. So, who knows. Every year, people get fooled into believing that a program that didn’t really want them really wanted them.) But, frankly, at this point, I’m too exhausted from interviewing to talk much about interviewing.

I'm sitting in LaGuardia, waiting to catch my flight home. I just caught a glimpse of my reflection in a window—business casual, dress coat, make up, handbag. I thought, when did I become such a grown up? It sort of snuck up on me, I suppose.

When you’re having phone conversations like this with your best friend at night, you hardly expect to wake to a grown up in the morning…

“I was walking through Times Square tonight when I saw an older woman and her husband headed to the theater. He was in a suit. She was wearing a black dress, black pumps. She had lovely hair. Oh, and an eye patch. A black eye patch. Like a pirate.”


“Yeah. And then, I couldn’t help but wonder, do they make flesh colored eye patches? Because, if not, I think they should. I’ve only ever seen them in black, but I think that flesh colored might be less distracting. Less…piratey.”

“Maybe she liked the black one.”

“Well, I did consider that. It was kind of a silky eye patch, and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe she chose it to match her outfit.”

“Maybe it was her fancy patch.”

“Exactly, like her dress patch. I considered the fact that maybe she has them in black, brown, and navy.”

“Then, she’d have a patch to go with everything.”

“Exactly. But still, I think that given the option, flesh colored would be better.”

“I don’t think so. I think that flesh colored would just sort of look like they sewed your eye shut.”

“No, it wouldn’t. They sewed my grandma’s eye shut once and it didn’t look like a flesh colored eye patch.”

“They sewed her eye shut?”

“Yeah, it was sewn shut for six weeks after she had a basal cell removed from her eyelid. We called her Cyclops. But, that’s not really the point. The point is…”

“I know, it didn’t look like a flesh colored eye patch.”

“Exactly. You know, I should look for a souvenir eye patch for you while I’m here. One with the statue of liberty bedazzled on it in sequins or something.”

“Do they make those?”

“I don’t know, but if there’s one city in the world where you could find them, I’m sure it’s this one.”

“I could bedazzle you an eye patch. I’m crafty.”

“That’s true. Maybe we could sell them!”

“Yeah, and if that took off, we could branch out.”

“To bedazzled peg legs.”

“We could soup up all the prostheses.”

“And we’d call it Pimp my Prosthesis.”

“We would put hydraulics in them.”

“And subwoofers in the butt.”

“And neons in the…you know.”

“That would be fabulous.”

“You know, this may be the most ridiculous conversation we’ve ever had.”

“Definitely in the top five.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wish me luck

My residency interview season begins in a half hour. Today is sort of a soft opening. I'm back in New York, back in the apartment where I stayed last time I was here. I'm interviewing with a program that has already told me they want me to train with them. And, as soon as I get there, I get to change out of this suit and into scrubs.

I'm interviewing in pajamas with people who already want to give me the job.

And still, I'm nervous.

The day went very well. I would say more, but I'm spent. If I can muster the energy, I'm going to head out and treat myself to a cocktail.

Tomorrow, another interview.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

His name is Hippo

It was one of the last warm days we'll have this year. We were rounding on the patients in the PICU, standing over the bed of a little girl with asthma. After he got done listening to her breathe, the attending physician put down his stethescope and picked up the stuffed animal that was standing sentry on her lap. It was a yellow hippopotamus with hippo embroidered on its side.

"Who's this?" he asked.

"That's my hippo," she said.

"What's his name?"

"Hippo," she said. Duh.

"Have you seen the hippos at our zoo?"

"No," she said.

"Have you ever been to our zoo?" he asked.

"Nope," she said.

Turning to her mother, he said, "You need to take her to the zoo."

Her mother laughed a little.

"I mean it!" he said. Pointing his finger at the woman, he barked, "When she gets out of here, you take her to the zoo!" The woman was a bit taken aback. She didn't expect to be yelled at 7am for failing to show her daughter the town's wild animals in captivity. The lecture about the importance of refilling her kid's inhaler prescription, that one she might have been expecting. But this, this was new.

Then, turning to me, he asked, "Have you been to our zoo."

I briefly considered lying, but thought better of it. He would have seen the shifty look in my eyes and asked follow up questions, quizzing me on my last visit. I would have been exposed in no time. I could just picture him screaming about how the only thing that's worse than medical students who don't go to the zoo is medical students who pretend like they go to the zoo.

"No," I said, "I haven't."

"You've NEVER been to our zoo?"

Bracing myself, I repeated, "No, I've never been to the zoo."

"Well, GO TO THE ZOO." he bellowed. "We have a great zoo. When you go, go see the hippoquarium. It's one of the only places in the world where you can see hippos under water."

"Okay. I'll do that."

"No," he said. "TODAY. It's going to be seventy-five degrees! You'll go today." He touched the hippo to the little girl's nose and made a kiss noise. She smiled. Then, he resumed yelling at me. "You'll leave at noon and GO SEE THE HIPPOS."

"Um...okay," I said.

They call this one Hippo...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

She would have loved this

At 5:50 this morning, I checked my email on my way out the door.
This was waiting for me...

I confess...I get a bit crazy every fours years at election time. Blame it on Grandma Betty. I can remember walking with her to go vote. She couldn't wait for your Grandpa to come home - to her, the important things couldn't wait. Such as it was with that generation - raised during the Depression and matured by a World War.

So go vote today - vote for the persons/issues of your choice - vote and enjoy every minute of it - vote and think of your Grandma...if she were here, she would have loved this campaign. I can just hear her say - "he seems like such a nice young man" "I don't where he finds the energy at 72" "wow, she's fiesty" "you know, I've always liked Joe Biden"


With tears in my eyes, I grabbed my keys and went to vote. And, as I stood in that line, I thought of her.


Remember this...

That is what it looks like when people recognize what an incredible right this is.

Stand in line.
No matter how long it takes.
If you're in line before the polling place closes, they will let you vote.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This post brought to you by Sauvignon Blanc

Pediatric ICU is going just fine, thank you.

Is it sad?
Is it depressing?, not really. I like taking care of really sick people, so I enjoy this much more than I enjoyed outpatient pediatrics. And, unlike the neonatal ICU, where I thought we were torturing a bunch of babies only to leave them to struggle through a life of disabilities, here I think we are actually giving kids a fighting chance. So, although I am certainly not a pediatrician at heart, I look forward to going to work each day in the PICU. Plus, I'm entirely too busy to worry about stupid things like finding a belt to wear with my suit.

By the way, today, I bought a belt to wear with my suit and a pair of four inch heels. I'm wearing the heels around the house. With my pajamas.

Let's all just take a moment here to picture that and chuckle.

Okay, enough with the chuckle. I'm wearing the shoes in an attempt to tell my feet, "Suck it, bitches. Like it or not, we're wearing these on the interviews. Best to get used to the devastatingly sexy instruments of torture now before you have to wear them sober."

In other news, I went to the mall today and left just before I thought I might have to kill someone. I hate the mall. I hate that you can't walk through the place without people at those little stands in the middle trying to get you to sniff this, touch that, lick this, listen to that. Today, some woman with a curling iron stepped in my path and asked if she could do my hair. The longest hairs on my head are all of 1.5 inches. Basically, she offered to sit a scalding piece of metal on my scalp.

Then, I passed a woman who was having her infant's ears pierced. The baby was crying so hard she could barely catch her breath.

Let me just say...
In this, the age of community acquired MRSA, it's probably best not to subject your infant to a needless surgical procedure performed by some 16 year old who may well have just given that horny teenage guy from the Verizon store a hand job in the employee bathroom. Also, poking holes in a baby's ears so you can hang fake rhinestones from the sides of her head makes you look like an asshole. And a bad mother. And this really is all about appearances, isn't it?

(Now you understand why it's best for all of us if I just shop online.)

Moving on... to a belated Happy Halloween and a NO on Prop 8 from Wanda and Ellen.