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27th December 2004

*Insert Primordial Scream*

I’ve been planning a trip out to visit my best friend in the first weeks of January. I have a little bit of a break and I haven’t seen her in a year…

After two weeks of trying to buy the tickets, having them magically disappear when I pressed the “purchase” button–then the price going up, and my other friend deciding that I had to come and visit her too–I bought the tickets yesterday–

–Only to have my friend write me today and tell me that the day I had picked to fly out was the one day she couldn’t pick me up.

Screwed.

I called and cancelled the tickets. They’ll apply them to future travel, and since I’ll be applying to residencies next year, I’ll be sure to use them. But they’re charging me a $100 dollars for the change.

I’m positively sick to my stomach right now.

I bought new tickets, will be flying out a day earlier, for about the same price as original (huh, that wasn’t there yesterday!). It messes up plans with the other friend a little bit, but I’m resilient and I’ll figure something out.

I hope.

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13th December 2004

A measure of comfort

Into the West

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You have come to journey’s end

Sleep now
Dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across a distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away.

Safe in my arms
You’re only sleeping

What can you see?
On the horizon.
Why do the white gulls call?

Across the sea
A pale moon rises.
The ships have come
To carry you home.

And all will turn to silver glass.
A light on the water
All souls pass.

Hope fades
Into the world of night.
Through shadows falling,
Out of memory and time.

Don’t say
We have come now to the end.
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again.

And you’ll be here in my arms
Just sleeping.

What can you see?
On the horizon.
Why do the white gulls call?

Across the sea
A pale moon rises.
The ships have come
To carry you home.

And all will turn to silver glass.
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the west.

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13th December 2004

memento mori

It’s ironic. I’m a medical student, have worked for six months in the wards. I talk to patients and their families every day, am present for the discussions with the family about “Do Not Resuscitate” orders and quality of life. One day, I will be the one who signs the death certificate.

But I have never seen death, except in an anatomy lab where we didn’t talk about bodies, but cadavers, as if there was something different about lying on a cold table with chemicals infused in the tissue than resting underground. My patients who have passed on did so late at night or in a care facility and I was not involved. By the time I found out, the sheets had been changed and another person had taken over the room–the hospital is never lacking in the ill.

I’ve never had a person close to me die. My mom’s dad died when she was 15. She doesn’t talk about him much, just a little bit about how he worked hard but still would laugh with his family at night. But he worried all the time, about how the world was going to pieces, and according to the family, that’s what killed him at 49. My other grandparents are getting older, but are still in relatively good health, and it’s hard to imagine them not being around for several more years.

One of my friend’s father died on Friday, an unexpected heart attack. Sam’s grandfather died Sunday morning–he had been in the ICU for a week, but he had just been sent home with health care, expected to live a few more years, so he could go to Sam’s wedding in a year, or at the very least, be around for the Christmas party in a week.

Adding to this feeling of entrapment, I got to school today, and found out that one of the medical students had died in an avalanche on Saturday. He was the boyfriend of Chris’s old roommate. I met him several times, he had a nice laugh and we all ate dinner together once. I know his girlfriend very well. She’s a fourth year, with a bright smile and full of advice on how to survive my clerkships and drove Chris nuts because she is too messy as a roommate. But there’s a picture of her in the news paper, sobbing.

I’m not writing this begging for sympathy. All of these people were just acquaintances, people who floated in and out of the periphery of my life… except their deaths affect people close to me. And I am at a lose for words of comfort over a telephone, a gesture beyond a silent hug, which I hope conveys all of the pain that I feel for them.

I’m not exactly scared of death… I believe in an afterlife and I have seen enough in the past month to realize that there are many things worse than death. Lying in a bed, a tube breathing for you, your mind shut down and unable to respond, just waiting for an infection or another stroke to kill you. But it’s a different thing when it’s a blink of an eye, unexpected and unfair… Now, my mind is filled with worries and what-ifs. It’s been creeping closer to me, and sooner or later, it will touch me personally. All of a sudden, I’m confronted with m own mortality and worse, that of my family and friends. It happens to everyone and soon, this protection of distance and impersonality will fail…

Article about Melvin’s death: http://www.sltrib.com/search/ci_2487012

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27th November 2004

An icon post? From me?

I browsed all over the internet looking for icons of Eva Cassidy and came up short.

So, I decided to make them myself and sat down with a tutorial and some brushes (thanks crushedviolet!) and learned how. Layers are a pain, I don’t know how you people do it. These three have just about sapped me of my creativity!

1. 2. 3.

(It’s so cool to say this!) Anybody is welcome to use them. I’d certainly love feedback on what works, what doesn’t, etc.

To bed. I’m sleepy.

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24th November 2004

An M.D. in the making

Because I haven’t updated on my life forever, I owe a catch-up journal.

Since we last (truly) saw Julia, she was in the midst of her neurosurgery block, wondering what in the world she had gotten herself into. The hours were long, she limped home every night, and nary a resident acknowledged her existence. I fear many night, she cried herself to sleep, as the sleep-deprivation added to the stress. But, luckily that rotation only last two weeks, and by the end, she had made friends with two residents (one, very very cute, but rather too crass for her taste) and had impressed the attendings with random knowledge about a genetic disease that she knows all too well from personal experience. In fact, she had so much fun, that she almost convinced herself that maybe she could do surgery for the rest of her life, and never seen the sun for the next 8 years and have no personal life. Well maybe not quite. However, time goes by (…you’re older than you ever were and now you’re even older, and now you’re even older… and even two long 5-hours-of-sleep-per-night weeks end, and we all must move on.

Our heroine, as you remember, managed to wheedle/cry/whine her way into neurology rotation. She had had inklings since the previous year, when none of her classes had intrigued her quite as much as the study of the brain did (I hear that she actually spent 6 hours a day studying–even when there wasn’t a test the next day!), that perhaps a career in neurology might be nice, and while she was determined to keep an open mind when approaching her rotations, that little niggle of a thought was always there. Radiology was boring–except when she studied brain MRIs. Surgery, dreadful on the feet–but the cases were cool.

So needless to say, she approached the neurology clerkship with more than a hint of excitement.

Two days into it, she had found her calling. She tells me that she loves being with the patients and her neuro exam, while still jerky (and yes, she still forgets to check eye movements), is improving and she can’t wait for clinic each morning, and, yes, the rumor is true, she stayed late on her birthday because she *wanted* to learn more about multiple sclerosis.

Of course, it still is too early to call–she has been known to be mighty fickle at the last moment, but you may be talking to a future neurologist here!


A big thanks and snuggles to my flist for their birthday greetings! *hugs* You are all fabulous, and every day I am thankful for the chance of knowing you and claiming you as friends.

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21st November 2004

If at first you don’t succeed…

…Try breaking down and crying!

Remember this post

Apparently sobbing about how your life is ruined works better than calm, rational explanations.

I got my Neurology rotation!! And I start tomorrow! I am sooo excited.

And yes, I survived neurosurgery and am much looking forward to sleeping in until 6.

Ta for now!

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10th November 2004

four hours

I had four lovely hours off today, four hours that I spent on the couch, unable to move, because my feet and back hurt so.

Oh, and I took a bath. I’m more of a shower person but oh, that bath was nice.

My current rotation I’ve been putting in 17 hours a days, more than 12 of them on my feet in surgery. The first night, I came home crying because I had exactly 15 minutes to eat before going to bed, in order to get 5 1/2 hours of sleep.

And now, it’s off to bed with me. A whole hour extra.

See you in 11 days (they’re slowly counting down).

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5th November 2004

How did I miss this?

Francis Crick’s obituary

From an age where exploration in science was as exciting as a treasure hunt for gold, as a teenager, he was truly one of my inspirations. I yearned to make a big, lifetime discovery like that. I devoured “The Double Helix” and although I, as a post modern woman cringed at the flippant remarks concerning Rosalind Franklin, I couldn’t help but be in awe. How the pieces of the puzzle, the hunt of the century came together so simply and so beautifully. DNA will always been almost magical to me, even after years of study and sure knowledge of what is it and how it works.

His more recent research in neurosciences still send that tingle of … calling down my spine:

β€œIt is essential to understand our brains in some details if we are to assess correctly our place in this vast and complicated universe we see all around us.”

Maybe, just maybe I’ll answer that calling…

Although I missed the news of your passing, Sir Francis, you will be missed.

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1st November 2004

The marriage of fantasy & science?

Awesome!

Hobbit

Am much excited by this! I knew there was a reason that I still(?) believed in fairytales!

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1st November 2004

Thanks

No switch will be made. You must do your third year rotations and at a
break or first of the year do neuro. Sorry.

Dear Office of Student Affairs:

Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. Especially since I’ve been down to your office three times in the last month, addressing this issue. I was very patient in explaining things, time and time again, since you conveniently forgot about our previous visits, every time I came by. Glad to know that those post-it note are doing some good.

But thank you for finally deciding to go and talk to the Dean today. After all, it had only been two weeks–so you were ahead of schedule. And I’m sure that you brought up the particulars for the change, right? You know, the ones that outlined that this was based on health issues and circumstances out of my control? Of course you did. And since you all remember that I’m paying $17,000 a year for the privilege of adding to your salary, I know that you worked extra hard in the 30 second “talk” to make sure that you were living up to your title of representing the “student”.

That’s what I thought.

Been a pleasure working with you. Let’s do it again soon, shall we? I can’t wait until we get to talk next year about how I can’t apply for any residencies because of all this. It’ll be fun!

Love always,

J

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31st October 2004

Internet and Howard Shore

I am truly fascinated by this thing called the Internet…

Today, I was wasting time (my favorite past-time) exploring LJ looking for some Star Trek: Voyager icons (unfortunately good ones seem to be a particularly rare species) and just started clicking on links taking me to different people’s journals.

It’s astonishing how much people reveal of their lives… some blatantly, others in obscure threads throughout their posts. I mean, granted I talk a lot about my personal life–but a good portion of it is put into friend posts–where I can control who sees it.

What’s more amazing is that some of them don’t seem bothered by the fact that they have 500 people that they don’t know reading and commenting on their day to day lives… Take for example epicyclical. I stumbled onto her journal because it’s the personal/HP LJ of the woman who wrote the hilarious “Very Secret Diaries of LOTR.” Her “friends of” list has 2706 people!!

I like it that people are so honest with strangers. It makes me feel good about this world–that (at least when there’s some anonymity) we do allow others to see exactly who we are. I find it fascinating.

On that note: how many of you have RL people reading your journal? Does it make you write different things than you normally would?

A particular gem from http://www.thisfish.com. Her motto is the best:

It’s lovely to be a feminist and all. I have gotten in plenty a tizzy over the inequity of the female role in this bizarre universe. Have even tried out the independent, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” track, and been quite good at it. Eventually, however, I settled upon this conclusion:

This fish needs a bicycle.

If not for comfort, at least for entertainment’s sake.

I think I am such a fish too…

~~~~~~

(Since I seem to need updating before I ever get an entry posted)

Spent the evening in tears.

Now, now, don’t get worried. I wasn’t (entirely) depressed or heart-broken. In fact, I paid money for these tears.

I just saw Howard Shore conduct his Lord of the Rings Symphony!! With a full choir and children’s choir. A young soprano male with the voice of an angel. And a background of the art and sketches of Alan Lee and John Howe.

I got emotional walking into the hall (a big feat for me actually–am terrified of building and I went alone) where a small group of musicians performed the Fellowship theme. And it just got better from there. It was amazing seeing it “live”–the artwork was amazing and part of it felt like this must have been when HS was first writing it–just going off the artists’ ideas.

Got teary during the sweet Shire music. Cried during the Fellowship themes. And openly bawled during Into The West. Wearing mascara was not the best idea. Looked like raccoon.

Only one complaint: it was too short!

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28th October 2004

perspective

Sometimes, you just need a moment to remember who you are… who you were…

I just got back from my grandparent’s. Their house hasn’t changed much–books are still piled all over, mixed with my grandmother’s knitting and writing projects, and Grandpa’s newspapers. The “willow” tree out front, where we cousins used to dress up and play “Little House on the Prairie” (I was Ma, ’cause I was the oldest. And my sister Laura was usually Laura, even though she was the youngest.) is larger now–we could no longer use the split in the trunk as a table. But there are still cats prowling around and apples in the orchard and swallow nests on the front porch.

Magic still lingers there.

My grandparents are getting old now. Late 70s with white hair and ill health. But Grandpa is already getting his snowmobile ready, at just the mention of an early winter. And Grandma has so many projects that I think she keeps to defend herself against death–she can’t go until it’s organized for her posterity.

I spent three days talking with my grandma about politics and religion, family and ancestors, art and poetry. We talked a lot about writing. I confessed that I still write when I can (although I don’t think she understood what fanfiction was).

Grandma writes–essays, short stories and poetry. It’s her poetry that I like the most.

PERSPECTIVES

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15th October 2004

Poetry meme

Meme stolen from kimarama ” When you see my poem, you post a poem, too. I don’t make the rules people.” I went on a hunt for poems, because my favorite poetry book has gone missing and stumbled across this one. And I’ve been in a really sentimental mood recently, so, I’m sharing it.

Like Anne Shirley’s House

I want a house that lifts itself
from the ground with a porch
like the lap of an apron
made to hold me in wicker.
The floor will be fir, clear
vertical grain; cut, milled,
shipped down from the north,
painted over each spring
semigloss gray β€” deck gray
it will say on the can.

People will come to a porch
composed around
the private dignity of a house
open to friends.

It will have corners for secrets.
The trellised west side
dripping rampant vine, flowering
frantic with bees in July,
a niche for the intimate glance
as amethyst deepens to violet
and the small wild loves of earth
sing out its rhythm
as if the whole country round
were gliding to bliss on rockers.

Faye George from Back Roads

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14th October 2004

Protected: Address

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10th October 2004

once a lifetime

It is a … jolting experience to go to the wedding reception of the man you dreamed your whole life to marry.

I’m not sure yet if I recommend it to anyone.

His walk is different… the army trained that patent saunter out. And his voice no longer carries the hint of Australian drawl that he obtained the two years he lived there (thankfully–that voice was irresistible enough). But he hasn’t changed much in looks and I had these weird feelings of being trapped between two “me”s. Folks, I think we just succeeded in time-travel. And it’s not pleasant.

We have nothing to talk about anymore. That helps. He didn’t even ask me anything about what was going on in my life, so I didn’t even have the opportunity to flaunt my successes (well, not really, flaunt per se)… Maybe that’s what I’m most bummed about. I spent most of the reception talking to *her* parents and sisters (one of them is a good friend of mine… Why does the world always have to be small when it concerns him??). They were nice and it passed the time, talking about what I do.

His bride is nice. Cute, but not so unbearably beautiful that you keep wondering if he only married her for her looks. She seems sweet, but I do admit to stifling a disbelieving glance when he stated proudly that she now sells Mary Kay products. Just another sign.

All is good. I survived and wished them sincere, hearty congratulations.

And that’s that.

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1st October 2004

for justa small price

One of the greatest things I’ve ever seen on eBay:

Going, going… not gone!

Best of all, nobody bought it the first time. So it’s yours if you want it!

*shakes head*

*****

Spent my Friday night contemplating my lonely existence and watching a documentary on Gene Kelly. *sigh* They just don’t make them like him anymore.

And…. am I the only one who thinks that Milo was on the last GG episode??? I swear I saw him as a extra. In the scene where Lorelai and Sookie are gushing about having the day off, and just right before they get to Dean and Lindsay’s (so convinently located) apartment, they pass by a girl and a guy with dark wild hair, wearing a black leather jacket, sitting and drinking coffee. I swear it was him!! Obviously, he came to visit Alexis on the set, and presto! Now, if only he’d stay permanently. Or I need to work on controlling those delusions more!

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29th September 2004

*waves*

Just popping in to say I’m alive and well.

I changed rotations, finished with Internal Medicine last week. I was so sad to see it go, because I had such a great time. It’s definitely on the list of career possibilities–however, I have another 6 weeks of it next spring, so I’ll hold off until then to make my decision. It has everything that I like–the patient interaction, getting to see neat cases (I saw a guy with mercury poisoning… it was so cool!) that I’ve only read about in textbooks, making medical decisions, the integration of all different fields…

So, now I’m radiology…. and I miss Internal Medicine even more. I decided to postpone my surgery rotation because of the problems with my shoulder and so I’m doing a 4th year elective. I’m the only third year–and because of that, I have the residents convinced that I’m a gunner and going into radiology. One resident practically told me that I HAD to get honors. I don’t like having that kind of pressure. I like to do a good job, I’m trying to do a good job, but please don’t expect me to blow you away!

It’s been *interesting* so far. Everyday, I go to work, where I sit in a darkened room and stare at a computer screen trying to differentiate between grey blobs. I have 4 hours of lecture of day, where I sit in a darkened room staring at a Power Point presentation, trying to differentiate between grey blobs. I have fallen asleep at every noon lecture. And I was 45 minutes late today, because I could not make myself care enough to get there in time to just fall asleep, when I could be having much better sleep in my own bed.

No, it’s going better than the first day (I seriously thought I was going to die), and it certainly is more enjoyable now that I can identify a few more grey blobs (I’m getting good at the pancreas!), so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be singing it’s praises by the end. πŸ™‚

I’ve just been taking it easy for the last few days… I went to the library and got fiction books for the first time since at least May (stayed up way too late last night reading Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede… maybe that’s why I’m tired?), and Ellie shirerain and I spent a couple of days playing around with my layout journal, which I lovelovelove. All of the pretty colors is because of her. The painting is by James C Christensen, who is one of my favorite artists of all times. All of his paintings are whimsical and breathtaking and for a moment, convince me that I do believe in magic. And he puts flying fish in half of his art too, can you get any cooler?

Toodles!

Pssst…. If any of you have not checked out teh_music, may I suggest that you hie there immediately? I’ve gotten such great music that I have not been able to get my hands on… *contented sigh*

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27th September 2004

Protected: Just between you and I

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5th September 2004

A Call to Arms

Desperate times and all of that…

I haven’t been able to write a word for months now. Granted I’ve been consumed with real life school and work. But I haven’t even been able to come up with ideas to pursue. And that’s not normal.

So I’m giving to you an opportunity, to throw down the gauntlet and challenge me.

Pick any fandom (and if it’s one that I’m not familiar with, we’ll try again), any person or couple (ditto) and give me an idea that you want a story written about. Quotes or song lyrics are fine, although I’d like to have more of an idea of what they make you think of than just “Oh, I love this song.” Specifics would be fabulous, since I really want some direction. And I will write something for it… At least a drabble, but probably no more than 1000 words.

Let see if this gets my keyboard turbocharged!

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30th August 2004

overreacting, that’s me

Remember the Julia way back in April and May, who was so scared for third year that she more than once just considered quitting, debt or no debt?

I don’t even recognize her anymore.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this is where I’m supposed to be. Every day I’m reminded why I love medicine so much. It’s the best feeling in the world, knowing that yes, while I’m clumsy and still gawky, I love doing this, I can do this, and yes, other people believe that I can do it too.

I’m on internal medicine right now, which is basically taking care of ill patients in a hospital setting. As long as they’re not dying or we’re concerned that they could die (those people are in the ICUs), they come to us. Everything that I learned in class last year, yep, I’ve gotten a patient with it. I guess I should have studied glomerular nephritis a little harder, eh?

Just to give you a clue into the workings of the hospital (I had no idea before I started), I’m work with a team of another medical student (detour: I really miss working with Chris!), two interns (about two months post-med school graduates), a resident and one of three attending physicians (licensed, qualified phyisican) that rotate every week or so, The attendings are hospitalists, which means he basically admits and takes care of any one sick in the hospital who’s not needing surgery and those patients get passed down to us.

The first week was dull. Really dull. Our team hardly admitted anyone, I sat around a lot, clueless as to what exactly I was supposed to be doing and just feeling like I was wasting my time. But slowly, the patients starting trickling in and I started getting more involved with their care, and it’s been fabulous since then. I’ve had more than one patient actually think that I was their doctor… of course, I straightened that out really quickly, but it was a nice feeling to think that others thought I was competent enough.

And the last couple of days, I’ve taken on enough responsibility that I’m functioning as an mini-intern. I’m deciding the plan of actions and ordering tests (all of this discussed at great length with the attending of course!) and I’m admitting patients and doing their history and physical, then making sure that everything is arranged for their discharge when that happens. I think my interns and residents like me, and my attending told me that I was doing a great job… I seriously danced around my car after that.

I didn’t mention that my attending is hot, did I? The kind of geeky athletic hotness that wows me every time. I seriously doubt that he’s a day over 30 (yes, that my friends, is still young to me!) and looks younger. Of course, he sort of has a girlfriend, but that’s so easily forgettable. Me likes eye candy. Hence part of the reason for the dancing.

Chris is on psych right now and having a terrible time. His resident is a pain and apparently has depression, and he really hates the “medicate them up!” attitude–his parents are both psychologists with thriving therapy practices, so I think he has seriousy misgivings about the overuse of antipsychotic drugs. I think he’s found one specialty to completely cut off the list! I only get to see him about one a week, but we talk every couple of days, so it’s not too bad.

Not much else going on with me. I tried really really really hard to get LNB finished before you headed off to college, Marissa, but it didn’t work. Maybe a Christmas present?

Wow, actually a happy post from Julia, with no blubbering? Amazing! Folks, this is a once in a lifetime occurrence here!

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