A Random Header Image
2nd December 2008

100 Things

Felt like wasting time. I have to go to bed now, because I’m on call yet again tomorrow, and am still feeling sleep deprived and we’re rounding early. (As an aside, it is supposed to snow all day tomorrow, meaning I have to dig myself out again post-call before I can sleep. And more head traumas as people slide on slick roads which translates to more 4 am consults from neurosurgery when they decide that they don’t want to operate after all with means less sleep. Am somewhat bitter at Mother Nature who is not doing a great job of nurturing right now.)

1. Started your own blog (I have several right now. Most are just mirrors of my original livejournal, but I do have my own that will be revealed officially to the public as soon as WP 2.7 is released and working properly).
2. Slept under the stars (Several times)
3. Played in a band (I jammed with my 8th grade guitar class but I don’t think we ever made a band)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
Read more

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

19th November 2008


(As one of my program directors called it today. I think it makes it sounds like I’m part of this secret society or something.)

I had my semi-annual review today. I don’t know why I get so nervous every time for these. I walked in today with the biggest pit of dread taking up residence in my belly. Of course, all of my fears were drastically way out of proportion. They did not threaten to fire me or tell me that I make their program look terrible. I’m doing fine, they said. My students and interns like me, my attendings rave about working with me, and I perform at the level where I ought to be. And if they truly had problems with me, they would be bringing them up when they occurred, not springing them on me. Probably true, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fear entirely–it’s definitely been ingrained from years of needing external validation.

I did share some of my concerns, that I feel that I’m too fragmented switching from medicine to neurology and back every three months and that I’m missing out on lectures that I need to prepare for boards and to take better care of my patients. They both agreed, so I’ve just added a couple hours of lectures to my already full week. I also stated that I feel like I’m being compared to my straight medicine or neurology colleagues of my year, which is unfair because I really am behind since I do six months less than they do every year. I’ve only had 10 months of neurology, when my neuro colleagues have done 14-15 months. My medicine friends will be finishing this year, going on to fellowships and jobs, and I’m not even half way done with my residency. So my in-training exam results are going to be compared to the PGY2s instead, which is definitely better.

I expressed my eternal frustrations with the neurology continuity clinic, of how I’m always behind, always stressed and never feel like I’m learning anything because of it. It’s too late for me (5 more clinics!), but I really hope that they change it so we have 40-45 minutes to see a follow-up patient and staff it. Ten minutes more would make everybody’s lives so much better.

I saved my rants on my neurology program director’s selection criteria for the potential residents interviews (I’ll explain later), but believe me, I think that’s going to come up next time.

The SAR does provide me a chance to reflect on what I need to do to improve my performance and knowledge base. Even though I’ve been told that I’m doing fine, I know I need to do better. It’ll just be 2.5 years before I’m done and expected to know this stuff and I can’t afford to put it off or rely on the lectures to learn it.

Goals until my next SAR:

  • Read the review articles and case reports in the NEJM once a week. (Should I get subscription to NEJM, even though I hate getting journals and end up recycling without reading most of them?)
  • Read a chapter from Principles of Neurology a week
  • Read a chapter from the MKSAP board review book each night
  • Catch up on clinic notes (I’m 18 behind)
  • Complete evaluations (I’m 5 behind)
  • Improve on teaching with students. I always feel like I’m lacking time to teach. I need to have dedicated time with the students each morning.

Obviously, I have some work to do!

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

14th December 2005

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I left my uncle this morning, with a hug and a promise to “come back soon.”

I don’t think either of us intended on it being so soon.

I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, I spent 9 hours in the airport today, waiting for a flight from Charlotte, so I could fly back to Charlotte to go to Indianapolis for my last interview. My flight was supposed to leave at 9:50. At 2:00, they finally confirmed that the flight had been cancelled. I then spent another 2.5 hours in line to change my flight to tomorrow morning. Beautiful.

It finally stopped raining here. Unfortunately, the storm is moving east … and North Carolina is expected to be hit with freezing rain right when my fly is supposed to land.

Tomorrow is going to be great!! My flight (hope, pray, wish) leaves at 7:00. Ugh.

I already confirmed the Medicine department that I’m not going to be there. Hopefully things will work out so I can interview on Friday with Neuro (what I wanted to do in the first place!). I won’t be able to come back to interview, so it’s now or never.


It’s been ages since I watched Alias (I always forgot that it got moved to Thursday), but how long has Amy Acker been on the show. I miss her as Fred. πŸ™

posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

12th December 2005

houston we have a problem

I am in Houston, studying for my huge clinical skills exam tomorrow, where I interview and examine standarized patients in 15 minutes, then write a note in 10. It’s going to be loads of fun–8 hours of it!

I have just discovered that I am allergic to cigarette smoke. Or the combination of cigarettes, 5 cats, and a cocker spaniel. I’ve been sneezing uncontrollably and my eyes itch and my nose is stuffy. I’m staying with my great uncle, which at first seemed like a great idea to save money, and while he did warn me that it was a smoking household, this is proving to be a bit much. Hopefully, I’ll be able to sleep tonight and won’t wake up with a horribly scratchy throat.

I had a big post that I wrote on the airplane, but I can’t find a USB connection on my uncle’s laptop (besides the one where the mouse goes). So it’ll have wait until I can transcribe it tomorrow. It’s really starting to amuse me the various computer difficulties that I’ve had so far.

posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

10th December 2005

Visited States Map

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

My trips over the last 2 months have added Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, with Texas next week. I was soooo close to adding Maine when I visited Dartmouth, but there wasn’t a direct road over there, and I had only a few hours and ran out of time. But I did backtrack five miles, so I could claim Rhode Island. πŸ™‚ I’ve flown so many times out of the Atlanta airport, it’s unfair that I can’t add Georgia, but in my mind, airports don’t count until you step foot into the city. I’ve been across the Mississippi river from Missouri and can’t count that one either. *gnashes teeth*

Still, I had only been to the states in the west by the time I graduated college, so I’ve done a fair amount of traveling the last five years. I guess friends growing up, getting jobs and moving all over the country is a good thing after all!

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

8th December 2005

Prodigal return

The prodigal returns, tired and weary and ready for the embrace of home. I only get it for a weekend, though. I leave again on Monday for another week of pointless testing and the last of the interviews. It’s been good, the programs have for the most part liked me, and I was impressed with several, but right now, I’m feeling very poor and tired and stressed out because I missed deadlines due to the lack of computer networks, and I have another interview tomorrow, so I have to get to bed right now.

I promise to fill in details later. For now, I just wanted to say hi and give hugs. Have missed you all.

posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

2nd December 2005


Well, I’m sitting in a little cafe in Bridgeport, Connecticut right now. So far, during my travels, I’ve had extremely crappy internet service (in Buffalo, the wireless signal varied between little and no good and last night, there was plenty of signal, but I couldn’t get the correct IP address–something about their router have problems was my dad’s diagnosis), so in desparation, I went walking through downtown Bridgeport, looking for signal. They make incredible hot chocolate here.

Oh, _starsinhereyes, I passed by your college last night from the freeway. It was dark, so you probably didn’t see me waving. πŸ˜‰ You know, I actually had no idea what state your university was in, it shocked me when I passed by signs–you were at even less risk of me stalking you than you realized. Until now. BWAHA! Kidding–if I had realized it, we could have arranged for an impromtu Lit meeting, thereby defying the definition of impromptu. πŸ™

The excitement of the messy interviews is still ongoing. My interview that I was supposed to have with SB Medicine today, was changed at the last moment (after I had bought nonrefundable hotel reservations, of course). Apparently, I’m now following original plans and interviewing with both programs on Monday. At least I hope so. The neuro coordinator was trying to call me yesterday, but I was in interviews.

Buffalo also turned into more problems–for some reason, they had not seen that I had applied to the Med/Neuro program and therefore had not arranged for me to interview with the Med/Neuro program director–even though I distinctly remember telling them when I got asked for an interview. Lovely. I really am learning my lesson about triple confirming things! They managed to finally get a hold of him, and the chief resident drove me over there for an additional interview (which meant that I didn’t have time to see Niagra Falls as I had hoped)–and I may still have to return to interview in Medicine in the next few weeks, even though they promised that the decision was up to the Neuro people, not Medicine.

I think the interviews overall went well, and their neuro program is strong–I’d get excellent training in stroke and MS, which I really want. But I don’t think the combination is as strong or as supported as it is in Milwaukee. But they seemed to like me there and it almost felt like the position was mine if I wanted it. I liked Buffalo enough that I probably wouldn’t mind spending 5 years there, and I’d probably end up with the training that I needed as well, but it’s not my first choice.

The interview with the chair of the department was odd, I’m still not sure waht to make of it. He was disconjointed and rambling and asked me pretty much every one of the “taboo” questions–marital status (twice), religion, etc–and criticized my choice to pursue both fields (ugh, I am soooo sick of that!). But then he stared at me in astonishment, when I told him that I had only applied to Buffalo and Stony Brook in the east, and told me that I should have applied to Columbia and John Hopkins because I was a “very strong candidate”. *blink*

Right now, I’m trying to decide whether it would be worth it to cross to Long Island by ferry and see the area, or just wait until Sunday/Monday. I’m leaning towards the latter. It’s starting to look stormy as well and I think I missed the ferry over, so I’d have to wait another hour–and then what would I even do over there with no car and only three hours before I’d have to come back. Or maybe I’m just making excuses.


posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

29th November 2005

Interview fun part 2 or The Fast Decline Into Madness


Buffalo got back to me this morning on my confirmation. They interview on THURSDAYS and not Fridays–my interview is scheduled for Dec. 1, the day that I fly out of here. I wrote it down wrong in my calendar. If there ever was a “D’oh!!”moment, this classifies! Sometimes there aren’t words for my idiocy.

I’ve spent the morning, calling Stony Brook Medicine back up (they were the ones who woke me this morning, saying they had a spot in January available, of course when I was going to be in Kenya so I couldn’t pounce on it), meekly asking for my slot back this Friday, and then spending $400 to change my tickets to tomorrow, with a flight to Hartford on Thursday night.

I guess everything is fixed now. Maybe. I hope. If I hear back from SB Neuro saying that I didn’t need the interview after all, there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and I personally will usher in the apocalypse.

Stay tuned.

ETA: SB Neuro just emailed back: “Dear Julia: Β Have no fear, Medicine said they will make an exception and see you on Monday.” *grumbles, grumbles*

Now I’m doing the fun stuff of figuring out how bus/railroad/ferry systems work and if it’d be worth it to rent a car while I’m there, or just wait and rent one to go up to Dartmouth, trying to contact my cousins who I hope to stay with, etc. Oh joy! What bliss!

posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

28th November 2005

Interview fun continued or The Reason for Discontention

This day hasn’t been the most pleasant, I must say.

I’m interviewing the New York this coming week. In fact, for the past few weeks, I’ve had three interviews scheduled on Friday. One in Buffalo for a Med/Neuro position–but I wasn’t sure how much I liked their program, one in Rochester in Medicine in hopes to convince them to create a combination program just for me (I am so optimistic). And the last, for Medicine in Stony Brook, NY. I also have an interview schedule in Neuro on Monday in Stony Brook (from now on, SB)–they have a combination program, and they are the ones who are the cause of all of my problems. A couple of weeks ago, I scheduled the SB medicine interview, and then called the neuro program to confirm with them that I was scheduled. The program coordinator seemed surprised when I told her that I had scheduled the medicine interview–because she had apparently arranged for me to meet with the medicine people on Monday. Perfect!

Rochester wrote me and told me that they couldn’t do a combination program. Fine. I canceled the interviews with both Neuro (I was supposed to be there today) and Medicine there, did a little more research on the Buffalo program, decided that it wouldn’t hurt if I interviewed there, confirmed my interview, and bought tickets Saturday night. (Follow the story so far?)

Today, of course, I get an email from the Neuro person at Stony Brook saying that I needed to interview with the Medicine program separately after all. And of course, the medicine department no longer has ANY available dates to interview. And my tickets are nonrefundable/nontransferable. Lovely.

I hate it when things just fall apart. HATE IT.

It’s put me in a mild despondent mood today, where I’ve had little motivation for anything.

There. There’s my gripe for today. I’m done now.

I’m getting ready to teach first years the physical exam. We had a review today and someof it has definitely become routine–but there’s parts to the physical exam that I haven’t done in ages and still find difficult. The thyroid exam. Percussing the lungs, etc. You start to rely on lab values and chest xrays, it’s sad. Hopefully, I won’t look like too much of an idiot. I remember being a first year and absolutely in awe of how much the fourth years knew… Perspective.

I’ve been locating my Christmas music collection–I removed it from my computer because I had sooo much. It’s making me teary–there is some gorgeous music out there that never fails to make me emotional. I get very irritated listening to Christmas music on the radio–mostly because it’s that pop crap or worse, oversentimental (does The Christmas Shoes play on your radio stations? If not, you’re lucky! There’s not another song on the planet that can get me out of the Christmas mood faster), but there’s so much that’s good. Expect a Christmas music sharing post from me in the future!

posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

12th November 2005

My prayers have been answered!

A Long and Painful Reign of Terror Will Come to An End

This has honestly made my day. I can’t recall ever getting better news!! (I’m ignoring that bit about the threat of a spinoff. Don’t bring down my good mood!)

(Sorry to the Arrested Development fans–I myself could never get into it, but I know it had a following.)

On the home front, I had my “Here’s What to Expect in Kenya” meeting on Thursday. I don’t know if it made me more excited or more terrified. πŸ™‚ Probably both. I’ll have a lot of opportunity there to do tons of procedures (spinal taps, chest tubes and drains, abdominal fluid draining, blood gases, etc.) that I’m really looking forward to–it will really make things in intern year just a little better if I have some practical experience. I’ll see a lot of bizarre and interesting diseases that I’ll never see here, and I’ll have a lot of autonomy with my patients. But as thrilling as all of this sounds, there’s the downsides–such as not having residents and attendings around to be of help when I really need it, seeing a lot of death, not having a toilet in the hospital (!!! Apparently there’s a hole in the ground. They did build a new pediatric building next to the hospital, with running water and a toilet, so all isn’t lost, but … ) The living conditions in the student dorms leave something to be desired–no hot water, no toilets, bugs and mice (shudder), but I was willing to endure it, until I found out that nobody else is staying there. The other medical student and the residents are staying at the “Compound” where they have wireless internet and three meals a day, as well as all the basic necessities listed above (hopefully, minus the mice). So I think I’ll be upgrading. Maybe. The cost for the dorms is less than $100 dollars, that for the compound is over $400.

So I have to start getting my vaccinations next week (yellow fever, tetanus, typhoid, polio booster, meningococcal, pneumococcal – and the flu one, which I keep finding excuses to put it off. I know, I know, I was so sick last year and with the threat of bird flu, I should be doing my part as a health care worker, but I hate shots!). Then malaria medications, and antibiotics for the unavoidable “intestinal distress” that comes with traveling to a third world country. Permethrin to soak my cloths in. Etc.

Anybody been to Amsterdam? Any ideas of what to see? Where to stay? I did figure out my tickets so that I could afford to go down to South Africa, but it meant a two day layover in Amsterdam, rather than London. When I told Chris, his first response was that I was NOT to go out at night, or I’d be seeing things that I wouldn’t want to see. LOL! I had hoped that there would be time to take a train up to Denmark and see my extended family whom I’ve never met, but uh, Europe is a little bigger than I thought and it’d take me a day to get there. But I might pop over to Germany. We’ll see. In Europe, if you cross country borders, do you get a stamp on your passport, or do you have to fly into the country?

I have my third interview on Monday–but it’s my first internal medicine interview (the last two were neurology interviews). It’s here at my school, I know everybody well, so hopefully, it’ll be a better experience than Minnesota. I have dinner with the residents tomorrow night, the casual “get to know the program dinner”, where I get fed for free. NICE! Then on Wednesday, I fly to Wisconsin for two days of interviews. They are one of the four schools that have the combined program that I want–the five year Medicine/Neurology program–and theirs looks the best of them all–well organized curriculum, good patient mix, three hospitals, etc. I’ve been excited about their program for a long time, so I’m really praying that it goes well. Wish me luck, guys. I really could use it!

I saw Elizabethtown with Chris this week, and I gotta admit–I was horribly disappointed. I mean, I didn’t have grand expectations–I had read the reviews and realized that it wasn’t going to be more than mediocre. But I expected some attraction between the leads, and some plot and dialog! Instead it was 2 hours and 18 minutes of random music that didn’t really fit with anything. The last 1/2 was good, and if the rest had been like that, I don’t think I would have been so utterly disappointed. Orlando was cute, but I think that was it’s only redeeming quality.

My sister finally bought Firefly, so I’ve been slowly making my way through the series. Wow, what a fantastic show. It’s witty and brilliant and everything that everybody has been saying about it! πŸ™‚ I LOVE IT! The more I watch though, the sadder I get at the thought of there only being 14 episodes! If there was ever was a show that needed to be resurrected, that would be it. !4 episodes, and we got ten years too many of 7th Heaven. It is an unfair world, my friends.

BTW, I got my fanfiction generator fixed (I keep forgetting how wonderful my web host is. I sent them my code and within 5 minutes they had fixed the problem – apparently I had some “windows only” code. If I had done that when I started having problems!). So, for the LOST fans, try it out here and for the Gilmore Girls fans, I made a special one just for you right here. I think that some of the minor characters might be a little too minor, but I’d like your opinion. Use it! Promote It! Be Inspired! Write a story that you never thought you would! Write Jess! Do It! You know you want to!

posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

6th November 2005

Well… I’m back

I am going to write a long entry about my interviews, visiting Iowa and Minnesota and meeting Becka (bjorks_defender)!, but I am road weary and world weary, and just slightly queasy to my stomach. I guess that’s what I get for only eating Starbursts and Goldfish today… Ugh.

Meeting Becka was wonderful, guys! *HUGS Becks* I totally recommend doing it. I think I was a little more subdued than normal, because the interviews did not go exactly well (they didn’t go horribly either–just more of a letdown), so it kinda put me in a little bit of a funk, but she was wonderful and we had some great times. But I shall describe everything in more detail, tomorrow. And hopefully I’ll get it illustrated with pictures!

shirerain and claidheamhmor, I do have some bad news. The program got back to me on how much the tickets to South Africa was going to cost… and it’s more than double what they were willing to cover. And I don’t know if I have the money to fund that much either. I’m trying to do some internet searches, see if I can find it for any cheaper or if there other options. But. I don’t know. It’s all very frustrating, after thinking that things were set in stone.

posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

27th October 2005

How is it possible to be so busy and NOT get anything done?

I think is the part of that I hate the most–the planning.

I was online all day (and boy is my shoulder telling me so!) looking up tickets to South Africa to see if it’s feasible to visit shirerain and claidheamhmor while I’m in Kenya (I finally emailed the secretary–after all of my looking around, she said that she’ll arrange it all with the travel agency, so I think I’m set…. South Africa here I come!), looking for car rentals, trying to figure out if it’d be best if I drove the car from Iowa to Minnesota and back or if I just drive to Minnesota and then fly out from there, checking email every 5 minutes in hopes that I would hear from Wisconsin (I haven’t–it’s really making me worried that I haven’t heard anything) so that I could finalize my plans, discovering that I had applied to the wrong school in Iowa for internal medicine, applying to the right school (I hope. Or did I apply to the wrong neurology department to begin with?), etc, etc, etc.

And then Chris reminds me that I need to buy tickets to his wedding in May, because it’s a tourist destination and things fill up quickly. *sigh*

So as it stands, I have a plan ticket to Iowa on the 1st. No return ticket. No rental car yet because I’m not quite sure where I’m returning much less when. Minnesota wrote, and unlike the other programs, they don’t pay for motels, so I now I have to call and make reservations – rather than just telling the place I was at that I wanted to extend.

*sigh* It’s just getting to be overwhelming. I want it all figured out NOW. *stomps foot like Veruka Salt*

So I told my parents tonight of my plans to extend out my trip to Kenya by a week. My dad got a little quiet when I told him that I had met my friend from the internet. πŸ˜€ (and here he was worried about my younger sister moving to DC for a year!) But I did explain that we had met because of my Tolkien group, which I think calmed him down a little, and he’ll get over it. Visiting Donna (donnazita) and having her come out here relieved them of the worry that it was internet lunatics I was talking with. Actually my parents biggest concern is the 3 extra days that I’ll be spending in London. By myself. Which if I think about too much will freak me out too. Any tips for surviving on your own, Ali?

Well, I have to get off now. My shoulder has quite honestly taken me hostage and if I don’t behave, it’ll figure out a way to ruin everything for me.

posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

27th October 2005

*blows the dust off*

It didn’t take me very long to completely convert back to my night owl routine. πŸ™‚

So I have news.

I’m going to Kenya for a month in January!

I applied for this international rotation months ago, and didn’t it. There were 4 students picked, all of whom had had fantastic international experiences, and I was rather crushed when I didn’t get selected. I’ve been considering doing another international rotation, but that would have cost much much more money, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about going all by my lonesome to some random, 3rd world country.

Well, a couple of days ago, I got a call from the secretary organizing everything, stating that someone dropped out and there was a spot available and did I want it.

Suffice to say, I jumped on it.

I’m a little freaked out by the idea. I’ve been taking an international health class for the last eight (er, I only made it to six) weeks, where we’ve done nothing but talk about the nasty parasites, worms, fungi, viruses, etc. that you can contract at these foreign places. Almost made me swear off the idea entirely. *shudders* But I’m going to be brave and get all of my shots and bring lots of Cipro and just do it!

Ellie–I don’t know if you’ll be on at all today, but how would you feel about flying up to Kenya and maybe doing a safari type of thing for a few days? I’d be done with my stuff around the 11th of February and since we’d be on the same continent, it would be a fantastic time to meet. I have no idea how much it would cost or anything. I’m supposed to let the secretary know my plans by tomorrow night (she told me this afternoon. Sheesh), so that they can arrange tickets and everything. Will you be around to chat today? 2ish my time?

I start my interviews next week. I have been feeling nervous about them–more so about the dinner with the residents the next before, where I have to make charming, small talk with people I’ve never met before–until Chris’s comment today of “Everybody loves you, you’ll charm everybody.” Sometimes I forget why I keep him around–and then he reminds me. Why he has so much faith in me, I have no idea. Of course, this feeling of calm will probably only last until this weekend, but I’m enjoying it while I can. I have to go shopping for a suit tomorrow/Friday. Have completely outgrown (and not in the good way) the one I bought for medical school. Hopefully, this time, I’ll manage to remove all of the tags before the interview.

And I think that’s the quick and dirty update.

posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

11th October 2005


I just checked my phone for the first time today.

The University of Minnesota wants to interview me. On Oct. 21.

I was told it would take 3 weeks to process my application. I haven’t even sent in my Internal Med one because I was counting on having more time.

I’m freaking out. I’m not ready. That’s um, next week, people. Next freaking week.

posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

  • Julia’s Journal

  • Just an ordinary girl.
  • Monthly Calendar

  • October 2022
    S M T W T F S
  • Archives

  • RSS Red Head Snippet

    • Books read (July-September) October 2, 2022
      July:Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal. My last of Chris Colfer’s audiobooks and his first book. Not sure that a journal really was the best format, but I’m going to miss his voice.The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA’s Double Helix. In honor of the 70 […]