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24th July 2008

For those of you without the $90 to spend on DVDs…

iTunes has just released Season 1-3 on the downloadable DVDs, for a mere $25.87 ($1.99 each episode). The Christmas episodes aren’t there and obviously, there’s no “behind the scenes” commentary or David Tennant diaries, but still, it’s an option.

I was also going to say that X-Files season 1-3 is also available. But those are much more expensive and Season 1 is missing one of the best episodes (Beyond the Sea), so personally I’d wait (well, personally, I already own the DVDs, so the point is moot. Moot. I love that word).

My X-Files party went splendidly, by the way. There was a newbie in the crowd, so we watched The Pilot (always a favorite), Squeeze and Post-Modern Prometheus, which was voted the favorite. I gave a quite the girlie scream and betrayed my cool demeanor during Squeeze, even though I’ve seen it a dozen times and knew what was going to happen…. I’m never going to survive tomorrow/Saturday when I finally get to see the movie.

I got recertified in ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) yesterday. Man, it’s so much easier after two years of experience. I haven’t run a code in months, but just knowing exactly what the drugs do and the thought process and the pathophysiology helps so much. At the end of med school, I was so clueless and ignorant. I’m still behind the time (ask my attending when I was unable to tell him what the common side effects of niacin are), but at least, I’m better than I was two years ago.

And other than that, not much going on. My life revolves around the various clinics and I’m getting a little wearied at the constant change. Every place has different expectations, different places to hang your bag, different places to find forms, etc, and it’s tiring learning it all over again, both morning and afternoon. Plus, clinic patients always drain me. I don’t get the chance to review their labs and their images, or whatever. They’re there for those 20 minutes and they want answers, regardless of whether I have them, so I’m always thinking on the fly and I hate that. Still enjoying the free evenings. Tonight I picked raspberries, tripped on one of the bushes and lost the entire bowl. Luckily, I have a very abundant crop this year and was able to pick more to use with the Yogurt Cream that I made for my XF party (sooo good. Sooo creamy. So many calories (we’re ignoring the advice about using whipping cream and going with milk next time. It may taste better, but I’m the only one around to eat the leftovers and golly, the guilt!).

I really need to do laundry.

Oh, yeah, and Happy Pioneer Day! I rather miss the middle of July state holiday. Any special celebrations? BBQs? I wish I was there, but in the mangled words of Brigham Young, “This is the right place for me.” Hee.

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2nd June 2008

More decisions

Hypothetical question (really, truly):

If you were trying to impress a young lad with your homemade cooking, what would you use as a side dish to complement my signature salmon recipe? (I was going to make it into a real poll, but I got lazy.)

1. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. What better way to get a man’s affection than through the staple of life? Plus, the author promises that I can expect to be worshipped and kissed for at least 38 hours.

2. Crushed Hot Potatoes. It’s got the potato factor in its favor, but it’s simple, so it doesn’t make me look too desperate.

3. Lemon Flavored Saffron Rice. I brought the saffron in Africa and carried it all the way back with me and haven’t used it yet. I love lemony saffron rice and it would really complement the fish. Plus, Cleopatra reportedly had great success with her use of saffron um, probably not the kind of success that I’m really seeking at this time :D.

4. Other! I am obviously an inexperienced Kitchen Goddess and need to be taught immediately that the perfect side dish would be:______________

Your input would be invaluable. And needed before Wednesday so that I can go shopping. Hypothetically, of course.

(As an aside: I LOVE the Pioneer Woman blog. I discovered it a couple of days ago and have spent most of the day browsing through her site. The pictures are goregous and it makes me long for the small town life that I’ve left behind; I miss those times of absolute solitude. Another part of me is overwhelmingly grateful that Kris Hullinger and I never hit it off, because whoa, I am glad that ranching is not my life.)

This is my last month as a second year resident, can you believe that? It just incredible how time can fly and still seem so slow. I’m not halfway done with my residency yet… that endpoint still seems a long way away. I certainly down feel ready to be released on the unsuspecting world, but I find myself chomping to get done with this all.

I’m rotating on the epilepsy monitoring unit, which is a different experience. Basically we admit people and provoke them into having seizures and I’m learning how to read EEGs, which is really like learning how to read petroglyphs done in a 3-year-old’s squiggly scrawl. I have no idea what I’m doing. The worst is that it really comes down to physics and electricity and currents and vectors, and man, that was my weakest point in all of physics. I could never understand it. I read and read this afternoon and I’m still confuzzled. But I’m excited about a new challenge, and the hours will be a little easier than a regular wards month (still have to do call, bleh)

I got my DEA license! And promptly had to renew a prescription for a patient, so I’m already being tracked. We won’t talk about how much money this little “privilege” cost me, but all I can say is that the little bonus that they give me at the end of the year to cover licensing and exams(while supposedly leaving enough to fund a gym membership as well), didn’t even cover half of what I’ve paid this past year for the honor of becoming a Real Doctor (like Pinocchio, but still with strings). But it’s all done now.

I’ve had “There are no cats in America/and the streets are filled with cheese” running through my head all day today. I have no idea where that came from, as I probably haven’t seen the movie (An American Tail, for those who are less Disney informed (and yes, yes, I know it’s not a Disney movie, work with me here)) since I was 10. Weird, especially since I did give in and buy myself a copy of Mulan since I’ve had an inexplicable urge to watch that movie for the last month, so I should be having “I’ll make a man out of you” there in my noggin instead. I did resist on buying the copy of Escape to Witch Mountain which is another one of my childhood favorites; luckily the store didn’t have The Three Lives of Thomasina or Toby Tyler –those I could not have said no to.

I think I’m going for the hammock in the back yard, it would fit the space better. One of these days, I’ll redo the front and make a real porch where I can install the swing. I’ve just gotta make sure that the side of my garage could handle the weight if I hook it there. I wasn’t able to find a fire pit yet either, so my backyard beautification project is on-going.

And I think that’s it. It’s all I can think to talk about, unless you want to hear that I have dishes to wash and clothes to fold and my hair to cut and CuteIntern friended me on Facebook (mostly shaved now. Definitely cuter) and I’ve got a date on Thursday that might almost be called a second date and there’s still about 5 clinic notes that I haven’t finished. Yeah, you definitely don’t want to hear about those tedious details about my life. πŸ˜€

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9th July 2006

now I know that I can fly alone….

I survived my first week of internship. And my first night on call all night last night, crossing covering all 4 teams’ patients for the night. It wasn’t too bad, comparing it to the other intern’s experiences. My pager was going off nonstop from about 3 pm on (at the same time I was trying to get blood cultures draw…6 sticks later, I had to admit defeat and get another intern to come and help. So frustrating. I’ve done IVs before, but apparently, drawing blood is a slightly different technique. And can I just say how ridiculous it is, in a hospital, to not be able to have labs drawn on weekends? If you want something, you have to draw it yourself, which is a complete and inefficient waste of time. I did have two patients who spiked a fever overnight and I needed blood cultures on them. Luckily the IV nurse took pity on me (I think I looked pretty frazzled by that point) and offered to draw all of the labs that I needed last night, which saved me a lot of headache and stress. I could have hugged her.

Our team took five admissions yesterday (we were supposedly on divert because the ICU was full. Didn’t stop the ER team from allowing a woman to be transfered from one of the local hospitals for no reason what so ever…. and then admit her. Nice lady, but I was really frustrated that I had to work her up and admit her, when she really didn’t belong in the hospital), two were mine. That was probably the hardest thing, trying to admit and balance the numerous pages from all of the nurses and try to figure out what to do with patients that I know very little about (it’s hard enough figuring out what to do with my patients!), In addition, there was a fluke in the call schedule, which meant that while my resident was supposed to accept sign out and cover one of the medical teams, everybody signed out to me, which meant my load was heavier.

Things calmed down at around 11… the pages stopped, allowing me to write up my two admissions and then get some sleep. I got about four hours of sleep, which since everybody else that I’ve talked to has only gotten about 30 minutes, I was extremely blessed. It wasn’t good sleep, because I kept waking up in a panic that my beeper was going off and I was sleeping through it (I wasn’t). Or it really would go off and I had to figure out how to manage things in my sleep deprived mind. Fun, fun.

I came home and promptly went to sleep. Or tried to, as my pager kept going off. It’s true that it’s very difficult to leave the work behind at the hospital. One patient’s wife had come by, and as she was power of attorney, wondered why she hadn’t been informed of her hsuband’s transfer to our service, so I talked to her for a bit. Then, as I had basically give everybody the go ahead to transfer him back to the other service, I then got a call from that admitting physician, wondering why I was transferring him back when the cardiology consult said that he wasn’t stable in their note (completely opposite of what they told my team in person, btw). I think I got most of that fixed–I’ll find out tomorrow morning of whether or not the transfer actually went through.

So, I survived. I might be on call again on Wednesday (our schedules got messed up, as I said, so I have no idea anymore), which I’m hoping not. I need a couple of days to recover, and as I’m not getting a day off anytime soon (13 days, and counting), well, I’d rather not be on call again until Sunday.

I am loving my internship. Despite the hard work and the constant feeling of inadequacy (does it ever go away?). The vets that I work with are very sweet, especially the little old 80 or 90 year old men. I get very sad when they come in, very sick often, but always very patient with what we can offer them. They vets are some of the most appreciative patients you’ll see, and our VA system offers them so little sometimes. There are great things about the VA… their computer system and their clinics, but when it comes to hospital care… where they are really really cared completely by residents (great for residents to get experience, maybe not so good for the vets) and can only get PICC lines on Tuesday and Thursday (and not after 3 on those days, making them stay in the hospital until the next Tuesday or Thursday), or the million other ways that the system breaks down (and sorry, folks, I don’t think it’s because of evil socialized medicine. The VA could be providing some of the best care, It’s more the inefficiency of the system in place and the laziness/unwilling of those in the system to change), it saddens me.

So that’s my life, busy, tired, but generally happy. What’s going on with you?

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15th June 2006


I’m biting…

Ask me my top five of anything. I’ll answer in a later post.

Please do! I could use the procrastination excuse and I’d love to see what kind of lists you come up with.

I haven’t written for a while, I mean a real update. I went to Arizona for the weekend and saw my cousin get married. Very cute girl, marrying a very cute guy, her high school sweetheart. It was nice and seeing family was great.

The house buying turned into a nightmare, but I don’t want to get into it. We finally sorted that all out (I think!) and once I find out from my insurance broker tomorrow which lucky company will be providing me with home insurance, I believe that all of the little and big things will finally come together and I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that on June 23rd, I will be closing on my little house.

I move in less than a week. That’s scary. I’ve started really hitting the packing process (divided the books with my sister today. *sniff* She took Harry Potter and the Dark is Rising sequence… I shall miss them. πŸ™ ) and my apartment is a utter disaster. Hopefully, I’ll be done with all of the packing on Friday, leaving the weekend for the massive cleaning. I just realized that I haven’t reserved the UHaul yet. Crap. Must remember to do that tomorrow.

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to do all of the last minute visits that I had been intending to spend all of June doing… seeing Laura and her kids, going to a dollar show with Liz. We are going to have a Plethora party (in my honor, thank you) on Friday, and I guess that will be my goodbye. My stomach is clenching at the thought. I still have been in complete denial that moving actually means moving.

And to just to top it all off…in less than two weeks, I’ll be expected to be a real doctor. What I really need to be doing is hitting the books, all day long and reviewing everything, so that I won’t look like a complete moron. It’s been months since my last ward month. Months. I don’t know how I’m going to get the time.

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9th May 2006

rip off

They’re charging me a $100 freaking dollars for my stupid yearbook. One Hundred Dollars!

I just spent over $100 dollars today on getting announcements!!! $65 dollars for my oh-so-beautiful gown and cap. And now this.

From an email, back in December “Finally, in order to decrease the final cost of the yearbook, we are selling ad space.” Um, folks, THIS AIN”T A DECREASED PRICE!!! I’ve done yearbooks before, the entire gamut. I’ve sat in darkened little rooms and mixed chemicals. I’ve sat underneath basketball rims to get the perfect shot. I’ve cropped and chopped and played with layouts until I was seeing square shapes in my dream. And I’ve gone out and begged for money to put in ads. All I know, is that it didn’t cost us this much for my entire high school, which was approximately the same size as my med school class.


On a side note. I did start watching the Gilmore Girls finale, but left for dinner with some friends. Anybody want to tell me what happens in the last 10-15 minutes? I think the last I saw was when Rory surprised Logan with the London party. I’m not sure that I really care, more for just idle curiousity.

Instead of working on my paper today (yes, I’m very very bad), I went through and updated/completed all of my tagging on my past entries. There’s still some cleanup that I need to do, entries that are still missing labels and I need to figure out someway to override the “tag” page (http://jcd1013.livejournal.com/tag) to make it more readable, but I haven’t figured out to do that. Hmm. I do feel somewhat accomplished though. Sorting through emails, now arranging LJ entries–go me!

I have therapy and a doctor’s appointment check tomorrow. I have to get them to sign a clean bill of health for residency. I should have done this a month ago, but oh well.

Word of the Day: assuage: to make less intense or severe, to pacify, to satisfy. Use it well, my friends, use it well.

Julia out.

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8th May 2006


I usually get emotional at series endings. I do. Years ago, I wept over “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” although I had seen maybe two eppys. They represent a change, a era of life that is now over–and I always get emotional at life changes (wow, you didn’t know that, did you?). We won’t even talk about the waterworks seen with the ending of X-Files. Voyager. Mad About You. Etc.

Many a tear was shed tonight… of utter joy and of utter horror. I mean, 7th Heaven? Ending not with one pregnancy, but three sets of twins, I just about gagged. And the whole flashback scenes or the dream “here’s how the wedding ends” dream sequences… *shudders*

I know I have several friends in LJ who like 7th Heaven… so I’ll stop now. But I am not going to miss that show. Not at all.

Everwood, however, was awesome. They so know how to handle human emotions and making them real, so even though I’m irrate at their actions, I still love the characters. Anyone heard if they’ve announced which shows they’re keeping next year?

I have to admit that I have a weakness for TLC shows. Like “Little People, Big World” or “What Not to Wear”. Or my newest favorite “Jamie Oliver Does School Lunch.” I’ve had such a crush on The Naked Chef… I think it’s the accent. And the fact that he cooks.

Started physical therapy today. I’ve been to these same therapists for the last 4 surgeries, so I’m kinda fond of them. They’re older women and very good. My therapist was impressed with all of the progress that I’ve made–although, I wish I had just a bit more movement. But that’s why we go to the therapist. That and the wonderful, massaging electrodes… Mmm. Sweet pain.

Nothing else to report really. I’m flying out to Milwaukee at the end of the month to look at places to live–whether I buy or not is still up in the air. But that’s all the excitement in this port. πŸ™‚

ETA: I was just looking though some old emails and found the link to Chris and Melissa’s wedding site. It’s still up. The counter on the bottom says “Four days until the big day” and there are smiling pictures of the couple on every page. I haven’t seen Chris look that content for a long time. The tears in my eyes are real this time… It still sucks, you know?

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7th May 2006

A day of little achivements

I raised my arm above my head!

I washed my hair with both hands! (getting to shower was Thursday’s accomplishment)

I put on my contacts! (okay, I lost my glasses last night and can’t find them anywhere)

I wore a bra! (too much info, eh?)

And… I drove my car! (we’ll just avoid left-handed turns for a while)


Had dinner with a couple of Chris’s friends tonight. He’s been staying with them since the big breakup and housesat while they were gone (it was their lumpy little couch that has made so many appearances in my recent entries). It was a rather quiet affair–everybody seemed to be exhausted, but it was nice being around people and getting out of the house. I’m tired of feeling like an invalid.

Chris leaves for Mexico tomorrow morning. It’s still just so unreal, that only three months ago, he was going to be getting married in a week. May 13th. And now he’s not. I still have their “save the date” magnet, they broke up right before the invitations were sent. It still makes me so sad at times, although I’m still royally pissed at her and can barely be tolerant when I see her. It’s a good thing. It really is, but oh, being there is going to be hard on him. I’m trying to think of clever little emails that will cheer him up, or distract him, but so far, I haven’t come up with anything.

Anyway, he’ll be gone for about 11 days. Home for 3 days for graduation (he’s going to walk with us! I just about squeed when he told me, and I try very hard not to *squee* in RL). And then off to Asia, and that will be the end of the Julia-n-Chris years.

But we’re not thinking about that now. Better to concentrate on the pile of paper work that I have to do for the new job and the paper I have to finish before I can graduate. It never ends, does it?

And the million dollar question… Do I really want it to?

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1st May 2006

survived the knife

Surgery was survived and a good time was had by all.

Well, not really. But it wasn’t too bad.

Surgery happened pretty much as planned. I arrived at 7 in my yellow pj bottoms and I was wheeled back for surgery around 9:20. They gave me Versed so I don’t remember anything that had happened after that (they had offered to give me Versed when I walked in, but I thought that losing that much of time would be worse than waiting), which I haven’t been able to decide if I like better or not. The last few minutes before being knocked out are always the worst–I get rather nervous as that fuzzy feeling spreads–but I missed having that last moment of confidence-building with my doctor, before I’m sent off to sleepy-land.

I don’t remember much of the rest of the afternoon (or big portions of the next several days). Chris was there when I woke up, before work and then back later that afternoon, Karin spent the day there, a couple of med school friends dropped by for a bit in the evening so I didn’t lack from attention. My hospital room? Was a suite. With a separate living room and tv/dvd, etc. It was huge and I hear it was awesome. I tried to watch Rent with Chris one night and ending up falling asleep ten minutes in it, but others enjoyed it. My nurses were great and lovely and I felt quite spoiled. I got flowers for the first time *squee*: Roses from Karin, a large bouquet from one of the sisters in the ward and some large, colorful, have-no-idea-what-kind from Chris with gummy bears and strawberries. πŸ™‚ They were awesome and I can see how a girl would get quite used to the attention.

I was supposed to be in the hospital just overnight, but I felt quite sick and not ready to leave, so I ended up staying until Saturday. And no, it wasn’t just because I loved my room, although that contributed. My dad drove me home (hometown home) where I’ve been recooperating over the weekend, sleeping on the couch. I’ll head back tomorrow, to face the real world and complete all of my med school assignments (I got an extension, which considering that before today, I couldn’t even look at a computer screen for more than two minutes, is a very good thing) and my recovery has been good too–even right after surgery I had more movement than I did on my other shoulder. With therapy, I’ve been able to lift my arm to shoulder height, which is great and I’m weaning myself from the narcs too. πŸ˜€

Anyway, I’m getting tired, so I’m making this short. Just wanted to say hi and hug everybody who was thinking about me. Thanks guys! *hugs*

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25th April 2006

another finale

I feel like I’m constantly making these “final posts.” Last post before going to Kenya. Last post before starting a rotation. Last post before I get my teeth cleaned, etc. I wonder why that is?

So make this the last post before I have surgery and take an involuntary absence from my computer at least through the weekend. πŸ™ My email accounts are going to be so neglected.

I’m scheduled to report in at 7 in the morning. Surgery will most likely be at 8:30 am and is scheduled to last 2 hours. I’ll be in the post-op area (Post-Anesthesia Care Unit) for probably another hour or two after that–although it will only feel like mere minutes to me. Anethesia is definitely a unique experience. Docs claim that it “puts you to sleep”. It doesn’t really, because there’s no falling asleep part–you all of a sudden lose consciousness, and you wake up just as suddenly, with a limb that doesn’t work as well and an extremely overwhelming thirst reflex–the breathing tube drys you out. The thirst is quite unbearable–speaking of which, I need to go drink a ton, so my veisn will be nice and plump tomorrow. At midnight it’s “No Food for you!”

I’ve got my iPod fully charged, my toothbrush, lip gloss, and am still deciding which comfortable clothes to bring. (Pajamas? Scrubs?) I went to Blockbuster and rented “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Everything is Illuminated,” and “Rent” and I purchased the first 2 seasons of The X-Files last week so I’d have some entertainment. And I accomplished number one on my list–I cut my hair. It’s short. Very short. I haven’t had my hair this short since I was a sophomore in college, but Matt complimented me on it tonight (as did Karin, but that doesn’t count quite as much does it?) so I guess it’s okay. In fact, you can see it here with the lovely large zit that is cropping up on my chin. Lovely.

Picture of Julia because she loves digital cameras

In any case, I have to get to bed, so I can wake up early and shower (as it will be my last shower for the next 10 days. Ugh) and finish getting ready.

Love to you all! Wish me luck!

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23rd April 2006


I don’t think there’s a male creature on this earth right now that I don’t loathe.

Even claidheamhmor is not entirely exempt because the tea he and melancthe sent me hasn’t come yet. Okay, since he did send me the tea, which is a very nice and wonderful gesture, he’s excused from my wrath. πŸ™‚ (*hugs Claymore* Sorry for the generalization!) But the mailman ain’t.

I’m tired. I’m tired of writing papers. I’m tired of getting blamed whenever something goes wrong. I’m tired of cold silences and angry sighs. I’m tired of lousy PC laptops that make me always look like the moron who breaks things and worse, delete most of what I’ve written. I’m tired of feeling like an idiot. I’m tired of feeling like I’m the week-old leftovers.

He’s just making me mad. I had forgotten how much we tend to grate on each other when we’re working day after day after day. Most of the time, it’s great–we do work well together, we do, and I would be royally screwed at this point without his help. But then there are other times… And I’m such a passive person in arguments that I can’t voice my explanations/disagreements and I just end up seething. I’m just torn right now–torn because in some way I need a break, we need a break, and yet… This is it. In two weeks, he’s gone. I don’t worry about losing my other friends, mostly because I know that the ties of the Plethora have stayed strong over 9 years and they just aren’t breaking. But I worry about him. I’ve never understood exactly why he was my friend to begin with, even after three years, I still wonder. And I can’t get over this fear that I’m going to leave for residency, he’s going to breath a big sigh of relief and that’s going to be it.

I’m freaking out about my surgery this week. I have no idea if I’ve made the right decision and have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to analyze it. I don’t know if it’s just going to make things worse, if I should just suck it up and deal with the pain, or if it really is as I felt earlier that it was something that needed to happen now before I got into residency.

I have to get back to my paper. It’s going to be yet another all nighter. *cries*

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6th April 2006

boring busy

(Warning, this is like the boringest update in the world. Seriously, you’d be better off if you go look at the articles about Jessica Simpson becoming a Baywatch babe. Really. Because that’s entertainment!)

Life is good. I don’t think I’ve written that in a while. Makes a nice change. πŸ™‚

I’ve been really busy. As I said, the boring kind of busy, but it’s been nice. I finished my genetics rotation (did I even mention that I was doing a genetics rotation), which was really enjoyable. At one time, that was the career that I was thinking about, becoming a pediatric geneticist. And while it was fun, it was nice discovering that that wasn’t the career for me. Good thing–that would not have been a nice discovery to make right before I started my residency in a completely different field.

The past two weeks I’ve been working on my “PCP”, my last paper/research project that I have to do to graduate. I’ve changed my project three times, but this last one I’ve been really excited about, and there’s a chance that I’ll get published with it (the biggest motivator to get a student to do something–lure them with promise of seeing their name in an obscure journal). The best part is that I’m actually working with Chris on it–it was a project that one of his public health professors had suggested that he do and when I was complaining that all of my ideas were fizzling into nothing, he was good enough to let me join in. It’s been a blast working with him again–it’s like we’re back in second year, the good old times. We work really well together, always have, and things between us are finally, finally getting back to normal. We’re talking about everything and laughing and, well, having my friend back makes me very happy. We had tea today, at my favorite tea shop, and worked on our papers–and when we get bored, switched and worked on each others. πŸ™‚ It was a great afternoon, until he got a ticket on his car, but otherwise, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a snowy afternoon.

It’s still hard to grasp that I’m graduating in six weeks. Six weeks. It really hasn’t hit me, mostly because I’ve been in this “go go go” mode and just seem to be going from one short-term goal to the next. This week, it’s finishing this questionnaire, writing a proposal so that it’ll be approved for administration. Next week is starting of classes again (ugh. All day long too), learning wilderness survival (hmm, maybe that was the class that I needed to take before my safaris!) and personal doctor’s appointments. The next week is more certification for residency.

And then comes the weeks that I’ve been dreading. I think I’m going to have to have surgery before the end of this month. I’ve been pushing it off, but my shoulder has been giving me problems and I don’t think it will last through all five years of residency. I hate this, the fact that I have spent virutally every bit of vacation since starting college having surgery, but I’d rather not face the alternative. One day, one day, the surgeries will be over and I can quit collecting scars like postal stamps. That would be nice.

Ellie and I have started on our Letter Game! I’m so excited. I got the task of writing the first letter, and therefore creating the characters and the world that our game would take place in. Of course, I had to pick a time that I know next to nothing about–the Celtic world, around 500-600 CE. So if anybody out there happens to be an expert, let me know. πŸ™‚ Google can only tell me so much.

It snowed here. About a foot up in the foothills, 5-6 inches in the valley. I knew it was going to happen. My beautiful magnolia blossoms had just opened and looked so pretty and pink–which was a sure sign that a freeze was coming. It’s happened every year, every year. The poor things just don’t do well in this climate. I love spring storms though, they’re probably my favorites. The snow is wet, with huge flakes and love the contrasts of colors and white. It’s not quite as cold and one can hold on to the promise of warmth much easier than in the dead of February.

I think I’ve pretty much decided to hold off buying a house until after I move and get settled in Milwaukee a little. I don’t know the area very well (i.e. at all), and I want to not feel rushed in my decision on the house–it’s a huge commitment and I want to be happy with my place. Plus, with surgery, I won’t be able to drive for several weeks and that makes house-hunting difficult. So, I’m looking for an apartment instead, one with a month-to-month lease, and after a few months, I’ll make the decision then.

I’m sitting here watching them award Steve Martin win the 2005 Mark Twain prize. It’s actually pretty humerous. I can’t say that I’ve really considered myself a huge Steve Martin fan, but I gotta hand it to the guy–thirty years in the business and he’s still going strong.

I’ve rambled long enough and probably should get to bed. πŸ™‚ Night all.

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27th February 2006


I probably should actually use this thing to update on my life.

The sad thing is that nothing is going on right now. I came home from Kenya in the middle of the rotation blocks, so have had nothing to do. It’s been nice having a break, really and I find ways to use my time, but it doesn’t lend to a lot to talk about. I had intended on taking a literature class that sounds fascinating: “The Doctor-Patient Relationship Through Literature” and had actually signed up for it, but it started before I came home and with the President’s Holiday, they decided that I couldn’t get credit for only going to 4 days of class. Worse is the fact that I can’t drop it, since the rotation already started, so I’m actually getting a failing grade. For something that I wanted to do. It doesn’t matter–I’m matched and I’ll still be graduating just fine, but it’s a little on the frustrating side.

So, I’m starting a new rotation today… or at least I’m supposed to. Registered the end of last week, didn’t hear about any details (where and what time to meet, etc), which made me a little worried, but I am a slacker right now and didn’t follow up with it until this morning. Found one phone number, it was wrong. I was interviewing potential medical students this morning, so after that finished, I finally tracked down the right number–only to discover that they had been expecting me in clinic at 8 this morning. It’s always nice giving such a good impression on the first day.

The good news is that I got ahold of the attending with whom I will be working and clinic is over for the morning and she’s out of town tomorrow, so I’m not starting until Wednesday. Sweet! And it sounds like that there are many people working in the clinics which will spread the workload and make things a little easier. I’ve definitely hit the “end of the year” slump in motivation and just want to do enough to get me graduated and that’s it.

I have been spending the week developing my culinary skills. My friend got a cook book (Rachel Ray’s 365: No Repeats – a New York Times bestseller, I’ll have you know) for Christmas and insisted I buy one as well, so we could try different recipes and share our successes. So, I’ve made Rosemary Orange Pork Chops with Lemoned Asparagus, Basil and Spinach Chicken Burgers, and last time Pesto Mustard Chicken, which was very yummy. They’re supposed to take only a half hour to make–but I’m a slow chopper and I forget the recipe and so am constantly consulting it, so it ends up taking more like an hour or more. It’s been okay; I’ve had nothing better to do. Today, I think I’m try the Bacon and Egg Stuffed bread. I really love cooking with fresh herbs, though; believe me, I could gush for hours about the wonderfulness that is fresh cilantro. That’s one thing that I’ve decided about my new place–while I don’t want a garden, it must have place where I can grow a few herb plants (I think I could probably manage to remember to water them). I get absolutely giddy at just the thought of having my own rosemary to pick!

I really should clean my room. I tackled the living room and kitchen when I came home, but the room is a disaster and I haven’t wanted to touch it. Last night, however, I knocked over a box of potpourri and this morning, printing off applicant information set up a Goldberg pandemonium that only worsened the general state of things.

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20th February 2006

The nature of comfort…

I’m trying to avoid going to bed for just a while longer, so that I might sleep all night long, so hence another post. I think having a computer connection and being back to my lovely Flower iMac has made me a posting fiend. πŸ™‚ Four whole posts in one day! I’m insane!

I’ve been rather introspective due to everything that has been happening. As first year medical students, we took a class called “Physical Diagnosis” (it’s the class that I helped teach this past December), where you learn to do a physical exam, but more importantly, you learn how to conduct an interview and how to talk to patients (which really uses different communication skills than just carrying on between two friends or acquaintances). One of the first lessons was how important physical touch and sympathy were to establishing the rapport and caring between the patient and doctor–that illness affects us all and to be able to show concern is the best way to develop the relationship. At the end of the week, we had to perform an interview with standardized patient. I still remember the patient I had — an older woman, coming in to get some sleeping pills, where I discovered that her husband had died only a few weeks previously. I remember sitting there, trying to think of something to say, wondering how you could comfort somebody with such an acute loss, and feeling like an absolute failure.

I’m not sure that it has gotten easier since then. I’ve gotten better at placing my hand on a knee, leaning forward, holding patients’ hands after they found out that they might have cancer or some other horrible diagnosis, but the right words to say still seem to stick in my mouth. “I’m sorry” seems trite (and half the time followed up with “it’s not your fault”, which aggravates me to the point of grinding teeth.) At least the sympathy, which felt so fake during the first year (oh yeah, they were ACTORS. It was fake), is real and sincere now, and I care very deeply about my patients and all of their problems, but it doesn’t change that uncomfortable feeling of intruding.

I think I’m worse with my friends. That’s not to say that I’m a fairweather friend who disappears with the first sign of trouble, but that I feel like an absolute idiot in trying to comfort. It’s strange too; everybody seems to know how to comfort me, but that might be because I’m pretty simple that way–hug me tight, let me cry and rant, and I’m good to go. Honestly, I think this is the one area where having a male friend is more difficult, because I communicate my sympathies and pain at their heartache through touch, and Chris is not a touchy kind of guy.

I’ve been trying to be the best friend I can be through all of this, but it’s been hard. I distracted him with two hours of looking at pictures (“Lions. And more lions. And look, another picture of lions.”) and discussion of his trip to Thailand and our trip to Mexico (!!! – I was worried when I suggested tagging along, but he seems as excited by the idea as I am. And it will be our last time together for who knows how long.), but the conversation still seemed to wind back to the unmentionable, and I felt so lost as to what to say. I feel so much for him, but I can never find the words for it.

So a question… what are some of the best methods/words that you’ve found to comfort a friend? And in times of personal loss, what are some things that others have done/said that have made things if not better, then tolerable? I know that some of you have gone through incredibly hard times, and I’d really love some advice on how to be a better sympathizer and friend.

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3rd January 2006

Happy New Year’s Day After After … er, bother that, Happy January!

I didn’t do a “last day of the year” or “year in review” post like I had intended. But then I haven’t sent out my Christmas cards yet, and I still plan on doing that. Maybe for Human Rights Day or Valentine’s Day (if you want a Christmas card for a random holiday, drop me an email at jcd1013@yahoo.com and I’ll send one to you…eventually). BTW, while I’m actually remembering AND sitting in front of my computer, thanks so much for all of the cards, guys! They really brightened up my dreary mailbox.

My New Year’s was really nice and mellow. It was down-pouring here all night, which dampened any desire for revelry. Instead, I went over to Liz’s with other friends and we all drank hot chocolate and cider, watched X-Men, and put puzzles together. A pair of our friends has this Renoir painting that is one of the most challenging puzzles I’ve ever done. After 3 hours of work, we maybe had put together 50 pieces. But it shall not conquer!

I’ve started teaching this week. Yep, you read right! I’m teaching 1st year medical students how to do a physical exam and conduct a patient interview. I love it. One of the first things that I had decided, long before choosing a specialty, was that I wanted to stay in academics and have the chance to teach medical students. It’s rather awe-inspiring to teach my 6 first years and realized that that was me, just three years ago. I often feel like I know nothing now; especially after 9 draining hours of examinations–but I’ve learned an incredible amount in medical school. I know for example, the exact format of the interview (chief complaint, history of present illness, past medical history, medications, allergies, family history, social history, review of systems), without even trying. I know what questions to ask to understand recent headaches, diarrhea, diabetes, etc. I know where to place my stethoscope and what I’m listening for. You don’t want me to be your doctor, but it’s a process and I’m not as standstill as I thought.

Maybe there is a chance that someday, I will be a real doctor. πŸ™‚

I submit my Match list sometime in the next 7 days for residency, which has me completely worried and stressed out. Have I told you all about The Match (to be said in a voice of foreboding doom) yet? Basically, this is how my future place of residence and my job is determined. I’ve interviewed at all of the various schools, and now, I decide which schools I would want to go to. I submit a list (paper, because neurology seems completely clueless about technology), with my choices ranked. The schools submit their list, with all of the people that they would want as residents ranked and wherever the highest choice matches, that’s where I go. On January 26th, I will know where I will be spending the next 5 years of my life. Four tiny weeks away. I’m trying not to think about it.

In the meantime, I have to sort through all of my conflicting feelings and old and mushy impressions of the different schools to figure out my preferences. It’s a lot of pressure and I’m feeling very torn. I’m freaking out about moving away. By myself. From all of my family and friends that I’ve been with for nine years. To a place that, because of my busy schedule, will be lonely. I’m comfortable here (which is probably the number one reason I should go), and it’s been hard to completely convince myself to uproot myself, especially when my school here was willing to create my special combination program just for me because they loved me so much.

Well, my school just made that part of the decision easier. I got an email last week–after excited emailing everybody after I got back how Indiana was willing to share copies of the paperwork that they had submitted to create their program–with the overall message of “Julia, we don’t think we can get the paperwork done in time. Please look elsewhere.” It crushed me and really put me in a despondent mood, which I think I’m only now started to get myself out of. I’m not a very confident person on a good day and having your one “foolproof-you’re-at-least-getting-in-there” school back out damaged my already blue spirits.

So now, I’m back to square one and seven days to make up my mind. I’ll be posting some of my impressions, strengths, weaknesses of the places that I visited over the next couple of days (hopefully with pictures!), to help me sort out the confusion. If you’d rather not read my ramblings on this, let me know, and I’ll make them private. I suppose it’s more for my benefit, but my travel journals were rather sparse on details, so if you do want to know… It’s up to you.

Ack! It’s almost 2 and I need to be up early so I can go be a school marm again! What am I doing!!!

***P.S. Thanks again to everybody for their words of compassion and support last week. Knowing that you are all here for me transformed my spirits. I do know that I will never be alone when I have such good friends out there who are thinking about me.

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14th November 2005

Four years too late…

They can’t cancel Firefly! They can’t! Where can I sign a petition to keep it online??

I watched the last episode today, and almost started crying. Because that’s it. No more. That should have been a seven year series!

I am curious as to why, after seeing all the episodes, why the die hard fans were upset with Serenity? Because I do believe that Joss did a pretty good job for interpreting the series into a pretty good movie. I think (and I hate to be so unfaithful), but he probably did a better job than the X-Files creators at making a movie that fans and nonfans could enjoy.

My interview here at the U went really well today. There are reasons that I love the program here so much. The first person I met with was the program director at one of the hospitals who I’ve worked with on several occasions, so it really was just a relaxed conversation where he complimented me on all of my accomplishments (LOL!). And then the other was a doctor who had done a double residency in Medicine and Psychiatry, so he gave me some really good advice about doing a double residency, looking for the right programs, etc. He was very encouraging, and seemed to think (as do most of the doctors that I’ve talk to here) that my plans are solid ones and that I could really fit in a niche that would be worth the effort. It was nice to finally receive some positive affirmation.

I did receive two emails from the University of Iowa (the first school that I interviewed at last week), saying that they were glad to meet me and that they would love for me to “highly consider” their program, even though they are unable to create me the combination program that I wanted. I’m tempted–it’s nice to know that the interviews went better than I thought–but as nice as it sounds, they’re not going to give me the training that I really need. I hate feeling absolutely positive about my decision one minute and completely doubting myself the next.

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30th June 2005


I broke down sobbing in the secretary’s office today. I think that’s the lowest I’ve been in a long time. I thought I had a handle on things, until I found out that I did even worse on that stupid test than I thought and every single pipe dream shattered. And I lost it.

I’ve gotten used to mediocrity since medical school.

No, no, I hear the protests, but it’s true. I haven’t been one of the stellar students–I can’t remember the last time that I saw a grade that was any better than just passing. For the most part, it hasn’t bothered me. Really–the choice between studying for hours every day or just studying a week before the exam, knowing enough that I can pass and getting to enjoy myself in between times–that was good enough for me. Of course, now when I can actually see how it applies to my career and to my patients, I do wish I had spent a time more time studying Pharm. But just a little.

Even this year, I haven’t expected honors in my rotations. I haven’t. But when I work really really really hard and study for hours, I would like to have some outcome that showed that it was all worth it. Just something so I feel like I don’t have to spend he next six months scrounging for some dumb program to take me.

Anybody want to share funny stories with me? Feed me chocolate? Loan me your favorite plush animal? Give me a push off the roof?

Sometimes I really wonder why I put so much effort into things, when in the end, I don’t have one thing to show for it.

I’ve got a bad migraine from all the tears and a paper that I have to write.

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21st June 2005

Help! How do I get rid of my neighbors??

I’ve started writing a longer updating post thingy, but ti’s taking forever, and I really need some good advice.

So here’s the back story:

I live in a pretty crappy neighborhood. It’s not terrible drug slum kind of place, but it’s not much better than that. the rent’s relatively cheap and since I’m the poor student, it works. I’ve gone through really bad neighbors–the drug dealers upstairs (nice girls actually–the company they kept though)–freaky ones (upstairs Jim who would sit on the porch all day and smoke–and question any body who came to visit. he was my private watch dog).

So that brings me to my current neighbors. They’ve lived here for about a year, a guy with stringy hair, his girlfriend with a mullet, and his mother–and I guess the cold weather kept them inside, because now… Now I’ve got one guy without an eye who sits outside all day long, asking me questions. Last night, I’ve discovered that somebody has moved sleeping bags under my window and is sleeping there–at least one, there’s probably more. They were cutting hair on the sidewalk today. And to just add that final straw, some random woman was sitting on my porch smoking cigarettes when I came home from volunteering.

So here’s the thing: I am extremely nonconfrontational. Nothing gives me more fears than trying to approach somebody to get them to stop behaviors (expect in a doctor’s office–I have all the power there and can say “you need to stop smoking” with authority). I realize that I need to talk to my manages, but I have no idea what to even say–and should I try to talk to the neighbors first?

Have any of you gone through anything like this? Advice on what to do/what to say? Because right now, I’m just a little bit freaked out–and am actually considering moving–which I have time nor money to do. And I hate moving.


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9th June 2005

Decisions, decisions – a look back

PS – You should be proud of the job you did in the MICU. You were
outstanding! Feel free to ask me any career questions you may have. We
would love to see you stay in Internal Medicine, either general or a

From an email I received from one of the residents I worked with this past month. I got excellent evaluations from my residents–the best I’ve received all year long. Now, you know me, I’m not saying that to boast. Oh no, Julia’s never satisfied with a compliment.

Since around October, I’ve been planning on doing Neurology as a residency. Of course, I always prefaced it, even in my head, that “I’m keeping an open mind so another specialty might sway me,” but I didn’t think that anything would. I mean, if you had asked me when I was starting medical school what I wanted to do, I would have told you pediatrics (genetics) or family practice. I certainly never thought that I’d want to do something with the complex, “way too many blood vessels and did they have to name every bony bump a different name?” brain. But the neurological science block second year fascinated me, and I absolutely loved every minute that we spent studying about Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis and how to do a neuro exam–and better yet, be able to locate where in the brain the injury occurred. I spent hours studying, because I loved it. And in the rest of second year, while there were classes that were interesting, there was never that all-encompassing passion for them. And nothing clicked in the same way, nothing made as much intuitive sense like Neurology did.

The year in review…

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24th May 2005

Reflections and disappointments

It’s been one of those days/weeks. I got a parking ticket today. I was late for rounds this morning–rounds that I had to present at, and decided to risk parking in visitor parking, and got caught. *sigh* My wallet was already looking very pitiful….

It’s also been one of those weeks where I’ve been doing a lot of thinking–not a good combination with little sleep. But it’s something that I need to get down on paper, so *gestures*. Three things happened this weekend–and for being on call on Saturday and Sunday, and not one of them being work related, that’s pretty impressive–three things that started this rumination. I guess to have a better understanding, a little back history is needed.

The Plethora, Chris, and The Boy

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2nd May 2005

Next year…

…when they come around with flu shots, remind me:

–that there is always a flu shot shortage, but because I work in a hospital, I’m one of those “high risk” people and shouldn’t feel guilty for taking it away from an elderly feeble woman–most likely, she’ll manage to get her shot too.

–that because I work in hospitals, the likelihood of being exposed is much higher–even if it is from your lowlife classmate *grumbles at fellow student who should not have come to work!*

–that I don’t want to be a vector and pass on the flu to the poor, elderly, feeble woman, whose shot I stole.

–that even though my arm goes numb and weak and hurts like nothing else after the shot, that only lasts a day, and this flu has last five and I’m not getting much better.

–that trying to study for the hardest test of the year is difficult enough without adding in fevers and head congestion.

–that I make one of the lousiest patients around and really, really, really hate being sick.

*crawls back into bed*

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