Thursday Born

The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

Off Service

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Psychiatry intern year is half psychiatry, and half “off service” rotations, usually a mix of Internal Medicine and Neurology. My program offers us the option of doing some Pediatrics rotations, either pediatric inpatient or pediatric neurology, and I decided that if I was considering doing the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship, perhaps I should have a better foundation of pediatric medicine than just what I got in medical school.

So my Intern year is a little bit more intense than most of my co-Interns. Usually you have two or three off service “ward” months, two months of neurology, and then another two or three somewhat lighter medicine related months like Medicine Consults or Emergency Medicine. And when you start Off Service instead of on psychiatry, you get a total of seven months (month = a four week block) of off service rotations instead of six. Since I opted to start Off Service, and I wanted to do some pediatrics, I (and one other intern) have two adult medicine ward months, three pediatric ward months, one adult neurology month, and one pediatric neurology month (which I’m on right now and it is a very welcome break). And in addition to having three weeks of night float for Psychiatry this year, I also have three weeks of Pediatrics night float.

I’m mostly glad I chose this, because it’s Intern year. This is essentially my last chance to explore other fields in a hands on way, so I should take advantage of all the learning opportunities I can. I’m a bit apprehensive about January/February/March though, because it will be winter, and I will have adult medicine, followed by two months of pediatrics, all months during which I can’t take vacation. It’s going to be an intense 12 weeks and you bet I’m buying a happy light because I’ll likely only be seeing the sun through my patients’ windows. I’m really excited about April, because I will be back on Psychiatry, and I’ll be on psychiatry for good.

So starting Off Service is a bit rough, because I’m finally a doctor and that’s exciting and awesome! But wait, this isn’t the kind of medicine I signed up for!

Thankfully, we have didactics from 1pm to 5pm every Thursday afternoon, and except for my medicine month at the beginning, and when I was on night float for a week, I’ve been able to make it over. It’s been a nice weekly trip to my “home base,” and it helps keep me grounded.

I feel kind of guilty for whining about having five ward months, when pediatric and medicine interns have so many more, but they also enjoy it (or so I’ve been told). I definitely don’t hate my ward months – sometimes they are actually fun, and they’re always very rewarding – but there’s something missing for me.

Written by Aba

September 22, 2013 at 8:42 am

Dr. Aba!

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cropped me and parents

One week ago, I graduated from medical school! =D It was an amazing weekend, not just because I’m finally, officially a doctor, but because my entire immediate family, some extended family, and some of my closest friends were all there celebrating with me.

I have a handful more weeks before I start Residency (I’ll be starting off service on Medicine, Pediatrics, or Neurology. No idea which yet!), and I’m doing my best to achieve maximum rest and enjoyment. I’m between leases at the moment, so I’m traveling around the US until I actually start my lease and move to Seattle.

All those years of trying to embrace minimalist culture, and the more recent months of realizing that all but one of the options on my rank list meant a cross country move, finally paid off. This was by far the smoothest move out process I have ever been through. I did it mainly on my own (with occasional important help from people, like my friends who came to my graduation carrying my orchids to Seattle for me), but I didn’t feel overwhelmed like I did when I left New Haven by myself. I sold all the furniture I wanted to sell, donated the rest, and even found a sublettor to take over my studio for the end of my lease! I forgot to pack up my tea cabinet (yes, I had an entire little cabinet dedicated to tea), and I left behind a little tea set from China that I was going to give to the daughter of a couple of friends, but I did everything else!

Moving in might be another story, but I’m optimistic that it will go well! While I did a ton of de-cluttering, I’m still hanging out to a bit more “junk” than I really need, but I have a little over a week after I move in before Residency starts, and I’m planning to completely unpack (and get things dry cleaned and tailored, register to vote, get my new driver’s license, get new plates for my car, etc) and be all set up by the time Orientation rolls around. We’ll see how well that goes!

It’s going to take a while for the novelty of being a doctor to wear off, by the way. For example, I just realized I can refer to this as “my doctor blog” now, which is easier to type and say than “my med school blog.” =D

dr me

Written by Aba

May 26, 2013 at 11:19 am

Psychiatry in Seattle!

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Written by Aba

March 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm

First French Toast!

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Upsides to being sick while on vacation? (I’m mostly recovered from the stomach flu, but my boyfriend has a cold now). Instead of spending our time socializing, we’ve been able to catch up completely on The Walking Dead, I’ve finally watched Toy Story, and I’ve also finally made French toast! This is the “recipe” I used, and it is perhaps the best recipe I’ve ever read. Highly recommend reading!

The downside? I didn’t have enough of an appetite to finish or truly enjoy my French toast, delicious though it seemed to be. :(

Written by Aba

December 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Merry Christmas!

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I hope you all have been having a lovely holiday season of whatever flavor you choose, no matter your religion or lack thereof. =) I’ve been enjoying my first Christmas back in the US since 1990, with home cooked food, shopping, beautiful decorations, and lounging around at home surrounded by the warmth and love of my family (and an undercurrent of excited anticipation; I’ve got two nieces/nephews who were due today but show no signs of arrival yet!).

It’s been a delightful break from rotations and interviewing! (80 days till match day btw!)


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Written by Aba

December 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Life in General

Holiday Decorations

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2012-12-14 22.55.27

I was very happy the other day to come home and see that one of my neighbors has hung a wreath on their door. The only other person on my floor with a welcome mat moved out, so I’m glad there’s someone new with a little bit of a decorative spirit.

One of my favorite parts about this holiday season really is the decorations. There’s something really elegantly beautiful about white lights everywhere, in trees and on store fronts and homes. I’ve been lazy, but I’ve always meant to have a corner of my living space decorated with white lights year round. They’re too pretty to trot out just once a year. White lights and tea lights both.

Written by Aba

December 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Life in General

Shopping Inspiration

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After three months out of town (studying for & taking Step 2 CK + away rotations + traveling for interviews), my fridge is stocked with none of the food items I would need to make this delicious meal of over-easy eggs, fresh tomatoes and avocado (except for the hot sauce; that I’ve still got). As much as I’ve enjoyed spending my first day back in my apartment taking it easy, unpacking, and catching up on Parks & Recreation, I really need to venture out and go grocery shopping tomorrow!

I’m really looking forward to my next rotation though. It’s my last taste of psychiatry until residency, and it’s going to be child and adolescent psychiatry! I really like the idea of working with teens and young adults, and everyone I’ve talked to has recommending doing the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship if that’s the case.

Written by Aba

December 2, 2012 at 8:00 am

Pictures: Better than words, right?

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I’ve never been good at asking for things, so sometimes I go about it in a roundabout way, like emailing my boyfriend a happy picture of me in a ridiculously fluffy fleece jacket that I’ve been eyeing… It’s a little too big for me even in its smallest size, but it’s the softest, warmest thing I’ve ever worn. I run colder than most people, so I have a weakness for things, like blankets and sweatshirts and hats, that I associate with warmth.

To be fair to myself though, I had told him about it before, pointed out the colors I’d like (not this one), and he told me he would like to buy it for me someday. This was really just a “Hey, remember that jacket I told you about?”

Written by Aba

October 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Life in General

Difficult is not better

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Our value and our worth are not determined by how hard we struggle.

In the hospital, there is one particular nurse’s station that always has an inspirational quote written on a white board in happy, bright colors (it is perhaps relevant that this is a neurosurgery unit, and the patients are generally anything but happy and bright). This was the quote a few days ago, and it resonated with me.

I spend a lot of my life welcoming in the difficult/complicated. Long distance relationship? I can do that! Medical school? Sure, why not? Harder classes, fully packed course loads, early mornings? Psh, of course!

I get satisfaction from knowing that I’ve pushed myself, that I’ve gone above and beyond the average person. (Average is something I was raised to see as undesirable, and it bothers me that, based on my standardized testing scores, I’m an “average” US medical student. And yet… someone has to be. And even more people are below average, and still excellent physicians). But my hard work and personal battles don’t actually make me better than other people; I know this, and it’s always good to remind myself. It bothers me when doctors think they’re special because medical school is so hard to get into, and yes residency is tough (watch me complain next year) and the hours are god awful, but it’s not like we have a monopoly on bad working conditions, and at least we’ll eventually be paid pretty well, and we’ll have good job stability (or ability to find new jobs). So in a similar way, I’m nothing special, just because I’m in a long distance relationship and “suffering” through medical school,  or because I enjoy spending part of my vacation cleaning and cooking for my boyfriend instead of kicking back all day while he’s at work.

I’m not going to stop struggling though, because in some ways, I’m lost without it. I’m on a fairly light rotation right now (yay fourth year!); I have all my weekends off and amazing hours, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I need to fill my days with actions, as much as I think I love free time. And I’d much rather fill it with actions done for other people, not myself. (A perhaps related aspect of my personality is that I hate asking for help, but love being asked for help. I love to do things for people but am often uncomfortable having things done for me, unless we’re very close. I’m either really desperate or I really like you if I ask you for a favor. Or both).

My value and worth are not determined by how hard I struggle, but struggling is a part of who I am, and I’m mostly at peace with it, and I’ve learned how not to be dysfunctional about it. Sometimes battles are not worth fighting, and sometimes shortcuts are amazing, so I’m fine buying pre-chopped or crushed ingredients for my cooking, and sometimes I’m fine buying that thing I could totally make myself for much cheaper (especially after I’ve made it once, just to prove I’m capable).

We are all worthy, valuable people, no matter how hard we do or don’t struggle in this lifetime. Some of us might still be terrible people anyway, but that’s for other reasons. =)

Written by Aba

June 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Goslings!

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My boyfriend visited this past weekend, and on Saturday we went for our first run together. Much to our delight, we came across this family of two geese and five goslings! So far most of my runs have been indoors on the treadmill, but my outdoor runs are far more uplifting (Forest Park is just so pretty; I love living close to it), and I find I push myself harder outside too.

It was a wonderful weekend, and it’s left me feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my last four weeks of third year, and my last shelf exam! I was feeling rather burned out while I was on Inpatient Cardiology, though thankfully my Outpatient rotation was a relaxing change of pace (and still very educational).

Written by Aba

May 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm

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