August 27, 2011

We never talk anymore

I miss you
I miss you
I miss you
I miss you
I miss you
I miss you.

August 25, 2011

What day is it, again?

Is it only Thursday?

Second year is already jam-packed with things to do, pages to read, assignments to complete, and immunology to wade through.

I was ready for Friday by the end of Tuesday.

On the other hand, it does feel good to be applying myself--I think I just didn't work hard enough this summer during research.  (The proof being that I still have to finish my abstract and do my poster...ahhhh deadlines!)  School starts to feel a little bit like purely mental yoga: you have to stretch yourself every day and hold uncomfortable positions (take in lots of information) until the pose is easy (you've mastered the material).  Then you do a variation or an extension on the pose (go to more lectures) and keep practicing that.

The difference is that yoga is pretty restful and rejuvenating, and med school is generally fatiguing.

Oh well.  We start heart sounds on Monday--I'm so excited!  The family med conference in KC had a lecture on heart sounds, and I like listening for them.  It's a bit like listening for a particular musical rhythm--you could most notate it with eighth notes or triplets, depending on the arrhythmia.

Here we go

In a few short hours, I will begin my second year of medical school.  It's funny, I don't feel any more advanced than last year; I feel considerably less nervous because I already know my classmates and have an inkling of what to expect out of the day.

I'm excited.  I'm ready to put summer behind me and dive in, dedicate myself again to learning, put my nose to the grindstone, and so on and so forth.  But, I'm also nervous.  The specter of the Step 1 exam is looming over this year like a sullen rain cloud, promising a downpour but delayed on the horizon for a moment.  Also, classes this year threaten to be ferocious: pathology (in other words, learning all the diseases that happen to mankind), microbiology (tiny things that make you get sick, also immunology and other mysterious workings of the body), and pharmacology (all the drugs you would use to treat all the diseases and microorganisms from the other two classes) are the big three.  They're a bit scary, but they also feel more doctor-y than physiology or biochemistry.  

We also get to learn how to perform a complete physical exam, which will then qualify us to actually examine patients and learn something about their health status beyond what they can or will tell us.  We take a few other minor courses: advanced (abnormal) psychology, medical ethics, little bits and pieces here and there to soften the onslaught of path, pharm, and micro.

Bring it on...

August 15, 2011

Tomato, to-mah-to

Patience is so hard.

I traded a basil plant at the end of May for two baby tomato plants, each about two inches tall.  I carefully tended them, potted them first together in a pot on the balcony, then eventually separated them the way parents separate siblings who have grown too old to share a bedroom.

They grew up.  They grew leafy.  They had long tendrils of tomato vine with delicate foliage.  But they didn't have any tomatoes.

The past few weeks, I have checked every day (sometimes, I confess, I checked too optimistically and more often than that) for evidence that the vines would give up luscious, red fruits.  I checked the yellow flowers obsessively, looking for the telltale signs of plant pregnancy.  No dice.

Today, I decided to rearrange the myriad pots of basil, mint, and tomatoes on our tiny balcony so that they all get a little different sun patch.  I leaned in--my face about six inches from the flowers--and flicked my index finger just underneath.

Behold!  A tiny green globe, about a centimeter in diameter.
I will get tomatoes yet!

August 9, 2011

Dreaming, dreaming

And when do the dreams fade away?  When do we stop meeting here, in this unconscious space, so that I wake up missing something that I never had?

It would be so easy to continue as we were, to hold myself back, tied invisibly, imperceptibly to you.

The habits of mind, of thought are the hardest to break.

August 2, 2011

Gazing at the distance

One of my best friends once gave me some great advice.  I was freaking out on the phone with her and she said, "You know, when I feel that way, I write about it and it helps me get some perspective."

I went home last weekend to attend the national family medicine conference and to see my family.  I also went in order to hang out with a friend who goes to school in New Orleans, someone I rarely get to actually hang out with.

The conference was a blast.  It was interesting to see so many people interested in family medicine; the lectures were informative and a great introduction to some clinical skills we'll polish up this year but haven't been introduced to yet, and I even got to brush off my debate skills and write a resolution for the student congress to discuss.

I met lots of people, talked to lots of residency programs, and realized I probably am not going to do family medicine.

I hope I am actually keeping the open mind I tried to promise myself I would keep--to consider all specialties as I come across them.  But I definitely want to work in women's health.  And I definitely want to provide abortions.  And I definitely think that being an OB is the place for me.  All of this, sure, with a grain of salt and a knock on wood.

None of this really freaked me out, though.  What was bothering me was that I was at this conference for some pretty selfish reasons: as an FMSA board member, the family med department paid for me to fly out to KC; I got to visit my mom and hang out with my family; and I got to see my friend (disclosure: he's a boy. There's the rub).

My friend and I went around to lots of the residency exhibits to visit with people, pick up a farm's worth of animal-shaped stress relief squeezies, and just wander around.  However, something stood out to me.  I realized that while this friend was someone I cared about, and had contemplated having a long-distance relationship with, I became aware of the fact that there simply was no way that we were going in the same direction.  He's interested in primary rural care, which is awesome.  However, he also has to practice in Louisiana for five years after residency.  This would be cool--except that I like places with winter.  Let's not forget why I moved to Milwaukee in the first place--Missouri was just too stinkin' hot in the summer.  A lot of the time that I've been contemplating our relationship (friendship+ if you will), I kept thinking that, "You know, Louisiana is a cool place.  It'd be neat to live there," etc.

But, that's just not true.  I mean, it is true, I'm sure it's cool to live in Louisiana.  But I like snow.  I like winter and fall and spring and seasons in general.  And I shouldn't be thinking about giving up what I like just for a hypothetical relationship.

It's scary.  I don't want to give up the nice, backup-y feeling of "But I like him! and he likes me!"  And there is always the tiny voice that is whispering, "but what if no one else ever likes me?"

I have to take a stand for myself.  I have to put my foot down, so to speak, even though part of me is balking.  There are plenty of fish in the sea, and just because I snagged one once doesn't mean that I'll never snag another one.

I realized after I got home that one of my favorite quotes had been there, waiting for me to remember it: "Aimer, ce n'est pas se regarder l'un l'autre, c'est regarder ensemble dans la même direction."
"Love consists not of gazing at one another, but of gazing together in the same direction." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The hard part is knowing when you have turned your gaze in the wrong direction.