Friday, October 31, 2008

i wish i was a writer who sees what's yet unseen

So when the only elective I could register for was another two weeks of radiology, I decided that I didn't have any more excuses, so I'm going to try and do NaNo. Ten essays, 5,000 words apiece, 30 days - piece of cake, right? I am going to try and write more than the average word count I'd need in these first two weeks, because the end of November will be interviews and Thanksgiving and less free time, probably, even though I'll technically be taking two weeks of vacation.

So, there's a new widget on my sidebar so you can see how I'm going, word-count-wise, and I'll try and post here with updates - public failure to finish might help motivate me. I decided to post my notes, thus far - my scribbled thoughts may not make much sense, but I have a few ideas for topics, at least. Anything not on the list that you'd like to see me write about?

- primary care and how it will save the world. (ha. not really.) Radiologist wanted ENT to look at his infected ear, woman d/c from hospital not on warfarin --> in ED two months later c PE. People need to expect more from their doctors. The trap of the specialist perspective. Common sense.

- On bodies, body modesty, viewing people (self included) as bodies, too, not just brains. Looking at their insides, "eww, gross." Body "modesty" as contributing factor to sedentary lifestyle, obesity.

- palliative care, pain control, end-of-life. the guy I'll never forget from research experience. why doctors hate it and why I don't, really. how is this influenced by my own life experiences (or lack thereof). grief. psychiatrist who couldn't treat grieving pt.

- obstetrics in the inner city. frustration, difficulties, "i just keep getting pregnant and i don't know why." troubles with contraception: "i don't want anything up there." delaying own child-bearing.

- how medicine changed me, how I thought it might and how it did. Decisiveness, callousness, comfort level with people not my own.

- how people view their doctors. trust. responsibility. "are you in high school?" how doctors don't have the doctor-patient relationship any more. "who thinks their doctor is above average?" fraternity of mutual silence, united front. self-policing. double standards: our own drug use, etc, vs our patients' drug use.

- why abortion, what people do and don't get about abortion, looking at it from the inside vs looking at it from the outside. S. L. MSFC. Bunker mentality.

- difficult patients. what makes a patient difficult. M. J. why difficult patients get better and worse care.

- pediatrics vs adult medicine: EMLA, murals, art therapy, etc. why do we care for children differently? their fault vs someone else's. pressure (self-imposed) to get it right; disability matters less to us at fifty than at five. integrating consideration for life and life factors into care: teachers, unlimited visiting hours, mental health care.

- CPR, resuscitation, "saving lives," what actually saves lives and what medicine looks like on TV. how TV medicine shapes patients' expectations. how it shapes doctors' expectations.

title from "Wish (Komm Zu Mir)" by Franka Potente, from the movie "Run Lola Run." My favorite techno-German song. Mostly because I don't know any others, but if you've got some to share, I'd be interested for sure. I'm still trying to figure out what the song was that played on German MTV incessantly in 2004, with the video of creepy monster-kids' birthday party - one of those artistic endeavors that was just so bizarre you had to love it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

that time of year when we push ourselves ahead

*deep breath*

So, it's been, um, a while since I was here. Things that happened/were accomplished since July:
- I've applied for residencies (in family medicine, of course) and scheduled my interviews. So that feels good. I'm really looking forward to the interview thing, actually, even though it's going to be tiring and all that, but I'm excited to meet the people I'll be working with for the next 3-4 years, whomever they are. (For the record, in case anyone is interested, I applied to UH here in Cleveland; Montefiore, Beth Israel and Columbia in NYC' Tufts, Boston Univ Medical Center and Lawrence in the greater Boston area; Brown in Rhode Island; and Middlesex and UCONN in Connecticut.)
- Did rotations in emergency medicine and geriatrics, did my acting internship in pediatrics, and am now chilling in musculoskeletal radiology. And kind of scrambling to figure out what rotation I'm doing for the next two weeks, but that's another story.
- Took Step 2 CS! Our clinical skills exam, part of our licensing boards, is a big pain in the butt (expensive, offered in only 5 cities, long and tiring) but I took it in Houston on Monday and now I am done with standardized testing! Until Step 3 in, like, a year or two, but whatever.
- Attended some lovely weddings of family (my cousin Lisa) and friends (my childhood friend Christine). Discovered that yes, it is possible to drive to Connecticut and back to Ohio for a weekend. Thanked God and good fortune that I have a life partner willing to actually do all that driving, so all I had to do was sit and knit and be conversational and not get a DVT.
- I've also been knitting a ton, although, as Ben is quick to point out, I haven't actually finished a project since, like, May or something. However, I believe firmly in the utility of parallel knitting projects and many of them are nearing completion, so stay tuned. I've been working on:
- a shawl of my own design (ran out of (discontinued) yarn on the edging, need to devote some time to emailing Ravelers to see if they'll part with a skein)
- a scarf for my mom's birthday (in May) that I, um, still haven't finished. (There's beading. It's driving me crazy. It will be done by the time I go home in November.)
- a Pi shawl that may or may not be wedding material (halfway through the edging, it started to get not-fun; I'll be picking it up again soon when I'm ready for more finicky knitting)
- a pair of socks that exist solely for portable knitting, which I started during the AAFP conference in August. They'll get finished while I'm interviewing.
- the Luna Moth shawl (ran out of yarn doing the bind-off. This was even more annoying as I purchased three skeins of this yarn, but could not find the third skein anywhere in the house. Since it's only $2.99 a skein, KnitPicks got an emergency order from me.)
- another shawl (noticing a trend?) that may be a gift so I'm not going to say more about it. But I got a lot done while I flew to Houston and back earlier this week, with connections both ways.
However, as it gets colder (and these projects get finished), I think I'm going to transitioning to winter knitting. I appreciate a lapful of wool in November in a way that's just not possible in August. I have yarn and patterns for the Urban Aran, cardigan version (Cascade Ecological Wool in beige) and the Sayuri sweater (Rowan RYC Soft Lux in amethyst or green - I lost it a little when I found it for $1.99/skein, so I bought two sweaters' worth. This is how that excessive stash thing starts, isn't it?), so those will probably be my next projects.

In other news, I'm thinking very seriously about doing NaNoWriMo. (Since their site has been very slow, the short version: November, National Novel Writing Month, write 50,000 words in 30 days. Go.) Except I think I'm going to skip the "novel" business and just try to write 50,000 words of more-or-less non-fictional essays. I've had a few medically-related essays percolating for a while, and this might be a good way to actually get them down on paper. And interview season might be just the right time to reflect on the practice of medicine. And writing ten 5,000 word essays seems a lot more possible at this point than 50,000 words of plot. So we'll see.

Tangentially, I'm loving Genius, iTunes' version of Pandora: you pick a song, and it builds a playlist from your library based on that song. I've been actually listening to music again, and enjoying a lot of the stuff I'd forgotten I had. (If I end up doing the NaNoWriMo thing, I have a feeling it will come in handy.)

title from "The End of Summer" by Dar Williams. Because it's snowing here today.