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After the Storm

There's supposed to be this calm after a storm passes.  That's what they tell you anyway.  
But I've never really experienced that.  
That's bullshit.
There is no calm after the storm.  There is only stress and debris and things to be done.
I ended up being assigned to the A Team and as such was at the hospital for the entire storm.  We were literally locked in from Saturday night until everything was deemed "all-clear" on Monday afternoon.  During this time, while things weren't all business-as-usual in the hospital, they weren't too crazy.  There was electricity and air conditioning and food and even wifi.  There was this can-do spirit of camaraderie, like no matter what, we were all in this together.
When the all-clear was called, we didn't really know what to expect outside.  
Was it going to be terrible?  Was there going to be massive flooding?  Lots of damage?  Dangerous conditions?
It turned out, for the most part, that none of those things w…

Well... Crap

There hasn't been a day I've come home from work and not thought Well... Crap at some point.

It's one of those things I know about myself- that I'm an over-thinker.  I'm the sort of person who purposely owns appliances that automatically turn off.  If not, I'd always be worried I was one cup of tea from accidentally burning my house down.

So it makes perfect sense that I'm not so good at leaving work at work.

In the middle of dinner I'll think: Well..... Crap, did I actually order those labs?  As I lay in bed trying to fall asleep it's: Well.... Crap, I hope I told the night person XYZ.

The days are long, but the list of things to do is longer and something always ends up on the "Well... Crap" list.

The "Well... Crap" list makes me feel dumb and incompetent.  On bad days it runs through my head on repeat.

The other day we had a lecture from this really well-known physician.  This gist of his lecture was
"this is how not to…

26 hours later

26 hours later and I'm still standing.  I'm okay.  Maybe a little fuzzy around the edges, but definitely okay.

My first call shift is done.

I was so nervous about being on call.

I was nervous people were going to ask me questions I didn't know the answers to.  They did.  I was nervous I was going to get lost in the hospital in the middle of the night.  I did.  I was nervous I was going to be incredibly dumb in front of strangers. I was.

But you know what?

It was also sort of exhilarating and illuminating and maybe even the teensiest bit awesome in a holy-crap-I'm-actually-doing-this sort of way.

And because I was so nervous going into this, I was fully prepared for everyone I dealt with to be able to see right through me and give me plenty of sass.  But everyone was so nice.  Like, suspiciously nice-  I think maybe all that time in Brooklyn broke me a little bit and now I don't trust it when people are nice to me.

And since I'm pretty sure I'm not the o…

Likability

There are a couple of books that I reread on the regular.  They feed my soul.  They answer questions I didn't even know I'd asked.

One of those books is Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

In this book, Adichie lays out suggestions to a dear friend who has asked how to raise her daughter a feminist.  The suggestions are wide ranging, but the one that resonates with me is the eighth.

Teach her to reject likability.  Her job is not to make herself likable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people. Remember I told you how upsetting it was to me that our friend Chioma would often tell me that "people" would not "like" something I wanted to say or do?  I always felt, from her, the unspoken pressure to change myself to fit some mold that would please an amorphous entity called "people."  It was upsetting because we want those closest to u…

The Mess

The other day one of my favorite tiny humans had a poop incident.

As I was cleaning him up I managed to get most of the poop into the toilet.  Somehow though, between me and my tiny poopy friend, we managed to get poop on quite a few other bathroom surfaces too.

The rug?  Got poop on that.
The outside of the trash can?  Got poop on that.
The sink?  Got poop on that too.

And while I recognize the tiny humans are pretty messy at baseline and that I myself am no stranger to mess, this was a pretty impressive mess even for us.

So, tiny poopy friend and I paused and took a moment to contemplate the impressively disgusting mess we had made, with the thought of maybe if we stopped moving we could stop spreading the poop.

As we stood there and contemplated the grossness my tiny poopy friend cracked a joke.  I don't remember exactly what he said, but I know it was funny.  So we stood there and giggled.  And we kept giggling while we cleaned up.

Later, I couldn't help but think about w…

The (Alternative) Commencement Speech*

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*Since I technically graduated from medical school in September of 2016, going to a commencement ceremony in June of 2017 felt super weird to me, so I decided not to go.  Oh, and, if I had gone, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have let me give a speech....  But y'all don't mind do you? Nah, I didn't think so.

Here goes.




To my esteemed colleagues, friends, and family: Welcome.

We've worked incredibly hard to get here.  But, it is only right that we should have worked hard to get here for now we find ourselves continuing in the tradition of the long and noble line of physicians who have gone before us.

Together, we have done a lot of living.  We have seen things.  We have watched each other grow and learn and struggle and do better.  We have cried tears of joy and tears of sadness together.  We have provided each other with comfort when comfort seemed impossible.  We went from a group of strangers with a common goal to becoming each others family.

We have helped e…

you gotta do the work

For the duration of my Mono-Month I basically became a hermit.  I didn't have the energy in my stretchy-pants-no-moving-state to even formulate replies to texts.

Bestie and Babydoll checked in on me one day and I looked at the text and then promptly forgot to reply for so long they started using the SHOUTY CAPSto demand replies to ensure I wasn't dead.  I'm pretty sure they even threatened to call my Mama if I didn't respond.

During that month, I didn't even really realize that I was ignoring everybody- all nonessential Caitlin-functions had been temporarily suspended.

Looking back now though, it's clear to me that I didn't even have the energy to deal with "the feels."  Talking to other humans would have required me to use higher thought processes and those weren't really functioning at that moment.

Relationships- whether they be with your Mama, your bestie, your partner, or even your mailman- and the feels that go along with them are hard …