Why my eye is twitching

A thousand billion trillion years ago my sister and I worked together for a power-hungry monomaniacal middle management dictator.

Working with my sister was great, but the whole working in the sort of environment where mistakes aren't... tolerated, was, well, stressful, to say the least.  We did all sorts of things to make work less painful and it was mostly okay as long as no one asked questions or bungled anything.

While at work, when there was down time, we would read Yahoo news.  (Yes, that's how long ago this was).  One day, my sister started cracking up.  She was laughing so much she felt the need to read this article out loud to me.  It was titled something like "7 Secret Signs of Stress."  It did not sound funny.  I did not understand why she was laughing.

It turned out that it was funny in that horrible terrible sort of not-actually-funny way because none of the things on the list were "secret" signs of stress.  And the one that we loved the most, …


There were a lot of things I expected to do in this job.  I figured I'd be tired all the time (true).  I figured I'd take care of patients with illnesses I'd never seen before (true).  I figured I'd do a ton of "patient care" (true).

But what I didn't expect- and, really, I guess there's no way I could have known this- was what exactly that "patient care" was going to entail.

Mostly, it seems like it's asking the right questions and listening.  So so so much listening.  And that part, I'm pretty good at.  There's a lot of nodding and empathizing and validating.

But the new thing here- the part I didn't quite expect so much- is how much taking I do, how much advice I give out.  And I'm not talking just medical advice.

Patients ask me all sorts of things and seem to think I've got a good handle on them.  It's almost comical, being from a generation known for #adulting, that people ask me for advice.  I try really ha…

Special Skills (Part 1)

This is the time of year when fourth year medical students all over the country start going on residency interviews.  I just did this last year, and lots of people I know are going through this process now.

Interviews are one of those rare things that even the collective "they"  can agree on.  And you know what they say?  They say that interviews generally acknowledged to be terrible.   Horrible.  Painful.  The worst. 

You have to talk about yourself and answer stupid questions and be altogether charming for longer than most of us can stomach.

And that's on a good day.

For those of you going on an interview in the near future and worried about how it's going to go, let me ease your mind- it's gonna be okay.  Because for all the interviews you go on, you only need one job.  So that means you only have to have that #nailedit sensation on one.

Some of your interviews will be mildly weird/distressing/confusing and potentially comical, however, for whatever reason, I …

This is Your One and Only Life

Nameless and I used to have this ongoing debate?  fight? philosophical discussion? about happiness.

For me, happiness is a moment.  It's awesome.  It's magical.

It's laughing so hard you cry.  It's watching your baby pull up to stand the first time. It's surprise ice cream.

It's pretty much amazing, but it's fleeting.  It's not sustainable.  And that's sort of what makes it feel so good, that you know it's not going to last.  You savor it.  You enjoy it more because it's not something you were expecting or that you could recreate.

Nameless's argument was that happiness is awesome and should always be the goal and that I must be inherently a little bit sad because I wasn't always striving for happiness.

But I don't think that's true.

I like happiness as much as the next person, but the thing I'm looking for is contentment. Contentment is that place of peace and calm and good inside you that lasts.

It's the warm and fuz…

Happy Birthday!

"Your book has a birthday.  You don't know what it is yet"
-Cheryl Strayed

I realized the other day that I've been blogging here for 5 years. 
Can you believe that? 
My blog has a birthday-  August 30th 2012.
It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but I guess I really have done some living in the past five years.
When I started out, I mostly just wanted an easy way to share my stories with my family back home, but as time has gone on this has become a labor of love- something that I need to do.
When weird shit happens I'm always thinking how can I tell this story, or who might need to hear this today, or I can't possibly be the only one who feels this way.
So, if you would, in honor of IGD's (belated) 5th birthday: leave a comment.  Tell me how you got here.  Tell me something that made you laugh.  Tell me something that made you say "oh my God, me too."

🎂                  🎂                       🎂

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…