On Filling Out Medical Intake Forms

So, I went to acupuncture today. Acupuncture is magical. Even more magical is the nap you take during acupuncture.

Literally, I would pay good money to just sleep in a quiet room that smells nice and has soothing music.

As my friend, Jocelyn, says, if a yoga class only offered child’s pose and savasana, I’d think I’d gotten my money’s worth.

Anyways, I’ll save the whole “Adventures of a Western Doctor In the Eastern Medicine World” post for a later day because I’m too tired to write it now. However, suffice it to say I’ve tried acupuncture, cupping, Reiki (thanks, Lynn!), and like every form of massage/myofascial release.

Given that the practitioner, is a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, there is a medical intake form.

When you ask patient histories essentially a billion times a day, its kind of weird filling out your own.

What is your height and weight? 5’3″ last time I checked. 126 I think? Let me go find a scale in this hospital…

Do you have problems sleeping? No, my problem is not enough.

Do you have any medical conditions? Do you count being generally uptight and sleep deprived?

Is your job high or low stress? I just put the words “Labor and Delivery with a pager – very high.”

Do you have any allergies? Yes, apparently blue dye. Can you fix this? Because my work attire is essentially unchangeable.

My favorite thing to do before I snooze is to ask all about Chinese medicine. When you’re used to talking about blood pressure and lab values and stuff like that all day, its a little hard to wrap your head around yin and yang. But, its kind of fun.

From what I gleaned, Chinese medicine is a lot about opposites. You have yin and yang. One is flow and one is the energy that drives the flow. If you run around like a crazy New Yorker, such as myself, you deplete your yin. Or maybe its your yang. I don’t know. One of them. I think they talk a lot about blood flow and “stasis.” After a post partum hemorrhage, I’d say you really got rid of that stasis and depleted your yin…

I have no idea how this relates to chi (is that how you spell it?) or the meridians or what not.

As an FYI, the kind of acupuncture I get is more musculoskeletal oriented and not so much TCM acupuncture. Its like trigger point acupuncture. Or something. Like the don’t look at my tongue or talk about meridians because I’m really there to get my IT band back in business so I can run again. This is probably diametrically opposed to eastern principles because I’m essentially trying to get my IT band less tight so I can exercise….more.

Look, I said I dabbled in the complementary and alternative medicine worlds. I never said I was a good patient.

That’s all I have for today.

Night night.

Until next time…

Daily coffee tally: 3


Moving On Up

Today, I started back at our private hospital after being at the public hospital since mid-July.

Our private hospital (NYU Langone Medical Center) is undergoing a huge “renovation.” New hospital pavilion, new neuroscience building, and the old hospital building is getting some revamping.

I’m on this wonderful rotation right now called “Tisch Teaching Senior/Tisch OB Chief” I feel I should be renamed “Tisch Air Traffic Controller” because my job, bedsides teaching interns and med students about labor management, pre-eclampsia, hemorrhage, and the like, is keeping the floor moving. [And high risk stuff, too.]

I’m going to ask if I can get a bullhorn and those sticks.

“Intern to delivery in room 4 – I put your boots and gown in there!”

“We got another pre-eclamptic in triage, let’s open a room people!”

“GBS positive, I ordered the penicillin!”

“Pitocin on aisle 1 is available for every one!”

Just kidding, there are no aisle. Labor and delivery isn’t a grocery store.

Given that the floor will survive in my brief absence, I can actually run downstairs to the cafeteria. Its a novel pleasure I’m enjoying as a senior.

I went down and explored the new and improved Tisch.

Let’s start with the gift store. It was magical . There are letterpress cards, candles from Lafco, and a florist person arranging flowers with like…twine. He asked it if I needed help and I wanted to say, “Yeah, only a beta blocker to control my heart rate after seeing these letterpress cards so beautifully placed next to this stuffed bear that I want.” I entered a raffle for $50 at the gift shop. I hope I win.

The cafeteria is like Disney World. Its like Spaceship Earth except there is food. There are multiple kinds of coffee – drip, Illy – you can go nuts with caffeine.

The only thing somewhat lacking is the seltzer selection. If anyone from Tisch is listening, I’m envisioning a section dedicated to everyone’s favorite drink, seltzer. We could offer a full selection of La Croix, Polar, and Poland Spring. I think this would increase patient satisfaction in addition to my own satisfaction. Ok, maybe just my own. You are free to name that corner of the cafeteria, “Smith’s Seltzer Selections.” I’m happy to curate the offerings, should my services be needed. Mr. Langone, call me!

On another note, I bought ballet flats (like for actually ballet, not the Tory Burch kind) today. I bought leather rather than canvas. I thought they are prettier and those canvas ones are like the Nike Frees of the dance world – they feel like nothing. Apparently, leather was a faux pas. I’m sorry but pink is prettier. Fortunately, I don’t think this will make a difference. I mean, when I audition for the Nutcracker, I may not get the Sugar Plum Fairy and only a mouse, but there are no small parts, right people? (JOKES)

That is all I have to say for today.

Until next time…

Night night…

Daily coffee tally: 2





Back In The Saddle

WordPress has changed the interface of where you type posts so I hope this goes smoothly. There is no worse feeling than writing something and then losing the entire document. That feeling is 10x worse when you are an intern and trying to write all your notes before rounds and then the computer freezes or the EMR just decides to throw you a new one and you want to crawl in a hole and die.

I feel like returning to work after vacation is like jumping in a really cold pool, but somewhat like a baby who doesn’t know how to swim and you’re thrown in and need to figure it all out ASAP or you will drown.

I started back with clinic yesterday in which I think I saw 8 patients in colpo clinic, most of which actually needed a colposcopy (fancy term for looking at the cervix underneath a microscope and taking biopsies) rather than a pap smear (for surveillance stuff — you get to colpo by having an abnormal pap).

I think I saw about the same number in continuity clinic.

I shoved in lunch at 3 pm in between patients. Note to self: Eggs makes for an excellent in between patient meal. Easy to eat quickly. Satisfying enough so you don’t faint and hold you over until you can get to another meal. Two eggs, toasted English muffin, and salt and pepper. Dream team.

Side note: I’m still waiting on the weight loss that residency should be providing me.

Today I was back on labor. The antepartum list was approximately 6  pages long. However, I was successfully able to diurese the list down and only admitted one today.

Somedays you feel like you did so much [paperwork, menial tasks] and have nothing to show for it. Today was one of those days.

One final thing:

Today I went up to the medicine floor (a world away from L&D…ok just a few floors) to see a patient. Two second year med students and their teaching attending were so sweetly interviewing the patient, trying to obtain her medical history.

I remember the first time taking a history and its really easy to get sidetracked and focus on things like how old the patient was when they got their first pet. You don’t know what questions to ask next or how to progress the interview to get the information you need. Basically, you’re just a person with a not so fancy short white coat (this is the sign that you are student) trying to make small talk with a patient about, say, one of their vital organ systems that has landed them in the hospital.

I got a real kick out of the whole thing.

Mostly, because now the history taking seems so routine and rote and after a while you know the set of questions to ask and the order to go in (most of the time, except when a patient comes with 297 pages of records from an outside hospital with 13 medical problems).

I also got a kick out of watching the medicine residents. Just really taking time to dissect down the differential diagnoses and discuss, you know, if this patient did have acute pancreatitis then….and fluid shifts…and albumin…and eosinophils…and the Ranson score….and Afib and RACE and AFFRIM trials…

I then when back to L&D where I proceeded back to my checkboxes and running around frenetically.

That’s all I have to say about today. I couldn’t sleep last night for reasons unbeknownst to me so I was still awake at midnight last night. When you start your work day before 7 am….no bueno.

Until next time…


Wild Saturday Night

I feel it would be remiss not to say something about Paris. However, I’m at a loss for words. All of these events are truly horrible, including those most recent. Is it sad that this is something “normal” for our current generation to grow up with? I hope not.


Far and away from the war on terrorism, I’ve been compiling my Christmas/holiday card list.

Sorry, but I will not be including a form letter about myself in the third person. Maybe another year. Actually, this blog is sort of that…

“Meggie has really been enjoying all of her extra-curricular activities. She particularly excels at draining her bank account dry with all of her hobbies.”

Anyways, addressing said holiday cards always brings me back to my girl, Emily Post. Whenever I have an etiquette question, I consult Emily. She knows all.

For instance, what if you have a married couple, but the wife did not take her husbands last name?

Is it:

Mr. ______ ______ and Ms. _____ [maiden name]

Mr. _______ ______ and Mrs. ______ [married name]

Do you still use the Mrs even though she is keeping her maiden name.

What about if you have a wife doctor, judge, etc and the husband is not? With the husband having the title, it is very easy with Dr. and Mrs. or Rev. and Mrs. But, what about vice versa?

According to Emily Post, it is as follows:

Dr. ______ and Mr. _____

Here is a link to Emily Post’s “Guide to Addressing Correspondence.”

I also spent an inordinate amount of time today trying to find a red pen to match the red ink on the card. Excess levels of cortisol were secreted stressing over inability to find such a pen.

My sister and I went to the mall today. Christmas has exploded. I feel sad for Thanksgiving; it is becoming the forgotten holiday. Bath and Body Works made me Christmas nauseated. We also went to Sephora, where I did my make up, gave myself a multi-colored manicure trying different nail colors, and I perused the anti-aging section with such fervor that I think I scared some of the other customers.


For the price it was, it better.

I tried so many different lotions, creams, and serums on my hands that I expect them to look like that of a 17 year old by tomorrow.

In final other news, CGT and I did a track workout yesterday. It was rather fun. You see, as the old person, I got a lead. Then, CGT would have to catch up to me. I like to think that I am “boosting her confidence.” We did 4 x 800 with 200 recovery. I ran 3:20, she ran 2:48. Ahh, youth!

That’s all I have to say for now.

Vacation has been great. I have slept so wonderfully and for so many hours. I hate it will be over tomorrow.

Until next time….

Greetings, Friends

Hello, world!

5 weeks of night float and I’m now returning to the stratosphere known as humanity. Three cheers for normal human interaction and a moderately non-disturbed sleep schedule!

Night float brings with it a upheaval in your circadian rhythm, appetite and bowel function, and, most importantly, human interaction. If you can make it throughout a stint of night  float without undergoing an existential crisis, more power to you.

Here is a list of things that may or may not happen to you on night float:

  1. Night Float Nausea: Weeks 3 and 4 saw an unprecedented amount of nausea for me. It was like as if my body was rebelling against what I was subjecting it to. All I wanted to eat was popcorn and fruit. Mostly popcorn, otherwise known as the gateway drug of snacking.
  2. Loss Of Appetite Except For Carbs: Chop’t and Just Salad were wondering if I had died.
  3. “Never Enough” Attitude Towards Sleep: If you provide me with a modest pillow or blanket, I could pass out in an instant.
  4. Sleep “Exercising:” Did I exercise while on night float? Yes. Do I remember all of it? No.

I have decided to return to my random stream of consciousness for these posts. I will do so in list form, as is customary of uptight type-A people to do.

  1. On the Starbucks “Red” Cup: Seriously, America? We’re staging a mutiny over a coffee cup?
  2. On the inability to regain sleep-wake cycle: What do you new moms do once your baby starts sleeping and now you can, too? I’ve been turning to benadryl to try and help me go to sleep at a normal time. Waking up at a normal time remains a challenge. I’m pushing 12 to 13 hours of sleep a day. Like. a. boss. Hey, I’m on vacation, right?
  3. Approaching 30 Years Old: I now have a keen interest in an aggressive anti-aging skin care regimen. Armed with moisturizers and retinol, I’m going to combat fine lines and wrinkles with as much fervor as I train for marathon. I’m sure its going to work splendidly. [Not]. Any dermatologist out there want to help in my efforts? I’m just a poor girl looking for some collagen boosting and retin-A (apparently, retinol is best for wrinkles). I would also love some help with this contact dermatitis-eczema situation which is plaguing my entire body (unfortunately, it appears I’m allergic to scrubs– oh calamity.)
  4. On What I Want For My 30th Birthday: La Croix seltzer; a cake with name on it; Skin care products (see above); Funds for exercising; Funds for exercise clothing and running shoes; Funds for egg freezing; a husband. This is a modest list, don’t you think? I believe it can all be found at your local Target.
  5. On Good Books I Have Read Lately: Girl On The Train, Big Little Lies, Primates of Park Avenue. I just started Daring Greatly and I really like it. I’m usually not into “self help” books, because I think I have had a pretty nice life and “hate to complain,” but its a nice mix of research and anecdotes, which I like.
  6. On the Bellevue Labor Lounge Makeover: This will be my generations lasting legacy to all future NYU residents. Repainted. Refurbished. This was something worth staging a mutiny over…
  7. On tennis: More people should play. Its very therapeutic. Its also nice to do something that you’re moderately good at once and a while. And, its way more fun playing now because it doesn’t matter if I’m good or not. So, what if I want to hit an inside out backhand. I CAN AND NO ONE CAN TELL ME NOT TO!

That is all I have to say for now.

Night night.

Until next time…

Magic Lessons

I think I’m the last person to discover Podcasts. Why didn’t I listen to these before? They’re awesome.

Someone recommended Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” series to me, which I started yesterday, and proceeded to stretch to for an hour. A lot of the episodes focus on creativity. While there isn’t much creative license in doing a hysterectomy, a lot of the themes of courage, fear, and “doing what sets your soul on fire” still speak to me. You know, all those warm fuzzy things millenials really dig.

Yesterday, I got my own little magic lesson of sorts: the magic that comes with run and the subsequent endorphin drunk high that can last an entire day, maybe even a week.

If you’ve followed this blog at all in the last….four years (what I’ve been writing this for four year?!?)… you’ll remember that my running has gone from self doubt (2010-2011) to injury and more doubt (2012) to joy (fall 2012-2013) to fun (2013-present aka residency). Well, running was always fun. But, there was that period of time, like any new runner does, where they get obsessed with time, pace, PR’ing, BQ’ing, and all that jazz.

Continuing further, if you’ve taken any note of my half marathon record in residency you’ll note the following trend: sign up for race; say I will train; not train and do some other activity (and a lot of it) and hope its enough; run said half marathon and finish.

So, I haven’t really raced a race since….April 2013. Crazy!

I ran a workout (read: just one) back in August and was pretty surprised at how fast I was still able to run (relatively). If you’re curious, it was 4 x 1 mile and I did them at 7:15s. That’s actually a bit better than I used to do any mile repeats.

I thought it would be fun to test myself so I made a slightly more dedicated commitment to actually training for the half a ran yesterday.

Now, let me me give you a little insight as to how training works in residency. There are these really terrible things called “being on call.” This means work. For like 24 hours. And usually a 60-80 work week.

I know tons of other people do this and probably train to race Ironmans. But, me — I get tired.

So, training ended up being a sort of give or take — it usually ended up being that in any given week I either got in a long run (8-10 miles) or a “faster” run (something resembling a workout). I actually prioritized the long runs and did mostly those and the other running I did was 4-6 milers with the occasional little speed burst thrown in there. I also did a lot of boxing at Shadowbox, because that is my new “thing,” and pilates at Flex, because I love those classes, too.

A week before the race, I got a little gun-shy about the whole “racing” thing. I mean, who was I to think that I could race a half marathon without “proper” training. I went back and looked at old training logs, some of which are incredibly detailed (dear God, I was neurotic….am neurotic) and,man, did I put a lot of time into some of those races. Looking back at what I did then to prepare for a race, I had no business planning to race off of my current “training.”

But, I’m a different person now than I was then. Now, I am hardened resident. Being a OB/GYN resident is essentially some of the toughest mental and physical training you may ever get. You wanna know what’s hard? Doing a quartenary repeat C-section when you’ve been up for 20 hours on a morbidly obese patient. Its a different kind of “pushing yourself” because there is a certain adrenaline high you get when you know that you have to, well, take care of someone’s life, but there is an aspect of OB/GYN residency that is mentally and physically pushing yourself to another level or limit.

Or maybe I just think this way because sports is my way of relating to the rest of life.

Moving on, let’s cut to the chase.

If you know anything about me, before I make a decision, I will ask 1600 different people their opinion. Ultimately, I know that I am the decider of my future, but I’m a big fan of creating a “brain trust,” so to speak, to harness the greater wisdom of those who have gone before you and/or who may have a more objective view of your situation than…you.

What it came down to was this (well, thanks to my brain trust!): #1 – I am a more experienced runner now and don’t need all the fancy data and gadgets and pretty training logs and splits to know I can run a certain pace; #2 – If I didn’t achieve my “A” goal (1:45) would I really even care? The answer was no. I deliver babies. That will trump a half marathon time any day. Plus, I was going to get to sleep THE WHOLE day after this half, which is the best prize of all. Forget the medal. Give me naps!

So, I ran watch less and music less (well, I’ve always raced sans music) and it was THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE.

Runners! Listen up! If you’ve never run a race watch less, you have to do it for your next race. Why? It is the most self fulfilling experience and a wonderful little self awareness experiment you will ever have.

I mean, really, this is what it comes down to: you have to ask yourself “am I trying my best at this point in time with what I have today.” If the answer is “yes,” then that’s pretty much all you can do. And, if you’re really trying to race, you should ask yourself, “am I uncomfortable? Hurt a little bit?” If so, good, you’re doing it right. Irrespective of what your Garmin or clock or whatever timing device you has says, this is really “how to race,” if you want my opinion.

I truly had no clue how fast or slow I was running. I knew it felt appropriately hard and uncomfortable, but that it was a pace in which I could complete the distance. And, the time on the clock was going to be a great big surprise.

What was most special about racing this way is that I really had to trust myself. I had to really think, “Meggie, are you giving it your all? Is this what you can do today?” You have to turn inwards and be really self aware. Becoming enlightened like the Dalai Lama doesnt hurt, either, but that’s quite a task for 13.1 miles.

It ended up being the most self fulfilling and gratifying race I’ve run to date.

In the end, I ran 1:45:08, which is about an 8 min pace. I think having a Garmin or watch may have been a hindrance to me yesterday. If I had known I was running that pace, I may have 2nd guessed myself knowing that I hadn’t run 13 miles at an 8 min pace in several years. To the Garmin fans out there, maybe having one would’ve helped me run just under 1:45. But, seeing as those 8 seconds don’t mean so much to me (like the used to), I’m glad I ran watch less.

Thinking back, racing is really a feeling to me. It’s not a time or pace, it’s capturing that feeling of pushing yourself beyond what you thought was previously possible. I think all I really wanted to capture was that. The time yesterday was a bonus.

For those curious, no, it was not a PR. It was slower than my PR by 3 min. But, it still sort of felt like one (a PR), to me.

Because endorphins make you happy, Jocelyn and I decided to walk home from Brooklyn yesterday. And that additional 7 miles (yeah, we thought it was 4…clearly we aren’t cartographers) and sunshine made me so endorphin happy and vitamin D’ed up that I think I’m really ready to take on winter….until the first snow when I start to question living here and not relocating to a more tropical climate.

Dear God, this is long. if you stuck through to this point, CONGRATS!

Moral of story: Listen to podcasts, run races without watches, listen to yourself, take long walks, friends are the cement that hold the world together.

Daily coffee tally yesterday: 5 (what, I did sort of a coffee crawl on the way back from Brooklyn because, why not?)

Daily coffee tally today: 3

Greetings From The Land of Nod:

Hello from the world of night float.

This is residency terminology for working at night.

We work from 6 pm to 8 am. That’s 14 hours. You then get 10 off. Because we are required to. It seems like a lot but 10 hours really isn’t all that much when you try to factor in doing something for yourself.

Anyways, living opposite of the world is really weird. I am about to sleep.

Good things about nights:

1 – As my co-resident, Meagan, said, “You can get through to customer service for anything in no time at 2 am.”

2- *USUALLY* (caveat, usually) you deal with less BS and more real stuff. This does not always include consults from the ED.

3 – There are no waits for elevators

4- No one will judge how much coffee you drink

5 – When you wake up, you have tons of emails and texts so you feel like people actually care about you, which is nice. It is good to start your night off with a warm and fuzzy feeling since you have little contact with the outside world when you’re on nights.

6 – Sometimes you can go to a doctor or dentist yourself. Did I fall asleep in a dentist chair while on Tisch OB nights last year? Yes.

Bad things about nights:

1- Its exhausting

2 – You’re always tired

3- You can sleep at any point of the day until you develop night float insomnia where you can’t sleep

4- Your eating schedule is totally whack (I eat a snack when I wake up, then dinner, then a 2 am snack then breakfast)

5- Your circadian rhythm is funky and I’m pretty sure this is affecting my hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and affecting my ovaries for reasons I will not go into but I HAVE MY THEORIES AND I’M A GYNECOLOGIST!

6 – Working out is hard bc you are always tired but you do it anyways. In this vein, I have proved to myself that I can run 4 miles in my sleep. I tell myself that in races when I get to 4 miles left. “You have actually done this in your sleep, this is nothing now that you are awake.”

That is all for now. I have to go to sleep.

Until next time…

Daily (nightly?) coffee tally: 4