Living On The Wild Side

Almost – 28 years and I’ve finally found that wild streak that I was supposed to have in my teens…

[Of note, I’ve always been a general homebody and fear a “bad reputation” or “getting in trouble” like the plague or Ebola virus. My parents never set a curfew for me in high school because they knew I’d be home by a decent hour because I like to sleep. Always a schedule to maintain! Because being 17 was really tough with that “homework” done while watching TV….]

I’m taking a test next week that I haven’t studied for.

Step 1 studying…the good ol' days...

Step 1 studying…the good ol’ days…

I’m running a half marathon in two weeks and haven’t run over 7 miles at one time since…the marathon!

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[I am, however, experimenting with what I’m calling the SoulCycle training plan. I’ll report back about how well that worked. ]

Next, I plan on doing something really crazy – like trying unpasteurized cheese.

For a brief overview of the SoulCycle “training plan,” suffice it to say I’ve done a lot of classes and done a good bit of “doubles” to count as “long runs.” It remains to be seen if this helps maintain running fitness. I really just trying to make it through this half marathon (Miami! With Gia! And KScott!) rather than race it so I think my “training” should work for that purpose.  I do think SoulCycle helps maintain aerobic fitness, stimulates the neuromuscular system because the pace is usually quick, and is a good core workout because you have to support yourself out of the saddle so much.

I'm pretty sure the grapefruit candle  has some sort addictive scent that keeps you coming back...

I’m pretty sure the grapefruit candle has some sort addictive scent that keeps you coming back…

If you’re curious, my fave instructors as of late (there are many I like) are Jaws, Sydney, and Bethany.

Jaws’ class is full of really good technical corrections so you get the most out of it and has a good baseline level of resistance so you always feel like you’re working. She usually has one song that you jog the whole time and its feels like 1k repeats to me. She also rides the whole class (which is super tough) so I’m always very inspired to keep working really hard since she’s doing the same thing AND talking.

Sydney’s class usually has something new and different (big hill with a sprint in it and then using the weights on the hill) and her energy is fantastic. She’s having so much fun that you’re having fun. She’ll push you really hard but you’ll be smiling the entire time. It’s awesome.

Bethany’s classes are always emotionally on point. One time she played Kris Allen’s “Live Like You’re Dying” and I’ve never felt more inspired to like…live life…and stuff. Maybe I was just really tired and hit me. Regardless, Bethany’s classes are hard, the cues are on point, and one time I wanted to scream “I LOVE EXERCISE” after her class I was on such an endorphin high. I refrained.

[On another note, being on nights for a month will make you super emotional and want to scream things like “I LOVE EXERCISE” in a room full of strangers.]

[For the public record, I’ve taken one of Akin’s classes and it was the hardest arm series ever. I’m also a big Danny, Ben T, and Madison but haven’t taken them in a while.]

Plus, during a polar vortex, SoulCycle is warm!

Anyways, that’s all for now.

TELL ME: HOMEBODY? WILD CHILD? FAVE SPIN CLASS AND INSTRUCTOR

Until next time..

 

 

Deck The Halls

My yearly attempt at keeping Beanie Babies relevant.

[Yes, I’m still a doctor.]

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Dear Family,

I will miss you! Save some creole peas for me.

Love,

Meggie

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Harrison's Christening, Christmas 1994

Harrison’s Christening, Christmas 1994

 

IMG_1050ally2To Everyone:

May peace be yours this holiday season. May joy be yours throughout the year!

Happy Holidays.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

From Sports Psych to Work Psych

A long time ago in a far, far away place (ok, Florida 2003), I had a session with a sport psychologist geared towards my tennis. People often speak of “the loneliness of the long distance runner,” but I think there is no lonelier sport than tennis. Its you and your thoughts against your opponent. No coaching. No time outs. No team huddle.

Two things have stuck with me since that session:

1. All pressure is self created.

2. It can be hard to distinguish between reality and the stories we’ve made up that become our new reality.

The latter is something I’ve thought about quite a bit about as an intern.

Making mistakes is a given as an intern. Contrary to what you might think, mistakes usually aren’t grievous or harm a patient (knock on wood). Interns aren’t given enough power to really harm someone (well, hopefully)! If most newbie interns are like me, they’ll ask a senior resident if they’re unsure.

Mistakes are generally more misdemeanor in their nature yet the blow to your psyche just as tough. I’ve found my flubs to be in having my note not save in the electronic medical record (and having to write it again), forgetting the very specific way to write an obstetrics admission history and exactly which forms to fill out (and having to ask a senior for help), not being able to get tasks done fast enough, forgetting which retractor is the sims vs the narrow deaver and so on and so forth.

Senior residents are like moms – they have eyes in the back of their heads and are the most efficient people you’ve ever seen. They practically troubleshoot a problem before it even happens. Even if you ran around all day getting stuff done, they will find the one or two things your forgot, which is, after all, part of their job!

In turn, being an intern becomes more of what you didn’t do rather than what you did do, which is a huge adjustment from medical school where anything that you did do was praised. There are no more gold stars as an intern.

All of this isn’t bad – its a fact in moving from school to the working world as I’m told by my friends who went through this adjustment a good 5 years before me.

However, for the type-A, high strung, coffee carrying, self-diagnosed obsessive compulsive personality disorder intern, as many of us are, the “what I didn’t do” can spiral into the “what I am not.”

The “I made a mistake” turns into “I am a mistake.” You can convince yourself that you were the “questionable admission” into the residency program and that most everyone around you thinks you’re inept. If you don’t recognize that this entire environment you’ve now created for yourself is, in fact, a story rather than reality, you could dig yourself into a pretty deep hole.

Fortunately, senior residents were once interns themselves and, like moms, can have a nice nurturing manner that lets you know you’re doing ok (this is of course, provided you have nice senior residents like myself).

Still, this whole “being an intern” thing has been an adjustment. I’m hoping the growing pains are over soon!

Until next time…

Intern Year: Days 0-4

Medical school leaves you on a high. You’re awesome. You have a new degree and title. People have spent the last few months telling you how awesome you are and congratulating you for basically showing up to life. It’s 100% magical.

So, you step into intern year eager, excited, yet oh so unprepared for the tidal wave that’s about to hit you. So, in the span of approximately 24 hours (ie day 1), you go from this:

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To this:

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The first day for me was somewhat of a shock. I felt like I went through a hurricane by the day’s end. As a med student, you get a grasp on the fund of knowledge you need and get good at history taking and writing notes. If you can do that as a med student, you’re golden.

So, it’s a bit of a shell shock when you have to write the notes before the team rounds, take out Foleys, make sure consents and H&Ps are up to date, answer pages, write notes while answering pages, field all of the pages that inevitably come in at 4 pm, understand all the scribble that you have written down on your route sheet, figure out how to order a prescription (“wait, I can write that? the motrin?” “yes, you can”), understand the turf wars that go on between the ER/different admitting services, figure out admission and discharge paperwork, figure out operative paperwork, figure out how to dictate, learn how to suture nicely, learn how to handle all of the laparoscopy stuff, and, last but certainly not least, figure out how to drape the patient in the OR while maintaing sterility.

The first few days of residency have made it evident to me how much I do not know. Even simple things (ie draping patients in the OR) must be learned. There is a specific way to do most anything in medicine, particularly a surgical specialty and especially when you’re a beginner.

As an intern, you feel a bit inept and needy, always needing to ask seniors for help. The confidence of 4th year quickly fades as you realize just how much you do not know (and how much everyone around you does).

Fortunately, Bambi doesn’t stay in the cold, barren forest forever and neither does the overwhelmed new intern.

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The beautiful thing of being an intern (amongst a litany of not so great things) is that you always have back-up. I have wonderful senior residents who put up with having to physically put my hands in the correct places to do certain sutures, yet who celebrate each milestone that comes with being an intern. As much as I’ve had to take instruction or criticism and ask for help, I’ve had as many “yay, you did your first hysteroscopy!” and “yay! you made it through your first week!” come my way, too.

Intern year is going to be hard. The learning curve is steep. The hours are tough and sometimes the criticism tougher.

I’m holding on and ready for the ride.

TELL ME: HOW DID YOU FEEL ON THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF YOUR FIRST JOB?

Until next time…

(If you’re wondering, yes, I’ve still had time to run and exercise…and even gotten my co-interns to join me!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Better to See You With, My Dear…

…and other Public Service Announcements…

1. Warby Parker

I’m in love with my new frames. For $95 I was able to get new frames with lenses. LensCrafters was going to charge me $330 just for lenses to put in my own frames.

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Bonus: For every pair purchased, Warby Parker gives a pair to someone in need.

2.. Raglan Slub Top from Oiselle

This is the perfect basic tee and it is super comfortable. Looks great at the track or on the street (I’ve paired mine with statement necklaces for an added punch).

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You get more bang for your buck. Two birds with one stone. Win-win situation.

3. DoDo Cases

Build an awesome bookbound case for your tablet.

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Plus, plenty of other cool paper products for any fellow paper princesses (or princes) out there!

TELL ME: PRODUCTS YOU ARE INTO LATELY? IF I WRITE ABOUT INTERN YEAR, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?

Until next time…

Great Graduation Speeches

Surely, many have heard Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford in 2005 encouraging grads to “not settle.” Or JK Rowling’s speech to the Harvard Class of 2008 speaking of the benefits of failure.

But, I’d wanted to share a graduation speech that was mentioned in the commencement address given at my graduation last week. I had not heard of it and, lo and behold, the is a wonderful 10 min excerpt created on YouTube that condensing the message into its most salient points.

The entire address, found spoken here or as a transcript here, is worth a listen or read, in my humble opinion. Put simply, the entire speech struck me. Many of you may have probably already experienced what Wallace speaks of – the day in and day out of adulthood. While, surely, there have been months of my life that have been day in and day out, the vast majority of my “professional life” has been moving on from one exciting, seemingly insurmountable task to the next. The SATs. College. Finals. The MCAT. Medical School. The Boards. Third Year Rotations. The Match. Graduation. There has always been a dangling carrot in the not so distant future, ready for the taking. I’ve been extremely lucky.

I think the fear of the mundane is one reason I chose medicine. I’ve been promised a career that is “ever changing” in which I will be a “life long learner.” Yet, still, I fear an ordinary existence. I am fiercely protective of my “extra-curricular” activities, namely running, as I see them as an insurance policy against a potentially humdrum daily life. With running, there will always be a new PR to chase, a fun race to run, a new path to try out. Running can turn any ordinary day into an extraordinary.

I don’t aspire to notoriety or celebrity, but I do hope to be extraordinary and exceptional. At least, that is how I hope people will describe me one day.

Yet, as a sat at graduation last week, looking at the platform of distinguished and exemplary physicians, I wondered what my exceptional is going to be. At times, I think I want to be like them – a well recognized physician. At other times, I crave being a wonderful wife and mom, raising little Noa, Cody, and Reeve (names subject to change) to extraordinary existences for themselves. And, in the next minute, I ponder keeping running a big part of my life, like the ladies of Oiselle, and somehow intermixing this why my “professional” career. Entrepreneurship. Social Media. Family Life. There are many things I could imagine wanting to be great at. I guess in the terminology of “lean in,” I’m not always sure which way to lean.

Do I need to know what this balance will be at 27 years old? Scarily, sometimes I think so. The “early bird catches the worm” is a cliche for a reason. But, maybe not. 27 years old, as I hear from others, might be on the younger side in the working world.

What I do know is that I need to spend the next 4 years hopefully becoming an exceptional physician. I hope to keep running and maybe dabble in social media or writing, but know that my blinders need to be put on and the sole focus my main profession: medicine.

I think the choices of my professional pie can, hopefully, be put off until my 30s, when I set up my “real career.” Surely, my tastes and preferences will change by then as I didn’t even like this whole running thing when I entered medical school.

In terms of the potential banality of daily life? Here is something I’m going to remember from Wallace’s speech:

 If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running, it’s that the mind dictates the experience – your race or your life.

TELL ME: A FAVORITE SPEECH OR ADDRESS?

And, if you’re a real graduation speech junkie, here is a list compiled by Business Insider on the top 23 commencement speeches ever given.

 

 

 

On Being A Beginner Again…

After 8 years total of school + 1 of research, I am well versed in the best highlighting techniques, the best pens to write with, how to cram 40 lectures into you brain, how to check off check boxes really well, how to take 8 hour tests, and how to manage constant, low level anxiety fairly well. Unfortunately, the cruel twist of fate here is that just slapping on two more initials behind my name (“M.D.”), only gives me enough knowledge and power to actually kill someone [accidentally, obviously.]

Being a beginner is one of my most hated things. I hate not being proficient and feeling like I am slowing down efficiency. Books can only teach you so much; experience is where the meat and potatoes of graduate medical education lies. Unlike in school, I can’t out-read my beginner-ism (my fall-back thus far).

The hardest thing for me, being novice at something, is to learn how to balance efficient mastery with purposeful understanding of the skill or concept. I pride myself on being able to learn things quickly, but sometimes I let my yearning for efficiency undermine taking my time . In fact, when I try to learn something quickly and can’t pick it up, my frustration leads to anxiety and that anxiety slows me down even more. Its like I develop a brain block or something.

I’m going to be a beginner at a lot of things come July so I need to get used to it. Guess I need to get an Erica Sara “Say It, Do It” bracelet that says “take your time.” Slow down. Learn the skill/concept correctly. Then be efficient.

Easy as 1, 2, 3. Right?

TELL ME: HOW DID YOU HANDLE BEING A BEGINNER WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED YOUR JOB?

Until next time…