Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Joining the band.

Last night I met up with the new guys to play bass. It goes without saying that I met up with the craigslist band in a public place a week earlier to make sure they were alright. And they were. Bunch of guys in their late 30's early 40's that have been playing together for a long time and seem to have a rotating string of bassists. Which is great for me, because their expectations are low.

For example, they were very happy that they could simply hear the bass. I guess the last guy played softer and softer as the amp was turned up. I don't know how this is possible though, once you turn up the amp to a reasonable sound, you get a full note just by tapping the string.

Which is beautiful. I had never heard my bass play with an amp that was made for it. Bass strings are very difficult to hear without an amp. Then if you strike them hard enough to hear without one, you're going to get a clacking noise as the string bangs against the fret board. Which is different than the buzzing you get for not holding the string down hard enough in the first place. Anyway, it sounds ugly.

The practice space is a storage shed unit with an electrical hook up. Apparently the guy who owns these storage units doesn't care who rents them, and no one else is around to complain about the noise, so it's turned into a little bazaar of garage bands. Driving down there for the first time, there were at least 2 other bands playing in our row. There's something cool about the glow coming from underneath the roll up metal doors.

I'll assume the unit was once a concrete block, but that's not the case anymore. The walls are covered in foam honey combing to block out the sound, there's peg boards for hanging cords, rugs on the ground, equipment and speakers stacked high, a couch in the corner, and even a recycling bin. Someone has put a lot of effort into making this their conclave escape from their children. It feels very much a home. It's exactly the kind of look you'd want to define a masculine, utilitarian space that doesn't try too hard. Which of course, was never the point and the very reason it works so well.

Musically, I do suck. Let's just put that out there. Even if the guy's standards are low, my self standards are not. I have a lot to practice on. 1st, I need to develop rhythm. A good bassist should be a human metronome. Luckily, there's plenty of websites out there with metronomes on them, and working on my consistency isn't going to cost me anything. 2nd, I need to work on holding my notes out as long as possible before going to the next note. I put a lot of gaps between my notes, and this is largely due to the fact my fingers have to work out stretching on the frets. So to get to the next note, my fingers will hop, the string is prematurely released, and the note is dropped. Which is fine if you want to play staccato notes, but only if you're into doing that intentionally. 3rd. Well, I need to work on my fret work, understanding where the notes are and eventually pulling in chords. 4th. You know, that's enough to work on. I'm a beginner. Everything else will come with time.

My index finger is a little numb right now. Kinda feels like a milder version of the bottoms of my feet the first few days of surgery rotation.

Tonight I need to get back to my lifts. Yesterday I had to put them off for a day due to time constraints. I got out of clinic around 6 and it was finally grocery buying time. And cooking. OH Yes, cooking. Heart stir fry with a ton of greens. It's been a rough couple of weeks with low funds. 3 lb weight loss kind of rough. So I needed to buy some beef, even if I can't really afford any other cuts.* Eating Iron again was good.


*I think I freaked out the hipster roomie a little with that heart. Bro roomie was down with it though. There's a fair amount of cleaning of chordae tendineae, pericardial fat pads (Which are hard as hell, who figured?), and sometimes a little valve work you have to do to get your meat. Still worth it. No bones = high yield.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Loans are in!


Because that means money in the bank. Loans, Baby. And not a moment too soon. If I was just a day earlier I would have avoided overdraft fees from the bills. Oh well. It's good to have the option to get food again.

Still feeling the hurt, the only thing that makes sense is to pay forward all the rent, and set aside any other major purchase. With the exception of my bridesmaid dress. They're now out of my size, and I went up. Good thing I got it tonight, it was the last 6. I'm going to have to get it altered. But that can wait. Wedding isn't until next summer. Everything is just getting done now because the bride is a wonderfully talented teacher who is going to be out of the country on a Fullbright Grant.

There's the dress. Of course that's an image URL so who knows how long it'll be before it shrivels up. It looked pretty on our size 2 and 16. I don't mind the money that I paid (and will further pay to get alterations). Especially when the other option was David's bridal and the strange nipple disasters. *shudder*.

Anyway, I've done enough buying things. After all my hemming and hawing, painting my room is decidedly less attractive. I think what I really need is big art that I can take with me. We're going to see what can be done this weekend to stretch some canvass.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


 Everybody seems to be a runner in medical school. In years 1 and 2 there was always a new charity 5k every other weekend. At least 2 times a month, often more. 

Every so once in a while, I give into the peer pressure and agree to run with someone. But what my brain fails to forget, is that no one offers to open up running as a social activity, unless...they're already good at running. This will look easy, but this will not be anything close to the concept of easy. 

Because in exactly three minutes, 
this is the conversation I'm going to be having with myself.

Of course my answer is pretty obvious.


"You should get that checked out."

Yep. I'm at it again.

On a barely related note, I have recently reconnected with an old friend, Law, a few nights ago because he's been passing through town as he has a family medical issue that is progressing towards hospice. But the wonderful thing about this friendship is that everything and anything can be put on the table for a conversation topic. He particularly loves listen to my antics regarding men, because it reminds him of a lamer version of sex and the city.

I told him about running with Gun again, and Law just started laughing his ass off. "Uh! Oh! You know what that means!"

"I've already been turned down once. I don't think it means anything." I'm very stuffy in my response.

"Haha, just kidding. Working out with someone doesn't lead to fucking." He pauses. "It's late night conversations that lead to fucking."

"Well then, I'm screwed."

And then Law is hooting and hollering, ribbing me for more information. He tends to think that he uses me for an emotional crutch because his mom has cancer and he's afraid to burden people with his problems. But the guy has no idea how much a dumb, natural conversation like that reorients me back to reality.

My reality being that for once, I want to be working on self improvement, for myself. And if I'm going to date, the choice has to be more obvious than a sledge hammer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

So instead of a boyfriend, I'm getting legs.

I disabled the okcupid. I think my little foray was enough. My classmate and I had a good laugh and it was noted that we should make time to hang out after he gets off his sub-I's and externships.

It's not going to happen. Med students are notorious flakes when it comes to social events. I speak for myself in that group too.

Besides, This is a wonderful reminder that I'm never single because I'm really bad at cooling it, and taking enough time to process what I actually want in life. Instead I just go with the flow, give any guy a shot that expresses interest, and then...stay committed to him for way past the expiration date of the relationship. 

And the wonderful thing about life, is that you only get to live it once. You get one track. Every choice is a 1000 active choices to not do everything else with that time. And I'm very aware that with every door I walk through, it will lock behind.

NO MORE MEN, LEA. Unless you're nuts.

Uh wellll, for at least a month. 

I'm really bad at this. Except I have a shadow of a plan!

I downloaded the stronglifts 5x5 ap and started lifting again. Gonna take progress pics. Probably going to keep them to myself unless I crop out everything but my butt*. Went running yesterday with Gun**, because the gym was closed between summer and fall classes. 

Plan two of distraction is that I'm going to finally learn how to play my bass. Yeah, that was a failed purchase during grad school. Covered in dust. 1st I tuned the guitar. Then I sent out an email to a craigslist ad to join the first band I saw with ridiculously low standards. No really, they just wanted someone willing to learn how to play bass. Preferably female so they can support the vocals. All the previous bassists were females who didn't know what they were doing to start. Actually, that sounds completely sketch when I write it out. I assure you these people sound normal on the phone and that I will meet them in a public place first. 

Now I've learned what "noise pop" is. Well, I can be your shitty bassist. I can play quarter notes all day long. But if you're looking for a breathy, soprano indie chick, you'll be in for the surprise of my brassy, alto voice. Is meeting up with a bunch of people a big jump when you don't know how to do a damn thing? Of course it is. Can't learn unless you stretch. 

And I can't actively distract myself from the relationship issue unless I have a new goal to replace it with. The working out replaces the relationship searching. Learning bass is just to get me away from "Frozen Free Fall" match 3 games. 

That's enough for now. I have more sketches to upload tomorrow. 'night. 


*That is where my vanity is stored. The butt.

**One day you (yes you, "Gun") are going to read this, and question "why did she name me Gun? I'm the least Gunnerish of them all!" While true that you don't have a cut-throat bone in your body, Dude, you paid it forward. It took me 2 years to get you outside of your study hole. Even when we went to the gym together, you would beeline for the bikes and listen to supplemental lectures. It is only recently that I have brought you over to the light side of the squat racks and conversation between sets. So DON'T EVEN. Besides, you know I adore you. Including your constricted emotional affect. Hey. Your psych resident said it first. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I just wanted to see, OK?

That moment when:

You find a classmate's okCupid profile.

Activate the creeper sheild, Baby. We're going in to some questions.

And you find out now the most unassuming member of the class.

is officially THE kinkiest person you've ever met,

"Wait...Did that fetish have anything to do with his specialty choice?"
while simultaneously being your highest match 
"Huh. 96."

Message Sent.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A New Use for the Useless Napkin Holder.

My new roommate approached me with a napkin holder. Someone had given it to her as a gift, but living in the era of paper towels, it had not found a use. "Do you think you can use it? If not, I'm throwing it out. 

"Err...Let me think." I turned it over in my hands, feeling the heft, contemplating all the table space this thing wasn't worth. Then it struck me. "WAIT".

Sponge pedestal of beauty. That is all.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Room Sketcher and layouts.

If you've ever wanted some help with laying out a room, don't have graph paper, and don't mind converting inches to metric, Room Sketcher is a great, free resource that doesn't require you to sign up.

Yeah, no emails required. Nice right? Here's the url:

It's not perfect (I have no idea what I did to make that wall red nor do I understand how to put in a closet), but it makes a good layout of the floor space. Figuring out where to put my furniture has been a bit of an awkward challenge for me.

The entrance to the room is from the left, and the door on the top is though a closet and then a bathroom. So because of that side entrance, it looks best if the bed is on the opposite wall. But due to some wooden beams on the walls, the bed can't fit a night stand next to it if I put it there. If I put the bed on the right side of the room where there are no beams, then I feel like I'm weaving around furniture.

As far as scrunching the bed up against the wall, I don't mind. Feng shui be damned, I'd like to promote my singleness right now in exchange for floor space. Seriously, you pull that bed from the far wall and anything behind it turns into no man's land. Yes, I know you could make some cozy little reading area there. But there's not enough furniture on hand to establish multiple functions in this room, nor do I have the money to buy it right now. I have 200 dollars in the bank, and I'm waiting for my loans to come in. And...student loans come on their own time.

The bonus of leaving the bed with only one access point, is that the floor space will come in handy. I have been known to lay down a tarp from time to time in order to make an absolute shit fest of painting. And I'm not kidding when I say I still fancy the idea of getting a pole someday.

Putting the bed under the window is a viable option to preserving floor too, but I think the window might be a little low for it. It could look very pretty with curtains framing the sides. much of a pain in the ass would it be to draw them closed? Since of course I'm obsessed with floor length curtains. 

I'll make some effort to decide by the end of tonight. The moral of the story is, just by writing this post, I've already gotten over the idea of the night stand. It's entire function can be replaced with a nice box to hold condoms. And really? I'd like to cool it on the relationships for a while.  

Ok. Enough talk. Let's get to dragging.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Top 5 from the weekend. New roommates, bridesmaid dress shopping, and the dream to glute thrust a mountain.

A lot has happened in the last few days.

1.  We had the monster move. I love my new roommates, and they're actually people that want to engage and socialize with each other. They're open as hell too. This must be what it's like to live with extroverts. One is a premed and the other is interior design. I've been helping the pre-med with his personal statement, but I might have overwhelmed the guy. So he's now writing a new statement, but it's going to take time. It's a trade off when you're applying this year. I really hope he does well. He's being really hard on himself right now, and I feel him.

2.  I went bridesmaid dress shopping for my high school bestie's wedding. I'm really excited. While David's bridal has a crappy color selection, and cheap fabrics, I have to give them credit for something. I was seeing sizes from 2-22, which was very important for us because I was a part of a group of women that included a size 0/2 and a 16/18. While I don't think any of the dresses looked stunning themselves, there were quite a few cuts that made a curvaceous woman look stunning in them. You'd be like, "Wow, that is a beautiful woman in a sort of shitty dress." And really that's no one's fault but the fabric. Satin is the international mascot of crappy cosplay.

We found something great at Dillards, although there was a bit of worry about the fit, on both ends of the party. But it worked out. Still, the entire experience was surreal when you see the difficulty that women go through to find something nice if they're just on the outside of the standard size. It made me sick to my stomach to see all the brands that stopped at a 16. When the average american is supposed to grace a 12? You have 2 sizes above that and 5 below it? What the hell. We walked in some expensive store and there was no more than two sizes in every dress. I didn't even check to see which ones. It just made me pissed and very protective feeling. Because I instantly clicked with the other bridesmaids*, and retailers can be so FLIPPANT when they talk about other people's bodies and the sizes that they include. Not right. It's just not. No one wants to feel like it's her fault that the bridal party has to choose another dress, but the reality is, it's our screwed up fashion industry which only acknowledges that bigger women exist, if they can hide them in a different part of the store with different brands.

3. I'm single again. I think both parties are good with this. This time, I'm making a promise to myself I'm just going to be single for a while. I'm really not interested in being asked about couple's matching as soon as I start dating someone again. And honestly, it feels a little pointless to be dating when you're going to be going off to a residency.

4. Pictures are tomorrow. Maybe I can reschedule. I for got to tell my new team to take time off for them and I just got on this rotation. Also, I'm healing up post Sub-I acne. Yeah, I get acne whenever I'm sleep deprived. I discovered this last year. If I sleep enough, it heals faster than it gets produced. If I don't sleep enough, it heals slower than it is produced. Acne pops up at about the same rate though.

5.  I think with this new rotation, I'm going to have to start lifting again because I have the time. Which means it's time to start up with the progress pics again. Oh yeah, I collect that shit. Over my Sub-I, I lost about 5 lbs in a month. Internal medicine sort of stresses me out, what can I say. I need to get back to bulking again. Inpatient steals my muscle mass. And since I am convinced the more muscle = wider surface area to distribute fat across = less cellulite, I want a good portion of that five pounds back. Also, I have a dream to squat my body weight. And pull up my body weight. And glute thrust a mountain.

*My friends have fabulous taste in their friends. If only we all lived in the same city. I'd have the best fox pack ever.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Choosing paint colors. Working with what is already there.

Lost at what to do with so many colors, I tapped them all over the wall, next to what I can't change. The tile. You've got to work with the colors you've got right? 

Over the next few days, they'll battle here, to be removed one by one.

I originally put these next to a shower curtain my old roommate left behind, and figured that I might as well pick a color that went with it. But this was clearly the wrong way to go. 1. I was comparing the paint to the shower curtain in the lighting of a different room. 2. The shower curtain is clearly replaceable. Tile is not. So after putting the colors into two piles, I figured why the hell not, I'll put up both. Colors that are slightly off with the curtain, look great against the tile. The damn curtain was a ruse this whole time! It also might be dirty. So I'm washing it tonight. Maybe it'll perk up.

Free is very attractive. I might make it work anyway.

And here is the future project. Reds a possibility for the closet or other portions of the room.

 Reds are a possibility for the closet or bedroom ceiling. We'll just do one room at a time though.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Color in My Life.

There is Drama amongst the third years. Third year A did a post discharge follow up on the patient of third year B with a home phone call. Then presented to the resident. Dun DUN DUNNN!

Of course the resident assigned third year A to do it while B wasn't in the room. So it wasn't exactly like A student was swiping the task. But B student was very attached to that patient. And they have to turn in a certain amount of patient follow ups as an assignment. Thus from questionable misunderstandings, grudges are born.

Hahah, so glad that stress isn't my life. I've always been fortunate with getting along with/getting out of the way of classmate drama. Meanwhile, I'm dealing with my own little mystery. It's been over a week since I've heard from the Gift of Life people, and I've tried calling twice, but 4:30 isn't the best of times, I guess. So did one splash exposure ruin my ability to give marrow? Really, we were both tested. Clean. People have worse sexual histories. I guess we'll see. 

But! Set that aside!


This is my attempt of using extreme angles and composition to hide my editing problem

Because clearly, I have one.

Take care, gonna be making color combos for the rest of the night. :D

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Room recovery update. Still Day 1, and it's bad.


My bright idea to kill the mold babies  has left me with an empty bottle of bleach spray, and the closet still isn't done.

Now. The bathroom is looking pretty fine though. But at this point, I'm not sure what the benefit of bleaching down all the walls would be. Coating the whole thing from floor to ceiling in mildew resistant paint though? That sounds very attractive to me right now. Seal those babies in. Will anyone really know the difference?

The air is so thick right now, I could probably plug in the dehumidifier and come up with a mild disinfectant.

I'm whoosy as hell.

It's official. The first thing in my budget is paint. Once I get my loans in. Yes. Fuck, I'm going to Lowe's tonight and getting paint swatches.

New Quest! Lady Cave Project, mission 1: Clearing the Bad Juju.

I can't tell if I'm a little tipsy from so much bleach fumes or if I'm just super pumped about moving into this room. But I am pumped.

What's in here?
It's space!
Which means that it's time for getting this room together. I have 1 week before my roommates move in and the boyfriend moves his storage out, which gives me a little bit of time to move things over. My roommate left a few things behind, the most useful being the dehumidifier. Apparently she can pull a liter an hour in the winter. There's a lot of mold babies on my walls. 

You can't see them in these pictures. But trust me.
This closet is a mold baby nursery. Gingerly collecting humidity from that bathroom.
But it's my own bathroom right? Hell yes it is.

For for the first mission of my quest, I am Clearing the Bad Juju.  Gotta have a clean start. Let's go captain planet style.

Earth: Deep clean the bones of the house. My flooring is wood, so I'm going to mop it. If it was carpet, I'd get a cleaner. The base boards and walls need to be cleaned too. Any holes in walls or cracks need to be patched or caulked. Little fortifications of mildew will be razed without mercy.

Fire: Every light fixture needs to be examined, bulbs replaced. Then the lighting needs of the room must be assessed to see what else must be bought.

Wind: Change the damn air filter, dust the house, and let the fan run on high for a bit. Address whatever smells weren't taken care of with the deep cleaning. Thank god I don't live in a place with a previous smoker. I'd have to seal the residue in with paint.

Water: Leaks. Got to find them. Got to patch them. That wimp of a rental shower head should be replaced with something nice. Toilet needs a bleach biscuit.

Heart: I have to be honest with myself about all the crap I don't need, and get rid of it before moving into the new room. Especially anything with negative sentimental value. Like, I've got a left sock and I know the right is at my ex-boyfriends. I will never get that back. Why the hell is it still here?

This might also be a good time to do any personal rituals to establish the space as yours. I've never done a sage smudge, but if it can cover the smell of the bleach typhoon I'm going to assault the place with, I could be game.

Sitting on my throne. Kingdom in view. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Top 5 Friday!

Top 5!

1. I have an overwhelming feeling this is going to be a great year. 
2. Holy crap, I need to finish writing that CME. GET TO IT.
3. Still haven't heard from the bone marrow people. Ran into one of my old attendings from heme/onc. He told me that they usually don't get too many options from the bone marrow banks. 
4. Doing nights right now. Feels like a vacation not to pre-round.
5. Roommates are moving out early, the apartment is slowly emptying. 

Bonus 6! I have looked at so many interior design ideas on apartment therapy and pinterest, that I have clearly spoiled myself. I am sick of virtually all interior design trends, even though no one around me keeps homes like these, so for all practical purposes, they would be really unique.

Chevron, white Scandinavian style rooms, the term "pop of color", antlers and faux taxidermy, mason jars, painting antique dressers with pastel colors, wrapping canvas in wall paper, wall hangings and pillows with "words of inspiration"*, you can all go to hell. I am done with all of you, and I've never even seen you in person. Internet, you've ruined me.

Cow or sheep hide rugs, for some reason you can stay. 

And that wraps up the week. 

*It's gotten so bad, that if I see any art with words on it, my insides start to throw a fit. It doesn't matter what it says. Even "Love" scribed innocently on a pillow turns me venomous. Innocent, worthy of praise, love. At this point the only word I can think worthy of art is "Yes". Written in lipstick, smeared on the mirror. That belongs to someone else.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Memories of a med student. The worst day of my 3rd year.

I still haven't gotten word when Gift of Life wants me to get further testing, but they did call today to ask questions about some of the answers I put in my follow up. Specifically they wanted to know when I got the splash exposure I mentioned. Everyone was tested when it happened, and we were all clear. But man that was a shitty day.

I was scrubbing in for a hysterectomy. As the student you sit between the woman's legs and hold an instrument that goes through the vagina to guide the uterus into a better view for the OB/GYN, who is going through the abdomen via lap. Beyond the fact that you have to jam that uterus back, and hold still until you're shaking, which means you're going to get yelled at a lot, you'll get yelled at some more when you didn't anticipate the next spot for the uterus to go. Which is fine, I had already been through surgery and had my fair share of enlightenment in my self worth. At least you get to sit down.

As the surgery was wrapping up, the attending whipped out an instrument from the ports, flung some sort of moisture off it, which managed to easily arch over my face mask, past my glasses, and into my eye. I can only imagine this trajectory was possible through the difference in our positions.

I blinked. It was moist. And I froze.

Because I knew I should say something, but I also knew no one gave a damn, and they'd all be pissed off I interrupted the case. But I did. They asked me if I was sure. Yes. Then I got to spend the rest of the case with dirty looks from the frigid ice chief as the med student who couldn't do their damn job right. The one who interrupted the flow.

Pshh. This was the bitch who later wrote in my evaluation that I introduced myself to the patient too much. Yes. I know that doesn't make sense. Like it slowed down care for the patient to know every one on the team. Yeah, stay out of the way scum. You don't belong here.

Now that I had put everyone in a sour mood, I was given permission to break scrub, temporarily flatten myself from existence, and sneak into the hallway to call the hotline. To make the day emotions feel worse, after accusatory statements form the needle stick hot line that I must have not been wearing my mask, they told me that I must find the patient's next of kin to ask for permission to draw blood right away, and then to walk the blood down to the lab myself. Time was of the essence, and they'd had things get lost before. If I did not take care of myself, No One Would. When I returned and told the resident this, with the light of the computer glowing off her face, she glared at me like I was the greatest waste of an idiot she'd ever been forced to endure. "They want you Absolutely not. You'll wait. WE will take care of this"

Meanwhile the nurse had already handed me a red top to keep in my pocket. After turning it over my hands a few more times, I gave it back.

Inside, I was rumbling with fury, ready to explode. But I still pleasantly thanked my resident for 'looking out for me' and offering to cover the patient's end. I held my tongue until it was time to walk to lectures. I just unloaded on one of my classmates. Some how he took the edge off. "Oh yeah, man. That happened to me too. You can't do the talking to the patient yourself because of ethics, man."

His usual roll with the oddities sort of self calmed me down quite a bit. I also had a justification for the resident's behavior as long as I twisted it right, so I could pretend everything was actually going according to protocol. I attempted to ask my department chair what was the best way to go about the situation (framed in a non-accusatory, confused med student who just got conflicting info and wants to do the right thing sort of way), got a vague answer that as a low risk patient I would probably be ok, and was sent out to go on about my day. Sore, but no longer shaking. Which is all I need to function, put on the girl scout smile, and move onto the next task. Later in the day, I got a call, and was told everything was fine.

If this screws up my ability to donate bone marrow, I'll be really upset. But it's highly unlikely considering that the event was well over 4 months ago. I think they just want to be extra careful about making sure they're not sitting in the middle of a window for a blood born disease. One step at a time. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll ask me to come in for the labs when I have night call so I don't have to interrupt the team.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The next step in bone marrow donation. Contacted my coordinator today.

This morning I was determined to get the ball rolling with the gift of life registry coordinator. So I called her immediately after getting my consults in. Notes can always wait a little. As a bonus, we weren't getting any lectures from the fellow to clog up the 11:00 hour.

My coordinator was kind, and told me the conversation would take about 15 minutes. Slightly different from the 2 minute phone calls I'm used to making now.

Hi I'm so and so on so and so service. I have a consult. Patient's name is Bluh. MRN is ####. Room number is ###. They have a PMHx of bleh and were admitted for blah. Our question is THIS. Ok, thank you. Good bye. 

Fortunately, the bone marrow donation process isn't so rushed. My missing a call back wasn't the end of the world. For the next step of the process, I'd have to fill out a form that helps people decide if I'd be an alright donor. It's the same one you fill out when you join the registry, but obviously needed to be updated since it'd been two years.

Now that I've filled it out, I just have to sit on my bum for a bit and they'll tell me within in the next week or so when they want me to come into a lab for a blood draw. They set up the testing, pay for it, etc. At the same time, hopefully this guy has more than one match on the list. Those people are getting confirmatory testing too.

It'll take 4-6 weeks to process the more in depth HLA typing. Once all of these come back, the hematologist compares donor to donor to see who is best for their patient. If I'm the best match, they'll contact me. If someone else is, they'll let me know too.

At that point, it's a waiting game to see when the hematologist thinks it's best for their patient to receive marrow. Obviously they wouldn't completely obliterate a patient's bone marrow without someone lined up, but an induction process takes time and that can be variable. Patient's need to get a bone marrow biopsy after each attempt to see if their cell count is low enough to replace with a donor's marrow or stem cells. And if that bone marrow isn't running on empty, then the patient has to go through another round.

That's simplified. The point being, a donor needs to wait until they're called, and they might not know when. But they get updates every month so they can plan a little in advance.

But being me, I have to data mine a little more. I mean, really, what's my chance I'll be going through with this?

Monday, July 21, 2014 11:01 PM
  • Registered Donors 235,697
  • Matches 11,195
  • Transplants Facilitated 2,701
  • Patient Searches 67,442
  • Donor Recruitment Drives 5,811
  • Collection Facilities 8
  • Countries Serviced 43

So by signing up, there was a little less than 5% I'd be identified as a potential match. Now that I'm a potential match, there's a 24% chance of a transplant going through. Overall, 1% of donors go from start to finish and 4% of patient searches result in a transplant.

My coordinator gave me a ball park number to be chosen of 30%. So who knows, maybe the current numbers are better than the averages overall. Or maybe it's just close enough, because really, it doesn't change anything other than satisfying my curiosity.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Things I'll never get used to: Being put on a put on a pedestal by premeds.

I went to the gym tonight to get back in the swing of things. Nothing major, just the good ol' standby of legs and back. I met some undergrads there in the all too familiar scenario of a couple of guys who have a plan and are taking charge of their work out, and a tag along chick who is confused as hell, but doesn't want to step on anyone's toes or ask for too much help, so she takes it extra easy on her body and just sort of plays around with things that aren't going to get her results.

But their cage was right next to mine, and I could see she looked uncomfortable and appologetic that the guys were loading 45s when she needed much less. The guys didn't mind, clearly they were happy to have their friend along for an activity they enjoyed. When she offered to go off and get one of the smaller bars, I had to speak up.

"Hey. You can work into my sets. I'm doing a light load today and not going any higher than this". My bar had 10s.

I knew what was going to happen next. She didn't feel like she belonged in the space. So she tried to isolate herself further by offering to just wait until a new rack opened up. There was some more discomfort with if she could lift the bar or not, because she didn't know how much it weighed.

"Come on. I'll teach you. I can tell you're definitely strong enough to lift 45lbs. You'll be surprised at how powerful you can become"

She agreed and she stated that she was an APK major so she should learn how to do this. Which was cool, and I let her know that I did that in undergrad. Which leads the conversation about what I'm doing now, med school. Sure enough, she was taking MCAT in 3 days. Yeah. That's a lot for the mind and enough pressure to make you carry insecurity into every situation. Could or could not be the case today, but you've got to give people the benefit of the doubt.

So I spent a little longer at the gym, and went through my favorite leg exercises with her. Taught her about strong lifts 5x5 and let her know she could always seek me out if she saw me at the gym. And this woman was so excited her eyes were just completely lit up. She had some friends come by and told them I was her personal trainer. Which made it my turn to get embarrassed and down play myself. Then she follows it up by telling them I had her major, I'm a doctor, and her inspiration for the evening. Woah. That's a lot. Hey, med student, not doctor. Looks like it's time to start my set.

It's eye opening to step outside of the medical hierarchy where you are an annoying time sink, and have pre-meds look at you like you're some sort of goddess. The role model living. 5 or 6 years ago I was in her spot, putting people on pedestals, rubbing my own face in the dirt, and living on such high alert and suffocating self doubt that I couldn't write my personal statement without freezing. When I had to force it done, I got blasted drunk, and went into a hysterical fit of crying and typing at the same time. Oh yeah. I was a mess.

But I'm here now! Clearly life moves on.

And she'll do great. She's pulling 36's on her practice tests and her applications are only waiting on this one score.

It was good to have that perspective of how far I've come. Because I still freeze up and get nervous when I think about this up and coming match process. Same crap, maybe I'm just a little too burnt out now to get as intense about it. Or this is some form of maturity. Who knows.

The territory of something powerful.

My apartment has transformed. I am the queen bee of the hoarding hive.

Living in a college town, everyone moves during August. Yet a lot of the leases end kinda early. It's not uncommon for people to get stuck between leases. To shorten otherwise boring detail above who is moving and where, I've got three extra sets of stuff (a boyfriend who is in my apartment right now, a future roommate of my own, and a future roommate of one of the roommates who is leaving). Then my current two roommates who are going to need to move out next week, are going to get their inner archaeologist on, and excavate their treasures from the hoard. New roommate will bring in more stuff. Week after that, boyfriend pulls all of his stuff out. Somewhere in all of this I move my stuff to the big room. 

It's a bit of a mess.

I'm squirming with excitement about the ability to get my apartment back. We slid a mattress behind the couch today. Despite it all, I've maintained the necessary channels for functioning life. 

Yet there's something really exciting about all of this. I'm going to move into the new room, and this is a great opportunity to purge and start fresh. This is the time for glutting myself with pictures on apartment therapy about what I want to do with the space. It's big. There's two closets. And a little bathroom that is mine. 

I want to push myself into every corner of the room. When a person walks into that space, their reptilian brain will speak up; voicing with the gut that they are in the territory of something powerful. 

The room will function. I really only do three things in a bed room. Dressing, sleeping, and sex. All three must be tactile joy. I'm accepting nothing less.

Those are my requirements. I know what always holds me back. It's finding the justification to set aside the money to do it. Every bit is a little more student loans. As much as I love self expression through the items that decorate our bodies and homes, I never feel I deserve to spend the money. This leaves me with a closet of fading clothes that are affordable, socially appropriate, and loathed. And white walls. 

When I was younger, I wore my frugality and plainness with stubborn pride. While I still value frugality, I've come to abhor plain. Neutral. Appropriate. Pleasant. Expected. All of it does something nasty inside. 

Let me tell you why. 

At the back of my medicine clerkship syllabus there was a list of all the things we were supposed to do. And separated from all of those "helpful hints" was this: "Do NOT offend the status quo." It was a statement that apparently didn't need explanation. 

So much about medical school is social grooming to fill the role of what a doctor is supposed to be. How you must present yourself. How you must dress. What's allowed to go on your facebook. How you're allowed to speak in public. The sideways glances and big bad word of "unprofessional" getting pinned to your lapel if you don't. It's built into the curriculum in a minor way, but the culture is saturated with it. While it all makes sense, it is positively puritic to be constantly reminded of how to behave. I've never fit in with the kind of crowd that gets to decide what is socially on trend and what is not acceptable. I still don't. I've always been a little too loud. Too crude. Yet too goody two shoes. Not feminine enough. Whatever.

I was never embraced by the status quo when I was younger, and now that I am being groomed to a position of high social standing, it feels weird as hell to embrace it back. Somewhere along the line, my home has become this one place where nothing can impose on me. It's become vitally important that I shed this ridiculous notion that I can't spend any money on working towards a space I deeply enjoy unless no debts are owed, and every bill is paid in full for the next 6 months. Because it's the only place I don't have to wear the mask. And honestly, I don't even know what I look like underneath it anymore.

500 dollars in the grand scheme of things is not going to make or break me. That's the budget. And so help me I will paint that white box. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

An email.

I got an email last night saying I was a possible bone marrow match. I was so excited I couldn't fall asleep and then I went through my 12 hour shift on 4 hours sleep.

Really, I should say I found an email last night. It was already a day old. One of my patients had discharged the night before, and the other was tuned up for discharge today, so pre-rounding was a snap. With the extra time, I called the coordinator at 7AM, but low and behold, they keep regular office hours. 8:30-5, M-F. Ok, leave a message. Then 20 minutes before rounds, the intern tells me we've had a holding note to work up a new patient since 5AM. Would I like it?

Well, yes. Actually, I really would.

Learning medicine is a lot of figuring out the culture as you go. Now I know to search for holding notes. Have no idea where they're stored, but I know to hunt them down if I've got down time. And I'm kicking my ass about that one.

Between rounds, more rounds, lectures from the fellow, noon lectures, working up the patient, writing a swollen med-student style H+P, coordinating discharge for the other patient, and then getting a transfer, 5 o'clock came and smoothly rolled by before I ever had a chance to try to call that number again. I feel a bit guilty.

Yeah, in the typical hospital pattern, something gets pushed to the side for something else, and it happened on a Friday. That office is not going to be open over the weekend. It's 8:30-5:00, M-F. So I can't call until Monday. The call is just for coordination, I'm not really sure where they'll want to do the HLA typing or how long it will take to draw/run those labs. I'm assuming doing it at our center is fine.

But I'm thinking that somewhere out there is a 33yoM, with AML who might need some marrow. And I can't help but think of one of my first patients on the heme-onc floor who had AML and was fighting for his life, on an impossible chemo regimen. He was mine for the whole month. And the previous month he belonged to another classmate. Every day you walk in to update someone on their counts, just holding out in a state of emotional stead-fast for them to return to themselves, you would do nothing short of killing to get them a better chance. Then you leave the service and they disappear from you.

My next rotation was vascular surgery, and I was only able to visit him once on my post call day. I heard through the grape vine they got to the next stage in his treatment. But I really don't know what happened to my patient long term.

So I think about this other young guy, who is obviously not the same person I snuck brownies to on the heme-onc floor because I couldn't stand the fact that he was going crump any day coming, and have his string of last meals be hospital food. This isn't the same guy. He's not "my patient".

But the same diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia is really hitting me. And I've got that same fierce reaction when someone is assigned to me. They are mine. It's my responsibility to make sure they don't fall through the cracks. That's my role as a med student. Being thorough. Until there is nothing left for me to do for them, I can not rest. Seriously. I don't sleep right unless I do right.

I have to follow up on this guy. This HLA typing needs to get coordinated.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I need to go run.

I need to run today. I have to get out there.

See, I'm trying to write. I've got an idea tumbling around in my head. Just kind of wondering when I'll stop putting people on pedestals. When I was a 3rd year, just a year ago, the 4th years just seemed like they had it together. And the interns must have known so much. God, I'd genuinely be thankful for any scrap of attention I could get. Now I just want to do my work and go home. And I don't feel very awesome. But the third years have that same bubbly nervous energy. Well, a little. Personally I think their presentations are much better than mine were at this stage of the game, and they're on top of their shit.

OH FUCK. I have to write a presentation on MELD scores. Just remembered that.

For the initiated, MELD scores are based on calculations using a few basic labs that let you know how screwed over a liver is. They use this stuff for allocating livers because it correlates nicely with how desperately the patient needs one. But it works pretty well with general liver health, because if you desperately need a liver transplant, your liver is dying. You're dying. Highest MELD scores get livers first. The tie breaker becomes how long you've been waiting at that score. If your MELD gets higher, you bump up to the next tier on the list and your time gets set to zero. If your MELD gets lower (good job liver!) you fall on the waiting list to the tier below you but you get to keep the time so you're ahead of people who just got pushed to that level.

I think. Clearly I need to read more uptodate instead of skimming, and get this done.

Anyway, it's weird to be respected a little more. People let me write orders now. Nothing's changed. They just allow me to get in their hair long enough to learn something useful so I can stay out of their hair in the long run. If that makes sense. That and I've become very anal about my presentations. I have to present like I'm explaining something to a stupid, small child, but in very terse terms. For some reason, that makes me enunciate just the right way and speak with enough volume to not zone people out. I don't know. Somethings come naturally to you and some things don't. Presentations are my down fall if I'm not vicious on myself. On the bright side, I haven't gotten told to "use [my] doctor words" yet. Actually, I don't think I've heard that in a few months. So there is hope for me. Maybe I'm growing after all. Or whatever.

I need to go run. Time to get out my zombies ap again.

Monday, July 7, 2014

And then 3rd year happened.


And here I thought I was going to get all journalistic and shit. NOPE.


Well, update. Today is the first day of 4th year (Don't judge me, we're just doing orientation). 3rd year happened. Life has moved forward. And it is that time of year where a woman's fancy moves back to blogging.

I might revamp this thing. Mocking my life is therapy for me. Whether or not I keep all the old posts, or hide them for all eternity, we'll see. I've been looking at pinterest too much to fantasize about decorating my bedroom while having existential crises of whether buying a gallon of paint is considered a selfish and fool hardy way to spend my money. Which of course means that some hair brained part of me is like "Oh yeah, I should make a 'modern physician life style' blog featuring how to roll up your coat sleeves to cover your ink stains and 6 different recipes for egg salad."

This leads to dangerous thinking. One, that I am capable of producing material that is amusing for people beyond myself. Two, that I might as well attach it to my public facebook (Which Soooo has a fake name on it already) page to gain a readership.

But then I realize that yesterday I was interviewing new roommates for my place with screening questions about whether or not they'd care if I installed a fitness pole in my bedroom. The follow up response being..."you mean a stripper pole?" Yes. A stripper pole that is strong enough to hold my own weight if I climb the damn thing in an attempt to do acrobatic feats I am currently not capable of.

Surprisingly, I have found two roommates for the year despite myself.

Still not sure about using facebook as a platform for my uh..voice. There's like the southern baptist half of my family and everyone else with a secret hair up their ass.

Oh, I'm being too harsh? No. I'm projecting. I have my own secret hair up my own ass, whenever this one highly educated engineer posts things on her "health" blog about home colonic enemas with chlorophyll juice and all I can mentally picture is her tiny, petite, stepford frame bent over on itself with her ass in the air, propped up against the bathtub, and plugged into a beer bong filled with kale juice.* And that never needed to happen for me. I never needed that.

Meh, I don't know. I don't mind having unpopular opinions. But my filter isn't very good and I don't want to force them on other people just because they were unfortunate enough to sit next to me in high school.

There will be more thinking on this.

*EDIT: The irony that two years ago I posted an entire blog on how to take a stool sample in graphic detail does not escape me. I assure you. I am not aghast by poopies. It's the ridiculous, unhealthy garbage that people repackage in the name of cleanliness and "health" that drives me nuts. On top of that, there is this weird, "ladies, you can have it all" "live the beautiful life" marketing spin to wifey wash the dangerously non-FDA approved, upsetting waste of time and money which people pick up, share peer to peer on pinterest, and glamorize with dslr cameras and brightness settings. Then I get to see patients on my family rotation who are freaking out that they haven't pooped in 2 days after an explosive bout of laxative/enema use or that they're wired to hell from their "natural adrenal support supplements" which they never suspected would give them side effects. Yeah. It hurts people.

I just want honesty, man.

But I still love me some white washed instagrams with the brightness turned up. They're just so fairy like.