Archive for category Work

On becoming the physician I want to be

As I reflect on M3 year, some experiences stand out:

The first time my pager went off, and I realized I did not know how to read a page. I have since figured it out. That, and how to take a history, do an appropriate exam, write a note, put in orders, talk to nurses, staff with the Attending, scrub in to surgery, get along with residents, tie knots. So. Many. Things. So many MORE things to learn still.

The time I tried to hug a patient during Psychiatry. Turned out she was not a hugger. I could have sworn she was coming in for a hug…maybe changed her mind at the last minute. It was ok though. I patted her back. I think she felt comforted despite my awkwardness

The time I had to do a pelvic exam in Family Medicine, and I “lost” the cervix. Turns out the lady had not had a hysterectomy, and she did, in fact, have a cervix. I had to call for help. And I got help. And nobody was upset.

The time I had my first night shift in Ob/Gyn. Here’s how that went:

Showed up at 7:30pm. Pumped. This is gonna be great.
Coffee: check! Tea for later: check! Snacks: check, check! Let’s have some babies!!

9:40pm: the first patient is pushing. Sweet. Delivers a healthy baby. I got to hand the doc the hemostats. I’m pretty sure I gave her the wrong ones. It’s all good!

11:30pm: second delivery! I mostly just stood there. Still it’s fun. I could do this all night.

12:30am: ER consult. Not that I’m tired, but I wouldn’t say no to a quick nap. 1:25am: trying to study. Words look blurry

An hour later…

1:35am: pretty sure time is slowing down. Oh I know…tea time!!

2:00am: got called in to retract. Finally, something to do. Retracted like a pro. Didn’t drop anything. Doctor thanked me. No, no…thank YOU doc.

3:15am: head bob

3:25am: pretty sure I just did the head bob again. This is embarrassing.

3:26am: head bob

4:00am: reading. And head bobbing.

4:30am: can’t recall if I’ve ever been this tired

5:30am: where am I? Oh yeah reading. Why won’t these cervixes dilate?!?

6:30am: morning people are trickling in. They look so fresh.

7:30am: someone tells me I look like I just got off the night shift…

It was a long night but I made it.

All the times I got sad, mad and frustrated during Neurology. Because Neurology cases can be saddening, maddening and frustrating. I’ve never felt more helpless and useless. I found myself spending time just listening to the patients, because sometimes there’s nothing you can do but listen.

The time I did CPR on a patient during Internal Medicine. And then she died. For some reason I did not expect my first code to die. Afterall, it’s my first code. But you know, it’s not about me.

The time I had a bad experience with an attending, and I hesitated to report it. The metal anguish I went through was insane. Me, report an attending? But then the attending will know where it’s coming from. What if I’m just overreacting? But I knew I was not overreacting. So I did the right thing and told the right people.

The time I broke the sterile field during a Gynecological Surgery. I got kicked out of the surgery. I never thought I’d survive the humiliation. But I did.

All the times I thought I wouldn’t make it through the day, but proceeded to not only make it through the day, but I made it through the week, through the month, through the semester and through the year.

So how does all this relate to becoming the physician I want to be? I realize that sometimes I will be more tired than I ever thought imaginable. I am learning to rest and recharge whenever I get the opportunity. I am learning to be humble, to give comfort to my patients in a way that works best for them, to not take myself too seriously. I have learned to ask for help when I need it. (seriously, ALWAYS ask for help). I am learning to trust my instincts and to do right thing. Even when doing the right thing is very hard.




“Put him in the exersaucer”

Basically, Big T wanted us to confine Little T so that Little T would not mess with his trains.

That’s just not right…

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with the exersaucer, and we do use it on ocassion. In fact, sometimes Little T himself will go stand up against it and play with the toys, so we just put him in it. But Big T suggesting that Little T should go in it just for his own convenience is a little…diabolical.

Little T took his first step on Saturday evening. Pretty soon he’ll be walking for real, and then Big T will be in real trouble. Little T is also sprouting another tooth. Just milestones all over the place.

Speaking of milestones, I recently reached one at work, and I am really excited that things are going so well 🙂

Today is one of those days when I feel like I’m doing the whole wife, mom, phd thing well. I’m really doing it. I know days will come when I won’t feel so accomplished. I had better bask in the glow today.

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“Goodmorning Mommy”

This particular quote by Big T is neither groundbreaking nor earthshattering. The boy is almost 4. He does know how to say goodmorning. In context. In two languages. This morning though…this morning, he saw me when he woke up, and he said “good morning, mommy” COMPLETELY UNPROVOKED! I mean, he was not his usual grumpy-face-I-hate-mornings self. He was…agreeable.

He did draw the line at giving me a goodmorning kiss though. I know, he gave me an inch and I tried to take a mile.

It totally made my day. Which was a good thing. Not that my day went downhill after that. The day was ok. Good, even. My experiments are working (for the most part) The Boss paid me a few compliments about my work, saying things like “Good work” and “You would be an outstanding candidate (for a particular fellowship)” and “you rock my world”. OK, not so much the last one…

But still. yet. I am not at ease. I am worried today. About several things. Experiments being one of them. The work I am doing is has so much potential…possibly will bring a greater understanding to the field… I am worried about contamination, worried about backing up ALL my data, and just worried in general that people may have a hard time buying it. But I have to be confident in the fact that I have done good work.  I have to stay focused, and keep working, make sure I have all the right controls, make sure I keep backing up data and samples…

Also I am worried about money. Daycare dollars were due today. OUCH! We also need to purchase at least 3 new car seats for the boys. DOUBLE OUCH!!

I have to keep trusting God. He is the one that has provided ALL our needs thus far!

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PAPER GOT ACCEPTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


“We’re exercising”

I did one of those ExerciseTV workouts today. Of course, Big T would not be left out. Since he has way, way, way more energy than I do, I wound up winded and worn out while he was his jolly old energetic self. In case anyone is interested, I did the 20 minute sweat by Holly Perkins. I did sweat. Not too much, but it felt pretty good.

This is sad. I was out performed by a 3 year old.

I need help.


The work week last week was productive but tedious. I was basically doing things a trained monkey could do. They are called DNA minipreps. They are necessary. Essential, even. But after doing about 70 of them over 2 days last week, I was pretty much falling asleep at my bench. Next time, I think I will delegate the miniprepping to someone else. But I always feel weird about doing that. My type A personality won’t let me hand off the simplest of tasks to someone else who is more than capable of handling it, and who has more free time to actually do those sorts of things for me, and has volunteered to do them for me.

I seriously need help.

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“Can I come with you to your office?”

Back to work tomorrow. Well, technically, it was back to work yesterday. I spent about 4 hours in the lab,  just to get a good headstart on the work week. For Mr. T, work begins today.

So we’re back to the routine. I have to get organized, pack all the stuff for preschool/daycare, make and pack up lunches, make sure school clothes are clean and organized.

busy, busy, busy…

A good kind of busy. The kind of busy one has when things are moving forward, and there is a general progression toward a specific goal.  But I must always remind myself to have fun! Live a joyful life, do the things that make me happy, appreciate my family and friends, and hug my babies extra tight every opportunity I get.

I have been able to spend a lot of time with  my boys these last 10 days. I will go back to missing them once the work week begins. It is the life of a working mom.

But they will be OK. And I will be OK. 🙂

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“say da-da”

It was too cute. Big T was teaching Little T the fundamentals of language and communication. Big T had his arm around his baby brother, and tried to get him to say “da-da”. Little T just smiled and drooled. It really was such a sweet scene. My children, interacting with one another and there was no crying or yelling.

Work this week is going to be challenging, seeing as I am in holiday mode already. God help me!

I am listening to old school Christmas music on pandora ( while I work. You know, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald… LOVE IT!!  This is totally making the boring job of updating  my lab notebook  a lot more bearable. I much would rather start new experiments, but  a) short work week…how much can I really accomplish experiment-wise and   b) I have to be responsible about keeping a good lab notebook. I don’t want to be one of those cautionary tales of how not to keep a lab notebook…

*pausing here to pat myself on the back for being such a good, organized scientist*

Speaking of lab notebooks, I came across this site from Swathmore College with advice/tips on how to keep a good lab notebook. some good advice there. I especially like the side-by-side testing of different pens. Someone actually took the time to do all that. And I think it’s kinda cool.

So there ya go…3 random thoughts in one blog post.

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“I sure had fun”

Big T had a fun time at The Boss’ Christmas party. This had everything to do with the fact that The Boss has 2 young sons and their play room (which she was gracious enough to allow us to use) was chock-full of every little boy toy imaginable (hehe. I know, I said boy toy. But y’all now what I meant). Big T was in heaven in that play room. He did not want to leave. On the way home, he lets out this HUGE sigh, followed by “I sure had fun tonight”. It was too cute!

What a whirlwind weekend. The Christmas musical was way fun, and my dear friend Cheryl who played the lead role was phenomenal! I had a great time doing it too :). I got to hang out with friends while at the same time doing something that honors God. So yay!

Tomorrow – work; send out Christmas cards (late! I know. I may not even do them, but I already bought a bunch so I might as well try); Tackle that ever growing mountain of laundry. Seriously, where does it come from??? Maybe we should all be nudists, then I won’t have to deal with all that laundry. Ah crap, I forgot…nudist in winter = very bad idea.

Oh, and I’m going to attempt to make Christmas cookies. I think I’ll make shortbread.

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