Saturday, December 22, 2012

A New Day Dawns

The sky is always darkest before the dawn
When a "code blue" is called in the hospital it means that a patient is not breathing and that every doctor and nurse goes running to help that patient. As a newly minted doctor, when our second code blue was called last night I knew I was not going to be very helpful. But as I observed my colleagues attempt to save the patient's life, my focus and heart were drawn to the distraught parents weeping in the corner of the room.

I maneuvered toward them as best I could in the crowded room. They clung to each other as they wept over their child. I put my arms around the mother to help her stand strong for her child. I explained as best I could every detail to the father as the team struggled to save his baby. And I mustered all my strength to keep from weeping with them. For though I can't fathom the pain of losing a child, I too am losing a family member to cancer.

My father was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma last January. We have known for a while this was a possibility, but the news still stung. I won't lie, it took me 6 months of therapy to fully grasp all my emotions. And lately, as his prognosis has gotten shorter and his options fewer and his quality of life poorer, I find that I am distancing myself from the situation.

When I was home for Thanksgiving, my dad had a really bad day, which included some incontinence. Without thinking, I put him in the shower and began to clean. I didn't realize I had completely gone into "work-mode" and shut off all emotional ties. How terrible! It wasn't until later that I realized what I had done and how cold that must have seemed to him.

My dad was admitted to the hospital again yesterday for critical blood counts. And as I stood next to that family I wondered who would be standing next to my family when we were in the same situation, something not too far down the road. And then I thought about the families who lost loved ones in Newtown, CT, last week. Who was there with them? Who was with each life before it was taken too early?

I left the hospital with a heavy heart and I am writing this with a heavier one. Though I am on my way to see my family, I know this could be the last time I see my dad alive or as well as he is. And I remind myself we do not know the hour or the day, we can only enjoy the now.

I want to leave you with that. Enjoy the now. Don't waste it. Don't spend it fighting. Don't part without I love you's. Embrace it! Live in it! Be it!

Enjoy the now.

Monday, August 20, 2012

In the words of Martha Washington....

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not really living; like I'm missing out on life; like I took a wrong turn somewhere...

I don't know how it happened. How I got here. How I seemingly fell asleep for so long in my own life.

This isn't the first time I've tried to write on this topic. I have a feeling it won't be the last either. It's not easy for me to write, I hate admitting my own insecurities. Nonetheless, I know I will have to confront it eventually.

I have spent the last 10 years of my life working toward this place I am now; more specifically I have spent the most recent 4 years becoming a doctor. During all of that work and adventure and learning it seems time has flown by and I forgot to grow up.

I still feel like I'm 18! And all my friends have grown up without me. Do you remember that movie "13 Going On 30"? You know, the one with Jennifer Garner where she suddenly wakes up 17 years later and she hasn't really lived her life yet. I feel like during the time I spent in college, traveling, applying to and surviving medical school everything kept going and I didn't change one bit.

I love my job! Don't think I don't. I am so grateful to wake up each morning and head off to the hospital to do what I love for people who truly need my help. But....

I am quickly on my way to 30 and I'm still single. And, let's be honest, I have very few prospects at this point... And now I have so few single friends, I am becoming a professional 3rd wheel!

Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my friends and it brings me endless joy to see them happy with their significant other. I am so grateful that my friends have chosen to fall in love with and commit their to some pretty amazing people. It is really fun to spend time with my friends when I (and they) get along so well with their SO's.

And yet, I am bummed. I hate being the single one, ALWAYS the single one. Often the one to whom my friends say, "We want/wanted/would set you up with _____".... Lord knows I need the help. Nonetheless, night after night, I sit at home alone. I go to my friends' weddings alone. I send myself flowers for Valentine's Day.

Then, when I do finally come to the point of feeling almost at ease with my single status, a MILLION and one friends announce on Facebook that they're expecting. Crap! And just when I thought being single was ok...

I think of the amazing relationships and lives my friends are creating and wonder when will it happen for me? When will I find my love? Or have I already let it slip through my fingers? Have I missed out on the chance to build a family and be a mother, wife, lover? And if I have, am I ok with that?

And then, I take a deep breath and let it go.
I close that part of my heart and turn back to the task at hand.
There are children out there who need healing.
There are parents who need teaching.
There is work to be done.
I pick my head up, I pull my shoulders back, I put on my smile.
I put aside my grief.
I step back into my reality and remember why I am doing this.
I am Wonder Woman.
I am a Confident Woman.
I am a Doctor Woman.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Gentleman

I love this quote!
Couldn't figure out how to pin it...thus the shameless use of my blog to pin it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

How to Fix Healthcare

I am incredibly appalled at this article!

Mr Lehrer clearly did not do his research. He has no idea how much a year of medical school costs; I WISH it was only $20,000 a year! Sheesh!!! He has no idea how much doctors really make. Maybe $200,000 is possibly earned in a given year by a primary care physician, but factoring in overhead costs and paying off loans there is no way that a basic PCP earns that much money.

And then there is this retort:

Wow! And by a real doctor too. I think he nailed it! Well almost all of it.

I know most people in the great US of A have concerns over their healthcare and the rising costs. If you know me via Facebook you have probably read a status update or two from me bemoaning my own issues with my insurance company. First they doubled my monthly payment because I was "prime baby-making age" (yes, those are the exact words). Then they decided to no longer cover my Well Woman visits to my doctor. Since when is it not recommended to get an annual physical? Most recently, they announced they would no longer cover "elective" blood work. Who decides what is "elective" or not? Gah!

Anywho, I don't see why so many people blame doctors. I understand that over the years they have gotten a bad name from a few "doctors" who believe it is ok to over charge and do unnecessary procedures. But most doctors just want to help. The majority of people in medicine don't do it for the money, though it is nice. If we were doing it for the money, we wouldn't be doing medicine because the initial costs are so high! I owed over $250,000 in loans on the day I graduated from medical school, and in just a few short weeks all those loans will begin to accrue interest at incredible rates of 6.8% and 8%.

I wish Mr Lehrer had addressed actual ways to lower healthcare costs other than having a government mandated payer system. If you want to lower healthcare costs in the US, stop whining and take care of yourself! It is so much cheaper in the long run to eat good food, exercise, and stay clean. The most common cause of high blood pressure is dehydration and extra weight. The most common reason for knee replacement/back surgery/gallbladder removal is obesity.

But I get it. Who wants to get their butt off the couch? Why should I take care of myself when no one else does? Why do I pay to go to the hospital when all the other people there are on Medicare/Medicaid and don't have to pay? Why would I drive to the hospital when I could just get a "free" ambulance to take me and my baby with diaper rash in? Why should I get a job when I can just get on disability and have the government pay my bills? Why should I take care of my children, they can walk and take care of themselves right?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why am I doing this again?

There are some days, many days where I question what I'm doing with my life.

When you're the "smart one", the one who doesn't have to study, the one who is always told "you should be a doctor", it seems as though your life is all laid out for you. And it was. Well sort of.

Then the doubts begin. You fail a test. You fail another test. You learn what rejection feels like. You realize how much you do not succeed in your endeavors. You hurt others around you because you keep trying harder and harder to succeed and neglect relationships. 

Work begins and never ends. Ever. All you do is work. And work. And keep working. And people keep asking things from you. Stupid things. And they ask idiotic questions. I mean, really really dumb things... like "How do I not get constipated?" and "How could I be pregnant?" and "Why aren't you giving me more Lortab?"

But then, then something happens to make it all worthwhile. Something that renews your faith in humanity and in your own self.

I was in the ED and picked up a patient with a "foot wound". It had been a long day already and I had a sinking feeling that this would be just another uncontrolled-diabetic-overweight-pain-pill-seeking-angry-patient. The patient was none of those things. And the wound on the foot was not trivial. The patient had seen several doctors in the previous week. As we discussed health history and the history of this foot wound, I began my physical examination. 

I am consistently made fun of in the ED because I do a full exam on all my patients. I keep telling myself that it's good for my education and I'm making myself a better doctor, but I really want to not do it all the same. 

Nonetheless, I did my full exam. When I touched the patient's felt like a piece of fragile bubble wrap. I immediately called surgery.

I got lucky. And, I guess, so did the patient. I could have just ignored the complaint or skimped on my examination. But I didn't. And my patient lived. 

So, to answer my question: I do it to save lives; for moments when my patient grabs my hand, looks me in the eye, and says, "Thank you. Thank you for helping me"; for the realization that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. 
I apologize for the "woe-is-me" nature of this post. But I have a feeling I'm going to need this reminder in the future. Probably more than once.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Statue of Liberty (not in NYC)

Happy Independence Day on this the 4th of July, 2012!

I hope that all of the American readers are enjoying the full extent of backyard BBQ's, mindful memorials, and fun with friends and family and fireworks! And for those not in the US of A, I hope you are most certainly enjoying this lovely July day as well!

I promise that as soon as the local cable/internet supplier gets around to connecting me full time to the World Wide Web, I will return to regular blogging and promise to show you updates of my new bungalow and life in the Midwest.

For now, I'll regale you with a tale of history and stress relief and Americana.

I've been super busy orientating and working and trying to get the gas turned on at my bungalow... It's been a tad stressful. I've been resorting to going for walks late at night in my neighborhood after I get home from work because I can't watch TV or get online and it's so darn hot during the day!

On one of these walks, I ventured down the far side of a larger street and noticed a small school. When I arrived at the corner of said school, I was surprised to find the Statue of Liberty!
There she was! Standing there, in all her glory in front of this little school! After my adventures in NYC (here and here and here), imagine my surprise at finding the Lady in Tulsa, Oklahoma! WHAT???

Well, being the highly educated young woman I am, I did a little research into why this symbol of America was in my neighborhood. After asking the all-knowing Google, I learned that in the 1950's, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, Boy Scout troops across the country erected over 200 replica statues in 39 different states. The theme of the project was "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty". The project was started by J.P. Whitaker of Kansas City. He commissioned a Chicago company to make the statues, and troops or cities across the nation were allowed to purchase them and the scouts would erect them.

Scouts erecting one such statue (circa 1951)
The statue I found has this plaque at its base:

 "With the faith and courage of their forefathers who made possible the freedom of these united states
The Boy Scouts of America
Dedicate this replica of the Statue of Liberty as a pledge of everlasting fidelity and loyalty
40th anniversary crusade to Strengthen the Arm of Liberty

Another statue is on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Little did I know, but I was just a few hours away from it!
Obviously, the Boy Scouts weren't the first to erect replicas of this iconic statue. In my researching, I found there are many such copies all over the world! One of the most well known would have to be the reproduction in Paris, France. 
Many others are found around Europe. There are several in Asia too. Including this one in Tokyo Bay, Tokyo, Japan.
Some of the other places in the US include a statue in the New York New York in Las Vegas
 There's even one made out of Legos in LegoLand!

 I know I've seen this one before, but I don't think I really ever acknowledged that it was there! 
Alki Beach, Seattle, Washington
 The Boy Scouts of America have a website where they are looking for pictures and locations of the statues they erected in the 1950's. They have a list of the different cities and locations where the replicas were registered. Check it out. There might be a statue in your city and you never even knew!
I didn't mean to get the sun in this pic, but I actually kind of like it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I decided recently that I want to start wearing lipstick.

Yes, I'm a professional woman and my 30's are looming, but I've never really worn lipstick. I'm more of a chap stick kinda girl.

Lipstick is scary. Lipstick is a commitment. Lipstick means I might actually be a grownup. Wearing lipstick means you have to keep wearing lipstick.

Lipstick is also an art. You can't just slap it on. It has to complement your skin tone, your hair color, your outfit, and the rest of your makeup. Lipstick runs the gamut from neutral/nude to ba-da-bling!

I've been noticing a trend over the last few years among celebrities and fashion of this bold red lip. I love it.

It's a beautiful and classy way of wearing lipstick.

 The only problem I have with this is that my hair is red/auburn. I'm not a brunette or blond.... Don't get me wrong, I love my hair the color it is, but I'm wary of wearing red lipstick/shirts/etc.

Won't it wash me out or make me look overdone?

So, I did what any other 20 something with the internet would do, I went to the all-knowing Google and looked for some redheads wearing lipstick. There are a lot of options out there. Some of my favorites are below.
I love the coral with the smokey eye! It's not a red, but it's a cute and fresh option.
This is a bold red option. Her hair is more coppery than mine, but I love how it doesn't wash her out.
I'm not an LL fan, but I she has a more olive skin tone like I do and this nude lip intrigues me.
 So, all that said, I went out and bought some lipstick. I started with a coral that I really liked. And then, on a whim, I bought this bold red! Eeek!

The coral
And then the red
I'll admit, I really like the coral. I feel way more comfortable wearing it around. I'll be keeping the red, though. I'll probably bust it out from time to time for fun occasions. 

Something I learned on this adventure, wear lip liner when wearing red lipstick. Otherwise you end up with the lipstick staining the skin around your lips and making you look like you put on your lipstick in a hurricane.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Orange Jumpsuit

While we were in Hawaii at the first wedding of my aforementioned 3 week extravaganza vacation, my sister bestowed a book on me.

Now if you don't know my sister, you may not understand what a monumental occasion this is. My mom and I are the readers of the family, the rest of them just do it because they have to. In fact, lil bro usually won't read unless he's forced to. He says it's something to do with my mom not knowing she was pregnant with him....but that's for another blog post...

Let me clarify: lil sis giving me a book is nothing new. I usually get books for birthdays and Christmas, I'm a reader, it's an easy gift to get me a book because chances are I'll really like it. This particular occasion was something new, lil sis had read the book before she gave it to me. AND she was giving it to me because she liked it so much she just knew I had to read it! Proud big sis moment, for sure! Usually it's the other way around, me giving her books to read because I think she should read them.

So, back to the book. It's called Orange Jumpsuit: Letters to the God of Freedom by Tara Leigh Cobble.
quick note: I read this book of my own volition and get no kickbacks or schwag for commenting about it on my blog
I. Loved. This. Book!

It was wonderfully written. Ms Cobble has a unique style of writing and broached subjects that I myself am usually unwilling to think about.

One of the things she writes about is following God's calling in her life, even though it goes against what every fiber of her being wants. That's a really tough thing to do. 

I've been trying to challenge myself in this way too; trying to let my heart follow the God-pulls in my life. It is incredibly frustrating. The things I want, the luxuries and people and comforts, are not usually what God wants. Grr! Why? But I'm sticking with it. 

What does it mean, exactly, you might be asking yourself. Well, it doesn't mean that I walk around barefoot, giving other people my clothes, and eating out of trash cans. That's just silly talk. But it does mean I'm giving to others instead of myself. Instead of buying myself a latte from Starbucks, a true luxury of mine, I'm going to the store to purchase a health need for my church pastor. Don't ask me why I feel like I need to buy him this, but on Sunday at church, I was so moved to get up and go to the store right then and there I knew I was supposed to do it. Instead of browsing online stores for things to buy for my new house in Tulsa, I'm going to put my time and energy to a cause a friend of mine is involved with instead. 

It means I'm going to be at true peace with my decision to move to Tulsa instead of staying in Detroit where I'm comfortable. This has been a source of major anxiety and grief for me. I have grown to love this city and the people in it so much! I can't even tell you. I will miss my church and every single member, even the pimps and the crazies. I will miss my friends and going to Tigers/Lions/Redwings games; Tulsa doesn't have any major league teams. I am going to miss all the water and trees. I will miss the history. Why do I have to go? Detroit is like my second Seattle!! 

I will trust. Trust doesn't come easily to me, just ask my therapist.... But I'll do it. 

Here's one of Tara Leigh's songs called "Naming the Dog" -- I can so relate...I'm sure many of us girls can!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Adventures at Home for the Long Weekend

I'm cat sitting. I've been cat sitting for over a week now. I forgot to tell you. I'm sure you've survived just fine without this knowledge.
This cat is ridiculous. I'm not kidding. Now, I've cat-sat this cat before, so I know the ridiculosities of which she is capable.
Usually, I watch her in her home, as her mommy and daddy and nutso puppy-sister lived a couple miles from me. However, they recently moved to Lansing, MI (the capitol city of Michigan, home to Burt Reynolds and Steven Seagal, and the city in which Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson lives in his movie Tooth Fairy.)
Moving on.

The first time I watched Lucky (the cat), her family had been gone a couple days and she was sensory deprived! I couldn't get away from her. She followed me around like a puppy and would roll around on the floor/table/bed, whichever was nearest, just waiting for me to love on her. However, as with most cats, she only wanted me to pet her to her hearts content, any more and she'd nip or swat.
This time she's at my apartment, and it's just been the 2 of us. She's pretty much ignored me the entire time. Unless she wants food. When she wants food, she lets you know!
Mostly she just hides under my bed. But last night, she did something odd...

My apartment is a 2 bedroom, but the rooms are separated by our living room/dining room/kitchen area. Last night I was sitting on the couch in the living room being fairly unproductive as per usual when I saw a little grey head poke around the doorway to my room. Lucky was watching for me watching for her.
just peeking

10:42pm - Lucky saw I wasn't watching for her, she sneaked across the living space to H's room.
10:47pm - Lucky bolted back to my room.
11:06pm - Lucky strolled to the kitchen.
11:07pm - Lucky knocked 1/2 the food in her bowl onto the kitchen floor
11:11pm - Lucky walked back to my room.
11:23pm - Lucky sauntered through the living room to H's room.
11:30pm - Lucky ignored me as she walked in front of the couch toward the TV and decided to play on the few boxes I've packed and bat at the blinds
11:32pm - the blinds are no longer interesting. Lucky hides behind the couch.
11:38pm - Lucky is back in the kitchen eating her spilled food off the floor
11:41pm - I get up to use the bathroom, Lucky ignores me.
11:42pm - Lucky growls at me when I come back from the bathroom.
11:44pm - Lucky starts rolling around in (yes IN) the myriad of boxes strewn about the floor.
11:57pm - I head to bed. Lucky looks at me as if to say, "Seriously? You're going to bed right now? LAME! What are you, like 80? Boooooo!"

cat is very disappointed in you
So, this morning, I get up and make coffee and start watching the Today Show and out strolls Lucky. She acknowledges me with a nod and heads into the kitchen. Then she sits at the corner of the kitchen and the living room and stares at me.
Then she decided she wanted belly rubs. She rolled around on the floor.
Looked up at me to see if I saw her. Rolled again on the floor.
So I proceeded to oblige her. She quickly got tired of the petting and ran away from me. She's been sulking under my bed ever since. I'm not really sure why. I filled her bowl. She has water, even though she decided to drink out of the sink this morning....

From what I've read, I've surmised she is either:

  • pissed at me for the rainy weather we're having here in the D 
  • hungover, though I swear I only let her have 1 drink last night!
  • plotting to kill me
I'm pretty sure she's plotting to kill me.  She has 6 of the 9 warning signs, and 2 she doesn't have because she's not allowed outside. Maybe I should go away for Memorial Day Weekend afterall....

Friday, May 25, 2012


As I mentioned Wednesday, I am moving next month. 

This may seem like an excessive amount of information on my new adventure to some people, but I'm actually pretty excited. Ok I. Am. STOKED!!!

As a medical student, I worked my butt off and I paid to do it every day. When I move to Tulsa, I'll be working as a Resident Doctor and getting PAID to do it. My hours will get worse, but they'll be paying me!

I am approved for a house in Tulsa!
Actually, it's not a house, its actually a bungalow. I'm going to live in a bungalow! Eek!

that's the front of my bungalow!
I have a porch! and it has a ceiling fan! hope it's ready for some plants
front room complete with a fireplace!
dining room with built-in shelving
tiniest kitchen on the planet!
Seriously. It is the smallest kitchen ever. I don't think my entire rear end actually fits in it all at the same time.... So if you come over and want to help me cook, it just won't work out. BUT you can feel free to cook for me, provided your rear end isn't too much larger than mine...

Can you tell I'm smitten???

I promise to post lots of pics when I move in! I can't wait to put all my own stuff in there! Gosh I hope it all fits....

Also, did you see I got a mention from AsTheCrackerheadCrumbles? So nice! I'm pleased someone is entertained by my rambles!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Long time, no blog!

I'm not very good at this thing. Sorry readers. I am so flighty, especially lately since I'm OFFICIALLY DONE WITH SCHOOL, I forget that I actually have a blog that I write at.... Silly me....

I apologize. That was a horrible apology. I apologize. I lack the commitment to blog on the regular....

Anywho, I've been packing. YAY! I can't believe I'm moving again! This will be my 4th move in the last 4 years....

See my moving strategy?
Books strewn everywhere.

Boxes in random places (yeah, I got them from the recycle bin at the local library).

Computer and coffee easily accessed. TV on.... I should probably turn the tv off....

I am not very good at moving. Especially when I move away from a city I've grown to love. I tend to procrastinate a lot. A LOT! I find other things to keep me distracted, like the internet or my DVR.

I also tend to tell myself silly things like,

"Don't pack those winter sweaters yet, this is Michigan and you might need them the first week of June because, you never know, it might snow!"


"The first things that need to go into that giant moving thing are your mattress and couches, and you need those, 'cause you're not going to sleep on the floor right?, so you should just go to the pool and enjoy the 80 degree weather and pack the day before you move out."


"You have plenty of time and money. Silly Alicia...."

Dear brain, 
Please shut up!
Love, me

I will give myself a little credit: I've pack ALL of my dvd's and ALL of my novels. Not to mention that my electronics (aside from the aforementioned laptop) and crafts are packed too! Though, I confess, they were never really unpacked from the previous move....

On a complete side note, I love what blogger has done with the new composition page! This is probably old news, that shows how long it's been since I've blogged regularly.... If you don't use blogger, please disregard this.

I'll be back tomorrow, never fear. But now I'm going to finish watching Ellen, she's got Will Smith on! Love that man!!! Have you seen the new Men in Black 3 trailer?