Sunday, October 30, 2011

My 25th Birthday!

25 years old..a quarter of a century, oh my. There have been so many people that have done so much more with their lives in their first 25 years than I; I sometimes feel like I haven't accomplished anything I wanted to by this age. I thought I would be married, possibly with kids, and certainly I would be working a full-time job, earning and saving money to spend on great holidays. I thought I'd have a house, a new car...loads of "mommy-daddy couples" as friends and play dates for the baby. I thought I would have figured out what I want to do with my life by now, and I definitely thought I would be already doing it. But here I am. I haven't done any of those things...and so many of my high school friends have done many of the things I wanted to have done by my 25th birthday! But here I am. I have no income, I have no job, I haven't decided on what I actually want to be when I grow up, I'm still getting my education, I certainly don't have kids (although I have at least found the man I want to be the father!), I have a nice apartment but it's not a home. Medical school has set my "goals for my 25th birthday" behind significantly. It really has messed up my life. Not only has life been put on hold for the past 3 years, but I've also lost bits of myself along the way and exchanged them for more professional (and admittedly less fun) replacements. And the pressure of being a future doctor is a huge stress. I am so focused on being the best physician I can be that by the time I come home or have a day off, I am exhausted. If I'm not exhausted, I study. If there is nothing to study, I have forgotten the things that I used to do with my free time - what did I enjoy doing when I had time to waste? I honestly can't even remember! So, obviously, this whole turning-25-thing has had me a bit on edge. My life is nothing like I expected it to be at this point in time. But I know that when things start to pick up, when I get my MD and I start working and contributing to society, when I start making some sort of income (at this point I would gladly accept minimum wage so long as it was a paycheck!), things will fall into place better than I could possibly dare to dream. I just need to be patient...but this waiting is really the hardest part. I want to be a doctor now, I want to have a home, I want to have a wedding, I want to travel the world, I want to have kids...I don't want to wait! But I will, because I know it will all be worth it soon enough!

Happily ignorant of the fact that I've turned 25, I celebrated my birthday several times and have really been truly spoiled. Mike has given me a gift that I have wanted since as far back as I can remember. He knows how much I've been dreading turning 25 and how my life isn't what I thought it would be, so he has done his best to make it better. I'll just be blunt and tell you all my biggest insecurity - I hate my teeth. They've never been straight, and as time has gone by, they have continued to move and tilt and rearrange themselves into even less desirable positions. When I was in the normal age for braces, my teeth were alright and I chose not to get those huge, ugly metal braces just to fix some minor problems. But now, my teeth are just crooked. So Mike got in touch with a few orthodontists, set me up for appointments, and gave me the go-ahead to get Invisalign. It will put us in a pinch for money unless Mike's employment authorization goes through fairly quickly, but we'll make it work. I will have gorgeous, perfectly straight teeth before our wedding and before I receive my M.D. I'm ecstatic! :) :) :)

Mike also found my a few things that I have been lusting over:

Remember that gorgeous skirt that was out of my size at Next? I talked about it a few weeks back. Well, Mike scoured the internet and found it - in my size - from an American department store that is linked to Next! Ordered the size 6, and surprised me with it a day after my birthday. I opened it up, soooo excited to try it on, only to find that they had sent us an American size 6 - which is an English size 10. Needless to say it didn't quite fit! I am devastated. I suppose something better will come along...

Mike has also found a great deal on a lens that I've been looking into purchasing for my camera. It's a wide-angle, fish-eye lens, and I absolutely love it! It's only a beginner lens (that is, it wasn't over $700), but it does give the photos a cool effect and will definitely help with my creativity. I've been playing with it nonstop since I opened it up!

Here are a few photos that I have taken with my fisheye lens:

Mike and I went out and purchased a really nice Tassimo coffee maker. We had some gift cards (some of the kids he coaches have parents that like to say "Thank you" via gift cards - we love that!), so we went ahead and did a splurge on something that we could both enjoy. It hasn't let us down.

I love the espresso in the mornings, lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolates, and even caramel macchiatos!  We love it.

Mike also got me an I-Phone armband to use while I run. I had been complaining of having to hold my I-Phone as I run or when we walk the dog, and he knew I would find some good use out of an armband. So thoughtful!

Mike's mum and dad sent me over a gift from England - another charm for my Links of London bracelet! I now have a dog, a heart, a D, and a musical eighth note. I love it! I also love that they know me well enough to put together a charm bracelet of things that I would choose for myself. I wasn't expecting anything to come in the mail, so I was surprised to find a little package from England with such a thoughtful gift!

My mom and dad had asked me for a list of things I might like for my birthday/Christmas, but of course I couldn't think of anything. I already have all I need, and I don't have time for hobbies, and I can't really expand on things for the house as I will be leaving the US before too long. But I can always use clothes and shoes! So they got me two pairs of boots that I absolutely adore! I've scoured the city for the perfect pair of boots, and the ones I got are the best I have found! They are too cute! And I got a few pairs of "dress socks" (I find it funny that we always make a distinction between "dress socks" and "every-day socks"!), which will be nice to wear with my work outfits.

Mom and Dad also gave me a decorative wine bottle that they found while they were on a mini-vacation in Amish Country a few weeks back. Mom and I also drank a bottle of Amish-made white wine, which was delicious! They are so thoughtful. Mom knows my favorite wine is white, and even though she's not a big wine connoisseur, she enjoyed a few glasses with me. It was really sweet.

We had a little family party today to celebrate my birthday - better late than never. It was so nice to have the whole family together, it certainly doesn't happen often enough. Luke is pulling himself up (he'll be walking in no time!), Katelyn's vocabulary is continuing to grow, and Alex has such a great personality coming through. I love my niece and nephews! They are so cute. I was joking around with Alex about making a Christmas list and asking Santa for new underwear - he looked at me with a face of disgust and said "Oh, yea, Christmas underwear!" with the most adorable sarcastic tone. He's only 4, so I wasn't expecting such a clever response...I'm still laughing about it!hahaha

Tasty Tuesday

Time for a (belated) Tasty Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to mention some of my current obsessions - which are autumn seasonal drinks. I'd be willing to bet that at least 25% of my daily caloric intake is from what I drink... And this time of year is full of extra temptations, from warm apple cider to pumpkin spice latte. I am obsessed.

Nothing is nicer on a cool fall morning than a hot cup of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte. I seriously cannot get enough of it. 16oz, 380 calories (120 from fat),150mg of caffeinated heaven. This one drink exceeds my daily allowance of caffeine (I try to limit myself to 125mg or less), but it is way too delicious for me to pass up. And the hospital where I am currently working has a Starbucks, so it is just too easy to get a cup!

At night, I love to warm up to a glass of warm apple cider. Usually, my dad presses his apples to make enough cider for our family and friends, but the crop this year wasn't very successful due to such a wet and windy spring. I grudgingly had to go to the store to buy some this year - not as nice as my daddy's, but it sure does the trick!!Yummmmmmm, with a splash of cinnamon, it is one of my favorite fall things!

Speaking of cider, a "hard" or alcoholic cider that I am currently loving is Woodchuck Hard Cider. I got the variety pack and certainly haven't been disappointed. The cider is so sweet and smooth, you're half surprised at the amount of alcohol in it. In my opinion, it makes Strongbow and Magners taste like stinky feet in comparison. The crisp flavor is my favorite!

For my birthday, Mike got me, among many other things, a Tassimo coffee-maker.. So I've been making lattes and hot chocolates and over-indulging on the finer things in life! ;) The espresso is pretty amazing too! If only it made pumpkin spice, then I would never again visit a coffee shop...but with a splash of Pumpkin Spice Creamer and some whipped cream on top, it comes pretty close to the real thing!

 And it's getting to be that "most wonderful time of the year" again - which means that Sierra Mist's Cranberry Splash is back on the shelves! Yummmmmm, I've already stocked up on 2 liters! ;)

Are there any fall favorites that I'm missing? What do you love most about the fall season?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

OB-Gyn: Day 7

 This sums up how I feel today....

Today, I am on labor and delivery OR service. I have assisted in one c-section (so far) and two bilateral tubal ligations. I was taught how to do the subcutaneous stitch to close the incision, and how to back stitch to create tension and avoid knot tying and its subsequent scar (patients typically don't like to be able to feel the suture for the rest of their lives). My first one was not so hot, but my second one was decent. There shouldn't be much of a scar at all. The attending thought I did well, impressed that it was only my second attempt at a subcutaneous suture. I also did a few knots, but I seriously need to become more proficient in two-handed knots if I am to impress in the OR. My one handed ones are great, quick and effective, but we use two-handed ties in the OR.
I love the surgeries. I love the variety that you can see as an OB-Gyn. It's a good fit for people who get bored of the same old routine day after day (like me!).
Were having a little dinner party tonight after I finish work at about 8 (hours on L&D consist of 14 hour shifts). Thank god I have a fiancé that knows how to cook! All I have to do is show up hungry - I'm a pretty lucky girl!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lynch Syndrome Update

UPDATE: to read the article from The Lancet, click here.

The next bit of research which will be conducted will be to establish an optimal dose (1 baby aspirin vs 1 adult aspirin vs 2 adult aspirin per day). If you have Lynch Syndrome, you can elect to enroll in their study - the form to contact the researchers can be found by clicking here.   Let's work together and find a way to prevent many Lynch-associated cancers!!!

Today was a big day in the lives of those with Lynch Syndrome. There is a new article published in the Lancet that showed a significant statistical difference in preventing colorectal cancer in Lynch syndrome patients with ingesting 600mg of aspirin daily for 2 years. It decreased its incidence by over 60%. And even better news - it also decreased the incidence of lynch syndrome-associated cancers as well. Sir John Burn is a dedicated researcher committed to finding a better prevention plan for those with lynch syndrome. His next step in research will consist of determining the lowest effective dose necessary to provide protection whilst providing the lowest amount of adverse effects due to large, daily doses of aspirin (such as gastric ulcers and very rarely cerebral hemorrhage).

For more information, check out the BBC's news report on this new research by clicking here.

I've been searching for the proper article online, but haven't been able to find it as of yet. Once I do and give it a good look-through, I'll be sure to translate it into understandable terms and share it with all of you. Ah, the idea of dramatically decreasing my risk of cancer by doing something as simple as taking a pill every day makes me so happy. I think I'll consider this a late happy-25th-birthday present! I would love to steer clear from the prophylactic hysterectomy/bilateral-oophorectomy/total colectomy that I may consider otherwise. This scary cancer syndrome makes me face my mortality daily, I have such a fear of developing cancer. Anything I could do to decrease my chances is worth having a go for me.

I'm meant to be studying OB-GYN...but here I am happily researching oncology, reading through the lancet, and enjoying what I am able to learn. I have a sneaking suspicion that oncology might be my calling after all...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OB-GYN Day 6

Well today I am on vaginal deliveries on the labor and delivery unit. I'm used to being so busy on L&D, but today it's just slow. I don't even mind if I jinx myself by saying that, I would much rather run around like mad than sit around waiting for something interesting to pop up! I'm currently following three women, one of which is carrying twins. I would love to be there for that delivery! I still have a few hours left to work so I might luck out yet.

I'm starting to crave more freedom and independence at the hospital. My history and physicals have been spot on, I do thorough and accurate exams, and my assessment and plans have been similar to the attendings... My progress notes are detailed yet succinct, and my patients don't seem to mind the fact that I check in with them every hour, so all I want to work on is my independence and ability to manage patients. Obviously I'm not asking to be writing proper orders, but to be able to provide the note for the attending to sign seems like an appropriate thing to do at this point in my career, just to feel like I'm contributing to the patient care rather than only selfishly assisting my own education. I guess feeling like this means that I'm starting to feel confident and comfortable with the clinical side of the medical world, so it's not all bad!!!
I had a fantastic birthday. I hope to fill you in on the details later on today! I can't believe I'm really 25... When did I become an old lady?! ;)

Monday, October 24, 2011

OB-GYN Day 5

Another day on obstetrics! Today was my first day shift, and I was on the Caesarian section duty. I have seen 3 so far today. One really interesting case involved a bicornate uterus. That means that the uterus has two "horns" instead of one large space to hold the fetus. So this baby was delivered pre-term, and he/she just was a tiny little thing. The uterus was placed outside the abdominal wall to be sutured, and I felt the horns. That was cool. A few interesting things about bicornate uteruses:
1.) it is shaped like a heart <3
2.) if you have a uterine anomaly such as a bicornate uterus, you are likely to have kidney anomalies as well due to the fact that they both arise from the same embryological origins.
3.) many animals have a bicornate uterus - dogs are one of them.
Still loving obgyn. It's such a happy moment when the mom and dad meet their little one for the first time. What a thrill!!! :)

OB-GYN Day 4

So happy to be here for my first day shift on labor and delivery. Hoping for a few births today! I'm still loving obgyn. Hoping to fill u in on more when I finish my shift around 8p tonight! :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

OB-GYN Day 3

Apologies for the lack of blogs! It's been a crazy busy week on labor and delivery, but I will try and fill you all in on the details when I get finish my last night shift later on today! I can tell u I have delivered babies and shared happiness with new moms and dads...and I am clearly loving this experience!!! The gift of life, the miracle of birth, it is truly amazing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tasty Tuesday/OB-GYN: Day 2

I'm in work on the Labor & Delivery department from 6p tonight until 8a tomorrow morning. I had a long dentist appointment this morning, so I'm sure this will end up being a long night. But I'm excited to see what it brings!!! Happy to start on OB-Gyn!!! :) :) :)

Today's "Tasty Tuesday" is an English classic - Sunday Roast. We've been dying to have a Sunday roast since we came back from England, and we've finally rolled up our sleeves and put one together. It's a massive meal for the two of us, but makes for some yummy leftovers for Mike while I'm away at work.

It's traditionally a beef roast (but you can make do with a chicken if you're not into the red meats), with roast potatoes, vegetables, and yorkshire puddings.

The roast potatoes are made by peeling and cutting them into big chunks, boiling them for 4-5 minutes, and then roasting them in beef drippings and some oil in the oven at 400degrees for 30 minutes. They come out crispy and delicious. This is our favorite part of the Sunday dinner. Mike's mum and his nan both make phenomenal roast potatoes.

 The Yorkshire puddings are a flour-milk-egg mixture that is baked in the oven and turns fluffy and golden brown. Also very delicious.

And of course the British Classic wouldn't be complete without the gravy poured all over the top of the plate. Standard British cuisine. And it's gorgeous.

Stop by & have some with us - you know there's more than enough to go around!!! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

OB-GYN: Day 1

Orientation day!

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to deliver a baby. And it will be happening. Sometime. This. Week!!! Talk about excitement!!! I am absolutely thrilled to be on OB-GYN. I think I will really enjoy it. Right now it's in my "top 3 things I wanna be" list (#1 is to be a smoking hot trophy wife...back up plan is either an #2 oncologist or #2 ob-gyn).haha Only joking about the #1 pick, of course.

I'm on obstetrics (Labor & Delivery), and I'm working nights this week, which run from 6p-8a. This might be rough (I get proper narcoleptic if I'm running beyond 30 hours without sleep), but it should also be an invaluable experience. They say the best things happen at night, and that's when all of the interesting things go on, so I'm hoping that that will be the case.

Tomorrow night is my first shift. I am overly excited!!!! I mean, I was getting all goose-bumpy when I delivered a plastic baby from a fake pregnant lady earlier today, imagine what I'll be like when the real thing happens! And did I mention that it will happen this week?! Oh my, seriously so excited.

Final Thoughts: Pediatrics

Pediatrics, my second clerkship, has come to an end...
  • 5 weeks, 24 days, 225 hours of work in areas ranging from inpatient pediatrics in the hospital to  outpatient pediatrics in an ambulatory clinic.
  • Working on Inpatient Pediatrics, I averaged over 56 hours/week.
  • Working at Outpatient Pediatrics, I averaged 45 hours/week. 
  • I enjoyed 10 days off in the last 35 (that's 2 days/week).
  • I completed 0 nights on call (happy with that!!!)
  • I studied pediatrics outside of work a total of 103 hours.
  • My total work in pediatrics over the past 5 weeks is: 328 hours in 5 weeks (65.6 hrs/week...9.4hrs/day).
What I LOVED about Pediatrics:
  • Kids don't have long med lists or a significant past medical history...most of the time. 
  • Kids get sick and get over it. I like that.
  • Kids are eager to learn from you, and often ask questions about what you're doing during each portion of the physical exam.
  • You see a lot of the same stuff day after day.
  • You get to educate the parents on how to keep their child/children safe and healthy. The only downside is that it's doubtful whether or not they will follow through on your suggestions.
  • When a child is really sick, the parents generally will trust doctors...HOWEVER, they will be stubborn and demand unnecessary things that they think will "help make them better" even when they are completely not necessary or even potentially harmful (like demanding a CT of a kid's abdomen because his mom thinks that his constipation is something she would rather shoot her child with radiation than give him a load of stool softener and wait to see what happens?)
  • You can almost always make a kid smile, no matter how sick he is.
What I DIDN'T love about Pediatrics:
  • The whole inpatient experience was just lacking. I can't hold it against peds so much, because I think my dislike for that time stemmed from the residents and attendings being too caught up in their own lives to bother to do any form of teaching.
  • When sick kids sneeze on you, or insist upon playing with my stethoscope, or touch everything of mine with their sick, germ-y hands. And the parents think this is completely acceptable. Gross. No thanks. 
  • Babies with stranger anxiety is always a challenge to performing a good physical exam.
  • Trying to look into an infants mouth without making them scream and cry. 
  • Parents often act like they know what's best for their children, when sometimes they don't. Like choosing to not immunize their children, or hosting "chicken pox parties", or not giving the child his/her asthma medication as it is prescribed, and on and on and on...
  • For me, the challenges are in all of the wrong areas. The biggest challenge is to be the child's advocate, and to try our best to help the parents to give the child the best care possible. We do a lot of anticipatory guidance, where we give some advice on how the parents can cope with problems or changes which will arise in the future. It is just a lot of work to speak for a child when his own parents seem to be ignorant of what is truly in the child's best interests. And this is the core reason why I don't like peds.  The kids are great (well, most of them), but the parents just ruin it for me. I know, I know...I'll be just like those parents one day - but at least I won't have to be the pediatrician that has to deal with me! ;)
I ended up enjoying peds about as much as I expected I would. It is definitely not for me. I'm okay with the idea that I might never have any form of pediatrics in my life again. I guess that's ONE specialty I can safely rule-out!

This cartoon totally sums up Pediatrics. Check out this doctor's blog here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pediatrics Shelf Exam

My second clerkship is officially finished!!! Yesterday, I took my Peds Shelf Exam. It lasted 2hr30min and consisted of 100 questions. I was surprised at how short many of the vignettes were (I finished with a bit of time to spare). I actually felt like I was given adequate time to complete the exam; oftentimes I get to the last 20 questions of the exam and realize I have to hurry through the rest of the questions if I want to finish the exam in time.

It was a bit more difficult that I anticipated, but I'm sure I did well enough. The exam would have gone more smoothly had I taken Internal Medicine before Pediatrics, but it wasn't too bad with just a surgical background. Only having 5 weeks to learn everything about peds is kind of crazy, but I'm happy to have it over with so I won't complain!

After the exam, Mike & I traveled south to watch his U11 team play. The passing keeps improving; it was a really good game to watch...Marley had a great time meeting new friends, Mike did another impressive job managing the team, and I enjoyed a warm and delicious French Vanilla Cappuccino - pretty good time all-around! :)

Loving the fall colors!

Just a cute little bridge in the park.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peds: Day 22

Had my OSCE today. One patient consisted of a telephone interview, and I had to do my best to convince the mother to take her child to the emergency room (long story short, she had meningitis). That was, "I know you need to work and I understand it is important to work when scheduled, but your baby's health is of the highest importance at this time, and we need to get her in to see a doctor and start treatment straight away." I've been wondering all night whether or not my fake mom took her fake baby into the emergency room and if the fake baby is doing ok! Mike told me not to worry and that he's sure they're doing fine.haha  The other patient was a teenager who needed a refill prescription as well as significant patient education on her medical condition and appropriate compliance with medications, followed by providing two written prescriptions for the patient. That was much more straight forward, and no patient note was necessary. All in all it wasn't too bad...I just never like to be unsure of what is expected of me, and what I should expect during the encounters as well. It is really uncomfortable to me, starting all of these new experiences without any idea of what to expect at all. My life is not my own this year, I belong to the college of medicine. But after third year finishes, I will finally regain some control over my life. I'm a control freak, so this year has been a challenge!

My pediatric shelf exam is tomorrow. Hoping for the best. I got through my casefiles book, ran through a bunch of practice questions and lecture modules and a practice exam, so I should be prepared for this exam, at least in theory. After the difficulty of the surgical shelf, I think I'll have pretty smooth sailing from here on out!

We went out and got Marley a new toy. She's been so sweet to me lately, she always senses when I'm stressed and need some extra snuggles. So we brought a new toy home for her, which she now knows as "Froggy" (Mike wouldn't have it be named "Kermit" cos it's too much work to say with his accent).

Here's Froggy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peds: Day 21

Second to last day on Peds. Obviously busy with revision. I have been absolute crap at studying for the shelf. Seriously. I have 1 book that I'm reading, and it has taken me 5 weeks to get to the 250th page. This can only mean bad things for the shelf I'll be taking on Friday...

Tomorrow is my Pedatircs OSCE, which is a mock-interview with a standardized patient followed by an appropriate assessment and plan. I also have to write out a very thorough prescription for the pediatric patient. Hopefully it is fairly straightforward; I see real patients every day that I do real interviews and physical exams on, as well as real assessments and a real attempt at an appropriate plan. So this should be pretty easy. I hope so anyway!

Today I pulled a Q-tip tip out of a 12 year old's ear. That was pretty random. Guess there's a reason we tell patients not to use Q-tips to clean out earwax!

I better get back to my revision; I have a whole lot to look through before the exam on Friday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tasty Tuesday/Peds: Day 20

Just a short day today, only in for the morning clinic. Funny thing one patient said...I asked how her son's appetite has been since he starting feeling sick, and she said "It's good, he's drinking more maybe, but none of that apple juice stuff, I watched Dr. Oz, I know they put arsenic in there, and my son ain't having none of that rat poison!". Woah. Totally did not want to open that can of worms. I also asked her if she could describe what her son's cough has been sounding like, and she just stared at me like I asked her the most ridiculous question of all time. So I further explained how different illnesses present with different sounding coughs, and I proceeded to ask her specifics: does it sound productive? does it sound wet? does it sound dry? does it sound barky? does he sound wheezy? and she continued to stare at me blankly before finally saying "it's a cough. A cough's a cough, it's just a cough!" Thank you for that clarification...I basically ended up gathering everything I needed to know to make a diagnosis based purely on physical exam. I don't really like parents as historians, but this woman really was something special.

And my last patient of the day was a seriously annoying 5 year old. Trying to listen to her heart and lungs, she wouldn't stop talking or making noises. Then she kept taking my pen from my pocket, grabbing at my name badge, and attempting to steal my stethoscope. I have no patience for those kids. It's cute when a 3 year old steals my pens (and then puts them back when asked), but a 5 year old who should know better but does annoying things anyway just is so frustrating. Ew and she was all covered in cold, too. Yuck.

2 days left. yay!!!

Tasty Tuesday:
One of my most favorite foods is zucchini. I adore it, especially when it's fresh from the garden. It's so versatile, you can steam it, fry it, bake it, add it to dishes, make a casserole out of it, add it to cookies, cakes, and breads...and it has such a subtle flavor. I love it! One of my favorite ways to eat zucchini is fried in butter. This is probably not too surprising, because I love anything smothered in butter...

Clean and slice the zucchini, add some flour and bread crumbs and coat the zucchini with it. Then put the zucchini into a pan with a bit of melted butter and fry, flip, and fry until it's golden enough for your liking. Toss on a bit of salt at the end and enjoy! Simple summer flavors, it just makes my tummy smile. :)

In England, they call zucchini "courgette". 
The word "zucchini" is italian in origin; the word "courgette" is obviously french in derivation.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Peds: Day 19

Last week of Peds! This Friday is my pediatrics shelf exam, so I'll be spending most of my week revising... Only saw a few patients, only 1 was an acute visit (the rest were well child visits). Turns out that girl was really constipated. She was missing a lot of school for abdominal cramps and pain, and it turns out she just needs to have a really big poo. Ah the life of pediatrics! Who am I kidding? Everything comes down to poo! (insert hilarious Scrubs footage here).

I am absolutely lusting over this outfit I found on Seriously. I love everything about it. So we went out to the mall on Saturday to find a cheaper version of the jumper that goes with that gorgeous skirt, then went to purchase the skirt and things from next today, only to find out that it was sold out!!! I'm absolutely heartbroken. Just my luck though, I find the perfect thing (I only buy if I find exactly what I'm looking for), and it ends up being unavailable! 

Seriously, how gorgeous is this outfit?! Oatmeal colored socks, tan wedge loafers, that checked skirt...LOVE!

Better keep working on my pediatrics revision. I wish I could sit here all day and browse the English shops...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fit Weekend

What a brilliant weekend we've had! The weather has been unbelievable. I seriously don't want winter to ever come, if only every day could be as perfect as it has been this past week. I know I talk about it all the time, but I'm a farmer's daughter so I have a right to love the beautiful outdoors and the gorgeous sunlight! Plus I know it will be one thing that I will miss dearly when I make the big move across the pond. Not to say English weather isn't lovely, I have really enjoyed it during my 6 weeks over there this past summer, it is just that it is different to what I'm used to. The strong winds, the light drizzly rain, the days when the weather can't decide whether it wants to be sunny, cloudy, or rainy...oh and the green grass, the beautiful flowers, the luscious countryside...I just love it. But the weather we've been having over here has been phenomenal. Clear blue skies, temperature in the 80s during the day and down to the 40s at night, the gorgeous fall foliage, the falling leaves, the beautiful warming sunlight...Needless to say, Mike & I have spent most of our time outdoors during the past week, and this weekend was certainly no exception.

We went to one of the parks on Saturday and ran 3.5 miles together. It was so nice to see Mike happy to run, usually I have to drag him to the park! But this time he was enthusiastic, and he kept pushing me to run faster than I like. First mile was done in 8min30sec, second mile in 9min, third mile in 9min30sec. 3 miles in under 30 minutes, I'm happy with that. Then we went shopping, had dinner, and had a drink and a dance. Pretty good day all around! Today we went to another park and walked about 4 miles with Marley. She got to see a bunch of horses, too; it's funny to watch her growl as they walk by, as if she could take them on! Silly thing.

Since my summer kind of passed me by while I was busy with Step1 and then the Surgery Clerkship, I am enjoying every single minute that I can now. Sorry Peds, but I will be happy with a simple Pass on the shelf exam if it means I can have a life!

Last week of Pediatrics this week - yay! :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Peds: Day 18

Another day in. Had an interesting case conference this morning, so my day lasted from 7a-5p. I got to clinic and was given the morning off to study for my upcoming shelf exam - which was a nice surprise! I got to enjoy my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year while studying outside. Pure bliss.

Yesterday, I got my flu shot...and, since I am constantly doing my best to convince parents to give their kids flu shots, I want to explain a little bit about it. Let me start off by saying that the media like to portray all vaccines in a very harsh light; I'm sure we all remember the faulty link between autism and the MMR vaccine, which was proven to be completely and totally false research. (The Lancet published an article by Wakefield in 1998 stating that the MMR vaccine causes autism; it was finally retracted after insurmountable evidence proved that there is actually no correlation whatsoever between MMR vaccine & autism - despite what Jenny McCarthey claims). Wakefield has since lost his medical license, and his "research" has been called an "elaborate fraud" by the some of the world's most respected researchers. For more info, click here.

Sorry, off topic. Vaccination is such a hot topic. Let me also mention that we, as medical professionals, gain no monetary compensation by promoting vaccines; what we aim to do is prevent morbidity and mortality in our patients. We read all of the new research as it comes out, and we do our very best to provide the best care possible. So when we advise vaccinations, we are doing it to help you, and to help the society as a whole (through what we call "herd immunity" - so if one person does not elicit an immune response and build antibodies appropriately to the vaccine, he is still safe from getting the disease because he will never come into contact with it. The loss of herd immunity in California has caused several deaths due to pertussis in children too young to be vaccinated that were infected by children that refused vaccination and spread the disease). It is critical that we vaccinate; innumerable lives have been saved thanks to our vaccination efforts, and there is no reason to arrest that progress without convincing evidence to do so. Since vaccines are absolutely harmless in 99.99% of the population, they should be received by everyone that can receive them. There are only a few contraindications, and people with those problems will be saved from ever experiencing the disease if everyone else that is healthy approves to receive the immunization.

Ok. Flu shot. Seriously this time. The annual influenza immunization injection is made of dead parts of several particularly harmful strains of flu. A common misconception is that the flu shot makes you sick - this is impossible. Let me explain why... what we put inside of the vaccine are the pieces of the virus that our body's cells recognize as a foreign object, the outer shell of the virus, so to speak. The part of the virus that makes you sick is not in the vaccine. The virus' ability to replicate is not present. All of the vital parts that make you sick are not in the vaccine. The only part that is in it is the shell, which allows our cells to recognize that it's a foreign object and we can then make antibodies against it. If you think of a virus as a fresh egg, with the part that makes us sick as the white and yolk and the part that we recognize as being an egg as the shell, the vaccine is an empty shell. We cannot and do NOT get sick from the dead virus that is injected into our muscle, and our antibodies that form protect us from that virus that the next time we encounter it from our friends or co-workers or classmates, when it is not just the shell but also the live parts as well, our bodies are already prepared and can launch a pre-planned attack on the virus, killing it before it ever has a chance to replicate or make us sick. If you've ever had the flu vaccine and then got sick a few days later, it isn't because of the vaccine - it is because you went into a doctor's office or other germ-filled place and encountered something else that makes you sick...but it is not the flu vaccine. It simply cannot be, because there is nothing in the vaccine that is able to replicate. Multiple studies have been conducted and have concluded that there is no statistical difference, no increase in adverse effects such as feeling ill, between people who receive a flu shot and people who receive a placebo shot. Conclusive, evidence-based medicine has supported our understanding that an inactivated virus immunization will NOT cause illness.

I would like to add a few websites which support the fact that the flu vaccine does not make you sick. Just simply click here. There are additional reliable resources which man be found through medical resources, such as, dynamed, and up-to-date, to name a few.

To end on a light note:
Oh, socialism...*sigh*

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peds: Day 17

Another gorgeous day!! Was accidentally called a doctor twice today, I like those mistakes! ;)

While on my way home from work, Mike got a text message saying that our application to the USCIS was received, and we now have 3 different case numbers whose progress we can track online. So...the waiting game officially begins...again... This morning, I started to feel excited about the application, like I had this feeling that it was getting somewhere...but I think we'll be spending many months refreshing the case progress webpage, awaiting approval. And that day that we are approved, we will be celebrating big! The last time Mike's change of status was approved (after 8 months waiting), we got a bottle of champagne and had a really great night celebrating together. The very next day, Mike booked a flight to go home for the following fortnight. It should be no surprise to anyone that this is exactly what he wants to do after getting approved this time around - he'll be straight home to see his family and friends. Although where we are living is only temporary, it is a long time for someone to be so far from everyone and everything he loves. He never wanted to move away from his home in the UK, but life doesn't always work out the way we think it should. So he's been here with me, waiting so patiently for me to finish school. This whole situation has made us a really strong couple, placing one another above everything else, and I know someday when I feel homesick, he will be the best comfort...but it's hard to see that far ahead when everyday seems so slow in the meantime. I love him so much for being my support and comfort, my drive and my inspiration, as I continue through med school.

The view from my rear-view mirror during rush hour traffic: