31 July 2007


# of schools applied to: 25
# of secondaries received: 19
# of secondaries completed: 8
# of interview invites: 1

30 July 2007

Playing neurologist

I shadowed Dr. L in clinic recently and it turned out to be particularly eventful. The medicine itself is always interesting, but this time it was the patient's behavior that made it memorable. We saw a girl who was recovering from stroke for a routine follow-up examination. Throughout the exam she was staring straight at me and refusing to acknowledge a single question or command posed by Dr. L. After trying one last time to get her to follow his finger with her eyes, he sat down and looked at her. She finally looked him in the face, pointed an arm straight out at me and said "I want her to do it." Dan looked at me, nodded, and I walked over and stood in front of the girl. I have seen at least fifty basic neurologic exams performed and could describe it in lurid detail, but standing there performing it was absolutely nerve wracking. Dr. L was standing immediately behind me interpreting everything I was doing... I was in no way evaluating the patient; I was simply the body she interacted with.

The next patient was another female, clearly somewhat on edge. Dr. L introduced me and a visiting physician (also shadowing) and began a conversation with her. Three sentences in she announced "I know you don't think I'm going to discuss my business with all these people in the room." I promptly offered to leave to make her more comfortable, but she countered, "you can stay, but the other one has to go." The visiting physician left the exam room (I would later learn she was uncomfortable with men, as the visiting physician was male, it was simply a matter of gender). She began telling a (rather sad) story about recent events and while she was talking she curled up into a ball on the exam table. When Dr. L turned to get a pen from the desk, she hopped off the table, ran across the room to me, and gave me a bear hug. After a few minutes she released me and sat in my lap. The rest of the visit was conducted with her on my lap, one arm around my shoulders.

Most of Dr. L's patients have met me once, many of them at least twice now. Quite a few remember me when they come in and ask me how school is going, which is really quite remarkable to me. After all, I am silent most of the time, just watching and smiling. Apparently though, they are beginning to feel comfortable with me, which is a great feeling. I hope this carries over to my future career, that my patients feel they can trust me and be open the way these two girls were. The way all Dr. L's patients are with him.

29 July 2007

Summer sports

Since I'm not taking classes this summer, I've been trying to be more active. I don't have a gym membership, but that's really a good thing as I much prefer excersize that doesn't feel quite so pointless as running in place indoors. Instead, I've been playing lots of tennis and have taken up yoga - the kind done in a 95 degree room.

Tennis has been fantastic since so many people here play and it's super cheap for students. I'm now playing twice a week - one day of clinic and one day of matchplay with friends. I can feel my game getting a little better each time, which is really encouraging and just makes me want to play more. I'm working on learning a backhand slice approach shot and eventually I really need a better second serve.

Yoga has been quite the experience so far... I was incredibly sore all over after the first class, but the second was invigorating. It really is remarkably calming and I don't notice the heat at all. I'm relatively flexible, but I had no idea I was so weak! Well, maybe I had some idea, but this really confirms it!

When I was in Cali visiting my parents, I went rock climbing with a friend, Mike. It was really good fun and I'm hoping we'll go again when I head back there in late August. That's definitely a sport where I need to work on my upper body strength, but it's a great feeling when you get to the top of a route you didn't think you could do. Repelling down is pretty good fun too :)

09 July 2007

Medicine is already paying off

While in nyc to celebrate Swati's birthday, four of us piled into the back of a cab to get from the financial district to East midtown. Someone asked a question about research and I made some mildly medical comment in response. The cab driver then turns towards the backseat and says, "My hemoglobin is 9 and I have diabetes, should I be worried? What do I do?" I babbled something about glucose and blood transfusions (did he mean his hemoglobin level or his hemoglobin A1c?) followed by a strong wording of caution that I was only a student and that he should speak with his regular physician. His reply - "you are a very good doctor, I turn the meter off now."

A night in the city

It was a friend's birthday this weekend so I headed up to nyc for a celebration. Other friends from college, now in Ohio or D.C., also came up, turning this birthday party into a mini college reunion. I am ashamed to say I had been out of touch with some for two years; unless you count Facebook as meaningful interaction.
There was lots of laughter, a total of six cameras to record the event, and much frustration over the Duane Reeds in the financial district. If they all close at 6pm, where can a girl get some double-sided tape before a night out?
On the train on the way back I ran into a student from the weekly tennis clinic. He graduated to the super-secret, advanced clinic (I'm still intermediate) but after swapping stories for an hour on the railways we decided we could probably still play together. I'll just lose. Every time. Which is ok.

05 July 2007

Application update

Anyone who has been following this little blog over recent months knows that I am applying to medical school at the moment. Or rather, medical schools. My amcas has been verified and 23 schools now have my application... scary! I've begun working on secondaries, which pretty much just ask you to re-hash your amcas under different word count limitations.

Paperwork seems to be my theme at the moment (thus no cool medical stories) because work has been nothing but IRB and NIH reporting recently. Two of the three doctors in the group are away (Korea and Geneva) so all is quiet on the Neuro front.

04 July 2007

In the sunshine state

Going to visit my parents in southern California turned out to be the best decision I've made recently. My brother and two college friends were in attendance as well, so it was a bustling, full house. We baked bread pudding, which took about three hours, and ate fish, mexican, ahi tuna, and flank steak. We went through quite a few bottles of wine and soaked up the evenings in the hot tub watching for falling stars. We walked, we drove around in the convertible, we rock climbed (sore arms!) and we lounged around.
I'm not really ready to be back, but I guess that's the sign of a well-spent vacation.