Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Behold! My new shoes:

See? So pretty! With the sequins!

Now imagine you're the type of person who likes to wear ridiculously extravagant shoes to work [c'mon people: clinical research? Not that exciting. DON'T TAKE AWAY MY ONLY JOY.] and you're also of the sort who never checks the weather [and actually even if I did, I probably wouldn't be able to find my umbrella and would just end up missing the bus anyway]. What you end up with is a big freakin' mess. I normally have a high tolerance when it comes to chaos but LEAVE MY SHOES OUT OF IT.

I left the hospital to walk to the bus stop and unfortunately, it was pouring rain. It was actually really pleasant though; that's a very nice thing about Iowa -- first rain of the summer and it smells all earthy and rich [as opposed to Chicago where the first rain of the summer means the fresh smell of horse manure and sewer] so I didn't mind the fact that I was getting drenched.

There's also serious construction happening right outside the hospital, so much so that they've closed the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians out onto the street. Also not a problem, except, like most hospitals, this one is frequented by geriatrics. I do love Iowa but home skilettes CANNOT DRIVE. I didn't understand what road rage was until I moved here. In order to avoid getting mauled by a Cutlass driven by a 90 year old woman I stuck to the curb where it was all muddy. Ewww...mud on my new shoes. Acceptable only if the alternative is death or loss of limb.

And THEN I realized that not only was I walking in muddy curb bilge, but I was also being attacked by something. MESH. There was some sort of meshy apparatus that was molesting the sequins on my shoes. I tried to gently disengage but the FUCKING MESH. UNSTOPPABLE. I ended up having to rip the mesh off, and some of the sequins popped right off my shoes. (!!!)

So now that it's all down on paper and I'm looking it over again the drama of the story doesn't match the indignancy I felt at being ASSAULTED by THE MESH but my poor shoes are being fixed up at the shoe doctor's as we speak.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dr. Jagdish

I'm back! I'm waiting for a load of laundry to finish up so I can pack for my weeklong trip to NY! Jagdish's graduation was legitimate ya'll, he is actually a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL now. What's funny is that they actually give out a nice leather portfolio with no diploma inside but rather a slip of paper explaining that they'll mail the diplomas out later. We'll see, Jagdish. WE'LL SEE.

I was remarking to J about how anti-climactic the whole thing was, like, you stress out about some stupid exams and them let them run you to the ground for a while, which all takes its toll on your mental health, self esteem, sense of self worth etc. [And maybe more importantly your weight, skin, youthful glow etc]. You'd think at the end of it all you'd get a high five or something on the way out but really all you get is sort of a shrill reminder to go return your rental cap and gown and get out of here because the law school is graduating at 4. Jagdish said he was actually hoping for a life-sized poster of himself he could run through. AWESOME. I'll keep that in mind for when I graduate next year.

In a completely unexpected turn of events my parents were running horribly late to graduation and asked me and Shanmugam, who had just flown in for the afternoon, to go to the theater and save 8 seats between the two of us. Try as I might, I just cannot be that pushy grandma who can singlehandedly save 11 seats with a cardigan and a handbag. I always cave in under the slightest bit of pressure. Thus we ended up on the far left hand side right underneath the stage.

My sole, singular duty at graduation was to take a picture of Jagdish being hooded and/or receiving fake diploma. Let's see how those turned out.




Hmm...not so good. It's a good thing my dad anticipated my failure and had already walked to the other side of the auditorium so he could fully capture Jagdish in all his graduating professional glory.

Later we took family pictures.

It's like, completely impossible to take a picture of the five of us where we don't all look like we're completely drunk/stoned/about to kill something. Or maybe that's just me.

I then went to Centralia for the weekend. Along with 30 Indian channels, we get all of the Cinemax, Showtimes, and HBO channels at my house; we've had all those for as long as I can remember. Yet for some reason, when I was flipping around I found that a "Parental Lock" had been newly placed. On the Nickelodeon channel, inexplicably. I can't even begin to try to explain the rationale behind this.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Behold the power of EtOH.

So sparkly! And jolly! Maybe a bit drunk. But fully clothed!



Erm...right then.

That was a fun night. Actually, later we went to Wet and I forgot how much I hate (HATE!) standing in line for a club. At that instant, I actually missed Iowa City! To be honest though, usually we're way too unambitious to go to clubs where we think there might be waiting, or crowdedness, or basically anything that hinders my functioning laziness, which is why we usually end up going to the same 3 places over and over again. People visit Chi and always want to go to the "hot spots" (read: SOUNDBAR, which, if I ever have to go there again, someone might die) and I feel sort of lame because I'd much rather sit home in my sweatpants drinking spiked Crystal Light and watching Conan.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

This past Friday we had to give our final research presentations for my research fellowship. I HATE public speaking. I get extremely nervous and stutter, and sometimes my deodorant fails me. I had prepared my presentation and scripted every last word, and thought I'd be ok. as long as there were ABSOLUTELY NO follow-up questions. Somehow I thought that because I'm just a baby medical student somebody would maybe hold my hand and then everyone would give me a hug afterwards and maybe give me an E for effort.

But after watching the other students get absolutely REAMED during the first round of presentations on Wednesday, I got all compulsive and tried to anticipate any question that might come my way. As a very small part of my study we did a leptin assay [No!!! Don't go!!! I'll stop talking about science in a minute] and the world's utmost leptin expert happened to be on the panel of judges, so I spent FOUR HOURS on Thursday night reading all of his leptin research so I could competently volley with him about the most recent studies on recombinant leptin and obese rats.

Of course, after my talk, no one gives a damn about leptin, but everyone wants to talk about how accurate such low scores on coronary CT scans are. It's embarassing to admit you don't know something you probably should know to a room full of attendings but I didn't even know enough about it to make something up, especially because I knew the guy grilling me was a radiologist who would totally call me out on any and all bullshit. Later on, one of my feedback comments was, "I appreciate your candor but as an investigator you should understand the validity of every test you run." Ouch. There's no criticism that stings worse than the ones you know are true.

They judge us to select the one person from each medical school that gets to give an oral presentation at the national conference next week. I'm sure they were dazzled by my brilliance but I'm 100% sure I won't get selected to give the oral and I'm sure it makes you "special" or is "a great honor" or some such but honestly presenting to a room full of brilliant physician-scientists pretty much sounds like my worst nightmare. They'd eat me alive.

To celebrate the last tangible act of responsibility we have all year, all of us in the program met up for beers later. I was supposed to drive to Chicago on Friday night because my parents would be in town that night, so I planned to have a quick beer then go, but somehow my "quick beer" became 5, followed by 3 shots, followed by screwdrivers at my friend's house and then closing down my favorite bar in IC at 2 am. At least I didn't half-ass it.

I did make it to Chicago, last night, and it was sort of a late night but I woke up this morning at 7 when my dad called me ordering me to call my mom for Mother's Day.

R: Happy Mother's Day!!

Mom: Thank you!!

R: What are you guys doing to celebrate?

M: We're going to the Taco Bell in Salem. Gotta celebrate!

Despite all the usashaadi.com nonsense etc, my mom is fucking awesome.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How to Lose a Guy in 1 Date

Last night I had my first (and last) date with Cute Neuroscience Guy (CNG). If you're looking for an instructional manual as to how to be attractive and interesting on a first date JUST STOP READING. Seriously. Just click away. RIGHT NOW. I warned you.

6:43 CNG calls to say he'll pick me up at 9.

6:44-7:02 yayyayayayayayyay!!!

7:02 - 8:55 Time passes even less productively than usual, watching America's Next Top Model, doing nails, deciding on outfit.

8:55 Perhaps should have a beer or something before CNG gets here. Am v. nervous and need something to take the edge off.

8:56 Having no beer, opt instead to do a shot of vodka. Accidentally pour out two shots into cup. Decide not to be wasteful and drink it all down.

8:59 Now feel all jittery. Perhaps some nicotine will calm me down. [You'd think with my meticulous medical education I would understand that mixing depressants and stimulants will only lead to no good, but clearly not.]

9:08 OK!! Here is CNG, and I am ready to go!

9:30-11 Off to the bar, have 3 martinis in quick succession. Trying to be sparkling and witty. Feeling great!

11:01 All of a sudden not feeling so great anymore. Excuse self. Take self to bathroom, tripping on chairs and walking into people along the way.

11:03 This is an unpleasant part of the story. Let's just say the words "vomit" and "toilet" are involved. Moving on now.

11:07 Attempt to make self presentable again. Take some breath mints and hope for the best.

11:09 Drag self back to CNG and overhear the waitress asking him "if your girlfriend is ok."

11:11 CNG takes one look at self and decides it's time to go.

11:12-11:18 Walk back to car with CNG. Unfortunately too drunk to ambulate in linear fashion thus requiring great assistance from CNG.

11:25 On the way home actually ask CNG at one point to pull car over so can vomit more. [In my defense I actually thought this through in my head and decided asking him to pull over was less embarassing than actually puking in his car.]

11:35 CNG walks me up to my apartment. To his credit, he was probably concerned that I would asphyxiate on my own emesis in the middle of the night so he probably wanted to set me up lying on my side by a trash can then just get the hell out of there.

11:36 CNG ends up coming in to hang out for a bit. I didn't think my behavior had been particularly attractive or interesting up to this point, but perhaps he was dazzled by my feminine charms.

11:45 You know what's worse than vomit? WORD VOMIT. Or maybe real vomit AND word vomit. In any case, for some reason I feel compelled to share my entire life story with CNG, starting with my bilaminar disk days and ending with my mother's latest attempts to pimp me out. Recollection here spotty at best, but may have cried and/or yelled at CNG.

1:00 CNG does not seem impressed.

This long and painful story ends with CNG ordering me to drink a gynormous glass of water and referring me to AA in the phone book then taking off. I woke up long enough this morning to send off an email to CNG explaining that I'm not actually an alcoholic and thanks for the fun night! [At least he'll have a laugh out of it, right?] Kids, let your Auntie Rupes leave you with this one lesson: BINGE DRINKING IS NEVER THE ANSWER.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I went to the Vietnamese salon where I go get my nails done to get waxed today. I LOVE getting waxed here because it's SO CHEAP. The only downside to getting waxed at the Vietnamese nail salon is that unlike at, say, the Aveda salon, they put you in a chair right out in front and wax you out there right in front of everyone. And unfortunately, this particular nail salon is located in a mall so everyone walking by can see you getting de-yetified. (Whatever, I see you shopping at Payless, POSER.)

I was getting waxed today by my absolute favorite nail artist (AFNA) and she likes to smear wax on my face, immediately affix the strips, then walk off and chat with the other nail artists, leaving me with little paper strips stuck all over my face. (My favorite part!) Today she stuck the strips on then gave me a long appraising look:

AFNA: You know what? You have very pretty eyes.

R: Would normally respond in "Aw shucks" fashion but has accidentally inhaled those thready strings of wax before when trying to speak while getting waxed so keeps quiet.

AFNA: You know who you look like? You look like...

R: Loves this game. The best one so far has been "Tara Reid" but in their defense this was during my "identity crisis" in college when I lost 20 lb, dyed my hair auburn and wore grey contacts. Ugh.

AFNA: ...like OPRAH.

R: OH. NO. SHE. DI'ENT.

AFNA: I mean, that Indian girl who was on Oprah. The girl who was trying to put Indian clothes on Oprah.

R: I DO NOT look like Aishwarya Rai. Maybe the backs of our heads look similar, on a good day. A REALLY good day. I'm flattered nonetheless. That's so sweet, but I really don't look anything like her.

AFNA: Steps back and reconsiders for a nanosecond. Yeah, you're right. You don't. Not even a little.

R: Slightly miffed. I mean, it was just the LIGHTNING-FAST speed which she arrived at that conclusion. Well, um, I mean, of course NOT RIGHT NOW AT THIS VERY SECOND IN TIME because I've got little paper strips stuck all over my face and haven't blow-dried my hair but maybe when the strips -- OWWW!!

AFNA: Quickly pulls all strips off.

AFNA: Nope. Still don't.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I spent the day yesterday making all kinds of plans for when I return to Chicago in about 6 weeks. First I had to call my advisor to get the green light on my M4 schedule. Your advisor is probably the only person you can and should be brutally honest with in medical school about all your shortcomings. Unfortunately, this means conversations with your advisor tend to be sort of painful, like picking at a scab. My scab is that I'm going into a surgical subspecialty and yet have an embarassingly pathetic grade on my surgery rotation.

I emailed her my CV and a cold hard summary of all my grades and test scores and then a list of about 10 different residency programs I think I would be happy at. I was v. excited to hear her say that I definitely had a shot at all of those programs. I even broached the subject of [Big Fancy University on West Coast] Hospital and she said definitely do a rotation there! However, in classic fashion, it seems I've missed the application deadline for summer externships. Oops. I do kind of like when these tough decisions get made for me though.

My advisor did make an intriguing comment though. "I think the further you are from Chicago, the more desirable an applicant you are." Which sort of felt like a "jellyfish" a la Bridget Jones. Like, you're floating along all tranquil and happy and then all of a sudden you're stung and you're not sure where it came from. Fucking jellyfish.

I also had to arrange to finish up my MPH degree with a big year-long public health research project I have to put together myself. I got in touch with a Rad Onc breast cancer specialist at my school who's worked with some MPH students. She called me on my cell phone last night and was talking to me about all these projects she wants to do in diseases that are understudied by the onc community, including anal cancer. "There's a big hole in anal cancer." Heh.

HATE: The mumps. We have a few college students enrolled in my study and unfortunately they've all been quarantined with the mumps and can't finish my study so now there's a big hole in my data.