Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm at home in Centralia for a few days while I try to get my apartment in St. Louis all set up, and last night Reflux slept in my bed with me. Until I woke up in the middle of the night to the sweet sensation of Reflux urinating all over me and my mattress. It was as awesome as it sounds.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I always bemoan my lack of Art Appreciation and how I like to look at art (Pretty! Look at the pretty things!) but I don't really understand it, and I never pretend to get it. I accompanied a close friend of mine to the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of our recent Farewell Tour of Chicago. The museum has been hosting a Rudolph Stingel exhibit, and we started by walking through his earlier pieces and ending with his latest pieces. I won't even try to describe the pieces because they're all futuristic and obtuse and I've probably just missed the whole point and will sound like the world's biggest moron, but there was a huge room with totally empty white walls and a big orange carpet on the ground. My friend asked me what I thought of it.

R: Squinting around and looking for the art piece in question. Uh..think of what? I think they took this one down.

L: Beatifically. Nope, this is it! What do you think?

R: The ugly-ass dayglo carpet is what I'm supposed to be looking at?

L: Isn't it incredible how the carpet can make the entire room glow? Do you see any emotion here?

R: Um...danger? Actually I think the artist is hiding in a room somewhere watching this all on camera and peeing his pants laughing at us.

L: When I look into this room I see every human emotion mirrored in here. (I believe everything she says, too. This girl knows art.)

R: Oh...say, whenever you feel lonely, have you ever looked up at the stars and thought about how maybe there was some other lonely or sad person looking up and seeing the exact same thing? It's so comforting. Maybe you could take home a little piece of this carpet and you'll find some comfort in it too when you're down.

L: That's really beautiful, R. I'm so glad I got to experience this with you.

R: Smugly, for I AM A GENIUS. No problem.

Currently: Packing. It is so fun! I *heart* this so much! I am so much looking forward to moving by myself to a crime-infested city where I know like 2 people, will spend 90% of my waking hours at the hospital, and still make so little money that I can legally claim financial hardship! OMIGOD I SHOULD HAVE GONE TO BUSINESS SCHOOL.

Also currently: Wallowing in self-pity. What, was it obvious? I know, it is so attractive! There are certain events in one's life that can make all other facets of life seem dismal and depressing. For me, that event is packing. And maybe dieting.

No need to worry, I'm not rethinking my career choice, I am just mentally steeling down for residency to suck ass. Liz and I decided we're just going to expect the worst: all work all the time, with no time for fun or friends. That way, when something fun does happen, it'll be like a bonus! All part of the business, friends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A few weeks ago a close friend and I went on a kick-ass road trip through alot of them big square states out west. I lost my digital camera in a big messy party after the match, so I borrowed my younger brother's. When I brought it back and returned it to him, we discovered that somehow over the course of the trip I had broken it. (Seriously. Do yourself a favor and never lend me anything.)

I finally took it to the camera shop today and they told me it would cost $175 to repair it. I asked if there was anything I could do to try and fix it myself and the very helpful guy behind the counter said since I'd probably just want to buy myself a newer more sleeker one anyway at this point, it wouldn't hurt to get my fingernails in there and see if I could dislodge some sand or knock some dust of whatever wasn't working.

That sounded like the dumbest idea I'd ever heard in my whole entire life, so I brought it home and let Shanmugam do it, right after I'd told him that I'd buy him a nice new one once I got my first paycheck. Seeing as how I'd have to buy myself one too. Maybe I could get a bulk discount or something.

But voila! He "fixed" it! And thus I was able to retrieve all the inspiring photos from my road trip. You're welcome.


I cannot even express the anxiety this picture represents for me. I was up all night right before we left trying to finish my thesis, and I still had to make my revisions on the road.
Some dude got arrested when we stopped for gas. That was indeed inspirational.
We spent one night at Luxor in Las Vegas, and there was tons of construction happening in the hotel and we got all turned around trying to find our room, and we stumbled upon this little flock of Christmas trees, all wrapped up and waiting for December.

After Las Vegas we drove through Nevada and a little triangle of Arizona before arriving at Zion National Park in Utah. It was absolutely breathtaking. I would totally go back there for a camping trip.

I took about a zillion pictures here because I was so impressed with the canyon, but looking back now the pictures do it absolutely no justice.
Neither of us were dressed or equipped for some nature-ing but we decided to see if we could cross this river anyway.



I spotted a trail of rocks all the way across and thought with some careful maneuvering I might be able to make it across in one piece. This photo was taken roughly 4 seconds before I fell in the river.
Here my pants are totally soaked, and my feet are all swollen and puffy from being immersed in ice-cold water.
Uh... thanks for the warning.

We climbed up this rock formation, and it was totally awesome. This little waterfall comes over the top when there's a ton of rainfall, but in the meantime the slow constant trickle of water over the ages had carved out this huge recess in the stone. It was incredible.


Later we went out to eat at this very cute restaurant near the canyon. I had some authetic Utah-ian beer.


This amused me to no end. I'm sure my friend wanted to kill me when I tried to video myself drinking the beer.
Shanmugam ran into my room to excitedly announce that the camera worked, and I didn't believe it for a second. He took this picture of me as I was forming my mouth around the word "Idiot."

And, some pics from graduation...
This is right after the champagne toast with the Dean. My parents refused to let me take the stupid gown off despite the fact that I was overheating under there. And LOOK WHAT THAT STUPID HAT DID TO MY CAREFULLY COIFFED HAIR. Stupid hat.


See? So pretty from the back! The hood looks oddly like an orifice though.

At some point during my own graduation party (which I was too drunk to fully participate in), I wandered out of my room where I was sequestered with my friends for some pictures with the fam. My mother must have shunted me right back into my room right after this though, because I barely even remember being out there. My family is big.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Welcome aboard, BEEYOTCH.

Today I had to send my final medical school transcript and fax a copy of my diploma to the hospital where I'll be doing my residency. I went to the Registrar where the option of either faxing or mailing the transcript was on the little request form. After ascertaining that an official transcript could indeed be faxed, I opted to do that instead, seeing as how it would save time and whatnot. Then I called Grace as I was leaving school to see if she was in her lab and wanted to take a little break to sit out in the sun. As I was waiting for her to come downstairs I received a phone call from the secretary of the entire residency program (SOERP) at my new hospital:

R: Hello?

SOERP: Hi doll. This is SOERP. I just wanted to let you know that we got both your faxes today.

R: Oh, ok, great! Is everything all squared away?

SOERP: Actually you were supposed to mail the transcript in. You faxed it.

R: Oh whoops, my mistake! I'll run in right now and make sure that hard copy gets to you.

SOERP: Oh no, I already called and took care of it.

R: Oh, ok, well thanks so much, and sorry again about the mix-up!

SOERP: So did you actually get the email I sent you last week SPECIFICALLY and EXPLICITLY saying you had to MAIL THE TRANSCRIPT IN? Did you bother to read it?

R: Speechless.

SOERP: I just wanted to let you know that you need to pay better attention to instructions especially WHEN YOU COME DOWN TO OUR HOSPITAL where HUMAN LIVES ARE AT STAKE. (That last part? About the human lives? At stake? Transcribed here VERBATIM.)

R: Wow. I'm...uh, well, sorry, like I said. Again.

SOERP: Thanks doll. Click.

Well, hopefully the fax of my transcript didn't harm anyone. Also, Shanmugam helpfully pointed out that was just a sweet sampling of the loving and nurturing milk and honey I'm surely in for at my residency program. Yowza. (Also, I went back and looked at the instructions. They simply say, "Send the final transcript to BLAH BLAH," an address which includes a fax number.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's Over!!

So graduation is over! It was really anti-climactic.

(Hi, this is Liz. Peg is on the phone, so I would like to take this opportunity to say YEAH BUDDY, WE ARE DOCTORS! And Peg is super-buena.)

Ok, I'm back. So yeah...graduation. It was at Navy Pier, which was super-swanky and whatnot, despite the fact that the pier is about 8 miles long and I, in typical fashion, was running embarassingly late, so I had to speed walk all the way down in my heels with my graduation gown flapping all over the place. People kept asking me if I was emotional, which I definitely WAS NOT - I have no romantic nostalgia about medical school, much of which is just hazing. Afterwards there was a reception with an open bar, and my biggest challenge there was hiding my TOTAL INTOXICATION from my parents. They were actually really cool and left early so I could "spend time with my friends." Thusly, I ended up recouping roughly half of my tuition in Jack and Ginger.

My mom especially was just hyper-excited about the whole event. She and my dad arrived really late on Thursday night and then insisted that Liz and I decorate the apartment for my graduation party last night. There's really no way to say no to my mom, so we ended up spending 2 hours taping mini paper graduation hats to the ceiling. Last night after the ceremony we ended up catering dinner from an Indian restaurant and having a bunch of people over to the apartment. My girlfriends and I all sequestered ourselves in my bedroom, where I proceeded to drink a water bottle of vodka. Yep, I went from "lady who lunches" to "lady who loses her lunch." It was hugely immature but as I see it, that was probably the last time ever I can get away with acting like a 17-year old. Y'know, "professionalism" and whatnot.

I wasn't emotional at all (in fact I usually hate all this forced celebration) but this afternoon I went to another classmate's graduation reception/birthday party for his 3-year old niece, and many of my close friends and classmates were there, several of whom I also went to college with and have known for years. We were being incredibly silly and were getting more excited about the party favors than the toddlers were. In my goody bag I received a hand puppet, a gold crown, and a princess party hat, all of which I immediately donned. My friends were all acting similarly goofy, and I couldn't tell if my friend's family was getting a kick out of us or just wondering who the hell thought it fit to confer MDs on us. I was looking around then as we were all taking pictures of ourselves resplendent in our party gear and I got really sad thinking that the era of my life when it was ok to be young and stupid was ending. Also, there will never be a time when we'll all be together and carefree like this again. Ok, I was getting super-sappy and that was my cue to switch to water and possibly take a long walk, which I did. But..yay! Life is good. I am happy.

Yours,
Square Peg, MD

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Be the doctor your mother always wanted you to marry.

Countdown to graduation: 48 hours!!

Ya'll, I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.

I'm about to get sappy here for a sec: I wanted to be a doctor for so long that now that it's about to happen I can't even believe it's real. It's been a long(ish) road, but it's been paved with the best friends a girl could ever hope to have, along with some hilarious (and heartbreaking) moments I'll remember forever. Finally, my "knowledge" will be backed by an MD!

Hopefully it doesn't suck.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Two of my girlfriends and I are taking a little vacation to Puerto Rico shortly after graduation and we're getting back to the States roughly 30 hours before my residency starts, so I guess I'm cutting it pretty close. Right now I'm online trying to figure out exactly how I want to plan our time out there, and I think we're going to Vieques, a tiny little island off the coast of PR, for a few days. I was trying to book a hotel there, when I saw this package:

Procreation Vacation
couple_75x75 Let the undiscovered island paradise of Vieques Island be the scenary for a romantic getaway designed exclusively to promote fertility.

Our Procreation Vacation package includes luxury suite accommodations as well as:
• Unlimited glasses of sea moss elixir for the future dad. Made from a marine plant mixed with evaporated milk, sugar and spices and sea moss has long been the Caribbean’s aphrodisiac!
• Unlimited bowls of pumpkin soup for the would-be Mom. De rigueur among island women for conceiving, pumpkins are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, which promote fertility, successful pregnancies and lactation.
• One 50-minute couples massage with aromatherapy, an aid in regulating women’s fertility cycles, and reflexology, known for boosting virility.
• One in-suite dinner for two.
• One romantic dinner for two at resort fine dining restaurant.

I...just...wow. Planning a vacation around your infertility seems like a huge recipe for disaster, in my opinion. Infertility, though not a medical emergency, is almost worst because it's a problem that can strain a relationship and lead to insecurity. Darling, I'm afraid your sperm are sluggish. Or perhaps it is my retroverted uterus that is impeding the preggers! Let's celebrate! And can you imagine calling the hotel and asking for the "PROCREATION VACATION package?" I love that their selling points are unlimited sea moss elixir and unlimited pumpkin soup. Those both sound like severe punishment to me.

One more. I swear. Then I'm over it.

HOHOPIS. Oh yeah. This rant's not over yet.

MESSAGE FOR ALL MEN: If you don't plan on calling a woman again, DO NOT. TELL HER. YOU WILL. See, I know you THINK you're being all non-confrontational while quietly backing out with your hands outstretched in the surrender position if you reconcile the move by tossing out an, "I'll call you!" but really? It creates ALL KINDS OF CRAZY PISSED-OFFEDNESS, AKIN TO WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE RIGHT NOW. AND IN MY BRAIN.

Moreover, it's patronizing. And motherfucking rude. If a woman really is psycho, do you REALLY think that planting that stalk of hope is a good thing? I would SO MUCH prefer a man to be like, "It was great meeting you. I had fun" AND JUST FUCKING STOP RIGHT THERE. Don't offer me the concilation prize. Asshole.

I thought about it a little today and I decided that what HOHOPIS did was inexcusably rude. As part of my new kick to not kiss men's asses to protect their fragile egos, I felt an overwhelming urge to send him a text telling him exactly what I thought of him, and his PORSCHE, and his STUPID FANCY SOULLESS JOB, and his OVERPRICED PLACE IN SOHO, and how he was probably using them to hide his total LACK OF PERSONALITY and SOCIAL GRACE (not to mention game), but I was a good little monkey and resisted the urge. Plus, I deleted his number right out of my phone yesterday, because I am prone to sending incredibly damaging text messages when I lose my temper.

This all lead to a fun conversation I had with Shanmugam:

R: THAT ASSHOLE I WISH TO SEND HIM MEAN TEXTS ATTACKING HIS PERSONAL HYGIENE HABITS AND WHATNOT.

S: I would suggest that you NOT do that. No matter what you say, you're going to look like a big psycho.

R: Brooding.

S: Besides, I've definitely sent that ill-advised text before. And next thing you know, they actually did like you. But now they don't anymore. Because you're psycho.

Heh. I'll try to get the details on the gem of a story THAT is sure to be at another time.

Countdown to graduation: THREE DAYS!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Square Goes Celibate

Lately I've been so hugely disappointed with my lovelife (and lack thereof) that I think I'm swearing off dating. I'm so tired of it. It's been such an enormous waste of time, money, and dressy pants and each successive loser just reminds me of how much I love my sweatpants, my television, and my apartment. I honestly can't even remember the last time I met a guy I thought displayed some actual, solid, life-partner material, and I hate all this frustration and negativity that lately has gone hand-in-hand with meeting the opposite sex.

Worst of all, it's starting to make me doubt myself, like maybe I'm just a huge freak who can't get along with a man and am not worthy of being in a relationship -- I started to have those feelings today and it was just so overwhelmingly, breathlessly saddening that I immediately went shopping and charged yet another dress that I can't afford. (CLOTHES DO NOT EQUAL LOVE, SHUT UP, I KNOW, I'm MOPING over here.)

At the mall I stopped and sat down at a table for some people-watching. As I sipped my Cherry Coke and watched all the fucking happy couples walking around hand-in-hand, I realized: Oh my God. I am starting to become pathologic. This bitterness and self-pity is NOT a good look for me, and I'm certainly not funny enough to carry it off.

That's when I decided this isn't worth my time anymore. I have more important things to worry about than a sequence of stupid and pointless dates. Like my career! If I could add up all the time I've frittered away obsessing about guys and preparing for dates, I could have probably uncovered the rest of the human genome or figured out the healthcare crisis in this country. Why am I wasting my life worrying about some guy who may or may not come round, and likely won't understand how to chew with his mouth closed or be polite company, and make lame jokes and dress like an idiot, and just generally suck and be late even when he does get here?

ENOUGH I say! From now on, no more guys. No more dates. No more laughing at guys' dumb-ass jokes to be polite. No more going to shitty restaurants because some asshole wants a Portuguese lobster. No more 'dumbing down' all the nerdy stuff I like to talk about because it isn't feminine. No more downplaying the things I'm proud of because I don't want some piece of shit guy who can't stand being around a woman who might be smarter than him to feel insecure. NO MORE! As of today, I'm done. I'm not perfect, but I'm comfortable with who I am and I don't need someone to kiss my ass to feel good about myself, so I'm done doing it for others. Men are allowed to be lifelong bachelors. In fact, it's rakish and makes them seem youthful and devil-may-care. Let's do that for ladies, too.

Wow. I'm sitting taller even as I type this.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

He HOHOPISsed me off.

In a spontaneous decision last week, HOHOPIS decided to fly in to Chicago early Saturday (yesterday) to meet me. I was at Liz's graduation in Iowa on Friday, so I deprived myself of alcohol that night so I could wake up super-early on Saturday to come back to Chicago. (Probably for the best, because I ran into CNG. And we all know what happens when the two of us are drunk at the same time. Also, I made deliberate effort to stay away from DQ, who still hasn't spoken to me since the wedding.)

He was staying at a very nice hotel a block away from me, so I put on my dressy pants, extra-specially did my hair and make-up, and walked over to his hotel to meet him for lunch. (He was dressed like a dork. Cargo pants went out in 1998, honey. I'm being bitchy, but he has it coming.) We went to the Signature Room for lunch. I, being a huge dork, really like dorkiness in people, so that doesn't bother me, but as soon as we had ordered he was all restless and moving around, and finally said, "Let's take a walk around the restaurant and check out the view." Which was kind of cool and spontaneous, but he kept bombarding me with questions like "Where does the Chicago river end?" "What is the square mileage of the Gold Coast?" "What year was your school built?" which got tiresome after awhile, like, DUDE, I DON'T KNOW, let's chill out and get to know each other. (He was kind of spastic. And YES I know if I pick guys apart over every little thing I will be single forever, however I refuse to date assholes. Anymore.)

Then we ordered lunch and he had THE WORST table manners I have ever seen in another human being. I'm sure I'm no Miss Manners but HOHOPIS: It's called a motherfucking NAPKIN. USE IT.

There were some nice moments though: I was playing with his Blackberry and stumbled upon a series of lists he had made which he let me read through. I liked his list of quotes. There was a cute series of recipes in there. I also found a list of gifts, one of which was BH Gold. He told me that was "Black Hills Gold" and then he winked at me and said I might be getting some of that. I thought that was sort of strange but I just want to point this out -- all of these comment sort of led me to believe he had some interest in me, or liked me at least a little.

Afterwards we took a stroll down Mag Mile and ended up at the Shedd. That was actually really fun, he and I are both really immature so we were perfect ADHD companions for each other, but I was sort of embarassed at this huge tank right in the front lobby where HOHOPIS kept banging on the glass to get the attention of this big stingray that was stuck to it. Finally I grabbed his hand and asked him to stop because he was going to get us both in trouble. (I KNOW. When you have to ask your date - a grown-ass 31-year old man - to behave himself you know it's headed down a road to nowhere good.)

After that we wandered back to my apartment where he proceeded to go SNOOPING AROUND MY APARTMENT before I even had time to take my shoes off and set my bag down. Who goes into a stranger's home and starts poking around without their permission? The first thing he did was go into Shanmugam's room and exclaim about what a giant disaster it was. I sort of laughed along but on the inside I was kind of pissed. He's my younger brother, I can make fun of his dung beetle ways all I want to but I get defensive when others enter my world and criticize people I care about. Also, the dung beetle just had a stressful neuroscience exam on Friday, so give him a break.

I asked him if he was interested in having dinner, and he said, sure, did I mind if some of his friends from business school join us? I was a little taken aback, but I said okay as long as my friends can come too. So we made plans to reconvene at Vermilion at 8. I would seriously rather stay home alone on a Saturday night to eat Subway and watch TV with my farty little dog than eat at Vermilion because it's kind of pretentious, mediocre, and overpriced, but whatever, he was the guest and got to choose the restaurant. So the crowd ended up being HOHOPIS and one of his friends, and me and three of my friends. HOHOPIS and I ended up sitting far apart from each other, and HE TOTALLY IGNORED ME. This was actually fine with me; I thought he was getting to know my friends and I thought that was rather friendly on his part, until I got the unsettling but distinct impression that he was definitely hitting on one of my friends.

We left the restaurant and went to a lounge where some people he knew were having a party, and there it was definitely clear that he was more interested in engaging with others than he was with me. We went to another less crowded and slightly more intimate late-night club after that where I thought HOHOPIS would have a chance to bring it back and make good with me, which he definitely did not do. I had the impression that he was more content to sit in a corner by himself than talk to me. I was sort of pissed off - like, dude, you can't drag me out to hang with your friends then totally ignore me. I really wanted to leave but I wasn't really sure what to do. It was all just so awkward. We finally did leave, and in the cab we were just chatting about random things, and finally I decided to just put my cards on the table:

R: So do you want to stop by for a drink before you head back to your hotel? No, I wasn't planning on showing him the business but I thought I'd cover my bases in case he was too shy to make a move.

HOHOPIS: Nope I'm heading back.

R: Ooookay.

Cab pulls to a stop outside his hotel.

HOHOPIS: Leans in to kiss R's cheek then hops out.

Ok, so that all was weird, but I can get past a lot of weirdness by chalking it up to social awkwardness. But get this: early on our lunch date on Saturday I asked HOHOPIS what time his flight on Sunday was because I might be able to drive him to the airport, and he said it was at 3pm. Nonetheless, at 9:30am on Sunday I received a text from HOHOPIS: Hey I don't know if you're up yet but I just wanted to let you know I'm on my way to the airport right now. My flight is at 11 am. I had a good time and will call you later....

I had no idea what to make of this but I sent back a chirpy little text wishing him a safe flight and hoping he had a great time in my city. He immediately wrote back saying Thank you. I had a great time.

I was thinking about it later and I couldn't understand what had happened. Could he have possibly been so repulsed by me that he CHANGED HIS FLIGHT because he didn't even want to be in the same city as me? What I really love is how I wasn't even worth the time it takes TO MAKE UP A POLITE EXCUSE as to why he felt the need to retreat so suddenly. Laura, who set me up with him, said that maybe he was confused about what time his flight actually was and felt dumb. Then she profusely apologized for setting me up with a freakish weirdo who was a bad dresser to boot. Yeah. She better be sorry. I was mostly just confused about the whole thing. Furthermore, a bad dresser who can't eat in public and solves equations for fun shouldn't be doing the rejecting, know what I'm saying? Oh yeah. I went there. The inner bitch is out.

I think the chances of him calling are zero to none, and I'm not that sad because I don't have anything invested in this guy, but I'm disappointed because it strengthens my conviction that I will be performing IVF on myself in 6 years. Maria summed it up best: "It's a letdown for all of us. We just want to see each other happy so it sucks when something with so much promise doesn't work out."

Other comments:

Jeannie: "You're disappointed?! I saw him picking his ear during dinner. YOU DON'T WANT THAT."

Liz: "Wait a minute - forget about everything else for a second: he doesn't DRINK? Well that's just not going to work."

Shanmugam: "He sounds like an idiot."

Personally, I think it's part of his ADHD. He probably came here and was dazzled by our friendly, clean, beautiful city (MUCH more desirable than NYC, in my opinion) and I was all shiny and new for the first few hours and then he probably just lost interest. I am confused to as why someone would travel all this way unless they were really invested in a positive outcome but ... eh, whatever.

As much as I'm ready to put being single behind me, I must say, it was rather nice to put on my sweatpants, smoke some cigarettes, order my choice of Thai food, and watch Charm School last night without worrying about impressing some dude.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pillow Angel

This morning I had to go take BLS for healthcare providers, in preparation for the ACLS training I need when I start training. I've taken BLS so many times I could probably teach the course, but I can never remember how to perform CPR on infants. (I just don't care. Ok, I'm just kidding, I'm sure as an obstetrician that might be important, I need to pay attention, I should take my job more seriously, BLAH DE BLAH.) The only thing I do remember is that you try to wake the baby up not by shaking said baby by the shoulders but by clapping in baby's face and screaming, "BABY, BABY, ARE YOU OKAY?" It sounds dumb but it's hilarious when you have to practice the entire sequence and the first part is running up to the little plastic baby mannequin, clapping in its face then asking it if it's okay.

***

I was reading on CNN yesterday that a state investigation into the treatment administered to the Pillow Angel found that the operations were illegal. We talked about this case in an ethics session we had on rehab medicine, so I had kind of been following it to see what happened.

In a nutshell, a girl was born with severe cognitive handicaps. Her disability was such that she would never talk or walk and was 100% dependent on her parents for all of her care. Though her body continued to grow and develop, her cognitive level remained infantile. Her parents approached her doctors and asked them if they could stop her growth. She received high doses of estrogen so her period of growth was shortened and terminated, and her breast buds and uterus were surgically removed. Her ovaries remained in place so her body could continue to produce sexual hormones. Now, Ashley is less than 5' tall and has never undergone puberty in the sense that she will never menstruate or develop breasts.

This was an extremely tough case and I have no idea how I would have voted if I sat on the ethics committee that had to decide this one. Many disabled rights and women's groups have decried the treatment as paternalistic but the truth is, for someone so cognitively impaired, does it matter how tall she is? Menstruation is traumatic even for cognitively sound girls, how would someone with such limited capacity for understanding what was happening to her body cope with monthly bleeding, which she wouldn't even be able to take care of herself? Ashley's parents were immediately called out for being selfish and asking for this procedure out of convenience (the smaller child would be easier to care for) but I can't help but think that the benefits of the treatment outweighted the disadvantages. Her small size ensured she would never become a burden to care for, thus minimizing any resentment or lack of personal connection her caretakers might develop.

On the other hand, it's a slippery slope. How impaired is too impaired to get to hang on to your reproductive organs? Sterilization of a minor sounds, well, terrible.

The real question is about Ashley's quality of life. Will she be happier remaining childlike forever? There's no way of knowing, but I don't think it's inappropriate that her parents and medical team made an informed decision for her wellbeing.
After spending a few hours at the library again today writing up my research from last year, I hopped over to Macy's for their One Day Sale, and let me just say that days like today are how I will justify buying this with my very first paycheck. (My preciousssss. *Drool* And yeah, I know it's the most excessive ridiculous bag ever, and I'll spend the rest of the month proudly stroking my bag whilst subsiding on canned corn bought in bulk at Costco and the free coffee supplied by my apartment building.)

I picked up this Michael Kors dress for LESS THAN $20! Those who know me know that I often shell out for something I know I will NEVER wear, because I CANNOT RESIST A BARGAIN especially on the pretty, pretty clothes. I blame my genes. (I'm looking in your direction, MOM.) The dress is very pretty, very flowy and A-line, and I scored the last in my size so I was SUPER-psyched, though I was highly suspicious and pawed and sniffed all over it to make sure there wasn't anything wrong with it. I can't think of any event swanky/trashy enough to warrant me trotting the girls out on display as this dress seems wont to do, so it will hang in my closet forever, gently swathed in plastic, except when I occasionally don it to feel a bit more glamorous as I sit on the couch with a bowl of potato chips to watch my stories. (Yes. I do this.)
Also, is it just me or does that model's body language indicate that she is either extremely pissed off or just really needs to...unclench. Something. Either way, she is doing the dress no justice. She's standing such that the A-line skirt unattractively resembles gaucho pants. WHICH I WOULD NEVER WEAR. My ass looks big enough without the assistance of gaucho pants, thanks. It's so fun to say, though. GOW-CHO PANTS. Hee.


I also scored this fun red sweater (also by Michael Kors) for about $9, which was approximately 90% off the retail price. There was also another MK sweater, red and white striped with jewelled buttons which was less than $9.

Sorry to bore ya'll, but discount shopping is like, my number one favorite activity in the whole world. All of the savings released a GIGANTIC rush of endorphins and I've been walking on air all day long. (Yes, yes, you needn't lecture me, I understand that CLOTHES DO NOT EQUAL LOVE, just let me bask in my endorphins, mkay?)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Last night I watched Game 2 of the Bulls-Pistons series with my brother and his friends. I think his friends were really confused as to what I was doing there and why I was asking all kinds of dumb questions, so I had to explain that St. Louis is a HUGE sports city (moreso than even Chicago, in my opinion, because there are fewer other things to do) and I'm trying to "learn sports" before I move down there.

There was a time when I was addicted to basketball but that was in high school, and then I ignored it for about 8 years, and now I'm back. As one of the guys said, "It's incredible. You have this amazingly detailed knowledge of the game circa 1998, and then there's just this huge gap in your knowledge. It's like you have amnesia."

I was asking all kinds of questions and Shanmugam, who was intently concentrating on the game got all irritated because I was "ruining the experience" and told me to just go to ESPN and read a bunch of the basketball articles.

R: But isn't it more fun to just talk things through? I will remember it better.

S: NO THIS IS NOT FUN NOT FUN AT ALL.

And thus, I was prompted to use this old Amazon gift certificate I had to purchase the entire sports for dummies series.

HOHOPIS Update: I know this is getting obnoxious, but I was endlessly charmed by a text he sent me yesterday: "For an ice cream cone: What is the capital of North Dakota? No cheating." I thought about it and sent back the opinion that it was either Bismarck or Pierre, I could never keep those 2 straight, and I knew a great place on Michigan Avenue where he could make good on that offer. Text flirting! I love it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

So I dragged myself and my computer to the library to work some thangs, and right after I had neatly arranged my Starbucks coffee, laptop, colored pens, stack of research articles, clipboard and cell phone, I received a phone call from another incoming intern to my program in St. Louis. I was curious and asked the innocent little first year medical student in the corral next to me to watch my things while I strolled outside for what I thought would be a short conversation.

When I returned ONE HOUR later, he shot me a really nasty look, packed up his stuff and left. I felt hugely guilty about making some guy I don't know sit there and watch my computer when he clearly planned to leave the library some time ago, but I am also very surprised by how sweet he was to actually stay there until I returned. I would have just left. Not out of spite, but probably because I would have forgotten that I was supposed to be watching something. Responsibility!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nursing a Hangover

Welcome back! To me! Much Advil, a 6 hour nap, and lots of sweatpants and couchtime later, I'm feeling almost normal!

Pictures! Eyes have been blacked out in a lame attempt to protect everyone's identity.


The evening started out innocently enough: all of us went to a bead shop and made necklaces for ourselves! It was actually quite fun and I was superexcited about my necklace and wished to put it on immediately.


And then -- oh my goodness.


And, we made Dr. Engaged wear a white tank top and collect guys' phone numbers. She ended up with 20 - nice job!


HOHOPIS Update: When we spoke today he said he was coming out to Chicago in a few weeks! I was filling Shanmugam in on the plans and he just said this seems like a terrible idea. I kind of also think we are headed for a place that is not good, but I'm not really sure if there's an alternative more graceful or subtle way to go about this. What am I going to do with him all weekend? Also, I feel like I might be a little low-rent for this guy. I've thought all along that we live in 2 totally different worlds, and today when he was telling me about his Porsche (!!!) and how he's saving for a boat I didn't really have much to contribute to the conversation. So I said something about how he might look cool in his Porsche but does it have butt-warmers like my Honda? At least I can make him laugh. Maybe he'll like having a long-distance clown.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Presenting a Thesis: Part WOO HOO

So, it is done! I presented my thesis, and I wasn't too embarassed by my lack of knowledge, and everyone clapped, and then it was over! A 30-minute talk doesn't seem like much, but if you're deathly afraid of the public speaking as I am, it is quite arrythmia-inducing. Which reminds me - I will tell the story of me unceremoniously presenting my research to a committee of Very Smart Faculty Members around this time one year ago some other time. (Prepare to be dazzled.)

Anywho, I was sitting in my room going over my talk when Shanmugam walked into my room and casually asked me what I was eating for lunch. Instead of just answering the question I exploded into a 7-minute long tirade about FUCK POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS and isn't it enough that I turned the goddamn paper in already, why do I have to READ IT OUT LOUD to people now? FUCK THEIR QUESTIONS THEY SHOULD ALL BE ANSWERED IN MY PAPER WHY CAN'T THEY JUST LET ME FESTER IN MY SENIORITIS. Anyway he left and then I heard him calling out to me 30 minutes later, "So are you still all upset or are you ready to talk about lunch yet?"

After my talk I came home and napped, fretted more about moving to St. Louis, then had Killer Margaritas with some friends, returned home a little while ago to discover my very first call schedule in my inbox -- EEEEEEIUUUUUUUGHHHHHH. There's just something about seeing your name forlornly sitting in an empty calendar box designating that you are ward bitch for that 24 hour period that is just really disheartening. I should stop thinking so much about how I will make friends and where I'll go out in St. Louis and how I will find guys to date BECAUSE I WON'T HAVE A LIFE ANYWAY SO WHO CARES IF ST. LOUIS IS THE CRIME CAPITAL OF THE COUNTRY.

Tomorrow is our overnight Milwaukee bachelorette party mini-adventure! Details and incriminating photos to follow.

Friday, May 04, 2007

As much as indentured servitude is going to suck, there's just something so wonderful and awesome about the fact that I WILL NEVER BE A FUCKING STUDENT AGAIN and it is just orgasmically sweeeet. I mean, the thought of having real, actual responsibility scares the living shit out of me, but knowing that I will NEVER HAVE TO STAY UP ALL NIGHT DOING HOMEWORK EVER AGAIN that is totally awesome. Ok, and yes, I know I will be taking call and staying up all night like every 4th night for the next 4 years so I should just suck it up now, just shut up.

And I know I am totally fixated on residency lately (I'm sure it must be just enthralling for ya'll to hear about all my conflicted inner angst); Shanmugam noted that when I talk nonstop about someone/thing, it either means I have a huge crush on them or am really, really anxious about it. I am not attracted to residency at all so that must mean I am really effin' stressed about it.

Anyway, my presentation isn't til tomorrow afternoon so I'm just adding a few slides and coming up with a script. I've got the TV on to keep me company and usually I'll just leave it on Lifetime, WE, or Oxygen, but tonight I left it on USA, for some reason, and they're showing The Cell, which oh holy mother of god they need to broadcast some sort of epilepsy warning before airing that shit. I was all typing happily on my computer and sipping my coffee and then I looked up and OH GOOD GOD WHAT IS THAT SCARY GOAT MAN DOING TO VINCE VAUGHN - is he...OH GOOD LORD. He is somehow slowly disembowling him and winding his entrails on some sort of rotisserie roaster. I am repulsed, yet can't look away.
I quickly flip back over to the Lifetime movie channel. At this time of night I much prefer feel-good women-oriented movies about plucky single moms overcoming adversity or darn-fool kids having unprotected sex and getting pregnant, or this gem, about a young woman who grows up with loving but drug-addicted parents and against all odds, goes to Harvard! Clearly, my version of sundowning is just turning into a hugely emotional sap who likes crappy TV.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My 15-year old cousin discovered me on Facebook and left the following message on my wall:
OMGOSH...u have a faceboooookk! *spaz*

yay =)
ilu
Was I like this when I was her age?! I think, probably, yes, but I was such a super-nerd that I even took notes in complete sentences. Either way, I feel old. What really made me feel old was after dining out with 5 other people at the dining room at Kendall College last night. All of us got the prix fixe menu and we still needed a calculator to split the bill at the end of the night. I used to like, DO CALCULUS and whatnot. I used to know how to synthesize ozone! I can't do math anymore. (But I CAN recite Ranson's criteria forward and back! So useful!)

Anyway, I'm supposed to be presenting my thesis tomorrow, so I've been consistently parked in front of my computer getting ready for that. Hence the daily posting! You're welcome.

UPDATE: Just returned from getting my eyebrows done and was informed by my facebook newsfeed that my cousin (again, FIFTEEN) joined the "hey underaged facebookers - go back to myspace!" group. When you're 15, who is "underage"?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I try not to think too much about medical malpractice because it leaves me curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb for hours, but PandaBearMD had a totally over the top but hilarious look at the future of medicine, where doctors become pariahs, hospitals are burnt down, and lawyers get to wear white coats and become the most important purveyors of healthcare. Like I said, it's totally over the top, but there were some parts that made me laugh out loud. Check it out:
They had a trial of course, but he wasn’t exactly a model citizen and at that time lot of people still remembered how those doctors with their fancy medical education and their big fancy doctor words used to rub it in our faces that they knew more about our health than we did. The jury delivered a guilty verdict pretty quickly after he was hanged.
After selecting our court-appointed malpractice attorney, we went inside and ‘presented’…that’s genuine doctor talk kids and I’d better not hear you saying it in public… we presented ourselves to the young lady sitting at the counter. Waiting for medical service was technically against the law but it was unavoidable, seeing as our attorney had to inspect all of the hospital’s certifications. Sometimes they tried for a settlement right away and it was not uncommon to walk out of there with a couple of thousand bucks.
Against my attorney’s advice I waived my HIPAA rights so the doctor didn’t have to wear a blindfold and examine me in a darkened room through a one-way mirror.

My attorney was magnificent. He consulted with me at length before letting me answer any questions and I plead the fifth quite a few times on his advice, especially when it came to my past medical and travel history which he felt was irrelevant. Clearly, as my lawyer stated, the doctor was badgering the patient.

I told him I needed some antibiotics. He told me I had appendiwhatsities or something like that. And then the magic was gone and I saw that he was just another arrogant relic of the bad old days before they caught on that the customer was always right. We got a court order from a the vending machine back in the waiting room and I made the doctor write my prescription for antibiotics in Klingon just to show him who was in charge.
It's a funny if somewhat depressing read but I don't think such a future is a reality, because I can't think of a single lawyer who can deliver a baby or remove an appendix as well as a doctor can. This post was really popular on Panda's website because everything he's talking about is an extreme case of something we've all experienced. Patriarchy in medicine is an era long since gone; the new way to practice is by forming a partnership with the patient, informed consent every step of the way -- which is nothing but good, in my opinion. Patients SHOULD know about their healthcare and take ownership of and responsibility for their bodies. Unfortunately, as I learned on my medicine subI, there are no quick fixes for a lifetime of bad habits, and sometimes patients are upset that we can't offer them a surgery or short regimen of pills to "fix" their problems. Like...dude, you're sick. Don't trivialize your own health.

Also, as one of my attendings said, doctors are just too nice! We HAVE to be -- it's part of the hippocratic oath. A lawyer can turn down a case she thinks won't be lucrative. We can't turn away a patient who needs healthcare just because they have their attorney on speed-dial. When I went into medicine, I had no idea that the doctor-patient relationship could be so adversarial. We all want the same things here -- how can we not be on the same team? I just received a 500-page book and some DVDs (along with popcorn, heh) about "risk management" I'm supposed to churn through before residency starts. Ugh. I didn't sign up for this.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I finally caved in and realized that, shockingly, no one offered to buy me the $300,000 condo in the Central West End of St. Louis that I so desired, so I picked out a one-bedroom apartment in a building within walking distance of the hospital. I am wary about living alone (Remember? Last year? When I lived alone? And that's where Reflux came from?) but decided it was the best option for my situation right now. (Also, as my mom said yesterday, "If you live alone it'll be easier for HOHOPIS to stay with you when he visits!" I like my mom's contingency planning. Live alone to facilitate hooking up with some dude you may or may not even meet!)

Also, St. Louis = not safe. There are several lovely places in CWE that are unlivable because it's just not safe to live any more than 2-3 minutes away from the hospital when you have to walk to work at 5 in the morning. Because of all the crime. And danger. Oh St. Louis. Your charm is NEVERENDING.

I also finally picked out a place for graduation dinner: India House on Grand. I'm glad that's all settled, because my parents kept calling me to FIND A PLACE WHERE WE CAN ALL EAT DINNER AFTER GRADUATION FOR GODSSAKES when they weren't even sure what date or time my graduation was in the first place. Also, they're not even sure how many people are coming to dinner or who they're inviting yet so I felt really dumb making a reservation for, "Uh...between 15 and 30 people, I think. Maybe around 22?" The menu is going to be prix-fixe so I went ahead and picked out all the dishes when I made the reservation, which -- yum. Ok, now I'm hungry for some carbs.