Friday, March 30, 2007

Yeah, sorry

Sorry about the length between posts. I had every intention of catching up--there's actually a lot that's been on my mind--but I'm still pretty sick. I thought I was done with the GI stuff last weekend. I was actually able to take an hour walk on Sunday! That's a huge deal. I hadn't been able to be more than about three minutes from a bathroom for about a month, so I thought the walk was a pretty good sign that things were clearing up. Not so much. Tuesday it was back with a vengeance, and here it remains.

I've got another doctor's appointment in about two weeks, so we'll see if we can get this intestinal enigma figured out. I'm really bummed at how much it takes out of me (figuratively, not literally, of course). I haven't been able to take any time off of work because my boss is in a long-lasting bad mood. That means I get up, spend my best hours at work, come home completely drained and wiped out, try to eat something, and then head to bed. Poor Tim--he said last week it's like he hasn't seen his wife in a long time, because I'm usually in bed by the time he gets home from class.

I'm not sleeping through the night, so I wake up tired, and the day starts again. I've really debated playing hooky a few days. My house is a disaster, we are having the most gorgeous spring I can remember in many years, and I haven't been out of the house to go grocery shopping in weeks. It'd be nice to have one day to do it. I've tried catching up on the weekends, but those have been fairly busy too.

I know this won't last forever, and even though the GI stuff sucks now, it is still better than the beginning of March. I seriously had thoughts of going to the ER then. Now, it's just uncomfortable and exhausting. Hopefully this'll be done soon.

Anyway, that's still an excuse for not blogging. I've got a list of things to ramble about in my head. Hopefully I'll start boring you with them very soon :)

I'm also behind on my blog reading, but I am going to catch up on that this weekend. I'll be back soon, I promise!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yup, still here

Not much new. Still fighting the GI battle, still working mad hours (I was here till late Friday night, and then here all day Saturday, for a stupid experiment that didn't even work. I hate that!). One nice thing, though--at some point, probably one of the many hours I spend indoors chained to my lab bench, the weather got nice. I left early Saturday morning for work, and it was cold and overcast. I was driving home late Saturday afternoon, and it was sunny and warm. Amazing! If it takes working weekends in lab to get nice weather, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

It's totally gorgeous outside right now. 70 degrees and sunny. I live for this stuff! Plus, with daylight savings bumped up a few weeks, it's actually light past 6 PM. I know this weather won't last forever--there's a chance of snow on Saturday--but it's a nice reminder of what's coming. Spring is a reward for lasting through winter.

I'm hoping I'll be healthy enough to take a walk this weekend. I'd really like to get outside. At the very least, maybe I'll go out and sit on the deck for a while with the dog. It'd be good for both of us.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

That's right, I rock!

So there has been a high point to my week. I was doing the sweepstakes thing pretty regularly a few months ago, but I never really won anything. Then earlier this week I got a package from Glamour magazine. It had a John Frieda Sheer Blonde full size shampoo, conditioner, color glaze, and shine booster. Awesome!

And then just now, I got this email:

Hey Bridgette~Congratulations! You are the Grand Prize Winners of the "Zune Is For Lovers"Giveaway that you entered on Alloy.com. Your prize is : (1) Zune MP3 player Approximate Retail Value $249.99,one (1) 14 day Zune Pass, Zune Travel Accessories ARV $100 and HomeAccessories ARV $100, and a special boxed set of music made for the Zune.

According to the sweepstakes info, it's all worth $898 (although I don't know how that math works). How sweet is that! I never win anything. It makes me wish I would've bought a mega millions ticket last night.

Hanging around

I'm still here. Not much new to report--I'm still battling this wicked GI thing. Every time I think I'm moving past it, I eat real food (not ginger ale, saltines, or mom's chicken soup), I pay for it later. It's happened twice now. Apparently, mashed potatoes and a grilled cheese sandwich (on two different days) are asking too much of my intestines. So, I'll keep going with the sick-y food.

The problem is that I think I'm a little dehydrated, which makes me dizzy. And I'm tired because I can't sleep. And because I'm not eating filling food, I'm so hungry that I get nauseous (Tim didn't believe you could actually be so hungry you're nauseous, but both my mom and sister confirmed that this happens to them sometimes). It's this weird game I'm playing with my GI system. Eat enough to not be nauseous, but not so much my food rushes right out again. Fun times.

Despite the fact that I am still miserable, I'm slowly getting less miserable. That's a definite plus. If I were still as sick as I was last week, I think I'd be back in the doctor's office by now. I figure another week of going to bed early, eating the blandest non-food on the planet, and attempting to sleep, and maybe I'll feel better. I'm thinking positive. Even if it takes longer than a week to get back to full speed, I'll be happy as long as things are progressively better and not worse.

Unfortunately, I haven't accomplished anything over the last week. I haven't loaded my pictures from Aruba, the bathroom hasn't been cleaned, the washer is still broken, and I have about 10 phone calls to make that I just haven't stayed awake long enough to do. I've been going to lab every day, but I've been completely worthless (there aren't a lot of experiments I do where I can work-in bathroom breaks every 20 minutes). Really, I should've just stayed home and recuperated. However, my boss doesn't believe in sick days. So here I am.

Positive thinking though. I don't have too much going on this weekend. I just need to make it through today, tomorrow, and Friday, and then I'll have all weekend to recover. It's also supposed to get to near 50 degrees this weekend--another reason to celebrate! Of course, we got 4 inches of snow just this morning alone, and the high today is in the 20s. Seriously, I like Cleveland weather three seasons a year, but I could do without winter. At least it's almost over. Happy thoughts!

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Tale of Two Mentors

Sorry about the long absence (and about leaving a negative-vibe post up for so long.) I've been wrestling with some GI issues the last week or so, and life has been pretty much lab-home-bed the past few days.

I did have a positive experience yesterday. I was finishing up with my second patient in the VA hospital clinic. My preceptor told me he thought I was doing a great job--he thought my notes were better than most third year med students, even some at the end of third year, and he thought I was making huge progress. I told him I really appreciated him taking time out to teach me. He said I was a huge help to him on Thursdays and he was looking forward to me being in the clinics full time.

It was awesome for me. There's still so much I don't know--the only clinical experience I've had was some afternoon physical diagnosis sessions (talking to one patient in front of a resident and learning a basic history and physical). I saw maybe six patients for a full history and physical in two years of med school, and I see two a week now on my own. It's pretty daunting, but it's awesome to get such positive feedback.

It's such a stark contrast to the lab. I bust my butt in lab, and all I ever get is negative feedback from my boss. I don't work long enough hours, my experiments don't get me the results that he wants, my project isn't moving fast enough for him, and generally I'm made to feel like a failure on a regular basis.

Thursdays are such a dichotomy for me. I'm on such a high after leaving the VA clinic. And then I come back to lab.

I always thought I had way more natural aptitude for science than for anything else. When I chose to apply for the MD/PhD dual degree, I had initially been leaning towards the PhD alone. I didn't think the MD part would be a good match for me--or, at least not as good as the PhD. I really only decided to take the MCAT at the last minute.

I am so glad I did. If I had chosen the PhD only and been facing a future of research, I think I would curl into the fetal position and cry. Actually, I would have gone to teach at a small school--somewhere like my alma mater where you can do research in your spare time but you don't need to carry grants. I'm sure that's where I would've ended up. It wasn't where I had planned. I thought I'd be a hard-core researcher going after the big time grants, working at a big-name university. I thought I'd be a gunner. I was driven in high school and college--of course I'd still be driven in my career, right?

Umm, not so much.

As I've gotten older, I've realized that academics/careers, awards and accomplishments, and general gunnery isn't what life is about. My priorities are different. Tim and I have our own little family now, and our parents and siblings, and our extended families. We have a house, and hobbies, and general activities we enjoy.

I got some real perspective this week. I was sick a few days ago, and we were worried it was something really bad. I called my doctor, and she had me come to the hospital as soon as I could. I called Tim to tell him, and he said he wanted to be there for me. When he asked his boss if he could leave for a few hours (and miss a few meetings), this is what he said:

"Tim, why do you work?"
Tim said, "Um, is this a trick question?"
"You work to support your family," he said. "So of course, go be with your wife."

That's the kind of boss I want someday. Tim's new (well, not so new, but most recent) company is so family-oriented. They hire good people, and they support them. Such a change from the other two places he's worked. And someday, I hope I work at a company/hospital/practice/etc that can be that understanding and supportive.

Everything went ok at the doctor, but I was so glad to have Tim there. I told him to thank his boss profusely when he got back.

So, I'm not dying, which is good, but I've got to just suffer with this GI stuff, since there's nothing they can do for me. I'll take it, really. And if I don't get to blogging much in the next week or two, that's why. But I'll be all chatty again as soon as this ickiness takes care of itself.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep slaving in lab (there's no way I get a pass in lab just because I am sick--in my dreams!). And I'll probably take it easy beyond that. But it's nice to get some perspective from clinic and from life every now and again. It helps me remember what's really important.