Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mad Skool Gradumacation

I never really consider myself to be superstitious, but I am one of those people who tends to view bad events in a particular way. I tend to have famously bad and good luck, by which I mean that a bad event will happen in a spectacularly melodramatic way, and then resolve itself in a similarly spectacular way that nobody else could reasonably expect. (Examples include $500 cash stolen from me at the Citibank and then retrieved and returned by NYPD in less than 48 hours, as well as losing all my keys on Wall Street in a giant crowd, and then having a Planet Fitness Jamaica employee message me on Facebook to say he'd found them.) This sort of reliable cycle of bad luck has now forced me into believing that sometimes, you have to make a little sacrifice to the gods to let things go smoothly. Thus, I am ok when I get into a car accident on the way to an exam and still get my 2 highest Shelf Exam scores. Or when I get rear-ended on the Belt Parkway, on the way to Graduation Weekend.

Yeah, that happened. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but now there's a ton of hassle that goes with it, which starts with my trunk door no longer opening. And graduation went without a hitch, no last minute notices from administration stating that I had failed Band-Aid Class and therefore would not be graduating. So, I am officially, a DOCTOR.

~commence applause~

Otherwise, the 2 day event was surprisingly pleasant. There were no major hitches on behalf of my school, and the event was overall well organized and meaningful to my parents, and followed by a nice brunch afterwards. I'd like to pretend that it wasn't meaningful to stout old me, but in reality, I definitely got teary-eyed more than a few times. The kicker for me was when several of my classmates were hooded by their physician parents, and I realized how much this meant to all the parents out in the audience who had supported their kids all the way. (Ok, I'm getting teary now just thinking about it.) I mentally contrasted things a little bit to the dinner dance our school held for the graduates a few nights before, in which they closed the open bar at 10:15 pm and then kicked us out at 11:15 pm (invitation said 7 - 12), a shenanigan they had also pulled at our Match Party a few months earlier. But nevermind that, it was still nice.

For some reason, I didn't really think that much about gifts for this graduation, and yet people really pulled out all the stops. In addition to the bobble-head doll, I also got quite a bit of money, some Indian dresses, and Operation.

As it turns out, Operation has been upgraded since yester-year and now there are multiple games to be played with increasing levels of difficulty. (I opened mine up yesterday to play with 2 girls I was babysitting, and they accused me of cheating because I'M A SURGEON. Ha.) My aunt, a nephrologist with a doctor husband and md-phd son, wrote a super nice note about how I was the first doctor in the family for my generation. And it was all so meaningful to have my family friends and boyfriend around with me for the ceremony. They made us announce our own names on the stage, and apparently everyone lost it when I said my full name, because my middle name honors my deceased grandmother, and they all felt how excited she would have been for me. My dad hugged me for like an hour and I had to hint at him that we needed to get moving or we'd be trampled in the aisles. And my mom kept telling people over the phone how nice the ceremony was, and I could hear in her voice how proud she felt.


So here I am, a doctor. Bit odd, really. And scary, because now I can't say the phrase "I don't know, I'm just the student". Wow.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tennessee, otherwise known as The Weekend of Amazing Luck

Ahhhh, what a trip.

Let me start off by saying, TN is a terrific state and I really do recommend everyone giving it a chance. The people are so kind, and their state is just beautiful. Everyone should visit, especially Nashville to support them as they rebuild after the flood. But more on that later...

My boyfriend and I decided at the last minute to hit TN, because he had once driven through Knoxville and thought I might enjoy a proper weekend there. We spent 2 days in Memphis and one in Nashville. It just was NOT enough time! We got there early Friday morning, and tried our hand at Cockadoo for breakfast (so new, they don't even show up on Googlemaps yet). We had somewhat slow service followed by an incredible barbeque pulled pork omelet, catfish and grits , and sweet potato with marshmallows. Incredible food. The price to us, for our wait? Free. (Hope I didn't just sink Cockadoo with that, but I mean it as a proper rave review.)

We followed up by wandering into the annual BBQ festival, where teams compete from around the world, and display their pig paraphernalia along with names like "Butt-oh-dacious" and "Ribbed For Your Pleasure". And my god, the food was good, and confirmed when we later visited the award-winning Pig's on Beale ("Natural Born Grillers"). We also checked out Neely's (Down Home With The Neelys) for extraordinary wings and pulled pork, and even went back for more before our flight. On a detour from bbq, we enjoyed fried burgers and twinkies at Dyer's on Beale St.

Mind, not everything in Memphis is food (although even if it was, it would still be worthwhile). On a whim, we followed signs to the Civil Rights museum, only to discover that it is the actual site where MLK Jr was shot and killed, on the balcony of the Loretta Motel. It was so worthwhile to see, we went back a second day to spend time in the building where the shot was fired from (now used to showcase the forensic evidence and following criminal case). We also got to see "The Witness", the oscar-nominated documentary, and the guy that it's based on was even there that day! We also checked out Stax Museum for the history of Memphis blues music. All I can say is, if you love gold-plated pimp-mobiles or anything Isaac Hayes, this is a MUST VISIT.

We scooted our way into Nashville, which sadly does not have nearly as good food, but makes up for it in sheer talent. Nashville was recently flooded due to bad rains, and is now cleaning up the mess. To help, several crazy-famous country stars came to do a benefit concert, which we managed to sneak into at the last minute, and land terrific seats. My god, I did not know that country music could be so good. The lineup included Lady Antebellum (I nearly cried), Brad Paisley, Keith Urban (I WILL marry him, Nicole Kidman be damned), Martina McBride, CeCe Winans, Sheryl Crow, Kellie Pickler and several others. It was just so good, and meaningful. It was also kind of fun to see how a live televised event is organized, since I had never been to one. And now, I am a converted hick.

More to come, as I am completing this post the day after graduating and want to write about that experience as a separate thing. But basically, Tennessee was a hit and I recommend it to all!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Queens Command

I'm not sure if I'm the only one who feels this way, but I hate searching for apartments. I mean, HATE. HAAAAATE. (hate.) It's such a hassle, and I can never understand why people posting their apartments don't include basic details of space, features or even photos. It's 2010, people. Everyone has either a digital camera or a cell phone, or knows someone who has either.

It wouldn't be so bad except that my parents have their spoons in the soup, too, and their idea of a decent apartment often conflicts with my own. This is often complicated by the fact that they used to live in NYC, and my dad commonly makes proclamations about how well he knows the area. (Mind, the last time they lived there, it was the late 1970's.) They have ideas on convenience and comfort, I have ideas on proximity to civilization (aka Manhattan), and unfortunately the market just is not cooperating.

On top of it all, I have been doing the apartment scramble for a long time now. 4th year for me meant moving almost every month to a different location and hospital, and I pretty much lived off of Craigslist and the sublet listings. For the most part, things worked out really well. I generally had proximity to hospital, proximity to life (or something like it), and proximity to home. For my hospital, it seems like Queens is the best option, and I had a number of good tips on neighborhoods that are slightly less chic but still do the job.

I actually had narrowed things down to a few decent apartments, and my dad and I drove out yesterday to check out a few. The one I liked the best was one that was newly renovated in a nice neighborhood, but was a bit far and lacking in street parking for my dad's taste. Nevertheless, I insisted that he see it because it was miles better than any of the apartments I had been able to schedule in the closer neighborhoods. Also, I had seen this apartment and another similar one and gotten a shady vibe from the second place's owners, and so felt confident that this place was The One True Place. Alas, it was not meant to be, as the owner turned out to be EVEN MORE SHADY, trying to nickel and dime us even to the last second, and questioning all of my credentials while offering none of her own. (For example, I showed her a copy of my hospital contract, my driver's license, my passport and my impeccable credit report. She still insisted that she couldn't be sure that I was reliable, or that I had verified employment, and asked my dad to sign a document ensuring he'd financially back me.)

The long and short of it was that it did NOT work out, and we wound up making a hasty exit with some tastefully chosen words for her lack of professional demeanor. Of course, it's better that I found this out now than later, etc etc, but I was just so disappointed that the whole business was THISCLOSE to being done and now I had to start from scratch. Of course, I do still have lots of time before July and blah blah blah, but I have to say that I am just so tired of living with uncertainty. I should be able to handle not yet knowing where I will be living 6 weeks in advance, but after moving all the time and worrying about the match all year long, I just need a break.

.... anybody know of a nice apt in a house in Queens I could stay in?? I don't do drugs!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

mad knife skills

Aaaaaand, I'm spent.

I made it back from a lovely trip yesterday, much of which was spent lying on a quiet beach with my med school girls (and guy) and eating as much seafood as possible. I tried out crab-eating for the second time, and I have discovered the key - it is THE KNIFE!! The Crab Deck gives you these lovely sharp knives with which to pick apart the crab and avoid injuries, which my friends sadly were unable to do. But having more comfort with a knife than most people who know me are ok with (my boyfriend usually keeps one eye on me at all times while I dice a tomato), I actually found that using the knife to both pry open the crab as well as scoop out and eat the meat while dexterously avoiding "the mustard" was the best way to go. Ha ha! I eat off of sharp knives! And build cabins with my left pinky! I am CHUCK NORRIS!!

~a collective round of sighs emanates from everyone who actually knows me~

As usual, I tanned quite a bit and now I think my hands are starting to age from the lack of year-round sunblock protection. (For some reason, I religiously wear sunblock on my face in winter, but not on my hands. And so, my hands are 80.) But I anticipate that in a few days, I will have settled into a healthy glow. Just in time to hit MEMPHIS, BABY!!

The thing is, I'm finding that this extended vacation time actually makes me a bit uneasy. Following The Match (which for me was in February of this year), each rotation got easier and easier, until I was barely there. And now I have about 3 weeks before graduation, then another 4 after. I love being able to finally travel the way I wanted to, but it's actually oddly frustrating to have so much free time.

(Yes, I recognize this doesn't make sense to most people. Or anyone.)

I don't know, I guess that I'm often happier and more productive when I'm too busy. I get more organized, I have a schedule, I don't spend insane amounts of time thinking about non-existent slights from other people. Sad as it is to say, sometimes having real work to do makes me feel like I have a life, because I make time for that life. Whereas now I am 100% in that life and it feels kind of empty. My med school friends think I'm nuts, but a big part of me is really looking forward to starting internship and learning stuff and being busy and working hard. I'm getting emails from my program about lab coat sizes and health forms and orientation, and it's just a little exciting. Like when I was a kid and looked forward to the third grade all summer long. It will be exciting.

(Yes, I know that in 3 months, the word "exciting" will be more appropriately reworded as "torturous". But I'm ok with the delusion.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

vay cay

As evidenced by the lack of posting, I have been on vacation. YEAAA for the end of medical school!! I had previously planned on writing a profound and deeply moving piece regarding this momentous occasion, but I got lazy and didn't feel like motivating my lazy ass out of lazydom.

And so, I am on vacation in Maryland, to be followed by vacation in The Deep South, and hopefully more vacation to come. Sweet =)

On a separate but related note, my program contacted me to ask about dates for vacation for the coming year. I feel like no matter what dates I pick, I will either not get what I want OR I will get what I want and still not feel that it is enough. *sigh*