Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day 3296: Chicago

My parents, ever the class acts, found Milwaukee a bit too small-town for them so we returned to Chicago on Saturday. We finally made it to the Art Institute this time. Last time (in 2011), we waited in line too long at Hot Doug's (which is now closed for business) and we missed the chance to go to the Art Institute. We also continued to follow my father's stomach which only has eyes for Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods" and Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations," so we checked out The Purple Pig (fancy/weird tapas).

Mongee and I waiting in line at The Purple Pig

My pals and I after lunch!

Taken on Michigan Avenue

Alex and I in front of the Art Institute. She's cute, I'm roaring.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Day 3294: THE MD!

I am no longer "On to an MD," friends. I HAVE IT!

The entire outfit -- tam, hood, and all

With the man who has supported me unconditionally these past four years

With all my loved ones who came out to support me on my big day!

With all the signs my sister and friends made

With the best sister ever and her favorite sign

Thank you to my friends and family who physically came out, who texted or called, who were there with me in spirit on the big day. An equal thank you to all of you who have supported me these past...gosh, six years? SIX YEARS! Through phone calls, visits, care packages -- it has all meant so much to me and I will never forget it. So...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 3293: Hooding Ceremony

Today was the hooding ceremony. A little history...

The "hood" that is part of the academic costume was originally designed as a head covering to keep tonsured heads warm in cold, unheated buildings. It dates back to the medieval days of some of the oldest universities in the world. Today, hoods are the most expressive part of the academic costume. They not only indicate the field of study which has been completed but the degree and the institution's colors. The hooding ceremony signifies a scholarly personal achievement. Graduated members (senior leaders, faculty and special hooders) of the profession place the hood on the student as a symbol of their passage from student status to graduate status.

The coveted pictures of this special ceremony:

A fun candid with some classmates before Hooding

This is the core group of classmates I had on my very first
clinical rotation as a third year medical student.
We are really going to miss each other :(

With the fam after the ceremony

My BFF and her newly appointed Marine hubby came out too!

Three-fourths of our high school quartet!

My sister came to celebrate with me!

Lastly, the man who has been with me through the
craziest four years of my life thus far.

This was followed by Senior Dinner. This dinner was put on by my school. They had us pay for some pricey (just okay tasting, therefore making it overpriced) meals and gave out awards to various seniors. I didn't get an award mainly because, despite my loud personality, I kind of just kept to myself throughout medical school. And, I am a middling medical student anyway so I wasn't expecting to be awarded anything for my stellar (sarcastic) academic record.

Overall, the dinner was nice. It was nice to be there with my friends and family. Here are some pictures of senior dinner below.

Me and my closest friend in med school

Nicki came out too! So happy she could make the time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day 3292: Happy Birthday Aleja!

Alex came a day earlier than my family, which meant we were able to spend her entire birthday together!

Aleja (as I like to call her) has been one of my biggest supporters throughout medical school. She has visited me once a year since I moved to Wisconsin in 2011. She has sent me numerous gift packages. She has hosted me at her place when I was on interviews last year. I am so blessed to have so many people in my life who care about me. Anyway, enough of a lovefest about Aleja. Here is the only picture we took (sad!). But luckily it was at Kopps, her favorite place in Milwaukee.

We love custard!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Day 3291: The beginning of the end.

I feel like I have named several posts with this title but this is very much the end of the road for my blog "On to an MD." The MD is 4 days away! !!!!!!!!

Anyway, my exam for my "Preparing for Internship" course was today. I made the woman grading them, grade my exam right there on the spot. I didn't want to be concerned about failing and having to retake the exam tomorrow. I mean I studied, of course, but still. It's been a long time since I've taken a test. Since you are all dying to know, I passed! Hello graduation!

My pal Alex comes in tonight, to begin the influx of friends and family who will be coming in for this momentous occasion. My sister and parents come in Wednesday. My best friend and her husband come in either Wednesday or Thursday. Hooding is Thursday. Graduation is Friday!

This week is going to FLY BY!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Day 3290: Door County

Danny and I took a trip to Door County, Wisconsin with his aunt and her two children. We have always wanted to go (think Carmel for Midwesterners) and we finally got our chance! Going with Aunt Mandy (whose sister lives up there) made it much more cost-efficient!

Here are some pictures of our trip:

Driving along the lake up to Door County

On the tour trolley!

The lighthouse at Eagle Bluff

The trolley tour included wine tastings at 2 wineries and a delicious
lunch. This is Danny after eating the leftover cherry pies.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Day 3285: Life is getting hectic.

You would think with 9 days until graduation, I would be living the easy life. No. I am not. My medical school has this class preparing us for our intern year. That would be one thing, learning about different things I will encounter (aka be called "doctor" and expected to do something for). The worst part is, there is an exam 4 days before graduation. So, I am studying. For the first time since August 2014, I have to study. Puh-lease.

On top of that, the job that Danny got us is great. I get to work with children and, most importantly, I get to make money. The problem? Makin' that paper and doing all this classwork/studying for this exam.

Then, there is figuring out moving costs (should we get professional movers or professional helpers aka "muscle men" to move all our stuff), getting all my stuff done for residency (completing training for the electronic medical record, sending health info, doing fingerprinting for the VA, et cetera), and actually graduating (with all the stress that involves of having family and friends and hosting everyone well), I'm kind of supernotrelaxed as I head in to my final week of medical school.

How is this my life?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Day 3279: Holy crap it's May.

Hey everyone. I don't know where the time has gone. I even had things to report on, but clearly, they weren't that important if I couldn't even blog about them. Anyway, if I had to be honest, blogging is not my top priority. This is due primarily to some family issues and blogging doesn't feel as natural anymore (with the possibility that some family members will be reading this). It isn't an excuse, but it may provide some insight in to the slow pickins' you have for posts to read.

Now! Onto my April's goings-on!
  • We celebrated Danny's brother's and mother's birthdays at the beginning of the month (their birthdays are two days apart). I made a Chinese feast for his mother! Dumplings, bok choy, sauteed cabbage, Taiwanese meat sauce with rice, and eggplant! A feast, I say!
  • I met a lovely lady on the interview trail, we'll call her Cate, and we had the chance to meet up in Milwaukee while she was in town for a wedding. It was amazingggg to be reunited with her. We have been texting throughout interview season and beyond Match Day so to actually see her face-to-face again. I met her hilarious, adorable boyfriend (and she met mine) and we just had the best few hours together. We plan on reuniting on the east coast (she matched in New York state)!
Cate and I at a Milwaukee staple, Kopp's
  • Danny and I drove to Baltimore one weekend to look for housing. It was CUHRAZY. We drove 12 hours through the night and went housing hunting all day Saturday. We were zombies come 3pm. We ultimately found a place to live, and we are excited about our move to B'More!
  • Danny got us some paying jobs for the rest of May. We are working with an organization out of Rutgers University (yes, in Jersey) and making some much-needed moolah before we move.
  • I saw my clinical continuity patient for the last time. I just did a quick search and apparently I have never spoken about him! BG is a patient I have been following for the past two years. He has 2+ chronic medical conditions that I manage and it has been a treat getting to know him and care for him these past two years. It has reminded me why I got in to this absurd profession in the first place -- to be able to help care for people. We will miss each other, but he will be getting a great new med student and I will be off to Baltimore to care for my own new patients :)
  • Lastly, April has seen my co-interns and I emailing and texting a lot. My class is all women, which I am pumped about. Too often I find women hating on each other and tearing each other down (I will not deny I am victim to this pattern once a day or more). I am thrilled to have 3 other women whom I can turn to and really build (lasting) relationships with. I mean, it's residency. If this isn't bond-forming, I don't know what is.
Now that I have updated you all, however belatedly, as is my modus operandi, I will try to blog more this month and in to residency. What are your thoughts on creating a new blog for residency? Since this is "On to an MD" and I will have an MD come MAY FIFTEENTH (WHAT???), maybe it's time for a change? Please fill out the poll below with your thoughts! :)

Okay, talk soon. I promise on my diploma that I will.


Should I start a new blog once I begin residency in June 2015?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Day 3247: A Lesson in Mitigated Expectations

To elaborate more on this post, I wanted to talk about expectations.

As I mentioned here, 80% of US seniors match in their top 3. I have no problem admitting that I was in the minority of matching US seniors. I truly, sincerely am happy about heading to Baltimore. I really loved the program leadership and the city when I was out there for my interview. And it's so stinkin' close to all of my East Coast friends...what a blessing! And I get to live in a bigger city again! So. Many. Pluses.

However, the title of this post should hint at what I am about to say. Despite my best efforts, I still wasn't ready for the email telling me where I was going to be for the next four years. I was preparing myself for my top 3, but I, of course, wanted my #1 program. No matter how many times I told myself (and it was a lot), "the Match will place me where I am supposed to be," I really wanted to go where I wanted to go.

Everyone tells you that once you get an interview, you are set. At that point, it is about making sure you and the program "fit." How arbitrary. Fit. What does that even mean? Like a glove? As in religious beliefs? I mean, it's so subjective. And impossible to have occur. I, personally, fit best with one program, out of the fifteen I interviewed at. The rest of the programs, I felt, I would fit fine. I would probably find people I liked and they would probably be my friends for that point in my life. But there was only one program where I thought, Wow. I could actually be friends with these people. By choice and not by circumstance. Speaking to others, it sounds like most people were in the latter boat. They fit in fine enough and would be happy enough going to a number of programs.

And let me tell you something, "fit" is not the only component. They do care about board scores. And clinical grades. And letters of recommendation. It isn't enough for them to interview you and like you. They probably like most of the people they interview. So, how do they choose? Well, probably on all those other factors that I just mentioned.

I am not trying to dishearten anyone about the process. I think, for the most part, this was a competitive year to match. I know several people who did not get their top 3, which is always a shock. But, I want to impart the importance of mitigating your expectations. Because, for me, I will never understand how I ended up in the Baltimore. It took me the majority of last week to stop myself from second-guessing everything that happened on the trail -- from my clothes, to what I said for this interview question, and how I interacted with that resident, and so on and so forth -- and to stop comparing myself to my classmates who were fortunate enough to match at their top choice. And, you know what, it's okay that I will never understand. Because, the Match placed me where I am supposed to be. And even though I'm not sure what that reason is, just yet, I know the University of Maryland will train me to be the best internal medicine-pediatrics physician I can be.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Day 3244: A week after Match

You would think that I would blog rightaway when I found out where I matched? Because I am sure you are all dying to know where I ended up. Well, most of you texted/contacted me, which I greatly appreciated. For those that didn't, I am pleased to tell you all that I am off to the University of Maryland for my internal medicine-pediatrics residency!

It was quite unexpected, but, as James Michener says, "We are never prepared for what we expect." So, to receive such unexpected news, was, well, surprising. It took me most of Friday, and the subsequent weekend, to process the news.

Overall, I am thrilled to be matched in to a residency I wanted (I can't say that for several medical students I know :\) and in a new city! I forget how close everything is on the east coast! DC, one hour away! Philadelphia, 2 hours away! New York City (my love!), 3 hours away! For all my east coast loves, we will be reunited soon, and often!

Anyway, thank you all for your kind thoughts and well wishes. I apologize for keeping some of you waiting, but I can't thank each of you enough for your support.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 3234: Oh happy St. Patrick's day!

So, I'm -100% Irish. Yes, that is a negative sign before the 100.

Today's happiness is to inform you all that I have matched! What does that mean, you ask? It means I have a job come July 1st! Do I know where? No, of course not. The medical community likes to have incoming doctors sweat, squirming in nervousness.

Congratulations!  You have matched!

This is all I got in my email on Monday. How anti-climactic right?

Until Friday!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Day 3227: Ups and Downs

Hey all, I am writing today to discuss the ups and downs of the Match.

I am, as we all know, a little emotionally unstable (read: a lot unstable). My moods go crazy in times of stress and the Match is about as stressful a time as any. Everyday I waver between "I would be thrilled to be at any of my top three programs" and "I am not going to get my first choice and I don't know how I feel about actually getting my top three." And then there are the other thoughts like, "WHAT IF I DON'T MATCH?" "WHAT IF I DON'T GET MY TOP THREE?" "WHAT IF NOBODY LOVES ME?" The last one isn't necessarily Match-specific, but it's still applicable to the Match, haha.

Anyway, most days, I'm fine. Most days, I can talk myself in to being calm about the process. I remind myself that the Match places me where I am supposed to be. It doesn't feel like that sometimes, but I know that it's true. I just have to remember that it's true. But some days, Danny and I fight because I am so up-and-down and he doesn't know why I am suddenly depressed as all get out and we fight and we're always fine in the end but it's all due to me and my emotional instability.

Just wanted to keep you all apprised on my current emotional state. Level orange. Unstable.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Day 3223: A Match Day Nightmare

I woke up in a tizzy early this morning after having a nightmare about Match Day. It wasn't anything awful, like the horror and stress of not matching; in my dream/nightmare, I got my fourth-ranked residency program. Which, hello, is excellent. I would be a well-trained med-peds doc if I went to my #4 choice. But the idea of not getting into one of my top three programs, which 80.8% of US Seniors get, was clearly distressing if I consider #4 to be a nightmare.

I just can't wait for all of this ignorance to be over so that I can start planning the next phase of my life. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 3217: The long road home

Greetings from Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan!

I have been here for about 3.5 hours awaiting my connecting flight back to the Midwest. I walked around a lot, perusing my Duty Free shopping options. I ended up buying fun Kit Kat flavors, a coin purse, magnets, and this pretty framed artwork (below).

The flight from Tokyo to Chicago is roughly 17 hours! Oy vey. I plan to walk around as much as possible to keep the blood moving. I slept a little bit just now waiting to board so here is a parting shot from the airport!

See you in the States soon!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 3214: The future is now


Today is the day! Rank lists are due! At 9:01pm eastern standard time, my future was officially out of my hands. The computer has completed running the program that has decided where I will be trained as Dr. Jessica Lee over the next four years. 


And I don't get to find out until Friday March 20th! Torturous!

It's been nice to be here in Taiwan when all of this drama is going down. Being in a US medical environment would make this whole month too stressful. Everyone would ask "where is your number one program??" Over and over again. I would lose it. Probably stab someone with the nearest needle. So, just chatting with my friends via messaging apps is sufficient. I just want to make sure everyone ends up where they are supposed to be (and hopefully happy to boot).

Until next time!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 3200: Treatment room

This morning, the adorable old wise dermatologist I was supposed to work with was out sick. So instead of tagging along with another doctor/resident, I decided to go to the treatment room. I had the best morning.

The treatment room is comprised of injecting steroids to minimize scars (or keloids, which is an elevated discolored scar), increase hair growth (for alopecia), etc. There is also suture removal, opening and draining of infections (a dilation and curettage), and other things! I got to inject steroids in to gobs of people this morning. I also removed some sutures. Like I said, it was a great morning. 

Day 3199: A smattering of pictures so far

The hospital where I work most mornings

Perfecting my suture skills

My classmate and I at Zhinan Temple

One of the prayer sites at Zhinan Temple

Taipei 101 -- the tallest building in Taiwan

Guanqian Road near Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (a department store)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day 3194: Medical education, a comparison.

USA: In the United States, teaching students is a priority. Medical students have a lot of autonomy to learn and do. The first two years typically have minimal opportunities to work clinically (seeing patients). If there are opportunities, they are usually shadowing (what it sounds like; following doctors around and staying quiet). Once third year hits, we are in the hospital all day every day. We deliver babies on ob/gyn, we suture on surgery, we see patients on our own on family medicine and internal medicine, there are a lot of responsibilities in being a medical student. The system requires that a student does, in order to learn. There are a lot of questions asked towards medical students in order to gauge their knowledge so that a physician/attending may teach.

Taiwan: There is very little teaching that I can appreciate. The clerkships look a lot like shadowing, at least here on dermatology. Students sit away from the patient, and as a result, they rarely get to see the problems the patients come in with. If students wish to see the patient's presenting problem, they have to stand up, stay out of the attending and resident's way, and try to catch a glimpse of the problem. Attendings rarely teach students, nor is there an exerted effort to show the students any of the pathologies seen on patients. "Any questions?" is a query often asked by the teachers, but very few of the students here ask questions. In dermatology, at least, there is at least a half-day of student "autonomy." Meaning, students see patients on their own, staff with/report back to an attending physician, and then they see the patient together where the attending diagnoses and treats the patient. I can't believe it's only a half day! We do that all day every day starting day one of third year!

Obviously, this system is disparate from what I learned in the states. Nevertheless, there are probably pros that I have yet to realize or discuss. Anyway, just wanted to jot down some thoughts I've had so far.

Talk soon.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day 3191: Bonjour Fevrier!

Okay, so, I still suck at blogging so far in 2015. But. I hope to blog between work days because (drumroll please) I am in Taiwan! I am on a dermatology rotation this month. My first day so far has been quite crazy. My classmate and I showed up to orientation at 9am, we signed a bunch of forms, received our IDs, and then were thrown in to derm clinic. Honestly, thrown in. We walk in to this clinic room and it is stuffed with white coats; another visiting student from New York, a current Taiwanese medical student, two residents, an attending, oh, and the patient. The two most pressing observations are as follows:

1) The patient could care less that there are six white coats in the room. In America, the patient is already annoyed at having to meet more than one white coat in sequence. You better believe a patient would abhor a room full of white coats. Especially a room full of white coats where half of them are not even participating in the discussion with the patient.

2) Doctor versus patient location. In Taiwan, the doctor stays in the room and the patient is called in, one at a time. It is a revolving door of patients. Compare this to the US, where each patient is roomed separately and a doctor runs among his/her different rooms to see each patient. In Taiwan, it is more efficient to see each patient as s/he comes in. 

After a full morning of clinic, my classmate and I finally have our orientation with our resident/contact person for the month. It's a diverse mix of inpatient dermatology, outpatient/clinic, and surgery/procedures

It has been a full first day! Clinic, orientation, consults. And LOTS of Mandarin!

More tomorrow!

(Note: The titles (Day xxxx: ...) for this month are a little off! I am writing based on Taiwan date and time so it is 2/2/15 as I write this! The future!)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day 3159: Happy 2015!

Happy new year everyone!

Danny and I spent the final night of 2014 in North Carolina, where I was a bridesmaid for my beautiful friend Mel. She and I met way back when in 2008 when I first began this journey towards becoming a doctor. She and I have stayed friends since, despite never living in the same state again, and I was thrilled to be a part of her special day.