For Dr Boyfriend and Sancho

Dr Boyfriend is my love. My rock. My best friend. My biggest supporter and as of late also my editor, personal assistant, travel manager and pep-talker. He married me and then I promptly left for medical school. (Thank you boyfriend!)

Right now our is a marriage via Skype, but it works. We have an amazing foundation and we know that we have the rest of our lives together so he supports me in what I want/need/have to do right now which is finish medical school. Even if it means we seldom sleep in the same bed or occupy the same time zone.

He loves Christmas as much/maybe more (is that possible?) than I do. We are so different and yet we share enough that we are happy together. I am sad when we are apart and cry often because I miss him. He is the romantic but I am the emotional sap. These last 3 and 1/2 years have been hard but I am lucky because I never once doubted our relationship, our ability to make it through. And now the end is in sight.

Dr Boyfriend is on a plane and on his way to meet me in NYC for New Year's and we will run our 5K in Prospect Park and cross the finish line before 2013. It is our new tradition and I cannot wait. 2013 awaits and I am in love with my husband...

And we both love our puppy. Sancho is probably the most significant thing to happen to us as a couple in 2012 and it was more rewarding and more fun and more stressful than I could have ever imagined or hoped. I never knew it was possible to love a dog so much. But we do. 

Dr Boyfriend and Sancho do their best to make me happy. And it is enough. So this is for them. The last of my virtual ornaments and an adieu to 2012....

The answer I SHOULD have given....

     Are either of your parents physicians? 

     Who else in your family is a physician?

     What do your parents do?

These are all questions that I that got asked at my last interview.... I was a bit taken aback. But I answered in brief.

Are either of your parents physicians? 

Who else in your family is a physician?
No one. I will be the first. No one else has a graduate degree. Just me.

What do your parents do?
My mom is a nurse. Right now she works to help manage an Assisted Living Home. In the past she has worked in home health care, private practice and as a floor nurse in different settings. She has done a little bit of everything.

My dad is the Safety Manager for an Oil Supply Company. He does all of the employee safety training and is the first responder when someone in the field gets injured and needs to be taken for medical care.
Yep, this is what I said. Boring... True, but my responses pretty much answered the interviewers questions and they had little else to ask or follow with.
However, I have been thinking.... Why was I asked this? What did the interviewer really want to know?

Maybe she really meant....Do I have a role model that was a physician? Do I have any sense of how difficult training will be or what it is like to be a physician? Am I smart enough? Why do I want to become a doctor? Is this a family career or something personal? Why did I choose this career?

I have no idea why I was asked this (repeatedly) during my last interview but it bothers me... It bothers me enough that I will not rank this program as high as perhaps it deserves.

I applied and was granted an interview so someone had to think I was worth the time. So why then should I be made to feel as though I am not up to the task or not good enough to train at this program? Obviously this was not explicitly stated to me, but this is how I ended up feeling....  But I think, no, I KNOW, that I AM capable and worthy and so I am stuck on the WHY???? What was the purpose of this line of questioning? What does it matter? Do my parents define me? If my father had walked out when I was 3 or my mother had died when I was 13 would this change who I am enough to affect what kind of doctor I am going to be? Or was this just a stuck up NewYork style interview?

If you, dear reader, have a different perspective or think maybe I was over-reacting or misinterpreting this line of questioning I would love to hear your thoughts....

Otherwise, this is what I SHOULD have said.

Are either of your parents physicians? 
No. But they were both amazing role models to me. I learned how important it is to care and give back to the community from my dad and I was inspired to enter the medical profession by my mother who worked in many different settings as a RN.

Who else in your family is a physician?
No one. I am PROUD to be the first.

What do your parents do?
My parents do many things.

My dad is a Safety Manager for an Oil Supply Company.... But it was he that taught me the importance of community service. My earliest memories of him are helping to construct a homeless shelter/temporary apartment in our church basement. It was to be a place for an out of luck family to stay in while the parents sought work and got back on their feet. The apartment had a kitchen stocked with food, a desk for the children to sit and do their homework. A living area. Two bedrooms. It was sparsely decorated and very basic but it offered a chance for a family that would otherwise have to separate with dad at one homeless shelter and mom and the kids at another. I remember how much it meant to my dad to be a part of something bigger. My dad cares about people and has made sure that I always thought about others too. He made sure that I not only appreciated the resources and family that I was lucky to have but also that I did something to help those who were not as lucky.

My mother is a nurse. I remember hearing lots of stories about doctors of all kinds from her. She loved some and thought others were rude, arrogant and not good for their patients. She taught me what she knew of medicine and instilled in me a basic love of taking care of people.

My parents do many things, but first and foremost they love me and have done a good job raising me which is why I am  here today. So, have I answered your questions?

Yes, these are the answers I SHOULD have given...



Care. Because you have to. Otherwise what is the point?

Interconnected. We are. And here is my proof.

In 2009 I started this blog. In 2010 I went to medical school and started reading other medical blogs. In 2011 I found Grady Doctor's awesome blog. In 2012 I found "a moon..." via Grady Doctor's blog roll. In 2012 I posted a comment on "a moon..." which became a post and generated far more comments that I could have ever hoped, dreamed or imagined.

Today Grady Doctor wrote this post and to me its essence was caring.... I then worked on a project for Elizabeth of "a moon" and realized that it simply came to down to caring... And so this is my reminder that what started at a selfish on-line travel journal for myself has led me to an awesome community and gives me daily reminders to care. And we should all care. About something. About ourselves. About one another. For one another. Just care!

Reset, book reviews and the interview trail

First of all, a belated Holiday wish for all my readers! I really did mean to wish you a Merry Christmas but someone I go stuck in a serious funk and just didn't feel like doing much of anything for most of the past few weeks, including blogging. So here are some random Holiday lights, since it is still December I hope you will accept these as penitence and know that I actually was thinking of you.
December has been exhausting but I really should not complain because it was all good. Coast to coast with stops and stays in seven different cities in the span on two weeks as I went from one new place to another just got the best of me! I am so grateful for the interviews I have been given but it doesn't make it any easier to be away from home and living out of a suitcase once again. I am not yet done but my rank list is shaping up and although Interview A is still at the top there are a few close contenders.

In any case, with all the traveling I've had some time to read on plane trips across the country and the latest is "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" which is heartbreaking, sad and depressing but also strangely uplifting too. And I finished Andrew Solomon's "Far From the Tree" which really was a great read. Depressing at times but definitely thought provoking with the ultimate message that in the end the human capacity to love triumphs over all. And isn't that a nice thought for a New Year?


For his mother

Nancy Lanza, 52

Mother of gunman

Another virtual ornament and moment to reflect on another life lost and the cost to all of us when we shy away from talking about mental illness and those affected by it, we are not immune.

Please read this article and think twice before you blame his mother. We do not know the specifics but mental illness has no easy answers....

For the babes

In memory of these children and the too-short lives they lived...

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6 

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison N. Wyatt, 6

For the teachers

A virtual ornament to remember those that perished on Friday, the teachers and educators that dedicated their careers and ultimately their lives...

Rachel Davino, 29


Dawn Hochsprung, 47

School principal

Anne Marie Murphy, 52


Lauren Rousseau, 30


Mary Sherlach, 56

School psychologist

Victoria Soto, 27



no lights or trees today

I normally love this time of year and I want to enjoy it but with children dead in CT and being far away from home the joy of the season seems elusive...

I have pictures of brightly lit and decorated trees from all over my interview trail that I fully intended to post. Yet they are not doing much to brighten my spirits at the moment.

It is too much to ignore. It doesn't make any sense and I am sad. Yet I have to smile and go on another interview. I have to answer the same questions for the 100th time and get on another airplane and sleep in another-not-mine-bed. And as grueling as these things may be they are blessings because I am here and I am well and as we saw yesterday there were children who simply went to school and had their futures erased, leaving parents behind, mother and fathers that will never be the same.

I don't have answers but I do think we as a country have to come together and actually talk about gun control and do something. Having a hunting rifle is NOT the same as having a semi-automatic and if today is too soon to talk about this, then when will be the right time? Call your senator or representative. Do something! I didn't mean to rant or ruin the holiday spirit but it seems that it is already gone.

I hope that we can remember the 26 victims and spend less time talking about the shooter. I hope that we all appreciate the blessings we have and love those we have in our lives because the future is uncertain and love in the present is one of the only things that we can do.

Wishing you peace and love~


For Sophie

and Elizabeth over at a moon, worn as if it had been a shell
This virtual ornament is the idea that inspired virtual ornaments. I was at the American Epilepsy Society meeting last week and came across this ornament which I knew I had to have. I was originally going to send it to Elizabeth and Sophie but then realized that they live with epilepsy EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and thus really don't need an ornament to remind them... but I do love me some purple and so why couldn't I have the ornament for my tree? And so I donated some money and took it home... where it now resides.

As you may know I am applying for residency in Child Neurology and a large portion of my future patients will have epilepsy. This is no cure. There are medications and diets and surgeries that sometimes work, for some patients and there there are those like Sophie who are somehow above any treatments the medical world throws their way. My heart breaks, it does. I don't know if we will ever have the ever-elusive "cure" as there are so many reasons for and varieties of epilepsy but I do know that part of my career will be interacting with the families affected. Elizabeth and other bloggers have opened my eyes to the lives that are lived beyond the walls of the hospital or medical clinic. The world of IEPs and wheelchairs and affected marriages but most of all the world of love that they (Sophie,  Calvin, Max, Pearlsky) create as part of being. The compassionate siblings and more patient parents. The better world. And so to Sophie and Elizabeth I dedicate this ornament. One for my tree, one for theirs....

For S

This ornament is hung on my tree at home but today I am virtually hanging it here for S, over at A Thousand Times Over.

Way back in December 2008 when this blog was still only an idea I found her blog and was inspired: by her writing, her dedication and her passion for medicine. It was present then and it is present now. These past four years may not have culminated exactly as S had planned, but she still has a passion and desire to enter medicine and she will make a damn good doctor when she is given the chance. I am thinking of her this match season and I am hoping/wishing that 2013 allows her to finally fulfill her dream and match into IM so that she can show the world what I know is true.

Life does not always work out as planned but I do believe in persistence and I know that S does too. So  to S, please don't ever, ever, ever give up!


Virtual Ornaments

I am not sure exactly why, but I've been thinking of people that I only know because of this blog lately... And well, while we may not be meet-for-coffee or call-up-on-the-phone friends we share a world and we share a community and so this holiday season I've been thinking of them...

And if you know me or have been following this blog for any length of time you know how much I LOVE all things Christmas.

Ornaments are especially one of my Christmas time favorites and so I give you virtual ornaments.  (Ornaments that I would very much like to find wrap and send but I don't even know the addresses of any of these bloggers, just their web addresses.) I will dedicate these ornaments to those fellow blogger that have inspired me this year. Those bloggers that made me laugh or cry or just make me think.

Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas and good cheer to all this Holiday Season!

Spice Queen


Frosty and lights

I'm status post my NICU rotation and I'm glad I did it. The learning curve was steep and I missed Dr. Boyfriend terribly but it was good.

I'm now back in sunny San Diego and volunteering in order to attend the American Epilepsy Society conference. I've slept only 8 hours in the past 2 days and am thus being sustained by caffeine but life is good. I never posted an appropriate thankful post in honor if the last holiday but I an grateful of my life, health and  privilege to be a physician in training. December is filled with interviews and I'm thankful for that. I'm happy to have time off and time at home. It's my favorite season and Holiday and if there is anyone that lives Christmas more than me it is Dr. Boyfriend. So to decorating our tree and listening to carols and searching for the best light displays in the area... I'm excited and as cheerful as a 5 year old on Christmas Eve!