The One Where I Worked Out in Heels

Broken record alert!

For probably at least the third time, possibly more, I’m going to talk about Blogilates. Because I’m obsessed and I want to share my excitement with you all. Because for once, I’m actually motivated to get fit, healthy, and strong. Because I’m finally not being a hypocrite when I encourage my patients to exercise more frequently. Because for the first time, I look forward to my workouts every day.

Yeah, you heard me. I’ve actually been excited to work out for the first time in my life, thanks to the adorably energetic Cassey Ho, Pilates instructor extraordinaire and host of the Blogilates workout videos.

Though let’s be serious: it’s absolutely a love-hate relationship. Countless dialogues progress as such:

Cassey: Just a few more!


Cassey: You should start to feel your thighs burning!

Me: What? Start? Are you serious?

Cassey: Get LOWER!

Cassey’s put me through five minutes straight of lunges, countless burpees, endless squats, and crunch after crunch after crunch. And just when I thought she’d put me through it all, she told me it was time to work out in these:



I know. I thought she was crazy, too. And I was terrified my roommates would come home to discover my mismatched gym-shorts/black pumps combo and I’d never live it down.

But I tossed my Vibrams to the side and donned my black pumps, terrified of the workout to come.

But thankfully (and I’d imagine purposefully)… there’s NO jumping.

So I panted through my plie squats.

plie squats

All workout images from the Blogilates website; click for full workout printable!

And I wobbled through my T squats.

T Squat

And I sweated through my lunges.Lunges

And I actually survived without any broken ankles or being busted in my ridiculous outfit by my roommates. The soreness the next day was far above that of my typical leg workout, so hopefully it’s actually working.  Plus, let’s be serious. It’s kind of fun to look in the mirror as you do the moves and imagine how awesome your legs are going to look in those heels once you’re done.

So seriously, if you find yourself wishing you could get into better shape but lacking the motivation, give Blogilates a shot. The best part is there’s dozens of videos of varying lengths, so even on days when you’re pressed for time, you can squeeze in a really effective 10 min work out. You can start crazy with the stiletto workout or start slow with some of the beginner’s videos.  But either way…




What will be YOUR Space Jam?


An adorable kid with a powerful statement = one must-share video that I absolutely LOVE. Because who doesn’t need a reminder every once in a while that the world needs us all to stop being boring.

What will you do to make the world dance?

Happies and Crappies… Neurology Week 2

Scissors and a Whisk: Happies and Crappies Link Up

I came across this blog link-up on some of the other medical blogs I’ve been following, and I LOVE the idea. It’s such a great, yet simple, way to summarize each week. So without further ado…

The Happies:

1. Yesterday, I stepped out of a patient’s room to go find the attending, and just as I closed the door I overheard him say to his daughter, “That one’s going to make a very good doctor someday.”

2. My neurology clerkship has meant one thing, if nothing else: time to be me. It’s such a relief to spend time with friends, catch up with classmates, visit with a good friend’s baby who turned 9 months and transformed into a real, interactive, adorable person, and just have time for reading (I’ve finished 3 books in two weeks!), working out, cooking, and relaxing!

3. I’ve been working out 4-5 times a week, doing Pilates (from Blogilates)… and I can actually see a difference in my strength, coordination, and muscle definition after just 2 weeks.

4. I got to help the admissions office make phone calls to newly accepted students this week. It’s always so cute and so rewarding to hear how grateful they are to hear from a current student and be able to answer any questions they have.

5. After I spent a day assisting with botox injections, my attending declared that I have a “good way with the needle.” I’m not sure what that was supposed to mean, but I’m going to interpret it to mean that botox injections are a hidden talent of mine. That’s resumé worthy, right?

The Crappies:

1. I found out recently that my three co-leaders for a student organization may all take next year off to do international research. I’m super excited for them, but incredibly overwhelmed at the prospect of tackling the entire leadership singlehandedly. Not to mention, I was considering going abroad for a block and I’m now feeling slightly limited in terms of those types of options… can’t leave the ship unattended!

2. Even though I’m more than halfway through my third year, I still haven’t learned to write the complex assessments and plans expected of me on neurology and soon on medicine. It’s unnerving to realize that I still have so much to learn on something so basic to medicine!

3. Though perhaps not crappy so much as terrifying, we had a class meeting to discuss planning our 4th years. I’m so overwhelmed with all of the options… what electives should I take? Or even more basic than that… what residency do I apply for?! Eeek!

Overall, I’m feeling so much more “me” on neurology, if only because I have time to be me. And that, in itself, makes any week happier.

Papa Always Has a Bad Day

Scene: The vascular surgery workroom circa 6 PM on a Friday evening as we anxiously await evening rounds and the end of the week. My colleague and I have been the students on service for three days, but the tall, late-30’s vascular fellow has acknowledged us only to dole out reprimands in heavily accented English.

The fellow strides into the room, “Well, hello!”

My classmate, the residents, and I exchange glances.

“I’d just like to apologize that the service has been so busy. We used to have time to laugh and give each other nicknames, but times have changed,” he continued.

The residents whisper to each other across the table as he takes the seat next to me.

“And how was your day? Did you learn a lot in your lectures today?” he asks, smiling.

“Yes,” I respond hesitantly. “We learned about venous disease. And diverticulitis. I’d say it was a good day. How was yours?”

The fellow cocks his head to the side and clicks his tongue. “Oh, Papa always has a bad day. Papa’s got to make sure the family has a good one.”

I blink back, dumbfounded and lost for words.

But there’s no need for a response. In almost the same breath, the fellow demands we begin to run the list and starts barking orders. Business as usual.

The One Where I Ate Cookies in the OR

(Yes, you read that right. I found a way to be permitted to eat cookies in a sterile OR.)

With just three days remaining in my surgical rotation, I took one for the team and signed up for a pair of stab phlebectomies (a relatively minor procedure for removing painful varicose veins). If you ask me, that procedure name even sounds gross… and like it lacks the careful precision of most operations.


On this particular day, I was with a surgeon whose methodology was notorious for making onlooking medical students contemplate if there was a more calculated way to handle things.

Bad combination.

Now, keep in mind that the day before was spent at Panera, taking great pleasure in their free coffee refills until 4 PM. This meant both dehydration and sleep deprivation after the caffeine kept me wide-eyed until all hours of the night.


Anyway, I was handling this case just as I’d handled any other operation in which there’s nothing for me to do and the attending ignores me: keeping an eye on the field while incessantly shifting my weight from foot to foot with the occasional mini dance to the background music. If you were on your psychiatry rotation, you might say I have OR psychomotor agitation.

…me, on any given day in the OR…

This time, for the first time in 7 wiggly weeks of surgery, I thought to myself that I wouldn’t have any near-passing out episodes on this block as I’d had in the past when I’d shadowed surgeons as a college student.

This time, for the first time in 7 wiggly weeks of surgery, the surgeon stopped to ask me if I was okay.

“I’m fine,” I assured him, immediately freezing in my current position and focusing all of my attention on the seemingly bloodier-than-necessary leg in front of me.

And I was fine.

Until I wasn’t.

As they started to close the wounds, my vision went fuzzy. The world started spinning. My focus diminished. My stomach was consumed by a wave of nausea.

“I… need to go sit down,” I mumbled, backing away from the table and directly into the arms of the circulating nurse.

Luckily, it never came to this.

“Don’t move. Just lay on my shoulder,” the nurse commanded as she eased me onto a stool. Groggy, faint me obliged as she wrestled my gown and mask off of me, and called for back-up…which came in the form of a nurse with a cup of juice and a cookie. Which I sat there and ate/drank… in the sterile OR. (For those of you NOT in medicine, you may have gathered that you’re not allowed to eat or drink in the OR. Or take your mask off. I did both.)

There was talk of taking me out in a stretcher, which I immediately declined. I didn’t actually faint, after all, and I usually only need to sit down for a minute or two to get my bearings. Let’s not make this more embarrassing than it needs to be.

So I was escorted to the hallways by my new intern, who stood and chatted with me for a bit while the nurses fretted over my diminished pulse and brought me juice.

“Want graham crackers? Want a cookie?” the nurses offered.

“No, no. I’m fine,” I insisted.

My intern shook his head. “You have a lot to learn. Starting with saying yes, and then taking two… one for me.”

And that, my friends, is how you get out of a case you don’t like, eat cookies in the OR, and befriend your new intern.

The One with the Numbers

Review questions I completed today: 109.

Times I refilled my coffee cup today and STILL wound up jittery: 1.

Days of surgical clinical responsibility remaining: 3.

Hours worked in three days of clinical responsibility last week: 46.5

Highest number of consecutive hours standing in an OR without food or drink last week: 14

Avocados purchased yesterday that now require a use: 4.

Days until shelf exam: 5.

Study days I probably would need to do as well on this shelf as the past few: 17.5.

Times I’ve danced to that catchy Bruno Mars song in my car and it’s been the best part of my day this week: 4.

Days until I return to real life and become quite possibly the happiest person on the face of the earth regardless of shelf score: 5.


If you haven’t gathered from the above, my surgery clerkship is coming to its end, and I clearly couldn’t care less am beside myself with excitement. Though I do think it’s really neat to observe all sorts of procedures in the OR, I could do without the 4 AM alarm clocks and 15 hour days that leave no time for studying, cooking, working out, keeping in contact with loved ones, blogging, and so on.

…real life resumes in 5 days, and you can catch my glorious return then.

Until then, hop over to the Medical Mondays link-up and get your fill of medical blogging.

MedicalMonday button

The One with the 2012 Recap and 2013 Resolutions

2012 brought a lot of ups and downs for me.

I started out with heartbreak, which was pretty terrible…


But as cliche as it may be, it ultimately brought me closer with old and new friends, helped me sort out who my true friends are, introduced me to new hobbies, and really challenged me to grow as a person.

Yay! Sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and everything is better!

I spent months and months of the most intense studying of my life in preparation for USMLE Step 1.


I celebrated the end of boards with my first trip out of the country: to England, Hungary, and Spain (a trip designed to allow me to experience three totally different tastes of Europe in two short weeks).

I visited the set of Harry Potter in London!

I visited the set of Harry Potter in London!


I explored beautiful Budapest at sunset!


I ate traditional paella at a cute restaurant in Barcelona!

I finally began my clinical clerkships, which made all of the countless hours locked away in a study room worth it. I’m so much more excited to go to school now that I spend every day meeting new people and learning just as much from them as they learn from me. I met patients who made me laugh, who lost their lives in my care, who supported me, who taught me life lessons.

I started this blog, which now has over 2000 views in less than six short months, despite my best efforts to completely ignore it at times. (Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me!)

And now it’s 2013, and I couldn’t be more excited. In a week and a half, I will be done done DONE with surgery and rejoining life as a real person, and for the first time, I’m challenging myself to several resolutions:


…complete with a color-coded system for keeping me honest via marks on my calendar.

Bring it, 2013.

Happy New Year, everyone!