The One Where I Resurfaced in Guatemala

Oh, hey.

Yes, I’ve been incredibly neglectful of this sad little blog for months, and for that, I apologize. However, turns out it takes up a lot of time to travel across the country to interview with eighteen different residency programs. But the good news is, my rank list is completed and certified, and I will hopefully be matching in (drumroll, please!) Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics come March.

But we can talk about that later. The more exciting news is that I’m typing this from here:

Lanquin

…in beautiful Lanquin, Guatemala, a little town in the eastern portion of Guatemala well-visited by tourists because of its proximity to Semuc Champey, a gorgeous natural wonder which I’ll be visiting tomorrow.

Wait, rewind… I guess I should tell you how I got here. I enrolled to participate in a Medical Spanish course at a school at a little town up in the mountains called Xela. I’ll be there for four weeks starting this Sunday, staying with a host family, and embracing some cultural immersion to improve my Spanish, which I’m discovering needs LOTS of work. I’ve been grateful for my travel buddy who has spent two weeks here already and has a much better grasp on the language.

But for now, I’m fumbling through my Spanish and enjoying a week of tourism. I arrived in colorful Antigua on Sunday and spent the evening ambling around the beautiful town. Most of my photos, however, happen to be from early this morning… we had intended to book our bus for 2 PM today so we could enjoy a leisurely walking tour of the city, so when we discovered late last night that we’d miscommunicated and booked 8 AM, the only option was to wake up at 5:30 AM and enjoy a sunrise tour of Antigua. We weren’t disappointed:

One of Antigua's charming, colorful streets.

One of Antigua’s charming, colorful streets.

Inside the Las Capuchinas convent... because they'd left the door open at 7 AM, so we let ourselves in...

Inside the Las Capuchinas convent… because they’d left the door open at 7 AM, so we let ourselves in…

Nuestra Senora de la Merced

Nuestra Senora de la Merced

I just can't get over this archway with the mountain in the background. Gorgeous.

I just can’t get over this archway with the mountain in the background. Gorgeous.

The other highlight of my (three-day) trip thus far? Hiking Volcan de Pacaya. The ascent was PAINFUL (and my legs are still sore), but the incredible views were totally worth it!!

An incredible view...

An incredible view…

This view negated any doubt that the trip to the volcano was worth it.

This view negated any doubt that the trip to the volcano was worth it.

Some areas are so hot from the lava below that you can roast marshmallows...

Some areas are so hot from the lava below that you can roast marshmallows…

Volcan de Pacaya itself.

Volcan de Pacaya itself.

At the top of the world...

At the top of the world…

But for now, necesito practicar mi espanol! Hasta la vista!

K

The One Where I Joined the Walking Dead

It’s Medical Monday again, so obviously that means I come out of the woodwork to introduce myself. This is me:

Image from The Walking Dead

Okay, so that’s not always me. It’s me when I’m in the midst of my second week of night shift for my pediatric subinternship. If that’s not an excuse for an extended absence, I’m not sure what is. At this point, even coffee gets me to about here:

 And of course, I’m also working on my residency applications right now, which makes me look something like this, even on a good day:

But even among the hustle and bustle, I’ve been hoarding ideas for future blog posts. Like about the time that an elderly veteran in ophthalmology clinic decided to read my palm. Or about how I finally managed to write a personal statement after months of procrastination. Or about my patient who disappeared off the floor at 1 AM. Or about narrowing down which residency I want to pursue (!).

Really, I’m going to write about all of that. Someday.

But right now, all I can think about is sleep.

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MedicalMonday button It’s the first anniversary of Medical Mondays, and I am so grateful for the efforts of Emma and Jane over the past year. It’s been so much fun to connect with other medical student/medical wives/medical professionals in the blogosphere. The posts shared each week remind me that I’m not alone in the hectic world of medicine, enlighten me on the various roles played by different staff in the medical system, and provide advice on everything from raising children as a physician to the latest in interview suit fashion. While I hop on into my bed, I highly recommend you hop on over to their blogs to meet the other fabulous participants of MM.

The One with the Belated Blogiversary

I am the worst blogger ever.

Yesterday, I spent the day overdramatically collapsed on my bed, exhausted after spending the prior two weekends travelling, and the days in between scrambling to finish oral presentations, studying for and completing Step 2 CS, and doing laundry. I was grateful for a day that demanded absolutely nothing of me, and I chose to indulge in absolute nothingness.

But the consequence of my indulgence? I’m now one day late on acknowledging my one year blogiversary! 

I can’t believe it’s been one year since I started this, intending to offer stories to family and friends during my third year, when I had few other opportunities to catch up with them. And despite my third year schedule leaving dozens of stories yet to be told, I’ve managed to keep in touch with family and discover a whole community of medical (and other) bloggers, mostly thanks to Medical Mondays.

Special thanks to all of my readers for all the support and encouragement. Looking forward to another awesome year with you!

<3, Kay

The One With the Accent

This morning, I attended an anesthesia resident lecture, led by one of the chief residents with input from a well-respected and extremely knowledgable attending.

And it’s a great educational opportunity and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with this man… but I’ve spent the first few days of my surgical subspecialty trying to place why his voice sounds so familiar.

And then it hit me. He sounds exactly like:

 And now I have to spend the remaining 1.5 weeks trying not to giggle at the image of Puss in Boots as an attending.

…life as a fourth year is SO hard.

The One with the Last Minute Lesson

“It’s your last day, right?” Dr. Family asked as we entered her office to start our lunch break. “I think it’s time to teach you how to balance work with real life. Come on.”

I tossed my stethoscope aside and scurried to catch up with her as she wordlessly exited her office and led me to her car. As she placed the keys into the ignition, the chorus of Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” blasted through the car, and I stifled a giggle at the thought of my attending jamming out on her way to work.

“Are you up for ice cream for lunch? We can eat it on the beach…”

Ice cream? Beach? Now this is my kind of lesson.

And for thirty lovely, relaxing minutes on the sunny, warm waterfront, we indulged in peanut butter fudge ice cream. 

Lesson learned.

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For my new visitors (and old friends!), thanks for stopping by! I’m K, a fourth year medical student in the US who realized I recently had my 22nd and final first day of school EVER! Please take a look around (and maybe even subscribe or follow me on FB/Twitter), or hop on over to visit our lovely hostesses Emma and Jane to peruse some other fantastic medical blogs.

The One With the Appropriate Gift

During my first year of medical school, a textbook author named Barbara Fadem played a huge role in my education. An expert on behavioral health, Barbara guided us in how to address defense mechanisms, recognize substance abuse, and approach complex ethical issues.

For whatever reason, one particular line from her textbook has always stood out in my mind:

From Fadem, Barbara. Behavioral Science in Medicine. 2007: 26: 493.

From Fadem, Barbara. Behavioral Science in Medicine. 2007: 26: 493.

This concept has always made me chuckle at its seeming absurdity, because who in an urban environment even raises chickens, let alone thinks to package their eggs up for their doctor’s appointment?

But this week, my jaw dropped as I walked into a patient room.

Because there, on the counter, with “Mindy’s Farm” scribbled on top, was this:

“Mindy,” I began, giggling. “You have no idea how appropriate this gift is.”

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Also, I’m taking this opportunity to wish a very happy Father’s Day to the man who always read me countless stories and taught me to ride my bike and to drive, who still washes my car and changes my oil, answers my frantic 6 AM phone calls when my car door freezes shut, and supports me no matter what. Love you, Dad!

The One Where Fourth Year is Like Preschool

Today, I donned my bright blue raincoat and red rain boots and trekked out into a downpour on what would be my very last first-day of school. After 22 years of first-day jitters and picking out new outfits, my formal education is just one year away from its end, and I can’t even begin to believe it.


But this year, my fourth year of medical school seems to bear more resemblance to my first year of school, in preschool, than my most recent year of school, my third year, and here’s some examples of how:


Pre-school/Fourth Year:
Teacher / Clerkship Director: So I know that sitting still all morning is really tiring, so instead of going to noon conference, why don’t you play outside in the sun or take a nap for an hour?
Third Year:
Clerkship Director: All noon conferences are 100% mandatory, and we may or may not be taking attendance… you’ll never know.
PS/4th:
Allows you a leisurely wake-up at 8 AM, and maybe even a mid-day nap.
3rd:
Demands that you’re up before the crack of dawn and fully alert by 5 AM, and you sure as hell won’t be sleeping again until at minimum 10 PM.
PS/4th:
Who doesn’t love snack time?!
3rd:
Hmm… did you even eat lunch today?
PS/4th:
No exams, just simple projects to fill the time and allow you to fully explore your creativity.
3rd:
Oh yes, and on top of working 5 AM – 9 PM, we’d like you to study for an incredibly nit-picky 100 question national exam every 6 weeks. You’re welcome!
PS/4th:
Plenty of time to get to know your classmates, visit with family, and enjoy yourself with friends.
3rd:
What’s a friend?
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Happy Medical Mondays and happy June!


For my new visitors, I’m K, a brand-spanking-new fourth year medical student in the US, fresh out of my Step 2 boards-studying cave and still growing accustomed to the bright lights and free time on this side of third year. I’ve got plenty of new blog ideas and, now that Step 2’s over, plenty of time to put them together, so stay tuned. For now, take a look around (and maybe even subscribe or follow me on FB/Twitter), or hop on over to visit our lovely hostesses Emma and Jane to peruse some other fantastic medical blogs.