In which we’ll remember

Sometimes when I log into a website, the one that runs this blog included, there is a small button to check: “Remember Me”. Small words, but powerful ones that can resonate so quickly beyond the need for a URL to recognize you. Remember Me, that I was here. That I’ll be here again. Remember Me, when I’m gone. Some people don’t need a box.

Nelson Mandela, who came into his age of greatness as I was coming of age in grade school, died today. He was our generation’s own tangible racial civil rights hero when so much of our own trouble history had passed before we were born. Madiba was a visible evidence of how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go. He’s one that will never need a box checked to Remember:

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 9.18.55 PMAnd just in time for finals (if this isn’t motivation to study, I don’t know what is)

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 9.18.27 PM

May we all live lives worth Remembering.

In which there’ve been midterms


For disclosure - not take-out soup, but it was made from a lot of cans.

For disclosure – not take-out, but it was made from a lot of cans.

I’ve been in midterms for the past two weeks and then to round out the spectacularity of being in the twenty-second grade, I was on call with an incessant pager and worked the holiday. There’s something about it all piling on at once that can crush your soul a bit.

Each time that I find myself so exhausted that I want to take a nap in my car in the few moments between class and clinic or want to complain that I have to go in to the hospital again right when I just.sat.down to eat the dinner I was interrupted from three hours ago for another call or when I’ve had problem sets due every day and sometimes on lectures we haven’t had yet or when I’ve spent several precious hours researching medical complexities on patients who then don’t make their appointments or how it’s now the second day I haven’t seen sunlight because our nights are so, so long or when I realize we’re eating take-out again because I can’t find a moment to do adult-like activities like grocery shopping…

I just take a good, deep breath of our cool, rainy air. This is all part of it. No one reminds you when you tell them your plans that it’s going to be a long string of tired. It’s going to be many weeks of constantly feeling like you should always be doing something and lots of take-out food. But if this is anything like dental school was, there is the sweet, sweet amnestic healing that comes with being another semester (or quarter or even half quarter) closer to your goal. You forget how stressful the last push was and continue onward.

As I hurry between buildings on campus, I find myself quietly rejoicing that I am fortunate enough to have a coveted parking spot so I can drive between class and clinic. When I walk into the Emergency Department I remember how blessed I am to be on call for such a great hospital, and how I’m so very, very thankful to be in this program I fought so hard to continue. I am grateful that I can work in this fun, little waterlogged corner of our country. I feel like I’ve made it. I feel like I have so far to go.

Beyond anything else, I feel so incredibly lucky to be living my dream.


In which it’s all about the perspective

Getting some work and blog posting done on my research time.

Getting some work and blog posting done on my research time.

Last night I was chopping vegetables for the week because it turns out I let them rot in the fridge if I feel too lazy to do it when I get home from work. I’ve been using emeals to help us plan and keep a budget (remember when I tried to meal plan on my own? hahahah, turns out not so much) – plus it’s fun to try out their recipes. Right in the middle of grating some ginger my pager went off; there was a three year old with facial swelling and infection due to a large cavity at Seattle Children’s Hospital and my co-resident Bri and I were being called in to take care of it.

Thought 1

Annoyance. Seriously? The best time you could think of to take care of your kid’s cavity was at 8:30pm on a Tuesday? Oh, it’s been like this for weeks. Great. All cavities are preventable you know, with a toothbrush, good diet and some floss. We like to fix things before they get too big and create a medical emergency. Cavities can kill. You’ve already seen two other dentists today? They did nothing? Why, we’re all trained how to extract teeth in dental school and they’ve been dentists way longer than I have. Plus, it’s not a super complicated procedure. Oh, they didn’t feel comfortable treating children.. Perfect excuse. At this time of night I have none of my magic tools to make it anymore comfortable than you could’ve done earlier today and saved this family a three hour trip and overnight stay in the city. I certainly wasn’t trying to do anything else tonight after a long day of work.

Thought 2

Thanks. Thanks for pagers, so I don’t have to sleep overnight in the hospital waiting for the kids to come in and I can hang out at home or go to the grocery story or do anything else in a 20 minute radius of Children’s. Thanks for good co-residents to share the burden of trying to treat a hurting child when they and their parents are not at their best and have already had a long day. Thanks for a car to drive me to the emergency department so I don’t have to take the bus or walk and for good, safe, paved roads to drive on. Thanks for hands (that yesterday smelled like ginger) to help lessen the pain. Thanks for student loans to pay for the lessons that have molded these hands over the past almost five years. Thanks for antibiotics so this kid won’t die of a toothache. Thanks for parents who trust that I’m only trying to help. Thanks for good lighting, clean facilities, a plethora of gauze, sterile instruments, a dental chair. Thanks for working suction. Thanks for the Starbucks to grab a quick tea while waiting for the ED nurses to be done with their assessment. Thanks for a dictation system so I don’t spend 30 minutes writing my notes. Thanks for a great partner to work with. Thanks for the chance to heal.

It’s all about the perspective.