Saturday, June 27, 2009

Off to a slow start

Well, I've been a resident for four days now, and so far, it's been a breeze. I started on geriatrics, which is a soft landing to say the least. All outpatient, no real call, Fridays and weekends off. On my very first day as a doctor, I saw a total of two patients, both in erectile dysfunction clinic. (Oh, the jokes. So many jokes.) In an odd example of life imitating my nightmares, both patients asked me how long I've been a doctor. I figured, they had already opened up to me about much more intimate matters. Plus, they weren't wearing pants. So, I came clean: "Today's my first day!" Juuuuust what they wanted to hear.

On the upside, I never have to say that again.

I was also "on call" over the weekend for the skilled nursing facility associated with our university hospital. I got called exactly once, for a very trivial matter which I knew how to resolve. Weirdness. And the nurse on the phone kept calling me doctor. More weirdness.

To round out this useless post, here's a video of Sam eating a popsicle. I love summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Apologies to Mae West

Too much of a good thing is wonderful!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Wherever we go, people tell me my son looks exactly like my husband. Frankly, I just don't see it. When I look at Sam, I see Sam. But we were looking through some old family pictures recently and even I have to admit that baby Brian looks an awful lot like baby Sam.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So I have a tentative schedule for next year. There's clearly something wrong with my schedule because it includes five -- count them, people, FIVE -- weeks of vacation. That won't last. My other beef with the schedule as it stands is that my first rotation is geriatrics, which is BY FAR the cushest intern month at Stanford. And I have it first! DRAG. It would be lovely beyond words to have a geri-vacation sometime in the middle of the winter when it's really needed. Instead, I get it in July. I'm already all rested up! And it's too early in the year to use the geri month as Step 3 study time. Other lowlights of the schedule: Thanksgiving and Christmas on call. And I get to finish off the year with back-to-back wards months. Honestly, it's hard to find much to like about this schedule. Other than the five weeks of vacation. Which, like I said, won't last. In any event, here's the run-down:

1. Geriatrics: 1 week
2. Vacation: 2 weeks
3. Coronary care unit: 4 weeks
4. Rheumatology: 2 weeks
5. Endocrinology: 2 weeks
6. VA ICU: 4 weeks
7. VA wards: 4 weeks
8. University wards: 4 weeks
9: Nephrology: 3 weeks
10: Vacation: 1 week
11. Oncology: 4 weeks
12: University wards: 4 weeks
13. Vacation: 2 weeks
14. Infectious disease: 2 weeks
15: County hospital wards: 4 weeks
16. VA wards: 4 weeks

On the upside, there's no neurology. And no night float. And no emergency medicine. And as it stands, I never have more than three call months in a row. So I suppose it could be worse. But really not that much worse.

This residency thing is seeming less and less like a good idea.

In other news, our program director -- widely regarded as a Force for Good in the universe -- is resigning come September.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


We did it!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lady of leisure

So lately I've been thinking about leisure. Mostly, my thinking goes like this: Mmmm, this couch is so absurdly comfortable. I freaking LOVE sitting on the couch. Next year -- and by "next year" I mean two weeks from now -- I won't be able to sit on the couch like I do now. Which is a serious drag, because this past year, I have turned couch-sitting into high art. I've had more leisure time this year than any other year in recent memory. It has been absolutely luscious. I have luxuriated in my endless afternoons. I have reveled in my free evenings. Golden weekends, every weekend.

I've always thought I prefer to be busy. Productive! But this year I've been more or less a part-time researcher because I wanted to seize the opportunity to spend significant time with my son before residency. I expected to love the time with Sam: taking walks around our neighborhood, playing at the park, lingering at the library. But what I didn't expect, exactly, was how exqusitely I love doing ... not much at all. Turns out free time is habit-forming and I'm hooked. Today, for instance, I woke up with Sam, around 7 AM. We took our sweet time getting dressed and eating our oatmeal. We listened to the news on the radio and made the beds together. During the late morning, we ran a few errands. At Target, we browsed the aisles, just waiting for something to catch our fancy. I bought a new dress, jeweled sandals. An orange rash guard for Sam. We dallied at the grocery store, then back home for lunch. I intended to work on my abstract submission for ASN during Sam's midday nap, but instead, I curled up on the couch and read a novel. In the afternoon, Sam and I walked to midtown for a few more groceries and an iced coffee. After dinner, Brian and I ate ice cream and watched Benjamin Button. It was a perfectly delicious day.

Recently I asked some friends, both academics, what's the optimal number of leisure hours per week? One of them counted the bulk of his working day as leisure, because he loves his job so much. Lucky him! I like my work well enough, but I definitely don't consider running around the hospital "leisure"! The other friend came up with a number: 30. That sounds reasonable to me.

Maybe a better way to pose the question is this: how many hours each week do I want to work? Based on how happy I've been this year, how balanced I've felt, I'd say the ideal number for me is somewhere between 30 and 40. I'd love to work 30 hours a week forever, but I'd be willing to work more like 40-50 under the following conditions: 1. One full weekday per week free, 2. Home for dinner most nights, 3. Off most weekends. I think a schedule that adhered to those requirements would result in an adequate amount of couch-sitting.

This kind of analysis is relevant for me because in the near future I need to begin to make professional choices that will result in more or less leisure, and I want to think the decision through carefully. So I'm interested to know how other people think about this question: what's your dream schedule? How much couch time do you need? How much do you want?

Monday, June 1, 2009


We’re back from Indiana, exhausted and just brimming with happiness and gratitude. My beloved friends Teena and Matt were married on Saturday, and it was quite the family affair: Brian took the pictures, Sam was the flower boy/ring bearer/mascot and I officiated. It was such an honor to participate so intimately in their wedding day, such a privilege to observe their grace-filled relationship and such a joy to celebrate with them and their guests. Not to mention, delicious. We are overwhelmed with blessing.


Brian took such lovely pictures; I can’t keep myself from sharing a few.

Here's a shot from the rehearsal dinner; Rachel and I took the opportunity to embarrass Teena and Matt a bit with a silly game.

Sam munched on a lemon.

In her continuing bid to be the Most Awesome Woman Ever, Teena made her own wedding cake. A small entourage accompanied her as she carried the cake to the reception site, but no one had the cajones to actually help carry it. Too much pressure!

Here's Sam before the wedding started.

We pinned the rings to his back so he wouldn't swallow them accidentally on purpose.

A shot from the ceremony.

The happy couple!

We went hiking the day after the wedding. Turns out Indiana is beautiful -- who knew?