Friday, June 26, 2009

Study Break

I am in Fresno, I am happy, everything is going well. I don't have any exciting stories to tell other than Fresno is still humming along as usual and everyone seems to be healthy, happy, and doing their best to stay out of the heat. Indeed, the routine seems to be unchanged since I left this hallowed ground almost nine months ago.

There are only three exciting things to report:
1. There is a very special birthday coming up for HA (yes, I know those are my initials, but it is not my birthday party...the initials actually work for other people as well!) The birthday party is this Saturday and I can't wait!

2. I am finally back in town with the ONE person who absolutely loves my stories. It helps my ego tremendously.

3. On Monday I start my Pediatrics rotation at UCSF-Fresno. I am SUPER stoked about this. They have already sent confirmation emails with all the pertinent information like where to go, who to meet, when to be there, etc. Even where to park! AND, they even list the textbooks I will need for the rotation...that they PROVIDE, including one book that I am allowed to keep after the rotation! This is truly amazing - I'm getting a glimpse of what medical education for students at US schools looks like, and quite frankly, I'm a little jealous!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Flying Home

I'm coming home! And while I love coming home, I have also really come to love NYC and will miss it here. C'est la vie. I'll be back here in October anyway.

Here is my flight information. Hope to see you all in California!
And remember: I will post updates about my journey on Twitter so you can follow my journey in the air and be advised of any delays.


American Airlines
Flight 117: Depart JFK 2pm --> Arrive LAX 5:08pm
Flight 3017: Depart LAX 6:30pm --> Arrive FAT 7:25pm

You can track the progress of my flights by CLICKING HERE

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Boo to You: Salvation Army

I am introducing a new Blog Award. I am calling it the "Boo To You: Big Thumbs Down" Award. I have created this award now in response to a mind-boggling refusal by the Salvation Army to accept my basically brand new full-size mattress and box spring.

Perhaps somebody who reads this blog has ties to the Salvation Army or knows why they have some of these fairly asinine policies...because the agent on the phone with me couldn't be bothered to explain.

Here's what happened: I will no longer be living in NYC, therefore had to get rid of my bed. I tried selling on Craigslist (something that I was ultimately able to do), but at first no responses to my ad got me a bit nervous. So, I called Salvation Army. I told them I had a full size mattress and box spring that I had purchased new 9 months ago and I wanted to donate it. His response: "you don't have a frame?" No, I don't. "Then we won't accept it."

EXCUSE ME?!?! Funny, my ass was able to sleep on the bed just fine for the last nine months without a frame.


Dude, you can just go buy a $30 frame from Sears and give a family in need the opportunity to get a perfectly fine bed!!


WHAT?! Who comes up with this stuff? This is downright STUPID!

Therefore, for refusing to accept a great, comfortable, clean, and awesome bed that a family in need could have absolutely used, the Salvation Army has earned itself a big, FAT thumbs down and BOOOO to you!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Surgery: Complete

"Want to be a surgeon?"

If you had asked me 12 weeks ago whether Surgery was something I would consider doing, the answer would have been an unequivocal NO! That answer is no longer the case. In fact, the answer is now an absolute YES!!! It is such an amazing challenge to take a patient from their point of entry into a hospital, through their work-up, and the solution. Surgeons get to practice medicine on the floor AND take patients to the OR for further treatments and procedures. It's amazing.

The bug has bit and I'm hooked.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quotables: Life in Medicine

"Over the previous months, I had thrown myself into my work and shunned everything I once enjoyed and nearly everyone I loved. I believed I needed to do so in order to become a surgeon.

But I had lost my self in the process, and the stress made me irritable. I was no longer the nonconfrontational person I once was.

I had, for example, raised my voice a couple of days earlier at a receptionist in the radiology department when she couldn’t schedule my patient for a CT scan. I had scolded a nurse who had had the misfortune of being the fifth person to page me as I scrambled to finish a procedure. And only a week prior, I had squabbled with my family after my mother innocently asked, "Why do you have to work so hard?"

According to a study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, I am far from the only doctor who has behaved this way. The researchers interviewed residents, or doctors in training, from seven different specialties and found that they set themselves up for burnout by accepting, even embracing, what they believed would be a temporary imbalance between the personal and professional aspects of their lives. While the young doctors interviewed defined well-being as a balance between all those parts, many felt that their medical training was so central to their ultimate sense of fulfillment that they were willing to live with whatever personal sacrifice was required, even if it meant a temporary loss of a sense of self."

Many of you still write to me upset that I don't call or write or update you enough. AGAIN, I apologize. But, above is an excerpt from another great article from the NYTimes about some of the struggles and challenges of the process of becoming a Doctor. I hope it gives some more insight.

Click Here to read the full article.

Or copy and paste the address below:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quickies: Californians in NYC

Some of my favoritest people EVER are in NYC this weekend and we have been painting the town that beautiful brownish-grayish color that is unique to our Fresno Valley. Here's an update of some of the awesome moments of the trip so far! Enjoy!

Lo's favorite experience from her first day in NYC was seeing the musical "In the Heights". Great choice, because AA and I also loved the show - every song was powerful and moving and the storyline was a lot of fun. Great show - we recommend it highly to everyone!

The Hotel: the crew is staying at the Westin Times Square. I love the Westin and this particular property is one of my favorites. I have stayed here three times before. Well, this time the room wasn't the best. There were several problems with it. No problem - we handled it. As a result, the crew was upgraded to a room on the top floor (45th floor) and we got some other minor things comped.

Singing in the Rain: the weather has been trying to cooperate with us, but the clouds are just overpowering the sun. Luckily, the rain has, for the most part, been kept at bay. But there was a small sprinkle as we walked back to the hotel after a trip down to NYU for CY. As a result, AA, LA and I decided to take a bunch of pictures whilst sitting on the new lawn chairs on Broadway and 42nd Street in the new Pedestrian walkway (which used to be an active road for cars as recent as a month ago!)

YANKEES Game! Great new stadium. Tons of fun eating, drinking (soda of course), and watching my favorite team (the Mets) play the Yankees. Icing on the cake was definitely getting my very first baseball cap that fits my head and makes me actually look cool! I'm so excited!

The View: No, not the loquacious show on ABC with "Babwa Waltwews" (Barbara Walters), but rather, the 48th floor of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square for an all you can eat dessert and cheese bar and some yummy drinks. Definitely a great way to cap the night!

Stay tuned for more Quickies from the California crew trip to NYC!
And I'll get some pictures up here at some point as well...although they are all on AA's camera.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm a Supa-Stahhhh (=SuperStar)

I just saw the best commercial EVER! Loved it! Watch it below...and then remember that we are all superstar rockstars in somebody's world!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Christian Spirit

I am so proud of you Brian!!!!!
Here is a great story to start the week - one of my favorite people is doing amazing things for the community. This is no surprise to any of us who know him. Keep up the great work!

A Winning Combination: Brian Allbritton needed a project for his communications class at Fresno State. As luck would have it, several weeks ago Brian bumped into a friend who worked for Chick-fil-A and they began talking about Brian’s class and the restaurant’s community service programs. Chick-fil-A sponsors fundraisers within the community, donating 15% of the proceeds to a designated local charity. Brian quickly realized he had both a class project and a fundraising opportunity for his favorite charity - Habitat Fresno! Brian has been volunteering at ReStore capitalizing on his background inconstruction. He thought that Habitat Fresno would be a worthy recipient of a fundraiser and the folks at Chick-fil-A Fresno were happy to oblige. The company's official statement of corporate purpose says that the business exists "to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."( The chain invests heavily in community services and scholarships. They also believe that everyone, employees as well as customers, deserve a day off, so all Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed on Sundays. The fundraiser for Habitat Fresno was held on Monday, May 4th at Chick-fil-A, located at 8040 N Blackstone Avenue in Fresno. This tasty event raised $137.00! Brian also set up a wheel-of-chance where diners could spin for prizes and coupons. They raised another $27 for ReStore. Our thanks to Brian Allbritton and Chick-fil-A Fresno for their service the community and the work of Habitat for Humanity Fresno County.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Feel Good Story

On the NYC Subways, there was (still is?) an advertising campaign sponsored by the NYC Teaching Fellowes Program, a program that recruits career changers to teach in NYC Public Schools. The ad campaign focuses on various aspects of teaching that would make you feel great about the profession. One of the most poignant ads said the following:

"You remember your first grade teacher's name. Who will remember yours?"

Every time I see this ad I think of Ms. Giampicolo (pronounced Jam-Pick-olo), who was my first grade teacher at PS 84 in Queens, NY. She was an amazing individual who did a superb job of challenging her students to greater learning. And I think of Ms. O'Connell, my second grade teacher, and Ms. Schubert (3rd grade), Mr. Hatch (4th grade), Ms. Wells (4th grade), and Mr. Cooley (5th and 6th grade). I think about the myriad of amazing teachers I had in middle school and high school, many of which I still keep in touch with to this day. They made and continue to make a profound difference.

And so it was, that when one of my favorite people in the world sent me the following link, I was moved so much. It is a story done on the First Lady's commencement address at UC Merced. You have all heard of this, I'm sure. The more exciting part is when they interview Ms. Claudia Zepeda, one of the graduates. Ms. Zepeda was the third grade student of a dear family friend. Ms. Zepeda still keeps in contact with her dear teacher from 3rd grade, a testament to just how great this teacher is and how much of an impact a caring, passionate, positive influence can make in the life of a child.

Check out the link below to see the story. And if you get the chance, surprise an old teacher who made an impact on your life. As a former public school teacher myself, believe me when I say there is no greater reward for a teacher than to get a little update from your children.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Quotable: Life Goals

“Dear Lord, make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”

My dog, Lucky (pictured), thinks I'm a God. There is no person or thing that my dog likes more than me. My goal, therefore, as a Doctor to be, and a human who gives a hoot about others, is to live up to the amazing, out of this world, king that Lucky thinks I am.