Monday, June 27, 2016

What Internship Looks Like V

My Pediatric white coat is made of thick cotton and is so long that is comes below my knees. It has big knotted buttons--very official looking. Unfortunately, it fits so well that the button closure at the back made it too small. So my fantastic mother put a couple darts in the back, tacked down the flaps, and adorned them with these silver knot buttons I picked out. I probably won't wear it very much, but when I do, I will look classy.

My pair of white coats for Internal Medicine are shorter and thinner and will get a lot more use. The strap around the back was too large, so my mother took them in and decorated them with ladybug buttons to bring a bit of whimsy to the adult floors.

Friday, June 24, 2016

That's So Pittsburgh: Hills

View from Braddock Avenue looking east, just south of our house.

You might also like: That's So Pittsburgh: Hilltop Vistas.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What Internship Looks Like IV

Sometimes internship looks like the Chipotle burrito your program director brings you at the hospital, when you are still in your scrubs 36 hours after starting your first shift, because once you got out of the NICU, you took your cancer-patient husband to the ED so he could be admitted to the SICU.


Monday, June 20, 2016

What Internship Looks Like III

Sometimes internship looks like watching a baseball game with fellow members of your cohort during orientation. It's the running of the pierogies, of course.

This post also doubles as the first in my new series, That's So Pittsburgh, or TSPGH. Represented: Pirates baseball, PNC Park, bridges, river, pierogies.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Think Globally. Eat Locally.

Now available: FrauDoktorDoctor Co-op Member! (Doubles as Farmers-Market Shopper!)

Dressed in practical but stylish reverse layers, she is ready to walk the aisles, squeeze the fruit, and compare prices. Her reusable tote bag made in a humane, producer-owned workshop in a small village in the Global South from sustainably sourced raw materials comes pre-stocked with her co-op membership card, coupons in whole-dollar amounts, and Love for Earth reusable nylon mesh produce bags. She accessorizes with a colorful woven headband from Nepal.

You may also be interested in Biker Graduate Student and Card-Carrying Union Member. Please note that The Dissertator and Medical Student have been discontinued. Watch this space for Med Peds Intern (coming soon).

Friday, June 17, 2016

What Internship Looks Like II

At orientation. Foreground: squishy mascot. Middle ground: 3D puzzle. Background: water and snacks.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

What Internship Looks Like

I have finally ended my long-running series, What Medical School Looks Like and opened a new series on my blog, What Internship Looks Like. As before, it will feature absolutely no patients, and probably no images from inside an actual hospital. I mean, you all already know exactly what that looks like from [ER / Scrubs / Grey's Anatomy], right? Instead, I try to document around the edges, showing how a medical student develops into a clinician. Okay, let's be honest, thus far it's mostly a catalog of places I have studied. I don't know what internship looks like either, so let's find out together.

Sometimes it looks like meeting my new Med-Peds colleagues at a local hot spot. From left to right: J.P. (he later turned up in the flesh), M.K., K.E., J.T.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Pittsburgh is the city of three rivers: the Monongahela, the Allegheny, and the one nobody can remember (the Ohio). We came up from the south, crossed the Monongahela, and then drove along it for a beautiful vista of our new home. On account of the triangular downtown and numerous hills, few streets here make a grid, some are marked "private," and some are actually public staircases. One of my colleagues says the city must have been designed by an angry civil engineer, because it makes so little sense. Case in point: a ridiculous number of 5-way intersections. Driving here is often improvised and not for the faint of heart. The city still feels like an experiment and not like "home" yet.

Dear Husband says the housing stock reminds him of Baltimore in the way that one block can be quite nice and the next block a row of trashy lots and boarded up houses. Only in The Burgh the third block could look positively semi-rural, with trees, brush, and an insurmountable hillside behind it. For instance, the friend of a friend's house where we stayed when we first arrived is perched on a hill with bee hives in the side "yard." (How cool is that?)

Rowhouses: not just in Baltimore.

DH and I are renting a townhouse in an eastern neighborhood called Point Breeze. (Pittsburghers take their neighborhoods so seriously that they are listed on every major street sign, and there are multipledetailed Wikipedia articles about them.) There are three schools within two blocks, as well as the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary (estb. 1810) and The Frick Art & Historical Center nearby. We are within walking distance of one edge of the 644-acre Frick Park.

Speaking of trashy neighbors, while outdoor maintenance is our responsibility for the duration of our lease, it was apparently not the responsibility of the landlord before we moved in. The cantankerous old man who lives next door actually accosted DH the day we moved in about cutting the knee-high grass in the front yard, as if that were our fault. As it is, DH's father, uncle, and cousin clipped the yard. Later my mother and I weeded the front garden bed and bought a couple hosta plants to fill in. The back bed, as you will see, is hopeless for the little time I have (here).

This is Dear Husband's view from the piano bench out the picture window to
the front porch. The fireplace is to the left, the front door and couch to the right.

This two-story townhouse with semi-finished basement and storage space in the attic is technically a little bigger than our single-level slab in Champaign, but the layout is different, with only two bedrooms instead of three. Two sets of steps lead up the front to a porch, where we've secured our patio furniture. The front door opens into DH's music salon, complete with couch for house concerts (we're already planning a holiday carol-sing) and Nancy McAleer's watercolor painting of Baltimore's Mount Vernon over the decorative fireplace.


View up the stairs with the skylight waaaay above. It's noisy when it rains.

The staircase with its narrow clearance bisects the downstairs. The built-in shelves narrow the passage so between the two rooms that the appliance delivery guys had to hoist the refrigerator OVER the newel post and banister to get the thing into the kitchen. Behind the stairs are the dining room and kitchen. With some rearranging, we've been able to get most of our downstairs furniture into the two rooms, as well as most of our knickknacks. (The rest will stay in boxes for the next move, hopefully in a year.) DH is pleased we got a half bath downstairs, for when the upstairs one is occupied.

Big, beautiful new refrigerator. :-)
Electric stove. :-(

The kitchen is large, with more cabinet space than I know what to do with. Literally. The house in Champaign had exactly one drawer (we used it for the oven mitts next to the stove). Now I've had to leave some drawers empty, because I don't have anything to put in them! And then there's the unfolding pantry. Seems like a neat idea, until you realize the cubbyholes are all different sizes, and that you have to pull out both hinged doors to get to the big shelves for flour, sugar, and the like. So I've left half the glassware packed and used some of the cupboard space for boxed dry goods for easier access.

What the what??

Downstairs is a "wet basement" that is storing what used to be in our garage. Up the stairs (that wouldn't admit the full-sized box spring [not queen-sized, full!]), the front bedroom has become combination living room and study. We left DH's big old rocking recliner on the curb in Champaign because it was broken, and it's not certain that we could get a new up the stairs, so he's using my rocker. I am unlikely to watch much television this anyway. My desk is in the basement, so I am using his. The back bedroom has a really funky shape, with closets along one wall, a recess for the bureaus on the other, and a sleeping nook in the back. The friend of a friend who viewed the place for us told me she was jealous of all the closet space, which is rare in old Pittsburgh houses.

Finally, the back porch is for storing our bicycles, the charcoal grill, and items for freecyclers to pick up. Our view isn't that great, but two doors down the neighbors have a small garden, a big dog, and a little girl, so we like to go down there to unwind in the evening.

We inherited the wind chime and hanging pot from the previous owners.
The pot is soon to have a transplanted spider plant in it.

Mermaid, butterfly, and bird (I promised it's there).

Thursday, June 2, 2016

I am young. I am hip.

Sorting through old papers while packing up my study, I came across a folded piece of paper torn out of a notebook. Judging from the notes on one side, it dates to the fall of 2000 or winter of 2001, when I was a freshman in college. On the other side are pencil scribblings, clearly drafted to High-School Sweetheart (now Dear Husband). I think the poem is lyrics to a song that, in my mind, has a country-western tune. I doubt that I ever sent the note underneath them. It's time for June bugs, so for Throwback Thursday I decided to immortalize young love here on the interwebs so I can recycle the piece of paper. Photo is from about that time, maybe the year before, taken one summer in my parents' breakfast room. You can tell the same girl in the picture wrote the following.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

We drive over the bridge^ and
     my heart jumps over the moon.
It's crazy, I know, this feeling
     that everything is all right,
But then again, I have al-
     ways been crazy to the world.

I wish this feeling would last forever.
I wish this feeling could last forever.

But what is forever to the young?
It is now. It is never. I will love you forever.
Forever is the time I spend in Calculus--
     and that seems long enough to have
     more than enough love to last a lifetime.

I am young. I am hip. And I will love you...forever.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I want to write poetry. I want to write the words so that they are lilting and beautiful and so that they touch you.

Having said that I want to write poetry, does that ruin it? I don't know. I can't help admitting it. Maybe you will think it is--that my writing is like poetry--anyway.

You see, sometimes the words I call poetry well up inside me, bouncing around and buzzing, like June bugs in one of those plastic bags gardeners put out in their yards when the nights begin to warm. If I open the bag for a glimpse of the shiny green beetles, I risk losing the words like so many winged insects. If I don't peek in the bag, the beetles just flounder about in agitated consternation at being trapped, and maybe there will be so many eventually that they escape anyway. Then the close evening sky would be filled with the metallic sheen of the flying beetles quickly becoming mere shadows amid the dusk, soon all gone.

^ This might be the bridge over the railroad yard "we" (my fellow after-school tutors and I) had to cross to get to our Federal Work-Study site, but I am not certain.