Saturday, May 31, 2008

I love Salvation... Army

I went to the Salvation Army on Harry Hines and Inwood the other day to look for a headboard and although I was not successful in my search, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of quality home furniture they have. Examples: sets of wing chairs for less than $200, giant sturdy armoirs for $250 to $3o0, and sofas for under $300. They did have some things that were a bit vegas (matching faux-marbelized bed set- the headboard had two attached night stands and an overhead light!) but they also had a lot of cute kind of granny-ish furniture that would be really pretty if painted. I got a giant 60s beach housey lamp for $8.00:

My sister, Ben and Anna visited this weekend and they brought me a chair that they won't need at their new house. It's upholstered in a way that was very stylish in 1993 and there are a few cat scratches decorating it it, so I decided to rig up a makeshift slipcover using an extra sheet and then threw a scarf on it that I will have to borrow next winter because I usually use it on my neck and not on my furniture:

I'm not sure what to do with the trunk that I have next to it. I need the trunk to store my winter sweaters, and it doesn't fit under my bed. But it screams college like nobody's business. I doubt that I'll ever be ambitious enough to actually paint it or cover it with paper, but I wish that could somehow just happen automatically without any effort on my part.
This is my office closet. I have a very big closet (it even has a window!) that would otherwise have held a vaccum and little else, so I decided to make it into a study nook. I haven't used it yet but I hope to in the future.

Here are some pictures of me and my cutie niece from this weekend. She thinks I'm the funniest person ever. or maybe it's just how I look.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Seatbelt Check!

When I was six or seven, my mom used to do this thing that I thought was SO funny where she would slam on the brakes in the car and yell "seatbelt check!" Then I would ask her to do it again and again because it felt a little bit like a roller-coaster ride and it was just so spontaneous and fun! She would never oblige me. I now know that the seatbelt checks weren't thrown in because I thought they were fun; it was because someone cut my mom off in traffic and Previas maneuver like a pregnant walrus. on land. Which brings me to my next point; Previa is a disgusting name for a car. I'm sure Toyota was trying to find a word that seemed lofty and yet attainable at the same time, but the only context I have EVER heard the word "previa" in is in the condition "placenta previa" which can lead to early delivery or even miscarriage. why would you name a minivan that?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

things I love and hate.

I'm not creative today but I am feeling contemplative in a very self-centered and simple kind of way. Ergo, here's a simple love/hate list from me. Because of course you were dying to know. Only shallow things are included because you already know I love God/My Family/the USA and hate cancer/terrorism.

Things I love:
  • Half Price Books
  • reading cookbooks for fun
  • Alfred Hitchcock movies (newly discovered love)
  • English Muffins
  • Goljan audio files (yay passive learning)
  • Mondays. I'm not even kidding, they're my favorite
  • getting up before sunrise
  • big trees
  • salsa bars (not to dance, like they have at taco cabana where you can mix and match salsas for your taco)

Things I hate:
  • being less than 0.5 points away from the next grade up in Clinical Medicine AND Microbiology this year (Micro was less than 0.1)
  • Lactose intolerance
  • the egrets (or whatever) on our campus that poo all over the place and make it smell awful outside for 5 solid months out of the year
  • picky eaters
  • the speed limit signs that start to blink at you when you go 31 mph in a 30.
  • the continued coverage of gas prices in the news. We don't need interviews with some random person complaining about gas prices. That isn't news. I see like ten gas stations on my way to school every day. I know that the rise in prices is annoying--there is no need to assign a reporter to cover the "gas crisis" unless there is actually something new to say.
  • when I go running and get really sweaty and then I take a shower but I'm still sweating after the shower even though I used cold water so it's almost like I never showered at all.

Friday, May 23, 2008

my spine!

I'm an idiot. Even though I hired movers, I was too lazy to pack some of my stuff well enough for them to move it (eg kitchen, bathroom) and so I stupidly inflamed something in my spine and am now paying the price. It doesn't help that I'm spending the majority of my day sitting and studying (even though I dorkily sit on an excercise ball at my desk like Dwight from The Office).
I loved rowing, and it opened up opportunities in my life that I would not have otherwise had... but I'm kind of bummed that 3+ years after I stopped, and more than 2 years after having surgery, I'm still dealing with this thing. Also, I'm being lazy and not doing my exercises like I'm supposed to because it's annoying and I don't want to be the person who has to do PT every day in order to not be in pain. The problem is that I am that person and I'm in semi-denial about it.
I guess the back issues did lead to some good: the research I did last summer on degenerative spondylolisthesis is being presented this weekend in San Antonio. I couldn't go to the conference because I'm studying and I just moved and I don't have an extra $350 to go, but the poster is there and someone might read it. I can't give everything away, but here's a sneak preview:

FASCINATING, no? I'll wait to give all the details until I'm published. If that ever happens. Which I really hope it does.
I kind of want an MRI of my spine right now, but I think they cost a ridiculous amount of money (which my college is no longer going to pay for), I'm not sure that they could do anything about the situation if there was something inflamed, and if I did have to get surgery it would be really awkward because then I would have to choose between the different Doctors that I worked with last summer, AND people that I may want to work with/for in the next few years would see me naked (in the OR). One of my biggest fears is to be seen naked by a doctor I've worked with or by fellow students. If I'm ever in a traumatic accident, I want to be taken to a private (non-teaching) hospital so that I don't have one of my classmates cutting off all my clothes and putting in a catheter. how embarrassing would that be?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

apartment pictures (mostly for Shannon)

Here's what my apartment currently looks like. I still have a few things to do but it's mostly put together.

from top of stairs: I think it's required for every Texan to have either a giant metal star, a state flag, or a pair of longhorns somewhere inside their house. At the very least, they should have a large collection of Mexican crosses (I have 5). The coffee table is from Ikea and I put it together myself! the wall unit is older than I am--It's built for VHS storage. And yes, I do love books.

looking from dining area into living room. I got the architectural poster from the Uffizi in Florence--It's a plan of the duomo. I got the Uzbek Suzani in Selcuk, Turkey from the man who owned our hotel. To hang it up I had to stand on some molding that decorates my staircase. My mother refused to watch and told me that if I even ATTEMPTED to hang the tapestry that way, I would DIE and then my dream of a career in surgery would be OVER!!! (Seriously)

Here's my bedroom-- this is the other Uzbek Suzani I brought back from Turkey (this one is silk... ooh la la!) the bedspread is from Pottery Barn a few years ago, and the "vanity" is composed of a desk that I had to screw a leg back onto and a mirror that my mom didn't want anymore. I'm thinking of getting a headboard from World Market that's dark wood with a subtle floral motif painted onto it.

The kitchen.. I couldn't get it all in in one shot.

I love my cow-shaped butter dish. It's from Target. I was tempted to buy the matching cow-shaped creamer, but I already have one creamer that I don't use and I don't need two of them.

My next step is to get some black and white photos of friends, family, and pretty places I've traveled to and hang them up like an album next to my kitchen table. After that I think I'll really be finished.

Monday, May 19, 2008

let's see if I go crazier

my mom was here last weekend because I moved to my new apartment in UP and she was helping me to figure out where to hang things and what I needed to purchase in order to make my little back house into a back home. She also financed a trip to Costco, which means that I don't have to buy groceries for like two months. Which is good because today was the start of my hardcore buckle-down Step 1 studying. My general plan is to read from 7-4 or so, work out, eat dinner, and then do questions in the evening for a few hours. I'm also listening to Goljan when I drive to/from school because he's the and I have fun imagining the images he's talking about.
I went for a run directly from my residence for the first time in several years. It was amazing, but maybe would have been better if the weather hadn't decided to shoot up to 98 practically overnight. But I still love being able to walk out my door and not worry about getting yelled at by drunk/homeless/otherwise unsavory types. Also, the streets here are actually LEVEL, free of the enormous potholes of my former neighborhood that made driving down the street in a car uncomfortable, and riding down the street on a bike impossible. I may try and go for a bike ride in my neighborhood later this week! today I passed a really pretty park (I think it's called University Park. It's at the intersection of University and Park. In University Park. are we sensing a theme?)
In other adventures, I don't have a microwave. I'm actually having to turn on my stove in order to heat things. I feel like I'm in the seventies.
I take the USMLE on 6/23. After that, a 6-day summer and I start with Pediatrics on 6/30. I hope I get off July 4 weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Alert. Alert.

Ten years ago, in 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they did not commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortunes. If you had a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire ... The A-Team!

It's my duty to inform as many people as possible that the entire first season of this marvelous show is available for free viewing on
I know that Face is supposed to be the looker that all the gals fall for, but honestly I find Hannibal much more attractive. I think it's because Face has a high-pitched voice like a girl and he has a disproportionately small head (see above picture). Hannibal is a master of disguise! and he smokes cigars, which is awesome.
I think that Murdoch is more attractive than Face because he was the pilot, and you know he has to be the toughest one because he lives in the psych ward at a VA hospital. Also, he has a brown leather bomber jacket with a tiger's head airbrushed on the back. I would pay a lot of money for that jacket. What a statement piece!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I'm moving this week! yay! For this school year I've been living in an apartment with two roommates (both first year guys who I found on facebook) in the same complex as Aaron, Amit, and Jeff because I was jealous of their ridiculously cheap rent and it's been nice being able to walk back and forth to one another's apartments or carpool when we're going out.
However, what I didn't know until I had already moved into the complex was that the kind of bare-bones complex across the street was actually the the projects. I knew this street wasn't going to be luxe, because the nearest places of business to my apartment complex are a discount liquor and check-cashing store, a pawn shop, and another discount liquor and grocery store. But this is a little too rough of an area for me--you know how sometimes at night you hear sirens going by and you think "oh, there must be a fire, or someone's hurt!" and then you can't hear the sirens anymore? When I hear sirens at night, I keep on hearing them for 15 minutes. Then sometimes the next morning there's a household worth of goods on the sidewalk outside of the projects. Once when Amit and I were coming back from someplace late at night there were 13 police cars directly across the street from my complex. THIRTEEN!!! What on earth do they need 26 police officers for? I don't even want to know.
So I'm moving to a garage apartment in University Park, which is kind of like the Westlake of Dallas except more so. I found the apartment very fortuitously--someone spammed it to our class on the very day when I was going to start actively looking for a place to live. The move-in date was exactly the day that I wanted to move, and the price was less for more space than I thought I could afford. Later on, after I had already signed my lease and put down the deposit, I found out that the people who own the house go to my church! I don't usually think that God interferes with my day to day drudgery (I don't depend upon Him giving me material wealth, and I don't expect Him to cover my butt when I've screwed up) but I'm thinking that maybe this one time He did put the idea into my head to contact the family and pursue this apartment because it feels very right and getting it was so easy.
Here's what I've packed so far:

I'm packing my stuff up in liquor boxes because they are free and very sturdy. The danger is that my new landlords from church may think I'm an alcoholic. But I'm hoping not... who would buy a case of Harvey's Bristol Cream anyway? or of Irish cream liqueur? The Rogue is really the only thing that I could potentially buy a case of, but even that's unlikely because I don't have enough money to buy fancy ales in bulk.
This week starts the studying for my USMLE. All I know so far is that I love Dr. Goljan and I wish all the subjects had 40 hours of lecture that I could listen to while I'm going about doing my chores.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Crustacean Sensacean!

that kind of sounds like the name of a Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor. It would probably be the worst flavor ever created. Unless they did one of their creative things where they just made chocolate bits in the shape of crustaceans...but if they made, say, vanilla ice cream with a crawfish-flavored swirl and cajun seasoning sprinkles, that would be sick.
we had an all-medschool crawfist boil on Saturday. It was a great way to end the school year and I got to meet some people and catch up with friends from the other years. I accidentally made one friend by hugging a stranger after I had mistaken him for someone in my class. he was very polite and acted as if this were a completely normal thing for me to be doing. I may do this on purpose in the future as a way to meet strangers in awkward social situations--just pretend that I already know them, give them a big hug, and enter into the middle of a conversation. Here's a picture of the banquet table.

This was my first crawfish boil, but I was told that it was ABSOLUTELY necessary to suck the juice out of the crawfish's head. tasty!

Here's a picture of the mudbugs dying. But they gave their lives for a noble cause.

My friend Jeff with a crawfish that may actually be half lobster. look at that thing! Also, please note his handlebar moustache.
It is my dream to have a party themed "Mustachio Bashio" and I will require that every man who attends grow a mustache. If they can't grow one, then they have to have one drawn on at the door with sharpie.
I am now finished with second year. I don't have much planned for the summer, mostly 10+ hour days of studying for my USMLE. Here's hoping I don't get any more insane than I currently am. wheeee!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

serving the crazy

about a week after the other emails were all sent out, we got another one, which started a whole new round of drama.

From: JL
To: MS2011, MS2010, MS2009, MS2008
Subject: insanity

I know I said I would not email again, but when has my word ever been good for anything? That’s the kind of person you are dealing with. I’ve been good about not holding a grudge and ignored the names on emails sent my way. Some of you may have seen me on the wards and thought “that guy doesn’t look so tough.” The question you really should ask is if you should mess with someone who has nothing to lose. Listen, believe it or not, I actually have multiple degrees and talents and don’t need this too bad. They’ve already sent me away once. I’ve now been to the most miserable places around the world and befriended the scum of the earth, some of whom have considerable skills in technology. So I don’t want to hear about how your daddy worked hard for what you have or how you couldn’t drive a beamer like the kids crosstown. Believe me, this won’t be high school where everybody’s trying to pull us away from each other. So if you think you can take a little scrape here or there, then you should ask if it is worth it to have to go home to your big-time surgeon daddy over Christmas and tell him how they expelled you because you got into a tiff with some angry kid you didn’t even know. So you can tell me or my friends how we are such scum (its probably true). But don’t be telling nobody they can’t do this or that, be looking at us funny on the wards, in fact look the other way if you see us, don’t be breaking our mailboxes with funny computer programs, and don’t be hiding behind some stupid anonymous profile. If you don’t know who I am so you can stay away, then find out fast and find out whom my friends are too and watch out for them and find out who anybody else who might have had even just a pleasant conversation with me on rotations this year too.

ok, the subject wasn't really insanity, but I lost the actual email so I don't know what the subject was. however, the text did deal mostly with insanity and scariness so I think the subject heading was appropriate. later on that day we received several updates from the administration that an "email action team" had been formed (on a Sunday afternoon!) to address the situation of the crazy patient. I actually just wrote "patient" on accident, as J is a student, but as he may soon be a patient of the psych ward I'm going to leave it in because it's kind of funny that my fingers automatically typed it.
The following is an analysis of the crazy.

when has my word ever been good for anything? That’s the kind of person you are dealing with. By this Mr. L wants us to know that he is ape-shit crazy and you can't trust anything he says. He imagines this image of himself to be intimidating, and picturing himself as an intimidating force is soothing to Mr. L.
Some of you may have seen me on the wards and thought “that guy doesn’t look so tough.” Infers that he really is so tough.
The question you really should ask is if you should mess with someone who has nothing to lose. The words "nothing to lose" suggest that Mr. L sees himself as an outlaw, a rogue agent, a man who is willing to do ANYTHING to work toward his ultimate goal (of...?) and will not allow anyone to stand in his way. Kind of like Harrison Ford in "The Fugitive". Also, it denotes poor situation analysis skills, as Mr. L is currently in medical school and has (on paper) a lot going for him.
I actually have multiple degrees and talents and don’t need this too bad. Mr. L isn't doing medicine because he has to, he does it because he chooses to. His other talents include playing the clarinet and being able to type 80 wpm. He can also tie shoelaces with his toes, which would be more useful if you weren't actually covering your toes with shoes before you tie them.
They’ve already sent me away once. to the psych ward.
I’ve now been to the most miserable places around the world and befriended the scum of the earth, some of whom have considerable skills in technology. He knows this other guy in the psych ward who knew how to beat super mario brothers in 3.5 minutes by using a secret key code that only he knew about. Also, one of his friends from junior high once opened his sister's locked diary using a paper clip.
So I don’t want to hear about how your daddy worked hard for what you have or how you couldn’t drive a beamer like the kids crosstown. He's too important for your problems. And he can't spell "beemer".
you should ask if it is worth it to have to go home to your big-time surgeon daddy over Christmas and tell him how they expelled you because you got into a tiff with some angry kid you didn’t even know. He is bad at surgery and therefore jealous of surgeons. He also has delusions of power (ie that the administration will expel a student if Mr. L asks them to).
If you don’t know who I am so you can stay away, then find out fast Because he's an unpredictable outlaw and he knows people with lock-picking skills.
and find out whom my friends are too and watch out for them He has friends. His friends are also crazy and may stab you with a hemostat. It's like a med school gang. They're called the HoSpiTaLiZers, and their color is death.

I'm not sure what the powers at our school have done with this kid, but three strikes seems kind of overly lenient when someone is that unstable. The idea that this person could one day be in charge of other people's lives is absolutely frightening. Also frightening: the week before this email was sent out, there was a bomb threat on North campus. I suspect that the timing was not a coincidence.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I didn't brush my hair
I decided that people from East Texas sound better at 2.5x speed
I took a nap for an hour
I spent an hour looking at taxidermy on eBay
I ate a hot fudge sundae.
Ay Caramba, I'm a waste of space.

tomorrow: more of the same, but with less taxidermy and ice cream, and more being good at life.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Last night I had to choose between going to happy hour with my Sunday school class at the (Methodists are awesome) or taking call overnight with Orthopaedics. I ultimately decided to go with Ortho, and I was SO GLAD because it was a magnificently busy night and I got to see and do many things I had never done before.
I started by following the 2nd year resident in the ER. He had a couple of patients with vertebral fractures, where the most I could do was: a) help the nurses turn them so that the resident can do the spinal and rectal exams and b) go get random info from the patient if the resident has forgotten to ask them something. Both of the patients were pretty lucky (as lucky as possible given that they had vertebral fractures) and neurointact, which means that they're treated with rest and bracing until their bones get sticky.
We went to the OR to place an external fixation on someone whose tibia looked similar to this:

even if you don't regularly read x-rays it's obvious that his knee was pretty fouled up. I got to help put on the rods and clamps, and then cut the pins using a giant pin-cutter (seriously. about as long as my torso).
Later they let me scrub in on a radius fracture that needed to have a plate and screws put on. The 2nd year resident had to go take care of a patient who was post-op, so It was just me and the 4th year resident (and the attending supervising). I was pretty happy about that already because it meant that I got to see clearly and touch a lot of things (like retractors... oooh!) but then they let me drill the last two holes and place the screws! That's something usually taught to PGY2s. And I didn't f*$# it up.
I also got to finish the stitches. I tried to pretend that I'd never done it before (I only have once on a patient) so that I would look like a stitching savant, but it didn't work and I ended up admitting to citrus practice.
The rest of the night was a little anticlimactic after getting to use power tools, but it was still informative and hands-on. As the 2nd year resident got busier I was able to help with more things; two sugar-tong splints, irrigation of an open fracture and 2 posterior+U splints for a guy who crashed his motorcycle and was on the way to surgery. There was also of holding/pulling on a limb for ten minutes at a time. The physical work of holding isn't really that bad; the hard part is continuing to pull hard on an old lady's arm as she hollers in pain because her bone is being re-set. I got some hateful looks for sure.
My night (morning) ended with breakfast from Taco Cabana, as all good late nights do. I can highly recommend the potato and egg breakfast taco with pico de gallo and salsa verde.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

DMA <3 Me.

I keep on getting things from the Dallas Museum of Art inviting me to join. I've only ever been there once, but the fact that I get letters that assume I'm culturally thirsty enough to want to be a member of a museum is quite flattering. The latest letter is especially enticing, because if you join at the Sustainer level you get two free tickets to see the treasures of Tutankhamun. It all seems like a great value, but the problem is this: I don't ever go to the museum. I am not all that cultured or knowledgeable about art, although I would like to pretend that I am. The museum membership for me would be like the gym membership for the people who pay every month for the pleasure of not using a membership. And yet I'm having trouble resisting the call of Tutankhamun, a "glittering glimpse into the life and magic of the ancient boy-king, with more than 130 amazing artifacts, including many that have never before been seen in the United States!" Plus I would get unlimited free general admission for me and a guest, exclusive invitations to members-only preview and events, discounts at the museum store, a magazine, and free admission to DMA late nights. Why wouldn't I join? Maybe if I had a membership, then I would go to the museum more often... stop by on my free afternoons, explore the permanent collection at my leisure, become a more intelligent and better person altogether! I could join the Professional Members League for FREE! Reciprocal museum memberships! Hooray!
Will I be wasting my money, or will I be changed by my support of the arts into a more interesting person? Opinions?