Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Wyatt sees thrilled, doesn't he?

I have a tale to tell you... a tale about my Christmas tree.  I REALLY wanted to get a real tree from a Christmas tree farm, cut down with my own two hands (and a saw, of course).  That planned flopped a couple times, and on the last day I was going to try to get there, I had a water pipe leak in the ceiling and instead of a Christmas tree, I got a plumber.  Wop wop. 

I didn't want a fake tree because we always had a real one at home, I love the way they smell, and I just wanted one.  But in the end, I decided I'd rather have a fake tree than no tree at all... so I broke down and bought one.  It didn't hurt that I waited long enough for them to be 50% off either...

Even though my tree is nothing special, I needed something to hang my ornaments on... because they ARE special.  Some people pick a theme for their tree, and totally change the look each year.  My tree's theme is "I've been getting ornaments every year since I was born and I want to show them off".  It's the theme I use every year.  I got a bunch of them from home this year (although not all, I'm sure), and added some simple blue and silver balls to fill it up.  Here are a few of my favorite ornaments...

Top Left: Starbucks.  Because I'm me.
Top Right: Kissy fish face ornament
Bottom Left: Engraved metal ornament... I have a bunch of them, that one is from 1988!
Bottom Right: First christmas ornament EVER!  Porceline shoes from my parents in 1985. 

And yes, I do plan on keeping my tree up for at least another two weeks.  Thanks for askng.

Merry Christmas!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
The bad news:  I have to work on Christmas Day... and the day after Christmas... and the day before Christmas... and New Years.  That make it challenging (ie impossible) to make it home to PA for Christmas. 

The good news:  I got this stocking in a box of presents from my parents today...

Why, yes, that is a stocking made out of a paper bag with actual stitching filled with Christmas goodies.  Thank you for asking. 

At home, I have a hand-made cross stitched stocking that I've had since... forever.  Being as it's at home in PA and I am in IN, I couldn't hang it from my mantle.  So I got a cheapo sustitute.  And then I got this one.

The paper bag stocking is WAY better than my replacement.  A little taste of home (the peanut butter balls I got in the same box also taste a lot like home...) even though I can be there.

Thanks mom and dad!  For the stocking and other presents I haven't opened because it's not Christmas yet and that would be cheating!

Merry Christmas!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
This morning, I spent a tremendous amount of time going through, cleaning out, and organizing files.  Lots and lots of files.  I hadn't put ANYTHING away since moving 6 months ago, and decided it was high time I find my desk under a small tropical forest's worth of paper.  Mission: accomplished.

In all the wading, I stumbled upon lots of old things I hadn't read in a long time.  Letter from friends, cards, old graded papers and tests.  Among those things, I also found my AMCAS application for med school.  I submitted that application on 8/5/2005, just after my 20th birthday and shortly before starting my junior year in college.  In the 6+ years since writing it, lots has changed.  And lots hasn't.  I was only halfway through college when I wrote this personal statement, thinking I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, traveling the world, figuring out who I was.  I actually wrote it on a plane flying home from South Africa, using a little journal of handmade paper that only halfway opened, and a red pen.  I thought about writing a big analysis of how my life is now compared to what I expected of myself back then, but I decided it would be more fun to just throw it out there and let you all make your own judgements.  Enjoy...

(ps...  I didn't edit this at all, even though I wanted to change some grammar and wording.  That would have been cheating...)

In his book, "God Has a Dream", Bishop Desmond Tutu writes about a way of thinking known as Ubuntu theology.  He claims that all people are connected, that "I am because you are."  This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to the small country of Lesotho in southern Africa.  It was in Lesotho that the meaning of Tutu's theology challenged by dreams for my future.

During evening discussions, the students and I questioned one another in hopes of understanding our experiences.  I struggled with the injustices of the poverty I witnessed that threatened the lives of my new-found friends.  If Tutu is right, and "I am because you are", what is my role in changing the injustice facing humanity?  What can I be to help the "you"'s of the world in their individual struggles?

When I first thought about these questions, my nicely planned life was rapidly turned upside down.  I thought that in order to be the person Lesotho and its people inspired me to be, I would have to make some frightening, dramatic, and unknown shifts in my future plans.  The impact the people of Lesotho, their stories, and their reality had on me was unfathomable.  I participated in a worship service with over 300 people, momentarily oblivious to the fact that, statistically, over thirty percent of them were HIV positive, and most made less than $300 a year. 

Reflecting on these realities, I began to question my own path, my own future.  I could not continue to be ignorant or apathetic to the plights of those with whom I share this world.  I took on a hemisphere's responsibility in a single evening and did not know what to do or where to start.  My mind and heart wrestled with Tutu's, "I am because you are".  What if I am the "you are"?  Do my thoughts, decisions, and actions directly impact human reality?  Is the status of each orphaned child and homeless family in Lesotho a result of who I am?  The lives of real people across the world may rest on my incapable shoulders.  I struggled with how to handle that realization.

I could not at first see how my pursuit of a career in medicine fit into this quest for justice.  I didn't know how living out my dream of being a surgeon could balance the equation of the Ubuntu theology.  But as I began to explore the possible meanings of Tutu's words, I came to the realization that they are fighting words, a challenge calling every person to the responsible for the whole of humanity.  "I am because you are."  The wrongs of the world can only be changed by magnifying and utilizing the individual gifts of every person.  We, as members of a global community, are blessed with gifts as diverse as the people who possess them, ans as important as the power that provides them.  These gifts allow Ubuntu theology to work.  If I am who I was meant to be, you can be who you were meant to be.

In an ideal world, people would discover, understand, and utilize their gifts to the highest potential.  However, this world is far from ideal.  Some are not given the opportunity to be who they are meant to be.  The injustices and inequalities of life in Lesotho and many other countries across the globe stifle the unique potential of each human being.  Simply being born in a certain place robs them of a choice, traps them in the life of generations before them.  at the same time, equally gifted men and women take their opportunities and choices for granted, and sacrifice their gifts for prestige, status, and appearance.  In an ideal world, choice would be standard and injustice would be rare.

I was faced with the sobering reality that my choices, these decisions about my life, were my chance to change the world.  Ubuntu theology had led me, though on a disturbing and challenging path, directly back to that overturned life plan.  Because I am who I am, I have a choice.  And because I have a choice, I have a rare chance to embrace my gifts and make my life what if can be.  My gift, my passion, is medicine.

People have never been shy about telling me how they think I should life my life.  I have been told I should be a teacher, paramedic, researcher, even a minister.  While each of these vocations would utilize one of my abilities, they fail to capture all that I am and who I can be.  My personality requires interaction with other people; an exchange of ideas and feelings and skills and hope.  My mind craves constant challenge; technical and difficult, new and always changing.  I am a problem solver; social, scientific, and personal.  The only career, the only future, I can see for myself is medicine.  While I was in Lesotho, I had a spontaneous desire to stay and make things right.  However, sacrificing my passion and gifts for something more "helpful" or "righteous" might be as harmful as choosing to remain ignorant would have been.  Where exactly medicine will take me is as uncertain as the future of Lesotho.  But I do know that if "I am because you are", I am meant to be a physician.  I cannot choose to ignore that gift.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I was out putting up lights this afternoon.  Last night I'd put a wreath up on the front door, but it was a little high and kind of hidden behind the screen part of the storm door.  I planned on trying to move it to the front of the house where I was putting lights... if my ladder was tall enough.

While I was putting up some lights, I got a good look at how the storm door was attached...  Apparently with lots of screws.  Huh.  Doesn't seem to hard to get rid of...

Lets revisit what my house looks like (in the spring...)

I've always wanted to paint the storm door because it stands out way more than a storm door should.  You can't even tell there's a door behind it!  So, when I saw how it was attached, I figured it couldn't be THAT hard to take down....

More than 20 screws later, after almost tearing the hinge off the door frame (whoops, forgot those screws), the door was down.  Apparently, the door and trim used to be painted brown.  I've got a little touching up to do.  But overall, I'm THRILLED with how much it opens up the front of the house.  It'll got back up in the spring (when I want to keep the front door open), but for now the front of my house is awkward-white free!

Check out the results...

I know it's kinda dark... tis the season.  I should have turned the porch light on!  When it warms up later this week, I'll putt out some sandpaper and paint and touch up the places that are brown now... it'll be good as new :)
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I was cleaning up the memory card in my phone this weekend and came across some (okay, a lot) of random pictures of Wyatt.  What can I say, he does things worth taking pictures of.  Here are a smattering of them, captions included.
Wyatt thinks he's the king of the world...

Just chillin... half sitting in a pot.  Weirdo.

Don't worry mom, I'll do your homework!

Haha, he got a bath, and hated me for it.

Reading directions on how to install new pedals on my bike.

Seriously, he's a learner.

Protective of the toys...

Orange fuzzy blanket naptime.

If he lived in the wild, he'd get eaten.

Cat + caffeine = this.

This is why I don't waste money on toys anymore...

 I'm trying to sleep!  Get that camera out of my face!

New favorite blanket.
Crazy animal.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Great Article

I don't have much to add...

Read away.

How Doctors Die, by Ken Murry

About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


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