Friday, April 12, 2013

In which the author decides a creative outlet is needed and the blog take a new direction...

Fast forward two years (well not really fast forward it has been two years)...Finishing the second year of med school. Sitting here in the most dreary of white walled rooms eating instant oatmeal and drinking french press coffee, trying to study yet another day while it is utterly beautiful and sunny outside, I realize what a professional student I have the detriment of other things, like mon poor bicyclette which sits hanging in the garage most days. Not because I live so far from school, but because the locker function that my car serves is quite useful, (along with constant updates of incidents of bike thievery). My car used to carry people, and now it carries books, thanks to my incessant need to have access to all my books at all times regardless of whether I'll actually ever have time to read them or not. All this describes the general state of things...which inspired a new experiment.

In this place we learn many things, many lists of questions to ask during interviews, including the question..."What brought you in today?" a question I wished I'd asked during my interview, yesterday, my interview which was one of 4 factors contributing to the current state of things, which inspired the experiment. During this interview, my patient's, in reality a patient-actor, affect so completely flat, and by all appearances unhelpful to my agenda of finding the answer to this patient's problem, that I lost all composure (that's what it felt like), forgot all the lists, and panicked because all of it left me, and the interview utterly unraveled into me asking questions out of the air (which is against everything "they" teach us," while thinking the patient probably thought I had no idea what I was doing--which was and wasn't true. The patient commented on my grade sheet, "Nerves got in the way. Student was caught up in remembering lists. I did not feel much of a connection." And afterwards, as annoyed as I was at my patient for being so unhelpful, and appalled as I was at my shooting questions out into the air, grasping for straws, and I watched my video of my interaction to critique it...I realized in those moments of sunshine when because of something I said, a smile or laugh broke through his cloudy demeanor, I liked my patient. We, in fact, shared similar values, we both were in people and service-oriented professions, and we both liked dogs. Instead of ending early, because I had no idea what to ask (forgot the lists), and wanted to leave the situation, I could have kept shooting questions into the air and been ok with it, after all some people are just less organized in their style, or gotten to know my patient...could have asked about his dog...could have asked about his job. But these questions aren't on the lists, so nobody teaches them to you, though in a lot of cases they are the more important questions.

One failed interview; realizing yesterday that I have learned something here, in a situation I wished I knew something I could do--and then realized I did; a mom's blog post entitled "Why I Hate my Pediatrician;" and an article on grace, relaying that people have value simply as human beings (even if you forget the lists) all have inspired the experiment and a blog to record it.

The experiment = talk to people..lots of people...about non-list things.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

...thoughts on medicine

Then I realized it was posted on Sept. 11th...
I love this in both interpretations in terms of "animal therapy."

MUTTS by Patrick McDonnell | September 11, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It is interesting to consider transitions through practices that become daily rituals...The beginning of my daily journey to work on "little Blue" required much focus and energy directed to the very act of bicycling, to maintain balance and composure. I generally arrived at work tired from the exertion, particularly on Mondays when my body forgot and got lazy over the weekend, and often tired after a day of work, left wishing I could just drive home.

Phase two became less concerned with the essential elements of the journey as balance and bicycle handling skill improved, and instead my attention was directed to the scenery. Throughout the seasons and changing light, as my attention shifted from house to house, from park to neighborhood walkers some days it seemed as though I saw those houses anew for the first time. As the leaves fell from the trees, days shortening, and I brought out my bike light to fend off the deepening darkness of evening, the houses gradually added their own protection against any thought off winter gloom by adorning first pumpkins and later cheerful Christmas lights.

Freedom and exploration came in the third phase. Little Blue, took me to explore downtown where meeting dear friends for weekly breakfast, became a new delightful part of life.  It became a part of the bounty of my life and fellowship--meeting friends (intentionally) to run and swim and meeting friends in fortunate happenstances ending in joyfully spontaneous dinners and evenings of laughter. Venturing out beyond former bounds mon bicyclette most gracefully carried my tired body through my first triathalon. It was these days I arrived at work and home not concerned with the effort of the ride, but elated at the freedom of fresh air and good physical exertion.

Toward the end, my thoughts began to shift towards the transitions ahead. My mind filled with thoughts of the life ahead, of the news which might wait for me in the mailbox when I arrived at home, it was at this time in which this daily ritual most became a part of me...And when news came, and my rhythms began to change I knew this sweet, sweet time was ending. I woke up and realized I had been living out of my dream, and it was a good gift granted to me. It was in many respects a fleeting time. Yet its marks upon my life were not. Somewhere in the midst of bicycling to work every day, now supported by a hint of quads now visibly strengthened by the daily journey, my knees stopped hurting--which a long ago summer of physical therapy had only hoped to heal. The community of that place also left its lasting mark upon me in measures of grace and love.

So I moved south to medical school with "Little Blue," to a place without physical seasons, hostile to bicyclists, and deeply in need of the air of freedom. It is here adventure awaits!

On mon bicyclette...

Monday, January 24, 2011

In which the author returns to blogging with a smattering of thoughts...

It is difficult to believe that it has been nearly 7 months since my body has sustained any further damage due to what has proven to be, in its initial stages at least, a hazardous commute. Though I would be telling fibs to say the time has been without incident, including the time when I came within an inch of my life thanks to a driver deciding to make a u-turn--for all practical purposes--into me.

It is a happy fact that in the witnessing the changing rhythms of seasons in the passing months--the morning summer camps in the park turning into autumn evening soccer practices, the welcoming cheerful brightness of neighborhood christmas lights breaking into the encroaching winter darkness, and the ever-faithful lady out exercising her three border collies, throughout--the pleasantries of riding my little blue bicyclette has been fresh air and delight.

Friday, July 23, 2010

In which the author is witness to a great tragedy...

The first time it happened, I was happily pedaling to work on a blissful Friday morning thinking how nothing had hardly happened recently that would merit writing a blog about (this was in the "early" days while this was all still in "development"). Having about a month of bicycling on my new less hazardous route and hardly a spill to report, I thought, "What have I to write a blog about? All the adventures to be had, have been had."

I have come to realize this is very dangerous thinking, because that is precisely the moment adventure is imminent.

I crossed the street, happily looking forward to those first red poppies of spring, more springing up by the day. This always ensued a violent argument in my head. Raging between all appearances of the poppies being wild and no one missing a couple poppies to adorn my room and the undiminished childhood memory of motherly admonition, "If everyone picked a flower, there would be none left for everyone else to enjoy." Usually the practicality of--if I picked a flower, I will pick it on the way home--won out. But then biking home, there were no poppies on that side of the road, and between the logistics of having to cross the road twice and my eagerness to be home, all the poppies had been left for everyone else to enjoy, as far as this bicyclist was concerned.

So, I crossed the street with eager expectation, and they were all gone! All the poppies gone--mowed down in their glory!

Crestfallen, shocked, stunned, appalled at the number of vases all of those poppies would have filled. How could they be gone?! The waste! The great tragedy of it all! Why was I not given forewarning? Someone could have at least put up a sign, "Please pick the flowers, they'll all be gone tomorrow!"

The one consolation, I sighed, it is still early in the spring, perhaps they have time to grow back. I strode along, amazed at the things that keep happening and contemplating how I must write a blog. About that instant, a squirrel jumped to the sidewalk from a nearby tree, ran into the road straight in front of my wheel. With absolutely no time to react, I winced in anticipation of a horrible horrible crunch. His timing was slightly off; he hit the rim of the wheel and violently bounced and scrambled away with an unpleasant squeak.

Heart pounding, reeling over this second near-tragedy, I finally strode into work. Having relayed my amazement at the peculiar events of the morning, my boss replied, "Indeed, crazy squirrels on campus!"

On mon Bicyclette...

Friday, July 9, 2010

In which there is a shortened sequel...

Dear Reader,

My profound apologies, but I have decided not to go into great detail on my birthday sequel. It is really too depressing to dwell upon, beyond mentioning the barest facts, I'd rather like to forget.

The barest facts being...

Talking on the phone while biking will have to be conquered in the year to come (before my next birthday.) Conquering riding hands free and talking on the phone while biking, was perhaps a bit ambitious to tackle in the same year.

My wounds, the solid evidence of the above stated fact, are just now almost disappeared. (Though this has given me great occasion over the last week, in all my biology nerdiness, to ponder the wonder of cell growth and it's marvelous role in wound healing.)

And finally, I'm pretty sure it was one of the saddest things the car behind me had ever seen to see this person on a bike happily flying a birthday balloon strung out behind them, severely wipe out on the corner right before their eyes (and I appreciated the concerned inquiry as to my state of being from the driver).

My day went on to quite happier events, and this incident rather unimportant in determining the outcome of that birthday. For now, however, my cell phone shall remain securely in my backpack where it cannot tempt fate and my well being by ringing, oh just a hand's reach away, in my pocket while riding.

On mon bicyclette...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In which the author reflects on where she has come...

I have been very proud of myself as of late, because I do believe "miracle of miracles" as the late Tevye would bicycle coordination and even speed skills are improving. My takeoffs and dismounts are becoming more controlled and, dare I even say, graceful.

Earlier this week I rode completely hands free for a long stretch down nearly our entire street, something I have never done before on a bike. In terms of improved speed, I discovered that my 2nd major gear is in fact a higher faster gear, and it is very fun to use. I did, in fact, outrun one of the buses that circles campus. I outran it not just as it was slowing down for a stop, but as it was accelerating out of a stop. That made me pretty happy all day.

Why all this reflection? It happens that my birthday fell within this past week (always an excellent time to reflect). On this special day I was completely showered with kindness. The thing about birthdays, however, is that they almost invariably involve balloons (which do not fit so well in backpacks). It just so happened that a friend brought me a balloon in the lab, which graced my desk all day, but then of course it comes time to go home. This is where I realized my dilemma of transporting my balloon home.

So my choice lay before me. I could have biked through campus as fast as I could trying to be impossibly inconspicuous, feeling silly and self-conscious the whole time. Or, I could tie my balloon the my backpack, swing up on my bike, flying my bright red balloon detailed with puppy dogs in party hats with giant Happy Birthday letters--and own it. So, being in fairly good birthday spirits, that's what I did...and on my way I decided that everyone else's day was made better by my boldness, (even if the entire campus knew it was my birthday). At least mine would have been if I had been the observer of some cheery person bicycling home, birthday balloon in tow, and y'all would have heard about it too.

I'd like to say I made it home balloon flying out behind me, but somewhat unfortunately the story continues, but that will be for next time...

On mon Bicyclette...