we meet no ordinary people

"Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors." - C.S. Lewis

Christian. Feminist. CrossFitter. MD. Nerd.
Who I Follow

In terms of asking for letters, at least. Now to submit my application.

No, the hardest thing for today was chatting with my old mentor. He is one of the greats of American surgery, is personable, and listens. Pretty awesome guy. But it was a hard conversation - he doesn’t want me to close the door on surgery just yet. He brought up exactly the things I would miss about surgery, and asked me to just sit with the discomfort. UGH.

He apologized for recommending the program I was in, but I told him I didn’t blame him at all and he replied, “No, blame me!” I had no idea (and he didn’t either) that the culture would be the way it was. He also left a program after his intern year, but went into surgery at a different program.

At the end, I know he’s in my corner. But UGH all the doubts. ALL OF THEM.


"Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to have her new moniker, Notorious R.B.G., explained to her by her clerks. But you can’t always count on clerks to really understand rap. So a new amicus brief filed by Clay Calvert on behalf of Nielson and Kubrin, together with the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida in Gainesville, presents the history and essence of rap music."

Dahlia Lithwick, Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music, Slate (Sept. 17, 2014).

After my meeting, I decided that I had had enough of my mind doing stupid things like freaking out about what people say, and that a pedicure would help. 

I brought along a book sent to me this week by the bestie, called Let Your Life Speak. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing/needed it was. It’s about vocation, and what happens when we follow the “oughts” instead of our vocations and natural gifts…and was about as refreshing as a bucket of ice water to the face.

That vocation thing > what my old chairman thinks about the awesomeness and applicability of surgery to everyone, even if part of me still doubts.

This is so stressful. I met with my chairman about an hour ago. I was fine during the meeting. But, when we shook hands when I left his office, he asked if my palms were sweaty because I was nervous. Obviously. But I managed to squeak out something about his office being warm while sounding utterly ridiculous.

I really like and admire him, and I know he likes me, but he has this way of sounding…disapproving, even when he doesn’t necessarily mean to.

Case in point: “I’m glad you found something you want to do. But I do wonder if you’ll get frustrated in [what I’m doing next]. I mean, there are new drugs and things.” (Basically, “there’s nothing as definitive as surgery. Why wouldn’t you want to do surgery?”)

I was honest and told him I’d considered coming back, that I’d even had panicky dreams where I told him I had made a mistake.


But he’s also the kind of person you want to please, so part of me came out of there feeling conflicted all over again! Not helpful.

At the end of each day, I write an “atomic sentence,” a single statement that summarizes the most vital lesson about that day.

At times where I flail, fumble, and otherwise seek a signpost, these sentences have helped — personal lifelines indicating a larger story. Each day, an atomic unit in a living network.

I love Liz Danzico's idea of ending each day with an “atomic sentence,” inspired by Richard Feynman’s one sentence to be passed on to the next generation.  (via explore-blog)

I went in to the hospital to talk to one of my old attendings about my new life plan (which I will write about soon, I’m sure), and as soon as I walk into his office he gets a huge grin and says, “how’s my favorite intern?”

It makes me miss it all! But I really love the new plan :):)

"It’s a cruel irony that people in rural Iowa can be malnourished amid forests of cornstalks running to the horizon. Iowa dirt is some of the richest in the nation, even bringing out the poet in agronomists, who describe it as ‘black gold.’ In 2007 Iowa’s fields produced roughly one-sixth of all corn and soybeans grown in the U.S., churning out billions of bushels.

These are the very crops that end up on Christina Dreier’s kitchen table in the form of hot dogs made of corn-raised beef, Mountain Dew sweetened with corn syrup, and chicken nuggets fried in soybean oil. They’re also the foods that the U.S. government supports the most. In 2012 it spent roughly $11 billion to subsidize and insure commodity crops like corn and soy, with Iowa among the states receiving the highest subsidies. The government spends much less to bolster the production of the fruits and vegetables its own nutrition guidelines say should make up half the food on our plates. In 2011 it spent only $1.6 billion to subsidize and insure ‘specialty crops’—the bureaucratic term for fruits and vegetables.”


I think this presents a false dichotomy, but very interesting.

I found last year how much our transplant surgeons clung to every patient, even when it was clear they weren’t going to make it. Sometimes, I understood why: organs are major resources! But other times, I thought it was much more humane to at least TALK about suffering and dying.