Archive for the ‘thanks’ category

Plan Building

January 1, 2013

Although I failed to adhere completely to my lofty list of resolutions for 2012, I have to say it turned out to be a red letter year for me anyway. There were certainly highs and lows and things I wish I could have (or should have) done differently but 2012 was probably one of the most significant years of my life. Let’s recap, shall we?

13 Awesome Things That Happened in 2012
1. I graduated from med school
2. I turned 30
3. I survived the match and was chosen for a pediatric residency
4. I became a homeowner
5. I leased my first car
6. I performed my first lumbar puncture (actually, 2 so far)
7. I performed my first circumcision
8. President Obama was re-elected
9. The crazy night shift at the end of which I was told by our neurosurgery attending that I’d helped save a patient’s life
10. I got a MacBook Pro
11. I finally ended a relationship that was right on paper but wasn’t right for me
12. I saw Paris for the first time (and introduced my family to Barcelona)
13. I reached a new level of independence

It’s going to be hard to top all of that this year. (more…)

小児科医者の卵 – The Residency Chronicles

August 7, 2012

Question for all the new docs on the block: have you ever had that awkward moment when you meet an attending who introduces him/herself saying “Hi, I’m Dr. So-and-so” and you’re unsure of how to respond? Replying with my title almost seems as ridiculous as it would if a five-year-old introduced himself as “Mr.” Usually I end up introducing myself as “Crys, one of the residents” to peers (accompanied by a giant grin and a little lilt in my voice because I still can’t believe how awesome it is to finally be a resident) and as Dr. B to patients. I certainly don’t want to be one of those people who is so enamored of their M.D. that they can’t resist letting everyone know about it (my mom does that enough for me) Has anyone else had this dilemma?

I don’t know how I could have thought that I’d have more time for writing as a resident than I did as a med student. I did have a post written for July but in the midst of a pretty intense first block and settling into my new city, I never had a chance to publish it (that will soon be remedied). However, I now have an opportunity to introduce the next series of 医者の卵: The Residency Chronicles! Read all about the trials and travails of a pediatric resident – all the awesomeness, all the zaniness and everything in between. Hopefully, I’ll be able to update at least once per block. I hope these humble ramblings are amusing, if not informative and interesting. As always, thanks for reading!

医者! (no 卵)

April 19, 2012

Due to some fortuitous scheduling, today was my last day of medical school. It was the final day of my otolaryngology rotation, a surgery elective that was probably the next best thing to a clerkship in pediatric surgery. When I arrived in the OR suite, the attending greeted me with a big smile. “So today’s the last day, huh?” He patted my shoulder. “Welcome to the club.”

It’s going to take me a while to get used to being addressed as ‘doctor.’ Even though I feel like I’ve been waiting/working most of my life to be one, it doesn’t quite feel real yet. Maybe it will after graduation, or once I get my spiffy embroidered long white coat. I’m a little worried that on the first day of residency, I’ll accidentally introduce myself as a student. I figured I’d accustom myself to my new title by changing my voicemail recording. It still feels a bit strange to say.

Many years ago when I was a freshman in college (back when the SATs were scored out of 1600 points), I had a meeting with the freshman dean (Dean L) during which I was asked about my career plans. I told him that I planned to become a doctor. He looked at my file and quoted my SAT math score, a 550, back to me and said that with a score like that, maybe I should consider health administration or something else (nevermind my nearly perfect verbal score). If by chance I ran into Dean L today, I’d have no trouble introducing myself. “Thank you, Dean L,” I’d say, “for your contribution to my success.”

For everyone who’s been following along on this blog throughout these 4 years of med school and for all the ones who’ve been on my side since before, encouraging me, supporting me, bolstering me even when others tried to discourage me, I want to acknowledge you as well for your part in my achievement. I could not have gotten here without you and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Stay tuned for the next phase of 医者(の卵), the chronicles of a doctor (in training).

12 Resolutions for 2012

January 2, 2012

So, I was just talking with my dad and my little bro about New Years’ Resolutions and I realized that I wasn’t so great last year about keeping mine (especially the one about being a more faithful blogger, sorry!!) so I think I should try to aim for at least 90% adherence to the resolutions for the upcoming year. That means that I should stick to 10.8 (let’s round up to 11) of the following 12:

1. Read something to do with medicine and/or health care every single day

One of the things that stuck with me from surgery rotation was Dr. C’s admonishment that as medical professionals, we should be reading at least an hour a day, no matter what. I probably spend over an hour reading every day but romance novels, blogs and amateur fiction probably aren’t going to make me more valuable to my patients. Hopefully, one of my other resolutions will help me stick to this endeavor.

2. Be ready to take to Step 3 by May 30th

Step 3 is the final USMLE required before one is eligible for an official medical license. Once can’t apply for it until after one receives a medical degree but since only a portion of this exam is devoted to pediatrics, it would be nice to get it out of the way before the start of residency so that I can spend my intern year focusing on the good stuff. Studying for this exam will also help me stick with resolution one since it will make sure that I’m reading something medical (and learning something new or reinforcing something I already know) every day.

3. Strengthen my language skills

On my past few rotations, I’ve been one of the few people who was able to communicate well with Spanish-speaking patients and that has garnered me praise from the attendings and residents, not to mention interest from residency program directors. However, I find I’ve been coasting by on my above-average español and I’d like to push past the plateau and become fully fluent. The trouble is, it’s tough to find resources (especially free ones) at my level. I’d welcome any suggestions. Meanwhile, my 日本語 has fallen from 上手 to まあまあ from lack of use. I’d really like to get it back up to speed. If that means making time for manga, dramas and anime, so be it.


The No-Meat Fast

September 29, 2011

I am pleased to report to all the cherished readers of this blog that I have passed Step 2 CK! Unfortunately, I didn’t achieve the 95 or above goal I’d been reaching for but I was able to improve upon my Step 1 score and for that, I’m pretty happy. Once again, the USMLE World Self-Assessment Exam was an excellent predictor of my actual score (I scored 2 points higher on the sim exam than I did on the real thing). I could’ve been a bit more diligent and honestly, I wish I’d had more time to dedicate to study isolation but still, I’m not unhappy with how it turned out. Had I managed a 95, I’d say I was proud of myself but with my 89, I’m content.

My cousin (who is one of my best friends and my faith role model) happens to be a very talented preacher and one of the things he often mentions in his teachings is fasting. Usually, I kinda zone out when talk of turning down one’s plate comes up. I guess I’m greedy and I sort of wondered why prayer wouldn’t be enough. When my more religious pals would talk about fasting for their high holy days, I’d admire their fortitude and self-control but think that I could never be devoted enough to do it.

After CK, I was pretty anxious about my performance. I hadn’t gone through UWorld at least 2 times, I hadn’t watched any bootleg test prep videos and the week before the exam, I succumbed to study fatigue and randomly slacked on question blocks to watch old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Powerpuff Girls. I was really at a loss on how not to fall into depression or go insane worrying that I’d failed when the idea of fasting came up again.

I began to consider the rationale behind fasting and something occurred to me that I hadn’t thought of before: the idea of sacrifice. It seemed like one of the main points of fasting was to make a sacrifice of something as an offering to God, a practice practically all the religions I’ve studied have in common. The end goal could be something as profound as strengthening one’s spiritual relationship but it could be something as simple and secular as a request. Instead of just wishing or hoping for something, one could make a pact – ‘I’m willing to sacrifice x for Your help with this one, God. I’ll make an offering of trust to back it up’. With this in mind, I decided to try this undertaking. For a little over a month, I became, essentially, an ovo-lacto-vegetarian. I vowed to give up meat until I received my step score.


Generosity, その2

March 24, 2011

It’s been heartbreaking watching the aftermath of the catastrophic Tohoku Pacific Earthquake and Tsunami. Most of my contacts in Japan were further south and thankfully, all accounted for within hours of the disaster but it’s impossible not to feel terrible about all the other people who were not so fortunate. Even 2 weeks later, people are without decent food, electricity, shelter and everyone is still extremely nervous about radiation levels.

I’d been getting my information through 兵庫県’s international mailing list and a multilingual information site created to address the concerns of foreigners living in Japan following the earthquake but for at least a week, I couldn’t figure out anything that I could do from here that would actually help. Even though I had an inbox full of emails from stores proclaiming ‘ Shop here and we’ll donate 0.5% to Japan! Text ‘donate’ to 55555 and we’ll figure out something to do with the money that might involve Japan relief!’, I felt like I needed a cure for the common relief effort. Having lived 10%* of my life in Japan, wasn’t it my duty to make a special effort in such a time of crisis? Luckily, as an alumna of the JET Program, I was made aware of two opportunities to help: The JETAA USA Fund and the Multilingual Medical Terms Translation List, a project created by fellow JET alumna Stephanie Toriumi. After making a humble donation and adding some terms en español to the list, I still felt like I needed to do more. Then, I remembered my sorely neglected blog…

It took me a little while, but I finally found a way to make a meaningful contribution. The two options I mentioned above might seem a little JET-centric, but if you’re looking for ways to contribute to the relief effort, I’ve compiled a few more links that have been passed my way. It doesn’t have to be about money. If you want to help, just send someone you know one of these links. Thanks for your help.

New York Cares for Japan

Japan Society NY

Hope Letters

Red Cross

Doctors Without Borders

International Medical Corps

Thanks to jetwit for keeping me abreast of the news, information and relief efforts of the JET community.本当にありがとうございます!

*nearly 3 years

11 Resolutions for 2011

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year/明けましておめでとう/¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Apologies for the ridiculously long hiatus to all those have been wondering what has been going on with me. 4Q of 2010 had quite a few challenges – a case of hyperthyroidism that I didn’t pay attention to until I nearly fainted during attending rounds*, some disappointment from Ross, and the start of my Internal Medicine rotation at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center (which I am now ⅓ of the way through). Nonetheless, I shouldn’t have left everyone hanging so long. That is why the first of my 11 resolutions for 2011 is as follows: (more…)


August 18, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have passed Step 1!

I’d like to thank God, my parents and USMLEWorld ::sniff sniff:: (more…)

One Step Forward

July 27, 2010

On the morning of the examination, my brother said possibly the sweetest thing ever to me. As I checked my purse with shaking hands to make sure that I had my passport and my scheduling permit, he yelled down the stairs, “Don’t worry, Crys. You’re going to get enough for dermatology*!” (more…)

Why Ross? 2 – Fear of Failure

September 13, 2008

It is always awesome to receive comments from readers (especially encouragement from pals back home [thanks, JJ!]) but by far, my favorites are the ones from people who stumbled across this blog who also want to become doctors. I think we share a special sort of kinship because just last year, I was exactly that person – anxiously waiting for interviews, filling out applications, lamenting my sub-par MCAT score and trying to figure out what I’d do with my life if I couldn’t be a doctor. And now here I am, a little bit closer to one of my most cherished dreams, scuffed and battle-worn from the first set of challenges but still on the road, still training, preparing for the next phase of the war. I guess it’s more like a conquest, kind of like my favorite sort of video game. At each stage, there are obstacles (some minor, some major) as well as rings or treasures that you need to collect. You pick up skills along the way and these prepare you to fight the boss at the end of the stage. I guess I’ve just cleared stage one and fortunately, I didn’t have to repeat it (so…I guess I get a time bonus?). Still several levels to go, but I’m going to beat this game.

I received a comment yesterday that I just had to respond to, especially this bit:

There are a lot of people that want to become doctors but are too scared to fail…like me.”