Week 19, 20, 21
November 10th – 30th, 2014
It has been a while since you’ve heard from me. I have been taking a bit of a rest because the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving break left me more burnt out than usual. I have been trying to pin point why I was feeling so weary in particular, and I all I can think of is rest (or the lack there of. Redundant, I know). I have been rather short on it, and the three weeks I had between college and medical school were definitely not enough to recharge.
I feel as though I have been running at 75% capacity or something and not 100%. But, going home and doing absolutely nothing for a week has helped renew my spirits. It has gotten me excited about learning, and I have so much to be thankful for.
1) I passed Block 2.
I am very glad we do not have grades. It transforms the learning environment and makes people less neurotic and crazy. However, some think that pass/fail grading makes medical school less stressful than undergrad. This is a myth. That last block exam was kind of crazy, so I was quite relieved to know that I passed. In my general dramatic gusto, when I learned that results were out, I proceeded to the ladies room to sit on one of those couches there. I figured that if I did not pass, I could cry with dignity and in privacy. Alas, that was unnecessary.
Tuesday, November 11th, I found out, to my dismay, that I would be volunteering at a Medwish in East Cleveland. It was a busy evening, I had barely put a dent in IQ research, and I had no idea what Medwish was. But, wow! I am so glad the Student Run Free Clinic people signed me up to volunteer. Medwish is an organization that began relatively recently that helps ship medical supplies to places in the world lacking them. It started when the founder was in Nigeria and could not save a young girl who was injured in a car accident because he did not have certain medical supplies with him. It really made me think. Today, people are dying from being obese, smoking and cancer in general. Some of these deaths are “preventable” (smoking-induced cancers, heart disease) and others like cancer, autoimmune and other diseases are more out of our control. Chronic illness has largely overtaken acute illness in severity in the “developed” world. It is hard to think that in some regions of the world, infectious disease can be such a killer. To think that equipment catheters or diapers could be in shortage. It’s a humbling thought, really. So, packing up some boxes to send to people all over the world, was actually a great way to spend my night. If you would like to get involved, check out their website.
3) Good Histopathology GI Lectures.
This does NOT happen everyday. I repeat. This does NOT happen. I can be so quick to complain, but today I am thankful for the fabulous Dr. Willis and his gift in actually teaching people. His lectures are shockingly good. He also has such great insight and wisdom. He says that when a pathologist looks at the histological specimens of patients with Barrett’s Esophagus, (due to really bad acid reflux and the epithelial lining of esophagus undergoes metaplasia in order to look like the lining of the stomach) it should induce empathy in the physician. Pathologists are critical in the diagnosis of disease and by seeing what is causing the problem at a gross or microscopic level, the can validate the patient’s concerns and understand what they are going through. Pathology and empathy go hand in hand! Also another excellent quote: “A powerpoint is not supposed to be a textbook.” AMEN AMEN AMEN. PowerPoints are supposed to be visual tools to relay information. Not a way for you to put a textbook on a slide and rush through a lecture. That is such a lazy way to relay information to students, and honestly it is low yield during lecture. I do appreciate when lecturers provide us with a lot of information, but that should be supplemental outside of the lecture or in a handout.
4) For my awesome roommate (flatmate, now), Jen who eats ridiculous amounts of chicken with me.
2 girls. 1 $10 gift card. 20 pieces of chicken. Jen is just the best for more reasons than just her willingness to consume all this food with me. She drops me off at school EVERYDAY and has been my roommate for nearly 5 years (known her for nearly 10 yrs)! What is the secret to our friendship? She is respectful, kind and just a wonderful person. ❤
5) For err being alive.
People in Cleveland apparently don’t drive as well in the snow as I thought. I got into my first accident (hopefully last) on November 13th. An SUV just couldn’t stop in the first unexpected snow in the season and ran into me, but I am okay! Things could have been worse, certainly so I’m grateful to God for just being here.
6) Seeing my friends from warm climates get excited about the snow.
How cute. They will weep in February.
7) For Tree Country’s Indonesian Fried Rice!
I highly recommend. I went to Tree Country once before and had their pad thai. I was not particularly impressed with it, but this was delicious!!
8) Soton coming to visit me in Cleveland!
On November 16th – 18th, My older sis was the first of my immediate family to visit me after starting school here in July. It was so wonderful to spend time with her, and honestly, it felt like I got a preview of the relaxing Thanksgiving break ahead. I forgot for the three days she was here that I was in medical school. We ate out, stayed in, watched movies, talked and talked. She brought me a taste of Chicago, Garrett’s Popcorn, a chain-mail bracelet she made, picked me up from class, got me groceries and even a space heater. SO blessed by her. You have no idea. She even came to my orchestra concert!! We also watched World War Z, which although was enjoyable left us with more questions than answers. I digress. I truly felt so taken care of and loved. God has blessed me with the BEST older sister.
9) My other friends coming to support me during my orchestra concert!
Huge shout out to Aaida, Sharif, Malik, Felicia (who aren’t pictured) and the folks above for coming to my orchestra concert! There is this quiz (one of many) that asks, “What is your love language?” There are 5 categories:
- Physical touch
- Quality time
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of service
Today, my love language is “acts of service.” Before in college it was “quality time.” But, I think it has changed because I now understand that although I cannot see my closest friends, as often as I’d like, I still love them. But, I still think a combination of “being there” and “being of service” are not isolated ideas.
Showing up to support someone (specifically me in this instance), really shows me how much you care. Actions speak so much louder than words, so when I say, “thank you for coming,” folks, I mean it. Also, take the quiz and find out what your love language is. It’s quite illuminating.
Next concert is Sunday, Dec. 7th!
10) Being able to see “old” friends.
I don’t really like the term “old” friends because that seems to connotate that they are out of date or no longer current friends. It was wonderful to go back to UChicago (although a little weird, frankly) to see people whom I’d spent years with. To pick up where we left off, and to engage in conversations (although shorter than I’d like) that were far from superficial. People seldom ask me how I truly am and wait want to listen. But, with them, there is so much trust and openness that had been built over time. I also karaoked in Chinatown for a friend’s birthday! We Belong Together by Mariah Carey is my go-to song. Know every word. Can I hit every note? Definitely not.
Family is family. They can drive you crazy, but more often than not, my family sets a fire in my belly. NO one challenges me like they do. Just when I think that my effort in one area is enough, they inspire me to do more. To be more. It is weird. Even when I am at rest at home, I come back ready to work harder than ever. On a separate note, YES to Jane the Virgin (was binge-watched) and Belle. Another highlight was seeing Il Trovatore at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The anvil chorus was amazing! It was fabulous to hear one of the most famous opera choruses live with my own ears!
I know that Thanksgiving has passed. But, being thankful does not go out of style–at least according to my knowledge!
Thank you for reading and for being a witness to my story.