Friday, December 31, 2010

Let the Adventure Begin

“Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money, power, and influence.” -Henry Chester


It's New Year's Eve and I've driven all day. The drive was smooth, traffic free, and provided plenty of time to think about the year gone by and the year (or so) to come. I just assume that 2010 didn't happen as it did, but both successes and failures provide great lessons. I've certainly learned a few this past year. Hope I don't repeat the bad ones. I've misjudged some people and situations, and underestimated my weaknesses. But I'm beginning to understand my strengths more. I hope that serves me and my future patients well.

2011 is a new beginning in many ways. Most of all, it's the beginning of the end of school and the start of rotations. I've been here, done this before. I mostly know what I need to do and will fake or figure out the rest. It's exciting yet frightening to realize that applications for residency start soon and Step 2 looms in the horizon. And so, it begins WITH ENTHUSIASM ...the other half. NO curbs allowed!



Settling into new living quarters the next few days, dinner with friends, New Year's Day with old college buddies and then Monday arrives with obstetrics, gynecology and more fun than you can possibly have with a tie and white coat on.


Wishing family, friends a Happy New Year! It's going to be a GREAT year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas

image “And someone says, look, the animals, they are adoring the baby. Adoring, hell. They’re wondering why there’s a baby in their food.”



We need not find the exact same meaning in the Christmas story in order to join in the celebration of it's virtues of love, forgiveness, hope, peace, goodwill, faith and charity.  Respecting another's beliefs does not mean that you have to agree. But understanding the virtues and viable beliefs that benefit all mankind is noble and in all of our best interests. This is a great time to go inward and assess how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. Even if the baby is in the food.

Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year 2011 to everyone. It's going to be an amazing year! Let's vow to love, forgive, hope, create peace and be charitable to others. It's the season of "not about me" and all about others.

Friday, December 24, 2010

We are the Bastard Step Children

Once again a group of medical establishment types are upset (sort of a feeding frenzy) at the foreign, particularly Caribbean medical school system.  An article recently appeared about a "feud" between NY State medical schools and foreign medical schools.  Seems that NY State medical schools are waging "an aggressive campaign to persuade the State Board of Regents to make it harder, if not impossible, for foreign schools to use New York hospitals as extensions of their own campuses."

It appears to be about clinical training positions, rotations for students and residencies for post grad MD/DO training, at NY hospitals. They say that there are 2,200 foreign medical students training in NY hospitals, nearly 1/3 of the total population of medical students.

All sorts of accusations have resurfaced, and I've heard them all, but it seems to be mostly about turf and jealousy. While there are many, many examples of quality physicians practicing in the U.S. with such an education background, the focus seems to be on the fact that these private school are for profit. After all, regardless of "school location" the essence of practice in the U.S. is passing the same U.S. boards, an approved residency and the full license scrutiny of state medical boards. Are they are stellar examples of Ivey League institutions? Absolutely not, but it's education none-the-less.

The real issue seems to be about St. George's School of Medicine and their 10-year $100 million contract with the city to send its students to NYC hospitals. Is it possible there may be some jealousy? Since the U.S. needs more primary care docs and the pathway to becoming a doc in the U.S. is essentially the same, could the problem really be about the willingness of St. George's to pay for good education for it's students?

While I know how hard I'm working toward this goal of becoming a physician, I know I'll have to deal with the perception of the Caribe medical school system and my preparation. But in the end I hope that I'll be judged no harsher than my U.S. counterparts. As a St. George's graduate and now emergency medicine resident at Stony Brook NY & foreign medical school grad said, "we have something to prove, as opposed to the sense of entitlement that some U.S. medical students might feel." I feel the same that I have something to prove but then I've felt that most of my career.   I hope that the U.S. medical school "machine" recognizes that there is plenty of illness and room for everyone. NY, you should be flattered that so many want to come there for quality clinical education.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Clarity, VIA horoscope

Horoscope - December 23, 2010
Although the intensity seems to be dying down a bit, there's still a lot going on in your personal life. Thankfully, you're not as distracted today, making it easier to follow a clear path toward your goals. Visualize your destination, make a plan to reach it and then set out toward your target. Keep in mind that shortcuts won't help you get there any faster now, so prepare to take the more traditional route that consists of hard work & determination.

How do it know?

Almost ready to move and start rotations. Can't wait.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010: A Year of Change

I'm opening my fingers, loosening my grip. going with it and it feels like pure adrenaline!


"When we say things like "people don't change" it drives scientist crazy because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy. Matter. It's always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying.

It's the way people try not to change that's unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting things be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent.

Change is constant. How we experience change that's up to us. It can feel like death or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again."

- Dr. Grey

Moving Onward

The discussion about who, what, where, when and how is now intensifying as school has received requests for rotations and my packet of information necessary to move on. I'm hopeful for something warmer than not during this winter start, but I'm ok with anything that might move me toward the goal of graduation and my degree. Our affiliations are fairly extensive and looks like I'll be able to do all of them in the U.S. Other options include some in Europe. That might be interesting.

The process was interesting for sure. I was relieved to learn that I am not wanted for crimes and/or misdemeanors in the U.S., I'm immune to most childhood communicable diseases (need to follow up on one I actually got vax'd for), and don't have HIV or Hepatitis. I was screened, prodded, invaded and stuck more times than I care to share, but it is nice to know I'm starting off healthy and a bit more "patient wise".

So now the process of nailing down the location and start date will happen in the next week. I'm already anticipating that with some packing, storing, clothing assessment as well as early search for housing in the areas proposed. With a Jan 3 start, I'll likely have to move this or next week to get there on time. Should be a whirlwind of activity for sure. But it's all good! I'm officially an MS-3, and loving it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I don't take the concept of mentors lightly. I've had a few really good ones over my life in medicine. I appreciate someone who can, regardless of their position or degree status, appreciate where others are in their pursuit of excellence. They are consummate listeners. They drift into long silence as they analyze your needs. They respond quickly when needed and slowly when necessary. But overall, they believe that they can help you create the best you and not make the same mistakes they made.


Thanks to the Mentorship Program at the ACP, I've found such a person. The most amazing phone call today about my pursuit of medicine and the future of being a physician. With all that knowledge and experience, it was hard not to feel awed by this physician's commitment (even in the short time of a phone call) to my success. And thanks for making Internal Medicine more than just a bunch of fat, smoking, hypertensive diabetics who don't comply anyway. Thankfully, another myth dashed.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Brain Cell Recovery Process in Progress

"Your brain has more than 100 billion cells, each connected to at least 20,000 other cells. The possible combinations are greater than the number of molecules in the known universe." - Brian Tracy

A little over a month since the board and I'm finally seeing the light at the end of my isolation, and brain cell recovery. I believe that cell # 99 billion, 756 millionth is waking as I write. This really has been a process of recovery, readying to dive into the next phase of this education process. Hope to have all the paperwork in shortly to officially move into clinical rotations and actually seeing patients again...or at least watching someone else see patients. That may be more the point. In this age of health care reform, it should be interesting for sure. Didn't have that element the last time I did this.

Hard to describe how lonely the process has been, particularly as I was systematically abandoned by everyone who is not blood or a classmate. My friends and family have been great, particularly in the past few months. But I guess it's not very fashionable being associated with a medical geek. And a geek, to be sure, I've been. But this repulsion of some seems to be a magnet for others. I can't tell you how many strange proposals, attempted fix ups, bizarre encounters I've had in the last few months. I've ignored or blow off them all. Likely future patients.

So I'm gradually moving into full brain cell and personality recovery and contemplating the move away from "here" to "there". My spawn continually reminds me that it's not that long before I'll be walking away from this process with my degree in hand and wondering why I thought it was so hard. She's right though. It won't be long. Just hope I survive with more of the billion brain cells than not.