Friday, December 30, 2011

Dinner in Sacramento

Hayward Field

Found on my very rainy run, thus the blurry photo!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fun guy trio

Mezza Luna in Eugene, OR

The Crazy Norwegians

Port Orford, Oregon

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve!

My flower arrangement. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Post wedding brunch at Marcy's Diner

Love and miss the track posse! Congratulations Alana!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Food Rules

What I liked most about Michael Pollans' compilation of advice in Food Rules wasn't the aphorisms themselves, but the creative and whimsical drawings!

Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Four-Minute Mile

Yesterday I finished reading Roger Bannister's The Four-Minute Mile. It's his personal account of his life and years leading up to breaking the 4-minute mile barrier. A really terrific read if you love running and history! Might be a bit slow for non-runners, but I bet still fascinating to learn about the intricacies of this subculture of competitive track and field you might never venture into yourself. He makes a lot of poignant statements about his concerns about running transforming into a profession verse the amateur status he enjoyed while running. Roger Bannister viewed running as just a part of his life, and committed just 30 minutes a day to his training while in medical school.

Read more if you like!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Final Exam

Just finished reading Pauline Chen's Final Exam.  She came and gave a lecture at Stanford last year and I was really impressed. Her book was a good read for someone in medical school, not sure how appealing it would be to nonmed folks. She was very honest, which I appreciated, throughout the book. Good read overall!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Born to Run

Last month I finally read Born to Run, a NY Times bestseller written by Christopher McDougall that ignited the barefoot running craze. No I'm not running barefoot or wearing vibrams, but I did love the book. Born to Run is so well written, and most of all such a great story! I loved the combination of history, anthropology, data on the running industry, and the compelling characters. I was so sad when I finished reading it, I would consider reading it again, it was that good.

So if you have a chance, whether you love or hate running,  think vibrams are monkey feet or an amazing invention, I definitely suggest reading Born to Run!

Happy Winter Break!

Pediatrics, OB/Gyn, & Psychiatry are now behind me, with a month break here to stay! I start up again in January with surgery: transplant, cardiothoracic and general surgery --should be an interesting two months.

My plans for now mostly include reading and running, with a few mini vacations in between.  I think one of my New Year's Resolutions is going to be to blog more regularly, and I'm trying to get a headstart on that resolution now!

Friday, August 12, 2011

So much to do, so little time

I absolutely love doctoring. I've said it before, and I will probably say it again and again. Helping someone deal with sickness is really rewarding. The challenge is, that we can always do more. We can always improve the science, we can always improve our communication, we can always improve the delivery of care, the cost of care, the equality of care. Frankly, these last 8 weeks I've been really overwhelmed by how much more can be done. How much we have left to do. Medicine has gone a long ways by many measures, but all I can see is how far the road ahead is for us in terms of delivering really high quality care. I feel like I'm this little newborn baby in the middle of a rainforest trying to find my home that is 10,000 miles away. It is that intimidating of a challenge! I've found this state of frustration to be not very conducive to anything, and so I've been trying to develop the personal mantra of "Do what you can, when you can, with what you have." Still-very difficult!

 I see how it is so easy for a doctor to make their work all-consuming. But for me, the value of relaxation, the outdoors, reading, family, and friends is priceless. For me personally, and also for me as a doctor. It reminds me of why I think medicine is such an amazing profession. I get to help out family and friends. They may not be my family and friends, but they are to someone, and I always try to approach a situation by thinking "what would I want if this was my child, or my mom".  I find it much easier and much more fun to deliver medicine in this way.

I'm working on some solutions, in my spare time. Maybe one of these days I will share them with you on the blog! In the meantime, here is a quote that continues to energize me:

Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?

Friday, August 5, 2011

NICU: Babies babies everywhere!

Babies on the mind, caught another 2 today, 8 for 8!

Most interesting about babies is how they all start out the same. You can't predict which baby you hold will become the next President of the United States, the next doctor, or school teacher. You can't predict who will have mental health problems, obesity, or breast cancer. Just by looking at them, you wouldn't know who will live in poverty or who will be the next billionaire. We all start out the same: sleepy, hungry, and naked. We know the world by what others teach us about the world. If you teach me that I can do anything, I'll believe it, because why shouldn't I? It's all I know. Each baby I caught, I said a silent prayer for and greeted them with a big smile. It may not be much, but they came into the world into loving arms, and I hope we continue to show them how great life can be.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Yes, I've finished boards, my preclinical years, and entered clerkships. If you get sick in the Bay area peninsula region, you might just see me knocking on your exam room door. My first rotation is pediatrics. I started in July with a month of outpatient pediatrics clinic. I was in the Endocrine specialty clinic, the Acute Care Center at Packard, the Adolescent Health Clinic, and even the Well Baby Nursery. It is such an honor  to be serving patients and working alongside such outstanding professionals. I've seen many interesting medical cases, from hypothyroidism, hyperbilirubinemia, DiGeorge syndrome, ataxia telangiectasia, to the mundane viral gastroenteritis, pneumonia, and constipation. Much more interesting, and more meaningful for me, have been learning about all the people with these health problems. Hearing what they like to do, their take on the latest Harry Potter movie, and what fears they have about their illness. I absolutely love doctoring, helping patients and families to understand the healthcare process, understand their illness, and understand what role they can play in their health. I am in my element!

That's not to say I haven't hit my own challenges. Even though I've been studying diligently for the last two years, clinical diagnosis and management is another beast. I know I'm a rookie, so I take it in stride, confident that I will continue to learn so much in the years to come. The challenges of providing good care in a chaotic healthcare "system" is what most frustrates and upsets me. "System" is absolutely the wrong term to describe how people in the US get healthcare, and everyday I see more problems and try to think of more potential solutions. The good thing is, that I have been so utterly impressed with the majority of my colleages and other health professionals I've had the opportunity to work alongside. The people aren't the problem! Unfortunately, well intentioned, good people in a convoluted health system can still deliver poor quality care, which I absolutely cannot tolerate. We have so much work to do!

Pediatrics is so much fun, I LOVE winning over the shy 3 year old, or teaching the 9 year old about their asthma, or being an ear for the frustrated 15 year old whose parents just won't understand. It can be crazy at time, and sometimes the crying is just too much, or its just plain mean to have to examen the ears of a 2 year old, but even the challenges are rewarding when you're finally able to overcome them by looking for Minnie Mouse in the 2 year old's ear canal!

When patients declare you their new best friend, or moms ask if you can be their child's permanent doctor, or when you get a grateful look from dad because you found a fun way to look in a kid's nose that doesn't totally freak them out, it just makes my day. At its core, medicine is about helping people, and sometimes that means grabbing some juice for the new mom who fainted, or remembering to let the kiddo pick out their favorite sticker before leaving the clinic, or congratulating the new parents on their beautiful baby. I get to do things like this for the rest of my life! I've already had my challenges, and the whole 5am wake up is not really my cup of tea, but ultimately, I know that this is exactly what I want to do, for the rest of my life. I have the coolest job in the world.

I haven't even gotten to my inpatient experience, but this is already a long post. Helping deliver and resuscitate babies in the NICU has been amazing. I'm 6/6 in catching newborns! The intensity of the NICU at times is overwhelming, dealing with life and death is not something that is easy, but learning the skills to truly save lives is so inspiring to me. I can't wait for the day when I have developed these skills to a point where I truly can make a difference. In the meantime, catching babies is just fine with me. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Telluride hike

Being a 1000ft above the valley makes for some great views! Cool place to hold a Patient Safety Conference.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Doctors as Team Captains

I just finished my first day at the Telluride Patient Safety Roundtable. What a great day! It's been really fun getting to know the other students as well as meeting faculty who have such passions for improving the delivery of health care. 

Reflecting on today's conversation, I saw the connection between doctors and team captains. Doctors wear a lot of hats, we are scientists, surgeons, educators, shared-decision makers, advocates, managers, and team members. On the wards, doctors are in charge of large teams of care, ranging from residents, medical students, fellows, nurses, medical assistants, nutritionists...(the list goes on). It reminds me of being captain of the track team. Not only do I have my 7 events to perform and improve on, but I worry about the goals of the team, each individual teammate, ranging from freshman to seniors, injured, superstars, the 100m sprinter to the pole vaulter to the 10,000m runner. Team dynamics, coaches, trainers are all involved. As team captain you have some power, but you aren't the coach involved in everything, but you have a lot of influence. I wonder how we would approach training doctors if we approached them as team captains in training.

Welcome to Telluride!

I'm in Telluride, CO for the next week for the 7th Annual Patient Safety Roundtable. All of the Patient Safety Scholars arrived last night and we had a group BBQ. This is a snapshot from our Gondola ride that we will be taking everyday to the to Telluride at the bottom! Had a great 2 mile run this morning- I definitely felt the 10,000 feet elevation!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The ER

After getting to the hospital at 7am Friday morning, I found myself back at the hospital at midnight that night, for my first 8-hour Emergency Medicine shift. Running on adrenaline only, I was perfectly alert all night, because the ER is a fascinating place. I made my way around to almost all the patients, talking with them, asking the nurses to show me things, asking the residents to explain some things. I learned all about patient registration, the supply room, trauma protocol. I was impressed with how streamlined it seemed from the nurses and doctor's perspective. From the patient's perspective the number one complaint was how slow everything seemed to happen. They all wanted to either go home or be admitted to the hospital. I can only imagine how being in "ER limbo" must feel when you're sick and scared that it could be something really bad.

Overall I was very impressed with the professionalism of all the staff in the ER, from the person cleaning the rooms to the attending physician. I had the opportunity to participate in a trauma call, very organized, and thorough. I also cleaned and sutured up some lacerations for the first time (really cool).

Above all though, my favorite part was talking with all of the people and their families, hearing their stories reminds me of why I think that being a doctor is the best job in the world. It fires me up to realize that I have the power to make people's lives better. Even last night, I did my best to listen, educate when I could, and comfort always, and I think I made some people feel better. I was so impressed with all the staff in the ER, and it humbles me to know that I'll have the priveledge of working alongside these people when I head into my clinical rotations full-time in July.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mission Complete!

I took Step 1 yesterday. 8 hours of intensity! It doesn't feel real to be done, I still dreamt about questions last night, I won't know my score for at least a month. But it is done. DONE DONE DONE. I enjoyed my time studying, mostly because I had control over all of my time, no meetings, no classes, nothing to get in my way. I'm going to miss that type of freedom to design my day exactly how I like. Monday the rat race starts up again, until then, I'm going to enjoy free days I have!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Under a week to go!

The Final Push! I took a practice test at the test center yesterday, felt pretty good, now just tying up all the loose ends on my 7-weeks of studying. Keep your fingers crossed for me next Wednesday.

In more interesting news, I had a great time Friday night at the Kennedy Center, it was a beautiful evening and the National Symphony Orchestra was wonderful! Saturday was also fun, after a killer run along my favorite trail, we walked along The Mall and even went to the Museum of American History. They have a new exhibit where they feature a particular year in American history, I really enjoyed seeing what 1939 was all about!

And back to work for me!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Horrifying: State announces closure of 70 parks to save money

Portola Redwoods, Castle Rock, Henry Coe... Some of the best. This is a travesty for all Californians!!!!!

A story from AP Mobile:
State announces closure of 70 parks to save money

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quote of the Day

"You've got some wheels!"

-Random dude at the track yesterday as I was running my 200m intervals. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."


Monday, May 2, 2011

2000 Mark!

I finished the USMLE World Qbank on Friday afternoon. That's over 2000 questions under my belt! I was very pleased with my NBME practice exam score today-2 weeks to go to keep working on my weaknesses. Being methodical and holding myself accountable really feels good after a while. Let's hope the test gods agree come May 18th..

This weekend was gorgeous in DC, after a fun baseball game Friday night, I enjoyed a wonderful 9 mile run along the Crescent Trail Saturday morning. One of the benefits of having a schedule completely determined by me is that I choose to exercise a lot! I spent Saturday outside all day, with a few hours of lazy studying in the sunshine along the river in Georgetown. On Sunday we explored Eastern Market and walked around the National Mall. I know what you're thinking: "Aren't you supposed to be studying all the time? Isn't this like the most important test ever?!" I've had important tests in the past, and I'll have more in the future, but I'll never stop living my life as fully as I wish, no matter what "super important" thing is on my plate. If I don't enjoy each and every day now, when will I? Now back to learning!

"Believe you can and you're halfway there."

Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

"If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves."

Thomas Edison

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1000 mark!

I'm at my half way point. It's been almost 4 weeks of studying, and I have exactly 4 weeks until my exam. I'm doing well, and I've done over 1000 questions. I have 1000 questions more of the question bank, and then I'm going to do them all over again. I've hit a good groove with studying, I'm a little embarassed to say that I actually enjoy it. It's like running intervals, after you do it a few times, you know its good for you, so you learn to love it. I can tell that every hour of studying I put in, I'm going to be a more knowledgeable doctor for it. It's not even that I don't mind it, I like it! I can just tell how much I'm learning every day, connecting the dots, understanding therapies. A great feeling!

I'm also very impressed with my Stanford education thus far. Stanford really does focus on the important stuff, and then gives us the time and flexibility to memorize all the little details necessary to ace the USMLE Exam. I'm looking forward to starting clerkships in the end of June-I get to start with pediatrics! How fortunate!!

Back to questions for me. Chai tea latte anyone?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Inspiring words from Marie Curie

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."

Marie Curie

Preparing for this test is a beast, so I find much inspiration in optimistic words spoken by Marie Curie, the first female professor at the University of Paris and the first person to win 2 Nobel Prizes.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

As it Goes

Four days in, feeling strong. 36+ hours of studying under my belt. Starbucks is making a small fortune off of me. I scrubbed down the apartment after reading about bugs for 4 hours...Even I succumb to the hypochondriasis associated with medical school. Sleeping well, studying hard, running well. Life is good! I  even submitted an application for a cool conference in June. Fingers crossed that I hear good news!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Season Opener: The cardiovascular system!

It is official, I'm dedicating the next 7 weeks to studying for Step 1. I'll be "incommunicado" for a while so I will try my best to post regularly -mostly about studying I'm sure! Today I'm reeducating myself on the heart, here is a snapshot of the lovely cardiac cycle. Easy as pie.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Goodbye Boston

These last five days have been such a blast. Having the chance to catch up with such amazing friends in such an amazing city is such a blessing. I am inspired, happy, and rejuvenated! I spent this afternoon exploring the city with Alana, and here we are enjoying the Boston Harbor...On to DC for me!

Track posse reunion!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Preclinical curriculum: Mission Accomplished!

Here I am with all of my syllabi and text books from the first two years of medical school. It's difficult to describe how I feel right now-I'm speechless and bursting with excitement at the same time. I didn't know it was possible for me to learn as much as I've learned over the course of a year and a half. I'm proud of myself for my endurance and dogged perseverance to push myself to become the best physician I can be. Compared to premedical students, I know so much! Compared to my amazing mentors, I still know so little and have so much more to learn!

 While that massive pile of notes is now behind me, I know that even bigger challenges lie ahead of me. First I'll be focusing on the  Medical Licensing Board Exam... The biggest challenge I'll face in the next two years of medical school and the rest of my career is being part of a dynamic healthcare team taking care of real people with real problems. I'll do my best to accept the challenge with humility, grace, and all the energy I have. Thanks for all of your support so far!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Officially done with preclinical lectures...

One week and 4 exams to go until I've finished my preclinical medical education.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Homemade Empanadas

Yosemite Valley Formation

 Everyone knows the beauty of Yosemite Valley, the shear granite rock, the open meadows, and the amazing waterfalls.  All the park signs explain how the Valley was sculpted by glaciers...Over 250,000 years ago, the Valley was full of a glacier. A glacier so big that only 900 feet of Half Dome emerged from the giant flow of ice. I always had a really difficult time comprehending this explanation.  No way a glacier could be that big!

That is, until I saw Glacier Perito Moreno. Instantly, I understood the formation of Yosemite Valley. Reaching 60 meters out of the water, and 440 more meters underneath, over 1 mile wide and 15 miles long, Perito Moreno is the biggest chunk of ice I've ever seen and could never have imagined. Seeing is believing, and now I have the utmost respect for the formation of Yosemite Valley.

Perhaps in another 250,000 years, it will be the Perito Moreno Valley that everyone visits...The next Yosemite, carved from a glacier. That's all I could think about as I traversed the slopes of the glacier, learned about the glacial rivers, pools, crevices. How this inspiring block of moving ice is shaping the earth, the climate and the world around it. I used to lack respect for glaciers, (its just ice right?), but after this experience, without hesitation I think that glaciers are one of the most awesome features of our planet.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Cold

Sometimes you end up conquering things you didn't even realize you were conquering. The last few weeks have been a joyride. Adventuring all over Argentina, being amazed by Patagonia, its wildlife, its belligerent yet beautiful mountains, the gigantism of Glacier Perito Moreno. Never before on a trip have I been left speechless so many times. Patagonia is absolutely positively one of the coolest places I've ever visited. I'm in awe. Magellan Penguins, Southern Right Whales, Guanacos, Darwin's Rheas, mountains, glaciers, vast nothingness-it has it all. It's the world's real life Disneyland. It was warm, mostly windy, and sometimes terrifyingly cold. I felt on top of the world, like I was about to die, and as warn out and energized as I've felt in my life. It took a week of enjoying Buenos Aires to recover. Poor me. Ha!

This weekend I had another adventure: Yosemite. Curry Village has a deal: if it's below 32 degress, your tent cabin is free. Lucky us, it was definitely below freezing last night. I learned to cross-country ski on Saturday-Abbey is a great teacher. Today we went snowshoeing for the first time, on a ranger-led snowshoe hike, we hiked up to a vista where we could see the entire Yosemite backcountry.  Wilderness always surprises and never disappoints....

I used to be terrified of the cold, heck I still am. But Boston taught me that I could survive the cold, Fitz Roy taught me to respect the cold, Perito Moreno showed me the brilliance and beauty of the cold, and now Yosemite is teaching me how to enjoy the cold. Without realizing it, I'm conquering the cold. Or you could say that  the cold is overcoming my former intense dislike, and winning me over with its beauty, ferocity, and playfulness.