Sunday, December 16, 2012

Time

Time, as defined by a google search of define: time, is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

Time is something I always have too much of yet never have enough of at the exact same ... time.  It blows my mind how that works.


Over the course of a day, it frequently seems that time is achingly slow.  However when it comes time to go to sleep, I always have so much left to accomplish.  When it comes time to wake up, it rarely feels as if I have spent enough time asleep.

Where am I going with this?  I'm not sure.  I want to be writing about the Christmas season and my feelings regarding the current state of the world ... but all of those posts seem to take an inordinate amount of time to formulate and put into words.  

This year, I am on track to complete my New Year's Resolutions, which took an inordinately large amount of time.  In 2012, I will have completed every single USAToday crossword puzzle.  In 2012, I will have read 52 novels (I'll actually probably pass it by about 3 or 4 if I finish everything I'm currently reading).  Hopefully, later I'll give a more complete rundown of my favorites, but for now, I'll simply list them below.  Completing these has given me the chutzpah to come up with some very lofty goals for the new year.  I'll reveal those in due time, but rest assured, they involve time.



(books listed in reverse order, Dec - Jan)

Currently Reading:
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
The Gunslinger by Stephen King
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal
King of Hearts by Wayne G Miller
Micro by Michael Crichton


Finished:
National Security by Marc Cameron
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Artic Fire by Stephen Frey
Placebo by Steven James
Reached by Ally Condie
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Death Benefit by Robin Cook
12.21 by Dustin Thomason
The Racketeer by John Grisham
Winter of the World by Ken Follett
Sphere by Michael Crichton
Congo by Michael Crichton
The Third Gate by Lincoln Child
Fifty Shades of Gray by E L James
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
Black List by Brad Thor
Crossed by Ally Condie
Fifty Shades Freed by E L James
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Wheat Belly by William Davis
The Innocent by David Baldacci
Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez
Tempted by PC Cast
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Fifty Shades Darker by E L James
The Viral Storm by Nathan Wolfe
Burned by PC Cast
Intern by Sandeep Jauhar
Awakened by PC Cast
The Exile by Andrew Britton
Every Patient Tells a Story by Lisa Sanders
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillippa Gregory
The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff
The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
Hoodwinked by John Perkins
Matched by Ally Condie
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Destined by PC Cast
County by David Ansell

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On Voting


Today, I'm thankful to be able to cast a ballot for Barack Obama.  I'm thankful I live in a country where I can do this without fear of reprisal.  I'm thankful for all the people who have bravely fought and shed blood and tears and life for my right to do this.  I'm thankful for each of you who have the guts to go to your polling place and make a decision between the candidates.  There is never going to be a perfect choice and all men are flawed but if you choose to not exercise your right to vote then, IMHO, you lose your right to complain.

Please, if you disagree with my choice of candidate, then tell me by exercising your right to vote at the polls and not via the internet.

We need to become a country once again bonded together and not divided.  We need to think about what it is like to be in someone else's shoes and not just our own. We cannot assume we know what it is like to not be able to put food on the table for our family or go to the doctor if we truly have never been in that situation.  Most of us truly haven't.  Many of us might think we have, but in reality, haven't.

We need to pick candidates based on the overall sum of their values and their ability to get things done and not simply on their party.  Be brave.  Be bold.  Don't let a single TV station tell you how to think.  Do your own research.  Watch two conflicting stations and find a medium ground.  Form your own opinions.  Do not allow yourself to become a lemming.

Let's find people and put them in office who are willing to cross party lines and get things done.  Let's pick people who are willing to make sacrifices and find middle ground on the big issues.  Let's elect people who will save our country and make it a better place for our children and grandchildren.

Today is the end of an election cycle.  Today we elect a president for the next four years.  Today begins the time when we need to be looking for the best candidate for the next election.  We need to find people who meet my above criteria.  Keep your eyes open ... maybe if we all try, we will be able to find a perfect, unflawed choice.

Go forth and vote.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Patience


Supposedly it is a virtue. However, I think it's mostly just a thorn in my side. I'm not naturally a patient person. When I decide I want something, I tend to want it now. However, once I decide I want something, I don't tend to give up easily.  Ask my family.  Ask my friends.  Or rather, don't.  You might find out just how impatient I actually am.  :)

I hate learning patience. I'm jealous of those for whom it's a natural gift ... Those for whom being patient is as simple as being impulsive is for me. I'll try to continue to learn to be patient, but I'm pretty sure I'll struggle with it for the rest of my life. If anyone has great advice on how to teach yourself to be comfortable with patience, please let me know.  Please.  For the sake of the whole wide world!

There are so many things in my life forcing me to be patient right now.  I have to be patient to find out where I will get to interview and then to find out where I will match and spend the next four years of my life.  I have to be patient to find out what I'll get for Christmas.  I have to be patient to find out so many things right now.  Its driving me crazy!

This past weekend, I stopped being patient and bit the bullet and I took a mini-getaway to VaB. It was wonderful. For the most part, it was an incredibly calm weekend. One not so calm night was spent with old friends and the others were spent with family.  Some time was spent at the beach ... once at the playground watching my cousin's kids play and once on a long walk with a dear friend.  There is something about friends with whom you're able to pick up exactly where you left off ... however long ago it was.  I'm so lucky to have so many friends like this.  I'll always treasure this particular friendship for countless reasons and I wish that we weren't separated by so many miles.  This weekend was all I expected and nothing I expected.  It was perfect.  There was lots of crab dip.  How can a weekend full of crab dip not be perfect?



This month has been an incredibly busy month!  I have so many posts rolling around in my head but they deserve a significant amount of time and effort before they are published.  Hopefully, in the next few days I'll get something out about my feelings on the voting process.  Its gonna be a good one!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Passed



After one billion years of school, I have officially completed all required medical school tests.

I still have one billion more sets of boards during residency and to become board certified ... but the school tests ... they are FINITO!

Thank you for your support!  :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

on many different things

The past few days have been absolutely filled with work - and it has been amazing!  I absolutely love it ... even when I am holding retractors and standing in positions I'm not sure are allowed for extended periods of time according to the Geneva Convention.  :)  I am so utterly thrilled and amazed at the fact I even get to be in the OR that I'm willing to stand however I need to for however long I need to, even when it means I can't feel my arms anymore (that is a very exciting moment because it means the pain is gone!).  Yours truly after a 14 hour day ... that's a very happy face!


Sometimes, there are a few moments of free time.  Not free time go and do whatever you want but free time while the resident or attending answers a page or writes a note.  And this relates to the blog because it allows me one or two minutes of thinking time. Sometimes I am thinking about an upcoming surgery or treatment plan ... but when my feet really hurt or I'm really tired or hungry my mind tends to wander a bit.  The following few entries are/will be what I've been pondering.


On Writing ...

It takes practice.  Lots and lots of practice.  More than a few people have asked me about writing ... how to get started, what to write about, etc etc etc.  I have been writing and editing for years.  I can remember sitting at Florence Park Library right before second grade started.  Over the summer, I was supposed to write four book reports.  I respect my mother immensely for forcing (don't kid yourself, I'm pretty sure she held me down to accomplish this, I have been known to have been in need of an attitude adjustment) me to create an excellent series of reports.  We practiced good handwriting and sentence structure way back then and it hasn't stopped since.  

First, I make a concerted effort to free write every day.  I don't edit.  I don't reread.  I just write, simply putting words onto paper in a somewhat coherent fashion.  If I can't think of anything to write about, then I write about how I don't have anything to write about.  I try to say "I have writers block" in new and different ways.  Frequently, when rereading journal entries, these are my favorites.   

Step two, if you're interested in writing for an audience, is to write about things you're passionate about.  Passion comes through words, just like it does in an painting.  Write about what interests you ... not what you think others want to hear about.  Be brave.  Say something you believe in and then explain why.  Be kind.  Don't knock others viewpoints.  Just be passionate ... about what you believe and why ... not about why you disagree with what others believe.

Finally, edit.  EDit.  EDIt.  EDIT.  I'm not sure how to get that across adequately.  Read and reread what you've written.  Read it out loud.  Think about the words you've used and if they are the best words to convey your meaning.  Confirm you have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Check to see if your sentences are different lengths.  Please, pretty please with sugar on it, make sure your grammar and spelling are correct.  If you aren't sure, make use of google.  Find out how to properly say what you want to say and it will make a difference. 

And that, my friends, is how you start writing.  Later, after you have the basics down, you can learn how to break the rules ... a la creating words like "whens."


PS: You can almost always delete the word that.
PPS: Make sure your verb tenses agree.
PPPS: I'm absolutely terrified this is the most hypocritical post rote with spelling and grammatical errors and verb tense non-agreement and the like.  Feel free to point out my errors.  I deserve it.  Perhaps I've even purposely hid an error to see if anyone can find it.  Or perhaps not.  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happiness

Happiness is like a kiss.  You must share it to enjoy it.
Bernard Meltzer

A truer quote may never have been spoken.  Happiness in the solitude of one's own home when alone is fine ... but it is not the same happiness as that which is shared with others.  Having lived where I was not always lucky enough to have family or friends near me at all times, I've experienced this first hand.  Bear with me as I go on a bit of a roundabout trip here tonight.  I promise I'll tie it all together in the end.

I love to be happy.  I try to always have a smile on my face.  It makes my life easier.  I hope it eases the pain for others from time to time as well.  A well placed smile or nod on an elevator can go miles to changing someone's day.

Today, I was feeling sort of defeated.  I had been standing for hours (literally).  I was thirsty.  I had a headache.  Then, within the course of an hour or so, two nurses asked how I was doing and I responded happily (because really, if you're in a bad mood, you can totally trick yourself into believing you are happy).  One said she was glad I said I was having a good day ... that I had a nice aura about me.  It was strange that simply being asked how I was in passing was enough to elevate my mood.  I was having a good day.  Even though I was tired and thirsty and had a headache, I was still in and out of the OR.  I was getting to scrub on cases.  I was getting to see cool things.  A million and one people would give a limb to be in the position I was in.  

Its easy for me to pass through days without taking the time to truly care.  Its moments like this afternoon that remind me how easy caring is.  It doesn't take a thirty minute conversation.  It doesn't even take 30 seconds.  Sometimes, just a friendly glance can make the difference.  

I took this picture of Ollie last weekend.  She looks like one happy dog.  She looks joyful, like everything in the world is completely perfect.  Heck - she'd just been on a walk and had a bone and was getting petted.  It doesn't get much better than that as a golden retriever.  Her life isn't perfect though.  What you can't see in the background is Mabel barking at her and pulling on her tail.  I hope that when people look at me, regardless of what is going on in the background of my life, they get the same feeling as I get when I look at Ollie.  


I've read the book about love languages.  I'm not entirely sure which "one" is mine.  I do remember the book stated something about those lucky people who were fortunate enough to be shown all the love languages as a child might not have just one.  So, Mom and Dad, good job.  Instead of me wanting just one thing, I want all five.  ;) I kid.  Sort of.  If I had to pick one, it would probably be gifts.  I love getting and giving gifts.  They don't have to be expensive.  They don't have to be grand.  Sometimes, just a card is amazing.  Sometimes, showing up to academics or an exam and having a friend show up with a diet coke for you is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Total shout out to Amanda and Lacey and Kristine for all the diet cokes you've brought me.  :)

If you're a friend of mine with a birthday this week, stop reading here.  :)  Now that boards are over and my application is submitted (I got my first interview today) I have a little bit of extra time on my hands. Not a lot, but a little.  I have enough time that I can take the time to send some cards.  To show some kindness back to so many of you who have been so kind to me recently.  While I hope everyone who should be getting a card soon enjoys it, I so thoroughly enjoyed the process of picking them out and mailing them that the rest is just icing on the birthday cake.  I thought these cards were hilarious.  They are all going to funny people.  I hope you all get a kick out of them too.  The bottom left card is a music card, so I've attached the video of the inside beneath.  I laughed out loud when I found it.



video

So, in this super duper round about way, this is what makes me happy.  Sharing my happiness with others.  And writing is one of my ways I can share my happiness ... so there you go.  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Final Caringbridge Post

written and posted on 9/16/12


I grew up wondering when.  There were days, maybe weeks, but never months that when didn't cross my mind.  When would Lo get sick? When would Lo get better?  When would be have to leave Disneyland and return to the hotel to do a breathing treatment?  When would I be the important one?  When would there be a cure for CF?  When would I figure out what I was supposed to do?  When would I figure out who I was supposed to be?  When would I lose my sister?  When would I lose my best friend?

The progression of when questions continues to amaze me.  As I look back over the course of my life, I appreciate the evolution of whens from naive innocence to teenage angst to adult acceptance.  The when road is the most telling path of my life.  Its the path with the most twists and turns and calamities and missteps.  Its also the path that made me who I am today.  

One of the whens has been when should we update caringbridge.  Should it come from mom?  Should it come from me?  When is Lo ill enough to let people know?  When do people want to know?  When do we want people to know?  I've so enjoyed being able to assist in documenting Lo's journey through transplants and health and hospice and even death.  

To some, death is a scary word.  A word that shouldn't be used because of its finality.  To me, it is simply the answer to another when.  When will Lo no longer be in pain?  To me, death is no more a finality than birth (which is never considered a finality).  Just like birth, it is simply a step from one stage of life to the next.  It is a beautiful step ... one full of peace and acceptance.  The two have many similarities. 

Lately, for me, I have wondered when I will start writing again.  I miss updating caringbridge.  For nearly 6 years, it was a somewhat regular outlet.  In between updates, I wrote on a blog called Dissecting Jane.  For a myriad of reasons, I decided to end DJ earlier this year.  However, now, I feel it is time to begin to write again.  I want to write about things I'm passionate about ... medicine and cooking and reading and exercise and family and memories and a million other things.  Its time to open up a new forum, a new place to share my ideas.  I hope some of you will follow me to Just Jane (http://notjustplainjane.blogspot.com) and continue to read and comment.  I want to create a place where everyone feels free to share their responses and feelings about whatever I choose to write about.  And I want everyone to feel free to give me ideas about things to write about.  :)

Mom, Dad, and I are all doing okay.  We love to talk about Lo.  Most of the time, it involves lots of laughter.  There are times it involves lots of tears.  We are all grieving in our own way in our own time.  We are navigating this new normal ... this new lack of when.  Time is a gift.  Enjoy it.  Hug the ones you love.  Erase your hate.  Embrace acceptance.  Not knowing when ... and not having to think about when ... can make you forget to care.  Never forget that today is someone's last day.  Treat everyday as if it were your own last day.  Smile.  Cry.  Enjoy the moment.  

Jane


PS: whens isn't a real word.  I know this.  I don't think it deserves an apostrophe because it isn't showing possession and its not a conjunction.  I just like it.  :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Everything Begins Anew

Its been too long since I last wrote.  I write everyday.  However, twitter and facebook should never count for writing.  The days of Dissecting Jane ended early last summer for a myriad of reasons.  Updates to Caring Bridge no longer seem appropriate.  I keep a journal and I do write in it regularly, but I just enjoy sharing my thoughts too much for that to be my only outlet.  Where might I be going with this?  Its time for me to start blogging again ... albeit in a slightly different format than what I've done before.

I'm not going to feel guilty if I don't write for a week.  I'm not going to post something just to say I did. Dissecting Jane was more of an online journal chronicling my day to day life.  I've grown, personally and professionally, since the first post of DJ nearly 5 years ago.  I love being able to look back and see that progression happening via old posts.  Hopefully, my writing and ideas will reflect that growth.

Sometimes, I'll post a run down of everything I did over the weekend.  Sometimes, that might be funny.  Sometimes, that might be inane.  No one needs to know everything.  Sometimes, I might share an article I've read that I find particularly poignant or inspiring.  I'll share my thoughts on topics I find interesting and I hope, in return, you'll share your thoughts with me.