Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Gattaca

Its not often an obscure movie from 1997 comes up in conversation twice in one day, however, sometime early last week this did indeed happen regarding Gattaca.  And while there have been many things I have wanted to write about in recent weeks, they all were of a bit more heavy and involved variety.  I need something interesting, yet simple, to get the words to flow once again so here is my somewhat (very) mediocre attempt at writing again.

Initially, I was having a discussion regarding inheritance of autoimmune disease and genetic predisposition.  All of the sudden, I more or less felt like I was describing this movie.  I said as much, yet the person I was speaking with had never seen it.  The thought crossed my mind to watch it again and see exactly how close to reality it had become, but I checked on netflix, and it wasn't available unless you have the dvd to your house option (no way, jose).  And I moved on.

That afternoon, on facebook, I saw an article similar to this one mentioned and Gattaca once again was mentioned (the post has mysteriously disappeared).  If we blood test for suicide risk (premise of the article), what are the possibilities?  Will this harm or hurt people? Was Gattaca more along these lines?  I just couldn't remember.

That was it.  I had to watch the movie.  For the mere price of $9.99 I downloaded it to my phone (thank you so much modern technology) and watched away.  The first 10 or so minutes of the movie were most like reality.  Its amazing to watch movies from less than 20 years ago that were more or less science fiction that have more or less become reality.

In the movie, prejudice is no longer based on race or income or any of the other typical categories we put people in.  Through genetics and IVF, parents are able to ensure that the absolute "best" embryo is the one that becomes their child.  Regardless of ability to get pregnant the old fashioned way, naturally conceived children have become the lower class of citizen.

However, they still aren't able to control fate and accidents can, and do, still happen.  The movie points out that some things will always be left to chance and no matter the overwhelming odds, a 1 in 100 chance still means there's a chance.

If you have a couple of hours, its worth it.  Not only is it an interesting take on society, the "moral of the story" is actually pretty good too.  I'm thankful for all the luck I've had in my life ... but I'm also thankful for all the hard work I've put in to make the luck work the best it can.  :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Month One Done

I initially started this post during my last shift of my first month of ICU.  It was a night shift and as things happen, I got busy and didn't get it finished.  Instead of deleting or even editing it, I'm going to share it because it quite simply speaks the truth in a very non- War and Peace way.  I'm looking forward to many more months of learning and growing.

Well, not quite.  I'm working my last shift of my first month of a long coat doctor.  I'll be finished at about 630 this morning.

This has been hands down one of the coolest months of my life.  I've gotten used to being called Doctor.  I've gotten used to the weight of two, sometimes three, pagers.  I've gotten used to being somewhat tired.  I've gotten used to looking forward to a day off because it means eating, sleeping, and sleeping some more.

I've had the privilege of helping to take care of some really sick people.  I've been there when people died.  I've been there when people got better.  Its pretty amazing to get to see all of it.

Its scary to write an order or make a decision about which antibiotic to use ... but it is getting less scary.  I hope I always have some level of fear because that means I'm paying attention.  I've learned so much.  So very very much.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

On Independence

Today, we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Today, in 1776, a group of diverse thinkers worked together to begin a revolution.  

Today, I love my country more than yesterday.  I'm thankful for those who willingly put themselves in harms way to allow us to continue to disagree.  I'm thankful for my freedom to think, feel, and say what I believe without fear of serious ramification.

Today, in 2013, I hope that our representatives in Washington, DC can see beyond the tip of their nose.  I hope they can see beyond reelection.  I hope they can see to the future.  I hope they can bravely stand and go where no one has gone for a long long time ... 

The Land of Compromise.

What is so wrong with the middle?  I venture to guess that the overwhelming majority of people in the country fall somewhere in the middle.  And even if they don't, why can't we learn to give and take?  Why can't we learn to share a little?  Why does everyone have to walk away empty handed instead of everyone getting a little bit of whats available?

I want this country to return to what it once was.  I want it to once again be great.  I want people to make informed decisions based on facts ... and not simply what they heard a single pundit saying on cable news.  

Also, I'm really excited that its almost time for the premiere of the 2nd season of Newsroom.  If you haven't watched it, you absolutely must.  Skip to about 3:15 to see the absolute best soliloquy to come out since the president's speech in Independence Day.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Its Your Birthday

Hi Lo!

Today is your 29th birthday!  Today is also the day where I enter the ICU as a real live doctor for the first time.  I don't really start until tomorrow ... but they are going to show me around today.  Can you believe it?

We all miss you very much.  I know you're with me all the time.  And just in case you were thinking about going on vacation for your birthday, don't.  You need to be in the ICU tomorrow to help me out. You've been there way more than any of us!

I sure hope you are having an absolutely amazing heavenly birthday party with lots of blue balloons and yellow cake with chocolate icing and homemade chili and drumsticks.  I know you are. 

Love you to the moon and back!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Day one of orientation done.

Today made the first day of medical school look like child's play.  Its a good thing I have practice drinking from a firehouse.

I have a pager.  I have a badge that says I'm a doctor.

They say I'll work 12+ hour days 6 days a week for the next year.  I suppose my body will quickly realize that what the badge says is true.

Hopefully my pysche will catch up shortly thereafter.  It just doesn't seem real.

I'm a doctor.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On Moments

As I sit here watching the Houston Firefighters Memorial, I can't help but feel for the families at this exact moment.  Leaving the funeral is the worst part.  The finality of it is overwhelming.

Walking out of Lo's funeral, I was completely overwhelmed by the enormous number of people who had loved Lo and who were surrounding us with their love.  Halfway down the aisle, I realized I was walking all alone, without my best friend, for the first time.  How strange that surrounded by all those people whom I loved that I could feel so alone for an instant.  I'm sure some of the family and friends of those firefighters are feeling that right now.

It was only an instant.  Ever since then, I've felt the love and presence of my sister constantly.  I've felt it through the actions and words of others.  I've felt it through the changes of the seasons.  I've felt it through the sound of thunder and rain and rainbows.  I've felt it through the presence of hummingbirds. I've felt it when I've called friends who lived 15 minutes away and somehow appeared at my front door 9 minutes later.

Saturday morning, I felt the absolute opposite of loneliness.  It was Lo's goddaughter's birthday party.  At the end of the party, Lauren asked for a balloon.  When her uncle asked why, she said she wanted to send it to Lo.  We went outside and watched the balloon rise straight up for what seemed like hours until finally it couldn't be spotted anymore.  It was amazing.

My prayer for the friends and families of these four is that they get to experience countless moments like that.  Moments where they know those gone before aren't really all that far away.  Moments where they know their best friends are still right beside them.  Moments where they get to see the love of those still around.  Moments where they get to appreciate the moments of life that were taken too soon from others.

Monday, June 3, 2013

On Thinking Time ...

Giving the mind, body, and soul a chance to rest is one of the most important things we can do.  I do not remember any of the other 6 habits from the bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, which is the version of the book I read in high school.  #7, sharpen the saw, really stuck with me though.

It is so important to take the time to make sure I am taking care of myself.  Pushing exercise to the back burner and grabbing take out ... all in the name of accomplishing other goals ... is so easy.  Its not like I'm doing those things and then sitting on the couch and watching TV.

However, I decided to take some time to do nothing but relax and think.  I have not given myself a chance to sit around and think very much in the past year because I haven't really wanted to think about some of the things I need to think about.  Its easy to just push things to the back if you don't stop and think about them.

So I'm thinking.  Memorial Day morning I woke up and decided to go to Mount Rushmore.  Why not? I drove north and west and north some more and drove through tornadoes and plains and rolling hills and miles where I had no cell coverage and never saw another car.  That was some good thinking time. I've also now officially been to all 48 continental United States.

single buffalo, buffalo herd, Ollie, backside of Mt Rushmore, hiking around a beautiful lake, hidden staircase, somewhere in the Dakotas, my copilot, memories

After a day at home and a bachelorette party, I'm continuing the thinking time.  For the next few days, I'll be thinking from here.  And probably rereading the 7 habits so that I can find out what the other 6 are!  :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Way Way Too Long

It has been entirely too long since I have written about anything of substance.  In fact, its been entirely too long since I've written about much of anything.  For the past two months I've more or less been on vacation from everything, including writing.  However, its time to start getting back into a routine!

In the past few months, I've matched into an internal medicine residency in Tulsa (a dream come true), graduated from medical school, been on some incredible adventures all across the country, moved into a new house, and spent a fair amount of time piddling.  Who knew piddling could keep you so darn busy?

So, rather than jumping in with something profound, I'm just jumping back into the writing world by putting something/anything out there.  Hopefully in the next few days I'll be back in the groove!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CFF New Leaders Speech

Here's my speech to the 500+ people who chose to come and support the CFF at Tulsa's New Leaders. It was a great night!  Enjoy!  :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

On the Golden Rule ...

The single most important axom amongst all religions is the Golden Rule.  From the days of ancient Greek philosophers to Babylon and the Code of Hammurabi to present day Christianity and Islam, the Golden Rule has remained a central tenet of morality.

Isocrates (Greek philosopher): Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others.
Christianity (Luke 6:31): And as you wish others would do to you, so do to them.
Confucianism: 己所不欲,勿施於人。(What you do not wish for yourself, do not wish for others.) 
Islam (Sunnah): No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself.
You get the idea, right?  So why is it that, as a general population of human beings, we have such a hard time embracing this incredibly simple virtue?  I wish I knew where I'd saved these pictures from earlier this week ... but I had pneumonia and took lots of medicines and can't give them the credit they deserve.  These pictures all got me thinking ... and I hope they get you thinking too.  The single biggest way we fail the Golden Rule is by lacking tolerance.  I'm not saying to be tolerant of murderous psychopaths ... I'm just saying be tolerant in general.  If someone disagrees with me, I need to respect his right to disagree as opposed to simply proclaiming him a worthless hellion.  I don't need to hate you because you hate me.  In fact, if you hate me for no reason, its even more reason for me to smile at you and be kind because I want to treat you how I want you to treat me.  Kill them with kindness.  If only I could actually kill people with kindness.  And if only I could take my own advice better.  :)

And then this morning, I read this really interesting article.  I don't agree with 100% of what it says ... but I do with most of it.  Take the time (2 minutes) to go and read it.

It is not my job to judge anyone ... someone else is going to take care of that on a much larger scale at a much later date.  It is not my job to spread hate in any form.  It is not my job to determine who is right and who is wrong when it comes to matters of personal belief.

It is my job to give everyone the respect I feel I deserve.  It is my job to politely and earnestly listen to viewpoints that differ from mine if I want people to politely and earnestly listen to me.  It is my job to spread compassion and tolerance.

As a population, it is our job to treat each other how we want to be treated.  If we all remember this this week and actually lived those words ... imagine what we could accomplish.  :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

On Life Changing Discoveries

I woke up to sleet pounding at my window, thundersnow, and a terribly raw throat.  There was no way today would turn out to be anything but a disaster.  And then I hit snooze.  For a full nine minutes, I fought myself over my attitude.  Do I get up mopey feeling like crap or do I suck it up and make the best of it?  At 5AM, moping seemed to take more energy so I figured I'd get up happy.  Fake it til you make it.  :) 

That was a good choice ... as the rest of the day would show.  Expecting the roads to be bad, I left about 20 minutes early.  A complete lack of slickness allowed me time to grab a vanilla spice latte ... full of caffeine and nice and warm on my throat.  Throughout the day, my voice came and went.  My motivation came and went.  My attitude came and went.  My brain even went a few times.  I'm not sure it is all fully back yet.  Medicine head and all is a real thing!  However, I'd say that given how I initially woke up, today turned out to be much more fulfilling than I initially imagined.

It was a day full of life changing discoveries.  I'm sure some of you will think I am being overly melodramatic or what have you ... but I promise you the things I am about to share with you have the ability to completely rock your world! 

#1 Discovery: Peeling a Banana
I hate eating the tops and bottoms of bananas.  They are always mushy and gross me out. As I was struggling to open a banana, one of the residents gave me a little tip.  Did you know that you can pinch the bottom end of a banana to get it open?  You don't need a knife.  You don't have to mushify it.  It just works.  Apparently, its how monkeys do it.  It works.  Its awesome. 

#2 Discovery: Shoe Tying
Now, I don't normally have a problem tying my shoes, but I do have a very serious problem tying my scrub pants in a way that leaves them feeling secure.  In fact, some of you may have heard of the infamous pants on the ground episode in the Wesley parking garage last fall.  Yeah. That. So today one of the attendings showed this video ... and I kid you not, I did not have to retie my pants a single time.  That my friends, is pretty much the best gift a girl who wears scrubs every day can ask for.  I did not spend a single moment this afternoon wondering when my pants were going to fall.  :)

#3 Discovery: Cotton Candy Machine
This one really wasn't life changing, but it was pretty darn fun.  We made cotton candy out of jolly ranchers this afternoon.  And by we, I don't mean me.  I tried and I think I only succeeded in nearly breaking it.  Apparently it takes a little bit of practice.  I think I love cotton candy.  Apparently this machine is available at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  If you need a delivery address, let me know and we can work something out.  Hint hint.

Monday, February 18, 2013

On Feeling Like Patootie and Developing Empathy

Empathy is an incredibly powerful emotion.  An important part of being a doctor is understanding what its like to be a patient.  Understanding what it feels like to have the flu.  Understanding what it feels like to be stuck in a holding room without the ability to leave and get a drink or a snack.  Understanding what its like to not know what is wrong with you.  Understanding what it feels like to have to wait for a phone call from the doctor's office.  Understanding what it feels like to not be able to breathe, etc etc etc.  I wish no one ever had to experience any of these ... but then I'd be jobless.  I feel like when I get the chance to experience them, its increasing my ability to be a more caring, well-rounded physician.

Apparently, its in the cards for me to have an empathy building day.  Today, I feel like crap.  I have a legit fever of 101.5 and I'm doing my best to simply let the fever play its course and not knock it down with drugs.  Fevers are the body's way of fighting infection, so I'm miserably letting my body fight.

While having a virus doesn't really require any healthcare beyond fluids and time, I only know that because I'm months away from being a doctor myself.  Five years ago, I would have called my doctor first thing simply to make sure I wasn't dying of ebola or something.  Now, I actively avoid making that call lest I find out I misdiagnosed myself with a virus that is actually ebola.  (Don't worry, I haven't been exposed to ebola.  I just find it one of the most amazing viruses on the planet and am absolutely fascinated and hope to get up close and personal with it some day.  I'm weird, I know.)

Not everyone has a doctor.  Not everyone has the money to make the simple appointment.  Not everyone has the ability to pay for a prescription in the off chance its a bacterial infection.

Why am I thinking about this today?  And by this, I mean the distribution of healthcare in the US.  This month, I'm working in the ER and I'm constantly reminded of what happens when primary care isn't made readily available to everyone.  I'm not advocating handouts and I'm not advocating any specific plan, I'm simply pointing out a terrible flaw in our system.  When people don't have access to basic primary care outpatient resources, they end up clogging the hospital system with problems that could have been thwarted much earlier.

Taking care of healthy people is much less expensive than taking care of sick people.  As a country, we have to find a way to take care of people before they get sick.  We owe it to ourselves and our children and our parents and everyone's collective future.  Somehow, we have to find a way to help our fellow humans who by chance or choice are in less than ideal circumstances and don't have the opportunities we have to receive the care we do.

Empathy.  I feel like patootie today and I'm thinking about how to keep others from feeling like this tomorrow.  :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday.  In case you're not familiar, it is the day marking the beginning of the Lenten season.

Today, I will go to mass and have ashes, the remnants of palm fronds from last year's Palm Sunday, placed on my forehead in the sign of the cross.  These are meant to remind me of my mortality and the need for repentance.  Sometimes, they even provide a chance for me to share my faith with others.  People always ask "what is on your forehead" and most of the time it ends with a mention of Ash Wednesday, however, there always seems to be someone who wants to dig deeper ... and if you ask me questions, I'll do my best to answer them.  Maybe I'll even use Stephen Colbert's "its basically the hand stamp for God's nightclub" line.

Today, I will fast.  Between now and Easter, I will abstain from meat on Fridays.

Today, and every day until Easter, I will be adding something new to my schedule and taking something out that I love.

What will you be doing for Lent?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Oscars

This month, I've decided I am going to watch all the best picture Oscar nominees.  I've certainly never done this on purpose before!  Most of the time, I might have seen one or two before the big night.  I suppose this means I'll actually need to watch the Oscars this year.  :)

There's something to be said for creating goals ... even regarding trivial things.  Rather than just ho humming my way through TV shows on a Saturday morning, I've made a concerted effort to watch these movies.  It gives my free time purpose and that is a great feeling.

Speaking of concerted efforts, I have done so much these past few months to live a life that I'm proud of.  For far too long, my life was too run of the mill ... too simple.  I wasn't putting myself out there.  I am so enjoying taking advantage of all my moments of free time to live an exceptional life ... one I'm thrilled to document and one that lets me answer the question "What have you been up to?" with something besides "Oh you know, work."  I'm finishing up a month of infectious disease at Stanford.  It has been an amazing experience in and of itself.  Sometime soon, once the month is actually truly over, I'll let you know all about my many experiences both in and out of the hospital.

But, back to the movies, the point of this post!  Here's my thoughts so far ...

I haven't seen this and I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to.  It doesn't seem to be playing anywhere in Tulsa.  It is playing in a theater near me right now ... and depending on how tomorrow goes, I might try to squeeze it in after work.

Argo ★★★★☆
This is seriously one of the best movies I've seen.  It is such a cool story ... and the actors look so much like the real people it is almost a bit scary.  Even though I knew the ending throughout, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen.  It was truly a great story!

Beasts of the Southern Wild ★★★
A pretty good movie.  The acting done by the little girl was truly amazing for someone so young.  I'm not entirely sure it is oscar worthy as best picture though.

I am not a Tarantino fan and I'm not looking forward to this.  Maybe my mind will be changed ... but I'm not expecting it.

Les Miserables ★★★★☆
The first 15 minutes was tough to get through ... simply because I had to adjust to the singing.  After that, it was incredible.  The costumes, the singing, all of it.  I think this is my top choice to win right now.  If you haven't seen it, run to a theater because I think seeing it on the big screen with surround sound would blow away the couch and the TV.

Life of Pi
I had a hard time getting through the book ... but I'm mildly excited about seeing this in 3D next weekish.  I just hope its more riveting than the Tom Crews volleyball friend movie.

Lincoln ★
Not worthy of best picture.  Not worth seeing it on the big screen.  I might have enjoyed it more had I watched it at home with a few intermissions.  It was long.  Really long.

Silver Linings ★★★★
Wow.  This movie did such an amazing job of portraying mental illness in a legitimate way.  Such an eye opener.  It was moving, exciting, and sweet.  I highly recommend it.

Zero Dark Thirty ★★★
Really good seat of your pants thriller type movie.  It wasn't exactly what I was expecting and it was a little long.  Just so so.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A New Look

Welcome to the new year ... and the new look for Becoming Dr Jane!  What do y'all think?  Isn't the design just wonderful!  Thank you very much to my wonderful fantabulous friend, Jessica, for putting this together!

In addition to working for the CFF, having two adorable little girls, and taking care of her very nice husband, Jess does design work.  If you need anything ... head over to Diamond Doll Designs to get your own work done!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  As we all know, 2012 was not my all time favorite year for a couple reasons.  However, it still was a pretty amazing year full of many amazing memories.  My family was able to spend lots of quality time together and we were blessed to see the outpouring of love and kindness and generosity of so many others.  I almost didn't even mention 2012 ... but it was such a life altering year that it deserved a few lines.  :)


How in the world did that happen?  I remember 1999 and wondering how we were going to describe the coming years.  Would it be twenty oh one or two thousand and one?  Funny how something that seemed like such a big deal turned out to be very minor.  Everyone gets to call it want they want.  Two thousand something isn't as rough to say as one thousand nine hundred ninety nine.  I'm not sure why we didn't realize that FOURTEEN years ago.  If you did realize that, then keep your mouth shut smarty pants.

As always, new years are full of the hope of changes and resolutions for most.  Last year was the first year I ever had quantifiable goals for the new year and it made it so easy.  This year, I'm following suit, for the most part.  I have 9 quantifiable goals and 4 more generalized goals.  That's right ...

13 GOALS FOR 2013!!!!

I'm sure you are all dying to know what each of the 13 are ... but like last year, I'll share most of them with you at the end of the year.  Some people believe that publicly stating your goals makes you more likely to achieve them.  I believe that keeping them to myself makes it easier for me to stumble and then keep going without feeling like ... damn, I messed up and everyone knows it so why keep going.  

However, I will let you in on the general theme.  This year, I'm going to do what I want to do.  I'm going to take care of Jane emotionally, physically, spiritually, and any other ally that may come along.  This is the year I graduate from medical school.  The first half of the year will be immensely easier than the second half.  I'm going to take advantage of the first half to help me get ready for the second half.

And ... as my first example ... my current trip from Tulsa to Stanford.  I began on Christmas Eve and I'll arrive on January 3.  or 4.  I haven't completely decided.  I've driven through pouring rain (seriously Oklahoma ... it hasn't rained in basically years and it pours when I'm driving?), dense fog, snow, and a bit of sleet.  I've been to Albuquerque where I ate some interesting food and saw a beautiful sunset and sunrise.  I stopped at the Meteor Crater ... which is the most expensive $16 I've ever spent to see a big hole in the ground.  I sure hope that the next time something comes barreling into earth at 26,500 mph it hits someplace equally desolate!  I visited the Grand Canyon ... which is the single most majestic and amazing thing I have ever seen in my life.  I thought I'd see it and be done with it forever.  Now, I just want to go back and spend a week navigating the Colorado River.  Or maybe I should start with two days.  :)  I spent an afternoon in Flagstaff and had an amazing meal of enchiladas de camaron at Salsa Fresca (I think).  Today, I'm headed to Vegas for a little bit of eating and sightseeing!  Hopefully, it will be as much fun as the last two days have been!