Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dreaded moments

I hate ICU call. I would rather take several nights of any other kind of call than be paged every few minutes to make decisions about patients who are critically ill and who I know virtually nothing about. Luckily, I won't have to do any more ICU calls. Hopefully, forever. I don't think my specialty will have calls comparable to the ones I've been doing this year, so I'm happy to have that in the past.

But will there always be something to dread on the horizon? In school it was usually certain tests and papers. I would procrastinate and eventually pull an all-nighter to finish writing some paper about a topic I wasn't comfortable with. I hated every minute of it--pushing myself to stay awake, trying to make sense of a topic that I didn't find interesting. Luckily those times are past too. But I've just replaced them with new dreads.

Yesterday I finished my third set of board examinations. This one was a doozy. Family members may remember a couple years back when I was extremely apprehensive about step 2 of the boards. That one was going to influence whether I would match to a residency (which one and what kind), and so it was understandably high stakes and very stressful. The one I took yesterday doesn't really matter, as long as I pass. But that fact made it no less dreadful.

As I sat in the waiting room of the testing center, a couple of the others waiting to be admitted were chatting about the tests they had come to take. "I heard the proctor tell someone about a lunch break. Can you believe that? A test so long you have to break for a meal?" I wondered whether I should be silent or tell them that my test was 2 days long, 8 hours each day.

The test itself isn't too hard, but it's non-stop stress because of the time constraints. Most of the questions have several paragraphs of background information painting a clinical scenario. Reading it all, comprehending it, and pulling out the relevant facts is a chore when you've been doing it over and over and over for many hours. You only get a minute and fifteen seconds for each question, so you can't take time to daydream for a minute. You just keep going.

But, luckily for you, this boring post is now nearly over. Please don't dread reading my posts in the future, because I won't make them this whiny every time. The dreaded step 3 test is over, hopefully I passed (and won't have to pony up an extra $600 for a re-take), and all is well at the Meaty Chunks residence.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mommy's Boy

I couldn't help but notice that there's been a lot of talk about babies around here lately. And that's alright because my baby zister, Gracie, is so sweet. But there's a big boy in this house too, and I think it's time that someone paid attention to all the great things I've been up to.

So first of all, as you probably know, I'm a big brother now. I've been a good helper to my parents from the day Grace was born. I have a special sense for Grace's preferences, so I often tell my mom "Gracie wants to sit on my lap," and Mom helps me hold her. Gracie gets bored quickly, though, so she never stays on my lap very long.
When my mom won't let me hold Grace, I just sit next to her and tell her how sweet and cute she is. She really likes having me for a big brother.

Grace is too little to walk and run and jump and climb like I do, so I do what I can to help her feel better about missing out on so much. I'm especially good at sharing my toys. She really appreciates that, I think.

My mother, on the other hand, is a real spoil-sport. She put a two-at-a-time limit on my toy sharing. But to show Grace how much I love her, I let her keep my two favorites: Slinky and Froggie Haircut.

After Grace arrived, everyone kept talking about what a big boy I'd become. And I gotta say, it's true. I can do pretty much anything the grownups do. I exercise on the treadmill, play X-Box, and work on the computer.

I'm also pretty handy with the camera. I like leave surprises for my parents to find when they upload pictures. Like these:

And these:
In fact, I'm so grown up I've dumped hierarchical titles like "Mom" and "Dad." I prefer a more egalitarian nomenclative system; namely, I call my mother "Schmiana" (her first name*) and my father "Sweetie." I heard my mom tell one of her friends that she thought if she didn't make a big deal about it I'd get over it. That was five months ago. Silly Schmiana!

I think it makes Schmiana a little bit sad that I'm such a big boy now. I've tried to make it easier on her by holding on to certain rituals of my babyhood--like wearing a diaper, for example. I know she'd be heartbroken if I actually put on those big boy underpants. She puts up a good front, and keeps offering them to me, but I know she doesn't really mean it. So to keep her happy, every now and then, when she snatches me up to hug me and say, "You're my boy, aren't you?" sometimes, instead of teasing back, "I'm Malcom's boy!" (or Grandpa's boy, or Dora's boy) like I usually do, sometimes--just to appease the woman--I'll snuggle into her arms and say, "Yeah, I'm Mommy's boy."

*Not really.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ten Minutes Till the World Blows Up

I save the world several times a week. I bet you didn't know that. I can't say I do it happily, because I don't like doing dishes for any reason whatsoever. But I keep at it because I love you, dear Internet, and I don't want the world to blow up. (And also because the health inspector said I have to.)

So, how do you save the world?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Less chunky

My double chin is smaller. Woot!

For ages I've been meaning to get back into shape. When I left BYU I was pretty good at staying in decent shape--sometimes running 5 miles several times a week. For the first several months of medical school I rode my bike several miles every day and kept up with the weight lifting and what-not.

But... as often happens, winter came and ruined my life. I bought a car and it was downhill from there. Stress upon stress, no time, marriage, and finally this year the ultimate challenge: free food in the hospital cafeteria whenever I'm in the hospital. They have bacon and cheese covered fries, triple layer cakes, Edy's ice cream on tap... it's been a nightmare.

So, on Jan 1 I decided to go ahead and set my resolution, and what do you know? This time it stuck. For the last several months I've been trying to lose that flab I packed on over the last 5 years. My exercise plan has been varied but fairly persistent. My diet has been all over the map, but through some combination of starvation, weight loss pills, and an Atkins diet, I've lost 25 pounds. (Note: it is my medical advice to never buy, consume, or even touch weight loss pills of any variety.)

So, I'm less chunky but still fondly indulging in meaty chunks of various kinds as an Atkins staple (and much to Malcom's chagrin).

More important than my now-missing double chin is the fact that my BMI is back down in a low-risk range. Looking great for the paparazzi is nice, but the health benefits are the real reward. Or, so I tell patients. ;-) With any luck, in another couple months I'll be able to post about how I'm back down to my ideal weight.