Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grateful 2011.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
― Epicurus

I saw this quote in passing the other day.
And then read my friend Erica's blog post.

It was a good reminder to 
reflect on how many wonderful things are in my life.

Isn't it crazy how easy it is to think of all the things you have left to do?
I forget everything I've already crossed off that to-do list
All the things you still want?
there are so many things I've hoped for over the last few years that I already have:

Get into medical school
Finish the first 2 years (praise, Jesus!)
Learn to make pie from scratch
Make it through 3rd year with a sense of humor and a shred of dignity intact
Live in Vermont
Meet and date an International Man of Mystery
Own red cowboy boots

Yep, life is pretty great.
Now I'm going to go think of more things to hope for in 2012...
What do you have that you once only hoped for?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

MEDICINE/ Tiny reminders

The other day I woke up and just really wasn't feeling it.
I have days that I'm not sure I want to be a doctor.
I definitely don't want to be a medical student.
And I certainly don't want to get up and go to a hospital.

But I eventually scraped myself off the bed on the third snooze 
and made a deal with myself that I only had to make it through the day,
I didn't have to feel awake or enjoy it or do it well.
I just had to show up.

I've been working in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU),
 and as soon as I arrived I was informed that triplets were being born by c-section that day.
So much for a slow day.

During the delivery,
there was a symphony of organized chaos going.
There were two ob/gyn teams in the room,
the anesthesia team,
2 nurses for each of the three babies,
the neonataologist,
the physician's assistant,
and me.

I tried to stay out of the way mostly,
and went through the motions of suctioning out the babies' mouths 
once they came out.

Eventually all the babies were cleaned up, checked over, documented with footprints, and stabilized, 
and we were waiting for the transportation to bring them downstairs to the NICU from the delivery room.

After the first 2 babies went downstairs,
I was left with one of the nurses to hold the oxygen mask over the 3rd (and most struggling) baby's face.
I had my hands around the baby's tiny head to keep it in the right position and was holding the mask on with my thumb and forefingers,
when I felt a tiny hand grasp onto my ring finger.

And at that moment I realized that to that baby,
I wasn't just a fumbling medical student,
and I hadn't just "shown up" for work.

I was making sure he was getting oxygen into his underdeveloped fledgling lungs.
And my hand was the first hand he had ever held.

And I looked into his eyes as he clutched onto my finger 
with his tiny almost translucent chest flailing and straining to get air into his lungs,
and I told him he was doing a great job,
and welcome to the world.

So even though I'm still not sure what I want to do when I grow up,
and sometimes as a medical student you get "pimped" to the verge of tears,
not even attending physicians get to help bring triplets safely into the world one week 
and a few weeks later be in a heart bypass surgery.
It's been a wild year.