Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One Little Activist

One of the nice things about visiting the home I grew up in is the sense of security and comfort that's just innate. I walk in the door and feel comfortable running around in an oversized t-shirt and watching 14 hours of television. No one will judge me.

Another perk is the little somethings I find left on my dresser.

My parents are in a continual state of trying to clean the house and weed out all the absurd amounts of rickrack we've accumulated over the years. Often I find old photos of friends, old pairs of heinously large glasses I wore or pictures I drew of my former imaginary dinosaur waiting for me next to all the junk mail I receive. (Former imaginary dinosaur as in the dinosaur I no longer imagine, not that he used to be pretend and now is real.)

What awaited me today was a small suggestion of how I turned out the way I did (i.e. a sarcastic liberal minded pseudo bleeding heart raised in the bleached belt of Bible beating conservatism).

It was a letter I wrote to a local columnist nearly 15 years ago. I actually typed it up, but it's on the kind of printer paper that has to have the dotted edges ripped off (reproduced verbatim):

October 23, 1995

Dear Ms. Columnist,

I have a question about one of your articles in the issue of tonight's paper, in your article "Scalping Chief Wahoo Won't Solve Native Americans Woes" . In my opinion you should not be mocking the native americans, they have feelings too. For instance, not every single native american in this country is protesting the " Cheif Wahoo". I think it is very wrong of you to sarcastically say:oops, you were protesting to loud to hear what I said, or something of that nature.If the Cleveland Indians were in HONOR of that indian chief why did they make his face red? You don't see a native american walking down the street with a red face, do you? And even if they do have a tint of reddish color in thier face it's not cherry red.I happen to know a native american and thier face isn't bright red!I'm sorry to take up your time. Thank you for hearing me out.

Pants Tailored McSlacks

Oh, silly eleven year old me.

Anyone can see now that Chief Wahoo is red-faced because he's embarrassed to be associated with such a pitiable ball club. Sorry, Cleveland Indians. You're terrible. Thank you for hearing me out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

P.S. I love kitties

I took my last required exam for medical school on Friday. It was the gateway to my last spring break ever. Rather than dwell on that designation and try to make this a "Spring Break Woohoo" spring break, you know, one worthy of the "last ever" moniker, I spent Saturday watching movie after movie. On a couch.

I can't express to you how much the lack of personal couch over the past eight years has affected my quality of life. I LOVE couches. Leather, canvas, patterened, un-patterned, they're right up there with pizza: doesn't matter the variety, I am more likely than not to love it with my whole heart.

At any rate, I came across P.S. I Love You On Demand. I had heard that it was a sappy romantic comedy-esque feature and as such knew that I should probably go ahead and watch it on my own instead of using up a credit with Irreverand Boyfriend (I think I'm actually at a deficit having dragged him to Valentine's Day.)(But he doesn't need to be reminded.)(Kisses!).

Thus, I watched.

And holy shit man it is sad.

I rarely cry at movies, Deep Impact notwithstanding (I was loathe to think that Elijah Wood would marry anyone but me, even fictitiously. I bawled my way through the ending and even let it carry over into public over frozen yogurt. Ah, twelve year old me...), but goodNESS this one smacked my tear ducts every fifteen minutes.

Just when you think it's safe to accept the plot line and begin to make your peace, BAM, something else happens that ignites the blubbering.

Afterward I was so distraught I interrupted Irreverand Boyfriend's paper writing in the other room and demanded to sit on his lap just so I knew his lap was still there and not taken away from me by a brain tumor.

In an effort to bring me back to the world of even keeled emotions he let me search for videos of Baby Kitties on youtube. Nothing warms my heart more than the delicate, unbelievably high pitched mewl of baby kitties (Whatever. Quit judging.). We went through about five different videos which likely corresponded to five new echelons of crazy Irrev Boy had to realize he signed up for..

Then we came across this:

It pushed me back into happiness like nothing else could.

P.S. I think you should've put more paper down.

Friday, March 26, 2010

While studying for the Primary Care shelf

"What are the four classic presentations of tinea capitis?
1. Blah
2. Blah
3. Blah
4. Favus (oval patches of alopecia with a golden crust)"

Doesn't it sound like they're describing a fancy dessert? Perhaps one of those ones that arrives with a tableside flame thrower?

Or they're describing treasure. Treasure obtained after an epic adventure.


You'd get all excited if you read that bit about what you had -- so fancy! But no no. No no. In real life? Just fungus hanging out on your scalp.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Awakened to the Night of the Living

I've spent one day a week for the past six weeks at a nursing home facility in the city. It's been... interesting. It's certainly raised a lot of issues for my own life in terms of what I'd like my end of life care to be like and the fact that I need to sit my parents down and talk to them realistically about what they'd like done.

Somehow I don't think my mother's "If you're thinking of putting me in a nursing home just tie me to a tree instead," is going to work as well as she thinks.

How do you even broach a conversation like that though?

Mom, Dad, hey, let's talk about what you'd like while you're dying.

I'm so in denial about that even being a possibility. I mean, they're my parents. My PARENTS. They're such a constant. A constant source of bickering, passive aggression, angst and grudges? Sure, but... they're my parents.

Today I was speaking to a patient who has had an incredible life. He was a former show business guy and has met some of the most prominent figures throughout the industry from Billie Holiday to Michael Jackson. But now he's in a nursing home. And he's not leaving until he dies.

How does one even begin to reconcile that kind of life change? I mean, I even wrote "has had an incredible life." Like it's already over.

He told me he's just a zombie. "You know, a zombie. The living dead. I just haven't stopped breathing yet."

Scarier than the prospect of such a ghoulish image was the fact that I couldn't disagree. Scarier still?

He's somebody's parent.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I feel utterly privileged and not at all threatened to introduce you to the latest, greatest blog that needs to be on your reading list:

At Your Cervix

Written by the illustrious, marvelous and VULVACIOUS (my favorite suggestion for the blog title, but whatever, not bitter)(and still not threatened)(PLEASE DON'T FORGET ME) Mean Bean Greene, my apartment mate of 3 years.

As you may surmise, she is also a future doctor! Further surmising reveals she's going to be an obstetrician/gynecologist! She'll likely specialize in non-bitchiness, which I have on good authority is quite a nuanced aspect of OB/GYN.

I'm basically in denial about the fact that she's a more kick ass writer than the other half of this apartment we're not going to be living together in a few short months, but am thrilled at the prospect of keeping up on her life in this new forum. Be it published from the room next door or across the country, I'm stoked.

We make quite the roommate pair. Neither of us have those cumbersome needs like a clean shower curtain or immediate washing of dishes. We equally prioritize stocking the refrigerator with pickles, olives and popsicles. Hell, half of her room is our living room. We're symbiotic.

I suppose I can translate that to the blogosphere.

No, I know I can.

Welcome to the wonderful world of self-publishing Mean Bean!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thinning Out My Closet

Everyone is familiar with the concept of Fat Jeans... or, well, everyone that I can associate with because those girls who just lose 15lbs without trying tend to get lifted up up and clean away by the gale forces my eye rolling creates.

But Fat Jeans, yes? The reserve pair you keep in the drawer for the morning after you have six bowls of free bar cheese curls and an equally questionable number of beers? Exactly.

They're the pair you need the week before your period or the weeks so far after your period you think you might need to accommodate a burgeoning uterus. Fat Jeans. Everyone's got 'em.

But what about skinny jeans?

Not the emo cum Audrey Hepburn style Gap foisted upon us a few years ago that is flattering on no one save goth teenagers staging a hunger strike until somebody understands them. No, skinny jeans as in the opposite of fat jeans. The jeans on reserve in case the stars align and you have an explosive case of diarrhea, a heinous break-up, and a craving for celery and only celery, all at the same time.

Are skinny jeans ever in rotation? Are they just depressing reminders of what will no longer be? I mean... let's face it. We never actually lose fat cells, the existing ones just get smaller.

I lost a lot of weight last year in the throes of a vicious break-up and a determination to find a beach worthy bod. So much so my clothes didn't fit well. Thus, I went shopping. And lo, I bought items to fit my thinner self.

Well now I'm a lot happier and healthier and apparently I carry some of that good will around my midsection. This makes all the new things from last spring and summer laughably impossible.

But. Do I keep a pair of pants from that era? Just in case? I mean... again, the stars could align. I might still yet require skinny pants.

Blah. I think I just need to get over the fact that I will never again have my 16 year old metabolism. Okay. Skinny pants will go.

Let the purging for the impending move begin!

Edited to add: Wherein purging is not a Freudian-ly placed metaphor... I really need to throw stuff out. As in, not food from my body. But rather all the crap that accrues after eight years of moving the same effing stuff. Don't fret my pets.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gesundheit, America

There are few things that chap my ass as much as the notion that health care is a privilege, not a right.

I stayed up last night watching the obscenely long votes via "electronic device," made by the House of Representatives on the bills aiming to start what can only be a long, long road for health care reform. I just couldn't believe the drivel being thrown around in the discussions.

I mean, fine. I understand that everyone has different opinions about abortion. I have my own. I may spout them off vehemently since this is my little space of the Internet. But now is not that time.

What it apparently IS time for is to remind people, specifically those Republicans and select Democrats unwilling to understand the notion of doing something, ANYTHING, right now instead of proceeding with a letter perfect bill, is that there IS assurance of the sanctity of life in this bill.

Now all people in the United States have a better shot of caring for their health and therefore saving their lives.

I just can't stand these garbage assertions of no respect for life, baby killer and what not. HI. HOW ABOUT THE LIVES OF THE ALREADY EXISTING UNINSURED.

Or, if the lives of the living breathing people of the United States isn't enough, what about the fetus that isn't aborted who is born into a family WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE? Sure it's alive and apparently sanctified, but maybe it'll be born with intestines outside it's abdomen. Maybe it'll be hospitalized with pneumonia. Maybe it will just need a check-up and some freakin' vaccinations. Without health insurance that baby would've been better camping out in its host uterus forever.

I was developing a tick last night and as I sat with Irreverand Boyfriend and his family (who are, as he pointed out, a family who yells at CSPAN the way Midwesterners yell at Monday Night Football) just DYING for someone to point out that this bill IS all about the right to life.


I'm not saying that anyone who is ill isn't living or is subhuman or something. But I think it's a universal agreement that in order to function at full potential and embrace the best version of one's self, it's easier to do so when you're not debilitated than when you are.

I didn't have to go to med school to learn that one.

Of all people I never thought I'd find Representative Stupak (a pro-life Democrat from Michigan) voicing my concerns from the couch on the floor of the House, but he shocked me and did. And thank God. Yes he's anti-abortion, be he also recognizes that this bill is about so so much more than a campaign bolstering buzzword. It IS about life.

It's about American life and I can't wait to see how this historic event enables us to progress forward so that we can ALL live it to its fullest.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Matchmaker, matchmaker... made me a match

Today really is the first day of the rest of my life. I've finally decided what I want to be when I grow-up: happy.

Four years of college, four years of medical school and an innumerable, INNUMERABLE, number of nervous breakdowns... and it's finally paying off. Well, sort of. I still have to you know, actually graduate and move and yadda yadda big girl stuff like find a bank, organize loan payments, get a car? Yikes. Okay. Too much reality.

All across the country fourth year medical students found out where they're going to be for the next 3-7ish years of their life.

This morning my roommate's girlfriend woke up, declared "HAPPY MATCH DAY!" and made steak and eggs. Clearly, it's a day to celebrate.

Irreverand Boyfriend wore matching clothes for the occasion and woke me up with Fanfare For The Common Man followed by the title theme to Star Wars.

Irreverand Boyfriend, my roommate Mean Bean Greene, her girlfriend Chefy and I clicked our heels and skipped to a big fancy room in the medical school where a large table held individual envelopes for every match candidate. Inside the envelope was where we each were going for residency. End of story. Binding contract. We are going there.

I was blessed to get my first choice.

I'm moving Out West.

And I'm going to be a pediatrician. So we begin.