Friday, November 2, 2012

Post Call Eating Moments

Happy November everyone.

I'm currently on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and I just worked for 12 days straight.

I'm started this post yesterday from the post call brain haze.

Then I got distracted, lay down in my bed and woke up 3 hours later. Haha I guess. Post call is unpredictable.

For those of you who are new, I'm a medical student (hi classmates!) and that means that sometimes we have rotations where we take call every 4 nights. We come in at say, 6 in the AM and leave at 10 or 12 the next day - 28 or 30 hours later. If you're Katie you might be scrubbed into surgery that whole time, but she's crazy (I love you.) I sort of love call because I think we learn a lot in the middle of the night, but it's very confusing for my sleep cycles.

Usually I try to sleep either right when I get home or later in the afternoon. I recover from it a lot better if I sleep at least a little instead of staying up until it's time for sleep on a regular day.

I also have less energy for cooking when I'm post call, and my body craves quick-energy sugar. Frequently in the past the post call days are the days I eat far too many cookies or scoops of peanut butter.

Oh sugar.

Lately I've been working pretty hard on making better choices so I don't have to have that overeating guilty feeling.

I know I don't make the best choices when I'm tired, so it's helped a lot to decide an outline for what I'll eat before I get tired. What's been working for me lately is defining 3 meals a day with 1 afternoon snack, so that I don't snack just whenever it feels like a good idea because I know my signals aren't trustworthy. It also works pretty well for me to not eat during the middle of the night even if I'm up the whole time. My body's not used to meals then, and I don't get hungry. In the past I used all the running around as an excuse for sugar, but I feel much better now when I'm not eating that way. And I'm pretty steady on the coffee - I'm completely addicted (withdrawal headache, crankiness, the whole works) but it keeps me running through the night until I get the chance to sleep.

I wanted to have a real picture of my food for you, but I can't find it on my computer right now.

As an example though, yesterday I was post call and I had soup with quinoa for lunch, an apple for snack and pumpkin risotto from this great slow cooker book with spinach salad for dinner.

Sure it's 100% the opposite of my cravings, but it's been liberating to conclude that my cravings lie, and actually this is what I need.

So happy November. I'm trying really hard to post more, but if the PICU keeps me too post-call and tired, I'll see you in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Married in Real Life

Hi all.

It's been a time of transition for me lately. I finished up my infectious disease rotation in Ohio and came home about 4 weeks ago. For the first time, my brand new husband and I were living together and trying to have work lives at the same time.

My handsome husband.

I've been on a preventative medicine rotation this past month that's taken me to all kinds of experiences.

I went and got a massage, I did immunizations in the public health building, observed pediatric speech testing and therapy, epidemiology modules from the CDC, watched documentaries and did yoga, all in the name of class. It has actually been a very busy month. With new experiences every day, it was med school as usual. Instead of settling into a routine, I think the norm is the lack of routine.

The advantage is that there's been weekends available for personal development, no overnight call so I'm well-rested, and that's been great for these first "real life" weeks of marriage. The difficulty is that we've also had a lack of routine in our new married life and it's already hard to predict how much we'll see each other. John works sometimes from home and sometimes commutes 1+ hours to work, so his time is unpredictable too. I expect that the complicated schedules will only continue, at least for the forseeable future.

I don't regret going to Ohio for a month, but looking back I probably wouldn't do it 3 weeks into my brand new marriage. No permanent damage done, but it was kind of hard on both of us.

Being flexible is a skill I've been working on, and there's been varying levels of success. Sometimes I have to be very conscious that I'm suddenly feeling anxious when my expectations for time or schedule aren't met and be intentional about making the best of it.

This morning the power went out while I was in the pool for my workout. They wouldn't let us stay because it was dark at 6 am and if we'd drowned they couldn't see us, which is fair.

But I was only 8 laps in, all wet and chlorine-y and kind of mad that my workout plans were thwarted.

So I prayed for some peace for the frustration and anxiety that produced and went running when I got back home. And it was great.

Expectations can be adjusted. That's what I'm learning.

Also John and I did a good portion of 21 day vegan kickstart in the past few weeks and I have food photos and reviews that I'll be sharing soon.

And since it's my first October post (I know right?) happy Vegan Month of Food!

And happy Fall. And all of that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Last Ohio Weekend

I'm in my final week of my pediatric infectious disease elective here in Ohio so on Saturday I'm on a flight home. That means this past weekend was my last here with Shannon and we made it count. After I woke up on Saturday and applied to residency Shannon and I went out for a celebratory breakfast at Butter Cafe. It's a vegan-friendly place close to the University of Dayton and the blueberry vegan pancakes are delicious. 

Also my plate ended up being free because the first batch they brought out weren't quite cooked. I know that might knock a place down on most people's rankings, but I was in no rush, and the second (free) plate tasted awesome. 

After Church we had a pretty relaxing afternoon and then went on a fancy sister date to the Dayton philharmonic, which I loved.

Sunday we ran a 5k for the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Southwest Ohio. It was hot and I was reminded that I have been woefully slacking in the running department. It was fun though, and it was really fun to be there with Shannon.

And now with just 4 more days in the hospital, I think the time will fly and I'll be back home before I know it. 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Applying to Residency: September 15

Yesterday was September 15.

On any other year it's just the middle of September.

Fall is in the air.

It's Prince Harry's birthday. Also Heidi Montag's.

However, this year I'm a fourth year medical student and September 15 is the first day that the application service for residency [ERAS] is available for submission to programs. It opens to start adding information during the summer, but this is the first date programs begin accepting the applications.

Therefore, yesterday morning I applied to residency.

I've filled in information about my experiences, research, publications etc. I got a professional picture taken, wrote a personal statement and asked for letters of recommendation. This application has been a point of stress over the past few months and yesterday I paid my exorbitant fees and sent it on its way.

For those of you not as familiar with the medical education process, it's been 4 years of college, now I'm in my fourth year of medical school, and residency starting next July will be 3 years more. (This length of time varies by specialty). It will also be the nice switch from paying to be there to getting some $ - after 8 post-high school years, I'm ready. I've updated the Medical Student Life page with a more complete description of the match process under "The Match."

Letters of recommendation may be assigned to programs later, so I chose a couple to transmit for sure but still have some that haven't come in so I'll be adding them, but otherwise it's complete.

I'm applying to medium-large academic pediatric programs. I have a few "reach" programs that most likely will not interview me, but mostly I applied to programs that I think are realistic for my application. 28 in total, which some people say is a lot for a U.S. graduate going into Pediatrics, but it's hard to know how competitive I really am, and mostly I want the chance to see a lot of different programs and be very sure about what I like. I

John and I talked along the way about the location of each place, because wherever I end up matched, he'll have get to live there too.

And now there's just the waiting. Be sure you'll hear about it quickly if ever an interview invite arrives. I would expect one mid-October at the earliest, but wouldn't be surprised if a few trickle in much later.

Not to worry though - I have a spreadsheet!

Stay tuned - the residency application journey is just beginning.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Since I wanted long hair for my wedding, I've been putting off cutting it short all summer, even though it was kind of driving me nuts. This week I made an appointment and Locks of Love got a solid 10 inches of my hair. This is the third time I've donated it, and it feels as awesome as usual. 

Thought I'd share a picture:


[clearly these strands are kind of tired]

[forgive the grainy iphone pics]

Wooo healthy hair!

And for more information on donating your hair with Locks of Love check out their website here.

Have you ever donated your hair?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Coming Back

I find it really difficult to come back to blogging after a long time. I wrote the short little post about how excited I am to be married, but I made the semi-subconscious decision to put the blog on the back burner for an extremely busy time of my life 2.5 months ago and now here we are.

In theory I know I'm not supposed to feel guilty for not posting. It's my blog and it's here for me in whatever capacity I need - but in my heart I do feel a little sad for letting all this time go by. Still, I think it was right for me.

The dilemma I now have is how to start again?

I want to give a proper update, but there's so much to cover and I'm not sure where to start.

So I've made a decision.

I may at some point write some historical posts about things that happened this summer and give more details about the Sub-I month, or the wedding, but I decided I'd mostly focus on just starting with my current life and go forward.

I really missed you.


So at the beginning of August John and I got married and we went on an amazing honeymoon to Cancun. Then I spent a couple wonderful weeks with my new husband in our new apartment. Then it was time to come back from vacation and be a medical student again. I was accepted for a Pediatric Infectious Disease rotation at Dayton Children's Medical Center and so for the past 3 weeks I've been living in Ohio with Shannon! 

We took this while stopping for gas in a tiny nameless town. I seriously have no idea where we were.

She found me some delicious Thai food.

She recently adopted an adorable dog. We named him Dobby. He has house elf ears.

Last weekend we made the scary stormy drive the 6 hours to Chicago to visit our other sister Emma. We crashed her crew practice, went to a farmer's market with the prettiest produce, ate some good meals and I finally got to see her in action at college. I love when my sisters and I are together. Of course it wasn't complete without Nicola (the youngest) but it was a great trip. We listened to an audiobook in the car which made the drive go quickly and it was so worth it. 

Love you Emma!

It was beautifully cool and really got me feeling like it's fall. 

This picture is from a trip I took to Starbucks while in Chicago. It was so wonderful and cool and fall-like I just wanted something delicious and fall-flavored so I got distracted from my usual coffee and order a soy chai tea latte. It was amazing, but I sort of forgot about my caffeine addiction. I realized chai tea was no match for my potential for caffeine headache and I had to go back through line for a black coffee as well.
I drank both and it was awesome.

This week Shannon and I started watching an old season of The Biggest Loser and a couple days ago we ironically enjoyed some pints of vegan ice cream at the same time. 

The rotation is good. There are lots of different kinds of patients and everyone's really helpful. 

And it's beautiful here.

In other news, the application service for residency opens for submission on Saturday, and that means I've recently had to be a grownup and decide with John where we might want to go for the next three years. 

So life is going on. 

See you soon. Promise.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Happy

I'm newly married and happy happy!

It was so much fun, like a dream. The wedding itself was everything I'd been imagining, and most importantly I finally get to be married to John.

It's also been so busy.

I promise to be back soon with regular posting, but in the meantime, check out our photographer's blog for some Wedding Pictures!

P.S. Happy Birthday Husband. I love you.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What to Eat During Boards

I survived the USMLE Step 2!

There were no power outages. I answered all the questions. I don't know about the number I answered right, but all the questions got responses. 

And so I thought I'd share my snacks and hydration. They're planned fairly carefully - too much liquid and your bladder distracts you, too much food and you fall asleep, too little and you crash.

The USMLE Step 2 is a 9 hour test - 8 one-hour, 44 question blocks and 1 hour of breaks to distribute throughout the day, so I broke it up like this:

Block 1, Block 2

Break. Snack 1: Zone Simple Cranberry Almond Bar

Block 3, Block 4

Break. Lunch: Ezekiel Bread White Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich

Block 5, Block 6

Break. Snack 2: Apple

Block 7

Break. Snack 3: Raw Almonds, Golden Raisins

Block 8

So all this disappeared directly into my brain as fuel:

With each break I sipped from a thermos of coffee. I didn't probably drink enough water, but I survived.

And even though I felt very brain-tired at the end, I was never too hungry or too sleepy. I think it worked out well.

There is a distinct lack of vegetables, but I made up for it at dinner with some quinoa and veggies. 

And now since I start a pretty intense rotation on Monday (Pediatrics Sub-Internship!) I'm just trying to enjoy my weekend. 

And maybe review a couple important things for Monday. 

Oh and tomorrow I have a bridal shower, and guess who's coming to see me (okay, lots of people) but especially this girl: 

Happy Sabbath!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Day Before the USMLE Step 2

Did Googling bring you here? This isn't really instructional, or advice-based, just a real life explanation about what I did before I took Boards. And I kind of had a lot going on, as I'm sure you do as well, so there you go. 

Wondering about Step 1? Check out my post about that from a year ago. 

It's the morning of the second half of my Boards.

As many of you know, I'm getting married in 5 weeks.

Yeah. I know.

And so it being the week before Boards, I of course also had to fill it up with all kinds of things that I couldn't fit in while on rotation. Last week I was home in Oregon for the wedding dress fitting and did a lot of studying, so this was my only week here with lots of "free" business-hour time.

So we left from the Inland Empire Tuesday and did a tasting with our caterer in Calabasas (so many decisions made, so much great food!), then up to Ventura and picked up my wedding band, then down to San Diego (traffic!) for the next couple days.

Fortunately John drove and I did my best to study, but it was pretty tough.

Yesterday (the day before) I did the following:

5 am: Woke up in San Diego for another set of the UWorld Question Bank before breakfast.
6:30 am: Made coffee and breakfast. I don't mess around on serious brain fuel days, it's always oatmeal.

7 am: Ate with John, did our premarital counseling homework. This is the reason I woke up in San Diego - we were doing a bit of a crash course because this was our best time window before the wedding. 
9 am: Went to our session with the pastor. I'm so glad we fit it in, I think it's maybe the most important part of our wedding prep. 
10:30 am: Stopped at a market to pick up supplies for lunch.
11:00 am: Another set from the QBank. 
12:00 pm: Cooked, ate, packed and got on the road back to Loma Linda, it's about a 2 hour drive.
3:00 pm: Got in, unpacked, made a snack, settled in and reviewed a couple topics I had decided to look at again. [Skin! Rashes are going to be the death of me.]
5:30 pm: Stretch yoga while watching House. That's like studying right?
7:00 pm: Dinner, internet dabbling. Printed my updated Test Permit (from the NBME website). 
8:00 pm: More internet.
9:00 pm: Having said good night to my almost-husband, I headed to bed.

So to summarize...I studied for maybe 4 hours? I honestly don't know how much more I would have if I hadn't been so busy with other things. Probably more, but hard to say. I don't want to make comparisons about what "my ideal pre-Boards day" would be, because days aren't ideal. They're not supposed to be. We just do what we can, and I'm happy with what filled my day. 

My philosophy with day-before studying is that it should only boost your confidence. It's not a time to learn all of oncology. Unfortunately...

And in just 12 hours, for better or worse, it will all be over. 

See you then.

And expect a "What to Eat for the USMLE Step 2" post up later. I'm all decided on the food I'm taking and I'll snap it soon. 

Prayers please, it's kind of a big deal. Maybe less than Step 1, but still  Thanks.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to the Heat

It's a little after 4 am and I'm about to head to the airport for my return to California. 

I say "back to the heat" both figuratively - I'm pretty much sweating Boards - and literally.

I'm going from this: (High of 70, Rain!)

To this:


I will choose the following points of positivity to dwell on:

1. Temps have not yet hit 100. They will, but not yet.
2. I currently live in a house with (mostly) working AC.
3. John and I got the apartment and it also has working air conditioning!

And so I suppose there's not much to whine about. It's more a surrogate complaint because I'm sad to leave Oregon.

See you on the other side!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tachy Med Student: Latest Blog Posts

Just thought I'd share that there are a couple new posts from me up on the School of Medicine student blog if you're interested in that kind of thing.

That would pretty much be my Mom and maybe those of you who are/want to go into medicine.

One talks about the end of third year, and the other's similar to my last one here - bit of an update, a bit more med school focused.

One Week Left

Hunker Down and Learn

Happy Friday friends!

And since this is a food blog...this post feels sad without any pictures.

I give you this picture of a gorgeous pot of tea my mother made me this morning while I sat and studied.

Yes she is the best.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mid June in Photo Highlights

In the recent past the following has happened:
1. I finished my third year of medical school, complete with some multi-hour finals that made my brain tired.
2. I went to San Diego and got showered with love (also presents) at a Bridal Shower with my future in-laws and friends.
3. John (maybe, likely?) found an apartment in Loma Linda that he'll move into soon, and I'll move into after the wedding.
4. I came home to Oregon for a wedding dress fitting and also to hunker down and study because I take the second half of boards in a week.
5. I ate lots of good food:

Native Foods Cheesecake. I split this with John, practicing moderation. 

Got my nails done. It's gel so this was a week ago, and it still looks the same! I love it. 

One of the best potato mixtures I've ever made. With veggies, Little Links and mashed potato/cauliflower combo topped with salt, pepper, ginger and garlic powder.

Almond butter oatmeal never gets old.

Nutrition of Almond Milk. Tastes like coconut. I'm in heaven. 

I made the spaghetti bowl that was accidentally far too big for a normal size bowl. 
I love mixing bowl meals.

Indigo Grill in Little Italy in San Diego. This. Was. Amazing. 

These were disaster pancakes. John and future-sister-in-law were very kind to try to eat them. Idk what happened, but they looked pretty at least.

New Zone Perfectly Simple Peanut Crunch. 

Super tasty.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Oskri bar in the airport on the way home.

Venti's! Salem's vegan friendliest place.

Gelato makes everything better.

And in between it's all books books books and squeezing in the occasional workout. But it feels good to have lots to do and be working hard to get it done. 

See you soon!