May 31, 2009

First week, check

So one week of rotations under my belt, and uhh... not so bad so far. Of course, I'm in psych, which is classically not one of the miserable rotations. I have friends that are already taking overnight call, inserting foley catheters, starting IVs, and getting seriously pimped, so I think I just drew the lucky first rotation.

I've been accounting for this discrepancy in hours by going out damn near every night. Can't tell you how much I'm loving NYC and its perpetual live music, fantastic food, copious well drinks, and festivals.

For psych, I have quite a long commute, since the psych portion for Brooklyn hospital, for us, at least, is at Manhattan Psychiatric Center, which is two subway transfers and a bus ride from where I live in Brooklyn to where it is up off Harlem.

On the other hand, most of what we're doing is "watching". There aren't that many procedures to learn in psych, except on the hypothetical. It all gears around the patient interview and knowing the meds patients are on, but otherwise, what is there for us to do? And the floor I'm on is the most acute psychiatric patient care one, so I can't really help with their work schedule by taking cases since no one's about to let a small inexperienced female medical student into a room by herself with a patient that hasn't been able to get along on the other floors.

It's interesting though. I've seen one patient that is showing remarkable improvement due to some pretty creative prescribing and House-ian thinking on the part of our attending. We have one patient that required five people to hold her down and still managed to tag a nurse pretty badly. Another patient, everyone's favorite, that they had me interview, which involved her ranting at me for about 10 minutes. I'm assured she'll probably cuss me out three or four times in our six week hiatus.

Today, I'm heading out to walk around Prospect Park for a while. Should be a blast.

May 27, 2009

I'm back, baby!

I love internet so much it consumes me. And though I love my little Blackberry storm because it enables me to not only look up all the stuff I don't know, but also to use my phone like a little GPS finder to locate the right subway, it just doesn't match the pure unadulterated joy of full screen, full access surf-mania. Ahhhhhh...

BROOKLYN! Like all the major changes in my life, of which there have been many, I was approaching the move to New York as if it were going to be some huge horrible thing where the second I got here, I was going to be apartment-less, followed by being tortured and robbed.

So, yeah... freaking loving New York City. The food is so good and the band schedule line ups so copious that I may never leave. I have a sweet pad and roommate (SGU!) in Park Slope, I'm surrounded by ethnic food, Italian ice, and organic grocery stores, and I live staggering-home-drunk distance from the subway, which weirdly, manages *not* to pass under my apartment and vibrate my walls.

In the slightly-more-than-a-week time, I've managed to do SO much stuff. Daniel and his Zipcar(tm) got me to and from Ikea so I could put my bedroom together without trying to cram 400 lbs worth of furniture onto a subway. The food here is SOOO good. Tonight it was cheap/trendy Thai food. Yesterday, it was home cooked turkey burritos courtesy of a collection from Trader Joe's. Thanks to Lori, it was Vietnamese food and french chocolates. It was organic veggies saturated with some sort of heaven-sent vinegarette. It's Mexican chili tea and iced coffee and microwavable naan, and and and. And wine. Lots of it. Good and varied.

Coupled with walks through Grand Central Station, Central Park, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the East Village, and thanks to Lori, base of the Brooklyn Bridge, across the Brooklyn Bridge, city hall, courthouse, Ground Zero, Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho, Noho, Nolita, Union Square and mojitos and more. With guided history. And with Daniel, Times Square, Union Square again with bonus capoiera, the food carts that won the "Vendy" awards, Gramercy Park, the closing Virgin Megastore where I got the Tori Amos album and a cloth messenger bag for 35 bucks, Greenwich Village.

Not including the grand tour of Park Slope I gave myself simply by strolling around aimlessly while I did my freaking laundry. Used bookstores, parks, churches, old houses.

And the guy threatening to slit a cabbie's throat, and a woman smacking a car for cutting off a pregnant woman trying to cross the street. A thousand "give me money" subway announcements. An improv doo wop band on the M train that actually did manage to get some money because they made me smile. Cellists and guitar players and dobroists wherever they feel like setting up. Secret service-like men in black guarding the Armani store from the poor people. BBQs and border collies and old friends in Jersey. Sin City and Zinfindel.

And that whole med student thing. I started my psych rotation, and randomly got assigned to the most acute of the psych wards that they'd actually let medical students into, but the staff are incredibly chill, and the patients fascinating. I get a triple transfer hour long commute to get there, but that gives me plenty of time to catch up on my HP Lovecraft when I'm not perfecting my thousand yard subway stare.

Freaking... Love... It.

May 21, 2009

Not doing third year abandonment

Just woefully out of internet (most of the time) until next Wednesday when we can get it installed.

Quick summary: Brooklyn. Awesome. Roommate. Awesome. Food. Awesome. Trader Joe's in easy subway distance (if you don't take four subways in the wrong direction because you're me). Awesome.

I'm a fan. And already did a dry run to the hospital where I'm orienting, but going to head to Manhattan for my psych hospital dry run tomorrow, since it's considerably farther away, and where I'm starting out.

May 14, 2009

Girly crap

Thanks to realizing clinical rotations were starting and I pretty much owned *no* nice clothes save for a kind of weird patterned go go dress I got at Goodwill for three dollars, I had to engage in a two day estrogen-fest at the local mall for a day of clothes shopping, including *finally* buying a couple nice dresses so I don't have to beg clothes off people for social events, and a day of shoe shopping, while looking longingly at Spencer's Gifts.

Shoe shopping and I... ergh. My shoe shopping expeditions used to consist of going to Payless and picking out keds, wearing them out, and repeating. I tried for hipper shoes, but I was a pennyless teenager, so I occasionally was able to score cooler stuff from thrift stores. Then I got converted to running shoes, which I'd long associated with being part of the consumerist establishment, but like portable electronic devices, that was before I discovered how freaking awesome they are.

So my pattern until today: Go to New Balance store. Tell them exactly what I want. Have them bring out three pairs of shoes, from which I generally choose one, not particularly mindful of what it looks like, leave store within twenty minutes. Wear shoes for 1-2 years until I have destroyed them. Repeat. Expanded slightly for Grenada because I needed two pairs of shoes prior to going.

The last two days; however, I feel I've finally lived the "girl" experience of having to hunt down sales because nice clothes are frigging expensive, and then having to spend another day hopping from shoe store to shoe store in an attempt to find a nice, hospital appropriate shoe that remotely matches the crap I had to buy the previous day, isn't 80 dollars, and doesn't leave leather-strap induced ulcers all over my feet.

This is no easy task.

Being a former ice skater (I know), I was also confident in my strength of ankles, thus my ability to walk in heels without snapping off part of my fibula, until I fell off a half inch path at Aquarium for no particular reason and turned one of my ankles into a bloated Christmas tree first term, and now I'm all paranoid.

Shoe shopping seems to spark a very teenage sense of rebellion in me as I'm looking at my 17th pair of 'why the hell do we have to be going into summer and there are NO close-toed shoes' and as I'm passing the hipster shoe stores, I get a nearly overwhelming urge to just throw caution to the wind and buy a pair of stiletto heels that appear to be made of pink care bear fur, largely because they were probably the most hideous things I've ever seen, which made me want them. And, by the letter of the law, conformed to most hospital dress code policies, but would have likely netted me a nasty write-up about professionalism.

This is why I buy running shoes. And then run in them. But after a ridiculously long mall trip, and a ridiculous number of stores and sales, I have shoes for work and shoes for play. Oh, and shoes for *real* play, which are my beloved trail runners that I've had to shower cow/horse/goat crap off of on no less than three occasions. If my new nice shoes and clothes can survive a hash as well, I may change my tune.

Addendum, for those wondering why I'm shopping for clothes and shoes in Modesto when I'm going to be living in NYC, it's because in one of the three episodes of Sex and the City that I have ever seen, one of the sociopaths/main characters is having some sort of Sophie's Choice moment over a pair of 400 dollar shoes, so I became instantly convinced that to buy work shoes in New York, I'd need to supplement my student loans. And yes, I believe everything I see on television.

May 8, 2009

Hooray for Housing

And for friends helping friends find friends... and friends. I think I lost a word.

I have a roommate and an apartment in Park Slope, and best of all, said roommate is someone I know from SGU rather than a psycho on craigslist who stuffs my stethoscope down my throat as soon as s/he finds out I have to get up mega early once my surgery rotation starts. AND no huge multi-thousand dollar up front fee, so now I just get to be excited rather than miserably stressed/excited.

Orientation's on the 22nd for Brooklyn, and I'll be starting in psych, which means I'll be reporting to northern Manhattan since that rotation is off site and the commute is longer, but it also gives me the street cred of working in Manhattan. Heh.

Since I'm still in California (which had been complicating my search), I'm flying out on the night of the 17th to attempt to stuff as much Ikea furniture into my bedroom before my rotation starts. My new roomie also introduced me to the concept of the ZipCar, which should make the process of transferring furniture a *lot* easier.

May 6, 2009


Or so they say!

Yesterday, got an email saying I was good for Brooklyn, which makes me really happy.

Today, went Monterey diving for the first time in nearly 3 years, though camera-less so I wouldn't be task loaded, but I still felt really comfortable in the cold water, though towards the end of the dives, on the chilly end of comfortable, but the big thing is...

Sea lions! And harbor seals!

Grenada: eels, wrecks, sharks that are big enough to be awesome but lack the interest or size potential to eat you, significantly lower hypothermia potential.

Monterey: Rocks encrusted with life, giant anenomes; furry marine mammals that periodically dive bomb you, kelp forests, opportunity to wear giant dive knife strapped to leg which looks really badass even though it's just used for kelp.

So hard to choose; why not do both? Grenada had a ton of things I absolutely loved, but there is nothing quite like having a sea lion loop you. Granted, they have the same bite potential as a bear, but they are extremely freaking cute.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Well, technically now, Seis de Mayo.

May 3, 2009

Still in the in between...

Not for blog abandonment; just for lack of things to say, really. Though I'm sure I'll remedy that with some rambling!

I got an email today saying I had US health clearance and that was being sent to the clinicals, which means, crossing my fingers, I may get my final placement soon! Woot!

It also means that someone at SGU was working on a Saturday at 9 PM. I'll let that sink in for a minute.


My preliminary placement was for Brooklyn, which I really really want. Now, I'm in sort of a scared holding pattern for it, because I've been looking at housing, and it's freaking me out. Grenada offered the safety of the dorms to kind of satellite out the housing options in the area until you inevitably lost the housing lottery or went insane from the construction noise, so you could scurry out to an apartment and scurry back which offset the high cost of living and allowed you to get familiar with the area.

Of course, I say this with the comfort of someone that lucked into an apartment I really really loved that somehow wound up relatively cockroach free and proud despite being in the tropics. Others were not so lucky.

So now reality's back, and it needs a place to live in Brooklyn.

I realized that NYC housing would be a challenge, but figured I'd grown accustomed to astronomical housing rates due to Grenada and I don't have a problem with small spaces or lack of light. On that note, apparently, an apartment that doesn't have an actively running meth lab requires an application fee, a credit check fee, an income, a guarantor, your first month's rent, your last month's rent, a security deposit, and possibly a broker's fee, which is also equivalent to first month's rent. Possibly also your firstborn.

The problem? I don't get my loans until the start of clinicals and I've been off in neverland studying for the step 1, which doesn't give me 5000 dollars worth of free spending money to drop on my first month's rent when I was planning on a much more reasonable month's rent plus security deposit. It would, on an unrelated note, give me enough money to have a luxurious month-long diving holiday in Borneo though. Just saying.

It may get easier once I get the final word on the placement. For the time being, I think part of the stress is in the hypothetical. I can't start ferreting out roommates or arrange appointments until I have an active placement lest risk backing out on someone at the last minute, but I feel the burden of time ticking away, plus I'm in California, so I can't just alleviate my fears by going and *looking* at places, even casually, to get a feel for it in the interim. Google maps street view is helping somewhat. I'm also surfing craigslist, which is kind of inundating me with a billion apartments and roommate options, any one of which could prove either my dream apartment (meaning no roaches, reasonable distance to the hospital, and internet), or could provide me with the opportunity to have to utter the phrase: "Officer, I swear it's not mine!!" or worse, "Why am I in a bathtub full of ice?"

So I've got a little case of the cold feet.

On a not "holy crap I need a place to live" note, I headed up to the little town of Columbia, CA yesterday, which is a pleasant little gold mining town from the wayback that reminds me of a more mountainous version of Old Sacramento. Then, since it was pouring and I was carrying more than one portable electronic device, I headed to the Moaning Cavern, which probably has the distinction of being the only cave in gold country without gold. Since I dislike yellow gold and like limestone, I consider this a plus. It also has the distinction of having a number of people fall through it's cleverly disguised top opening over the last few thousand years, so when it was formally discovered, there was a pile of bones at the bottom of a 160 foot drop. Kind of a "we are the world" moment when you realize the number of people over the centuries that shared the exact same "walking through a fiel ahhhh" moment regardless of class, culture or creed.

For something that's been a tourist attraction since the gold miners went "hey, there's no gold here", it's actually not hokey, the cave itself is gorgeous, and the winding spiral staircase that goes down is old (but tested) and made out of a recycled ship, so I got a more authentic feeling out of it, which I appreciated.

I also got to meet an awesome fellow-guitar player that lives and works up there, so that was a highlight.

Diving on Tuesday, aka Cinco de Mayo, so we'll see what my return to cold water diving after nearly 3 years looks like. I'm guessing it'll involve a lot of shivering.