Be Forceful – Excerpt of my 2017 Annual Review

2017 is ending on a more or less positive note. Literally, today, December 31st, I feel pretty good about things and optimistic about the future. I’m not sure if I really spent the year “being forceful” or “getting what I came for” as I had wanted to at the end of 2016, but I do have some rather good memories, as well as a few lost opportunities.

A prime example of this was in the ED. It was a quiet night shift with one of my favorite doctors, we have a good relationship and he’s always been kind to me asking questions about the profession. The hospitalist asked him to go to the ICU to oversee an intubation on a patient, so my doctor goes up. I have never been to the ICU, I have never seen an intubation. I was curious and it would have been a great learning experience for me. And I am almost certain that my doctor would have said OK if I had asked to tag along, but I didn’t. I’m not sure why I didn’t ask. And I still kick myself in the butt for this missed opportunity. And yet a few hours later into the night, I didn’t hesitate and was able to be of “great” assistance. A patient came in post-stroke and because it was a night shift, the ED connected via iPad to a tele-stroke unit. Well, the doctor and nurses were having difficulty connecting. There was a number to call but it wasn’t enough digits to be a telephone number. During emergencies, I tend to observe and record, that’s more or less the job, but I walked up to the tablet and started pressing buttons, I had a good instinct about what was going on. Sure enough, the number wasn’t a telephone number but a conference code. They needed to enter an app and connect via conference line. Voila, I made it happen. I was really proud of myself because I have this passive nature where I tend not to get involved, but I was able to help, my skills were useful. I’m sure they would have gotten it figured out, but I helped save some time.

Similarly, during a chemistry exam, I noticed the student beside me had writing on her hand. It took me several minutes to work up the courage to ask her about it. She said they were her study notes and she offered to wash them off. I was still passive, saying, “it’s up to you if you wash it off” and “don’t you think that’s messed up?” But I didn’t cause a scene, I didn’t get the TA, I didn’t demand she wash her hands. The next day, I spoke to the professor about what my exchange with the student. Another move I wasn’t sure about — Was I trying to get her in trouble? Would the professor wonder why I didn’t do more? Would the professor wonder if I was making it up? But ultimately, confronting her and putting the situation in the hands of the Professor allowed me to walk away with a clean conscious. It wasn’t up to me to determine what would happen anyway, but something “wrong” clearly happened, so I spoke up. Could I have done more? Sure. But I did something, and I think that’s important.

My resolution and/or my goal for 2018 is to not miss out on opportunities. It can hurt to ask, but rejection won’t kill you either.

Be Forceful – Excerpt of my 2017 Annual Review

New Year: 2015 Look Back

For a while now, I’ve been doing a version of Chris Gullibeau’s Annual Review. And I really like doing this because it makes me appreciate everything I’ve gone through in the past 365 days. I highly encourage everyone to take some time to do it. It boils down to: what went well, what went poorly and what do you want to accomplish next year? I keep a pretty detailed version that covers everything personally and professionally, but here’s a little bit of it:

2015 Summary
Not as good as 2014, but a good year generally. Felt like there were several hurdles this year—not accepted into pre-med post-bacc programs, not accepted into meditation retreat, not accepted to volunteer at hospital, some minor health issues, etc. But to feel like it was a good year generally when faced with all those hurdles that is actually pretty incredible for me. I am more resilient than I realize.

2015 Highlights
• Cancun with DK, B, and DB
• Shadowing Dr. D
• Changed my legal name!
• Spring dating with J
• May visit to Greenpoint/NYC for GCEF meeting
• Time with M (her in Ithaca, me in NYC, phone calls, check-ins)
• Baltimore visit to see J in July
• Weekly tennis (with L, C, H)
• Months 1 and 2 of marathon training
• FaceTime calls with the kiddos
• NYC Marathon! 04:32:49
• Time with B — in Cancun, Boston, Ithaca
• Great time with M around New Years Eve
• Ended the year at 630 miles of run/biking/walking
• Ended the year at 115 volunteer hours (83 at HospiCare!)
• Ended the year at 36 books!

Goals for 2016
• PR in a run race (any distance)
• More cycling
• Do really well in school and enjoy it: remember, I am choosing this.
• Do one more thing to help my med school application (research/shadowing/volunteering)
• Be more social
• Get a tattoo

Theme for 2016: Self-Advocacy. Be my own champion.

New Year: 2015 Look Back