Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fall in Love

To all third years deciding what they want to spend the rest of their life doing:

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

                        -Fr. Pedro Stripe, S.J

Fall in love with a field and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Love in the PICU

A beautiful view of downtown from the hospital.

It has been a polar vortex here in NW Ohio. We’re currently at about 40 inches of snow this month alone, topping the blizzard record high set in 1978. We’ve also had temperatures down to -40F. We had 2 days of peds orientation week cancelled due to level 3 snow emergencies. Schools have barely been open. And among all this, I’ve been working in the PICU.

Life in the PICU.

Life in the PICU.

Having worked in the SICU I found the idea of intensive care extremely interesting and simultaneously challenging, I requested a PICU rotation for my pediatric inpatient experience. I had some really tough cases while there including an episode of bullying that turned lethal, a kid with tetralogy of fallot (a serious heart condition) who almost died every night, kids with bad burns, and a lot of kids who came in from foster care with no real support.

We had one particular patient who was who was an adorable infant girl with several birth defects including holoprosencephaly and cleft lip/palate abandoned at birth because she “wasn’t normal”. The nurses were fantastic about holding her and loving her. One day the nurses were all extremely busy with the 12 other kids we had on service and she was inconsolable. As a medical student I was done with my daily tasks of updating the list, putting in orders, and making sure everything got done that was supposed to be done. So I went to her room and I held her and played with her for over two hours. It was a simple act, a baby crying needed some love and attention. She finally fell asleep in my arms for a while when a pediatric palliative care doctor walked in.

She said I was going to make a wonderful doctor. Obviously that is my end goal, but I asked how she knew in the two seconds she had known me. She said it was because “those who are willing to put people above everything else will always do what’s best”. This doctor told me that it’s not always about the medicines or the surgeries that make people better. Sometimes, it’s the simple act of love that makes all the difference.

The PICU taught me a lot about how to work with really sick and frightened kids. I’ve learned some tricks along the way like using a scary otoscope as a candle or always having a toy in your pocket. As I enter into the outpatient part of pediatrics and the rest of my life I will always keep in mind what I’ve learned here. Because no matter what any adult will have you think, when you’re in the hospital you are just as scared as these little kids and a little love can go a long way.

Everyone tells me that one day I’ll eventually become just as jaded as most doctors are. Luckily, I’ll always have memories like these that remind me of the good I really can do for someone else aside from all the politics and all the paperwork. Because that’s why we all get into medicine in the first place – to help others. So never forget, love is sometimes the best medicine of all.

A beautiful Toledo sunset.

Happy 2014!

I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays! I definitely enjoyed catching up with family and friends, sleeping in, and getting to my To-Do List that had been untouched for months.

2013 was a big year for me between USMLE Step 1, starting my clinical rotations, getting my BJJ blue belt and 1 stripe, and everything in between. 2014 will be even bigger. This year I finish my required clinical experiences, apply for my away rotations, take USMLE Step 2CK and CS, apply for residency positions, and go to *hopefully* several interviews on top of whatever BJJ brings my way. So that means in the next few months I have to decide WHAT it is I want to spend the rest of my life doing, which is terrifying.  (Although I am leaning toward surgery at this point as I am very much a hands-on person).

I used to believe in making a list of resolutions for the new year, but most of them I’d forget about by mid-February (ok, let’s be honest by January 10 usually).  So instead I started having a “theme” for the year. Last year’s theme was improvement. This year, my theme is to live. One word, simple enough to remember day after day until December 31.

Like I said, this is going to be a very busy year. And 3rd year, which I’m told is the greatest year you’ll ever have in medical school and even residency, is halfway over. I only have, potentially, 1.5 years left in Toledo with my family, my friends, and my Ribeiro family. So what I need to focus on this year is truly being present in every moment and soaking up and enjoying everything I can. I have a tendency to wish time away, and this year I’m going to make sure I truly appreciate the time I have.

So be here, now. Live for the day you have and not the days coming. Tackle each problem a day at a time and never let the minutes slip away. Do not merely exist. LIVE.

Happy New Year! Wishing all of you a year of happiness.

Also, you should all check out this post by a female Ribeiro brown belt about the difference between a winner and a champion and how to live life by the Ribeiro virtues.