Saturday, October 15, 2011

4 Months In - Family Medicine Residnecy

(Summit of Cameron Peak, forteener 9-19-2011)

Hey family and friends,

Thanks for joining me in a brief recount of my new adventures. By this time in October I am well into the intern year of residency training and really feel like a doctor, a feeling that I have been looking forward to for so long and, probably appropriately, never grasped during medical school. The responsibility of patient medical care, the investment in each unique life encountered, the decisions that must be made, the strong work put in every day that makes a man satisfied…. Ah yes, residency is great. Patrick, Jonathan and I are hanging out at Panera Bread near the house this morning, just chatting, talking about our troubles, whether work or personal, and our joys. These are my room mates my fellow interns and I love these guys. Patrick made the comment, “We got paid yesterday; it feels so good!” And it’s true, paychecks are amazing, and we all agree that we aren’t anxious at all about getting paid, we love what we do and getting a paycheck every other week is almost a surprise, icing on the cake. Of course, when loan repayment begins in December we won’t see much of it anyways.

( A few of the interns and I on top a 12,500')

Residency is structured somewhat like medical school, we have a schedule of 12 months and each is filled by a rotation in a different field of medicine that will prepare us for practice on our own. This first year my schedule includes:

3 hospital based medicine months


2 hospital based pediatric

2 hospital based obstetric


2 weeks of behavioral science and Ear Nose Throat


Sports Medicine

Basically, this schedule means that I’ll be on 8 “service months”, otherwise known as months when we get to the hospital early and leave late, 6 days a week. 7 of those months require a “night float” or a week long period where each resident takes turns admitting sick people into the hospital during the night. I will be starting my second night float week today at 5pm and I’m excited about it. Although the physical changes are demanding, the more work and experience I can have in residency the better. The other months are a bit more relaxed, like geriatrics and sports medicine, which are clinic based.

(I have eaten 3 of these peppers to date and looking forward to more)


In the last post I shared about an assortment of plants a grocery store allowed me to take free, as they were nearly dead. OK, update on the garden. The plants are actually doing very well. The most beautiful among them are the Green Bell Peppers which did not flower in the heat of summer but are growing myriads of little peppers into big ones. While visiting my Aunt in Denver, she let me dig up a bit of her garden to transplant in Wichita. Unfortunately the chicks and diks are not doing so well. I think they need more sun, but the others seem to be steadily growing. Also, one of my neighbors works at the botanic garden here in Wichita. He is bringing home extra plants all the time, so I dug under a patch of tulip bulbs a few weeks ago. They will be such a surprise by spring!


On my street the yards are too small to exercise any meaningful play, so one must utilize the street. I have played enough football for a lifetime these last 4 months. Incredible, I have historically enjoyed Frisbee or basketball type sports, but when the neighbor kids ring the doorbell every day to get us out and playing, it just happens. Last month we had a Labor Day cookout and yesterday was pumpkin carving. The strange thing is, although I always see the kids, their parents have more of a hibernating bear attitude, stay inside. I am hoping for more relational depth in my neighborhood.

( My residency program went on our annual bike trip in September which also included climbing a few forteeners :), we biked from Frisco to Vail and back. Amazingly fun yet tiring vacation under the guise of continuing medical eduction)

(One of my attending docs asked me to play at a coffee shop open mic. This was the first set of this kind I've played, lasted ~1hr, banjo/guitar. Fun times, might do it again. Might need a shirt with sweat pads in the armpits next time too.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

An End and a Beginning

Four years ago I went back to school, a thing that has been a momentum changer in my life. Through this experience professionalism, responsibility, humanity, medical science and other ways of the physician have instilled a niche in my person, in who I am now. On May 14th I graduated from medical school and on July 1st I started my new job as a resident physician.

(Dancing with Mimi at her 80th Birthday Party Dallas, TX)

(Getting hooded at graduation - Fort Worth, TX)
Photo Courtesy of Kate Leverenz

In between school and job, I went back to the area of Guatemala I worked in last year and spent a wonderful month continuing relationships with locals, practicing Spanish, and volunteering in a clinic that served a low access area in the gorgeous Guatemalan Highlands.

Arriving in the USA 4 days before residency began, I made a quick journey from Houston to Wichita, Kansas and have since settled into life here. My two room mates (also interns in my program) and I are becoming decent friends. We have room mate dinners at home, play football with the neighborhood kids, play music and encouraging each other to become better doctors. The only improvement I could ask for is to have Guatemalan highland weather here in Kansas. The scorching sun is not being kind to the potted plants I received for free from Dillon's, the major local grocery chain. I'm not too busy to neglect planting them in God's good earth, eventually, maybe tomorrow after my Emergency Departement shift.

Below are a few pics of Guatemala last month.

(The mountains in the background are quite, quite high and steep - Santa Cruz la Laguna)

(Other med student friends and I on a hike - Santa Cruz LL)

(Group photo! Students, Doctors, and nurses/interpreters - Santa Cruz LL)

(The infamous tuk-tuk. A three wheeled vehicle for people transport quite common in all areas of Guatemala. This photo taken in Santiago LL)

(Catholic Church courtyard - San Pedro LL)

(Normal street scene - San Pedro LL)

(Los Tres Amigos riding horses to the base of Volcan San Pedro approximately 3,200m)

(At the dock. Boat is the primary mode of transportation around Lago de Atitlan - Santa Cruz LL)

(My hostel room at La Iguana Perdida. I lived here for one week - Santa Cruz LL)

(This morning was chilly, about 50F - Santa Cruz LL)

(Also at La Iguana Perdida - Santa Cruz LL)

Monday, March 7, 2011

A New Destination

(Wichita's Skyline)

On the day of sugary hearts, chocolate love and red roses I received a special note.... No, this was not a love note, nor I wasn't celebrating Valentine's Day with anyone. It was a notification from the osteopathic residency match service that I had matched with my #1 choice for Family Medicine, Via Christi Regional Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas!

Hmm, now that I ponder on it, I believe the residency match system has quite a few similarities to online dating services. Allow me to explain: all respective participants build their profile, buffing and fluffing it up as much as is decent, then they perform a database search looking for compatible partners, contact is made, they go on first dates (interviews) and if both respective parties "like" each other --> marriage is the next sensible step... Oh and all this transpires in a matter of months. Yeah!!!

So in my own weird and nerdy medical student way, last Valentine's Day was one full of romance. :)

But to continue with seriousness, I am so excited and thankful for the way this process has played out. God granted me peace to rank residency programs in a specific manner and and it's now easy to accept the results as a great outcome. Via Christi was my first choice for a reason and I believe my internship year will be one filled with adventure, challenge, maturity and new friendships. Questions and thoughts taking priority over my brain synapses now are:
1. Should I rent an apt or buy a house? I hope to find a few other kids from my intern class to room with too.
2. Planning out the coolest bicycle route from home to work to church to the nearest coffee hang-out in my future city of Wichita.
3. A friend in PA just offered me one of her Aussie Shepard pups. Cool! But can I be responsible enough to care for people and dogs?!!?
4. Can I make it down to santa cruz la laguna in Guatemala for another month of jungle highland medicine?
5. Ah!!! I can't believe I'm leaving Texas! I may have to transfer resident status :(. The home state and all its wonderfully friendly people seem so much sweeter than before.
6. Which river in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas should my friends and I float this April? Duh! The Ouachita River.
7. The list goes on...

(Verdi Square on Broadway and 72nd st, Upper Westside Manhattan)

And I can't finish this without a word or two for my month in New York City. The story leading up to this is cool: I met another osteopathic medical student in Guatemala who told me about a manipulation rotation located in the Bronx, NY at St. Barnabas Hospital. Upon returning from Guatemala last June I lost this guy's contact info but was able to set up a month at St. Barnabas; then 9 months later my acquaintance and I reunite during working hours on a med-surge floor... surprise!!! It was great. The month allowed me opportunity to hone my manipulation skills and also plenty of catch-up with friends who had been transplanted in the city. A month of snowy, cold days and nights. I would not trade it! One fun experience was at the Newyorican Poetry Cafe in lower east Manhattan, an actress, Sarah Jones, provided the audience an evening of discussion and laughter while she played her various impersonation roles of the major ethnic groups in NYC, about 20 or so. Cool stuff.

Bottom line: Yeah, I liked living in New York City... But no other extended visit or relocation there is anywhere in my future.

(Washington Square Park)

(Morningside Park with Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine atop the hill)

(Can you tell it snows a bit in NYC? W Central Park and 68th St)

Thanks for reading and keeping in touch,


(Below are a few pictures from the Bronx near my usual hangout locations like the washateria and an Italian pastry shop called Polombo Gelato. I actually lived in the "Little Italy of the Bronx".)