Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trails of the city…

Commuting by bike is awesome in San Francisco. Aside from the crazy hills I mentioned in my last post, there aren’t a lot of downsides. In fact, I will list all of them that I can think of, as well as some unforeseen upsides to each of these here for your enjoyment.

  • Arriving at work sweaty
    I like to think that this makes me look intense and dedicated. I think it probably actually makes me look disheveled, and definitely means that I have to wash my clothes more often than I might otherwise, but I try to look on the bright side.
  • Looking like an idiot when you choose the wrong route
    If you were to find that being an intern did not provide enough humility, climbing a hill that no person in their right mind would attempt on a bicycle would complete the sense of personal incompetence you were seeking. I have an app on my phone that GPS tracks my bike rides, and also has little segments where my times are compared with other users of the app. I’m pretty sure that only segment where I am listed as #1 is a hill that I walked up with my bike and that no one else has ever suggested that they did on a bicycle.
  • Negotiating left-hand turns
    Left hand turns in SF are a whole new take on improving spatial reasoning skills. There are so many streets that intersect at weird angles (thank you, Market St) into one-ways and other such craziness that it’s still really difficult for me to figure out how to turn left without either running into traffic or going wildly out of my way by making three right turns. I’ve tried strategies including 1) crossing the street with the green light and then stopping in front of the right lane of traffic on the street I want to turn onto; 2) stopping at the red light, and then wheeling my bike into the crosswalk in front of the left turn lane; and 3) going several blocks out of my way until the traffic is clear enough to turn left in the usual fashion. I’m still not sure which is best…
  • Chronic dehydration
    Ironically this is super helpful in clinic. I rarely have time to go to the bathroom, so apart from the small hit I’m sure I’m taking to my kidneys each day, this is actually great.
  • Having to change clothing in public restrooms
    I cannot come up with something really positive to say about this. Maybe it improves balance and dexterity?

That’s all for now. Hopefully I can get some pictures of the dog to post soon, for those of you beginning to develop the shakes. Apparently while I was at work today he got his head stuck in an ice cream container he wasn’t supposed to be able to open and eat out of…

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The first days…

and weeks…

Apologies for the long delay. It will, if you have talked to me since June 19, surprise you not at all that I’ve been a little bit overwhelmed with work. Here are two stories from my first weeks as an intern.

I’ve started on my ambulatory rotation, and on Fridays I’m in one clinic in the morning and another, all the way across town, in the afternoon. I’ve been biking to work most days, and figured this would be no exception. Google maps said 30 minutes, and despite my previous experiences getting lost due to low-visability signage, I presumed that it was true. After biking incredibly slowly up one of the steeper hills I’ve attempted since being here, I realized that I would never make it to clinic on time. Huffing and puffing, I stopped, called the clinic, and said that my morning clinic had run a little late (which was true), and said that I would be there a few minutes late (which was also true). I walked my bike up the rest of the ridiculous hills, and then road the downhill/flat portion of the route to clinic. I arrived sweaty and chagrined… The next week I figured out a bus.

There is nothing wrong with crying at work, if you do it in the right place. I learned this during my first call shift, totally overwhelmed with all of the things that my colleagues promised me that I wasn’t expected to be able to do alone, but that I nonetheless expected myself to be able to do alone. One particularly charmed chief resident gave me the door code to a call room, told me to get myself some water, and let me collect myself for a bit before I continued seeing patients. Everyone was right, and my second shift was astronomically better, but having that space was so important.

I’m optimistic to be posting more, but probably shorter, bits about residency in the coming weeks. I have only a few weeks left on ambulatory, and it’s been promised that life with only get crazier from here, but I’m finally starting to settle in. Pictures of the dog and cats hopefully also coming soon…