Cake or pie?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I love my family. I have two older sisters who have always taken an interest in my life and ambition, and my father has done the same as well. You may notice my mother is missing. My mother was incredible as well, she was a paragon of encouragement, and not just of her own kids, I loved her very much and if you're new to reading my blog (people actually read this?), I'll fill you in. She passed in 2007, after originally being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, then going into remission a year later and metastases occurring a year after that to her liver, lungs, and bones.

I was watching my oldest sister's dog, a Yorkie named Theo, since she had to go out of town for work, for a conference where she was a featured speaker for a presentation, for which the organizer had allotted an hour and twenty minutes. She got back into town today and we went to Macaroni Grill for lunch. We both ate healthy, in case you were wondering. They are nice enough to put the lower calorie options on an insert in the menu, and we both picked things under 600 calories, which is pretty decent. When we were deciding where to eat, I decided not to go to Chili's, following Steve Carell's lead, mainly because I looked up their nutritional info on the web a week or so ago because someone had given me a $25 Chili's gift card for my birthday back in May, and my "research" revealed ridiculously high calories and sodium in pretty much all of the dishes there with a few exceptions.

Getting back to my family, I can always count on my sisters for good advice. If I was really smart, I'd go into the same career fields they are in, as the barrier for entry is much lower (i.e., I could drop this non-trad pre-med course I'm on and start ASAP), the opportunity cost not as high, and they're both doing well for themselves. They're supportive, and they understand why I'm doing what I'm doing, and I am so thankful for that. It was good to hang out with my oldest sister today, since she had just gotten back into town. Lunch was good, and she wanted to buy a new laptop since her work one crapped out on her trip. While she was waiting on a new one for work, she decided, like I decided not to eat at Chili's, that she wanted a personal laptop to use, since she has not had one until this point. And she's over 30. I told her maybe we could find a Fisher-Price "My First Laptop" somewhere.

We ended up getting her a laptop at Best Buy, and the associate was nice enough to do the whole Geek Squad thing, loading up the antivirus, MS Office, etc., while we browsed the store. We both like the same entertainment for the most part. We looked at TV shows on DVD, and were commenting on the shows we like, Psych, Dr. Who, etc., when I saw the cover for "Being Human" which is a BBC show. I've never seen the show, but apparently it features three roommates, a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf. Vampires and werewolves are definitely a big part of pop culture at the moment, but I digress. While I was looking at the box art, I feigned ignorance and put on my best puzzled look and asked my sister, "Which one is the ghost?" (Picture below, and note it's easy to see the vampire, since he has a bag of blood attached, the ghost is ethereal and diaphanous or maybe you've just seen a photoshop or two in your day, and by process of elimination the werewolf is generic glasses-wearing white guy... which sounds strangely familiar). My sister looked at it, was about to identify the ghost and then realized my joke. I love playing dumb sometimes. I definitely have the freshman grades to prove it.

After we stopped laughing we had a conversation about, if we were shapeshifters, what animal would we shift into? We've both watched True Blood and read the Southern Vampire Mysteries they're based on, so we know pretty much everything is on the table, werewolf, werebat, werepanther, etc. She couldn't decide, I said maybe I'd be a were-aardvark, except I'm not really sure what aardvarks look like, and my sister said she always pictures armadillos. Then I said maybe were-anteater? I think subconsciously I seemed to have been working my way through the alphabet, with the "A's" first, just not in order. I'd probably be some kind of animal that wouldn't scare people or that people would want to shoot. I settled on were-dolphin, but then my sister said it would probably be a drag to phase into dolphin form on land. Because then people would go nuts, and probably wonder what the hell a dolphin is doing in the middle of a Best Buy.

I love these random conversations we can have, it always happens with my sisters and I never know where it will end up.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Specialty Assessment

This is definitely putting the cart WAY ahead of the horse, but I took one of those specialty assessments. There are a few online, and after reading the thread on SDN, I took the assessment after weighting different factors about what I prefer and do not prefer. The assessment takes into account the factors that you adjust via a sliding scale, I'll have to find the link for it, but essentially a "low number" in the results is good, and a "high number" in the results is bad as far as matching your chosen preferences. The factors include the following, and this list isn't all-inclusive:

  1. caring for patients
  2. continuity of care
  3. autonomy
  4. diversity
  5. personal time
  6. expertise
  7. income satisfaction
  8. creativity
  9. certainty of outcomes
  10. clinical decision-making
  11. patient decision-making
  12. (several others)
The most important things to me were diversity, autonomy, creativity, clinical decision-making, interacting with other physicians/members of health-care team and sense of accomplishment. I noticed that my results tended to skew towards a bunch of surgical fields. I'm not really sure how else to interpret the results, and some of my top results were specialties I had not really thought about, for instance my number one, pulmonary/critical care medicine I hadn't really considered. As I've mentioned before, this is mainly a thought exercise since I have not even applied yet, and I'll have a much more solid idea of what specialty to pursue if and when a) I get accepted somewhere and b) once I start clinical rotations and get more exposure to them.

Here are my top 10:
  1. Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine (16.85)
  2. Radiation Oncology (19.04)
  3. Vascular and Interventional Radiology (21.31)
  4. Otolaryngology (21.39)
  5. Neurological Surgery (21.62)
  6. Emergency Medicine (22.16)
  7. Gastroenterology (22.93)
  8. Orthopaedic Surgery (23.4)
  9. Urology (24.76)
  10. Sports Medicine (24.88)
I wasn't really thinking much about #1, #2, #3, #5, #7. To be fair, I hadn't given much thought to specialty choice in general, other than knowing a particular specialty I'm not particularly interested in, due to dating a woman during her intern year in that field.

My bottom 10 (worst to least-worst for me according to my preferences, I suppose?):
  1. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (134.53)
  2. Psychiatry (117.45)
  3. Radiology - Diagnostic (84.63)
  4. Pathology (79.89)
  5. Obstetrics & Gynecology (78.87)
  6. Medical Genetics (77.64)
  7. Preventive Medicine (76.74)
  8. Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (74.11)
  9. Geriatric Medicine (68.18)
  10. Infectious Diseases (67.52)
I guess psychiatry is just not a good match for me. If I matched into psychiatry I must be wearing Bad Idea Jeans. I didn't think it would be that wide a discrepancy, but damn those are some big ass numbers™. I didn't have a high preference for schedule, or continuity of care, or certainty of outcomes. I'm okay with ambiguity (kind of like the ending of Inception, lol).

I have a wide band of specialties that seem like good matches outside of the top 10, from the low 20s to 40, including vascular surgery, plastic surgery, cardiology, neonatal-perinatal medicine, general surgery, nephrology, anesthesiology, thoracic surgery, ophthalmology, family practice and physical medicine & rehabilitation. After that it gets more spread out from 40 to to "bottom 10."

What does this all mean anyway? Hell if I know. While I was dating the intern, it was a game to guess what specialty I would end up in. I guess if I get in, we'll find out, a few years from now!


Inception is awesome. Go see it. That is all.