Sunday, February 27, 2011

Past few months-years

I've been MIA, but recently have been freed up monumentally as this stage in my career is coming to a close.

So I've been a rotating trainee through various medical subspecialties while studying for exams. And most recently exactly way too many job interviews from 1 coast to other.

Initially I didn't think of these seemingly mundane experiences, however after revisiting my old blogs from my time in France, this one here, and the other one about books, I've come to see that even my oft-praised long memory is quite porous.

To sum up the past couple of years is a good exercise to help me remember and serve as a record for when my memory progresses from Baby Swiss to Alpine Lace.

Best times:
- Going shopping after end-of-rotation exam and finding a floor-length silk Calvin Klein gown for $40 {edit 5/9/2011: $49.59 including tax, 10.25%! from Nordstrom Rack on State St}. Saw it at Macy's for $200 just few days before.


- Grocery trips: something oddly calming about going through isles of well-stocked and fully appointed shelves.
Dominick's >>> Jewel. Fresh and beautifully displayed. Jewel, though, tends to be cheaper and nearer.
But I appreciate both for having antibacterial wipes for cleaning the grocery carts that I always insist on getting.



- Sleeping in and Golden Weekends: I never fully appreciated how lucky people are to have 2-day weekends and be able to sleep past 4am. As you will see on my worst list, the trainee schedule can be rough.

Worst
- Surgery: 4:30a-9p. x 6 days/wk. Operate even when sick and coughing like mad. Just tie up the mask a little tighter and step back from the operating field when coughing, was the advice offered to me by my senior. By then again, said senior gave self an IV when she started vomiting and continued working the rest of the day.

- Punched my friend's wall in during surgery rotation when I was sick for 2 weeks and had to go to work at 3:30am every morning as well as study for the final exam. Believe it or not, mild mannered me actually did that. Wasn't angry at friend. Was just really upset at situation. And so punched the wall, which thankfully was dry wall and quite depress-able as well as cheap to repair. Friend managed to convince landlord that hole in the wall was placed by maintenance people accidentally and was just incidentally found. So reparation fee was not paid above usual rent.

- The angst: that of not knowing what exactly to do with one's time, knowing that one's time was sadly not one's own, and being powerless to ask the higher ups for clarification because everyone was confused and running around following orders from their higher ups and may or may not know how to lead or what they wanted. This is how things are most of the time in the hospital where I was a trainee. And I dare to argue most hospitals have some similar elements.

Unbelievable moments

- Never snowed out (only delayed, no cancellation) on any of my trips this past winter in the US! This was the one thing that I feared, because who has control over mother nature?!


- Lucky last-minute breaks:
At 1 place, I almost could not make my interview: I knew a snow storm was coming the next day and although my family was advising me to wait and see what the weather turns out like, I decided to switch my flight at the last minute and rescheduled for the last flight out 1 night earlier. I made the airport in plenty of time, however the gate was changed in the last hour, and as I was working at the original gate, I had failed to notice the change until over the public announcement system, my name was called along with the final warning that the flight is leaving. GASP! So I swaddled up my stuff -- laptop, loose papers and all -- and on a twisted ankle, ran to the new gate. Lucky for me the gate was only 2 doors down. And so I made it, and talked the gate clerk into reopening the door. Believe me, I was QUITE persistent.

- Got my refund back from United. Twice :D United Airlines is notorious for swindling customers out of airfare spent on trips that need changing or cancellation. I got my 1st refund from the snow storm that made United cancel the flight that I was not going to be able to take (and thus was trying to get a refund, but was denied per United's policy). I got my 2nd refund because I had noticed that United wrongfully charged me $150 for an exchange I made within 24 hours. Although this refund was already promised me and noted by the agent who even entered the info into United's main system, I did not receive the actual $150 until I asked my credit card company to intervene on my behalf. ***shakes head*** Oh United. How are you still in business with such antagonistic policies towards your customers?

- Unlikely chain of events: Lastly, at one of my interview sites, another interviewee took one of the employee's jackets. Men's jackets are usually black these days, so probably easy to confuse. However said interviewee also happened to be on the terrorist watch list. Yes, that list. Interviewee happened to have the same name as a terrorist. Although the terrorist is now deceased, their shared name continued to be on the list. And so interviewee has to go to the airport 4-5 hours ahead of flight time (as opposed to everyone's 2-3). So it was already ~4:30 and interviewee's flight time was ~6:30p. So time was definitely already short. So by ~4:45p, employee noted that his jacket was missing and I was helping him look. There was a black jacket behind the door and employee said wasn't the missing one. Upon going through the pockets, we found the interviewee's wallet and ID. So we had the secretary call the interviewee and got the voicemail. Interviewee finally calls back ~5:15p and confirming misplaced jacket and says interviewee only had an out-of-date passport along with. So now, the employee's boss coordinates how we were going to hand-off the two jackets with everyone meeting downtown, which meant that interviewee had to drive all the way back from the airport. Employee though, was quite good-humored and remarked that this jacket hand-off felt kind of like a drug deal. I imagine so. In the end, everyone got their stuff back and went on their way. All's well that ends well. But what a strange series of events. Hopefully interviewee was still considered appropriately for the position.

So that was me. In the last couple of months- couple of years. I think keeping a record will be at least mildly amusing for me to revisit in the future. Hopefully you were entertained as well :D