Red Tape

Next month, I’ll be doing my sub-internship at a veteran’s hospital near my home school. A sub-internship is supposed to be a capstone to medical school, a chance to behave “like the intern” in preparation for the actual ass-clenching panic of actually being an intern.

(It also means that I will be writing much, much less, which is probably a welcome respite for those of you not named Grandma.)

The VA, as it affectionately and simultaneously-not-affectionately known, is one of my favorite places in the medical universe. Continue reading

A Second Look

I write to you this time from a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, in the midst of my second travel nightmare of 2015. Frankly, though, nothing can top the horror of the Three Days In Ramshackle-Houston Where I Potentially Came Close To Having My Kidneys Stolen. As such I will refrain from discussing the joys of getting out of Portland with a broken plane and a pair of enraged business consultants with Very Important Meetings early tomorrow morning that surely cannot go on without their august presences. Continue reading

Performing Tumor Surgery, Or Why You Need Physics

I complained for the duration of my entire postbac program about physics.

Why do premeds have to take a year of physics plus the associated labs? What possible relevance does shooting metal balls out of a rubber band launcher, and tracking how far they fly, have for medicine? Why is my professor such a disinterested teacher? Why do I have to sit through an hour of tutorial a week?

This morning, all my questions were answered. I, with the help of the electronic circuits unit from second semester physics, successfully performed surgery.

Am I a doctor? No. Am I in medical school? No. But I, surgical instruments in hand, spent my early Sunday morning removing a tumor from a patient – an unsightly but benign tumor that was causing significant distress to the patient’s family members.

I am of course talking about the buzzer on my dryer. Continue reading

Off to Southeast Asia

After a couple of weeks of MCAT destressing and apartment hunting, I am off to Southeast Asia! I’m going to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. I hope to post a little bit here about our travels; Ellen might have a blog of her own you can check out. If so, I’ll post the link here.

We have very little idea of where we’re going or how to get there, but that’s the best way to go, right?


Thoughts on Birthright Israel

Over winter break, I finally took the plunge and went on Birthright. For those of you that don’t know, Birthright (technically called “Taglit Birthright”) is a program that sends American Jews on a ten-day trip to Israel… for free. It sounds too good to be true, but there’s no catch. It really is free, even airfare. All Birthright requires is that you’re Jewish and between 18-26. I returned the day my classes started again here, so I’ve just now beaten the jetlag to write down a few thoughts: Continue reading

A Christmas Story: The Search for the Perfect Tree

In honor of Christmas, or “Festivus,” as we Jews tend to call it, here’s a post from last year’s expedition to find a Christmas tree in St. Louis. Few of you have seen this before, so consider it new.

For the first time in my short, Jewish life, I was invited to take place in the time-honored Christian tradition of cutting down the Christmas tree. According to rigorous scientific research, such as authentic-looking blogs and websites with festive backgrounds written in Comic Sans font, the custom of erecting a Christmas tree began in the time of the Romans with the festival of Saturnalia. Saturnalia was a celebration of the god Saturn, and was marked by pretty much everyone having sex with everyone else in massive orgies. Whether you were a male or a female was evidently unimportant. Friends and family exchanged gifts, and traditional social norms were relaxed, but really Saturnalia was all about sex. Sex with lots of unknown people, actually.  In a seemingly incongruous ritual, revelers also decorated their homes with bits of evergreen shrubbery. Continue reading

Tough Mudder.

This past Sunday, myself and twelve other idiots, otherwise known as postbacs, threw ourselves into a 10-mile, 28-obstacle “endurance event” called the Tough Mudder, at Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

So what is a Tough Mudder? The website describes it as “the toughest event on the planet,” but it isn’t – that distinction belongs to the Spartan Death Race, which is a 48-hour race involving just about every kind of torture you can think of, including eating a pound of onions.

While no one had to eat a pound of onions, this wasn’t exactly your standard-fare race. I’d been working on my endurance for about three months, with varying degrees of success, but I at least thought I was ready.

What follows is a “retro-diary” of the Tough Mudder, told through my running narrative with myself during four hours on Sunday morning.  This account is quite clear through one particular obstacle… and then everything gets blurry.

Continue reading