Sunday, July 29, 2012

The History of Contraception

I can't figure out how to embed a handout, so ya'll should go to this website and download it.  Titled "Contraception and Abortion in the Ancient World", created by a MS4C extern, it is an amazing and beautiful history of contraception for the past 4000 years. 

The point of this is to say that contraception is HUMAN.  Just like sex is human.  Just like the need for community and interpersonal relationships are human.  Just like all of us are human.

If you don't believe me, read Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. & Cacilda Jethá, M.D.  I'm not all the way through it yet but thus far it has proved to be a total mind trip, causing me to rethink everything I've been taught about what is human nature vs. what is animal instinct.  On the scale of mind-blowing books, it falls along side Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask).   If only I could make all of society read these books and then hold room for communal intellectual discourse... it might just be revolutionary!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Research year reminder to self (RYRS) #1

Only speak kind words about my home institution. Package any criticism constructively, in between a cushion of high-lights & complements.

I imagine that no one is going to want to take a resident who will throw their institution under the bus.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One too many moves

The funeral/memorial service for my grandma was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Actually, the service was lovely. The weekend on a whole was difficult. So much undiscussed stress & tension running amuck within my [biological] family dynamics. So much pretending to be fine while passively addressing the weighted history that plagues us all.

Now I'm making my way home, to the new home I moved to last week. I'm so emotionally & physically drained. Having just moved here, I'm feeling particularly lost & empty. I don't have familiar comfort zones to turn to. I don't really have a "home" & "family" here to hide in or lean on. I'm feeling as if life has taken me on one too many moves away from the familiar. While I'm grateful for the journey I've been on, I'm currently a little pisses off that I have a few/many moves left (4th year, residency, fellowship &/or a job?) before I can finally claim a home of my own.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A glimpse of balance

An extra blessing in taking a research year is that I am currently in transit home for my grandma's funeral. There was no mess of rescheduling, fuss of preceptors, or paperwork to fill out. When I asked my PI about taking tomorrow off of work, she considered me crazy for even asking as if it should have been intrinsically known that I should have as much time as I need.

I take this as a promise that I can have a medical career with clearly established priorities, & that family CAN be at the top. I just have to finish med school & get through residency first...

For now, I'm spending a long weekend with my family. Exactly where I'm meant to be.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

White [coat] privilege

Today I learned that medical students are not actually the lowest rung on the totem pole.  Research assistants happen to fall below them.  I became acutely aware of patients not wanting to me around and of staff feeling similarly.  It's funny though- nothing has changed about who I am, how I interact with everyone, my attitude, and my attempts to be helpful.  The staff very much knows that I just completed my 3rd year of medical school.  This being very much an academic institution, they are very aware of what that means, and that it puts me at the education level of a sub-i.  All that has changed is that I'm not wearing my white coat and my badge now reads "research assistant". 

I can't help but ponder why this is.  Is it that they're protecting their own students' education first?  Is it that they don't yet know and trust me?  Or, is it that people are just afraid of and/or intimidated by the white coat, and that we take full advantage of the privilege and authoritative knowledge that comes with it?  If so, how do we best own & deconstruct this privilege?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Let the research begin!

I had a weird dream last night about applying for a research year and realizing that I was running out of time and would graduate before I had the opportunity to do it.  There was a lot of anxiety in realizing that I had missed my opportunity to do funded research before getting my MD and moving on to residency. 

Then I woke up to remember that I'm actually here, now, starting my research year!  Sub-I was successfully completed (though evaluation of exactly how successful is still pending), cross country road trip accomplished, room unpacked, first shabbos in the new home experienced.  Side note:  shabbos here felt like the promised land: beautiful weather, a nap outside on the back porch, lots of lovely people, having excellent conversations, delicious local food, everything labeled gluten free.  Tomorrow I start work!  Now I just need to figure out how exactly I'm getting there in the morning.  I also need to figure out how not to make myself look like an idiot in front of some of the smartest/best/most accomplished academic OB/GYNs in the country.  So excited to see what this year brings!