Tuesday, December 20, 2011

To my siblings who don't live in Salt Lake...

I took both of these pictures 20 minutes apart, the first up at Jeremy Ranch and the second down in the valley. I thought this might make you feel better about not being here for Christmas--the smog this year is extraordinary.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm always trying to figure out how I can be less tired in class. Not that I'm falling asleep or anything, but sometimes I'm just sleepy in the mornings. So the other day I had the brilliant idea of switching beds from the twin I've slept in for the last 20 years or so to the empty queen that used to be my sister's to see if I could sleep more soundly. It's big, soft, has sheets that probably have a thread count of 12000, and a down comforter--this was a fail-proof plan. It worked pretty well, until I had a dream I was attacked by a bear. Once I finally got my heart rate back down I drifted off again, this time to a dream that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At this point I was pretty sure I was not going to have an easier time in class in the morning. Nonetheless, I fell asleep again and had a dream that I had been left somewhere without a car or any way of contacting anyone. Fail. At least it wasn't the night before a test.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

If you ever want to be late to something, try to get stuck behind a Buick.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


All right, so I've been absent. It took every last bit of energy I had to make it through "brain and behavior". I made it through and now it's on to "circulation, respiration, and regulation," which is a fancy way of saying "heart, lungs, kidneys". Somehow cardiology appeals to me in a way that neurology didn't--I'm really sure why, but I think it might be because it's more directly related to running.

A big part of this block is going to be preventative medicine, especially in preventing obesity and diabetes. Every time they teach us about nutrition stuff the little hippy inside my head gets all riled up and starts noticing things like how unnatural Snickers and Coke are: "man, the government wants you to eat that stuff to lull you into believing that it's actually real food." It's a good thing that I don't own my own house and won't be in charge of purchasing Halloween candy this year--for reasons both philosophical and financial I might end up handing out half-of-a-half-of-a graham cracker to each trick-or-treater.

But, in reality, the timing for Healthy Dave isn't too bad--there are hundreds of tomatoes, peaches, and honey-crisp apples here at the parents' house (I'll never leave) to keep me happy.

Sorry for the long absence. Here's hoping that this block of school treats me better than the last!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to jump onto a moving train? I've never done it either but I think I have a pretty good idea of what it would be like.

On an unrelated note I started my second year of medical school yesterday.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In my new lab we are all required to use the same notebooks. Here I've snapped a photo and highlighted my favorite part:
In case you can't read it, it says: "USE YOUR IMAGINATION". Which apparently is a trademarked phrase. I'm all for it, I think it's a great slogan, but then I open the thing up and it looks like this:
...and my imagination takes me right back to undergraduate chemistry lab. In case you didn't take chemistry in college and you don't know what it's like, picture a really old building (but not the cool kind of old) with large yellow stains all over the linoleum floors that look like they've been there since the dawn of time. It smells a like a mixture of acetone (fingernail polish remover, I think) and mold, and everything you touch is sticky. You get paired up with someone who doesn't speak English and spends most of the two-hour purgatory texting. You trudge through the protocol--it feels like trying to stay awake at 6:00 am after an all-nighter. In the end you're evaporating or weighing something when your partner awakens from his/her cell phone trance just long enough to spill your project all over the crusty floor, which miraculously manages to absorb the spilled liquid. You call over the slightly bilingual TA (who always manages to find some way of taking points off your assignments) who says, "you must repeat." Isn't using your imagination fun?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Here are some pictures from running dry creek (see previous post). Taken on my phone.

Isn't that an inviting trail? Then, on my way down I ran into this friend:I was going fast enough that I couldn't stop by the time I saw him so I went right over the top. He almost scared me to death, just cooking in the middle of the trail.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


This week I've started doing some interpreting at the hospital. It had been a little over a year since I last interpreted and I realized how much Spanish I had forgotten. I had also forgotten how fun some of the people I meet up there are. I was sitting with one patient in the waiting room when she told me this story:

"I have a 7-year-old daughter who won't take pills. Last year she had a terrible fever. We took her to the doctor and he gave her a prescription that she absolutely refused to take. So we went back to the pharmacy and got it in a suppository. It kind of freaked her out when we gave it to her. Then, later that week when she didn't want to eat her dinner I told her that if she didn't eat we'd have to give it to her the same way as the meds. She's never been a picky eater since."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dry Creek

Dry Creek might be the best place to run in the entire world even though it's not currently very dry. Starting at the JCC you climb and climb until you come out on the shoreline trail with a view of the entire valley from the Great Salt Lake to Mount Olympus. I run it at least once a week.

A couple of days ago I took my older sister up there (she lives in Wisconsin but she didn't let the altitude slow her down at all--tough as nails). As were on our way back down she asked me if I was training for anything. "This," I said.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Square one can be a scary place to be. Sometimes it's exciting because you don't know where you're going to end up. But square one in dating is usually not a great place. I can think of two reasons, one is that being at square one often means that you just ended some type of relationship. I've learned that even in the worst relationships there are good things--and after they end the good things tend to be more present (is the grass really greener on this side?). The other reason is that with every return to singleness you are older than before. Sometimes it feels like a never ending game of chutes and ladders that you've been playing for 6 hours and it's two in the morning and all you want to do is go to sleep.

I feel like I should clarify that this little bit of randomness does not come from recent events in my life--I didn't recently end a relationship, but it's something that I think of sometimes because if square one were a state I could probably establish residency and get in-state tuition.
It also comes from the fact that I feel bad to be the owner of a blog that is so neglected. I had to write about something. And I'm coming to the conclusion that writing about all the books I've read recently could get really old really fast. Thanks to those of you who still read.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Writing (blogging) is like eating carrots: sometimes you want to and sometimes you don't.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My generation

Yesterday I was out for a run when I passed a guy who looked like this:

He was nice (said 'hi') but I didn't trust him.

A fashion tip: my generation collectively imagines that Hitler's closet was full of clothes exactly like this.

Monday, April 11, 2011

You know you're in over your head...

When your desktop looks like this:
Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The saddest book of all time

I just finished “Where the Red Fern Grows;” if you’ve read it before* then you may already know how this story is going to end.

A few days ago I was listening in as my mom and my sister were sorting through the “children’s” section of our books to send some off to the D.I. Afraid that they would throw away “Sideways Stories from Wayside School,” I decided to watch closely. As I did, the old rust-colored hardbound copy of “Where the Red Fern Grows” caught my eye. I had a flashback of driving to California 15 or 20 years ago, my whole family in the Suburban as my parents tried to read the last few pages in between sobs and nose-blows. I picked it off the shelf. “If you don’t cry when you read that then you don’t have a heart,” my mom said.

This put me in a tough position because I didn’t want to end up crying, but the thought of being heartless didn’t sound very good either. Lose-lose situation, right? So I was careful as I started to read. The book was written for teenagers, so how sad could it really be? My strategy was to not start caring for any of the characters—especially not the dogs. And as a backup plan, I read the whole thing with a very critical eye just to make sure I didn’t get too wrapped up in it. Then maybe I would be a little choked up or kind of sad, but not in tears—proving that I am too manly to cry but that I’m not totally machine.

I did really well until the very end. I won’t explain all the details (just in case someone is reading this who hasn’t read the book), but somewhere around the line: “You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over,” I lost it. I tried to focus on the fact that he was using words like “old friend” or “a thousand times over,” but it didn’t matter. I was bawling my eyes out. Turns out I do have a heart (which is kind of a relief, I guess), and I’ll agree with my mom—if you can finish this book dry-eyed then you are a heartless beast.

*Turns out everyone I’ve talked to since I’ve read it has seen the movie, but nobody has actually picked up the book. Is it worth reading? A few hours after I finished the book my mom and I both started crying just talking about it—it’s absolutely worth reading.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What it's like being a music snob

One of my rules for keeping a blog is no writing about dating. The tricky thing about this is that most of the interesting stuff that happens to me is in that area of life. But it’s tough to write an interesting blog post about a funny date without making somebody look bad. Here I’m breaking my rule, but only because the only person who looks bad in the story is me.

A couple of months ago I went on an unsuccessful set-up. A couple of days after the date one of my friends was asking me why I had decided it was not going to work. I was having a hard time finding the best way to explain to him that I thought we were just too different in too many ways. He still looked confused so I picked an example:

Me: Like, she didn’t know who Mendelssohn was.

Jake: Who?

Me: Felix Mendelssohn…

Jake: Yeah, I have no idea who that is.

Me: Really? He’s like one of the top twenty classical composers of all time.

I should clarify that I don’t normally talk about classical composers on dates (not even top 20 classical composers), but we were at a choir concert and one of the pieces was by Mendelssohn.

I wasn’t too surprised that Jake wasn’t familiar with him; I just assumed that he didn’t know his classical composers very well. No big deal. Then I decided to take a poll from the rest of the table (like 6 or 7 dudes and one girl).

Me: Hey guys, do you know who Mendelssohn is?

Everyone: No idea.

Me: Really? Randy, you know who he is, right? (Randy is a really talented pianist)

Randy: Dude, I don’t know anything about football players.

Me: Felix Mendelssohn…


Me: He’s a classical composer…

Randy: Oh, yeah I thought you were talking about football.

So while I had been wondering what planet the girl who didn’t know about some random music history was from, I was the one from a different planet—the planet of musical snobbery.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Speaking my mind

Two weeks ago I discovered a new dark side to being a medical student. I was talking with a friend of mine who has had mono for six months. Every time I see her I ask her how she is feeling and if it's getting better. This time she told me they discovered that they had done the wrong test at the doctor's office when they first diagnosed her with mono and that they're not sure what she has.

Now, at this point let me just say that if you're going to get hurt around a group of people, try to make sure that none of them are first year medical students because we always think we have the answer even though we are seldom (never) correct. Usually we'll think that you have whatever we've been studying most recently. Foot pain? It's probably some kind of nerve disorder or scoliosis. Sore throat? Probably a secondary symptom of a lung obstruction.

Anyway, when my friend told me that they didn't know what she had the hamster in my head started running. Then I heard myself say "maybe you have cancer." I don't really have words to describe the look on her face, the best I can do right now are horrified, angry, and shocked. The best part is that I was actually trying to be helpful and instead I made her think she was going to die. I guess I still have some stuff to learn about this whole doctor business.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

school, break, school

I hope I haven't been removed from anybody's google reader because I haven't written anything for about a month. I blame it on finals. The best word I can think of to explain finals week in medical school is triage. Apparently, in the non-medical world it means prioritizing or sorting. To doctors it means find the part that's bleeding the worst and focus on it first. Finals week for me was an exercise in triage--finish taking care of the anatomy of the brain and move on to glycolysis. Then look at histology slides for a while before trying to make sense of potassium and action potentials. It was as much material as was on the MCAT, only we learned it in a little over three months. The good news is I survived.

And then I had the most amazing break ever. It was non-stop madness at my house as Grace and I both got kicked out of our rooms and into the attic. At first my mom suggested that we share the blow-up aerobed (a "queen" that's actually a double, at best) and she couldn't figure out why that was such a repulsive idea to us.

One day we decided to take three of my nieces and my one nephew up skiing. It was fun to see them start to learn how (none of them had really done it before), but it was the most exhausting thing I've ever done. My nephew could not figure it out and was more interested in making snow angels than skiing. One of the nieces (number 3) would get to the top of the hill and her whole body would go limp until she got to the bottom. It was like her muscles stopped working so I would practically have to carry her down the hill (skiing backwards, I might add) like a giant Gumbi on skis. I think I may add "teach to ski" to the list of things to let parents take care of along with "change diapers" and "put in time-out". After all, the best part about being an uncle and not a parent is you get to pick and choose.

Then school started up again with the new unit: Cells, Molecules, and Cancer. Today, after two weeks of hematology, I'm pretty sure I want to be a hematologist/oncologist. This stuff is so rad, and we're just scratching the surface. Is it more intense than the first semester? Yes. Have I done anything outside of school in the last two weeks? A couple of things (not much). Am I cool with it? Absolutely. Will I decide I want to be an infectious disease doctor sometime during our next unit, "Host and Defense"? Probably. It's nice to be working on stuff that I find so interesting.

And that's why I haven't had time to write on my blog.