The Pause of a Pandemic

Many months have passed between my last post in this digital space and now. In the midst of turbulence (in many domains), the desire to share in this space has been minimal. It seemed silly to say (and echo others) with a statement about how challenging / frustrating / confusing it is to be a trainee during a pandemic, and so I didn’t. Now, on my day off, I wanted to take the time to reflect and to share.

Today marks the start of my second week in the pediatric ICU (PICU). The PICU is a whirlwind of a space: acuity, turnover, harrowing stories, victorious recoveries, and 28 hour calls. I have never been one to enjoy call (quite frankly, I don’t believe they benefit trainees or patients) and I did not fall in love with the PICU when I made my first pass in February of this year (just before lockdown began in Philadelphia). I can’t help but compare my life in February to my life now. In February, I planned the perfect post-call treat after each of my calls which varied between boxing/spin workout classes with friends, interactive art exhibits, dinner dates with my then-boyfriend, and poetry readings at my favorite gallery in Philadelphia. The medicine was hard but my life had such rich balance.

Post-call days are different now. I nap. I cook. I workout in my apartment. I chat with loved ones over FaceTime or Zoom. I interview for jobs (whew another long story). I nap again. I sweep. I pack my lunch for work. The end. The medicine is still hard with new features: new pathologies (MISC), new garb (goggles and masks), and new expectations. The balance feels off. Two days ago, one of my co-residents took a moment to discuss the hardship of the pandemic as providers and as humans. She shared that she felt behind. I told her that I felt the same. In what feels like a never-ending lull, it often feels like we are on “pause.” Some of us have faced grave disappointments in both the personal and professional domains. I’ll share that the cancellation of my opportunities to do global health work (and some pediatric global oncology) which impacted projected research projects and etc. felt like the universe was saying “no” to my hopes/dreams. I’ll share that the impact of COVID on the job market has caused me to question my decision to defer fellowship applications for a year. I’ll share that I wanted to accomplish far more this year than I have.

My co-resident and I made the effort to point out joys (some small, some large) from this period of time. I’ll list mine here to refer back to on a day when I need the encouragement of my own words:

“I Matched!”


July of last year, I asked one of my advisors if I should apply to institutions like Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) or BCRP or Cincinnati for my upcoming residency application cycle. And he looked at me and said: “Historically, people from Tulane do not match to CHOP or BCRP. And quite frankly, you aren’t junior AOA, so…if you wanna spend the money, I won’t stop you. But I just want you to be informed.”  Continue reading

“I forget what day it is at least once a week … sometimes I wake up knowing that it is Tuesday and by the time the sun sets it is Thursday. Friday?” – O.L.

This year has gone by swiftly and if I am being completely honest, I’m glad that 2017 is coming to a close. This year has been equal parts trial and tribulation. This year has been equal parts exciting and exhausting. This year has been a year of opportunity and obstacle. It has been months since I have shared anything personal or academic in this space. This semester has been one of the most academically challenging and I can finally give a sigh of relief (now that grades are in). As I have mentioned at multiple times elsewhere on the blog, I’m one of the four-year MD/MPH (in Tropical Medicine) candidates at Tulane. This program is hands-down one of the reasons why I wanted to receive my medical training at Tulane. I elected for the tropical medicine concentration for quite a few reasons such as my interest in international medicine and infectious disease. They told (warned?) us early on that the tropical medicine concentration requires coursework in the fall semester of MS4 but I truly underestimated the chaos of juggling five classes, interview season, and clinical rotations. It has been: crazy, exhilarating, informative, stressful, but most importantly worthwhile. There were points during this semester when I legitimately forgot the day of the week (hence, the quote – an excerpt from O.L’s poem “blurred“). There were points during this semester when I woke up in a different city every single day of the week. So honestly, the life recap for the past few months is succinct: I have been traveling and studying. 

Last year, I posted about: 1) the highlights of 2016, 2) the lessons I learned in 2016, and 3) my resolutions for the upcoming year. I wanted to keep the tradition alive and give a quick recap of the highs and lows of 2017! I’ll start by saying that the lessons I learned in 2016 were re-learned and revisited this year. I’ll repost the list and highlight the lessons that were most relevant to me in 2017.

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Guest Post: Getting Into Medicine

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. The holiday season is always a time during which I am extremely grateful. It is a time of year when I reflect upon the individuals and moments in the past year that have truly lifted my spirits. I truly do not mention this enough, but I am so grateful to be part of the community of medical bloggersalmost doctors#girlmedtwitter, and medical instagram. This platform has been a great outlet for me and an amazing albeit unexpected way for me to connect with high-school and premedical students.

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