Brave Inventory: May + June

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hello, internet! I'm currently on vacation in Punta Cana, but right now, I am hiding from the sun because I seem to have broken out in hives. (Thanks, autoimmune disease!) We arrived on Saturday and have been having a fantastic time (minus the hives), and later this afternoon, we're going kayaking. Hopefully, I won't be thrown out of the kayak into the ocean. Ken assures me that we'll be fine; I am skeptical. Then on Friday, we're taking a sailing cruise to the caribbean side of the island to snorkel, swim in a natural pool in the middle of the ocean, and have lunch on a floating restaurant, surrounding by nurse sharks and sting rays!

So yes. Vacation is awesome, and I promise to have loads of new content once I return. (As long as I don't get tossed overboard, eaten by sharks, or burnt to a crisp out in the sun.)

 Now that it's July, I guess I should talk about what I did in May and June. I just pulled up my calendar to look at May. As far as brave activities are concerned, I didn't really accomplish any. June was a little better, so I figured I'd talk about both months simultaneously.

In May, the only "brave" thing that I did was finish my first year of med school! That's just nuts. I was really nervous that I wasn't going to pass my neuroscience course, but fortunately, I did well enough on the final to make-up for my abysmal grade on the midterm. Also, anatomy is OVER and I never have to dissect a cadaver ever again. This is moderately terrifying because the next time I cut something open, it will be an unconscious human in the OR, I'm not going to think about that right now, though. But yes... OMS-I is in the books, and on August 3rd, I'll start my second year of med school (and final year of classroom lectures!) Craziness.

June was a little better for bravery. On June 1st, I started my summer internship, which doesn't sound necessarily brave, but the subject of the program is clinical bioengineering/design, which is not my normal habitat. It's pretty neat, though, as they took 4 undergrad engineers and 4 med students and made teams out of one of each. We spent the first week in June learning about the clinical biodesign process, and then the next 3 weeks, each team was immersed in a clinical unit at one of the bigger hospitals in our area. My teammate, Alyssa, and I were in the NICU, which was really interesting. I first applied for the internship thinking that I wouldn't be able to do it since I knew I'd be on vacation this week (and the 5th week of the program, more lectures, is occurring now), but the director of the program said it was okay and I ended up being accepted! Learning all of this design stuff and learning to "think like an engineer" has been pretty cool, even though it's pretty different from what I have been doing for the past few years of my life. Also, I had to give up the summer research fellowship that I had been awarded, which made me nervous because I was worried about upsetting the PhD with whom I was supposed to work, but that also all worked out. Yay science!

On June 5th, I had my top 2 wisdom teeth out... while awake! Granted, I also had a dental implant placed while awake, so I wasn't super nervous about it. I did take advantage of the nitrous oxide, which made me feel floaty, but I was definitely aware of all the pushing and pulling going on in my mouth. Fortunately, only one was impacted. And now, I'm going to post this terribly unflattering photo of myself on the internet for all to see:

You should see the other guy...
Yes, this is how I showed up to my internship on Monday. First day in the NICU and I look like I got beat up on the streets of Camden on my way in. There was a lot of explaining. The good news is that after a week or so, I looked way less like an abused chipmunk and could even open my mouth a little. Oh, and I didn't get any crazy infections and was able to survive by taking copious ibuprofen during the day and just taking the Vicodin at night. And I never have to have them out again!

The rest of the month was basically spent in the NICU or hanging out at home. Not much bravery going on. We did spend a night in the hospital, which was way less exciting than I expected it to be. After rounding until midnight and talking to the attending until 12:30, we all went to our respective call-rooms and went to bed until 3 am when we got paged to a delivery. Then we slept until 5:30. But hey, overnight in the hospital in Camden!

I guess the other semi-brave thing that occurred while I was working in the NICU is that I got up my nerve to ask even the stupid questions. I also introduced myself to dozens of strangers (mostly nurses and NP's) who weren't sure why we were there and were often bothered by having two more people in their space. I stood up to our program director when she wanted to change our overnight, and when an NP yelled at me for being in the resident call-room, which I wasn't and couldn't locate if you gave me a map, I politely defended myself (and my teammate) and corrected her. Hooray for being ballsy! Politely ballsy!

On the 22nd, I spent the morning in the Philadelphia passport office, praying that someone there could help me because my passport had gotten held up in NH because of some random form. Thankfully, after standing in line for 2 hours (with no appointment, which is frowned upon), I was able to fill out MORE forms and pay a $60 expediting fee and was told that passport would be ready on Wednesday. I nearly kissed the lady who was helping me, but I probably would have been tased by the security guards, so I decided against it. And yes, my passport was ready on Wednesday and we all did a happy dance.

On the 25th, I picked Pam up in Philly and on the 26th, we set off via PATCO (our mostly useless public transportation line between southern NJ and very specific parts of Camden and Philadelphia) to go to the Tall Ships Festival! We were mostly going to see the giant duck:

But as you can see, the duck did not do so well on his journey up the Delaware River. In fact, he sustained a 60 foot gash and was subsequently deflated. It was a sad day for all of us. We did get to explore some really cool ships, though, and I didn't have a panic attack, freak out, or die when surrounded by thousands of people. I did have a brief moment of terror when Pam left to find out where we needed to get tickets for the water taxi and hadn't returned as I was getting closer to th
e front of the line. I was 2 seconds away from standing on a chair and yelling, "PAM!!!!!" as loudly as I could when she jogged up and said that we could just get the tickets on board. I told her that I thought she had fallen in the river or gotten abducted. (Ab-DUCK-ted??? Ha. Ha ha. Someone help me.) Alas, we didn't get to see the giant duck, but we did get to see a slightly less giant duck. Here's a photo collage of our day, courtesy of Pam:

Left: Pam and me with the less-giant duck and the Battleship New Jersey in the background
Top right: Deflated giant duck. Womp womp.
Middle right: Sign at the duck merchandise kiosk
Bottom right: Pam and me with our tiny, consolation ducks from the T-Mobile booth
Then on the 27th, after sleeping for 4 hours and getting up at 4 am to drive to the airport (shoutout to Levi for dropping us off!),  Ken and I got on a plane and flew to a foreign country where neither of us had ever been. Since then, I've practiced my Spanish (I remember a surprising amount from high school!) and tried new foods (I'm usually very picky.) And in an hour, I'm getting into a kayak. ON THE OCEAN! I don't even know who I am anymore.

So yes, there's my brave inventory for May and June. Hopefully I'll update in a timely manner with July's brave inventory. And now, I'm going to go slather myself in sunscreen and bugspray and get back to my vacation. I leave you with this:

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