Great News!!!

Woo-hoo!  I passed my written boards!  This is such awesome news.  I thought I had passed my boards but I’ve been surprised by exam results in the past so I was relieved when I clicked open the email this morning!

My Dad pointed out that I’ve done a lot this year and when I think about it, it’s true!  In 2013, I’ve gotten engaged, married, graduated from residency, moved to Japan, started as a staff physician and passed my written boards.  Also, I’ve gone on tons of awesome vacations.  I definitely have a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving (and every day)!

I can’t wait for SMS to be here!  Then my happiness will be complete!

Non sequiter!

Ok, so I realized that the last post seemed to be a little bit of a non sequester. Aka, where the hell is she? Well, I’m in Houston spending 3 months at MD Anderson in order to get more experience in Head and Neck oncologic surgery. It’s a little rough- I really miss Mechen and kind of wish I didn’t have to be here BUT I have to be here and it’s a great opportunity. I’m at one of the best cancer centers in the world an
d that is really an amazing experience to have. Already, the cases and even the clinic patients have been really interesting and instructive. Not to objectify people’s experience of having cancer but I feel that there is a lot to learn even from the unfortunate circumstances and, in addition, I know enough at this point to contribute intelligently to the treatment team even if I am also learning at the same time.

Houston is pretty nice. I’ve been taking yoga at Yoga Ananda, a Baptiste-inspired Vinyasa flow yoga studio. I really like it and I plan to continue both here in Houston and in San Diego. I have finally settled into a good workout routine and I’m working out 3-4 times a week. I’d like to keep up my running fitness, even if it’s not quite as intense as Barry’s. In addition, I’ve lost a little bit of weight which is great but also shows that diet is definitely the most important factor in weight management. I really hope to lost some more weight but in a healthy, controlled way and definitely not in a “ooops, not enough calories, watch me pass out in the OR.” Not that I’ve ever done that on purpose, but I can definitely pass out in the OR like a champ.

I’ve also bought a DaHon fold-up bike. I love it! Mine is actually navy blue but the back rack and the portability is perfect. I’ll get to bring it home and I think it’s really going to be a nice addition to my bike mini-collection. It’ll be great at my next duty station (wherever that might be) but it is crazy how certain next steps in my life are starting to become more clear and real as residency is starting to wind down.

Ok, off to study some head and neck cancer! I’m trying to be good so that I can have a great weekend when Mechen comes to visit! Hooray!

I’m an intern again…

Fortunately not, but oh my word, Friday night call was horrific. I was getting paged every 20-30 minutes regarding “order clarifications,” which finally stopped at 11:30 p.m. And I would have slept until 4:30 except for the post-operative hematoma that presented at midnight. Fuck. So, I was up until 5 in the OR and ICU. And although I slept on a stretcher for an two hours before rounds, I was so wasted that morning. I looked like crap and not that I really care how I look at work (within reason- I do want to have a professional appearance), I really looked like a train hit me. I slept and finally felt a little better. I went to Target followed by an amazing yoga session. Then I crashed around 9 last night.

One thing I did learn yesterday is that I really like yoga. I definitely plan on keeping up my running routine, but I felt so serene after yesterday’s session. Yoga is definitely the exercise that I routinely forget that I like. I usually think I’m too type A and that I’ll be too bored. But I have definitely noticed that I’ve become increasingly less flexible and I would like to restore that aspect of fitness. I think it’s especially important if I want to continue running as I get older. So, even though I don’t have the most spiritually-minded approach to yoga, it’s something I plan on continuing. Especially in San Diego- there are yoga studios everywhere.

All’s quiet…

It looks like my pager has learned to behave! This weekend, so far, has not been too bad which is great. Even if it exploded….now (*furtive look towards my pager*) it could still be no more than a rating of “terrible” since I’ve gotten through two nights, albeit one completely asinine page last night about something that 1. I wasn’t even in charge of and 2. could have COMPLETELY waited until the morning.

ANYWAY! This morning, I learned that my smoke detectors do indeed work. Although both had a green light on, I was suspicious b/c I really thought I had smoked the place out on various occasions with kitchen endeavors. Never fear! This morning, I really hit the threshold thanks to some mysterious debris on the floor of my oven.

I have been listening to Spanish on tapes on the way to work. I’m using the Pimsleur level 1, which is alright. It’s really weird because the first three lessons are how to communicate that I don’t speak Spanish. That seems like a very defeatist attitude on the Pimsleur side of things. How about teaching me Spanish so I don’t need to know how to say that (ok, ok, I realize this sentence has some inherent contradictions).

I’m also trying to cook up a storm of healthy eats for this week. I think I eat less when Mechen’s around because all of a sudden, 3 lbs just fell off me. I also think that this is the breakthrough of a plateau but either way, I’ll take it! I’m starting to get within sight of my goal which is great since the big wedding/Iceland/Denmark trip is coming up. I’m usually a size 8 but over the years, I’ve had fits of wild optimism (and occasional weight lows) and bought really cute clothes in size 6. So, I’ve got a great, barely worn wardrobe, I just need to fit into it. And I say this not because I’m vain (although I am), but also because most of these clothes are “Fall-ish” and I refuse to wear corduroys that are too tight. Can you say sausage casings? This is also why I refuse to wear corduroy skinny jeans. There are women who can (I hate you- kidding!) but they are the ones with beautiful long gazelle legs rather than my very strong, very muscular former gymnast-like quads.

This post was brought to you by random stream of consciousness and parenthetical phrases.

What your doctor is thinking…

One of the funniest things about medicine is the dark humour and inner monologues that can occur within a doctor’s head. Ok, maybe that’s too generalized to let me personalize- I definitely have had moments where there are two conversations, the one I’m having and the one I wish I was having. Fortunately, I have friends and colleagues that do this too which results in some hilarious conversations usually along the lines of-

Me: So I told her, “Blaugh de blah”
Doctor friend: [gaspy laugh]: You did NOT!
Me: Of course not, I told her “Bleeky boo” but I wanted to tell her “blaugh de blah.”

I think part of the problem for me is that I was raised in a family that valued a little flexibility with recounting events in order to never get in the way of a good story. Of course, I clarify to make sure everything is ultimately accurate but the initial shock value in really telling someone what you were really thinking can be oh-so-satisfying to the story-teller. Ok, ok…me.

Yesterday, I had a really weird experience of telling a patient she had to go home. As in, “You are and will go home.” I’ve never had to be that direct with someone before but I’ve also never dealt with someone who was trying to (really, really obviously) game the system. Granted, she initially did require inpatient care but when she improved and was ready for discharge, a plethora of symptoms came up that she stated she would not leave until they were “worked up.” Which to her, meant very expensive, needless radiology imaging. So, instead (and more appropriately), I had internal medicine examine her and then discharged her when all was verified to be well.

This weekend was definitely my comeuppance for my “Tra-la-la, I’m such a white cloud attitude!” After 4 spookily quiet weekends, my pager exploded this weekend. Whah. It is funny though because when I said how much call sucked in front of one of my attendings I thought to myself, “Tierney! You should be telling him that you think the only bad thing about having call two weekends a month is that you miss the good cases from the other two weekends.” Then I thought, “Bullshit, call DOES suck. That’s why they make residents take it. And there’s hardly ever any good cases, only painful consults.”

But, to not be too woe-is-me, I did have a break Saturday morning and part of Sunday morning. And I didn’t get paged between 2-6 each night so I guess that was nice (no, it sucked! It was only 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep! <–future Mom me is looking at that sentence and laughing).

What did I do with that time? I read Bossypants by Tina Fey which was pretty good and I went to brunch with my friends at Starlite which was also good although I made a poor menu choice. What about “eggless frittata made with veggies and smooth garbanzo flour” sounds bad? How about that it’s borderline tasteless? Oh well, at least I was healthy!

Best call Sunday!

Today was a terrific day! I did so much, spent too much money (wait for it!) and had so much fun hanging out with my sister.

First, I went to Farmhouse Cafe with Jenny. It was delicious! We split a small plate of ricotta pancakes followed by onion tart w/poached eggs for her and biscuits and gravy w/sausage and duck egg for me. While my dish was delicious, I couldn’t finish it b/c it was a little too rich and I also am not the biggest fan of biscuits and gravy. Is that totally weird for ordering it then? I think so, but I knew it would be good and it’s something that I would never make myself that I had to see how it was done. So, while tasty, I’m getting something else next time. There will definitely be a next time because I love that place, just notsomuch what I ordered today.

Then, I went back to the house, picked up Brady and we were off! We went to the Farmer’s Market where we got TOTALLY suckered into to buying a ridiculous amount of fruit. One stand had “Fill a bag for $10” and we fell for it! But, we will figure out how to use it because 1. I don’t like wasting time, food or a good deal and 2. a normal amount would have cost the same amount at full-price so why not pony up to the challenge of buying way too much?!

I also bought some gorgeous mini-bouquets, which are my frequent treat to myself. Then, we went to Velo Cult where I bought a new bike! It’s a Miyata touring bike and I love it. I definitely need to get used to the non-cruiser bike seated position but I can’t wait to ride it to work and all about town! I am going to pick it up tomorrow or Tuesday depending on what time I get out of the OR. But just in case, I will run to work tomorrow so I can make it up the hill if I manage to get out of here before 1830.

Next, we went to Pizza Port and split a small Port OB Pizza- mozzarella, gorgonzola crumbles, portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, butternut squash, asparagus and bacon. Amazing! Even splitting half a small was too much but in a great way. Then we stopped for small fro-yos.

After the feasting, we finally set out for what we meant to do all day- hike the Torrey Pines trails. It was beautiful and close to sunset so it worked out well going later in the afternoon. I dropped her off at the house earlier and then I came here to work on my Powerpoint for the academy meeting. That’s been going nowhere but I will get off the Internet and get cracking!


No hitter…for now!

I know the weekend isn’t over yet but I’ve had an excellent call weekend so far. Even if the shit hits the fan later today and tonight, the two no-hitter nights have been awesome and much appreciated. This past week, I was up until 1:30 for 4/5 nights working on my academy paper, which was finally submitted Friday night at 11. It looks pretty good and even though the reviewers will catch a few flaws that will need revisions, it’s definitely in more than acceptable shape.

After a week like that though, I was TIRED! I went to bed Friday at midnight and slept in until 10, with a brief interruption at 7 where I thought I was up and would be unable to fall aslee-zzzzzzzzzzzzz! Brady and I went to the beach yesterday for 4 hours- it was awesome! I didn’t get burned(!), the temperature was perfect and it was so much fun to be lazy and take a nap. After that, I was definitely caught up on sleep!

That night, we went out to Jolt’n Joe’s downtown for a fellow resident’s birthday party which was so much fun. Melissa, Brooke, Zheng, my sister were awesome to hang out with and catch up. I have been so MIA lately on the weekends with the Hawaii trip, unexpected trip to Norfolk and college friends in town that I hadn’t “hanged” for a month! I had my standard cranberry and seltzer to drink (awesome go-to non-alkie drink) since I was on call AND driving.

Today, I’m at work. I have to write two notes and work on a presentation. I think I’m going to go soon though and go check out a few bike shops. Maybe Brady and I can go to Torrey Pines too. I’ll check out the ER status board right before I go. If it’s empty, I should be safe for at least a few hours.



So, April’s come and almost gone. I’m now the oldest! I’ve! ever! been! after having a lovely birthday. I think it’s pretty freaky to have my 20s almost behind me. Yikes! Although I like to think of myself as an adult, I’ve still retained the little kid notion of, “What? I could never be that old. That stuff is for other people.”

But, I’m glad I’m here. I’m having the best time and completely loving life so if getting older comes along with that (and in fact, deepens my appreciation for how awesome life is) well, then, so be it.

I had an amazing time on vacation and then came back to…work. And it stunk. I barely operated this month since I was the juniorest junior on the blue team. There were four residents. Insanity. So I got to do a lot of scut work and got to watch others operate which is a little old since I’ve been doing that since I was a med student.

I also had a fair number of visitors this month. An awesome friend of mine from internship is coming to the hospital in July to start her cardiology fellowship. I hung out with her and her fiance one night and had the best time. I can’t wait for her to come to San Diego, hooray!

Then the ship’s surgeon came in last weekend for a conference. I saw her and her boyfriend. And their little dog, too! Pumpkin was very sweet and tres cute.

Three more days until I start my research months. Hooray!!!


I feel like the biggest lame-o. I have laryngitis. I’ve never lost my voice in my life, although I have to admit I tried my hardest around 6th grade-ish because I thought it would be “cool.” On Thursday, I steadily lost my voice until it was gone, with the exception of the occasional squeak. Really now, an ENT resident loses her voice. How ridiculous is that? Shouldn’t I have some sort of magical power to fix my ailment? The answer: no.

Things are going well otherwise. The inservice exam is on the 6th so I’m studying hard for that. It’s an 8 (eight!) hour standardized test given annually to ENT interns and residents as yet another gauge to see how awesome/terrible a person is. Much scorn or praise given in the next year is based on the exam results. So, yes, I’m studying away.

I’m also finally getting my stuff on the 27th! Hooray! I am so excited. Last week, my place was still a disaster area but I shamed myself into cleaning it up after I brought Jenny in to show her my deck. We had brunch at Hash House a go go that morning and it was delicious! I highly recommend it as a breakfast spot. We split a chocolate macadamia nut pancake (amazing! And 12 inches around and no, we didn’t finish it) and a homemade hash that was pretty good- sun dried tomatoes, potatoes and ham. I’m still a total fan of the traditional hash and eggs that my Mom makes though (Hi Mom! Kisses!).

San Francisco

I was delaying this post until I could get my camera cable unpacked from my car (another post), but now that almost two weeks have gone by without an update, I think it’s time to talk about my awesome trip to SF last weekend sans pictures. I will post them to FLIKR though, promise.

Last Friday, I went to San Francisco for a facial plating course. The course was awesome and I learned a ton. The nicest thing about the course is that it focused a lot on biomechanical forces and technical considerations in choosing surgical approaches to various fractures. It complemented a course I took earlier in the year at NMCSD that focused more on soft tissue approaches to the fractures (translation: don’t jack the person up even more due to your surgical intervention). So if you have any questions about lag screws, load-bearing/load-sharing osteosynthesis, and assorted plates- I’m your girl! Now I just need to get into the OR and actually do it.

But the best perk to the course was that it was in San Francisco and I got an extra day added to the weekend for my “travel day.” So, I took the soul-crushing, intensely time-consuming 1.5 hour flight up to SF as early as possible so I could be an uber-tourist. I went to the Embarcado and Mission neighborhood. The Embarcado Farmer’s Mart is on Tuesday, but there are some fixed shops that are open all week so I did eat some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, which I had read about in Food and Wine awhile back. I had two delicious cheeses, one similar to Manchego and the other a semi-soft Italian truffle cheese. Both were great and it was such a treat to be able to have a little gourmet cheese experience. Then I went to the Mission neighborhood and saw a lot of murals painted on various buildings and alleyways. The artistry was pretty amazing, especially having such a high concentration of highly talented street art.

After that, Chris and I met up downtown at the hotel but not before I made a quick stop-in to Fiona’s Sweet Shoppe, a lovely closet of a shop specializing in British sweets. I bought grapefruit gummies and anise flavored hard candies. Yum!

Chris and I then took the trolley to Fisherman’s Wharf. We were initially seated inside the trolley (boo!), but I talked the conductor into letting us do a quick Chinese firedrill at a light and we got to spend the rest of the time standing on the side plank, holding onto the pole. Awesome-o!

We only spent a few minutes at Fisherman’s Wharf, then we wandered into North Beach where we had the best!meatball!sandwich!ever! Chris said it was so good, he didn’t think he could tell his Sicilian mother for fear of offending her. Next we went to Coti Tower, followed by a hike up Lombard St. After that, we were pseudo-hungry so we walked to Chinatown and had some (so-so) dim sum. After Hong Kong, I think I may be ruined for any dim sum stateside. (I know, I’m so worldly, it almost pains me). We were cutting it close to our next reservation time, so we took a cab and hightailed it over to Bo urban & Branch, a terrific speak-easy themed bar complete with password! Chris had a delicious old-fashioned, and I had a great Bourbon based specialty drink. Our second round was not as successful as our first but that’s ok because at least we were adventurous!

At that point, it was time for bed. My room was lovely, the bed comfy, and I fell asleep in about 2 seconds after required water downing as preventive measures.

The next morning, Chris and I met for a delicious, huge, FREE breakfast spread included with our room plan. Then we were off to the course. On Sunday, we had a little time afterwards and went to the Presidio but we were still a little walked out from Friday, so we were much more chill. Then we made it to the airport (barely) and headed to SD.

Ok, next post topic? My real estate debachle, with a surprise happy twist at the end!