Long Call, Long Haul (part 2)

May 22, 2012

A three-part series profiling life on the wards… and what you can do about it!


Part 2:  What’s your health-type?

I am labeled, fairly I guess, by many in my intern class as a “health nut.” I bring breakfast – whole grain cereal with almonds in a little plastic bag – and lunch – an avocado sandwich, yoghurt, and a nibble of dark chocolate – from home every day. I won’t touch the cafeteria food or the greasy Chinese served at mid-day report. I live far from the hospital and close to my yoga studio, a deliberate choice, which means a 25-30 minute subway ride downtown rather than a walk across the street to my apartment. I’m vegetarian. I hosted a talk on Ayurvedic medicine for the housestaff. I’m going into integrative medicine. If I am a health nut, it’s not accidental. Continue reading “Long Call, Long Haul (part 2)”

Long Call, Long Haul (part 1)

May 14, 2012

A three-part series describing the demands of life on the wards … and what you can do about it!

Part 1:  The “life” of an intern

On July 1, 2011 the new ACGME rules on intern duty hours in hospitals took effect. Interns, though not residents, were no longer allowed to work 27-hour shifts as residents everywhere historically had done. The 80-hour work-week still applied, but instead of staying in-house overnight, interns were supposed to have ten full hours away from the hospital between every shift.

Also on July 1, 2011 I started my intern year at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. I had done routine 27-hour shifts during medical school, as a fourth year sub-intern in the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and as a third year on labor and delivery shifts, a standard part of the OBGYN rotation. And while these were something of a distant memory following a very chilled out fourth year filled with electives and one trip to Africa, I remembered them well enough. The slightly dizzy feeling of walking out of the hospital into the sun at 11am followed by a brief period of sleep-deprivation-induced mania; the great excuse to cram my face with my favorite pastry from the bakery down the street; and the 4-5 hours of slightly nauseated waves of sleep before getting up and having “a day off,” for me usually consisting of a yoga class and dinner before going to bed. Continue reading “Long Call, Long Haul (part 1)”

Physician, treat thyself (from time to time)!

March 5, 2012

After having made it through another holiday season of family gatherings and cocktail parties, I thought I had been asked every possible ‘first year of medical school’ question in existence: What kind of doctor do you want to be? Are you interested in what you’re learning? How’s the stress level? Do you like your classmates? – and the like. But over dinner with an old friend last week, I was finally confronted with a new and thought-provoking one: How has learning about the body changed the way you live? Continue reading “Physician, treat thyself (from time to time)!”

How Dr. X got his groove back

October 31, 2011

I have a friend. Let’s call him Dr. X. And like many of my other close friends and family members, as he went through medical school and residency, he lost his core.

Before Dr. X became an M.D., homeboy had it goin’ on! He was fit, he played all kinds of sports regularly, went to the gym often, and even let it drop to the ladies that his six-pack was in fiiiine shape. But with the long study hours, the all-consuming focus on medicine, and the insane hours of lectures, rotations, and residency, everything changed. And he started to notice changes around his middle, as his rectus abdominis slackened and (gasp) love handles started to appear. His low back had even started to hurt.

He was determined to get his groove back. He called me up and bemoaned the physical changes, asking for advice. Talking to the ladies was not feeling the same. He still had at least six years left of residency and fellowship – what to do?

Continue reading “How Dr. X got his groove back”

3 Conscious Breaths: The 20-Second Meditation

August 30, 2011

As a medical student, you may currently be in one of the most demanding phases of your life.  Meeting academic challenges, taking care of patients’ needs, dealing with hectic schedules, and trying to have a personal life, could easily exhaust you.  Achieving all of this requires a calm, focused mind and a strong sense of center.  In order to expend your energy in so many different directions successfully, you have to operate from the deep, calm core of who you are.  This way, everything you do will be much more effective and seemingly effortless.

Meditation increases your ability to stay calm and focused.   It’s not as mysterious as some may think.   Continue reading “3 Conscious Breaths: The 20-Second Meditation”

Calm your mind with the Wei

August 17, 2011

You’re not done studying for the shelf exam, you still have a power point presentation to work on, and—even though you’re exhausted–you’d really like to be prepared for rounds tomorrow morning. Sigh. With so much to do, you’re not even sure where to begin. If only your mind were calm, you could do more and enjoy life more while in med school.

Enter flower essences.

Allow me to explain: Flower essences are aqueous infusions of flowers that elevate your state of mind through the acupuncture meridians. Flower essences are therefore like acupuncture without the needles. Continue reading “Calm your mind with the Wei”

To bagel or not to bagel, that is the question…

May 3, 2011

(This entry is a three-part series, detailing Jenny’s  tips on how to maintain a sound Body, Mind, and Spirit through clinical rotations)

As the alarm blares for my 4:35am wake-up, I think back to leisurely days of 9am lectures, wondering why I had been so excited to start clinical rotations. Sure, actually seeing patients, performing procedures, and discussing real cases was the reason I came to medical school, but life on the wards can be incredibly challenging, and not just due to the medical expertise required. Without much control over long, unpredictable days, even a health-conscious MS4 such as myself finds it difficult to stick with good habits previously cultivated, like 90-minute yoga classes, the occasional (antioxidant-filled!) glass of red wine, or a full 7 hours’ sleep. In addition, it sometimes feels superfluous to focus on myself amidst the demands of the wards, from writing admission notes to re-reading Surgical Recall. But throughout the past two years on the wards, I have realized that I am able to function as a more competent, caring clinician– and actually enjoy the experience– when I practice habits that keep me energized. Here’s what has worked for me during the last two years of med school:

Continue reading “To bagel or not to bagel, that is the question…”

A call to arms

January 20, 2011

It’s really, truly imperative for every human being to be a healthy human being. Even doctors… especially doctors.

Am I biased? Absolutely. I’m a co-creator of this site. But, at the very least, my bias is one that serves both you and those around you; after all, how can you take responsibility for another individual’s wellbeing when you are unable to do the same for yourself? And you should be doing what’s good for yourself—it’s your life! For all we know, the one and only! Continue reading “A call to arms”