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Etch-A-Sketchin’ March 15, 2013

Posted by therealtinlizzy in Uncategorized.

These past couple months have been the usual blur of rarely stopping long enough to even fit in a delectable episode of Doctor Who (I’m still on the 10th Doctor you guys, and will be utterly heartbroken when he morphs into his next incarnation).


In addition to the ol’ day job (which has actually been hella enjoyable,  ridiculously challenging and surprisingly rewarding since the exit of two former co-workers whose workloads I took on), the minion/volunteer shifts at HCMC (which I <3), and MCAT (re)studying there have been some additions to my cookie dough mix.

I’ve started participating in something called the Ladder, a gathering/org that seeks to mentor North Minneapolis kids towards pursuing health science careers. Obvs I’m not a North Mpls underprivileged kid, but rather my participation is about trying to make myself useful as a mentor to the particularly-disadvantaged-at-having-any-shot-at-becoming-a-physician demographic of North Minneapolis youth. Or rather more so, because I’m a grown up white kid wanna-be-doc who had/has all the privilege and who doesn’t on the surface have a lot for a dicked-over-by-society kid-from-the-North-Side to resonate with, to at least just be a useful minion to those (like the residents & docs from the Broadway Family Physicians clinic who started/run the program) who are in the bestest position to be meaningful mentors to such kids. I’ve found a happy niche as website-update-minion for them, in addition having the privilege of getting to know a crew of physicians, residents, students, and North Side folks to whom I can look as mentors as well.

Then in addition to recently dealing with hospitalization-level healthcare matters with both my dad and @snipy’s (both cases of which were excellent learning opportunities, and happily all has worked out and is nearly resolved in both their cases), and getting a crash course in management of type I diabetes (for this one, whose pancreas in early December apparently gave up insulin-production as a bad job)…


…I’ve picked up a couple of Spring term classes at the U of M. I’m only taking 4 credits (one 3 credit course and one 1-credit), which seems on the surface rather wussie – who couldn’t breeze through 1.5 classes?  However, taken in the mix of All The Things – I’ve got zero reports of lacking challenge at the moment.

One of my classes is Microbiology, which this Bio major somehow missed out on taking in undergrad. I know right? Actually – I had very good reason for missing out on it: St Kate’s only offered Micro one semester (maybe only every other year?), and it happened that the one time I could have taken it – I would have had to forgo Neurobiology, which I was seriously jonesin for at the time (and which did end up one of my very favorite classes in undergrad).  Anyway – it’s sort of a boon to have not taken it back then, because I could not have been nearly as enthused over little creeping/flagellating/sex-pilus’ing microbes then as I’ve grown to be over the past couple years.

Caulobacter crescentus

(That’s one of my favorite microbes of the moment, Caulobacter crescentus, part way through dividing to produce a stalk cell and a swarm cell. Summon swarm!)

The other class is called The Future Physician – where every week’s lecture is a presentation and Q&A opp from a different type of physician or surgeon (with a 5-point quiz or writing assignment as follow-up). Guest speakers have been without exception utterly compelling and engaging, and not surprisingly I leave each week wanting to go into whatever specialty was discussed that day. Except for sports medicine – I have next to zero interest in sports med, despite having been the recipient multiple times of sports medicine (looking at both of you, ACLs). Presenters so far have included: a cardiothoracic surgeon, an emergency pediatric physician, endovascular neurosurgeons, sports medicine doc, a policy-wonk/rural-medicine doc, an orthopedic surgeon, and a panel of med students.


Aside from the information and inspiration deluge that all of them have been for me, one of the presentation (by Dr. Marilyn Mellor, the pediatric emergency doc) was in particular on the art and usefulness of journaling. Her prescription was to journal, privately and for one’s own eyes only. And not just (for her) on the big things, but on the seemingly small things too, to take the time to commit to words the moments, the details that will eventually be Etch-A-Sketched ™ at least somewhat, if not completely, by time. I’m working on taking her advice, although a good bit of that  may end up here rather than the private pages of a notebook. Not many other than me sees this anyway, so it’s all good. 😀


1. Stefanie - March 15, 2013

Oh my gosh, just reading your post made me tired! Glad the dads are ok. Dax has diabetes? When Kamir was diagnosed with it we were uber worried but we had great success in caring for him and he helped us too which was a big surprise. We managed for five years before his heart gave out at 16. I am glad you are enjoying all the classes and the studying and mentoring. Keeping a diary is and excellent suggestion. Not only does is hold memories but I have found it is a wonderful way to get rid of stress and to help me slow down and think through a problem. Good luck!

therealtinlizzy - March 15, 2013

Yep – diabetes for Dax. Already the skinny thing, she’d skinnified even more and started drinking all the water – so brought her in and oh wow – diabetes. Was pretty harrying experience at first to try and fig out the right insulin dosing while not over-insulin-ing, and she was so skin/bones I was just fraught over worrying that she was going to starve to death. We’ve found a happy place finally, still some challenges here and there, but she’s 13 and going strong, pancreas be damned :).

Stefanie - March 15, 2013

Glad you got it all figured our for Dax. She’ll start gaining back the lost weight before you know it 🙂

2. Stefanie - March 15, 2013

Oh, and the next Doctor, he’s totally awesome too 🙂

therealtinlizzy - March 15, 2013

sigh, I know, I know – that’s what people keep telling me. It’ll be ok, I’ll fall madly in love with the next one too. I was also devastated with the going-away of each companion, and did NOT like Donna to start. Now I adore her.

As an aside – just watched the 2 part Library episode, which was lovely and tear-worthy (surprising how many of them make me all weepy!), and I thought – yes there that’s it! At the end of my physical life, I want to be turned into the little girl who is the computer Keeper of all the books ever written. And I would be happy to share the job will any/all :).

Stefanie - March 15, 2013

Oh the library one! That was good. That’s the first time River shows up isn’t it? You’ll be seeing more of her. I thought Donna annoying at first too but she is a great balance for the Doctor. It is amazing how many of those episodes bring tears to my eyes too.

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