Monthly Archives: October 2009

Enjoying the moment

In talking to a friend I realized that there are times when I just need to enjoy things for the moment 🙂



Today I started out the day in a rush but you wouldn’t have guessed it. I woke up 20 minutes before class and still managed to shower, blow dry hair, put on professional clothes for my first physical diagnosis lab, grab breakfast, drive to school in time to grab a parking spot, AND arrived just in time for the first embryology lecture! It was insane.

The rest of the day proceeded as normal. I had my first Physical Diagnosis where I learned to take my first vital sign, get ready (drumroll please): blood pressure! Seriously could it be that hard? Well, ladies and gentlemen, yes. This is where I learned the correct way to take blood pressure manually using a sphygmomanometer (that’s actually what real name is for the medical instrument that measures blood pressure… You know the cuff thing that is pumped up and squeezes your arm…anyways). After a couple of tries I got the hang of it and will definitely need some practice. I even got to learn how to detect paradoxical pulse pressure (a decrease if more than 12 mmHg in systolic blood pressure during inspiration) which can be indicative of cardiac tamponade. I had mine taken and as expected it was low (100/56). You would have thought that as it would have been higher due to the nervousness of learning a new skill and stressing about how much material I still had to study as soon as I got out of lab (which wasn’t scheduled to end until 5 pm) but no it wasn’t higher. I took that as a good sign that things are in order. I am learning how to cope with the stress of being a medical student.

Tonight I wasn’t as successful in my studies but I’m okay with that. No need to get all worked up about it. I went home and cleaned.

I really enjoy organizing. I cleaned up my room and then organized my desk. I then folded a couple loads of laundry (I usually don’t fold my clothes but this year I have found that it puts me at ease if in the morning when I open a drawer to get dressed everything is in its place and neatly organized.) Then I organized my lecture notes for this quarter. It took a while and a couple of new binders and folders later everything is in its place and I am beaming with satisfaction. Having my stuff in order helps me manage my stress. I know that when I’m having a stressful day I sanitize the kitchen or bathroom and as soon as the refreshing smell chemical cleaners tickles my nose when all is done I will instantly feel better. Order in my life is necessary, even if it is just my office supplies. 🙂

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New week

Today was the start of a new work week for most people but for me it’s a school week since that is my full time occupation. I didn’t even realize that today was Columbus Day and that the banks and post offices were closed. My mom was the one who reminded me today that it was Columbus Day since she called and asked if I gotten the day off. I reminded her that this is med school and there’s no way we would get that day off. I can’t remember the last time I got Columbus Day off.

I actually went to the bank this morning to deposit some checks in the ATM, only to realize that I had forgotten my debit card at home. I didn’t think twice about going into the bank (wouldn’t have mattered since they were closed) to talk to the teller because I don’t like waiting in line.I do most of my banking online because of convenience. I also try to avoid the line at the post office. I pay most of my bills online as well. In doing this I have become efficient in managing my time (and finances) but I do miss the human interaction.

Anyways…I realized that I need to start getting used to the idea that I will most likely have to end up working some holidays later in life as a practicing physician since most physicians don’t just decide to not go to work because it is a holiday and there are times when I will have to take call on a holiday. Soon summer breaks, Thanksgiving breaks, and Christmas breaks will disappear as I progress through medical education and transition into a full-time employee. I’m okay with that 🙂

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Art therapy

Last night my housemate and I decided we would start a painting to hang in our living room (I for one did not have any motivation to study even though yes, I am a medical student and I need to try and stay on top of all the material). Her and I have been looking for wall hangings to cover up our bare boring walls and decided why not just paint our own? Being frugal students we quickly search the internet for coupons to the craft store and fabric store. With coupons in hand we set out to quickly pick up the supplies before the stores closed. On the way to the stores we discussed what we wanted to see hanging in the living room. Interestingly enough both of us saw a sunset with a silhouette of a tree. The sunset would all have to be burgundy  tones to match our burgundy accents in the living room.  Within the hour we were back with acrylics, brushes, and a huge canvas. This was going to be the largest painting I’ve ever undertaken and I usually paint with watercolors not acrylics. We turned on some music and sat down at the kitchen table to sketch what we had in mind. After comparing sketches and agreeing to what we were going to paint we started mixing the paints to get just the right color. It’s been a while since I’ve painted and I’ve forgotten how much I LOVE to paint. Painting is another way that helps me manage my stress. I’ve decided that one day when I get my own place I definitely want to have an art studio or just a room where I can go and splash paint around. Since my housemate and I have both recently bought new digital cameras we had to document the progress of this painting. Here it is:

painting 1

painting 2

painting 6Painting 8

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Beyond the fence

Why start a blog today? Why not today? I liked the date today for one. It is the 10th of October in 2009. So in one year the date will be 10/10/10. I have set a goal of chronicling my life for a year. I feel that this will be a good thing for me because in the past I have seen how writing out my thoughts has helped me to grow as a person. I have been thinking about this for a couple of months and decided today would be the day.

Today is Sabbath. This is the day of the week that I normally take off. I don’t study or go to work. It is a special day set apart to worshiping God.

Today I needed to be alone. Earlier this week I thought about going to San Diego for the day but instead chose a closer location and headed into the San Bernardino Mountains in search of Lake Arrowhead. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now I’m  living in the Inland Empire (which is basically a desert). I felt the need to be near water.

I woke up around 6:30 a.m. (earlier than most Sabbaths). As I opened the blinds to watch the sunrise I was surprised to see low clouds. I love the fog because it reminds me of home. I got ready for the day and actually got to sit down and eat breakfast (a rarity since I’ve started medical school). I got into my chilly car and took off. Everything around looked grey and peaceful but at the same time frigid. I was tempted to turn around and go back home and climb back into my comfy bed. But I pressed on because today I’m taking a step forward and getting away for the day to seek solitude. I’ve been stressed out because of having to perform well in school and every day I am forced to spend most of my day studying but more than that life continues to occur and there is stress from home and family and the greatest source of stress is myself.

As I merged onto the freeway  “There Will Be a Day” by Jeremy Camp began to play. I love what the chorus of the chorus of this song says,

“There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears.There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always”

Tears were shed this past week. I’ve been experiencing internal unrest. I know that I am afraid to take the next step. Lately I have not liked being alone because I am alone with my thoughts. It’s been hard to sleep at night because when I crawl into bed and turn off the lights my thoughts and worries turn on full blast and keep me tossing and turning late at night.

Another song played and I was happy to be reminded that I am a child of God. I have a purpose for being where I’m at right now. The sun started to break through the low clouds. Before I knew it I was leaving the freeway and merging onto a two lane state highway. As soon as I got above the cloud coverage have way up the mountain I pulled over onto a turnout to look out at the valley below covered in a white blanket of fog. The surrounding hills and distant peaks looked so dark against the clouds and were just silhouettes with the blazing morning sun coming from behind. PeaksI stood there in awe. For the next moments there were no sounds and just stillness. I realized that today I am in no particular rush to get to my destination. With that in mind I got back into my car and stayed the in the slow lane. There would be no one waiting for me at the lake once I got there so I just needed to enjoy the drive and relax. The roads became very curvy, (which I love to drive on!) and I was reminded of when I first got my car. I’ve had my current car since high school and I got it a Friday afternoon. I remember it was a Friday because the next day (a Sabbath) I drove it up a mountain to a monastery in the Napa Valley for a choir performance.  Years later I was blessed with the opportunity to attend college in the same beautiful location where people come from around the world to vacation. The good old Napa Valley. The road to and from the college is curvy and for four years I grew to love driving (sometimes faster than I should have) around those curves.

When I arrived at the lake I drove around for a bit before I settled on a place to spend the rest of my morning. I circled the lake and made my way back to the little town and parked. now the journey continued on foot to find a peaceful corner near the lake’s shore. Everywhere I went I was met with some kind of fence preventing me from getting to the water’s edge. I followed the dock and found a small park. And of course, here too I was met with a fence. Then I saw this sign:Warning SignUsually I’m the type to obey signs and regulations because after all there’s probably a good reason someone went through the trouble to putting up a sign or posting some kind of ordinance. Well today I didn’t. I walked through an opening of the fence and found a smooth rock to sit on and just be still for the morning. I don’t know what I expected would happen and didn’t plan anything specific to do while I was at the lake. I sort of thought that I may just breakdown and start weeping but that didn’t happen. I read some passages out of Psalms in the Bible which are also some of my favorite praise songs. Then I just sat with my eyes closed and listened. I listened to the cool breeze rustle through the leaves behind me and heard the water gently bathe the rocks beneath my feet. Leaves


I sat for a long while just taking in all the sounds and feeling the warm sun on my skin. When I opened my eyes and looked around I saw that I was not alone. Over to my right looking out across the lake like me was a little squirrel. IMG_0291

I know that I am not alone on this journey of seeking peace. God is with me and has brought me through to this point. I need to remember that I cannot do this on my own. God has brought me through tough times and He will give me the strength to carry on. There was an overwhelming sense of peace that came upon me in just sitting and being still away from the hurried ways of my busy life. I must strive to make my relationship with God my number one priority everyday. I took a step beyond the fence to be still and know God.

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