A sad day

I have my mix of good and bad days. Sunday was not a good day. It started off by waking up at 6AM after going to bed at 4AM because I couldn't sleep. I lay in bed till 9AM, when I decided that I would indeed get changed and go to church. This was a mistake on my part. I should've stayed home. If there's one place that reminds you just how alone in the world you are, it's church. My church is entirely filled with families. The only people in church by themselves are widows, widowers, and me. Then, for some reason, I got to thinking, and start weeping in public. I got all teary-eyed and I couldn't stop. It was just a multitude of things that just sort of added up all at a bad time.

Part of what got me was thinking about my family who've passed away, and about a lot of my patients who have not fared so well. How unfair that is. How unfair that all the patients who are kind and generous and friendly and I would love to see every morning on rounds for the rest of my life, it's these people that end up dying from something terrible. That's not fair. You live your life and you be the best person you can be, and all that good karma, all that noble living, it affords you no dignity. How cruel does life really have to be, that to be robbed of it should be so ugly.

Part of what got me today was the fact that I've abandoned my dreams for myself. I've given up on things that I thought were my future. And it's always a sad day when you abandon your dreams. It's always a downer to realize that your life is nothing like you thought it would be, and not in that good way. If you asked me 10 years ago where I'd be now, this wouldn't be it. My life has turned out not at all liked I had planned or hoped. And now I'm just coasting. I'm not even trying anymore. In all things, I put in a mediocre effort. Why should I try. Trying has not gotten me anywhere in the past. With strong or poor effort, I get the same result, and often a result I didn't want anyway.

And part of what got me today was just being lonely. Just knowing that I've spent so much of my life alone. Just knowing that I've never been able to share my heart with another person. You know, I've lived my life pretty much entirely based on two fears: (1) the fear that my life is meaningless and pointless, and (2) the fear of being alone. And it seems like no matter how I stack up the cards, I've just played into my fears, because I am alone, and my life is meaningless and pointless. I used to believe in destiny, in fate. I believed that there really was a person that was 'meant' for you. I feel that I must be unlovable. I can't come up with a better explanation. I can't think of a better reason as to why I should meet with so much failure. I'm entirely without hope in this matter now. I have no aspirations of a wife and kids and a house in the burbs. I have no aspirations at all.

I really don't know what keeps me going. I'm not motivated or inspired. I'm just coasting, and maybe it's just that I'm still riding some momentum from my teen years. I don't know. And I think the cruelest irony of religion is the idea that if your life sucks, you're not allowed to end it. I'm not sure I'm going to go to church next week. Or the week after that. I've only ever missed church a few times a year, and that's a streak that's been going on since I was a kid. I'm not sure I've ever missed church for two weeks in a row. But the last time I went to confession was five years ago. I was told by my priest that I was angry with God. I told him (not in so many words) that he was full of shit. Well, it took me a few years to realize just how angry with God I really was. How angry I was that I could have a life I hated so much, without any ability to end it. How angry I was that my life was without meaning or purpose. And nothing's changed. That is perhaps the worst part. I stare into the mirror and still, the guy staring back at me is the same teenage kid who had to try so very hard just to make it through the day, who had to cling onto anything just to keep from thinking about killing himself. That kid, he needed saving. He needed direction and purpose and hope. Me? Ten years too late.

The finer points of apple cider

You know that perhaps you take apple cider a little too seriously when you convince yourself that you can taste the difference between regular apple cider and UV irradiated apple cider. I purchased some good old fashioned apple cider and was pleasantly rewarded. It should go without saying that you're drinking unpasteurized apple cider. The pasteurization process essentially kills the natural taste and body of apple cider. I'm talking fresh out of the press. The lack of pasteurization is a bit of a roll of the dice. It comes with the knowledge that there are risks involved. However, I have yet to meet someone that orders filet mignon well done. If you're going to play everything safe, you might as well do nothing at all.

I also managed to eat some Korean food. It's been forever. It felt so good to be eating Korean again, it's like something that I put aside and now rediscovered. I wish I cold eat Korean food every day, but I can't. My stomach and my budget can't take it. Well, actually, I guess when I'm a doctor, there's nothing stopping me from eating out every night, which I may as well do, since my social life is on such a roll. And by roll, I mean roll down a steep hill with a cliff at the end. Especially since I have entirely given up. I mean, before, I at least had some hope. You know, the kind of 'Oh maybe someday' sort of stuff. I'm just out of it now. I've conceded. I'm trying to decide if it's a valid idea to waste all your money on frivolous things if you don't have a wife or kids. I mean, what would I be saving up for, other than retirement? Nothing. So, let's blow it all. As soon as I'm out of residency, I'm going to live like a king.

I really want a cigarette, but I'm being good. I'm telling myself that a cigarette won't make my life any better. It won't bring meaning or fulfillment. It won't solve my problems. However, there's always a little voice in my head arguing the point: it'll make my life shorter though. And well, that little voice has got some pretty good logic. People congratulate me on quitting smoking. What congratulations? I quit because I thought maybe it would make a difference in my life. And it has. Now, my life expectancy is inching upwards, while my life goals get pitched one by one out the window.

In the end, I get the feeling that I took a wrong turn somewhere, and it's far too late to turn around and double back. And I'm not doing such a hot job finding my way back on track. So maybe this is going to be one hell of a long and boring drive ahead of me.

I only read chexers during banker's hours

I realize that it takes a certain type of person to go into radiology. That person is not me. I completely zone out when I look at MRI's. There are just too many damn images. I can't make heads or tails of it. Chest X-Rays are still a complete mystery. The only thing I've learned is that I know what probably normal looks like. But when I'm having a good day, I can really get into radiology. When I'm having a bad day, it's like being eaten alive by guppies. I need to work with people.

One of my attendings pointed out something rather astute. All the time, people say 'foci' such as 'a foci of infection' or 'a foci of signal intensity.' This is entirely incorrect. Foci is the plural of focus. By saying foci, it implies multiple areas. Tell this to your attending the next time someone uses foci. I can't be held responsible for the repercussions.

One last bit about the hospital. I feel a lot better about radiology now that I've seen countless numbers of residents and attendings completely flounder on a film and have to bring it to one of the radiology attendings. All this time, I thought that I was such a suboptimal person for not being able to read a CXR, but lo and behold, no one can read the damn things. I've probably never mentioned this, but we have taken to pronouncing every lettered abbreviation. An example is "Cat" scan, which is a CT (computed tomography) scan. So, instead of being the ER, it's the "err". We've had a difference of opinion on the chest x-ray (CXR). At first, it was "kix'er". This was amusing. However, while on rounds, without thinking, I referred to a CXR as a "chexer". This agreed with me much more. And thus, I refer to CXR's as Chexers. Of course, not to my attendings. They think I'm weird enough.

My current attending keeps accusing me of being a banker. He looks at me and is like, 'We work till 5PM here, sir. Not like your banker hours.' Do I come off like a banker? I think not. Ironically, I checked up on some of my friends in grade school. Something like half of them work at some bank or financial institution. I'm the only one from my 8th grade class that went into medicine.

The hot nurse

Every hospital has one hot nurse, a nurse that is attractive and catches all the stares. She's got residents wrapped around her finger. This is, by and large, a product of the system. But it's true. My hospital is no different. We have such a nurse in the ICU that draws a surprising amount of attention. People kept telling me about her, so when I finally met her, I had a good laugh. I had two patients that were under her care, so I had ample opportunity to talk to her, but really, I didn't make much of it, because I wasn't trying.

I know, you're thinking to yourself that if you have to sit through another rant, you'll beat yourself to death with a squeaky hammer. But really, it's not that. I mean, who's to say if that didn't factor into her (or more likely my) thinking, but the truth of the matter is that I had about as much chance with this girl as a Ford Festiva in the Paris-Dakar rally.

I learned long ago that I attract about as much attention as a bowl of oatmeal (and have a similar consistency). I joke (almost incessantly) that all I need is some girl, a couple bottles of tequila, and a state where you can get married drunk. I'm not going to win any beauty contests. I would be very afraid of how I'd do on sites like hotornot.com and the like. So, over time, I've learned that I've got to put out extra stuff, kick my game up a notch just to get noticed. That is faaaaaar more inspired than I actually am.

I would think that after almost 5 years of pitiful failure, I'd have tried just about everything I was willing to try in order to trick convince a girl to go out with me. Well, not everything, but just about enough. I've finally decided enough is enough! Holy crap, I'm done. Let the ladies come to me. Haven't I done enough pursuing for a lifetime? Is it entirely unreasonable to sit back and say it's time people started chasing after me? Probably, but who knows. At this point, I'll take what I can get. And when they brush me off as a loser, I'll point my finger at them and say, "That's DOCTOR loser to you!"