Friday, June 21, 2013

Noc Kupały

Noc Kupały: Some countries are trying to stop forest fires, Poland is trying to start them.

Seriously though. I'm not even really sure what the occasion was except the first day of summer maybe. But there's a huge celebration where thousands of people let loose lanterns into the sky. It was beautiful and amazing and totally not safe. 

The lanterns are pretty big so it takes a while before the flame which is quite large fills them with enough hot air to float. Because of this, people kept letting go of their lanterns too early, so instead of floating up they'd hover near the ground right at 'head level' and attempt to burn the hair of the nearest victim. I didn't see anyone get lit up, but I'm sure someone did (especially with all the drinking that was going on). Basically, it was a very magical experience that kept being punctuated by sounds of distress and "Uwaga, uwaga!!!" as some small child was almost engulfed in flames.   

I went by myself and took Copper with me because I figured it would be a nice walk and he'd be cool with hanging out. And he did really great up until the music started across the river then he just wanted to go home! (Personally I wasn't too thrilled with the music either...too loud). I was hoping he'd be good, because in order to get him into the area I had to tell them he was a service dog...lucky for me he behaved like a champ and let all the little kids pet him without even a second glance and when I was filming everything he just lied there. He wasn't too thrilled when we were leaving though with the huge crowd and all the crazy people. 

But, we survived and there aren't any burns, just pretty memories

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It’s that time of year again! Group picking time!!! 

Picking groups in medical school is a lot like picking teams for dodge ball in middle school. Of course everyone picks the biggest person with the best arm and their friends first. And then they criticize everyone who doesn’t have a group, or who got screwed because they thought they were friends with people but aren’t anymore.

At least that’s what happened last year when our class picked groups. I’ve never seen so much back stabbing in my life. I’m not quite sure how it’s working out this year. I’m trying to stay out of the drama- but, what I’m hearing isn’t great. Just when I thought I’d entered a world of adults.  Who really cares what group you’re in? As long as everyone works hard and shows up on time so the doctor in charge doesn’t think everyone's stupid. You’re still going to see your friends, it just won’t be 24/7 in class…. 

I feel like I should make a documentary…”watch how the medical student stalks its prey. In the animal kingdom, groups are formed via this intricate process….”    

More to come. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ski Patrol

Before I came to medical school,  I worked as a ski patroller at a small resort near my university. It was some of the best times of my life. The people were great, the snowboarding was awesome, and it was an amazing job. I wish that I could still be out there doing what I really love and helping people at the same time.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I miss it. I want nothing more than to go back in time and live those winters over again and again. It's amazing how much of our lives we spend hoping for the next thing, wishing that the next adventure would hurry up and come only to forget how amazing NOW is.

NOW I'm studying to be a doctor, NOW I'm in Poland, NOW I'm doing what I wanted to do all along and I can't decide if I love it or I hate it. But, I have my ski patrol experience to remind me why I'm here, it might be the one thing I miss about my old life the most, but it's also why I went ahead and took the dive.

In one day on the slopes I'd SEE and TREAT more injuries than most pre-meds ever see. When I started I was the youngest except for one other - the rest of the patrol were at least ten to twenty years older. But, that didn't stop me.

My squad used to call me the 'black cat.' When I came on duty there was guaranteed to be at least one ambulance call or some weird thing happening. It probably wasn't the best reputation to have, but I think it was just because I was on the hill more, so I found them more often. In the few months a year when there was snow on the ground I would treat cuts and bruises, broken femurs, and humerouses (which by the way isn't funny), I was first on scene to more injuries than I can remember. I saw concussions and held c-spine, called for ambulances, and a helicopter (or two...)

There was even one incident where a teenager ran out onto the ski hill without any shoes screaming that he was going to die. It turns out when I got to talking to him, he had taken 'shrooms.' A first for our patrol...and I can safely say it was one of the only times that I though that my patient might actually die, because I had no idea what to do (I'm happy to say he did live to get high another day).

I miss being in the midst of chaos and being able to handle it and help the people around me. I miss being first on the hill and last off. I miss feeling at home...

One day I will get the feeling back that I used to have while I was on ski patrol. I will feel like I'm making a difference, I'll feel like I'm saving lives, I'll feel like I have the best job in the world.....but most of all I'll feel happy again.

I just have to get through med school first...

But for NOW since I'm here, I'm going to try and enjoy the ride.

The Hill Just before Ski Season