Stars and a tea note

22 February 2017 § 1 Comment

22 February

Happy 222!  It feels a bit like a holiday, but maybe that’s just my allergies making me crazed.  Today the rain precluded the bike ride to Reynolda that I had planned, but at least I was spared the terror of sharing the road with the enormous metal boxes sometimes known as cars, and also my daffodils got to have a tea party of sorts.

My own tea party today happened alongside five hour exams in a row.  As I have a wine notebook, I noticed how silly it is not to have a tea notebook, given how much tea I drink compared to wine…or really compared to anything.  Bon, let the tea notes commence.

Satemwa oolong (Malawi)
A scent of hay welcomes my nose as I open the tea tin—it’s a pleasant, sweet hayness, to be sure, not an odour redolent of an afternoon in the horse meadow.  A satisfying, full oolong that somehow strikes me as delicately robust, this tea is not too strong to drink in the afternoon.  Only recently (ten seconds ago) did I read the entire label and realise they have a website, which means it may be possible to restock my Malawian tea supply without returning to the country.  It would, however, be nice to take a trip to the north, where the mountains and coffee plantations are, especially given that the label also assures me that Satemwa is ‘so proud to bring you this extremely rare African oolong tea’.  They also make an oaky, strongish black tea and a green tea that tasted like a humble/rustic sencha, but I finished those over a year ago.

I also had a refreshing mint green tea served very hot with a touch of dark brown sugar, which always makes me wonder why I do not live in Morocco, put on my stars shirt, and rode my scooter through the rain to the last clinical skills class of the year/forever.

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These shoes were a gift from mother two years ago (hi mutti!) that I used to wear to work every day and have started wearing again

This is one of the most reliable skirts.  I like to wear almost any colour with it—most often a mossy green wool sweater—but it was pretty warm today, even if I hadn’t been wearing stockings (my legs are not naturally iridescent).  This is usually the closest I get to wearing a t-shirt.

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When you need a hug but no one is around, find a thick sweater whose arms are happy to envelop you

One of my preceptors made brownies, and we had a casual few hours of discussing our interview and physical diagnosis exams this week and looking forward to clerkships.  My other preceptor divulged that she used to have giggle attacks and had to leave the patient’s room sometimes.  Whether that resulted from lack of sleep during residency or the fact that she is a pediatrician was unclear, but it gave me hope for my own pathology of laughter…

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Holding my notebook because I left for school right after this

At this point, we have learned all of the basic physical exams and how to interview patients.  Somehow, slowly, I have grown more comfortable asking the most intimate questions I can imagine asking someone.  Over the past year and a half, I have just begun the lifelong practice of being present and open with a patient, who is inherently in a vulnerable position by sharing private information, whilst allowing a story to unfurl.  It is difficult to extract all of the information I want or need and to remain the guiding listener, rather than the interrogator, in the conversation.  It fascinates me that the real work of medicine is entering someone else’s narrative and welcoming (accepting? earning?) their trust.  Of course I will learn how to do lots of things in the future, but right now I have a clear vision of how the doctor-patient relationship ought to be, and that is a good starting point.

Now I will go eat a delicious bowl full of chicken salad that I made yesterday.  It has excessive amounts (the right amount) of toasted walnut bits, grapes, and very thinly sliced celery, and I used half sour cream and half mayonnaise, which makes it much better since I dislike the latter.  Have a grape day.


Kristen gave an enormous glass bowl to me for Christmas, drastically increasing the average bowl size in my kitchen from minuscule to almost normal



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