Friday, January 30, 2015

7QT #48: Residency Apps, March For Life, House Blessing, and my Frustration with the Mainstream Media

#1 Residency Application Updates

( I will let my journal entries speak for themselves)

SCRATCH THAT. I literally just got a request for a 6th interview in my e-mail 2 minutes ago. However, I think I will decline this one as I am not all that interested in that hospital's program and I just applied there as kind of a backup in case I did not get other interviews/places to choose from. So out of the 7 programs I applied to, there was only 1 that did not invite me. And there is usually about 80 applicants to each program, and they pick about 10-20 for interviews. So that's pretty good, I say :-)  I remember back when I was in the early steps of the application process, I was afraid that I would not get any interviews and I wasn't sure where God was leading me (read my discernment posts for more info: Part 1 and Part 2). Foolish me, I have a pretty BIG GOD on my side. And He works wonders. 

I'm super pressed for time as my first interview is Monday and my only day off is Sunday...and I still have so much to do. Feel super unprepared. I have to fix and prepare for my presentation, practice behavioral interview questions, and keep studying acute care topics as they might present me with patient cases to solve or doses to calculate. Ahhh! My brain hurts thinking about all this. Wish it was Monday evening already. I'll keep you guys updated on how things go!

#2 All I have been doing for the past 3-4 weeks is studying pharmacotherapeutics 

- For both board exams (Naplex) and to be able to answer/solve clinical patient cases during residency interviews.

Of course the cat always decides to lay down on top of my study materials...because we all know that cats like to sit in weird places.


"Hello human, whatcha starin' at?"

#3 Good job pro-lifers

I was not able to attend physically, but I was with you in spirit and prayer. 

WE ARE THE PRO-LIFE GENERATION and WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED! America is pro-life, but the mainstream media hides this and tells you otherwise. This will soon change, I believe it. With a PRO-LIFE house AND a PRO-LIFE senate, this is an exciting time for us!!! WE WILL OVERTURN ROE V WADE and we will end this holocaust - this killing of innocent, voiceless children in the womb. I believe it!

#4 Weekend spent with my family in Michigan. 

It was very, very, very cold. The lake in the back of their house was completely frozen. But I still went out for a walk with my parents' doggie (who used to be my doggie and was my 16th birthday present...but she loves my parents more and hence lives with them, haha. Plus her and my cat do not get along at all (and I mean it) we avoid that combo at all costs.

#5 I finished my 4th pharmacy rotation

It was a rotation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) well as Labor and Delivery (L&D). This was my best rotation so far and had a great impact upon me both professionally as well as personally. Click here to read the full post and reflection.

I baked banana bread with chocolate chips for the pharmacy dept on my last day.

#6 We invited our amazing, young, faith-filled, passionate parish priest over for dinner and to have our house blessed for the New Year.

I had 2 days off in a row from work. On day 1, I basically baked all day. On day 2, I let myself sleep in a bit and then cooked all day. We had a nice three-course meal followed by amazing deserts. 
I baked kolaczki (link to my recipe) and also this super amazing chocolate ganache cheesecake (link to my recipe), that every single person always complements and cannot get enough of! 


What the media thinks and falsely preaches 
[cut straight from Yahoo! News]:

What we, devout Catholics, know to be true instead:

Did I tell you I absolutely hate Yahoo news???? And probably every other news outlet, too. I'm so done with their open liberalism, twisting the truth, hiding important facts, cherry-picking what they show to the public, and brainwashing all the gullible, ignorant people that soak in and believe all that they hear/see on the news?! There are very few things I hate more in this country than the state of our mainstream, openly liberal and shameless media. What happened to honest journalism? (It's almost as extinct as the dinosaurs). 

End of rant.



If someone can spare a prayer or two, please pray for my upcoming interviews and that I may continue discerning my vocation with the help of God...and that it all works out in accordance with His Plan, not mine.

Now let us go and keep on being the salt of the earth and the light of the world!



Thursday, January 22, 2015

APPE Pharmacy Rotation #4: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatrics

My 4th rotation (4 of 6) was at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center (AIMMC) and it went from late November to early January. I introduced this rotation to you briefly in my 7 Quick Takes #44 post. 

It was a tough rotation for two reasons:

1) It was a completely new and unknown area of medicine / pharmacy for me (neonatal medications and doses are completely different and there is a general lack of studies in neonates so medications are often used off-label, without concrete evidence from clinical trials; thus in a lot of cases we have to use our personal/clinical judgement)
2) The hospital is 37 miles away from my house and required a drive not only into Chicago but across Chicago's downtown and all the way into the North side of the city. In order not to spend 2 hours driving one direction, I had to leave my house at 5am, and also stay at the site until 6pm. In the mornings it took ~ 1 hour to get there and in the evening about 1h 20 minutes (if I left anytime between 2pm and 6pm...forget was 2 hours on the dot...thus I stayed after a lot and worked on projects).

And so while my days were very long, they flew by so fast! And despite the long days and long commutes, this was probably my favorite rotation so far!

[[This is why it's important to have pharmacists in the NICU]]

In a nutshell, this was my daily routine on this rotation:
  • 6am --> Free time (b/c I got there super early) which I used for projects, reading, and residency applications
  • 7:30am --> Study charts of newborns in the NICU (paid particular attention to medications, doses, and lab values; noted anything that was off/ questionable/ abnormal)
  • 9am --> Interdisciplinary Rounds in the NICU (consisted of 3 neonatologists, Pharmacist, Pharmacy Resident, Pharmacy Student (me), Head Nurse, Dietician, Social Worker)
  • 10am --> Look through charts of children on the pediatric floor
  • 10:30am --> Pediatric Interdisciplinary Rounds (Pediatrician, Pharmacy Team, Nurses, Social Workers, Child Life Specialist)
  • 11am --> Back to my "office" aka the pharmacists' conference room; free to work on that day's topic discussions that were assigned to me by my preceptor and on projects (while my pharmacist/preceptor was mostly busy checking med orders and answering phone calls from doctors/nurses)
  • 12pm --> Lunch
  • 12:30pm --> Either project time or topic discussions with my pharmacist preceptor and/or resident
  • 2:10pm --> " Change of Shift" pharmacy meeting inside the central pharmacy
  • 2:30pm --> Presented my projects, or worked on my projects, or discussed various disease states ("topic discussion") or medications with my preceptor. Went back up to the NICU if anything else had to be done (ex: TPN ["total parenteral nutrition"] orders).
  • 4:30pm --> Free to go home but I stayed due to traffic and continued to work on residency applications and sometimes blog posts

This is the conference room that they let me use as my work space aka "office." This is also where they held pharmacist meetings and where I presented my projects.

Pictures from my daily commute through downtown Chicago

This was the only day where I saw daylight (and MY MISTAKE, I was stuck in traffic forever).
The rest of the 6 weeks, I left home when it was dark and left the hospital when it was dark.

The things that made me feel alive and joyful and excited on this rotation:
The daily assigned readings and topic discussions (which stemmed from real patient cases we encountered on those particular days) were super interesting to me. Reading pages of pages of material about pregnancy, fetal development, neonatal complications, the medical needs of premature babies DIDN'T even feel like work. I enjoyed it so very much because it allowed me to learn a lot about pregnancy and taking care of newborn infants, especially premature newborns....and to me that was amazing and beneficial not only for my professional life but I took it to heart as a future mother (God willing). Truly, the future mother in me woke up. As I encountered these very premature neonates daily and as I read about their diseases/complications/risks I became very concerned. I paid close attention to all the articles I read in medical journals because I knew that I wasn't just reading this stuff to complete an assignment or to get an A on this rotation...but that this knowledge IS FOR ME, personally.

And just seeing the babies every day was in itself amazing. Each and every one of them was a little miracle from God. I mean, my Lord, some of them were born at 23, 24, and 25 weeks and they did such a great job fighting for their life! 

Oh how happy the babies made me!

As evidence, here's a note that I wrote down on the exact day of my 1st rounds in the NICU:

Today was my first real day in the NICU. Today I saw the babies. <3 <3 <3 <3. So tiny. So fragile. So quiet. So cute. My heart was melting as I walked from incubator to incubator. All preemies in the NICU. I read notes about them in the AM as I prepared for rounds. I read about one of them being 27 weeks. About another weighing only 0.6kg. But I didn't realize how tiny (almost unreal) they were until I saw them. Never seen such tiny babies before. They were all so calm...just sleeping so peacefully. They looked comfortable. I wanted to cuddle each one of them.

I mean this rotation made me so happy that I caught myself just singing both in my car and while walking to the hospital every morning before 6am....I just noticed that throughout this rotation I just kept smiling to myself like an idiot, and singing to myself, and just praying and thanking God for every single day. I am so glad my other rotation was cancelled and God put me here instead - I could definitely see His Will in this. 

I saw a lot of faith in the parents' of the little NICU babies that were fighting for their lives. I saw pictures of the Guardian Angel, of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and even a picture of Jesus of Divine Mercy with the "Jesus I trust in You" emblem (which I thought was awesome...since I am very close to this imagine because St. Faustina, who it was revealed to, is from my home country of Poland and I read her famous diary, which changed me and my life in a lot of ways.) And when I saw those pictures neatly taped to the little preemies' incubators, it reminded me to pray for them also, and so I did. I guess I was there also for reasons other than just simply to be a pharmacy student :-)

And some of the others things that made me happy:
1) the views from the 7th floor medical library
a) on a nice day

b) on a snowy day

And this little nook I found in the library of the hospital, away from everyone, and with a gorgeous view (pictured above). Perfect for my little nerdy, introverted self :-) Perfect to hide from the world and READ medical literature blogs.

The things that made me feel really sad on this rotation:
What depressed me is seeing a baby born very prematurely and struggle and fight for his life...because the mother had a history of drug abuse DURING pregnancy and tested positive for 4 different illicit substances even DURING her delivery. Come on now. You almost killed your baby for very selfish and foolish reasons.

Seeing a baby being re-intubated for the 2nd or 3rd time because they were just not willing to breathe on their own.

Seeing a special nurse place a huge IV needle into this little 25 week old baby's teeny tiny fragile leg (its leg was literally the size of my index finger).

And reading chart after chart after chart and seeing how many women had histories of MULTIPLE abortions. It almost seemed like I saw EAB ("elective abortion") on almost everyone's file. It was unbelievable and dreadful to me to scroll through those patient histories. And I almost started to wonder if these babies that are being born either prematurely or with complications, whether that has anything to do with these women's "choices" to undergo these elective abortion procedures, which are known to be very hard on the woman's body and can often make one infertile or unable to carry another baby to full term. It saddened me deeply to see young women make choices such as doing drugs and killing the babies in their womb, electively, selfishly, for convenience.

And some of the projects I worked on...
I had to do a patient case presentation, a drug information paper, and a journal club.

The powerpoint I made for my Patient Case Presentation, which was on pediatric meningitis.

AND FINALLY, I took some pictures on my iPad in the conference room (I had a lot of project time to myself, haha) and I noticed just how tired I looked by the end of it all, haha. (But I would not have traded this rotation for another one, it was really really great).




And that is all.
Overall, I absolutely loved my NICU/Peds rotation and I know and I know and I know that GOD put me there for a reason!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

7QT #47: Christmas In our Household, 2015 Inspirations, and New Year Reading List

A pic from last Christmas (2013).


We had been living in this house without dining room furniture for way too long. I had my eye on this particular dining room set but we kept putting it off because it was expensive. I definitely  wanted a large china cabinet since I got a set of very nice china and glass for our wedding and I needed a place to store it. But we kept being too cheap. Until thanksgiving, when the whole set went on sale and they also included 2 free chairs and 0% financing, we decided to finally invest in a dining table and china cabinet set. Plus, I had about 30 people over for Christmas Dinner (yep, spent 2 days cooking and baking beforehand) so I was glad we got the dining table so everyone could fit.
Shortly before that, we also decided to repaint our living/dining room. I decided that the cappuccino color I had did not match anything in the room, since our curtains were silver, our couches and other furniture black...and the decorations black/white/gray...I decided to repaint it a gray color. 

We were also too cheap to get our furniture delivered and assembled ($200) so my husband made two trips to the warehouse and picked it up with his pick-up truck. We had a heck of a time putting it together though. I think my husband spent three nights because the chairs came in pieces and took a very long time to screw all the pieces in together. By day 2 of this mess, I wished we had spent the extra $200, but my husband - the hard worker that he is - was motivated and kept going.

Once the furniture was all assembled, it was time for my favorite part! I gave it a  nice clean and polish...and spent almost an entire day arranging the contents of the china cabinet. I have never before taken out the china that we got for our wedding, so I had to take everything out of boxes and unwrap each individual plate. I then had to clean the china, wine glasses, martini glasses, and our lovely shot glass collection, throw it into the china cabinet, and make it pretty. I had lots of fun doing that...and for sure did not go UNASSISTED. My nosy little kitty was with me every step of the way.

This is how it turned out:

And this is our shot glass collection, which was previously hiding in our office..Now we're finally able to display it:


The little one thought the tree decorations were all brand new toys so she chased everything that I tried to move.



Since "the funds are low and the debts are high," we decided to just exchange very simple presents. I got my husband this red frying pan he always wanted and some clothes, and he got me the book I picked out at Costco, which was Dante's Divine Comedy (consists of three books: Danter's Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso). And they're all written in Terza Rima it kind of reads more like poetry, not prose. And this book made it to my 2015 Reading List (see below). ohh.....and who wants my cat for Christmas?? Comes all nicely wrapped - for free, haha.


In summary, 2014 for me consisted of two major things:

Substitute "hang out" with any activity that normal humans do for fun.

(aka working)

JK...counting pills is not all that pharmacy interns do...haha. I also counsel patients, take verbal prescriptions from doctors, answer questions, deal with insurance issues, try to turn away druggies bringing in fake prescriptions, etc. etc. 

Otherwise it was a pretty calm [read: boring] year. I finished up school and started rotations. Now I have 2 rotations left until THEEEE END. 2015 shall be a bit more fun...I have a lot of things to look forward to (also see below).


  • The Holy Bible 

And I'm also reading 
"The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary: From the Visions of Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich"
on my iPad.


It dawned on me the other day,
That the more I read about the lives of the Saints,
the more I get to know them,
I see that NOT a single Saint I know about had an easy life.
They all suffered, they all fought for what is right; 
And none of them was afraid of what other people think or say.
My problem lately (and perhaps for my whole life thus far) is that I take everything very personally and I really overanalyze what others say about me. I am very, very sensitive and let little, silly things "hurt my feelings." Whatever I say or do, I first think "what will others think of me?"
And that's what makes me afraid...this is what might prevent me from doing God's work.

What if it really is???

I don't evangelize and I don't defend my faith openly at work...because I'm always afraid of being judged by people. I'm always afraid of people attacking me (And it can be quite scary, since everyone at my workplace is either openly an unbeliever, or away from God/faith.) 
But what I need to realize is that NOONE AND NOTHING WILL EVER PLEASE PEOPLE ENOUGH (except if they find God) and that PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS TALK CRAP NO MATTER WHAT. People talk crap if you're a good person or a bad person. Doesn't matter - they just need something to talk about. Perhaps I AM their only light, their only chance of hearing about God or seeing faith in action. I need to be more courageous.

The saints didn't care. They were persecuted and constantly made fun of and plotted against. People made their lives difficult on purpose. They just kept on keepin' on. They were focused on GOD, not on what others say. May I live this new year with the Saints in mind.

The following Saints particularly inspire me by their writings and their way of life. In 2015, I will strive to have more of:

The Silence of St. Faustina
The Joy and Little way of St. Terese of Lisieoux
The Wisdom and Courage of St. John Paul the Great
The Humility of Mary
and The Hard work of St. Joseph

And make up for how boring and monotonous 2014 was...2015 will hopefully be a little more exciting (a lot more exciting if all goes well!). Some things to look forward to in 2015:

Board Exams (Naplex)
Pharmacist License
Starting Residency (?)
Getting Pregnant (?)

We'll see what GOD HAS IN STORE FOR US!!!!

But meanwhile, for more (very detailed) updates about my life, go read my recent DISCERNMENT posts:

My Discernment Journey and My Vocation [Part 1]

My Discernment Journey and My Vocation [Part 2]