Nursery Planning – Woodland Decor

Well, there’s a little bundle of joy on the way and I’m starting to think about crafty ways to decorate for the little peanut. Even though we are planning on finding out the sex, I want to stick with green as a basic color and nature/forest/woodland as a theme. If the baby is a girl, I couldn’t bring myself to get all pink-ed out. To each her own, but for this girl: Gross. I was never a girly girl myself and don’t plan on pushing any of my progeny in that direction.

Anyhow, here are some things that I’m hoping to make or purchase or find:

I saw this Acorn Lamp craft on the Martha Stewart show some time ago and thought it looked so whimsical. I thought about making it for our guest room, but never actually got the bug to do it. Now, though, I have a little more motivation!

I like that these use a very low wattage bulb (although with CFLs, I suppose you could go quite a bit brighter) because the acorn looks like it’s glowing when you turn it on. Seems like it could be a good light at night, especially for sleepy, stumbling parents.

I found this room on Oh Dee Oh. It’s is very sparse and while I doubt I will be so restrained in my decorating, I like that it’s not an excessively cutesy space. Too many room ideas I find are way too over the top for my liking. The thing that I really like is the branch above the bed. It has two little fluffy owls perched on it!

I also dig the faux bear skin rug on the floor. It makes me think of a cabin in the woods.

I find terrariums to be so cool and magical. The ones at Green Briar’s Etsy shop are no exception. I envision putting one on a dresser or shelf.

I know that I could make one easily enough, but I’ll have to be on the lookout for cool clear containers like this one is housed in.

Small Constellation MobileI have always been fascinated by Calder’s mobiles and gaze up at them at the Art Institute whenever possible. I like how mobiles look different from various angles and how they sway around, altering their appearance with each movement. This one, found at The Wonderland Studio, looks like a good nursery version.
Birch Tree Decals These birch trees from Single Stone Studios are so statuesque! I think that they would add some height to the room and make it feel more like an intimate space in the forest.
More to come as I continue to nest!

2010 U.S. Census: get counted, but watch out for frauds

The Better Business Bureau recently issued a helpful, cautionary announcement regarding the upcoming U.S. Census. You can read it in its entirety at this link. The main pieces of advice (copied directly from the article) are:

1. If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions.  However, you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.

2. Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census.  While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, it will not ask for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers nor will employees solicit donations.

3. Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail or in person at home.  However, they will not contact you by e-mail, so be on the look out for e-mail scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an e-mail that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Additionally, the U.S. Census site provides guidelines for how to address a census taker, including asking to see government ID, that a census taker will never ask to enter your home, and finally, to call your regional census bureau if you are unsure if the person is legit.

The way to avoid a visit all together is to fill out your census form early. According to the Census 2010 website, no one should come to your home if you submit the written form early. If you submit the form early and still receive a visit, it should certainly increase your suspicion that the census taker may be a faker. If you submit your form a little late (after your house has been assigned to a census taker), then you may receive a visit in error.

“What if I don’t fill in the form? Many residents who do not complete and return a 2010 Census form will receive a replacement form. If no form is mailed back, residents can expect a personal visit from a census taker some time after March 2010. The census taker will ask you the questions on the form, record your answers and then submit the form for your household. Learn more about the census taker.”  (

The site also has info on how to make sure you do not fill out a counterfeit form, what information you are required by law to provide, etc.

Happy Census!

Bottom of the Third

There are only 5 days remaining in my third year of medical school. I don’t know where the time has gone. While preparing for my final exam in pediatrics, I’ve also been a bit overwhelmed by the responsibilities that lie ahead. My fourth year schedule is a bit up in the air right now as I shuffle various electives to try to solidify the “strategy” behind my schedule. I find that there are not enough months in the fourth year to do all of the electives that I want to do. Fourth year is generally seen as a fun and relatively relaxed year (especially the second half when residency applications are submitted and interviews are over). However, as I look ahead, I know that this upcoming year is the last year where I will not be responsible for patient care. I have been providing patient care all year, but not nearly as independently as I will during my intern year. It’s scary to think of that. Also, I continue to struggle with my residency choices. I am sure that I love surgery, but not sure that I am willing to give up the other components in my life to the degree that will likely to necessary. I don’t know where I belong. I want to look back on my choice and say that it was correct, that I would do it all over again. I want to lead a happy, fulfilling life. I don’t want my life to be my work. I want work to be a rewarding part of my life. This is an ongoing conflict in my head. I’m trying to work it out. I’m trying to become centered in myself and in the world around me. I’m doing yoga. I’ve made a serious decision to commit to daily meditation. I’m hoping that these efforts will help me find my path.

Recent Events:

On Friday, I presented my first academic poster. It was on a survey study that my friend and I conducted on healthcare worker decision-making styles (medical students, residents, fellows, attending doctors, nurses, social workers, and Ph.D.s). It went very well and we’re looking forward to writing our manuscript. I think that we have an excellent chance of getting published – which would be awesome. It is so rewarding when work pays off.


Starting next Thursday, I will be taking my first guitar class at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I essentially taught myself guitar (with the help of a few friends), and I’ve stagnated in my progress. I’m hoping to pick up some new skills and meet some new people. I’m always looking to hang out with non-medical people.

In one week (during my medical school vacation), I have a three day long intensive ethics consultation course. The course actually lasts several weeks, but most of it is online. I’m really looking forward to practicing my consultation skills. I haven’t lead a consultation since before medical school. I’m also excited to hear how other people have been trained – what works for them, what has been troublesome, effective, etc. I think that there are so many ways to do it well and I’m happy to have the opportunity to see more than my limited viewpoint.

How to search for bioethics literature

If you are looking for ways to access bioethics literature, here are several options that I have found to be useful.

1. Your university/institutional library:
If you are affiliated with a university or other institution that has access to online research tools, then your library will You can search for ethics resources in the same way that you would search for any other resources in Ovid. I usually search for a topic (such as “informed consent” or “access to medicine”) and then also search for “ethics” and map the two together. Most major journals include ethical topics in their scope of interest. Depending on the level of accessibility that your institution provides, you may have full text access to these articles.

4. Project MUSE (“full text, affordable access to current content from prestigious humanities and social sciences journals”)
6. Ethic Share – this search engine for ethics papers was recently launched. It has a great collection of sources. Although it is designed to link into your institution’s library system (I assume so that you could link to full text when available), that feature does not seem to be functioning at this time (at least not for me). I’m guessing that as the system is up longer, this issue will be resolved.
7. HighWire Press (Stanford) – Access to free online full text articles. According to its site “HighWire Press is the largest archive of free full-text science on Earth.” Not all articles are free, but many are, so it’s worth taking a look.
Good luck with your research!

CiM: Medical Specialty Preference Inventory

Careers in Medicine is a website that my school encourages us to use. I took the Medical Specialty Preference Inventory which helps rank the 6 main specialties.

“Specialty preference scores indicate your overall level of preference for each of 6 medical specialties. Scores of 73 and higher indicate a preference for a specialty with higher scores indicating greater preference. Scores of 69 and lower indicate little preference for a specialty with lower scores indicating lesser preference.”

At least I feel like there is some consistency in terms of what I think I’m interested in and what these surveys indicate.

Surgery-General 74

Obstetrics and Gynecology 49

Internal Medicine 48

Pediatrics 48

Family Medicine 42

Psychiatry 36

Medical Specialty Aptitude Test

This morning I took the Medical Specialty Aptitude Test from Virginia University Medical School. It’s a 130 question test that helps guide you in terms of which specialties might best fit you. It’s open to anyone, so if you are just curious what kind of a doctor you might be if you followed that path, give it a try.

I am actually quite impressed with how close it is to specialties I am currently considering: general surgery and anesthesia (both of which came out in my top 7). Colorectal surgery is a fellowship after general surgery, so those really don’t sit independently. Nuclear medicine is a fellowship after Radiology. Urology is a surgical subspecialty. Dermatology is its own subspecialty, which precludes the need for a 3 year internal medicine residency.

Also impressive is that the bottom choices are also what I consider to be my bottom choices through personal reflection. Psychiatry, neurology, internal medicine and family medicine are all important fields, but I do not fit into them at all.

I am amused by the fact that aerospace medicine (whatever that is) lies so low on the list considering that I am married to an aerospace engineer.

Rank Specialty Score
1 colon & rectal surgery 47
2 nuclear med 46
3 urology 45
4 general surgery 45
5 dermatology 44
6 radiation oncology 44
7 anesthesiology 43
8 emergency med 43
9 nephrology 43
10 pathology 43
11 occupational med 42
12 radiology 41
13 thoracic surgery 41
14 obstetrics/gynecology 41
15 gastroenterology 41
16 hematology 40
17 ophthalmology 40
18 plastic surgery 40
19 otolaryngology 39
20 orthopaedic surgery 39
21 pulmonology 39
22 infectious disease 39
23 med oncology 38
24 neurosurgery 37
25 rheumatology 37
26 cardiology 37
27 allergy & immunology 36
28 endocrinology 36
29 preventive med 36
30 pediatrics 36
31 aerospace med 35
32 psychiatry 34
33 neurology 34
34 physical med & rehabilitation 30
35 general internal med 30
36 family practice 29

U of C heading towards patient “dumping”

Current U.S. health care policy prohibits the “dumping” of patients. This means that a hospital cannot refuse to admit a patient based on factors such as insurance coverage so that the patient would need to seek care elsewhere. 

Here’s the quick and dirty:

In the initial article last week, the Chicago Tribune wrote about a child mauled by a pitbull patched up and turned away  by the University of Chicago ER staff. According to the report, his lip was nearly ripped off. He was given a tetanus shot, antibiotics, and told to follow up at Cook County Hospital a week later. The patient’s mom, who works in health care, didn’t buy it and took an hour long bus ride to Cook County that night, where her son was rushed to surgery. 

Response from U of C’s COO and Associate Dean, as well as the Section Chief of Plastic Surgery. They state that the decision to delay surgery was based on sound medical judgement, not based on insurance status. 

The plot thickened today as the nation’s leading group of emergency physicians, American College of Emergency Physicians, responds to the story. 

“Dr. Nick Jouriles, ACEP’S president, criticized the hospital’s Urban Health Initiative, which diverts patients to clinics and hospitals on the South Side. Jouriles said the hospital is trying to “cherry pick” wealthy patients over poor.

‘This is a dangerous precedent that could have catastrophic effects in poor neighborhoods across the country,’ Jouriles said in the ACEP statement, calling on Congress needs to hold hearings about hospital emergency care.”