Friday, August 30

inside out and back again

Happy Friday, y'all! This week I successfully finished my 6th read of 2013 (halfway through my goal of reading 12 leisure books this year). My mom is in grad school to be a librarian, so she is constantly recommending little gems for me to read! This particular gem is called Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai. 

This novel incorporates much of the author's actual experiences as a young girl fleeing Saigon during wartime. It is written from the perspective of of a 10-year-old girl who loves long hair, papayas, and her home in South Vietnam. Together with her widowed mother and three older brothers, she is uprooted and journeys across the ocean to Alabama. In Alabama she must learn a new language, new cultural practices, and a new way of life. The author successfully draws you in to the 10-year-old protagonist's thought processes. She is sassy, determined, and wistful. I love her. 

This lovely story is a very quick read, I think I read it in 5 hours or so. I recommend it as little day trip in the mind of a child, it's always good to remember to look at life through the eyes of a child from time to time :)

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, August 20


Tonight, I finally finished Dan Brown's latest installment, Inferno. I have been carrying around my copy of Robert Langdon's latest adventure since May, when the novel was released. For some reason, it just took me forever to get through! I suppose it could have something to do with my end-of-may Vegas vacation (no time for reading when you're busy sunning and drinking), and my "full-time job" (for which I am paying a hefty price to do) called 3rd year clinicals. Alas, I have finished it (and with this book, I have finished my 5th book of 2013 --- in case you didn't know, I have a personal goal of reading 12 books this year). 

I'm glad Dan Brown decided to stick with Robert Langdon for his protagonist in this story. In Deception Point and Digital Fortress (in which Langdon was not a character), I just pictured Robert Langdon as the protagonist anyway. It's just easier this way. 

This novel follows Langdon, a symbologist/art history nerd who teaches at Harvard, as he gets involved in an international life-and-death quest involving a brilliant lunatic of a genetic scientist. Naturally. As far as Dan Brown's novels go...this was not his best work. My enjoyment of Dan Brown novels goes in this order:

Angels & Demons > Da Vinci Code > Deception Point > The Lost Symbol = Digital Fortress = Inferno

In my (humble?) opinion.

However, if you're a Dan Brown enthusiast, you should probably just go ahead and read this. It's got adventure, art, architecture, mystery, bloodshed, and of course there's a girl. There's always a girl. Robert Langdon shows regular nerds out there that you don't have to be James Bond to always have a hot girl as your sidekick.

Grade: C+ / B-

Have you read this book? What did you think?
What are you reading lately? I need some amazing books on my "to read" list :)


Monday, August 19

loving life

Wow, this is my first blog post about ME, and not a book, in a very VERY long time. I have been incredibly busy since the start of Physician Assistant school in May of 2011, and blogging has most definitely taken a back seat to everything else in my life. I still enjoy blogging about the books I read though, because it keeps me mindful of my goal to nourish the inquisitive and creative part of me that likes to learn about things beyond medicine.

School has been SUCH an amazing roller coaster! The 2011-2012 school year was a whirlwind of science, new friends, factoids, diseases, factoids about diseases, tests, anxiety about tests, failure, depression about failure, success, relief, and collapse. 2012-2013 by comparison was a walk in a magical park filled with sunshine, frolicking baby animals, and world peace. But it was still hard. Now that I am officially in the 2013-2014 year of school (the last leg), I am just filled with joy every day that I have made it here! There were SO many times in my 1st year of PA school that I wanted to give up. Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (May = graduation), I am beyond grateful that I somehow persevered, passed all of my classes, and didn't end up in an insane asylum. Thanks to the assistance of my classmates, friends, family, husband, puppies, my treadmill, and Zoloft, I'm going to make it out of this alive.

I remember being 18 years old and wanting to be a Pediatrician. "But I'm not good at science," I said. So I diverted from that path for a while, only to realize at the age of 21 that yeah, I still wanted to be a Pediatrician. However, I learned about the great gig of the PA, and went that route. I did my first General Pediatrics rotation in June, and my heart was so happy each and every day I was there. I adored the kids and loved the opportunity to provide education to both parents and children about their development. I think it just might be the perfect fit for me!

Before working in General Peds, I got a variety of experiences in other specialties. Some specialties, really neat and useful. Others...not for me. I worked in Asthma and Allergy, Family Medicine, Peds Pulmonary (oh neat, asthma again), General Surgery (no thanks, I prefer my patients to be awake), Hospice (AMAZINGGGGG!!!), Peds Orthopedics/Sports Medicine, Peds GI (pooooop), and more Family Medicine. There, that's my resume.

In July of this year I got to work in the nursery at Denver Health, which was really fun. Most of you probably know that before PA school I worked as a CNA in the well-baby nursery at Rose. I have missed the little tiny peanut babies so much! So working in the nursery was like being brought back into my comfort zone. And while I adored the babies, I found that I need a little more variety in my population. Surprisingly, having your patients be babies who are o - 48 hours old gets a little repetitive.

I am now working in Peds Neurology - which is so cool. What is your reaction to the word, "seizure" ? Is it something like the hyenas' reaction to "Mufasa!!!" in the Lion King? Yeah, my reaction used to be like that too. Seizures are scary, because, well, we don't know many people in our day-to-day lives who have seizures. What I'm learning is that a) a seizure is not just a seizure, there are like 7,534 types of seizures, b) not all seizures are really bad, c) plenty of people with seizures have totally normal and fulfilling lives, they just have little blips in the brain sometimes (like a literal brain fart). Seems like common sense - of course kids with seizures lead pretty normal lives! But sometimes you have to really see it to believe it. I am working with a pretty incredible population. The kids are awesome, and the dedication these parents have to their children is beautiful. Being in this rotation makes me both terrified and inspired to become a parent. (speaking of babies - yes we still want them, however, now is still not great timing, so just calm down.)

Coming up in the remainder of my education, I will be journeying through: Internal Medicine, Peds Inpatient, Peds Dermatology, Adolescent Medicine, Salud Family Med (my "rural" month will be in Fort Collins! Ha!), Emergency Department, Psychiatry, and OB/GYN. I still have lots of medical flavors to experience this year, and I am excited for this opportunity! So that's me.

Then there's Tyler. He is doing amazing at life, per usual. Rocking his 4th and final year of medical school, got his Masters in Public Health last year in his spare time, and is applying for Family Medicine residencies. At some point in March we will basically be told, "Welp, here's where you're going to live for 3 years." Then we go live there starting June of 2014 until Tyler gets his Doctor training wheels removed (because being a resident is like being a toddler... super valid comparison I think). Tyler also has joined the elite 1% of crazies who run marathons, he ran 1 in 2012 and 1 so far in 2013. Ridiculous --- So just keep being awesome Tyler, not like you know how to do anything else :)

Then there's our puppies. Our sweet little furbabies that are now both 4 years old! They went to the vet today, and Gryffin is still stoned from the anesthesia from his teeth cleaning. We were also told today that Penny has abnormal liver function lab values today. Greaaaaaat. Our problem puppy is at it again! Crossing my fingers that her liver was just playing jokes, so we'll recheck labs in a month and tell the liver to behave this time. But they're both doing great, and they looooove the fact that daddy not trains for marathons. 

So that sums up the Aurora brood pretty well. On the off chance that we get out of the house for a few hours, you can find us at church or a pub playing trivia. 

Well, friendly reader, you're probably really bored by now, I know I am. So I'll sign off. Maybe now that I'm in the magical land of 3rd year, I'll keep up with my blog a little better! (no promises)

CHEERS (to love, life, and happiness!!!)


I'm embarrassed. It's been almost 5 months since my last post! YIKES, that's bad. I have ***so*** much to catch you all up on! Naturally, I shall start with a book review (#4 of 2013)...

I read the book Shine by Lauren Myracle in May. 

You know those books that just touch you to the core, and ignite in you the desire to help the world be a better place? Shine was one of those books for me. Shine takes place in a small, tight-knight, intolerant community in the South. The story follows the antagonist, Cat, as she reels from the news that her best friend was brutally attacked for being gay. Cat works diligently to try to solve the mystery of who in her community would take intolerance that far. With the gossiping religious folk in her community thinking that victim deserved his attack as punishment for his sins, Cat doesn't have much support in her quest. But when Cat uncovers a rampant meth use problem amongst her peers, some of the most unlikely people become suspects. 

This story is a mystery and coming of age story all at once. It addresses the monstrosity that is meth, and how drastically it impacts individuals and communities. It doesn't shy away from the theme of hate crimes, and the fact that it is an unfortunate reality still in 2013.

This book encouraged me to not give up on the world. Instead of shaking my head in shame at the horrific things that occur every day worldwide, I need to keep trying to be a part of the solution to the world's problems. Lofty goals? Yes. Cliche? Yes. Heartwarming and empowering? Also, yes.

For a powerful and sobering read, please check this one out. 

Cheers (and check back for a real life update on me, not just my reads)