"Are You There Vodka? It's Me…Jules"

20 something healthcare professional trying to figure out career, love, and life…

Updates and things

Hello again WordPress.  It’s been awhile…but wow, what a roller-coaster I’ve been on for the past few months.

In my last entry, I wrote about my mom being diagnosed with cancer.  A couple months after that entry, she was diagnosed with a second cancer.  She didn’t cry while we were at the hospital, but for me, I’ve never cried so much in my life.  We’ve gone through many bumps in the road…lots of hospitalizations, waiting around for test results, code-blues, prayers from the hospital priest, ER visits, etc.  We are still battling the cancers, but I’ve realized that my mom is the toughest woman I know.  There’s lots of tears, frustration, waiting, but in the midst of everything, lots of love and a better appreciation for family, time, and the small victories in life.

After seven long years of knowing and falling in love with “E”, things finally came to an end.  He never gave me respect of explaining why things never worked and providing some form of closure for me, but I will be okay.  It just took me longer than usual to learn that I do not deserve to be promised all the empty promises he made and treated like I do not really matter at all.  I started attending single’s events and found myself being more guarded, reserved, and skeptical that love exists for someone like me.  During an event, I met “S” and we hit it off.  Whatever this thing we have going on is…it has been very passionate to say the least.  Last weekend, he looked me in the eye and asked how a woman like me exists.  “You’re beautiful…and smart..how are you even real..” he asks.  I’ve never had any man tell me something like this, and I am interested to see where this leads.

In my previous entries, I also wrote about how I found the right job for me.  Fast forward a few months later, it didn’t turn out to be a right fit for my personality.  I was making lots of money but I was so bored and frustrated.  I ended up stepping down from my position and started a new job about 2.5 months ago.  It is a paycut, but if I had a dream job in pharmacy, this job is it.  I’m not going to specifically say where I work now..but I work in a government position where I get to deal with a lot of psychiatry and a more progressive healthcare model..which I love.

So all in all, this is what has been happening with me.  I will update again..hopefully soon. 🙂

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As a healthcare professional…

As a healthcare professional, I am taught to empathize with people but at the same time, still remain professional and emotionally stable.  During my fourth year of school, I had an oncology rotation where I got to speak with and meet many terminal cancer patients on a daily basis.  Sometimes they would cry, express how they’re scared of falling asleep and never waking up again, the pain they are enduring, etc.  I remained collected throughout the entire rotation even though their stories can get overwhelming.  Even at the start of my career now, my co-workers mention that I am very level-headed, calm, and stable in stressful situations.

Recently my mom had a doctors appointment.  The labs looked weird…the results did not make sense, and further tests were done.  It turns out that my mom has cancer.

As a healthcare professional, I am trying to be calm and rational about it.  As a daughter, I just want to cry.  I honestly don’t know how strong I can be throughout this process.  I am not sure if I am going to be able to handle seeing my mom going through her battle with cancer..

“Things have a way of working out…”

…said my favorite pharmacist when I was not offered a full time position after graduation to a company I committed 4 years to during grad school.  It felt like the end of the world then because I have loans to pay off and my boyfriend was not flexible about moving.  I then decided to try the residency process, because what was there to lose?  I went through the whole process and ended up not matching to a residency program in the end.  “Oh..my…God…what’s going to happen to me?”, I wondered when I got the email that I didn’t match a couple months shy of graduation.

Two weeks before my graduation, a district manager at a company that I wasn’t too familiar with called me to set up a phone interview.  I was sitting in my car in a parking garage before at my internal medicine rotation doing a phone interview.  We chatted for about 20 minutes and I was offered a position on the spot.  I had no idea what I was thinking, but I accepted.

The next week, I quit both my jobs I had for the past 4 years, turned down a $30,000 sign on bonus from elsewhere, and I never looked back.

Fast forward a few months later to today!  Yes, I am still alive and I am happy with where I am and felt like I made the right choice.  Getting a doctorate degree was a long journey, and I would never want to go through it again.  There were lots of obstacles, anxiety issues, tears, and heartbreaks along the way.  Anyway, my life has finally calmed down a bit so hopefully I can start posting regularly!

Life then and now

If you don’t know much about me, I am currently in my last year of a doctorate program.  I have 5 more months of rotations to get through, have been interviewing for awhile, and started getting a few job offers.  I received offers for a 6 figure salary plus $30,000 sign on bonus, $126/hour for overtime hours, and very competitive wages in this market if I return back home and work in medically-underserved communities.  If you asked me a few years ago, this was seriously what I wanted to do with my life.  I even wanted to join the corps, Indian reserve programs, travel around the world, and eventually return home to continue my career.  In a few more months, I can have everything I’ve wanted career-wise.  Why would I give it up?

Back in my undergrad days, I met a cop and didn’t think much about it.  But now, I honestly think he is the love of my life.  This is very unlike me, and it’s kind of scary, but I would give up nearly everything to stay around him.  If it means I would make a lot less money and be away from home, I am okay with it.

Back then I wanted to get married at 35 or later, but now I’d like to settle down with a family before I turn 30.  It is SO weird that at 25 years old, I think like this.  I figured when I’m old and dying one day, my career is the last thing on my mind.  I’d want to die knowing that I was able to connect fully and intimately with another human being.

True Love

I am currently doing my rotations at a psychiatric hospital. Every week I lead an education group, where the patients can share their experiences with their disease state. There’s an older lady who attends these group sessions, but she never really says anything…she’s just lost in her own world.

One day during group, she raised her hand. I gave her the floor, and she spoke about her husband. Her husband is a military veteran. She spoke about how back in the day, he’d go to war, but they would still exchange letters constantly. She then went on about how he visits her everyday she’s in the hospital, how he loves her despite her disease, and how she hopes he can take her home today during visiting hours.

After the session, I went to make some documentations in her chart and saw that her primary clinical diagnosis is psychosis. Psychosis is characterized by hallucinations and delusions…things that are not real…things that normal people do not see and/or hear. So despite her losing touch with reality, she is still able to grasp what’s real in her life–the love her and her husband share. My eyes were watery at that point because I’m a sucker for real love stories like that.

Does this type of love still exist today? I hope so, and I hope I can share something like that in the future. I feel like we’re in a generation where the mentality is just a “hit ’em, and quit ’em” attitude. It seems like we’re not too concerned about sticking around. What are your thoughts?

I’m still alive!

I haven’t died yet. I started rotations and I’m still working my two jobs, so things have been super busy. I usually wake up around 5:30 am in the mornings and have just been super exhausted by the time I get home. In addition, it just so happens that I now have psoriasis. Go figure…it just happens to appear when I’m 25. I’ve been to the doctor’s more times that I’ve been in the past 20 (??) years. It’s just been soo frustrating and annoying to deal with rashes/redness/plaques all over my back, stomach, chest, neck, elbows, legs, ears, and scalp. I’m always dry, flaky and itchy, and get self-conscious.

Life and Stuff

Whenever I start something new in my life, like a new school year or a new job, my parents always give me a red envelope with a few dollars in it, and wish me luck for whatever I am starting.  For some reason they believe in that stuff.  I’m not superstitious, but I keep those envelopes close to me (like in my purse or backpack) when I’m starting a new school year or going to work.  I guess it reminds me that I have people rooting for me, and people who honestly believe that I am going to be successful at whatever I try.  It serves as a reminder to always put my best foot forward and not be scared of what lies ahead.  

Tomorrow, I start my fourth and final year of my doctor of pharmacy program. The last year of these programs consists of rotations full time, thinking like an actual pharmacist, waking up early to be at the hospital for rounds, etc…  I haven’t been able to go home in awhile to see my parents, so no red envelope this year.  My stomach was hurting all day because of all this anxiety building up about the upcoming year.  I hope I succeed, and end up with a career I am passionate about.  From now on, I’ll most likely blog more about my rotation experiences, so when I apply for residencies, I have some stories/experiences to go back to.  

You know you are poor when…

You know you are poor when you go grocery shopping and random customers hand you coupons for ramen.

So anyway, due to recent financial hardships (see previous blogs), I’ve been having to pick up extra shifts at work while doing school full time and rotations at the same time.  In addition to trying to save some extra money and help out my parents, I’ve also been trying to find ways to pinch a dollar.

For example, I was comparing the prices of ramen at the grocery store last night after work.  Do I want the 18 cent ramen, or since it was my payday, should I splurge for the microwaveable 76 cent ramen??  I guess I looked like I was thinking really hard because a random grocery shopper came up to me and asked if I wanted to use her coupon for ramen.  And yeah, that’s how I know I am SUPER poor lol.  

*sigh, I can’t wait to start with a 6 figure salary upon graduation, hopefully.  One more year of this crap to get through…

 

In his/her shoes

I would consider myself a pretty liberal person in terms of my social and political views.  If someone asked me what I thought about ObamaCare, I’d tell them that I support the act.  When the open enrollment period opened up, I browsed through the site and thought it looked super easy to use, and thought about how great it is how families can now easily sign up for affordable healthcare.  

Then a couple months later, both of my parents lost their jobs and subsequently, our family health insurance.  I was looking into coveredca.com to sign the family up for a new plan, and thought of some specific questions I wanted to call about and ask before signing up.  I called the toll-free number, and was put on hold for OVER an 1.5 HOURS and never got to speak to anyone so I hung up.  I gave my parents the Chinese toll-free number and asked if they could call.  They were put on hold for HOURS and never got to speak to anyone at  either.  I found some “certified agents” about 30 minutes away from home (closest one to us since we are from the middle of nowhere), for my parents so they can go in person to ask.  Well, they drove for over 30 minutes and it turned out that the certified agents did not know how to answer their questions anyway.  Basically we went around in circles and ended up not getting anywhere.  I was ready to flip my desk upside-down or punch a wall.  

I always thought the US healthcare system was fucked up anyway, and was glad changes came about, but when you really look into the process, the whole thing has been poorly executed, like the Republican radio show has been saying.  =/  

Whenever I have MediCal patients come into the pharmacy at work, and something goes wrong with their billing, we usually just tell them to call the MediCal offices and figure it out themselves.  They get frustrated at us and start acting rude, so a lot of us will just roll our eyes when we send them off without their meds.  Now I have a lot more empathy towards these people.  Imagine being put on hold by your insurance for over an hour just to find out why you are considered “ineligible”, right after you spent hours at the doctor’s office and pharmacy?  And on top of that, imagine if you had screaming/crying kids in the background because their infection hurts so much and you had to leave the meds back at the pharmacy because you couldn’t pay the out-of-pocket price?  

I hope the system improves in the near future.  If I ever get a government job (my dream career) with the dept. of health and human services, I’d definitely try to do everything I can to help, because you are affecting the lives of real individuals/families on the other line.

Can this year be over already? (ramblings)

I haven’t updated in awhile…but if you read my last post about “J” the physicist, things didn’t work out with him.  Long story short, we went on a few more dates and I really wanted to like him because he is a nice guy, but I wasn’t into it.  The whole time, I was thinking about how much it was my ex that I was with instead.

Last week, I got a call from my mom, saying that both her and my dad have lost their jobs that they’ve been at for over 30 years.  My parents do not speak English, and my hometown does not consist of any other Asian people, so it will be super hard for them to find something else.  Things are about to change a lot.  They asked me how to go about applying for unemployment, food stamps, MediCal (since we’re losing our health insurance), and I really had no clue where to start.  I currently work 3 jobs while attending grad school full time (20 units/semester+clinical rotations) in order to pay for my rent and interest on my pharmacy school loan, and everything else.  Oh yeah, and my ex came back from an assignment overseas after months, so I was at his house that night.  Anyway, I was so overwhelmed because now I have to sort out all this stuff for my parents on top of all my other responsibilities, that I just started bawling my eyes out in front of him that night.  He’s a tough guy because he’s law enforcement/military, so that was pretty embarrassing.  But just having him with me that night was comforting, and I was suddenly reminded of how much I want him back.

Anyway, with everything going on, it is honestly very hard to be positive.  I’m not sure if I’m strong enough as I’ve been crying almost everyday due to stress.  Pharmacy school isn’t cheap, so most of my classmates come from more privileged backgrounds.  I know it’s bad and none of my business, but I can’t help but feel annoyed with their lifestyle and how bratty/immature some of them are.

I’ll try to end this entry on a more uplifting note…

My dad never finished jr. high back in China.  When he turned 18, he walked/slept on the streets for 1 week…from rural China, all the way to the city (Hong Kong) for a job as a lowly salesman.  He left his family and the comfort of home, so the only thing motivating him was the hope that he could someday move to America, so that his future children could have a life filled with the freedom to pursue their dreams.  When he was in California, he worked a minimum wage job while my mom was pregnant with me.  They didn’t know about welfare assistance programs, so they raised my sister and I, saved up/bought a new house, a new car, and saved for future college educations all on their own!  Growing up, I grew up with this type of work ethic and self-motivation to look up to and model.  So yeah, times are going to be rough in the next few years, but if there is one thing that makes us stand out is the fact that we’re hard/honest workers and our perseverance when it comes to challenges.

Thanks for reading and please send good vibes my way!