Friday, December 29, 2006

Hit and run, in reverse

You may be post-call, but you are always on call as a doctor.

I had thought about this statement once or twice before boarding an airplane in fear that a fellow passenger might choke on the inflight meal, get injured in the minuscule bathroom or worse, have a heart attack (which as a pediatrician, I couldn't say I really know how to fix on a plane or elsewhere). Luckily, being called to service has happened to me infrequently.

This morning I was at the gym after a tough 13 hour night shift, not too long, but I was the senior on the floor. This means I was THE doctor in charge, making sure that all 24 patients lived through the night. I was making the critical decisions, and even patted myself on the back this AM for going with my instincts and with G-d's help, helping a very sick baby out of the woods all by myself. I am not bragging, but it is OK to be happy with yourself and Hashem, of course, once in a while :)

I didn't really want to run today but I guess I was meant to, in fact after a little 5 minute warm up I decided to take a rest for a 1/2 hour (watching TV in the gym lounge before starting to run, how fun and indulgent!)
Somehow I did my run, it wasn't too bad, and I was cooling down and looking around when I heard the yelp I dreaded.

HELP ME, SOMEONE!!! behind me a middle aged woman was struggling on a treadmill going at Marathon speed, she then fell, got thrown off, hit her head and was out. Not thinking, I jumped from my treadmill, almost falling myself and repeated over on my head, "airway breathing circulation."

In luck, she was breathing, airway seemed stable and she opened her eyes and said "I'm ok".
Her lip was bleeding, her knees looked badly scraped, but I thought shed be ok. I asked the usual questions, found out she's non medicated, no medical history, and had no chest pain or dizziness. She thought she pressed the wrong button and therefore made the treadmill fly. I got her sitting, she still seemed nervous, but ok for a minute and then..

Her face went pale, her eyes closed and she slowly slumped to the floor in her daughter's arms.
I was freaking out, but a group of bystanders were looking at me, "do something" I guess they saw my T Shirt which read "X- University School of med" . I called for help, I cried internally and wished to be back in med school behind the safety of my desk and textbooks..
The gym had no emergency kit to be found! I had no tools, but my hands, so I put them to work. She was breathing well, had a strong regular pulse which I could feel at her wrists, so I knew her pressure must be ok for now, she was warm, her perfusion was good, not yet in shock, phew!
She opened her eyes and again said " I'm Ok" Then EMS showed up. A female EMS barked at the patient, "where did you hit your head" the patient couldn't speak so well, so I started to say "well, she was on the treadmill and.." again she barked " duh, of course she's on the treadmill, now out of my way" .. I tried to explain, "but I am a doctor, I witnessed, I..." I was shoved by a large orange bag in her hands. Clearly a well trained EMT, she didn't even open her bag to start assessing the patient, and just stormed away muttering about the damn backup not responding to her call.
In the end the patient turned and thanked me as she was wheeled away. It turned out she is an OR nurse at my hospital. She wanted to repay me for being with her, I said to her. "the best thanks would be to be good to the residents and the medical students in the OR , they appreciate a smile and simple kindness more than anything else"
PS, that is a phot I took on safari in South Africa, life should be so serene!

Friday, December 15, 2006

You know it is a bad call night when....

You are slowly inching your way up the four flights in the hospital back stairwell with the coveted chest xray, you went down to pick up, fresh in your hands and you stop to contemplate the joy it would be if the overwhelming fatigue and the throbbing sinus infection headache and chills, "but no you can't ever take a sick day" overcame you and you gracefully colapsed in the stairwell to be found only the next morning when it is time to sign out to the vultures (co-residents).

not that I know from such things....

happy chanukah!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The F word....

F has been getting women in trouble for a long time
F is about liberation
F is a word only whispered in religious neighberhoods
F is a very very dirty word- never talk about it on shidduch dates

and apparently in the past month, "F" is me...

Feminism, that is ( get your mind out of the gutter)

I never used to think I was a feminist, I thought I was a normalist ( an SG word, don't try to find a definition in Websters). I thought that most modern orthodox Jews felt just like me. No big deal, 2006, of course women are no longer considered inferior/weaker/just plain silly...

that is until moving to a religious neighberhood in NY.

I grew up in a coed Jewish education environment, where women were great students, often able to outlearn any guy... which we did, men and women together..
I was a woman, and hence I was ABLE to learn/ do/ be whatever it was that I envisioned in life..
I spent the past few years , the start of my independant adulthood, in a religious out of town community. There women were so involved... women wanted to come to shul and it wasn't just for the chance to talk about stilletos over kiddush..
we made a mizumenet without a blink during all female shabbos meals
and, shanda, we made coed meal where the guys did most of the cooking...

fast forward 7/2005, SG emails the new religious NY community list serve a simple question "where do singles daven friday night?
the answers: "most men go to the following shteibels, I dont think any have womens sections"
"women dont want to/need to daven in shul"
" women are too busy making shabbos to worry about shul"

I resigned to the start of shabbos davening alone on my couch, if at all... before heading off to a "pitty the singles" family meal ( more ranting on being single later)

next I found the most "modern" shul in the hood,
and found the mechitzah alike to the old berlin wall

people would say, "its not tsnius...
women have women only parshah shiurs here, thats enough, no?"

during kiddush, the few married women that showed up, would clump, discussing the virtues of sippy cups and diaper rash horror stories ( dont get me wrong, as a pediatrician, this stuff is important, but not really the meat of a dissertation, you know?)

I was once at a meal with a nice young couple.. I told them how when I get married I might want to make motsei for my husband at our own shabbos table...
the wife said " dont say that out loud here, youll never get married"

a local kiruv organization holds a weekly girls only yoga and parsha class. men have four classes a week, including the one that makes me most jealous.. thursday night cholent, kugel and daf yomi.

it was all adding up

I couldnt take it anymore

I was being silenced, boxed in, limited, simplified and ostracised.

I was dating a guy who wore a black hat on shabbos.. only, he swore he was open minded, and only did things that made sense halachically. In this community he considered himself a free thinker, a liberal. black hat was only clothing, he swore. I agreed, after all, I wouldn't want anyone to judge me only based upon my imelda marcos sized shoe collection.

I needed to give myself some breathing space, so I asked on our 5th date "what do you think of women and gemarah?"

in 2 seconds flat "ASUR!!!! DUH!!!!"

he then continued to quote every gemarah which had something not so nice to say about us flighty women. even the statement he believed which clearly stated women and gemarah are like a calf in its mother's milk (just figuratively speaking)

he said, women have so much to do, at home, at work. why fill their heads with the complexities of gemarah which they most likely wont understand. women can maybe learn a photocopy of a gemarah, but only a quote, not a whole daf. women just dont have the intellectual capacity to learn that level.

I guess, however our intellectual level is sufficient to know a moron when we see one, and I quickly ended that relationship.

then i was at a shabbaton this weekend. women were instructed at the shabbos table ( there were 60 participants) to not sing shalom aleichem. later at the shiur after dinner, a local lawyer/rabbi was giving a dvar torah and mentioned that "wouldn't the woman of the house get so upset if someone brought chametz in on pesach"--- the woman? I question. is the man not upset about chametz? I asked the lady next to me, she looked at me as if I was new to Judaism and explianed, women work hard to keep the house clean, so that's why chametz would bother her! this lady didnt even understand how this comment is based on the notion of gender inequality in the houselhold.
where was orthodoxy during womens liberation?

am I a pediatrician because it is my unanswered womanly desire to nurture my unborn children? (as has been stated to me, to excuse the fact that I spent 27 years of my life in the library and not in the kitchen)

friday night, a "normal" guy at the shabbaton, pursuing a career in secular music said to me "if women go to work, learn gemarah, get advanced degrees, who is going to me the woman?"

well then I guess the men then will have to be degraded to scrubbing toilets.

I ask you, my fellow readers,
question the world around us!
open peoples eyes to inequalities.
support your daughters in their pursuits.
and dont ever limit yourself.

Monday, October 02, 2006

off off and away

Dear friends,

Happy new year!

I am finally taking a vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In a few hours I am going to South Africa!!!!!

I will be back shortly, don't miss me too much!

pray for a Malaria free trip for me!


Thursday, September 21, 2006

going for a dip

A shanah tovah umetukah to all of my devoted readers (you three know who you are!) May your new year be blessed with good health, growth, accomplishment and answers to your prayers!

in the holiday spirit, a Rosh Hashanah pick up line I wrote:

"when I see you I need to make a borei pree haetz, because you are the apple of my eye"

and another pick up line I wrote:

" I don't care if you are are a velvet, suede, srugah, streimel, or bucharian, 'cause you sure are a keepah! ( keeper)

on that note, wishing you a good year!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

complaint of the day

This is my complaint of the day:

Why can't a guy pick a place for a date? If it is a first date, it is not like we have allready gone there together! When I ask, "so, what should I wear, what did you have in mind?""- the answer shouldn't be "ughh... dunno, why don't we meet at this train stop and take it from there..."

can you tell I am not looking forward to tonights date...

wish me luck...


Monday, September 11, 2006


I just wanted to let you know that this morning I did not curse under my breath as I drove to work, nor did I worry about how late I was going to be because the highway drivers took the "high" part too literally. Instead, I smiled and sang out "shabbos kodesh"- eventhough it is manic Monday.
No, I haven't lost it yet...
but I have been recharged!
This weekend was awesome.
I went away to a neighborhood that I love, firstly because some of my favorite friends live there (not that I have any friends that are less favorite), but also because people there are genuine. They are open, welcoming, interesting to talk to and for the most part chilled-out. And they even listen to my rants about dating! I would live there in a NY minute if I could get teleported to work every day.
Most importantly, Shlomo Katz was there for shabbos! ( His music just gets to me. He sings with such soul, such intensity, that I feel each word as if it was my own heart's utterance (no, that sentence was not written with the help of any "medications") The dancing was also so much fun, 5 of my friends from college were there and we all danced like you dance when you are alone in your living room and blasting the radio (don't deny it, I just know you do..) Also, it doesn't hurt that I have a small rock star crush on him. Somewhere inside I am still a 5th grader, I think I was blushing when I said hey and thanked him for the concert. In case you are wondering, Shlomo didn't propose right then and there.

The weekend then got even better, Saturday night I had a sleep-over(since we are in 5th grade) with another friend, we ate noodle kugel till 2 AM, read Cosmo and then she so rudely woke me at 7! 7!!!! to get to the race. How I wanted to roll back over and sleep till Monday..

The race was incredible, as usual. It is so inspiring to see all those women and some men get up early on a Sunday to run together in the park for the sake of millions suffering. I raised almost 700 dollars!!(thank you friends and family who made that possible) It is so much more fun to run with friends and to have perfect strangers handing me cups of water and cheering me on (think I could convince them to stand by my treadmil at the gym?) Also it happened to be a great run, I was not out of breath, in no pain and actually felt that I could run another 5K! (or maybe watch someone else do it while noshing on the free chips they were handing out).

If that wasn't fun enough, my running partner(yeah!!!! Go you!) and I went to a yummy brunch in the city. We had my favorite food(lox) and peanut butter mousse cake (heaven on a plate). Life was sweet until I spied at the next table, an ex boyfriend, his wife and a nanny holding their baby! Are they celebrities? who brings a nanny to brunch to play with your young? I was having such a good time until then.. luckily we avoided eye contact.

The fun continues!

I then bought shoes (animal print ballet flats, I'm sure they will mach with everything) and a cute black dress that doesn't make me look like J. Lo.

I then visited my 20 year old sister at work and a coworker asked us who was older!!! hah! could the day have been better?

next I met some friends for shmoozing and bagels for dinner.

By the time I got home, I just crashed and got 7 full hours of sleep!!

What a weekend!

Don't be jealous, I am at the hospital on call now, wearing my new shoes, humming "shabbos kodesh"..