Sunday, March 13, 2011


Were you on call this weekend? Me too!  Spring forward indeed.  (I would say something wittier here, but I'm tired.)

Very interesting feedback and discussion in response to the last entry, thanks everyone for weighing in.  I think that to generalize is to oversimplify, but I said this in the comments and I'll say it again here: I think the reason that the process of medical training is so stressful for people is because those who go into medicine in the first place usually try their hardest to do their best, no matter how difficult the circumstances. And it can be difficult for us when we feel like our best, for whatever reason, is not enough.  More than the fatigue or the workload or the ridiculous life-and-death stress of working in the hospital, far and away the hardest part for me was feeling like my best was not enough.  Of course, my efforts for the most part were "enough" (at least by most quantifiable metrics and some intangible ones), and though it never felt like enough, I tried my best, then as I do now. As we all do.

Watching the news reports and photos and video footage coming out of Japan these past few days has been incredibly sobering, and puts into perspective how uncertain life can be, and how much we have to be grateful for.  So let's keep up what we do, trying our hardest to do our best.  Here are some ways to help.

(Kyoto, Japan, 2002)


  1. This page: is a good resource for people interested in donating to disaster relief. It ranks organizations that have pre-committed aid to Japan.

    Not to knock on non-profits and disaster-relief programs or discourage donating, but it's always a good idea to take an extra step to make sure your money goes towards where you want it to go, and to find out exactly what each charity's strategies are to provide aid.

  2. Great tip, thanks, Mingle!

  3. When I was an intern, during an evaluation with one of my general medicine attendings--hands-down my favorite attending ever--I said, "It's tough, but I can handle the workload and the exhaustion. The hardest part for me is the constant feeling of inadequacy."

    He smiled warmly and said, "Oh, that feeling never goes away, you just get used to it."

    And it's true. You can never do enough or know enough, but you get more comfortable with it. That's not to say you stop trying to learn more and do more and be the best doctor you can for your patients, but that you don't let it make you so anxious.

  4. Yeah, it’s insane.

    My family can’t get in touch with our aunt and her husband. we’ve tried in here in the states and our family living elsewhere) has tried as well. Hoping it’s just communication overload causing the calls to not go through... They are actually far enough away from the epicenter and tsunami zone so should be ok.

    In a more lighter note, the minute I found out about the earthquakes and tsunami, I texted my friend asking if her boss(a big name photojournalist) was itching to goto Japan. (yep, and my friend was trying to figure out how to get the boss there, with limited ways to get to Japan as every airline was canceling flights around that time). I sorta like to imagine that scene in The Devil Wears Parada (laugh, if you must) Emily’s dad asks if Miranda wants the Natural Guard to airlift her out, and Emily asks, ‘Could I do that?'

    While I prefer photojournalist style of photography for photo hobby, I could never be a real life photojournalist. Esp. the war/disaster documenting type. My body direction runs the opposite of disasters, not towards it.

  5. Anonymous8:53 AM

    From the bottom of the CNN article Michelle linked to:

    For more information, please read CNNMoney's story explaining how donors should watch the crisis unfold before sending contributions. The article also provides tips on what to give, where to give and how to avoid scams.