Tuesday, December 30, 2014

tie a bow on that 2014

I love the holidays. Speaking of which, hello again. I'm sneaking in just to write my last post before 2014 is up. I timed my entire morning routine this morning. I think if I hurry a bit, I could squeeze in a sweat session in the mornings before school. That's something new I want to try in the new year (that resolution thing, you know).

I love the idea of celebrating the year just ended with every birthday (thanks Jessie for this throwback post) and the same goes for this calendar year. Beginning of the summer before clinic, I wrote down a few goals I had for myself:

- Get comfortable speaking to patients about their needs (including finances)
- Integrity.
- Get confident about my clinical skills. Breatheeeee.
- Learn to be a good team player with faculty/staff/classmates in the hectic (often very stressful environment)

Looking back on my journal from the past few weeks, I'm on my way. I'm not there yet, but good thing I have 1.5 more years of dental school left!!! And to know that I'm on the right path with my amazing faculty and my inspirational classmates in this nurturing environment, that alone is enough for a celebration. 

Here's to 2014, for all its joys and hardships. 

Happy holidays! And thanks for sticking with me throughout this crazy adventure... even when I'm being a vacation bum and refusing to do anything dental related. ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

checklist to Christmas

I'm flying out tomorrow, I made this list and I'm checking it twice.

- Get into the mood of Christmas. My apartment is feels so very winter-y and Christmas-y with the addition of one single string of Christmas lights. Frank Sinatra was singing Christmas songs in clinic all week long.

- Finish Christmas shopping at the most beautiful store in the world. Holiday shopping becomes twice as festive at our Center City Macy's. 

- Prep the second inlay, conquer (all) fears. Second time is much better. I got started on my second gold inlay before leaving for the break! This time, I knew the sequence of events and generally felt more at ease. I even took the final impression by myself! 

When Dr. N finally ok'd my final inlay impression, I did a little happy dance in my head. 

- Get a little crazy about Christmastime. I wish this was my chair... but it's Sharon's set for the next Bad Tooth Productions. After our exam this morning, I blasted Christmas music while packing clothes for my trip... really I just packed twelve dangly earrings that look like Christmas tree trimmings.

And watch Sharon's final video here (this is what Penn Dental is really like, 100%)

Merry Christmas & happy holidays! Safe travels, everybody. See you on the other side of the Pacific! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Three things I've learned from clinic

Do you remember how you felt at the beginning? When you just began piano lessons or learned a new sport, a new board game...  I'm now six months into my career. And as I continue on this journey of career-growing pains, I keep coming back to Amy Cuddy's "fake it 'til you become it" TED talk.

These three things I've learned, I keep reminding myself over and over again.

1. Let go of things you can't control. 
I call this my "Jesus take the wheel" mantra. A short excerpt of things I get frustrated about: lab turn-around time on an inlay, a patient's diagnosis of aggressive periodontitis, that root canals cost almost ten times as much as extractions. Even the fact that this patient has cavities! Today I almost shed tears telling a patient she has cavities on half of her teeth. Now I know I could never be an oncologist.

These are out of my hands. Only thing I'm doing is raising my blood pressure.

2. Have a sense of humor.
When things get ridiculous, all you can do is laugh. I shared my rotation with Jordan (whose Q+A I loved writing) and it was a continous laughing session. He cracked jokes with patients, gave them elbow fives (compliant with Penn's strict infection control guidelines...), and spoke in accents. Like my friend Maura says, "always gotta look like you're having fun!" 

saw this ridiculousness going home last night: look at the window!

3. Accept your suckiness.
As cynical as this sounds... it's true. Unless you are a certain Alex in our group, your best days are yet to come. (And it's probably true for him too) And it's not just hand skills, for me it is:

- being assertive and confident talking to patients
- being flexible (like when a resin becomes an amalgam I am in full panic mode- because I wasn't mentally prepared)
- accurately estimate my working time (don't let my appointments run over to 5:30PM)
- not taking the short cut (like finishing perio probings in a hurry)

I'm always counting my blessings: having such wonderful mentors, having amazing/helpful upperclassmen (I've grabbed them halfway in tears), being in the best group (self-reported) at Penn dental. I'm inspired every day and challenged every single moment.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hanging out with Jordan the future orthodontist

I have a special post today! Because I got called out by Jordan that "posts have been slacking lately", I decided to recruit his help. So here it is: why he's glad he's going to orthodontics, what he does in his free time, and why every ramen needs an egg.

Meet Jordan K. Graduate of UVA '12, master of rhythm and rhyme (most of these I've transcribed word for word...), future orthodontist. Today we had our oral surgery rotation together and between extractions and consults we talked about d-school life, with comments from Brian, Matt, and Jay. 

Studying the skill... not talking about football: from L- Brian, Jordan, Matt.

Yesle: So how is third year going?
Jordan: It's good, although not conducive to napping. If I nap, it's from 5-8PM after class, then I gotta wake up, eat my ramen noodle with an egg, study, gotta watch my SportsCenter... (Brian and Matt comment on the egg) Yeah, the egg exponentially increases the nutritional value of the gourmet noodle.
Matt: I just sleep in on my days off. Napping is a sun-dependent thing. 
Jordan: Yeah, days off area awesome. I go to the 8-10 class, go to the gym- you can just say that I read study guides on the elliptical... well that's a lie.
And about clinic- yes, I'm not going to be doing fillings as an orthodontist, but I appreciate that fact, that I won't be doing these things.
Yesle: How did you get into orthodontics? Why do you wanna be an orthodontist? (Oh side note, Jordan and I had braces for almost the same period of time. Then he got his off early and left me in teeth prison.)
Jordan: I like to move'em teeth. I had braces twice, first because of my Class III and second time in dental school. I like that no one's scared of going to the orthodontist. 
Jay: What about when people get them tightened? Doesn't that hurt? 
Here Jordan brought out his future ortho hat and explained that either the change in wire material or the change in thickness causes increased tension on the brackets, making the patient feel like the wires had been "tightened up".
Matt: So did you take ortho class seriously?
J: Yeah, and I've been paying attention to ortho over the years. 
I need to comment here that Jordan and I were discussing the Tetralogy of Fallot later and Jordan could name- off the top of his head- the first two conditions of the four characteristics. I was just glad I remembered how to say "Fallot".

Although he's so darn humble, I'm sure he'll have a reason to celebrate come next year's ortho residency match day. THANK YOU to Jordan (and Matt and Brian and Jay) for talking with me and making sure I'm up to date on my blogging.

Yeah, this photo is totally not staged.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

life on hold: home envy

Happy weekend! It's raining outside and I've got jazz music playing in the background. Yesterday I finally beat 2048! It took many hours (basically all my hours spent at the airport) but the moment was triumphant and glorious, just like I had imagined.

I'm starting to think more about the future: you know, my fourth year externships, where to do my general practice residency, if I am even sure about doing a GPR (and not specializing)... I'm hoping to make some soft decisions soon.

I think I've gushed about her before, but I was looking at Alaina Kaczmarski's home office evolution (she's the co-founder of The Everygirland gosh her apartment is beautiful. As someone who has major apartment envy and yet not a single major furniture to her name, I was feeling... uncomfortable, jealous, and perhaps even like a hypocrite.

Did I tell you my friend is thinking about buying a house? She's been working for four years now and she's getting married but you know, she's my age. Meanwhile I'm clipping photos of inspirations and wall art for a home I don't know when I'll have. It all makes me very serious. 

Despite all this, I'm trying to have faith. That things will work out, that I'll be doing something I love in two years. That I'll be living in a sunny airy apartment with a chandelier and a yellow couch in the living room. Complete with a cat in the corner.

And here's a positive spin: I'll be making those purchases after I've developed and curated my own style. For example, I love complementary colors adjacent to each other like this purple and yellow flowers I picked up this morning. So I need to get a purple chandelier... or a purple cat?

What life goals and aspirations do you feel you've put on hold? 
How do you still make these part of your everyday life?

Friday, December 5, 2014

the early December celebrations

Early December always feels like a celebration. This is the time I got early college admissions, when I heard back from dental schools, and when my friends got into residencies (one dear friend will be staying at Penn next year!!!). So if you're celebrating a happy occasion this week, let me say this again:


Hope you're popping the bubbly, filling your room with balloons, picking up a little splurge for yourselves. You've worked hard and you deserve it. 

And if you don't yet have a reason to celebrate, have faith that your time is yet to come. Sometimes pre-emptive celebrating (and a pat on the back for all the hard work you've put in) is the little nudge you need to get the celebratory juices flowing your way.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving break in Orlando

While I was seeing my afternoon patient (impressions guns I hated you that day), my flight got cancelled. Alex couldn't reach me so she booked me another later flight and by the time I'd cleaned up, everything was magically taken care of.  After all the craziness, I made it into Orlando at 3 in the morning.

Four amazing days with this girl! The interactive wands are genius. For a moment I couldn't help but suspend my reality and gasp in wonder at all the magic around me.

As a future dentist I can't help but find these things the funniest...

Meanwhile tons of you got into dental schools (AHHH!) and residencies (AHHHH!). Hope you had a relaxing break before the BIG phone call. I'm so excited to hear all about the good news (and the tough decisions) you guys are making!!!

Frolicking (ahem, I'm trying to desensitize myself with this word) around Universal Studios I found this sign and it's really true...

The best part of the trip wasn't the roller coasters (I went on everything while Alex held my stuff and watched) or the crazy shopping deals, it was coming back to our hotel room at 7PM and getting underneath the covers and laughing at the silly goat commercials. Sometimes a vacation away from absolutely everything... is just what the doctor ordered.