Sunday, December 2, 2007

transition to reality

Transition to “real” life is going smoothly. I have decided to make LA work for me, instead of constantly being annoyed about it. The key is that I now have a great bike (thank you dad!). The best part is that it has a rack with a quick-release shopping basket, so I can get to Trader Joes and back without having to get all worked up cursing at the traffic jams in the parking lot. I don’t have to worry about getting parking tickets on street sweeping days like my colleagues, because I can walk the four blocks to work at Children’s Hospital LA (though I did get a jaywalking ticket the other day – is the LAPD really wasting time making the city even less pedestrian-friendly?) I realized that the last time I could honestly say that I was in shape was my senior year of high school when I was running track and cross country, and so I am making a concerted effort to make use of Griffith Park’s trails and tennis courts, a short bike ride up the hill.

It is eerie living alone after being taken care of for so long, but also liberating. I feel like I have more free time now that I have a job than I did when I was just sitting around recuperating. Obviously feeling healthy has a lot to do with it – go stem cells! I also notice that more always seems to get done when there is more to do (duh). Mostly, I spend my free time reading, as I try to educate myself about the incredible complexity and dysfunction of the American health care system. I bounce between The Social Transformation of American Medicine, Understanding Health Policy, and Fixing American Health Care. I am also reading The Female Brain (clearly applicable to any endeavor), a collection of short stories by P.G. Wodehouse, and I just finished The Right Stuff. Add this to a few hundred megabytes of scientific articles about the relationship between sphingolipid metabolism and cancer, and it’s no wonder I’ve got a crick in my neck. Which brings me to one of the inconveniences of living alone – it's just not that satisfying to give myself a neck massage.

And now for the bit you are all really here for, the gory, scary, life-and-death part: no news is good news. We are still in surveillance mode, where hopefully we will remain for the next few years. I had another CT last week, which was thrilling as always. I really think that if they are going to make people drink pina colada-flavored barium glop before scans, they should at least spike it with rum. It would go down easier, and everyone would be so much more relaxed. Since everyone arrives having fasted for at least four hours, they wouldn’t have to put much in to get the party started.