Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Little Blue Line

A very special someone made their first appearance.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I miss you so so much.

I remember our summers in Zakynthos when you used to show me the stars in the night sky. Maybe now you are a star too, looking down on me.

I remember how you used to carry me when I was little.

The piggy back rides you gave me when we were living in the US.

The nighttime walks with you and mom in the summer.

The Christmas morning you accidentally broke my toy and we drove around town searching every garage for a spare screw that could fit.

When you drove me to school, every day, for twelve years, and we listened to the Beatles in the car. Abbey road was your favorite, "you never give me your money"

I am like you in so many ways, I can only hope that you could see it too.

I cry because I miss you.

Because I 've been missing the real you for quite some time now, since you've been sick.

I couldn't stand seeing you in bed for all those months, so thin and frail.

And in your last days you were so tired and scared, and I wanted to sooth your soul. So the last songs I played for you were "Sunday morning" from Velvet Underground and "Songbird", from Love Actually. You see I didn't realise it until I saw the CD cases left on the table, days after-

That I had picked out the sweetest sounds I could, for you.

I hope that now you will rest in peace.

I was always a daddy's girl, and you were the perfect daddy's girl dad.

They said in the readings that you were a great scientist, and that is true.

They mentioned all the papers you had published, all the awards.

What they didn't know is that when you were writing them in your office at home, I used to climb on top of you.

And you would let me draw teddy bears in your notes, even though your secretaries and students kept asking questions about those.

I wish I had more time with you.

I keep thinking about the moments we had together.

All the things we used to do, all the things you liked to do and I did with you, just so I could spend time with you.

And I'm sorry,

for denying to myself you were really that sick at the very beginning of this last journey.

for being a doctor and not being able to make everything ok.

for all the things I didn't say.

and for everything I didn't have time to do with you.

Because I wanted to tell you so many things, and I wanted to say goodbye when I felt that you were not going to get well. But I didn't say anything because I didn't want you to see me so worried about you and feel bad about your health.

I preferred it when you smiled at me when I tried to make jokes and make you laugh, even through your darkest times.

At least I know I told you that I loved you before I left home the day before.

And I said it again when I realised you weren't in my arms anymore.

I hope that wherever you are now, you heard me say it.

You will always stay in my heart.

I will always remember you with love.

I will think of you, and you will live through our many happy memories.

I have always been proud of you.

You were a great scientist, a great teacher, and a very good man, one of the very few.

In my heart, you were just my daddy, and that has always been more than enough

for me to love you so so very much.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

To Face Unafraid, the Plans That We've Made

My one year of general surgery is now over, so I guess an aftermath is in order.

I feel older. Not just by one year, but a lot more.

Being at that hospital has crushed me in so many ways. I feel weaker and stronger at the same time.

Now I am homeward bound and trying to do my best with everything.

I really want to put my thoughts in writing, my memories, my feelings and all those things I'd like to remember, but I don't know where to start, so I guess I'll just do.

Quotes to remember:

Ortho Attending:

"You are at the best phase of your life, don't let them get you down. Nothing should let you down. You should be enjoying yourself."

Chief of Ortho:

"You have the right to make a mistake. If they call you in front of a judge you will say "that's what I thought was wrong, and that's what I did". You do not have the right to refuse to examine someone. You can't just look at someone and say they're okay. That is unforgiven"

"Did you really do that?"
Ellisa: Yes I did.
"Right.. Please stand up so I can punch you"

"How do you feel now that you're leaving?
Ellisa-I feel sad.
I was sad too when I finished with elementary school
You see all the children were crying, so I did too. Back then, not everybody went to Junior High. The end of elementary school meant the children would head back to work on the fields. Life was harder in the fields than at school. And that's why they were crying.
It's the fear of not knowing what comes next, that makes us sad.
But you'll be fine.
Ellisa-wipes tear
I hate it when the weather gets cold. I don't really like it. I like spring, I like nature in spring. When I drive towards my village, I look out of my window, and I see fields of yellow flowers, and then I know, all is beginning again."

My Surgeon (My Chief of Surgery):

Ellisa: I feel that patients don't treat me with respect. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
"It's not your fault, they do the same to us, but you are younger so they know you are not chief"
Ellisa: I can't be rude just to impose my opinion, I don't want to be that kind of doctor.
"If you talk and act like a woman, people will respond to that. If you talk and act like a little girl, people will treat you like that."

Ellisa: I saw *insert name of drunk attending* today
"No kidding!! Where?"
Ellisa: Right outside the hospital.
"How was he?"
Ellisa: What do you mean?
"Was he well?"
Ellisa: Like on a scale from 1-10?
Ellisa: six and a half
"That's good enough.. he could have been a two... we've seen him at a two before..."

Ellisa: So how was I? Am I any good?
"One year is too soon to say if you're any good."
Ellisa: So did I learn as much as other people have? In surgical technique?
"I can't weigh you guys and compare, I can't answer that"
Ellisa: I want you to, I want to know
"You should ask your colleagues what they do, and compare with what you do"
*I did better*

Ellisa: You see that's what I care about the most, the technique, I want to be a good surgeon, that's what I love, that's what I want to do. I want to be a surgeon more than I wanted to be a doctor.
"I will have to disagree with you on that. An operation isn't about the technique, for me the best part is connecting the findings in the OR with the clinical presentation, and see how that is."
Ellisa: *Speechless*

Ellisa: I've been here for a year and I haven't heard so much of a good word from you, not once, not for ANYTHING!
"I haven't said it to myself, how am I supposed to tell you?"

Ellisa: will you sign my papers?
"Just like that? No personal message?!"
Ellisa: What would you write if you could?
"I'd say with great admiration and love."
Ellisa: That's nice. *I guess that counts as a good word*

"Your hair needs to be cut, it's too long"
Ellisa: I can't, my husband won't let me
"You don't belong to anyone. You don't belong to any man. You are independent. You should remember that."
Ellisa: !!!
"What? He won't love you? If you cut your hair? Come on..."

"Do you have a subject yet? For your thesis?"
Ellisa: yeah I do
"You should make sure it's one of those who works out."
Ellisa: What do you mean?
"I used to have one, and then it wouldn't work out, so eventually I dropped it. You should make sure that doesn't happen to you"

Ellisa: I haven't met with my Prof yet.
"why not?"
Ellisa: I'm scared
"of what?"
Ellisa: before I left I was much more upbeat and organised.
"So what? It's because you don't belong there anymore, once you go there you'll be right back at your feet."
Ellisa: I'm afraid he will look at me and see a different person than who I used to be
"You should go and find him as soon as possible. Whatever he has to say to you, he will say it, and you will be okay. Thinking about it and postponing it will only make things worse."

"You should stand up for yourself. If someone insults you as a doctor you should be prepared to answer, in front of everybody and with pride."

"You should say: I am an intern, and I am asking for help. And all of you smarter attendings who judge me now should come here and teach me"

Ellisa: If this happens again, what should I say?"
"You want to know what I said to my Chief back when I was a resident? I said: If you have something to say to me, you will say it in private. And he never bothered me again"
Ellisa: Can I say that?
"Of course you can!"
Ellisa: It's different for you, you're a man, they (bullies) are afraid of you
"You will not say this as a man, nor a woman, you will say it as a DOCTOR"

Chief of Anesthesia

"When you work, you should know where your limits are, concerning what's right or wrong for the patient and your integrity. If someone tries to push you, should fight back and not surrender. Not everybody is the same"

*to be continued*

Monday, April 23, 2012

Doctor Watch

I respectfully disagree...

A couple of weeks ago I was on call on a Sunday, with one of my attendings in charge.

He was an hour late for the nighttime rounds and I was in the ER with a patient that HE had asked to come back and the patient REQUESTED she was admitted to the hospital that night.

She was perfectly healthy.

So I had to call him up and let him know.

ring ring- no answer.

I try again.

Again, no answer.

I proceed with the admission quite irritated...

Then I call up the surgeons' office, where my friend was sitting waiting for me to keep me company for a while and I ask if he had shown up. Naively I thought he might have been on his way to the hospital...

No, he hadn't.

I call up the nurses station up in the ward- "Did he happen to walk by?"

No, he hadn't.

I start to worry.

You see I knew that he was a recovering alcoholic- and worryingly enough he had a history of a car accident while DUI only 6 months ago and he was supposedly clean for about 3 months.. and sadly enough- "clean" meant that he hadn't showed up faint from booze.

I call up the office again- my friend's voice calm and steady.

"Hi Ellisa..."

"Hey.. Is he there?"

"Yes. He is here."

"Ok- let me talk to him"

"Okay. Do you want to talk to him on the phone? Or do you want him to come down to the ER?"


I realize my fears are true.


*long pause*

Someone picks up the phone silently. I speak first.

"Hi? Sir?"



oh my dear god

"uh.. hi sir, the girl from this morning is back, I am admitting her in, which antibiotics do you want?"


"Yeah admit in"

communication NOT established

"Ok.. thank you"

"admit her in and we'll see"

DEFINITELY not established

"ok.. bye"

txt from friend reading "he's hammered"

I txt back "I got it"

I shoo the patient away from the ER and up to the ward and I try to gather my paperwork as fast as possible-

I had to leave the ER before he came down- before anybody saw him and realised-



he shows up at the door- bumps at the curve- and trips towards the desk.

I pop up and let him sit at my seat

"It's okay. I admitted her. She's ok. Everything's alright." *please oh please leave*

He breaths deeply, stares blank and with great difficulty speaking he says:

"right... right... schedule her for surgery tomorrow"

WTF WHAT??????

"yes sir"

the hell I will!

"i think i can go home now"

"Yes sir.. do go home...."


He swooshes up- turns to me and says:

"No Problem!!!"

"yes sir"


and as he leaves he staggers against the wall and nearly misses the stand with the N/S and Ringers' all so neatly stacked...

I follow him discreetly at a safe distance just to make sure he leaves safe without falling on his head.

If you have survived ANY night on call, you'll know what it feels like to be... on your own.

I didn't bother calling him again that night...

...and he didn't bother coming in the next day.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fit for my wedding

Just over 100 days left for my big day!!!

I have to get fit!!

So I got me a bike.

It's a grey version of my yellow bike back when I was in junior high- when I rocked big time and loved my yellow Beretta...

Now I have a grey- black Beretta.

Today I rode for 12km in just 50' minutes...

I think that's pretty good.

Well done me...

"Here comes the bride... pa da papam"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring is here

and I am back to my happy old self...

out with the cold and shabby winter...

... in with the cool of the spring and the soft sunny days ahead...

i am happy

Could this be a scrubs scene?

So I was on call yesterday.

And I'm sitting in the office upstairs when around 19:00 pm the nurse calls me from the ER and says:

"There's a man.. he had a car accident and afterwards he experienced strong chest pains"

So I reply

"Ok... do an ECG and I'm right there"

Because the way she said it seemed like his chest pains started AFTER the car accident and I thought there was a slight possibility of an MI, that I wanted to exclude before proceeding with the rest.

So I walk downstairs and I find a man in the surgery lying down and the ECG on my table labeled:

"Mr Sir Something, Age: ? "

and instead of asking what the heck the "?" was doing on a formal piece of paper I notice a right branch block.

I asked the patient where he was hurt and he said that just his knees hurt a bit.

My attending asked me in a casual manner to take the ECG to the cardiologist just so he sees it, to be on the safe side.

So I walk in the super-cool, super-smart, busy cardiologist's examining room with a smile on my face and he turns to me and says:

"Oh there's HIS ECG!!! And where is the x-ray?"

is he super-cool, super-smart, busy AND psychic too?

"This is the ECG of a man in a car accid- what? What x-ray?"

"Yeah, I KNOW. Where the hell is his chest x-ray?"

"Uhmmmm I don't have one ordered.."

*smile off*

"So a man gets hit in the chest and you don't have an xray ordered?? Don't you have pneumothorax or other trauma in your Δ/Δ???"

*now I'm totally lost*

"uhmmmm I don't think heeee"

*the usual nurse jumps in screaming AS USUAL:*


*I look up to my friend fellow resident in Medicine, standing right behind the doctor- she is trying hard to fight back a laugh*

"uhmmm he's actually fine.... in fact he's leaving.."

"Get an xray."

*he's obviously pissed with me*

"Always get an xray"

*she can't hide her laugh anymore, she hides behind her hair*

"My attending is next door... you don't really think I can walk up to him and demand the patient stay till he gets an xray..?!"

"whatever. first you exclude surgical trauma, then you ask for a cardiologist's opinion"

*okay- something has happened in my absense and it's very wrong*

"I didn't.. they told me he had chest pains AFTER the accident and I just asked for an ECG to be safe.. was that wrong of me?"

"No.. YOU- did the right thing.."

*I tried to leave before he exploded*

After a couple of minutes I asked the Med girl what had happened.

She told me...

When I asked for an ECG, the nurses fired an MI alarm and had the cardiologist downstairs in no time...

The way it seemed, the "surgeon" hadn't bothered coming down for a car accident, instead, the surgeon"ordered" for a cardiology consultation.

She actually heard him protest outside in the corridor while she was sitting in her own examining room.

"So now the cardiologist is the first one to admit a car accident patient??"

If you work in a small hospital, on a small island town, where an MI is a rare event people talk about for a few days, then you'll know what I mean and why this is funny...

...she said his curly hair straightened up.

I spoke with him afterwards and explained myself.. he said:

"You did right, it's ok... no one can deal with the paranoia in this place."

... I don't think he or the nurse laughed as long as we two interns did last night before bed...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kids Talk About True Love

I'm engaged... to be married this July.

People say the weirdest things when I tell them- thankfully most of them are nice...

Small wedding, just the very close friends and family, and then dinner in a garden.

Then, hopefully we'll go on a honeymoon, just for a few days.

And then, we will be sharing everything together...


I'm getting married...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Luck is an Attitude

Luck IS an attitude and I am trying to face my life with it.

And given that it's quite a difficult time what with the residency and all,

and man do I love surgery,

and my heart keeps beating faster and faster to the rhythm of 130 bpm it actually hit when I was on call,

and despite fighting against it with all my might I have reached the point where I like being at work with my colleagues and I find the on call room "warm" and my bed covers "cozy" and I stay past my shift "just beacause",

and my attending is cool enough to promise to teach me to operate and then push me harder and harder and demand from me that I cross the limits to get what I want,

and I managed to stay on call through New Year's eve and survive without calling the attending on call,

and I got up at 5 am today to run to the hospital and cover for a fellow colleague who had to travel in the ambulance,

and I travel back and forth from home just to see my friends and loving boyfriend,

and we booked a trip to Rome for a romantic getaway in the end of January, a dream come true,

and I have all my hopes up for 2012 being a GREAT year, a milestone in my life,

and I try to stay sane in doing the things I love,

and this year I can actually say that

despite the government's crap of a job

despite the recession and all the problems we are facing,

despite the moving, the fighting, all the changes in my life,

I can actually say:


and it feels good.

So this year,

with a spring in my step,

I'll make a few more:

New Year's Resolutions - 2012

1. Get Happily and Ever After-ly Married

2. Become One Hell of a Surgeon

3. Love more, Show it more, Practice it more

4. GET SUPER THIN- because I'm worth it

5. Travel to a different Continent (Mexico, maybe?)

6. Always have a Job

7. Be Healthy and Happy

8. Cook with a Spice

9. Study Vogue with my Friends in an Ice Cream coffee shop


10. Keep a LUCKY Attitude towards Life.

My life, my family's life, the life of my boyfriend and me together, my friends' life, the life of the Greek people.

So I pronounce this year's song to be:

"Oh Johnny" by the Andrews Sisters

Luck is an Attitude,

so this year,

I'm going to go for it

All the best to all of you,

health and happiness around the world for everyone.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bye House

I've always thought that there would come a time when this blog would spring back to life, filled with posts about actual stuff going on in my life again and not just serve as a diet journal or gossiping of people more famous than I.

And I guess that time is now, because my life has passed through many many changes during the past few months and... and my mind is full now and needs t
o do some unloading.

So let me go back to April 2011. We sold our

apartment. My home, the place I grew up in and still love to every bit. A beautiful beach house with a sea view and lots of happy memories from my childhood, teenage years and my life as a student of medicine.

Now my parents and I live in a house with a garden, a house that we built, on the mountain in a suburb. It's bigger and it's brand new and I'm told I'll eventually get used to it and love it just as much.

Let's hope so.

Those moving days were completely awful for me. We had to split moving in two- because of all the furniture and the stuff that needed packing. Thankfully we hired people to do both the packing and the moving.. But still when those 8 people got into our apartment that fretful Monday morning in July, I just saw 8 people invading my home and taking my stuff away from my home.

Even worse, the plan was that I were to be on team "wait for the furniture in the new house" so I left quite early and waited in the empty new house. I kept stuffing myself with the cake my mum had made to wait for us in the fridge, to "sweeten" the beginning of our new life.
Most people lose weight while moving, I definitely bloated up.

When the furniture came in the late afternoon, the house looked even better than empty.

But then all tired up we drove home, for the last time in our apartment.

I opened the door to an empty living room.

I hated the whole thing. Thankfully my room had been left untouched. I closed the door to go to bed and kept the "hell" out.
I couldn't sleep that night. I kept thinking of memories way back when I was little.

Christmas, the first birthday I had my party there, my grandma visiting, my dad taking me to school, me hating the piano, walking in my sweats along the beach to the video store, sliding under the covers in my mums bed on a Friday after school when I was sick, studying to get into medical school, sitting exams, the morning we left for my graduation...

The day we came back from the US. I was only 7 and I had missed Greece and our sun and our sea and my home so much I couldn't wait. I woke up and started walking towards the living room. I remember my bare feet on the white tiles as I exited my room and I looked up at the best view of my life: through the glass doors of our living room the sparkling still sea on a bright day of June.

I loved that apartment so much at that moment I since then I have been very proud to live there.

I still am.

The second day of moving I stayed put. The flat was getting emptier and emptier and somehow it looked smaller to me.

All that was left was a chair for my mum and me to sit in taking turns, the radio playing music and tons of dust on our floor.

When we left I cried.

The new house felt so hard to live in with everything in boxes and being so far away from the center.
It's been already three months and a half now and I am starting to like certain stuff..

Although I do miss the sea.

The best thing in our new place is my little black labrador, Kevo.

I love him like I never thought I would and I never knew a dog could bring so much joy.

The new home is great, spacious, with great views of the sea too, although further away, and we came here by choice and in good health.

I can't wait to see it decorated for Christmas.

Bye bye house, thank you for the wonderful memories of a beautiful life so far.

I will always love you.

In my heart, you will always be my home too.