Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome

August 15: Wednesday

Sitting around the table at this meeting are some of the most prominent people in the realm of EMS and disaster medicine. They are tasked with keeping the city safe in the event of a terrorist attack (another shooting, bombing, EMP), natural disaster (earthquakes, fires), epidemic (measles, the flu), or other catastrophic event. I feel as if I don’t belong here, as if I don’t deserve my seat at the table. Like I snuck in, somehow; that I’m not accomplished enough to be here. Logically I know it isn’t true, but the sensation is real. This sensation has a name: Imposter Syndrome. Imposter syndrome creates the false sentiment that my accomplishments and successes were somehow flukes or luck, and that one day I’ll be ousted. Apparently imposter syndrome is pretty common, more so in women and in high achievers. I wonder if and when it will pass.

August 16: Friday

In addition to working shifts and attending meetings, much of my time is spent studying for my EM boards, studying my EMS textbook and articles, and working on projects.

My afternoon was spent creating a presentation for the California American College of Emergency Physicians annual meeting, coming up on September 20th. I’ll be presenting on the positive psychological and physical benefits of journaling, and teaching people how to start keeping a journal.

August 17: Saturday

While playing dominos, hubby and I chatted about how fun it would be to have a bar under the covered patio in our backyard. Casual chatting about a bar snowballed into staying awake until 2 am, planning the entire structure. Tomorrow we’re going to buy lumbar and start construction. The inspiration for the bar came from the site .

August 18: Sunday

Construction is under way!

We’ve been collecting ceramic tiles since we met, and we’ve got nearly 100 of them in our collection. Most are 4x4, though we’ve got some 6x6, others that are round, and even some hexagonal ones. For years, we’ve thrown around idea about where to put them (a fireplace mantle, kitchen backsplash, etc.) but now we know for sure – they’re going to be the front decoration on the bar!

August 19: Monday

August is cruising by. In addition to working at two EDs within the city (the first one is the teaching hospital where I work with residents, and the second is a community ED near the ocean), I also work at a site in the middle of the desert. The desert hospital is a couple of hours inland, about 17 miles north of the Mexican-American border. My first few shifts will be there this week. It will be a relief to finally have seen and worked a few shifts at each hospital, as they are all so different. The only downside is that since it’s far away, I’ll be staying there overnight Wednesday through Saturday, then driving back Saturday morning.

August 20: Tuesday

More meetings today. The essence of disaster medicine is trying to predict all of the terrible things that could possibly happen. EMS physicians and providers make large-scale plans for the community, the city, and the state. Individuals should have disaster plans, too.

The goal is to have layers in place in order to be prepared, mitigate damage, and expedite recovery. Some plans are “All-hazard” which are general plans that can be applied to any situation. For example, all people can have extra food and water in their homes and keep important documents organized. But you can’t possibly guess all the terrible things that can happen. In that case, specific likely scenarios can be address. If you live in a hurricane area, having sandbags or boards to cover your windows would be good extra preps to keep on hand. If you live in a tornado or earthquake area, having sneakers and a helmet under your bed are advised. Or, if you live in a cold climate, having extra blankets or sleeping bags in the house would help keep you warm in the event of a power outage.

I’ll write more about prepping later.

August 21: Wednesday

Time to head into the desert for my next string of shifts.


Getting here was like driving on another planet. Heading east, the landscape quickly morphed from green rolling hills to dry and dusty rock. Gas stations were few and far between. During the nearly 2-hour drive, the car thermometer kept track of the rising temperatures outside. Heat radiated from the ground in a haze. By the time I parked, it was 115 F outside. The short walk from my car to the hotel left me drenched in sweat. Now in clean scrubs, I’m ready to head over for orientation and to pick up my new badge. Tomorrow will be my first shift. I’ve heard it’s pretty busy there so I’m excited to put my residency training to the test. Is it weird to hope that it is super busy and chaotic?

Recipe: Woodworking

The ability to craft something using our hands triggers such an innate feeling of accomplishment. Handcrafted items are beautiful, individual, and their imperfections contain stories of how they came to be.

Both my husband and I felt strongly that being able to do basic woodwork was a quintessential prepper skill. My first attempt at woodworking was making a basic table for my old studio in Fresno. I needed a solid workspace to spread out while studying, writing, painting, or doing whatever else. I chose to build my table out of California redwood, given out location (and because I loved the pink tint throughout the wood). I used a ton of glue, the corners aren’t exactly square, and the angles are a bit wonky, but I absolutely love it. I’ve used it for years and every day I get the enjoyment of working at a desk that I built with own hands.

As I mentioned earlier, while playing dominoes last Saturday night my husband and I came up with the idea to built a bar. We’ve never undertaken anything so large or complex before. My woodworking know-how is limited to the above table. My husband has built a couple of items, namely, an end table in our house and a stunning jewelry box that he made for me for my birthday one year. So, between the two of us we’ve built a couple of simple items. And the only power tool we own is a small drill. Clearly this is a prepper skill we need to work on!

We spent a long time figuring out the blueprints. There are no instructions - just the pictures of above of the plan and a cut list for the various 2x4s and 4x4s. The bar is an immense 4x8 foot L-shape, with a cutout for a mini fridge, and has a drink ledge in addition to the main bar top.

For the wood, we opted for a pressure treated pine, as the bar will be outdoors. We’re not sure yet what type of wood will go on top or how we’ll arrange the tile decorations, but at least we’ve gotten started! We borrowed our neighbors drill so that we wouldn’t have to share. It took the entire afternoon and early evening, but we finished the frame and it seems to be standing level.

We’ll post more updates about the bar as we go!

This is a bell pepper

This is a bell pepper

First shifts

First shifts