Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Me...a name I call myself

This is a combination of a meme that Jenny sent me months ago and one that Maria did recently...

Are you taller than your mother?
Yep...but she says, "No matter how tall you grow, I will always be bigger than you."

What color is your car?
Black (with scratches and dents on every corner). It's the car my younger sisters learned to drive in--it's been in about 18 low-speed crashes.

If you instantly become qualified for any profession, what would you do?
I'd be a doctor.
Ahh...to be instantly qualified.

What is your ring-tone?
It's called "notify" and it sounds like "ding-dong"--very boring, I know. I'm not a fan of phones that sing. I think that cell phones have crappy voices.

Speaking of singing, if you're interested in relaxing jazz, you should check out Andrea Mann.

Is there an animal that creeps you out?
Yeah, but that's what divorce is for.

The last person you rode an elevator with?
Her name is Kelly.

Did you go ice skating as a kid?
With my friend, Colleen, on a reservoir behind her house. We used to tool around in a row boat in the summer and ice skate in the winter. I wonder what she's up to...

Last person you had an argument with.
Hmm...I guess it was the ex. It's been awhile. I don't miss it.

Ever have stitches?
No (knock on wood). I put in about 20 of them for the first time last Saturday, though--sewed up the skin on someone's abdomen.

Favorite non alcoholic drink?
Chocolate milk.

How long ago did you kiss someone?
It's been so long that it makes me sad to think about it.

Ever caught something on fire?
Many a marshmallow.

Ever seen the northern lights?
No...someday, I hope.

Would you be a surrogate mother, carry a baby for someone else?
Nope. I never, ever want to be pregnant.

Ever been in a fight?
A physical fight? Not since I was about 10 years old--the last year I was bigger than my younger brothers and could still beat them.

Wearing nail polish?
The other day, as I looked at my chipped toenails, I thought, "If I'm in an accident, they'll take me to the ER and my fellow med students will see this trashy, peeling polish."
These are the things I think about after spending all night working in the trauma bay. I removed the polish, shaved my legs, and plucked my brows...just in case.

Innie or outie?
Right now, I'm innie. But I have to go outie again tomorrow morning at 5:30.

Ever used a Ouija board?
Once, at a slumber party. My mother later told me to never do that again because they were satanic. Looking back, I'm not entirely sure that Satan was hanging out at that particular slumber party.

Sweet or sour?
I try to be sweet...I try.

Sun or Moon?
The sun.
Because without it, I wouldn't be able to see the moon.
And I love the moon.

What shoes did you wear today?
Heels, because I knew I'd be sitting all day (one of our two lecture days a month). If I have to walk much, I wear comfortable shoes.

Favorite eye color of the opposite sex?
I don't care, as long as their eyes are above mine. I like taller guys.

Most important quality in a relationship.
Some would say honesty, but this comes from"Dress Your Family in Corduray" by David Sedaris. It's a story about he and his boyfriend, Hugh, called "The End of the Affair"

"The End of the Affair" made me look like an absolute toad. The movie's voracious couple was played by Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore, who did everything but eat each other. Their love was doomed and clandestine, and even when the bombs were falling, they looked radiant...
The picture ended at about ten, and afterward we went for coffee at a little place across the street from the Luxembourg Gardens. I was ready to wipe the movie out of my mind, but Hugh was still under its spell. He looked as though his life had not only passed him by but paused along the way to spit in his face. Our coffee arrived, and as he blew his nose into a napkin, I encouraged him to look on the bright side. "Listen," I said, "we maybe don't live in wartime London, but in terms of the occasional bomb scare, Paris is a pretty close second. We both love bacon and country music, what more could you possibly want?"

What more could he want? It was an incredibly stupid question and when he failed to answer, I was reminded of just how lucky I truly am. Movie characters might chase each other through the fog or race down the stairs of burning buildings, but that's for beginners. Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings...I pulled my chair a few inches closer, and we sat silently at our little table on the square, looking for all the world like two people in love.

Nap today?
No, but it would have been nice.

Time of day that you were born?
6:15 pm

Do you know your blood type?
Why? Are you running low?

Name something annoying about public transit?
There isn't any in this town.

Did you grow up in a city or in the country?
A small city...326 in my high school graduating class. I was number 26. (That wasn't the question, was it?)

Consider going on a reality show for a large amount of money?
The Amazing Race maybe.

Flown in your dreams?

Whats the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
I would have said fried crickets, but the other day, I had a veggie burger in the hospital crapeteria that may now rank above the insects. I don't think any veggies were harmed in the making of that burger.

Hugs or kisses?
Hugs...if I really, really trust you.

What was the best night out of your life? Lurid details please!
I'm still looking forward to the best night out of my life.

Whats your favourite item of clothing?
My holey jeans.

What form of dancing are you best (or worse) at?
I suck at all dancing. It looks like someone is strangling a cat. (I'd be the cat.)

Would you at any time of your life have done playboy for a million?
Nope. This isn't for sale.

Gold or silver?
Depends on my mood...usually silver.

If you joined the circus, what would you be?
The person trying to orchestrate the freeing of the animals.

Do you have a criminal record?
No. I got picked up by the police once, in 9th grade, for toilet papering someone's house. My brother and I actually begged the cops to put us in jail over night. "Lock us away from our parents, please! They are going to kill us!"
The cops laughed.
And then, they saw the look on my father's face when he came to get us and whispered, through clenched teeth, "I'm going to kill you two!"
As Dad dragged us out of the police station, one of the officers looked at me and said, "Whoa. Good luck with that, kid."
Protect and serve, my ass.

What item of make-up can you not live with out?
I could definitely live make-up free, but would prefer not to go to work without mascara.

Slurpee flavor?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

To the friendship

As we drink to the friendship, and laugh about the rest...

I've waited longer for lesser things
But here I am
Who really knows what tomorrow brings
But here I am
Just in case you were wondering
Just in case you got lost again
Just in case you run out of friends, here I am.

It's so easy just to rip and to tear, so here I am
What you need the most
Disappears into thin air, so here I am
Maps and compasses may stay true
It doesn't really matter what you do, here I am.

Some days our reach
Is bound to far exceed our grasp
I gave up hoping long ago
I could fix the past...here I am.

If only you could've been a fly on the wall

I asked, "What'd ya have for lunch?"

He said, "Soup. Oh, and I sacrificed a couple of virgins."

I said, "Virgins taste like chicken."

Or, so I've heard.
It's been so long since I've had chicken,
I don't really remember what it tastes like.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

So...are you courting anyone? he asked.

Who says that?

Well...apparently he does.

I won't be courting him anytime soon.

Every day for 15 months

Sean Smith, a photographer with The Guardian, is embedded with US forces Inside the Surge.

Spc. Vassell says, We were supposed to be flying home in six days.

Six days.

I challenge the President, or whoever has us here for 15 months, to ride alongside me. I’ll do another 15 months if he comes out here and rides along with me every day for 15 months. They don't even have to pay me extra.

I just want him to come out here and ride with me for 15 months.

A new woman

I got up at 4:30 this morning, like I have every morning for the last twelve days, and started to get ready for work. I didn't get very far before I remembered that I have today off! I exceeded my work hours limit last week (worked 97.5), so my attending said I didn't have to round with him this morning.
I came home last night and slept for 13 hours. I feel like a new woman. Hopefully, this new woman will get to write a couple new posts this weekend. In the meantime, I'm off to the coffee shop to study.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I called and left my dad a message telling him I was tired and frustrated.

He called me back and left a voice mail...

Hey, you used to like this when you were real little.
You used to smile.

And then, he sang,
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away.

I love you, babe.

I'm such a lucky daughter.
Incredibly, amazingly lucky.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I fried his ass up

I'm on call until noon tomorrow. So, tonight you get a trauma story. It was a pretty standard case. Goes like this...cut all your clothes off; check your heart rate and blood pressure (which probably went up a bit when we cut all your clothes off); look you over from head to toe; shine lights in your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth; start a couple IVs; draw some blood; x-ray your chest; ultrasound your belly; stick a finger up your butt; shove a catheter in your bladder; roll you into the CT scanner; and ask you for a copy of your insurance card.

After all that, the patient and I had some time to chat.
And she told me the best story.
Goes like this...
So, have you ever had an accident like this before?

Well, there was the time I got the shit beat out of me with an eighteen pound frozen turkey.


I was driving home from work in my truck with an eighteen pound frozen turkey--the bird was a Thanksgiving bonus they gave us every year. Anyway, I hit black ice, skidded off the road, went airborn, and landed in a heap.
When the state trooper found me, he asked if anything hurt. I told him it felt like I'd had the crap kicked out of me.
He said, "Well, I've got good news and bad news. You're truck's totaled, but I was able to save that turkey you had in the back."
I said, "The turkey wasn't in the back. It was on the seat next to me. That damn thing flew through the air and knocked the shit out of me."

A week later, I had to call the highway patrol for a copy of the accident report, and the trooper who answered the phone said, "Oh, you're the woman who got hit with the turkey."
I said, "You know about that?"
He said, "Ma'am, every trooper in the state has heard that story."

I had only one question...So, did you eat that turkey?

Hell yeah I did, she said. I fried his ass up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Short stories

Contact Precautions

It was my last day with the resident from the coffee shop.

We had several patients with drug resistant infections. As he put on a gown to examine one of these patients, he said, We have a lot of patients on contact precautions...kind of like you and me.

I said, Yeah, I think it's probably good that this is our last day together. The less sleep I get, the more difficult it is to maintain this kind of self...uh...I mean, infection control.

Bear Encounters

It was our first day with a new attending physician. Her reputation preceded her. I downloaded the do's and don'ts of bear encounters from a park ranger's site. We have found the following to be very helpful:

Do keep a cool head at all times.
If there are two or more of you, stand close together to appear more imposing.
Do try to avoid direct eye contact.

Don't try to get a closer look by approaching the bear/attending.
Don't turn your back or run. (You'll look like food!)

Peter, Peter, pumpkin-flavored foot eater

The new resident and I were standing in a patient's room talking to her daughter. The patient was not doing well. In fact, she's not expected to survive. In the middle of this conversation, Peter, the other medical student, marched in to announce, My girlfriend just sent me an email. My puppy is sick!

Does anyone have an extra social filter lying around? Peter seems to have misplaced his.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Too tired to title

I'd love to blog...but I'm way too tired to do anything but whine.

Yesterday was the best day I've had so far.
Maybe I'll tell you about it sometime.
Today was the worst.
Nothing tragic, but nothing good either.
Such is life.

Off to bed.
Up early (3 am) to read about acalculous cholecystitis.
Do you know what that is?
Yeah, me neither.

I've read your blogs and the comments you've left here--thank you for sharing. You remind me that there is life outside of med school.
I love you for that.

Good night.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

To get a dirty job done

I colored my hair with some henna...I'm now a red headed woman.

Well, I don't know how many girls you've dated, man
But you ain't lived 'til you've had your tires rotated
By a red headed woman, a
red headed woman.

It takes a red headed woman to get a dirty job done.

Friday, July 13, 2007

At least they're not beating baby seals to death

My mother just called. I answered the phone but could barely hear her.

Where are you? I said.

Oh, I'm outside the Voodoo Lounge. Sorry it's so loud. I saw that you called and just wanted to see how your day went.

Wait a minute. You're where?

Oh, your father and I are in Vegas.

At the Voodoo Lounge?

Yeah, she says. Like...Duh, where the hell else would we be?

Mom, are you two clubbing?

Well, we're not beating baby seals to death, if that's what you mean. But yeah, I guess we're clubbing.

Alrighty then.
Well, my day was fine. Thank you for asking.
I'll let you get back to your evening.

Okay, sweetie.



Don't forget to take your calcium.

She has osteoporosis, and I'd hate to see her trip off the heels of her sex boots and break her hip on the dance floor. That'll ruin a girl's evening in no time.

When did my parents start clubbing in Vegas?
Clearly, I need to check in with these people a little more often.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

We've met

The medical student who I'm working with, Peter, has anxiety issues. I have anxiety issues, he said as he stood there sweating all over himself, fidgeting out of his dress clothes. He was coming apart right in front of me, like Humpy Dumpy (sans the great fall); and we hadn't even done anything yet.

On the first day, we had to page our resident and ask him where we could meet him. It's an anesthesia resident, Peter said.

Yeah...I know.

You knew that?


Well, why didn't you tell me?

I don't know. I guess I figured it didn't make a damn bit of difference.

Oh. Well. Yeah, I guess not.

Although I appeared much more put together than Peter--no sweating, shirt still tucked in, jacket buttoned--I was actually more nervous about meeting the resident than he was.

I was nervous because when they handed me his name and pager number that morning, I realized that we would not be meeting for the first time.

The first time was about six months ago. I was sitting in a coffee shop studying, and he asked if he could share the table. It was near an outlet, and he needed to plug in his laptop.

Neither of us got any studying done in the next two hours. We drank coffee, and talked, and flirted, and flirted, and flirted. At some point, I felt peering eyes and looked around to find four other tables just sitting, sipping their coffee and staring at us. Yeah, it was that good.

A bit about flirting... You know those women who are so gorgeous that people are almost afraid to approach them? I am not one of them. But, I have more confidence in my step than most of those women do. Men are intrigued by this confidence in a woman who is not quite beautiful enough to be entitled to it. It catches them off guard and slays them a bit. I talked to a man recently who said, I am a little infatuated with you, with the way you seem so comfortable in your skin.

I'm comfortable in my skin, and I'm good with my eyes--I'm great at flirting.

Flirting is most powerful when you can hold the other person's gaze. When you can look into his eyes, slowly smile a little, and then just hold the moment. No nervous laughter, no batting your lashes, no fidgeting in the silence.

It is like dancing, in that you have to have a partner who can do the same--someone who does not look down at your chest, or at his own shoes. And, it is also a bit like a game of sexual tension chicken--it is not well played with wimps.

The anesthesia resident was a great partner and a fine player. He held my gaze. We took turns asking about each other's lives, the questions getting more and more personal and our answers more and more suggestive.

And then, she called. He spoke to her in French, a language I don't understand. I could tell from the annoyed, defeated look on his face, though. He hung up the phone, and I said, So, how's your wife?

He said, How did you know?

I just laughed and said, This isn't going to go any farther.

And it didn't. We talked a while longer, and I left.

Two weeks ago, I saw him again. He said, You never called.

I said, I figured you were still married.

He said, Oh, that.

I said, Yeah, that.

I didn't intend to spend long talking to him this time. But, before I knew it, there we were again--flirting and somehow commanding the attention of the people at the surrounding tables. As I got up to leave, he again said, Hey, why don't you give me a call later.

I said, I admire your persistence, but I'm not going to call you. Maybe I'll see you here again, and I'm sure we'll run into each other in the hospital. I can't seem to help but flirt with you when I do see you, so I guess you'll just have to learn to take what you can get.

He laughed a little with eyebrows raised, a bit surprised. It was as though he couldn't quite believe I'd said that, as though he'd never been turned down quite that way before. That was the last time I saw him...until the first day in the ICU.

We introduced ourselves as though we'd never met, and he spent the first day completely avoiding my eyes. He talked only to Peter. When he talked to me, he looked at Peter. This totally confused Peter and really made him sweat. Poor kid probably lost a liter of fluid in the first two hours of rounds.

It's been a week. Now, he's just trying not to be too obvious when other people are around. As with many things tried in the ICU, he's having limited success. I'm trying to remember the ventilator settings, and that he is still married. Peter is still sweating...and is totally oblivious.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Man hell

I'm on call tonight. I've been in the hospital since 5:30 this morning and I leave tomorrow around noon. Right now, I'm trudging through a swamp of testosterone. All the residents and all the students are men--asshole men.

Right now, they're having a pissing contest on the ping pong table in the other room. One has so much gel in this hair, he's having a hard time holding up his head. They've eaten almost every scrap of food in the on-call fridge. I'll be working another 14 hours on those two pieces of string cheese they left me. They aren't charming, or funny, or even all that brilliant. Gel Master caught me helping another resident cast a leg and said, "Tell ortho to get his own student." He didn't have anything for me to do. He just didn't want to farm out his bitch.

I'm on call in man hell.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Here I am

I've waited longer for lesser things, but here I am...
Mary Chapin Carpenter is singing to me.

While I was in college, and for a while after, I worked at a hospital 45 minutes from my home. My shift started at 7 in the morning, so, many months of the year, I was in the car before dawn.

I am not a morning person, which is why I loved my morning commute. If I had to be up before the sun, I preferred to be alone with my coffee and music. I came to rely on the drive as time to center myself for the day.

Once again, I am back in the hospital. And once again, I find myself enjoying the drive. I got in the car at 5:15 this morning, exhausted and ridiculously anxious about the work ahead.

But I drove into perspective. I looked at the dark windows of the homes I passed, the man delivering newspapers house to house, the empty streets. I drank my coffee and thought, No matter what happens today, there will always be this--morning peace.

I thanked God for commutes, and I arrived...centered.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

So incompetent

Where ya been?

Whatcha doing?
Hell if I know.

How's that going?
Could be worse...
It's not as dirty as roofing,
not as disheartening as marriage.

But, I've never felt so incompetent.

When will you be back?
This weekend...after I sleep.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The first day

The first day of the third year of medical school--Orientation to the Clinical Clerkships. It was painfully boring. Seven hours of speakers, all of them lecturing on professionalism.

Meanwhile, I sat next to a guy who hemmed his pants this morning...with a stapler. I couldn't help but imagine him walking into the clinic later this week to do histories and physicals, his clothes held together with office supplies. And we wonder why they call us medical stupids.

When Lolita and I got home, the first words out of her wife's mouth were, Did you know there was porn on YouTube?
So, apparently she had a good day.