Monday, December 31, 2007

Break's over

A few weeks ago at Panera, I ran into the anesthesiologist/critical care specialist with whom I rotated in the ICU back in July. I asked if maybe I could do morning rounds with him at some point during my three week break.

What was I thinking asking to work over break? I am sort of wondering that myself. But, if I remember correctly, I think that I was thinking that I really like critical care, and that in less than a year I will be expected to decide what I'm going to do for residency, and that the more exposure I have to what I think I may want to do, the more likely I am to make a career choice I can happily live with. I think that is what I was thinking.

And, I really do like critical care. I like that the critical care team looks at the whole picture of the very sick patient. They are sort of like consultants in a huge Jenga game, telling others, You can move this and change that, but if you touch that one...this is all going to fall apart. (It's sort of interesting that I like critical care because I don't particularly enjoy Jenga. Huh.)

While I like critical care, what I meant when I said do morning rounds with you was spend the morning rounding with you. What he meant when he said sure was sure you can spend all day, every day with me. And, because I like you, tomorrow, you can follow the traumatic brain injury dude, the codes for no good reason man, and the I just had open heart surgery fella. Apparently, he and I had a bit of a miscommunication. Opps.

So, right now, part of me is wondering what the hell I was thinking. But, another part of me is thinking I'm going to learn a hell of a lot this week. And, all those procedures they let willing, attentive medical students do? Well, those will be coming to me...because I'm the only one around.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A new toy

I got money for Christmas and have wanted a camera for months. I paid extra so it will be here by Wednesday, because, if all goes as planned, my sister will be having a baby on Thursday or Friday.

Oh, and as it turns out, I am much more excited about that baby than originally planned. I spent much of my time at home poking the kid in the foot and then watching her wiggle her butt--a game easily played on my sister's belly, as she is so skinny you can roughly make out baby body parts with a little prodding. When my sister protested (something like, Ouch, quit poking me in the stomach), I told her to mind her own business, that I was playing with the baby.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holiday 07 (in brief)

For those of you who didn't get to spend the last five days with those people who swear we look alike because we're related (I'm trying to convince them the resemblance is mere coincidence), I offer the following recap...

Uh, somebody pull the battery out of that smoke detector.
(Because it was going off. Again. Mom was cooking.)

Well, that rabid possum just would not give up. I hit him forty or fifty times with that stick. I thought he was dead. I went to pick him up by his tail, and he turned around to snap at me. So... I hit the damn thing another forty or fifty times.
(My uncle has a lot of stories like this about the poor bastards who get into his garage. Don't call PETA--he'll just beat the shit out 'em with that stick. He may sound like an asshole, but when I was running from Ex, I ran to his house. The dude hits rabid beasts with a stick. Sometimes, knowing that kind of dude comes in handy.)

That happened to me once at Bingo.
(My sister works in retail, and a quick change artist got $250 out of her register. According to my aunt, they also hit Catholic church basements. We all thought that was funny. It doesn't seem so funny now that I'm typing it. Maybe you had to be there.)

Frankly, I don't really care if Iran gets the bomb. We have the bomb. We're the only ones who have ever used it. And we used it on two civilian populations.
(That was my dad, and the dude has a point. And no, I won't be entertaining arguments about this is in the comments.)

I once dated a woman named Dagmar Stockfish. (This was a different uncle. And Dagmar, you ain't missing much. He's turned out to be much more of an asshole than the one with the stick.)

I need a magnifying glass to read the phone book.
Something seems to have happened to my bowels.
If I sit down on that floor, I may not be able to get up until next Christmas.
The clothes in my closet have been there so long, they're back in style again.
(There was a lot of this talk of the joys of aging.)

Oh, wow. That's...uh...a really pretty color.
(That was all my dad could come up with after he opened the half sweater/half sweatshirt my grandma bought him. It will come in handy for all those occasions when he's not sure if it's casual or business casual.)

Mom, go in the living room and ask to see your daughter-in-law's new tattoo. It's on her ring finger.
(A few months ago, my sister-in-law got drunk on all of four glasses of wine and got my brother's name tattooed on her ring finger. Unfortunately, tattoos on your hand have a tendency to wear quickly. So, it's beginning to look like she's in love with IKE instead of MIKE.)

There was other stuff, but it was even more boring than above. I don't know what it is about spending the holidays at home, but it has a way of eating at my soul.

I kept looking at my sister and saying, "Couldn't you go into labor already so we can get the fuck out of here?" She didn't. Typical family--you ask for one small thing, and they let you down.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Have a holly jolly SSRI

I have read a lot of posts lately that go kind of like this...

Is it here yet? Is Christmas here? Because the sooner it gets here, the sooner I can hug all those people I intentionally moved miles away from, and pass out those gifts I resent having to spend so much money on, and feed them those cookies I hate having to waste time on.
Is the fucking holiday here yet?
And when will it all be over?

As I may have mentioned (seven or eight times) already, I did my OB rotation in Small Town America. The downtown streets are lined with little shops with their Christmas wares displayed in picture windows. The trees are all decorated with tiny white lights. People say, "Merry Christmas" everywhere you go. There is no Hanukkah or Kwanzaa gumming up the works. It's all a very merry Christmas, all the time--think Normal Rockwell circa 1950.

And it's all bullshit.

Beginning in mid-November, women started to trickle into the doctor's office asking for anti-depressants. Can I have something for stress? Will you refill that pill you give me for stress? I'm going to need to you to up that thing I'm on for stress.

I finally had to ask, "So, you use a lot of fluoxetine (Prozac) in your practice, huh?"

"Well, you know," he said, "it's that time of year. None of these women are really, what I would call, depressed. I send actual depressed patients to a psychiatrist. These women are just miserable because the holidays are coming. The Prozac seems to help. Except, I never actually call it Prozac, and I never say anti-depressant. If I did, they'd never take it. And, they'd all eventually really lose their minds and, by Christmas, shoot their husbands."

"So, the whole town is medicated."

"At least through January."

So, if you've written one of the posts I referred to above, take heart. You're not alone.
The emperor's not wearing any clothes.
Christmas sucks.
And anyone who tells you differently is heavily medicated.

Friday, December 21, 2007

365 portraits

Bill Wadman has taken someone's picture every day of this year. I have been enjoying these daily portraits for some months now, and I only hope he does something equally brilliant for me to marvel over in the new year.

Look...amazing, huh?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tip of the day

Graci and I just got back from dunch (a bit too early to be dinner, way too late for lunch--dunch), which almost ended in my being arrested for manslaughter. At the table next to us, a lovely American family was coming up with ways to stiff the restaurant. They settled on picking a stray hair from their kid and dropping it on the last little bite of steak on one of their plates. When the waitress came over, they were all, "Uh, miss...we hate to bother you, but we found this hair on our steak and now we think you should, uh, probably take that off our bill."

The waitress picked up the hair, looked at the tow-headed child and said, "Huh. That's strange. We don't have any blondes working in the kitchen."

"Well, we don't know where it came from. But, we think it's gross. And, we probably shouldn't have to pay for that."

"Yeah, yeah," she said, "I'll take it off the bill."

"Oh, and can we get a little bowl of grapes for the kid?" To throw on the floor. That's what they meant to say, "Can we get a little bowl of grapes for the kid to throw on the floor?"

As blondie peppered the restaurant with fruit, the lovely American family began studying the bill and discussing the tip.

"Well, all I'm saying is it isn't any more work for her to walk out here with a $16 steak than it is for her to hand you an $8 burger. I don't see why we should tip her more for that."

And this is where the near manslaughter came in, because it was all I could do to keep from stabbing them with my fork while saying...

You don't see why?!? I'll tell you why. BECAUSE THAT IS HOW IT WORKS. When you decide to go out to eat, you are deciding to pay for service--15% is the minimum for standard service. If you can't figure that out, move the decimal point, multiply by 2, and make it 20%. Consider the other 5% a too-stupid-to-do-math tax. If you get exceptional service (and, in this case, the moment you handed her that hair and she refrained from bending you over and shoving it up your cheap ass, it became exceptional service), you tip more.

Them's the rules. If you don't like em...EAT AT HOME.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gold, Frankincense, and Dylan

As part of my father's Christmas gift, I'm making him a CD. I'm noting it here, so that years from now, I'll be able to look back and remember my moment of gift-giving brilliance. I'm telling you, if those wise men had been wiser men, this is what they would have brought the baby Jesus--a lovely collection of scotch and cigar music.

Songs and Stories for a Better Than Alright Guy
Diamonds on my Windshield -- Tom Waits
Shiver Me Timbers -- Tom Waits
Grace of God Go I -- Flogging Molly
Alright Guy -- Todd Snider
Sally MacLennane -- The Pogues
The Story of the Ballad of the Devil's Backbone Tavern -- Todd Snider
The Ballad of the Devil's Backbone Tavern -- Todd Snider
Gotta Serve Somebody -- Bob Dylan
The Times They Are A-Changin' -- Bob Dylan
Ring Them Bells -- Bob Dylan
Not Dark Yet -- Bob Dylan
Nobody Knows Me -- Lyle Lovett
Here I Am -- Lyle Lovett

Monday, December 17, 2007

Excuse me, Dr. Oz

I was just flipping through the channels (because I'm on vacation, and I can). Right now, you're on Oprah. In scrubs.

I'm confused, Dr. Oz. Are you about to perform surgery...right there...on the stage? Because, if not, you should probably PUT ON SOME FUCKING CLOTHES. Business casual, perhaps.

Whew. I don't know about you, Dr. Oz, but I feel much better now.

Using a straw, a coat hanger, and a piece of tape...

First, I want to thank every person who read my last post and left a comment. I have read them several times. Thank you so much.

I have been without the internet for most of the last few days. I just didn't have the patience to deal with DSL customer service. I have to work myself up to those phone calls so that I can get through all twenty minutes without screaming, "I already tried reseting it...eight times!" It's times like those that I wish I practiced meditation or yoga or something that makes you more laid back and go with the flowish.

After I get the DSL fixed (it breaks every six months), I have to reset my Airport--my Apple base station. It always works when I get started, but by the time the DSL woman is done having me re-reset everything from my computer to the microwave, the Airport can't find my laptop anymore. I like the Apple customer service guys, though. I can call them and just say, "Look, dude, the DSL bitch fucked up my computer and if you can't help me fix all of this soon, my head is going to explode and I'm going to kill the cat." This amuses them.

This time, though, I didn't have to call and entertain the Apple guy. I remembered what he told me last time, and I made it work all on my own! For a half hour afterwards, I actually felt like MacGyver. Granted, I didn't actually fix the thing with a wad of gum, a paper clip, and a pine cone. But, using my new found technical genius, next time, I feel like I could.

Friday, December 14, 2007

When Novocaine and M&M's don't work

When I was twenty-one, I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Ex and I had crappy dental insurance at the time, and it wouldn’t cover oral surgery. So, in a moment of what I now know to be total fucking stupidity, I decided to save $1000 by having a regular dentist remove four impacted teeth with nothing but Novocaine. I was thinking something like, “Novocaine is related to cocaine. Cocaine is a mighty powerful drug (or so I’ve heard from people who actually had the balls to try it in college). It’ll be fine.” What I didn’t know was that they are not really close relatives—Novocaine and Cocaine. They are more like fourth cousins.

Novocaine is not really adequate anesthesia to have impacted wisdom teeth removed from your skull. Or, at least, not in the hands of the dentist I went to. At some point, he gave up on getting me numb and decided he would just try to work faster. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a job to be hurried. Those damn teeth did not want to come out. He ended up cutting them into pieces and then removing the pieces. This took a while, because he had a hard time getting hold of the pieces. By the time we were done, we had worked out a system. He would try to get a hold of a piece, I would squeeze his arm when he had it, and then he would pull.

I still get nauseous thinking about it.

I didn’t cry, though. The whole two hours. Not a drop. Not until I saw Ex in the waiting room. Then, I broke down—huge tears, complete with snot. When he asked what was wrong, I sobbed, “It was the worst thing ever.” I wasn’t even in pain anymore. Well, I mean, my mouth hurt, but nothing like the last two hours. What I mean was, I wasn’t crying because I was in pain. I was crying because the whole thing had been so fucking bad.

Tonight I found myself thinking about that day, about the way I felt in that waiting room.

I have decided I am allergic to my bedroom, as I spend a good twenty minutes sneezing when I lie down each night. I think I may have actually sneezed myself to sleep twice last week. So, in an effort to reclaim my bedroom as a place where I can breath, I decided I would tear it apart to clean it—vacuum, dust, launder every cloth thing in hot water. When I moved the bed, I found a journal from the summer after I left Ex. I made the mistake of reading it. Sober.

It was filled with these little letters to God. These little “Uh, please help me with this and this and this today. And thanks for taking care of this and this and this yesterday.” And, as I read it, I remembered how I felt. I was so grateful to be alive every day, and so worried that at any moment Ex might come kill me. I was holding onto what I had to believe was this huge, powerful, scary God for dear life. Because, when I didn’t, I would literally curl up into a ball, and cry, and shake, and go a little crazy. Literally.

What struck me as I read it was how fucking cheerful I sounded in those little letters. I think that part of me was afraid to be anything but, afraid that God would think me an ingrate and actually let Ex catch me. Like, “Well, if she doesn’t appreciate my protection, why should I even bother.” And, like I said, I really was very grateful.

But now, when I think back on all of it—on the five years I was married to him, on the summer I spent running from him—I feel like I did in that dentist’s waiting room. I just want to cry. Not because I’m in pain. Because, it is nothing like the searing pain I was in when I was actually there. I want to cry because the whole thing was so fucking bad.

And sometimes, buying earrings, and eating M&M’s, and being the wittiest, most together med student in the whole fucking world doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, like tonight, I just break down.

This is where I excel

Well, the drunken bowling plans fell apart (as fantastic, elaborate plans tend to do). So, I spent last night with Graci drinking at home in stolen hospital scrubs in front of the TV. I know it sounds sort of pathetic, but after a rather exhausting OB rotation, it felt absolutely decadent.

We took turns saying, "Do you know what we have to do tomorrow?"
"That's right...nothing!"

I slept until 10:30 this morning. Got up. Showered. And put pajamas back on. When Graci woke up, I was having M&M's. She looked at me like I was eating toe jam and said, "That's not breakfast." Shows how little she knows about vacation. She tried to join me, but only got about seven M&M's down before turning green. What can I say? The constitution for vacation--you either have it, or you don't.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Drunken bowling

Teresa ~ Guys, wanna go drunken bowling tomorrow after the exam?

Polo (so named because of the ever-present emblem on his shirt)~ Hey Teresa, the trailer park just called. They want their white trash back.

Teresa ~ Is that a no?

Terroni ~ Fuck Polo. I'll come bowling.

So...I'm off to finish studying the 846 things that may, at any moment, go wrong with my girl parts (it's the Ob/Gyn exam); and then I'm going to get my white trash groove on.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Overheard in the OR

Uh, Barb, now that we've got those two gay employees, we're not really supposed to make the colonoscope jokes anymore.

Really? Why not? Does that kind of stuff offend them?

Well, the liberals have made everything so PC nowadays. You can't hardly say know, just in case.

We all know how much those never had a gay thought in their lives conservative Christian right-wing Republican straight folks love to talk about anal probing. Damn the liberals for stealing their joy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

December 5, 2007

I left this morning while it was still dark.
After I got done scraping my car, I stood for a moment in the falling snow and looked around Dorothy's quiet cul-de-sac.
It was just, well... ahhh.

I came home today to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
The ugly, mushy, melty ones.
The best thing to ever happen to real butter.

It's the coldest it's been all year.
Amazing how warm it feels.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Nice ears

Last week, Psycho Ex emailed the church where my mother works as a minister. It was two and a half pages of crazy, complete with poor spelling and atrocious grammar. I asked my mom just to summarize it. I have spent a lot of money so that I don't have to listen to him anymore. I certainly don't want to have him read to me. I got an email from him today. It's the first one I have received in well over a year. Apparently, he checked the date on the restraining order and realized that it expired a month ago and he can legally contact me again.

I moved his address into my junk email folder and went to Etsy to buy some earrings. It seemed like the thing to do. I may still have to carry mase and watch my back, but by God, my ears are going to look fucking fabulous while I do.

And these ears are listening to Patty sing...

Don't bring me bad news, no bad news

I don't need none of your bad news today
You're a sad little boy, anyone can see you're just a sad little boy
That's why you're carrying on that way
Why don't you burn it all down, burn your own house down, burn your own house down
Try to kill your own disease
And leave the rest of us, there's a lot of us, leave the rest of us
Who wanna live in peace to live in peace...

Don't bring me bad news, no bad news
I don't need none of your bad news today
You can't have my fear, I've got nothing to lose, can't have me fear
I'm not getting out of here alive anyway
And I don't need none of these things, I don't need none of these things
I've been handed
And the bird of peace is flying over, she's flying over and
Coming in for a landing.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A pickle it turns out, the way that my Ob/Gyn preceptor practices, while it works for him, is not really how textbooks talk about practice. I have a big test coming up in less than two weeks--a test written with the textbooks in mind. So, needless to say, I'm in a bit of a pickle. I've got to hit the books (hard) and relearn how all this Ob/Gyn stuff is supposed to be done. I also have to remind myself that when he tells me something, it's probably not the answer.

By the way, while I enjoy cucumbers, I hate pickles.