Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's exhausting, what with all that tying

Graci put on her Chuck Taylors but had to take a little rest before moving on to other overwhelming tasks--brushing her teeth and starting her car.

I'm not sure how she does it all.
I get tired just thinking about it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A note to me

A few days ago, Maria posted a letter to her 17 year old self. I thought, What a great idea.

Dear T at 17,
You know how you're thinking maybe you'll go to med school, or maybe you won't, or maybe you will, or maybe you won't? Well, I'm not going to tell you how that one turns out. Why not? Because in the long process of figuring it out, you're going to learn so much about yourself; and all of that will serve you well when you do or do not finally go to med school.

In a few years, someone is going to get on one knee and ask you a question. This puts you in perfect position to answer him...with a good, swift kick in the balls.

Then, go on vacation...alone. Sound lonely? It is a little bit. But, you'll find you really enjoy spending time with just you. And, in time, you'll learn that you have to be okay all on your own before you can be with someone else.

Finally, on a less glamorous note, you may want to learn how to check and refill your coolant. This will come in handy as you're about to have a series of used cars that overheat frequently.

T 10 years older

Friday, January 25, 2008

She wakes up and says something

Last week when I posted, I thought, Man, I really need to post more often. Here I am, today, posting...clearly not more often. Damn. This whole getting up at 4 am to drive two hours to work thing is wearing me the fuck out. I had the day off today. I slept in until 9 am--a full 5 hours later than on a work day--and then spent an hour sipping my coffee. It was decadent.

That said, I suppose I should actually post something, yes?

I'll start with Sunday. Sunday, I drove a couple hours to my hometown to see my dad preach. He doesn't do this often as he is a tax man by trade, not a preacher man. But, when he does it, he does it well. Or so I heard from the other people there. I was holding Logyn during the service. I just kept looking at her and thinking, I cannot believe I am actually biologically related to anything this beautiful. I didn't even know they made them this gorgeous. I wonder if I could somehow swallow her and keep her for my own? I don't think I heard a word my dad said over all that. But other people--people who weren't distracted by the most amazing creature ever right there in their lap--they said he was great.

I don't often talk about God or my feelings about him or her. I don't talk about this for two reasons. First, it's personal, and people who talk about their experiences with a higher power (or lack thereof) often end up sounding like they expect you to be having all the same experiences. Like, If you were doing it right, you'd have this kind of God relationship, too. Or, conversely, If you were smarter and more logical, you, too, would realize there is no god. Or maybe that's just how they sound to me (with the rare exception). Anyway, I worry about sounding like that. And second, my feelings about God are, uh...for lack of a better word, mixed. A mix of confusion, and anger, and gratitude, and sorrow, and I'm trusting God with this, and I hope he or she doesn't fuck up my life and make me live in a cave and eat bugs.

Mostly, on my best and worst days, I understand what Anne Lamott meant when she said, I'm fucked unto the Lord.

Well...all that said, two things happened on Sunday that I will remember for a long time. They are sort of God things. Forgive me if I sound like 1) You should be having the same experiences or 2) I'm all...mixed.

First, I spent the worship time holding Logyn. I can not explain except to say that was the best worship time I've experienced, well, maybe ever. It wasn't one of those hands in the air, roll in the aisles things you see on the God Needs Money channel. It was just sort of...ahhh.

Second, after church, I talked briefly with a man named Steve. Steve used to be a pastor but had to leave his job when he got multiple sclerosis. Steve is a very intelligent, eloquent man. As a pastor he wrote and delivered brilliant sermons. Sadly, the plaques of multiple sclerosis are slowly filling his brain and have taken much of his short-term memory.

Steve still delivers brilliant sermons, though. They're a bit shorter, but also a bit more honest than those he gave before MS. On Sunday, in his soft Southern drawl, he told me this...

The other day, I said to God, "You know, I feel like you've forgotten my address. Like I should send up a flare or something." Then, I went to the nursing home to do my little bit of preachin' and I met a guy, my age, missing one leg and half of the other one. He was there to do his rehab and then he was gonna go back to working and taking care of his kids. And I said, "Well okay, Lord. I see what you mean."

So, there you go. My sort of God things. I know what you're thinking, Girl doesn't post for a week, and then, when she finally does, she writes about freaking church.

Sorry. I'd write about sex. But, I'm doing that even less frequently than I'm doing church.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

To bed I said

I have a couple posts waiting for their better halves. I keep falling asleep before finishing them. So...I'm going to call this one a losing battle and get back in the fight sometime Thursday or Friday. I will visit all of your lovely web homes then, too.

In the meantime, rock on with your bad selves.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Story time

A Social Butterfly
My roommate, Lolita, asked a patient, "Do you drink alcohol?"

He said, "Oh, I'm just a social drinker."

Lolita, having been a medical student for more than five minutes, knew to then ask, "Okay, can you tell me what you mean by social drinker."

"Oh," he said, "I have about six beers."

"Six beers every day?"

"Yeah. About six beers a day. You know, a social drinker."

Pray for Serotonin
Graci is on a family practice rotation. The physician she is working with sees a fair number of patients with depression. Physicians tend to have their favorite prescriptions for the conditions they treat frequently. This doctor is no exception. Every time he sees a depressed patient, he says, "You need to go to church. Every Sunday. Go to church and ask God for help." Today, he went so far as to ask a patient, "Do you need me to find a church for you? Because I will."

I wonder if he was going to suggest she come to his church. Because that seems like the kind of thing that could backfire. Sundays could become extended office hours with patients saying, "Look Doc, I'm here. I asked God for help. He said to tell you that's what I pay you for."

Infant Frit
Today, a woman brought in a baby with eczema. I knew exactly what the pediatrician was going to say--olive oil. Her mother was a dermatologist in India, and she swore by the stuff. Having learned at her knee, the doctor suggests it for all kids with dry skin and mild eczema. So, I wasn't surprised when she said, "I want you to coat her in good old fashioned olive oil, head to toe, every day." I perked up, though, when she took it a step further and said, "Coat her in the olive oil and then lay her down, naked to her diaper, next to a sunny window for an hour."

She then looked at me and said, "Why did I just suggest that?"

I thought, "Well, the baby isn't jaundiced, so I'm not really sure why we're marinating her. I can only assume we're trying to seal in her juices so she won't dry out when we put her on the rotisserie."

I said simply, "I don't know."

The doctor's explanation had something to do with the vitamin D from sunlight working as an eczema treatment. Something like that. I wasn't listening. I was busy picturing the baby with a side of fries, or maybe some coleslaw.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The big two-five

Happy Birthday, Graci!


Monday, January 14, 2008

I whisper sweet nothings in the pretzel's ear

Do you ever fall asleep during dinner and then wake up spooning your family size bag of Chex Mix?

Or was that just me?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

They call it urban decay

Remember that earlier post in which I said I'd been assigned a dorm room with a roommate? Well, I decided not to stay in the dorm room with the roommate. The other medical student assigned to the same site for peds said, "But the dorm rooms have everything...like mini blinds!" I am not quite as turned on by plastic window treatments as he is, though, so I am commuting to Detroit each day.

I have gotten a lot of advice about how to get to the urban clinics where I am working, and all of it sounds like, "Whatever you do, don't go into that neighborhood. Or that one. Or that one. Or the one over there." Unfortunately, it's hard to find your way around town with those directions. So, I have inadvertently ended up touring several of those neighborhoods.

The last student on this rotation got mugged walking to her car one day, and I have been told to carry $20...just in case. Apparently, muggers charge $20. If you only have $10, they make you wash dishes to work off the rest. If you have $30, they get pissed because they have to make change. Or something like that. So, I'm carrying twenty bucks. I can't remember the last time I had cash on me, though. Every night, when I empty my pockets and pull out that twenty, I'm momentarily surprised. If a mugger points a gun at my head and asks for my money, I'll probably reflexively tell him I'm broke and then follow that with an excited, "Oh, wait...I might have something in this pocket!"

Navigating the concrete jungle is actually the least of my challenge in this rotation. Have you ever tried to look in a fourth month old's ears? I offered one of em the twenty to hold still, but the little buggers charge more than muggers.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Last year in review

Blame Dive. This (most of a) meme was plucked from his Small Glass Planet.

Where did you begin 2007? I don't remember. I was probably asleep on the couch with my roommate's cat when the ball dropped. It's an exciting life. I bet you're jealous.

What was your status on Valentine's Day? I was in stable condition.

Were you in school (anytime this year)? I was in school every time this year.

How did you earn your money? Hookin'

Did you have to go to the hospital? More days than not since July 1st.

Did you have any encounters with the police? I saw a police officer with a clotting disorder in the hematology clinic. Mostly, we talked about how she could get more fiber in her diet. I don't remember why we were talking about fiber. It has very little to do with clotting. Now that I think about, it's sort of odd that I remember that conversation at all.

Where did you go on vacation? I went to Florida in May to study for Boards. I know it doesn't sound like much of a vacation; but, when you live where I do, anything within fifty miles of the beach is considered a vacation.

What did you purchase that was over $1000? A couple semesters of med school.

Did you know anybody who got married? I don't think so.

Did you know anybody who passed away? My father's friend Jimmy was diagnosed with brain cancer and died five weeks later.

One night in the ER, I saw a 23 year old guy with a cut on his arm from a broken window. His girlfriend had just delivered a baby, and he and his buddies went out drinking to celebrate. When he got home, he realized he'd lost his keys. He broke the window trying to get into his own house. When I saw him, he was still pretty drunk, but was very nice. We laughed about how stupid his whole night had been.
A week later, he came in coding after a cocaine-induced heart attack. He was pronounced dead twenty minutes later.

Did you move anywhere? I moved out to BFE for six weeks for my OB rotation. Does that count?

How did you celebrate your birthday? It went something like this.

What concerts/shows did you go to? None. No money.

Are you registered to vote? This strikes me as a really odd question here, but yes, I am.

Where do you live now? Nice try, stalker.

How did you spend your summer break? I studied for Boards. I took Boards. I rehydrated (with the spirited beverage).

What's one thing you thought you'd never do but did in 2007? I got divorced. Happily. I never thought I'd be happy to bury a marriage.

What has been your favorite moment? That would be this.

What's something you learned about yourself? I look good with short hair.

What was your worst month? February. No particular reason. Just kind of sucked.

What music will you remember 2007 by? Patty Griffin came out with a new album, and Jackson Browne rocked me on the water with some great old stuff.

Who has been your best drinking buddy? Graci

Made new friends? Yes, in every single rotation. For example, this was a very pleasant surprise.

What was your best month? May was good. Lots of Boards studying but I got in shape on the beach, got a tan in the process, and the studying paid off.

Overall, how would you rate 2007 out of 10? This reminds me of the lame-ass question we ask patients, Rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10.

Have any car accidents? Not in 2007. Today, I think I broke a shock or a strut or whatever it is that keeps you from bouncing up and down as you drive. Damn potholes.

Did you have a New Year's resolution? I'm eating chips and watching Wheel of Fortune in my sweats. I can't think of a single thing I could resolve to improve about this sexy life.

Do anything embarrassing? I'm not sure I did anything that wasn't embarrassing.

Buy anything new from eBay? Nope. Never use it.

Get married? I got unmarried.

Get arrested? No, I was never caught. Stealth is my middle name.

Did you get sick in 2007? I thought I had avascular necrosis of the femoral head, but it turned out to just be a pulled muscle.

Been snowboarding? No, but last week, it snowed and I was bored.

Are you happy to see 2007 go? Sure. So far, 2008 has been pretty fabulous for this aunt.

Despite my best efforts

I start my pediatric rotation today in a hospital about an hour away. I thought I was signing up for two weeks in this hospital, but was assigned for six. I thought I'd be staying in a call room, but was assigned a dorm room...with a roommate.

When I woke up this morning, I stepped in cat shit. An hour later, I was notified that I need to take my immunization records with me this afternoon. When I drove across town to get said records, I found out that my TB testing is not up to date. ("Oh, sorry about that. I guess we put the wrong date in the computer.")

The whole morning has been one big clusterfuck. But, it's 58 degrees and sunny. This would suck if I was a polar bear; but since I'm not, I find it absolutely impossible to be in a crappy mood today.

I tried, I just can't do it.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Thursday, January 3, 2008

At 6:34 this evening...

My little sister, Kelsy, delivered a baby girl.
Logyn Jane weighs 6 lbs. 8 ounces and is 19 inches long.
Logyn is smart, and witty, and gorgeous...just like her mother.

They put that slimy baby on my sister's chest, and she wrapped her arms around her, and kissed her head, and whispered through soft sobs, Logyn, I love you so much. And that was just the most amazing, beautiful moment I've ever seen.

There was a lot of talk about the baby's room today, as everyone who came to see Kelsy asked, "So, are you ready to take this baby home?" She and Logyn will be sharing the room that Kelsy and I used to share. When I came back to my parents' house tonight, I went up to that old room. It looks a lot different than it did when Kelsy and I lived there together. It looks like a nursery. But, as I sat down in the middle of the floor and looked at those old walls, I remembered what it was like when my sister and I lived there.

When we shared that room, each night, before I went to sleep, I would creep over to Kelsy's bed and, careful not to wake her, I'd give her a kiss on the forehead. The night before I left for college was the last night we spent there together. That night, I gave her a kiss and then wiped one of my tears from her cheek.

When I moved away, she was thirteen years old.

Tonight, as I looked around at the old walls and the pile of new, pink baby blankets, I wiped a tear from my own cheek. That thirteen year old girl has grown into a woman, and tonight, she became a mother.

Amazing, beautiful, surreal.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Can't see the lab forest for the titty trees

The computer in the ICU has contracted some sort of porn virus. In the middle of looking through patient labs, huge pop-up windows full of naked lady appear.

This was funny for about five minutes at six o'clock this morning. Then, people started getting ticked and yelling things like, "These damn boobs are covering my potassium!"