Friday, February 29, 2008

The week's highlights

Dance with me~

I was seeing a 78 year old man for a follow up visit. At his last visit, he said he was lonely and depressed. He wouldn't take any medication for depression, though.

"Well, you know, I wouldn't be so damned depressed all the time if I would get off my ass. They have these dances for the seniors, and my daughters think I should go. I'm not a very good dancer, but my daughter said maybe I could go up to one of the ladies at those dances and tell them a line. My daughter said I could say, I'm not a very good dancer, but maybe you could help me. So...what do you think?"

"I think it's a good line. I'd dance with you."



"Well then. I guess maybe that'll work. I'm going to go try it out with the ladies."

An encouraging word~

I was feeling particularly stupid all morning. I said lemniscus when I meant meniscus and bouton when I meant Bouchard. I was starting to wonder why the hell they let idiots like me do medicine.

But then, when I asked a woman about her leg pain, she said, "Well, I don't know what's wrong, but I don't think it's a tumonor." And it suddendly hit me... that's why you're the patient, and I'm going to be the doctor. Because, I may occasionally use the wrong word, but you make 'em up as you go.

I didn't even know they made those~

I had already introduced myself and was in the middle of asking the 82 year old gentleman questions about his blood pressure medication when he suddenly stopped me to ask, "What are you again?"

"I'm a medical student," I said.

"Oh, so you're going to be a nurse or something?"

"I'm actually going to be a doctor," I said.

"A lady doctor?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "I'm going to be a lady doctor."

He thought about that for a moment, trying to wrap his head around this whole person who is both a woman and a doctor thing. "Huh," he finally said, "I think you're my very first lady doctor."

I sensed that I was still a bit of an enigma to him, but we continued on with his appointment--sorting out his medications and doing his physical. When we were finished, I shook his hand and said, "It was nice to meet you. And, I'm so glad to have been your very first lady doctor."

"Well, I'm glad, too," he said. "You were pretty good. I think I might see a lady doctor again."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What if...

Maria asked what if?

And, I sometimes wonder...what if I'd never gotten married?

I would have lived with a group of women friends in college.
I never would have learned to roof a house or tile a bathroom to pay rent. This may not sound like much, but yesterday, I had a patient who was a roofer. I could honestly say, "Oh man, I did that for a while. It was the hardest I've ever worked."

I would have continued to work in a campus office.
I never would have gotten that nurse's aide job at the big hospital where he worked. I never would have met all those amazing nurses who taught me so much real medicine, real life.

I would have come to medical school two years earlier.
I would have gone farther away.
I never would have met Lolita or Graci.
I wouldn't have been close enough to have Logyn for my birthday.

I may have gone on those caving trips that always interested me.

I may have dated the writer, or the chemist--the ones whose knowing eyes made me feel all the more trapped with Mr. Ex.

I may have taken that semester abroad.

Turns out, I don't really know what if.

But...I do know that I like where I am, who I am today.
What more could a girl ask for?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Placing an ad at

This morning, while shoveling half a foot of wet, heavy snow off my car (and into my shoes), I made a decision.

I've decided I should start dating again.

Single white female seeks anyone willing to clean off her car and clear her walk.

Please note...
She probably won't sleep with you, and she may not talk to you much.
Also, she doesn't cook; and she doesn't do other people's laundry.

Interviews will be held tomorrow morning at 7.
Applicants should provide their own shovels.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I do not process my feelings well with others. Not even close friends. This is not to say that I can't talk about how I feel. I can. But often only after I've figured out what it is I'm actually feeling. And sometimes only after said feeling has passed.

When it is new and undefined, it's somehow too heavy for me to toss back and forth.

In the meantime, I need space. I need time. Sometimes, I need open road. Questions like Are you ok? Are you sure? What are you thinking? feel like fingers around my neck. I need to breathe.

When people talk about having a soul-mate, I wonder if that's what they mean--this is the person with whom I process shit. And, I sometimes wonder if this means I'm not really cut out for a partnership.

My last relationship ended with a psychotic man's explosion. Afterwards, walking through the rubble that remained, it was hard--is hard--to tell if some of that structural damage was actually done by me years before. I wonder if I hurt the relationship when I said, I just can't talk right now. I need you to back up so I can breathe.

Can a person who needs this much space be a partner? I'm not sure. But, right now, this isn't something I'm willing to work on. It isn't something I'm willing to change. If the answer to that question is no, I choose to be alone.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An apology

For those of you who read using an RSS feeder and are bothered by the fact that I edit posts (800 or 900 times) before leaving them be, I am sorry.

Not so sorry that I'm going to stop doing it. Not that kind of sorry. It's more like an oh, yeah, sorry 'bout that kind of sorry.

I read somewhere that in blogging we occasionally show a little writerly plumber's butt. Well, occasionally, I let my whole skinny white blogger's ass hang out. The revisions are an attempt at hiking up my pants.

Staring at posts that do not look or sound the way I want annoys me. Sorry if the edits annoy you. If it's any consolation, the people who know me outside of blogging will tell you it's the least of my annoying qualities. Those people...they occasionally see me chew gum with my mouth open. are relatively spared.

It's a sign...

A sign that my day is done.

Well, at least the part where I'm expected to wear something other than pajamas.

That part is done.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hanging in

Peds ended on Friday with the exam I spoke of briefly. I first wrote about this rotation way back on January 10th, and Maria responded by saying, "I am betting that within a week you fucking LOVE peds..." I wanted her to win that bet because I love to fucking LOVE things. Sadly, though, she's lost this one.

I didn't love peds. There were days I thought, "If I have to look in one more squirming kid's ear, I'm going to stab myself with this otoscope."

I was told at the beginning that I was going to spend two weeks in the NICU. I looked forward to that more than anything. And, it was a huge fucking disappointment. I like ICU medicine and its critically ill patients. I was thinking that NICU was going to be like taking care of critically ill neonates (because that's what NICU means). I, however, was never allowed to care for critically ill babies. I was given two "feeder growers"--the kids who are just working on gaining a little weight before going home. Beyond boring.

And to top it off, I had to work with a nurse practitioner I came to know as The Angry Canadian. So named because she was Canadian, and I've never met such a piss ant from the country of ice hockey and curling.

Outpatient peds was repetitive.
NICU was a huge disappointment.
I was sad for six weeks. Actual pathetic sadness. Sad and tired. Tired from spending all day trying to hide my disappointment and sadness.

I am writing this down because I have occasionally run into doctors who say, "Oh med school. Yeah, that was great. Loved every minute of it." I have, for the most part, been having a fine and dandy year. But, I think it's worth remembering I haven't loved every minute of it. It's worth remembering so that I can spot that look--the sad, tired from trying to hide it look--in a student's eyes some day and mean it when I say, "Some of these rotations are just like wading through shit. Hang in there, kid."

This week, I started family medicine. I am no more interested in it than I was in peds. But, I like the people I'm working with, and I'm enjoying the older patients. Older patients have stories. I couldn't patiently listen to all of 'em for a living, but I think I may enjoy it for six weeks.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy birthday to me

Kelsy came to visit Saturday, and she brought my birthday...

Kelsy, Logyn, Lolita, Graci, and I all went out to dinner. We chose a local family-friendly chain restaurant because we wanted to be sure that if Logyn fussed a bit, we wouldn't be ruining anyone's romantic Valentine's weekend whatnot. When we got there, they told us it would take about an hour and twenty minutes to be seated. I grabbed Logyn, found a chair (people give those up when you have a baby, you know) and said we'd wait. Then...for an hour and twenty minutes, I got to sit while she slept on my chest. The night could have ended there, and it would have been the best birthday I've ever had.

We were eventually seated; and we all took turns holding her as we ate, trying not to spill food on her head.

Did you catch that? That part about taking turns? I want you to know that that was no small thing for me--that letting other people hold her bit. And to think, I even did it on my birthday. That showed great character on my part...just wanted to make sure you didn't miss it.

But I digress. When we got home from dinner it was a bit late. Kelsy had a two hour drive ahead of her and was going to be on the road well past midnight. She said, "Uh, if it's okay with you, maybe I could just sleep on your couch...we could stay here tonight. If you want, Logyn can sleep with you."

I thought that over for a full 0.007 seconds before responding with what sounded to me like a calm, cool, "I'd love to have you."

But, Kelsy remembers it differently. She later said, "Man, I don't think I've ever seen you so excited. Geez."

So, Logyn spent the night sleeping with me. Sleeping on my chest. I spent the night watching her sleep. It was, far and away, the best birthday I've ever had.

In packing the next day, Kelsy accidentally left one of Logyn's pink, fuzzy bibs. It's been lying next to me in bed ever since, little bits of dried formula still there. I'm considering it my birthday gift.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Belated valentine

Rumi said...
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's definitely C, or D... or maybe A

Halfway through my Peds exam today, I found myself thinking, every kid on here going to be sick?

Then I remembered where I was.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

He's the homeland security candidate

From an SFGate article...

"Barack Obama. We've made it our new safe word."
(Woman to woman, overheard at a bar.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Drained, yet still so full of snot

I've got absolutely nothing to say that anyone else is interested in hearing. In fact, I'm not even all that interested in hearing it. But, before I can go to sleep, in an effort to unload some of the ughhhh that I have wrapped up like the rubber band inside a golf ball and shoved into the now screaming muscle in my shoulder (what...isn't that how you store your ughhhh?), I shall now commence to bitching.

I feel like shit. My nose is somehow both full of snot and dry as a bone. The skin between my nose and my upper lip is beet red--rubbed raw from the cheap-ass tissues at work. My throat feels like someone is sanding it down. My ears are full of mucus. My eyes are burning.

And Peds? Today, the only thing worse than kids was their parents.

Parents who say things like, "Well, the eczema gets better when I use the cream. But, then it's bad when I don't use it. But, I don't really use it because I'm not sure if she really needs it. But, she is better when I use it. But, then I'm not really sure if I should use it. But, the doctor told me I should use it on her twice a day. So, do you think I should use it?"

Have you ever wanted to beat someone to death with a tube of eczema cream?
Well, congratulations.
You're a better person than I am.

I suddenly feel much better.
And now, to bed.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

It's just a nasty virus

That's what I tell kids and their parents all day, every day.

They say, "I was really tired. And then I got the snot--first in my nose, and then my ears. And now my throat hurts. And my tummy hurts. And I'm sore all over. And I'm still really tired."

I look 'em over and then say, "I think that this is probably just a nasty virus. You need to cover your mouth when you cough, please."

I add that last line right after they cough. On me. They all cough on me. I duck and weave, but they're younger and faster. They hit me every time.

Today, I was really tired. And then I got the snot...and you get the point.
It's just a nasty virus.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Take cover, run for your lives

It's not so much snowing, as it is snowballing.

Monday, February 4, 2008

On sexism

In USA TODAY's On Politics, Mark Memmott wrote,
Clinton, who today was wearing a yellow and black ensemble...

Hey, Mark, when was the last time you made mention of Barack's clothes in your column?
Quarter past never?
Yeah, that's what I thought.

Hey, Mark's boss, Mark needs to be fired.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fill in the blank

Where is your cell phone? Graci's coffee table. Don't call me right now. I'm busy.

Vehicle? Covered in salt. In need of an oil change and some windshield washer fluid.

Hair? Not bad.

Father? Talked to him on the phone today. Asked if I missed him, as he always does. I said yes. It wasn't a lie, as it never is.

Your favorite thing? Peace. And quiet.

Dream last night? Don't remember. Woke up nervous and sweaty. Not well rested.

Favorite drink? The occasional cold beer. Or two.

Room you are in? Graci's living room. Basking in the warm glow of her entertainment center. Because she has a TV, and I don't.

Your ex? Said all I've got to say about that.

You are? Tired. Very tired. Maybe catching a little bug.

What do you want to be in ten years? Good at my job. Kick ass good.

Who did you hang out with today? Lolita, Graci, Swahili.

What you're not? Perky.

Muffins? No. Bagels.

One of your wish list items? These.

Where is the ____? Crockpot.

The last thing you did? Ate oreos.

What are you wearing? New glasses. Brown on the outside. Animal print on the inside. (That's where I keep my animal...on the inside.)

Your pet(s)? Sadly...none to speak of.

Your computer? Having some problems running off the battery. Out for a quick repair next week.

Your life? Tired.

Your mood? Spent.

Missing? My energy. (Are you catching the theme here?)

What are you thinking about right now? My leg. I fell on the ice today. Hard. My knee's swollen. Ouch.

Your shoes? These, in blue and sulphur. They make me look cool.

Your work? Ugh. Studying. Exam in two weeks. Crunch time.

Your summer? Months away.

Your favorite color? Brown. As in hard wood. Not loose stool.