Friday, February 29, 2008

Spring is sprung

It's officially spring in North Carolina. You know how I know this? Well, the trees are starting to bloom. The temperature is warming up. The grass needs mowing. And the tinny sound of "The Wheels on the Bus" came wafting through my apartment complex today.

The ice cream truck is back.

I know today was supposed to be my "free day" from blogging. But dude, it's not like it was a day of silence observed for some cause or remembrance or whatever. It's because there happen to 366 days this year. And it's not called Blog 366. But I've been home doing nothing all day, so, I figure I can take a different day off, right?


I'm feeling a little better. I have less of a fever, I'm not quite as sore, I have a little more energy. But I don't think I've been this snotty since I was a teenager (ha). I wandered out to the Target this morning around 8 to get further supplies. Like a humidifier. And Sudafed, which I couldn't get because the damn pharmacy wasn't open that early, so I had to settle for the completely useless phenylephrine version. Has this pseuoephedrine lock-up made any sort of a dent in the crystal meth problem? Not that I can tell. From where I sit, there's still an abundance of meth addicts and the only access that's been reduced is to good decongestants.

I really went because I ran out of tissues last night. Oh, it was tragic. And then I couldn't find the tissues at the Target, which almost brought me to tears. Which is when I decided it was probably okay that I didn't go to work today.

I walk in, though, and right up front, at the One Spot (the little dollar section. Which, really, that store is wonderful. And then now they have a grocery store, and a dollar store, and a Starbucks, all right inside the Target! I swear, if they start selling yarn, I might not need to shop anywhere else), they have this display of fold-up reusable bags. It's all, be eco friendly! Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! And I thought, oh, these are nice. They fold up, they're cheap, this is good. So I bought two. And when I checked out, I made sure I pointed them out to the cashier, like, I know you can't fit a humidifier in one of these, but the rest of my stuff should fit in there. She picks them up, says, "Oh, yeah, these are nice bags"....and promptly puts them in into a plastic bag.

So I gave up and came home and took a nap.

::sigh:: There are so many important things I've been meaning to talk about here this week. Maybe I should've taken today off after all...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hot blooded (check it and see)

(Miss the reference? First of all, shame on you. But, if so, click here.)

Technically, my temp's only 102. And, I told you it wasn't the flu.

Which is fortunate. What's unforunate is that they had to suck stuff out of my nose to find out. That was a little uncomfortable. I also don't have strep, in case you were wondering. But they sent me home from work today regardless.

I really felt like shit this morning when I went in, and then I started having shaking chills during rounds. Which is when I decided I probably shouldn't take call tomorrow night. And I was talking to my cohort and we got to discussing the fact that there've been several lab-diagnosed cases of flu on our unit. And I said, hmm, maybe I should go get a flu swab. And then if I do have the flu, I'll just do my work with a mask on tomorrow, co-intern was like, dude, they're not going to let you work if you've got the flu.

So what did I say?

"Oh. Then I'd better not go get swabbed."

So what did she say?

"Don't be an idiot."

She was right, of course. So I go down to Employee Health, and ask for a flu swab. The nurse was like, hmm, yeah, we don't typically do that. I said, we've got all these patients upstairs with flu upstairs. She said, welllll, I'd have to talk to the epidemiologist. I said, okay. She sighs, says, fine, come in, we'll at least take your temperature and whatnot. And, lo and behold, it was 102.

She goes out of the room. She comes back in wearing a mask. Umm....

So they did a nasal aspirate for flu and a rapid strep test and they sent me home. And I spent a good 45 minutes fussing and working and trying to rearrange the call schedule so my call was covered and figuring out the work for tomorrow and finally my chief resident threw me out and as I turned to leave I saw him reaching for a bottle of Purell. And it cracked me up a little. Which of course sent me into a coughing fit.

Employee Health paged me about a half hour later and said, everything was negative. So if it's flu, it's not Flu A. Which means it could be Flu not-A, of course. Or just some random upper respiratory virus. But I'm banished from the hospital until I've managed to not run a fever for 24 hours. Which means I'm missing work again.

I really don't know what else I can take this month.

The final irony of it? The call switches they worked out put me on call on Roman Good Friday. Which, um, not a very big deal to me, because Orthodox Easter is like a month and a half later than Roman Easter this year. But it's a holiday. And being on call on a holiday earns me a comp day. Which is an extra day off, scheduled at my discretion.

I....really though....

So it's Thursday. Let me start with some things I don't love. Don't love the not-A Flu or whatever this is. Don't love Afrin (it really makes my throat burn and I'm not sure it's worth the decongesting). Don't love missing work AGAIN. But here are five things that I do love today:

5. Kleenex.
4. Getting comp days for being sick (okay, not that I don't have to actually work the holiday, too, but still)
3. Nurse Maggie
2. Hot liquids
1. My DVR, which I've been lying on the couch watching all afternoon. So here's today's quotable SVU.

Tutuola: What's all this?
Stabler: Asbestos testing.
Benson: It's in every building constructed before 1970.
Tutuola: I'm not stayin' in here with all those tiny cancer-causing particles flying around!
Munch: Stop worrying. As an African-American you're statistically far more likely to die of diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.
Tutuola (defensively): Or a bullet!

It's possible I'm a little delirious, but that made me giggle.

Oh, and PS - tomorrow is the Blog 365 "Day of Rest", so I'm not compelled to blog tomorrow under the rules of, arrangement, whatever it is. We'll see if I have anything to say tomorrow. I might just hide from the end of February (before something ELSE tries to follow up the pox/court/high fever trifecta....).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I had a whole post planned for tonight. But, um, I'm going to bed.

Oh, and hey, did you know there's a flu epidemic in the Triangle? Glad I got my flu shot.

I think I just have a cold, though. I thought I had flu, but, it's snot.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yet another perspective

So I'm watching some Law and Order:SVU rerun tonight, right? Because I've got a couple dozen of them DVR'd and waiting for me at this point. And in this one, which probably has an episode title but I don't know it, Mary Stuart Masterson guest stars as a cop-turned-psychiatrist. And Olivia is yelling at her because their victim, a very disorganized and psychotic schizophrenic, has just checked herself out of Bellevue after her 24 h hold expired.

First off, yeah, right. Like that patient wouldn't have been petitioned so fast she'd have had paper cuts. Second of all, maybe it is different in New York, but most states have a 48 or 72 hour hold.

But nonetheless. So Olivia says to her,

That's the problem with the mental health profession. You medicate them, just enough so you can cut 'em loose, and then nobody monitors them. They go off their meds and the next thing you know, they either become the victim of a crime or they commit one. Either way, we have to clean up your mess.

Some days, you know, I feel kind of the same way.

I got into a thing with our social worker today when I refused to discharge a patient because he lied to me about having a place to stay. It's possible his family lied to him. I think everyone was lying in this scenario, frankly. And so I made the decision that he was going to stay another day so we can make sure that the new place he's told us he can go is valid. And the social worker was like, why are we so concerned about where this guy is going? We toss people out on the street all the time. You know, homeless people, we just send them out to be homeless again.

And she's right. Last week I discharged a guy to the TTA bus. He was going to take it to Durham and "figure something out." I kept arguing with him that he needed to identify someplace safer that "figuring something out", but he said he was sick of stability. He gave me no reason I could commit him. He was voluntary, and he wanted to leave. My 72 hour hold expired. I had no choice but to discharge him to the streets.

At least with this guy, I had a choice.

Most of the time, if we send them to a shelter, is that really any better? Is it really any different? Some of them are only open at night. They're all overcrowded. There's just no good answer.

Which is part of why it sucks to be really crazy.

Sometimes this job is really hard (you know, like math, right PS?).

I spent the better part of an hour telling my one patient's parents they need to back the hell off and let him be a grown up. He's 18, wickedly neurotic, and very enmeshed with his family. And when I got in this morning and found that his mother had camped out in the waiting room all night and was planning to more or less be there until we discharged him so she could come in at every visiting period, I gained a much better understanding of why. So I went out, gave some really basic advice. A little bit of logic. A few reminders about how hard it is to establish your own individuality. He's a good kid. He has a lot of potential. They want to know every detail but at the same time they validate nothing (his four years of being chronically suicidal was "teenage moodiness"). His mother told him that because she never felt suicidal when she was depressed that he wasn't really depressed. Oy.

I have another woman who was supposed to be discharged today. She was doing fine, and then last night started seeing little brown monsters jumping on her bed. So, I kept her today, too. She, incidentally, was the patient of Dr. Ming's of yesterday's post. I think she legitimately has multiple personality disorder. Like my cousin. Like my good friend down south. Like my ex. And there is a lot of division in the profession about whether or not this diagnosis even exists, right? I think it does. I think it's the end of a spectrum of something that happens to all trauma victims, particularly those who are traumatized at an early stage of development. However...not everyone thinks the way I do. And now I'm starting to understand why my friend in Florida never wants to go into the hospital when she needs to. When she's unsafe, it feels safer for her to sit home in mortal peril than to go to a "safe place" where people can help her.

Some days, this job also makes my head hurt. Or it could be that I'm getting a cold.

Whatever. It's time for bed. And so with that thought, I leave you with another SVU line, from a subsequent episode. Everyone's favorite Cop Killa turned TV detective, Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), busts in and goes all undercover narco on this shifty lawyer, and the lawyer looks at Fin's partner , who's sitting in the back of the office, asks, "Who the hell is that guy?" Fin says,

Him? That's my Jew.

That one made me giggle.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pumpkin Whore

So I'm on call tonight, right? And at Big Hospital, one of the things this involves is everybody meeting a 4:30 so the person covering walk-in clinic and the ER during the day can sign out all the patients still in a holding pattern to the overnight call person (not me. Ha!) and the short call person (me. And not just because I'm 5'5" on a good day. Because I get to leave at 10pm when I'm short call, and sign out to the night float person. No, not a complicated system at all. But still way the hell better than having to stay all night. I heart short call. At least until I have to get up at 6 tomorrow and still put in a full day's work. But anyhow, I digress...). So there's one patient in the ER, and this other one who's floating in the "going to come in later" ether.

This is the signout I got on the ether patient: he's a chronic schizophrenic in his early 20s, on meds, but has had an increase in the voices lately. They're not commanding him to do anything, but they are calling him names, like "pumpkin whore."

So like two hours later the ER calls me and says, hey, this guy is down here. He's a chronic schizophrenic in his early 20s, generally well controlled on meds but he's been hearing more voices lately. They aren't command hallucinations; they're just calling him names, like "punk" and "whore."

At which point I just started cracking up. And then I had to explain to the poor ER resident why I was laughing so hard. Who, to her credit, also thought it was hysterical.

Another random thought from today: we have this family in town who is, like, the local psychiatry dynasty. We'll call them the doctors Ming. So, many, many years ago, the eldest Dr. Ming decided to become a psychiatrist. And he was a good one. He was even the head (the Emperor, if you will) of State Hospital at one point. And so then he had three sons, and all three of his sons became psychiatrists, and then all three of the newly minted Ming psychiatrists decided to practice in the Raleigh-Durham area. And then one of them had a son, or maybe they all had a nephew, I'm really not certain (was there a fourth Ming brother who went another direction with his life? I actually don't know), but anyway, there was a third generation Ming who also decided to become a psychiatrist and is a year ahead of me in my program. Which is very cool. But also makes it hell for difficult when a patient comes in and tells you, "I see Dr. Ming." Uh, thanks, that narrows it down to what, half the psychiatrists in the Triangle area?

Anyway, I called one of the many Mings today to tell him I was sending his patient home tomorrow. And we had this conversation about her, and he says something to the effect of, you know, some people really shouldn't be in therapy. For some people, the goal is just to maintain, not to search and explore and conquer. Some people can't handle that.

This flies in the face of my entire practice philosophy. My whole idea of mental health is confronting and fixing mismatches, and getting in touch with what lies beneath. So my first instinct was to be all, what?! And then I started thinking, what if there's some merit to that?

Thoughts from the peanut gallery?

::sigh:: Incidentally, no phrase has ever gotten me (and possibly all of mankind) in more conundrums than, "what if".

Certainly no phrase like "pumpkin whore."

I still think that's hilarious. I should've told that to the voices. Maybe they'd start calling him that for real. I think that would've been less demoralizing.

Well, anyhow, given my obvious mental state, Mags and I are going to go to bed. In my very own bed. At home. Even if I am only there for 6 hours or so and don't get to leave early tomorrow. So diggin' this short call thing.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Home sweet mess

I'm back in NC. And it appears that someone broke in and messed up my house while I was gone. I swear, when I left here, it was clean...

My flight was relatively uneventful. I had two little kids sitting with me in my row - a nine year old and his three year old sister. The nine year old was actually very articulate. We had a great conversation about the presidential election. They were very cute.

So, tomorrow, back to Crisis. I have one patient left that I had before, which means that all my patients pretty much will be new. And I'm on call. At least I still have a shadow.

Oy, I think it's time to go to bed....

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not as cute as my nephew, but...

...I can finally show you pictures of my latest FO. This is my mom's Christmas present (you know, because it's only February).

It's a very simple, basic felted bag that I kind of made up as I went. We finished it off today with a thin black drapery cord handle (much like the one on my sheep tote, for those who know it. I have a tendency to prefer drapery cord to I-cord, mostly because I HATE knitting I-cord. I let my mom pick out the cord, for length and design and whatnot). I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

The Greek key design is more or less pilfered from a little booklet I got free with some knitting magazine containing a few teaser patterns from one of Vogue Knitting's little tiny knitting books (possibly Felted Bags Two. Or maybe just Bags Two. Something with a "two"). This pattern was part of an overall motif on the Weekender.

The yarn is Mauch Chunky, out of my stash, nearly three balls' worth. The bottom was black, worked doubled for strength and/or durability, and then after I picked up the stitches around the base I just kind of kept going until I ran out. I had a little bit of each of the blue colors left over. So, you know, it took about that much yardage (great pattern notes, huh?).

And then here's the picture of the bag with my awesome new felting majig. Love that thing, even if (especially because?) Maggie never found it at all interesting.

My mom really liked it. She even made sure she took it to dinner with us tonight to show off to my (actual) aunt and uncle and my younger cousin. My dad wore his socks, too. My uncle was very impressed. Dinner was nice - we went to the Rock Bottom Brewery, which is a chain, but the food was decent and the beer was awesome. I had the Lumpy Dog Brown. Ha!

My older cousin couldn't join us for dinner because his band - the coolest indie rock band ever - is playing in the city tonight. I'm a little bummed that it wasn't a) closer, or b) that they weren't headlining, because I've been dying to go to one of their shows. And they have a new album coming out in a couple of weeks, on which my cousin wrote FOUR of the songs. Wicked.

Dimitri plays bass, and in the pic in the banner he's the one on the right. The handsome one. It runs in the family, obviously.

They so need to come play in NC.

So tomorrow morning I get back on the big blue avion and head back to Carolina. And then pick Mags up, and then I'm on call Monday night. Ahhh, back to reality, and so soon....

Friday, February 22, 2008

What a big boy!

I am way too tired and had far too long a day to actually write a substantive post tonight. Suffice it to say not-court went well enough, I'm considering a vendetta against my former realtor (who fucking perjured himself in arbitration today, the corrupt, lying rat that he is), and then on the way out of not-court I fell down again. I think it's the Danskos, I really do. But the evening was so much better. And so I leave you with a gratuitous cute picture of the world's cutest little boy, my 17 month old nephew, Basil.

This is actually my favorite shot we took tonight...

Shortly after I met Bianca, his mom, my freshman year of high school, her mom - who also worked at our high school - offered me a ride home. And as we walked to their car, I commented on the peculiar combination of numbers and letters that was their license plate. "My father's a HAM," she said, and was then quick to explain, "You know, like, a HAM radio operator."

"Right," I told her. "I didn't think your dad was a pork product."

Hey, Bei? I hate to tell you this (okay, no I don't), but I think there's another little ham in the family....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oh! And!!!

I missed Barb's birthday. Primarily because I didn't know it was coming, but now it's been, I mean, I think it was TWO WHOLE DAYS AGO. So, everybody, say it with me,


So glad the Random Fairy got us together!!! Also glad you're moving like 12 hours closer to me. Incredibly glad you can hear and understand me the way you do, even though I'm quite sorry about the reasons that's sometimes true. Mostly I'm just really glad we're friends.

Northern Rain

I'm in Chicago, of course. My father picked me up from the airport, we had lunch, we killed time, I went into the yarn store by my lawyer's office (Malabrigo makes laceweight now! In Velvet Grapes! And many other fine colors that do not happen to be my favorite color of Malabrigo. I almost squealed out loud right there in the shop. I'm sure they would've understood. Alas, though, I left empty-handed. Because they did not have the bag handles for which I sought, nor did I have an actual need for laceweight Malabrigo. Because truth be told, I don't have a lot of patience for knitting lace these days). I lost my cellphone, and also found it (it was at the Starbucks. Where else? It's possible that I didn't actually lose it there, I think, it just instinctively found the nearest Starbucks and waited for me). And in the midst of all this it started snowing. And I (very sarcastically) said to my father, "What's with all this falling white stuff? What is that, again?" And he said, "That's Northern rain."

He he.

So begins, as my best friend has suggested calling it, the whirlwind of Kate's Litigation Tour, 2008. I flew in today. I have court (which is not actually court, but mandatory arbitration, which is in the "arbitration center" and not actually a court. Darn it, because I like courts) tomorrow. Then I'm meeting said best friend (the lawyer, although not my lawyer, at least not for this. I do have her on retainer, though, in case I ever need her services. I gave her a dollar right after she passed the bar) and we're then going to drop my parents off at the train station and high-tail it (read: sit in Chicago traffic for a couple hours) to the western 'burbs, where I get to see my nephew Basil and the now-very-pregnant Original Robin and the rest of my high school crew. Then I have family plans on Saturday, and fly back Sunday to go home, pick up the dog, and straighten out the paperwork that Medical Records is about to suspend me over, despite the fact that the "delinquent" notes all seem to have been signed and done with weeks ago.

I'm also getting a manicure and a haircut before not-court tomorrow. Because I may not have to wear a suit (and in point of fact, I'm going to show up in my day-to-day work clothes - the stuff I wear on the wards, not in scrubs - right down to my Danskos), but I still don't want to look like a schmuck.

Alright, I'm going to bed, because I was up late last night (one of these days, I will tell y'all about my call) and it's been a long day. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Oh, and in the spirit of Love Thursday, here's five things I love today:

5. Undercrowded flights. Although I have to say I think Southwest's new number system is way more complicated than it needs to be. But I definitely enjoyed having the whole back of the plane to myself.
4. The smell when I got off the plane at Midway. It was some combination of deep dish pizza and hot pretzels and Kosher dogs. But mostly Chicago style (read: real) pizza.
3. My dad for picking me up from the airport and then putting up with me for several hours (he gets bonus points for taking me to the yarn store, even if he didn't go in) before ferrying me to the lawyer's office. And then my mom for being home from work when we got back and feeding me really good home cooked food and also chocolate.
2. My aunt in NC for letting me call her at 10:30 pm last night when I got out of the hospital to tell her that I needed to leave for the airport at 8am, and then she brought me cookies and a muffin for the trip.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's late! It's late! It's late!

Call went okay. Kinda stressful, but not bad. Adolescent didn't traumatize me and was actually kind of fun. But I really need to go pack and maybe get a little bit of sleep before I have to get up and take Maggie to the border and pack all the last minute stuff and get on the big silver bird tomorrow. Ooh! Maybe I can post from the airport....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Follow the bouncing Kate

Well, I survived day two on Crisis. I felt a little more like I knew what I was doing. I spent two days in a row doing the same thing and now it feels a tiny bit more familiar. Huzzah.

So guess where I'm reporting for work tomorrow? The adolescent unit.

(Ignore that sound. It's just the panicked, perseverent, screaming I do while rocking back and forth when faced with the prospect of adolescents, particularly those that are mentally ill.)

Apparently one of the third years has to be out for a few days for a family emergency. So they're bumping me over there tomorrow. Oh. We'll see how it goes...

Monday, February 18, 2008

"It's the recipes you create yourself that are the best"

It's what Catherine Zeta-Jones' therapist says to her in the movie I watched last night, No Resevations. She's a chef - a chef in therapy - and she's just said to him that it's a shame there are no recipies for life.

It's a really good point. It's a really good metaphor. And it's one of the sweetest movies I've seen in a long time.

Seriously. Rent this movie. Or Netflix it. Or it's OnDemand right now. Whatever. Really, it's just so good. It's not complicated, it's not overly technical nor does it lose itself in the "accuracy" of its setting (you know how that happens sometimes - dance movies throw a lot of lingo at you make sure you see the dancers working so hard and cooking movies try to show the real grit of the restaurant life, etc). The leads have amazing ensemble chemistry. And CZJ does a wonderful job of letting you see her character bloom. It's a little predicatable, but it's got a genuineness about it.

And, it's got a smart therapist.

Anyway, my first day on Crisis little overwhelming. I still just kinda don't...get it. Like, what I'm supposed to be doing there. As in, what my role is. My patients are...well, three of them are really complex. Well, okay, two of them are. One of them is just difficult (and not in the good way), and one of them I think is just a dumbass. Or he could be really dangerous. I'm not really sure what to do with him, honestly. Which is why there are people in charge of me, still.

What's also nice about that is that if this kid goes all Cho Seung Hui in six months, it won't be me everyone starts hounding. I don't think he will. I think he's just a dumbass. But, still.

Some days this job really makes my head hurt.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


My dog can't help it that she's the cutest thing ever.

(You can't see it in this picture, but she's watching these two little girls from our complex who were out in the backyard playing. They were running around getting their Sunday dressess very muddy, and at this point the one was twirling around so that her skirt was floating out around her and, oh, it was just heartbreakingly cute.)

It's very lucky for her that she is, though.

Someone, and I'm not pointing any fingers, here, took herself for a walk around the apatment complex this morning.

She thinks this is a fun thing to do. Although, it's apparently only fun if I chase her. And my dog is part greyhound and has four wheel drive, whereas I'm fat and have a tendency to spontaneously fall down. So guess who usually wins.

She hadn't done this so far in North Carolina, though. I mean, I've given her very rare opportunities to do so anyway, but the few times I've let her go off leash, say, from the back of the car to the waiting front door, she's been very good. Today, though, I was sitting on the back porch, having just clipped her out there while I took the trash out, and I took her off the tie-out line, thinking, we'll sit here for a moment, I'll rub her head, we'll go inside. She had other ideas and bolted down the hill.

Some day, I'm going to learn my lesson, and just go back inside the house. Because if I don't chase her, it isn't fun. And she always comes home, usually pretty quickly. But, I get worried, 'cause, she's my dog. And I love my dawwwg (Penguinshrink, that was for you).

(For those of you who aren't Penguinshrink, remember the kid I treated on the medical unit at State Hospital with the broken jaw? PS and I used to call him "Timmy," which you have to say like the kid from South Park. He left the two of us with a number of catch phrases. Not the least of which was that he used to call his dad like fourteen times a day and he'd always say - to his dad - "I love my daaaad". Another Timmy-ism? "I'm-a go pee in the toilet now." Yeah, he was like my age.)

I do love my pup, big, goofy mutt that she is. Long story short, I did finally catch her. Because she let me. And then I picked her up and slung her up onto my shoulder and carried her home, because of course I didn't grab the leash on my way out. We got a couple of really amused looks, me, hauling this 45 pound dog around like some big furry todder.

In other news, I finally get to go back to work tomorrow. I start on the Crisis unit (adult acute stabilization. So, like, when someone you know has to go spend a couple of days on the psych ward) instead of the psychotic disorders unit, where I was supposed to be this month (I'll do crisis this month and then two months of psychotic instead of two months of psychotic and then a month of crisis). It's busy and hectic, from what I hear. But I'm really excited to go back to work, honestly And then of course, I'll be gone Thursday and Friday because I have to be back in Chicago in court. But then, then, I get two solid weeks of work and normalcy before I switch services again. Oy...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Chili Dog

Mags and I made chili today.

Well, okay, she didn't actually help much, except for the cleanup of anything I dropped in the process of making said chili. And she isn't actually going to get to eat the chili. So really, the only involvement she really has in this process is....well....being very hopeful....

I rarely pull out my crock pot, because honestly, it's hard to make anything for one person in a crock pot. And the "turn it on in the morning, it's done when I get home from work!" idea doesn't go as well when you work ten hours a day or more. But it seemed like a good idea when I got home from the Fresh Market today....

This all started because I bought a piece of cornbread (a piece, as in, one serving) at the Whole Foods yesterday morning. And they didn't have any chili. And they didn't have any of my favorite Bear Creek Chili Soup Mix. So I thought, oh, I haven't made chili in a while, I have tomatoes and beans at home, cool. But then I didn't soak the beans. So I picked up canned beans today. And chili seasoning. And hot sauce. And I looked at the chili seasoning packet, and it said "For one batch - serves 12 - use..." and thought, oh, okay, so if I use one can of tomatoes and one can of beans, I can make like two, maybe three servings of chili...

::sigh:: How many times am I going to need to do this to remember that it NEVER works like that??

In case you're curious, here's how to make Veggie Chili con Kate:

1. Buy cornbread.

2. Decide to call your aunt to get her chili recipie, since you make yours up every time you make it.

3. Remember that your aunt is out of town.

4. Eat leftovers. Think about chili. Totally forget that you have to soak dry beans overnight, and that's all you have in your cupboard.

5. Go to store. Buy chili soup mix. Decide that's no fun, buy canned beans.

6. Pull everything out of the cabinets to get to liberate rarely-used crock pot. Wipe off the layer of dust. Wonder if you've washed it since you moved it from New Hampshire.

7. Dump in a can of beef broth (yep, that's the secret to my veggie chili. I never said it was vegetarian). Add can of crushed tomatoes. Add a can of pinto beans (rinsed, because, gross) and a can of kidney beans (ditto).

8. Open freezer. Assess contents. Consider how edamame would taste in chili.

9. Decide against edamame. Pull out bags of frozen corn, "stoplight pepper strips" (red, yellow, green). Dump, you know, "enough" of the contents into crock-pot.

10. Add a heaping tablespoon (the recommended amount) of Lysander's Chili Seasoning to crock pot. Then add some more.

11. Remember that you like rice in your chili. Consider fancy rice blends you've been eating lately, dig out plain brown rice. Add what will turn out to be WAY too much rice to crock-pot. Throw in some pearl barley as well for good effect.

12. Add what seems like a really lot of chili powder. Feel slightly giddy at the prospect of good spicy chili.

13. Decide that there's not nearly enough water in the crock pot. Add a tomato can-full of water to the mix.

14. Turn crock pot on to low. Shred new favorite cheese that you can't seem to bring yourself to eat straight (it's called Seaside Cheddar, and it's from Whole Foods. It's got little crystals of sea salt in it. Which makes it very tasty, but also weirdly gritty if you just hack off a chunk and eat it), by hand. Feel very fancy. Walk away. Talk on phone. Try to knit. Screw around on internet. Talk on phone some more. Read email. Come back to stir occasionally.

15. Decide there's now far too much water in crock-pot. Turn on to high for an hour. Then decide you aren't hungry enough, stir, turn back to low for another hour or so.

16. Realize there's, like, NO liquid in the chili anymore. And that there's enough chili for, like, a church social.

17. Swear a little. Console yourself that at least you didn't burn it this time.

18. Nuke the cornbread. Break apart and add butter. Get a little dizzy from huffing the cornbread fumes.

19. Try the chili. Realize it's pretty good, but about as spicy as ketchup. Decide the dog can lick the bowl after all. Make sure there aren't any beans left in the bowl when you give it to her, because you're not going to make THAT mistake again.

20. Blog about the chili. Obviously.

You know, I kind of knew that.

Well, since all the other kids are doing it, I took the "What US City Are You?" quiz. This is the answer I got.

You Are Miami

Sexy and beautiful, you turn heads wherever you go.
A little spicy and a little exotic, you're fully aware of your unique appeal.
Totally high energy, you keep the party going early into the morning.

Famous Miami residents: Anna Kournikova, OJ Simpson, Enrique Iglesias

Although I'm not typically one who likes to associate myself with OJ Simpson (Since when is he from Miami?), I will admit I kind of agree with them. Or at least, I must, since the non-Chicago places I was looking to relocate to in the match were here, Charleston SC, or Miami. Miami's a great town - totally unlike anywhere else I've been in the world, really. The people are generally friendly, it's open and exotic and totally flavorful. And fosters a particular kind of crazy people that I find interesting to work with. And it would've forced me to learn Spanish, which you know I'm rather desperate to do. The women are a little too consistently gorgeous, but I think the high proportion of Hispanic men would've counterbalanced that (they like a little something to hold on to, I'm told).

My other favorite non-Chicago American cities? Seattle, WA and Savannah, GA. I also really liked Ketchican, AK. But there were no psych programs in Savannah or the entire state of Alaska (no, really, I seriously considered it! I think the seasonal affective disorder would probably get me in the end, but I've been to Alaska once, and that is a magical land), and UW seemed to think I should go to the University of Washington program in Idaho (which let me tell you, I like a good potato, but come on now). And in the end, Big Hospital's program beat the pants off Jackson Memorial and U of Miami. And, I don't have a crazy ex here yet, so, bonus. And I like the Triangle, a lot, really.

Oh, and then there was this reason I didn't move to Miami:

This was an AP photo of my crazy ex's neighborhood during hurricaine Wilma. Yeah...

Friday, February 15, 2008


WTF is this? Why do nurses get their own cheesy-ass theme song? Where's the crappy "doctors make the world go 'round" song?

Dude. Stupid Johnson and Johnson....


Ah, so it's my last day of being home sick. Maggie's insistence that I pet her must, indeed, have cured me. And I celebrated this morning by...running errands. You know, in public. I even encountered a small child.

I still tried not to cough on her. I mean, I try to employ that as a general rule.

So I'm officially crusty. And thus in theory not contagous anymore. And I also have a giant bruise on my lateral left knee that I can't explain. I don't think that's related.

And as yet another bit of randomness, I'm watching the Psych season finale. Generally speaking, I don't entirely love this show. And right now I'm ten minutes in and a little annoyed. The mummy got up and walked out of the exhibit. Duh, because the actual mummy was replaced by a guy wrapped in bandages who probably was trying to steal something else. They did this already on CSI. It was a fake ancient Japanese suit of armor, but, nonetheless. And it was probably an inside job.

I went to the Walgreens and the Whole Foods this morning, and the yarn store in Raleigh, which didn't have the yarn I needed. I also stalled at the cute little bookstore where my aunt and I went to the book signing last week. And then I came home and napped and read and knitted until I ran out of the yarn I couldn't get any more of this morning (they had the right yarn - I mean, please, it's Lamb's Pride - just not the right color. And I was trying to explain to the saleswoman exactly the blue I was using, which just happened to not be any of the six shades of blue they had in bulky. It's Cubbie Blue. But, you know, that doesn't mean anything to anyone down here...) and then I watched a lot of Law and Order. It was a lovely day.

I did talk to Original Robin today (as opposed to Other Robin), and she told me, well, a, the baby's gestating well. But b, her mother-in-law's really, really sick. Which makes me sad, because you'll remember that Original Robin married another of our friends from high school. I've known her MIL a long time, and she's a great lady. Some of my best memories of high school involve Original Robin and her now-MIL and her now-SIL and me freezing our butts off in the stands at away football games senior year so we could cheer on Original Robin's now-husband (Number 64). So I dug through my stash and started a shawl/lap robe for her. It's a nice Cherry Tree Hill merino worsted in this marl color I don't know what else to do with, and it'll be a good color for her. I'm going to try and visit her next week when I'm Chicago for like ten minutes (literally between prep and court, over that stupid suit about my old house. Run, run, run). I'm going to be really sad when she dies.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Happy Single People Awareness Day to you

Ah, Valentine's Day.

So I'd been meaning to swipe adopt this Love Thursday thing from Barb for a while, because I like the idea - what I got from her blog (Barb, correct me if I'm wrong here) was that somebody at some point declared that Thursdays were a day for accentuating the positive and discussing what all is good. What I got from a quick Google search trying to decipher the origins of this thing is this, that the original charter was from two women who don't seem to be blogging anymore who advocated the posting of pictures reminiscent (see, this is why I need the spell checker to start working again!) of hearts and love and loving things. Eh, whatever. I like my interpretation. And it seems (again from said Google search) that many other Bloggers out there share my take on the topic.

I thought about being all "different" and going with Love Tuesday or something like that, but since it happens to be Valentine's day, and I discovered I was writing a whole post full of things I love, it seemed like a good time to initiate Love Thursday on my own blog.

So, without further adieu, here's ten random things I love today:

1. My dog. You know that I could not possibly initiate something called Love Thursday without starting with my dog.

The rest are in no particular order or actual relevance to my life. Obviously.

2. Oprah. I have been an Oprah resister for a very long time. I roll my eyes when people say "I saw this or that on Oprah". Please, Oprah. I mean, I'm from Chicago, where Oprah is even more of an institution than she is in the rest of the world. But come on, she's just Oprah. She's so overdone and really, what-ever. And so then I'm quarantined and trapped in my apartment home sick all week, right, and my aunt, the one who isn't really my aunt but I grew up with them and they live down the street from me now and who is a HUGE Oprah fan, is like, oh! You have to watch Oprah! She's on every day at four! Alright! Okay! Bye! (That's how she ends every phone conversation. I also love having them so close, in case you missed that)

I'm hooked. ::sigh:: I'm so going to have way too many things piling up on the DVR that I'm never, ever going to have time to watch...

3. That Oprah did a whole big segment on shelter dogs as part of her Valentine's Day show. That, truly, is what did me in.

4. Sassy comebacks. Like this line, from the episode of CSI I'm watching right now. Kathryn and Warrick have just shown up at a scene thinking they were working a missing persons case, and discovered that the missing Paul Sorenson was in fact, a painting, not a person. And the homeowner looks at them and says, like they should've known, "Paul Sorenson was an artist." And Warrick says to Kathryn, "Yeah? What does he know about the forensic analysis of a friction ridge?"

5. This line, from this email I got today. Apparently NaBloPoMo rides again, on a month-by-month basis, encouraging members to blog daily for a month on the given theme of the month (i.e., March is "lists"). And in their email they say,

This is not the same as Blog365 ( Those nuts are blogging every day FOR A YEAR.

Please. I've been called a nut for lesser things than that.

6. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.

7. My new felting buddy. Look, there he is on the washer!

So you know I've been having trouble felting with the frontloader. And yesterday, I finally managed to finish a project I've been working on (that is several months overdue and no, I can't show you yet, 'cause it's a gift), and was like, crap, how am I going to felt this? And I haven't really liked the results I got with the complex's Speed Queen. And my afore mentioned Oprah-loving aunt has offered me her washer, but you know, if you're not a knitter, and you've not felted before, you don't really know what you're getting into, what with all the fuzz and wet wool and whatnot. So I started thinking. I used to toss my Downy Ball in for added agitation. And I thought, hmm. Maggie's not really the tennis ball type, but I bet we've got something...

It's an old toy. She doesn't really like it anyway. I? Love it. It felted, um, my felting project, SO WELL. Oh, my gosh, it was a beautiful thing. I can't wait to show you how this thing turned out.

8. Crusty pox. I have TWO pox now that are all crusted over. Hooray!!! Finally.

9. This quote, which I found on the Center for Mindful Eating website:

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent.
- Epictetus, Greek philosopher

Sage advice. And further proof that way back at the beginnings of recorded history, the Greeks were still saying "just shut up and eat it."

10. Y'all. Sappy, I know, but I do.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Safety is Always a Concern"

Oy. Read this.

On the homefront, still waiting for the crusties. Still itchy. Still feeling like crap. Still watching a lot of Law and Order (well, what did you expect, I've seen all the episodes of CSI by now!). Really hoping to go to work on Friday. Stupid pox.

And as an aside, are any of you other Blogger users finding that NONE of the little buttons at the tops work anymore? Not the spell check, the hyperlink, the image tool, none of it. Argh!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nurse Maggie

My dog has done a good job of taking care of me the past few days. So today when I scuttled off to the PetsMart (I thought we had enough food to get through the week, but, sadly, not so much) I picked her up a couple of little presents.

My aunt and I went to this book signing last week for Best Hikes With Dogs: NC. The author was at this cute little independant bookstore that's in the same strip mall as my secondary LYS, giving a talk with some reporter from the local paper who also wrote a book about hiking in NC. She was very sweet and has a very cute black lab named Shelby who apparently hiked all the trails in the book with her as research. Consequently, there are a lot of trails with lab-friendly things like water and ducks.

But regardless, Maggie's always been up for a good hike through the woods, whether we were on the paved forest preserve trails in Chicago or slogging through the mud in the woods behind our house in NH (once, we went for a "walk" and ended up exploring the woods and got so muddy that as we came into the house, I took my shoes off, threw them in the garbage can outside, rolled up the bottoms of my scrubs, and hefted Maggie onto my shoulder before we went in. I then walked straight upstairs and dumped her into the tub before she could get muddy paw prints on anything but the bathroom tile. I spent a lot of time working the caked mud out of her paw pads that day. She was NOT pleased). She's a little afraid of the beach, but, you know, whatever, she'll get used to it. Anyway, in said book she talks a lot about the proper gear for taking your dog hiking. She recommended two things for the dog in particular - a pack, and boots. Not for all the time (the boots), but if you get into rocky areas, or need something to hold a bandage on a hurt paw, or the weather turns suddenly, they're good to pull out.

Now, of course, you can't just whip these out on the trail and expect your pooch to be like, oh, okay then. So I was like, I really should get her a set soon and then acclimate her to them. Ditto with the pack, but that can wait a while. Anyway, wouldn't you know it, dog boots were 70% off at the Petsmart today. Can't go wrong with that, right? Even if she refuses to walk in them, it's less than a $5 loss.

Let me also say I've tried to put boots on Maggie several times in her life. She has not, um, historically done well with them. She did a little better today.

Of course, she readily struck a pose for the camera....

But this more accurately sums up how she really felt about them...

There was still a lot of goose-stepping and sad-puppy eyes, but at least she walked around in them for a while.

She also got a new toy that seemed particularly appropriate for the season....

Because you know that my dog is a democrat....

Now all we need is for me to stop being contagious, and we'l be trail ready.

I'm feeling a little better today, I guess. Really achy. Still really tired. Not crusty yet. My aunt brought over cookies and spaghetti pie, so that will definitely make me feel better.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The pox, day 3

I think I'm a little better today.

I'm still itching. A lot. And really tired. But I only took one or maybe two naps today. I even went to the grocery store (with my sweatshirt zipped up to the neck and covered to the wrists) and managed to load the dishwasher. And I washed the new sheets that I bought last week. I even knit a little bit. And I made dinner (which involved boiling. It was soup mix).

Honestly? All that wore me the hell out. Oy.

Maggie thinks this is the BEST THING EVER, though.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tell you a secret

So I've spent most of my time awake today on the phone. I've talked to my chief resident, I've talked to my folks, I've talked to my aunt, I've talked to about half the intern class (we all change services tomorrow, so today is the day we all clamor to hand off patients and get tips and compare notes. Well, and Mike called about his patient who died Friday, and PenuinShrink called just to see how I was doing with the pox). And I've been trying so hard to be congenial and pleasant and upbeat and put up a good front.

But...I have a confession to make...

Holy cow, I'm miserable.

I'm itchy. I'm running a fever. I'm so tired I can't even tell you. I've been too tired to knit, too tired even to read. I'm all achy. And I think my spleen hurts. I finally have a pock on my face, but it's little, which is helpful, but it also hurts. Actually, most of them are pretty small, except the weird ones on my elbow. I'm a little woozy. And a lot cranky. And I can't seem to stop scratching, particularly while I'm asleep, and don't anyone dare say anything about putting socks on my hands. I can't even keep socks on my FEET at night.

The first few times I had the pox I was mostly just itchy. Seems like the older I get the more "ill" I actually feel.

And, I think my bottle of white wine turned.

Grumble, mumble, whimper, groan. Mmmmm, I'm so crabby. Stupid pox.
Why yes, I would like a little cheese with my whine, why do you ask?

Maggie's been pretty cute, though. Every so often she comes over to the couch and nudges me - to make sure I'm still alive, I think - and then licks whatever exposed skin is available and insists that I pet her. Because that cures everything. No really, just ask any dog.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A pox on my house

I was on call today.

I got sent home.


I have...........the pox.

Yep. I got the bloody stupid motherfucking chicken pox again. This is, I think, the fifth time I've had them. According to one of my cell bio profs in med school, I likely have an apparent T cell defect which is either too efficient at actually eliminating a virus that's supposed to lie dormant in your nerve roots forever (until you get shingles) or is too inefficient at turning this particular virus over to the B cells so that they can confer a longer-lasting immunity, so that when I get exposed to the virus again (say, from my AIDS patient with fulminent shingles, or the family practice resident who's just getting over the chicken pox she didn't have as a kid), my antibodies whallop the new invading virus instead of letting it manifest again. And no, it's not shingles, because it's everywhere.

At least I never get a very severe case. The worst I've ever had was I think 25 pox. So far I've counted 11 this time. And it could be worse. I could have smallpox. Or cowpox. Or I could get indolent, repetitive courses or leprosy or something. But I haven't had it since medical school and then I got the vaccine and I thought I was safe....

Stupid pox.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Good judgment is the product of bad experiences

My attending said this to me today in the process of our "debriefing" the past two weeks. It's so very true.

I wouldn't mind having just a little bit less good judgment, sometimes, you know?

I really liked him. Actually, I've liked the vast majority of the people I've worked with who weren't Betsy. In fact, Mags and I have a couple of doggie play dates set up and I've picked up a knitting "student" or two. But as I told them today, I will miss the people I've worked with. I will NOT miss their service.

I'm on call tomorrow, and then so Sunday, I'm finally done with Family Medicine. I'm so excited I can't even tell you. Mike had today off so yesterday was his last day. I'm generally not a jealous person, you know, but today I have to admit I hated him juuuuuust a little bit.

I'm so exhausted. I cannot wait for this to be over.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

All my scut work should be like this

We were done with our work really early today - like two hours before teaching conference. So I sat around and worked on my sock and talked knitting with my senior (the one I'm on service with, not the weird one I take call with), who's a new knitter. And then after conference, she was like, wow, I'm on call tonight, and now I wish I'd brought my knitting. And then she looks at me, and is like, hey...can you go get me something?

Hmm. Can I go to the yarn shop on a mission with someone else's money. You freakin' betcha, baby.

My only rules were "brightly colored" and to get the right needles. So I got her a skein of Encore Chunky in something brightly colored, and Crystal Palace circulars, because the needle selection was really disappointing. Actually, their whole selection was sort of disappointing today. Except for know, before I left a skein of sock yarn just happened to fall into my bag....

It's from a local spinner/dyer whose yarn I totally love. The color is called Science Fiction and frankly, this is going to be my second try at the obnoxiously bright on-call socks. We'll see.

Meanwhile....I'm still really tired. Which is sad, because I missed our intern night out tonight because I fell asleep on the couch and woke up too late. Oy.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A firm and unyielding stance...sometimes...

So several of you have brought up the point in reference to the last post about Maggie and people food. I know there are many people that feel very strongly that dogs shouldn't get anything but kibble. I disagree. I mean, there are limits (no chocolate, no raisins, that kind of stuff, obviously. She also isn't allowed to have rawhide, either, but then, neither am I). We have one hard and fast rule in this house and that's pretty much that anything that hits the floor is hers, and I really do think that's fair. Well, unless it's chocolate (I'll block her over that). Or vegetables, which she won't eat unless they have salad dressing on them. Or fruit of any kind. Oh, no, wait, she likes dried apricots. But that's pretty much it in the fruit department (I think that's my best friend's influence. Katie won't eat fruit, either. Except bananas).

She's not really a beg at the table sort, more just a sit closely and look pitiable type. If she begs or whines she gets sent away, but I don't especially object if she wants to sit there quietly and look cute. I mean, that's what she does best, after all.

As for table scraps, we actually have "pack rules" about how she doesn't get anything until I've had some, and usually she doesn't get much of what I'm having until I'm done with it. Like how in the "wild" the alpha lets the lesser dogs in the pack have their scraps. I mean, that's the order of things - the subordinates in the pack usually clean up after the pack leader's meal. The fact that I'm not gnawing on an antelope or a raw squirrel doesn't change that. And usually I handle anything I give her, which gets my scent on it (I confess...that's a Cesar Milan thing).


Call was weird last night. We kept admitting people only to have them leave. I had one guy leave against medical advice because he had tickets to the Duke/UNC game tonight. One woman was a very cute schizophrenic with a cat named Tina who just didn't meet criteria for admission. Which was fine, except that my OCD senior resident couldn't handle that the patient was all disorganized and wasn't super consistent with her story. Where as I, for example, was like, dude, she's schizophrenic. They do that. Disorganized thinking is actually one of the diagnostic criteria.

I'm not sure exactly what that says about my thought patterns, frankly....particularly post call....

One guy I did admit...I asked him to roll on his side and take a deep breath so I can listen to his lungs. He does, takes one deep breath in, lurches over the side rail of the gurney (fortunately the opposite side rail from the one I was standing at), and wretches and vomits and spews bloody vomit everywhere. This was, of course, at 2am. Of course.

Just prior to that we had a Rapid Response on my Munchausen's patient who's somehow creating her allergic reaction to everything. Where the medicine team came in and totally undermined my attempt to retain a little sanity and order to the case. She's now in the stepdown and going to the ICU tomorrow for "desensitization." Whatever. If she goes to ICU, she's not our problem anymore.

I spent a lot of time chasing the cross-cover stuff last night, too. So it's not like a got a whole lot of rest, despite the fact that I "didn't have anything to do" (i.e., few admits). I also got in a big put-my-foot-down kind of argument with Medicine about who was going to take the stroke patient off of Neurology's hands. I won, ultimately. Despite my senior being all, "call them back and tell them we'll take her! We don't want them to think they're only taking her because we won't!" Um....except....we didn't want the patient who was circling the drain when she should've been neurology's responsibility to begin with. She sure would've been back when I was the Neuro intern...

I'm really tired. I have like seven dozen other things to say, but, I think they're going to have to wait....

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


How to speak Dog - a brief course in translation, by Maggie.

Scene: Sunday morning, and a Starbucks cinnamon roll.

Wow. Look at that cinnamon roll. Hmm. That looks like a tasty little pastry. Mmm. I, you know, I'd really like a bite of that. That, I mean, that looks like the tastiest cinnamon roll I've ever seen, in my whole life. And you know cinnamon rolls are my favorite food ever, right? I know last night my very favorite food was spaghetti. But no, really, it's cinnamon rolls. Mmmm, cinnamon rolls.

You want to give me the cinnamon want to give me the cinnamon WANT to give me the cinnamon want to give MEEEEE the cinnamon roll....I'm irresistable.....I'm sooooo cute.......I'm so cute you want to give me things....I'm so cute you want to feeeeeeeeed meeeeee......feed me cinnamon rolls......

Alright already. Look at me. I'm a good girl. I'm sitting, for Pete's sake. Look how good I sit. I'm cute, and I'm sitting, and I'm a good sitting cute dog. What more could you want?? How are you not going to give me the cinnamon roll? What are you, made of stone? Are you totally heartless that you'd let me starve and just eat kibble? Woe, woe is the puppy.

::huff:: Fine....but anything you drop is mine, and don't you forget it. It hits the floor, it belongs to the puppy. Unless of course you change your mind and want to just give me some. I'm gonna wait right here just in case. Right here, where I have a good view of the floor, but also close, if you want to rethink that decision to not share with your favorite best dog in the whole wide world.

For the record, the cinnamon roll wasn't all that good anyway....

Monday, February 04, 2008

What alternative did I have?

So I ended up not going to the Superbowl party last night. Partly because I was grumpy and tired and tired and also grumpy. But also partly because the dog made a very convincing argument that I should stay home:

I mean really though. How could I argue with that??

So we stayed in and ate takeout and alternated between the Law and Order marathon on USA and Puppy Bowl IV on Animal Planet. And I worked on some discharge summaries and did some dishes and we almost made it to bed early. And then this morning she leaps into bed with me the moment she decides I'm awake, and was all, yay! You're still home!! And I was like, do you need to make this so difficult every single day, pooch? Like it wasn't hard enough to get out of bed right now anyway....

Ultimately, I did once again fall prey to the snuggling. But I'm still going to work, just about ten minutes later than I'd planned....

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Now back to today's regularly scheduled posting

I have today off. I love a good day off.

Call on Friday was rough, but not nearly as brutal as the last one. We actually managed to evade four admissions, which was handy, because we had six. My new call senior is weird. Very nice. Very knowledgeable. Very religious. Like, Evangelical Catholic, doesn't swear, won't prescribe birth control, can't say "God damn" in front of her. She got very excited when I told her I was Greek Orthodox. I'm not really sure why, because the Orthodox church is, um, old and stoic, but nowhere near Evangelical. And I certainly neglected to mention that I've read the Quran and the Mahabharata and I think Wicca has some good ideas and if the Church wasn't so ingrained in my family and my culture and my damn DNA I'd probably be a Buddhist (but then again, I have this theory that Jesus would be, too). She's also very slow, and overly thorough, and insisted at the beginning of call that I should do all the admissions, even the Green team ones, but that not only did I have to do all the work, she would come in with me to do the interview, like I was some damn medical student that couldn't tie my own medical shoes. Which, I think she's more motivated by her OCD than her mistrust of my abilities, but it still is annoying. And she's really nice. And she did do the 2:30 admission by herself even though it was a Blue Team patient, and I went to bed. Which was lucky because I was about to fall over.

And then in the morning I tried to put an IUD in this patient of mine who needs one for host of reasons that have nothing to do with contraception (she has her tubes tied already). And so we wheeled her allllllllll the way over to the Women's hospital so we could use their procedure room (not a short drive), and tried and tried, but her os was stenotic and it just wouldn't work. I tried. My attending tried. We couldn't get her to dilate enough to get the tiny little uterine sound in (it's about the size of a US3 knitting needle), much less the Mirena introducer. It was very painful for her, and I felt really, really bad. Really bad. So I called gynecology, to see if they had any ideas. Here's an excerpt from our conversation:

Me: So, I have this patient that I'm trying to put a Mirena into because [long, technical description of patient's medical history]. And I couldn't insert it because her os is stenotic

Him (before I could really tell him why I was calling the consult in the first place): Okay, first of all, [long, technical description of why my thinking is wrong. A conversation ensues about why I want to do this in the first place involving a lot of circular logic and me repeating myself].

Me (finally): Okay, whatever, anyway we thought maybe you could offer some ideas about the next step here.

Him: Well, she's bleeding, right?

Me: She is.

Him (chuckling): Well, her os has to be patent, because stuff's getting out. Otherwise she'd have metrometria.

Me: Duh, you dumbass. I said stenotic, I never said it wasn't patent. Okay, fine. Clearly her os is still open, but it's smaller than a uterine sound, which means I can't get an IUD in.

Him: Well, something you could do to make this really easy is to ripen her cervix with some -

Me: I did that. Last night. She got 400mg of vaginal misoprostol.

Him: Oh. Well. Did you sound the uterus?

Me: Of course.

Him: Well what did you use?

Me: Um...a uterine sound?

Him: Oh. Well I always sound the uterus with an endometrial sampling pipelle. It's easier on the patients and you know, you can't create a false passage through the cervix. (My attending's response to that comment when I told him later: "What's he on? You can do that any time you start poking around the cervix. You can do that with a speculum." Not really, but, the point is it's crap)

Me: Okay, whatever. I used a sound.

Him: Well, did you have good visualization of the cervix?

Me: No, I started poking blindly in her vagina with a sharp object. Of course.

Him: Well, did you use a tenaculum?

Me: Of course.

Him: Well, did you pull traction on the -

Me: Of course I did. I used to be a gyne resident. I know how to do this.

(Long pause)

Him: Well, if you know how to do this, do you really need a consult?


In other news, I've started knitting up the yarn I got in my yarn swap with Tiny Tyrant.

It's a local (to her) yarn company called Royal Hare, handpainted superwash merino, dk weight (appropriate, no?). The color is Mt. Tam Moss. It's lovely. I'm knitting it on size threes (in the picture, it's on my little tiny Addi dps, but I started it doing magic loop on my Addi Lace that's a little too long - I think it's a 40" cable - and the sock went back on the Lace about ten minutes after this picture. The dps lasted about three rows. They were just too poke-y). I'm using Sarah's basic toe-up pattern, with a broken (moss-stitch) rib on the instep/leg.

I'm debating whether or not I should take my sock to the department Super Bowl party I'm going to this afternoon. That's a lot of prime knitting time. But I'm not sure they know me well enough yet for me to pull out the knitting at this sort of function...

Ooh, do you know what I'm doing tomorrow, though? I'm going to Duke Law school to be a fake expert witness for their trial practice class. Should be a fun time.

Songs in the Key of Meme

For those inquiring minds who want to know, or for those of you who simply think the meme was unfair because I listen to crap (shut up, Katie, I do not. I'm eclectic), here's the answer key to the previous post. And frankly, if any of you steal the meme from me, which I strongly encourage you to do, I think it's reasonable to put the song title in with the lyrics in the first place. If nothing else, it keeps you from having to do this and searching through iTunes thinking, "What the hell song was THAT?" (I especially liked when I Googled #20 - which I at least had a clue who sang it and what the title might be, as opposed to a couple of the others - and the only hit I got was my own blog.)

1. I Will, But... She'Daisy
2. Maybe, Kelly Clarkson
3. Catch Me When I Fall, Ashlee Simpson
4. Gone, Kelly Clarkson
5. Hold On, Sarah MacLaughlin
6. Wake Up, Alicia Keys
7. Independant Woman Part 2, Destiny's Child
8. Judas, The Flying Hamsters of Doom
9. How Come, D-12
10. Because of You, Ne-Yo
11. Power of Two, Indigo Girls
12. Rendezvous, Craig David
13. Mile in These Shoes, Jennifer Lopez
14. Fallen, Sarah MacLaughlin
15. Count Me In, Deana Carter
16. Didn't It Rain, Mahalia Jackson
17. Love Song, Pink
18. Both Hands, Ani DiFranco
19. Never There, Hoobastank
20. Where the Blues Were Born in New Orleans, Louis Armstrong
21. Still Dirrty, Christina Aguilera
22. Subdivision, Ani DiFranco
23. Forgiven, Alanis Morrisette
24. You Look Good in My Shirt, Keith Urban
25. No, No, Raja, Moxy Fruvous
26. Concrete Angel, Martina McBride
27. Guess Things Happen That Way, Johnny Cash
28. Starts With Goodbye, Carrie Underwood
29. Cowboy, Take Me Away (Live), Dixie Chicks
30. Reunion, Indigo Girls
31. Tortured, Tangled Hearts, Dixie Chicks
32. What About Us?, Brandy
33. Sad, Sad Situation, Bowling for Soup
34. Perfect Day, Hoku
35. Hey Mama, Black Eyed Peas
36. Falling is Like This, Ani DiFranco
37. Favorite Year, Dixie Chicks
38. Get Rhythm, Johnny Cash
39. Stay, Ney-Yo
40. When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder, Johnny Cash
41. Slow Turning, Keith Urban
42. Make It Work, Ne-Yo
43. That Ain't a Crime, Julie Roberts
44. Freek-a-Leek, Petey Pablo
45. When You're Mad, Ne-Yo
46. Right Hand Man, Joan Osborne
47. Delicious Surprise, JoDee Messina
48. My Cinderella, Li'l Romeo
49. You'll Always Be My Baby, Sara Evans
50. With You, Leann Rimes

Yeah, you know, I don't think iTunes' shuffle is as random as it likes to think it is....

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mindless post-call memery

Oh, such a long night last night. At least no one died this time. More later. In the meme-time, I offer up this fun little meme that I'm stealing from my friend Matthew's blog. Apparently the idea is that you hit shuffle on your iPod (mine's in the car, so I cheated and used the "Party Shuffle" function on iTunes) and write the first line of the first fifty songs that turn up. Amusing, and doesn't involve calling a consultant who will just piss you off.

Bonus points if you tell me how many you could identify.

1. I won't be bored, I won't be ignored
2. I'm strong, but I break
3. Is anybody out there? Does anybody see that when the lights are off, something's killing me
4. What you see's not what you get with you
5. Hold on, hold on to yourself. This is gonna hurt like hell.
6. You used to be my closest ally.
7. Question: tell me what you think about me
8. Give me a part that I can play
9. How come we don't even talk no more
10. Want to but I can't help it, I love the way you feel
11. Now the parking lot is empty, everyone's gone some place
12. 6:00 in the morning, wipe the sleep from my eyes
13. Strangers always got some mess to spread but I have learned to flick them off
14. Heaven bent to take my hand, lead me through the fire
15. Could there be a different ending to the same old story?
16. Didn't it rain, children, talkin' bout rain on my Lord
17. I've never written a love song that didn't end in tears
18. I am walking out in the rain and I am listening to the low moan of the dial tone again
19. I'm filling up inside like I need to open wide and pour my heart out to you
20. Folks, come gather round my stand and hear Satchmo's happy Dixie band
21. If you see me walking down the street or in the pages of your magazine lookin' just a little differently, showin' off the softer side of me
22. White people are so scared of black people
23. You know how us Catholic girls can be
24. When you walked up behind me and covered my eyes, and whispered in my ear "guess who"
25. I wanna taste it, give me a little taste, I wanna taste it again
26. She walks to school with the lunch she packed, nobody knows what she's holding back
27. Well you asked me if I'll forget my baby, I guess I will someday
28. I was sittin' on my doorstep, I hung up the phone and it fell out of my hand
29. I said, I want to touch the earth, I want to break it in my hands
30. I had Gods like watchdogs, dogs in a manger, I could feel the protection, possession, and anger
31. Well, there was a little falter at the altar of confession
32. Why don't you return my calls? Why you trip out where I be?
33. Hitched a ride, I was so messed up but I sure was glad to meet ya
34. Sun's up, it's a little after twelve
35. Hey mama, this that shit that make you groove
36. You give me that look that's like laughing with liquid in your mouth
37. We were young and so inspired
38. Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues
39. The room is spinning and I can't breathe and ooh, my head is just achin'
40. When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more
41. When I was a boy, I thought it just came to ya
42. You understand me, at least you say you do, lately that's enough for me
43. I could go on out tonight and do anything I want
44. 24-34-46, good and thick and what you give her she'll work with it
45. It's just the cutest thing when you get to fussin', cussin', yellin' and throwing things
46. Let me use your toothbrush, have you got a clean shirt
47. If I won me the lottery, I'd dance naked in the street with a top hat full of money
48. Yeah, it's young Romie, looking for a homie, a little Juliet
49. There I was, 10 years old, waiting in my room for him to come home
50. A little stretch of river on a big green field, the kind you see from airplanes, baby, that's the deal, that's the deal

36 was the only one that actually made me stop and listen to the whole thing. So here's the full set of lyrics to that song. I'm also open to interpretation of what that might mean.

You give me that look that's like laughing with liquid in your mouth
Like you're choosing between choking and spitting it all out
Like you're trying to fight gravity on a planet that insists
The love is like falling, and falling is like this

It feels like reckless driving when we're talking
It's fun while it lasts, and it's faster than walking
But no one's going to sympathize when we crash
They'll say you hit what you head for, you get what you ask
And we'll say, we didn't know, no we didn't even try
One minute there was road beneath us, and the next just sky

I'm sorry I can't help you, I cannot keep you safe
I'm sorry I can't help myself, so don't look at me that way
We can't fight gravity on a planet that insists
That love is like falling and falling is like this

Friday, February 01, 2008

Happy February!

Yesterday, when I went to see my patient with the DTs, I asked him what day it was and he said, "Saturday, January 30th, 2008." And I said, "Close. It's Thursday, February 1st, 2008."


Oh well. He won't remember it anyway.

On a whole 'nother note, how am I supposed to go to work - especially when I'm on call and won't be home for a whole 30 hours or better - when confronted with this?