Wednesday, April 30, 2008

As Mazel Boy would say....

It's a mitzvah!!

After a six week walkabout on Long Island, Barb's sweet kitty Edward is HOME!!

Maggie and Maz are excited. Garfunkel says he doesn't see what the big deal is, Eddie was just out having an adventure. Simon agrees, he says clearly Edward was coming home, he must've just gotten a little lost along the way.

I think he was probably using a Tom Tom. No wonder he ended up six miles away.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Animal House, day 3

::sigh:: So, I spent most of the night saying, "No, Jake", "Knock it off, Jake," "Stop whining, Jake," or "Get off the bed, Jake."

It's like we were dating or something.

Wow, this dog has no concept of night time. Like, it's dark out - hey! I should sleep! Nope, not in Jake's world.

So then they wake me up this morning an hour before my alarm, like, it's morning! It's morning! Hello! Come on! It's morning!!! All three of them. And then I get out of the shower and discover that Jake ate my shoe. Not a whole lot of it, but it was soaked in slobber. Ick! And then I finally get everyone out or in and all partitioned off, and am going to leave, and I slip on a dog toy and fall and whack my shoulder on the couch and spill coffee-protein-drink-stuff (soooo good) all over myself, and the floor. Ahhh, good times.

Call was nice. I didn't see a single patient. My med student and I hung out. Mike showed us amusing videos of prisoners in the Philippines doing organized dance routines (don't ask). Tyler and I traded a lot of amusing anecdotes. We all took a tour of the helipad. My med student and I ordered really good sandwiches for dinner. All my calls should be this good.

When I got home, I let the cats in, and between the five quadrupeds I have to say, wow, did I feel loved. Aww. And I discovered, I don't think it was Mazel who liberated Maggie from her kitchen prison yesterday...I think it was the cat.

So this is Simon.

I let him in tonight (the cats had been out all day), and he walked right over and knocked the gate down. I laughed really, really hard.

This is his brother, Garfunkel.

Garfunkel apparently does a lot of cute sleeping.

There are two other cats here somewhere, too. I have yet to see Jasper, and Chloe appears mostly as an occasional terrified white streak across the floor as she runs to her next hiding spot. But Simon and Garfunkel have endeared themselves to me. In fact, last night I woke up (I sleep on my stomach), and Simon was asleep all curled up on the small of my knees. I was like...hey! There's a cat on top of me...who's sort of warm, and soft....awww....

And I haven't been that sneezy. I may become a cat person again, no, I think that's just the exhaustion talking.....

Monday, April 28, 2008

At the zoo

So I left this morning, and all was well. Maggie was barricaded in the kitchen, Mazel had run of the house, and Jake was outside (in the rain, but he really seems to like that). The cats were inside. All was quiet.

Yeah, whatever.

I get home tonight, and of course it's raining like...well, you know. And I get to the front door, and I hear jingling. And since my dog (who's supposed to be tucked away in the kitchen) is the only one who wears tags, so...I open the door, and there's Maggie, and Mazel, and there's an upended bowl of dog food scattered all over the floor. And the cats have worked furiously to knock all the cans of wet cat food off the counter they were on. And Jake is soaking wet and all sorts of muddy and, once again, won't come in the house (or let me put on the handle collar I bought him on the way home). And, the dogs have pooped all over the cat room. Which, okay, can you blame her (I think it was probably mostly her)? I mean, the room is full of litterboxes, and smell pretty much like poop, so....


Had all sorts of plans for this evening. Oh well.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Vast Menagerie

First of all, to all you non-heathen/pagans out there, kalo pascha (Happy Easter), and Xristos anesti.

So Maggie Mae and I have officially landed at my friend Rachel's zoo. It's been a long day already. I got up at quarter to dark and drove out here, picked her up, let the guyzos out, and then took her to the airport, at which point I then called her doctor and told him I had left her in the capable custody of the skycap. I then went back home and crashed until 10:30. I did some more laundry, ran and got a few groceries (dry stuff, mostly), got some lunch (Maggie can has cheeseburger), and then we came over. And chaos ensued for a little bit, but, I think everyone (except maybe the cats) is pretty solid on this idea right now. It's going to be an interesting week...

So these are our new friends, Mazel and Jake.

Mazel Boy is so named because Rachel is Jewish and Mazel, of course, means "lucky" in Hebrew.

She scooped him up off the side of the road one night after watching him get hit by a car. She took him to the vet and he's been with her ever since. He's some sort of German Shepherd mix (my guess is Corgi or Beagle) and Rach thinks he's about 10.

He's a funny old boy. Maggie, who is of course six but thinks she's still a full-on puppy, and Jake will get to fussing and playing and wrestling about, and he'll walk over and bark in that scolding the young whippersnappers kind of way, and then he'll huff back to where he was laying. Which is not to say he can't hold his own with the Jakester and be just a rough-and-tumble as the kiddos. He's such a good boy. Big with the "stranger danger", but, is that really such a bad thing? Oy, I just adore that dog.

And then, of course, there's Jake.

This is closer to "Jake (actual size):"

Jake, too, is a rescue (Rachel went in to the shelter for a cat. She came out with two kittens and a puppy who was 10 lbs but "we think he might get big." You can see why we're friends.), but he's a purebred Leonburger. Leos are apparently some German breed that were bred to do things like water rescue and to roughly resemble a lion.

So he's an 8 month old puppy, who acts just like you would expect an 8 month old puppy to act...except he's like 200 lbs (and he's the runt!). Which he doesn't get - he still thinks he's the ten pound little rascal that came home from the shelter, not a beast the approximate size of a Volkswagen bus.

Given that I'm lacking a cork, here's a different size approximation device:

She looks like a toy Poodle next to him.

Here's a little more perspective. First, Miss Maggie's dainty paw in my hand.

Then, Mazel's hefty paw. He's about half Jake's weight or so (and thus, about twice Maggie's).

And finally, Jake's front paw, and my size ten foot.

Generally, Maggie's happy enough to play with him, and he follows her around like a...well....

I think she's finally getting to the point where she needs a break from him, though, since she keeps hiding next to me and growling at him.

On the whole, however, I think everyone's going to have fun this week.

Except possibly the cats...

Yeah, there are four cats. Well, five if you count the one that lives outside. I'll try to get pictures of them tomorrow, but generally they've all retreated. The two siblings, Simon and Garfunkel, are a little older than Jake and are very social and Maggie likes them very much. They're generally okay with her, but they really, really like me (remember my wicked cat allergy?). And they're so cute and well socialized that I almost like them. The other two, though, spend most of their time hiding under beds or staying in the cat room (aka, the office, which is blocked off from doggy access), and are pretty much all maintenance, no return, and so generally serve to remind me why I'm not a cat person in the first place.

Ahhh, we'll see how it goes...

Saturday, April 26, 2008


So, tomorrow morning, at quarter to early, I'm going to pick up my crazy friend Rachel and take her to the airport and put her on a plane up north. And then Miss Maggie J and I are going to move in for a week. It'll be nice, I think. CFR has two big dogs who totally adore Maggie.

So what have I done all day, with all the stuff I needed to accomplish before I can relocate my life for a week? Sleep. I had to go deal with some stuff at CFR's earlier (I told her I had to leave by one, which means I left at two), and literally came home and went, I'm going to just lie down for a minute here...and woke up finally at, like, 8pm.

And now I'm on the phone with CFR and she's freaking out. And I still have laundry to do. And dishes. And I'm not packed. And it's 11pm, and I'm picking her up at 5:30, but she needs me to get there earlier so I can help her pack, which means I have to leave my house at like 4:30. Oy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ohhhhhh, puppy....and random shaggy guy....

Read about this on Jen's blog. It's from the dog companion site to lolcatz. Generally not a huge fan of the LOL sites (because I am a fan of grammar), but I read them once every few weeks. And I agree with Jen on two things. One, yep, they're usually amusing, helpful time-wasting sites. And two... can this not totally break your heart?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's Thursday!

Isn't it?

So tired. And just home from call. So very, very tired.

So, I don't know what y'all think about this, right, but this morning I mentioned to our "junior attending" (Have I given him a pseudonym yet? I don't think I have. We'll call him...Bif) that I had gone to see crazy pregnant lady's baby. And he was like...hmm. Clearly, clearly didn't approve. So, you know, because I don't play the political game well, I asked him outright, why is that weird, that I would go visit the kid? And he's all, well, you know, it's such a unique relationship, and she could become jealous that you got to see the baby and she can't, blah, blah, something else, by then I'd stopped really listening but that was the gist. I say anything about what I think...was I wrong?

I mean, I don't think so. I like that I'm the kind of doctor that would go visit my patient's baby. I like that I'm the kind of person that would go snuggle her because I wanted to make a difference, even a tiny one, in her ability to relate and attach later in life. Because I wanted her to feel safe and loved. And selfishly, because I wanted to touch even a little bit of that newness and purity again, to glimpse that sweet innocence. I rarely get even remotely close to that anymore.

Plus, you know, that patient hates me anyway. And it's not like I went back to her and said, "Wow, your baby's cute. Her skin was satin and she smelled like innocence and sunshine." I mean, I'll freely admit (to you) that I'm totally in love with that baby. But I'm sure not going to rub that in her face. Instead, I brought her a picture - which I got to her via a back-handed maneuver so she didn't know it came from me - and her nurse and I gave her a teddy bear today.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the "kind" of psychiatrist I am, the "type" of therapist I'm going to be. I think I'm going to be different from Bif. I mean, he's very smart, he's very pragmatic; he'll do well in consult psychiatry, which is where he's going. We have different strengths, different shortcomings. But I know....I'm not going to be everybody's best psychiatrist. No one is. But I think I'm going to be okay.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday...which is almost Thursday...

...which is so close to Friday....

It's 9:35 and I've just finished my notes from today and yesterday. I can't come up with a coherent posting. So here's five random things about my day:

1. I officially have 89,000 miles on the Jeep.

2. I keep forgetting Easter is Sunday. My parents called, said they were going to Church tonight. I honestly have no idea what today is that requires church attendance. Next time this year, I might remember, but now? Too tired. No clue.

3. The patient who, last week, our fourth year "junior attending" resident pulled me abruptly out of the morning interview because he thought the patient was about to attack me? This morning, the patient was pleasant and polite and smiled and called me "hon." I think I fixed him, I think I fixed him! I also ordered an MRI on him and found weird "abnormal FLAIR attenuations". I have no idea what that means. So I called Neurology in. I don't think they know what that means, either.

4. I got solicited by some random asshole today looking for "fun with a BBW" (big beautiful woman). You know, whether men find my "deviant" body revolting or fetishitically appealing, I still really, really hate it. And for the obvious reasons, it just wigs me the hell out. I hate

5. One of my current med students is trying to get a month's worth of med school credit for biking across the country. I think that's cool as shit. They do much cooler things here at Big Hospital Medical School than we ever did at Stritch. For credit!

Oy, I'm so tired.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sweet baby girl

(Which is, of course, a reference to this song.)

Love Thursday is a couple days early this week.

I still have so much work to do that didn't get done. And my poor dog had to wait and wait and wait because the dog walker didn't get my message in time to come by today. Doesn't matter. Maggie managed just fine (although she was SO happy to see me when I got home, and barely spent enough time outside to pee), and the work's just going to have to wait, because, I had something much more important to do.

Crazy pregnant lady? Had her baby today.

Her day didn't start out that great. I called L&D around 8:15 to say, hey, when did you want her there, anyway? And the nurse says, "She was supposed to be here at 8." So there was this flurry of activity to get her off our unit and fuss, fuss, fuss. You know, honestly, my day didn't start off so well, either (I think I'd been at work about a half hour when I turned and said to my social worker, "Oh, I am so not in the mood to be fucked with today, so everybody just needs to stop").

On the whole, a really, really stressed-out day. My crazy patient (the non-pregnant one) is now crazier than ever and has now failed four medications. We're now looking for the outlandish and ridiculous explanations, like, thalium poisoning and porphyria. My patient load is just huge and sick and bad. And call, at least was mostly just hand-holding.

I did get a great quote today, though, from one of my patients on the ward. "I've learned not to say never no more, because you never know when never's gonna come."

But then, when I was done with call, I went over to L&D.

I checked in on my patient, of course. She was fine. She actually looked better than I'd seen her in a while. I mean, still hates me, but less vehemently. And I just popped in, because she'll come back to our unit tonight and we'll keep an eye on her for a few days, because she's at very high risk for becoming more acutely psychotic. But then...then I went upstairs and met Molly.

Oh. There are not words to say how sweet and adorable this child is.

I held her. And I snuggled her. And I told her how glad I was that she was out. I kissed her little head and wished her luck in things to come. I gave her a little advice on nice with others, seek therapy early, try to always do the right thing, and get a dog. I apologized for dumping all those drugs in on her and her tiny little brain. I told her I was sorry she was never going to know who her father was, and that I hoped she got a real daddy someday soon (Jenn, I'd so send her to you if I could). I cuddled her and cooed at her and couldn't bring myself to put her down. Oh, she's just so sweet. I wanted to take her home and snuggle her for the next five days or so, help her with that crucial bonding time, just wander around with her in one of those baby pouches (what the heck are those things called again?) for a few days and keep her close. And then give her to a good family. She deserves so much more than she's going to get. She deserves love and cuddles and adoration. She deserves parents who love her to bits. She deserves to keep her sweet, pure, unmarred innocence as long as she possibly can. She deserves to have a full and wonderful life full of love and happiness and the elusion of her genetic loading after starting with such auspicious beginnings.

I totally hadn't anticipated how relieved I would feel once she was out, but I just am. So relieved. Now I can treat her mom like a real schizophrenic and not worry about what I'm doing to her little baby brain. I no longer have to worry about her randomly dropping the kid on the unit and not telling us about it. All the fighting about sterilization vs. Depo Provera vs. an IUD has lost a lot of its urgency. And this beautiful, perfect creature is here with us now.

Welcome to the world, baby girl. It's a hell of a ride.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Stream of Consciousness

I'm so excited about new Bones. Even if tonight is actually old Bones that didn't get shown last year because of the Virginia Tech massacre.

It's David Boreanaz, you know. Same thing happened with Buffy and an episode that didn't get shown in order because it featured a school shooter and was scheduled for the week that Columbine happened.

Did you know Columbine is flower? I had no idea, until I read Brokeback Mountain, and Enis takes a swing at Jack and "laid the ministering angel out flat among the Columbine."

I'm so tired. And tomorrow is going to be a serious cluster. My crazy pregnant lady is being induced. I'm on call. I was at my cap this morning (9 patients), but then I discharged two patients and I think I've already re-capped. I'm never going to get my notes done in time. It's just going to be painful. At least there's intern lunch tomorrow. That's always a good time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Drowsy Sunday

Maggie and I had a sleepy kind of day...

(That's an old picture, but it's one of my favorites.)
The whole day just got away from me. There was a bit of napping in there somewhere, and a lot of fussing and arguing with my crazy friend Rachel, who needs to get to a hospital. And a little laundry.
I don't even know what I started out writing. Never mind, I think we're just going to go to bed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


So, technically, this post is postdated. Which technically, is allowable under the rules of Blog 365. Because, although it's technically Sunday, this is Saturday's post. And since I just got home, technically, it's still Saturday, right?

It's 3:21 am. Technically.

I smell like smoke and nasty fake fog. My feet are all swollen and totally killing me. I'm completely exhausted. I did more shots tonight than I've ever done in one sitting (relax, I had three. And for the record, I'm not a big fan of the Kamikaze). Oh, it was such a good night.

So I think I mentioned, Ike, one of my classmates and good friends, is leaving our residency program. We're very sad. So we had a going away party for him tonight. Fang hosted, and laid out a spread that was worthy of his Italian ancestors. We had a really good time. And then Ike, Mike, June, Newer Stephanie, and I went out to this faboo gay bar in Raleigh.

Ike is gay. And happily committed (to a guy I adore) for almost a decade. But as Newer Stephanie put it, we couldn't let his last night with us go by without taking him out dancing.

Oh my holy wow, we had so much fun.

We did a little more drinking (As it turns out, I'm beginning to rival my best friend, who is the queen of shots). We did a LOT of dancing. We giggled a whole big bunch. I drove separately, because you know, it was halfway home for me, and I wasn't going to stay for long, you know, maybe just one drink...

We closed the place. And my ears are still ringing. And I think I have to shower again before I go to bed, because man do I stink.

So much fun. I'm really going to miss Ike. And I'm very glad I'm getting to know Newer Stephanie better, because it turns out she's a lot of fun.

It really was great. Mostly we stood around in a circle and danced like a bunch of white kids. But there are pictures of Mike doing a pretty good cage dance and me working a pole.

Mike, by the way, confirmed tonight that he is the straightest, whitest kid I know. And he got hit on the moment we walked in the door and pretty much all night long. We gave him huge big kudos for coming with us at all, but he was such a good sport.

Did I mention that we all had just so much fun?

Wow, I really need to go shower and get the heck to's 4am, and I have all manner of plans

Friday, April 18, 2008

Film at 11...

I'm at my crazy friend Rachel's house, posting. She's pretty sick, actually. But the dogs are having a really good time. I'll try to take pictures sometime this weekend. Maggie's being a really good nurse.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fine, fine

So, to address the comments from the last post...

Okay, I didn't get details about the potato masher (although, Claud, I love your judicious use of legal terminology, and hey, by the way, are you EVER going to tell me about the car?? Is this my punishment for accidentally texting you in the really early of the morning?). Which is fortunate, because I got way more details than I ever wanted to know about many other things. What I do know is that she borrowed said masher from her neighbor, then returned it, and told her neighbor that she'd found "explicit ways" to use it. I mean...I just....EW! Right?! Ew! Fortunately, she was relatively certain that her neighbor was too, um, dumb to understand what she meant. Thank heavens.

And no, killing a man's cows is just way over the line. What did the cows ever do to her?

I had a very long and obnoxious day today. I barely made it out of the hospital in time to make it to my shrink, and I'm postcall, and I've been to bed late every single night this week, and so when a bunch of the crew was going out for dinner and drinks at this cute place near the hospital, I was like, welllllll..........

But oh, my God, I'm so glad I went.

So there's this great little place in Carrboro that's right on the train tracks, and it's made out of old train cars. We went in honor of the fact that Mike's mom is in town. So I met up with Mike, and his mom (who's awesome), and New Robin, and Newer Stephanie, and one of the 3rd years. And oh, we had such a good time. It was rejuvenating.

And, AND, I was supposed to be on call this weekend, but there was this whole rearrangement of the schedule, and now I'm not. Which means I can go to Ike's going-away party on Saturday now, yay! And Mags and I are going to Duke Gardens with my aunt and uncle on Sunday. The wisteria is supposed to be in bloom now. So excited.

And still really, really tired....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Under the wire

Whew! Just made the posting before midnight deadline...

Today, today was so long. But I did greatly piss off some woman in the ER and then leave the medical student alone with her to deal with it. Which he did, very well. And I didn't do it on purpose - I left him to get the rest of her history, but before I did, I told her that we were indeed committing her. She didn't actually get agitated and angry until after I left. Or, believe me, I never would've just left him to navigate that chaos. And she wasn't dangerous or anything, she was just, well, pissed.

Wow, does she hate me.

Ah well.

The other patient I admitted was very manic and ridiculously hypersexual. She'd, um, found some very creative uses for her neighbor's potato masher. She was quite amusing and pleasant, though. And my very favorite part is that she'd actually been brought in for having thoughts of killing several people, including her boyfriend, and her boyfriend's...cows.


We got into a whole discussion later about how you couldn't really call that "homicidal." So, in my note, it now reads, "Patient states that she currently has no homicidal, bovicidal, or suicidal ideation." I'm wondering if anyone notices it...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh, wait, it's Tuesday

All day long I've been thinking it was Wednesday. I guess it's just wishful thinking.

Have I mentioned that my new attending hasn't done inpatient psychiatry since, like, I've been alive?


Monday, April 14, 2008

Serious as a gas attack

You know, I had this whole post written about today being the third anniversary of my escape from the Emerald Palace. But you know...I'm just not feeling it. I'm feeling the moving on.

I can't really tell you why, exactly, because honestly, there was actually quite a bit that was unpleasant about it, but...I had a really good day.

And. Bones is back.

I'm postcall and got home late and am completely exhausted and it's totally freezing in my house because it's 40 in North Carolina and all the windows in my house are open because it very recently was a lot more than 40 and I'm seriously just so tired and hungry and whatever, and still had to stay up and watch it.

And got great quotes like the title, and these:

Booth: What are we, brook trout?

Cam: The body was braised like osso buco.

Hodgins: I do bugs and slime, I don't do arithmetic.

Booth: Special Agent Seely Booth. Special.

Brennan: Oh, we're not blue fish.

Booth: That's very damn poetic of you.

Brennan: You want to come? To go bowling with us at the bowling rink?

Sweets: Me? I'm a dog person. I think that has meaning.

And my personal favorite -

Booth: I thought the whole point of therapy was to give us peace of mind, not to drive us crazy.

Ohh, how I've missed Booth and Brennan.

And now Maggie's barking in her sleep, which is the most adorable thing ever.

I'm just so glad to be living my life right now.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Instant Karma

So....I had just written the following...

So I'm on call. It's nearly 8pm. Remember, there's night float here tonight, so I'm only on until 10 (hooray). I've got one coming in, but she's arriving by sheriff and so that will probably take a while, because the ER staff has to see her and whatnot.

And then, of course, my pager went off. And it's the hospital police, saying that the sheriff just showed up with this kid, and you know, kids that age can't usually come in voluntarily and there's no parent with other, can you come fix this?


Saturday, April 12, 2008

I don't own emotion, I rent

Ah, if only that were true.

Feeling a little better, on all fronts. Actually a little bummed that I missed the conference at this point, but less guilty that I missed it because I couldn't move without thinking my head was about to explode than if I had just chickened out and not gone. Not that this migraine wasn't in large part caused by stress, anxiety and general battiness (plus, a little pollen, I think. The crazy doesn't get all the credit), but, seriously, the wandering around in the dark this morning saying "Nono, doggie, shhh, shhhhhhhhh!" whenever the pooch made a sound, it does sort of legitimize and validate things.

Monday. Monday's going to be the really bad day, I can already tell you.

I'm for some reason very sensitive to anniversaries (probably because I don't do anticipatory anxiety very well). But this year is by far the worst, for the obvious reasons. Next year, when I'm actually a second year, and I actually got through my intern year okay, it's going to be so much better.

After I slept through most of the day, I finally watched Rent, which had been on my DVR since September. I was a little disappointed. I mean, it doesn't help that I can recite the score of the musical pretty much from "December 24th, 9pm, Eastern Standard Time" straight through to the last "No day but today." And it also doesn't help that the first time I saw it on stage the cast was phenomenal. Oh, my gosh, they were so good. I think the movie did it justice, but, eh, they broke up a lot of songs that needed to be sort of all over the place, they left out one of my favorite songs (Happy New Year), and their Maureen was a little disappointing. Now, no one could be as good as the Angel I saw on stage, so it's probably not his fault that this one wasn't quite as charismatic and engaging. And they left out some really good lines. But I do think they cleaned up the second half well. It's always been a little...mmm...floppy and not quite as together as the first half. The movie did a much better job with the second half.


I'm on call tomorrow, so I should get to bed. So much for vacation.

Careful what you wish for

Needless to say, I'm not at the conference. My alarm went off at 6:15 this morning, after a totally not restful night of vivid nightmares (which, honestly, is not that unusual around here) and having got up twice to down a handful of antacid, and I had the worst migraine. Which was fairly confined to my right frontal head, until I woke up again at 8:30, when my whole frakkin' brain hurt. Ow. I don't think it's an aneurysm. Or West Nile. Or meningitis. So I think that 800mg of Motrin and a lot of lying in the dark will fix me right up.

I knew something was really wrong when Maggie came over and snuggled up to me in bed. She only does that when there's either a thunderstorm going on or she thinks I'm really sick.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Freaking Out Friday

So, in roughly twelve hours I'm supposed to be at this conference, right? Gosh, it seemed like such a good idea at the time. It's right down the street from the hospital, sponsored by our department, four or five nice little talks, a good lunch. And the department offered to pay for the first ten residents who wanted to go. End of my vacation. Nice idea.

Except, I didn't realize the weekend when I asked to go.

And now I'm having a relatively big panic attack at the prospect of going to this thing tomorrow.

Oh, it's totally irrational. Although it was totally escalated when I just looked at the flier and realized that it's not being held where I thought it was and I actually have no earthly idea where this place is on campus.

So, three years ago, I spent the second weekend in April at this conference. It's the one I mentioned as being the event that changed my life and ultimately led to me not taking any more shit from the man behind the curtain and leaving the Emerald Palace. I was in all sorts of trouble for going to the AAGL class, right? But I went anyway. I thought maybe I could learn something. I thought maybe I could prove myself, you know? But I just ended up in trouble. So, anyway, I went to this thing, and all morning, I'm listening to these talks, you know, and that's fine, but in the breaks I start talking to talk to the other residents who are there. And they're listening to my stories - which I'm telling because I think they're normal - and they're all like, wow, that's...that's not good. I was

And then we had lunch. There were these roundtable discussions, and I had, like, my top six choices all ranked in the program, and so I was headed to, table number 3 or whatever, for, like, Pearls for Reducing Your Rate of Complications in Hysteroscopy or something like that, when, suddenly, I didn't. For reasons I still can't explain I veered to what I think was my fifth choice, named something along the lines of Teaching Yourself Laparoscopy in Residency. Where I ended up sitting at a table full of residents, with one other intern who was SOOOOOOOOOO excited about her program, and the speaker, we'll call him Tony, who used to be a program director. I spent most of the lunch with my head down trying not to cry. These people were in a whole other world than I was. Tony was all "my residents" this and "my residents" that, so protective of them, and he had been in private practice for a couple of years by then.

Later that afternoon, we had labs. I spent the first half mostly with equipment reps, using the virtual reality trainer, picking seeds out of a pepper with a hysteroscope, plucking potato and toothpick "tumors" out of a pig bladder, that sort of thing. And then I went to the other room, to work on the older trainers and the foam rubber uteri with the real doctors and the real instruments.

And I was really good.

So here I am, right, on the trainer, and Tony comes up to me, watches me for a while, corrects my posture. He's like, you're really good. What are you, third year? I said, no, remember, I'm the intern who's in trouble for being here. I was running circles around my training partner, who actually was a third year. He's like, you have great dexterity. You're a really quick learner. Wow, you've got great strategy. And then I rotated on, and the next thing I know I'm doing moderately complex maneuvers with three of the best endoscopic surgeons in the country when back home, I couldn't tie a open field square knot without getting yelled at. It was surreal.

At one point, this black woman, who was like a fourth year resident somewhere else, she and I were talking, and I said something about things getting better when I got to second year. And she says, "Well, or you'll realize that your program just sucks." Um. Well...or there's that...

And then that night, I met up with my friends from home. I was still a little stunned from the day's events. And they were all like, good God, you look like hell, what are they doing to you up there?

It was a good question.

I went back the next morning (because it was a two-day conference), and talked to this other woman, this Greek girl who was doing her residency in Boston somewhere. I talked to Tony a little more, because it turned out that he and this Greek girl had gone to the same medical school. I listened to his lecture, which was essentially the same thing he'd told us at the roundtable the day before, but, it was, again, there was that undertone of "this is what you're entitled to as a resident. Someone's required to teach you, you're entitled to learn."

It was like someone had flipped a switch that first day. It was like some of the color had come back into my grey life. I went back, and within four hours of getting home my world started collapsing. My life, my career, my sanity, it imploded four days later. I can't even begin to explain the magnitude of that decision. How far-reaching the fallout would be. I still don't even comprehend the full scope of what happened. That sounds overdramatic, but trust me, it's not even close.

And Tony, well, Tony's a whole other post. Hell, Tony's a whole other blog.

Everything changed that weekend. Because I went to some random conference.

I know it's a whole different situation now. I know that what happened needed to happen. I know I'm in a very different place living a very different life now than I was then. I know I was skidding towards that catastrophe long before I even signed up for the AAGL class, that it was just a catalyst for things that had to happen. That this is so different. Different time, different people, different situation.

But that's not how PTSD works.

I don't know if I can go tomorrow. I don't know if I can do this. I don't know that it's the worst thing ever that I don't, and if I had shelled out for the registration myself I wouldn't think twice about not going. But I didn't pay for it. Now, honestly, I don't really know that the department did, either - I mean it's their conference.

It's totally irrational and superstitious, but you know, things are going well right now. I don't know if I can run the risk of everything changing again. I'm just completely terrified of it.

Okay, you know what? I never said I wasn't crazy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cute Thursday

I had a very cute vacation day. It was nice.

I got up, and went to my shrink's office (we're trying to squeeze as many sessions in as we can this week while I have, you know, time. It's not that I'm that crazy). And got a visit from the very cute cat who hangs out outside her office, I suspect because my shrink feeds her and it was time for breakfast. But she's this adorable little black thing, and this morning I noticed that she was missing the top of her left ear. So I said, oh! She must be an Operation Catnip cat!

(Not my shrink's random stray cat, actually my friend's ex-random-stray-cat-turned-housecat, Max, who IS an
Operation Catnip cat)

No, she says, that's a raccoon nip.

Hmm. Not the same. But apparently she is altered, and she's awfully darn cute. Sometimes she comes to the window during our sessions and "listens" intently. It feels sometimes like I'm getting two therapists for the price of one.

But I think she's actually trying to get me to feed her by the sheer power of her kitten telepathy.

I then came home and met up with my psuedo-aunt and we set out in search of decent pizza, which she assured me we could find at this place called Z Pizza. It was good, actually. New York style, but, it'll do.

We then went wandering around Bond Park, which is nearby their house and is very nice and has this cool amphitheater where they occasionally have concerts.

The trails left a little to be desired - they weren't very clearly marked and were in desperate need of mulching after the winter, although a few of them had been. But it was a nice walk.

I ended up taking a lot of pictures of trees and roots and funky stuff, because not a lot is in bloom there yet. Although the Dogwood are. Isn't this the Dogwood state? I think it is...

We did see a couple of cute little lizards. I wasn't fast enough with the camera to get pictures of them.

So then we went to Starbucks, and then to a very cute used book store, where I only spent $8 and only acquired two hardcovers. It was actually one of the best used bookstores I've been in - clean, very well organized, didn't have piles of random books lying all over the floor (like this place I used to go to in Chicago. Or, say, my house). And they had a lot of current stuff - I could easily have spent a day's pay or so there (remember, they don't pay me much per hour, but I work a lot of 'em in a day). It's called Mr. Mike's Used Books and if you live in the Triangle, you must check it out.

So then I dropped her off and went to get groceries and I happened to notice the little shop next door happened to be open and they're always advertising that they sell Danskos, and, well, even though I keep falling off of my Danskos, I'm really getting sick of wearing my tennis shoes to work. So I went in. And I found these very cute shoes:

They're called Aravons and they're made by New Balance (of course). And they're JUST WICKED COMFORTABLE. They have memory foam inserts and just enough heel and are adjustable width throughout the whole instep and foot and oh, I'm so excited to wear them to work on Monday. I'm going to have to paint my toenails tomorrow.

I did ultimately go to the grocery store, and was checked out by the cutest adolescent boy on the planet. And not in that, Kate-stop-thinking-that-you're-almost-thirty! way, but he was just adorable. He was nineteen and has lived here for about 6 years but before that he lived in Mass (-achusetts) and you know he still kind of had the accent but he really liked it here because the winters were awful and oh, I had lived in New Hampshire, so yeah, I knew all about the winters, man, the snow up in NH was terrible holy cow they'd get four feet and not even call it a flurry and you know he used to go through like a container of Parmesan cheese a week because that was like all he would eat that and this spray butter on pasta did I remember that spray butter because that stuff was wicked good and man whatever happened to that stuff it was this one particular kind with the blue top and it was like actual butter not that greasy nasty mess you can sometimes still find. The whole thing amused me so.

And then, of course, as is customary when I go to that grocery store, I pick up a hamburger combo from the little place next door and I get Maggie a cheeseburger, and I don't even have to tell you, that's always a cute event. But tonight, I was ripping it into bite sized piece and tossing them in her food dish and Maggie was bouncing up and down and for some reason, she really wanted the pieces I was holding over the ones already in her dish. So I gave her one, and she galloped back to her crate to eat it, and then came back, and begged for me to give her another one, and did the same thing. And by then all the hamburger was torn up and in her bowl, so she gave up and just ate it out of there. But the whole thing was, in fact, way too cute.

::sigh:: It was a nice day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I slept through today.

So not kidding.

Woke up at 9:30. Got up. Went to see my shrink. Came home. Slept. Until I woke up, and then took a nap. And then I fell asleep. I'd better get up so I can go to bed....

Ahh, vacation...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More nostalgia

Three years ago today, I was on a plane to Chicago. My aunt, my uncle, my cousin came over for dinner. I remember feeling so wiped out, and, like, not even there. I felt grey. Colorless. Numb. I pulled out the two variations on black that I'd brought for the conference and picked one. And then I lay in my bed and stared at the ceiling fan and wished I could feel something other than blackness.

Three years ago today, I still wasn't thinking of leaving my program.

Today, I woke up at half past dark and pulled on my work clothes (still, variations on black, I admit) and went to a meeting about crazy pregnant lady with the OB/G department. I discovered that I was "famous" over there as the psych resident who can check a cervix. They love me. They? Seem to think I know OB. I find this really ironic. And they gave me a cookie for coming in at quarter to early on my vacation.

I'm a sucker for a cookie and some validation.

So then I went and checked in on the unit. Talked to one of my patients, who was like "You've been gone one day and they already changed my medication for no good reason and they're screwing it up." Then I did some paperwork, and then I had my annual review with my program director.

They like me. They really like me.

It was nice. I mean, I kinda knew that, since my attending gave me a review last week and said things like "I really think you were born to do this." But it was really nice to hear. And she asked if this experience was different from the last one. She says, "I hope it's like night and day." I laughed.

It's like night and penguins.

So then I spent a while on a conference call with crazy pregnant lady's guardian and her boss. Then I went to the noon lecture/conference/support group/free lunch thingie. Then I'm finally walking out of the hospital, and the woman whose house I'm trying to rent in June calls me. So I pop on over, chat with her, meet the dog, discuss the specifics. Somewhere in there my crazy friend Rachel calls me, and she's sick, and could I pick up her antibiotics? Of course I can. And then I had to get her car out of the muddy ditch at the end of her driveway, because I'm from Chicago, and we know how to do those things.

Then I came home and decided to brush out the dog for like a half hour. Which took almost two hours, because the little girls across the way decided they wanted to help. Still got a lot of fur off, though, eventually. And then I came in, changed out of the clothes covered in dog hair, and took leftover chili over to my aunt's. We ate chili. we watched a really sweet movie (The Jane Austen Book Club. I could've sworn I'd read the book, but, maybe I never got around to it. I know I own it, because my friend Sue gave it to me). I was instantly in love with the adorable male lead. So adorable.

It was a nice day.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Reflections on a new beginning

You'll forgive me if the next week or so I spend a lot of time waxing philosophical.

Know what I'm doing right now? I'm sitting in a Barnes and Noble in Durham, in the Cafe, drinking a Cinnamon Dolce White Mocha and blogging. I was planning on coming in and working on my many delinquent discharge summaries, but, alas, I'm on vacation. Sort of (I mean, I'm going in to work at quarter past early tomorrow for a meeting with the OB/G dept about my crazy pregnant patient, and then I have my review later in the morning, and then I'm probably going to stay for intern support group so I can kibbutz. And Saturday I'm spending at a conference here in town - which is really, really ironic, for reasons that will become apparent soon - and I'm probably taking call on Sunday. But, you know, vacation).

Know what I was doing right now (well, it may have been about an hour from now) three years ago?

I was getting in SO MUCH TROUBLE. Why? Because I was going to a conference on the 9th and 10th.

Also, I had just delivered my very last baby. But we'll talk about that some other time.

So there was this conference I wanted to go to in '05. In February, I pulled the flier out of my mailbox and went to toss it in the recycle bin like all the other solicitations I got, but for some reason it caught my eye. It was a conference for residents to improve their laparoscopic skills. Of which mine we very limited, because I was the bad intern and no one would ever let me play with the toys except for Ben, who liked having me operate with him alone (i.e., no upper level resident) on his laparoscopic or hysteroscopic cases. And it was in Chicago, so, bonus, no lodging costs. Plus I would be on my Anesthesia rotation, who made it abundantly clear (as in, they said it outright) that they didn't care if we came in at all for the whole month, this was clearly for our learning. Lots of the upper levels told me they went in one or two days a week while on Anesthesia (since you still had OB/G call and clinic responsibilities). Cool. So I emailed our program coordinator and said, can I go to this conference two whole months from now? And she said, this is how much you have left in your educational account, tell me if you want to use it on registration fees. And then I got my department chair to write them a letter saying that yes, I was a resident in our department, thus making me eligible for the resident rate and membership in the organization. I was excited. It looked really interesting. And maybe it would help me to improve my skills enough that someone would actually let me operate once in a while. I was trying to be better, despite the fact that I knew I was never going to be good enough.

So, the Wednesday before this conference, I send my duty hours in, and say, oh, by the way, don't forget that I'm going to this thing this weekend. At which point my program director was like, "What? What conference? Interns aren't allowed to go to conferences." I said, remember how I emailed y'all about this in February? And then by today, which was Thursday, she had concluded that I was totally abusing the system by taking Friday and Monday off to travel. I said, but Anesthesia's okay with me being gone, and Dr. A - the anesthetist in charge of me - and I have already worked out a plan to make up the hours I'm going to miss.

She said, "I see no reason to involve the Anesthesia department in this."

Um...other than the fact that I was responsible to them that month?

And it wasn't like I was going to the coast for a four day weekend, or skiing, or to Martha's Vineyard, like so many of my cohorts had done on that rotation. I was going to a conference. To learn surgical techniques they wouldn't teach me. Oh, my gosh, though, I was in so much trouble.

I was "allowed" to go to the conference, because I'd already made plane reservations but we were going to have to "talk about this when I got back."

I should've said it right then. I should've said it months before. I should've pulled out the "oh, fuck you." I should've told them I wasn't coming back from Chicago. I should've told her that if she were doing her damn job, instead of abusing and scapegoating me for everything that went wrong, instead of throwing me to the wolves when she wanted to avoid confrontation, if she would've acknowledged my strengths and been constructive instead of abusive, I wouldn't have been so miserable, confused, and demoralized that I was clinging to the last jagged shards of my sanity. I should've told her precisely what was wrong with this picture. I should've told her exactly how much more and how much better I was than she was portraying me to be.

But I didn't. Because at that point, I was so broken down I didn't know any better.

I did, however, go to the conference.

And the conference changed my life. In fact, I think it's not at all an exaggeration to say that it saved my life. You'll hear about that in a couple of days, I'm sure.

I doubt Saturday's conference is going to as life altering. But let me just say that not only am I going with the department's blessing, they're paying my $200 registration fee. I mean, it probably helps that we're hosting the conference, but, still.

I'm so grateful for my life right now. I'm so grateful for where I am, so grateful for what it, and I, are becoming. So grateful for what the last four years have taught me. So grateful that I'm even alive, and have a career ahead of me to speak of. So I guess there's really only one thing left to say, today.

Fuck you, Karen George.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Amusing videos

Because I'm tired and slept most of the day and yet...still tired. Call was vewy, vewy quiet until about 4pm. And then...eiy.

So, here, watch these. They're funny.

This has been circulating around the hospital. It cracks us all up, because we're a university hospital that deals with a lot of little community dumbass hospitals and it's just so true.

Don't believe me? Click here. It's one of the little local hospital chains. Eerie, huh?

These are funny too. This? Was totally me in medical school:

The whole series of these Real Med Students of Genius spoofs can be found here. They're very funny. My favorites are Mr. Floor Team Avoider Guy (SO TRUE - my med students that were on for the first half of Neurology were totally like this) and Mr. Really Bad With Children Guy.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

One advantage to being single

Apparently, I could survive 133 days trapped in my house without electricity. But I'm guessing with running water.

How Long Could You Survive Trapped In Your Own Home?

And apparently only if I ate my dog.

This is a silly quiz (so, you should go take it, too). Because it doesn't take into account that whole running water thing, or the fact that I'm so never gonna eat my dog (she may end up eating me in the end, really), or the fact that I'm fabulously famine-resistant given my, ahem, large energy stores. Or how I might actually share some of that non-perishable food with the dog. Or how you can't really eat leather. But I wonder if wool has any nutritive value? Or dog hair?

I don't dare say anything about the kind of day I'm having on call because I don't want to jinx it. Yes, I know I was supposed to grow out of the magical thinking stage years ago, but...... Anyway, there's some new links in the Blogs I Love section and in general the amount of crap in the sidebar at right is just getting out of hand.

19 hours until vacation.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Love/Hate Friday

First, the hate.....

Seriously. The pine pollen is out of control. Look at this nonsense! It's like that awful yellow chalk dust from grade school, times, like, a billion.

Blahhhh. And I'm out of Zyrtec.

We're not even going to discuss the pine pollen paw prints on my carpet.

But, something cool did happen today. Actually, today was in many ways awful. Crazy pregnant lady hates me so much she won't even talk to me. New schizophrenic girl just gets worse every damn day. I had to get between her and her mom last night because she was "prophesying" loudly and angrily and was terrifying her already somewhat fragile mother. My ECT patient is still wacky, but at least she's a pleasant and giggle-prone wacky at this point. And my one patient I thought had done so well and with whom I was positive was getting better and who had this peculiar habit of hugging me and whom I thought I had done really well by wigged out and went complete borderline whack-job on me after my attending agreed with me in rounds that we were discharging her and then decided she needed to stay (and of course sent me to go tell her). I've gone from being "the only doctor she ever trusted" to the worst doctor ever in like, 2.8 seconds. That? Hurt.

But. I have this one patient. We've been doing individual therapy while she's in, and she's been doing a great job. Today, she told me that she'd heard the other girl yelling that I lied to her (I didn't) and she told me she was scared that I would do the same to her. That just about broke my heart. But we talked through it and she processed it well and it ended up being a fairly positive thing.

She processed it well. I? Am still pissed at the other patient for even making her think that. I'll get over it.


I've been giving her art therapy assignments, and for today I told her to draw me a picture of the inside of her head. She gave me this one to keep.

The picture really doesn't do it justice. The design was preprinted, but the color, and the explanation she was able to give me, was all her. I'm going to frame it and put it in my office next year.

She's an incest survivor. She's stronger than she knows. She's way braver than she thinks she is. She's just awesome.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Love Thursday...

...will be postponed until Love Friday. Day was long. Patients SO crazy. I'm so tired.


The fact that it's taken me three days to mention this should be a clue as to how bad the past week has been. It's April. Which is a month important for reasons far beyond May flowers.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Today, in fact, is the SAAM Day of Action.

I haven't quite figured out how I want to "celebrate" this month, yet, but we will. Because it's important to acknowledge those who've been victimized, and those who've survived. Those who are still fighting. Those who still don't have a voice. Those who stand by in support. Those who work hard because saving even one victim is worth everything. And all of us whose lives will never be the same.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Short call

Patients still crazy. Call amusing. Doctor very tired. Going to bed now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I must be a bad doctor...

All my patients got crazier overnight. Even crazier than they were.

I spent so much time doing therapy and meeting with people and soothing family members today that I barely had time to breathe. My med student and I had planned to leave at 4. We left at 5:30 and I had to blow off my new patient's bleeding toe (it's a TOE! It can WAIT until tomorrow, crazy nurse woman!!) to bolt out the door. Didn't get a single note written. Came home, wrote two, and then the electronic chart crashed.


Watch that woman's toe have fallen off tomorrow.