Saturday, January 31, 2009


Ugh, so, come tomorrow night, I start Night Float again. So, currently, it's 11:30, I'm awake and have all the lights on and I'm watching CSI to try and pass the time because, y'all, it's been a hellish long week and despite the very nice nap I took this afternoon I am tired and can't actually bring myself to do anything.

Bleh. I want to go to bed....

Friday, January 30, 2009

Am I on something, or does she actually sound smart??

More from Funny or Die.

Loves it.

Today was loooooooooooooo(ooooooooooooooooo)ng, yo. My 7am therapy patient didn't show, but that didn't mean that *I* wasn't already there. And then I had lecture at 8, a conference at noon, and the rest of the day was booked solid with therapy patients until 5:30. Seriously, my day was packed so tightly it was like therapizing sardines. And then tonight we had a party at Doc G's for all of the candidates back for the second-look weekend (part of the whole new resident recruitment thing). And tomorrow morning I have to meet Gomer at 8:30, then be at Cleo's at 10 for brunch, and then there's a tailgaiting thing at 4 or 5 I might go to....and then, Sunday night....I start week #3 of night float.

Right now? I'm tired, bitches.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A little more love.

Um....did anyone notice I was a day ahead of myself on the blog? Posted a Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday, a Love Thursday on Wednesday....


I need some time off. Dude.

Anyhow. Continuing on the theme of the last few posts, mostly because I found this today on Julie's blog (and subsequently stole it from her straightaway), and I thought it was cool.

(You might have to click on it to make it big enough to read the detail)

First of all, I had no idea the Brits called them "tyres". And two, they carry units of the President's blood??


That, excessive? Weird? Creepy? I wonder if that's really true...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Presidential Precident

In honor of the first week of the Obama administration...

I know, I know, I'm not doing such a good job of being wordless on this Wednesday...

One more for good measure. I'm going to break my "no people on the blog" rule, because no identifying features of Sparrow are actually visible here!! It was cold in DC that day, yo.

So you know what's almost as exciting as having my good friend (actually, several of my friends were there, but Sparrow is by far the coolest, for many reasons, including that she's the only one who remembered to send me pics, and for the reason that's about to become obvious. Aside from her general awesomeness), neighbor, and colleague at the inauguration? Look closely at the outer layer around her neck...

That? That right there? That is a Doctor Kate hand-knit wool scarf. You might remember it from this post. I tried to get her to take the double-knit alpaca one that I originally made for Barb for her first Yankee Christmas (shh!) that I've been wearing for the past two weeks because it's been so freakin' cold in NC (and because I'm not entirely pleased with how the scarf turned out, to be honest...)(Call it quality assurance, Barb. I think I may decide the color pattern on that one is wrong enough anyway that I'll knit you a scarf for your second Yankee Winter instead....), but she ended up with the wool one.

My scarf was at inauguration, y'all!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I know it's not Groundhog Day yet...

...but after the day I had today, I'm a little afraid of coming out of my cozy, warm burrow tomorrow and seeing my shadow.

Perhaps I'll just hide....


Sunday, January 25, 2009

You'll probably say it was only a Cardinal

Alright, folks....we're going to do something new and silly and never before done on this blog....

Announcing...a very frivolous contest.

With prizes! Although I'm not sure what they are yet...

So I update my Facebook status, via Twitter, at least once or twice a day. And it occurred to me to take it on as a personal and very ridiculous challenge to update my status for one week only in song lyrics. And THEN it occurred to me that it was not nearly as much fun if I was playing this game all by myself as it would be for everyone else to play, too. So here are the rules...

1. Read my status updates. If you aren't part of the Facebook community, ask yourself why you're being such a hermited Luddite. And then, look over here ( -----> ), because the Facebook-via-Twitter thing also makes them show up on the blog. And you can clearly get to the blog if you're here already.

2. Identify the song and artist from which the lyrics come. You can do this in one of three ways:
a. By commenting on my Facebook status directly
b. By posting a comment on the latest blog post
c. By sending me an email

Yep, that's pretty much it.

The person with the most correct responses by the end of the week (defined as Monday 1/26 to Sunday 2/1, and including the title of this post) will win something. If you're a knitter, it will be something out of my stash. If you aren't (or if you are and opt out of yarn, which, whoa, really?), it will be...something else I haven't figured out yet, but I promise it will be good. Unless it isn't. Either way, it will be free, and you won it! Which makes everything better.

Ready? Go!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


So last night was wacky, of course, but as always, it ends. And I'm down to a mere FOURTEEN in-house calls left. In the entirety of my career. Oh, man, that's...dude!

So I left this morning, went to Starbucks, went to the gym, went to the grocery store. Came home and hung out with the pooches - Little Maxine is over, since Sparrow's on call. We took a nice nap, we watched some TV.

And so I find myself watching this stupid Lifetime movie with Jennie Garth that I've seen a couple of times before. And then, before long, I find myself watching another Lifetime movie - they're kind of like potato chips, really. But this know, every now and then, they do a pretty good job.

I mean, it was a Lifetime movie. And I'm post-call, and more emotionally labile these days in general. But shortly into the movie, I found myself just enraged - not at the crappy ridiculousness of the movie, like usual, but because people actually used to think this way. And then more so, because they still do. Because I still know these people.

It's that whole thing about how if one man isn't free, none of us are.

So it's the story of this kid, Bobby Griffith, who comes out to his Religious Right parents, sometime in the late 80s, I think. They become convinced that he can be changed, "healed". His mother takes him to a psychiatrist (one of the lower moments in our profession was the number of shrinks who thought they could "cure" homosexuality. Wasn't entirely their fault, it was a listed disorder in the early versions of the DSM... ::cringe::). She beats him over the head with religious propaganda. And ultimately, they drive him to suicide.

By the end of the movie, I was just sobbing outright. Because it's a true story (sadly, it's a story that's all too true, all too often), and the really amazing piece of it is, it ends up becoming the story of his mother, Mary Griffith, who ended up becoming a gay rights activist, running a chapter of PFLAG, and working with gay youth and their families. It really is a heart-wrenching and amazing story, and I encourage you to find it (you know they'll be airing it for years, but I'm pretty sure it will also be downloadable on iTunes, etc), and watch it, even if you don't usually watch Lifetime movies (ahem). I'm thinking of reading the book the movie's based on - you know, in all of the spare reading time I have. If it's any good, I'll let you know (but I wouldn't hold your breath on the time frame...).

Alright, go forth and watch. Be mad. Be outraged. Be moved.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go be sleepy...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Great moments in emergency psychiatry

A few of the more choice things we've heard from the ER psych contingent tonight...

Patient: You're a bitch. I don't want to be here.
RN: Well, sir, you should've thought about that before you started walking around naked in your yard.

A seven year old's mother told one of my colleagues the following:

Mom: I said to my son, that's it! You're too disrespectful! I'm sending you to boarding school. And he says, well, if you do that, I'll kill myself. And so I says, well, I'm going to do it, are you going to kill yourself? And he says, if you do it, I'll kill myself. We went like that for about an hour, and then he had a violent outburst.
Colleague: Which means, what, "a violent outburst"?
Mom: Well, when I tried to slap him in the face, 'cause he was being disrespectful, he grabbed my hands and pushed me back. Like he always does.
Colleague: Okay. Have you considered how this might change if you didn't slap him?
Mom: What? But I needed to slap him, he was being disrespectful!

I had a patient tell me tonight, when I asked if he'd ever had a head injury, "Well, I got hit in the head with some pretty severe rocks as a kid."

A different patient told me, "I done some real illiterate things in my life, but I've never tried to kill myself."

I later got consulted for a patient whom the ER told me had said he wanted to kill himself. Yesterday he had a pretty bad fall and broke several ribs. What he said was, "if this don't stop hurting, I'd rather be dead." I give you a direct excerpt from the consult note I wrote:

When questioned about his statement, the patient vehemently denies suicidal ideation. He says, "I don't want to kill myself. I have too much to live for. I should've been dead several times - I had this accident, and a couple of months ago I got bitten by a poisonous snake." When asked how he felt that he had come "close to death" more than once in the past several months, he replied, "I feel fortunate to be alive. I pray every day and thank God that he let me make it another day, but then, we all have our moments of weakness with our words, don't we?" He states that he definitely feels that he can keep himself safe.

Oh, yeah. Let's make sure the psychiatrists see that one....because the mere mortal ER docs couldn't possibly asses that guy's safety. I mean, come on, if he's going to be all vague and dodgy about it...!!

And the night's barely half over....I'm guessing there's more to come before daylight....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Black Ice

Didn't go to the coast today - ice on the planes, ice on the roads, no WAY I'm driving five hours round trip in that. So I ran errands and went to the gym and processed and ruminated...and it always strikes me...on days I don't work, it always seems like I end up working so much harder on the stuff in my own head....

Meanwhile. I have a day booked solid from 7am to 4pm, and then I'm on call. It's going to be a long, long, long-ass day tomorrow. And it's been a long, long, long-ass day today. So, y'all, I'm going to bed...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a day.

Had to post that speech in its entirety. So moving. So wonderful. It's a new era, my friends.

But my day was weird and exciting on a whole number of levels. First of all, it SNOWED in North Carolina last night. No, like, for real! A couple of inches here, a few more in the neighboring counties. Which more or less paralyzes things in the South. I, however, no longer live an hour from the hospital, but in fact, a mile. And I have a four wheel drive. And I'm from Chicago. So, I could get to work if there were two inches of solid ice out there.

But...are you ready for it? None of my patients showed.

I was giddy. I mean to tell you. I went from having a fully-booked, arduous, fourteen hour day, to...well....essentially doing no work at all. My 7am therapy patient couldn't make it. None of my four morning patients showed. My lunchtime supervision was cancelled because my supervisor was snowed in. They decided to close the clinic at 1 and so all of my afternoon patients got rescheduled. And my classes tonight were cancelled, so, none of that.

It's a beautiful thing.

So Peng and Ruthie and I puttered around the office all morning, watching patients no-show (a lovely sight!). Dr. G kept popping in and talking about the inauguration. We had CNN streaming in the office for a while, but as the event approached, Dr. G told me the IT boys were planning something. So we all congregated in their office at 11:30, and Kelvin had set up the widescreen HDTV that we use for teleconferencing. And of course, my word, it was amazing. I cried. I cried every time anyone made a reference to the March on Washington speech I posted yesterday. I cried watching the Obama girls be all proud of their dad. Our crisis team attending, who's a Quaker, started sobbing at the Yo-Yo Ma performance of "Simple Gifts," and of course we all lost it at that point. I've never been so okay with crying in front of my coworkers, but fortunately, Dr. G's wife - Dr. D, who's an awesome gal and a hard-ass trauma surgeon - set the precedent by pulling out her stock of tissues before the speech even started. Oh, gosh, it was a wonderful time.

And then...then I got to go home! I stopped and got some soup, and when I got home, I discovered some little bit had chewed right through the garbage bag in the kitchen and strewn garbage all over the house. For which she got the full-on, three-name holler: "MAXINE CANDY DOG (okay, I used her last name), WHAT DID YOU DO?!!!" She tucked her tail all between her legs and hid under Maggie's dog dish (which is elevated, since when we moved I foolishly thought that would keep Little Maxine out of Maggie's food). It was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen, and I held out a good 20 seconds before scooping her up and snuggling her.

So the puppies and I ate soup, we texted Sparrow (who's promised me pictures from the inauguration, ahem), we snuggled on my bed and watched House, and I played on Facebook and email and whatnot for most of the afternoon. I've since talked to Sparrow, and my folks, made potatoes and a Gardenburger for dinner (and a tiny little Betty Crocker Warm Delights Mini Molten Chocolate Cake. Cute little awesomeness, straight out of the microwave, cooks in 30 seconds. I found them at Target this weekend. That may be the best find of this whole month), and we're back to the snuggling portion of the evening. Sparrow's on the road, so she'll come get the little one in an hour or so, I think. I just keep praying the roads are good and that they get here safely. And Maxine is happy to burrow under my blankets and keep my feet warm until her mom gets here.

It's been a good day.

A Joyous Daybreak

Never have I been so proud to be an American as I am today.

The inagural speech:

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Still dreaming

Still moves me every time I hear it.

Dr. King would be 80 years old this past week. His death was a serious loss for all humanity, not just those Americans of color. I know many saw him as a "rabble rouser" and a trouble maker, but civil rights was something that was - and still is - a place where the pot needs to be stirred. We cannot be complacent, we cannot turn a blind eye. None are free while others remain oppressed.

As I find myself doing every year, I wonder what Dr. King would think of our nation, of our world, if he were still alive. Consider, on this historic eve, this piece of Dr. King's speech:

"We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote, and a Negro in New York believes that he has nothing for which to vote."

Black America had an amazing turnout this year. Actually, several segments of the population who had previously been seriously underrepresented turned out in spades and made their voices heard. We stood up and shouted that we were done with the status quo, were tired of the Old (Rich, White) Boys' Club and tired of not having a sovereign interest. We showed that everyone can have a say. And instead of yet another old white man of privilege, we elected the best man for the job: a mixed-race man, son of a Kenyan, born in Hawaii, who lived many of his formative years in Indonesia. I am proud of us. I venture to say Dr. King would be, too.

Consider also this, one of my favorite quotes from the March on Washington speech: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." That was in 1963. Today, some 46 years later, my friend Khalilah went to work. She's one of my friends from medical school. She's a physician, a solid, solid woman, and one of the best people of character I know. Today, at the hospital, dressed down but wearing a name badge that said "doctor," someone saw a black woman and assumed she was part of the housekeeping staff.


Prejudice is insidious. We're set up for it - you constantly make quick, automatic assessments of people and situations, and it serves an adaptive and protective function. What makes us judgmental is not whether or not we judge people, but how rigid we are in those judgments. How much we allow the irrational and unfounded to cloud our lens. Even now, as far as we've come, our lens, as a nation, is still quite foggy. Consider Khalila assumed to be a housekeeper, me assumed to be a nurse. Consider the disgrace that is most of our inner-city school systems. Consider Proposition 8. We've come so far as a people, a nation, a culture, and a race of humanity. But we're not there yet. We still have so far to go.

Now is the time, my friends. Now is the time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Therapy, in various forms

Stolen directly from Just because I think it's funny. And because I have two very therapeutic dogs snuggled up with me right now...

He he.

So it was a full day today, even if I didn't get a whole lot done. Peng and I went wedding dress shopping, and found some really gorgeous stuff. We have an appointment at the local David's Bridal in the morning, but I expect we've already found her dress. It's exciting. She's going to look fabulous. This is going to be a fun affair. Squee!

Did I mention being excited about this?

Before we went, I had my first session with my assigned trainer this morning. So, Gomer...I'm not so sure about Gomer. A, he keeps throwing all sorts of numbers at me. Dude, I'm a bulimic, we don't do numbers in recovery because, well, we're too into numbers. I nearly smacked him when he suggested a goal weight for me in a month. It's just ten pounds, he says, just two and a half pounds a week. Literally, I growled something at him about wanting to think in terms of "healthy" and "fit" and "just end up wherever I end up." Because if I lose ten pounds this month? Cool. But if I don't, and we set his little goal, then I've failed. And I do. not. like. failing. So suppose in a month I've lost 12 pounds of fat and gained 4 or 6 pounds of muscle. Despite that I've actually accomplished my aims, I'll either go into overdrive trying to meet that goal if I anticipate in the week before that I'm not going to make it, or, I'll go into overdrive with the self-criticism if I wait until the 18th of February and discover that I'm not, in fact, ten pounds lighter. Either way, I'm likely to hurt myself trying. It's not normal. It's not rational. But it's what I do, and I know this about myself. Which is why I signed up for a trainer.

He did write up a good workout for me. Well, no, that's not true. He wrote up a good workout. He didn't watch my form, failed to notice when I was failing midway through my second set of curl-thingies (he would've noticed that the weight was too heavy towards the end of my first set of curl-thingies, if he'd been WATCHING, because my control in my left arm was terrible), and sent me running up and down the stairs, which does NOT mix with my asthma, or my bad ankles, for that matter.

And, you know....I dunno. A training staff full of big black men and they give me the white guy. Which doesn't actually say anything about his abilities as a trainer, and it's a little stereotypical, but let's face it - it's a well known cultural phenomenon that black men have a better appreciation for big bootied white women. Gomer, on the other hand...I'd rather suspect he has a "No Fat Chicks" sticker on the back of his truck. You know, right under the gun rack. If he hadn't told me that he just bought a used BMW. Oh, no, wait, he didn't tell me that, he told the woman on the machine next to me. Because he didn't actually talk to me, or even look at me much (see above, re: not watching my form). And then he's like, "the more cardio you can do, the better." Nah, dude, don't friggin' tell me that, because seriously, I'll end up doing eight hours a week of cardio. And I WILL hurt myself. See above re: reasons for getting a personal trainer. Damn it.

I'm probably being too hard on him. I'll give him a couple more sessions before I request someone who can meet with me on Thursday nights. And interestingly, Steve seems to be keeping a pretty good eye on me. I stopped by to talk to him on the way out (about this incessant shaking that keeps happening by the end of my workouts), and he had all sorts of comments on the stuff I'd been doing independantly, which we hadn't discussed (but he's always there when I'm there). So I think he's kind of got my back. Which, he should, he's the guy in charge...

Training is hard, y'all. And painful. And not in the way you might be thinking. I've left pretty much every session at the gym thusfar and cried. There's a lot tied up in this for me - a lot of negative body stuff, traumatic memories...I've literally been at odds with my body for, what, the past 26 years? For the last 19 we've been outright at war, and for well over 20 I've been living more or less outside my body, for all intents and purposes. I'm just now, through a lot of hard work and therapy, figuring out what it means to live in this body. And I'll be perfectly honest (because that's what I try to do here) - I do not like it right now. My body feels contaminated, defiled, and disgusting, and that's why I've spent the past two decades in various states of dissociation. This is a lot to get over, and it's hard to do, and I'm doing the best that I can, here...and it still never feels like enough. There's so much badness to sift through. There's always something awful and torturous and unresolved batting about in my belfry. Is it any wonder I don't sleep? Larry, who's now my primary care doc, right, I told him I had complex PTSD, and he asked if I had flashbacks on a day to day basis. I said to him, this is a moment to moment issue (at one point I was literally having between 60 and 100 flashbacks a day, and thought that was normal). This is a nonstop battle, and getting healthier and doing the work is a jagged, rough, uphill climb. Combine that with my 70 hour a week job, plus my analytic classes, two hours of my own therapy every week, and now at least four hours a week at the gym (not including the times I plan to go in after work and hit things when I've had a bad day. I always keep my boxing gloves in my bag, but I haven't had the chutzpa to actually pull them out yet...but soon...). Not to mention time I need to read for work/class, the paltry social life I have, and time for things I find restorative, like blogging and keeping up with email and Facebook and whatnot. And then there's silly things like housekeeping (ha!) and grocery shopping and maintaining some facade of normalcy and functionality about my's hard. It's a lot to do with a monkey like that on your back, especially once you're healthy enough to start fighting with the monkey and trying to get him off of you instead of just plodding along with him weighing you down.

But it has to get harder before it can get easier, right? And I actually have been enjoying my time at the gym this past week, even if it's been a little internally overstimulating at times (and even if I could barely walk Friday, s/p Wednesday's training session...). So for now I keep fighting, and I keep plodding. It'll all get better if I just keep moving...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sixteen things

I've had a delightfully unproductive day. Mostly I slept of snuggled under the blankets staying warm. I did get a couple of things done - started my personal statement for fellowship (haven't written anything I actually like yet, but, whatever), had dinner with Peng and did a little bridesmaid-y planning, washed a dish or three. And I set up an appointment with Gomer, my real trainer for tomorrow (the trainer that did the intake and I talked yesterday and I told him, I think I want my weekly time to be Thursday night. So he assigned me to Gomer, and Gomer called today and was like, oh, I work early mornings...) before Peng and I go looking for wedding dresses. So tomorrow should be kind of busy.


I got tagged by Allison on Facebook for the 16 Things meme. So in keeping with today's theme of marginal productivity, I'm double dipping and using that for my blog post today, too...feel free to co-opt it for your own blogging pleasure if you'd like.

1. I really like North Carolina, but I struggle a lot with missing the people in Chicago.
2. I think Facebook is the best thing since email. I've really loved being able to reconnect with people with whom I'd fallen out of touch, and connect with people I see every day in a whole different manner. And I think that's awesome.
3. I have a weakness for crappy Lifetime movies.
4. I started blogging right before I moved to North Carolina in an effort to stay in touch with friends and family back home and let them know what was going on. I ended up making new friends from all over and learning a lot them and about myself. I don't have the largest readership of my little circle of bloggers, but I now have regular readers as far away as Alaska and Europe (hi!).
5. Re #4, it perpetually amazes me that anybody cares what the hell I have to say, or reads the drivel I write.
6. I think my dog is the best, cutest pup ever, and feel really blessed that she found me.
7. I really loved delivering babies, and sometimes wish I'd known enough to be a midwife instead of going to medical school.
8. Having said that, I totally love being a psychiatrist.
9. Having said that, I occasionally wish my patients would just shut up. (I get over that, though. And it usually has nothing to do with them. Although, once in a while...)
10. I think Greek Picnic Chicken could be the most perfect food, ever.
11. I'm terrified of schizophrenia. Not schizophrenics, but rather, the fact that it's never too late to be robbed of reality (women have a second peak in incidence after menopause). Likewise, dementia scares the heck out of me.
12. I get annoyed with how much I swear.
13. Once upon a time, I thought I'd be married with several kids by now. I'm actually glad that isn't true yet, but I'm starting to hope it will be sooner rather than later. I think that's a sign I'm making progress.
14. Things I've learned that I am not: a cat person, nor a New Englander. But that's fair, since I am many things. And, let's be honest - I still frequently like cats, and would probably do just fine if I moved back to New England.
15. I often think in song lyrics.
16. I frequently feel like the world's worst therapist, usually in session, and when I just don't know the right thing to say. I think that's part of what makes me a good therapist.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I got three words for y'all.....

Three. Day. Weekend.

Ahh. Such a wonderful prospect.

Not sure what exactly Mags and I are going to do with it, but we're excited. I'm thinking maybe I can actually get something done around the house. I have a ton of notes to write. I might actually write a meaningful blog post. And Peng and I are going (squee!!) wedding dress shopping on Sunday.

Okay, but first, I'm going to sleep in.


Sparrow and Rene and I went out for Mexican food tonight after work. Ohh, it was a nice time. We had good margaritas, good company, good conversation, and I ate way too many chips (because there was also really good salsa). The food was, as is typical for Mexican in the Triangle, just adequate. The chips did me in, though. So I'm working on digesting a little before I bed down for the worth it, though. There are few things I enjoy more than a meal with good friends.

Sparrow is...are you ready for it? Going to the Inauguration. I KNOW!! I'm both completely jealous and super excited that she's going (so freakin' cool!). I have a few other friends from med school and college that are going to be there, too. Such a moment in history, you know what I mean? Wow. And I luck out because Little Maxine is going to come hang with us while her mom's in Washington. Good times.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Naturally, I get the dog clipped, and we head into a cold snap...

So Mags and I pulled out her coat today.

She hasn't objected, and is, in fact, still wearing it in the house (I figure that makes sense - in case she needs to run out in the middle of the night to bark at a squirrel or something). I really should find her a sweater. And if it gets any colder, I'm going to toss her back in that silly reindeer costume - it's incredibly silly looking, but very warm!

Last night was long. Today was also long, but by my own hypomania choice and really pretty productive. I think I made a bad judgment call though, today - I had my introductory personal training session yesterday, right? So this very tall, hot, good-smelling, big, buff, bald, black man tries to kick my ass a little and promises it won't hurt in the morning. He lied, of course, but then again, I also slept in my office last night, and spent most of the time I spent in bed getting up and down and up and down, but my quads were pretty sore today. So I figure, cool, I'm awake enough, I'll go do a little cardio after therapy, I'll get my sore muscles working. Because I know I'm probably not going to go tomorrow, and, well,that's what's supposed to make them less sore, right?

Yeah. If I can walk in the morning, it's going to be only by the grace of God.

Here's hoping tomorrow doesn't suck. I'm finally going to bed (hush, Peng).

More randomness

Because it's 2am, and I just got this call from the floor...

RN: Ms. Doe needs something to sleep.

Me: Okay, has she taken anything before?

RN: Trazodone. She says it makes her mouth dry. (Patient mumbling in the background) She says she'll wake up and drink water.

Me: the Trazodone okay, then?

RN: (Confers with patient) She says it makes her mouth dry and she has to wake up and drink water.

Me: Has she ever taken Vistaril?

RN: She's already taken 50 mg of it tonight. Maybe we could give her some Bendaryl? She says she takes Benadryl at home.

Me: No, Vistaril and Benadryl are pretty much the same thing. Has she ever taken Ambien?

RN: (Confers with patient) No. Oh. But, I'm looking at the order, and I can repeat the Vistaril. So I guess I didn't need to call you. Oh, but she wants to use her Artificial Tears. Can you put in an order for that?

At 2am. Artificial tears. Really? Fine, fine, fine....

So I go into the physician order entry software to do that, and search for "artificial tears." And I find this. Look at the first item in the search results on the right:

An artificial nose? .....what? What the hell is that?? I thought we'd pretty much gotten rid of leprosy. Is this what that guy from The Humpty Dance pulled off? And why do you need a new one daily? I, truly, have no earthly idea what this is about. But I have some pretty funny mental images...

::EDIT:: Oh, no wait, it gets better. So I Googled "artificial nose", and I found this article, about the benefits of synthetic snot. I love it.

Doggedly funny

I got the following text message from Sparrow (who's watching the Mags while I'm on call):

Maggie looks so chic in the buff! And appears so much smaller! Maxine was confused, but sniffed her entire body - just to make sure the inside hadn't changed, too.

Cracks. Me. Up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Enough languages to make your head explode

I'm tired, y'all. It's been a typically looooooooooong Tuesday. So, I thought, what can I post that's both educational and entertaining, just strange enough to be humorous, and (let's face it) requires minimal cognitive function on the part of the blogger?

Fortunately, YouTube never disappoints.

It's a little tutorial on Greek dancing. Germans. I found it linked to something my uncle sent me, which was a video of Greek opera in Italy. No, for real. It's nice, although there are several variations on the kalamatianos (they kept coming back to that, for some reason), which, I don't remember that much spinning. And I can't figure out why they all look like waiters. But, whatever. Enjoy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The end of today

Seriously. Is today over? Because I am so. very. DONE.

It started out poorly. I'd originally decided today was my very first day to get up at 5am and go to the gym. But, I went Saturday and Sunday, and my calves were just so sore (yet another part of the ankle-shin-calf-back issues I've been having all year. You know, I remember my friend in med school telling me that once he turned 29 - he was 29 at the time - his whole body fell apart., please) that I was like, well, maybe I'll actually LISTEN to my body and take today to recover. So then I decided to get up at 6. Which...5 would not have gone well at all, but 6 didn't go so hot, either. I didn't want to be awake. I didn't want to get out of my nice warm bed. Silly Naked Puppy was all snuggly and puppy-eyed and sad that I was getting up to go to work this morning. I was cranky. I was sore. I was not wanting to be cold. The alarm on the Treo was going off in the living room.

I would've given a king's ransom to cancel my clinic today, stay under my covers, and nap with my doggie. But, no, like a responsible adult, I dragged my ass out of bed, and showered, and bundled up, and went to work. And sometime overnight it got COLD in NC, y'all (I knew, the minute I shaved the dog...). So by the time I walked my asthmatic self from the parking garage I was squeaking. And know...

Oh, what I would've given for one no-show today. But no. All eight showed up. All eight were crazy. Ohhhh, man, it was a rough, rough day. Which ended with my last patient (who started on time, of course, because I'm obsessive like that), with whom I finished a good forty minutes after his appointment was over (oy...), and then I blusteredly threw all my papers down on my desk (you know, the one I just managed to get cleaned off today on my lunch break) and got the hell out of Dodge.

It was an awful, awful, stressful day.

But I got home. I made veggie pizza (have I mentioned my idea about going vegan? I'm pretty sure cheese isn't on the vegan plan, but gosh it's good. I'm figuring something more along the line of increasing my veggies and decreasing my meat and dairy most of the time, but not all the way...i.e., I have plans for a nice burger tomorrow between the gym and class...ooh, and if I go to Evos - the organic healthy fast food place? Maybe a milkshake...) and had a long chat with my mom, and now I feel better. Although, tired. And I have a 7am therapy patient, AND I have to dig out my desk before that, because, dude, my morning is jam-packed and likely to suck. Fortunately, my afternoon looks hopeful for an early escape (hence gym and dinner...).

Oh, and, for the record, Maggie has been nonplussed by the cold, but she does have a coat if need be. She's very stunning in her smart red flannel coat (there'll be pictures, I promise).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday cuteness

Maggie got a silly new haircut today. She's been prancing around like a puppy ever since we got home. I always feel bad when I get her all shorn, but she gets positively giddy about it.

Continuing the cuteness of the past few days, I give you the following series...

Maggie, yesterday.

Maggie, today.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Finally, I had a reasonable productive day today. Had breakfast with a friend, went to the Trader Joe's, and later had a mini-excursion to the Whole Foods (bought 2 grapefruit, a thing of clementines, and some Pumpkin-Chocolate Muffin Tops, which are the best EVER). Got some stuff done, went to the gym for the first time since I joined (because I got the plague, and then it was Christmas, and then I was out of town...), and bought me a new phone. SO FREAKIN' GLAD to be rid of the Treo! Although, my dad's getting it, so I guess I shouldn't speak too poorly of it! (Not that it's a surprise to him or anyone else how I dislike the Treo...)

The new phone is a CrackBerry Storm, and so far I approve. It's not quite as intuitive as I'd hoped, but a day's worth of playing with it has gotten me pretty familiar. It even has Facebook Mobile on it, in which I'm a wee bit disappointed (Sparrow is sad that it doesn't have Facebook Chat like her nifty new iPhone. Me, too, but I'm also a little annoyed that I can read people's status updates but not comment on them). And, it has a camera that's so much better than the Treo's. Look at my cute dog.

I'm still learning, though.

They can't all be masterpieces...

Friday, January 09, 2009


Wow. I can't even tell you how glad I am that this week is over...

My agenda for this weekend looks mostly like this: sleep in. Brunch tomorrow with one of my med student friends. Go in to work and spend several hours getting caught up on notes. Nap. Snuggle the dog. Maybe go to my social worker friend's Booty-Shakin' 40th Bday part tomorrow night. Sleep in. Do stuff. Snuggle the dog. Nap.

It's my favorite kind of weekend, frankly...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Love (my nutty dog) Thursday

So I went to my aunt and uncle's for dinner tonight (and to drop off homemade chocolate chip cookies my mom sent - she really does make the best), and I get home, and Mags is, as usual, all excited that I'm home. And I make it the four steps into the living room, and I see this in the middle of the floor:

Brand new jar of peanut butter. Purchased yesterday.

Now, anyone who knows my dog knows she to put this delicately....kind of a slut. She will freely offer her affection for belly rubs, ear scratches, people food of almost any kind, but what Maggie loves almost more than me (almost) is peanut butter. I don't remember leaving it where she could get it, but, I'm sure I did, because I know she didn't go into the pantry and get it and then neatly close the door again.

At first, I couldn't even figure out how she'd gotten into it. And then I found this.


But....really....when it comes right down to it....could you be mad at this face?

Yeah. Me neither.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Call Girl

(Notice that I don't yet make anywhere near enough to refer to myself as a high-priced call girl...)

So I'm on call. Again. So far it's been busy, and Mikaela and I were hopping. But Cleo just came on - she's night float - and she's all fresh and perky and pleasant, and well, hell - I'm still pretty travel weary. She can handle things for a while whilst I nap...

Apparently, though, I've got quite the mojo working for me today. My lone afternoon clinic patient (I got SLAMMED this morning in intake clinic, but only one of my psychotic folks decided to show up this afternoon) told me I was pretty and asked if I was married. Well, no, he asked, "You're married, right?" I gave a non-committal "uhh", which, you know, he could interpret as he wished. He then asked me what my husband's name was.

I told him "Mister."

This evening, I got called to evaluate this 89 year old woman, whom I talked to for some time, and then as I was getting ready to leave, she remarked, "Wow, you've got really great boobs." I promptly then ordered a CT of her head (the two weren't related).

I also admitted a kid, who - 5 years old - intentionally broke her baby brother's arm. I went up to do the physical, she looks like just the sweetest little cherub. Later tonight I got called for an order to lock her bathroom door because she kept sticking her head in the toilet.

It's weird out there, y'all....

(PS - only 16 second year calls left to go...)

Monday, January 05, 2009

All things yarn-y

Guess what I got? No, go on, guess.

It's yarn!

No, wait, it gets even better. It's cochineal yarn. Hand imported, from Mexico, by Peng. Who happened to be in Mexico week before last. And bought a giganamous skein of the stuff, from the weaver in the marketplace who used the yarn in her weavings. She, personally, didn't spin and dye the yarn, but her cousin, you know, up the road, she crushed the little cochineal bugs off the cacti, and dried them, and ground them into powder, and used them to dye her yarn. Or at least, I imagine she did. At the very least, her cousin dyed the yarn, and someone crushed up the little cochineal bugs off the cactus.

And so not only did Peng pick me up after my stupid plane was delayed (stupidly), she shared her yarn with me! It made last night better.

And as long as we're on the subject of awesome people giving me wonderful yarn, remember the yarn that Valerie gave me last week? This is what it looks like now. The first toe and instep of the Ruthie socks.

I'm just getting to the start of the short-row heel. Which, sadly, is still the part I can't do by memory.

I'm making up the pattern, but it's basically a 3x4 mini-cable with a beaded rib border. I showed it to Ruthie today, she was pleased.

All in all, a good week for gifted yarn! Thanks, guys!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Airport blogging

So I'm sitting at the gate across from mine because mine didn't seem to have any available computer seats (Southwest has these great little bar things set up with stools and outlets. They're not the most comfortable seats in the right leg has been asleep for about ten minutes), and watching the 12:55 flight to Raleigh line up to board. It's currently 3 pm. But, at least they're boarding by the predicted delayed theory, we're leaving at 4:50. Don't know why we're delayed - it's grey and sad in Chicago, but I've heard it's wet and nasty in Raleigh. Still...

I've checked all my email, home and work. I've screwed around on Facebook. I've read I checked my EMR messages and looked at my schedule for tomorrow (and discovered I'm double-booked in the afternoon. Welcome back!!). I would take a walk, but my backpack is heavy and I can't feel my right leg. I'm tired. I'm cranky. And I'm, officially, bored.

Aren't you glad I decided that blogging seemed like the next logical thing to do?

It's been a good week. Hectic, but really nice to see everyone. As always, I find returning to my real life a little bittersweet, because I like my life, on the whole, but I invariably forget how much I miss everyone back home. My friends' kids are getting huge. Life, of course, moves on without me here. I think my assignment to Baby Blue was the best possible way things could've happened almost two years ago, but being here always stirs up the, "what am I going to do with myself in the long run?" question. There are a lot (LOT) of things I don't miss about living in Chicago (like this steel-grey day we're having) or that I like better about the south, but I really miss my family (genetic and otherwise). I don't know that the mental health opportunities I want exist up here, but, I guess I don't really know that. I like my life, and I anticipate that by the time I'm ready to make this decision, I'll have even stronger ties to the area in which I currently live, but...still....

Whatever, y'all. It's hopefully a good three and a half years before I have to actually make this decision. At least. And who knows how things might change between now and then. I'm just mopey. And exhausted.

Don't they have a nap room at Midway?? Oooh, but at least my flight's been moved up to 4:45...

Saturday, January 03, 2009


So today was the little Greek gathering. There ended up being about 30 of us. It was loud, and funny, and a heck of a good time. My aunt Aphrodite gave a speech about how all of her bridesmaids' daughters turned out to be doctors, because no one ever told us we couldn't do it, so we did it!

I laughed, because, well, plenty of people have told us (or at least me) we couldn't do it. Or shouldn't, as it were.

Our generation has finally stopped caring, is all.

I love being Greek, even when I don't like it so much. We're loud and outspoken and emotive and all about family and our people invented art and democracy and all other things that are good (don't believe me? Ask any Greek you know. Go on, ask them). We're critical and passive-aggressive and we may even do a better job of guilt than the Jews, but we're there when you need us (and we'll bring food). We're pushy and full of life and we assimilate everyone we can and we're out to feed the world. Opa!!

(I'm thinking of offering a class for Greeks entitled, "What needs to not be unsaid" (yes, that's deliberately convoluted). Lessons will include things like "You're welcome to take credit for my success if you want, the line forms over there," "No, really, I'm not actually a kid anymore (although you're welcome to continue to think of me as 'Little Katy')" and "It's really okay to say 'I'm proud of you' instead of 'don't let us down.'" The advanced class, which I'm thinking of calling "What we can learn from the white people," will have offerings such as "Catastrophizing: when it's okay to not make everything into a crisis," "Toning down the histrionics," and "You really don't have to bring up everything I've ever done wrong because I apparently took a 'tone' with you.")

It was a wonderful time. We ate and caught up and laughed and told stories. We stayed until they started breaking down our tables. And I got presents, which, bonus.

It's been a good week at home.

Friday, January 02, 2009

More fun.

More good times tonight. It's 1am (for all those of you who are apparently keeping track of my nightlife, a-HEM) and I just got home from the city. Ahh, the life of a socialite....

I had a lovely breakfast out with my folks, after unintentionally sleeping in (so needed it!), and then spent the morning teaching my 76 year old father how to set up and use his very first iPod, a tiny silver Shuffle which I bought him for Christmas, and giving my mom a tour of Facebook. They both were quick studies. Then I stood in line for a while at the Verizon store only to discover that I can't upgrade my phone for another 8 days, and then headed towards the tall part of the state (we have the world's tallest building, here, you know. Spires so don't count). I spent the whole afternoon with Claudia - we went to lunch (Lalo's, for those of you familiar. Yum), and then to Target (one with the cart escalators! Those crack me up) and then for coffee. I knit, she tolerated it well. We chatted. We looked for husbands in the Reader, but did not find any. We then met up with my cousins (not my genetic cousins, but the daughters of my "aunt" and "uncle" who live in NC) and a couple of their friends for dinner and drinks. Good company, good beer, good food, Northside night life. You can't beat it.

It's almost a shame I have to go back to my real life in two days. But, they'd probably notice I was missing at work....

(PS, Peng - don't forget you have to pick me up at the airport!)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's a whole new year!

Whew! What a frenetic couple of days it's been. Crazy, but delightful (just like me!).

Oh, my gosh, the last 48 hours have been wonderfully full of friends and frivolity, and oh, holy wow do my friends have the sweetest, cutest children ever. I spent a good deal of time in the company of two smart, completely adorable toddlers, and two absolutely amazing little infants (not all at the same time, or my ovaries might have exploded).

But wow, am I exhausted (suffice it to say, I didn't sleep a whole lot last night). And my uterus aches just a little....