Sunday, October 31, 2010

The week in a nutshell

I didn't have regular internet access.

Mags and I had an awesome time. We're both pretty sad to leave our friends (both human and canine) in NY. The conference was also useful.

But, alas, we are both pretty worn out from the drive home. Fortunately I had the forethought to take tomorrow off as a vacation day, so I'll fill you in on the week tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lawn Guy Land

So I'm in New York.

What should've been an 8-ish hour drive turned into a TWELVE HOUR TRIP with traffic. Holy crap.

But now I'm at Buie's. She's like the best hostess ever and even if I haven't seen her for reals in 5 years it's like no time has passed. Except she's married and I'm a psychiatrist, little things like that.

It's one am. I really need to go to bed. We're going for real NY bagels in the am and then kicking around the Island. And, of course, plotting my journey into Manhattan on Tuesday for the conference....

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I didn't get nearly enough done today.

Ah well.

Tomorrow I leave for NYC for a child psychiatry conference (don't rob my house. People have keys, and I'm underpaid, so there's nothing there worth taking, anyway). I'm pretty excited. The conference should be really good. AND I've never been to New York City before, except for a two hour layover at JFK. AND I'm staying with my good friend Buie, whom I haven't seen in like a million billion years. AND I get to see my friend Barb, whom I've never even met in person! AND Maggie gets to come to NY with me. I mention I'm really excited?

I'm also not really packed yet...

I'm a little anxious, and it's been getting in the way, frankly. I've never been to NYC before. I haven't been to a child psych conference before. I don't know what to do with all those child psychiatrists! There's going to be like a bazillion people I don't know. Not to mention, the last time I went to a national conference was right before my life fell apart in NH. Which....okay....this is a whole different time. And a whole different life. And, okay, I'm pretty good at dealing with people I don't know.

I'm just wishing I was feeling a little better about myself these days.

One thing I did manage to accomplish today (after spending like three hours at the coffee shop) was procuring motorcycle gloves. My riding and safety course is the weekend after I get back, so today Larry and I went shopping for the last item required for the course (he needed winter riding gloves, too). We spent way too much time trying on the same four pairs of gloves. I decided faster than he did, though, and wandered over to look at armored jackets (which were surprisingly more reasonably priced than I thought). I promptly got stuck in one when the zipper malfunctioned. He couldn't get me out of it. I finally got it off over my head. It was really comical. And I was hesitant to try on any others, but I think I found one I like. I took a picture of the tag and tucked that away for later. But in the midst of all this, I'm being all neurotic and anxious, and I keep pointing out my anxiety and neurosis. And Larry finally tells me, "You know you're no different from anyone else, right?"

It was, perhaps, a little bit of the pot calling the kettle neurotic. But it was a nice reminder, too, how we all have a little bit of crazy.

One of these days I'll really be able to own mine. I think that's the goal, you know? Not to eliminate it, of course - it's what makes us who we are - but to work with it. To reduce distress.  It's what I do professionally, and it's what I'm trying to do personally.

It's kinda tough....

Friday, October 22, 2010

And this is partly why I voted for him.

Think Dubbya would've ever taken the time to make a statement like this? Or even thought about it in the first place. I'm going to guess not.

Continuing our theme this week of disarming bullies, I give you, the POTUS.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It really does.


There was a push today to wear purple in support of those LGBTQIA kids who get bullied and harassed at school. And, by extension, all kids who get bullied.

It was a timely day for one of my patients. His sexuality is still mythical, from what I can tell. But he's an easy target for bullies. In fact, I'm pretty sure I knew this kid in high school - we all did. Introverted, sensitive, socially awkward. Keeps to himself, so there's no one to stick up for him. Doesn't fight back, so he just keeps taking it.

Until, one day, he won't. I'm worried about what that means.

My hope is that he'll use therapy, learn to say, "Yeah, you people are insecure, and fuck you all, I'm fine," and get on with his life (remember when I said I knew this kid in high school? I still know this kid as an adult. He's done quite well for himself). But there's other possibilities. At best, he limps along, holds it together, emerges on the other side intact. At worst? That's the stuff that keeps shrinks and parents up at night. The kids that externalize take guns to school in their trenchcoats and shoot up the school. The kids that take it to heart? Kill themselves.

I don't like either of those options.

So, today, on purple-people-against-hate-and-bullying day, I gave him the "It gets better" talk. The "everyone in high school (even the kid you think is perfect) feels bad about themselves and awkward sometimes". I say, do you believe me? He says, no. I say, then I'll have to keep telling you. Don't give me words, give me proof, he says. I think about this, and then I tell him, "Look. I'm in 26th grade. I survived. Every one of us survived. It wasn't easy for any of us. I promise you, it will get better."

I still don't think he believed me.

When did I become "that" grown-up?

I'm not one for cheesy pep talks, really. Especially not in therapy. But it seemed to fit today. I don't know if he heard it, but I really wanted to tell him, I'm here for you. I really wanted to give him some hope.

Because, no matter what the bullies say - whether they're in the locker room or the boardroom - just because someone says something, especially something meant to keep you down, doesn't mean it's true.

Just keep moving. It really does get better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mousey business

Dear mice who were previously living in my house:

I know there were a bunch of you. I've given up my "lone mouse on the grassy knoll" theory.


There has only been minimal evidence - ONE TINY HOLE in a bag of organic turbinado sugar. TINY - that you ever were in my kitchen. You don't seem to have eaten anything.

So why is there mouse poop EVERYWHERE in my basement? I haven't seen any new poop, which makes me think you've relocated to the neighbors'. Okay. But every time I look somewhere I haven't previously? More damn mouse crap.

It's disgusting. And I hate it.

Alls I'm sayin' is, watch your step. I have friends. With cats. And you know how badly Maggie wants a cat.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Intern, turn, turn

So I'm playing intern again today.

We sent our actual interns to the beach this weekend. Unfortunately, it's pretty cold here in NC. But I bet they're having fun anyway.

I, on the other hand, am not at the beach. I'm sitting in the Neurology call room waiting for the 8pm shift change. Which isn't so bad.

I mean, except for this, in the shower...

And the mousetraps in the call room itself.

What is it about me and roaches and vermin?

Although....look at the publisher of the bottom book. That, at least, cracks me up.

It's been interesting. I haven't actually been on a non-psychiatric service in, what, over two years? And I think my neuro month was about three years ago. I was really anxious about this morning. Turns out, of course, I needn't have been worried. It's like falling off a bike.

I forget sometimes, too, what a difference it makes to be a senior resident. I was thinking earlier about my first day on Neurology as an intern. As luck would have it, it was also my first day at Baby Blue. Ever. There was supposed to be someone replacing the anesthesia intern, so they told me, hey, don't worry about it. But of course, that person didn't show up until Tuesday. Suddenly? Oh. Hey. Could you cover his patients? Just go see them and write notes. Don't worry too much about it.

Yeah. Right. Not to mention, I had no idea how to use the computers here. I couldn't remember how to write orders. I'd totally forgotten my log in for the electronic medical record.

I sat in the workroom, right off the nurses station, trying not to cry. I was absolutely determined to figure this out. I called the help desk. I dove in. And, of course, I figured out enough to get by. They were happy.

Of course, that didn't actually address that I knew practically NOTHING about neurology. Recovering gynecologist, remember?

But it turned out to be a pretty good month. I had good attendings and reasonable residents and my co-intern was AWESOME. I had a nice white cloud for call. I caught some really interesting cases. And generally, I had a good time. Notably, I was the only one in my class who actually liked their neuro month...

So, today? Not so bad. And I get two days off in compensation for this, one of which I'm taking tomorrow.

Which is useful, because I could really use some sleep. Yesterday was loooong. I went for coffee, then did the headless chicken thing preparing for Cleo's not-a-baby-shower (nothing like doing it all in the last few hours before the party, you know?). Then, of course, was the actual not-a-shower. Which was a lot of fun. Fewer people actually showed up than had RSVP'd, but we had lots of fun, even if there was too much cake (is there such a thing?).

I ran home, showered, ran and picked Maggie from my folks', ran to drop her off at home, and then ran to Jen and Bill's. A bunch of us went to a not-so-local haunted house last night.

I'll be honest. I had significant reservations about this. We didn't leave until 7:30 pm, which I knew was not going to get me home at any reasonable hour. I was crabby and wanted to hide from the world before I even got to Jen and Bill's. And, let's be frank - PTSD girl in a Haunted House? Not necessarily the best idea. But I like my friends. And it's fall. And really, why be responsible?

It was okay. I enjoyed the time with my people. The Haunted House itself was pretty good. The headless horseman rode up on a real horse! I, however, spent too much time figuring out what was going to jump out at me from where, which figures were props and which ones were people. I don't really relish that feeling. I don't really like being scared - it brings up too much. I don't like people getting up in my face. It was reassuring knowing that they weren't allowed to touch me, but they came closer than a bratty younger brother in the backseat who's "not touching you! Not touching you!". On the whole, thought, it was fine. And I enjoyed the drive there and back and the silliness waiting in line (for-ev-er). And my friends were pretty amusing to watch going through the haunted house.

I did get insulted by a redneck zombie, though. He came up to me and said, "Looks like we could feed on this one for a couple of months." I was pretty pissed about that. In fact, I'm still kind of pissed about it. But, then again, he did invite me to stay for dinner....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I have no idea what this has to do with birthdays...

....but it came up when I ran "birthday" through a Google Image search. And I liked it.

Happy birthday to me.

It was such a good day. Good coffee time this morning, good therapy session, then I went and bought a motorcycle helmet (I'm registered for the course. I'm acquiring gear. I guess this is actually happening!). There were cupcakes at our test (inservice exam part two). Cleo and Olga and I went for mani/pedis. And then a whole bunch of my friends came out for dinner - including friends from two different social circles. Who blended really well. AND there was (almost authentic) Chicago deep dish pizza - broccoli, peppers, and feta, my very favorite from the place we had dinner.

Plus, like, everybody in the world (well, in my world) who wasn't actually here texted, called, or left me a Facebook message.

I love my people.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


We got some sad news at work today. My friend's niece drowned in their family pool. This is the same friend whose father died not long before my mom's stroke.

Cleo and Olga and I had lunch out on the patio today in an effort to regroup. We were talking about how we all walk around in such significant denial about the tenuous connection between life and death, how at any moment any of us could be gone, the ones we hold dear could be taken from us. But, we have to, you know? Because otherwise we'd take to our beds in fear and never leave...

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight. Meanwhile, hug 'em if you've got 'em.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy National Coming Out Day

Yeah, I'm straight, but I've long sympathized with the LGBTQIA community, even back when it was just called "gay people." I feel for their inability to change who they are, and that society will tell them they're defective for it. Did you know that you can still be fired from your job in 29 states for being lesbian, gay or bisexual and in 38 states for being transgender? This is 2010, people.

Twelve years ago I spent a morning washing off hateful graffiti from our college campus. That day was the only day in my four years there that our daily Chapel service was canceled. Instead, we had an anti-hate rally. Not pro-gay, not anti-anti-gay, just anti all forms of hate. I was so impressed with my little, conservative, religious Midwestern university.

What I was not prepared for? Was the number of people I thought I knew, liked, and respected that declined to participate. They couldn't condone that, they said. Someone very important to me at the time stated he couldn't get behind that, and besides, he was junior faculty, he couldn't be seen at something like this. Two hours later I was standing on the lawn holding hands with my physics professor - even more junior faculty - singing We Shall Overcome. I learned a lot about some people that day that I would have rather not known.

Meanwhile, now, over a decade later, in 20-fucking-10, there's a growing epidemic of suicides among GLBT teens and young adults. There's still so far to go, my friends.

We shall overcome. Someday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Not enough weekend

It's been busy. It's been fine. It's been full of good friends.

Met my new trainer this morning. Kit. Yep, Kit and Kate. She's perky.

Dug through the storage unit for an hour in 80 degree weather later.

I need more weekend.

But I have a 7am patient, so I reeeeeeeeeeeeally need to get to bed! More tomorrow. I'm working on a substantive post in my head.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Psychiatry Book Club tonight. Had a WONDERFUL time. Did lots of arguing with Scott. Pulled Sonia into it. Great contributions from the underclass residents. It was very much a success. Also? There was good Indian food involved. Can't go wrong there, unless their buffet is both expensive and expansive and you all end up eating too much and have to drive home with your (new, stiff) jeans unbuttoned.

Just sayin'.

But now it's 11pm and I'm a sleepy Kate...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Who knew?

It's National Depression Screening Day.

Which, frankly, is every day in my world.

(Click here or here for a link)

Mind your mental health, people.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I know it's Tuesday, but...

Love is in the air.

No, sadly, not around here. But as a child of the '80s (and thus a teen of the early '90s), I couldn't help but totally love this:

Sunday, October 03, 2010


...not so good.

I'm not really sure why, to be honest. It was just...difficult.

I think it's still part of my Crisis of Something. But wow am I in one of those awash in your emotions, stuck all up in your head, mulling over life kind of funks.

And I have a 7am patient tomorrow. So I'm going to bed on old lady time.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

It may just be a matter of time, really....

...until I buy a donorcycle.

Relax, not this weekend. But I've been thinking about it for about ten years, and now I've known people who've ridden that long, and also now that I have a lot more bikers in my social group, I have a better appreciation for the benefits of safe riding techniques, good gear, etc, etc. So....I'm still thinking about it.

The weather was beauuuuuuutiful in NC today. Cool, clear, gorgeous fall day. Garth and Larry had been planning a ride today, and I half-jokingly invited myself along. Until they both were like, "Um, yeah, why don't you come with us?"

So, I did.

They warned me it was going to be long. I said, okay. They warned me it was likely to be fast at times. I said, great. We devised a plan for how to find me if I got lost. They suited up, I opened the sunroof and rolled down all the windows. And off we went.

We had a hell of a good time.

The drive was absolutely gorgeous. I'm hoping we can do that again in a couple of weeks when the fall colors have really developed (I may try to con my way onto the back of someone's bike for that, actually, but the Jeep really was excellent). The roads were a little twisty and the countryside was quaint and it was very pleasant.

We ended up at this lake, first driving across the dam that held the lake in. It was incredible. The view was absolutely spectacular. We stopped for a while to admire the view, and in the midst of that whole sitting out looking at the lake thing, I commented, "I didn't even know we had a dam."

Garth said, "Virginia has a dam."

Hmm, well, good for Virginia, I thought, kind of wondering what that had to do with anything. We enjoyed the scenery for a bit longer and then saddled back up, and were off again until we got lost. This ultimately entailed pulling off at a visitor's center (that was closed, but the boys TOTALLY got credit for stopping to ask directions) and fussing with my GPS, which Larry was messing around with and got somewhat discombobulated so I took it back and hit the "My Current Location" button. And made quite a discovery.

"SonofaBITCH!" It suddenly dawned on me. "We really ARE in Virginia!!"

They both looked at me like, um, yeah. Don't you remember the big "Welcome to Virginia" sign??

Totally missed the sign. Apparently saw the one next to it that said radar detectors were illegal, but missed the giant one announcing I was passing into a whole different state.

We made a pit stop shortly after that revelation as one of the bikes needed filling up and all three of us needed draining, so we stopped at this little gas 'n' go kind of place. So I walk into the little general store, and of course the first thing you see coming through the door was the display of ammunition, fireworks, and liquor. There was also a large tub full of minnows and fishing poles hanging from the ceiling. It was...quite an experience.

This led to more fun being poked at the city girl, of course...

But we made it back and the drive back was also just as lovely. We stopped at a local place for beers and a late lunch (since it was about 4pm by this point) and some good conversation.

I finally made it to the gym after that, came home, spent a really long time trying to comb the knots out of my hair from having the windows open in the car, and then made my way back to Jen and Bill's. Maggie got to come too, and she and Eddie had a wonderful time running around and exploring the backyard. Jen, Bill, Leigh, Garth, Garth's son, and I sat around the fire pit and enjoyed the crackling fire and the yummy, yummy s'mores, and a couple of other friends joined us later. Once again, good time, good company, good conversation. And, of course, chocolate.

One thing (of many) that I love about this circle of friends is that, you know, I see them every single morning. You'd think that, being in the different life situations, different occupations, and being from different backgrounds that we wouldn't have that much to say  to one another. But we can still do things like spend an entire day together and still look forward to seeing each other at the coffee shop in the morning.

It's good. It's really, really good.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Blog's gone pink

No, no, this isn't some infectious overgrowth from the pink office. And I promise, it's just for the month.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now, I often complain about how much ridiculous pink-ness shows up in the name of Breast Cancer. I get mad about how damn much funding Breast Cancer Awareness gets (not research, they can have all the money they want, but the pink explosion). 1 in 9 American women gets breast cancer. 1 in 3 women worldwide (1 in 4 in America) will be sexually abused or assaulted.

I about needing awareness.

But, given this past aunt's diagnosis with Stage II Breast CA, her subsequent journey through chemo and radiation... my mom's diagnosis with Stage IV Breast CA, and the stroke that I still think resulted from it...

Looks like I'm jumping on the pink bandwagon.