Monday, February 28, 2011

Ah, medical humor....

This guy cracks me up. Which I'm almost ashamed to admit, if you look at some of his other stuff....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Under pressure

So I've my CPAP for three nights now. I was hoping I'd be all used to it, but I'm not there quite yet. It makes my nose a little sore, but at least I've now gotten beyond the idea that I'm going to suffocate. Now it wakes me up instead of the sleep apnea, but I do think I'm sleeping better when I am asleep.

Which has not stopped me from being totally exhausted all weekend. You know how, if you go a while without sleeping well, once you start getting caught up on that sleep debt you can't quite sleep enough? I think that's what's happening.

All in all it's been a decent weekend. Olga's doing better and they're starting to wean her off the lung bypass. Still haven't gotten to see her. I was relatively productive, though. Got a couple of notes done, went to Costco, got a couple of things done around the house. I finally got some boxes unpacked downstairs (about 20 down, another 3,547,256,128 to go) and even finally removed the dead mouse (ewww! Ewww!! Ewwww!) that I found in a box a couple of months ago (and promptly screamed and then put the box in the corner). The corner still smells a little, but I'm hoping that was the only source... I worked out, got some groceries, went to coffee today, did some laundry, did the dishes, made lunch for know. The usual weekend-y kind of stuff.

Did not manage to get on the bike this weekend, despite absolutely gorgeous weather. I think I'm being avoidant. And the bike needs gas.

I do love a weekend.....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A public service announcement

As much as I applaud her compliance with helmet laws, this is NOT proper riding gear.

That is all.

(Stolen from Fail Blog)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Good things.

So Olga's doing a little better. Things are still tenuous, but the improvement makes me happy.

I also picked up my CPAP today, finally, finally. I'm going to try it out tonight; maybe I'll actually get some rest soon. I even got away with this itty bitty little nose mask thing they call nasal pillows. It's tiny! The machine also has a heated humidifier, which might even help my sinuses. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Holding out hope

Olga is not doing well. I'm focusing my energy on thinking positively about what will go well for her. But in the meantime - and you know how rarely I say things like this - if you all could send up whatever prayers you have to whatever deities you believe may be listening, it would be greatly, greatly appreciated...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tonight's rest brought to you... Ambien.

I slept like crap last night again, worrying about Olga and the other things going on in my life. Today dragged its ass and mine as well. But I finally got my research proposal written and sent it to my program director and my advisor (well, one of them...the other one is Olga) for input. So hopefully they can get it back to me tomorrow and I can get the official version submitted. I may also be able to get something else in my life submitted in the morning which will take a huge load off.

But suddenly things have started looking really trippy and typing is somehow suddenly very hard.

So me and my Ambien, we're going down for the night. Please do not disturb.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I can't even imagine...

Olga's house made the news. Click on the picture to enlarge it. I can't believe it. I'm so incredibly grateful they got out alive.

Olga herself is in the ICU on a ventilator after sustaining airway burns from smoke inhalation. She's doing okay overall, I saw her today, but it was horrible seeing my friend that way. 

We're all pretty shaken up by this. Sparrow said she was nauseated and shaky all day yesterday. I slept four hours and dreamed of fires and houses of which I couldn't find my way out (and skeletons, oddly). Today I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach for most of the day (it was a tough day for a lot of reasons). And the department announced that she's not taking visitors, but when I left today I promised her I'd visit tomorrow, and now I don't know what to do.

This is awful.

And I shouldn't have looked that article up right before I went to bed...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prayers welcome

So my friend Olga's house burned down last night. Not sure what happened, not sure what they're going to do from here, but do know that she, her two year old, and her parents (who were staying with her) all got out okay. And so did her two dogs and her cat. But they lost absolutely everything in the fire. 

Needless to say, the news shook me up quite a bit. Frankly, that's one of my worst fears, personally. And she's been having a horrible year; this was rather the last thing she needed. What a mess.

It did drive home a point, though. She texted me, "amazing how it became about what was salvaged instead of what was lost."

It made an impression.

So as I went through my day today, I tried to make a point of being grateful for who and what I have in my life. And it turned out to be a nice day. Coffee with the Village, a little bit of work, a good lunch with friends, and a nice afternoon with Cleo and the baby on her last day of maternity leave. It was really good. And then I came home and did my taxes. I managed not to owe anything. And then laundry, dishes, dinner...the stuff of everyday life. Sweet and simple.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Biker Bitch diaries, chapter 1

Dear Car Drivers,

It's that time of year again (at least in NC). The weather is turning back to spring-like wonderful, and bikers fairweather and hardcore alike are polishing up their chrome and taking to the streets. This includes a whole bunch of newly forged riders. Classes are starting up again, and those of us who learned in the fall haven't gotten a whole lot of riding days this winter (especially those of us who are still too scared to ride to work).

Please, please be patient with us.

Remember when you were a pimply little fifteen-year-old, behind the wheel for the first time? Was it a rush? Sure. But if you're like most of us, putting that car into drive and taking your foot off the brake was pretty intimidating.

Imagine doing that in a convertible. With no doors. And no roll bar. And no passenger seat. Oh, and instead of that comfy bucket seat you were in, you had to straddle the seat. And you had to balance the car, yourself, and anyone or anything you carried with you, all while steering, clutching, shifting, accelerating, and braking. Now imagine you've been driving a car for like 17 years and suddenly have to learn to drive all over again in the aforementioned one-seated doorless two wheeled convertible.

And here's the other bit of information to consider - you remember the hours of driving on the range, while your instructor sat next to you with his own set of brakes? Remember going out on the road with that giant sign that said Student Driver on top? Do you recall all the hours behind the wheel one has to log before getting their drivers license, and, with the new graduated licenses, after? Yeah, one weekend class and a 30 question computerized test and suddenly I'm licensed to be out on a motorcycle, by myself or with passengers, on the same roads you're on. That doesn't mean I'm any good at it.

But I am trying.

So here's what I want you to know. 

Listen, just give me a little space, here. I know I ride like a granny, going 5 miles under the speed limit with my left blinker on. I know I jerk around a little when I shift and I know I just stalled the bike out like 37 times when the light turned green. But unless your passenger is bleeding or in labor, give me a break, okay? Think of me as the sixteen year old kid out there trying to learn to drive stick. I can talk a big game, but I've only ridden less that 200 miles in my entire life. Compare that to what's probably close to 250,000 that I've clocked in a car. I'm working on it, but I'm not there yet.

Don't honk. For the love of God, don't honk. It will only make me more anxious, and you know what? That damn thing is loud outside your car.

I'm new at this. I don't trust the bike. And I'm going to wait for every single car to go before I turn, because I'm terrified I'll wipe out on the turn. Not that I ever have, and not that it's especially likely, but just have a little patience.

Yep, if that car pulls out a quarter mile ahead of me, I'm going to slow down. You should too.

Likewise, because I'm taught to scan the road, because I don't have my radio on, and because I'm out and exposed I might see a hazard before you. If you see my brake lights, slow down. 

I stop faster than you do. Please leave an appropriate space cushion.

I don't trip stoplights because I'm so small. My bike weighs less than 600 lbs, your car is close to a ton.  I do, however, have the legal right to treat a red light as a stop sign if I've been sitting there for more than three minutes (at least in NC). Because I'm still unsure of myself, though, I probably won't. So when you finally pull up behind me, know that I'm so incredibly grateful (even if we then miss the light because I keep stalling out the bike).

I am just as scared as you are that I'm going to go down in front of you, and even more scared that you're going to run me over. It's unlikely, but that doesn't mean either of us isn't thinking about it. The answer to this, however, is NOT to ride my ass.

Stop texting while you're driving. I know, I know, I do it too sometimes, but it's really not safe.

Please, give us room. Be patient, and polite, and we will too. This beginner phase won't last more than a few thousand miles. And always, always, always look twice. "I didn't see him" is no reason to hit one of us. Look, listen, and look again. Everyone wants to get home alive and safe. I have people depending on me, too.



PS - alright, fellow bikers, what did I miss?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


My head hurts.

I've apparently caught some GI bug that's going around.

Went to work today, though. Was queasy all day. 

I do not love this Thursday...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Stuck in my head

So this song came on my iPod this weekend at the gym, and it's been stuck in my head ever since.

And now it's stuck in yours.

Happy Single People Awareness Day, also, as well.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just a little bit more, please...

Mags and I have had a busy weekend. Well, me more than her. I could still use a little more weekend, though. I have this dream of some day working four-day weeks...

Yesterday was crazy productive. Went to coffee, picked up my grocery order (my local grocery chain has this setup where you can order ahead online and then pick it up without leaving your car. It's pretty sweet). Went to the Jeep dealership (finally) and got the weird noise checked out (it's only been there for about the last ten thousand miles. I finally got over there because I have 400 miles left on my warranty). Stayed there for longer than I had hoped, where I was held hostage and subjected to multiple episodes of That's So Raven and Hannah Montana on a very large, very loud TV. Now, mind you, no one in the place but me was under 45. Once I successfully avoided gouging my eyes out, I rewarded myself by going and picking up a new pair of riding boots, because apparently I broke my other ones when I fell. I also got a wicked cool $10 tank top at the Harley dealership. I went to the gym, I got stinky, I came home and took a nice long nap and hid under the covers for a while after I woke up, snuggling with my warm puppy. It was lovely.

Today was pretty useful as well. Coffee, breakfast with the crew, Target, the gym...a shower, some laundry, the dishes...not pretty, but it has to be done. Much nicer was finally getting back out on the bike this afternoon. Which, I admit it, there's a problem with that.

I'm scared of the bike.

I don't know why, especially. I'm fine. Yes, I fell off. Yes, falling off a motorcycle at 20 miles an hour or so hurts. But I'm fine. The bike is fine. Everything's f-i-n-e. So what the heck is the problem?? I'm still not sure. But it scares me. I don't feel like I control the bike well (of course I don't. I've ridden less than 150 miles in my whole entire life. No one expects me to be great at this yet). I feel exposed all of a sudden. I feel inadequate and inept. I'm - I'll say it - scared I'm going to die on the dumb thing. All fears I had before, but now I get so anxious at the thought of riding it makes me queasy.

But I got on the bike. And I will continue to get on the bike, riding safely and conservatively, until it doesn't scare me anymore and I'm back to a healthy level of respect for the risk I assume on the bike.

And I'm going to take the class again in April. I think that'll help a lot.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thoughts for a Friday night...

A friend posted this on Facebook. I've seen it before, and it always makes me cry a little. And hug my puppy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday's almost Friday

I'm so looking forward to the weekend. This week hasn't been bad, just, exhausting.

The sleep study went well, I'm told. The CPAP was weird. At first it felt a little like I was being smothered or waterboarded. But you relax and realize, that isn't water, it's air, and you actually can breathe. I didn't sleep a whole lot last night, but I think what sleep I got was better than usual.

I left my pillow there, though. Damn it. 

I don't know when I get a unit of my very own, but I don't think it's going to be as bad as I thought it would be. Definitely going to take some getting used to, but, I'm looking forward to sleeping.

Meanwhile, I'm going to bed...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


So did I mention this whole sleep issue? I'm a terrible sleeper. I have a tough time getting to sleep, a worse time staying asleep, and then I wake up early, eventually fall back asleep and then can't get out of bed. It's obnoxious. Plus, when I am asleep, I have these intolerably epic dreams, and I thrash about so much the dog won't sleep with me anymore.

So I had that sleep study last week. They decided I had two things going on: one, I have obstructive sleep apnea, and two, I've got PLMS, or Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep. So I stop breathing and I thrash a lot. So tomorrow night they're doing a CPAP titration. Basically, it's a face mask and a machine that blows air in your face so your airways stay open. Not glamorous. But effective. And I get to wear it every single night for the rest of my damn life, more or less.

I'm a little worried about the whole thing, but I think it'll be fine...and I'm definitely looking forward to sleeping better.

Monday, February 07, 2011


I'm not dead. Honest. I'm just exhausted. And I actually wrote a whole post for yesterday...which didn't post.

Ah well.

So for the second weekend in a row, I was not out riding on an absolutely gorgeous day because I was under the (great) weather. I appear to have caught the plague my med students are spreading around the Adolescent inpatient unit. If I had any control of their grades, I'd fail them both (no, not really). But on the whole, it was a good weekend.

Today was looooong. 7am therapy case, work, supervision, therapy, gym.

Oh, and funny videos on YouTube with the plague-spreading med students. Here, watch this:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Delaying gratification

So I spent six and a half hours in the Selection Committee meeting today, where we helped decide the fate of the 100+ people that interviewed for 13 spots at our program. The other part of their fate, of course, is decided by them and the other programs that rank them. But it was such an interesting experience to sit in on the other side of that selection process at Big Blue. Alls I can say about the meeting itself are these two things: A, I'm really glad I'm not applying this year, because wow, do we have a strong applicant pool; and 2, I'm really glad they had cookies. But beyond that, it really made me think about what I looked like as an applicant. I'm a good doctor, and I was a good med student, but I was not the strongest candidate because of what happened at The Emerald Palace. I wondered about the discussion that happened when they ranked me. I wondered who objected, who went to bat for me, or if  that actually needed to happen. I thought about the years that have passed since then. I thought about what a different person I am...and the ways in which, for better or worse, I'm still the same.

I'm really glad they took a chance on me.