Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love Thursday

Ten things I love (in no particular order)....

I love vacation.

I love good news from good friends.

I love some particular friends of mine who don't have such good news tonight.

I love iTunes and loud, good music.

I love that feeling I have when I leave the chiropractor and it feels like my body is actually aligned for a moment.

I love dinner at Shady Pines with my parents and their spunky, hilarious, kind friends.

I love that my parents have crafted a whole circle of friends at Shady Pines.

I love that I'm finally a redhead again.

I love that my trainer used the word "athletic" to describe my work at the gym today (bless his delusional little heart).

I love that I have the world's best dog and a furry houseguest who purrs (if only dogs could purr!).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm still here

I don't know where I've been for the past week.

I think, at the end of last week I was busy being stressed out and tired and ready for vacation. And the last four days I've been something of a vegetable.

I'm on staycation. It's beautiful. I have some actual things to do during the week, so it's not as awesome as it could be. And the unfortunate thing, actually, is that I was supposed to be in Chicago this week. I'm actually pretty bummed that I'm not there. But, duty calls. So here I am.

I really have been a bum this week. It's been so nice. I've been to the gym every day. I saw the chiropractor today, for the first time in three weeks. I have two sessions with my trainer this week, and two with my shrink. I've watched some Netflix, went to coffee every single morning, did my own grocery shopping - twice - instead of using the online service. I hung out. I cleaned out a closet today (mostly).

Maybe I have done some productive things...

The dog and the cat are...well, it will get better. The cat is attacking the dog now, which I think is actually a positive thing (and she doesn't have claws, so it's also a not-especially-dangerous thing), because at least they're making contact. I watched Gulan hide on the steps today and swat at Maggie. Maggie is less scared of her, but still fairly wary. And I kind of wonder, actually, if Gulan would respond to Maggie chasing her, but Maggie, of course, is much too polite to do that.

Gulan is warming up to me, too. She's stopped hiding constantly in the basement and has started trying to steal my cereal in the mornings. It's actually pretty cute. She comes up for love at other times, too, and even has been sleeping on the second floor with us (although, in the bathroom). I figure she'll get adjusted just in time for Olga to want her back...

Olga's doing pretty well. Still in the ICU, still on intermittent dialysis, still weaning from the ventilator. Slowly, but surely, getting better.

Tomorrow my mom has a procedure at the hospital. Friday I've got a couple of things I need to do, but I still have Thursday and the weekend....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not that they don't pee on the floor too....

Had a long day at work.Skipped the gym, because my knee's acting up and I'm meeting with  my trainer tomorrow night. Got home, discovered the cat had peed on the floor. Left a HUGE puddle. Cleaned it up, cleaned up the litterbox (it's the fancy self-cleaning kind, but the little container was full), grumbled a little.

Went upstairs, ate some dinner. Gulan comes upstairs and jumps up on the arm of my chair, purring and all love. Until Maggie comes over to see what's up. She leans her little head off the chair, and Maggie meets her nose to nose. All seems fine until - without any warning - the (fortunately declawed) cat takes a swat at her and starts hissing.

Poor Maggie was so startled, and just kept looking at me, all baffled, like, "But....but....I just want to be friends! What did I do??"

Now, I feel for the cat, I do. Her house burned down, she was living in the basement utility room of some strange people, and then a totally new strange person steals her and whisks her away to a new land of weird that has a giant smelly dog in it.

But here's the thing....I like cats, but really? I'm a dog person.

Not to mention, I've had this particular dog for seven and a half years. Dog's been with me through some of the worst times of my life. And I'm nothing if not loyal - usually to a fault. The moral of that story being, the way to incur favor with me? Is most. definitely. NOT. to mess with my dog. Especially when I'm all tired and cranky and post-weekend coverage.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Working the weekend. Nice night out with the girls, but I stayed out later than anticipated, and my alarm goes off at 5am...

Maggie turned nine yesterday. She's the best dog ever. I love that silly mutt. She's so smart and sweet and awesome.

Gulan is still hiding in the basement, but at least she's using the litterbox now. And when I went down tonight, she was sleeping in the hallway, instead of in the back corner of the closet behind the fold-up bed.

Olga has now lost her entire left leg and went back to surgery today to control some bleeding. Keep praying for her, to whatever deity you think is listening.

My neighbors are really loud. Don't they know I should be asleep??

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A few words on a Wednesday.

Cat still hiding, but when I came downstairs today she was sitting outside the closet instead of in the back corner. And I think she sprayed the living room (it STINKS). And she still isn't using the litterbox.

But she's awfully damn cute.

Dog is still awesome.

Kate is still tired.

Situation normal.

Monday, March 14, 2011

And back to Monday

Today was just long. And tiring. And that damn time change really screwed me up. Could NOT get out of bed this am. Grrrrrrrr....

Didn't help that the cat decided that 1:30 am was a reasonable time to start talking to us from her perch on the bathroom sink. Not okay, kitty. Neither was the 4am serenade. But then of course, we haven't seen hide nor hair of her yet today.

I figure she'll come out eventually...

Cats. Go figure. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday fun-day

It was a really nice Sunday.

I slept in this morning - not entirely on purpose, mostly the effect of that whole Daylight Savings Time thing. Went to coffee, and had a really nice visit with the group, as well as the first iced coffee of the season. The owner's oldest child (I think she's 4) came and sat with us. She's completely adorable and this funny little chatterbox. We were playing tic-tac-toe (she learned this game this morning) and she looks up at me and says, "Do you have a wife?"

Wow, I thought. Good for her parents!

"Nope." I told her. "I don't have a husband either."

"Well, why not?"

You don't know the half of it, kid. I said, "Well, I haven't met the right husband yet."

"Which husband are you going to marry?" She asked.

"I don't know. But if you meet him, let me know, okay?"

She gives me the perfect four year old hands-on-hips, you're-a-silly-goose head tilt. "Well, that's silly. How would I know who YOUR husband is if you don't?" All I could do was laugh. The girl has a point.

So I let her win at tic-tac-toe again...

Went to the gym after coffee. Had a good workout. Chatted for a few minutes with my anxious trainer. You know, he just wanted to make sure I wasn't too sore after yesterday's session. Were my knees okay? What did the armband say about our workout? Did I have any thoughts about nutrition? And of course, I wasn't, they were fine, it said we burned a reasonable amount of calories, and nope. Such a nice change from my workouts with Gomer when I couldn't move for several days afterward.

(Did I mention I'm wearing this little armband now that tracks all the calories I burn? It's one of the coolest gadgets ever. It's part of the Jenny Craig Metabolic Max thing. It counts calories burned, steps, amount and quality of activity, even how much sleep I get. So much techno-geeky awesomeness.)

(Did I mention I was back on Jenny Craig? Yeah, that's a whole other blog entry.)

So I came home and showered, and then I met Sparrow for lunch, which was really nice. We met at this local Greek family place that's just sooo good. Had a nice conversation, did some catching up. I took the bike to and from lunch, which was also great. What a beautiful day for a ride. It was almost 80 here today, and sunny, blue skies, just gorgeous North Carolina spring weather.

The rest of the day was the usual...laundry, dishes, groceries. Prepped for the week. Watched the Cubs win in preseason. "Rescued" the cat from her hiding spot in the basement (twice). Made dinner. Just a nice, comfortable day. Doesn't get much better than that...

Well, except when that happens on a Saturday or a three day weekend...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cats n dogs

What a week.

Wednesday was the big day of oncology appointments for my mom. It's been a year since the stroke now so they're entertaining the idea that something more definitive can be done for the tumor. We saw surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology. The team is definitely moving towards surgery and chemo/radiation. I think that's a good sign. There was a day when they wouldn't have entertained the idea at all because she has some questionable evidence of metastatic disease (although her medical oncologist doesn't think it's anything, actually), and that day wasn't more than a couple of years ago. But the fact that they're even ready to consider surgery makes me feel like there's a good chance at extending my mother's life.

The day itself was productive, of course, but crazy stressful. We were both really anxious about what they were going to say, not to mention about the whole process itself. As it turns out, we get to be anxious a little longer. They found something questionable on the mammo of the other breast, so they need to do further testing before they can actually make a plan. So we follow up again the first week of April to do the scheduling and more definitive talking. My mom has friends coming to visit at the end of April, so I suspect when we all put our heads together they're going to schedule the surgery in May. Which is helpful for me, too, because I'll me on Consults for May and June, and the scheduling is more flexible.

It does leave my planned trip to Chicago at the end of this month in question, however, because of some of the testing they've got scheduled. My mom is pushing me to go, of course, but I'm still not convinced.

In other convalescence news...Olga is getting stronger by the day. She's still on the ventilator but has done very well off of heart-lung bypass. Unfortunately, though, as a complication of the bypass, her foot didn't get perfused well enough (they focus on perfusing the important things - brain, heart, kidneys - and sometimes the peripheral stuff doesn't get enough blood flow. And let's face it Olga's feet are a looooong way from her brain) and had to be amputated on Friday. I can't even imagine how hard that's going to be for her. Olga's kind of a fashionista, you know? Cute shoes. Cute skirts. Cute toes. Well, I mean, the shoes are still in...and there are a lot of cute pants...and we can still go for manicures.

But in both cases...I can't imagine losing a piece of myself. I mean, like, a real, visible piece of myself (I say this as someone who has already lost most of her accessory organs). Whether a mastectomy or a foot amputation, there's a very obvious void created, you know? But at the same time, I'm amazingly glad both Olga and my mother have both thusfar survived something that could have killed them. It's a steep price, but compared to the alternative...

Life gets so complicated sometimes.

In related news, we have a new little houseguest.

Her name is Gulan (it means "Cutie" in Swedish), and she is Olga's cat. She's been staying with some friends, but their dogs aren't so cat friendly and they can't let her out because they live in coyote country (real, wild coyotes, not Maggie-like coyotes-once-removed). So she was living in their utility room in their basement. It seemed kind of inhumane, so they looked for alternatives, and I figured it was the least I could do. So we brought her here today. She keeps hissing at Maggie, but Mags is being very respectful. I'm sure they'll be just fine.

I did, however, forget about two things when I offered to do this... my hatred of litterboxes (haaaaaaate) and my cat allergy.

I addressed the one by irrationally spending an obscene amount of money I don't have on a self-cleaning litterbox (Hate. Hate. Hate.). I totally can't justify this at all, unless of course the cat moves in permanently, which is not the plan. I'm sure Olga will want her cat back in a couple of months, and I can go back to my cat-dander-free existence. And I can probably sell the litterbox on Craigslist. Until then, self-cleaning litter and a good dose of antihistamines should get us through.

She's a sweet old thing. Who's currently hiding somewhere in my house where I can't find her.

I do hope she remembers where that fancy litterbox is.........

Friday, March 11, 2011


It's been a long, stressful week. I promise to update the blog tomorrow, possibly with pictures. But for now? Bed.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Blah, blah, blah

It was a big day for some reasons I can't yet divulge (don't you love it when I do that?) but also because I started on the child unit today. Whew. I forgot how exhausting the little ones can be, especially when they suddenly have to be discharged.

My day actually started much earlier than that. My adolescent therapy patient who comes at 7am (voluntarily. Of her own choosing), she came at 7am. We're doing some transition work now, so she only comes every other week. We had a good session today, about some pretty heavy stuff. And then, later, after the whirlwind discharge and while I was on my way to supervision (handy), she sent me a text telling me that what we had talked about this morning ended poorly.

Can I be totally honest with you? It broke my heart a little.

I know we're all trained to come off as being somewhat aloof and all "blank slate" and whatnot, but here's a dirty little secret of psychotherapy: we get emotionally invested. At least, the good ones do. And this is a kid I've been seeing for three years now, which is not an insignificant chunk of her life (or mine, for that matter). I've seen her grow in a lot of really profound ways. And even if my response was something close to the cliche "that must be so hard for you," I really hurt for her. To really get the emotional content, blank slate or not, you have to make an emotional connection. That's why this work is so exhausting. I see it in my colleagues' exuberance about college acceptance or dismay at an abrupt and clumsy termination. We may sometimes give the impression that you may only exist to us for a fifty minute hour, but in truth, as much as we hope our patients internalize us, we internalize them to some degree too.

It's kind of cool, when you get right down to it.

Oh - and, I went to the gym after work and supervision and therapy and the, um, whatnot, and I did my little proscribed treadmill workout at 1.8 miles per hour in the middle of the crowded, post-work-rush gym. Yeah, I was still self-conscious about it (especially because that 7% grade was kicking my ass today), but I did it.

Baby steps, you know?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

As per usual

I could use a little more weekend.

This one was pretty useful. Friday was another late night at work. I got home and just passed the hell out. I am so ready for a break from the Adolescent unit. I really like working on the unit, actually, but it's intense. I think Peng and I are both a little burned out from it.

Saturday morning I met my new trainer. We'll call him Buddy. I'm not really sure why, it just seems suitable. Anyhow, he's not quite as scenic as Gomer, but he appears to be a lot smarter. Which, given that I think a big part of the reason my knees have gotten so bad in the past two years is the work I did with Gomer, I'm all over having a smarter trainer. He's affable enough, originally a Midwesterner, kind of a talker, which I'm okay with. He seems fairly anxious, actually. But in a possibly medicated way, not in that "Oh, hey, you're a shrink? Let me tell you about my issues" kind of way. And let's be honest, I'm not going to throw stones in the glass house of anxiety. But it seems like a good fit, which is something I need right now. And he was willing to work with my very rigid ideas about how many sessions my tax return would buy and how we were going to use them, which I appreciate.

I will say...he's got me doing this low speed/high incline interval treadmill workout which I did for the first time in its entirety today. I was really self-conscious about how slow I was going. Is that weird? I mean, I'm used to being self-conscious at the gym, and let's be honest - I work with a trainer so I work out smarter and don't hurt myself. It really doesn't matter what the guy on the next treadmill thinks. I have goals, here, people. Plus, the whole 30 minute workout burned 360 calories, and my knees and feet feel fine, which they don't always post-workout. So, you know...if the anorexic woman maniacally running on the arc trainer feels the need to be judgmental about my treadmill speed, let her.

Today was rainy, but productive. I actually got quite a bit checked off my to-do list. Didn't get out on the bike this weekend, though. Next weekend for sure...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Do. Not. Love.

Tonight is the third night in a row I've gotten home from work after 7:30pm. Today was very, very long. I had a lot happen on the unit this morning. I left for State Hospital a lot later than I wanted to. Today was my day to present the Thursday afternoon resident lecture. One of my afternoon therapy cases was a circus. And I slept like 5 hours last night.

I'm so tired....

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

What a day

Every now and then, you have one of those perfect storms of things that keep you in the office until 7:30pm. Today was one of them. I discharged my whole service and admitted my whole clinic.

That? Is a whole lot of paperwork. And in my discipline, storytelling.

Which may be why I'm so short of words for telling my own story today...