Thursday, January 31, 2008

oral surgery

I've been loving oral surgery. I am really considering doing the extra 4-6 years to become an oral surgeon. However, I feel so lost. I have to apply for these externships so I can use my breaks to do more oral surgery (instead of diving!). I feel like everyone else already has all of this done, they know everything. It seems almost too late for me even though it is only half way through, or less, my third year. I feel too busy to be doing the research I need and getting letters of recommendation, etc. I'm sure I am fine but it seems like my chances are lower of getting in because I didn't decide as a 5 year old that I wanted to do maxillary advancements and cleft palate repairs!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Near-death experience

Yesterday I was in the car with some friends. We were sharing our woes over the buses and some of their problems (for example, not stopping to pick you up). Ironically, within a few minutes of the conversation, a cambus (the free university bus) tried to merge through us. Luckily, the driver thought fast and got us almost into a snowbank to avoid a sudden death.

The driver just glared at us afterward. *Ironic*

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bike problem resolved

My hopes for clear weather have been dashed. This week it has been miserably cold...windchill of -35. My thermostat said -5 this morning on our way to church. BRRR!

Luckily, just in time, my husband bought us a bike trainer. It's great, because it converts my bike into a stationary bike that you can ride inside! It's pretty great and I am so excited to get in shape (and practice clipping out of my pedals before I fall on my face trying) for riding in the spring with the guys. Maybe I'll eventually be able to keep up and not feel embarassed. I'm going to train hard the next few months!

I initiated my training yesterday. I was amazed how tired I got. I remembered how awful it was when I tried to do a spinning class once at my gym. Phew. I don't have biking muscles right now. Mostly, my behind is sore...not from the hard work my muscles are doing, but from the hard work of sitting on a small bike seat. Such weird contraptions, I always thought they were so small and pointy. The padding in my lance armstrong shorts felt pretty negligible. Do you get calluses on your booty? I only hope it gets better or my dreams of becoming a true Iowa biker may be dashed before I make it onto the road.

I am excited to get some pics of me in my gear riding along my carpet for you all to see!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another prejudice, the Anti-dentite

I guess my sister recently had some fun times at the dentist with the nitrous because she was afraid of the needle. While I am a needle-phobe a bit, myself, as a future dentist this has provided interesting and humorous experiences on a regular basis.

I think at least half of my patients tell me before I get started, "By the way, I hate the dentist!" Probably not the smartest thing to say before I give you that painful palatal injection...hurt my feelings. At least they say, "THE dentist" and not, "You, dentist." I think they are trying to tell me they are nervous or afraid without pinning it on themselves. It is easier to hate a whole group of people than to admit they don't like the consequences of not brushing their teeth (for the majority that I see). I"ll refrain from any over used Seinfeld jokes. (insert here if you still think the anti-dentite is amusing) I wonder if I would still get patients once I left school if I told them, "I hate people who don't floss."

They also tell me, "I hate needles." I've had some patients tell me to proceed with my work rather than suffer through the needle. I wonder why gripping your chair for four hours (remember, I am still a student) in pain and or anticipation of pain is a more desirable option than a few seconds of pain. We also have topical anesthetic which in some instances, wipes away the pain, anyway. After entering oral surgery, I want to say, "Well, should I skip the injection and start with my scalpel?" Somehow, I bet they hate knives even more.

I have had a few interesting experiences while giving injections. One woman sneezed after every injection I gave (4) along her front upper lip. Another screamed and screamed that I was injecting into her nose (the nerves may make it feel that way, but I promise I wasn't), and another thought I was stabbing his throat when I was aiming for the lower jaw. He "Gagged." Strange. And, funny enough, little old women are the best patients when it comes to local anesthesia. Big jocks are always the biggest babies.

I know that no one likes needles, especially in your mouth. And believe me, I've been there. I suffered through 9 injections in one morning and another round the next year as classmates practiced giving all of the injections on me for the first time (that was scary!). I feel bad but I know the momentary discomfort is me actually being nice! I've seen many patients feel relief from horribly aching teeth or even just avoid the discomfort of the procedure.

So, please try not to hate me for doing my job: controlling your pain! Keep brushing and flossing and you may not have to ever see my injection technique to complain about.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Name, New State...Erin Sheffield of Iowa, USA

I finally did it. I made some major changes in my life. I officially became Mrs. Erin Sheffield, or rather, I legally became Erin Sheffield and I became a resident of Iowa. These were both hard things for me to do, but for different reasons.

I had been all pumped and ready to change my IDs to my new name soon after the wedding. However, I could not decide on what name to take. I felt like Erin Jackson Sheffield sounded better and made more sense professionally, but that my middle name was more personal. I also felt bad giving up on my grandma's name or my Dad's name. I felt at a gridlock for over 6 months. I finally decided to keep all 4 (a bit overwhelming) and went to the licensing division to turn in my old ID and name.

But, I am now a resident of Iowa, I guess (thanks for not changing my out-of-state tuition!!!!). That is a little weird. Even though I really like it here (except in the freezing cold winters), who is from IOWA? People probably think I am a hick already. At least I'm a politically involved hick, though. You can't say that for Arkansas, I don't think! Besides, I miss my UTAH when I am not there. I'm sad to feel I have very little claim on it anymore.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Religion and politics

So my mother-in-law was asked by the local newspaper to write an editorial responding to some negative press about Mitt Romney and Mormonism. I guess this is because she is the wife of a local leader. She was frustrated by many of the comments made, and I have become so as well.

For example, she was asked to respond to this:

John L. Smith, a Southern Baptist who runs Utah Mission -- an organization that tries to convert Mormons -- told Christianity Today:

"Mormonism is either totally true or totally false. If it's true, every other religion in America is false. To be tolerant of Mormonism is to put evangelical Christianity at risk. And to put a Mormon in the White House would be to place a stamp of approval on that faith. “

I don't understand with voting someone into office says you are sanctioning their religion?

Like I mentioned earlier in my caucus post, it seems unfair that you can choose to not vote for someone simply because of his religion as a "Mormon" but you couldn't do that for any other minority card. Just today on Hannity I heard multiple people complaining about how unfair it was for the democrats to be making race an issue right now and that it has no place in our society. I would like to say Ditto for religion as well! If religion is such a key point, then how come we know very little about the religions of Clinton, Obama, Edwards, McCain, Richardson, etc?

Any thoughts?

Friday, January 11, 2008


I finally made it to my oral surgery rotation. This is a big event for me because this is on the top of my "I haven't tried it but think I may like it enough to pursue as a career" list.

So far, I have removed 8 teeth, participated in a surgical removal of a tooth (where you have to incise the gums away and use a drill to section the tooth into pieces, rather than use the glorified pliers), and even did an alveoloplasty which means I cut the gums away from the bone and smooth the underlying bone so a denture could fit over the top and sutured it all up. I also got to remove a tooth that was infected enought to cause the swelling of the man's whole left face. Cool!

So, it is going great so far. I may really get into this. I just hope I don't love it too much if I can't get into the program or can't coordinate it into my life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

biking woes

The bike I got for Christmas is so beautiful. I want to go riding. The weather is getting warmer and the ice is finally melting into nasty muddy piles and puddles. Yuck. Not sure that would be great biking weather, either. I hope spring comes earlier this year. I wouldn't be surprised if I have to wait until May to then, I probably wont care anymore. The waiting will have been too painful, I'll probably smother out the excitment.


It's supposed to snow tomorrow. In the meantime, lots of fog.

Monday, January 7, 2008

6 Months

By the way, it is our 6th month anniversary today. Time goes so quickly! So far marriage has been great. My husband makes my lunch every morning and gets my breakfast (poors my cereal or makes me toast, etc). He is so helpful around the house and is a great cook. I think he really does take better care of me than I of him. I guess that will probably change when he starts residency.

The only real downside is the occasional elbow thrust at night. But, he puts up with my weird sleep talking and dreams so I guess I deserve it.

Happy Anniversary!

Window to the Iowa Caucus

Well, we made it home, just in time for the famous Iowa Caucus. This was my first one, and I still wasn't really sure what a caucus was! Somehow, I was supposed to be a "precinct captain" and convince people to vote for my candidate. Ok. I was nervous but oh well. The ironic thing is, my husband was the one who signed "us" up for it...but he decided to caucus for Obama instead! So, I nervously threw on my fluorescent yellow MITT straw poll shirt and headed out.

I had to park blocks away, the people overwhelmed the small parking lot of the local elementary school. I probably should have just walked from our apartment a few blocks away by the time I parked. There was a huge line inside but I found a small room for my University Heights district (a very small subcity within Iowa City). I was the only visible Mitt supporter there, with many Rudy supporters. I felt awkward and silly and not quite up to the task.

I signed in at the front desk, verifying my voters registration and timidly crawled to an open table. I hesitantly put up a few MITT signs. One man came up and asked me if I was the Romney lady and I said yes, I had some stickers? No thanks, he said. I realized it was about 6:50 pm and I had a list of people to call and remind to get there (by 7). I guess they all lived in the very immediate neighborhood and could make it but I felt embarassed, esp since everyone said they weren't coming (duh!).

I tried to be friendly as the room finally filled up to about 45 people. I jokingly asked if one college aged boy was voting for Mitt. He told me he loved Mitt, a lot (he emphasized this multiple times), but he wouldn't vote for him because he was a Mormon. "They are pretty wacked in their beliefs. They were definately cut from the wrong chain." ...awkward. I didn't know what to say. I asked him if he disliked Mormons (no they are fine, just wacked beliefs, etc) and if he thought it would affect the presidency, (no, just wacked beliefs, etc). Weird. I've heard that as an excuse but it was different to have it said to your own very Mormon face.

I didn't know how to respond. I didn't want to seem defensive so I let it go. I'm not sure what I should have done. Any ideas? It probably would have been good to tell him I was a Mormon so he would feel sheepish? If you said you weren't voting for Obama because he was black or Hillary because she was a women, people would think you were exceptionally nasty. Somehow, the Mormon things is still an okay prejudice. I don't get it.

Anyway, we talked over a few things as our little community group. We voted a lady in charge, took our turns to vouch for our candidates (of course Mitt had a very polished letter for me to read instead of a speech I had for myself--maybe he is a little too careful at times!), and voted on small strips of paper. I volunteered (by Mitt's instructions) to count the votes. We were such a small group we tallied them on the board. Mitt had a poor showing in our precinct, taking 4th. Oops, precinct captain!

We voted on a delegate to represent us at a regional meeting and submitted "planks" for the republican party. They collected money for the republican party, and then we left. Phew!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ski Utah

Everyone always acts like I am crazy to say that I think Iowa is cold. "You are from Utah!" they say. "Doesn't it snow like crazy there?" My response is usually, "Well, not as much as I used to remember. And it is MUCH colder in Iowa."

Since we arrived in Utah it has continued to snow. I feel bad that I act like people don't know about Utah when they think there is snow. My bad.

We wanted to use the snow to its best advantage but the snowmobiles had too long a line at the shop. Man! We decided to go cross country skiing at the former Olympic venue Soldier Hollow. It was great fun and even though it was -8 outside (still didn't feel as cold as Iowa), we kept very warm burning thousands of calories (I hope, after all of my New Years Party binging). We weren't very good but it was fun. I am exhausted. Every muscle in my body is making itself known.

I still haven't been downhill skiing! Oops. I guess I should claim Iowa now as my home so I don't have to be embarassed.

So forget about skiing, tomorrow I leave back for Iowa to be the precinct captain of my caucus. I'm still not sure what a caucus is, but I have to be in charge of something. History and politics at its best!