Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back to School

Today was our first day back in the clinics. They keep telling us to "get your ducks in a row," that our patients will judge us not on our dentistry but on how organized we appear. Unfortunately, I don't think I have ever been an organized person. I think I have a few rogue ducks in hiding, waiting to ambush my row at an in-opportune time. I decided I better really try to overcome this weakness. The solution: three ring binders.

All of my organized friends use them. There are cute dividers you can use, sticky notes, and other accessories such as the in-the-binder three ring hole puncher. Previous attempts to be organized have ended with my binder lost in my room with a lone syllabus and my papers and notes crumpled in my bag. I decided to motivate myself this year by buying fun and colorful teal and lime green metallic or "durable" notebooks instead of my typical "economy." What a splurge! I even got some of the pretty colorful, translucent pocket-tab dividers...and the hole puncher. Wow. It cost a fortune so I hope I will follow through.

Then again, I didn't punch anything or file it today. I guess old habits are hard to break.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

E. S(c)heff Confusion

I've been lucky. Somehow, for probably the first time in my life, there have been no Erins in my class besides me. Even luckier, no Ambers either (now people don't understand why I would answer to that name, but I definately definately would, and can you imagine the embarassment?). Also, no Jacksons in my class.

But, since I got married, times have changed. There is an Emily Scheff. Seems different enough, right? Yeah, except whenever people are making a quick glance (such as assigning patients, dividing us into groups etc), they often make mistakes. Worse is, often on the computer where patients are assigned or on roles it is abbreviated E. Scheff. People don't know that I have no C in my name so you can see the confusion. Erin Scheff, Emily Scheffield, etc.

Today we were assigned our units for the year. The group I was assigned to was different than my original assignment. I asked if this was okay. The instructor told me I was in group A (obviously) and he didn't know why I got so wrong to think I was a B (maybe because the list said?). I felt confused and a little dumb by the way he had acted like I messed up, and checked into my unit. About 20 minutes later, Emily Scheff pointed out I was in a left handed unit and she in a right handed unit and that she was supposed to be an A but was with the Bs. Yup, the instructor had done the quick abbrev E. Sheff and mixed us up. Thanks for making me feel like an idiot!

I have caught these mistakes quite a few times. How many times have I not caught it I wonder even more? Maybe that could explain some of my grades...I have a hard time believing the graders have been impeccable in their scoring.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hawaiian Breeze

We got a new fan a month or two ago for our bedroom. It has been great, we have somehow managed to go all summer without turning on our A/C. (Going green!...or maybe just cheap). It is called a Hawaiian Breeze. You know, kind of a cheesy name, but I think it is appropriate. I turn it on and lie on my covers, feeling as though I am on our honeymoon again. A nice, quiet, soft breeze. Just like Hawaii.

Problem: I think I have sleep disorders or something. I wake up almost every night in a panic over one thing or another.

This wonderful little fan has two red light sensors to designate the speed and mode it is set to. They look like two red, glowing eyes. I feel like a robot or alien is staring at me at night. I don't think ET is helping ease my night time stress much. It seems so silly but it does make me a bit nervous, on nights when Abe is away.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Concubine Rocks

My little brother Colt just released his first album! I am so excited to get my own copy. He and his band have been working together for years and have finally got some of their hard work together on cd.

Ever since he was a little boy, Colt has had a guitar in his hands. I remember my mom used to bribe him to practice the piano with guitar time. Weird! For every 15 minutes he played piano he could play his guitar for 30, or something like that. He is an amazing bassist and guitarist as well as a song writer. I think he is a musical genius. Not only can he rock, but he understands the theory behind it all which I've never quite got. No matter what we are listening to he can tell me if it is a rumba or a salsa and what time/key/instrument, etc the song is in. Overall, I think he is pretty amazing.

In junior high he played the National Anthem on his guitar in an assembly. Later that week a friend at BYU told my sister about this amazing guy who played at the junior high school, who wouldn't believe he was a junior high student (probably esp hard with the beard he has been growing since 6th grade!). In high school, he was a finalist in a battle of the bands competition at Muse Music from over 20 bands, mostly from college, and his songs are played on the local KOHS station, Utah's most popular alternative radio station. I am amazed at how much he has done musically at such a young age.

Congrats Colt! You can catch a few of his songs now on my blog, all written and performed by his band Concubine.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, what's that smell? Corn, corn corn corn....

Today was my first and final day of RAGBRAI 2008 (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). At 7 am I was picked up by a friend who placed my bike on his rack and drove me to Abe's parents. From there, we made our way to Tipton, Iowa, not too far from Iowa City. We parked at the Pizza Hut and made our way through town and into the cornfields on small country roads.

It was exciting to see thousands of bikers, some wearing interesting shirts or hats. Some interesting participants included a guy who was rollerblading across Iowa and a guy without a seat (not sure why you would choose to do that!). There were "Bead whores" who left mardi gras beads along the trail and even a woman dressed as Waldo from the "Where's Waldo?" books with a striped red and white bikini top, goofy black round glasses, and a funny hat, and a group including a large man in pink jerseys and feathers.

Along the way we were greeted by our friendly Iowa neighbors and farmers who waved from their porches or yards or corners. Mostly, we rode through miles of corn fields, occasionally greeted by a familiar Iowa scent...pigs.

After our first 15 miles we stopped in New Liberty, one of the "bigger" towns. My friend Tim told me that all of the "Liberty" towns in Iowa were once refuges for slaves. Interesting. We bought some gatorade which I promptly dropped on the ground and continued on. After another 20 miles, we made it to Eldridge. We stopped with thousands of other bikers for a pork chop sandwich (delicious, actually, even after 35 miles of biking) and a banana. We met a couple actually from the town who seemed to think we were very weird for only doing one day of the trip (sorry we don't own a golf course and can take a week off whenever we want). Each town puts on a bit of a party for the bikers. This town had loud music, food stands, volunteers everywhere. They had rigged up special pvc pipe water stations and even fire hydrant water stations for bikers. By this time I was feeling great except for some chaffing.

Again, continued on. After about mile 40 I was beginning to feel it in my knees and my neck. We passed a small girl on a bike seemingly by herself and many Italians and some French riders. Some of the riders wore women's thong underwear OVER their spandex shorts...??? We stopped for "The world's largest horse...almost" which was a pretty horse but disappointing in size.

About 48 miles in we started hitting the hills. Good timing! (Nothing like some good hills right at the end to give you the encouragement you need to finish!) I was getting pretty tired. We passed over the freeway on I-80 which was extremely congested due to some construction ahead. I guess A group of friendly bikers decided to share the bruises on their bums to the drivers below, perhaps helping them feel grateful they were in their cars, even if they weren't going anywhere.

Finally, at mile 53.5 we made it to Le Clair, Iowa, where the residents cheered us on and met us with balloons and fireworks. The tradition is to dip your front tire in the Mississippi (after dipping the back 400+ miles ago in the Missouri River). I felt a bit like a fraud having only done a mere 53 miles so we found the car my father in law had left the night before and unloaded our bikes. By this time, my knees and neck were pretty sore and I was grateful to remove my helmet and gloves. We walked around a bit, ate some hot dogs and cake, and finally made our way home.

All in all, it was a great time. It was really cool to see so many people coming together, opening their towns and waving us on. It was also nice to see thousands of people exercising and enjoying a slower pace among the open air, silos, and pigs. I was proud of myself for doubling my daily mileage. It was a challenge but the weather was great and the company good. I am hoping one day I will be able to do the whole ride. I figure if the many old, overweight, young, etc people could do it, that I can probably make it too. We'll just have to get a team together and a bus, as well as a place to store our bus all year for this one week event.

An interesting piece of the heartland! I hope you get the chance to experience it sometime.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Today was our first day back to school and as senior dental students. We started the day off with orientation, of course. We will have almost a week of it. Usually, it entails sitting in a room for hours with multiple presentations that are 15 minutes instead of 45 and a lot of lag time in between sessions. No difference today.

Normally, I am glad to be back for at least the sake of seeing my friends and classmates. Today I felt very anti-social. I wondered why until I realized...its only been 20 days since we were all here.

This year will be more like private practice than anything we have had so far. It sounds fun and a little intimidating. Most of all, I am beginning to realize that real life will be upon me very soon. I need to start making plans --follow ups for what to do if I don't get in to OS here at Iowa, looking into practices or other residency programs, learning about contracts and business, taking my licensure and board exams, paying off loans, etc. I also realize that now, instead of learning things for tests, I need to make sure I learn and remember everything for real life. Last year I would feel intimidated by new assignments and relieved if they passed me by. Now, I need to get all the experience I can before I am on my own.

I hope it all goes well. I am a bit intimidated!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I feel like an idiot.

I have been working in the Oral Surgery clinic at school, earning some money by taking out teeth over my summer break.

Yesterday afternoon I saw a patient that was pretty overwhelming with her chattiness. This morning when she came back, I really did not feel up to facing her. When the clerk asked me to take it I asked if I could have the other patient up for that time, if someone else could take her. She seemed miffed and asked why. When I told her I felt a personality clash and just not up to it, she gave me a hard time. One of the residents was there and told me that if I am an oral surgeon it doesn't matter if there is a personality clash. She told they weren't paying me to do nothing. They both seemed pretty annoyed.

I feel really bad now. I could have handled the patient but I felt she would actually do better with someone else. I didn't think requesting a different patient would be a big deal, it's not like we don't do that among each other.

I just feel like, man! I make stupid mistakes all the time. Something I thought would be a minor thing feels like I now looks like a slacker in Oral Surgery or something. So much for getting extra experience and helping them get to know me more!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Growing up I remember one friend had a road bike. It was old and lavender, with the loopy handle bars. I thought it was so weird and dorky with its skinny wheels and funny brakes. As I got older, all of my male friends were bikers...mountain bikers.

When I moved to Iowa I found more and more people riding those dorky bikes. Turns out they are road bikes and are quite popular here. After I got married, I found myself wanting a bike. Originally I thought a mountain bike would make more sense. Eventually, I wanted nothing but my own road bike with the curved handles. I lucked out and got an enviable all carbon one for quite a steal. Now I ride around in my spandex, have dared the clip-in pedals, had my first flat, and clock my miles per hour and maximum speed on my computer. I nod knowingly at the other spandex clad riders and get frustrated when people honk and yell at us. I am beginning to feel like a biker, or rather, a cyclist.

But now I am beginning to wonder. My father-in-law invited me to ride RAGBRAI with him. This is "The oldest, longest, and biggest ride in the world," something like that, where almost 10,000 people each day ride, working their way from the western to the eastern border of Iowa. It started today but I have school so will only be able to do Saturday. I was looking forward to the ride but now Abe will be gone and I am a bit intimidated. My mere 251.1 miles sounds inadequate for the 68 mile daily average. To top it off, I haven't rode for quite some time having been gone for my externship, youth conference, etc. The most I have done in one day so far has been 26 miles. I hope I can keep up, I don't want to be a pest.

We'll see how it goes. I am hoping for a less than 100 degree July day this Saturday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Youth Conference is here! We've been planning it since January, I can't believe it will be done on Saturday. Abe and I have been the "specialists" for our stake. Our biggest responsibility now will be our dating workship we will be teaching on Friday. Great, since we are such experts! Hopefully we can throw something together! Do you think my red hair will be too scandalous?

This also means school is starting next week and Abe has his research conference.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Master Abraham

How could you not love a guy like this?

I must be a selfish blogger. Most of my friends have cute little family blogs that talk all about their husbands and kids. My blog, however, is my own. It is not nor was ever intended to be a family blog. In fact, the thought never crossed my mind that it could or would or should be such a thing. Perhaps this is why I seldom mention the other half of my little family except in passing. Poor guy teases me a bit about this sometimes...I figure he deserves a good shout out more often. He definately deserves it today.

Abraham is currently in his 4th year of a 7+ year medical/PhD program. He just finished up his second year of research and yesterday the culmination of his PhD course work with what is called the gut wrenching Comprehensive Exam. After weeks of preparation, Abraham submitted two proposals for a genetic research project unrelated to his current project. Then, his committee selected one for him to look at more in depth. He was given the topic of diabetes to study. After more several weeks, Abraham prepared a 43 page research proposal after thorough research and design of a project he (nor likely anyone else) will ever pursue. Finally, he was required to present an oral presentation after which he was rigorously questioned by the five genetic experts on his committee for almost two hours. After a few minutes of deliberation, he was finally given the fantastic news that he PASSED! Yay.

Abe often downplays the importance of the work he is doing. While at times it can be discouraging and progress is slow, he is making exciting discoveries about a gene in mice (similar to one in humans) that causes deafness and skin problems in infants. His hard work is attempting to use gene therapy to cure these diseases in his mice and hopefully eventually lead to discoveries in helping humans. It has been a tough year to see all of his medical school classmates move on as doctors to their residencies, but I know his hard work will pay off.

So, now he is free to focus solely on his project without worrying about classes or exams. I am very proud of him. The work he has done is equal to a masters degree so although it feels like there are few milestones on the long path to research, he has really climbed a big hill.

Congratulations ABEY!

Monday, July 14, 2008

School of Hard Knox

I got back yesterday from a rigorous externship in Knoxville, Tennessee. I literally lived in the hospital in a residents call room all week, on call every night. It is a large trauma center in the area with a lot of interesting things coming in during the night. There is also a very big oral cancer surgeon there that I was able to shadow quite a bit which was great. All in all, it was fantastic with so many things to see, but a long week. Luckily I got to sleep most nights, unusual for how busy a hospital it is.

Some of the things I saw: multiple oral cancer surgeries. Some involved neck dissections removing big chunks of muscle, vessels, and metastasized lypmh nodes. I saw the removal of part of a jaw and replacement with a small titanium plate for a jaw that was being infiltrated with dying bone. Some HUGE dental infections where the patient's faces looked like watermelons and had to be on IV antibiotics for days. One woman started with what was probably a pimple on her lip, turned into a huge facial infection which split her lip completely open and was draining pus (yuck). Some significant mandible fractures from motor vehicle accidents. Very cool stuff.

I am glad to be back. I am working in the Oral Surgery clinic for emergencies here at the school. I need to get my application in this week, hopefully today. I have had such a brain freeze on my essay but I just have to get it done at this point. I am also re-evalutating my plan after getting bad news over a bad grade in my biggest class ever which significantly lowered my gpa and may take me out of consideration for the OS program. Sigh.

But, good HepC or HIV from my needle stick.

That's my update of the week!

Friday, July 4, 2008


Ever heard of kharma? As far as I know, it is the idea that the good that you do will come back to you, or the other way around. I am wondering if my kharma got messed up, or if it in fact, was right on.

Yesterday was my last day of school for the year. I was very excited to be finishing on time when most of my classmates will be working on their patients through the summer. I had picked up some extra patients for the week even though I was finished with my requirements. One of my classmates recently broke a tooth and asked if I would take his Thursday afternoon patient so he could have it fixed. While I was tempted to go home at 9:30 after my morning patient, I decided I would help him out.

I worked on my research project all morning to keep me busy. Finally, at 1:00 I brought the patient back and began working on a large post-root canal filling. While anesthetizing I had the distinct thought, "The oral surgery people never put their fingers in the patient's mouth when anesthetizing. I should probably start doing that. I never have problems, though." The patient wasn't quite numb enough for me to place the rubber dam clamp on so I reached for my syringe (practically empty, too), to put a few more drops of lidocaine to ease the discomfort. That was when my kharma went all wrong (or caught up to me, not sure yet). I stuck myself! With only a few drops of anesthetic to give, just so I could put the rubber dam on (which I abandonded).

I hoped it wasn't an official stick until I took off my glove and saw the drops of blood ooze out of my finger. I quickly washed with soap and water and notified my instructor. I finished the procedure without any further problems and notified the patient's son so he could translate for her what had happened. Luckily, they were very kind and understanding and submitted to the blood test.

I had to then report with the patient's blood to the student health center where they took my blood. I HATE giving blood and have passed out doing so on numerous occasions. Although I am getting much better, the nurse took a very long time in my right arm, only to notify me that she missed. *sigh* That always happens with me! I felt nauseous and tears in my eyes as well as anxiety over trying again in the other arm. I had almost told her before that my left arm is usually better but didn't. Oops. They always say, "Oh no, this one looks great" but my veins must like SCUBA, too, because they always dive. Kind of like dolphins, they tease you but are always just out of reach.

Anyway, the left arm was really pretty painful and I was already pretty unhappy by this time. They gave me the cheap bandaids that rip more skin off then help stop the blood and offered me some orange juice. The other awesome thing about giving blood...I don't like OJ. Ugh.

I left annoyed by the hassle of it all. So far, the test results of her blood have come out negative. I am not too concerned about catching anything. But, I can't help but think, "No good deed goes unrewarded." Yeah, right. Or maybe my kharma has really just caught up to me. Maybe I am being punished for being so happy to be done when the rest of my classmates are miserably still in the clinics the duration of the summer.

Good way to end the year!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Birthday Thoughts

Twenty-five. I used to think that sounded so old. I dreaded turning 21 and definately 22 (21 seemed like the oldest-young age) but definately dreaded 25. But you know, it isn't so bad. It seems appropriate to be married and 25 and most importantly, a 25 year old dentist seems much more appropriate than a 24 year old dentist.

I hopefully aced my periodontology test yesterday as a birthday present to myself. I checked out of my pros unit (officially done). Abe and I went to eat at Atlas, a nice restaurant in town with his family. I received some adorable headbands Amber made, nice professional clothes (very 25 appropriate) from the Sheffields, and Abe gave me a Law and Order:SVU DVD series and a beautiful pearl necklace set. I've been wanting one of those for a long time. All in all, a pretty good day.

2 more days before I am a senior dental student. Too bad I am so tired of studying for my 2 more tests...

Amber posted some funny baby pics of us on her blog. Funny to see where you've come in 25 years.

*I think this template works a lot better*