Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are spending a wonderful weekend with family in warm houses with great food. XOXOXO

And now a few thoughts on Santa:

It is a little different sitting on Santa's lap as an adult. I felt a little embarassed this time. I didn't cry like I probably did as a child though.

Here is my most vivid Santa memory:

My twin sister and I were sitting on Santa's lap. He started asking us if we had been good girls. We said yes. Here is the rest of the conversation:

Santa: "How come you haven't kept your room clean?"
(Mom in the background waving, "no, no, no"--we were pretty good at keeping our room clean at this point in time)
Us: "Umm, we thought we did."
Santa: "Well than how come you were fighting with your sister?"
(Mom again, but more waving, NO, NO, NO)
Us: "We were just pretending, we weren't really fighting."

We left pretty distraught that Santa thought we had been fighting each other. You have to understand that my twin sister and I NEVER fought. And I mean NEVER. This Santa had it all wrong. We knew his all knowing self must have seen the only thing we could think to call fighting, us sparring with pretend swords. We were devastated that he couldn't tell we were playing and not really fighting.

I think we still got some good presents even though Santa pegged us for a lot worse than we were!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I used to have fabulous eyebrows. I know because people used to tell me so. It seems a funny thing to compliment someone on unless they really are fabulous. I can brag because, like I said, I used to have them. I no longer do.

I'm not sure quite when it happened. Sometime during college. Maybe it was when I let a friend wax them for me. I remember being unhappy although I'm not sure she was the one who rid them of their fabulousness or not.

In reminiscence of days long gone, I have been putting up with quite a bit of shag above my eyes to remedy what I feel is slightly thin and uneven brows. Conveniently, this has corresponded with my busy schedule which after a long day, I can rarely bring myself to endure the torture session of plucking I have to endure on an almost daily basis since the ripe old age of, like 8.

Anyway, I finally saved up enough stray follicles I felt this would be a good time to go in for an eye brow tune up, or the professional brow wax. I wanted a friend of mine who also happens to be a professional to do it but I just couldn't wait anymore. I didn't want horrible Christmas pictures, you know, to remember my unibrow for years to come.

It seems all women I know go in for regular waxing sessions and think this is the only way. The esthetician has asked me before, "How often do you have to come in?" I always think, "Are you kidding me?" If I paid every time I needed my eyebrows done I would be in the poor house. --At least I would have nice eyebrows?

Despite my highest hopes, almost every time I go to the "professional" who I assume is someone who goes to school all for the purpose of learning the wonders of perfect brow waxing, I come away mildly unhappy. Today I was displeased.

All my saving up...and without really asking, she assumed I wanted the "natural look" which to her must mean, "take out any of her feminine arch and give her a straight line (mind you, she took away the connector so it wasn't quite the Bert from Sesame Street, but pretty darn close). She assured me this would help me maintain it more "since I am so busy and don't have time to come in much." (Since I was planning on that anyway?)

So here they are in all of their Sesame Street glory! I thought about not putting up this horrid picture, but I thought it may make my point more, like those weight loss pictures where they wear a ratty T-shirt, stick out their gut, and don't wear any makeup. Now I just need a beautiful picture of Angelina Jolie's brows to show you what a huge mess she made of me. But I don't have any of those and I'm ready for bed.

(PS do I really have uneven, lazy eyes? hilarious..please tell me I just haven't sleptwhile on call.)

Anyway, if you are still with me, I even had to ask if she purposefully left some of my unibrow (you can still seem some remnants on my right eye) or if she was going to get rid of those.

Here is where I think I went wrong. I got home early from work today. Early means, before 5-ish, which didn't feel too early since I spent the night at the hospital twice already this week, slept about 12 hours in 3 days, and woke up at 5 am this morning to see patients. Anyway, I am turning this into a novel so back to the story.

My mistake: I called the salon by my house, "I know the weather is horrible and wondered if you had any cancellations for this evening." I was told to come right away. Ok. I had just crawled out of the shower and was in my warm sweats. I am not afraid to go out in public looking like a complete scrub so I got in my car and raced down there.

Once I arrived I felt I had made a mistake. I felt out of place in this pretty uppity salon. And as you all know, first impressions are the most important. Immediately, she pegged me as the all natural girl, who never does her eyebrows and never had any semblence of fabulousness to boot. And off she went.

I know I am being a bit of a drama queen (isn't that what blogs are for, though, really?) but I was so bothered. Bothered I paid money to someone who didn't care at all for what I wanted (to return to my beautiful, not too thin, nicely curved arches) and made assumptions about what kind of brow I should have based on my post-call, tired, sweat panted self. It will take months or even years of shaggy brows to get back where I was (I know, because I still can't get back there).

New Year's Resolution: arches here I come

Friday, December 18, 2009

Life's little ironies...

Today a patient told me, "You are the prettiest dentist I have ever met."

....then we ended up calling the rapid response team who sent him to the ER for a racing heart rate.

Remember my last post? Maybe I look a lot better than I thought!


Monday, December 14, 2009


You know how growing up, you always thought people were watching you? When I was in high school I was mortified when a man from another table came up to me in a restaurant in Park City to tell me that I was holding my chopsticks wrong. I already felt like people were scrutinizing my every move and this seemed to be proof that in fact, people were.

It took me years to try again because I was too worried about "doing it wrong." This was after I was trying to imitate a Japanese family who seemed to really have it.

As I have gotten older, I don't think much about this any more. But sometimes, I can't help but wonder, what do other people notice about me, or others in general. When I think of others I realize I probably don't notice much. For example, sometimes I read blogs where people say things like, "Here is a picture of us, it is HORRID, but you get the idea." Usually I wonder, "are they fishing for compliments or do they really think they look bad?"

This makes me wonder things like:
  • Do people notice my bushy eyebrows that I am trying to grow out a bit and don't have adequate time (or probably patience) to pluck perfectly each day?--what about my patients who are probably staring into my eyes (at least the ones who are awake)?
  • I feel like I look different from day to day. Some days are horrible and others pretty good. Do I look much different to others?
  • Does make-up make that much of a difference?
  • Do people notice I really am a scrub most days? (I do wear scrubs most days, granted)
  • Am I skinny or fat? When I say fat, I mean, fatter than I like. I can't seem to decide and my Wii fit seems to tell me differently each time.
  • Can people tell how bootylicious I am in my scrubs (ha ha, just kidding)
  • Do people notice how devastatingly handsome my husband is and do I look out of place next to him? (Merry Christmas, Abe)

My guess is, no, people probably don't. Because honestly, I don't think I notice these things on YOU.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sew you see

People are often surprised to hear that I like to sew. As a little girl it seemed my mom was always making something. I always wanted her to teach me. We started with little things like Barbie clothes, usually with little success. I didn't start to really make anything cool until I started taking sewing classes in jr and sr high school.

As I have grown up I have noticed how much I still love to sew and my skills sometimes come in handy. Here are a few of the things I have made for those who are curious.

This is my most tragic project. It has been probably 6 years in the making. I am not a quilter and don't want to tie this. Anyone want to share their expertise? It is supposed to be a blue/green pattern but unfortunately the lime green looks yellow next to the blues. Oops.
I love making baby things (why did this pic come out sideways, btw?). They are often simple and fast which I need with my schedule. I made these baby booties for a good friend. I love the lime green with the traditional pink. The green button has a cute flower pattern.

More baby gifts. It seems every woman I know is expecting. I wish I could keep up!

This is one of my few contributions to Abe's condo when I moved in. I found this great fabric WAY on sale and bought the entire bolt. It is a sheer green with goldish/green velvety stripes (can't tell from the picture). Unfortunately, it was an out-of-business sale so I couldn't get more. Wish I could to make them a little more full. I think they turned out pretty good considering I had to make-do with what I had.

Trying to go green, I made this re-usable lunch sac for my sister. I thought the fabric was SO cute! It is essentially a brown paper bag style bag, made of canvas. Again, hard to tell from the picture. I hope you use this sometimes, Amber!

Here is the one I made for myself. I liked the earthy pattern. Seemed very "GREEN," appropriate.

A few things on my baby/household sewing wish list:

1- quiet book. I am always trying to steal a peak from people at church for ideas.
2- a lunch box for Abe
3- placemats/table runners
4- stockings and a tree skirt
5- advent calendar. My mom had this Christmas calendar with pockets for each day with a little Christmas pin. On your day you would choose the pin out of the pocket and get to wear it that day. That night, it would go on the Christmas tree image on the top and anyone could wear it after that. I LOVED that and would like to start that tradition with my own kids. Good thing I have awhile. :)
6- Finish my quilt. Right now it is a queen-sized mess.

Next time I will post some pictures of things I have made for myself to wear.

PS I get most of my baby shower ideas from my friend Jill. Check out her blog on my sidebar, Homemade by Jill, for ideas or patterns.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Cheer

Can it really be December? I am having a hard time believing it. We've had our tree lit and decorated for almost a week, lights in our windows, stockings hanging from our curtain rod (yes, I said curtain rod, thank you very much. We don't have a fireplace so at least they are HANGING), a nativity scene out, and I've even allowed some Christmas music to play around me (I get really annoyed by pre-Thanksgiving day holiday cheer through song). But, somehow, it just doesn't feel like Christmas...until today, maybe. It got really cold. Windy. Chilling. Cold. but no snow which is a relief (because in Iowa snow does not mean beautiful white flakes and white capped mountains--it means ice covered streets and sidewalks threatening to break your wrist before you have disability insurance--I really hope I didn't just jinx myself!). Also, maybe I need to take down my fall wreath but I love coming home to it on the door so I am hesitant to replace it already!

As for this month, I feel tired. I have survived 5 months of intern year. In a lot of ways it feels like "SURVIVED." I am excited for the idea of Christmas time. I am not excited for my still to come 9 days on-call this month (I definitely live on a how-many-days -left-of-call-this-month basis). I also have the joy of working on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, as well as almost every other day the week before Christmas. So much for the Holiday spirit. I have almost this whole week off call, so maybe I should open my presents now. If you have them feel free to send them on early. :)

With that said, I am looking forward maybe more so to the new year. I wonder what the year 2010 will bring. Here are a few of my hopes:
1) Successful match into Oral Surgery (and if not, at least a decision one way or the other will be good)
2) Abe will finish his PhD and return to the clinics to finish Med School
3) Complete intern year with flying colors!
4) New house (with storage?)
5) 2 weeks of vacation time (what should I do with it?)

I wish you the best of what the season can bring!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nutty Putty Cave

I still can't believe this happened! I can only imagine the fear and horror he and his family must have felt while he was trapped alive. They can't get him out and will seal off the cave which is just unimagineable to me.

Have you been to Nutty Putty? It is a very popular spot in Utah. I went with some friends during college and I guess it wasn't such a bad thing that I was too scared to crawl through the "birth canal."

Favorite Store

Abe and I did a little "black friday" shopping. However, we found our deals at 7:30 pm, not in the early morning hours, and not because of great "black friday" sales, but mostly good luck and one of our favorite stores.

It seems that stores do not value customer service any more. You can no longer get cash or even change from gift cards any more. So really, when you have $5 on a card left and don't want anything else in the store, you either buy more or GIVE them the card. Or it expires with all of your mom's money going to them for Christmas instead of you.

Places like Target will only let you return something like 2 items per year. And it has to be within a certain number of days of purchase. We received many wedding gifts from Target that we found did not work or we didn't need after all, but having received them at wedding showers months before we were married, were uneligible to return these unused or broken items. With this in mind, this is why we love Bed Bath and Beyond. They continually amaze us with their customer service. We have taken back items almost a year later, can receive cash back from all of our gift cards (which never expire), and they seem to really value keeping the customer first. So refreshing!

Last night we were perusing for some potential Christmas gifts. On a side note, we have been casually looking for bedding for 2 years. We happened to find one we both liked that was reduced from $150 to $89. Great! We also had a 20% off coupon so we thought that would make an even greater deal. Next, we found matching curtains on sale for only $10 per panel, so we bought four for our room. Cool. Abe had a $5 off coupon we thought he could use to buy these separately.

When we arrived to the register we remembered a $25 credit we had for referring our sister there for her bridal registry. We noticed, however, that it had expired in April. We asked if they would consider taking it even though it was expired and they gladly did. They also let us combine all of our coupons, evidently they let you use as many coupons as you have items (they dont' abide by the one per person per visit idea), at least at the one in Coralville, IA. So, we saved $30 plus 20% off the bedding.

So....the moral of the story: We got $220 worth of stuff for only $85.

Thank you BBandB!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Party Pooper

Each year in the fall we try to host a carmel apple making party. Abe makes fantastic carmel apples. It seemed the right time to host this year's party and we decided to invite some of our old carmel apple party regulars, who happen to be medical residents now, and to keep from mixing company too much and as a friendly gesture, decided to invite the other residents from my program and their wives/kids.

I emailed everyone with a request they RSVP so we knew how much food we would need. Then, I waited. and waited. and waited. I had one resident and his wife let me know they already had plans and would not be able to attend. As for the other 9 residents, I never heard anything.

A night before the party I started to panic no one would be there. I was frustrated that while I have many friends I could have invited and would loved to have seen there, I thought it would be a nice thing to do to invite the guys from work. By then, it a bit late to get many new invitees.

So, we had our party. I half expected someone to show up, unexpectedly, just forgetting to RSVP. But nope. We had two couples show up (not from my program) and had a lot of fun (thanks our back-up couple for coming-- you weren't back-up in our thoughts, we just were trying not to mix company too much ).

However, I just kept wondering..."What if this had been a big deal to me? What if my self esteem were riding on the attendance of this party? What if the two couples who had come had not come (and Abe's family weren't around), how bad would I feel?" I keep thinking back on movies I have seen with the girl who is in her party dress with decorations and cake, waiting and waiting when no guests come to her party. Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated by the lack of consideration. Maybe I broke some unwritten rule I don't know about...maybe we don't socialize outside of required work parties?

It seems like a fluke-y thing, except 2 years ago I made a similar attempt with some classmates in a group I was in for my whole third year. Out of the 11 of them, only one came (the foreign exchange student who had nothing else to do).

So I keep wondering, do people not like carmel apples? or is it another factor (like me)?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I don't have much time to myself but I realized today when I am home and alone the thing I almost inevitably want to do is make something. With this in mind, I like to peruse fabric stores and walmart's craft section for things on sale to have on hand in case I need a quick creative fix.

During my perusings at walmart while picking up a few essentials, I had some inspiration. I know I have almost missed the fall season (Christmas decorations will likely come out in just a few short weeks), but I couldn't resist when I saw some really pretty colorful leafy garland in pretty fall colors with gold sparkles. And besides, I've been wanting a wreath or other seasonal door decoration.

$6.97 and about 25 minutes later (due to my excessive fiddling, not complexity), I had a pretty wreath. I didn't glue anything down so I guess I can change out the garland for other seasons, and probably leave the taffetta. I dunno. Anyway, I feel proud of myself because outside of sewing, I don't feel very capable in the crafting department. The picture really doesn't do it justice, I think it looks much better in real life, by the way. I should have looked for a rounder wreath, too.

Now, how do I get it on my door?

Friday, November 6, 2009

You go girl!

I was shocked and very sad to hear of the events at Fort Hood. What a tragic blow for our country when our own citizens turn on each other. As a medical professional, it made me even more appalled that a physician took so many lives that he went to school years and years to protect, help, and heal.

When I heard the person who took the shooter down was a woman I was very interested. I was impressed she would have the courage to stand up to him and risk her life to save those around her. I think we need strong women who are willing to stand up and protect our families and neighbors from the evils of the world. I hope she has a speedy and successful recovery.

I admire and respect the men and women who give their lives to protect our country. I love working at the VA hospital and hearing the stories and the incredible sacrifices of those who have done so much for us. Thank you and God bless! I am sorry such a tragic event has effected those who already put themselves willingly in harm's way for us.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


The last round of Iowa interviews for the oral surgery program were today. Luckily, I was included in the second round of applicants. I guess I've done okay enough for them to at least chat with me about the future.

This year there were three women who interviewed. That was very different from last year when I was the only one. I met one girl who was very nice and fun. She talked about some negative messages she has received about choosing oral surgery, especially from dental school faculty. I was surprised but knew just how she felt as I faced many similar pressures when choosing to attend dental school. I wish her the best and would even love to see her at Iowa. Can you imagine them taking not just one girl, but 2 or 3?

About 18 people interviewed for 3 spots. (Last year there were only 2.) My interviews were very different from last year. The interviewers seemed a little puzzled about what to ask me since they "already know" me. Some asked more than others, which was actually a bonus since I was able to offer up information about me they don't know about from working every day. Overall, I think things went well. While I have received multiple messages about how "every day is an interview" in a way that makes me really feel on my toes, a few of the interviewers really stressed this was an advantage and one that the other applicants will just have to be phenomenal to be worth the risk taking over me. I think this is true. What an advantage to have someone who is already trained! Starting on day one of residency, I will be ready to take call by myself, be able to pick up more difficult cases, and be a whiz with the computer system. On top of that, I know what I am getting into and have a low chance of dropping out. Hopefully they will see the sense in this. I was thanked for my hardwork (so nice to hear) and told I was a very competitive applicant (and was last year as well, I guess).

It is a relief to be over. I am glad that it went well and have hope for the future. And, I have the rest of the weekend off! (Thank goodness, I can only imagine the drunken parties tonight for Halloween and the Hawkeyes 9-0 victory!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Keeping on...

This has been a busy month for me. By the end of this week, I will have been on-call 6 out of the last 12 days. Yawn. It has been an interesting few weeks! Here are some of the things we have seen:

gunshot wound to the face
multiple mandible fractures (I lost count!)
car crash with 6 kids, 3 consulted with us
cute 2 y.o. who split her tongue (think forked tongue) on the playground
woman with a large facial swelling, from subcutaneous emphysema (air under her skin), a complication (VERY RARE) from her root canal performed by one of my classmates (welcome to the real world, huh!?). I was always warned about this in dental school but it was interesting to see in real life
patient with big swelling who refused to be treated because he doesn't like needles (scary)

I am loving that I get to take call from home this week, unlike last. I feel like I am sleeping on a pile of feathers or something after a week of midface.

Boring, eh? I dont mean for myself! But to others. I have nothing else to talk about except work right now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A day in the life...

Abe recently told me, "I have no idea what you do at work all day." This inspired today's post. I warn you it it long and detailed (a busy day!) but if you are curious, here you go.

A Day in the Life on Midface Trauma Call:

Background: "midface" is when all facial trauma (minus noses or just mandibles) comes to you. This gets split between oral surgery and ears, nose, throat. When we are on "midface" we are required to live at the hospital. Other weeks, we get to take call from home.

7:45 am: change into scrubs. "I hope I get a nap in soon. I am tired."
8:00 am: rounds. Check on patients currently in-house (staying in the hospital). Gather information on their care for the day.
8:45 am: Emergency room. Mandible (lower jaw) fracture. Evaluate patient and get ready for surgery. Assaulted after returning home from bars 3 am.
9:45 am: Emergency room. Mandible fracture #2. Evaluate patient and add on to surgery schedule. Assaulted at/after(?) bars 1 am. Place orders (instructions for nurses, medications, etc) for both patients and prepare thorough history for surgery, prepare for admission to hospital. This takes some time...
11:00 am: Rush to catch up to chief (resident in charge) in OR. "Time for a cookie? Oh, lunch on-call money hasn't started yet. Better get going, anyway. Bathroom? Time to get my goggles in the resident room? No, better get there."
11:15 place orders for surgery, assist in surgery. 11:45 "Ouch, headache! It is very hot in here. I hope I don't pass out again." Continue to receive pages throughout surgery. EEK.
1:00 "Dr.'s, your next surgery is ready. You can go straight from here to the next one." ibuprofen for my splitting headache, still no cookie.
1:15-5:00 surgery on jaw fracture #2.
5:30: Catch up on missed pages while in the OR.
6:00: evaluated patient in ER for being pushed down stairs during fight.
6:30 Wait in line at lame-o off hours cafeteria. Grab fries and soup. Eat fast, just in case. Finally some down time.
7:30: Round on patients for the night.
7:45: Free time. Yay! Try to sleep. Room is way too hot! Headache is horrible (where is an open pharmacy?), bed is like a board. Finally get ibuprofen at pharmacy and try to sleep. TRY being key.
3:00am: BEEP, BEEP, BEEEEEEP! "Pager. Ugh. Try to sound awake on the phone." Emergency room (one of Abe's doctor friends) calling about facial laceration with arterial bleeding they cannot stop. Can you come quick? "Uh oh! What am I going to do?" Page chief to come in ASAP.
3:05 am: scalp bleeding, put pressure on for 2 minutes, it stops. "Wahoo, I am awesome!--whatever. Oops, wish I wouldn't have told chief to come in." Page him again. He calls and says sorry for missing page. I am glad this time. Embarrassing to have him come in for THAT. By the way, patient was very rude, esp with me saving his life from bleeding to death and all. Kid got bit by sign in the head while "not drinking."
3:15am: While in the ER, another laceration. "He wants plastics closure with NO SCARS." ..."Great, do I tell him I have done this maybe 2 other times?" Struggled with very small laceration for too long, maybe an hour! Deep stitches and glue. Hope it works! While suturing, ER again, "Consult for 3 more patients."
4:00am: 6 kids in car accident on way home from haunted house. I get consulted on three of them. 1 has 2 big lacerations on forehead, one girl as jaw fracture with tongue laceration and loose teeth, 1 intubated and in intensive care for facial crunch.
6:00am: sewing up forehead lacs.
7:30: Finish one laceration (lac) and have to pre-round (check on patients before the boss comes).
8:00 "No longer on call"
8:00 re-round on all patients. Finally make it to intensive care to evaluated the facial crunch from earlier.
10:00: work on discharging two patients. Run to grab donut and chocolate milk (no time and few options in cafeteria closing for morning)
11:00: Finish suturing other forehead lac. (other resident does farcial crunch lac, thank you!) Chief does most of it, thankfully. It would have taken me much longer.
11:45 Time for 7 notes...Lots of paperwork
1:00: Home. Yawn!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I guess not for what he has accomplished, but for the "hope" he inspired.

I dunno. Maybe I can be awarded my Oral Surgery license now because I'll probably be a great surgeon one day.

Seems a bit sketchy to me. Any one else agree?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Our program began the interview process again this past weekend. It brought back a lot of memories of last year and the kind of ironic feeling that I am in this situation again, with some of the same stresses and questions about where my life is headed. (This pic is of me getting ready in my my suit last year.)
In preparation for my interview at the end of the month, I have been trying to think of good interview questions/answers. This is where I could use some help. What is your funniest/hardest/favorite/most memorable interview question (and maybe answer)?
I remember for my Iowa dental school interview they asked 39 coined questions with the last being something like, "If a little boy hit himself on the head with a hammer, what would you do?" To this day it seems a very strange question and I don't know the answer or what I said.
I think the hardest thing about interviewing is putting your qualities into words. I know I am great but sometimes I can't put my finger on why, or I can't remember any examples. That is why your suggestions can be helpful to me now.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Missing You

I was looking through some old photos and came across some of these from our "dental prom."
Essentially, it is a somewhat formal event with dinner and dancing to celebrate the graduating class of the University of Iowa's College of Dentistry. This is us back in March 2009.

This got me thinking about the big changes that have come for all of us who graduated in June. Despite the fact that our school supplies 80% of the state's dentists, almost all of my friends left to jobs far away! Virginia, Colorado, Chicago to name a few. I have found I really miss these friends and the special dental bond we had! Yes, we all had a pretty one track mind when together (Abe teases us that we can't stay away from a dental topic for 5 minutes) but I really appreciated that ability to vent about the difficulties of school or procedures, receive advice, and get new ideas on how to approach new dental situations. Although the men I work with now are very approachable and helpful, it just isn't the same.

This is my one friend who will never move away without me (or better not). He lets me talk a lot of dentist (and understands some).

Nazeli (relocated to Denver, CO) and Jin (luckily pretty close in Cedar Rapids)

David, my first and most constant dental friend. We drove to school together on the first day, went to the single's ward together, were assigned to all clinics and most extramurals together, often had assigned seating next to each other, etc. He was really there with me every step of the way. He is doing a general dentistry residency in Idaho.

Michelle (now back home in Chicago)

I guess we get a duplicate of Jin.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Graduation was months ago. Unfortunately, I was never able to upload any pictures. My computer is being slow but here are a few.

We found these girls on a bar crawl. We thought it was hilarious that their shirts said "Erin" when we felt like it was my day.

We had sushi and a hot pot dinner downtown.

Mr. and Dr. Sheffield (I always wanted that combination in titles...didn't think it would ever really happen, though!). Don't worry, it is soon to be Dr. and Dr. Dr. Sheffield :) Confusing? Can you tell who is who?

Right after I received my degree. Erin Sheffield, DDS (doctor of dental surgery)

Yes, purple is the dental color! And the hoods (the long purple sashes) are quite heavy. They kind of choking, actually.
I was so happy to have my family there for the big event!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Amana Harvest Bike Tour to Cure Cancer

This morning we woke up at 6 am in order to reach Kalona for the start of our bike ride for an early waffle breakfast and 7 am start. We signed up, received free socks, and stuffed our faces with waffles.

Then we were off with our friend Hank. The first leg of the trip was two 22 mile laps. Then, we were off to the next bigger lap. I was going strong until about mile 44 when I had incredible burning cramps in my thighs. I kept imagining the lactic acid sweeping through my thighs, eating up my muscles. I wondered how I could go another 56 miles. Thank you Ibuprofen! We kept going.

I was very happy to reach the lunch stop at mile 54 in Wellman, IA. They had so much food at all of the rest stops and some nice local musicians. I chose the veggie wrap. The guys chose brats and pork burgers (ugh...after 50 miles of riding).

Continuing on with a bit of a second wind, we got slowed up from about mile 60-70. Wind in our faces and typical Iowa countryside, rolling rolling hills between rows of corn and soybeans.

We hit North English and turned out of the wind. Thank goodness. We were finally able to get our speed up (to about 23 mph+) except for the huge hill about mile 70. Wow. Some rain at about mile 75, luckily very light but chilly.

We had one little loop left with about 15 miles to go, on our way to Fry Town. Hills hills hills (poor placement after 85 miles of riding). The last 10 miles were the most difficult as the time crawled slowly by. We made it back but were 2 miles short from our Century. So...of course, we headed back into some big hills before turning back for our 100 mile finale.

In 7 hours 2 minutes of riding (14.3 mph average--we held a very good pace the first half but slowed with the wind and the big hills at the end), we saw beautiful Iowa country side (5 counties) and sunrise, a weasel, cows, sheep, goats, baby calfs living in plastic pod houses (?), horses, many Amish families in horse and buggies, pigs (including some dead ones at a slaughterhouse), and ate lots of snacks (I really enjoyed the peanut butter filled pretzels, actually).

As for post-ride status: my biggest complaints are sore neck and tingly left pinky. I hope I didn't do permanent damage just to say I rode 100 miles (ha ha). We'll see if I an walk tomorrow (which is highly questionable).

Pretty good for my first 100 miles! I beat my last record ride by 45 miles. I think my next one should be in Nebraska instead of Iowa (anyone who has made the I-80 trek should know why). I am glad I did it and hope we helped support the cancer cause, as well.


After 7 hours...

100 miles = Century

Wonder if I will have a thumbs up tomorrow? Don't watch me too closely at church!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bad idea?

It was a hard decision, but Abe and I decided we would ride the Amish Harvest Tour to Cure Cancer (is that right) this Saturday. They have multiple options for distance but I think we are going to do the full 100 miles. I am nervous: My max for one day was less than 60 and I am pretty out of shape. But, it is a good cause and I think will be pretty fun. Also, I had hoped to beat my mileage for last year (450) and am about 100 off (not too bad considering I took 2 months off this summer because of a busy work schedule). I guess this is my chance before the weather turns.

I hope I can finish it, that I can walk afterward, and that it doesn't rain (50% chance!).

Wish an exhausted and out of shape intern luck!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Doggie Discipline

This morning while riding bikes we passed a few women and their dogs (4 between them). One woman was crouching down, holding one dog's nuzzle in her cupped hands just inches from her face, staring the dog down. She kept saying the dog's name, "Tooty! Tooty! Tooty!" in the way you can imagine a mother grabbing her hysterical child, trying to get them to look them in the eyes as they try to free themselves, and calling them sternly by name to get their attention. I could just imagine this little pup had gotten too excited when he came upon the other dogs and did not mind his manners. Somehow, his owner thought she could talk some sense into him.

I don't know why I thought this was so hilarious! I am not a dog trainer so maybe I don't know for sure, but I was surprised this woman seemed to believe the dog could understand and would change its behavior after her heart to heart.

Besides, I thought German was the language dogs really understand.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Abe got me a Wii Fit for my birthday in June. It has been a fun way to spend some of my excessive free time (ha ha). However, I am frustrated by the lack of manners and loyalty that this "game" has programed into it.

For example, the Wii Fit, has asked Abe, "How is Erin looking? It has been awhile since I have seen her?" Then he gets to choose between options like, "looking a little heavy, the same, smaller, etc." Okay, a little nosy, don't you think, computer?

So, I was anxiously awaiting a similar question when Abe had not played the game for 45 days. Surely, it will ask me now and I can say how fat his favorite Abe is getting (yeah right). But no, I missed probably 2 days and it says to him, "Erin has not been exercising lately." What!

Abe says that it just likes him because it is his Wii. It is my game though. I was so annoyed with the apparent favoritism and lack of loyalty, I couldn't bear to take a turn that night.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More of the same

Today I am back on-call. It has been 2 weeks since my last day on. Weird. It has been wonderful to have some extra time. Abe and I even went camping this last weekend for a night in Geode State Park and then to the Nauvoo temple the next day. I do feel like I don't quite remember what to do tonight.

What have I been doing the past few weeks?

I have jumped into more tooth extractions and biopsies. So far in August I have "pulled" 132 teeth and surgically removed (such as an impacted wisdom tooth) 43 teeth.

My shifts at the college have been packing in the wisdom teeth surgeries which are much more advanced than I have experienced before. However, with the beginner cases they have given me I feel I am learning a lot and starting to gain some experience. I felt a little strange when I had students come in to watch me during an extaction of a difficult third molar yesterday. I guess they couldn't see regardless, but I feel like I don't have much to teach them yet! I have a long way to go.

I had my first paresthesia (lasting numbness) case on a girl's tongue. I was worried about another patient and ironically this completely different one I didn't expect popped up on me. I think she will get better but I am surprised that happened to her. I don't remember anything unusual about her case....that is why we do consent forms.

We booked our flights to Hawaii for vacation in October! I will definitely appreciate this vacation more than most.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sorry Facebook...

Thursday night I was on call. I made a fascicious statement on facebook about being on-call and available to stitch up faces if necessary. I shouldn't have been so flippant with the facebook gods...

I ended up in the ER from about 12:30 am-5:00 am, sewing up the face of a man who fell off his bike into a patch of gravel. He broke his nose, lacerated his upper lip, and completely split his lower lip in two. The inside of his mouth was like hamburger meat with gravel mixed in. Poor guy. For being my first facial laceration (we call them lacs), I got quite a bit of practice!

It will be interesting to see what his scars look like next week.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


A few nights ago one of my colleagues, another first year resident, was on-call. He received a call from a nervous ER doc who told him about a 2 year old with a tongue laceration that "looked like nothing I've ever seen before, and I've seen a lot of these. It looks almost like shredded meat."

The resident proceded to the ER where he did his exam. The child had hit her chin on a teeter-totter. When he looked in her mouth, sure enough, she recoiled every time he tried to get close to the mass of meaty, shredded tissue.

Not sure quite how to proceed, especially since the child had recently eaten and couldn't be sedated, he called in the chief resident. When he arrived, he also examined the child. To the mother's dismay (she almost fainted), a chunk of the tissue came out. "I'm sorry, but unfortunately this wont be able to be reattached," he said. As he investigated further, another piece came out. He gave it a little sniff and said, "It smells like beef jerky." He grabbed the tissue and it came out in a big piece...of, you guessed it, beef jerky!

The child had eaten the jerky 5-6 hours before and had parked it there by her tongue. She just happened to hit her chin on the see-saw, and got past at least 2-3 other docs before it was figured out. Hilarious!

Should have listened more closely to the ER doc I guess when she said, "it looks like shredded meat."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Booty Calls

Yesterday Abe had a missed call from my mom. We wondered if everything was okay since she called him and not me, but evidently her purse just wanted to dial and give him a little extra loving with a friendly missed call.

Abe gets these kind of calls all the time. His name is usually the first in the contact list (unless you are part of the Sheffield family, where you have Aaron, Abby, Abe, and Anna all there to be at the top of the list). Anyway, we were joking about all of the "butt calls" the Sheffield kids get. Then, his dad said, "I prefer to call them Booty Calls."

We all laughed. We thought he was being funny until we realized he had no idea what the common definition of a "booty call" was.

I guess if my mom has to be giving my husband a booty call, I am glad that this was the kind!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A little wisdom

This week I started my official schedule. MY schedule. It has been so nice to know what is coming in, where I am supposed to be, and to be able to stay busy during the day. I bounce around from half-day to half-day at the hospital, the VA, and the college of dentistry so it is always new.

Another big landmark for me: I took out my first impacted wisdom tooth! Yay. One of the upper level residents showed me how to do one side and then watched and prompted me to do the other side. It was great to have that input and to feel a little more confident since I know I did it right, at least that time. So yay for me!

I have been taking out teeth for 2 years and this was the first chance I have been allowed to take out a wisdom tooth that was impacted (stuck down below the bone). We have a medical resident with us who just graduated medical school. He will be with us for a month. He told me he plans to get pretty good at taking out wisdom teeth by the end of the month. I had to laugh at his enthusiasm. We'll see if he changes his tune after he takes out his first tooth. I wonder if he doesn't realize that as dental interns, we are actually ready and able to practice--unlike medical interns who have done very few procedures. I am sure he knows a ton more than I do about health concerns, hospital procedures, etc. I am glad that there are we can teach each other.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why do I never blog anymore?

I survived my first month of internship!

What have I been doing this month?

I took another head and neck anatomy class with cadavers and all, 8 weeks worth packed into 2 weeks. Also, other head and neck lectures for one month.

Did my first incision and drainage for an infection that was blowing up a girl's face. Not a lot of pus, unfortunately. I will have many more chances, I am sure!

Pulling teeth again (about 25 so far).

Signed students off for extractions in the undergrad clinic. I feel very powerful!

I have seen 2 surgeries where they cut along the scalp, pulled the face down, and plated the broken bones. Cool. Seen some other mandible fractures, too.

Met a lot of drunk, busted up people in the ER.

Spent 6 nights in the hospital.

Gained some confidence. My beeper no longer gives me a heart attack!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Photo: A/P

Besides the many things that bother me about this whole incident, does it bother anyone else that the message our president is sending to kids (and America) is that beer can solve your problems, even big problems like racism?
Somehow I don't think a couple of imported ales are going to make things much better between these two.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sometimes it pays to be a bad visiting teacher...Then again, doing it earlier in the month would have been better.

I was supposed to visit my friend yesterday. Turns out, her daughter may have swine flu.

I hope they get better soon!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

keep on keeping on

I keep wanting to blog but I don't have anything interesting to really say. That is my disclaimer:

So, what have I been up to this week? It seems like a total blur.

I didn't have class after 5:00pm like the weeks before so it has been nice to have an extra few hours in the evenings. What do I do with the extra few hours you ask? All of this precious free time? ...sleep and study.

Tonight I am on call for the third time this week. So far it has been an extremely quiet week without much of anything! Everyone keeps saying what a strange summer it has been. A few hypotheses about the lack of trauma: 1-cold weather (yes, I have been wearing a jacket quite frequently--in JULY--in IOWA!). 2-ecomomy (less people can afford to get drunk = 90% less facial fractures).

Abe has been gone ALL WEEK doing RAGBRAI, an annual bike ride across the state of Iowa from the Missouri to the Mississippi. I hoped to have our house all cleaned up while he was gone (maybe show myself he was the messy one, not me) but remember what I said before about free time? Yeah. The house is almost identical to when he left. Last night I went to meet him an hour away to camp overnight with him. It was really fun to use our new tent and to see him again, even though I had to leave at 6:15 am to make it in for work. Normally I would have thought it not worth the drive to have to leave so early but I realized it was like sleeping in, actually.

Emotionally: I have been a bit lonely. I have also had ups and downs with feeling like an idiot and feeling ok. There is so much to know but hopefully I am learning little by little.

Another week behind me.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


The other day my friend Caroline had a comment on her blog about how it is better to be told that you have hairy arms than asked if you are pregnant when you aren't. I thought to myself while reading it, "Hmmm...luckily no one has ever asked me that."

Sure enough, karma or irony or something came to haunt me the very next morning.

I was at a Saturday morning oral pathology/surgery conference. One of the professors introduced me to another woman by saying, "Erin, have you met ____? Two expectant mothers, how wonderful!"

I said, "Uh, excuse me, me? Do you think/did you hear I'm pregnant? I didn't know that myself!"

I really don't know where that came from. I am preferring to think that someone told him mistakenly or he misunderstood or something.

I have always had a poochy tummy, but I hope it isn't THAT poochy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

For my birthday, my mom got one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time, a Miche bag.

Have you seen these before? Essentially, you choose a bag, the straps, and magnetic shells that go over the outside of the bag and you are set. I love this idea because I hate the idea of dumping your contents from one purse to another every time you change your outfit or your shoes! I always forget something important and I don't always have a bag for each outfit.

This makes it so easy! The bag is cute enough on its own or I can add the cream or orange shells my mom gave me to the outside and go! I am excited to add to my collection.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Week One

Today marks the end of my first week of my oral surgery internship. Here is what my days/nights have been like:

Arrive about 6:30 am for morning rounds. As a team, we check on the patients we have who are staying at the hospital. The on-call resident details how they did during the night, including any changes or problems. The chief residents then "pimps" the first (and sometimes second years) on medical trivia. So far... I realize I don't know much--or really, anything. My co-residents seem to have more a handle on what to know. I am starting to put the pieces together, but usually not in time to answer my questions correctly. Bummer.

8:00 am-5:00 pm Otolaryngology Basic Science Course. Right now we spend all day in lectures and then in the gross anatomy lab doing dissections. If we get done early (we always do), we return to the clinic to help out or try to learn the new and very confusing computer system.

5:00-8:00 pm (3 times per week) we meet for a history and physical exam class taught by the internal medicine chiefs. Being a dentist in a hospital is a bit intimidating. They are trying to get us caught up on basical medical knowledge and skills we need to navigate through our patient care.

If I am lucky, I get to go home at this point. I then have some major studying to do for the basic science course (test on Friday--we have been informed that the OS residents always do the best on the test. I feel pressure to do well since I am still trying to prove myself, but also have so little time!) as well as hundreds of pages of readings for the H&P class, not to mention trying to study random subjects to prepare for rounds. This has been the hard part to get done.

If I am not-so-lucky, I am on call from 8am-8am. I was on call last Friday night and slept less than 45 minutes (with interruption). Monday night I was also on-call. While I did not get any calls, I was up until past 1:30 am in a surgery (don't worry, no fainting spells this time). The surgery was very cool, a guy who smashed his face. I wont gross you out with the gory details, but he now has 115 screws in his face and who knows how many plates! Wow! I was back on my feet at 5:30 am to get ready for rounds.

Since we are dentists, we are not under the medical association's accreditation. This means that while most residents are required to go home after a 30 hour shift and can log no more than 80 hours per week, we are not subject to such rules.

So...I spent about 38 hours in the hospital on Monday and Tuesday and will log a grand total of about 93 hours this week. Everyday is like an interview for me if I decide to reapply to the residency, so I hope I can keep it up. I am doing surprisingly well physically/emotionally/mentally considering how tired and busy I am and trying not to feel discouraged about how little I know. I am excited to start seeing patients next month and really start learning.

Phew! Only 355 days to go.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First Impressions

Today is my last official day of orientation. Tomorrow I start a science/anatomy course for the next month to give me a good review of things I will need to know/remember to be successful in my internship. This will be a good experience and I am esp excited for anatomy.

Yesterday the chief residents asked us to stay around and watch how things roll along in the clinic to try to catch on with paperwork and hospital procedures. I volunteered to assist in the OR on a trauma case. Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, I passed out. in the OR. during surgery. on the floor. ugh.

I don't know if you have ever passed out before but here is what it was like for me.

Man, I am very hot. Wow, sweating like a pig hot. Hot, hot, hot. Wow, that is a mandible. It is really broken. Phew, it is hot. I should probably sit down. Uh-oh, my headlamp is plugged in and I am in between a bunch of cords (that are keeping the patient ALIVE)--I don't think I can get out. Uh, nurse, nurse, look my way (should I speak up?). Whoah, seeing spots. Better speak up:
"Um, I need to be unplugged, I'm not feeling well."

Sleep....very very dark, heavy, dreaming sleep. I think I was dreaming about SCUBA diving or something. Very restful at home in bed for hours and hours sleep.

(Slowly I open my eyes) Who is that, she is wearing green and a funny hat. I'm not at home? Oh no! I didn't! Really, Erin, really! Great. I must have passed out. Really? It seems like ages ago I was standing there assisting. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Way to make a good first impression, Erin! Oxygen, is that really necessary? Yes a wheelchair would be great. No I'm not pregnant, at least I really don't think so!

They wheeled me upstairs where I showered and changed and sheepishly went back to the clinic, hoping no one would ask why I was back so early. Don't worry, they did. Embarassing! But funny.

Luckily, I guess the huge anesthesiology resident who happened to be on our surgery caught me before I hit my head. Luckily #2, he was able to lift me completely over all of the cords and lay me safely on the floor. Luckily #3, I did not fall on the sterile field or bump the surgery. Luckily #4, people acted like it wasn't a big deal. Luckily #5, hospitals have new clean pairs of scrubs everywhere and showers.

I hope things don't continue in this fashion!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where have you been?

I feel like I have fallen off the blog-o-sphere. Here are some of the reasons why:

* Our computer died. This means no easy access. It will be hard to cough up the dough for a new one but it is so hard to go without! I may have to wait for my first real paycheck before this is fixed.
* We were on vacation! We spent a glorious week in the Bay Islands (in the Caribbean) SCUBA diving with my family. NO internet access or phone.
* I have started my orientation for work. This includes hours of multiple computer trainings (I have to use 3 different computer health record systems this year!), compliance trainings, a physical exam, white coat fittings, and even 6:30 am rounding sessions and homework. So far it has been okay...I am still nervous about getting used to things. I HATE the first 2 weeks of a new job!
* It has been SO hot. Who feels like doing anything when it is a heat warning and an index of 108.

I have been assured I will be working up to and probably well over my allotted 80 hour work week starting very soon. We'll see how much blog time I have then!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Crank Calling

It has been awhile, a busy week or so with a lot going on. On top of that, our computer died. For that reason, I have a funny story to tell and will pass over graduation festivities until I have some picture capabilities.

On Sunday night my sister asked if I knew anyone named "Rosa." Said "Rosa" kept texting her while sis waited for her connection in the Chicago airport. The only clue to "Rosa's" identity was an Iowa number and that they had "met" at my wedding. Two years ago? Strange.

Finally, I checked the phone number of the new text buddy which turned out to be Abe's grandmother's cell. Fishy! Grandma doesn't hardly make calls on her phone--texting would be a large stretch, especially under the psuedoym, "Rosa."

Anyway, to get to the bottom of this, Abe texted Rosa.

Abe: "How's it going? Is this still Jane?"
Rosa: "Sorry, this used to be my grandma's phone."
Rosa: "What I meant to say was, yes this is still me."

That was a pretty hilarious way for Rosa to clue us in to her identity. After some more detective work, Rosa's phone was found in Abe's little sister's drawer. Also, Rosa acting under a new name, sent some other messages, for example to Abe's brother asking where "Jamal from NY" was.

The only mystery now is, how did Rosa get my sister's number?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I was hoping not to have to come back to the school until my internship begins. However, I just learned that in order to get my license I need a new score report from WREB to submit to the Iowa Dental Board. For whatever reason, the $2000 + I paid for the exam does not cover receiving a score besides "PASS." We were under the impression this would be okay but only recently found out that the IDB needs the real scores before our applications for licensure can be processed.

So, I am back at the school trying to print off a form (our computer hasn't been working) so I can pay WREB another $30 money order for my scores. (Why is this not included in my original fee, by the way? Isn't that part of taking a test--getting a score?)

Trouble is, a girl is printing off what seems like hundreds of pages of notes on the very slow printer. I have about five 15-25 page jobs ahead of me. All for my one page. So I can pay for WREB to get me my scores. So I can get my license late and possibly delay my internship. Beautiful.

I have to be to the bank for my cashier's check before 5:00. Come on girl! I don't think I'm going to make it and I'm not sure I have access to another printer.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Graduation is on Friday. I am not going to ask most of you to come sit through it.

But, we are having an Open House afterward where it would be great to see any and all of you.

Open House for Erin Sheffield and David Haderlie
Friday June 5
5:30- 7:00 pm
At the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion Building on Melrose Ave in Iowa City.

We will serve some light food.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The End Has Come

Well, to my surprise, today was my last day of dental school! I was scheduled to see two more patients tomorrow (our official last day) but they both cancelled. Normally we have to wait around in case someone comes in but in this case they said don't worry about it!

So, I did it!

It feels so good to have things checked off my list and done! And, I even received enough points to get an "A."

It is so strange to think this part of my life has come to an end!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Come to me for your implants...

I won an award. It seems a little funny to me, esp since it was from the Pros department and I never thought Pros was my strong point. I never win these kind of awards. When I received an email telling me about the luncheon they were having to award it, I thought, "Great, another award I didn't win. Thanks for rubbing it in." Needless to say, I was shocked enough I said "What!" out loud as I walked down the hall with my BlackBerry when I saw my name on the end of the list.

The award was The International Congress of Oral Implantologists/Sullivan Schein Predoctoral Student Achievement Award. I was given some cash as well as a free implant CE course, all for my excellent achievements in my sophomore implant course and my skills during my implant clinical experiences and screenings.

I still don't really understand why they chose me. Did I even do well in that class my second year? I guess I must have done better than I thought!

Moral of the story: if you need a dental implant, I guess I am the one you want to come see. Ha HA HA!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Private Neighborly Conversations

One of the downsides of living in a condo is the thin walls and neighbors in close proximity. We have had times in the past, parties in particular, where we have been unable to sleep at night. However, most of the times I put up with it, including our upstairs neighbors almost relentless jump roping.

However, last night after a long and tiring day I was unable to sleep due to the conversation our neighbors upstairs were having. Not only was it loud in decibels, it was loud in offensiveness. I was able to hear every word of their conversation. I have at times wondered what guys talk about in the presence of only guys, but I was wishing in this instance that I was not privy. Basically, it consisted of one guy giving another a pep talk on girls, what kind of guys they like (big, confident, being in dental school is a big plus), and what sex acts he would allow a girl to perform on himself according to how hot her body was.

This is where I drew the line. I marched upstairs, pajamas and all and knocked. No answer...they quieted down. I was a little relieved for the lack of confrontation but I still had a few things on my chest.

I wrote a note instead which basically said something like this:

Dear neighbors,

While it is true many girls like big and confident guys, they also like those who are courteous to their neighbors and do not talk too loudly after 11 pm, particularly about how to lure girls into _______ (little sibling eyes do not need to see).

I can't remember the rest, but I wanted to let them know that not only were they loud, but I knew exactly what they were saying.

I also was disgusted to think of how many girls are so free to give themselves away for nothing, that this guy would "let" a girl do something to him even though her body was hot because he saw her running but not THAT hot. That without any kind of regard for who she was as a person he would submit to said act since she was kind of hot. Yuck.

Anyway, I am happy to report I received a very apologetic note on our door for waking us up and because it "also occurs to us that we have made jokes in poor taste recently. Ethically, it would probably benefit us and the community if we raised our moral standards. I personally will make an effort to do so and will encourage my roommate to follow a similar path."

Thank you neighbors for not being defensive and mad and for being apologetic and willing to change. I hope we do not disturb you, either.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I currently have a patient who has great dental insurance coverage. Unfortunately, she will be losing that coverage at the end of this month. This is a concern since she still has many treatment needs that will need to be addressed next year.

Currently, she pays $96 per month. Her insurance plan covers $1500 of work, and 80% of prosthodontic procedures (things like dentures, crowns, bridges). This is a very good plan, one of the best we see at the school. However, at $96 per month, she is paying $1152 per year for a $1500 plan she unfortunately will not max out. She is losing her insurance because of retirement. I am assuming she has carried this plan for the bulk of her career but had a 15 year absence from the dentist due to a dental phobia.

My point? Dental insurance isn't insurance at least in the way medical insurance is insurance. Going without medical insurance could be catastrophic. Having dental insurance can be very helpful. However, many of my patients, friends, and even family members have used lack of insurance as an excuse for not seeking regular preventive care or even receiving ideal care. If you can't afford insurance, paying for an annual exam and cleaning (and maybe small filling or two) will probably be cheaper than the premium on an insurance plan. This is assuming you do not have huge dental problems.

Dental insurance is a great thing, but shouldn't be used as a crutch for not seeking appropriate care. For my patient and others like her, she can continue her dental care by paying herself the $96 per month and putting it towards her dental treatment. It may not be all available to her right away, but with some planning and perhaps a payment plan, she may actually save herself some money.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thoughts on the past 4 years

I officially have two weeks left until I am finished with 4 years of dental school! For many of my friends (and/or their wives), dental school has been the most horrific, miserable experience of their lives. For me, it has been a lot of hard work but I have really enjoyed it. I love dentistry. I like working hard. I enjoy learning. In many ways, it was better/easier than BYU. I have excelled much more academically despite taking 35 credit hours per semester, I haven't had a part time job or BYU lacrosse to distract me.

The first few years were rigorous academically. We had something like 140 quizzes and tests our first year alone. Third year was stressful in trying to incorporate all of my learning into patient care. Applying knowledge and facing new procedures almost every day with a pit in your stomach, pretending to be confident when your patient wasn't quite sure about you.

However, I think senior year was the hardest. It has been very different. Very little class time, only about 4 or 5 tests the whole year. Things that made it hard where mostly jumping through the hoops toward graduation. Things like managing your patient schedule to meet your requirements on time and finding patients for boards. This was my most stressful year of dental school by far, but most of it had very little to do with school.

When I left for my rotations, I had an interview with my instructor who told me I was passing with a "C" and should be very proud of myself. I was below our group average on points and wasn't doing very well on my daily evaluations. I felt far from proud--I felt very discouraged.

My rotations forced me to be independent, to make decisions, and to trust my judgement as well as improve my speed. Now, I am on my way to a "A" in daily procedure points and continue to receive multiple compliments from instructors, including things like, "You should work on my teeth" and "Perfect work, right from the text book," and "You are getting better and better every day." I am so grateful all of my hard work seems to be paying off. I want to be a great dentist not only for myself, but for my patients. And after 4 years of school at one of the most rigorous and excellent dental programs in the country, I am beginning to feel ready. I am so grateful that I have had the many opportunities that have been given me.

Let's see what I can learn in the last 8 days!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I love the idea of online news. News at your fingertips at any moment of the day.

The problem is, when I get bored, one of the first things I do is check the news on a variety of network pages. This "up-to-date" info at the click of my finger (usually multiple times a day) makes for very boring news.

Very rarely do I see headlines that are like, "Now that's news!" Instead, it is a bunch of gobbley-gook about American Idol blog updates and updates on Brooke Hogan. Whoot.

The best moment I had with online news was with Obama's VP pick. I was on rather late and saw a banner up top announcing Biden was the selected candidate. However, Obama had promised his special grass root campaigners that they would be the first to know the next morning. Oops! Within just a few minutes, the banner was gone. I couldn't help but wonder, "Would they have respected McCain that much to pull their big headline so he could save face with voters?" Somehow, I doubt it. I don't know much about journalism but the movies I have seen make it look like everyone wants the scoop. At least I had it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Things have been going great at school. I have been working very hard, trying to keep busy, learning as much as I can in the last few weeks, and getting as many points as possible to boost my gpa before a potential application cycle this fall. So far, so good.

Until the last few days. Suddenly, I have had failing appointments or cancelling at the last minute and a lack of patients again. So...

I have been sitting here bored at my computer for it seems like days with only a small procedure here and there. We are not allowed to go home early. I have no lab work to do. No homework to do. Not enough blogs to read. So, I either need some more procedures to do or you better get writing!

11 clinic days left!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A self test--if you dare!

I read an article I found on today about the epidemic of narcissism. I thought it was very interesting and focused on the huge rise of self centeredness in our society. Things like celebrity worship, constant concerns about beauty, entitlement, etc. I can't seem to find the link now but it got me thinking. They talked about narcissists being concerned with having many many superficial friends who can feed their egos without building lasting relationships. They are often more concerned with looking important than about others. They expect others to fulfill their desires without much concern for the difficulties it places on another, etc. I have had many associations with these kind of people. Often, I don't realize the extent until I have been sucked into a toxic relationship that is painful to end. 

This got me wondering, am I one of the sorry lot who have succumbed to the epidemic? Here is a handy quiz. I think the term "emotional vampire" is very fitting. I have found that I have had the emotional life sucked out of me on multiple times.

Are you a emotional vampire?

I hope my blogging isn't a sign of my self centeredness and need for praise or to feel important. If I have showed any vampire-ish tendencies or blatant behavior, please forgive me and help me remember how wonderful you are.

Here is a more "legit" feeling quiz if you are really curious.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Here is the link to the Beyonce video

Beyoncé - Irreplaceable

I think I must have dentistry on the mind. I thought this song was talking about "Novacaine" for the longest time. Something like, "I want some Novacaine, I want some novacaine" during the chorus. I think it says something like, "You must not know about me," instead. At least it sounds like that through the dental school radio they have playing in the hallways and patient lobbies (I admit it doesn't sound so much like it on here.) I must have thought the "to the left to the left" 's were coming from my instructors.

I thought it had something to do with the numbing effects of love and breaking up. What a clever song! Haha.

Monday, May 4, 2009

More Cowbell

After we finish our graduation requirements, the ritual at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry is that you get to ring "the cowbell" to let everyone know who else will be called "Dr." when the year is over.

Today I finished my last requirement, my molar root canal (with a little help from my instructor who finished it for me since we were running out of time today--thank you!). Yay! Once I get the paperwork done, it will be my turn!

I've definately had a fever this year (senioritis) and the only prescription is a little more cowbell!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dream on...

I am a very vivid dreamer. Almost every night I have incredibly weird dreams that I almost always remember in the morning. And, unfortunately, they are almost all bad dreams. I can hardly understand when people say things like, "Oh, I was having such a good dream but I couldn't get back to sleep to finish it." Besides the fact that I have to wake up and drag myself out of bed, I am usually relieved to be awake from my dreams. I remember having one experience where I wanted to continue the dream, but that was because it was so horrific I thought it would make an interesting book if I could just get to the end (as if dreams have definitive endings) and find out what happens but finally told myself to wake up because it was just to scary. I even remember thinking to myself, "No, this is too scary. Wake up." I did.

When I moved to Iowa I particularly found my dreaming upsetting. I would wake up feeling the room spinning and unsure where I was or what orientation I was in in my bed. I didn't know if I was back home in Utah or in Honduras or in Iowa. I guess a lot of moving in a short period had me confused. This is when I first started really noticing my sleep disturbances. I still wake up after about 45 minutes of sleep each night stressed about something I forgot to do that is of huge eternal consequences. I still can't figure out what, despite making attempts to write it down when I figure it out (only to have strange scribbles in the morning). Poor Abe has to deal with me and my strange mid-night rantings.

My mom claims I had many nights as a child where I would wake up screaming bloody murder. I remember a few of these. One time I remember seeing a cartoonish face on the wall egging me on with a childish, "na-na-na-na-na-na." The strange thing about many of my dreams to me is that I am asleep enough to act or think very strangely but awake enough to remember, often realize I am being silly, but asleep enough to get frustrated when Abe (or someone else) is questioning me.

Am I a complete weirdo? Is anyone else like this? Do I have a sleep disorder or a boogey-man under my bed only I can sense? I really don't know.

I have a lot of funny dream stories I could elaborate with but this is very long.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last elusive requirement

I am still working on finding my last graduation requirement, my molar root canal treatment.

So far, I keep "getting lucky" with patients that get popped into my schedule at the last minute with evident need for a root canal (RCT) but end up "unlucky" when it comes to the actual treatment. Thus, I am still looking.

Attempt #1: Referall at last minute from classmate for deep cavity and likely need for RCT. After a very long morning, no RCT was needed and I placed a very large silver filling (amalgam).

Attempt #2: The same afternoon I started a RCT on a patient referred for severe pain from our admissions appt. Pt cancelled her follow-up appointment to continue the treatment due to insurance reasons. She claims she will come back when her gov't insurance kicks back in, but even with Obama as president, the gov't is slow. I'm not holding my breath.

Attempt #3: Last week I switched patients at the last minute with a classmate (same classmate from attempt #1). The patient had received narcotic pain killers the week previously for a tooth needing RCT. When he arrived for our appt, he was no longer in pain and RCT was not indicated unless the cavity got too deep. It didn't. Another HUGE amalgam filling.

Attempt #4: Today while finishing up a patient I was given a RCT on emergency. Another student did the diagnosis and prepared her for the RCT. About 30-45 minutes in to the procedure she demanded to be let up and for us to finish. We did not even start the RCT. This is very unfortunate as it was a perfect tooth--a young and healthy patient with very straight roots, no interferences, and it was a lower molar (easier than uppers, which all of the others have been so far).

So, I am starting attempt #5 next week with hopes it will work out for real this time!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Some thoughts on fashion

Last night Abe and I went to a "History of Medicine" dinner at the hospital. As students we got to go for a very nice price. It ended up being us and a bunch of older librarians and doctors (we met the director of the Hardin Health Sciences Library and the MD/PhD who started Abe's MD/PhD program about 40 years ago among others). I actually really enjoyed the company, who were all very friendly and interested why "young people would choose to come here tonight" when they were forced by work.

I really enjoyed the lecture which focused on World War I and the effects it had on plastic surgery and the beauty market. Essentially, plastic surgery was legitimized by a plastic surgeon who was trying to help soldiers left mutilated by the war look normal enough to rejoing society after losing parts of their faces such as eyes, noses, jaws, etc. Makeup also was introduced to American women after a Jewish woman named Helen Rubenstein fled Europe and worked to change make-up into a non-morally suspect enterprise. I guess up until this time, women who wore make-up were considered quite trashy. Women were also trying to look more like the male heros of the war by cutting their hair, binding their bosoms, or even receiving breast reductions.

A historian sitting next to us informed us that women in the US shave their legs because around this time Gilette/Schick had their hands on the male market and decided to encourage women to shave their legs to improve profits. Women of war torn Europe could not afford to do this and to this day, do not shave their legs to the extent we in America do.

I thought this was all very interesting. It made me think how fickle we are, that we judge so harshly on things that are so easily changed such as the trend for no makeup and makeup or small breasts verses large breasts (by marketing, not science or legitimacy).

I find I am one who regrets the pressures put on women for beauty. I found it ironic that the very daily practices I feel I must to for an almost moral reason of self pride (makeup, deodorant, shaving) were uncommon or even shunned until money changed that all. In a way I wish we didn't place that emphasis on status quo looks and the need to wear makeup. I know many would argue the opposite, however, that makeup has given them a great opportunity to improve themselves. I guess for me I sometimes dislike the almost guilt I feel when I choose not to buy into the marketing each day. I hate feeling "ugly" or like a "scrub" because I chose not to wear make-up to work when practically every male does the exact thing each day and look just fine.

A lot has changed in 100 years.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I think my life is pretty boring right now. Other people are writing about exciting trips or things they have done, or even interesting thoughts. I have done none of these things lately. Early on in my blogging Brenna told me I have to write often to keep my "following"(maybe you should remember this too, B :) ). I can't seem to think of anything blogworthy lately.

But, I guess that is a good thing. Since I tend to write about the incredibly horrible things that happen in my life (I think I'm a bit of a drama queen), I think that means things are going pretty well (minus the minor credit card fraud and associated phone calls I have been receiving). I am well on my way to passing Family Dentistry (our one class this year) and am about the breach the "C" range. This is the biggest hurdle up the grade ladder. Once I get past here I can advance pretty quickly through the grades by a mere couple hundred points instead of 3800 for a "D" or the 4250 for a "C-". Right now I am on track for an "A-" if I continue to work hard and have good luck with my patients. I am hoping that I can take a big jump in my class rank if I do well since everyone either is doing general dentistry and doesn't care about grades, or already matched into a specialty and really don't care.

My biggest hurdle toward graduation--getting my molar root canal patient to come back! She is my last requirement and wont make an appointment. I may have to find another.

So, my life is pretty boring. But I prefer it to the excitement of boards, the stress of worrying about graduation, or the craziness of just being way busy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


My credit card has some evidence of fraudulent purchases. Things like "Wuy weight loss tea" and "creditmedia." Luckily they were small purchases but I am glad the credit card company caught it early.

However, I somehow missed my last months payment. I am not one to skip out on bills and I really think I remember scheduling this payment online! I remember it was a few days before and I thought, "Oh, good thing I payed this. I almost missed it." I guess that is the problem with online bill pay. I have no evidence. I guess I really should print out the confirmation.

I also got a phone call from someone asking me to make a payment over the phone since I missed this last payment. I couldn't understand her very well but felt uncomfortable with the idea of giving away financial info over the phone to someone who called me so made the payment once I got home and could call in myself. The whole situation puts a knot in my stomach for some reason. Just seems fishy.

And I really really think I made my payment already...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Persistent Sales

The other day I had a strange call on my cell phone from a man named "Michael Vincent." He was nicely calling to follow up on the make money from home CE course I recently took. When I couldn't understand him, he repeated again how he was calling about the make money at home program. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about but he assured me I did. I kindly got him off the phone (END CALL) while he tried to persuade me that I really did know him and I really did sign up for this program. I think he even knew my name. ??? 213 area code.

He called me back 2 more times. My call log said:

call 4:39
missed call 4: 40
missed call 4:43

What nerve! Either that, of he really had a legitimate reason and couldn't talk clearly enough for me to understand. Has anyone had such pesky marketing schemes? And how did he know my name? I looked up the number on google and evidently I am not the only one to receive sketchy calls from this guy. Weird!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Morning

Growing up I always enjoyed celebrating Easter. My mom always made sure we had plenty of eggs to decorate and find. We would each get our own dozen hardboiled eggs to dye and find. To this day, I love the idea of having so many eggs at Easter you don't know what to do with. It seems in talking to friends we were one of the few to actually find real eggs rather than the chocolate or candy ones and to this day, as weird as I am, I prefer the real thing than the candy. (I'm not a big candy person at all. Cookie or brownie eggs would be another thing).

With all of the fun of Easter Activities, I often find I forget what Easter is really about. This morning I found this video that really touched me and made me extremely grateful for Easter. Please take a few minutes to celebrate the real meaning of this important day for mankind by watching as well.

Easter Video

I know that our Savior lives! I hope I can live like him more each day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I have a really silly problem. The flip cap on my current shampoo bottle is too hard to open. This is especially hard while I have wet hands and soft fingernails. Someone should have thought of the design and where the product will be used before making it so difficult. I get incredibly frustrated until I can somehow jam my fingernail under and hurt my finger, only to pop it open and let its sudsy goodness wash my dirty hair. I feel silly almost needing to call my strong husband in for help. Maybe it is child/Erin proof!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


It has been 2.5 weeks since the dental board exam. We are supposed to expect the results after 4 weeks although the examiners made it sound more like 2 -3 weeks. Today was the first day I half expected-hoped for it to arrive.

No luck.

I am torn thinking about the day it arrives. Logically, I am in the top half of my class and should have done just fine. But also, the test isn't very logical! I am crossing my fingers and praying (can God--or rather will He--change scores after the fact to magically create a pass while my letter is in the mail?) and hoping I wont have to retake the test.

The consequences of failing are so grim I can't imagine not passing. But I also can!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bicycle Safety

A close family member was hit by a car today while biking. The driver did not look carefully on the bike path for any fast on-coming bicycle traffic and pulled out just as the cyclist went to cross off the path and on to the road. Said biker ended up unable to stop in time and on the windshield of the car with the bike completely ruined. After an ambulance ride to the hospital and a short hospital stay, all was deemed okay minus some scrapes and large bruises. We are all very happy that our family member was okay! A scary time.

Please be careful and kind to bikers. I know it can be frustrating to get "stuck" behind a slowly moving biker, but it can be frightening to be intimidated by an impatient driver! It may slow you down a bit while you try to pass, but in reality, bikers are helping the community both by reducing traffic, pollution, wear and tear on the road, and hopefully in reducing healthcare costs through prevention. I am sad to hear how many threats and honks I get as a biker as well as having experienced being "hit" by a car mirror while hugging the shoulder.

If for nothing but your own safety, please watch sidewalks and bicycle paths carefully as you pull out into moving traffic or out of your drive way. While you may be watching the road for fast cars or the sidewalks for slow pedestrians, take an extra second to watch for quickly moving bike traffic on the side of the road or crossing into the road from a bike path.