Monday, March 29, 2010

Life as an intern, continued…

Can you believe March is already almost over? Time has just been flying!

Right now I measure time by “number of days on-call left this month.” It is a kind of funny way to measure, because, for example, I get pretty excited at the end of the month when I only have one or two days left. This is regardless of how many days are left on the calendar. For example, “Wahoo, only one day left on call for March!” Except that day is also March 31.

Anyway, I am beginning to see the end of my internship. I only have 3 months left of call. That makes June seem very fast in its approach.

Changes lately:

1. I am beginning to feel much more independent. This is great, although I am finding I know just enough to be dangerous. Sometimes I think I know the plan only to later realize I was wrong. Oops. Nothing major, but I am beginning to feel pretty comfortable in most situations.

2. At first I was mortified every time my pager went off. Then I was only mortified if it was for a facial laceration. Now, I don’t feel afraid. This week I sewed up an old man’s face who fell and hit his forehead. He was very happy to have me work on him (I think he liked the attention) and even gave me hugs and kisses (on the cheek) when I was done.

I also conquered a chin laceration on a child who fell into a park bench. The parents demanded the plastic surgeon. Instead, they got me. The intern. The DENTAL intern. It seems laughable, esp to myself, but they were very pleased with the results in the end. Phew. I can tell I am getting better, slowly. And faster, slowly.

3. My wisdom teeth surgeries are becoming much easier and faster. I get stuck here and there on an especially difficult case, but I have come a long way since day one.

4. I have realized that I break-out whenever I am on facial trauma call where I have to stay in-house at the hospital. Is this because I break my routine, wash my face less, have more stress? Who knows, but it is true.

5. I finally realized what the title “resident” means. It means they live, or actually RESIDE,  at the hospital. It has definitely been true this past week when I spent probably 60 of the last 72 hours there.


It is weird to think how far I have come. It is also weird to think I haven’t even started yet! I am enjoying my time now but I am excited for next year and beginning officially on my way to becoming an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I got in my car this morning. It just didn't feel right. It seemed slow to go and like it was pulling to one side. I started wondering if I had a flat. I was almost home when a presumable football player on a scooter pulled up next to me. I knew then I was right. He asked if I needed help fixing my flat. Wow, thank you! But I declined. I've done it before. I can handle it.

Except I am on-call today. And tomorrow is Sunday and that is my day to take off and not run errands or other things like that. Abe isn't available either, so it looks like I am stuck with a flat until I can get it fixed. That means getting my spare tire on and making it in to the tire shop when I am not at work. Do tire places stay open during the evenings? If not, I may be without a car all week! Luckily, my in-laws have a car I can borrow, if I can arrange to get it while I am on-call. Thank you!

What a great surprise! Ugh.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Presidential visitor

Living in Iowa has been a huge political awakening for me. "Iowa, first in the Nation" comes to mind. For those of you not from Iowa and have no idea what I mean, Iowa is the first state to have a caucus. What is a caucus? Well, from my limited understanding as an outsider, it is basically a vote that helps choose the political candidates for the primary elections. Is that right? Essentially, Iowa is often the state that gets the ball rolling and propells the candidates into the national spotlight. "As Iowa goes, so goes the nation." Think back to Romney v. McCain v. Huckabee in the last election. Huckabee was basically a no name until after the Iowa caucus which Romney won, and eventually put Romney out of the running and McCain in the spotlight again.

Part of living in Iowa means we get a lot of campaigning. I didn't even know politicians traveled around meeting people and putting ads on TV, etc, until I moved here. Needless to say, not a whole lot of money goes into campaigning in Utah as the results rarely change much.

We have had the chance to attend multiple rallies, conventions, lunches, caucuses, etc. I have seen Obama in person two times. I have shaken (shook?) hands with Guilliani, eaten lunch paid for by Romney, and it seems like more but I really can't remember. I rode a bus from the Romney campaign to the caucus where he fed us pulled (Iowa) pork and provided entertainment in hopes we would help him win the caucus.

Tomorrow Obama comes to the University of Iowa. Iowa City is somewhere I had never heard of before 6 months before moving here. It is amazing to me that the President of the United States is coming back to give an address at the Fieldhouse. Before the elections, he first announced his health care bill at the Medical School. I guess he is back to report his findings. I guess he chose the U of I because it was THE medical school in the FIRST IN THE NATION state.

I wonder how crazy tomorrow will be on campus?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Obama finally lived up to one of his promises...unfortunately. The healthcare bill was passed yesterday by a narrow margin.

I have butterflies in my tummy just thinking about it. Who knows how this will really affect each of us. I have to say, I am worried. I am worried about the quality and cost of healthcare in America. I am worried about accessibility. I am worried what this means for my future as a healthcare provider, not only for the potential impact on my income and quality of life, but on my ability to make appropriate choices and provide treatment options for my patients.

I know a lot of people are happy. I can't see they really understand the implications of this new change. I don't think any of us can!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This is one of my FAVORITE meals now! We made it the other day for the first time. It took only a few minutes and was absolutely delicious! I am craving it now, actually. Bulgogi is barbequed beef in a soy-sesame marinade. Our butcher suggested sirloin strip steak which he kindly cut into thin pieces for us. The meat was wonderful, so tender it almost melted in our mouths. We got it on sale, but it was definitely worth the extra money to get the right beef. I highly recommend the sesame seed dipping sauce. Also from 30 minute Asian Meals



4 T soy sauce

2 T korean rice wine or chinese rice wine or pale dry sherry (optional)

1 T sesame oil

One 1-in. piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated

2 large cloves, garlic, crushed

1 green onion, thinly sliced

1 T sugar

Freshly ground black or red pepper to taste

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

12 oz-1 lb. lean, tender flank or sirloin steak, cut across the grain into 1/4 in thick, then into 2 x 1 in pieces


1. Start rice

2. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve sugar. Add the beef strips and mix well to coat all sides. Cook immediately or as soon as the rice is finished, or you may let the beef marinate longer.

3. There are three suggested methods for cooking the beef. You may cook the beef on a lightly greased grill about 4 in. above the coals, or under a very hot broiler for about 1 min on each side (this is what we did), or on a lightly greased electric griddle placed at the table. Do not overcook.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Serving suggestion:

Serve with Sesame Seed Dipping Sauce

2 T toasted, crushed sesame seeds

1/2-1 tsp sugar

3 T fresh lemon juice or rice vinegar or other mild vinegar

3 T soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

1-3 T water, or more, if subtler taste is desired

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

1 dried or fresh hot chile or ground red pepper to taste

1 green onion, thinly sliced


Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar dissolveds. Divide into individual bowls

Makes about 2/3 C.

Bi Bim Bop

This  is a pretty traditional Korean dish, served over rice.  You can use beef, tofu, pork, or chicken as well as a variety of vegetables.  It is basically Korean stir fry, traditionally spicy but can be done according to your taste. This is from 30-minute Asian Meals


1 T sesame or vegetable oil

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed

4-6 oz lean, tender beef, cut into thin, bite sized pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into matchsticks

2 green onions, thinly sliced

8 oz fresh bean sprouts, trimmed (soy beans)

1  soy sauce

Freshly ground black or red pepper to taste

2-3 c cooked rice

1 T toasted, crushed sesame seeds for garnish

koch’ujang (hot soybean paste) and soy sauce, at the table (we found a hot soybean paste at our local Asian market. We prefer East West on Gilbert St in Iowa City)

1. Start rice

2. Heat a nonstick wok (or skillet) over Med-High heat. Add oil and stir-fry the garlic for 3-4 sec. Add the beef and stir-fry about 1 min or until it begins to brown.

3. Add the bell pepper and green onions and stir-fry for another minute or two, or until the pepper softens.

4. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry until they are just heated through. Sprinkle with the soy sauce and black or red pepper and stir for a few seconds until the mixture is blended and very hot. Place on top of the hot cooked rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with koch’ujang and soy sauce.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Asian Cuisine

Abe served his mission in Japan and so when he cooks dinner, it is almost always Asian inspired meals. We have been trying to make an effort to eat healthier and these are often a good fit! We are both pretty busy without a lot of time to cook, but these recipes have been super yummy and easy! I thought I would share a few.

This one was super easy. It reminded me of the lettuce wraps you can get at PF Changs.

Sesame Chicken Wraps

4 T soy sauce

4 T brown sugar

1 T cornstarch

2 C chicken breast strips

1 T buter

4 T sesame seeds

2 T sesame oil

6 butter lettuce leaves

Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl; pour over chicken and stir to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes. In a frying pan, melt butter over low hear. Add sesame seeds and cook until lightly browned. Set aside to cool. In a separate skillet, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Quickly stir fry the chicken in the heated oil just until cooked through. Combine sesame seeds with chicken. Spoon one-sixth of the mixture atop the center of each lettuce leaf. Fold lettuce into a wrap to be eaten by hand. Place on a platter. Makes 6 sesame chicken bundles.


Friday, March 12, 2010

I don't have anything good to say. I am just feeling overwhelmed. I think my past 7.5 months of early mornings, busy clinic days, nights on-call is getting to me this week. My parents are in Chicago this weekend (about 3.5 hours away) and I would love to visit them but I am on call with no one available to trade. Bummer. It is days like this that make me wonder if anyone even notices or cares about all the hard work I put in--at work. TGIF!

Monday, March 8, 2010

We’re moving!

We finalized our negotiations today on the house. As of this evening, every thing is in place and come June 21, the house will be officially ours. We are so excited and relieved. Yay!


Now I am going to have to try extra hard to not want to spend all of my time on HGTV!

Saturday, March 6, 2010



I have been meaning to get my dental diploma framed for months. We kept putting it off until we saw a sale at Michael’s for 50% off custom framing. I was so happy because I was able to get exactly what I wanted while still staying within the price range I expected. Framing is expensive!


I was overall pleased with the results. It took a long time for me to choose. I knew I wanted to accent the gold in the lettering and use some black to make it pop, not to mention using the Hawkeye Black and Gold.


I wonder if it is a little funky and out there for something that should be quite professional? But, I figured…this represents 4 years of my life, $200K, and a big part of me. It will be in my office on my wall for the rest of my life. So, might as well make it something I like.


I splurged and got a velvet-black matting that really makes it pop. We also sprung for the huge custom frame, multiple layered matting, and the best non-glare glass.


Can’t wait to have a place to put it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010



Beginning on March 1, Iowa had a rebate program for energy efficient appliances, an incentive to buy new EE appliances to replace older, less efficient models. After multiple attempts, and despite a crashed website, I was somehow able to log on to the program and sign up for a few rebates. Pending the finalization of our home purchase, we will be the proud new owners of a new front loader washer, minus $200 from the state. Thank you!

We will also be purchasing one of these babies:


Nothing to get you excited like a hot water heater! Funny, though, as an adult, you get boring or something because I was pretty pumped about the washer and the heater. The house has a 22 year old water heater (normal time frame is 10-20 years), so it is due for a new one. We figured we’d take advantage of the rebates while we could. So, we will save $100 here as well!

And, lucky us. Even though over $2.7 million was set aside, it was all used up by 4 pm. I guess a lot of people were pretty unhappy they didn’t get their rebate. I felt very lucky. I not only snagged one, but two rebates.

I have also heard you can get rebates from the electric company. Anyone heard of this?

I figure that is an extra $300 to spend on other improvements to the house for something like one of these babies:


To replace something like this:


(only worse).