Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

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I used to love Halloween, mostly because I love dressing up in crazy clothes and make-up. I’ve become kind of a dud though as evidenced by our “Hawkeye Fan” costumes for our ward party.

We did have some Halloween fun this year though.

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On Friday night we went to a haunted house in Cedar Rapids for Anna’s birthday with the whole Sheffield family (those of us in town). We waited outside in line for 2-3 hours.

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We finally made it closer to the house. This dark angel was giving us a flash.

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Isaac likes skinny girls.

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We had some friends over on Saturday.

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Somehow I’ve gone my whole life never DRESSING as a witch. I hope I can say I’ve never BEEN a witch but that’s harder to guarantee. Abe was a good sport and was a “tiger hawk” which is what the emblem on his pants is called, the herky head for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

And this, was the scariest part of our Halloween…

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I made lentil soup which turned out yummy. Unfortunately, this is what it looked like after it cooled. I promise, that isn’t what it looks like, it really is edible! I wish we would have entered it in our ward Halloween cook-off as “scariest.” I think we def would have won!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Medical Questions

Almost every day I hear or see someone complaining about their experiences at the doctor’s office (usually on blogs or facebook). People seem to often be very angry about their experiences and cannot understand why things happened the way they did. Seeing the other side of the picture, I often feel bad there is so much anger when I think if people understood some of the reasons things go how they did, maybe they wouldn’t be so upset.
Here are some common scenarios and my explanation.
The doctor was 45 minutes late!
This has got to be one of the most frustrating issues! No one likes to be treated in that way.  As a physician/dentist/or other professional, scheduling can be very difficult. Many times other patient’s show up late, demanding to be seen. As you can imagine, this bumps everyone back. Also, there are almost always patient’s trying to get into the schedule on an emergency basis. Other times the doctor may spend a little extra time explaining something or doing a same-day procedure to help a patient. This unfortunately affects you.
One of the biggest issues is that people tend to forget that many physicians while seeing clinic patients also have hospital patients or surgical patients who have emergencies or need to be seen as well. This can be challenging, and sadly, it is often you who has to wait.
We do our best and hope that you’ll be understanding as it may be you we spend the extra time on next time.
My doctor must not know anything-- Why would they ask me what medication or treatment I want?
We are striving to change medicine from doctor driven to patient driven care. You, as the patient, know your body more than anyone else and what works for you. We appreciate your input on these decisions.
People also make this argument about physicians who say different things or have different treatment plans. This doesn’t mean they are automatically a bad doctor See the next question…
A very common one: I went to a new dentist and he said I had XXX more cavities than last time I went. Is he a money grubber?
There are many different treatment philosophies in medicine and dentistry and often multiple approaches to the same problem. There are also different approaches to how and when to treat issues such as cavities. For example, your old dentist may be very conservative and does not like to do anything until a problem is very obvious (and bigger). Others may wish to act more preventively to take care of a small problem before it gets out of hand, “nip it in the bud.” If you go to two opposite dentists after each other, it will seem like very different diagnoses.
This applies in medicine as well. If you have a question, it never hurts to get a second opinion.
All doctors are the same. How can they possibly get away with charging XYZ for this procedure?
Medical training is very costly as well as time consuming. Schooling can take anywhere from 8-12+ years after high school to become a fully trained medical professional and if you are like me, will graduate with about $200K or more in debt. By the time you actually start making a comparable salary to your friends who have been working for 10 or more years, you have a lot more to pay off. Also, it is very expensive to run a medical practice. Medical-grade materials are very expensive and are often the bulk of the cost of your procedure and there are a lot of personnel to be paid.
I hate doctors! or I HATE Dentists!
We are people too! That means we have feelings. And it also means we aren’t perfect. If you try to speak to your doctor about your concerns I think you will usually see they weren’t so awful after all.
I would be happy to answer any more questions you may have or am curious to hear your rantings.
--Dr. Sheffield, DDS
Oh and PS, there are a lot of rantings and questions/myths about dental treatment, especially root canals. That is a topic for another day if you are interested. For now, root canals and tooth extractions aren’t as bad as they are made out to be. Usually.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


It has been over 5 years since I graduated from BYU. In some ways, that feels like yesterday. In other ways, it almost feels like my time there was a dream that I get small flashbacks from. It is kind of funny what brings back the memories.

I was walking home one evening last week. I just happened to have an over-the-shoulder bag with me. Without thinking, I slung it on over my left shoulder and positioned it snugly in my right armpit, instead of letting it hand naturally down the middle of my chest.  I suddenly remembered why I do this: during my time at BYU, over-the-shoulder bags were the new thing, replacing the so old fashioned back pack. However, thanks to the Daily Universe (is that right, it always reminds me of Superman), the BYU daily paper, and its so enlightening editorial and letters to the editor page, I soon realized that there was a big push by some students to have these bags banned for the cleavage promoting objects they are, as part of the honor code. Evidently, these bags were causing some men to have inappropriate thoughts about the way they fit snugly between two parts of a woman’s body. I always thought it ridiculous but didn’t like the idea of people going there so I learned to situate the bag up a bit higher to avoid the whole area in question.

I started thinking about other long forgotten BYU memories. Tunnel Singing. DTRs. NCMO. Rape Hill (we really called it that?!). Hiking the Y (and people do that without doing it for alcohol or make-out purposes). Knee length shorts. FHE.

So different from Iowa. We might have tailgaiting, one night stands, booty shorts. FAC (Friday after class at the bar).

Friday, October 15, 2010


Today is interview day. Even though I am off-service and will not see any of the applicants today, I am meeting up with all of the residents and applicants for dinner tonight. This will be my 4th dinner like this. Two years ago as an applicant, last year as an intern (who also happened to be an applicant) and then again as an official applicant as part of MY interview, and finally, this year, as a resident.

It feels like a huge milestone to know that I reached my goal. I am so relieved I am done with the pressures of interviewing for residency. Things really worked out in the end and what a relief. I think I am really going to enjoy my first dinner as a resident and not an applicant. I might even order dessert!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Internal Medicine

I finished my month of internal medicine and completed my first week of cardiology. I feel like I am learning so much and also have learned how much I will never understand or learn (thank you physicians for knowing all of this stuff!) about our bodies.


One thing I keep coming back to is the incredibleness of our bodies. When everything is working it really is a miracle that we take for granted. And there are so many things that can go wrong.


It has really given me an increased desire to take care of myself. It is so sad to see people who are paying for their poor health choices with their lives. Smokers dying of emphysema and heart failure. Uncontrolled diabetics getting life threatening infections from putting off simple dental care and ignoring their diabetes. Cancer patient who was 14 years too late for her routine colonscopy and now has very difficult to treat malignancy.


Please take care of yourselves! I am trying to do better. It really does matter. We can all do something: eat more veggies, lose a little weight, drink more water, exercise, reduce stress.


I guess after that we can pray.