Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cucumbers, bananas, and other inappropriate fruits

I’ve been pondering over the place of women in society. Deep stuff. I know. There have been a few things that have spawned my interest. The first I think is pretty silly. Did you see this?

I can’t seem to find the original article, but basically some religious leader wants women to be banned from handling particularly shaped produce. Ladies, stop eyeing those cucumbers, bananas, carrots in a sexual way. You know who you are. And if you really must have a carrot or banana, see if you can get your husband or other male family member to cut it into smaller pieces that wont give you such lustful thoughts. As a woman, this seemed ridiculous—maybe men think this way but I’d dare say most women are probably more worried about how ripe or colorful their fruit is than how much it looks like a specific body part. This is the part where I would go on a rant about how I have never had an inappropriate thought about a vegetable (or fruit)--but I did get the giggles after seeing this baby at the grocery store this week. Bad timing I guess!


So much so that I had to bring it home (after I purchased said fruit) for Abe to see. I feel like this is bordering on inappropriate, until I remember (and I hope you will, too), it’s a pear! There is nothing inherently inappropriate about pears (or cucumbers, carrots, bananas, etc) unless you assign it that role. Which I guess in this case, I did. Maybe I do need Abe to help me handle my produce, just in case. Either way, I feel lucky that I can handle and think of my fruit in whichever way I choose. And even if I choose to think of it that way, remember how I said it “made me want to giggle?” No lustful thoughts here.

On a serious note, I read an article about an Afghan women sentenced to prison for 12 years because she was raped. She clearly was having an affair with the man as she became pregnant and “everyone knows that you can’t become pregnant the first time you have intercourse.” Thus, she was obviously having an affair and brought shame upon herself and family. She was given the option to marry her rapist to legitimize her daughter and their affair or remain in prison for the full 12 year sentence. I am glad to see in this article that now she is being released without this condition. I was furious to read that this sort of thing (continues to) happen(s) to women. I find myself frustrated by my own sense if injustice that occurs to women in our own society, but it makes me sick to think of this poor women’s story which I am sure she shares with others. I don’t know what to do to help, but I wish I could.

And finally, a personal experience. Last weekend when I was on-call I was called to the ER to evaluate a woman about my age who had been assaulted by her boyfriend. I guess I am so used to seeing facial injuries that her black eyes and broken jaw, lacerations on her chin and scalp, large bruises on her cheeks didn’t really phase me. Then I looked at her arms which were severely bruised and gasped when I saw the whip marks on her back and arms that were clearly from a belt or some other blunt object. She had reportedly been beaten with brass knuckles and a belt. As if hitting a woman multiple times with your fist isn’t enough, really teach her a lesson with some of these:

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I was angry to see this. I am grateful that despite what I see as perceived injustices towards women—glass ceilings, job discrimination, objectification/sexualization, that I have so many freedoms and that I have men in my life, especially my husband, who only use their hands to give me a pat on the pack or a gentle hug.

I have always wanted to volunteer for a women’s shelter or rape hotline but these have large commitment times for training. If anyone has any ideas of how to help, I’d appreciate the feedback.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sweating it

I have friends who hate when their moms buy them clothes. They think that their gifts are hideous and unwearable. My mom, on the other hand, has told me her strategy for buying clothes for me: “I find something I think is really ugly and then I know you’ll like it.” It must be a philosophy that works because I almost always love what she buys for me! (Does that mean every one else hates me clothes, too? I just thought of that.)

Anyway, my mom bought me this sweater years ago. For like 90% off (shocker, I know). I think it WAS an expensive sweater to begin with, but I always thought it was hideous. (I guess mom did, too, so she gave it to me.)


It’s been sitting in my closet all of this time. Maybe it was the shoulder pads or the awesome fringe. Or the in-your-face red on black with a bold pattern. Or maybe it was because I like to “ROCK” statement pieces (what is this one saying except for UG!) that I felt I had to hold on to it. It has come out on very cold unfashionable days or 80s parties, but I’ve never felt very good about its public appearances. But, for whatever reason, I felt inspired this Sunday and wanted to “make it work.”

I dug it out. I think the crew necked sweaters are in right now so at least it had that going for it. I put a button down underneath it and paired it with an a-line (pleated) skirt and some fuzzy boots. If you remember my last post, I’m not a great (or uber picky about how I look publicly) poser but I think it actually looked decent. Oh, and I used some bobby pins to cinch the back and give it a more fitted look.

photo (1)

I don’t really like the idea of the people who post pictures of their outfits as if they are the fashion expert (unless yes, they really are), but I thought this one had a funny background story. Abe even complimented me and said he thought I looked really nice.

I’m still not sure about the fringe.

(PS would love to hear your thoughts on this or other hideous items you wear)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Picture Perfect

So when did we all become posers?

I think it has something to do with facebook. Do you remember the good old days when the only people who saw your pictures were your family or close friends? Or maybe if you had a really good photo op you could choose to share it with the public by one of those posterboad collages you did for school on your birthday. Now it seems anyone from our teachers, grandmothers, or dog walkers can see pictures from daily aspects of our lives and the pressure to uphold a (photogenic) image is getting harder and harder.

As kids we would stand awkwardly for the pictures. No cutesy curtsey or hands on hips take-on-the-world posture. We were lucky if we could all smile and/or look the same way.

Then again, look at these great poses! Maybe I am wrong.

I feel like kids now are always giving the camera some attitude. (I wish I had some examples but I don't feel comfortable posting other people's children's photos online for sexual predators to find.) Is this a new thing? Or did I just not notice when I was a kid (or know that I was supposed to be posing?).

Another example, a school dance picture. Today we would certainly be looking much hipper instead of like stiff, nervous teenagers--and I'm not just talking about our outfits. I would at least have one hip forward, feet crossed, or a hand on my hip.

Maybe I'm just clueless and the posing phenomenon has been here forever. But, here I am as recently as the few months directly after college graduation (which is actually getting much farther away than it seems should be possible). I'm obviously not trying to impress anyone except with the awesomeness of my surroundings. I was SCUBA diving every day for months in Central America, but you don't really pick up on that from my body language--maybe from my dreds and sunburn.

A few years later maybe you get a taste of it starting to happen. We're getting the hang of it more here:

I'm still not great at it, but I'm getting better.

Anyway, I guess my point is, suddenly people seem so much more aware of how they look in pictures. Instead of taking pictures for memories it seems as if we are always trying to impress those around us. We have become our own PR manager, sorting through unflattering ways of presenting ourselves to put out our best face, even when we are just having fun and trying to remember. I think this is fine and I do it myself to a point. It is also interesting to be on vacation or at an event and see everyone around you suddenly making like madonna and "striking a pose." So I know it's not just me.

***I wonder if this is just me: I get annoyed when I see pictures of beautiful people having great times with a disclaimer is about how awful they look (not to say I've never done this before). "I'm sorry my hair isn't absolutely perfect today and that it is only as pretty as yours usually is, but please don't judge, just had to show off my pictures of me eating oatmeal this morning." Let's give ourselves (and each other a break). If it is something worth remembering, who cares how your hair looked (see above picture of me at the Bears game with less than ideal photographic evidence); and if it isn't such an interesting moment and you look so bad you have to apologize, don't post the picture. I don't need you to reassure me you only ate one of the tootsie rolls from the bag you are holding or that your flat iron broke or that you are prettier than I will ever be but you are having an insecure moment showing a picture of you looking like a catelog model instead of your usual Supermodel self. I probably didn't even notice. And funny, now I that you pointed it out, you may be right.

Anyway, I guess my point is, I think it would be nice if we could all just try leaving an unflattering picture of ourselves tagged on facebook. Without any apologies. Especially if it shows you being you and having a great time.

Erin and Rachel, hot and sweaty Malaysia 2006

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Merry Merry

I’ve a confession. I’m not ready for Christmas yet. I feel pretty Grinch-y. I saw the garlands and lights going up the day after Halloween and I just wasn’t feeling it. I have been a bit irritated, actually. I haven’t finished raking my leaves yet. It rained yesterday. I saw a tree with beautiful golden lights on top of its beautiful golden leaves (which was actually quite striking but a strange site). I like Christmas but there’s something about dragging it out for 3 months (November, December, January) which at least this year I’m finding a little irritating. I know writing this is risking becoming  a social pariah –people are very protective of their Christmas spirit, but I wanted to let you know, I’m trying.
Remember the phrase, fake it until you make it? Well I’m trying my best. It has helped. Maybe the cooler weather will make it feel more like time. And I do have to say using our fireplace for the first winter has made a difference.
As has been tradition (at least for the past 3-4 years), Abe and I went with his family to the local tree farm to find a tree. There are many beautiful, tall ones but there is something about the cheap cast-off ones that seem to draw me to them. We got this beauty for $5 and I think I like it more than the $55 alternatives.
It’s a little short and squatty (Abe jokes it is an equalateral triangle), and is about as tall as I am, but I like it. And I think we may just make it, that little tree and I (out of faking it, I mean).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

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Everyone said second year was the worst. If you can make it through that, you are on the home stretch. I heard groans and whines about General Surgery. Four long months. It lurked ahead like a long dark shadow, not really being able to make out what made it so scary but I knew it wasn't to be reckoned with.

And now, I'm into November. Which means that my four months are behind me. And honestly, I didn't mind it. But my first day back after a day of tooth extractions (dentoalveolar surgery, we call it), I looked and and had this amazing thought, "Wow, that morning went by so quickly. And it has been such a nice day!" Nice because I didn't have to do any rectal exams; I didn't have to feel for hernias; I didn't have to check for pulses on the gangrenous feet of peripheral vascular disease patients; I didn't have to try to fudge my way through explaining disease process or surgery I knew nothing about to a patient and their family; I didn't have to learn that one of my patients has died; and mostly, I didn't have to feel like a COMPLETE idiot for at least most of the day.

It is so nice to be back. Seeing those familiar white objects in the mouth and feeling perfectly capable to describe them, diagnose them (and remove them!). Using my hands to help heal patients from pain and future problems. And finally, knowing what is going on more. I'll take the blood spatter on my face and glasses (yes, I shower at night), the ER calls in the middle of the night to be cussed out by drunken patients, and the bad breath (which surprisingly isn't usually a big issue)...if that means I never have to do a rectal exam again.

**PS I actually don't like the comic above except to say the following, we get comments all the time about patients who heard of someone or experienced extractions in this way, the "knee or foot on the chest" scenario. I have discussed this with our staff and none of us have ever seen this happen in real life. I wonder where this idea comes from? If it ever happens, it must not be from Oral Surgeons! :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


After my first year of dental school I decided to go to Thailand to become a SCUBA instructor. I had previously finished my Dive Master course in Honduras a year or so before and had felt bad I never was able to meet instructor. I haven’t been diving (or traveling for so long). I was looking through some old pictures…

My first morning in Bankok from my hotel. Wondering a bit what I am doing in Thailand all by myself…


In Phuket at my Dive School with a local baby. I thought she was so adorable. I wasn’t trying too hard to be adorable myself this trip…not in Bankok’s heat and humidity.

cute Thai baby

Phuket night life. Notice I didn’t have many clothes with me.



Teaching my “students” for the exam. The pink frog lady is my examiner.


My classmates after we passed the course! I was the only American. Luckily I wasn’t the only one who spoke English.


Finally some real diving after weeks of pool diving!


Beautiful Thailand…




And beautiful Thailand underwater…






Can you see him? I tried to get a better pic but he swam way too fast for me to catch up




Lots of “Nemos”—clownfish. They are actually kind of aggressive for such little guys and hard to get a good picture





Scary combo, lionfish with poisonous barbs and urchins! Yikes.


I miss diving! Anyone want to get certified?


Saturday, October 29, 2011


Wow I can hardly believe that October is almost over! In just a few short days I will be finished with my General Surgery rotation and one of the busiest portions of my residency. The past four months have gone by quickly. I guess I’m making good progress!

This month has been an interesting one for us.

Abraham is finalizing his applications for residency. We have spent long hours and late nights agonizing over the decision of which specialty to choose and working on his application and essays. Applications are due Mon/Tuesday so we are down to the wire. I’ll keep you posted on what he chooses.

I have been sick the entire month of October and the end of September. My goal is to be sick the entire month so my current team will only know me as someone with a cough. It has been pretty nasty and my physician confirmed that I do likely have a fractured rib from coughing. I guess that can happen—maybe I’m frail, I don’t quite understand it myself. I’m amazed at how much it hurts. I am lucky the cough is slowly going away because it is agonizing to cough, laugh, deep breathe, sit up from bed, etc. I am taking codeine and wearing a tight sports bra but there isn’t anything else I can do.

I got a new pager. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but I miss my old one. This one is very loud. The menu is inconsistent, I can’t keep it on silent without it still beeping sometimes, and I miss the simplicity of my old one. The 100 hospital employees who receive the most pages received new pagers due to an overload on the other pager frequency. I evidently made the cut, and was “Actually one of the very only ones to receive one in your whole department.” I guess this could mean two things, “I work harder than everyone else in my whole department” or “I should feel relieved to be back on Oral Surgery in a few short days.” Maybe I’ll keep thinking both!

Another reason to like Oral Surgery, we have had three patients pass away this month, two more since my last post. Luckily that doesn’t happen much in the dental world. The last one was a surprise, I just sent him home 2 days ago and he was well enough to go home. Wow.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


This week I had my first patient die. She had a heart attack unexpectedly. It is a surreal experience to see a patient “coding” as they call it. Trying to bring them back is an experience full of chaos, almost violence as CPR is performed hard enough to reach through the ribs to the heart, people calling out loudly, rotating turns doing CPR compressions, pushing medications. Death is such a serious thing. A final thing. An obviously life changing thing. But when your job is to work with people who are sick and could die, it is a very strange thing. When I heard about the patient I was eating crackers. We walked over to the heart center where the cardiology team had been working on her before her heart stopped. When we arrived we briefly saw the masses of people trying desperately to bring her back. Her family was crying in the hallway. We left to get out of their way. I hoped the family didn’t ask me about what was happening to their mom and wife. And then, not knowing what to do next, I went back to eating my crackers. It seemed wrong. It seemed insensitive. But there was nothing I could do for her. Work had to be done. And I was hungry.

This week I also made it to the OR for the first time on Vascular Surgery. I got to perform my only requested surgery, an amputation.  A man had a non-healing toe infection. I performed an amputation of the big toe. I was worried I might think it was a little too gross. Cutting on a draped off piece of  skin or working inside the mouth is something I can do and focus on the procedure. But toes are PEOPLE’s toes. You can’t trick your mind into thinking it is just a procedure not attached to a person. It is someone’s toe. But I did fine--and don’t judge me when I say it was really fun--until I handed the  “specimen” off to the nurse. I realized then, “Oh that is someone’s toe!”

Death of a patient and death of a toe. Big events for the patients involved. Just another day in the life of a resident.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Last night we went camping at a local campsite with friends. Abe brought some muffins for breakfast the next day. While unpacking, we left the hatchback open to my car.

Me: “Honey, did you sneak a taste of one of the muffins?”

Abe: “No, why?”

Me: “Hmm, that’s weird because it looks like someone ate one of the muffin tops.”

I walk to the car and get in the front seat. I hear a rustling noise in the back. I look back to see one of these little buddies in the back of the car munching away.

Raccoon Pictures, Images & Photos



Me: I squealed!

Little buddy: luckily ran away under the car, and not further INTO the car. He had found the package of muffins, chewed through the plastic, and ate the muffin top of one. I guess he knows the best part of a muffin, too.

He continued to stalk us all night, coming within only 10 or so feet of us while we ate our dinner. He must have liked the muffin and wanted more!

Sneaky little thing!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tick Tock

It is October now. That means I have three weeks left of General Surgery! August at the VA was incredibly busy. September was much more manageable on the Surgical Oncology team. I actually got to do some surgeries on my own, just me and the staff surgeon. I performed some melanoma excisions, lymph node biopsies, breast biopsies and lumpectomies, and even a plastic surgery case with skin grafting. It was really fun and I learned so much. In the beginning I was yelled at for my poor knot tying skills which despite my out of the OR practice, were difficult with the anxiety of the OR and the surgeon watching my every move. By the end I had a famous surgeon tell me I have "good hands and a good surgical base." Compliments can be few and far between so I will take it! I really felt that I made some big improvements in a short period of time, going from feeling completely inept to realizing I just need more practice and am doing just fine.

This month I am on vascular surgery. It is probably the least busy rotation yet on GS, at least as far as the at work time. I have very few inpatient responsibilities which leaves me feeling a little lost, "Are you sure you don't need me to do this?" I mostly seen clinic patients. These surgeons do some very interesting things that are mostly over my head. I realized I would much rather look at black teeth than black toes. And am so grateful I can walk without pain. I need to cut down my cholesterol.

Overall, I am getting excited to head back to my oral surgery team in less than a month. I know my forearms will ache after my first few procedures. I know I will be taking more call. And I know I will be a little out of practice. But I also will know a lot more about what is going on and I know I will be doing things every day that I love. Everyone has said that the second year is probably the hardest. I'm getting there!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I don’t remember being very body conscious in high school. I’m sure like most teenage girls, I was SELF-conscious, but I really couldn’t tell you what my body looked like, except I was about 117 pounds (so a lot skinnier). And I had acne. --Or at least that is how I remember it. The only thing I received comments about were my funny feet. I agree, they are funny. And worth commenting on.

When I started at BYU my freshman year, suddenly it seemed every one else was very body conscious for me. I learned from a roommate and a guy I was dating that I had a “funny tummy.” I had never realized that before, so thanks for cluing me in-- I'm honest when I say, I've never forgotten it. I also learned from my roommates and friends that I had a lot of “junk in the trunk,” which luckily I guess was a good thing. But I really had no idea about that, either.

I hope I am a self aware person. Someone who sees myself accurately. Sometimes I get these paranoid thoughts that I am really not who I think I am. Like in those movies where you don’t find out until the end that the main character is the crazy one. I guess if you are crazy enough to develop an alternate universe, you are probably crazy enough to not know. Anyway, I hope this is all real! (If it’s not, maybe I am glad I don’t know.) But you’d think I’d make a little less busy life with more time to myself…(weird the conversations I have with myself).

As for my body, I know I probably don’t see an accurate representation of myself. It can be helpful to have a twin sister to look at but even with our similarities, she isn’t me. I think it is interesting to compare compliments I receive to my own perception of myself over time.

Most frequent compliment lately: "You have beautiful skin."-- I still feel like my acne-ridden teenage self so this surprises me. I'm glad people see me this way because I have NO IDEA how to wear cover-up!

Second runner-up: "You have perfect teeth" or a "great smile." --Best compliments for a dentist!

Compliment I never get anymore: "You are so skinny." I'm not fat but I don't think I merit this one anymore to exclaim it without fishing. (I hope I don't really do that, by the way.) Although come to think of it, someone did say that to me yesterday...I was wearing scrubs that were too big.

Compliment I'm just starting to appreciate and wish I got more: "Wow, you look too young to be my doctor." This used to annoy me a bit. I'm hearing it less now and I'm starting to feel old.

Most laughed at body part: remember the part about my feet? Who cares, they could be worse in my mind! A lot worse.

And for the end, one compliment I wish I got just once: "I love your six pack!" (see paragraph 2)

What do you get the most compliments on? Do you agree?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Message in a bottle

When you are a kid, everyone knows when you are in trouble or lost you should send out a message in a bottle. A message telling where you are, a note to your long lost love, or perhaps the map to a buried treasure. These messages are sent without knowing if anyone will ever read them. That's how I feel about blogging right now. I've been wondering why I keep sending these messages and who I'm hoping they'll reach.

I tell people it is so my family can see what I'm up to. I'd like to be able to talk to them more than I do but I am pretty busy. "Blogging is a way they can know how I'm doing,even if I don't have time to call." Except, I don't think my own mom reads my blog more than every few weeks. (That's ok, Mom.)

I say it is to keep up with friends. I love reading their blogs. I'm not sure they read mine. Then I wander to blogs of strangers (does anyone else do that?). I would be secretly embarassed if they caught me but I also wouldn't mind if strangers were keeping up with me. Except sometimes I would mind-- if they are creepy.

And am I the only one who sometimes feels more lonely after reading other people's blogs? It is hard not to see the amazing(ly edited) lives of the bloggers I frequent and not feel a little bad knowing the behind the scenes look at my life. The beautiful women who have beautiful kids and beautiful houses and look like they are 19 (maybe they are?), taking cool trips and having parties every day with their beautiful friends who also have beautiful kids and beautiful houses and go on their cool trips with them (oh and make really amazing crafts every day and nutritious organic meals). Of course, neither the wife nor the husband have to work a day in their life to sustain their 'life of the rich and famous lifestyle.' Or the people who have silly things to say that obviously no one would want to comment about except they have 200 comments per post.

All the while, I am getting older and more tired with less friends and no vacations (although I do really like my house) and a boring life with nothing good/interesting/funny/cool to say.

Then I think about what Abe says: Abe thinks blogging is annoying. "It is a bunch of girls looking for people to tell them, "You go girl!"'

I don't like to admit it, but I guess he is probably right, at least when it comes to one girl I know (quite well). I have found that in our uber-connected culture, I often feel more isolated. I come online when I am bored or lonely. When I feel like everyone I know has moved away. When I feel too busy to have a normal life. When I am finally come home and Abe is working late. I come for a friendly word or a friendly face. But I usually leave feeling more lonely or isolated. Ironic. I can read all about a girl I knew in kindergarten or an old boyfriend I haven't talked to since college, without ever talking to them. Maybe that is the problem.

Does anyone else feel that way? What keeps you blogging? Are you even there?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Hair Story

My mom always had a pixie growing up. She felt like a boy. She hated it. So when she was blessed with four daughters, naturally we all had long hair growing up. In fact, my first REAL haircut wasn't until my freshman year of high school. I had regular trims but I don't remember ever cutting off more than a few inches at a time until I made the jump to shoulder length hair.

Maybe as a result, I never got into the habit of regular hair cuts. I've continued to have long hair since that time although usually not quite that long. I usually grow it until I can't stand it anymore. Then comes the spontaneous, "I need it cut and I need it cut now!" where I call around until I find any salon that will have an opening. I've never come out looking horrible (takes a lot to mess up long hair I suppose) but I also haven't found anyone I've loved.

Until last November. In one of my "cut it now" rages, I happened upon Chelsea. She was amazing. A real hair artist. I had never had such a wonderful haircut where almost everyone seemed impressed (even weeks later after the initial shock of the change I was getting almost daily compliments) and I felt I could actually make it look kind of close to how she did it. I was so pleased I even scheduled my next appointment 6 weeks later before leaving the salon. I did this a few times in a row. I was sold.

And then, one day she disappeared. I showed up for my appointment and another girl took me back. I had received a message on my phone as I was on my way saying that she would be doing my hair that day but I was shocked when I showed up that that was indeed true. She didn't say a word about it, acted as if she was my normal girl and proceeded to cut. I was shocked and angry. I didn't want to take it out on her but I as mad they wouldn't at least inform me earlier and ask if this new plan was ok. I finally asked, "So is Chelsea gone?" ..."Yes, and I don't know where she went."

I was angry and upset. Normally I wouldn't have blinked an eye about this but now I finally cared and she was lost.

A few weeks later I told a friend about Chelsea and how she was lost. A few weeks after that I noticed this friend had a cute new 'do. I asked who did it and she told me "Chelsea." I knew it had to be her and hooray, I found her once again. I saw her once...until...

I received a call today. She has moved again. At least this time she had my number so she could inform me of her next jump. But unfortunately, with each move has come a significant price increase. Her new salon now "starts at $50" for women's cuts. As much as I love her, I don't know that I can fork out that much (plus tip) for a haircut often enough to stick with her. Or $40 for her to cut Abe's hair, which she also did a great job on.

What a disappointment. After a long roller coaster ride. Does anyone have someone in Iowa City they really like? I mean REALLY like?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Little Disappointments

While I am on General Surgery I am supposed to have 4 days off per month. I have learned to really appreciate those days and even just having a few hours off has seemed like VACATION.

This weekend I am off. Two days in a row. Maybe even Monday, depending on if they need me or not. Or so I thought. Abe called me last night right before bed (as he was on-call all night at the hospital) and told me I was on call tonight. I had no idea. I somehow had misread the call schedule so I had no idea.

What a disappointment. A 12 hour shift isn't a big deal, really. But I was so looking forward to a full weekend off. That hasn't happened to me in months. I'm not super pleased that one of my two weekends off has a night shift right in the middle. Isn't really a weekend off, afterall.

What a disappointing thing to realize at 10:30 on a Friday night. I will be taking general surgery call for the trauma team and all other general surgery teams. Honestly, I am a bit nervous to be on TRAUMA (not just facial trauma) but I also think it could be kind of fun and crazy busy (first game day of the year today). I'm looking forward to NEXT weekend when I really have the entire weekend off and am meeting my parents in Chicago. Yay!

Have to cancel my dinner plans. And my sleeping plans. Don't judge my lesson tomorrow at church too much!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I've discovered a new pet peeve. I'm kind of feeling bad about having pet peeves right now (the idea of thinking I am so important that things I find annoying--that other people obviously do--are so mortifying that I would make it a PET that I feed with my loathing makes me feel a little arrogant) but I can't seem to shake this one.

Have you seen these babies?

Evidently, we humans were 'Born to Run' and we weren't born with shoes. Barefoot running is I think coming quickly into vogue and these little babies are designed to protect your tootsies as you run like your mamma made you to run.

That's not the problem. Although I find them a little creepy and I personally have major concerns about them fitting my abnormally long toes, I have no other problems with them for their designed purpose: running.

But have you seen people wearing them around in the community? As if they are a cool new fashion accessory? I know they are expensive but to me it just looks silly. I don't seem them being comfortable. They have no support. They aren't cute. Maybe it is the same idea of a designer purse that is quite ugly but cost a fortune. It makes people look and say "Wow." Maybe I am supposed to be impressed you could afford them or that you must be a big-time runner.

But I still can't get past the fact that you are wearing them around like they are normal shoes. And in the hospital, or worst yet, while you perform surgery in the OR. I think I want a little more padding between me and all of the germs.

And as I said, they still kind of creep me out.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I mowed the lawn last week. You may be impressed but that isn't the point of this story.

While I was mowing, I noticed an older gentleman pushing a stroller with a baby. He waved in a very friendly manner as he walked by. I was a bit surprised by how excited he seemed to be to see me but I figured it was a nice gesture.

As I continued mowing the backyard I noticed as I approached the sidewalk at the end (and I guess beginning) of each row that he had reached the corner at the end of our lot and had turned around. As I mowed row by row, he came in and out of my view (or rather, I seemed to figure out, I into his) and out of the corner of my eye it appeared he was just standing there. No longer pushing a stroller. Just standing behind a stroller. I was embarassed to stare so I tried not to be paranoid as I continued to mow. After I had finished quite a few rows I started feeling uncomfortable. Was he really watching me? Was he just tired and taking a break before continuing back the way he had come? He was older so I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I decided to focus on the part of the yard behind the house so I wouldn't have to feel like my mowing technique (or whatever else he was watching) was under scrutiny. After a few minutes I noticed he walked by towards the other end. "Phew, he's gone."

However, as I began to mow the now undone portion close to the street, I noticed he was at the other corner of our yard, now at the driveway, turned around facing me again. Standing there. That is when I really got the creeps. Yes I was wearing short shorts from my single days but that didn't mean I deserved to feel like I had a stalker. I wondered what to do. I thought about approaching him and asking how I could help him. I opted to mow the side lawn (again) on the far side of the house, away from view.

I then went to the front door, knocked quickly and loudly until my (former cop) brother-in-law answered. He tried to scope out my new "friend" but couldn't see him from the window. I figured I was safe after a few minutes, and finally went out to finish. I could see him far off in the distance towards what I figured was home.

Strange. And creepy. He looked harmless but I still felt a little violated. It made me a little more anxious about keeping my blinds closed at night. I wonder what he would have done had I gone and said hi?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Skin 'n bones

I found this article today. I also found it a little sad.

It reminds me of a time when I was in my last year of college. I was extremely busy with a 20 hour/week job, full time classes, my lacrosse team, and dental school applications/interviews. I was so busy and stressed I found that I wasn't eating as often as I should and I feel I was a few pounds underweight.

I got compliments during that time about how I looked great. One guy I was dating told me he didn't like girls who were "too skinny." I asked if he thought I was and he said, "No, you are perfect." That really got me down. I had spent hours in the gym exercising to have strong muscles and to be healthy. At this point I wasn't doing that and suddenly I looked better than ever without even trying, when I actually felt my most unhealthy. I was very discouraged that my "too skinny" stage was "just right" and good thing I didn't fit under the "too skinny" thing he was talking about when I felt I was almost inadvertently starving myself. I asked him about it months later and he said he was hinting that I should put on some weight but was caught off guard when I asked him about it, that he didn't want to hurt my feelings. I don't know if that was true or not but it had a big impact on me in relation to what we have come to accept as "normal" or "beautiful." I felt I could never keep up that "ideal" or that I should even try. And I guess at my normal weight at that time of 125 pounds I was a chub.

As much as I try to fight it, I know I have been sucked into the skinny is best mentality. I noticed the other day while watching a realty show that I kept saying to myself, "She's not THAT pretty." or "She's kind of chubby" when in fact, the women I was watching were attractive and thin. They just didn't live up to my perfect standard I was used to seeing with the movie stars and models we usually see in the media.

I have also tried to stop looking at magazines that try to catch celebrities with their cellulite or their newly chubby tummies, etc. I used to look at them in horror and disgust, "Oh my gosh, how is she famous with a tummy like that!" or "look at those stretch marks." I think in being critical of them (when they are usually obviously gorgeous) sends a subconscious message to myself that is harmful. If Beyonce or Jennifer Aniston aren't perfect, I should maybe be glad instead of disgusted that they are normal people too.

What do you do to protect yourself from this dangerous philosophy? It is so hard to not get sucked into believing it, even when I logically tell myself not to.

In the still of the night

It's 1:40 am. I finally finished my work for the (day) night. I admitted a patient from the ER (mainly because his ride left him so he gets to stay the night). I wrote 5 discharge summary notes and 5 discharge instruction notes. I did a history and physical. I updated our patient list. And I have only answered a few patient related pages tonight. Good thing it has been a little quiet since it took me so long to get everything done tonight. I guess I could maybe try for some sleep now. Only 4.5 hours left on this shift.

The night shift has been nice in a lot of ways. It has certainly been a breather compared to my busy days at the VA. I have been able to at least attempt some sleep each night, although that can be tricky for a number of reasons: 1- my biological clock is all off. I am getting some sleep at night. I am sleeping in the morning and often the afternoon to catch up. I'm confused. 2- the bed. Which I have to say is an improvement. If my other call room bed is an F, which I'd say quite confidently, it is, this bed is a C, maybe C+. Actually, the bed isn't so bad as the pillows. Def have a Mamma Bear, Pappa Bear situation with no Baby Bear pillow to be be found. 3- pages. Pages every hour to give me updates on transplant patients. Or pages that really could have waited until morning and woke me up leaving me awake for the rest of the night despite a completely mute pager. and 4- I don't know that this keeps me from sleeping, but there is no lock on the call room door. Creepy. I even dreamt that someone came in and sat on my bed. Because there is no lock.

The food has remained marginal at best, although today I did state, "Every day they have mystery meat + carb. Why can't they switch it up with a pasta dish or stirfry?" Well, today I got my wish...something more like hamburger helper than the mystery meat over soggy white bread phenom that usually is offered to me. It sits in a "Warm" cart all night. ALL night. Milk and all. And canned food. I don't think the gov't knows how to do fresh food.

Speaking of food, my appetite is all messed up too. I have been counting calories for about a month with some success. Until now. I don't know what meal it is, what day it counts for, how many calories are in the cafeteria offerings. I seem to be eating 6 meals a day and supplementing with a lot of treats.

So there are definitely some perks to working nights. But it is also pretty confusing. Now I'm wondering if it's worth the wrestle with the call room bed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Everyone said, "Pediatric Surgery is so busy! Once you get past that it'll be smooth sailing." Yes, it was very busy. I worked long hours. I was exhausted. I felt like I would fall asleep while walking around and definitely any time we sat down, in the dark, after lunch, for conferences talking about bowel stuff I didn't understand. Despite the fact I was sitting next to the faculty who was talking and across from the one who was asking the questions. Couldn't be helped. I tried. I tried really hard. But I enjoyed it. Some of the kids were so cute. The team was nice. And the month went fast.

Now to Aug 1. "You'll probably really like the VA. It will be a nice break and you'll get to do a lot."

Well, so far I'm not convinced. At least about the nice break part. And the getting to do a lot part, I thought meant doing surgery. So far I am doing A LOT. The senior residents keep saying that we have more patients than they ever remember having. We also have combined two teams instead of one. And instead of having two interns and a midlevel resident to help with the floor work, we have ME. The first few days have been me running around crazy and frazzled without a free minute until at least late afternoon. I literally can get three pages in 10 seconds on multiple pagers. I have felt like everyone wants a piece of me. The transplant team wanting me to admit a patient; the nurse stating I still haven't signed the orders yet; a new consult and his family is mad he hasn't been seen yet; Erin could you please go see a clinic patient; the next surgery patient needs to be marked; can you please do a thorough history and physical (including a rectal exam?) and so on all morning. Thank goodness I have a team of medical students who can write notes and help with some of the work but even then I can hardly keep up.

The situation isn't so bad. A few perks: free cafeteria food. Which is actually awful as far as food good goes but at least it is there when I have zero time to find real food. Working with the vets who deserve so much after their service. A nice team.

I have Wednesday's off. Tomorrow I switch to the night shift. It probably wont be so crazy busy. We'll see how it goes. Only 27 days left.

Oh, and about rectal exams: not as bad as I anticipated. Good thing I got really used to poop on my last rotation. I told my resident (when she asked) that although I had never done one before I would go for it. One of the students asked (I thought with a tone), "Didn't you ever practice though?" No, surprisingly, we didn't learn that in dental school. And it isn't a routine part of my exam. And if it was, I would probably lose my license. Or be arrested.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Today some women (or a woman--I'm not even exactly who) from my church came over and while I was at work cleaned my house. Are you kidding me?! Who would want to do that? And for me? I can see doing it for someone who is sick, or a new mom, or an old woman. Or maybe for your family or best friend. But for me who is perfectly able to clean my own house and as far as I know wasn't related to any of these women? Wow.

I was embarassed. I had to talk myself (and Abe) out of cleaning so then they could come over and clean. I think time (or the lack thereof) was the only reason I decided that was silly. Maybe I've had the "cleanliness is close to godliness" phrase ingrained in me for too long, because it feels like one of my moral failings to not be a wonderful (or even average) housekeeper. And showing off your dirt and grime can be pretty personal. But, for whatever reason, they tried to convince me how I shouldn't feel embarassed and that it would be "so fun" and they were "looking forward to it." So, I being the wonderfully accomodating person I am was pleased (although hesitant) to "LET" them do my dishes, sweep my floors, dust my furniture (thank you! I have a real distate for dusting), scrub my toilet. Coming home to a sparkling house was such a relief (tinged with a little bit of guilt and a touch of mild embarassement). But I think it was worth it. Makes me feel a little ungrateful for all of the times I tell myself I'm not available to do nice things for others. I'll try to do better.

Thank you! I hope you really did have fun or at least had that "I'm helping someone" feel-good-feeling because you really did more than I had expected and I feel a little bad now. Although I am really loving the results of your hard work. Maybe I'll even LET you come again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I kind of crashed and burned when it came to logging my first week on general surgery. Should have seen that one coming!

So far things are going surprisingly well. I have a great appreciation for physicians when I rotate on their teams. They really do know so much about the human body and many of the intricasies of its management. I also know more and more how human they are. I used to think Doctors knew everything. That what they say GOES. But I know that Doctors are human. I hear a lot of people complain about the mistakes their doctor made, how they had to wait at a doctors office, about a missed diagnosis, etc. They are usually doing their best and things don't always go as planned.

Anyway, not to wax too philosophical but I have been enjoying my (very busy) time with the pediatric surgery team. I am learning a lot of good things and hope to learn a small chunk of what these surgeons know. I am getting a better understanding about how to manage medical issues such as dehydration, tube feeds for people who can't eat, and how to get people to poop. I've seen kids make great recoveries, children get diagnosed with cancer, cute little babies in the NICU, and even the loss of a child in a tragic accident. It is really fun working with kids and also very challenging.

The team is really nice. I work with 2 upper level residents, another intern, and two med students as well as a staff surgeon. It is very busy. I arrive about 5:30 am and leave about 6:30 or 7:30 at night. This week I have logged 51 hours since Sunday. Three more days until my next day off! I am at work a lot but overall enjoy the time I spend there. If only I had more time at home. Please don't come over unless you plan to do the dishes or sweep.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Peter Piper

It seems like growing up we always “worked out in the yard.” My grandpa had a huge garden (I wonder now if it was as big as I remember). We almost always had a garden growing up. And now that I am an adult with my own place, I’ve found the magic of gardening. Abe and I have had a lot of fun with the few plants we’ve planted this year. Watching them grow from tiny seedlings into large plants has been really fun. (Fun? I don’t know what other word to choose.) We’ve been especially excited about our pepper plants.

Yellow pepper (look at Abe, the proud pappa of a 2.5 foot pepper plant. We don’t have time for a baby or pet so this is about all we can handle, okay!)

photo 1

Red pepper

photo 2

I was so pleased with the idea of planting functional and hopefully one day, pretty and colorful plants as decoration for our pergola. They really seemed to take off and were bearing a ton of peppers that were growing rather quickly. These pictures were a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, (did you see this coming?) a large storm hit IC this morning. Abe dropped me off at work a little after 5 am. It was very ominous and strange feeling (Very Wizard-of-Oz-zy or maybe just tornado-ey). He thought about the plants on the ride home (less than 2 min each way) but by the time he arrived home, he found this

photo 3

and this

photo 4

and thisphoto 5



I’m surprised how sad I was. I’m glad we don’t have a dog because Abe and I were both really down to see what had happened. We were so close to enjoying the vegetables of our labors and it was as Abe put it, “The one thing I had to look forward to at the end of the day.” Yep, I think we are working too hard if vegetables are our most exciting thing to think about but at this point it is probably true.

As for my other plantings, if you ever wondered if those topsy-turvey tomato planters work, they do! Luckily this thing is like a TREE so it survived the storm. But I”ve noticed some rot already on the tomatoes. Hopefully we can correct that with some plant food.

photo 1

And speaking of trees, this little guy didn’t make it, either. Sigh. If you aren’t sure what I mean, that little evergreen is supposed to be everGREEN not red.

photo 2

And the 97 flowers I planted a few months ago? I think I have about 40 left. We have a mole I can’t seem to get rid of that has unplanted almost very single flower as he digs beneath them. Enough have shriveled and died that it really doesn’t look very good.

photo 3

I guess we’ll have to keep paying $2 per pepper at the grocery store.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 2

People keep asking me what my new rotation is like. I thought I would keep a log of my first week to give an idea to those who care. “It’s like real life Grey’s Anatomy” I was told today. Only if Abe gets to be Dr. McDreamy.

July 2: My first day on-call. Remember that the duty hour rules changed so considered an “intern” I am not allowed to take 24 hours of call at a time. This is maybe the one nice part of the new rule changes, weekends are only 12 hours of call. However, it used to be call from home. Now I am “in-house” while on-call, meaning I have to physically be in the hospital. This didn’t make a big difference yesterday as I was so busy I wouldn’t have left very early anyway.

At 6:00 I met the other resident (my senior) on the floor. We gathered up our list (22 patients—luckily, we didn’t have to see about 4 of them) and looked over the data for the night. Then we rounded.

About 8 am we met our staff doctor and rounded with him again. Had some tricky parents to deal with, including one who felt we had hurt her child while moving her and another who would not give consent for an emergency, life-saving procedure that was needed for her child. In instances like this, the law can dictate a surgery be done to save a child’s life. This was the case here. I am learning it must be so overwhelming to have a sick child who stays in the hospital for days/weeks/months. Not only do they have to live there, but you have to stop your life to be there with them. How exhausting. And stressful on many levels. It makes me grateful for my health. I’m learning especially to be grateful I can have normal bowel movements in a toilet. Seems so simple (and something you don’t want to even think or talk about) but there are a lot of people that can’t!

After about 9:00 the senior and the staff go to the operating room and do two surgeries (including the emergency—all went well). My med student (I know, I “get” a med student on this rotation which is really cool!) and I worked on paperwork. I had notes to write on every patient we saw as well as orders to update. I also had 6 patients to discharge, meaning they have to have all of their orders modified and updated to go home as well as a summary of their medical condition and the course of their hospital stay.

10:30 I finally got a muffin for breakfast.

10:45 back to the notes. Luckily the med student could write notes and I could use them as a starting place to make my notes from. That helped. And my senior got back about 1:00 and helped with a few notes and took care of a few new patients. Abe dropped by somewhere in here on his way home from rounds to say hi. Answer questions intermittently from (nicer) nurses.

3:45 “Oh yeah, forgot about lunch.” Head down to the cafeteria with the senior. Run into Rafael from the ward and eat some sushi. Talk about our busy lives.

4:15 Continue on with notes. Answer nursing calls and issues.

5:30 Finally done with all of my notes for the day! Patient has a rash, could I please come look. Mark it with a marker. Fun, my mom never let me write on myself. Child fell out of crib while mom was watching her. Could I come check her over for injuries. She seems okay. Poor thing!

6:00 Done!

Duty Hours: 6 am to 6 pm

Hours between next shift: 24+. Yay, one of my days off.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1

This is an important and busy day for all academic hospitals. The day that all of the residents who finally figured out how things work move up and on to other things and you get stuck with the interns, fresh out of medical school (or in my case, dental school). I realized today that even though I am finally a 2nd year with some clout, I am treated as an intern on other rotations. So maybe I haven’t really moved up in the world yet. Ha ha!

Here is a little info about my transition/sampling into the life of a general surgeon.

I arrived at 5:25 am for my first day in pediatric surgery. I was nervous as I had no idea what to really expect. I get nervous even about simple things like presenting in rounds, even after 2 years, and especially in front of my MD colleagues. I don’t want to stick out too much. Sometimes I feel like I’m an imposter! or a spy. I don’t want to be caught (especially by patients) pretending to be an MD. I want to just blend in.

We made up our list of patients (16) and gathered the data. Then, we rounded as a big group. I felt like a dentist when I needed a stethoscope and didn’t have one. I have used Abe’s until now but he is back in clinics so took it back for his own use. Luckily, my mother-in-law is amazing and when I couldn’t borrow one from my physician father-in-law, she bought me this and delivered it right to the pediatric floor at about 10:30 am without me even saying anything. So nice! I guess Abe asked if they had an extra and since they didn’t, she took the initiative. A late birthday present? And so nice to see a friendly face when you are feeling out of your element.

3M Littmann 2812 Classic II S.E. Stethoscope, Orange, 28 inch

12:00 noon: Not so nice: mean nurses. Had a particularly bad run-in with one who was very rude and unprofessional when she accused us of joking around and walked out on us when we in fact where being quite serious about our patient’s condition. That’s all I’ll say on that.

1:00 It took all morning to write up the notes because I didn’t know much initially about the patients. We fielded some nursing questions and a few new consults, including to the NICU (which is fun to see all the cute little babies). I realize I know nothing about guts (a lot of pediatric surgery has to do with colon and stomach problems), baby formula (Marci, can you help with this?), and babies in general. I should learn a lot this month. Also reaffirmed how many people die, are mangled, maimed on ATVs.

3:00 Finally, about 3:00 I made it to the OR for a laproscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). I got to maneuver the video-scope and suture a 1 cm wound. I know, be impressed! I was feeling very tired and sore at this point (residual effects from a long day in the OR yesterday I suppose). The child had a very loose baby tooth that I helped wiggle out (with my fingers) so she wouldn’t aspirate (swallow it into her lungs). Finally, something I know!

About 5:30 we finally rounded again with our staff doctor. By then we probably had 20 patients. I have a headache. My masseters hurt (the muscles on the angle of your jaw).

6:45 “Erin you can go home.” I don’t question. I don’t linger. I say, “OK!” and leave.

I survived my first day. I think it will be okay. I also think it will be very busy. And I will definitely be humbled.

Duty Hours logged: 5:30 am – 6:45 pm

Time off between shifts: 11 hours 15 minutes

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Big Day

Tomorrow feels like a big day. It’s Amber’s birthday for one (and if you don’t know Amber I guess I should confess that it is mine as well). I decided today that I should celebrate my last day as a young 27 year old. I even ate birthday cake (although it was someone else’s). It feels like a new beginning, partly because…

It is also my last day of my (second) first year of residency! I made it. What a crazy couple of years with some funny stories. Maybe I will have to tell some more when I remember them. Anyway, I am definitely celebrating my time on my own oral surgery team (one more day) before I enter the scary and busy world of general surgery. I have so much to learn! including how much sleep I really need.

---and I cleaned the bathroom! I feel ready. Bring on the appendix removals, the thyroids, colon resections, and gallbladders. My bathroom is sparkly and disinfected. except for the floor. didn’t get that far.

Okay…I realize you are thinking, “Wait a minute. Is she getting excited about cleaning the bathroom? Aren’t you supposed to do that often enough that it isn’t a big deal?”

Yes, you are probably right. But for me, it just doesn’t happen nearly enough. If this bothers you, like I said in my last post, I am taking volunteers for latrine duty.

And we’ll see how clean I can keep it and when I am able to post my next post!

Monday, June 27, 2011

This has been my second year as a “first year resident” because of my intern year that I completed last year. It is strange to think that in a few more days I will finally be a second year (for the first time). It is strange that our new first year residents are here, eager and probably a little nervous to begin. Suddenly, after two years, I’m not the lowest one on the rung. That will be a very strange change.
This next year will probably prove to be my most challenging. Starting on Friday I will begin my first of four months on General Surgery. My schedule in July already looks a little daunting. I may not have the cleanest house or be in the best shape, but I think I overall manage to find a decent level of balance. Come Friday, I am seriously concerned about my ability to do anything besides work and sleep as I will be on call (days only due to new medical resident duty hour rules) 14-16 hours per day every other day (alternated with probably 10 hour days), with only 8 or 10 hours in between shifts. As that is about the amount of sleep I need each night, I am taking volunteers for bathroom duty and meals! Abraham will also be busy on his General Surgery rotation during this time so we really will be running ragged.
Once I finish in General Surgery, I will head back to my own team for a few months until I do Neurosurgery in March. That will be another busy time with 4 am morning start times. Yawn. I am feeling more sleepy by the minute.
It should be an exciting year. I am excited to increase my surgical skills and to see some new things (I’m actually hoping I get to do an amputation—see how warped my world is becoming?). I have also turned over a new leaf and am studying much more. I only have three more years to learn everything (not really, but it feels that way) so I better get to it. I did finally teach myself the one-handed surgical knot. Just in time.
I better get going! I feel like I have a lot of sleep, cooking, cleaning, etc to catch up on before the end of the week!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I think the buzz has mostly died down, but there have been some rumors that BP recently had “plastic surgery,” which she calls “corrective jaw surgery.”
I have been interested to read the comments made by the general public in regard to her surgery. Many have been very unsupportive and have even made accusations that she is a liar and a bad person mostly because they believe she had merely cosmetic surgery and not a correction of any functional problem. Some of the comments are quite vicious, actually!
Check the link below for her explanation and some before and after pics:
I wanted to set the record straight. While I cannot comment on what she had done (I can speculate), “corrective jaw surgery,” or orthognathic surgery, is actually a real group of procedures and something my residency program does for hundred of patients each year. While it can cause hugely positive esthetic/cosmetic changes, it is performed primarily to help in alignment of the teeth and jaws which can be important not just for looks but also for chewing (eating!), speech, breathing, to prevent TMJ problems and tooth wear, etc. Odds are, you know someone who has undergone this procedure in the past.
What do you think? Do you think she looks better now?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dreams and visions

I am a very vivid and wacky dreamer. I wake up almost every day telling Abe, “I had the STRANGEST dream last night.”

Last night I dreamed I was on some kind of reunion trip on an airplane on our way to a summer camp type place. I was excited to meet up with an old friend who basically told me that she would tolerate me talking to her, but really, she had already kept in touch with all of the people from her past that she was interested in being friends with and didn’t want to be my friend. I felt really bad and embarassed.

I was feeling very lonely once we arrived at my bunk and started to cry. My sister came up to me and asked what was wrong. I told about the incident and my general lack of friends. “All of my dental school friends moved away, I don’t really talk to anyone from high school or college, I’m the only girl at work, all of my church friends have or are moving away.” She asked me why I blog so much (this was a logical flow of conversation in dream world). I told her, bursting into tears, because I know I have no REAL friends so I have to pretend I do through my blog.

So there you have it. My brain pulled together all the pieces and made sense of my crazy world. I guess I don’t have any friends so if you could pretend every once and awhile by making a comment my subconcious might feel a little better.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Tuesday

Today is my last day of vacation. I really haven’t done much but it has been nice to have some time off.

Today I finally decided to get myself in gear and clean up a bit. I had grandiose intentions of cleaning, organizing, painting, basically transforming my house while I was home. I did do a little bit of painting and a minimum of cleaning. And ick, found ants in our kitchen. GREAT!

I did get back on my bike for the first time all year. Wow. I forgot how much fun biking is. I need to remember this more often, like every day. I logged about 1000 miles on my bike the first few years but have significantly slowed down from there.

I am also getting a facial today. Never had one, but I’m excited to try. And a much needed eyebrow wax. I get very nervous with the eyebrow waxing. I’ve had a lot of botched jobs so I’m going to make her really sell her plan to me before I let her touch me. I used to have beautiful eyebrows and I was very happy with them and got compliments on all the time (well all the time considering we’re talking about eyebrows). One bad esthetician and I’ve been trying to recover for years.

AND… starting tomorrow, I have only one more month left of my first year of residency. I will also be starting my general surgery rotation on July 1. Three more years to go.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Some random thoughts I’ve been having:

Life in general: 

I think the grass is def greener on the other side, at least at times. I often feel like I have a pretty boring life:

I guess in its daily tasks, it is anything but boring (this past weekend I basically sewed a nose back onto a face, helped with a 10 hour case putting a man’s face back together, met multiple facial fracture patients involved in assualts, motorcycle and car accidents, and ATV accidents, an inmate who found excuses to come to the ER twice in two days, etc). But on a weekly basis, it feels like I go to work, make dinner, sleep, go to work, make dinner, sleep, go to work, make dinner, and sleep again. Or hope to sleep. And hope to have the motivation and energy to make dinner.

Sometimes I envy the free time my friends who don’t work have. The openness of their day to wake up when they want, run errands in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, meet up with friends, or go on vacation. Spontaneity!

Nail polish:

I’ve really been liking nail polish lately. And on my FINGERnails. I used to be a toe girl only (but lately I can’t seem to keep it on—it rubs off whenever I wear my work shoes) but fingernail polish can be pretty fun. I have friends who have said that nails can only be “any shade of pink.” Oops, missed that one! I usually have the opposite sentiment. Right now I am loving this mint green. I got a ton of compliments when I wore it last week (except for one woman who said “ew!”). I only have one rule about FINGERNAIL polish: take it off within a day of it chipping. I think if you are going to dare the fingers you have to keep it up.


I’ve also been loving my hair feathers and extensions. So fun! These look a lot like mine. Wish I had more like her! Probably a little too much for my boring (professional) life. I have an image to uphold (which is really too bad sometimes).

Go to fullsize image


I’ve actually made some really good progress on a few of my goals. Great news for me, I feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut my whole life when it comes to goal achieving (the setting part is easy, it’s the follow through that is hard). I am happy to report I have wore makeup (at least mascara) almost every single day since my blog post about a month ago. That is big for me! I only skipped twice, when I was on-call without access to make up and after a full day of yard work. My house has been cleaner. Not great, but I’ve been so much better! I’m only half embarassed if people dry by unexpected. And I’ve been studying more so I can be an awesome oral surgeon one day. Three goals I’ve had for a long time!

That’s all for now. Bored yet?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I may need an intervention

Alcoholism has been shown to have a genetic component in some people. Families seem  able to pass down this tendency to each other. If you never take a drink, you may never know if you are an alcoholic inside.

Do you think being a workaholic works the same way? That some people, once they get a good long taste of work, can’t live a normal life without a little work each day? They just don’t feel like themselves without it?

If so, I may be at risk. Growing up, my dad always had some project to do on Saturdays. We would look forward to a good day off. He looked forward to a good day with the chainsaw. And us kids picking up the wooden destruction behind him.

Lately it doesn’t feel like I get many days off any more. It is more common to work on the weekend than to have a weekend off. It seems when I do have a day to myself, though, if I don’t have chores lined up, I don’t know what to do with myself. Sometimes I almost feel like maybe it would be better to be at work so I’m not bored. Crazy, I know. (I am by no means asking for more weekends oncall, if any of my chiefs happen to stalk my blog.)

I have a week of vacation coming up in a few days. I am really looking forward to some time off (catch up on sleep!). But I also have no idea how I will spend my time. Nowhere to go; not a whole lot I want to do around the house (or maybe not the stamina for it); and Abe has to work on Saturday so probably not even a weekend trip. I spent my last vacation day doing yardwork in the rain. I think I need help.

Any ideas before I become a full blown workaholic?

Friday, May 20, 2011



At work, chillin'. Had a terriyaki chicken bowl and a soy milk (asian theme?) from the caf. Glamorous, I know. Just part of the life of an Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Resident. Checked on a few patients this evening...a big face "crunch" and a big infection and saw a jaw fracture in the ER. Pretty standard categories of patients for us.

Now I've been practicing my knot tying. Two handed tie...check. One handed tie...not so much. Talking to the janitorial staff about his teeth. Catching up on the book, FB. I should be catching up on a book. Studying can be so hard, even when I'm killing time at work.

With that a way, it is TGIF. Fridays are one of my favorite days on call (after maybe Wednesday or Monday). The advantage? Unlike Sat or Sun, I've finished half of my shift with my normal work day. And also unlike Sunday, I know I get to go home the next day and sleep or do whatever I want.

Unlike Sunday. Sleeping here and going right into the next week is no fun. Makes for a sleepy week. And an emotionally taxing week.

So...TGIF (until this Sunday when I am on-call again).

Cheers! Try not to break your face this weekend. Please. At least not if you live in Iowa (or W. Illinois).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fat Free

I’ve been trying to cut back a little. It can be hard with all of the treats Abe makes but I’m not going to try to stop him, either! I found this in the fridge the other day:


Is that what dessert really looks like when you are on a diet?

It made me laugh. And think a little bit.