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.