Saturday, September 29, 2012

Honest Abe

Dr. Sheffield is a great doctor. I know he is just getting started but he already has mastered the most important skill of doctoring, something not all docs ever achieve: patient rapport (otherwise called “bedside manner”).

Dr. Sheffield started his residency just a few short months ago. Already, he seems to have a knack for making friends with patients and building their trust. He has received multiple gifts in his few short weeks. He even had a request from a patient for him to see him in the Oto clinic (he hasn’t even worked in the Oto clinic yet but they must remember him from his time as  med student). Somehow I don’t tend to get the same response from my patients (“I HATE dentists!”).

The only problem is, he also is well liked by the nurses. Usually you want the nurses on your side but I think his good looks help the cause a little too much. He has been told by the nurses at the VA that he looks like the romantic lead in the 50 Shades of Grey books. He gets asked his marital status and inquiries about what it means when he is not wearing his wedding ring (sometimes he forgets).

I don’t worry because I know he is an honest and loyal man who will keep his relationship professional.

I’m lucky that the cardiac floor nurses seem to recognize this as well:


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

(Too much) food for thought

Residency woes:
I recently read an article that said essentially, “Women who work 35 hours per week or more are on average 9 pounds heavier than their counterparts.”
All I have to say is, “What happens to those who work 80 hours per week?”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sunshine on my shoulder

I wouldn’t say I am a big fashion snob. I am pretty accepting of most trends and have even been one to like styles other people despise (I’ve said before my mom usually just finds me clothes she thinks are hideous and she knows I will like them).


I really would love RED hair! (source)

With that said, there are a few trends that I just can’t seem to get on board with. The major one that comes to mind is…

Leggings (and tights) as pants. I am sorry, but I just can’t help but stare when you put it all out there! I started wondering if I was the one off base here when I was in Chicago and saw a ton of girls with this look. Regardless of whether I am the uncool one or not, I loathe this look and in my mind it is still a major no-no, even if it is actually fashionably acceptable (I really don’t know any more).



There is another trend I have a harder time getting over…”the healthy tan.”

I have never been a huge sun seeker but I definitely have been a fan of the tan over the years. Unfortunately, I didn’t seem to inherit the tan skin gene from my grandfather so getting a little color to my skin required the traditional tanning method to achieve this much desired look.


I think we look pretty happy with the (white) skin we were born with

When I was younger I would actually try to get tan. I hoped to come home from our beach vacations or the pool nice and brown.



When I lived in Honduras in college I was careful in the sun (it took over 2 months to get a real tan) but I got my brownest and I liked it (although I can say I did get my first and only “sun spot” while there, a sign of the damage I was doing to my then very young skin).


A few months after Honduras, looking a little more like my brother (who got the tan genes)

As I got older (and wiser?) I started to be more careful with sunscreen but I still secretly hoped to get tan. I figured if I used sun protection and I still got tan, than so be it. It was a positive side benefit. I pretended like I didn’t care, but really I was just fooling myself.

I have continued away from this mentality. I didn’t tan for my wedding.


Almost as white as my dress…okay, not really. I wouldn’t say I’m pasty white or anything.

I have never been to a tanning bed or tried a spray tan. And now I try my best to not get tan (I still find myself being tempted for the glowing skin). I could do better with daily sunscreen (I haven’t found one I like and barely even having the chance during the day to look out a window let alone get outside makes it seem less necessary now) but I am doing better with hats (aren’t big straw hats cool?), etc.


sporting my hat and cover up at the beach (and a pretty lousy tan)


more hats…


…“cool” straw hats!

I still like the look of a tan and I like how I look with a tan, but I don’t think it is worth trying to be in style on this one. I’d rather look prettier for longer, with less wrinkles and dark spots. And more importantly, I’d rather be around for longer, to enjoy time with my family and others I care about. Maybe I could tan every day of my life and never have a problem. Or maybe I’ll get skin cancer regardless and this will be a rather ironic post. But I think I’ll try to increase my chances in the positive direction and be a little more careful. Too bad I think most of the damage we do to our skin is done when we are young (and dumb enough to think it “couldn’t happen to me”). But I’m making a positive change now. And I’ll remember when I have children.

Part of my change of heart came after my time on general surgery last year. I had the opportunity of cutting melanoma (skin cancer) out of two patients.

Unlike most of the cancer patients we saw, these were young, attractive, responsible girls. They were in school and working. They were healthy and obviously took care of themselves. They cared about their health and their appearance. They seemed more like me than most of the patients I have met in the hospital.

And they were beautifully tan. They didn’t seem to think they tanned any more than any of their friends, but they each had discovered a few weeks prior that they had melanoma. We took them for surgery. We injected a radioactive blue dye into the cancerous skin to find out if it had spread to the lymph nodes. Then, we cut out a large area of the affected skin and attempted to sew it back as best we could. This can be difficult and disfiguring. They were lucky it was on their leg and their back (and not on their face or other vital structures). Unlike many other cancers, melanoma isn’t well treated with chemotherapy or radiation. It is deadly and easily spreads. I am sure this was a scary time for these young early-twenty-something girls and their families.

*    *    *    *

If the other beautiful, tan girls I know could see this surgery I wonder if they would continue their days at the pool or the beach with the oils and the mini bikinis? Its ironic that what we see as attractive and even “healthy” is in fact quite damaging (not only potentially to our health but to our looks, as well).

For now, I’ll try to convince myself that pale is healthy and beautiful. And I think I’ll try to avoid any fake options as well. While these are healthier, I think it still sends a message that tan is better. I’m trying to be a trend setter here: accepting who we are no matter what shade (of white or brown). Anyone else catching on to the trend?

Friday, September 14, 2012

That’s (my) life

Things have been quite busy as of late! I’ve been wondering where the time has gone and I’m not really sure. It seems all I do lately is work and exercise (the last part I’m quite pleased about). Abraham is working strange hours and I feel we get less and less time (and even less productive/quality time) together although he does seem to be working slightly fewer hours. I’m trying my hand at spinning (exhausting), zumba (fun! if only I could do those body rolls and hip shakes better), and more biking and jogging than I’ve done in the recent past. I feel stronger with more energy (and am a little frustrated I haven’t lost any/much weight). I’ve had little to no success in cleaning, studying, cooking, etc beyond my exercise routine.

Yesterday was a long day at work. I was in the OR from almost 7 am – 10 pm. Yawn. A lot of delays and not actually that many hours of surgery, unfortunately. But I did make a century, 107 teeth pulled in one day. I had the lucky opportunity to go back to the ER about 1:30 am the next morning as well. I kept wondering why I was kind of tired today…oh yeah. When I finally got off work today, unfortunately, Abe was just starting. I’m trying to enjoy his time working as “me” time. Time to exercise, study, catch up on all the menial tasks I should be doing (and netflix marathons of trashy tv shows), and eating things I would never feed to my husband for dinner like squash and pickles (okay, I’m not sure what I’ll eat with the squash, probably not pickles, but who knows!).

I’m hoping to do some more posting this weekend. Yay for weekends off. Something about actually having a weekend to look forward to is a huge mental health boost! Most people take these two days for granted or complain they aren’t long enough. I’ve learned to really savor them. Yummy yummy days off!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Top O’ the morning to ya, amigo!

One thing I miss from home in Utah besides the mountains (and my family –okay, the third thing I miss) is Mexican food. I’m not saying Utah has the best Mexican food around but it’s certainly better than Iowa City.
I really don’t think Iowans have any idea what they are missing out on. I get rave reviews from restaurants all over town but have been generally disappointed with practically every restaurant I have tried in this food genre.
Think about it: Iowa (or at least Iowa City) is a place where some of the prominent Mexican restaurants are Taco Johns and Carlos O’Kelly’s.
Don’t get me wrong, I like potato ole’s as much as the next guy, but there just aren’t very many Mexicans in Iowa and this is certainly reflected in the food. So when you have to rely on a guy named John (wouldn’t you have more confidence at Taco Juans?) or an Irish man with a strangely ill fitting first name for your fajita fix, it’s not surprising it isn’t as authentic or delicious as one would hope. I think I would feel similarly about going to a Chinese restaurant called “Bob's Chinese Buffet” or Italian at “Ted’s Lasagna.” It just doesn’t instill a lot of confidence.
Luckily, I have found a few places in town I like and the Iowa City Mexican scene is slowly looking up. I recommend La Reyna and La Michoacana. I feel a little closer to home (and my Mexican roots) at these two places.

Then again, Iowa always has its  Taco Pizza!