Friday, August 27, 2010

Surgeon vs. Pathologist - "I Didn't Want to Bias You"

I've been watching these for a couple of weeks - they are hilarious. The Happy Hospitalist has made some great ones about hospitalist vs. cardiologist and hospitalist vs. oncologist. Mom TFH posted a one the other day (definitely the most hysterical - yes pun intended) about an Ob/Gyn having his golf game interrupted by a patient in labor. Someone finally made one about a pathologist - I found it on the Digital Pathology Blog earlier today.

Warning: You will only find this amusing if you are a pathologist.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Breeze

I love Dr. Dog's entire album Fate (thanks bro!) but this is my favorite song.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grand Rounds at Fizzy's Place

Fizzy, participant at Mothers In Medicine and author of A Cartoon Guide to Becoming A Doctor, is hosting her first Grand Rounds today! Aptly, the subject is humor in medicine. She references so many posts (including an old one of my own!) that I am too overwhelmed to click now but can't wait to put aside my book tonight and dive in.

Check it out here. She did a fantastic job. I think when I am done reading tonight I'm going to be following some new blogs. Dr. Grumpy sounds interesting.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Well, it was Friday (mine). I got lots of wonderful gifts, but I've two favorites.

I gave Sicily a doll I had when I was little a couple of years back. Sicily named her "Miss Mary Mack." She has since lost her hair and dress and is often relegated to the far corner of the room at bedtime. Once, I asked Sicily why.

"She's really mean to my other dolls, Mom. She's not allowed on the bed because she's always poking or hitting or saying mean things. It's her punishment."

I was sad for Miss Mary Mack.

"I understand that you have to put limits on that sort of behavior, and I applaud you for that, but you've got to show her a little kindness every once in a while so she knows what it's like. After all, she did spend twenty years in a dark box in the attic. That's bound to make any doll a little mean."

Sicily looked up at me, shocked and angry. "Mom, did you put her in a box in the attic for twenty years?"

"No, I think Bapcia (my mother - Polish for grandmother) did. But you can't really blame her - that's what all Mom's do to toys when their little girls are growing up and stop playing with them."

I could see Sicily struggling with empathy for Miss Mary Mack, and I noticed over the next few weeks she slowly brought her back into the fold and showed her how to get along in polite doll society.

On Friday, I was home with a not-so-sick Sicily, and she made me a present while I was running. She kept it a secret and presented it in front of a small group of friends and family Friday night at The Pizza Joint.

Miss Mary Mack was all dolled up in Sicily's first dance recital costume and she pinned fabulous firework hair to her head to cover her baldness.
"She's yours, mom! I'm giving her back to you. She can sleep with you now, so you won't get lonely." I smiled and gave her a big hug.

About three weeks before my birthday, Jack, Caitlin, Sicily and I were eating lunch together. When Jack learned my birthday was coming up, he started drawing on my hands. I wasn't paying attention, and the conversation moved on. Finally I looked down and asked Jack what he was doing. "Balloons on your fingers, Mom. For your birthday." I took a picture when I got back to my office so I would remember.

Yeah, I'm a little over-addicted to solarize camera effect right now. I'll move on at some point.

Overall, I had a good weekend. The most surreal moment was doing karaoke last nigh in a party room I did not know existed. It was in the back of a Korean dive - disco lights blared around the cramped room. Two fans set on high were attempting to staunch the heat coming from the crowd and the hot soup that filled the tables. A high definition screen played Asian videos that were so strangely unrelated to the song choices my friend's date was pounding into a large remote control, it was like constant comedy throughout the evening. Military scenes on "Sweet Caroline." A car chase during Guns n' Roses "Paradise City." I finally got up on the last song and sang with someone I'd just met - "Sister Christian," even though we had been there for three hours and they ran out of cold beer long ago after the first round. It reminded me of singing it over and over with my sister in our bedroom closet when I was a little girl. I'd never done karaoke. It was fun.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day of School

Read it, if you want, over at MiM.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Big news this week. Big enough to shout from the booth of Purple Cow. From the mountaintops. From the clouds.

No, I did not publish a paper. Although I have in the past. More than one. None so interesting as the title over at Mom TFH's squee-worthy blog this week. But, I bought a house!!!

My very own home. Nice and conservative on the outside and in your face (like Jack above) amazingly updated on the inside. It's as fancy as the solarize camera effect on my Droid. I'm pleased as punch. Now I won't have to make two moves, and worry about a rent house. Between packing and working and signing contracts and filling out mortgage applications and collecting financial information for divorce and, oh yeah, kids first day of school is tomorrow gotta get back in the swing of making lunches and doing homework and C lost another tooth tonight so I'd better remember to play tooth fairy and presenting at breast conference Thursday morning - I've got no reason to complain of boredom.

I'm busy but happy. The planets are aligning.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Arm's Length Autopsies

Desperation can make you go many places.

But I'm not desperate. I can make a low ball offer and be perfectly content to move into an apartment if the negotiation doesn't go my way.

I'm nothing like William Osler and Howard Kelly - two pre-eminent M.D.'s in the late nineteenth century who ignored the wishes of their dead patients loved ones and pioneered the hidden autopsy. I recently read about it in an article called, "Sins of Our Fathers" in Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

These guys were so desperate for diseased organs to contribute to medical museums that they tried to figure out furtive ways to get the organs in that magic hour between death and the funeral home when the bodies waited in the hospital morgue for eternal pickling.

First they went in through the anus. A great idea - you can just get out through a tear in the colon and have your way with any organ you want in the peritoneal cavity. As long as you can reach it - they were also called the "arm's length autopsies." But a bicep of a certain caliber that desired to get all the way to the adrenal could leave some noticeable damage to the anus, so this wasn't ideal.

In a woman it was easy - the vaginal vault can hide an enormous amount of post-mortem activity. They could take their pick of organs by creating a tear in the vaginal wall and root around for whatever they desired. Metastatic colon cancer to the liver. Primary adrenal tumors. Spleen lymphomas. The world was their oyster.

Eventually, they learned that in men a sub-scrotal incision was preferable to entrance through the anus - it was well hidden and offered access to a wealth of museum artifacts.

While I would love to get a deal on my desired house, I'm not that desperate. Nope. I'll just go about it in an ethical manner. No post-mortem violation intentions here. Pioneers in medicine or no - that is awfully ambitious. Audacious. Anarchist. Anachronous. Wait, that last descriptor didn't make sense - I'm getting carried away. No more A's left. Pretty damn crazy, I'd say. But there it is in the fancy medical journals.

Wish me luck with the house negotiation.

Whirlwind Week

So I've fallen in love with a house.

Don't tell my realtor. Emotion and business transactions don't mix well.

I think I'm going to make an offer tomorrow.

Tonight - sushi with amazing music discoverer Laurie.

Then Jazz Night with Rex Bell. His wife told a hilarious nursing story, which will be the subject of a future blog.

Great singing - by the eternally peppy Jamie, a nurse at the hospital, and some originals from a 13 year old up and coming, Diane Reese (hope I didn't mutilate the spelling of her name), who was discovered in the Great Arkansas Talent Search. Her version of Cry Me a River brought tears to everyone's eyes. After she played piano and sang two originals. 13 years old. Jeez.

Speaking of great voices, I'm addicted to this one. Sexy as hell baritone. Glad he is OK with the fact that his mom thinks the parody video is reminiscent of a pedophilic Inspector Clouseau. The video is funny. The song is hauntingly beautiful. Bloodbuzz Ohio. The National. Enjoy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Dating Alias

My wonderful little brother is in town for a couple of days after a raging bachelor party in Memphis and a whirlwind trip to NYC, experiencing a little R&R at Mom and Dad's El Rancho before starting his second year of law school in Atlanta. I left work a little early to lounge by the pool with Mom, Dad, Matt, and a couple of his friends (thank goodness it's slower this week). Then we went out for Mexican. After Matt had a couple of margaritas, he was doling out dating advice.

"So have you started dating?"

"Oh, no - I mean, I've had people try to set me up, and I've had a couple of people ask me to lunch, but I'm not going there yet."

"Ah. Well, you are going to soon."

"I don't know. I've got a lot on my plate. Moving, interrogatories, being a mom with two kids starting school - I think that is enough for now."

"Sooner or later it's going to happen. I guaran-damn-tee there are a bunch of thirty-something men in this town fixing their hair, getting into shape, and trying to look their best. Word is on the street. Gizabeth is single. I guarantee it."

Mom and I laughed pretty hard at that one. Mom said, "See, don't you miss having Matt around?"

"Well, he sure makes me feel good." That's what brothers are for.

"I don't know Matt, being single feels so good - I am enjoying being selfish. Doing whatever the hell I want on my free weekends - movie nights with Laurie and Padma, reading in bed until 1:00 a.m. I'm not sure if I'll ever be ready to go there. It takes some time to unravel from a 13 year marriage and my head is still not quite straight."

"Well that's the thing, sis. You don't have to ever compromise yourself again. You are in control. You are in the driver's seat. When you start to date, never let someone drive you on a first, second, or even third date. Always take your own car, and leave when it is over. At the first sign of any weirdness, cut off all contact. A lot of my friends set up dating e-mail addresses - they don't even give out their phone number until the second or third date so they don't get crazy texts and phone calls. If the girl starts getting weird on them they just close out the account." Wow. That sounds complex. I can barely keep up with my three e-mail addresses, much less establish a bunch of dating ones.

Mom said, "Yeah! You could get your own dating phone." That might get expensive. Dad said, "You could create a Facebook account just for dating." Mom retorted to Dad, "But if she had her own Facebook dating page, it might look a little weird."

"Yeah, Dad, it would be strange if I only had one friend. They might get suspicious." Mom said, "You would look like a serial killer." Now that might not be such a bad thing, I thought. It would weed out the faint at heart.

Then Mom said, "Well, before you even think about dating," (who is thinking about dating, here? Mom, Dad, and Matt. Not me) "You need to get your sunglasses fixed."

I laughed. "Mom, you have to tell Matt that story. It was so funny. Remember Dad, about a month ago, when Sicily accidentally popped the lens out of my sunglass frame?"

She was dancing with Jack while Dad and I were cooking - Mom was out of town. She came over and held out the broken sunglasses with tears in her eyes. "Mom, I'm so sorry! I just flung my hand and it flew out. I know how much you like these - you just got them and I broke them!"

I was so shocked that the thought of breaking something I liked had moved Sicily to tears that I put the glasses on the counter and enveloped her in a big hug. "Don't worry, Sicily! I'll bet Grandpa can fix them. If he can't, who cares? You are way more important than any sunglasses."

The lens developed a tendency to pop out at odd moments, every other week. The most notable time was when I was off work and Mom and I took Jack to Mid-America Museum in Hot Springs. He had never been, and it had been at least 20 years since I had. There was this exhibit where you could crawl down into a worm-hole tunnel and the adults could watch the kids go through on a camera. He wanted to go so bad, but was scared. I told him I would go with him, but backed out pretty quickly when I realized that sheer physics would prevent my 5'10" body from angling down into the worm-hole to get through. When Jack realized I wasn't close behind, he quickly backed out. "Mom, aren't you coming?"

"Sorry Jack, I don't think I can make it down into that tunnel. I am just too big."

He looked so sad and I had planned this day for a long time, just for him, so I relented. "OK, Jack. I'm right behind you."

I struggled down into the hole and he was way ahead of me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I was in the dark tunnel I could crawl on all fours, but quickly yanked my shirt down realizing I was probably flashing the world on the camera with my underwear peeking out from my shorts. Jack was already down the plastic slide waiting for me when I reached the end of the tunnel, and I was hindering a nimble group of small children waiting behind me. The angle coming up from the tunnel was even more precarious than the one going down, and I struggled for a long time grasping the smooth plastic and trying to get leverage with a cramped leg. Just as I emerged, completely disheveled, my sunglasses (they were acting as a headband) hit the top of the tunnel and the lens popped out and rolled down the plastic slide. My one-lensed sunglasses fell at an awkward angle onto my face. I looked at my Mom and she didn't stop laughing for a minute or so. I made my way down the slide headfirst and grabbed my lens, then scooted out of the way for the other kids and rested on the floor for a minute, completely spent. When Mom finally recovered, she lamented over and over that she didn't think to snap a picture.

Matt and Dad laughed at the story. I told Mom, "I think I finally fixed them. I was determined last week when they popped out at my cousin's birthday party in front of a doctor and his socialite wife. I wasn't really embarrassed, but I decided I needed to try to fix them properly because it was all getting a little ridiculous."

So I guess my sunglasses are ready for a date. But not me. I've got to establish a new alias, with her own e-mail, phone, and Facebook account. Sounds daunting. I was never good at dating before - but this advice and decade are taking things to a whole new level. I think I'll just keep up with my girlfriends for now. Hard to beat Inception in Imax, and Laurie's tomato and basil pizza, grilled shrimp, and homemade ice cream. She, Padma and I had a blast Saturday night in Morgan, and I can't wait to plan the next movie night. Ramona and I had to bury our medical museum plans since the next three on our list are only open on weekdays, but she has new plans to check out a suspension bridge in Lake Village, and I can't wait for that outing. There is so much to do besides dating.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

I've Got Friends

So the novel is taking a backseat to YouTube. It's only Friday night.


Whew. What a busy work week. The month of July was a nice mid-summer lull with plenty of time for doing CME and catching up on journals, but not this week. It blindsided us all and left our heads spinning. 150 block days - no time for e-mail or lunch - hell I barely made it to the bathroom. I covered main OR P.M. frozens and enjoyed the trips to the OR to look at ovarian cysts and endocervical adenocarcinomas - it was a nice break from sitting at the scope.

In the middle of the week we absorbed my senior partner's work for the day - he had to go to the ER for arrhythmia symptoms. They kept him there to monitor him for a few hours, and I was happy to have the extra work to help keep me from worrying. I told him today, when he was returning a consult to me on a uterine cancer, "The happiest I have felt in as long as I can remember is when I walked into transcription and you were standing there, looking fit and healthy. I couldn't stop my ear-splitting grin. I guess it takes times like this to make you realize how much your partners are like your family." He is my senior partner - my father figure when I started. Mr. Even Keel. Mr. No Judgement. I have said before that we don't call in sick - he never has in the three years I've been there, so for him to abandon his call post and head to the ER was truly frightening.

In addition to the busy work week we got two "second looks" on the house at the beginning of the week, and the offers started Wednesday night. They played against each other and negotiations were fast and frantic over the last 24 hours. Mike and I signed a contract at noon today. He went to the realtor - I printed a contract that was e-mailed to me and faxed it in.

Yippee! This house is sold. The realtor usually advises against packing before inspection takes place, but he said to me on the phone today, "This offer is pretty solid. I think you can start packing now."

Yikes! Packing? I've got to find a house! I've got to figure out how much house I can comfortably afford. Closing/possession date is on 17th - four days before divorce trial date. September is going to be crazy. What if I can't find a house? Realtor said to get a corporate month-by-month apartment and store furniture. So maybe two moves.

The kids are headed to Florida with their dad at 3:30 a.m. for the week, and I've got a short two day work week. So I guess in addition to shopping for school supplies and filling out my end of the interrogatory, I'll start house hunting. "This is the fun part. You are going to love being a buyer in this market." That is what my realtor said. I hope he is right. I'm a little nauseated with the weight of the decision - but I have decided that it will probably be a temporary, no more than 5 year decision. I won't be a financial equal for another year or so - it makes good sense to be conservative. I don't want to get in over my head - I've got big Disney World plans next year for the Halloween celebration. There are more important things to do in life than be house poor - I've felt that strain for a long time.

I'm homeless! Instead of worrying about the future tonight, I am going to try to relax with a glass of wine (or two) and a book and celebrate that the house is sold, and I've got a comfortable nest egg out of it for a down payment on a new one. Hooray.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Easy Bake Oven

Read it, if you want, over at MiM.