Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Winding Down

Today I:

Read and released a record 170 plus blocks.

Unsuccessfully downloaded latest software on my Zeiss microscope camera.  I've got a help desk number to tackle in the a.m.

Successfully completed Her2neu Dual ISH training.  I guess that's not CISH.  Or FISH.  It's DISH.  I imagined counting too many copies of the offensive, aggressive gene on a satellite on my roof, beaming into space.  Watching the latest movie releases while staring at colorful breast cancer nuclei.  Chromogenic antibodies - anti-goat, anti-rabbit, anti-mouse - floating in the ether.  I passed with flying colors - 92%.  Isn't that an A minus or a B plus in my previous life?

Had sushi dinner with my fabulous friend Laurie.

Worried over my sciatica from my recent running injury on the beach last week (large spinal tumor?  Metastatic disease to the spine?).  Ran at 5:30 a.m., pre-conference.  The tide was too high, the sand was too soft.  My foot is still numb.  At least I can finally sit still without agony.

Comforted my son who had a busted lip bicycle injury.  Hugged my daughter to sleep - she has as much difficulty as I do winding down.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Topic Week at MiM

Yippee!  It's been a long while.  Topic week again over at MiM.  You can read my post about being imperfect here, if you want.  Strange that I was able to keep that topic from stretching to novel length.

There are going to be a ton of great posts this week - guests and regulars.

I also posted this over at MiM.  Forgot to provide link here.  Good potty humor.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Fainting

After my comment on MiM mail last night I got mail from a reader who wanted to know more about my experiences in passing out.  I've got volumes in that category.  Here is what I wrote back to her.  

Thanks for your e-mail.  I was always a fainter.  I fainted every time I got my teeth worked on - pulled, new braces, etc.  It was crazy.  Oh and in college when I got my belly button ring (long gone era).  In med school blood draw lab, I did fine when I drew my partner's blood (first, quick and well) but when he was sweating and sticking me multiple times it was just too much and the next thing I knew I woke up on the floor in the arms of a nurse.  I wasn't the only one.  

I sought advice from my sister, a PA in anesthesia (physician's assistant) who is much tougher than me but had similar issues early in the morning before surgery, before I started clinicals.  She learned that was when she was the most hypoglycemic and started keeping small juice packs and sugar candy in her backpack or scrub coat pocket.  I emulated and never once passed out during an early surgery.  I found it pretty easy since the patient's head was all draped and you only saw the one part you were working on - I could mentally separate it from the person and pretend it was arts and crafts.  Which is how I got through autopsies, too.  

I know a guy that got queasy and had to leave the room after watching his first pelvic exam.  If I remember correctly he was the president of our class and is now a cardiologist at Duke.  So it happens to the best of us.

I passed out - almost anyway - needed cold washcloth and head between legs - during the bone marrow because that is an archaic, painful as hell procedure - the patient was prone and miserable, and moaning, and I was 8 weeks pregnant, so low blood pressure already - BTW, do you know your blood pressure?  I have very low, good blood pressure, and I think that is sometimes the culprit of the passing out.  At the private institution I work at now, patients are sedated for marrows, thank goodness.

Gross anatomy - if you still do that these days I hear it is going by the wayside - will be a nice segue to test your waters.  I might encourage you to try to volunteer, if you have time, watching a surgery or a birth or an autopsy or something during your first two years - so it is less stressful since it is not your grade.  Your being a med student will gain you access to many different areas and if you do need to leave the room no one will remember in a year or two.  It happens to a lot of people.

Remember even the toughest cops lose it (vomiting, etc.) during particularly nasty crime scenes.  That's what got me in the crime lab the first day - all those dead bodies and blowflies.  The stench and the bad karma was overwhelming.  Peanut butter crackers and M&M's restored me to a normal state, and I was able to continue.  

Once I had a mole removed by my family doctor, right before I started med school.  I passed out.  I woke up so embarrassed, especially having just excitedly told him about my new adventure.  He told me a story that made me feel much better.  "It's an evolutionary behavior.  Soldiers that passed out on the battlefield were assumed dead, and passed over.  When the battle was over they woke up and lived.  You should not be ashamed."  True or no, that was one of the best things I could have heard.  Made me proud to faint, ha ha.  And put my head in a better state around it.

Good luck, R -  Keep me posted when you get there.

Best, Giz

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Drilling update - I'm Sweating Now

With the four year replacing all the brick on the entire hospital plan, the drilling is quickly becoming the backdrop to my job.  On loud days I use my earplugs.  This week, insult was added to injury.

I arrived at work Monday morning and noticed that it was a stuffy 74 degrees in my usually chilly lab office.  I cranked down the temp on my thermostat, but a couple of hours later I was sweating and found the temperature had creeped up to almost 78.  It didn't help that I was drinking my mid-morning coffee.  I called the head transcriptionist and she called maintenance.  They hemmed and hawed and talked about needing to do some duct re-working/this might take some time/there is no quick solution.  So I propped my door open to get some hallway air.

I got hit up for directions twice.  The cacophony of a screaming child from the lab waiting room/ED overflow 10 feet away competed with the brick drilling noises that seem to miraculously find their way into my office from 16 floors above, as if they are right next door.  I saw the guys from maintenance puzzling over a large set of hospital blueprints they had pinned against the wall by their hands.  A woman stopped in the door of my office while I was dictating a long, complicated colon cancer case.  She hovered, holding up a large piece of paper, undeterred by my attempt at focusing on my task.  I finally paused and glanced at her to acknowledge her nonverbally. "Do you have any scotch tape?"  I mumbled no and shut the door as soon as she walked away.  I don't like to lie.  But I felt justified, in that instance.  My thermostat reading dropped down to 73 with the door open, but at quite a cost.

Two days later and still no action - I borrowed a partner's fan and plan to buy my own this weekend.  Luckily I am cold-natured - I can't wait to see what happens when my hothead part-time partner arrives tomorrow to occupy the office he houses next door to mine - we are the only rooms in the lab that are affected by the faulty ducts.  They say they are working on it.  They say . . .

Hopefully the massive thunderstorm/temperature drop tonight will help.  But it's Arkansas, so that fix will be very temporary.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Conquer Me - Blues Traveler

I remember buying a J.Crew shirt just like hers based on this video.  Minus the midriff action.  I was too conservative for that.

But I love this song.  I like to think that the singers of my favorite songs are singing just for me.  This one is a good example.  Harmonica?  He can blow.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Here's to Baby Goats

Baby goats can rescue us from our worst pre-teen moods.  Even I had no idea they were so other-worldy beautiful.   This one is two weeks old.  Cecelia wants to take her home if she will stay like this forever (wish!).  Nice segue into my next chapter book choice - one of my faves - Tuck Everlasting.  We got three chapters in tonight.

Brave minds wrestle alligators.

Experienced magicians are sometimes surprised by brother-sister bonds.  I was lucky that both of mine were chosen to be in the 20 minute kid section of the two hour show.  I won't subject you to my multiple videos - saving that for future embarrassing high school graduation and rehearsal dinner moments.  Not that I am attached to either one of those happening.  Jack chose not to chop off his sister's head.  After he decided not to subject his own head to the guillotine.  Cecelia stole the audience when I encouraged her to go for it "I thought you loved me, mom!!"  Here is Jack, reveling in the late night after magic show dinner.  The magician Maxwell Blade made him look pretty awesome.

Here's to a wonderful Hot Springs weekend with Alligator Farm, fish, and Magic Show.  Much gratitude to our sponsor.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Comfort Me - Feist

This is dedicated to Amber's sister-in-law's children.  They are on my mind tonight.  May she rest in peace.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bruises - Chairlift

Cecelia's new favorite song.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Fool's!

I know, it was a few days ago.  Forgive me, I'm a single mom in medicine.  I get busy.

April Fool's snuck up on us this year.  I was on call last weekend, and didn't get kids from dad and stepmom to celebrate Easter until mid-afternoon.  We had a wonderful scavenger hunt (tradition) blow out at my mom and dads, followed by a fabulous dinner.

After I got the kids settled in bed on the eve of April 1st I plotted ideas, but didn't land on anything specific.  I knew I had to get them, but wasn't sure how.  The next morning, in the middle of breakfast/lunch-making/getting dressed/getting hair done (C takes for-EVAR!) mayhem something came to me spontaneously.  Cecelia wandered sleepily into the front room absent-mindedly brushing her hair.  Jack had just come downstairs from 15 minutes on the Wii - his reward for getting up early, brushing teeth, making bed, getting dressed and feeding Katybell, our cat.

"Oh, Cecelia?  I was reading the news last night and I saw something really awful.  Disney World exploded."

Cecelia snapped out of her hair brushing reverie and looked at me.  "Wow, Mom.  That is really terrible.  How did that happen?"

I was busy cooking eggs and didn't see her face.  I stumbled over how to explain in my mind (bombing?  wayward Space Mountain car?) and was about to spit out some words until I looked at her.  Her face was drawn down in a confused, desperate frown.  Oh no.  She believed me.  I rushed to save her.  "I'm just kidding!  April Fool's!"

The relief on her face was palpable.  "Oh.  Mom, is it really April Fool's?  Thank goodness that didn't really happen."

A couple of minutes later Jack walked up to me, stealth-like, while I was distracted with breakfast preparation.  He confided loudly under his breath with concern in his voice, "Mom?  You have a hole in your pants."

I jumped and looked down, remembering stretching out some old, worn out jeans a few weeks ago and busting a hole near my groin.  Thank goodness he told me before I walked into work!  I didn't see anything right away and looked at him questioningly.  He grinned a devilish grin.  "April Fool's Mom."  I laughed, "I didn't even know you were paying attention Jack, good one!"

We had fun at breakfast and on the way to school plotting April Fool's jokes for their friends.  C got me back that night - I'll bet she planned it all day.  I was also inundated throughout the day with plausible snafus by techs and colleagues and gullibly took the bait.  I was a little razzed and tortured at work after telling my Disney story, but it was worth it.  I'll never let C live it down.  She believed me when I told her that Disney World exploded.  I've got magical mind persuasion powers.