Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TB or not TB

So it's lab week this week. It was actually lab week last week while I was off, but we got doubly slammed with CAP (national regulatory agency) and State inspections. It was grueling, but good. We tabled lab week, and are celebrating this week instead. It's not quite the same, but I'm here, and despite being busy, I'm loving taking breaks to eat breakfast with the lab techs (Strawberry milk yum!) and get popcorn in the break room (sponsored by the Baptist Health Foundation Thank You for the wonderful smells). I forgot my lunch the other day and used leftover pancakes - you're a pancake genius Greg - to make a peanut butter and homemade Kiwi jelly sandwich - thanks again Krista you canning genie it was amazing.

We were in Micro Q/A meeting this afternoon - an every other month endeavor where we discuss issues within the hospitals and talk about bringing up new tests. One of the techs took the floor to discuss the pros and cons of a new molecular test we are offering - she did some validation studies - and how best to introduce it to the hospital. It covers Tuberculosis - a dying bug for sure these days but you never know, like all other bugs, when it might pop up again and become relevant. Avian Flu. Swine Flu. No one can prevent or predict epidemics.

So when she was muddling over what to do out loud she posed the question. "Tb or not Tb." Everyone laughed.

I feel like I am approaching every situation like a Shakespearean play right now, so I was exponentially  appreciative of the metaphor.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Girl On Fire

I picked up the kids tonight after yoga at their dad's house. They are usually indoors but the light is longer and the summer is near. As I approached the wraparound front porch to knock on the door of the large white farmhouse, I heard the kids calling me from the Magnolia tree in the side yard. I spent 20 minutes watching them best their greatest heights and show off their flip stunts they had taught each other before we went inside to gather their backpacks and lunch boxes. It was exhilarating. I love that they have that outdoor space at their dad and stepmom's to gather berries and climb trees. My home is more suburban and contained. But we have fun here too - planning outdoor adventures together to bike over the Big Dam Bridge or visit outdoor festivals with their friends.

On the way home I let them pick songs on Spotify. It was Jack's turn in the front seat, so he was driving the tunes. He chose this song - and old fave - he likes the remix with Nicki Minaj best. As we all belted out the words I wondered, "Is he thinking of me? Of Katniss? Of Cecelia? Of himself?" No matter. I remembered reading the New York Times Magazine exclusive on homelessness a little while back - here is the link - and I thought about Dasani dancing to this song in her basement. I wondered how she is doing now. I hope she's OK. I remember her story moving me to tears in my office as I ate my quick lunch between work.

Today was epically stressful, but in a good way. I had a record number of frozens in a short period of time after lunch - 7 in one hour. Two neurovascular bundle margins on a prostate. Three brain frozens - I love that this neurosurgeon comes in to talk to me face to face about my findings. An easy parathyroid. Despite the pressure in my chest screaming anxiety I kept a poker face and sailed through. Being busy is kind of like a drug. I never did much in the way of drugs - too scared of losing control - but I imagine it is better than the best high on the planet to be in charge of your surroundings and help surgeons guide patient care.

To all the girls and boys out there - stay on fire. Make it a slow burn. It's gotta last. Enjoy it and don't get hurt. Use the fuel for good. We all have that potential inside.

Rocket Scientist

Read it, if you want, over at MiM. Just click the first MiM to access a portal to a new dimension.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Road Trip

I think our mind processes fear in many different ways. I tend to intellectualize it. Then all of a sudden it comes to a head, and the emotion takes over.

I remember when I was little fear gave me a thrill. My Dad taking me to see Alien and The Predator. My Mom showing Sara and I old Alfred Hitchcock shows and watching The Blob with Steve McQueen; my sister and I huddled behind the couch in fear and fascination of a tiny amorphous being growing to overtake a small town. Mom introducing me to Ray Bradbury. Sneaking downstairs at night to watch Tales From the Crypt.

Then you hit the real world, and you discover that the truth is often stranger than fiction, and you can see the inspiration. I was talking to a colleague just last week and learned of a medical examiner/legal consultant who is covered in tattoos. He apparently offers to tan and hide the tattoo's of loved ones during autopsy for a pretty price (in the K's) online. For an eternal memoir.

On my road trip to Bentonville this weekend I had high hopes, but in truth we rarely left the hotel room. We rested and ventured out into the square to watch Earth Day celebrations and buy souvenirs. We ate a fabulous dinner at The Hive and were in bed by 8:00. But before we retired we hit the hotel museum and the gift shop, where my friend introduced me to Laurie Lipton, with whom I am currently fascinated - sitting on the couch perusing the book of her work that I purchased. After breakfast this morning at 7 a.m., I spent some time absorbing her large print of The Haunted Doll's House in the museum.

My ever-safety conscious friend, who checked out a disturbing sound for me in the middle of the night that reminded me of a large aluminum trash can rolling around eternally on an alley pavement - she confirmed that it was just lack of structural integrity of a roof awning that was being swayed by advisory level lake winds; read the safety manuel in the hotel on the way to dinner. She saw this:

Ha ha. Is that a violation of code? My boyfriend wondered.

In general I think fear is a good thing. It can lead to heightened levels of paranoia that while not overtaking you, can make you wrap your brain around a situation in many different ways to achieve a deeper understanding.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Moving on!

One More

Oops I almost forgot. This one's for you. You know who you are. Thank you:)

Thank U

My spiritual journey with Alanis is now over. Thanks for your patience. Sorry I rushed things in the end, but you know how I've always been in a hurry. And I've got a fun girl's weekend to get to. I can't wait to eat at The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel. And there is a cool exhibit modernism exhibit at Crystal Bridges right now Laurie and I are going to check out on Sunday morning - I think my boyfriend is a little jealous, but in a good way. He's spending the weekend with his mother, who came into town for the first time since he has moved here. I hung out with them yesterday, sat in the backseat resting because I was still coughing a lot. We toured the buildings he designed in Hot Springs while he was working there - they are pretty amazing. I think these antibiotics are finally working. Thank God.

Flying solo but high.

Alanis Morissette - You Learn

Alanis Morissette - Ironic (Video)

Alanis Morissette - Right Through You - Jagged Little Pill

Alanis Morissette - Forgiven - Jagged Little Pill

Friday, April 25, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

All I Really Want

Thanks for the talk bro.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hand In My Pocket

It's great to have a good friend who supports you. That's all I really need right now.

Rest Time

Everyone has a favorite song on the planet. This is mine. I've never heard this acoustic version, it's nice.

Just popped a Levaquin after finishing work. I caught a cold from the kids and it seems to be demanding something more than just orange juice. Hope the abx work (Thanks Dr. Staggs!!) Headed to bed for a nap. It's great to be able to meet your needs in the middle of the week. I haven't done this week off at home in a while and I didn't remember what I was missing.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Alanis Morissette Perfect


I'm off this week, but I spent about six hours at the hospital playing catch up today. After a fun girl lunch I headed over to the kid's school to volunteer for an Easter party. When Jack's room mom sent out a query for volunteers about a month ago I was so excited I wasn't working. Ha ha. Ironic, but still. No new work - room to breathe. Not like last week.

The query e-mail promised more information later, but not much came. I showed up to the classroom upstairs at 2 and no one was there. I bumped into the principal, who I saw informing other confused moms down the hall, and she told me the 2nd grade activity was in the gym. I wandered down to the gym, and was so excited to see Jack on the floor squirming in a line with the rest of his class. The gym floor was ringed by three classes of second graders. There was a large pile of scattered construction paper cut-outs of various Easter colored butterflies and different shaped flowers at the center of the gym floor. I looked around to see what I could do to help. A coach was  about to give the instructions to the kids, but as he started another mom volunteer walked up to me. She pointed to a green poster on the wall with letters making a joyful religious phrase in flower shapes that reminded me of Wheel of Fortune blank spaces. She handed me some sticky tack and told me we had to help the kids stick the letters to the poster board when they found them. But she was talking to me when the coach was giving the instructions, so I didn't know what the kids were going to do and had to figure it out while watching.

There were three poster boards on three different walls of the gym, all of the same phrase. Each class would send three representative kids to the large pond of scattered paper to overturn them looking for a letter of the phrase (I forget what it was). When one kid found a letter, he or she would run to his class poster and we would help them stick it to the board with sticky tack. Then they would tag another class representative to join the search. It was fun to figure it out. Only the flowers had letters, and the kids didn't know this, so they turned a lot of butterflies over to no avail.

I wandered over to the other volunteer mom, silently wondering about the game. It had come to a standstill. Kids were turning, but no more letters were being found. "Wouldn't it be a mean but funny trick for them to not put enough letters out? So the kids are learning a hard fact about life? That there aren't really any answers?" She was watching too, and noticed the dilemma. We laughed. The no more finding letters continued, the kids were working frantically. I checked in with the teacher. "Do you think they only put out less than enough letters, accidentally, maybe to only fill only one poster instead of three?" I watched her see the problem too, and she checked in with the organizer, who I learned had an extra set of letters and began planting them. As she was doing this, the other mom and I quipped. I said, "Maybe the lesson is like the lost plane. It's time to figure out there aren't really any answers in life." She said, "Maybe they want the kids to cooperate, and pool their letters. Create an axis with allies between countries."

As the new letters were planted, the game accelerated. One class finished their poster, and then the other. Jack's class was still trying. They only needed one more letter. A lot of adults were helping now. The game had gone on too long. I stepped into the middle of the gym, and picked up my first flower - one of hundreds. It was the last letter to Jack's class puzzle. I screamed in triumph, showed it too the class, and Jack beamed. "Mom, you found the last letter!!"

Sometimes it takes a lot of work and a little luck to get to the solution.

I've been channeling Alannis all week. So I will subject you to more. Her words and music are rolling around in my head like a sack of marbles. It's fun to revisit your past with new tools. I'll post the one I like today in a new post. I'm too tired to figure out how to do it here. It's time for a glass of wine or two and bed.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Not The Doctor


It is funny, listening to this through 40 year old eyes, after 20 years. I am the doctor. But I'm not the doctor. I was a psychology major in college but I failed my GRE's twice in such a not studying epic way that I was forced to redirect. I decided to try med school. I got in early decision, and now look who's the rock star:).

I listened to this album three times over the course of the 1200 plus miles to Auburn and back for a fantastically wonderful wedding weekend. My daughter composed and wrote an amazing toast on her ipad on the way there. When she read it, she brought the house down. The anonymous guest attendant next to me told me she should be the next President of the United States. I told her she would have to convince her out of her rock star aspirations.

Here is the toast.

"I remember the first time I met Aunt Sarah, she painted my face with sparkles to make me look like a Princess and I painted a pair of Angel's wings on her back. I knew she would be the awesomest Aunt ever and I hoped that she would marry Uncle Matt. The next thing I knew, Bapcia was telling me not to tell anybody that they had gotten engaged because it was a secret. I was so excited. I had another Aunt Sara! I would like to make a toast to my new Aunt Sarah and of course my Uncle Matt because of his good taste in the ladies. I wish them a happy life for the rest of forever."

Hope you have a blast on your honeymoon, you guys! Love you both tons.

Caption: Aunt Sarah and Cecelia. Bohemian Night Rehearsal Dinner. Fountainview Mansion, Auburn AL. 4/18/2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know (Video)

I loved loved this album. I remember driving to Memphis solo to see her at the Omni New Daisy Theater. I was in the front row two feet from her screaming the words. I loved seeing her rise to the Pyramid a few years down the road.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Consumer Driven Healthcare

Ok here's another MiM post. I'm kind of proud of it, but I worry it's a little esoteric. I'll let you be the judge. Hopefully you get the gist, if not all of the details.

As always, Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dust to Dust

My awesome yoga teacher Matt, who kicks my muscle's ass, plays amazing music during yoga. That's how I found this song. I hear these guys don't get along in real life, but maybe that's just gossip. I love this song.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


My long time nanny, Josephina (dubbed Nina by Cecelia) has a granddaughter that was born within five days of my daughter. Her oldest child had two boys preceding Natalie and her birth was very celebrated. So were the birthdays. I remember attending her birthday when Nina first started working for us - I think it was her third. I brought the kids to their home and it was a feast. There was a large cake that resembled a multi-tiered wedding cake, a pig that had been roasting in the ground all day, many different tamales including the cactus that would become my favorite over the years Nina worked for us as a nanny. Natalie was dressed to the nines and looked like a Madame Alexander doll. Nina still helps out around the house once a week with the laundry, and is ever available for babysitting and emergency snow days, of which we had many this year.

Natalie and Cecelia played together a lot while they were growing up - Nina would bring her to the house while I was at work some days. When they went out people would mistake them for twins - my daughter has very dark skin and gorgeous brunette hair from her father's side so she looked like a carbon copy of her Hispanic friend. Natalie was full of life - the apple of her mother's and grandmother's eye. I encouraged the friendships among my kids and my nanny's grandkids - I enjoyed the closeness and supportiveness of the children, older and younger, that her culture taught. I watched the behavior of the children at birthday parties and found responsibility and protection manifest at a much younger age - something I saw lacking in my own social circles.

About three years ago Natalie suffered from an acute illness that progressed rapidly from fever and stomach problems to seizures. The seizures, unprecedented, rocked her body and required hospital admission. I was lucky enough to be off and in town when it happened, and spent a lot of time at the hospital trying to facilitate communication between the doctors and my nanny's family - many of whom did not speak English. Unfortunately it did not help Natalie's health. The uncontrollable seizures continued for hours, days, and caused severe brain damage. They never figured out the precise etiology, but suspected something viral. She has lived at home for three years, but requiring constant attention, wheelchair-bound, and regular visits from home health. As my children have required less attention from a nanny in recent years, they see her family less. But they have attended their Catholic church with them some and we bump into them occasionally.

Sunday Natalie died. I have lots going on this week, busy work and family visiting in the evenings, but I just picked out an outfit to wear to the funeral tomorrow - one of my partners is covering my service. I found time to tell the children tonight. I grappled with hard questions. I wasn't always able to give firm answers. "Has Natalie been in her body while she was in the wheelchair? Did she hurt? Was her spirit there? Was she aware? Where is she now? Does she have her old body back?" My son was in tears, my daughter reminisced about playing with Natalie in the old days.

"Wherever she is, she certainly has her old body and her spirit and she is free and happy. And that is a good thing. She knows we are thinking about her, that we love her and miss her." I am feeling the loss of Cecelia's pseudo-twin deeply. I cannot imagine what her parents are going through, have been going through for the last three years. I know this loss of a child is impacting my children. I am much less certain in my own mind than the words I deliver to attempt to calm my children. I am also experiencing that when a child dies, words come slow and thick. There are no words that can comfort or explain. In a parent's eyes, the loss of potential future must be staggering. In a child's eyes, hopefully the short life lived in the present moment was enough.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Kick Start

Been posting a little at MiM, in case you are interested.

Sick Day

On the Move

Sentinel Lymph Nodes

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Crash Landing

So I made it through a week of skiing on Spring Break for the first time in 15 years without falling. Then my boyfriend and I traded shifts to get us back to Little Rock from Colorado in one day - 18 hours of driving. During the drive, I texted dad and stepmom. "The kids want to see you Sunday. We should be back around midnight or so. Does any time work with your schedule?"

"Yes. Absolutely. 10-4 ok?"

More than ok. That would give us time for grocery shopping and our first 20 mile bike ride in 5 months.  It's been an unusually long winter. It was supposed to be 65-70 and sunny on Sunday. Yippee.

We did the drudgery shopping first then geared up for the ride. We go from Two Rivers Park across the Big Dam Bridge into North Little Rock- it's much prettier to ride over there. The halfway point is the Clinton Bridge. After having been gone for a week, the landscape changed dramatically. The grass was turning green, the Carolina Jasmine and Tulip trees were blooming, the River was high from a late week storm, and the scent of Spring was palpable on our tongues. The bridges were crowded, but it was manageable despite wayward toddlers and pets. Until we got to the Clinton Bridge.

I was riding in front, but slowed down after the crest because of the high pedestrian traffic. Despite the congestion, I found a path. It was near the rails. 2-3 feet wide, plenty of room for me and bike. But as I approached, the 60 plus woman with earphones on the right took a sudden horizontal to the left, closing my nice window. I veered to the left to avoid crashing into her, and instead crashed into the rails. My imbalance threw me to the concrete on my knees. Embarrassed as hell, I tried to right myself but telltale vagal stars that I hadn't experienced since I was preggo with C and getting blood drawn brought me back down to the concrete on my back. I passed out. Woke to my boyfriend Stephan (pronounced Steven) asking me if I heard him querying my need for water.  Maybe? From the bottom of a well?  No matter, I was back, but he was suddenly kidnapped by a touring group of seniors from Burbank, CA. "Can you take our picture?"

I think they thought I was resting, but two stragglers realized I was hurt and asked me "Do you need a doctor?" I smiled and refrained from telling them I was a doctor. "No, I am just a little dizzy from my fall. Resting." "Ah, you need sugar!" I thought yes, I didn't realize it until now, but that was exactly what I needed. As they dug around in their purses for Lifesavers (Ugh green and purple really? My two least faves?) and Peppermints, I anxiously awaited the candy deliverance of my resurrection.  Meanwhile, I heard my boyfriend talking.

"You are from Burbank? I lived in L.A. for two years? Where? Yes I know exactly where that is!"

Later he lamented over leaving me for the group pic but I was silently glad for the relaxation and lack of attention for a bit. I got lots of sugar. As the ladies retreated to their group pic, at my urging, they worried about leaving me. "Don't worry, that's my boyfriend. He will help me get up." "Yes, but we are MOM's. And Grandmom's. We are better equipped to take care of you than a boyfriend."

That made me smile. "I'm a mom too", I said, looking at my bloody knees and wishing I had shaved in the past 48 hours. Oh well who cares. But I did care about the 10 mile bike ride back to Two Rivers. Why did this have to happen at the halfway point?

I think the exercise ultimately reduced the swelling. The effect of the post adrenaline from the crash made me loquacious for 7 miles then exhausted for the last 3. But I made it. And the bruising wasn't bad at all the next day. Yoga was doable tonight, despite a little knee pain. It pays to be in shape when you crash.

Incidentally, the scars on my boyfriend from bike crashes (he was practically a professional) make mine look shameful. But no matter. I survived. I may not be running a marathon, but I can somewhat bike. As I was telling my story to my partner today, and he was joking about pulling out a magnifying glass to see the abrasions, I laughed. It doesn't take much for me to see stars. But it takes a freak accident for me to lose control - I am all about control. And I learned Sunday that I can handle the lack of it.