Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Crazy busy

     But I'm off until after Memorial Day so that's good. Just got my ducks in a row Kimmie and her daughter Liv and I are leaving for Halsey at around 1:00 tomorrow. I paid for tix and a room at the Embassy Suites in exchange for her driving my Jeep and Kim's a good driver. She is Christy's other BFF and she is a gem I'm looking forward to getting to know her and her daughter better.

    Sedona was a bit of a wash - I was sick the whole time and we canceled all of our dinner plans. Stayed on LR time so we were up every day at 6am and in bed by seven or eight sleeping 11-12 hours a night. What a great place for R&R - we were Creekside and I had two long overdue sessions with Lisa while S hiked. I managed a little shopping and an easy Jeep tour but not much else. The Grand Canyon day on Monday was a bust for me. I was hugging the tour van window to stave off dizziness and nausea. 

    When there is an abyss, it sometimes frightens me. I feel l can't get too close or I will fling myself, and everyone else, off of the edge. And the Grand Canyon is quite the abyss. Thank goodness that razed detail shop on Cantrell is finally building a retaining wall every time I drove by it on the way home I felt like my car would uncontrollably head off into the woods. Making me panicky. I remember going to the rooftop at the Crescent years ago imagining myself the young unwed mother (it used to be a home for those) who jumped to her death. I thought it was just me, but I read this is a common fear (Halsey spoke of it in a Rolling Stones interview). 

    On the way back from Sedona we were worried about getting to Flagstaff from Denver bc last Friday it dropped from 90 to 30 and lots of snow was expected. Denver was spared, but we saw snow from the plane right outside of the metropolis. We congratulated ourselves when our plane, which was an hour late, made it in time to board the one to Little Rock and when we watched our bags get loaded from the window we were ecstatic. 

    Didn't check the weather in LR, though, and when we reached it we made a sharp turn. We were diverted to Tulsa bc of the thunderstorms. They held us hostage for 2.5 hours in the vacant apocalyptic airport with only two vending machines for sustenance promising that we would be able to fly back as soon as the weather passed. When they put snacks out at 11 pm and I saw the pilots heading out I got worried.

    At 11:30 we were promised that we would have a flight out at 9am the next day. Yes (food and wine), I said, and asked the solo gate attendant if we could get our bags so we could go to the hotel we just booked, a Hilton Garden Inn, near the airport. She told us to hold on 15 minutes. Well that was 400 dollars down the drain bc she said bc of the PGA tour they couldn't find a block of rooms so they rented two charter buses to take us to Little Rock starting at midnight. Four hours on the road. I'm never flying United again. We paid enough money to go to freaking Paris and I end up on a charter bus at midnight. Wish I had Christy's money I'd fly private for the rest of my life.

    I was having stomach cramps and had totally lost my Pollyanna mentality - told S across the aisle of the uncomfortable crowded bus that he had better get some sleep bc I wasn't going to be able to. After a quick stop at a Love's in small town AR (who knew that Love's were so busy at that time) I had confided to S that I almost puked twice so he alerted me to the trash can by the driver. A half an hour later I asked him to get it for me and hurled cough drop juice for a few minutes all the while thinking I was in a new terrible state of Hell. 

    Luckily I was feeling better on Sunday - we went to Rennie's silks recital at 2:30 (she was charming) and then had a blended family send off for C - she is spending the summer in San Sebastian Spain on her scholarship dime and then visiting her friend Caroline in Denmark. So much braver than I was at her age. She's a little homesick but she made it there safe - texted us a 4:30 am. Her host family is lovely. I was on pins and needles Monday until she got to New York to meet her sponsor and the other kids that will get immersive Spanish lessons. 

    Med exec committee lasted until almost 7 last night and I had to present two cases at ENT tumor board at 7am. Stern and Sims were in rare form cracking us all up and I made everyone laugh joking about margins on a rhinectomy that Sims chased to no avail. I would have had to take an eye to get around that tumor, he quipped back. My pics, which I was too tired to edit last night so they had that weird planet orb I apologized for, were a big hit. The IT guy even said I should never edit again they were so crisp and amazing. Theo, the radiologist, was a sweetheart to run my jump's show and when I showed the p16 stain I thought Stern was going to have a coronary he was so excited.

    Met a new minority estem student today - Anabellen. She's from Jonesboro. She had some holes in her reasoning based on lack of experience but was clearly on top of her shit - she had things all worked out as a senior in college that I didn't realize until I was a senior in med school. Striving for a work life balance - and I assured her that pathology was the ticket for that. Already realizes that academics can be ego boosting but is a sinkhole for being overworked and underpaid. Quinshell is clearly sending me girls at the top of their game. If they weren't - I'd have to make excuses to end this. Excited to meet Lawren soon.

    The strangest thing happened today. I left work, remembering where I parked my car after tumor board, and got into my Jeep. It wouldn't start - kept asking me to use the key fob, which I dutifully searched for at the bottom of my purse. Still nothing, but I heard another car beeping and starting a couple of spaces down.

    Holy shit, I was in the wrong new Jeep someone had left the doors open. I was so mortified I rushed into my own. When I was halfway home near Mississippi and Cantrell I realized I didn't have my phone. Good god I left it on the seat in the other random Jeep in the Dr. lot. I rushed down Mississippi at 65 MPH and luckily got to the Dr. lot to find their Jeep still there unlocked and my phone in the driver's seat. What a scary adrenaline rush. Hoping to sleep in tomorrow - the show doesn't start until 7 and I need to make it past the opening acts. Happy Friday to me! Much love, Elizabeth

    

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Baby Shower

     I noticed last week one of the lab techs in micro was very pregnant. It's hard to tell - they all wear lab coats. And I've mentioned the Philippines - we have converted to practically 80% during the pandemic. It's been hard to get to know them all with masks on - I hear names like Rebecca and Grace and Della and Ana but I really don't know who is who. I know the old crew - Bradley and Frankie and Olivia and Marla and Tommie but I'm bad with names, especially without faces. After huddle yesterday I asked Amy if there was going to be a shower.

    For Ashley? No that's her second. But we will have a shower for Ana. It's tomorrow at 11:00 in conference room 1. Oh! I said, I'm not sure who that one is and I didn't know she was pregnant but I'd like to come. I excitedly ran to the gift shop and bought a cute light up picture for the nursery and a book. I read the book at the end of the day and it moved me to tears. I had no idea the zoos pair orphan baby cheetahs with Rhodesian Ridgebacks and the story of Raina and I can't remember the cheetahs name but it started with an R and it meant spirit in some African language and they were quite famous in their day (maybe still so? Not sure when it all took place).

    I showed up at 11:00 and no one was there - there was one lone lab tech setting up. Grace, she said, and I told her I'm sorry I don't know your name and we got to know each other. I offered to help and as I was opening plates and utensils we bonded a bit. I asked her where she was from and she laughed - I'm from the Philippines we all are - I said I knew that but in my head I didn't want to assume? Seemed a bit out of touch. She said this was her first baby shower and I told her it was my first since Savanna - a lab tech who left a couple of years ago. I'm almost 50, I said. Baby showers are in the rear view mirror and I'm hoping it's a few years before my kids have one. I love this.

    She asked about what people do at baby showers. Oh, it's not that hard. We eat and open presents and ooohh and ahhh. Girl talk. Sometimes there are games. Probably new ones I have no idea about today, but back in my day the popular one was guess how many toilet paper squares it will take to surround the mom to be's stomach and if you are the closest you win a prize. I wanted none of that I begged out. I don't even like people touching me when I am not preggo, much less than when I feel like a parade float.

    Amy came back and it was clear I was super early so I begged out to handle some cases (they had shifted the start time to 11:30) and promised I would be back soon. When I was back there was quite a spread. All homemade by the techs from the Philippines. Spring rolls with pork - they melted in my mouth. A chicken dish with brown sauce and abundant sticky rice. Korean buns with garlic and cream cheese - the presentation was amazing. A homemade Tres Leche Cake ( my fave along with strawberry) pre-cut with strawberry and kiwi garnish (Gluten be damned I had a slice). Shrimp lo mein. I announced after 25 minutes of silence while everyone was eating - well, y'all may have never been to a baby shower before (It's not a thing in the Philippines, I gathered) but your debut puts American ones to shame. 

    Ana was so sweet opening presents and Ashley got some too I promised I would shop for her soon. Both having girls. We all shared pregnancy stories and nursing stories and despite the fact we were sad that Bradley and Shenario (I've never seen the spelling so I may have murdered it but he's a fun gregarious new tech from Jamaica with an amazing accent) didn't come I said at the end it was fortuitous because we would have turned them both pink with our candid girl talk. 

    C and Jack are here under the same roof and I am sooo happy. Unpacking tonight was a party blast. I'm a little worried I can't spend the week with her organizing her two month trip to San Sebastian (would not have planned this trip if I was aware) but I can be available for advice and her dad and stepmom are here to guide that transition. And I'll be back Sunday 22 for Rennie's silks recital before C has to leave on the 23. Happy Friday Eve, much love, Elizabeth

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Minority STEM

     I'm not sure how much I have talked about this yet, but certainly not in depth. Jan, one of my transcriptionists, got a call a few weeks ago from the MSTEM coordinator Quinshell from UALR - she was looking for someone to mentor her UALR students and show them my world. I jumped at the chance. I love to do that, and I don't get enough takers. Bring it on.

    She originally said she had only one or two but quickly scheduled five into my parameters. She was very respectful - she rescheduled some when I told her one a week was enough. I had my first shadow a couple of weeks ago - Khariana - and she blew me away. She had a frustrating start at college - went to Fville and was gaslighted. Her story, not mine to tell, but it really reinforced my belief in patriarchal institutions. Her Dad smartly was angered and relented to give them any more money so she ended up at UALR.

    A formidable institution. They trained me in medicine after I changed career course and they trained my partner Melody and her sister Rhonda. Khariana was like a spitfire - she soaked up everything I showed her and had smart questions I could never fathom. She found a mentor at UALR and wants to be an epidemiologist. Way above an MD intelligence grade. I tailored my tour to emphasize cancer genetics and Covid based on her interests and after lunch I had Pat, an MT, tour her around the Covid room. The parallels she was drawing from the conversation made my head spin. 

    Today I had my second shadow Mikaya. I'm a tall girl, but this oldest sibling of four dwarfed me. We high fived at Boulevard waiting for her sandwich when we realized we were both oldest siblings of four. She's from Marion, and her parents are both factory managers, so I said you are a trailblazer then. Told her about my partner Michelle. Mikaya wants to be a forensic pathologist, so I crafted a different tour. Spent a lot of time telling her about my rotation in residency and how things have changed. Offered her a window, or a passage if necessary, to further her education with my contacts.

    She wanted to be a veterinarian until she watched a Netflix show about autopsy findings in obese patients. It drew her. I told her I always liked forensics, but my rotation had so many kid deaths I feared I couldn't draw boundaries. And government work is hard, and not rewarded. But I told her about Judy Melenik (God I have to write that article someday) and how she felt so unprotected at her California hub at the beginning of Covid (the guards who brought the bodies were no maskers). When her partner contracted Covid and didn't make it it was the final straw.

    She moved to New Zealand, and is very happy. They are super protective of VISAs to their country - my architect husband tried unsuccessfully to do an internship there. But they will let doctors in. Judy is now doing less than half the work for equal pay and is collaborating with her husband writing forensic novels. And New Zealand countryside - how can you beat that. I haven't read her new stuff, but I'd like to. I'll read her, Mikaya said, as she meticulously took notes. She is on a premed route at UALR about to finish her junior year. Stellar GPA. She aspires to leave the country. Who wouldn't in this crazy climate.

    Mikaya was so warm and funny and asked lots of questions. When I let her touch a human brain in the gross room I thought she might faint she was so excited. After she left, Tina said I heard you talking after you got her lunch. My favorite Boulevard sandwich - smoked turkey not on baguette (way too messy) but toasted on multigrain. I'm still stuck on fruit and peanut butter but she said it was one of the best sandwiches she ever had. She was so excited, Tina said. That's why I do this. Their excitement fuels me. I do it a little selfishly. When she sat in my office she looked around and sighed. I can't wait to get here. This is what I've dreamed of all my life.

    She managed to get a contact through emails last summer at the Crime Lab but circumstances prevented her from seeing an autopsy. I told her to try again and if she hit a dead end I would be happy to help with my contacts. Can't wait to meet the next girl. In the meantime, Cecelia is coming home tomorrow to have dinner with me before we leave for Sedona on Saturday and she leaves for Spain the following week. 

    I'm so excited about Sedona. Through the concierge at Amara I booked last week a Grand Canyon tour and a stargazing tour and a Jeep tour and a vortex tour - I am super excited to learn about the latter Lisa's stepmom wrote a book about the vortexes in the 60's if I remember correctly. Lots of good dinners too. Makes the backbreaking pace at work lately more doable to have something to look forward to. Happy almost Thursday, much love, Elizabeth

Saturday, May 7, 2022

The Shining Girls

     What a whirlwind of a week. Hattiesburg was fun and busy. I used to approach these inspections like a schoolgirl - studying my packet of questions the night before and meticulously accounting for every item on the checklist. Making sure I was up to date on my every two year mandatory six hour inspection training course - of which I am currently sorely delinquent (what are they going to do? Said Mary when I worried and I laughed. Yeah. They need us more than we need them. Screw the online training which is just a BS hoop anyway I'm a pro by now).

    I know the ropes and I consider myself not only a lab advocate but also an emissary for the hospital I'm inspecting. The chief of their group was a woman about my age. She was very buttoned down - kind of reminded me of Linda Hamilton in The Terminator. I could tell she was on the defense so I tried hard to put her at ease. She shared with me that her senior partner was retiring and I learned from the CMO that her other partner was on his pancreatic cancer deathbed. She went from being 17 years junior to chief during the pandemic. Big shift. 

    I saw the Dr. Lounge, I told her, on the way to our inspection hub. It looks like Baptist did twelve years ago. We are more of a melting pot now, but back then it was mostly white men. You are still all white men. She replied with grit. I go down there every day. It's hard, but I insert myself into the conversation. They all know me. I told her that I used to follow the team leader checklist but I'm doing AP in addition to team leader today and it's honestly exhausting and I don't need to see a notebook about her qualifications and degrees because this hospital would never have hired her if she wasn't and M.D. and isn't this all a bit ludicrous.

    What can I do to advocate for you to admin. I can ding you very democratically and supportively. Let me know. Everyone ignores the lab, and we are very under appreciated and overworked, I know that from my own hospital system. She sighed. We are 11 med techs short. They give them incentive pay but it's not enough. They are working too much and they don't really want the money they want support. I know, I told her, we had a big turnover in the lab at the beginning of the pandemic. I told her and the supervisor about our lifeline from the Philippines they are going to look into it.

    The dinners were amazing we spent both nights at Crescent City and despite the weak as hell drinks the food was incredible. Fried green tomatoes, eggplant fries, shrimp and grits, etc. Mary Hemen - she is our lab compliance officer who keeps all of our many locations around the state on the level - was a little worried at one point bc the weakly alcoholic drinks were flowing frequently at our end of the table. Everyone had resorted to ordering doubles to catch a buzz (all on CAP's dime:). Kayla, she is the youngest and super cute, was headed to the bathroom and Mary made her walk a line to see if she was sober.

    Mary is not a police officer, she's a Mother hen. I saw she was worried and reassured her that we were all frustratedly sober. She was the driver in my car, I say it was the cool car, but we went back to the hotel after dinner and Marti and Hope and Kayla and another I'm blanking on went on to karaoke at a college bar called Shenanigan's - not my bag at this point but I enjoyed living vicariously at breakfast in the lobby hearing stories of them singing with the college kids.

    Oh! Amy, who is the head of micro, was in my car. On the way back she was telling stories about every Wednesday loading Covid pos specimens into a cooler (or many) and meeting a courier to take them to UAMS or ACH for sequencing. Paula asked her last week if she wanted to renew the contract it's up in May. Hell no, she said, we used to have thousands but we are down to ten or fifteen a week. And once? I was looking at a car and the traffic car arm fell on my head.

    She shared her story. Her engineer husband Ron came to pick her up and tried unsuccessfully to convince her to go to the ED. He found a gaping bloody skin split hole when they got home and rigged a system to use her hair to pull the skin together (it needs stitches, he said, she said I don't care fix it) and cinched it with a hair clip. I melted with emotion. We are sisters, I said. Traffic car arm sisters. I told her my stories. They really need to address the hazard someday someone will be killed.

    Ack there's more to say but I'll save if for another day it is Mother's Day weekend and I'm home and not traveling and no plans. Tina's husband Reggie planned a big cookout at her house without telling her and I laughed and laughed - did he at least make it a potluck? No. He said he will grill all the meat. Yeah, but that's the least of the work there are sides and drinks and clean up. He owes you a big one. Happy Saturday, much love, E

Oh the title! Watch that I read it a decade ago and read all her stuff way back then it's amazing. Time traveling serial killer. They got Elizabeth Moss! The journalist is hunky as hell. And Back to Life is really good too. Fun post-conviction assimilating into society drama comedy. After a month of pool pump angst with many companies ghosting us S took matters into his own hands and replaced the pump yesterday so we are planning a lazy weekend (sorry Tina!). E

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Christy and Liz did Vegas

     And it was a bit of a comedy. I learned some important rules in taking PJ's - never wear kitten heels. After enough wine to get tipsy but certainly not drunk we stopped to refuel in Santa Fe. I got off to use the restroom and getting back on was a challenge - there were no handrails just bungee cords, and somehow I ended up on my back smacking my head on the tarmac. At the time, I remember being worried about flashing the pilot (I didn't, he was back in the building) so I got up as quick as possible and marveled at the fact I had no open visible wounds and climbed into my seat which was also a challenge - it was a tiny Honda which was much more suited to my shorter friend in every way than myself.

    Worrying about flashing the pilot turned out to be the least of my problems. Getting smacked on the back of your head is much harder to deal with than the top of your head (and as a two time recipient of a traffic car arm I feel qualified to be an expert in the arena) bc you have to lay down to go to bed. Rest to recline in a jacuzzi bath. Lay out by the pool in the sun. So I was constantly reminded of my PJ foul throughout my stay. Which required daily scheduled Advil until today - I usually only take it once a year.

    Due to an hour delay we canceled Mizumi in Santa Fe and got room service. The room was incredible. We each had two full baths and there was a half bath. Seven TV's. Three thousand square feet. By the end I was affectionately referring to my bedroom as the womb bc I was in bed every night after dark fall and up reading magazines by 5am. We gambled once, the first night. Well Christy did, she wanted to bet 20 bucks at a Roulette table with her dad's bday. We learned that they cut staff during the pandemic so if you want wine you have to seek it out yourself at a bar you are not served at the tables anymore (at the general ones, at least). Between the lights and sounds and stale cigarette and cigar smells - makes sense to fuel one addictive behavior with another but I had no idea you could still smoke indoors anywhere - I told Christy I need to go back up to the room and go to bed after a half hour.

    The next morning was kind of stressful with a hunt for Advil and food - I learned that if you go to Vegas don't just make dinner reservations make ones for brunch too. After two hours and a Beavis and Butthead moment in the VIP lounge (we were trying to bring the free fruit and coffee and water up to the room with less hands than were needed and I was happy to make the GM laugh with my joke) we finally made it back to our quiet oasis to order room service (which took an hour and a half but I was glad not to be lost - we got so lost for the first 24 hours and I happily helped an old man navigate the guest elevator and the process to get to your room with your key card yesterday bc you have to pay it forward right?).

    We decided to go shopping after lunch and we got so lost coming out of another casino with our cherished tourist trap goods that I decided to Google Map how to get to the Bellagio bc we could see it? But the path wasn't clear. I told Christy it says we have to go down some stairs and up an escalator and over a bridge. She said I feel like I'm in an episode of Dora the Explorer and I laughed so hard I almost peed. Find the map. LOLOL.

    Last night dinner with Ahmad and Kristen was as delightful as expected and I loved getting to have a nice meal connecting old friends and get to know Kristen better.  I slipped the waiter my card and paid for it all it was such an enjoyable evening. Esther's Kitchen was by far the best meal but the room service wasn't too shabby. Today at the women dr. luncheon, which I almost skipped bc I epically puked after my shower and again after grocery shopping on the way home, we had less fancy fare but the fellowship was refreshing. I'm glad I made the effort even though I was so shaky I considered an Uber. I made so many new contacts and we hope to continue this. Happy Thursday, much love, Elizabeth

    

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Christy and Liz do Vegas

     I've started to imagine myself in my own comedy. I was in the weeds yesterday afternoon when Christy was trying to call and text and tell me she rented a guy to transport us in a Tesla - back to the future style - from the airport in Vegas to the Bellagio. I just got a red pedi to match the one she got during the week. Is that a thing? Asked my liquor store buddy. I'm not sure. But I did it anyway. Red toes in Vegas.

    S has alopecia - we think it is related to the nasty bug he got in February where he had to move to the guest room for a week. We saw Ahmad's favorite doctor Dan Smith this week and he is treating it with topical steroids. He said Ahmad has come into great wealth in the past couple of years I said I guessed? He sent me tons of pics of him and Kristen and their daughter Remmie, who is Rennie's age, on PJs. Good for Ahmad, I told him. He has a good heart, like Christy. He will be a good steward of great wealth.

    S and I went to Ahmad and Kristen's wedding years ago at a speakeasy in Chicago. The taxi driver had a hard time finding the door to drop us off. That's why it's a speakeasy, I said, the door should be hard to find. We found it, and inside was glittery and wonderful it was one of my favorite wedding receptions ever dotted with lots of glitzy docs he has met over the years. So happy to be reuniting with him. I remember when I took Jack and C to a crawfish boil in residency and I was the only one with kids and he talked to me and saw me and watched C for me when I had to breastfeed and change J in the bathroom. He's a gem.

    The CARTI bid was submitted Thursday and Melody did an amazing job. I had a long epic dream that night - I usually don't remember my dreams but this one was totally anxiety induced and it took me a few minutes when I woke from it to convince myself it wasn't real. Melody was on public transportation in a smart blue and grey dress telling me she was leaving to go work in Indiana at the University and said it was the best thing for her family. I hugged her and told her I would miss her.

    Then I stumbled off of the public transit and started crying in public all over the town square. Children were laughing and playing but I was not happy. I don't even cry, much less in public. I bumped into a couple of partners who weren't my partners but they were in the dream they looked like mafia goons. One goon was saying all we need is CP? Can I lie and say I'm certified and take her place? I was thinking the CARTI bid was a swan song to us she loved us but had to leave. I woke gasping and telling myself it's just a dream. She has friends and family here. She's not leaving. She laughed when I told her, I think it touched her.

    So excited for my comedy trip with PJ and Tesla (hate Elon Musk but here we are) and penthouse suites and I just finished packing we are leaving at noon tomorrow. I'll be back in time for the luncheon on Thursday - it's an inaugural one for women physicians. Mandee invited me and I widely shared through text - Julie Goodwin is going to talk about burnout. When I stopped by Anthony Bennett's office to tell him I wouldn't be in the med exec committee meeting on Monday and Staggs couldn't come either he shared his story of burnout in cardiology and I told him about my struggles with working during divorce and when my father was ill. 

    He said they are working on a financially prudent way to address burnout and make it a better environment at Baptist for physicians. Looking forward to that, I said. Therapy and fellowship with women in my Sunday school class saved me. But men experience it too - Bob Overacre is a prime example. Maybe we should start a men's group too, he wondered and I laughed. Jealous? But it would be helpful honestly. The environment is so hostile.

    After the luncheon on Thursday S and I are headed to Eureka for a long weekend someone took over the Peabody (which explains why we haven't been able to get a room for a year) and renovated it and it looks amazing. S is sad the Dashwood is changing and I get that but they have made the other upstairs suite so luxurious I'm willing to let that go. Happy Saturday, much love, Elizabeth.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Governing Institutions

     It feels like it should have been Friday like a week ago? And yesterday I thought it was twice and had to course correct. I've mentioned the business of work but on top of that we have our CAP inspection tomorrow that happens every two years and it's primarily on Melody as the director of the Little Rock Clin Lab but I've been getting a lot of stuff to sign for micro too. Tina has been working arduously to get all the other departments ready. Jessica too. 

    JCAHO (joint commission) is the inspection body for hospitals and they have been here all week. The odds of all this happening at once are slim to none but here we are. Anthony Bennett called me yesterday and asked if I was available for a luncheon tomorrow that they traditionally throw for the medical executive committee to meet with the physician advisory board associated with JCAHO. Of course, I said, I'm covering needles but I'll be there - I will get covered. Misty Abbott in Conway - I unloaded that this week finally thank God - has been sending me backdated stuff to sign and asked me to scan it all and send it back to her in preparation. I don't have a scanner, I told her, and I don't know how to scan, but I'll find the right people and make it happen. And I did.

    So I don't really plan outfits for the next day it's kind of whatever feels right that morning but I just picked out something nice to wear for tomorrow. Involving kitten heels, which is about the highest heel I can manage (with flip flop back ups for office work). Invoking Michelle Obama - who also reported in her memoir that she only wears kitten heels. I know, it's a lofty comparison, but I empathized with her. Some shoes are not meant to be worn when you are running around. I have no idea how those runway girls can manage.

    I have three hours committed for Friday in additional to my caseload - got a 7am BHEC meeting and someone called from UALR wanting to send me students to introduce to pathology and I've got the first one scheduled from 11-1. Excited about that, despite not really having enough time in my day. Luckily Christy and I don't leave until Sunday at noon so I've got plenty of time to clean up straggling cases on Saturday. When the Clin lab director's secretary (the med tech, not Melody) asked me to attend a meeting with JCAHO at 10 am - 11 am Saturday my stomach got tied up in knots.

    Why weren't they worried about the morgue being so outdated all these years and now that we have finally turfed it they want to know the details? I know nothing about it, Jessica did it all. I don't have time for this - I kvetched to Melody. She helped me problem solve, and I told them yesterday that Jessica is off but she will be available at that time by text and I couldn't attend in Google Meets but I too will be available by text. Jessica is giving all the pertinent information to Sarah, the morgue attendant, who replaced John amid some scandal I know none of the details about a few years ago. It will all be ok.

    I could go on about hard cases but feel like a broken record at this point. We are planning an inspection to Hattiesburg MS the first week in May as well. It's a long drive and there are a lot of logistics to work out but Mary is doing most of it. I'm happy I'm in the cool car, and I'm not driving. It's our first trip to inspect since before the pandemic and I'm kind of excited - hotel rooms and dinners on the CAP dime. Fellowship with lab folks and seeing how others operate helps you bring new things to your own table. It's going to be all girls and as usual I'm the supposed leader of the show. I've learned so much doing this over the years - especially that I'm only as capable as the people who support me. They are the rock stars. I'm the rubber stamper. Let me chat with the CMO and CEO all day long as long as the experts attend to the details.

    Jack is stressed out about running for Junior Senator in the next couple of weeks - Mom, I've gotta make posters and make an effort. Everyone thinks I'm a shoe in but I've got a couple of competitors and they are very good. And they view me as a competitor? It doesn't seem to make sense. Well, I said, it's good that you are humble; all good leaders are.

    Reading has gone by the wayside but watching some good shows I've been meaning to talk about. I read Pachinko in book club a few years back and was amazed. Really hit home how racism is worldwide, naive, maybe, but sometimes it takes an epic tale for it to sink in. The TV adaptation is incredible - I routinely get tears, and cannot wait for the new one to drop Friday. Roar is ok? So much good female talent and I can tell they were going for a female Black Mirror. Falls a little short but some of the episodes are incredible - I especially liked How I solved my own murder last night. The duck one was bizarre. But there is good metaphor to be found in every one. Happy Thursday? Ack no Wednesday. Melody and I were joking today how we've been so busy in the last month that the days are all running together. Much love, Elizabeth

    

Monday, April 18, 2022

The Princess and the Pea

     What a Monday. Back on EV, and there was a deluge of body fluids on top of 107 blocks of surgicals. I wished I had taken an extra beta blocker this morning the work was coming so hard and fast after 10:00 (slow start) I got chest pain. At least I had time to mail Cecelia a belated Easter package and Christie Cobb's care package she gave Jack. Christie went up to Fville a couple of weeks ago and spoke at a SHOO event I was not able to Zoom in bc of call but thanked her in text over the weekend. She told me she is the first person in Arkansas to be getting a fellowship in sexual health and intimacy issues. So proud of your daughter, cannot wait to see her rise. The field is wide open. She sent her a Viva the Vulva t-shirt C will be tickled pink. 

    I also sent Mia some treats - Jack said Harper had miscounted the RKS tickets and she tried to give her's to Mia but Mia declined and drove them there and picked them up instead. Mia deserves treats. She and I went shopping at the Farmer's Market in Fayetteville weekend before last with C and it was lovely. I came across and black female owned stall selling candles at the market - also advertised they were LGBTQ friendly so I bought six candles. The most amazing smells. Nordic Night. Black Sea. Patchouli, which makes me think of my mom, bc she always wears it as her perfume. Candles by Whitney, and they have real gold flakes and are affordable and they have an online presence I will use for gifts. I've got Black Sea going right now and it fills up the room.

    At around 2 I was pushing glass so fast a shard of slide broke off and wedged itself into my palm. Hurt like the devil. Lots of sensory receptors in the palm and sole and I hit one hard - first I thought I was bit by a bug but glass makes more sense. I asked the secretaries if they had tweezers - they did not, and I got all sweaty and almost passed out. Tina ran to the gift shop to get some and Kimberly sat me down in my office and turned my fan on and got me some water. A few minutes later they got a flashlight and located the tiny piece of glass - so tiny I felt ridiculous - and extricated it. My palms were so sweaty a band aid seemed like a bad idea but Kimberly got some tape and managed to staunch the blood so I could keep working.

    Work is so crazy. We are in the middle of working on a bid for CARTI against some of the local groups and thank god Melody and Michelle are spearheading but we all have to put some work in. It's due Friday - and they are having two-three hour meetings twice a week in the evening with our business and marketing managers to put it all together. So I have extra incentive to get my work done so I can help Melody and Michelle. Without them we would never have gotten this together, but we had to form a subcommittee because when all of us pathologists get together the talk gets circular and nothing gets done.

    But this time next week I'll be in Vegas! Got reservations for Mizumi on Sunday night and Ahmad and his wife are joining us at one of their fave spots Esther's Kitchen on Tuesday. When I told Ahmad what I'd managed for Monday he said with your permission I will get you reservations at The Cut by Wolfgang Puck I know the GM. His polite way of saying that restaurant sucks. He's such a gentleman, and I really need to cancel the one I made Monday so hopefully things will lighten up a bit so I can get to that and some bills. We are all drowning at PLA. It doesn't help that my GI issues have resurfaced with a vengeance, so my energy level is low.

    I looked up at the schedule at one point this afternoon, in between sending out a guy's heart biopsy who's not doing well to Mayo for ATTR and AL testing on the paraffin block and sending out another testicle to Jesse. Two testicles in one month! I told Staggs. What are the odds. Strange spindled cell lesion in an 87 year old I found an article telling me how to work it up and he said, you have wasted too much time on this testicle already. Sarcoma, NOS. Send it to Jesse with a block. I realize that, I told him, but I'm a little manic with all I'm doing. His insurance supports out of state consults so it is gone.

    Anyway, I discovered I am not on call again until late June whew. So relieved. A bit of a respite from that I'm still digging out from under a busy Saturday. Just packed aforementioned candles for Kimberly and Tina to thank them for doctoring me today. Creme brulee for Tina - she is a sweets lover, and Lavender Vanilla for Kim - she needs calming she's an energizer bunny who does too much for others. It's amazing how appreciative others are when you see them. Happy Monday, much love, Elizabeth

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Thank God this Week is Almost Over (Happy Easter Ed.)

     I thought I was just raw and bloody on Monday but by Thursday I felt like someone had additionally cut my arm off and was tasering a frayed nerve while I tried to work. Then there was this imaginary person that stuck a pole in my back, twisting it occasionally, to remind me it was there. Shaver called in twice, and that's not a problem - he's a giver and deserves a break- but sucking up his work on top of our own was a lot. Not complaining. I'd run into a burning building to save him, as well as most of my partners. 

    Easter is kind of a big deal, but it snuck up on me this year. Feel bad I didn't send anything to C. I was busy diagnosing melanoma in the intranasal cavity and lymphoma in the bladder what is up with weird tumors these days? Even Melody was shocked as hell. She has family plans at Boulevard tomorrow - Kimberly secured her a reservation and they are both over the moon I'm excited for them. I've got 10am Reiki with Lisa. Sorely needed. The last three weeks have been unbelievably crazy.

    Not much else to say here. Just checking in. Oh I talked to Lucy this week! She's lonely and California is expensive and hard. I told her most of my life has been hard. Find your escape - I said, pick your poison. Mine is books and music. You are good at escaping, I told her. Haha I am, she said. I told her that I would try to get out and visit her maybe this fall. Count on me as a parent, or a sibling, or a friend. We all need a person. Happy Saturday, much love, Elizabeth


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Raw and Bloody

     I'm supposed to be writing an overdue bit of my part for a contract bid but holy hell. I only realized I was overdue, thought I was on top of the shit, at 3:00 today. Overly apologized and it's gonna be ok. I walked into Melody's office this morning after presenting an effing epitheliod rhabdomyosarcoma at ENT tumor board and said I'm raw and bloody. Feel like my skin has been peeled. She laughed. That's an apt portrayal of how my month has been so far. It's weird, every day we think it's not going to get worse bc it couldn't but it does. So we have stopped hoping we are just pushing through.

    My attending at my three months in residency at ACH was the international expert at rhabdomyosarcoma. So I've seen a lot, and gave a good presentation, although it's such a zebra this is my first real case. The outside derm diagnosed it as melanoma in situ collision tumor with atypical fibroxanthoma (AFX) and well. They got it wrong. They also screwed us over years ago with pod labs in a subcommittee of the Arkansas legislature (who I knew (the subcommittee) at the time had no idea of what was going on so it was freaking useless) so LOL. Karma is a bitch. It's usually in kids, not 83 year olds, so even the rad oncs were like IDK? Need to review the lit? Treat it like a high grade son of a bitch, said Scott Stern.

    I was also on the hook for an organ harvest until 9 last night which frayed my every loving bloody nerve. I get this once every 5 years so I always have to print off articles on liver viability evaluation by frozen section and Batts and Ludwig criteria, which I dutifully did. Christian, from ARORA, seemed to think he would know if he needed me or not by 7:30 but it's always a bit of a toss up and when I texted him at 8:30 after I finished preparing for 7 am conference he said they were just getting a visualization on the liver and the kidneys.

    I had looked up the patient earlier - the donor - and she had a history of bad polysubstance abuse. No judgement here, but I was thinking that means the liver is probably shot to hell and I won't have to go in. Giddy optimism. I chided myself. I should be thinking of the recipient not the donor what kind of monster am I. When he texted at 9pm no biopsy I was like thank fucking god sorry for all those out there who need livers. There was an Arkansas storm of the ages who wants to drive in that shit.

    I was triaging cases this morning and saw that I had a testicle at 9am. I fing hate testicles. The tumors are so hard and so uncommon I sent the last off to Jesse a year ago. Then I saw grossly on the slides that they were bloody as hell and got optimistic. Maybe torsion? Testicles and ovaries do this occasionally, painful as hell from what I read, but treatable with surgical excision. I dove into the chart and the patient, young, thirties, was visiting a friend and was a drive by shooting victim - they hit his thigh and his penis and his testicle. Easy for me, unthinkable for him. I told Melody, we may be bloody and raw as hell, but there is worse. She agreed.

    It's early in call and work is taxing but doable, I told Jack. We had a long and fruitful talk tonight about family and friends and many other things. I'm emotionally over the edge but sharing with partners helps and they share with me and we bond? Most of us. Rare ones are lost causes. Melody is a gem. Shaver is having trouble with a cold but overall supportive. I'm counting down the days to Sedona, and Vegas, and Eureka - all happening within the next month (AND HALSEY!!!). Happy Tuesday, much love, Elizabeth.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Connections

     Please try to make them. There is something there. Vortexes and shit. The world is changing and this is important. Every day brings new things. Sending lots of love you are the key. Sober as shit sending love. It's up to us.

No Time for Tears

     I wandered into the bronch lab at around 11:45 a.m. today. Van is on today, and while all the other cytotechs text standby to alert me there is a procedure starting and ready when it's time for me to do a wet read Van always texts Come on down, bc the bronch lab is in the basement (near the dr. lounge so always an opportunity to grab snacks and drinks after). It happened so much this week I started imagining myself on The Price is Right, which I loved as a kid - walking the hospital halls with celebratory music blaring and announcers congratulating me on my good luck to be a contestant. I was escaping, I know. It was another helluva shitty week. Body fluids deluge. When it rains make hay.

    Van has a tendency to be a bit of a cowboy and so when I told Cidney it's all necrosis, get cultures, rare atypical cells possible degenerative (he was trying to stage a lung mass by the hilar nodes) he looked really frustrated. Are you going to to try for the mass? I wondered, bc he was already out of the nodes. The patient was intubated, so couldn't hear anything. This isn't always the case, but for some reason he was reaching up lazily with his arms and legs and Cidney and the nurses kept trying to gently restrain him. Cidney, who is usually cool and collected, cussed with his body and grabbed another needle attached to tubing and tore the sterile wrapping off and threw it on the ground. Yes! I'm going to go for the lung. All the assistants were still and tense.

    It's not just you, I said. The last two weeks have been crazy. There is something in the ether. I almost cried Monday, I was so overwhelmed, and I'm not a crier! Not about work anyway, or divorce, or the big things. Then I told myself I had no time to cry, I had to go on. He was smiling and laughing and the room relaxed. I told him I was going to go to the dr. lounge for desperately needed water but feel free to call me back for the mass - Lord knows I need the exercise and I like to get out from behind my scope especially during weeks like these. I texted Van twenty minutes later to see where he was and he said Cidney just did an FNA and put it in formalin. Thank goodness. I was hangry.

    Lately - two or three months maybe - lunch has been very comfort oriented. Fruit and honey and peanut butter - baked lays for a texture fix. Banana is my go to - but any hint of brown or green repels me they have to be perfectly ripe so sometimes I do strawberries or honeydew. There is this one doc who piles up on fruit every morning - I grab to put in the fridge for lunch. He swears the Baptist dr. lounge has the best fruit on the planet I have to agree. 

    When I learned that Halsey added WalMart Amp to her schedule this week and tickets went on sale Friday I started hunting for a driver (interstates still make me a little panicky) totally willing to pay for tickets and Embassy Suites. I was also willing to pay $2400 for two days off but luckily I was able to move some things around. Christie has her younger sons high school graduation from Catholic and Cecelia will be headed to Spain on May 23 for the summer on her scholarship. Laurie is seeing Jack White in Tulsa. Jessica doesn't know Halsey and will already be short Laurie. Stephan doesn't get much vacation and said to use him as a last minute resort. I texted Kim and Mary Grace. 

    Mary Grace is starting a new job (she was unceremoniously and misogynisticly fired from Falcon Jet after schooling a younger colleague). She is the most badass female pilot/engineer on the planet and I hated that a wimpy white male fucked her over but things happen for a reason and maybe this job will be less abusive and allow her to attend more of her superstar daughter's volleyball games. Kim said her daughter Liv (She's Cecelia's age), who idolizes Halsey would want to go and with Christy's help (crappy computer issues - Baptist has new terrible firewalls and the internet in the basement sucks and I hate trying to do this shit on my phone I need to start bringing my laptop) we secured three tickets. Kim, Christy's other BFF, is vacationing at a lake in HS and has been listening to Halsey all day. I told her I just booked a two room double bed suite at Embassy Suites and cannot wait to go. She's going to drive us in my new Jeep.

    Turns out I do cry sometimes - I temporarily lost my shit when I got home and discovered on Instagram that Ketanji was confirmed. And movies and words and music can stir me to tears - Jack laughs sometimes when it happens on even Merlin. They are both good - I'm excited he is going up to see her on Sunday and they are going to Rainbow Kitten Surprise together. I'm hosting my Sunday school class with a few extra invites this Saturday for a potluck brunch and that will be a balm. Call again next week but hopefully weekend will refresh me. Happy Friday Eve, much love, Elizabeth

Sunday, April 3, 2022

This Week Has Been a Year

     How do I even start explaining the call week from hell? It definitely begs wine. It started off with late frozens (this was diagnosed as a collision tumor between an atypical fibroxanthoma and a melanoma in situ can you read margins?) and med exec committee at Trio's on Monday. Mandee begged me to sit by her, Joseph Hackler was at my other end. He is Christy's cardiologist, and when I told him she chartered a PJ to Vegas for us at the end of the month he stood at proper attention. We need to keep her in good health. I nodded, yes I agree.

    Mandee gave a 30 minute presentation on safety (Troy Wells left but was like - these things aren't for agendas on dinner nights out who is responsible for this - Anthony Bennett of course) and it all came down to a ditch in Saline County near Sonic. There is apparently a Facebook page with 9800 members covering this ditch. Kathy Parnell said she has been in the ditch; she gets a big gulp at the beginning and end of her every day. There is a ditch t-shirt. There is also a Subway ditch in Jonesboro. Long story short, Sonic has been trying to fix the ditch but Arkansas highway department is stalling. So safety can't happen unless your governing bodies are willing. 

    I had a case of the decade! 29 year old with gut pain and BRBPR (bright red blood per rectum) was being worked up for inflammatory bowel disease after failing improvement over treatment for infectious colitis. Sven Hida was the interventional GI - I received his call the next day and told him our working diagnosis. Kaposi's Sarcoma of the gut. Sent out HHV8. Do an HIV. He texted me at three that it was positive. His description on endoscopy - mucosal islands and mounds - perfectly matched the unusual zebra presentation and the articles I had printed online of rare case presentations. Quinn told me it was a frequent flyer diagnosis in the eighties. At least in the skin. Not so much now. Especially in the gut.

    Another work meeting Wednesday night in the private room at Cheer's (two in one week?) was a helluva lotta fun and there's some possible merging in the works but it's too early to talk about. Still exciting as hell. Oh I met Anna's bf on the sixteenth floor of the Regions building (what a view!) and it was a bit shaky and anticlimactic bc I got stuck for 10 minutes in the rickety old parking deck elevator and my hands and feet were still numb from a near panic attack. 

    Jessica got stuck in an elevator at Baptist for an hour with a cart full of placentas and she got to know her other party - a visitor - quite well. Christy got stuck on her condo elevator with Sonny years ago when he was a puppy. She screamed until a neighbor going to the hospital heard her. The fire department told her to stand back - it's a really small elevator, she said. There is not much room to do that. Mine was 1960's horror movie honestly and when I finally got off I hugged concrete and breathed a sigh of relief. Hands and feet still numb when I met Alex but a big glass of ice water helped.

    Watching Severance it was harder for me to get into than S. He loves the aesthetics for me it was kind of like Girl With the Dragon Tattoo when is this going to take off? But it did and it's addictive now. Looking forward to a hopefully day off before a new work week. Getting lots of calls to take pics of the Kaposi's in the gut. Someone wants to write it up. Sigh. That's why I exited academia, to get rid of all that shit. But I'll do what they want - take pics on my iphone. Make people happy. Sunday sleep in day that's my plan. Much love, Elizabeth.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Calm Before the Storm

     I think we managed to have the best Spring Break at CB ever. It was nice to have an extra mom around to shop and plan and cook. "Runaway" Rennie - her ski nickname, always had an older kid to look up to and by the end of the week she was describing riding black moguls like it was a walk in the park. She constantly competed with and bested her dad, which entertained me to no end. She's clearly the center of her mom's world, as she should be at this age. Rachel has an amazing sense of humor and her quick sarcasm garnered many laughs as she shot down Rennie's requests for more things on the shopping expedition. But she gave in when it was appropriate. A good balance.

    Harper and Mia were delightful. They are both introverts and book readers and Harper is a music lover and loves horror, so we had lots to talk about. Harper looks like Snow White and sounds a little like Amanda Seyfried's portrayal of Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout - and she was mortified when I told her that (She's so terrible! She did that on purpose!) that I backtracked and said you just have the best low inflections that ring that bell for me but I still jokingly called her Elizabeth later in the week and was secretly delighted that Mia and Harper were both familiar with the whole thing. 

    Harper was like a kid whisperer to Rennie - she is an Earth Science major and is thinking of working in National Parks but isn't sure. She knew the Arkansas State flower and the state mammal and the state bird (all of which I knew) but she also knew the state rock!! I didn't know there was a state rock, and it was a complicated name that I've forgotten it so I will have to look it up. They shared favorite animals (Harper's is the capybara, I can't remember Ren's) and Ren often chose Harper to snuggle with on the couch at night.

    Mia is like a ray of sunshine. When I got frustrated there were no real checkers at Wal-Mart and I'd have to self check out a shit ton of food she said in her lilting soprano voice No Worries! We will help you. It will be fun. She and Harper ended up doing most of the work and it indeed turned a stressful situation into something fun. The morning after a total disaster for the girls that it took me a bit of time to piece together I said how was Gunnison? She cocked her head and smiled. "Usually those kind of plans don't end up the way you want them to."

    The night before Rach and I stayed up late talking and the girls, who should have been exhausted, had found out about a party from some guy on Tinder and were getting dressed up to go. Rach ok'd me having a talk with them. Mia promised to stay mostly sober and Cecelia told me that Harper checked the bus schedule and what many parents might frown about we gave the green light bc they are all 19 (all of them Pisces!) and they need to learn to be responsible. I emphatically told Cecelia that the adults will be drinking and there will be no one to rescue you between midnight and 3am, bc we probably wouldn't hear the phone. 

    Harper read the bus schedule wrong and they ended up in the ED bc, not sure how, but it is a smart place to spend the night if you can't get a ride home. A nurse urged them to hitchhike but even though my shuttle driver yesterday told me it probably would have been safe they smartly declined in alarm. A guy ended up taking pity on them and driving them home safe, so when I woke at five to check that they were all in their beds I was happy to see them.

    Noah is a joy. Not a punk ass, S says, like most boys these days. He's genuinely appreciative and kind and happy. He has not been snowboarding since he was seven and his dad took him. It's one of his fondest memories, so he's been excited about this trip for months - constantly sending Jack videos of skiing and snowboarding. When I took him to Panama City last year we were all genuinely alarmed - his self esteem nowhere near matched his looks. He's had a lot of tragedy in his life (haven't we all - but his is a lot). We spent the entire trip - C, Joelle, J and I trying to lift him up.

    I was happy to see him more self confident this year, but still with all of the same wonderful qualities. He's a year ahead of Jack. He's planning to go to welding school, which I think is a great idea. I told him when I was going through my divorce and going to hiking meet ups I met a welder couple - they were DINK's looking to meet other hikers - and they were very happy and well off. Much more so than people who go to college and get into terrible debt and drop out bc our whole system sucks like hell. But I'm getting tangential.

    When Jack and I were grocery shopping this afternoon he was stressing about the week and I said let's just enjoy today. I've got a lot too. I'm on call this week, and Med Exec Committee is meeting at Trio's tomorrow night. The fing American Board of Pathology was texting me on vacation reminding me of my damned quarterly questions due March 31st (I fing tried to do them on Friday and there were technical difficulties and no one answered the GD phone) which I texted back minus the cuss words but I'm sure it fell on empty ears. I'm finally switching CPA's from Christie's ex's company so I need to fill out the tax form and we meet with the new guy (Anna's boyfriend! She's the rock hound at Boulevard. I'm so excited to support someone she loves) on Thursday. And it's time to do some other major things in our business and there are due dates at the end of April but I'm gonna lean on my partners and roll with it. 

Read Maus at the airport yesterday and started and am halfway through with Diana Beresford-Kroeger's To Speak for the Trees. Both really good. Nice to be reading. Happy Sunday, much love, Elizabeth.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Crusty Butt

     I don't know if it's daylight savings time or work stress or world stress but this week kicked my ass. I woke up every morning at 4am - too late for wine to function during the day unfortunately, and this morning it was a whopping 3:24 so it feels like midnight now. But I'm off for a week! Rach and Mike and Ren are already in Denver. We leave tomorrow at 1pm with an unavoidable four hour layover in Denver on the way to Gunnison so we will not get to Crested Butte until late - I just texted the family gressage to save S and I the second best room and get breakfast essentials for Sunday. Rachel and I both aren't skiing so we plan to shop Sunday for cooking and am looking forward to spending time with her reading and being her sous chef and snowshoeing and spa-ing. 

    Cecelia and Mia and Harper are leaving Fville in an hour and plan to stop in Oklahoma City at Mia's house - we cooked for her and her mom for brunch on the way out of Fville the other weekend. Mom is orthopedic nurse in OK City. She's nice - I'm glad the girls have a place to rest for a bit before the long drive. Blakely bowed out of the trip - she's missing her family in Illinois - C was sad but understood. Sometimes you need to plug back in with family to rejuvenate. I told her it was a blessing in disguise her car is so full of her stuff I wondered how four girls and their stuff would fit. Her dorm is tiny - she can't wait to move to a condo for next year.

    I started some laundry earlier and accidentally threw in a dryer sheet instead of soap - I realized my never made before mistake within a couple of minutes and fished out the dryer sheet and added soap but holy hell. I was so frustrated at work today, the luckily lightest day of the week, bc I was trying to take the quarterly ABpath stupid test for continuing education and maintenance of certification, which I have heard is getting more and more ridiculous in Path Mom group on FB. The pictures are so bad, apparently, that when the correct answer is revealed everyone groans. Yes, we know what that tumor looks like, and it looks nothing like the pic provided, so there was lots of begrudging. 

    I signed into ABpath and there was another level of security - a new added one. We will send a code to your email to verify who you are. WTF. Who would actually try to impersonate anyone to take a stupid continuing education test. I checked my email, and kept refreshing to no avail. I asked Melody for help and she echoed the stupidity level as an all time high. She showed me how to check my junk mail (she's really good at computers, beyond checking junk which I realize is super easy but I couldn't find it) but the code wasn't there either. I called ABP for the first time and got a long recorded message and got sent to voice mail. Left a terse message to fix the computer glitch, this is such a waste of my time, so we will see how it goes. I've got until the 31st to complete it so hopefully it will be worked out by then.

    March Madness is in full swing and although I never join Jessica and Tina and the majority of our work family is excited. Jessica organizes it every year. Melody has won twice in the past few years. All of my partners are in awe of her basketball knowledge, comparing her to my lack of. Jessica always says that the winners are usually the ones that don't know bball but just filling out a bracket and figuring out the shared app daunt me. Tina, who is about like me, has won the first two rounds. She was so excited she bragged about having more than one drink last night to celebrate. Jeff, the security guard I go way back with, was sleepy today too - he stayed up late watching the Arkansas game. It was a nail biter apparently, he told me the team they played, it started with a V, but I forget. He was so pumped up with adrenaline after it was over he couldn't sleep. Me neither, I said, but for different reasons.

    Since we are now sending our autopsies to UAMS (yay!) I was super relieved bc we got another request last week. These heart doctors are out of control. We had trouble getting rid of the body bc it was a younger guy and the UAMS pathologist was worried the family wanted toxicology and forensics which is something they, and we previously, don't do. PSA - if you order an autopsy don't ignore your phone for three days while the body sits in the cooler. Finally it went over Monday morning. I heard Jess in transcription and yelled, Did you get rid of that body yet??!! much to the delight and amusement of transcription.

    Dragon is fascinating. Learning that has been a little stressful too. I'm getting the hang of it and it's slowly learning my voice. A is mistaken all the time for 8. TTF-1 is PTF-1. I won't even try to tell you how bad it mangled meningotheliomatous meningioma or bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy but it gets better every day. I'm still dictating my cytologies bc there's a lot more steps which I was able to manage on Monday but when I got deluged on Tuesday and Wednesday I gave up. The secretaries are more than happy to listen to my voice, they said. They are having a long overdue relief without all their typing. I'm happy for them. The gross room loves it, they play games trying to trip up Dragon and laugh at the results. I had to go too slow at first - I'm an auctioneer and Dragon didn't like that, but it is slowly getting better. It's amazing how you can say a string of sentences and watch it pop up magically in the field. CoPath and Epic don't communicate well - and we've had to make a lot of adjustments. But when we get Beaker in a couple of years (they have been touting that for almost a decade) it should be more streamlined.

    Happy Friday! I'm looking forward to sleeping in and packing. Hopefully the blended family experiment goes well. Jack and C are excited to share CB with their other family and I'm excited that even though it has been a helluva hard couple of weeks there is relief on the horizon. And my health, while still not optimal, has improved so hopefully this year will be much better than last year. Watching The Dropout. It's fascinating - so addicted to the Elizabeth Holmes story I read the book a couple of years ago and Amanda Seyfried is amazing as her. Much love, Elizabeth

    

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Non Binary

     Jack had some friends over last weekend. This doesn't happen very often, so I was really excited. After call, I went to Walgreen's and bought lots of Easter candy and went to Catering to You and bought gourmet popcorn and firecrackers (they were the most popular). A Southern tradition - I remember first learning about them at a Conway Regional potluck years ago. Soak saltines in butter, add copious red pepper and other spices, and bake. They are like crack. Noah and Jack polished them off quickly.

    I asked Jack who his friends were - Van and Nova are both girls I eat with at lunch, he said, but they identify as non binary. Oh boy. Another thing for me to learn. Lucy taught me all about transgender. She was only 20 when I met her and she had been transitioning with hormones for a year. She was loudly transgender in a state that wasn't quite ready for her, but I was. She aspired to be a model, and wanted to save her money to move to Ventura CA to be with her chosen family and realize her dreams.

    Which was a good thing, bc she was all pink and pretty when I met her (it was honestly a joy to be associated with someone so incredibly beautiful). Avery sometimes got frustrated with her when she worked at Boulevard bc she thought Lucy's definition of woman was to be admired by men. There's more to being a woman than that. Aww, let's cut her a little slack, I said. She's only been her true self for a year. She's young. She'll learn. Avery said that she was very awed by how much she was able to save money. And it paid off. She moved to CA last month, I learned on Insta. I see some of the clothes Christie and I bought her on her first ever shopping spree in her shoots and am proud to support her in a little way.

    She got black, I was worried, after she tried to start dating online. Arkansas (hell the whole world - my yoga friend Matt said they are demonizing the transgenders like they did the gays ten years ago) was not friendly. But she is confident as all hell and she recovered. I hope she has more luck in CA. She deserves it. She's young and gorgeous and set to conquer the world. We both celebrated when Sports Illustrated featured their first transgender model. 

    I was determined to learn what non-binary meant. I asked Sean, who worked at Boulevard Baptist last week for the first time in months - I gave him the biggest bear hug and Avery told me he is coming again tomorrow (Yay!). He said, Liz, honestly, I identify with LGBTQ but the definitions often confuse me. I'm really not sure. Christie didn't know either. Her son identified as gay from a young age but recently entered a relationship with a woman he met in college. Non-binary, I learned, is not identifying with any particular gender. 

    Not that I would bring anything up with Jack's friends but I wanted to understand what they identified with as a human being when I met them, which was around Saturday at noon when I was on the treadmill. I made plans to go to a movie with S to get out of their hair while they made mole and watched a movie. We saw Cyrano - I leaned over to S and groaned when they started singing. I didn't know it was a musical, I said. It's ok, he replied.

    Early in our relationship I took him to the movie Les Mis and it was a nightmare, he fell asleep and even I had to admit if fell flat, as a lot of musicals converted to movies do. He much preferred the live version at Robinson a couple of years ago. Cyrano had some good songs and some good scenes too, some I'd revisit, but not the movie overall. The awkward kiss reveal at the end felt like a girl forced to kiss her dying Uncle. But overall I love what Peter was trying to do. And boy can he sing! I just wasn't invested enough in the characters to feel emotion.

    On our way out we both had to use the restroom after copious Coke Zero with popcorn. S exclaimed in surprise that a girl had just exited the boy's bathroom. I laughed and elbowed him and called him an old man. Welcome to the new world, I said. It's gender fluid. Jack teaches me this. Lucy too. Cecelia has included LGBTQ issues in her sexual health organization. We don't always get it right, but we try and make mistakes and course correct. Happy Tuesday, it's the ides of March. My cousin Tommy's birthday. I think of him often. Much love, Elizabeth

Friday, March 11, 2022

It Snowed on the day my bro was born (March 9 1984)

     I still remember it. I was spending the night at my friend Melinda Fan's in NLR - she's now the breast path at freaking Harvard, and my parents called her rents to ask if I could stay longer bc mom broke her water. The sun was shining. It was snowing. It was really beautiful. I was so excited to meet Matt.

    This week started off ok? Tina shared a gross with me Monday morning that made me LOL. This girl doesn't know her bra size, but she wants the surgeon to get her down to a C or a D, so her boobs don't point at the floor. I'm like, who doesn't know their bra size, first of all, and second, where does she want them to point? Like headlights, or to the sky? Does anyone ever ask for a side eye? WTF?

    Then it took a turn for the worse. Crazy cases, tons of adrenaline. Not to mention the shitty war in the Ukraine. I was so strung out Thursday morning I shot out of bed at 5:30 worrying that I was late to CARTI general tumor board and skipped shower and got dressed in a hurry. Halfway down the hill I realized I was not only not going to be late for Sbucks I was over an hour early. A couple of egg bites later and a coffee down I was crying about a story I read in the news. Deep breaths. This is our new norm. Part of change. I'm here but not here for it. 

    Thursday I was so wiped I sent a present for Super Girl's friend Kim's bday with Jessica the thought of driving past 6pm was antithesis to my being. Luckily they sent lots of pics - trivia night at Mellow Mushroom. I checked in with the gross room this morning, slept and refreshed, and Savanna said that Jessica was stuck in an elevator with placentas? She texted me to log in all the specimens, that was her only request. 

    When it started snowing this afternoon I decided to check the OR schedule at hour early luckily it was dead. Lindsey, my on call PA, was busy picking up her kid, about Rennie's age, from childcare they had canceled aftercare. I asked Jess what was up with the elevator.

    We were going from one to ground. It faltered, lights went out, it was jolting, it was scary. It was me, a cart full of placentas, and a woman who's sister was air flighted last week to Baptist for a stroke. I learned everything about her life, over the course of an hour. Apparently Jess pushed the emergency call button and the Baptist help came to say they just needed to refresh the elevator but 20 mins later they said it didn't work and they called Schindler. Luckily that worked but it was hairy - the elevator drifted down to the ground floor then slowly and creepily up to the tenth floor where she got off and caught another elevator to get the placenta's safely to the morgue. Round two went to Bob she was done. Jack has a visceral fear of elevators - I'd better not share this story with him.

    My god the landscape is eerie and beautiful. I'm on call but going in late tomorrow to ensure the roads are ok. Went to Pantry West tonight with S - very early to get back before dark. A friend gifted me a large gift certificate. I remember going to Allouette's when I was little with my parents tasting escargot for the first time. Then in my 20's Denis was head chef - his pic is still on the wall. He was dating my friend who was a beautiful blond waitress less than half his age. A lovely scoundrel. He was the light of all of our parties, and he always made me lol. Loved seeing his pic. He lived loud. Happy Friday, much love, Elizabeth

    

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Pisces New Moon

     New beginnings. I'm honestly tired. It's been a rough and busy week. Fun things, not all hard things, but still. I'm glad we are heading into the weekend. Jack and S and I are headed to Fayetteville tomorrow after work/school to do early bday celebration with Cecelia (19!). I got reservations at Cheers in the OPO early Saturday evening - they were booked from 6-8 when I called yesterday so I got a 5:30 slot. Menu looks amazing. Gonna be cloudy and rainy so I packed accordingly - luckily no calls for winter weather. She's invited Blakely and Woody. She seemed in good spirits when she called this morning - but had a packed weekend. I reminded her that Jack is supposed to be staying in her dorm? But the VRBO on Oak Street we got should accommodate him if she was too busy. She decided to try to cancel some things in order to hang out with Jack. That girl is always trying to fit 10 things into one slot. And she's always late. A character flaw, she acknowledged. But she has so many strengths that it's kind of easy to overlook.

    I had my second med exec committee Monday night and am starting to get the flow. I noticed they ask all the departments for updates - most decline, but it made me think I need to bring some juicy lab stuff to the table at the next one - we lab people need to insert ourselves into the conversation. Baptist is treating us to Trio's on the last Monday of March - no alcohol, Greg Crain asserted, you can buy that yourselves, but we will buy food. I'll take that. I'm starting to rethink this position and ally myself with admin. Cody Walker brought us surprise free strawberry banana smoothies yesterday - I was thankful bc I was so busy I forgot my 2:30 snack and it was already 3:00. It was lovely, I told him in the Dr. Lounge this morning. So appreciated. And my employees really appreciate Baptist giving them free meals if they stay at work during the storm. If the Ukranian president can try to negotiate with Putin, getting in good with admin should be a walk in the park. I'm softening. Getting to know people does that, no matter what side you land on.

    In med exec committee they bring raw policy changes to the table and we hone them. Last month it was how to treat physicians over 75 and everyone thought the plan was too punitive. So we fixed it and approved it on Monday. This time it was surgical time out - they are trying to make it better and the head of surgery presented their proposal. In case you don't know, surgical time out is something we have been doing for years to try to prevent operating on the wrong side. There was a neurosurgeon in my training who operated on the wrong side of the brain, so this is important. It was modeled after the airlines. A checklist. Involving a white board, and radiology, and verbal checkpoints to get everyone's ducks in a row to prevent mistakes. 

    The surgeon's decision was to mark everything with a marker before you operate. There was quiet dissention. Julia Goodwin, the chief of OB, said I have to mark the vagina with a marker? Not happening. She was so deadpan I almost LOL'd. David Shenker, the Chief of Staff (another OB), proclaimed that he would never write on a woman's perineum, no matter the policy. Some suggested they just make and x on the suprapubic abdomen. What's the point of that, said Julie. That's not even where I am operating. Seems silly and redundant. 

    Whit Goodwin, who I bought my Tallyho house from, had come to present something even though he is not chief. He seemed a little miffed that he missed the Trio's treat by a month. I hate to be a fly in the ointment, he said, but us rads often try to get a line in and if it doesn't work we move to another spot. So you want to remove procedure exemptions and make us do it too? It will always look like we are screwing up. Chief of ED echoed that. Sometimes in an emergency it's too crazy to do a time out and mark a pleural tap. So that one got sent back to committee for revisions. 

    ENT tumor board was Tuesday morning at 7 and I presented  a couple of weird cases for Sims and Stern - a pleomorphic dermal sarcoma (sorry guys I had to google that but it has none of the high risk behaviors like abundant necrosis and size over 3cm and invasion into muscle so I think it will be a good actor) and Merkel cell carcinoma (unlike PDS this is a board question however rare and this one behaved like a book). I also finished Q/A for the last six months of 2021 yay!!! Only backed up two months now. We all look really good. We are a stellar group. Turnaround time, comparison to outside diagnoses (I look at 50-80 of those every month). I'm proud to be with PLA.

    I'm the only one not trained on Dragon but everyone is raving about the efficiency. I think possible conversion to digital will be even better. My friend from Russia who is in my book club, Natalya, took her premature baby boys home this week and is planning a meet and greet with tea and cakes. William and Alexander are beautiful - she sent pics, and Kewan and I told her we can't wait to hold babies again. Things are busy, but everything is coming up roses. Happy Thursday (not birthday - everyone gets that wrong with the mask but hopefully that will be over soon). Much love, Elizabeth

    

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Penile Foreign Object #2

     What a crazy normal Arkansas weather week it has been. At least it will be back in the 70's by the end of the week. The ice is pretty, and I'm glad it didn't cause too much trouble. Round two may or may not happen tonight, but we are being conservative. I canceled a dinner with a friend and Jack is a little frustrated he can't go to the gym but I'd rather be safe than sorry, especially with a 16 year old, however cautious he is. It's so good to see Jack! It's been two weeks and now we have him for two whole weeks. Planning a trip to Fayetteville next weekend for a pre-birthday celebration for C and he's gonna stay in her dorm they are both so excited. He was raving about Hamilton - I bought him and S and his dad really good tickets for last weekend when I was gone. I always felt a little guilty I took C when Jack was the one that was obsessed with it bc of his Episcopal choir teacher. 

    When I was out of town visiting my parents Christie chartered a private jet and arranged ground transportation to Vegas. WOW. She was telling me the ins and outs of PJ's - that's what my friend Ahmad calls them. We are having dinner with him and his lovely wife in Vegas. Apparently the only thing really frowned upon is flip flops and red wine (it's a creamy leather interior). There is no flight attendant but she's ordered a bunch of healthy snacks. The way back is longer than the way there bc of headwinds and tailwinds and all that. And apparently it is much cheaper to float the pilot in Vegas than send the plane back. All of this is way above my pay grade, so it's kind of exciting. Planning to take lots of pics. We are very interested in touring Old Vegas - the history and the museums. 

    Sooo nice to be back in a car with satellite radio. I was driving to work the other morning and even Madison on Lithium wasn't bothering me she actually made me laugh. She was talking about the disproportionate number of hot women who dated Pete Davidson. How does he get them? She wondered. He's a little funny, but not that number of hot famous women funny. If I had to choose, she said, I'd pick the drummer of the Offspring. He's hot, he's tall, and he's old enough to make me feel young. And he has a Ph.D. in molecular biology (I think?). If that's not hot what is? 

    I can't remember his name but I do remember seeing them at Zephyrfest in New Orleans circa early 90's. They weren't giving away free water at the concert and the lines were long as hell. I passed out from heat before noon and woke up in the lap of an English major who was hopelessly in love with me but despite his beautiful correspondence I just wasn't attracted to him. I did kind of mess up once at Lollapalooza and ended up drunkenly making out with him but I had to confess to him in a car at a gas station in Conway that I just wasn't interested in him in that way. He moved on and dated my tall leggy blond friend for a year. He had a type.

    Well I guess the title begs an explanation. So I had a gross only last week on a penile foreign object described as a metal hook. I'm not even a guy and I cringed. This was not a kid, he was definitely old enough to know better. Turns out, he had been treating urinary retention for a week with a coat hanger (this was definitely thicker than a coat hanger, Savanna said) and on the sixth day it got stuck so he went to the ED. I was so mortified I walked into Melody's office to share. Are you ok? She said, and after I told her the story she was like I'm not sure if that was brave, or stupid? A combination of both, I said. A bad combination. If you have urinary retention, go to a urologist, and get a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate). Those prostates get fluffy with age. Happy Saturday, much love, Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Coming Together

     Is better than falling apart, that's for sure. I've been thinking of that title all day, and when I typed it I got the double entendre and LOL'd. I had the best day off I've had in two years. When your health is returning and you start to see your old self again and how much of it was gone, it's exhilarating. For starters, it's early, jury is still out, but my new Jeep is a dream. The technical display makes my Land Rover look like 1980's Atari. The back up camera is shockingly amazing. AND I FINALLY have music not coming from a tinny iPhone in my lap after about two long years. Today I figured out how to program 12 channels into my favorites on Sirius. I missed it sooo much - the best time for me to discover new music is in a car since I need silence to work. 

    I love driving it bc it reminds me of driving my Jeep in college. I'm not really picky about cars, my only requirement is that it is shaped like a square. There are too many cars these days that are oblong, like a suppository. Which is a handy shape if it is something you need to insert up your um anus but not so flattering, IMO, in a vehicle. And they all look the same! From Lexus to Ford. I anticipate a revolution soon, but until then, I'll take pride in the fact that I'm one of the only non-suppository shaped vehicles on the road.

    My friend Padma is having a girl's bday dinner, Laurie is hosting, Friday night at Petit and Keet and I am so sad to miss it (but the beach isn't too shabby). I decided I had to be there, even if I wasn't there - you know gifts and fun party stuff. I went into Wordsworth for the first time since the pandemic and it has changed quite a bit. Non-book gift selection way down, but OMG to be in a bookstore for the first time in so long the smells alone almost made me swoon. I'm trying hard to shake this pandemic squirrel brain so I optimistically bought a few books for my trip to Florida tomorrow. 

    Padma's not a book person. So I headed to Catering to You to look for gifts. They had a whole birthday table with these amazing rainbow napkins and a cool candle that would fit on any dessert. There were these 1970's shag pillows - I bought Padma a big one with a sun on it and all the guests (it's a girl dinner) smaller ones with hello and happy and rainbows and sunshines. And there was a birthday gourmet popcorn bag - it looked positively indulgent all drizzled with festive candy and chocolate everyone got one of those too. I got the jalapeno cheddar flavor for myself, and dark chocolate pretzel for Mom and Dad.

    We are implementing Dragon at work (finally) so big changes looming there for our company but I'm still so stoked about all the new technology I'm learning about from these other companies sometimes I can't sleep. I'm going to be a cog in a part of a huge revolution in pathology and the way we deliver cancer care to our patients. In lieu of a cure this is a huge development. And since pathology is going digital, urban and rural care become equal which is a big challenge in the health care profession. Happy Tuesday! Much love, Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Artificial Intelligence

     I feel like this is one of the most exciting days of my career? But a little too premature to discuss details. Having trouble winding down though. 

    Pathology is moving in a whole new direction, and if we are to stay relevant, we need to jump on board. I learned recently within the past few months that AI is moving forward. And path is moving to digital (knew this, but if you use CME and ABP as a benchmark you'd think it would be lifetimes away their digital images suck ass). Phillips is the vanguard. I called Jesse all excited a couple of months ago. "They are reading prostate biopsies with algorithms. It's the future. 98% accuracy with prostate cancer. That's better than peer review." He googled the company I was talking about and LOL'd. He said I trained that guy who is the head when he was at Stanford. Stanford docs don't train to become docs. They train to become innovators. I told him that was on the horizon 15 years ago. Gave him the idea. Look at him realizing it.

    I thought I'd never transition from glass to computers but turns out I need to entertain it- it's much more efficient I hear. And an easier transition that you might imagine. So we are still in the early stages of figuring this out, but I feel like it's home and we are moving in the right direction.

    The head of a company that took us out to dinner tonight and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and has cutting edge technology at their fingertips admired my Jeep in the parking lot tonight. I've got one of those, he said. It's my favorite car. I lamented my LR4 problems and told him I had hope now that I'd finally gotten rid of it. I spent 3/4 of the drive to Capers accidentally without my headlights on. I had the seat heater and steering wheel heater come on automatically in 38 degrees this morning and had to roll my window down on the Interstate bc my butt was sweating and I couldn't figure out the instrumentation. It's a learning curve. But I'm optimistic.

    Said dinner buyer at Capers grew up camping on MY STREET and his brother cardiologist lives a mile away from me on Rivercrest. Small world! My business admin had to leave early to go to a granddaughters bday party. They are going through a divorce, he said. I need to support her I'm sorry to leave early and miss the dinner. Company head said I've been there seven times. Holy hell divorce I wondered? No surely he means grandkids. The latter was right. We LOL'd.

    I'm on call this week and ready for some digital innovation feels like twilight ages. But I'm proud of who we are and what we do. Next week headed to mom and dad's to see the new house it will be nice to have a few days off. Happy Tuesday much love, Elizabeth

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Check Engine

     I'd heard all of the warnings when I bought my Land Rover years ago, but it seemed hit or miss. I was hoping for a miss. I got a lemon. Dealing with that dealership is so painful I vowed, after being the victim of a very minor car accident years ago, and it took like six weeks for the door to arrive from England (not AR obv), never to use them again, and if I needed too, I would search for a new vehicle. I had to fight them for a replacement car to drive to work. And this was pre-pandemic! Ridiculous. 

    Also had an incident on Spring Break a few years ago that required us to rent a vehicle and have it transported to another city then towed back to AR. After a few weeks. Luckily it was still under warranty, so it didn't cost a thing but now the warranty is out. It's not just the big things. My satellite radio hasn't worked for over a year. The automatic wipers suck. Having said that, I love the fishbowl view of the highway and the look of the car but some things just aren't worth it.

    When my check engine light came on while running errands on Monday I was like OK. Here is my moment. Sink or swim. I went to get my oil changed yesterday morning at 7:30 am (so much fun to spend your precious time off dealing with cars - my forerunner never had any issues - I know, first world problems but still). The tire and service place I have used on Cantrell for years is going downhill. I prepared myself for an hour, even brought a book, but when they turned on ESPN loudly in the waiting room, and two other guys were there, I resigned myself to playing on my phone.

    Why, I thought, has this not been classified as audiotorture. The men are all yelling at each other and talking over each other and when, about an hour into it, Tom Brady announced his resignation on Instagram, it was like the whole studio went into a mad frenzy. A collective orgasm in reaction to the news. They were reading parts and bits of his apparently 6 page Insta rez and I LOL'd. Who writes six pages on that platform. I know, my brother and his wife were in Boston for years and went to some of the games, he's accomplished, but what athletic feat deserves this reveration? (I'm apparently making up words according to autocorrect, oh well.) That, I decided, was my ESPN exposure for the century. Next time I'll try to Uber home.

    When I finally tried to leave 2.5 hours after arriving (a record at that place for an oil change) they had left the hood popped accidentally and forgot to re-engage the safety air bags so I was getting lights and warnings not to drive over 20 miles an hour that added an extra half hour to the whole ordeal. The sixteen year old desk clerk told me that the engine light was on because I left the gas tank slightly ajar - um, I got gas five days ago but ok - so I wasn't surprised in the least when it came back on again on the way to my hair appointment with Maddy.

    I tried another car place after hair that ran an engine diagnostics I had requested done in the morning but didn't get a report on - I was so grateful to get away from the noise pollution I didn't care. They said it was two things - O2 something and catalytic not sure. I do bodies, not cars, so the terminology was lost on me. They wrote it down and I called my financial adviser's best friend - he gave me his cell months ago - who works on luxury vehicles without charging you an arm and a leg to open the hood. It could be nothing, he said, or something. Likely nothing. But call me again after the (maybe) storm and I'll fit you in.

    So I started car shopping. I drove my dad's Jeep last summer and it reminded me how much I like them. But I'm an adult, I thought, maybe check out a sedan or a coupe? I called my partner Michelle to ask how she liked her Audi. It's a Volvo, she said (LOL) but it's reliable, much more so than Darius' Range Rover. Give me the name of that guy you called. We will need him. Christy loves her BMW and their service but there are only six cars on the lot and they are all white (eww) and I don't want to wait.

    S said, and I agree, you will hate hoisting yourself out of a low car after all these years. Kind of like getting up off of a non-handicapped toilet, I thought. I'd rather jump down. Let's just table Fadi (the luxury car guru) and buy a car this weekend. The thought of car shopping sickens me - I'd rather have a nasty nauseous GI bug, but if I look online and go in on Saturday for the kill I can try to make it as painless as possible.

    Hopefully this storm will pass quickly and Saturday is still a shopping option. Of course I am going to work on Thursday and Friday (would have loved to have three days off to admire the ice but not in the cards) so I just packed for a hotel near Baptist. Arkansas weather. So unpredictable. Better safe than sorry, based on my history. Happy Wednesday, much love, Elizabeth