Monday, January 23, 2023

Medical Executive Committee

     I hadn't been in a while in person. Autopsy was virtual bc dry heaving and in person presenting don't go very well.  Missed the Christmas party at Yaya's due to ED visit. So it was nice to be there. A lot of financial stuff that makes my mind drift, and the cheesy admin goals that made Ward Gardner pop off so bad Wendell had to check him. Ward was Mike's classmate, I've known him for a long time. He's  a hothead, but he's smart - Chief of ENT. His observations and challenges were astute, but a little disrespectful. I think he forgets he's the only one in the room who isn't under contract with Baptist and gets paid in RVUs. Baden in radiology (they are having as hard a time as we are finding docs), myself, surely the new Peds chief Barr I haven't met yet, all have a little animosity but you gotta play the long game. 

    I saw Mackenzie for the first time in a while and told her that I'd heard the gross room was being completely redone. Jessica already has a shoot for the moon wishlist, I told her, and even though it might not be financially feasible she agreed you should always shoot for the moon. I learned that Angel from Heme (new lab director in LR don't want to short her she's super kind) and Paula lab director are touring the country to look at other tissue labs? I need to be a part of that. They don't know tissue labs like we do. Shaver has already ok'd PTO for this. I am the director of it, among other things. Don't exclude us, I asked Mackenzie. She said I'll keep you in the loop.

    Crazy Monday - cleaning up call cases and fielding a bunch of new ones I think I have calcifications in my neck muscles. We have had such an uproar in our practice family in the past few weeks - more than in my entire tenure here. It's horribly stressful. My therapist said I need to widen my circle back to pre-pandemic. So, to start off, Jack and Annika and Carrie and I met at the Root for Sunday brunch it was lovely to catch up it's been years. Jack and Annika weight lift together and have been trying to make it happen for a few months. I finally took the reins (never give teens the reins) and we had so much fun we plan to do it again soon.

    Also starting a book club back up - we meet February 4 to plan. Starting off small - Amanda Ferrell and Kewen Jauss and Laura Sanders and Kandi West. Kandi was texting a couple of weeks ago - she's the best reader I know - she bought Wordsworth! One of my faves. Carrie Mensik said she is building a new house at the end of Foxcroft Road and wants to start a book club too. Maybe if I can get my health in line I can resume yoga and hiking. Baby steps.

    This weather not weather maybe weather event tomorrow night is stressing me out. Jessica presented a new inclement weather policy in QA last Thursday makes sense and makes things more fair. But I'm getting ready, got gas, got brandy, Jack got food since Med Exec popped up on me unexpectedly. Will get hotel near Baptist if necessary. Cancelled Paula for the immediate future. 

    Unplugged on Sunday on the couch and watched X, which was freaking amazing. The origin story Pearl was a little slow for me but the cinematography was incredible and Mia Goth? Big time acting chops when she did the soliloquy to the sis in law it reminded me of the beginning of My Town. I thought she must be the muse of Ti West but turns out she is married, divorced, and married to Shia LeBouf so they are just collaborators. So hard to find good horror these days, I told Savanna in the gross room this morning. We desperately need new content. There is a new horror movie with Mia in it coming out this weekend - I might just have to make it to the theater. Oh and The Meal - highly recommend. Happy Monday (not on call) much love, Elizabeth

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Back to Baseline, Sort of

     Well, we moved Cecelia and her million pounds of stuff into Hendrix Sunday. I told her that people were probably watching and marveling from their dorm room windows. She got assigned to the Dickinson House, which didn't exist when I was there. It's named after my Dickinson family who got their money from a rock quarry in Pine Bluff maybe? It built most of the roads in Arkansas. I was charmed to see the plaques with Uncle Haskell and his dad Tyndall and mom Carrie on the outside of the building, and flabbergasted to see the portrait of Mama Carrie and Tyndall elevated above a common room that was like an atrium. That portrait was in the house Haskell and Peggy (dad's little sis) live in now, the one Mama Carrie and Tyndall used to live in on Palisades. I grew up looking at that portrait when we would go for Christmas or pool parties or birthdays or whatnot. It felt like a homecoming.

    It is right next to the Browne house, which I didn't know existed until I went to Hank's life celebration a week from last Thursday (slide show). Mary and I don't keep up regularly these days, but we go way back to Aldersgate when we were 15 and first met. At a surprise coincidental pedicure visit a few months back we caught up and she told me he was suffering from glioblastoma but had managed to live a lot longer than anyone expected. She looked elegant at the Clinton Library in a tailored skirt suit and as I waited in the slipshod receiving line to give her a hug I admired and squinted at the sun setting through the window of where I had my wedding reception in 2016.

    You look like a Madonna, I told her, the way the sun is framing your face as you are talking to people. Can I get you a glass of wine you are empty handed and this is so packed. I feel like a president's wife, she quipped. And no but thank you, I'm not going to drink until I get home then I'll get shitfaced. No judgement there at all.

    Speaking of Aldersgate, Cecelia called me today ecstatic. The last time she worked there was a couple of months ago, a respite weekend. There was a girl who was 9, Rennie's age, in her last week or two of life due to brain cancer. When Cecelia learned this she devoted her entire weekend to the girl, singing and laughing and playing with her. M was wheelchair bound, and struggled at this point to voice her thoughts. Cecelia devoted time in her Hendrix application essay to M, and the lessons she learned, so I became quite invested. The mom was so thrilled with C she got her cell from Katie, the director of something at Aldersgate, and called C the next week to thank her effusively.

    Cecelia told Katie that she wasn't going to volunteer this weekend because she needs to plug into her new college. Her suite mate is cute as a button, Sophie from Greensville SC and premed major Spanish minor. C got a call from Katie today and the girl, don't want to violate her privacy by naming her but it's an unusual beautiful name, is going to be there this weekend. She entered a clinical trial and is doing fantastic. She hasn't been this healthy in 6-7 months. C and I both ugly happy cried on the phone together this afternoon around 1. I drew so much attention Kimberly and Tina came to check on me.

    Who knows what the future brings but you take the good and you process the bad appropriately and move on. I'm on call, and had a late frozen yesterday (if you call 4:15 late LOL). Stern was doing a direct laryngoscopy on a patient with a large laryngeal mass and a shit ton of big lymph nodes. He needed a diagnosis. Lindsey cut the frozen. We looked at the gross (think 2 mm of WTF). It was pink, and fleshy, and we worried about lymphoma so she saved half for flow. Turned out to be run of the mill squamous cell carcinoma. That directs treatment. If it was lymphoma, stop. Squames need to be excised. Happy Tuesday, much love, Elizabeth


Saturday, January 14, 2023

Happy Weekend!

     Good god. Why does life continue to throw you shit to fragment your mind. Oh well. It doesn't work. Well, to be fair, almost. 

    Nothing new here. Going to be on call on Monday, back to the grind. Not a bad thing. Oh! Looking forward to dinner tomorrow night with Christy and her new beau Jerry and his father who is suffering from Alzheimer's. Kemuri west. Christy knows the owner. We have a 4:30 reservation. Old folks time. He always comps her drinks or apps. Looking forward to meeting him. Might be a good contact.

    Hopefully S will test neg for Covid tomorrow - he had it back in February with horrible sequelae. Alopecia, requiring derm intervention. I told Melody I think I must be Covid immune. Exposed twice, and never symptomatic. So I haven't ever tested. When S tested at 4 am yesterday I was surprised. It's like a pregnancy test, I told him. Looking for the lines.

    Excited to move C into Hendrix on Sunday - she is going to come over tomorrow to start packing. Mike and Rach are having a weekend in NOLA so they are taking care of Rennie. I've done enough of her laundry to last a lifetime. Just checking in. Happy January. Much love, Elizabeth.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Comparison and Confidence

     I've noticed something weird about the guys in our group, I've talked to Melody about this before. Women are more communal, guys tend to approach us like aliens - trying to compare and make sense of us. Rex, for example, would compare me to Diane and marvel at the differences. Once Shaver, years ago before I got divorced, came into my office. He told me about his relationship with Carlisle - a co-resident of his who works in Fort Smith. We played practical jokes on each other all of the time. It was really fun.

    Something in his voice made me wonder if he wanted that with me - another practical joke player. Maybe I was reading into it, but at the time I was not in a situation to be that person. I gave him a blank stare and smiled fake. That's nice, I said. When Melody was hired, one of the guys, can't remember who, marveled to me that Melody was different from me, she likes sports. Again, I thought in my head, it's because we are different people. 

    I'm not trying to make this a gender thing, I've seen more OCD partners get frustrated when their male counterparts aren't as OCD as them. A big fight erupted one call weekend a decade ago. The AP person called me in free fall. It's ok, I told him. I make typos too. When the CP person vented to me, I told him that guy is different than you. Certain things don't eat at him like they do you. It doesn't make you or him any less or more, just different. 

    But women do communicate more. A lot of the hubs of Bad Mom Docs piggyback on our posts, with the wives permission. They wish they had a similar space, to laugh and vent about their spouses long shits and their tendency to start long inane projects five minutes before they are hosting a party or leaving for vacation (although those are guy things - they would need something different to make fun of, of which I'm sure there is plenty). I like the funny posts - the Christmas pic fails etc. But there are a lot of anonymous trauma dumps, and people get into that - leaving hundreds of supporting comments and reality checks. I occasionally participate, but for the most part I need a laugh in my day, not a trauma dump.

    When Shaver told me I was Chief last Fall, based on doorway conversations, I told all my friends and family. The next day he texted us and asked everyone to vote on me being Chief. I was perplexed and disturbed. I thought this was already decided, I told Melody, I don't want to eat crow, why is he doing this? It was excruciating. A few hours later, he announced on text that it was decided. Only two people dissented, he said. Elizabeth won by majority.

    The next twenty seconds seemed like an hour of Hell. I got super paranoid. I decided quickly who those two people might be and went into emotional tailspin. How will I go on, I wondered. Melody jetted into my office and told me that Shaver planned it all as an elaborate practical joke. I told him not to do it, but since he did I came into your office as soon as the text went through to straighten things out. I warned him you might be upset, but he was like she's so confident how will she believe it? I did. Michelle was equally alarmed. Why did he do that? If I had joined in on the practical joke thing years ago I might have not gone down into the trenches, but I had not, so I did.

    Our self esteem has such a shallow veneer. Melody knew that, and Michelle, but a confident white male might not see that. I laughed and went along and forgave him. Even asked him the next day to be my co-chief. You do PLA, I said, I'll do Baptist. I can be a face and a problem solver, but I don't want to deal with the finances. It's not my forte. Michelle has her MBA and Melody is more OCD about finances than anyone I've ever seen (I mean this as a compliment) so there are plenty of checks and balances without me getting involved in matters I'm no good at and could care less about.

    So I'm in a weird headspace that I'm objectively trying to crawl out of this week. Still. But as I said last week, writing helps me process. Looking forward to Eureka this weekend - Christy is independently going with a new possible beau and I've made reservations to meet them at The Grotto Saturday night at 7:30. Reading a lot about Basque culture. Vicente Suarez, who S thought sounded like a gigolo (No, he's a very handsome very gay man who seems to be independently wealthy) wants to meet for dinner in Barcelona - I talked to him on Insta for the first time since he was a foreign exchange student at PA in high school when I was in Florida last week. 

    Bonus. I found out yesterday I get back Sunday and work Monday and then have the rest of the week off to help Cecelia get organized for her big move. And lunch and shop with Christy. At my insistence Cecelia booked us massages next Friday. And work? Thankfully half of all of December each day so far. Its creeping back up, I'm not jinxing myself, but the respite has been a nice change from what felt like a literal fire water hose of cases being shoved down your throat - you, trying not to get plastered against the wall. Swimming. Happy Wednesday. Elizabeth