Sunday, October 16, 2005

come in, houston

For those of you who follow this page closely, these last few weeks may have been like that final climactic scene in "Apollo 13," wherein the astronauts, whizzing through the Earth's atmosphere in their final descent, are thrown into radio silence, and everyone is just breathlessly awaiting their emergence to see if they survived the flaming re-entry or if they succumbed to the conflagration. Only much less dramatic. And not televised. And also, no one really cares all that much.

Work, what can I say about work? It consumes me. During the day, of course, but (and I don't mean to scare you by telling you this) I even dream about work every night. Usually just procedural stuff that I'm trying to get more comfortable with during the day--pushing meds, inducing patients, what have you. Last night I dreamed that I landed a difficult IV access, only to have a medical student knock it out accidentally before I could tape that sucker down. Damn you, dream medical student! No dream Honors for you!

So there's work, and then there's my home life. Cal is just so darn rootin' tootin' cute and changing so much every day that if there's a single moment that I'm not at work, I want to be spending it with him. Otherwise I start to get this feeling like I'm the dad in "Mary Poppins," who ignores his kids in favor of his big important job at the bank, until Mary Poppins and her bevy of dancing chimmneysweeps schools him on his grievously misdirected priorities. (And then he goes bonkers and gets sacked from the bank and his boss Dick Van Dyke DIES of LAUGHTER, and everyone seems curiously jolly about this fact, like "Ha ha! The old guy croaked!" and goes out and flies kites in a CELEBRATION OF LIFE.)

Ah, yes, well. So that's why I've been away for so long. Living my life, you know. Just not writing about it as much.

* * *

A few weeks ago, Georgia (our nanny, you know), gently advised us that if we didn't want Cal's feet to turn gangrenous and fall off at the ankles, then we'd be well advised to get him some new socks. His old socks were creating a blanched ring of ischemia around his calves. Because they were too small. And also because of his FATNESS.

Do you know how hard it is to go into the baby clothes section of Old Navy or some such store and only buy exactly what it is that you went in intending to get? VERY VERY HARD. Because sometimes they sell little fleece hats in the shape of pumpkin halves. And your kid? When wearing the hat? Looks like a pumpkin! HA! I mean, I'm frugal, but I'm not made of STONE.

So now we have a million pairs of socks and a hat shaped like a pumpkin. We're ready for the winter!

* * *

Speaking of hats, have I ever discussed with you the phenomenon of surgical scrub caps? Some people wear the free disposable shower cap things that they have outside the ORs, but many people who work there every day decide to take the plunge into the world of high fashion and get hats of their own. And not always, but oftentimes, these hats wind up being little conversation pieces or advertisements of that person's interests or hobbies.

The nurse who wears the scrub cap with Yankees emblems all over it? Duh, loves baseball. The attending with the aquatic panorama on his cap? Enjoys deep sea fishing (and, being an attending, presumably has time to actually go do it). The plastic surgeon who does charity work in Africa? Wears a cap made of Kinte cloth. The resident who wears the Epoietin cap? Enjoys free lunches and golf trips.

There's an etiquette to scrub hat wear, too. It's like going to the Oscars--you don't want to wear the same thing as someone else. For example, I was going to buy the hat pictured above for Joe, because he does the operations on the eyeballs and such, but he told me that one of his attendings already owned the same hat, therefore making it off limits. Not explicitly of course, no one would come out and tell you, "Hey, that's my hat, quit copping my style, punk"--but it's just understood. I mean, you'd hate to have a scene like in that one episode of Melrose place where Amanda and Sydney showed up to a party wearing the same dress and Amanda threw punch on Sydney's dress and then the started pulling each other's hair and fell into the pool. (Wait, I think the hair-pulling and pool-falling was a different episode. But it seemed like it happened every week. Did anyone ever use that pool for actual swimming?)

I have several scrub caps that I wear on a rotating basis. I have a sock monkey cap, a Mister Potato Head cap, a Super Mario Brothers cap, and a Curious George cap. I also have a Pinky and The Brain cap that I was wearing last week when I was doing a lot of neurosurg cases--a move I thought to be tremendously witty and clever, but that no one else understood, even when I pointed it out. (Everyone was like, "Pinky and the who in the what now?" Come on, people! Pop culture! Catch the fever!) Most of these caps I just picked up over time because I thought they were funny, not with any particular theme in mind, but now that I've amassed enough data points, I realized they practically scream "FORMER PEDIATRICIAN."

I wondered if I should get hats with more adult themes, with pictures of, I don't know, coffee mugs and, uh, tax forms on them or something. But then I decided to get this hat instead:

You can take the resident out of the Peds program, but you can't take the Peds out of the resident.

* * *

So, sorry to that person who complained that all I ever talk about anymore is work and the baby, but as I work one buzillion hours a week and have a three month-old kid at home, that pretty much consumes 99% of my brain power. (The last 1%, of course, is thinking about WORLD PEACE.) I mean, I say sorry, but I'm not really apologizing or anything. I'm just acknowledging that I don't have a lot else going on these days. That's just the way it goes. Oh wait, but I am reading something new:

Currently reading: "Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers." Kind of an impulse buy at the bookstore, but I'm enjoying it. This book is actually pretty funny, if you can believe it. (And I mean funny on purpose, not unintentionally hilariously bad.)

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