Wednesday, June 25, 2008

down to the wire

God, whose STUPID idea was it to include comics with this book?

Oh, right.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

30 is the new 70

I was on call Saturday morning (meaning pre-7:00am), which also happened to be my 30th birthday. (Yes, thank you. I have managed to stay alive for 30 years. Truly a triumph.) I was starting a cardiac case, and I mentioned this birthday factoid to my attending.

"Congratulations," he deadpanned. "Welcome to geezer-hood."

So yeah, the birthday. Not a real big deal, though I guess it was one of those landmark birthdays that people seem to make a big deal about. I am not concerned about the oldness factor of it, since, you know, 30 isn't really that old. I am also basically where I thought I'd be at age 30, so the birthday isn't really triggering any major life evaluation or crisises of the WHERE IS MY LIFE GOING, I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING, I MUST ABSCOND TO TIBET TO LIVE IN A YURT variety. I'm just not much of a birthday person, frankly, and had actually forgotten that it was my birthday until Cal basically reminded me the night before.

However, speaking of agedness, we have recently make a household purchase which is basically only one step away from buying adjacent funeral plots. I am speaking of the old lady cart:

The rationale being this. We are moving to Atlanta. However, I am doggedly (some might say mulishly) holding on to the idea of a pedestrian lifestyle, and we are actually living in a neighborhood where we could actually reasonably walk to most important points of interest (supermaket, drugstore, coffee place, Cal's school, playground, whatnot). However, some of the distances are slightly farther than those that we're used to, and the picture of lugging shopping bags a mile through the hot Georgia sun is some distance away from the conception of My Beautiful Life. Hence:

Ironically, the person in this household with the most post-consumer satisfaction in this household is not the old lady, but the old man. Joe loves the old lady cart. He says with complete lack of sarcasm that it's the best purchase he's made this whole year. Whenever we go out now, even if its just to the playground, the cart goes with us, occasionally with Cal riding in it. It holds our bags, it holds the potty, it holds the groceries and Cal's toys. It has helped with the move, transporting old clothes to the Goodwill. (Startling revelation--I used to dress a lot more slutty in college. Well, didn't we all? Goodbye, polyester ironically 70's clothes from sophomore year, I will not miss you...much.) Today we used it to transport Cal's piggybank to the Coinstar machine for liquidation. (Would you believe there was upwards of $170 dollars in there, even with a bare minimum of quarters? I would not have believed it either, but I saw it with mine own eyes. There was probably $25 in pennies alone.) We love the old lady cart so much that today, we increased our household old lady quotient by 100% and got another, slightly smaller one.

The next step is plastic furniture covers and a bowl of dusty ribbon candy on the side table. Then the transformation will be complete.  

Now stop that racket.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

just to show you that i am actually working on this

(click picture for bigness.)

Now if anyone wants to take my four remaining cardiac calls, maybe I can figure out how I want to write the last two pages of the book and finally finish this thing.

Friday, June 13, 2008

five really satisfying things in anesthesia

1.) Putting gigantic IVs in people with huge veins.

2.) That pop as you shove the central line dilator through the platysmus.

3.) Timing your wake-up just right so that you're extubating an awake, calm, pain-free patient right as the case is finishing up.  Then watching the surgeons startle and do a double-take when the drapes come down and the patient asks, "So, how did it go?"

4.) When you're doing an epidural, that crunchy feeling of passing through the ligamentum flavum right before you get a nice, crisp loss of resistance.  

5.) When people actually call me "Michelle" instead of "Anesthesia."  (For example, "Anesthesia has the chart."  "Anesthesia, hold ventilations."  "We need an 18 gauge angiocath.  See if we can get one from Anesthesia.")

I am a simple woman with simple pleasures.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

if it doesn't scare you, i would think you were kind of weird

Post-call for cardiac this morning, and I slept in until 10:30am.  I can't even remember the last time I slept that late.  Usually I would be up by 9:00am at the latest, because while I certainly have the capacity in me to sleep in, it is a little difficult to do so when your kid has his face pressed up against yours and the mouth part of that face is demanding breakfast.  But Cal had to go to school this morning, so Joe dragged him and his pie hole out of the bedroom by 8:15am.

Last night was not a bad night on call as far as cardiac goes.  In fact, I would have probably finished even earlier were it not for the frothy geysers of blood issuing forth from the chest tubes after we finished closing.  We ended up re-opening the chest--turns out the bleeding was coming from a saphenous graft bypassing one of the coronaries feeding the heart, which, I'm told, is this organ in the chest that moves a lot of blood through it.  Who knew?  So, a little surgical fixing down there and a lot of blood products on my end later, the guy was all shined up and up in the CTICU.  After eyeing the rest of the patients in the unit with a suspicious eye, on the lookout for anyone else looking bleed-y or crappy or otherwise like they were headed back for the OR, I left the hospital and went home.  To my house.  Where my bed is.  And now you know the rest of the story.

So!  We have our anesthesia residency graduation dinner this Friday!  I have not been to a graduation dinner before (the only way you can go if you're not a graduating resident is to be the +1 of one of the graduating resident, and as you know, I'M MARRIED) but I am excited to go.  It is at a pretty nice hotel on the Upper East Side, and I think people will be dressed up and whatnot.  I think I am more excited about seeing people dressed up than I am about anything else, actually, since all I ever see people wear are scrubs.  We will be unrecognizable.  Apparently, there is also a speaking part of the evening, wherein some of the attendings take turns "roasting" each of the graduating seniors.  I have no idea what they're going to say about me, but I am thoroughly looking forward to being humiliated.  I LOVE THE PAIN.

Joe will meet me at the dinner after work, but I'm going home beforehand to change and pick up Cal so he can come too.  (I could not get a straight answer out of anyone whether or not it was OK to bring kids, so I decided screw it, I would just bring him anyway.  It's not like he's going to eat anything.)  I'm bringing Cal partially because I don't want to arrange for childcare, partially because I want to show him off, but also partially (let's just say 33% for each of these reasons.  Well, maybe 20%-60%-20%) because he was born the month that I started the my anesthesia residency, and I want people to see him as a graphic reminder of just how long we've been doing this.  See this kid?  This is how long you've been practicing anesthesia.  You've been doing anesthesia this kid number of years.  

And it is a very vivid reminder, actually, because while (as many of you pointed out), Cal looks a lot older now, like a real kid rather than a baby, is somewhat self-sufficient, walking, talking, marginally potty-trained and all that.  But he's still really young.  He isn't even three yet.  And that's how old our anesthesia careers are too.  But now we're graduating, some of us (myself included) ready to go out and start real jobs, work independently, be entrusted with a level of responsibility that we feel (or at least I feel) a little bit nervous about.  It's like me saying to Cal, "Hey, why don't you walk to school yourself today?  You know how to get home, right?  Here's the key to the apartment."  And I don't mind telling you that while most days I feel pretty good about graduating, there are moments where I feel like the hubris of me finishing my training and becoming an attending is sheer lunacy.  Then again, does anyone ever feel truly ready for this?

That said, I think fear is a good emotion for physicians to be able to feel.  I don't mean maladaptive fear, like the kind that causes you to sit rocking in a corner as your patient arrests--I mean the fear that causes you to worry and question whether or not you're doing the right thing.  If you're never scared as a physician, if you always think that you know everything and that you're infallible, you're bound to make a really big mistake sometime soon.  I think fear can be a good thing.  You should be scared.  So this apprehension that I feel now about The Next Step I'm just chalking up to normal experience.  And hopefully it is, or that would just scare me more.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

hey, it's hot now!

And suddenly, it's June!

So yes, apologies for the long hiatus between posts. Of course I could give you any number of excuses, like the fact that I am BUSY and that I am on CARDIAC (arguably one of the most taxing rotations of the residency--though I don't think anyone would care to argue it, really) and I am finishing the BOOK and drawing the rest of the COMICS and by the way, did I mention that we're MOVING in, like, three weeks? But that is all a bore, so let's not dwell.

I did have a funny story that I was going to put up here last weekend, about how I woke up Sunday morning and decided that I absolutely had to have blueberry Eggo toaster waffles, and in fact ran out to two separate supermarkets in my scrubs before Joe and Cal woke up in order to obtain my quarry. (The first supermarket did have blueberry waffles, but not only were they fat-free, they were also VEGAN. Honestly, people, why bother?) And then I was going to talk about how I was skulking around my neighborhood on a beautiful Sunday morning in scrubs, looking utterly disheveled, like I had just rolled out of bed because, in fact, I had, while all around me all these glamorous people looking fresh from the Hamptons strolled about carrying their coffee and fresh bagels and Sunday Times-es and bouquets (BOUQUETS!) like something out of a damn Woody Allen movie. And then on my way to the second supermarket I passed by a couple of residents post-call from the hospital in my neighborhood (not the one at which I work, just some other hospital close by), and they saw me in my scrubs looking like I spent the night in a dumpster, and gave me that chin-lift of acknowledgment, like, "hey, 'sup fellow slave, I too am post-call." And I didn't have the heart to tell them that I was not actually post-call, I had in fact spent the entire night in my own bed, that I just manage to look this disheveled all on my own.

But then I didn't finish writing that entry.

Then I was going to write this other entry about how this is the finest chocolate milk in all the land (and maybe even in adjacent lands) more chocolate-y and creamy than anything that Nestle has ever managed to come up with, and how even more miraculous it is that you can order it bulk on Amazon. And how the other day, after we ran out of chocolate milk, I just took some regular milk and mixed half a teaspoon of Ovaltine into it (beloved by European children, I am told), effectively turning regular milk into chocolate milk, and Cal looked at me like I was some kind of Magic Person.

But then I thought that was a stupid story.

So instead I will tell you that we went to pick strawberries this weekend.

We love this farm, by the way. I know I've talked about it before, but it's only an hour from Manhattan, and it's just incredibly fun, even if you don't have kids. I mean, unless you hate the emotion of HUMAN JOY, in which case you may want to avoid it. Unfortunately, it marginally detracts from the fun when you choose to go on the hottest day of the year to date (95 degrees! Fahrenheit, that is, not, like, Kelvin), but it was still fun. I had never picked strawberries before, but I have to tell you, there's nothing better than those fresh strawberries in the sun. I am probably romanticizing it all to some degree, but there is no comparing eating these fresh berries to the ones at the store. So sweet, so warm, so fragrant, like a mouthful of jam. (Actually, what I believe I said was, "this tastes like a Fruit Roll-Up!")

The strawberry festival continues into next weekend, so if you like strawberries--or ponyrides--you should think about making a trip. I still have yet to find a good pick-your-own fruit place in Atlanta (any good suggestions are appreciated, as every single one I have managed to look up has GONE OUT OF BUSINESS), but I have hopes that we may be able to find a good place for peach picking later this summer. You can't tell me that there's no pick your own peach orchard in Georgia. Isn't that like saying New York is fresh out of...whatever it is that we are famous for in New York?

(Bagels? Pizza? Souvlaki? Being in a big fat hurry? I don't know, you tell me.)

(Full picture set here.)