Monday, December 31, 2012

Making Plans and You Are Invited

Happy New Years Eve! Do you have big plans? I hope they are better than mine. The kids want to stay up late, so I will be resetting the clocks - they will never know the difference. We'll put a movie on, eat some pizza, and probably be in bed before 11:00.  Maybe we'll finish off the egg nog and apple cider. That's how we do it around here.

But what I am really excited about, and the part you are invited to as my personal guest, is our first Medical Monday's blog hop of 2013! So before you forget, write down this date Monday January 7, 2013. You can join as early as midnight or as late as Friday the 11th. Just come!

If you have a post related to medicine in mind, start writing and get ready to post it on Monday the 7th and then link it up with us. If you don't have time to write a new post, link an old one and give yourself the day off from blogging! If that sounds like too much work (writing, and digging around for an oldie but a goodie), who cares - link up your blog anyway! We want to see you there.

And while you are there, check out who else has linked up. You may find a blog soul sister or mister. Yes, we have a few men who join too! Anyone with a connection to medicine is invited.

Is this is the first time you've heard of Medical Mondays? Read here.

This month we have some terrific co-hosts lined up. In addition to the regulars Your Doctors Wife and From A Doctors Wife, we have the authors of  The Mitten Wife and When Life Gives You Medicine Make Martinis. We are excited to have them join our team! Skip on over to their blogs and take a sneak peak.

If you would be interested in co-hosting a future Medical Mondays blog hop, or have suggestions for making the event even more fabulous send an email! You can contact Emma at or Jane at

Wishing each of you the happiest of New Years! See you next Monday!


Friday, December 28, 2012

What Did Santa Bring?

One year I hope to let loose and only buy gifts that are lavish and non-practical in every possible way. Previous years Santa has brought a new roof, appliances large and small, concrete driveways, and garage doors.... all non-portable gifts, that were subsequently gifted to the owners of the home we used to call ours.

This year there was no house to pamper with our checkbook... that may be the best gift of all! Being practical is a characteristic that is nearly impossible to break. So in true fashion Santa brought life insurance and a passport. Merry Christmas!

Yes, you read that right. Insurance in the form of life for my husband and me, and disability insurance for him. And a passport just for me. I will start out the new year with a new sense of security - priceless.

In filling out the application for the insurance policies they asked some rather unique questions about my hobbies and interests. After reading through their list I can declare myself not only practical but a fat zero on the risk scale.

Do I skin or scuba dive? How often, how deep, where?

Do I mountain climb? How often, how high, where?

Do I sky dive? How often, how high, where?

Do I hang glide? How often, how high, where?

Do I participate in auto, motor cycle, or power boat racing? How often, where.

Have I traveled outside of the country? When? How Long? What for?

Well, I don't do any of those things. In fact, I have never even tried the majority of them and the only one I half considered was sky diving along time ago. At this stage in the game I think my time for that is over.

And then there are the other lifestyle questions about my risky behaviors on solid ground without momentum:  smoking, drinking, drugs (both illegal and legal), etc. No. No. No.

My goodness what do I do?

From the application they will know that I exercise, had four surgeries (all babies), and take birth control pills. What an interesting picture that paints. Rather it makes me feel, blah! Not that I have any overwhelming desire to do any of the recreational activities they included, but I don't think I am boring. There isn't time to be bored, that's for sure.

I suppose getting a passport for Christmas makes me feel a little wild. Maybe one day I will actually go somewhere a passport is required. Dangerous and risky!


Monday, December 24, 2012

The Gift of Perspective

This weekend my husband was on call at the hospital. It isn't just any hospital, it is where the sickest of the sick go. It is where people go expecting miracles. And sometimes miracles do happen. Other times you just have to pray anyway.

This weekend a toddler came in with a recurring brain tumor...

They are going to attempt removing it again today, but her prognosis isn't good. She likely won't live to see next Christmas.

I was asking about the case, and my husband couldn't even talk about it. We have a daughter almost the same age. That's the problem with pediatric cases, as a parent we always have a child about the same age and one of the reasons he isn't pursuing a pediatric speciality. I can't imagine going through this the day before Christmas and knowing that this may be their last Christmas together.

Other parents are dealing with children already taken too soon. Presents purchased that will never be opened. Plans and futures forever altered.

Sometimes gifts are unexpected, but they are no less valuable. This year I've received the gift of perspective. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without my children and my family. My healthy children. What is under the tree doesn't hold a candle to the joy my children give me.

My heart breaks for the parents who are without their children, and I pray that they find lasting peace and strength.

Love is an amazing thing. And Christmas is the ultimate celebration of love.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son". John 3:16

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

If There Was A Good Time This Would Be It!

Something nasty has hit our household. Part of our household. This week my two little ones and I have been sick, sick, sick.

Symptoms: cranky, irritable, headache, general body aches, low fevers, runny noses, lethargy, want to stay in my pajamas all day (and do), watch moves all day (and do), and no appetite (so I don't). Guess who is the only one in the house who didn't get the flu shot? I wish I could have just had it done at the pediatricians office when the kids got theirs. Why don't they?

If there ever was a good time to be sick this would be it. It took all day, but even being sick I baked and frosted about 7 dozen cookies. They are the cookies that I use as a drug this time of year. They are so good. These particular cookies (sour cream sugar cookies) are probably also part of the reason I find it so difficult to keep weight off during the holidays. But, when you are sick nothing tastes good and you don't feel like eating. Period.

I am going to call it a blessing in disguise. They will be packaged up and sent to neighbors today. Everything takes longer when you are sick so if I start now I might finish before this evening. I wish you were my neighbor, I would bring you some.

And perhaps the best piece of timing: Army Wives season 6 is out on Netflix. So while frosting cookies   I watched 4 episodes, and will probably finish the season before the weekend is up - especially if this illness doesn't pass soon.

I hope the hospital where you are is slowing down for the holidays. Some services seem to, others not so much. Right now, not too many electing to be sliced and diced before the big day. After Christmas might be a different story. I suppose this counts as another "good timing" blessing, because the doctor was home early (4 pm) yesterday and should be home before dinner again today.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Dress Code - Unwritten Rules

Before you go thinking this is going to be a post on what to wear to the hospital Christmas party you should know that I don't have that problem.... because we didn't get invited to any parties this year which makes the dilemma of what to wear no dilemma at all. I will wear my pajamas thank you very much. It's time to get back to talking about medicine!

This weekend I was watching a cheesy movie that had a character who played a specialist in a big fancy hospital (aren't they all). I didn't pay any attention to the white coat the doctor was wearing, but my husband did! He rolled his eyes and said the "specialist" is wearing a medical student coat. Obviously the stylist on the movie didn't know the unwritten rules for hospital attire and should be fired!

I wasn't even fully aware of the rules until I started noticing that some people wore their scrubs tucked in and others untucked. Some people wore printed scrubs and others didn't. My husband explained to me that only doctors tuck in their scrubs, everyone else wears them untucked. A doctor would never wear printed scrub tops unless maybe they were in Pediatrics. Kind of convenient for judging people harshly when I am out and about the town. You are a doctor. You are possibly a vet tech.

What an interesting dress code. I wonder where it all started? Like who said only doctors get to tuck their scrubs in. What if I like to wear all my shirts tucked in but I am not a doctor? Or what if I am a doctor and want to leave my shirt untucked? Is there really a need to be able to tell who is who when everyone is wearing the same color scrubs? I guess there is, especially if your ego hasn't enlarged the size of your noggin by now. Couldn't they have come up with something else to identify the players?

I remember watching Gray's Anatomy, one of the two times I did, and my husband pointing out that white coats aren't that tailored! Sure they are boxy, but if I were a doctor with the appropriate white coat and scrubs tucked in, I could see having them tailored to fit. I like things to fit. You wear a big unshapely thing and you look big and unshapely. No thank you. I am vain like that!

Good thing I am not the doctor around here. Have you seen the awful shoes they have to wear! Clogs, no thanks. Crocs, wouldn't be caught dead. Tennis shoes.... maybe.

Are there any other dress code rules you know of?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Running Around, What's New?

I am trying to clean my plate, which means making incremental steps toward tackling Christmas. What it looks like is a scary woman running around in circles talking to herself and asking her baby to make important decisions, like what would dad like for Christmas?

Today's agenda items:

  • Teacher gifts x 5. There are the public school teachers, pre-school teacher, ballet teacher, and I know I am forgetting one. Starbucks to the rescue! If I can't figure out who the 5th one belongs to it is mine:-)
  • Make the address labels so I can mail the holiday cards when they arrive from Snapfish, hopefully this weekend. They might make it to their destination before Christmas day.
  • Get ready for preschool Christmas party. Learn part, find costume.
  • Make sugar cookie dough so it will be ready to bake on Friday, so we can decorate on Saturday, so we can take and eat on Sunday after church.
  • Buy "penny" gifts for school parties x 2. I wish I could opt out of this one. Each of my kids has to bring 23 small gifts for a gift exchange. That means they are going to come home with 46 pieces of junk that I will collect throughout the week and throw away. Unless the baby swallows them first.
  • Press the order button on my Amazon shopping cart. I love shopping like this! Presents done and shipped, thank you Amazon Prime.

If I manage to get this done today there is a good chance I can curl up with a good book and enjoy the next 12 days. How are your preparations coming?


Monday, December 10, 2012

And The Winner Is...

It is fun to celebrate the success of friends and fellow bloggers, so today I am going to brag about Doctor's Wives Living.  In case you didn't already know how extraordinary they are they now have an award to back it up. Here is the press release:

New online magazine wins national blog competition after launching in spring 2012                   
Introducing - Rich with Wisdom

December 3, 2012 –Victoria, BC & Calgary, Alberta -- Two Mompreneurs, Sally Walton and Tiffany Auvinen, have embarked on a journey unlike any other doctor’s wife: launching their own online women’s magazine from separate provinces in Canada. Now they have been awarded Best Collaborative/Multi-Author Blog in Canada through the competition and receive over 160,000 page views monthly.’s five unique sections: To Do; To Live; To Love; To Give, and Doctors’ Wives Living (DWL) Experiences, share articles for the modern woman through writing, photos, videos, and its very own YouTube channel. From love, fashion and fitness to medical advice and healthy living tips, has the experience and expertise to keep you in the know. is broken into five sections. “To Do” is filled with recipes, fashion articles, decorating tips, and activity information. “To Live” covers health and medical information as well as valuable tips on fitness and travel. “To Love” tackles sex and relationships. “To Give” is all about paying it forward by showcasing great charities and non-profits organizations. “DWL Experiences” are about businesses that ‘sell’ experiences as gifts or for readers to try.  Follow along with the fitness workouts on its YouTube channel or cook to the DIY recipes. Whatever love, look and lifestyle advice you’re after, this online magazine has it all.

You can also follow on
Twitter: doctorswivesliving@doctorswives

Doctor's Wives Living has been a great supporter and participant of the Medical Monday's Blog Hop. It is never to early to mark your calendar and save the date for our next hop on Monday, January 7th. Make it a New Years Resolution to link up with us! Happy Monday:-)


Friday, December 7, 2012

Babies, Twins, and Dreams - oh my!

If you are a woman reading this there is a high probability that you have had a dream (or nightmare) about having an unplanned pregnancy. That seems to be one of the hallmarks of womanhood. If you haven't had one yet you will.

Regardless of the type of birth control we are employing there is always a small chance that it won't work. Short of discontinuing the bonds of physical intimacy, babies are a risk we accept until more permanent preventative methods are agreed upon. My husband doesn't want to be snipped, and I don't want to make any final decisions about my reproduction yet either. That leaves us in limbo and subject to the laws of nature.

We know of one couple who had tubes tied and a vasectomy and still managed to get pregnant. I have a friend who conceived while on an IUD (and delivered a very premature baby). Others who have been on the pill, using back up methods, who had babies. Unless they have lied to me. You know couples like this too!

At this current point in time we are very happy with our family. I love babies, especially infants, so I can't help but oh and ah over my friends babies or sweet little ones I see out and about. Currently, my circle of friends seem to include pregnant and recently delivered moms. They are everywhere!

These dreams have infiltrated throughout the years, and sometimes they freak me out more than others.  Usually the ones that happen right after I have had a baby are the most terrifying. And then there are the ones about multiples.

This week I went over to visit my neighbor who had twins a couple of months ago. Every time I see her she looks so worn out. Happy, but worn out. I recognized the look having spent many months (probably years) in that state. The one where your house can't ever get clean, you can't get a shower or a full nights sleep, the baby always needs something, and going somewhere requires more energy than you are willing to expend. She has her hands full times two!

Her husband accepted a new job and moved here the same time we did. They have a daughter who is my daughters age, and now twins. Her husband works a lot, and travels out of town 2-3 days a week. I look at her and think that could be me, only with more kids! I have been trying to think of some way that I can help her because offering "let me know if you need anything, I am more than willing to do whatever you need" wasn't working. So finally I just said, it is crazy that we both go to the school to pick up our kids. Why don't you let me pick up your daughter every day? I am there every day anyway. Would that help?

Of course it would help, and thankfully she accepted. But I recognized something else in her that I also have. We don't ask for help even though we might desperately need it. Possibly because we don't know where to start. So I resolved that instead of just offering vague help to people I would be more specific in the future and have an idea of what I could do. Picking up from school is a small thing for me, but I know it will save her from trying to load up two babies who may be hungry or tired or both.

Back to my dreams. My last one included being pregnant with twins due right after fellowship ends.  Triple whammy. Baby. Baby. Move.

Could there be a worse combination? Maybe, but this scenario seemed pretty bad. I am sure all the pregnancy and new mom hormone vibes around me have created an environment ripe for producing dreams of this nature. Or maybe because I was thinking about my neighbor again, and how hard it is to meet new people when you have just had a baby. Your time and energy are focused elsewhere and not on making friends. And yet a friend is exactly what you need when you move AND when you have a new baby.

It's not enough to have a friend(s) "back home" or friends "online". You need a friend that can run over and check to see if you closed your garage door because you ran out of the house so fast you can't remember. You need a friend who can drop by when they get a feeling you might need a visitor. You need a friend who can look at your house without judging and start putting things away. You need a friend who can hold your tired baby while you make lunch for yourself before it's time to make dinner. You need someone to look you in the eye and tell you everything is going to be OK, I am here.

It hasn't been easy making new friends, and we are nearly at the half way mark in our countdown. 29 weeks to go! But there is value in making connections with people even if they are only temporary.  And perhaps that is the part of the dream that is most frightening.... not having a friend(s) when you really need one. And I would count having twins in a new city a crisis!

Just in case you are wondering, I am not pregnant. It was just a dream:-)


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The First Christmas Card

If you haven't already been clued in, I am a little behind in the calendar department and have found December to be in full swing without my consent.

Imagine my horror when I opened the mailbox to see the first Christmas card of the season. I audibly gasped! I am not ready for Christmas cards.

It was my hope to have our Christmas cards ready by Thanksgiving so we could be the early ones. Not because I like being first so as to appear all put together and organized, but because we moved and didn't get around to sending the "WE MOVED" cards so people could update their address books so when Christmas rolled around they would have the correct address. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by just sending the Christmas cards before anyone else did. Didn't happen. Might not ever happen.

It's already the 4th. I don't have a picture. But I did buy cards. The addresses are collected. The stamps have not been purchased.

Theoretically, I could mail my cards this week. But there is the issue of the picture. My options are:

1) don't include a picture at all
2) include a picture of just the kids randomly pulled off my computer
3) try to get a picture of all of us (scheduling appointments is a nightmare).

If we don't include a picture of the family will everyone assume that I have gained too much weight and don't want to be seen?

If I do include a photo will they think I am just showing off my trim and fabulous self?

Listen to this crazy talk! Who am I sending cards to anyway? We don't send them to people who are monitoring our weight hopefully. Those people can stalk us on Facebook!

Anyway, I will figure it out. In the meantime, I am glad to know that the USPS change of address we submitted in April is still in effect. We may receive all of our Christmas cards this year, even if they are addressed to an old address.

And the joy of it is, we get to do the whole "WE MOVED" again next year, and probably the year after that. Maybe in our Christmas card we should suggest that they write our address in pencil and keep a good eraser handy.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Medical Monday's Ho Ho Ho!

Did December sneak up on you too! Consider this your early Christmas present:-)

It's the FIRST Monday of the Month 
and you know what that means?

It's Medical Monday!

Medical Monday is an opportunity for any and all medical/med life blogs to link up and meet others. So join us!

Are you confused if you qualify for the party?

Do you work in healthcare?
Doctor? Nurse? EMT? Chiropractor? Vet? Dentist? Therapist?
Are you the spouse or SO of a healthcare worker/student?
Are you a nursing student? Medical student?
Intern? Resident? Fellow?

You get the picture, right? 


Our once a month bloghop for bloggers like yourself, where we can build a community of support and friendship, learn from one another and share our stories.

Here are the rules:

  1. Follow your co-hosts via GFC.
  2. Link up you medical/med life blog. If your blog name does not clearly state how you fit in to the med/med life world, please write a little intro or link up a specific post which clearly demonstrates your connection.
  3. Visit at least 3 other link ups, comment, introduce yourself, and tell the your stopping by or following from MM!
  4. Help spread the word by using our button on your post or sidebar, tweet about Medical Monday, or spread the word on Facebook! The more the merrier for all of us!
And here's a helpful tip. . .

If you haven't turned of word verification, it's ON. Please turn it off. We'll all LOVE you!!
Not sure how? Click here for instructions.

Complete step one by following your co-hosts:

Want to be awesome?
Post our button on you post or sidebar and help spread the word:

Want to co-host next month? Shoot Emma an email at

Now, link up below and have fun! The link up is open through Friday, so be sure to come back during the week to check some great reads!


Friday, November 30, 2012

One More Reason To Love

It really is the little things. I received a text this morning from the husband asking me out. Granted it is short notice for tonight or tomorrow, but I will take it. Can you believe we have two evenings to consider? That is the way we roll around here. You go when you can and never make future plans.

But it is the gesture that follows that goes straight to the heart: he offers to call the sitter(s).

Finding a sitter is the task that puts a dark cloud over every potential date night. That single event has often discouraged me from even attempting to go out. Just because YOU are available doesn't mean THEY are available. That coupled with the fact that I do not like being told "No, I'm sorry I can't tonight" when I know the next time I am able to go out may be weeks or potentially months away. I can't handle the rejection. It is difficult to find a sitter on short notice.... which is why I contend we need to keep a sitter on retainer so when we call she comes. (I wonder if anyone has already thought of that as a business model).

So when he offers to make all the plans, including calling and finding a sitter for the evening I am a happy girl. Having that nasty little task removed from my list makes me feel like dancing and singing.

The pessimist inside me says not to get too excited because this has all just happened and an available sitter may be impossible to find. But in this case, it is the thought that counts. Knowing that he would do something (one more thing) I hate to do makes this another reason to love that man of mine.


Thursday, November 29, 2012


If you put a baby in a tub of warm water after dinner there is a good chance that he/she will poop. It doesn't happen every time (thank heavens) but often enough!

It is one of the reasons that I do not clean my bathtub on a regular schedule. If I clean it, the baby will poop in it and I will have to clean it again. And just when I think the baby has outgrown that particular phase I am reminded that just about every time the older kids get in the bath they all of a sudden need to get out to use the bathroom.

I remember the days when I tried to follow a regimented cleaning schedule. The one that says every Thursday I scrub the tub, or on the first Saturday of the month I wash the baseboards. You know, to stay on top of things. Ha! When you have kids it is best to be realistic, accept and move on. Children will give you ample opportunity to clean things so there is no need to do the job before it needs it.

Try it. Scrub the floor before it is dirty and someone will inevitable give you a reason to clean it. No use in making more work for yourself. I don't have the energy for it. If you do and it makes you happy I am happy for you. It just makes me crankier.

On the bright side, when the baby poops in the tub mommy gets a bath!

Our home has two bathtubs. The one in the kids bath is nearly impossible to use for assisted washings because it requires me to be closer to the toilet than I would like to be and there just isn't enough room to move. The only other bath happens to be my garden tub which is deep, wide, and much easier. Not to mention I can bathe a whole slew of people at the same time. Time saver.

What that also means is that my bath isn't exactly ready for me when I am ready for it. Kids are dirty! The last thing I want to do is scrub the bath tub. When I need to relax, making more work for myself isn't on the list. Now if someone else wanted to clean the bath for me (hint, hint).

So mama gets a bath after the baby poops in it. It works. Baby goes in. Baby poops. Baby gets out. Mom gets out the bleach. Baby gets back in bath. Baby goes to bed. Mom gets in the bath. Bath is clean. Mom is happy.

And guess who is on call? I may just spend all night in my nice clean tub,  just me and a book. I may even light a candle and add some bubbles.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Let the Bah-Hum-Bug Begin

It has been made perfectly clear to me that I am not a holiday person. It's just so much stuff!

The week before Thanksgiving people on our street were putting up lights, trees, and outdoor decorations. By the time the turkey was carved they had probably finished the insides as well. Our decorations are in a box somewhere. At least what we didn't give away is in a box. Remember we are traveling light.

I have a very observant son who noticed that we never do any outside decorations. He is right. He is also very bothered by that fact and has been giving me my daily scolding.

My excuses prior excuses have been:

1. It is too cold! Where we lived before the weather frequently dropped below freezing the week of Thanksgiving. I'm just not that interested in putting up Christmas lights in the freezing temperatures or doing it weeks ahead of Thanksgiving just so it gets done. It's not that big of a deal to me. I enjoy other peoples outdoor decorations.

2. It is dangerous! We are protecting our future here by not allowing our future doctor on the roof to hang lights. Period. I won't do it. A few lights on the roof are not worth the possibility of a slip or fall. And I am not doing it either!

3. It is clutter! I don't do clutter. Holiday decorations are just clutter in my opinion. When you live in small spaces with small people clutter is your enemy. It's more stuff to pick up, pack up, dust off,... can't we do with out it?

We don't currently have a Christmas tree. We gave that away too. It was a sad thing my husband had from before we were married. I don't know that I even want a tree. We have a toddler! Yes I could put it up on something.... but we are missing the something. There isn't a place to put it. Is that a lame excuse. I have visions of me finding the baby under a fallen tree. It is very likely to happen.

Somehow I have been talked into getting into the Christmas spirit when I don't want to. Yes I know it is technically time. But I don't want to bah-hum-bug.

After school today my son is expecting us to do some holiday decorating, complete with outdoor ornamentation. We don't have any. So off to Hobby Lobby I went, and $100 dollars later we have some stakes to put in the yard, a few new ornaments, a wall hanging, a wreath (that I should have made, it's just tinsel stuff), a countdown thing-y, and four tiny Christmas trees. I don't think anyone is going to accept that. We are probably going to have to buy a tree of some sort.

Have you started/finished your holiday decorating? Would you like to come do mine?


Monday, November 26, 2012

I Don't Shop Friday or Monday

Some people get really excited about the start of the Christmas shopping season. That person is not me.

I don't know if it comes from all the years I spent working the day after Thanksgiving, or if it never held any appeal for me in the first place.

Twice in my adult life have I gone shopping on Black Friday. Both times were a disaster and I have no desire to ever do it again.

The first was during residency and a friend of mine couldn't believe that I hadn't been Black Friday shopping as an adult. To her shopping was a sport and she took me along for the ride. I didn't have an excuse. My husband was home, and we were starting at 11:00 pm so the kids didn't need me. It could be fun, right?

Our mission: Toys R Us. For what I don't remember.

What I do recall is the freezing weather. Lines that wrapped around the building. Hot Chocolate. Crazy people.

When we finally got in the store we split up because it is nearly impossible to stay together. On my shopping list: Nothing. She couldn't believe there wasn't anything there I wanted! Trying to explain to her that we didn't buy our kids much for Christmas was like explaining quantum physics to a 5 year old. I can still see the baffled look on her face. I came for the experience and to enjoy watching my friend and the other lunatics who were there.

What ensued reminded me that saving a few bucks is all in the eye of the beholder. When you are with masses of people who are all stuffing their carts you take on the mentality of scarcity and before I knew it I had things in my hand I didn't really need. But I felt like I had better get something before they were gone. Thankfully, the hour wait in line (that is why I was really there - line place holder so my friend could shop more) I came to my senses and put my things down. I didn't need them!

For me saving money is more about NOT buying things in the first place than buying things that are on sale just because they are on sale. And that is really my mantra around the holidays. I don't go in for quantity. I don't feel the desire to load the tree with things. I don't think that will ever change.

To enjoy Black Friday shopping you have to have a certain special something in your personality. For me, I don't enjoy shopping in crowds. I don't enjoy feeling rushed. I don't like the energy of the crowds - people aren't nice.

Now, Cyber Monday. It is mid-day and I haven't bought a thing online. Since I am on the computer now, I may browse... but I haven't made a list yet so chances are good anything I buy will be something I don't need.

Are you a big holiday shopper? Love or Hate Black Fridays?


Friday, November 23, 2012

All So Exciting!

We have much to be thankful for and this week I have spent the time relishing in our "moment" and the good fortune that seems to be at our doorstep.

No sooner had the doctor stepped in the front door from his interview, he received a phone call from the man who will be his partner. It was the phone call you only see in movies. The one that starts "we really want you", and "what will it take to get you here".

That phone call was followed the next day by the surgical director saying they were looking forward to having him on their team, and that a contract would be coming shortly for his review.

I don't know if this is standard protocol but at the interview they gave him a contract! It was really a shell of a contract, but the only things that needed to be filled in were signing bonus and salary amounts. They gave him the equivalent of a new hire package to review their benefits. It is a long contract!

I have read it and reread it. It looks good. Still we are awaiting the real deal before I allow myself to get too excited about it. But from where it stands right now it looks like he (we) have a job that is a good fit, in the location we want to be, with the flexibility to do what he wants as far as research goes.

I should exercise more faith in this process. For the last 6+ years I was certain the possibility of our returning to our home state was nearly zero. Particularly when he decided to do a fellowship. There just aren't that many jobs to choose from when you start further specializing. I had resigned myself to the fact that we would always be away from what was happening with our families. That we would always find ourselves in an area that wouldn't entice our family to visit. They don't get out much. That we would always spend holidays and special occasions alone, or with friends - but not family.

And here we are, starring at what we thought was impossible, knowing that all we have to do is say YES and it will be reality. It is an exciting feeling and gives me every reason to be Thankful.

This is the moment we have spent the previous years waiting for! You never think it will happen while you are preparing for it, and then before you know it - it is here.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Wine and Dine

This may be the best part of interview season: The wooing. Knowing that they want you. That is a position we haven't been in for a while! So long in fact, I am not sure it has ever happened.

Potential employers make the travel arrangements and pay for them. Just show up. That would be enough, but they also book nice hotels and eat at fancy restaurants. My husband owes me big time. When is someone going to make my travel arrangements and pay for them, and make them fancy? Yes, I am jealous.

I should note that I didn't accompany my husband on his interview. I could have. Logistically it didn't work. We have kids. Kids have school. I know, they only would have missed two days. Had the interview been in a city I wasn't already intimately knowledgeable of, I would have considered making the necessary arrangements to be there. But there wasn't anything to see or do that I haven't already seen and done. In the end it wasn't worth the hassle. And by hassle I mean flying a babysitter out for a weekend. We aren't made of money.

To share some of the experience with me as I was sitting in my pajamas with a sink full of dishes he sent me photos of his hotel room, a grand 5 star hotel that is a landmark in the area. I have driven up to the hotel, but never stayed there! And my husband had two nights there, alone. I am not keeping score.

Then he tells me about the restaurant they went to for lunch. It was so nice, I'd never even heard of it. Throughout the entire process he was sending me texts and pictures. He probably knew I was nervous for him and that was his way of keeping me from pulling my hair out, or biting my nails.

And the icing on the cake, (or rather salt in my wound) he got to spend the next day roaming the city. To give me an idea of how well he thought the interview went, he sent me pictures of what he was shopping for. Can you say sport cars that cost more than our current annual salary, maybe twice as much. He must be very confident.

I don't blame him. The job is a perfect fit. He is a hometown boy. He shares authorship on a paper with the other surgeon, they were fellowship trained at the same location, and was basically told before he came that he was THE ONE.

I am not so secretly making my list of things I want when we can afford to pay for them. First on the list is a flight out of town for 1, 2 nights at a fancy hotel, room service and a day spa. I love my family, but mama needs some time alone occasionally. A mini vacation would certainly suffice.

And after the stress of this last week I could certainly use one.


Friday, November 16, 2012

My Midnight Panic

Warning: don't read this if your dreams are easily influenced by the dreams of others.

My husband left for his interview yesterday morning. THE INTERVIEW. The one that he wants. The BIG one.

So what do I do? I stay up way too late.

It was approaching midnight when I decided to finally call it a day and get ready for bed. I finished praying and just as I was about to get up felt a sharp pain in my head. Aneurysm, I'm dead. (This is what happens when you marry a doctor and are aware of the systems and outcomes).

Panic set in. My husband just left for an out of state trip. I usually talk to my mother on Sunday - that was three days away. I am not expecting any calls. We don't know anyone here. My kids don't know how to dial 911. It was a full blown panic attack.

I had the very awake nightmare seeing my dead body on the floor while my children were sleeping unaware for hours. I could hear the baby screaming in the morning when she woke up and realized I wasn't coming to get her, needing to be changed, hungry and that sweet face red, covered in tears and snot.

How long would I lay dead before someone would come looking for me? My husband would attempt to call that morning before his interview. He would leave a message if I didn't answer, and only later during the day would he get worried if he wasn't able to get a hold of me.

That would mean at least 12-18 hours before someone would even have reason to think that something might be wrong.

I decided that my kids would learn how to call 911 that very next day. They would learn how to call their dad and their grandparents from my phone.We would go meet our neighbors (at least four of them) and introduce our children. We would make a plan, so that I don't have to worry about what might happen.

I was finally able to fall asleep after I convinced myself that the pain I experienced wasn't a aneurysm or a stroke, and that I was fine. I am sure it was from dehydration, poor eating, low blood-pressure and staying up late. My children will be fine. My husbands interview isn't going to be cut short because I died. Everything was going to be alright.

The more I have reflected on this moment of panic I began to see it for what it really was. Good things are on the horizon and I don't know how to handle it. I keep waiting for something bad to happen, the other shoe to drop. This is the moment that we have been waiting for for years, decades. I can't even begin to comprehend a different reality. After all of this, is it possible that "this" will one day be over and replaced with something different?

I am trying to embrace and enjoy these next few weeks and months without giving in to my irrational fears. I know they are complete lunacy. I know they are. I know they are. I know they are.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

This mama is ready for the crazy house. I can feel it starting to escalate and get a little... well, crazy!

Yesterday was one of those days that I would refer to as a comedy of errors, if it wasn't so frustrating.

My baby has started walking, and that means shoes. I didn't put shoes on her before because what is the point of shoes? Walking! 

Now we walk. Now she has shoes. And I did something I never did before: I spent more than $15 on a pair of shoes for a baby. I bought a cute pair of tennis shoes with Velcro straps and lights. They were $35 but I got them on sale. I felt like I was living in an alternate universe. 

After the first few falls, the shoes already had scuffs. But I was so proud of myself for not being crazy about it. But when it comes to losing them... that makes mama crazy.

We went running errands yesterday. First to Hobby Lobby to run in for a paper punch to replace the one my daughter broke. Ran in, got to the check out line and realized the baby was missing a shoe. So back tracking through the store looking for a small shoe. Found it!

Next to the grocery store to get food. A necessity. Again a quick trip. I knew exactly where I needed to go and what the get. We get to the check out line and I swipe my card to pay before I gave the cashier my coupons. I wish I had coupons with me before we got the store, (I don't have time for that anymore) but I peeled them off the boxes I was purchasing to use that day. So I go to customer service and give the lady my keys to scan my card and she gives me my $3 back in cash. I am a happy girl.

Run out to the car with a cart full of groceries, but I don't have my keys. Run back to the store, ask clerk if she has my kids. She does. I run back to the car. Open, and load the groceries and my kids. 

Off to the next errand: Walgreen's for some photograph prints. Unload the kids, and notice I have a baby who is missing one shoe, again! It isn't in the car. Great! That means it is at the grocery store!

Back to the grocery store. Locate the cart that we used, luckily still parked in the parking lot. And thank heavens the shoe was in the cart and I didn't have to go through the entire store looking for it and praying no one picked it up trying to help.

Shoe found. Off to pick up the kids from school! ARRHHHHHH. 

Hum, could something important be happening this week? Please pray I can maintain my sanity over the weekend.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Big Game Hunting - It's Interview Season!

Job searches begin during different seasons for everyone. There isn't one right time.  Hopefully, you have a job before you finish residency or fellowship. We have friends who have secured jobs 2 years before they are eligible to practice and others as short as 4 months. I told my husband long ago that I would prefer to be closer to the 2 year mark than 4 months. So much for my preferences.

But it is here. Interview season has called for us. We/he is up. This is the make or break point. This is it - THE ONE!

I am getting anxious just thinking about it. That either means that I will be on the computer more than I have been, or less. It means lots of blog posts, or a sparkling clean house. It means home-cooked three course meals with dessert, or take out. It means organized closets or piles of laundry collecting all over the house and no clean clothes to wear. It means lots of exercise or lots of chocolate. It is going to be a nail bitter.

We will have to see how this one shakes out. I am more nervous than my husband! This weekend can't come fast enough.


Friday, November 9, 2012

That's A Fun Surprise

I woke up this morning and had the nicest surprise! I have a guest post on the online magazine Doctor's Wives Living. I knew it was coming, I just didn't know when. It's an oldie but a goodie. You can read it here.

If you haven't been over to Doctor's Wives Living you should. They have a very unique format and some of the most intriguing titles:-) They have a little bit of everything for everyone. While the name my indicate that they cater exclusively to doctor's wives, their tag line is "For All Women Rich With Wisdom". There really is something for everyone whether you like to cook, decorate, workout, get dressed up, travel, support causes, or nurture your relationships.

Here are some of my favorite articles:

These Shoes Make Me Feel.... (I am a sucker for all things shoes)
The Savour Sisters Brussel Sprouts With Clout (I love brussel sprouts, give them a try)
Getting Rid of the Wave Pool (fitness routines for specific areas)
Where In The World (ongoing series that feels like a mini vacation)

Head over to Doctor's Wives Living and see what they have to offer! While you are there leave a comment for their editors - they do an amazing job.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

How Worried Would You Be?

I was feeling confident about the public education my children are receiving until messages like this from my daughters kindergarten teacher are delivered to my inbox:

It has been a long time since I was in school, but I am certain there are at least 4 errors that spell check didn't catch because they are words, just not the words they should be for the sentences to make sense. Not to mention the last half of an entire sentence that needs serious help. Hint: paragraph 3 contains all the lovely mistakes.

How worried would you be?  Maybe this is just further proof that spell check has made everyone, including our teachers, poor editors. That's too bad.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted!

It feels good to participate in the democratic process. I have done my civic duty, I have cast my ballot, I have exercised my right (a right that wasn't always available to women I might add) - voting IS a big deal. Regardless of who you vote for, we should all vote.

Between 1960-2008 only 50.1% - 63.1% of the voting age population turned out for presidential elections. The 63.1% happened in 1960, 2008 only brought out 56.8%. For elections held on off presidential years (every 2 instead of 4) turnout has been less than 50%. That is criminal! See source here. Go Vote!

Did your medical significant other get to vote?

My husband tried to vote before his shift today, but he started work before the polls opened at 7 am. There is always a chance that he could be at the hospital after the polls close at 7 pm. He is hoping to sneak away between cases to do it. This is where planning ahead would have been wise. We live in a state with early voting. Could have done that. Absentee voting wasn't an option because we only received our voter registration cards a few weeks ago. We just moved here and dragged our feet getting our driver's licenses. And there is something to voting on the day that the elections are held. It's exciting! We both like casting our ballots on election day.

Voting does require some advanced planning. And we should have planned better just in case. I looks like he will be able to get away soon, but somewhere there is a doctor who thought he would get to vote today but won't. I wonder if anyone has a poll for that?

Before he left he asked if we were going to watch the election coverage all night? YES, of course we are. It only happens every 4 years! And every year is important. This is about the last thing he wants to watch tonight.

Do you know your local politics?

While I am pleased that I have done my part, I am also reminded that I have failed. Looking at the ballot today I realized I only knew about 3 or 4 of the elect-able positions out of probably 20-25. I knew the big ones, but not the smaller local ones.

I have used the excuse that because we are most likely only residing in this state for another 8 months that it doesn't really matter. But it does. There is someone in another state that may share the same view of the world that I do that could be moving here when I leave. They could be affected by my vote or my lack of vote.

The truth is I haven't really been interested in local politics in my last state either and we were there for 6 years! Shame on me. I used the same excuse that because this wasn't our permanent location I didn't care what happened in the school board, my kids wouldn't be going to school there.

Politics really is local. These are the races we should be focusing on. These are the elected positions that will have impact in our schools, our communities, our towns. Just because they don't impact you today doesn't mean that they won't one day.

The national election certainly gets most of the publicity and it takes much more effort to find information on our local elected leaders, but it can be done. It's not that hard.

My resolve for this next election cycle is to pay attention to my local races and local politics. It would be nice to at least know the candidates names and positions before I go to the polling place. And then I can regurgitate it for my husband, because let's face it, he will never have enough time to study all the candidates positions at every level.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Medical Mondays

Hooray! It's Medical Monday!

Are you confused if you qualify for the party?

Do you work in healthcare?
Doctor? Nurse? EMT? Chiropractor? Vet? Dentist? Therapist?
Are you the spouse or SO of a healthcare worker/student?
Are you a nursing student? Medical student?
Intern? Resident? Fellow?

You get the picture, right? 


Our once a month bloghop for bloggers like yourself, where we can build a community of support and friendship, learn from one another and share our stories.

Here are the rules:

  1. Follow your co-hosts via GFC.
  2. Link up you medical/med life blog. If your blog name does not clearly state how you fit in to the med/med life world, please write a little intro or link up a specific post which clearly demonstrates your connection.
  3. Visit at least 3 other link ups, comment, introduce yourself, and tell the your stopping by or following from MM! 
  4. Help spread the word by using our button on your post or sidebar, tweet about Medical Monday, or spread the word on Facebook! The more the merrier for all of us!
And here's a helpful tip. . .

If you haven't turned of word verification, it's ON. Please turn it off. We'll all LOVE you!!
Not sure how? Click here for instructions.

Complete step one by following your co-hosts:

Want to be awesome? Help facilitate the hopping by grabbing this button and insert it on the post you link up. . .

Want to co-host next month? Shoot Emma an email at

Now, link up below and have fun! The link up is open through Friday, so be sure to come back during the week.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Getting Ready for Medical Monday's

I know it isn't Monday, but it will be in two days! If you don't already have the first Monday of every month on your calendar marked as Medical Mondays maybe today is the day to make it a reoccurring event. We all need reminders and months tend to pass faster than we think they do. October sure did for me!

Check back here first thing Monday, and all week, to see who has linked up with us. Find new blogs, new friends, and new reads.

You know where Emma (Your Doctor's Wife) and I will be. Will you be joining us?


Friday, November 2, 2012

This Could Be Interesting

Having been a home owner before I am starting to see some of the subtleties associated with renting.

In the past, I would call someone and schedule things. Now, they call me and tell when they will be here. I don't like that arrangement.

Wednesday afternoon I got a call from our management company that said that they were sending an appraiser over Friday afternoon between 2-3 pm and wanted to see if I would be home or if they needed to send him with a key.

My first thought was WHY!

An appraiser at this point can only mean one thing: our landlord is refinancing. Why not? Rates are low, maybe she is thinking we need new carpet:-)

An appraiser at any other time is usually associated with the sale of the home. But because market conditions are always on the move, appraisals don't usually happen until the home has had an offer made. That would require a For Sale sign in the yard, and there isn't one.

And then I thought, maybe they call the person who comes over to make sure you haven't trashed the property an appraiser. It could be one of those terms like "domestic engineer" to describe my work as a stay at home parent.

I still have no idea what is going on, only that I didn't have an option to say "this isn't a convenient time". That is a first, and is mildly uncomfortable.

If it were my home, I could schedule it whenever I wanted. But it's not. And I am thankful that it isn't. Only 8 months until we get to return the key, pick up the deposit, and get out of town. What a change that will be from our last move. I am looking forward with delight to that day!

As for today, not much delight to be had. I live like a normal person... my house isn't spotless. I can get away with giving the idea that things are clean because only two rooms are visible form the front door. And I can count on one hand the number of people who have been to the door.  As long as no one goes upstairs, uses the powder room, or goes in my bedroom I can keep up the facade. And I make a point to keep those two rooms clean just in case. But an appraiser is going to be everywhere during the same visit. There will be no where to hide or stash.

That has given me cause to panic. Especially because I don't know why they are coming! Only that all my stuff will be on display. Time to remove the bras from the door knobs, make the bed, fold the laundry, sweep/mop and dust.

The only thing I did have the presence of mind to ask was what the gentleman's name was that would be coming over so I would know who to expect.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

You Would Make A Good Witch

As we were discussing our Halloween activities earlier in the month, because of course I would never wait until the last minute to pick out costumes, my children thought it would be fun to choose a costume for me.

Mind you, I don't dress up for Halloween. Have you seen the costumes available for women? Why would I buy a costume that basically looks like a piece of lingerie paired with fish nets and heels made to look like a pirate, a nurse (my favorite), a bunny, a maid, a super hero, a fairy tale princess with a much too short dress, the bad cop - you know what I mean. I could go straight from trick or treating to a job at the strip club. Lingerie, check. Fish nets, check. Stilettos, check. I have all the necessary accoutrement for a new and promising career in adult entertainment. Great.

It is nearly impossible to find a commercially available costume that doesn't scream of an Adult Only Boutique. Just browse the selection on Amazon.  Hardly the kind of costume I want to wear around my kids or the neighbors, even in the dark!

But hey, somebody is obviously wearing them because that is all you can find. Which leads me to believe that Halloween for adults is pretty much about being an exhibitionist, and showing off what you could never get away with the other 364 days of the year. You can wear whatever you want and call it a costume. And it seems to bring out the "naughty" in everyone. So I am skipping the costume once again for like the 15th year in a row. I am not shedding tears over it.

If you want a costume that doesn't make you look like a woman of ill-repute you have to be creative and plan in advance. Two things that are usually in short supply.

Although my children did offer their unanimous opinion that I would make a good witch. How did they know? I am thinking I should invest in a good witches hat after Halloween and keep it in my closet for when the mood strikes me, or Halloween calls, because I would make an excellent witch - black suits me. Make sure you spell witch with a "W".

Happy Halloween! Be Safe, Be Smart, Be Sweet.


Monday, October 29, 2012

How Not To Make Friends

Today I talked with a young woman from my church who has children the same age as mine. We were talking about play groups and how we should start one.  She indicated that there is a group that meets together for a weekly play group but she didn't go anymore.  They were mostly attended by the medical wives and, according to her experience, all they did was talk about their husbands, how much money they were going to make, what kind of state benefits they could get while in school, and their latest purchases.

I wanted to die. I hope she wasn't putting me in that group by virtue of my husbands profession. I could tell this woman wasn't impressed with what she saw. And no wonder that no one other than the medical wives went to play group.  Who would want to sit around and hear that every week? I sure wouldn't!

So a word to my medical friends. It is rude to talk about such things in public. It is one thing to have a discussion with your friends who are in the same boat, but when you do it with others who aren't in the same boat, or even floating on the same ocean, it comes off as exclusive and aloof. Certainly not a way to make friends.

It is in poor taste, regardless of what your husband is studying or what his income potential may be, to discuss salaries. Or maybe I am just old-fashioned, it could be that.

I am well aware that my family income potential is xyz and our friends and family know what he is doing and can take guesses at what that might be. They don't need me or my husband to tell them. And we don't plan to. Likewise, anyone who knows that your spouse is studying to be a doctor can make a guess about what kind of income future he has without hearing it from you. The Internet can tell anyone just about anything who is interested in knowing.

My point is, not everyone has the same income trajectory. Most of the people we will meet during training are at or near their maximum income potential for their particular career. They aren't going to have the same day/night experience that you and I will have.  It is true. But just because it is true, doesn't change the fact they no one wants to hear how much money you expect to make in five years and how that amount is going to be several times more than you make today. And just because you might temper it with a confession of your student loan debt doesn't make it sound any better.

Don't do it.

Many people live on the salary that you and I do through residency for most of their life and make it work. I have complained here about how difficult it is, but it will end. Maybe it is only difficult because I know what is coming. For many, it will never end, or it will only change in small increments. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to make this our life AND know that it wouldn't be changing. I can also imagine how insulting it would be to hear a resident wife complain out loud about her misfortune but that in a few years it will all be a distant memory.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

How Do You Spell Love?

I have heard that Love is spelled T-I-M-E, I thought it was L-O-V-E. But, I might not be the best speller online.

I understand what the sentiment is, and I do agree - but I'd like to apply this to the life of a med spouse. If I were looking purely at the amount of time as the determining factor in measuring love, I could be sure that my husband doesn't love me or our children.  I know that is false.

For me, and our family, we calculate love a little differently. It still uses time in the formula, but it looks more like this:

a = available time  (time not working)
b = family time (dinner, bedtimes, playing, reading, etc)
c = other activities (working out, running, reading, biking, etc)

where a = b + c and b is  >  c that is how I calculate Love, no spelling required.

I look at my husband, and marvel at how he is able to do it all. I know I have said that before, but it doesn't change, and it continues to amaze me. What I further find remarkable is that the formula very rarely becomes b = c or b < c. I know we are loved because b is always > c. He always gives our family the majority of his available time.

It might not always be hours every day, or even an hour, or even everyday. But when I look at the formula we get the time that he has.

If he is home when the kids are awake, the kids and I get that time. Period. When they go to sleep, then he takes care of other things. Some nights that is exercising, or studying, or any number of things. At that point in the day I don't mind. I need my time to unwind and do something on my own. It suits my personality.

The only thing I wish we did more was get out of the house just the two of us. But, I know it's not because he doesn't want to, but because his schedule doesn't allow it. Some day it will, and I know when that happens we will. And it is enough.

Being part of a medical family is rough. Some specialities are harder than others. Some specialities are longer than others. Some specialties will have more flexibility than others. The speciality isn't what matters, it's what the man/woman does with their available time.

I would much rather be married to a man who gives his free time to his family, even though it may not be as much, than a man with more free time that doesn't give as much to his family when he can.

Don't let a speciality scare you or your family. Know your doctor. Know your family. Know yourself.

Don't let anyone tell you that because your husband chooses a difficult/long/grueling specialty that he must not love his family as much as someone else who choose a different path. It simply isn't true.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Torture

Every now and again I have a day where I wonder "what in the world was I thinking"? This weekend was such a weekend.

It all started off innocently enough with a good deed. My neighbor had twins last month and her husband was out of town. I thought I would be nice and invite her daughter, who is the same age as my daughter, to go to the zoo with us. And by "us" I mean I was taking the kids to the zoo by myself because guess who was working. Me and five kids at the zoo on a weekend.

We managed to get to the zoo just as it opened, and I quickly discovered that kids really don't care about seeing most of the animals. They want to visit the gift shop, ride the carousel, and eat treats that didn't come packed with love by mom. They want the stuff that is sold in little huts around the zoo. Thank heavens that because we were there early, most of those little huts hadn't opened yet so we made it out alive. Kids also would rather play in puddles than read about animals. They would rather run around in circles giggling instead of walking in a straight line. The zoo for my family is less about seeing the animals and more about being an animal.

Then what do I do? Not one hour passed since we arrived back home that a friend called to see if our girls could have a play date. What I should have said was NO - we are all played out, but I know we don't normally do play dates very often. So I said yes. I was caught at a weak moment when my defenses were down. And somehow I was persuaded into having this little girl at my house, and driving her back home.

How did this happen?

Well, in my attempt to divert the play date to perhaps another day I told the mom that I just put the baby down for a nap and we wouldn't be going anywhere for a while. To which she responded, I could bring my daughter over there and you could bring her home at 5:00 or so.

Why couldn't I have been thinking more clearly? Why couldn't I just shut my mouth?

Instead I said, why don't you bring your son over too. WHAT? Well, my son is always complaining that he is surrounded by girls all the time (true) and she has a son who is my son's age. Since I am going to have kids over, might as well have all of them over.

So, while my children have had a delightful weekend I am exhausted and burned-out and it is only Monday. This doesn't bode well for the remainder of the week.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Medicine and Money

I have had this show on my DVR (thanks to my husband who recognized this is my kind of programming) for the last few weeks, and finally started to watch it last night. It is fascinating. You should check out Medicine and Money on PBS. I can highly recommend it. Makes perfect sense to me.

Let me add that just because my husband recorded it for me doesn't mean that he is interested in watching it. He saw a couple of minutes and said, I don't need to watch this. And he is right. This is what he lives every day.

One of the patients they highlighted is very sick. Tubes, wires, monitors everywhere. She has been there for 10 months. I turned to him and told him that in no way would I want to be hospitalized without being able to communicate or feed myself for 10 months. This may sound harsh, but it was obvious even to me, without any medical training, that she wasn't going to recover no matter how much faith her son had. And I am a believing person. I believe in miracles, but come on ... this woman isn't going to make it. She was sick before she even was taken to the hospital after suffering a stroke. Now she has a feeding tube, breathing machine, is non-verbal, and on dialysis.

The hospital ethics committee had to issue a DNR (do not resuscitate) order because the family wasn't budging. The family believed that this is what she would want - to be kept alive as long as possible using whatever means necessary. Really? Did she write that down? The hospital told them that if she gets another infection/symptom they will not treat it as it is an indication that what they have been doing will not work. They will make her comfortable, but no additional symptoms will be treated. I wish I knew what the final outcome was! As one participate rightly pointed out "we all will die eventually".

And this is where I get all opinionated with my views on prevention. Remember my post about health-care, it's like that - sure to ruffle some feathers. If you are of the mind-set that you want to be kept alive at all costs for as long as possible what are you doing before you land in the hospital to make sure you are extending your own life by whatever means are necessary? Think about your life while you still have it to enjoy. Don't spend a little bit every day slowly killing yourself with things you know could cause you harm and then expect medicine to be the super-hero that invokes whatever means are necessary to keep the pronouncement of death from falling upon you. Eventually you will die, too!

Lest I sound like a hypocrite I do take my own advice. Another program I would suggest watching is Forks Over Knives. I have nearly transitioned over to a plant-based diet. Why? Not because I care about the cows and chickens - I watched those shows too. And I felt bad for a few days, but not enough to make me to do anything. But this program actually persuaded me to change because I could connect the dots and it made sense to me. I eat well, exercise and am only 6 lbs away from my goal weight now. I feel amazing. I was bragging to my husband that not only are my pants falling off, but my skin looks better and I have more energy than I did before. That must mean good things are happening on the inside too. I digress.

Medicine is amazing, but extending life when it has been exhausted isn't what it was intended for! No wonder medicine is so expensive. We are keeping people alive (possibly against their true wishes because they failed to tell someone or write them down) who by all accounts have already died. The woman I previously mentioned, just her care alone, has cost 5 million dollars over 10 months and will only continue to accrue costs directly to Medicare. In other words we will pay that bill with our taxes.

If something happens to me. I don't want my family grieving and holding out hope beyond a reasonable time. I don't want to be kept alive for weeks and months just because it is technologically possible when all medical indications suggest my "life" will not recover. I don't want to rob my family of their life because they are spending their time at my hospital bed hoping for a dramatic recovery. I don't want to drag out the inevitable. I don't want to cause a financial burden to either my family or my fellow citizens who could possibly be on the hook for it. Personally, I don't think that is right.

I am OK with dying. I don't want to die right now, but I want to have a life to live not merely a semblance of life.

When did it become a bad thing to die after you have lived a long life? I don't know of anyone who thinks they would like to die in a hospital hooked up to machines. Ideally, I would like to die an old woman in my sleep after a full day holding hands with my husband. I know that is unrealistic, but  I want to have the freedom to die on my own terms when the time comes, and with dignity. Until then I want to enjoy it.

I need a living will and medical directive. I don't want anyone guessing what I might want, or feeling guilty if they don't go to extreme measure just because they don't want the guilt associated with making a decision; a decision that I realize would be hard to make. I will make it for myself and leave them without guilt for following what I expressly have decided. It is the least I could do for those that I love. Now to get it done.

The program also touched on rising c-section rates, mammography, and PSA screening as well as highlighting specific states that are making good health care decisions with their patients and bringing down total health care costs at the same time. That is a win-win.

I think of my dad who is turning 60 this year and hasn't had an annual physical in at least the last 5 years, maybe longer. He looks like a healthy guy, his family risk factors lean towards Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease (the slow death) and not heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.  Our family (both sides) have all died from natural causes, and my grandfather (80 years old) would still be here if he hadn't had knee surgery. It was a blood clot (PE) a few days post-operative that killed him. But he had bad knees from being obese. One could make the argument that if he hadn't spent 30+ years overweight, he might not have needed knee replacement and thus no blood clot. Or maybe the doctor shouldn't have agreed to replace the knee until he lost weight.

I completely understand why my dad doesn't want to go see a doctor. If you look for something hard enough you will eventually find something. His view is he would rather not know what is going to kill him. Especially when you consider that just because you screen for something doesn't mean you actually have it, or that it will be life threatening. Yeah, I would rather not know in that case, too.

Have you seen the PBS program Medicine and Money? What did you think? Are you going to watch it now:-)

Do you have a living will or medical directive?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do You Do Too Much?

Part of the reality of being the stay at home half of a parenting partnership is that we are in our "stuff" all day long. My husband works hard, insanely long hours. His job is tough. But being the boss, the housekeeper, the cook, the driver, etc without any one to delegate to is rough! He can at least tell someone to go do something for him. Who am I going to tell? Me, Myself, and I.

Mom Goes On Strike Stops Cleaning For A Week! This article caught my eye today as I have been on a search for how to make my small children responsible for their own messes and personal items. I have chronicled many of my failed attempts here. I feel like I have tried just about everything!

Just last week I went through the house and picked up all the errant items and put them in a plastic bin and took it out to the garage. I now have two plastic bins and my three older children don't seem to notice things are missing yet and their rooms and play space are just as messy as they were three days ago. Back to square one - nothing has changed. I am seriously considering removing everything!

I realize that we have a case of too much. Don't we all?  Be honest. How many toys did you have as a child? And did you have a dedicated room to put it? Maybe that was our first mistake: thinking kids needed to have a space all their own to put their toys and play in. Having space just makes you want to fill it. Today I am wishing the house we rented didn't have an extra room obviously designed for this purpose. (Note to self: unless we can get this solved our next place will not have such a room.)

Granted we had a play space when we moved for residency when my son was only 16 months old. He didn't have much, but since we have added three additional children and extra stuff for all of them. I was so proud of myself for my amazing resourcefulness and garage sale treasures making our meager income do some remarkable things.  Isn't that what I was supposed to be doing? Wasn't part of my job to obtain things for my children to play with that would enrich their playtime experience and keep them occupied while I washed dishes or fed the baby? Maybe I missed the mark.

What I find so infuriating is that we just moved a few months ago and went through a purging cycle. We shouldn't be having this problem. Further, we haven't brought much of anything into the house. That has been our motto from the day we moved in. We are only here a year, we aren't brining anything in that we have to pack up and move again!

What we have is a clear case of children not having respect for their belongs. My children dump their stuff out and leave it. It isn't acceptable. I love this quote from the article "look around people, you are disgusting creatures". You really have to read the rest of it for context.

I can really relate to this woman who went on strike. I don't mind taking care of my family, I actually like it. But, as she puts it, it was the over-time as she cleaned up messes all day that didn't belong to her, that did her in. And like her, I find myself cleaning to make myself feel better, because I do feel better when the house is clean, but I don't really feel better because the entire time I am doing it I am upset that I have to clean up messes that don't belong to me! When I have to clean up their stuff, I can't spend time doing other things I need and want to do. Which in turns makes me a very grumpy mommy. They haven't quite caught on to that concept yet.

I don't think I could actually go on strike unless I made a commitment to leave the house altogether during the day. But I may have to modify my strike plans a little.

At this point I feel it necessary to disclose that my husband cleans up all of his own messes, and several that are not his. If I had to pick up after him as well I might have lost my mind long ago. Thank heavens his contributions have kept me sane this long!

Update: She blogged her strike here! The pictures alone are priceless. And after reading her blog in her own words, I could see myself being her minus the glass of wine. It's a fun read especially if you are tired of cleaning up other peoples messes:-)