Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Is What Procrastination Looks Like

I love frolicking in procrastination and anxiety, don't you?

I have a big birthday party at our home this weekend. Today is Thursday and I've managed to not:

  • clean the bathrooms
  • change the sheets
  • wash the windows
  • sweep the floors
  • vacuum the carpets/rugs
  • pull the weeds
  • spread the mulch
  • spray off the patio
  • make a grocery list
  • order the balloons
  • decide what to feed the group
  • surely there is something else
And I can't even remember what I forgot! I am procrastinating that too.

The point is, I don't know what I am going to do with 40 people this weekend for four hours. So instead of working it out, I am biting my nails and surfing the Internet. I've already located friends from high school, checked the news online twice, feed my kids cookies for breakfast and popcorn for lunch, read every semi-interesting email and article from Facebook, thought about signing up for Twitter, read blog posts and basically haven't moved a muscle. 

I am paralyzed. This is my family. My husbands family. Close friends. I shouldn't feel this much pressure. I know it is just me. If it were just a 4 hour party that would be one thing, but some of these people are coming from out of town and are going to stay with us on Friday night. I will have 11 additional people in my household for 24 hours. I don't trust my nieces and nephews to not break a window or tear plants out of the ground, or general respect our home. We don't have enough places to sit comfortably and the flooring is tile. It's too hot outside and there is no where to sit outside. 

I like to procrastinate and fret in solitude and now doing it here is even starting to feel uncomfortable.

I am not a party person. I don't like hosting them. Sometimes I don't even like going to them. I felt obligated in a since to have one and so am using one event to kill all the birds, summer birthdays and housewarming in one. I put way to much pressure on myself and it results in these moments of complete procrastination and performance anxiety. This is the first time we will have hosted an event in our new home.

It's a party. No one is going to care if its too hot, too hard, and not just right. It isn't the end of the world. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I am going to ponder a little further about getting out of this chair and getting to work. 


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Have You Met My Breasts?

We attended the annual surgical residents graduation dinner recently and I have never seen so many breasts! They were everywhere. Even I couldn't help myself from staring. I would have been happy had a suckling child been attached to one, but these were just exposed breasts sitting atop dinner plates across the table from me.

I couldn't even tell you anything else about the dinner other than Boobs! Boobs! Boobs!

We had the good fortune or misfortune to sit at the back of the room. I didn't know any one there, and we attended because there is a mandatory department picture that takes place before. And who am I kidding? I love a free meal at a nice hotel without the children. What I didn't realize is that we would be sitting across from the largest and most exposed bosom in the entire room. Her name is the only one I remember, and it's not in a good way.

I looked around and boobs were falling out everywhere. I felt like a nun wearing a habit in comparison. Trying to be the classy doctors wife, and make a good impression, I wore a nice cocktail dress in an appropriate length with appropriate cleavage coverage and adequate support from chest to thigh. (I despise my own jiggle but love my body when it is compressed). Apparently if the weather is warm, clothing is optional particularly on the upper half. I didn't get that memo.

If you are going to let your girls hang out and be the star of the show (or dinner) you should treat them right and that means support! Especially if you are proud that they are real. The real ones need support the most. That goes for the young girls too. You might think they are perky, but you still should wear a bra. They make bras for every neckline. But most importantly, they should never, ever, sit directly atop the table.

If you have a large chest you might not be able to wear a dress off the rack. Find a good tailor and get the dress to fit. This particular woman was another doctor, not a resident, she should be able to afford a dress that fits or at least a tailor. Unless her plan was to make everyone in the room a wee bit uncomfortable. There are people like that.

This was an awkward dinner and one that I will never forget.

Except, now I remember another residency dinner from years gone by. Every year there is at least one person that wears something so inappropriate it is seared in your mind forever!

Please dress responsibly. A public service announcement from a doctors wife that doesn't want you to be forever known as the lady with exposed boobs sitting on dinner plates. You can do better.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dead Bird House

This is the time of year when the blogosphere is in full moving swing. Everyone in medicine moves in June. It is a fact of life. But, I bucked that tradition and moved months ago and just waited until June to officially declare it as so. I am no longer tied down to medical school, residency, or fellowship. I am free to make my own terrifying decisions about where to live and when to move. Take that medicine!

Back to our move. We were going to name our new home something beautiful and grand, like Twelve Oaks, but that doesn't exactly describe it. The name it wants to be called so badly is the Dead Bird House. It is what it is.

We live in a glass house. The birds don't know what glass is. Dead Bird House.

I washed the windows. They need to be washed again. We have two bird "imprints" already. At least 4-5 times a day we hear a "thud" that makes me think something has fallen off the wall. Four birds have already passed from this life and on to bird heaven before their time. It is a problem that I don't know the remedy for. The house is already here. It isn't a mobile home that we can pick up and move. I can't send a message to the birds to change their flight path. Are they trying to run me out of town? What do I do about the birds?

Currently we are nursing back to health (at least I think that is what we are doing) a small bird that smacked into our window earlier today. We thought it was certainly dead. On it's back, feet in the air, twitching a little.

What is the humane and moral thing to do?

Do I take a shovel and put it out of it's misery?

Do we just watch it suffer? We can all see it from the living room!

Do I move it so it can suffer alone and leave us in peace?

All of the above sounded so callous and wrong. In the end I decided to take the kids for a ride and see if the bird wouldn't naturally pass. See what I just did. Ignore the problem and distract.

When we can home an hour later the bird was upright, but not moving. I mean seriously not moving. What kind of bird would just sit and let four children gather around without twitching? I warned the kids to not touch the bird. Something about once you touch it the bird will smell like you and the other birds will peck it to death. I have no idea if that is true, but it sounds like something I heard once.

I can't be responsible for a bird dying that way. Pecked to death by it's family.

So the bird is upright. I bring out a shallow plate and put some water in. It is summer after all, and surely birds get thirsty too. I put the dish right up against the bird and it didn't move. I don't know if it has had anything to drink. I think it moved it's head, but I don't know how much longer the poor thing has to live.

Every few minutes I look over hoping that it will recover and fly away to live happily every after. I don't want to think about the alternative.


Friday, May 30, 2014

STILL - A Review and Giveaway!!!!

When one of our own faithful Medical Monday participants writes a book she deserves a celebration, or in this case a post all about her.

Congratulations Eniola Prentice on the release of your first novel: STILL!

A few weeks ago she sent me a copy of her debut novel STILL to read and review. I was hopeful but skeptical. I had been a beta reader for another author once before. Thankfully, this turned out to be a  much more enjoyable.

Eniola does a wonderful job blending the story of medical school with the very compelling stories of each of her main characters. Although I didn't attend medical school myself, I was able to commiserate with the non-medical significant others and the complexities of maintaining relationships both romantic and familial.

What I love is that her book gave me the same "I have to know what happens" feeling that my favorite books do. I cared about her characters. I wanted to know what tragic event tied two of the characters together. I wanted to know how the characters would redeem themselves, if it was even possible. And like my favorite books she left me wanting to know more. Now I have to wait for the next release. Maybe I could convince her to tell me what happens in the next book if I promise to keep it a secret:-)

As an added bonus I learned a little about the Nigerian culture and wish I had some Nigerian friends to share some of the amazing food and drinks she writes about. Well done, and thank you for letting me be one of the first to read your debut novel! I wish you much success on your next installments.

The book STILL by Eniola Prentice is available now! You can get your own copy at Amazon today:-)

You can also follow Eniola through all the usual social media outlets: her blog, facebook, twitter (#still), and Google+.

Now for the Giveaway!!!

To celebrate the release of her debut novel Eniola is giving away a signed copy of her book and a $40 gift card. The winner will be announced on her blog on June 17th and notified by email. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The following is the back jacket summary of her book STILL and a little about the author herself.

When self-proclaimed atheist Fadesola, gets into medical school she believes that it’s a fresh start of sorts for her. Until she discovers  her class mate is charming and handsome Tayo Smith, a man she encountered in a violent moment years ago. This revelation shatters Fadesola’s already fragile emotional state but hope comes where she least expects it. A seemingly innocent friendship with Tayo’s friend, Ladi, slowly develops into a smoldering relationship with both afraid to acknowledge their mutual feelings. Things get even more complicated when Nikky, Fadesola’s classmate and friend, ignores her desperate warnings and decides that Tayo is the man she is meant to be with. However, within the complexities of this friendship these flawed individuals will experience God’s redemptive grace in a setting each believed his love would never find them. Still, the first book of a four part series is a coming of age story about navigating through medical school in the first year, complete with hilarious hook ups and breaks ups, legendary parties and incessant studying, and experiencing the triumph of success and disappointment of failure.
Eniola Prentice, in her extraordinary debut novel has written a gripping and thought provoking story that examines Christianity, mental illness, suicide and alcoholism.

Eniola Prentice was born in Lagos Nigeria where she began to pen her stories as early as nine years old, inspired by an eclectic group of writers. Her budding writing career was put in the back burner as she pursued her dream of becoming a medical doctor, completing her undergraduate degree in Chicago, Illinois and her medical degree in Washington, DC. However in the third year of medical school inspired by the holy spirit or the voices in her head (she would prefer to blame God for this one) and the unique and inspiring stories of friends that became her family in medical school she began to write her debut novel and series, Still. She hopes that her writing compels challenges, inspires people and draws people to the Christian God’s redeeming love.

Congratulations again Eniola on this amazing accomplishment and best of luck as you complete the series.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An Observation of Sorts

I've have always believed that when you no longer take pleasure in things that once gave you pleasure something must be wrong. Isn't that one of the warning signs of depression? But maybe there isn't anything wrong at all, other than believing that what makes you feel fulfilled and productive today will always remain constant.

I fully embrace the concept of seasons. There are seasons for everything. Some seasons last a few weeks, others years or decades. The tricky thing is we never know how long a particular season will last.

Some seasons are marked by very specific life events: weddings, births, graduations, etc. They are shared with others and make vivid impressions on our time lines.  Others come into view quietly and fade so slowly you hardly realize they have passed until they are gone and you can no longer remember when or how it started.

You wake up one morning and find your routine has changed without even so much as a conscious thought on your part. What you used to do, you no longer do. It happens just like that.

I feel it, right now, at this very moment. A season has passed. Its not good, or bad. It just is.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Medical Mondays Announcement

Ladies and gentleman, yes we have a few gentlemen in our ranks, in certain parts of the country summer is beginning. In other parts tornado season is just getting started. And in others freak snow storms are still stirring. I haven't made a practice of watching the local news so I only know what my thermometer tells me. Things are changing.

Regardless of where you live and what the weather is like one thing can be certain it is the month of May. Almost half way through the year 2014. Unbelievable.

Before we get into this months link up, Emma and I would like to thank you for your support and participation in our monthly online event. We have looked at our schedules and priorities over the summer and have concluded that we will postpone the monthly link up for the months of June, July, and August.

Don't worry, we will still be blogging here and there but committing to this particular event is one of the things we both feel we must temporarily suspend.

May Medical Monday Link-Up and BlogHop

Are you confused if you qualify for the party?

If you have a pager interrupting your life... you DEFINITELY qualify!
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? Come on, now... don't be shy! Let's keep growing and meeting new bloggers, so 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 Bloglovin, GFC (if you are Blogger), FB, email or Twitter.
  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.
Complete step one by following your co-hosts:
Want to be awesome? Help us spread the word by grabbing and posting the Medical Monday button on your post or sidebar...

Want to co-host next month? Shoot Jane an email at and be sure to write "Medical Monday Co-host Request" in the subject field.

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!


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Do U P O B?

As we have worked to secure permanent housing I have been amazed at what information is available with just an address.

Maybe it was just a pretty house you saw driving one day and were curious what homes in that neighborhood cost. Maybe it was a particular house that you were interested in buying and wanted to know what the property taxes would be. Maybe you weren't even looking for a house to buy.

You can find out all sorts of information about a property with just an address:

  • When it last sold
  • How much it sold for
  • What the property taxes are
  • What it looks like outside and sometimes inside too
  • What schools children in that household likely attend, and if it is any good
  • How well kept the neighborhood is
  • Aerial views, street views
These are all valuable tools when you are looking to purchase or rent a property. I especially relied on Google maps for our last two rentals. In one I was able to tell from the Google images that the house was right behind a large overhead transformer and the front of the house faced a brick wall on the other side of the street. It saved me from having to drive over and find out. 

But all of this got me thinking about MY address. Anyone that we give our address to will have access to all of this information and more if they also know our name. Not everyone will be nosey enough to look for details about our purchase or attempt to see pictures, but some will. 

I've done it! We received a Christmas card this last year from some friends in another state who recently moved into a new house. I was curious where it was because we have other friends in the same city. I could have called and asked if they knew so and so if we were close friends, but we are just Christmas card friends who catch up one a year. Instead I turned to the Internet and plugged their address in. Turns out the city was bigger than I thought and they aren't close enough to know each other. But then curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on the pictures. I have never been invited into their home, and yet I knew what it looked like..... or may have looked like when they bought it.

What an invasion of privacy I had committed. But the information was right there and I was curious. That is how it always starts. I enjoy having access to public records just as much as the next person except when they are my public records. The thought of someone knowing what we paid for a house, where it is located, and what it looks like is a little creepy. Not to mention making me a little paranoid should someone want to do our family harm. 

I just searched the house we sold two years ago and there for the world to see is all of that information and pictures of our stuff in it. Not to mention the glaring reminder that we sold for less than we bought it. 

A Post Office Box would provide some barrier, but going to the post office every day to check the mail could be a real pain.

Do you use a PO Box? Why? Am I being paranoid? Don't answer that last one.

Medical Mondays is right around the corner, quite literally. Monday May 5th - just a few short days away. Join Emma and me with your tales of Medicine from any angle you observe it.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You Know You Are A ....

It may be next to impossible for a doctor to be well versed on things that are going on in the world as they are happening. Something always has to give. And, honestly, that is the same for all of us. For the busy doctor it is amplified as there seems to be less that can "give".

As a case study may I present my husband:

  • 41 year old 
  • English speaking 
  • male
  • husband
  • father of 4
  • surgeon
  • runner

What didn't make the list is his passion for the winter Olympics. Most people know that the 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia for two weeks during the middle of February. And my husband knew that too. But here it is nearing the end of April and he is still watching the Olympics. He isn't watching it for the 2nd or 3rd time... this is the first time.

It doesn't matter that he knows who wins the medal, he watches it. In every spare moment he turns it on. He figures he still has four more days of Olympics to watch. At this rate he will be done some time in July.

Because of the Olympics we now have a satellite bill. In the weeks leading up to the event we had a back and forth discussion on the necessity of bringing that into our home. I don't want our kids watching a lot of TV and not having many options makes that easier. But because he wanted the complete Olympics coverage we couldn't have just the basic package we had to have the whatever special package that would include the Olympics in its entire glory. That also means we have a bunch of channels we don't need and I don't want to watch. Not to mention a bunch of channels with inappropriate names! Even though the kids can't view the channels, they can read!

You know you are married to a doctor when it's July and you are still watching the Winter Olympics. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Embarrassing Extension

Right now I am beginning to doubt myself. It's April 15th and I do not know the status of my tax bill with the federal government. I have relinquished control and I don't think I like it.

Last year we used a professional tax service recommended by our financial advisor. They were great. Slower than I would like, but all things considered I was glad to have them tackle our return.

This year, things are a little more straight-forward. We didn't buy or sell a house. We didn't pay any of our own moving expenses. We didn't have any 1099's. It was pretty simple, just a few W2's and donations.

Because I have a thing for continuity we decided to use the same professionals this year. Turns out I missed their document submission date by 3 days. They wanted all tax documents submitted online before March 15th for guaranteed filing by April 15th. I didn't get my stuff together until March 18th.

For the first time in forever we are having to request an extension on our tax filings. I understand extensions aren't a big deal if you are expecting a refund, and thankfully we are. How can you pay that much in taxes and not get a little back? The great surprise will be how much. A sofa amount or a lunch date? I don't care as long as it doesn't come back with a payment due notice.

In my impatience, weeks ago I used Turbo Tax to enter our numbers and think we could have filed on our own just fine, and probably had our refund in the bank by now. I didn't press the file button, and will wait and see what happens when they finally get around to processing ours. I have visions of them holding our finished return until after April 15th just to teach us a lesson.

I am trying not to be bitter about the situation. I missed the deadline, but didn't know about the deadline in the first place. You better bet next year my stuff will be in their office before they even think to ask for them. I don't like waiting, and I dislike being late even more.

This extension is starting to feel like a scarlet letter.

Enjoy tonight's Blood Moon!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bring Back Emily Owens, MD

I don't know who to blame but someone should be blamed! I demand to know how this happened.

Is it my fault for not supporting the show when it hit the airwaves two years ago? I would have, but the CW wasn't a channel I received at that time.

Is it the networks fault for not recognizing what a great show they had and giving up on it too soon? Too soon as in just weeks after it premiered and might I add, just when it was getting really good. Apparently, because I looked, it was the lowest rated show on the CW of the fall of 2012. I don't think they gave it a chance. I suppose I should thank them for at least broadcasting all 13 episodes even though they had already told the world they were giving it the axe. Who would want to invest their time into a show that wasn't going to have a life? They doomed the show from the very beginning.

Was it picked up by the wrong network in the first place? I am talking about you CW. I didn't even have CW on my television in 2012. It could have fit on any number of networks.

Should Netflix be blamed for teasing me with a series that was canceled after the first season? Who does that to a person? Why even put the episodes on if you know the series was canceled?

Have you ever had something on your DVR recorded but it stopped recording right before the scene concludes leaving you wondering "what happened?"! That was me when I realized that the show I had just been introduced too, and loved, was over. How does this happen to good TV?

Emily Owens, MD was a great show. It was clever. It was funny. It was clean (maybe that was the problem). It was light-hearted. It was addictive, like watch the entire season over the course of a few days. The casting was great. It was the kind of show I like..... and now it doesn't exist anymore.

How can they do that?

Would they consider bringing it back if the show suddenly became a sensation on Netflix?  I am grieving for the loss of Emily Owens, MD. May she rest in peace.

But it does make me wonder what is going to become of television when hardly anyone I know watches live TV anymore. Now I will go cry.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Never a Better Time for Medical Mondays!

So March.... I can't remember a thing!

The last week I have been sick with either a head cold or allergies. I tried to explain to my husband that from the nose down it felt like allergies and from the head up it felt like a cold. After a grueling 5 days I seem to be recovering and now have a nice stash of medications for both symptoms.

I tried using generic allergy medicine that was near its expiration date that didn't do anything. Then my husband picked out something he thought I would like, and it worked, but made me incredibly drowsy. Drowsy mom = lots of movie time.

I should have expected something like this. When you move you get to experience new flora and fauna and sometimes discover that you have allergies. Or remember that you had allergies. It's one of the surprises of moving that hits you when it hits you.

To soothe my discomfort my husband brought home a box set of PBS Masterpiece Classics with Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Wuthering heights, and Northanger Abbey. I love being sick :-)

Welcome to the April edition of Medical Mondays. Glad you are here! Leave a comment, link up, say hi to other bloggers on the list. We will be here all week.

March Medical Monday Link-Up and BlogHop

Are you confused if you qualify for the party?

If you have a pager interrupting your life... you DEFINITELY qualify!
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? Come on, now... don't be shy! Let's keep growing and meeting new bloggers, so 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 Bloglovin, GFC (if you are Blogger), FB, email or Twitter.
  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.
Complete step one by following your co-hosts:
Want to be awesome? Help us spread the word by grabbing and posting the Medical Monday button on your post or sidebar...

Want to co-host next month? Shoot Jane an email at and be sure to write "Medical Monday Co-host Request" in the subject field.

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!


Monday, March 31, 2014

I Love My HSA

We have only been acquainted for 7 months, but I can positively say that I love my health savings account and hope that we have a long and happy life together. My only regret is that we were not introduced to each other sooner.

During our initial enrollment period we discussed our options for health care and use of flexible spending accounts and HSA's. We opted for a high deductible plan and a HSA. What a great decision that was for our family.

For the first time in our married life we didn't see any major health expenses on the horizon  (pregnancy/delivery) and felt confident in our health. But we also knew that things would happen at some point in the future that we wouldn't have any control over.

I've already told you about my crush on Dr. Carson, but it was during one of his speeches that the impact of HSA's was again brought to my attention. He said that 80% of health care visits could be covered by HSA's.

In reality most of us see doctors for preventive care and occasionally for illness. Few of us have regular need for expensive tests and ongoing treatments in our early years. For the last 20 years we have been paying insurance premiums and during that time only had 4 occurrences (pregnancy/delivery) that would have been considered major health events. I wish we would have had a high deductible plan and a HSA from the beginning.

Consider that during the first 10 years of our adult working life we had little need for health insurance but yet through our respective employers opted to purchase it.... like all responsible adults, right? A job with insurance is like a right of passage. I remember thinking that it was crazy to buy health insurance when I didn't need it, and then pay co-pays and deductibles on top of it.  I was sufficiently terrified at the thought that if I cancelled it something was certain to happen leaving me with regret over that potentially fatal decision. I was scared and so kept with the plan. And then there were the tax benefits, so why not?

But what would have happened if we had a HSA from the very beginning with a high deductible plan? That would have been 10 years of savings, with the security of knowing we also had insurance should something go horribly wrong.

We recently had a health care necessity for one of our children that required a visit to a specialist followed by a in-office procedure that produced medical bills for $2,500 against our deductible. No sweat. Why? Not because we had the money sitting in the bank. Like most people the money in the bank is for something like a house down payment, a vacation, something in particular that people have been saving for. Nobody likes spending that money for health care.

Money in a HSA isn't ear marked for anything but health care expenses. We have a debit card associated with our HSA. We paid the bill without a second thought and without needing to set our savings back because of this health care necessity or trim the budget. It was at that moment I fell in love with our HSA. The money for our health care was in the account waiting for us because we had been making regular deposits, and now will be replenished with each future payroll check.

This year we needed it, next year we might not. Instead of that money disappearing if it is not used it rolls over year to year, accumulating and growing. It is ours. Insurance may provide some sense of security, but nothing beats having money to pay for those expenses waiting for you in an HSA. I love my HSA!

It's the last day of March! That can only mean one thing ... Medical Monday's is next Monday. See you there.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Don't Drive Mad!

Just after the first of the year I had day where I snapped. If you have never snapped this is what it looks like:
  1. Husband walks in the door. 
  2. You snatch the keys out of his hand without saying hello. 
  3. You slam the front door on your way out. 
  4. You walk to the car without looking back at the children huddled around the window. 
  5. You open the car door and throw your purse on the seat. 
  6. Music gets turned on to drown out the screaming in your head.
  7.  Ignition with a little extra gas because it sounds like a roar.
  8. Tire squeals for effect so they know you are gone.
  9. And because the first intersection is still too close to home and the anger hasn't had time to dissipate you step on the gas at the yellow light instead of slowing down and end up going through the intersection at a speed of 10-15 mph greater than the posted limit. 
  10. "FLASH" photo radar at the intersection you thought was just monitoring red light running goes off.
Two months later you get to re-live the whole experience with a traffic ticket issued to your husband because it is his car, but has your picture with your ticked off face. I was really mad.

I considered letting him take the fall for the ticket. But it was mine. I was wrong. I never should have driven in a state such as I was in. I should have walked.

I confess that the ticket is mine and submit my information to the city court to correct the ticket and then get to spend 4.5 hours taking a defensive driving course. It has been over 10 years since I had a ticket and probably 15 since I attended a defensive driving course. It has changed... you can do it online now!

Now that it is over I should have chosen to take a physical course somewhere on the other side of town. I could have asked my husband to take the day off (because my anger was his fault) and spent the day out.

But I did make special note of these paragraphs:

How do Stress, Anger, Emotions, and Fatigue Affect Driving?

Emotions can have a powerful influence over the way you drive. Anger, anxiety, fatigue and stress can interfere with your ability to make safe driving decisions. When you are stressed, tired, angry, or upset, you are less apt to pay attention to your driving. You may not see hazards or react as quickly, and the chance of getting into a collision will increase. If you are angry or stressed, you may let your anger out by driving recklessly or becoming aggressive toward other drivers.

Emotions: if you are having an emotional problem, your mind is preoccupied. You may be worried about financial problems, family issues, someone who may be ill, etc. This is when you are most accident-prone. If you are in this condition, allow someone else to drive for you, or wait until the problem has been eliminated before you drive.

So online driving school is a joke. I thought it was going to be serious, so I paid attention between diaper changes, lunches, baths, with the sound track to Frozen in the background. At intervals they had a little animated cop with words in a red box that we were supposed to remember. Things like:
  • George W. Bush is the 2nd president to follow in his father's footsteps.
  • Dr. Suess' full name was Theodore Suess Geisel.
  • Thomas Edison invented the light bulb
  • Actor River Phoenix died on a Halloween night from a drug overdose.
  • Katharine Hepburn hold the most "best actress" Academy Awards with 4.
  • and about 2 dozen other facts just like this.
So I wrote all the nonsense down, and prepared for my test. I thought the test was going to be about driving and the things that I read pertaining to driving.

Instead all of the questions were about trivia! Not a single question on the test related to driving. So I paid $200 for a driving class to get rid of my ticket and was tested on trivia. What a glorious waste of time and money. However, I did save $20 by taking the course instead of paying the speeding ticket and now I know even more useless stuff than I did before.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Travel Lessons Learned

I had the great pleasure of accompanying my husband on a work conference trip a few weeks ago. This event was only made possible by our choice to move near family who could watch our children for the three days we were gone. Reason #1 we live here.

The trip almost didn't happen. Medicine is unpredictable. This is the exchange my husband and I had in the hours before we were supposed to leave.

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He had been on call the prior evening and didn't get much sleep. His plan was to go check on his patients in the morning, sign off with his partner and then come home and help take care of loose ends before we left.  What is supposed to happen, and what actually happens are two different things. He finally did come home at 12:30 am the following morning, with just enough time to pack and get three hours of sleep before we needed to leave for the airport.

We had plenty to do to get ready. I am an excessive planner and had folders full of days activities to prepare, food to shop for and assemble, rooms to clean and laundry to do because I refuse to let my MIL believe I am not the perfection of cleanliness, important numbers and names to leave, directions on when/what for emergency contacts. I don't care of anyone actually uses my prep work, but it makes me feel better about leaving. And that is all that matters

A few big items on the list were my husbands. Like packing himself and the ski equipment, and getting the oil changed so his mom didn't have to worry about the warning light that was going off for the last week. I refuse to pack for a grown man, but I did drag four children to get the oil changed, and to the grocery store, and to the craft store, and everywhere. But it didn't matter. I was leaving town.

The best part about attending work conferences like this one is all the quiet time in the hotel room. They had meetings from 7 am - 10 am meaning I could sleep in and leisurely get ready. Then they had a break between 10 am - 4 pm so we could ski together. And then they met up again between 4 pm - 6 pm and ended for the day in time to have a nice dinner together. And repeated the whole schedule again the next day. It was lovely.

My husband gets me. My dream is to spend a weekend in a hotel all by myself with a good book and room service. I don't want to do anything.

So what is the lesson I will be sure to employ next time? While most  people would take a day off after their vacation to unwind before starting work again, a doctor should take the day before a trip off so he can be ready and rested, or worse miss the flight altogether.

I highly recommend attending with your spouse and, gasp, even taking your children. Where are your favorite locations to attend conferences?


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Doctor Crush

I have a crush on Dr. Benjamin Carson:-)



He and my husband have many of the same characteristics and surgical interests. But, unlike my husband, Dr. Carson enjoys talking politics. My crush only extends to his ideas, although he is an attractive man, my husband will always be my ultimate heartthrob.

I was first introduced to Dr. Carson by my mother-in-law who gave me a copy of his autobiography "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" during the beginning of residency. I remember reading it and thinking that this Dr. Carson was sure full of himself! That was before I came to understand that there is a healthy level of "full of yourself" required to do a good job in the operating room. And sometimes a surgeon really is awesome. Not many people get to be the first to do anything.

A few weeks ago I also watched the film version of his book "Gifted Hands" on Netflix. He is played by the actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. This time around the story was even more inspiring than I remembered the book being. Having several years between the book and movie encounters may have played a contributing role. Well, that and his prayer breakfast speech.

Then imagine my delight when I discovered that he had recently given a speech at CPAC! I spent the morning listening to it, and then listened to it again, only to discover that I had listened to an older speech from 2013. And then while finding the link for his speech on another computer I found the 2014 speech, I my opinion is was good but not nearly as great as last years, so I included 2013.


Currently, I am knee deep in preparing for taxes so his remarks on that topic were of particular interest to me, as is health care reform every day.

I have come to admire Dr. Carson, and discovered that we share many of the same beliefs. We don't agree on everything, but shared principles and values have a way of endearing people to one another. Since my crush is in full swing I may even look at a few of his other books. Turns out he has several and I'd be interested to see what else he has to say.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Circling the Wagons

My first response when I hear or read any story that involves a medical professional is to immediately (in my mind) come to their defense. It is a reflex, and there is so much defending (and supporting) to do.

I read this article this morning and was reminded of something a wise uncle once told my husband. I have to paraphrase because I heard it from my husband a long time ago and he is obviously not around to ask at the moment. It was something like "if you assume that 9 out of 10 people you come in contact with are struggling, most of the time you will be right". 

We all have difficulties and challenges in our life that we don't share and people can't see. Some are emotional, financial, physical, mental, any number of issues impacting us all in different ways. We all carry something. Some people are better at masking their struggles than others. But mask, or not, most of us are dealing with something that feels too heavy to carry at times.

The short story is of a family that was staying at a nice ski resort in Colorado and their young baby was up several times during the night crying, disturbing a neighboring skier who felt it necessary to write a scathing letter to the family and leave it anonymously when they checked out. They probably patted themselves on the back for sticking it to them as they pulled out, congratulating themselves for inflicting pain on another person commiserate with the pain they felt at being woken up in the middle of the night. Tit for tat, and the last word. Maybe it made them feel better. But who can possibly feel better by making someone else feel bad? 

I have kids. I have been that family in that room, or airplane, or store. It is exhausting and embarrassing, and there really isn't much you can do about it.  Unless as some commenter's on the original post suggested that you just keep your children hidden and away from the general public so as not to chance disturbing anyone else with sounds they don't want to hear or sights they don't want to see. 

The original post is really a response to the letter by the brother in law. He wasn't there. But he defended his sister and her husband and their young child. If only each of us had a family member willing to speak up for us. I want to shake his hand. Why did it hit me so?

Because the family with the crying baby was a neurosurgeon and his wife and their young child. I know exactly what they were doing there. I've been there. In fact I was at a conference with my husband that same weekend, and thought they were talking about me only I didn't bring the kids and didn't get a nasty letter. But it could have been!

Going to a conference associated with a nice resort is one of the only chances a couple or a family in medicine get to spend time together. We don't have evening hours, holidays, or full weekends on a regular basis. Most years he doesn't even use all of his vacation time because the stream of sick people doesn't care that you have plans or need a break.  When my husband is in town, day or night, he is thinking about his patients or preparing for a case or studying because it never ends and he never knows what is going to come through the door tomorrow. It is a daily exercise, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The closest it gets to time off is when he is able to leave the city and the hospital behind. This family was trying to carve out a little time for themselves and the only way to do it was to go together. Even then he was in meetings, but they were together in an unfamiliar place trying to reconnect in the off hours and maybe extending their stay by a day to really relax and unwind. Conferences at ski resorts are the best because the meet early for a few hours, break for 5-6 hours in the afternoon to ski, and then resume in the evening after the lifts are closed. It's a great conference to take families to.

The mention of profession (the husband is a neurosurgeon and the wife is a lawyer, now a stay at home parent) only added context to the story. What most people don't understand is that the life of a surgeon is a consuming life, not many people can fathom what that means or care to. Somehow there is a perception that because some one is paid for their sacrifice, it can't really be a sacrifice at all.  They prefer to call us "entitled" or possessing a "superior view of yourself" as one commenter on his post did. 

The life of a parent is also a consuming life. There are no days offs, no breaks from parenting. Your children look to you and watch your every move. They rely on you for their nourishment, affection, approval, and feelings of self worth. I don't intentionally mean to make other people uncomfortable, but we have to leave the house. The best way to teach your children how to behave in public is by taking them in public. It can be a painful experience at times, but it must be done.

Its easy to pass judgement on people, and I'll try to be gentle with the writer of the letter. Who knows what they were going through. Maybe this was their only in vacation in 10 years (we've been there too). Before you condemn first seek to understand. We could all use more kindness in the world. 

I feel so bad for the writer of this article because the comments have been so nasty, but he is a classy guy. And my heart breaks for this medical wife who was already hurting from the anonymous letter and now gets to read people's opinion about what she should have done: stay home, disappear, hide. I hope she doesn't read them.

I can only imagine this woman, once a professional lawyer now a stay at home mother and wife to a busy surgeon, is trying to do the best she can and the last thing she needs is to be judged by people who don't know what she is going through. Making the transition from career to motherhood is hard. Having a newborn is hard. Being a parent for the first time is hard. Being married to someone with a demanding schedule is hard. Balancing the demands of a family unit is hard. It isn't easy for anyone regardless of what your spouse does for a living.

It would appear that she has an amazing family who is supporting her and doesn't really need my commentary, but from one wife and mother to another: Don't listen to ugliness, there are more of us that are with you than against you. 

Thanks for making the past Medical Monday so successful! It was great getting acquainted with so many new blogs, and to see those who have been with us from the beginning. There were some moving stories, pictures, inspiration, and helpful advice. It was a great week. It's not over either! The link will be active until Friday at midnight. 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Medical Mondays Welcomes March!

February IS the shortest month of the entire year! No surprise there. Hello March. I suppose this means that spring is almost here and that means, I don't even want to think about it. Some days I want to stop time and this is one of them. Can we just take a little freeze break. Everyone stop. For just a day or two and let me get my feet under me again.

This last weekend was wonderful. This next week is going to be wonderful. This next month is going to be wonderful. But I might not be ready. Ever have that feeling?

So to take my mind off things at least there is Medical Monday:-)

March Medical Monday Link-Up and BlogHop

Are you confused if you qualify for the party?

If you have a pager interrupting your life... you DEFINITELY qualify!
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? Come on, now... don't be shy! Let's keep growing and meeting new bloggers, so 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 Bloglovin, GFC (if you are Blogger), FB, email or Twitter.
  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.
Complete step one by following your co-hosts:
Want to be awesome? Help us spread the word by grabbing and posting the Medical Monday button on your post or sidebar...

Want to co-host next month? Shoot Jane an email at and be sure to write "Medical Monday Co-host Request" in the subject field.

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, February 28, 2014

Retail Therapy Confessions

My husband is a smart man. He figured out long ago that not only do I need time off, out of the house by myself, but that I also need to spend money on myself. In the beginning I didn't even know I needed it, but I do! It doesn't even have to be much cash, but spending even $25 on something for myself can make my day. For so long I wouldn't consider it because there were always more important things we needed our fund for. I know logically I need to take care of myself and allow myself to not feel guilty for doing so. But the distance between logic and application are often very far apart.

I know that changes might be made slowly and over time, but some habits are so deeply ingrained that I am curious to know if they will ever change, or if I want them to. I am not considering a mega shopping spree, or purchasing anything that would cost more than my first car (even though there are plenty of things that cost more than that car), but when will I buy something that isn't on sale?

The other night I had three evenings in a row where I was free:-) The kids were taken care of, I didn't have any responsibilities that needed attention and I went out on the town by myself. And where did I end up? Burlington Coat Factory. What did I spend $100.00 and I was pleased as pie with a dress I purchased for $24.99 and all of the other items too.

I suppose it really is in my best interest to maintain the status quo in this regard. All you have to do is read a copy of The Millionaire Next Door to understand why. It is a great read and I highly recommend it to everyone. In a future post I will share my favorite parts, or as Oprah would say my "ah ha moments".

Maybe just once I'll do something crazy and buy something for myself at a store other than a discount retailer and maybe one that isn't on sale, just once.... to see what it feels like.

If you were going to make just one purchase what would it be?

Don't forget to meet back up with us Monday for the March edition of Medical Mondays! February is a painfully short month.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tales From The Trauma Bay

My husband has a saying: Alcohol is the fuel of the trauma bay. You have no idea how true that statement is. On any given day 75% or more of his patients are involved in some sort of self-inflicted medical emergency while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both.

I know that not all hospitals are created equally, and that the consumer at each hospital is a little different. Long gone are the days when he sees people suffering from regular neurosurgical conditions like degenerative disc disease. These people like to break themselves quickly. This is the first hospital he has worked at that pretty much exists to take care of this group. My husband works at a level 1 trauma center in a large city. Imagine the ED room from the now retired TV series ER. He sees some crazy things that would make a great ER series.

Many of the cases that come through are worthy of coverage and yet I wonder why more people don't hear about them. I know there are all the HIPPA regulations, but their stories deserve to be heard. If nothing more than to serve as a public service announcement along the lines of

DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, BIKE, WALK, SKIP, CLIMB STAIRS, RUN, SKATEBOARD, ROLLERBLADE, SWIM, DANCE, or anything else that requires movement of any kind. You are better off staying completely still. Don't move.

I think true stories like the one I am going to tell could go a long way in the education sector to prevent or discourage the abuse of drugs and alcohol. A compilation of sad, heart breaking, and photographed stories could serve a greater good. If you see something on a book shelf soon (if there isn't one already) then maybe my name will be on it. It wouldn't be hard to compile, there is plenty of material. Problem is, nobody wants to be in it.

Are you ready for a story?

Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl who went to a birthday party with her friends. They had  too much cake and too much punch. Mostly "punch". On their way home by automobile, this beautiful girl decided that she needed to use the bathroom but forgot or didn't care that the car she was riding in was moving. She opened the car door and stepped out.  Now she is paralyzed and will never pee on her own again.  The end.

No happily ever after. There rarely are happy endings in these scenarios. What usually happens is parents crying by the bedside wondering how in the world this ever happened. Maybe their daughter should have been exposed to more true stories like this one. It happens all the time.

Our children are getting to the age where it's time to talk about drugs and alcohol. Maybe we will just take them down to the emergency room and show them. It is not pretty.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Playing A Good Offense

The definition of insanity, although I didn't look it up, is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. I feel like the hamster stuck on a wheel expecting to arrive at my destination eventually. Silly hamster, you aren't going anywhere.

I think I have enough experience on the wheel to make a conclusion. It has been there staring at me for the longest time, but I have finally put the pieces together with a solution. Eureka!

What's the problem that gets me all worked up?

On long stretches of call I have noticed that I get very irritable with my kids and with my husband, and anybody else who is unfortunate enough to cross my path. No one is happy during those long and/or frequent bouts of call.

Oh, please don't think I am weak. Instead I prefer to be called tired, worn-out, over-worked, in need of a mental health day. Funny story. When I was working I had an employee come up to me and ask for a mental health day. Being the person I was at the time, the words that came out of my mouth were "yes", but the words going through my head were "yes, you probably do have some mental health issues, but no, stay and suck it up - we all do it". So young and naive and mildly judgmental.

The truth is, we all need mental health days, and the reasons we need them are all very different. Call the day off whatever you want, but time away from the rigors of the everyday are good for the body, mind, and spirit.

And then today while thinking of another friend, it came to me: If I know what sets me off why don't I plan for it ahead of time? Why didn't I think of this before? Seems like the sensible thing to do, and if I were managing my life like I would a business I would have plans in place to deal with disturbances before they showed up on my doorstep.

Just thinking about my solution is like a ray of sunshine. Now to see if I actually do it.

Why the hesitation? Well because I have thought of this solution before, I just never put it together with the calendar. And for all the times I have thought of it, I haven't done anything about it. I have come up with excuses before.

What's my offensive plan? 

I am going to look at the calendar and plan for it.  My husbands call schedule is published a month in advance. I can see the bottlenecks on paper before I have to experience them. What is a bottleneck in my world: 3 or more call days in a row. When you are committed to 14 days of call a month this scenario happens frequently. Where there are bottlenecks I can schedule to get a break for myself by asking for help or paying for help.

Usually I am always playing defense and by the time I realize I need a break, it is too late. Too late to find someone to relieve me. Too late to feel like calling anyone. Too late to make a difference. It is hard to find help at the last minute when you are pulling your hair out! But utilizing the calendar I can make sure I get the break I need to be a happy person, wife, and mama.

Its a beginning, and that's something.

Excuse me while I take a break to look at the calendar.


Friday, February 14, 2014

The Heart of the Matter

Happy Valentine's Day!

I can't remember the last time we celebrated Valentine's Day in a traditional way, if ever. Flowers, chocolates, dinner, and evening spent together looking into each others eyes. Ahhh. Yeah, it doesn't happen.

There have been flowers. But currently we don't have a flat surface to display flowers.

There is always chocolate, left on the bed with a card in the early morning before he leaves for the hospital.

We do eat dinner. Sometimes together. Seldom at a restaurant. Usually take out. Often alone.

I don't really mind anymore. It is what it is. We tried celebrating earlier in the week with a nice dinner out, but had babysitter difficulties. We need an on-call babysitting service! The next available night is sometime in March.

I think one of the more trying lessons that medicine has taught me is that you have to be flexible with your plans every day. You can't make a schedule that includes your spouse without forming a plan b and c. If a particular day is important to you you have to think about it in advance and have him take the day off even if those plans don't start until 7 pm. There is always a chance of a complicated case, or emergency that lasts longer than expected, and they always do. You also have to acquire a gambling spirit. You have to be prepared to get all dresses up knowing that there might not be anywhere to go. It is a risk we assume. Sometimes we win.

And then there is the problem of scheduling. The smaller the practice, the less flexibility. We have a tiny practice and the other surgeon is out of town. He was smart and took the weekend off to spend with his wife.... I mean he is at a conference. Maybe they purposefully planned a conference over Valentine's Day weekend so some doctors could have a nice romantic weekend, after the conference was done. Thankfully no emergencies at a conference and they know how to follow a schedule!

So how do we deal with it? I have no idea. Wouldn't it be great if holidays weren't fixed to the calendar and we could pick which days we wanted to celebrate and when? They could be treated like sick days, you take them when you need them or when you can get them. We could celebrate Christmas in April and Halloween in June. I doubt anybody would really go for it.

In the meantime we just try.  Or in our case we use whatever event is coming up to say this will be Valentine's Day. There is a medical conference coming up in a few weeks that we are going to together. Now it is also our Valentine's Day celebration and probably our Anniversary celebration too, just in case.

I am beginning to think that medical conferences serve multiple purposes. They serve as a excuse for a physician to get out of town, away from the demands of a hospital and patients, to spend a few uninterrupted hours in the evening with their spouses. Because to be honest, sometimes that it the only way that it can happen.

Lest anyone be concerned I love my husband madly.  So I am just praying today goes well and all his patients experience miracles so he can make it home in time for take out. Otherwise I am going to be watching Austenland all by myself AND eating all the chocolate!


Monday, February 10, 2014

I Am Sorry

Yes, we all make mistakes. But how often do you make the same mistake two months in a row with the same person?

Have you ever tried to make an apology without giving your justification or the back story? We all do it because it gives context and let's us feel like explaining ourselves will make forgiveness the appropriate course of action. Having been on the wronged end before, I know the "how" isn't what is most important.

I am sorry for....

Two weeks ago I posted on this blog and sent out an email invitation to our Medical Monday participants that included the name of our guest co-host for this month: Ashlie Schooler. When Medical Monday's rolled around she was not listed as guest co-host and we were unable to retract it.  We made a serious error and for that we are very sorry.

How can I make it right?

Sometimes our idea of how to make a situation right isn't what really would make it right, so I am asking you. I don't know if Ashlie will ever read this, or will ever read anything from me again, but I do want to make it right. What should we do?

It won't happen again to anyone.

Emma and I have already set a new communication strategy in place that will prevent this from happening again to anyone. It will be tested this next month. That is if anyone is willing to co-host with us again.

I was so excited to have Ashlie guest co-host with us. She has just started blogging again after a two year break. So many exciting things are happening in their medical family right now. I hope that our error doesn't cast a shadow on her feelings about blogging. I know that it probably would if I were in her shoes. I hope that she continues to blog, and I can't wait to read about what happens in the coming months.

If you are feeling so inclined would you head over to Ashlie's blog The Schooler's Journey and leave her a message? While you are there get to know her by reading some of her previous posts and consider adding her to your blog roll and/or becoming a follower.  Thank you!