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 is 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!


Monday, February 3, 2014

I Love Medical Mondays

Goodbye January. Hello February.

This is the part of the year where I sit and stare in disbelief at how little control I have over time.  My children are growing up before my very eyes. The baby is hardly a baby anymore and my older children are turning into independent beings. My husband is solidly established at work and while I am staying busy I can feel the winds of change coming.

Rather than trying to guess where the wind will blow, I'm trying my best to be carried along and enjoy the ride. Maybe it is just the promise of the spring to come that is stirring my soul.

One of the most enjoyable moments of every month is Medical Mondays. It sincerely is. There is something about signing on and reading posts from people who are doing their best and sharing their less than best moments. I have never met any of you, but for that one day I feel like we are all friends getting together for lunch and catching up. It's a big table and there is room for anyone who wants to stop by.

Welcome to another monthly edition of Medical Mondays.

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!