Monday, June 30, 2008

Disgusting and Delightful

Well, it's been an interesting week to say the least. It started out with us visiting our friends in Golden. We got to see a lot of people we hadn't seen for a long time and found lots of fun things to do in the coming weeks. It should be great. I am always amazed at how, even though we all came from the same starting gate (college) we've gone on to all lead different and in their own ways interesting lives. It makes me feel kind of proud really.

The next day in lab, I came across the first thing in all of medicine that has made my stomach turn. Now, I have to preface with the fact that I truly appreciate the gift that the cadaver donors have given us. It truly is the most effective way to understand human anatomy in all its glory. And in all its nastiness. I'm a teaching assistant for the physician's assistant and physical therapy students, and for the first time they were opening the chest cavity. This is always an exciting day in the lab because everyone is interested to see just what makes us tick, literally. Be warned, the rest is quite gross, so hide your eyes if you're squeamish. One of the PA groups opened up the chest to find, not a normal lung, but a giant glob of, well, goo. Looking at it (like a pathologist, here comes the food analogy) was like looking at severely overcooked macaroni, and me being curious me, I had to stick my hand in it. I mean, in anatomy texture is everything, it tells nerve from vessel, muscle from fat (as if the translucent yellow color didn't do that anyway...) etc. Never in my life has my stomach actually turned upon feeling something until I stuck my hand in that goo. I honestly thought I might be sick. I won't go into the details of what it felt like, but suffice it to say, nasty. I had no idea what it was at the time, but I was quite sure it was not a lung, nor was it ever a lung. I was right about that. The professor found her way over (remember, imangine tiny little Edna from the incredibles) and told us all it was what happens to infection during the embalming process. Then she grabs a bucket, reaches in and scoops it all out while we all stare aghast (with mouths closed, that's one mistake you only make once) as if it were nothing. And to her (after 20+ years in the lab) it probably was. Turns out the cadaver had an abscess in the pleural cavity and during embalming the protein mixed with the fixative and voila, gooey mess. Once all of the goo was out, the lung was found, compressed into a tiny fist sized mass at the very back of the thoracic cavity. The cause of death of this cadaver was COPD, and I'll give you the obstructive part, but I think there may have been more to it than emphysema might infer.

But moving on from the disgusting, onto the delightful. On Wednesday last week I flew back to the homeland to see the fam. I am not a great flier. I get really nervous and I suppose I could be described as a "white knuckle" flier. I'm too embarrased to talk with my doc about getting some meds prescribed, so I medicate in my way with a prescription for vino. Before J brought me to the airport I polished off the organic white I got from whole foods for just such an occasion (to be fair there was only one large glass left!), then made up a mojito, a double, and we headed off to the airport. By the time my "treatment" was over and I made it through security (why am I always behind the person who has 47 million electronic devices to dig out of their carryon, seriously, who needs two laptops at a time?) I had to run to catch the final boarding call for my flight. But I made it. And unfortunately it was the most turbulent flight I'd ever been on. I told myself I wouldn't buy a drink on the flight, but no sooner had I asked for my water than the pilot gets on the overhead to explain the turbulence. One of our breaks on the landing gear was overheated and they had to let the landing gear hang out to cool off. He tried to say it was "something that just happens at high altitude." Right. In anycase, this is what I had in front of me in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately, within another matter of minutes, I had a red mess as I spilled my little glass all over with nothing but my little cocktail napkin to clean it up, so my copy of the Onion was lost to its higher purpose of cleaning up my wine spill. Luckily there was still plenty in my mini bottle. Crisis averted. When we eventually landed, there were fire trucks waiting for us, high altitude my arse.

But, I made it home and had a great, albeit short, trip. I tried my hand at the Wii for the first time, and I came home actually sore from the experience. Time to take up weight training I think. So, so sad when little miniature tennis makes you hurt.

I got back to high altitude on Saturday (sans break incident this time) and pretty much slept the whole day away.

Sunday I had the privlege to attend a birthday party for one of my good friends from med school. She made a point of telling everyone there how much we all mean to her, and all of her family and friends from when she was little were there. It was a great time and I felt really special for being able to participate. I am glad that med school has been bringing unexpected rewards such as friends like LG. It makes the whole process so much more bearable.

Well, it's a holiday week, and it might turn out to be an even shorter week for us than it is usually. The PAs are the only group scheduled in the lab on Thursday, and in the interest of having a long weekend, they are probably coming in tomorrow, leaving me with 4 days off. Sweet.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pity party - you've been warned

It's been a really fun weekend. Yesterday we saw some old friends and had a really good time. It did get me thinking though. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a very strange place. My friends, and J's friends too, pretty much fall into 3 categories. The first are the ones who are married, both working, with no kids. These people are really living it up. They're traveling, getting themselves situated into wonderful homes where they are ready for a bigger family but aren't in any hurry to fill it up. They're becoming accomplished in their careers, so that, and having fun, is their focus right now. The next group has already moved past that and are focusing on their family. They have kids, or are having them, and are all great parents, or will be soon. Many of them have already been accomplished in their careers, some are continuing to work, some are not, but all of them seem to have a clear path ahead of them and a realization of their new responsibilities as a parent as well as a wife/husband/friend/sister/brother/daughter/son. Finally, we have our single friends who are truly still living it up, working in great careers and really focusing on figuring out who they are and what they want in life. They can go anywhere, and do anything they want (obviously within reason) because there is no one in the world to tie them down but themselves. And in watching all my friends (proudly I might add) maneuver through life so gracefully, it sometimes makes me wonder where that leaves me.

I'm married, and very happily so. But I don't exactly fall into any of these categories. We don't have kids yet, I don't have a career yet. All I have is potential for these things. I feel like for my whole life, all I've had is potential for great things. Potential is fantastic when you're 18 and the world is your oyster, but the older I get the more I wish the potential would be realized and I could move on. People always talk about how when you go into medicine you have to put your life on hold for about 10 years. Well, I'm not ready to make peace with that. That would make me 36 before life really begins. What the hell is that? I'm not even remotely interested in putting my life on hold for 10 years, but it's a very odd place that leaves me in. No kids, no job, just school.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not really unhappy. I like school. I want medicine to be my career. But I can't help but get a touch green when I see all the great things my lovely friends are doing. I can't help but feel a little lonely in my odd position. And I can't help but feel a bit bad for J, he would be one of those successful friends if he didn't have me to take care of. Although he never complains, and is much more farsighted than I am when it comes to all this. He realizes that in taking all this time to do this, we'll end up in a better place over all. I suppose I should take a page from his book and appreciate the potential for a little longer. I'm sure it will work out, but sometimes I can't help but hop into my own personal pity party. I suppose in a couple days I'll realize that summer is too fun to worry about this stuff, and the party will end but for now, a little venting was necessary. Thanks for hearing me out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Keeping busy

So, it's felt like a relatively slow week. Getting over whatever I had took a lot longer than I expected, and even today I am not 100%. But, I find that I don't notice it as much when I stay busy, so I'm looking for some activities for today to keep my mind of my stupid headache. I get the feeling Rocky will get a long walk out of the deal. Yesterday we went to Chatfield state park, and that was awesome! It was pretty empty since it was mid-week, and the weather was perfect. There's these dog beaches where dogs can run off leash and swim, which is pretty much Rocky's best day. While I ran laps around the central pool, with the GPS to see how far I was going, Rocky jumped in the pool and swam along the shore and would hop out and run with me for awhile before jumping back into the water. He had a blast, and all the people there thought he was a trip. Of course then he needed a serious shower when we got home, but it was worth it, and now he's all soft and smells good for once!

I'm thinking today Rocky and I will go for a walk, I'll do some yoga and then I'll work on baking some rolls. I've made lots of loaves of bread, but never sandwhich rolls, so I think it's time to try. And I have some good movies from the library too, so that should keep me busy. Tonight J and I will be heading ot to Cherry Creek State park to a long bike ride, so I better tucker Rocky out during the day, because I don't think it's the best idea to bring him along while we're on our bikes, he tends to lean into you when he's on a walk, and I'm not all that steady when it comes to biking.

Well, I suppose none of these plans will come to fruition if I don't get off my butt and get moving. It promises to be a busy and fun weekend, so I'm not sure when I'll be back, but I'll have lots to report when I am!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One more sick day

Well, I'm still all plugged up but I think I'm turning the corner. I feel like every year in June I get the dreaded summer flu. I know I should feel like it's better than during school, but I definitely would rather be more miserable during school than the least bit miserable during vacay. I am feeling a bit better today though. Not well enough to go get elbow deep in cadaver juice, but hopefully well enough to take the big guy for a walk later, definitely not a run though.

I've come to the realization, after doing nothing but sitting on my rear for the last two days, that I need to learn to shut the thinking machine off. When all you have to think about is whatever terrible daytime tv is in front of you, no good can come from it. I sit here and overthink everything about my life. And inevitably I worry that every choice is the wrong one. One choice I decided is a total waste though, and quite rightly, is the choice to hang out in a derm clinic over the summer. What was I thinking? Derm may have a spectacular lifestyle, and it might be the ultimate challenge to match into, but I have absolutely zero interest in it. So this morning I promptly dropped the class. No thank you.

I am seriously jonesing for a vacation these days. Next week I take of to fabulous Fargo to visit the fam for a couple of days. I fell victim once again to undisclosed flight times for a reduced price and ended up getting into town really late on Wednesday and getting out of town really early on Saturday, so what should have been a 4 day trip is pretty much a 2 day trip because of it. We'll have to make the best of it. J is supposed to be sent out to Sunnyvale CA for a time this summer, and I hope it falls on one of the very few weeks that I could travel with him. Free lodging + southwest fares = affordable vacation to cali for me. It's certainly not a guarantee but my fingers are crossed.

Well, I have the latest JAMA to keep me company today. Probably better company than the trash that's on tv.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Well, it was a really good weekend. We went to the little league game (and didn't get burned this time) and did plenty of baking through the afternoon. We made it to the 80s party and I am sad to report, I have no pictures to post. We just never took any! But I was in full on 80s attire and still can't believe that was ever a good way to dress. Wow. By far the best part of the night was seeing all those lovely ladies I got to know in college. It had been too long and it was a great time.

This morning J and I got up early and got to work on our father's day brunch. I think we did a prety great job because everyone stayed so long that we made dinner too. We now have enough leftovers to last J all week for lunch and probably tomorrow for dinner too. I planned out a whole menu that included a breakfast stromboli, potato casserole, home made caramel rolls from scratch, and Carmine's breakfast sausage. As with any good brunch we had some cranberry pomegranate mimosas too. Because it's never too early to drink from a champagne flute! Let me know if you want the recipe for the stromboli, cuz it was pretty good. I borrowed a bit from my godmothers recipe and another that I found online, but it was a good combo. In the afternoon we watched Tiger Woods tie up the US Open. I'm not a golf fan, but I am a Tiger Woods fan, so I was pretty pumped to watch it.

The only bad thing about the weekend is that I've come down with something. Since last Thursday I've had a killer headache and now my ears and throat are super sore too. And I feel really tired constantly. I emailed in sick for the derm clinic I was going to attend in the morning in the hopes that a really good night's sleep would remedy the situation. I really hope it does so I can get on with my super summer.

I have to say though, I've been having some anxiety over school. It's not fair, I tell you, this is supposed to be the stress free time! It's certainly not as bad as during school, but it's annoying nonetheless. I know I previously wrote about my super sweet MSA project that entailed a summer of watching Grey's and writing about the plight of women in medicine. I have since decided that project is way too fluffy and I need to do something that will at least help a little on the way to residency. But finding a project that won't eat up all my time (and certainly not over the summer) and still be a good project seems like too big a task. The thought of it really freaks me out. I know I have to get on it, but I keep putting it off because I'm tired of feeling stressed. If anyone has any bright ideas on the situation, please let me know, I need all the help I can get.

Well, here's to benadryl and it's fabulous power to lull me to sleep no matter how crappy I feel. Ain't no faster way to forget school stress. Hope your weekends were as fun as mine!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Second week of summer

Well I obviously make more time for blogging during the school year than I do during the summer, but what a great summer it's shaping up to be. This week the big guy and I went running almost every day. He's exhausted, but that's a good thing when we need to be out and about.

Yesterday J had the day off and so we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. It was way different than the others had been, but I was still having a great time. It may have something to do with the fact that I haven't seen the inside of a movie theatre for over a year... Hopefully I'll see the inside of one again soon so I can see Sex and the City...

Today we're going to walk over to another little league game (fully slathered with sun screen) with J's dad. After that I am heading out for another run, and hopefully that doesn't go too late in the day because it's gonna be a hot one.

This afternoon we have a neighborhood barbeque, and that should be interesting. I'm not counting on a great turn out. Our neighbors are so antisocial that they actually drive into their garages, and before they even turn off the ignition, they shut their garage doors. If you don't want to talk to people, whatever, but at least spare yourself the carbon monoxide.

After the bbq my friend KV is having a birthday party. It's going to be great. There's an 80s theme, complete with clothes, hair and music. I'm pretty pumped to see her new place too. Should be a fun day, but somewhere in there I need to get ready for the fathers day brunch we're having tomorrow. I'm sure it will get done!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A better schedule

This weekend was fantastic. We met up with our great friends Sonny and Becky at my favorite little brewery in the world. It couldn't have been a more beautiful day either! Then our friends Kevin and Brianna had a barbeque and we got to see their little two year old son, who we have never seen in his whole little life! Brianna is also 8 months pregnant, so there will be another little one running around before you know it! Then Saturday morning we went to see a little league game for a family friend and it was a lot of fun. The diamond was only a mile walk from our place so we walked over with the big guy and J's dad D. The only bad part about it was that we forgot the sunscreen. I'm the worst future doc ever. Luckily I was wearing my fabulous hat and jeans, so only my arms took the brunt of it. J's neck is pretty red and the backs of his calves, but needless to say, lesson learned. Overall, the rest of the weekend was really lazy. I went to the library and got a bunch of great looking cookbooks to get ideas for the summer. We watched three movies and drank some mojitos. Lazy and lovely.

Last night J had a hockey game really late (and he had to work this morning, sucks to be a responsible adult) so I made him a snack that I have to say I am very proud of! And don't worry, J, I will post them on our blog too!

As summer sets in for me, I feel myself slipping into a nice lazy schedule. Don't get me wrong, this is something I want. But, I do have some extra goals to add to my schedule, and one to cross off (one trip to a Golden brewery down!)

I truly plan on losing about 10 pounds. I know that I'm not an overweight person, but I talked about it with my doc and she agrees it's a good idea. My family has such a strong history of diabetes that it really freaks me out. Plus, I want to be in the best possible shape I can get myself into before we start trying for that family again at the end of the summer. I figure the better shape I can be in going into it, the easier it will be to get back into it after we have a baby.

This is turning into a long post, but I swear I'll wrap it up soon!

I think the best way to get into great shape is to start running again, so a big tired R will be a common event I think! It should be fun too, and R could afford to lose some pounds as well...

This past weekend put the baby thing into perspective for me. After what happened this spring I was having a hard time even thinking about it. As a med student, I find myself constantly surrounded by people who are not only content to put their entire lives on hold, but who think it's crazy not to. It's easy to slip into thinking that this path is not only difficult but impossible if you want to have a family at the same time. This weekend, being surrounded by people who obviously put family first, put that into perspective a bit. In 30 years (wow, I'll feel old then, but really it's not that bad) what will matter? The fact that it took a little longer, or was a little harder to get through med school or the fact that I have a big family that gets together and has crazy raucous holidays and weekends together? I'm going with the latter. (But I'm just competitive enough to know that a little harder time in med school, does not equivocate to poorer performance, just in case J was worried) Anyway, it was a calming thing for me. It made me ready to try again when the time comes, but it also makes me feel excited to take advantage of this summer where I'll be able to do all those things I wouldn't have been able to if the first pregnancy had worked out.

So, long story short, I'm still looking for takers on our tour de beer this summer, and I'm hoping to hear from lots of friends to have super fun gatherings!

Oh yeah, one more thing...everyone cross your fingers, say a prayer, do a dance, whatever you do, for Medicine Girl on June 12th when she is certain to crush the boards into submission!!! Good luck!!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Old Friends

Hurray! Our friends the Lewises are in town!!! I'm meeting them this afternoon, and as Becky put it "we'll go to Golden City so you can cross that off your summer to do list." I'm super excited. Then tonight we're getting the band back together for a bbq at our friends Kevin and Brianna's place. Another great day in Golden! I'm very excited. And the weather even decided to cooperate. It's a gorgeous day!

In other news, I've decided to become a hat person! I bought this great lime green straw hat at my favorite store over the weekend. It's cute and I'm slowly getting used to it.

Well, Becky just called, so I'm off to my favorite place on the planet! I hope everyone is well, I know I am!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Not really the plan..

Well this is a bummer.. It's such a dreary day here! This is not the kind of day I was expecting for the summer. But, I can't really complain. In Colorado we pretty much have 300+ sunny days per year, so when the weather gets dreary, it's like something new and different and that makes it more fun than annoying. It also makes it very unlikely that I will be running outside with the big guy. Instead, I'm doing the absolutely unthinkable....

I'm studying.

I know. I don't get it either. I'm going to spend a couple of hours this morning preparing my board studying plan for the summer, and getting out the anatomy books so my students don't end up knowing more than I do. Part of me is sad about it, but I know that it's the right thing to do. I'm still planning on reading lots of books for fun and getting my butt out of the house as often as I can, but while I'm here, there's no reason to forget a whole year of hard-learned information, no matter how much I might like to.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yeah summer!

Well, I know I've been a bit absent, but I'm back! And so excited to have a lovely summer break to regroup. I really appreciate all the happy encouragement from everyone for finishing the year off strong. I'm excited to move forward into summer now! Even though summer will smell like aweful formaldehyde.

I'm TAing the anatomy classes for the physical therapy and physician's assistant courses at CU. I'm really excited about it, though you never truly get used to the smell. Anatomy lab always gives the greatest stories. I'm looking forward to sharing them with you. Already I've been laughing. The professor for the class looks exactly like Edna from the Incredibles. She must be 4'9 or so. And she cracks me up like no one's business. She won't let the students play any music, and won't let us spray Febreze in our office because she says that it triggers her asthma. So, needless to say, it should be an interesting summer.

But it's not a huge amount of hours a week, so I'm mostly looking forward to all the great stuff I can do in my free time. There will be many walks and runs with the big guy and the house will finally stay really clean. But I also want to make a list of the things I want to do before school starts again. I might not get another chance like this. So, here's the start of the Summer List:

1. Go "revisit" the breweries in Fort Collins. There is supposedly a beer bus tour in colorado, and I am going to figure it out. Who's coming with me??!

2. Run the Rocks. Red Rocks amphitheatre is gorgeous and I've been dying to try to run up their crazy stairs. It'll probably nearly kill me, but I can't wait to try.

3. Make at least 3 visits to Golden to visit the two great breweries and the new winery (did you even know that existed, I didn't). And of course run the creek a bunch.

4. Write some letters to my grandparents. I'm the bad one.

5. Get cozy with First Aid (I can't slack the whole summer).

6. Try to visit one farmer's market a week. I love those things!

Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated. It should be a really great summer and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope it brings as much excitement to you all as it does to me!