Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sea of Discontent

Tonight I lamented to a dear friend about how lately I just seem to be so dissatisfied. It doesn't even have anything to do with work. Everyone there is nice, my patients are doing well, and I actually haven't been all that busy. Yes, the hours are long, but that's not something that is within my control.

The problem is me.

I don't know what the solution is. When I'm at work, I just want to be at home. When I'm at home, I feel resigned to waste a few hours away until it's time to go to sleep. When I'm out with friends, I just want to get away. I feel like a hollow shell of a person, just moving along a conveyor belt from work to home and back again.

Fortunately, my friend was very tolerant of my complaints. And maybe her therapy of just listening was what I needed. I am sure that at some point I will snap out of this, but right now I am just plodding along-- one foot in front of the other.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Right now as I sit in the living room the wind is howling. The leaves outside are blowing by almost horizontally. The air is rushing so quickly through the chimney cap that it sounds like a tea kettle. It has been cloudy and rainy all week and it gets dark very early in the evening. If you look outside, the sky is completely dark, but for a thinner strip of blue in the west. It's not that the sun isn't there-- we are just being completely smothered from daylight by clouds.

This morning I watched "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". The movie is about a character who attempts to erase the memories of his ex-girlfriend. The movie got me thinking about memories and how much time we take for granted. When we think about our past, why is it that only certain days are remembered? I can remember certain highs and lows during my lifetime, but what is it about the bulk of my days on this planet that aren't worth remembering?


Last night I went to a Halloween party with one of the other interns. I dressed as Paris Hilton by wearing very trampish clothing over a skelton costume.

Complete with her dog, Tinkerbell:

The night was uneventful and there were only about 10 people there, half of whom my friend wasn't on good speaking terms with-- which made for an awkward night. I definitely need to work on meeting more people outside of the hospital.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Gluteus Painimus

I HATE Mondays.

There was an error on the call schedule, and at 4 pm this afternoon I found out that instead of going home at 5 pm as planned, I had to stay until 9 pm. Yuck.

When I finally got home, I found that the two cords of seasoned firewood I ordered two weeks ago had arrived. It was blocking my driveway and the rain had been drizzling on it all day. I managed to carry in about 1/3 of it and stack it in the basement. It took me about 20 trips. It is 7 steps down to the basement, and the loads I was carrying were probably between 30 and 40 lbs. The rest of it I'll probably clear some space for in the garage and try to move tomorrow after work. My muscles are going to ache this week!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Turning 90

Pneumonia guy perked up today-- so much that he was transferred back out of the ICU. He was all smiles today, which was great as I needed some relief from my other patients! Hopefully he can go home in a few days. We have to go extra slow with him since he was discharged two weeks ago (before my time on the service) and bounced back with an unresolved infection.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Today the patient on my list who was doing the best took a drastic turn. This morning he told me that he just wants to live one more day because tomorrow is his 90th birthday. It seemed like most of my day was spent protecting him from decisions being made by people with more authority than me.

I am not the wisest of interns, but I do know that when you start tinkering around with labs and fluids too much, your patient can easily end up suffering as a consequence. This seems to be particularly true for the elderly. Also, I didn't like the way my senior resident had interpreted my patient's chest x-ray this morning. Luckily, I was able to offer some alternative studies that took so long to come back from the lab that by then the specialists we had consulted had seen him. My stall tactics worked as they agreed with me that he was not in heart failure. My patient narrowly avoided receiving an unnecessary medication that could have pushed him over the edge. Whew. I just hope that he's doing better tomorrow. We are running out of antibiotics to fight his pneumonia.

After work, I participated in an act of gluttony by dining at a restaurant I cannot afford with several of my coworkers. The dinner was hosted by a pharmaceutical company and their guest speaker was speaking about pneumonia of all things. I didn't really come away with much from his lecture, and their medication is not one that we have been using over at my current hospital, but it was fun to chit-chat with my friends on someone else's dime.


I am always looking for new arrangements of words to use to get my idea across. I figure this quote is good for replacing the saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Since the last verse I posted was well-received, here's another obscure quote for you:

"As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." --Proverbs 27:11

This is not exactly a Bible verse you'll ever find cross-stitched and hanging on someone's wall, but poignant just the same. And yes, I haven't gotten too far in my reading since my last post.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Domestic Goddess Tip #53

If one considers their ironing board to be a piece of furniture and has stuff delicately balanced upon it, ironing one's work clothes on the carpet is not a reasonable substitute.

Using a high heat steam setting over nylon carpet could lead to uh, melting of one's pretty area rug and also a glob of black melted nylon on the side of one's shirt that is rather obvious when one removes their white coat after grand rounds.

Free advice from me to you.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

When the Dealin's Done

Poker night was a success. Of course the house wasn't as clean as I would have liked, and we ordered way too much pizza and wings. However, judging by the empty bottles and the number of sticky spots from spilled drinks in the kitchen this morning, I think it is safe to say that "a good time was had by all."

There were nine of us playing all together, tournament-style. The biggest surprise of all? I won the entire thing! Me, who has played poker less times than you can count on one hand. One of the other intern's life revolves around poker: he records poker championships, plays online for money, and is already making friends at one of the area casinos. He wasn't even in the top three last night.

My secret for success? I kept folding because I was busy keeping everyone well-supplied with drinks. Usually I play just about every single hand because I'm an optimist and frankly, I have no concept of odds. Plus, they kept betting really high, so I wasn't comfortable staying in. On one hand, I folded with a straight because everyone kept raising so high that I was sure that they all had straights, too. I got scolded for that one.

No attendings showed up, or any senior residents either. This wasn't much of a surprise though as most of our get togethers tend to be just the interns. And my friend, who I was going to kill for inviting complete strangers redeemed herself. This really hot (and single!) pharmacist showed up. He's a little on the skinny side, but has great eyes and an accent that sounds English to me, but he grew up in NYC. Despite losing early, he stayed for the whole tournament. Although our eyes kept meeting across the table, I didn't get much of a chance to talk to him since my dumbass friend didn't leave enough space at the table for him to sit next to me! I don't know that anything will happen with him, but I will be at his hospital for the next eight weeks, so maybe we'll run into each other.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Confession Tuesday

Okay, so the title sounds a lot juicier than this actual entry is. People, I'm slacking. I am simply not holding it all together.

1. My workouts suck.

2. Today, I got a bill from my cell phone company for the past TWO months of service. Apparently, I neglected to pay last month. I have never forgotten to pay a bill before-- never ever. I guess I should be grateful they didn't turn off my phone.

3. I arrived here on June 23rd. Number of times that I have washed my car since: ZERO. That's disgusting-- seriously.

4. I have been on the easiest rotation ever for the past 10 days, and despite working my butt off on outdoor projects, there are still a ton of things to do before winter (fireplace cleaned, storm window repaired, install automatic garage door opener, driveway resurfaced, snow tires, order firewood, hire snow removal service).

5. I just invited not only all of my fellow residents, but ATTENDINGS as well over for a Poker Night this Friday the 13th (Have I mentioned that Emergency Med people tend to be superstitious by nature?). The place is a mess, and apparently my friend G has also invited over her neighbors as well as Family Practice residents from another hospital!

On the plus side, I got enough procedures in today that I am done early with my rotation and thus have a 4-day weekend ahead. Although I would love to at least take a day trip somewhere, the sad reality is that I need to be more tight with money right now, and should really get my butt in gear.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More Sedona

Ok, this is last of my vacation photos. On my last day, the PU's and I took a dirt road up through the red rocks of Sedona, a different direction from how "The Phoenix" and I had approached it earlier in the week.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Writing on the Wall

Just off the highway on the way towards Flagstaff, the PU's and I went for a short hike to see some petroglyphs. Is this a tale of an epic battle? An elaborate method of counting a herd of sheep? It's hard to say, but oddly enough it doesn't look all that different from most of the chicken scratch people still carve into trees and benches.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

More Canyons

This is the lesser-known Sycamore Canyon, also near Williams.

It is much prettier in person, as many of these shots were taken into the sun, so they're not quite as impressive as they could have been.

I liked the contrast of this dead tree against the green ones.

That evening, my parents and I headed into Flagstaff, where we stopped at Lowell Observatory for some star viewing. It was interesting stuff, and I remembered many a night spent trying to name constellations on summer camping trips. When I was about ten, I was afraid that at any minute the sun would collapse into a white dwarf, and we would all instantly freeze to death. I know that there is a red giant stage in between, but nothing could convince me at the time that the sun wasn't already in its giant stage, and that the scientists just didn't know any better. (Yes, I was a strange one, even back then.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Ok, so I confess: I was missing my Arizona blue skies. During my vacation week, my parents and I stayed up around Williams and explored the area. It had been too long since I had been to the Grand Canyon.

Remember that 5 mile running goal of mine? Well, the impetus behind that was that "The Phoenix" and I had a major hike in mind last June. Perhaps it was for our own good that we ended up canceling as when I looked over the edge, I realized just how difficult the trail would be. I'm now thinking that I'm going to need to be able to run 10 miles to be in shape for the canyon. A little weight training would be a good idea too, considering the heavy backpack I'll need to tote.

The PU's and I stuck to the rim trail, and despite not venturing down, the views were spectacular. We even caught a glimpse of 3 California Condors circling the canyon. They have a wingspan of 9 feet, and are nearly extinct. My father, despite years of birdwatching, had never glimpsed one before, so I was glad to share that experience with him. Unfortunately, I wasn't skilled enough to capture them on camera.

So, with summertime in mind I returned to the gym yesterday, and was shocked at just how deconditioned I've become. I haven't really gained any weight, but today I went for a run and barely slogged a mile. This is going to be a long, uphill battle, but maybe it is just what I need to avoid the winter doldrums.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Not Sedona

I don't think that I have mentioned this before, but "The Phoenix" lives with her parents. Now it's been a long time, but I do remember getting into spats with my folks when I lived at home. This past weekend, we were specifically told not to go up to Sedona to hike. So we obeyed, and instead went up to Grasshopper Point (conveniently located past Sedona, which they didn't say anything about driving through) to do some rock jumping. The water was freezing, so we only jumped off once and spent the remaining time sunning ourselves on warm rocks.

Seen on the drive up:

Grasshopper Point:

Seen on the drive back:

The small formation second from the left is called the "Snoopy Rock" as it looks like Snoopy's profile laying down on the top of his dog house.


The majority of my days in Arizona were spent with the PU's, and we did some hiking around that I am allowed to talk about, so more pictures to come.

I go back to work tomorrow morning. I feel like my time off flew by far too fast, but at least I will have easier work hours for the next two weeks. After that, it's full force on the floor until I finally return to the Emergency Department sometime in March.