Friday, February 27, 2009

Um, Spring?

Ok, so it's not my favorite sign that Spring is on its way, but last night as I was driving in to work, I caught an unmistakable whiff of skunk. Hey, I'll take it if that means we are almost done with this winter!

We got dumped on with snow again this week, but it has almost all melted away the past two days. I'm actually getting a good view of my lawn for the first time in months. The crocus are on their way, but nowhere near blooming yet.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

There's Always One

It seems that no matter how small or large the workspace, there's always one: the wackadoo. You know who I'm talking about, that special guy or girl who is prone to sudden outbursts and unpredictability. Sometimes they mark themselves with crazy hair colors or head scarves (or both!), and sometimes it's a little less obvious than that.

I think that we have more than our alotted wackadoos at my workplace, but there is one in particular that stands out. You would think that if you were a doctor or a nurse, that perhaps you wouldn't call out sick for stupid things, but you would be wrong. It is annoying when people call out sick, but most people are very apologetic and just say they don't feel well, or whatever.

Well, this particular person at my workplace likes to invent crazy stories that really don't make any sense at all. Since I've known them, they've missed multiple days at work for deaths of cats, neighbors, had three separate cancer scares, and various bizarre diagnoses that never really get confirmed. The highlight last year was when she called out saying that she had fainted, fell down the stairs, and dislocated her jaw. Supposedly, she had to put it back in herself by punching herself in the face. (Jaw dislocations take a lot of force to reduce, and not only can you probably not hit yourself hard enough, but an uppercut is not the right direction of force.) It was a really busy day, so since her jaw was supposedly back in, we asked her to come in anyway, but then she said she had lost her vision-- yet she declined an ambulance. Oddly enough, she was back to her usual state of health the next morning.

Every now and then there seem to be flare-ups in Wackadoo-land, prompting another bizarre illness. The other day, it was "I'm vomiting so hard that it's coming out my ear." While I guess the pharyngotympanic tube does connect to the nasopharynx, it is blocked by the eardrum, and it seems pretty unlikely that you could retrograde vomit out your ear. Most people open their mouths when they vomit, so it doesn't seem possible to force it back in the other direction and you'd have to perforate your tympanic membrane in the process. Nose? Yes. Ear? No.

I was talking with AG on the phone about it, and he said, "How come somebody just doesn't call 'Bullshit' on her?" To which my answer is, that it's typically easier to just work through the shift with one less person than have to deal with her antics and whining at work. At least she's creative, although it is annoying to those of us who just show up day after day and don't call out sick.


Silk's comment on my last post made me realize I probably haven't mentioned my upcoming move. I'm graduating from residency this summer and have signed with a hospital just far enough away that I don't want to commute. It's not a position that I plan on keeping long-term, but one that will be more convenient for up until AG and I decide to relocate (hopefully somewhere warmer).

So, the house is going up on the market soon, and I'm scurrying to get a lot of things done beforehand. This week's project was painting my bedroom. There were several holes and cracks in the wall and a kind of half-ass faux finish done by the previous homeowners, so it needed to be done. Unfortunately, I didn't have somewhere convenient to stash the furniture in my room while I worked, so I resorted to shoving it around in Tetris-like fashion while I sanded, taped, and painted. I'm planning on contacting my realtor next week to come out and help me choose which projects to complete.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I celebrated Valentine's Day with a phone call from AG and we were able to exchange gifts in the mail. That morning a plumber came to the house and installed a brand new garbage disposal for me (I didn't trust myself around water AND electricity) as part of my getting-ready-to-put-the-house-up-for-sale project.

This weekend I worked a couple of shifts where we were actually overstaffed, so we all just kind of sat around. I am on the pediatric side right now, so I spent a good couple of hours sedating the Incredible Hulk the other night. He was a toddler in superhero pajamas who came in after having his 3rd seizure, so we went ahead and ran him through the MRI machine. The problem with MRI's is that they take FOREVER. A CT scan is pretty quick, but getting a small child to lie perfectly still for 30 minutes for an MRI is darn-near impossible.

This kiddo took dose after dose after dose of ketamine like a champ. He was really cute though, and came out of the machine all wide-eyed and yelling, "Whoa!" Luckily, there weren't any bad things like tumors on his scan.

Today I was off, so I spent the day finishing up painting along the stairwell, and started patching some holes and cracks in my bedroom. I really wish I had gotten this stuff done early for me to enjoy a freshly-painted house, but I think I should be able to get everything done in time, provided I can find a responsible contractor to do some cement work.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wintry Mix

Yesterday it was 50 and sunny-- or so I'm told. I slept the day away after working the overnight shift. Today I'm off and it's now alternating between raining horizontally, frozen rain, and big wet flakes. Argh.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I haven't been doing much writing around here lately. Work in the PICU the past several weeks was somewhat monotonous. See the sick babies, write progress notes, round, check the babies labs, round again, blah, blah... in to work in the dark, home from work in the dark.

Sick babies depress me.

The unit was actually slow while I was there. Given the time of year, I had expected a lot of nasty respiratory illnesses, but most of our kids were post-op kids. Tiny runts on ventilators working with half a heart, or trying to breathe through little buds instead of lungs. Tubes in mouths, stomachs, chests, bladder catheters... little plastic octopi plugged into walls. And the beeping machines... yuck.


On weekends I have been working at my other job. The extra money will be nice when it comes in, but it probably hasn't helped my attitude. Some days are good and I walk out of there confident and ready to start my upcoming new job, and some days are not so good. One of the other residents and I were on together the other day, and although I was in the room helping her for almost an entire hour, the patient ended up dying anyway. We have talked the case over and over since, and even though everyone has told us over and over that we did everything right, there's still that feeling of failure.

I don't know why I take it personally when patients die, but I do. If anything, we probably overworked the code-- shocking, giving every medication, and doing compressions so vigorously our joints hurt the next day. Obviously there will always be some that are too sick to save, but it just aggravates me when people die in front of me.

Up until that shift, I was thinking that I was ready to start doing single-coverage (working without another physician on in the department), but now I'm hesitant to do so. On the one hand, I think it will be a good while before I have a case that emotionally draining again. We were lucky in that both of us were able to devote our attention to the one patient, and because I was there, I was able to go back to seeing new patients and cleaning up the rest of the rooms while she spent the rest of the evening dealing with the family and other stuff. I can't imagine what the would have been like if I had been there by myself, especially as I soon got wrapped up in stabilizing a patient having a heart attack and getting him shipped out as quickly as possible. I haven't had the wonderful experience of having to run in between two or more unstable patients yet, and am not looking forward to it.


Things are starting to normalize around here. I have umpteen projects to do before I put my house on the market in the next few months, and kept myself busy this past weekend taping and painting the hallway along the stairs.

AG is safe and doing well, although frustrated by his minimal trips "outside the wire".

I did my taxes already, now I'm just stalling on paying them until April.

I'm back in the department starting tonight, so at least I'll be around my people more the next few weeks.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

More Winter

Phil is now on my hit list. I don't want another six weeks of winter! On the plus side, it now doesn't get dark here until 5:30 pm, so spring must be on its way, although not fast enough!

Monday, February 02, 2009


Ate too much and didn't think about work. I thought that this commercial was the best.