Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Curious Powers of Jim Halpert

Ok, the title is a refrence to an episode of "The Office" when a bat flies around the office and Jim pretends he's a vampire. At three in the morning Monday, I was wide awake, my body having decided that 5 hours of sleep was about right. By 0530, I was fed up and decided to go for a run. As I was running, a bat flew into my neck and flew off. I didn't feel anything other than an impact, and the sound of leathery wings beating a hasty retreat. So I continued to run, and had a nice 3 mile loop. As I was running, however, the somber words of our microbiology professor kept tapping through my mind in time with my feet. "Most people don't know they've been bitten" "Bats are carriers", and "universally fatal" were the cheering sentiments that filled my wee imagination. I got home, showered, and looked up rabies in my microbiology textbook. I was still debating whether or not to tell Mindy or if I should just shrug it off and go to school like normal.
Thirty minutes later I was sitting in the ER across from school. Upton Sinclare, in his novel "The Jungle", opined that women tend to grow emotionally more or less constantly and gradually, but that men tended to grow suddenly in big sporadic spurts. That description fits me pretty well. It's pretty wierd, suddenly living with the possibility of having a fatal illness. I reassured myself that, as far as I knew, the post-exposure vaccine was very effective, and that, in all likelihood, nothing had in fact happened. Then the comforting voice of doubt would whisper, "but why would the bat fly into you in the first place unless it was deranged?" , and "if the vaccine doesn't work, then you'll die because only one person has ever survived symptomatic rabies, and she had severe neurological sequelae" or "if your neck feels numb or tingles, then you're a dead man, and you'll die right when your little boy is going to be born, and you'll never see him, and his mom's last memory will be of her husband, the deranged, rabid, lunatic who could no longer recognize her through his dementia." Perhaps ignorance can be somewhat blissful then.
At school, all I could do was joke around about it because really, worrying isn't going to make you feel better, so you might as well laugh. I am the inveterate sarcastic cynic, despite my best efforts to reform, so instead, I just whipped up some Alda-esque black humor. After 10ml of IM rabies immunoglobulin, I was pretty sure that things would be OK, especially since I had recieved it about 4 hours post exposure. When I was just sitting quietly in lecture, though, mr. comfort returned with his gloomy prognosis and dismal outlook should I develop 'la rage' as Jean Gaulois would say.

For those who cannot recall their infancy which is when the probably last recieved IM shots in the glute, it isn't too bad, really. I thought it would hurt like the dickens, but the glute shots hardly stung at all. The shot in my quad was no treat, nor the delt, but IM glute is a good way to go, I think . I have to return 3 more times, including tomorrow morning for more shots. After the 28th day, we cross our fingers and wait. Since there are no known failures of post-exposure rabies prophylaxis, I'm sure I'll be penning this blog sporadically for years to come. I do have a strange aversion to garlic, sunlight, and I can't see myself in the mirror anymore really. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. On the plus side, now I'll be able to relate to the plot of "Twilight."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Well, school's in session again, and, true to form, I'm stressed out. Right now we're studying the brain, spinal chord, and nerves. Sounds neat- fascinating even, right? Learning neuro anatomy is roughly like trying to memorize the paths of spaghetti in a pot, using only cross-sections. You can have a saggital (midline dividing left from right) set of planes, or coronal (front/back), or transverse (top/bottom). Using these, you're supposed to be able to piece together how information travels from the cerebral cortex which is the upper half of teh brain concerned mainly with higher functions, to a peripheral nerve innervating a skeletal muscle of the arm, say. But, in the spaghetti in pot number 1 also spills out onto the stove, and into different pots too! We also have to learn how Pots 2 and 3 (the cerebellum and basal ganglia) influence the information flowing in the spaghetti in pot 1. To complicate things even futher, the brain is bilaterally symmetric, and some tracts cross from left to right, and some don't. Some inputs cross, and others don't. Using 4 different texts, I am slowly piecing things together.

This year is already more clinically oriented. We're learning how to do a screening neurological exam in ACS2, which is at least interesting. Perhaps when I can write diplomatically enough, I will describe what happened in my group during the practice exams.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back to School

My husband has been in school for a week now. That makes him a 2nd-year veteran, doesn't it? Things seemed pretty calm for the first couple days; he told me that they reviewed a lot. And then by Wednesday, he got stressed with the sheer volume of information he is expected to learn (sound familiar?). It probably didn't help that he got a little sick this week. He had a weird little bug or something that caused him to be a bit achy and tired, and he woke up with a fever in the middle of the night. Weird! He's fine now, and he was able to put in a good five hours of studying today. And he says that the puzzle pieces of this new neuroanatomy stuff are coming together. I like hearing that.

I have had a good week, aside from the moment on Monday night that I realized that he is actually back in school for another long year. He reminded me that 7:00 pm is study time...and I almost cried. I am also fine now, and I spent the week getting things done around the house, scouring Craigslist for baby furniture, and catching up with friends. I have great friends here, and I feel very lucky!

The baby is doing well (31 weeks). He's very active and kicks me a lot. Last night, we were "playing" with him. He was poking his little fist (or something) out into my belly, and we poked him back. Then he would move his fist (or something) about an inch away, and we'd poke it again! That game went on for a while. Pretty darn cute! I'm getting very excited to meet him! I get to have another ultrasound in a couple weeks (because I measured a bit small at the doctor's office on Tuesday), and I get to see him again!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Christy Tagged Me

3 Joys
1. My Family.
2. Good Food.
3. The outdoors.

3 Fears
1. Losing my husband, family members or loved ones.  (As in death, not just losing them in the grocery store.  Thought I'd make that clear.)
2. The big, mean appointment lady at the doctor's office.
3. Car problems.

3 Goals
1. Be a good wife, mother (9 weeks to go...), and friend.
2. Learn to swim.
3. Run another half-marathon next spring.

3 Current Collections/Obsessions
1. I collect recipes.
2. I'm currently trying to collect baby things.
3. Obsession: Always George.

3 Random and Surprising Facts
1. I can't swim.  (Oh, did I already ruin that surprise?)
2. I have 81 first cousins.
3. I cry when I get angry.  Makes it hard to be dignified when you're blubbering at the person you're mad at.

I tag:
1. Maggie
2. Katie
3. George (does anyone think he will actually do it?  Do boys do these things?)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


So, I realized that my mistake with the hymn was a bit embarrassing, and apparently, I did blush so badly that George thought I was crying. However, I wasn't really that embarrassed. Much more embarrassing for me was the time in February that I was subbing for the chorister in Sacrament Meeting. Before the rest hymn, George and I had been jokingly discussing how I should conduct a particular hymn in 6/8 time. We imagined that it would be funny to conduct it in 3/4, or 2/4, or my favorite, in a big, slow one-beat pattern. We had a good chuckle about it in our seats.

And then I got up in front of the congregation, started conducting the hymn...and got the giggles. I spent the entire 4-verse hymn in a fit of uncontrollable giggles, while blushing redder and redder the whole time. I was thankful that George pulled his hymn book up over his face so that I couldn't look at him because the giggles started up again every time I glanced in his direction. I could also see people in the congregation noticing...whispering to their neighbor, pointing, and laughing. Yes, that was a much more embarrassing moment than playing the wrong hymn.

A more pure fun

As you no doubt realized, we were not posting last week. This is because we were on vacation where we had no internet or even electricity. Yes, even in this modern age, we were able to scratch out a crude semi-life without the internet, even if it was only for a week. We were at camp, our summer cabin in upper michigan which has no electricity. Technically there is a generator we bought to power our new electric pump. It was great being up there where the stars come out at night and it gets deathly still after the sun goes down. Our good friends the Edvalsons joined us there for several days which was great fun. Colin, Henry, and Nathan all enjoyed the playmobils, particularly the race car and the arctic exploration snowcat. Though we were only gone a week, it felt like much longer, and consequently the vacation was all the more relaxing. Part of that may have been due to the fact that I didn't really wear my watch for a week, so I never really knew what time it was. I am ready to start neuroscience this week, though I could wait another week. Little Grwn is doing well, he has the hiccups (we presume) pretty regularly which is fun for me because I get to feel him move, but probably is less fun for mindy, because he keeps her up at night.