Thursday, August 20, 2009


Yesterday, I started a project that I have been procrastinating. I began putting together our revised budget for this school year. Since it is seven weeks into the school year, that says something about how much I've been looking forward to this project. The more I put it off, the larger of a project it became, and the more I didn't want to do it. But now that I'm in the middle of it, I have embraced it, and I'm up for the week-long challenge of organizing and catching up on our finances. Like most chores for me, once I get the motivation to start them, I'm okay with the work involved.

There are some chores that are more enjoyable for me than others. I like cooking. I don't mind doing the dishes, as long as I don't let them get out of hand. I don't mind doing laundry, as long as I keep up on it. I don't mind grocery shopping, besides the fact that I always spend way more money than I want to. I don't think anyone likes cleaning the bathroom (myself included), but I don't mind it too much because I like having a clean bathroom.

However, I do have a few chores that I just don't like. Apparently I'm pretty vocal about them because when I asked Spiff to guess my least favorite chores, he listed them off to perfection without hesitation. I really don't like dealing with our cars in any way. I don't like gassing them up, washing them, getting the oil changed, and especially dealing with mechanical issues. I also don't like doing the budget/checkbook, or cleaning the floors.

Of course, I do them anyway. They're chores, and there are always things I would rather be doing. But it's life, and they have to be done. And I'm curious about other people's favorite or least-favorite chores. I bring this up because I was surprised to discover recently that one of Spiff's least favorite chores is emptying out the clean dishwasher. That's not a chore that I mind at all. I guess now that I know that, I'll try to be sensitive to his dislike of this chore and empty out the dishwasher more often. Maybe he'll take care of the cars for me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


My pediatrics rotation requires that we spend every 5th night on call, and at least two of them be overnight. Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to take my two overnight calls this week to get them out of the way. Monday went as follows:
630-730: pre-round on my patients
730: huddle with senior resident and discuss any issues on the patients
800-830: Morning Report which is a 30 minute didactic conference for medical students and interns
0830-1130: rounding with the cardiology, pulmonology, and clinical medicine (general peds) teams.
1130-12: quickly do anything that needs to happen before 12, i.e. check on labs, order studies, etc..
12-1: noon conference which is a 1 hour didactic session for MSIII's
1:15-2:15 another didactic session
215-6: follow up on my patients and wait around for admissions
6-630 dinner in the cafeteria, which was some not so pleasant pizza
630-9: study and wait for admissions
9-11: admit 1 patient for potential bacterial/viral meningitis, rule out Bell's palsy
11-230: sleep fitfully in the resident lounge, missing a page at 130. Called intern to see if she was still admitting the patient, but she was done.
230: moved to a place in the hospital where I would get better cell phone reception.
230-5: sleep in 20-30 minute increments on a chair in the lobby, checking my phone for pages.
5: Get fed up with not sleeping and start rounding on my patients
5-12: repeat from monday morning.
12 (tuesday): Go home, 2 hour nap, groggy afternoon with studying
9pm: bedtime

Last night was very similar, only instead of sleeping fitfully in a chair, I made sure the intern had the phone number to the wall phone in the lounge, which was very loud, so I wouldn't snooze through a page. We had one admission at 7pm, but after that it was very quiet. I fell asleep at 11 and slept pretty well on the couch until 530, when I began rounding. I forgot, however, that medical students don't have to round with the team in the mornings on the weekend, so rather than going home at 12, I was able to come home at 8 and go to church.

Overall, my two overnight calls were pretty easy, all things considered. Since I don't have the authority to write orders, or answer questions regarding orders, I don't get paged frequently for those reasons, unlike the interns. The interns on our team work about 80 hours a week, which is the ACGME maximum. Last week I think I worked something like 75 hours, which includes my two overnight calls.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Run Because I Must

Since I ran my half marathons in the spring, I will grudgingly admit that I have been less than motivated to run. I have been lucky to make it out once a week during the past several months. And while my body is imploring me to run, to stretch, to work, to be outside, to breathe in fresh air, and to enjoy the early-morning Summer weather, I have been all too willing to ditch out of a run for a variety of valid reasons ("It's storming." "I went to bed too late." "Gunner kept me up all night." "My running partners are all out of town." "Spiff has to be at work early, and Gunner is still sleeping."), all under the assumption that I would try again tomorrow. Tomorrow would come, and I would be all too happy to stay in bed, or lounge around my house in my jammies, getting less and less in shape by the minute.

Well, and of last week, I have recommitted to running. My partner and I went out three whole times last week. Impressive, I know. I realize as I'm writing this, that one of the real reasons I haven't been as diligent in my running lately is because of the sacrifice involved. It is difficult sacrificing sleep, time, and comfort for some voluntary hard and painful work.

In fact, this morning's run was a huge sacrifice. I actually woke Gunner up to take him running with me, since Spiff had already gone to work, and I had to make it to the meeting place on time. I never realized before I had Gunner how emotionally difficult it is to wake a sleeping baby. Knowing that he'll probably be tired and grumpy at me all day because I chose to wake him up, makes it the very last thing that I ever want to do. He wasn't super happy about it, and although he was pleasant during most of the ride, he got very upset about a mile from home, causing me to push that stroller faster and get a more intense workout than I bargained for.

So, I find myself asking the question, "If it's so hard, and you have to sacrifice so much, and now you're making your son sacrifice along with you, why are you still doing it?"

I just have to remind myself that I know I love it. I have already started, and I don't want to ever have to start over from scratch, so I can't just quit. It is one of very few actual hobbies I have. I feel healthier when I do it, and it's good for me. I love being outside. I love the social time with my running friends or with Spiff, but I also love running alone with just my thoughts. I know that Gunner also enjoys being outside, so it's good for him, too, even if I have to wake him up occasionally. I also have a huge respect for runners and the sport in general, and I think that running makes me a better person. Even with all the sacrifice, it's a good thing, and I'm glad I still running.

On a side note, this week marks the 2-year anniversary of my running partnership with my awesome, dedicated running friend, Angela! Here's to two years of sweatin' in the elements, training for and running two half marathons, and running through most of our latest pregnancies, and meeting new running friends along the way!

On another side note, I stopped a stranger in the park today and got her phone number. We have seen this girl running in the park for the past two years. I have also seen her walking in my neighborhood, and we always smile when we pass each other. I recently decided that the next time I saw her, I was going to stop and meet her. Turns out that she lives a block or two away from me. She seems nice, and I got her number so that I could get in touch with her. I can't really decide what to do with it now that I have it, and I hope she doesn't feel weird that this stranger in the park has her phone number.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Dumbening

When I was an undergrad and on the crew team, I used to wake up at 450 am to get to practice. I combined this pre-dawn awakening with a late bedtime because of my job. Needless to say, I was severely sleep deprived, and intimately familiar with the cognitive deficits caused by lack of sleep. I recall a severely impaired short-term memory, so much so that you could ask me to do something like vacuum, I would walk out of the room to get the vacuum, and in seconds not even be aware that I was supposed to be doing something. Besides impairing my ability to do household chores, my grades naturally suffered as well. Currently, on in-patient pediatrics, I have been sleeping less than I have in many years. Slowly I can see the onset of the memory deficits that plagued me a decade ago. As an undergrad I was pretty blasé about my grades, but now I need to learn information in order to apply it for the treatment of patients and my porous memory is not helping. It doesn't help that by the time I get home in the evening, I don't really feel like studying, even if I have the energy. I think that the impending shelf exam will change my motivation, however. I'll write about my first overnight call in my next post.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Peds Inpatient

I just finished my first week on the peds inpatient rotation. I'm on the Red team which means we cover the pulmonary, cardiac, and also general peds patients. Aside from the specialty patients, the clinic-med (general peds) patients we have fall into two categories: the mysteries, and cellulitis. There was a rash (forgive the expression) of Staph skin infections this week, but none under my care. My patient was in the mystery category, and since he was completely non-verbal, it was pretty tough to figure out why he was in pain.

It's surprising how little we contribute as 3rd years. I hadn't realized just how little we actually do. There are 4th year students doing sub-internships who are in charge of admitting patients, writing orders, etc, and I though that the 3rd years would be doing things more like that, but we really just do H&P's, and fill out oceans of paperwork. It's not for nothing that 3rd year rotations are called clerkships. Our children's hospital doesn't have an EMR, so everything is done in paper charts scattered all over creation. I really don't care for writing things out longhand, and I can't read half of what the attendings write. If you're going to take the time to write something, why not make it legible? If you don't, you might as well not have written it at all. Generally, I do enjoy the inpatient side of things better, even though my role is less useful than it was in outpatient.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Tooth Fairy

Gunner got up at 5:30 this morning. He was just too excited to sleep. The Tooth Fairy brought him a tooth last night, and he couldn't wait to show it off this morning. His bottom left tooth has popped through the gums! Pretty exciting! Crawling and a new tooth. That's a lot of work for one week. I can understand his excitement, but I cringe to imagine the timing of our wake-up on Christmas morning in a few years.

By the way, why is it that kids only get a prize for loosing a tooth? Isn't it much more work to get one than to loose one?

Monday, August 03, 2009


Gunner is crawling! He just figured it out a decent army crawl a couple days ago, and just this afternoon, he decided to go exploring. As of 4:00 this afternoon, he refused to stay in one place, and he refused to go anywhere he is allowed to go. In other words, he explored the less baby-proofed areas of our living space, including three bookcases where he pulled books on top of him and tried to eat the paper. He crawled over a barricade of pillows I put up. He explored the area behind the rocking chair, crawling over the large air intake vent on the floor to get there. He crawled towards the garbage can before I grabbed him. He pushed a rolling chair around the hardwood floor and enjoyed crawling around underneath it. He found the pointy cable hook-up wire that is sticking out of a hole in the floor. He also crawled under the computer desk because he was enthralled with the vast number of wires. I pulled him out several times, gave him a stern look and a "No, Baby!" He proceeded to think that my reprimanding him was hilarious. Maybe he will respond better to my very hardest of stares.