Showing posts from February, 2006

Papa Neal

July 3, 1921-February 21, 2006

The Land of the Living

The recent absence of blogging has been due, at least in part, to the busyness of the weekend in attending a funeral. Aubrey's grandfather, Papa Neal, passed away last Tuesday, and we drove up to Nashville over the weekend to attend the funeral and spend time with family.

I haven't been to many funerals, and so they still strike me as very unusual events. Death is a scary thing, as so it spends most of its time being ignored. We prefer to think about happy things, and light, fluffy things, and avoid anything that smacks of serious consequence. Funerals make you think about death. And thinking about death makes you think about life. That can be uncomfortable sometimes too. Friday night was the visitation, for about four hours people came and visited with the family, and the casket was open, and Papa Neal was reclining in a nice suit. Most of the socializing went on as normal, away from the casket, talking about all manner of ordinary things, trying to laugh and carry on …

Seasons of Refreshing

We had an evening service at our church tonight. Sadly, we don't usually have them. But we are starting them up at the unhurried pace of one service every two months. The biggest problem is that as a fairly new church plant we don't have our own building, and so we have nowhere to meet in the evenings. Tonight we borrowed the Episcopalians building. We have borrowed it several times now. There are at least five reasons why I love evening church, and why it was a good service.

1. The nice building. Them Episcopalians know how to build. This seems like a small point to start on, but after meeting in a plain room week after week, being in a real sanctuary feels pretty nice. They have a great cross up front, a nice wooden pulpit, and nice big windows on both sides making it feel big and airy. The pews were kind of hard, but the kneelers were padded, and I took advantage.

2. The unhurried pace. Evening church always has a more relaxed feel, and it is a wonderful way to e…

post call Aubrey

Here I am, trying to sleep today after my bad ER shift. Apparently, Jeff took this photo while I was sleeping.

Hard Night

Last night was one of the hardest I've had since coming to med school. Around 2:30 am we got the call that an infant was coming in "full code," meaning without any heartbeat and not breathing. The baby got there, a two month old, still wearing his blue striped pajamas his mother had dressed him in as she put him to bed. He had a dirty diaper. He had been sick recently with a virus that causes respiratory problems, but in a full-term otherwise healthy baby, it shouldn't cause this. His parents put him to bed around 10, and his mom checked on him at 11, but when his dad came in around 2:30, he wasn't breathing.
The doctor intubated him, and the nurses started IVs and began to push fluids in, hoping that would increase the volume of his blood and help recuscitate him. They gave him epinephrine, a medicine to help start his heart, and continued doing CPR. The alarms on the monitor kept going off because his heart wasn't beating. His skin looked pale in compar…


I have never eaten much asparagus. On monday night, though, I cooked some and thoroughly enjoyed it. One strange thing happened after I ate it- this might be gross- but I noticed my pee smelled strange. At first, I didn't know what to think. There was this strong unusual odor. Then I remembered my mom mentioning one time that Asparagus can make your pee smell different. So I, being somewhat science minded, decided to do a little research on the topic. I googled it. This is what I discovered:
Asparagus contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan, a compound which is also found in rotten eggs, garlic, and skunk spray. When this compound is broken down, other sulfur products are released, and these get filtered into the urine, which is what makes them smell. However, not everyone who eats asparagus notices the smell. So for a while, people thought that a part of the population lacked some enzyme that broke down mercaptan into the compounds that make the urine smell. Then someo…

Valentine's Dinner

Jeff and I had a great dinner tonight. Since we have Bible study tomorrow, we celebrated a little early. We made marinated flank steak with garlic herb butter, asparagus, homemade rolls, stuffed mushrooms, and for dessert....chocolate souffle with raspberry sauce. I was pleased with how well it turned out. We also opened a bottle of good red wine. And used our china. Then Jeff gave me a poem he wrote for me. A nice beginning-of-the-week date!


I love breakfast. It is easily my favorite meal of the day. I have always been a fan of breakfast, at least as long as I can remember. My mom cooked us breakfast almost every day before school. With four growing kids, cereal would have been expensive, so she just cooked us things: cream of wheat, oatmeal, cheese toast, french toast, pancakes, scrambled eggs. I don't think I appreciated enough what she did. Now, hot breakfast is a real treat. Since I have to get to the hospital so early, I don't usually have time to cook something. My standard breakfast these days is a bowl of cereal, often with banana on it. Usually either raisin bran, raisin bran crunch, wheat chex, frosted mini wheats, or whatever else was on sale. This week it has been life, which probably my favorite cereal. Yesterday, though, was great. Since it was the first saturday in a few months where I have not had to go to the hospital to round, I got to sleep in. I woke up and read in bed for a little while unt…

Customer Service

Part of my job involves customer service. And I am a "floater" which means I have no office. Which means I have no telephone number. Which means, that whenever somebody needs to call me, they have to call the "main number" and be routed through the call center, who can transfer them to me. I know that this is very frustrating for people and I feel vaguely bad telling them this. Unless I don't like them, or am trying to avoid them, in which case its very handy. "Nope, sorry sir, no phone number." With people I do like, I have occasionally given out my email address in hopes of making their life easier. Nobody likes to get "the run around."

Today I got the biggest run around in the world. You see, Aubrey had given me an FM transmitter for Christmas, so I can listen to my MP3 player through the car radio rather than my headphones. I've been having some issues with it lately, so I called the customer "service" number. Af…

Lily given to me by Jeff


Aubrey's January Book List

Here is what I read in January:

The Solace of leaving early - haven kimmel (really good)
Delta wedding - eudora welty (don’t bother)
grace at bender springs - vinita wright (I read this because I had heard it was “good” christian fiction. I was not impressed.)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling (not as good as three but upon a second read still good)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling (harry is too whiny and full of angst in this one)
Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling(the best one since three)
Good in Bed – Jennifer Weiner (an interesting look at sex/relationships through a non-christian perspective, easy and entertaining)
The Hours – Michael Cunningham (somewhat slow but good)
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (A good insight into depression and feminism - I really liked this one)

Overall, I would recommend The Bell Jar, The Solace of Leaving Early, and of course the Harry Potter series.

Any recommendations?

"Its OK Officer, I'm dead to the Law"

I had a bit of a nasty run-in with the law today. I was happily at work this morning, when I was told that a different branch needed my help, and I was to go to the other branch for the rest of the day. I was all too happy to comply, and I hopped in my car to go. As I was getting on the interstate there was an 18-wheeler in front of me and a cop car behind me. The semi was going really slowly on the entrance ramp, and I was worried about having to merge at 15 mph. Then the cop car behind me turns on his flashing lights. Honestly, my first reaction was one of joy and relief. The cop is looking out for us, I thought, he doesn't want us to get in an accident having to merge onto the interstate at 15 mph, and he is providing a little protection for us. I wish. My happy go lucky attitude quickly faded, when a glance in the rearview mirror revealed the officer pointing vigorously at the side of the road. Perhaps he wanted me to get out of the way so he could pull the semi ove…

Date night

Jeff and I had a great time last night. Through MUSC, I was able to buy 2 tickets to a minor league hockey game for only $8. We love cheap dates. First, we used a gift certificate Andrew and Melanie gave us for Christmas and went and got sandwiches at a local deli. I added a salad bar to my order for $3, ate a big salad, and just saved my sandwich. (I just ate it today) Then we went up to the Coliseum for the hockey game. The Charleston Stingrays played against the Greenville Grrowl. (It really is spelled like that.) And our home town players won. (I say hometown, though 80% of them are from Canada.) I like hockey. It's fun to watch, even though it is easy to lose track of where the puck is. And it's even harder to pay attention when all the usual antics of minor league sports teams are going on. There is the crazy guy dancing around throwing t-shirts to everyone, the local car dealer sending cars out onto the ice during intermission, the remote controlled dirigible that drops…



Blue Planet

Jeff and I just watched this incredible show called Blue Planet. Produced by the BBC, it explores all the different areas of the oceans and all the unique and interesting animals found there. Tonight was "The Deep," exploring the depths of the ocean up to a mile down. There are these jelly fish that are totally clear, but light up as their cilia move, small spaceships moving through the expanse of blue. Some of them have these intricate webs that trail behind them to catch prey, some of them up to 40 meters long (i.e. 150 feet for those who prefer the English system of measurement.) Way down in the depths, where no sunlight filters, whole communities of organisms live by vents which release hydrogen sulfides. Bacteria then use this to make energy (the same way plants use sunlight to make energy) and all the other creatures are able to live off the energy produced by the bacteria.

Some of the fish down there have such huge teeth they can never even close their mouths. Apparen…

"I do" and $20 back in cash please.

Strange happenings in life at the Credit Union lately. Today we had a wedding in the branch. Yes, you read that right, a wedding in the branch. One of the tellers got married to her boyfriend right there in the extra office. The head teller officiated, two other tellers and the branch manager served as witnesses. Sadly I was refinancing a 2006 corvette for a guy with a midlife crisis in my office, so I didn't get to watch. There was plenty of extra cake, though. The head teller made a pound cake and brought fruit topping of some sort.

It was all a bit odd. I didn't know whether it was exciting, or whether is was sad. I think it was a bit of both. I don't think it was the girls first marriage, and they had been dating for like 5 years or so, and had a little bun in the oven, so they didn't really want much fanfare. And very little fanfare was just what they got. Although all we in the bank were quite excited and worked it up a bit, with some white ribbon and …