Monday, July 31, 2006

Our computer is back!

Today I'm starting my two week elective called "Taking a spiritual history." In this elective, I get to see patients and just spend time talking to them about their beliefs, and whether or not those beliefs affect their health or how they would like to receive health care. I think I'm going to like it. Plus, I don't think the schedule will be bad, which is also nice. I'll get to do some rounds with the chaplain, which should also be interesting. Although I am worried that the chaplains here may be a little too "whatever you believe is fine" for me. I think I may ask our friend Chris Brown, a hospice chaplain, if I can go on some visits with him, too, since I know where he comes from theologically and trust him.

It is quite nice to have our computer back, but last night I started the long process of reinstalling various software programs that we had previously, like our camera software, my pocket pc software, etc. I do not enjoy this process. But I guess I can't really complain since our computer is actually functional, and we don't have as much crap that we don't need on there now.

Over the weekend, I got to work on a fun craft project, which I will post more about later, since some of the readers of the blog will benefit from it. It was quite fun...and I can't wait to post some photos of what I did. And I also need our good friend Peter to email some of the photos from their visit so I can post a few here. We had a great weekend last weekend with Kim, Kristin, and Pete in town. Pete lives in Mexico, so it was especially nice to see him since we don't see him often. And Kristin is about to move back to Texas, so we probably won't see her as often as we have been. :( It might just mean more time visiting her at the lake house, which would be a real shame and sacrifice to have to go there. :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Our Hero Brian

Our computer seems to be going through some troubling teenage years. Its no spring chicken any more. Gone are those blissful carefree days, when you know your computer looks up to you, and respects you, and will gladly do your bidding. No, our computer seems to be entering into a rebelious phase. Last Tuesday it locked itself in its room and wouldn't come out. Ok, well, actually it stayed here on the desk, but it just turned blue and wouldn't budge. I tried everything, I talked nicely to it, offered it gifts, I even just turned it off and let it have some space for a while. But to no avail, it was quite exasperating if you must know.

So we called our friend Brian. Brian works with computers for a living, and knows what to say to them. In fact, this was the third time this year that we've called on Brian to help us, so he's developed a bit of a relationship with the computer, and well, we think he's "earned the right to be heard." He came over Saturday afternoon, just as I was finishing up washing the car. Brian brings tools when he comes. That inspires confidence. I don't know what he would use the tools for, but its nice to know that if it came right down to it, the tools are on hand.

I sat down behind him as he went to work. Seaching this.... defragmenting that... formatting something else... sprinkling holy water on the mouse. I'm always somewhat in awe as I watch Brian work. He's like a lion tamer, cooly directing his voice towards the wild unruly computer, which just minutes before had me clenching my teeth. And slyly, but obediently, the computer slinks out of its funk and submits to his will.

Yesterday, however, was different. Sure, he calmed the computer down, talked it back from the ledge, and had it jumping through hoops, but he was still unable to finally break its will. I was worried. It looked like we might have had one of the ones that requires fasting and prayer. He said he was going to need to take it home overnight. Ok, no big deal. We packed its overnight bag, and sent it along with Brian.

I don't know what he did to it back at his place, and I'm not sure I want to ask. Perhaps he just needed to get it alone so they could really get down to business. But Brian returned the computer to us at church this morning, and its a new bird. The edgy tone in its voice is gone. It seems eager to help. The prodigal computer has come home with a new attitude. You'd never know its the same computer who just days ago was thinking of running off with our data and squandering it in a foreign land.

Tonight we slaughter the fattened bratwurst! Thanks Brian, and welcome home computer.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Physician, Heal Thyself.

Even though I'm not yet a full fledged physician, I have diagnosed myself with a cold, and ordered myself to bed for the day. For the first time since starting my med school rotations, I have called in sick. This probably isn't the first time I've been sick, but I guess now that I'm a fourth year, I don't feel like I need to be at the hospital come rain, come snow, or bad headcold. (I wouldn't stay home just because of bad weather, though.) Yesterday morning I woke up with a slightly sore throat and runny nose. I might have stayed home then, but I had my CPX exam yesterday. (For everyone who doesn't go to MUSC, the CPX exam is where we go and have to interview 8 fake patients and then write up their illness. It's to prepare us for this big standardized test that all med students have to take where I have to drive to Atlanta and do the same thing. Oh and in order to take it the test in atlanta, I had to pay almost $1000. You can imagine how much we all enjoy having this experience.) So I didn't feel too bad in the morning, but all day it just progressively got worse as my head just started to hurt more and more. By yesterday afternoon, It felt like I might have the flu and that my head would explode. I just laid on the couch all evening. Jeff made me eggs for dinner. This morning, I felt marginally better, (as in, my head only hurt, it didn't feel like it might blow up) but still not that great. I had to page the resident to tell him I couldn't come. Part of me still feels guilty, but then I think about how nice my 2 hr. nap was this morning after I ate a little breakfast, and remember that I wouldn't want to get anyone else sick, especially not kids who are already quite sick and in the PICU. I think a day off is just what the doctor ordered.

In other news...Jeff and I went to Magnolia's for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. It was probably our most expensive date ever. But we did both get wine (which we almost never get at restaurants), an appetizer (we were extra hungry), entrees, and then dessert. (after all, our anniversary is only once a year.) Everything was delicious, though. I had their version of shrimp and grits, which also included lobster and scallops, and Jeff got this steak. I think the appetizer we got of fried green tomatoes that came on a bed of creamy grits was probably my favorite. But dessert was also quite good. (of course, it involved chocolate, so you can't really go wrong there.) For a nice, fancy dinner in Charleston, magnolia's was a good choice.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

For the longest time, I had a hard time figuring out with what I could decorate my front door. I live in a duplex, and it is nice to have something to greet people as they come in besides the black and dusty door on my front porch. I had this one lonely wintery decoration, but that was it. And unfortunately, my snowman/snowflake themed welcome sign (which I like a lot) can't exactly stay up all year. Especially in charleston, where I have seen neither a snowflake nor a snowman. I also can't go out and spend a lot of money buying things for every different season. Last fall or so, I decided to solve my problem. I found an empty lot that had a bunch of grape vines growing in it. (At least I think it was grape vines, although I never actually saw any grapes, as it was fall.) Down here in the south, these vines grow everywhere, in many empty lots and wooded areas. I created a wreath out of the vines. Anyone can make a wreath out of these vines. Just wind a circle out of vine a little larger than the size wreath you want, and then just continue winding vines around the circle you made. Obviously, a store bought wreath would work just as well.

Each season change or so this year, I have gone to walmart and bought fairly cheap fake flowers, greenery, ribbon, or any combination of these. I'll cut apart the flowers and leaves and then stick them into the wreath. Since it isn't woven together too tightly, that usually isn't too hard, or I also got some florist wire and can tie things to the wreath if I need. And now that I have a fairly wide variety of flowers, I won't need to keep buying things. I simply need to go into my closet and pull out what I did last year and put it all together. This way, I can get some variety in my decorations without too much expense. Since I'm a med student, it also sort of satisfies the creative bug I have that doesn't get used as much as I'd like. For your viewing pleasure I have included two photos of two different designs that I have done, one from Christmas and the other I just put up this week.

For the christmas wreath I just used some of the cuttings from our Christmas tree that we had to make to get it into the stand.

You can head over to Shannon to check out the other works-for-me wednesday tips!

Monday, July 17, 2006

2 years and counting....

Two years ago today Jeff and I tied the knot!! We became man and wife. It's been great. What more is there to say? I love my husband. I love being married to him.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A trip to the Temple of Man

I've started going to the gym again. It happens every year about this time. Namely, about the time my gym membership is set to expire. Which means I get real enthused, talk myself into buying another year's membership, then loose my motivation and don't go for 10 months of the year. Oh well. Being a gym member makes me feel like I'm a good person. And isn't that why we all belong to gyms?

The best part of going to the gym is not the exercise, it the exceptional people watching. People can be really odd when they work out. After all, where, outside of a PETA rally, and church, can you find so many people pretending to be something they are not? Yesterday I was riding my stationary bike next to Annoying Gym Guy (AGG), who was huffing and puffing unnecesarily loudly, and muttering encouragement to himself as he went. He had also lugged over one of the big fans and put it right behind him. It seems like he should put it in front of him, but maybe he feels like he can go faster with a tailwind. In front of me was the spinning class, where everybody brings their own bike from home, puts it on a little stand, and rides together there in the gym. I can see how it would be nice to "ride your bike" in the air conditioning, but I don't get why they wear their aerodynamic shirts and little bike caps. And they all watch Le Tour de France while they "ride." I think that's the best part.

What an odd bunch we all are at the gym. I don't think many places symbolize 21st century city life better than a gym. All trying to get in shape for some reason or other, all trying to look good doing it. But still all crammed in a big room full of machines that simulate activities which might be fun if you did them outside, or with a friend. Simulated nordic ski machine? I've yet to see anybody use that machine.

I like giraffes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I love my job.

**warning to those who don't like medical stories or have light stomachs (ahem...Jeff Tell) you may not want to read further. This post contains some material which may not be suitable for those who get woozy.***

Being a fourth year so far is great. I feel like I'm actually learning how to do things that doctors do. Today, for instance, we had a very nice hispanic man come in because yesterday while on the job he shot himself with the nail gun in the knee. The nail went completely in all the way to the hub. I guess he didn't think too much of his injury yesterday so he didn't come in, he just pulled it out. (That's right. Apparently SHOOTING A NAIL ALL THE WAY INTO HIS KNEE didn't concern him too much.) So today he came in because he started having lots of pain and he couldn't really bend his knee. Amazingly, he didn't break anything. I guess he managed to aim it in such a way that it went not through any bones, but into his joint. Today it was swollen and warm to the touch, so we were concerned about infection. The Orthopedics resident decided he wanted to "tap" the joint, which involved putting a needle into the joint space and removing some fluid for analysis. The great thing about it was that HE LET ME DO IT!! I got to stick this big needle into his knee and draw back the fluid! I only had to stick him once, too. Could there be a better job??

Obviously, I love talking with patients and caring for them, but there is something exceeding enjoyable about actually getting to use my hands and do stuff. Sadly, my shift was over before I found out if they decided he needed surgery to clean out his joint.

Being a doctor will be great. Only 10 months until graduation!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Who knew?

Tonight I had a great ER shift. First of all, I was working in the Peds ER, which I think is much more fun that the regular ER. I had some great patients, including this incredibly nice and polite family that really was a joy to work with. And I also got to sew up my first laceration!! I have gotten to sew people up in the ER, but I haven't yet had the chance to sew up people when they come into the ER with big cuts. I did my first digital block (that means I numbed up this guy's whole toe.) For a first time it was probably ok, but I did kind of hit his bone on my way in, which he didn't seem to appreciate. It closed up quite well, and I thought it was pretty when I finished. But then my night got even better!! (I know some of you are probably thinking, how could her night get better when she had already gotten to sew someone up?? But it did.)

Jeff came and got me when my shift was over, and I walked into our apartment only to find that he had rearranged our living room! He decided he wanted a change, plus I think the small bookcase where I keep my medical school stuff was getting on his nerves since it stays a little disorganized. (He might call it messy.) He moved that into the office, and then moved our furniture around. Mom and Dad Tell had given us an old table of theirs and he put that in the living room and even hung some pictures I bought a the charleston market a few months ago. I think he could have been an interior decorator in another life. (In the most manly sense of that word, of course.) Then I went into the kitchen, which he had cleaned, and it looked so nice, and somehow different. I couldn't quite put my finger on it until he sort of pointed out to me that he had mounted more under cabinet lighting! So now our kitchen has these nice, subtle lights under all the cabinets. I didn't realize what a good asthetic sense my husband has. (Although he did pick me to be his wife.....) :)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lessons From The Road

One doesn't go on a 17 day road trip covering 16 states and not come home with a few life lessons. The road, it might be said, is an analogy for life, and there is much to be learned from cruising its scenic stretches, its winding byways, its forested freeways, from rolling along on that hilly, sun soaked ribbon of road. Such was certainly the case for Aubrey and I, and so I wanted to take some time and share a few of the lessons with you.

1. Everything can be automated, but not everything should be. There seems to be some sort of contest among rest area owners, to see who can automate the most features in the bathroom. Automated toilet flushers, sink turner-oners, hand dryers, paper-towel-dispensers, everything goes by itself. You can almost go in your sleep, the bathroom does all the work for you. However, most of it is silly, and not as good as the old fashioned kind. Toilets flush at all the wrong times, sinks turn on and off so quickly you think they're OCD, and then the paper towel machine gives you three inches of towel on which to dry your hands. There's something still to be said for the old fashioned human touch.

2. They say life is about the journey, not the destination. What a crock! After spending 6 hours driving across Kansas, you know, its about the destination. The destination is what its all about. This is true on road trips and its true in life. Sure the journey can be nice and enjoyable, I think it should be, I think it should even be meaningful and significant. But the journey is nothing without a destination. Life is about the destination, and the journey has meaning because it is a journey towards a destination.

3. We brought tons of snacks with us, and we didn't eat them all. But the lesson is not what you might think. The lesson is not to bring fewer snacks, but to bring more chocolatey things, and fewer healthy things. We played the M&M game, where we learned the lesson, set realistic goals for yourself, else you don't get to eat as many M&M's. There's something to be said for setting small goals, and rewarding yourself lavishly for them.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Day 17

Here's the post that should have been up on Sunday, but wasn't.

Day: 17
Final Trip Odometer: 4,688 miles.
Books Aubrey read: All of them.
Location: Home! Back in Charleston as of Sunday evening.

Our Road Trip extraordinaire 2006 is over. It was a wonderful success. The last few days were spent in State College with Bro and Hannah and our favorite nephew Jackson. It was very restful and vacationy. Bro beat me at frisbee golf, we cruised downtown State College, and Aubrey cleaned house in a game of Scrabble. We also got to spend some time with old friends Jamie and Darcy which was fun.

Despite all the fun we are very glad to be home, and not have to do lots of driving anymore. We spent looooooooooooooots of time in the car, and we're tired of it.

Check back soon to read lessons from the road, and also check out Andrew and Melanie's new blog here.

trip photos

We are home!! So for the next few days, I'll be posting some of our favorite pics from the trip. Here are two of my favorites.