Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 - The Year in Haiku

Changes draweth nigh,
So much to look forward to,

Match day is coming.
Greenwood? I'wa? Timbuktu?
Where will we end up?


Big trip to Greenwood,
House hunt extravaganza,
Which one do we want?

Skipped Easter Sunday,
To go and see The Masters.
Diff'rent worship there.

Party at the Beach!
Big time Grad Celebration,
Yeah, Dr. Aubrey!

Goodbye Charleston,
Pack up and move to new house,
Welcome Miss Lucy!

Third Anniversary,
Weekend trip to Atlanta,
My, how the years fly.

End of summer days,
Aubrey works 80 hour weeks,
Jeff plays lots of golf.

Jeff is back in school,
Pursuing academics.
Cog'to Ergo Sum.

Happy Biiiiirthday dear....
"Aubrey, Ashlyn, Tripp, Korrie..."
Happy Birthday to. (you)

Oh, dear November,
What happened in November?
I don't remember.

Best part of the year,
Celebrating Christmas morn,
Our Emmanuel.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Vegetarian Thursday

After a ridiculously delicious and foodful Christmas weekend, Aubrey and I were feeling like we might not have to eat meat again until 2008. While we were home Carol made a ham on Friday, a Turkey on Sunday, and an 18-pound standing rib roast on Christmas. (For those of you who know my mom-in-law Carol, and are wondering why so little meat was cooked, its because she was sick all weekend!)

So today I decided to make dinner for Aubrey and I, since I didn't feel like eating leftover meat. I decided to go a little gourmet, while still keeping things light. I made some homemade foccacia to use as sandwich bread. The filling was spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, black olives (on mine, not Aubrey's), avocado, and some lightly sauteed red and green peppers and mushrooms. Yum. So good. So many flavors that you don't even notice there is no meat.

[Rats. The whole point of my writing this post was so I could post the cool picture I took of my sandwich before I ate it, and I just realized we left our "connect-the-camera-to-the-computer" cord in Seneca. Darn. Please picture a sandwich in your mind now. But make sure its a good sandwich, one that you would really want to eat. The bread is kinda rustic and herby. The veggies are colorful. Oh, and there is a black olive slice that fell out and is sitting on the plate.]

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 25

Holidays are family time.

Striped socks make me happy.

Because we didn't have enough books already..... Now Jeff has a few things (systematic theology, anyone?) to keep him occupied until classes start in January.

Possibly the best part of the day was when my dad FINALLY got our video conferencing system set up and we got to actually WATCH Sam opening presents this morning. And it actually felt like our whole family was together, even though a number of us are many miles away, in the cold, cold land of Iowa.

Monday, December 24, 2007

December 24

This is as wintery as it got around here. This is the frost on the grass this morning. Just a few hours later, I was running wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I even started the run thinking I'd need a long-sleeve shirt (it is December, after all) but had to shed that less than 10 minutes into my run because I was too hot. At least it was chilly in the morning, and tonight when we went to our Christmas Eve service.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given...."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve

Judging by the quantity of food and people in these pictures, one might think this is our Christmas dinner, or at least part of Christmas with some family.

But no, this is really just what we'll call round 1, a small gathering on Sunday after church. You can tell because today there was ONLY 1 meat option (turkey), as opposed to being able to choose between eating cow, pig, or turkey. We did, though, have plenty of dessert (since I need to be worried about having enough to eat).
And a pretty raspberry tea.

Tonight was hanging out with some high school friends (and their spouses) and watching them eat Mexican food. (You can't imagine we could possibly be hungry after lunch/linner(?)/dunch(?), do you?)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

December 21 AND 22

I'm now officially off!! For five whole days! The longest time I've had off since July!

We drove to my parent's house last night, and I was too tired to figure out how to upload photos from my camera onto someone else's computer. So instead I went to bed. But here is yesterday's photo, taken during our drive through downtown Anderson:

And here are Jeff and Austin, enjoying the (early) Christmas present my parents got my brothers - an X-box. (Note the mesmerized and glassy-eyed appearance, a sure sign video games are being played....and you can tell by Jeff's growl that game is a killing game)

I did give the game "Guitar Hero" a short play, and I must admit I had a good time.....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20 - Wrapping Party

Instead of going straight to bed when I got home from call today (my usual routine), Jeff and I FINALLY got our Christmas presents to our family finished, boxed, and wrapped. You can see Lucy especially enjoyed helping with the wrapping. Then I went to bed and Jeff dutifully took everything to the post office where we got it all mailed. There is at least a small chance that things might arrive by Christmas.

Some year, I'm really going to have my act together and get our presents mailed early, and maybe get out some kind of Christmas card.

That is not going to be this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Doctor is IN

Aubrey is on call again tonight, so I am again in charge of posting today's DPP pic. I brought the camera when I went to eat dinner over at the hospital and took this picture of Aubrey "in action" being all doctorly. Granted, you might not recognize this from the highlight reel of "ER" but this is in fact quite a doctorly activity. She is looking up some test results on the computer in the call room.

A Christmas Dilemma

As befitting a modern couple like Aubrey and myself, we have taken to ordering a number of Christmas presents online this year. Indeed, no small number of boxes from Amazon have been landing on our porch in the last week, and more are anticipated. However, despite the great convenience of shopping from home, this has created its own complication. I have ordered things for Aubrey, Aubrey has ordered things for me, and now there are also some other third parties who have ordered things for us and had them shipped directly here from amazon. Thus as the boxes pile up it is getting harder and harder to divine which gift is in which identical amazon box, and thus who needs to open it and wrap said gift for whom. We might just end up wrapping a bunch of unopened amazon boxes and labeling them, "To: Jeff and/or Aubrey, From: Jeff, Aubrey, or third party."

On an unrelated topic, Aubrey and I soldiered up and did our intern year duty again last night. That's right, we took a very nice candidate and his wife to a fancy restaurant and let the Montgomery Center pay for it. It was tough, but somebody had to do it. And has had to do it the last seven times as well. Having become well acquainted with the Filet Mignon at this particular restaurant, I decided to branch out and get a rack of ribs. It was a revelation. First, the ribs were delicious. And second, you get a huge chunk of meat that you are allowed, yea expected, to eat with your hands. I will definitely be getting that again. Unfortunately interview season is almost over, and Aubrey and I will have to go back to paying for our own restaurant meals. I just ate my leftovers for lunch, and they were still delicious. Then I let Lucy lick the extra barbecue sauce off the plate, which I do believe she enjoyed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

December 18 -present sneak peak

Even though I had decided that I didn't have enough time to do handmade gifts this year, I'm still finding I cannot resist making a few things.

So here are two small glimpses of a little bit of what I've been working on around here...probably during times I should have just gone to bed. Which it is now past time to do. So goodnight.

Fun News

Now I realize this is probably not too exciting to any of you, but we first year residents are now being assigned our very own OB patients. I just found out that, in addition to the girl I saw last week, I have another pregnant patient!

I actually also just spoke to my other patient on the phone. She said she was doing ok, and that her mom wasn't too mad about the pregnancy. She did, though, say she was still undecided about what to do. So keep praying!

Monday, December 17, 2007


This is an african violet I bought for Aubrey to spice up her cubicle at work a little bit. Its been there for several months now, and still producing pretty flowers. I guess Mr. Penguin takes pretty good care of it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

December 16

You can kind of tell I was desperate today for a photo. Mostly because I forgot my camera everywhere I went. So here is another desperate this-will-have-to-do shot. Sorry. This is a painting I bought in Peru, which I really love because of all the bright colors. It's hanging in our upstairs hallway.

Last night, we drove with another couple from residency to Augusta, GA to see Andrew Peterson's concert Behold the Lamb of God. If anyone does not have that CD or has not heard of it, go right now and buy it here. You will not regret your purchase for one minute.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

December 15

I've been (a little) jealous of all the ice pictures I've been seeing around. I know, I know, I have nothing to complain about when it is almost 80 here, but it's DECEMBER. As in WINTER. As in supposed to be cold. Finally today we are getting some cooler weather. So here is proof of the most winter-y the weather has been around here in a long time.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13

My new favorite Christmas decoration. A modification of this pattern. I made a bunch last year, but it's a fun, quick, and cute pattern so I couldn't resist adding a few more.

But here is what else I'm looking at these days:

Do we have cute genes in this family or what?

2 things...

1. So, after cooking a few nice meals lately, and bringing home doggy bags from a couple nice restaurants, we had a pretty ridiculously good selection of leftovers in the fridge. Last night was leftover night, and I opened the fridge and asked myself, "self, do I feel like having turkey, pork, lamb, or shrimp for dinner tonight?" Perhaps the first time ever that I have had such a high-falutin combination of leftovers to pick from. I went with the shrimp. And grits.

2. Also, my semester just ended tonight. I just finished my hebrew final, and it is now Christmas break! Its pretty anticlimactic this semester, as Aubrey and I's lives are much more controlled by her work schedule than by my leisurely academic schedule. Still, for the next three weeks I get to study and read whatever I darn well feel like. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 12


Every day I notice more and more how in medicine ethics is not just something you talk about-- I have to decide daily how to interact with patients and in situations that are tough and force me to decide where I stand on important issues.

Yesterday I told an 18-year-old she was pregnant. For her, this was not good news. She was completely shocked. She already has a 1-year-old, a little boy she feels she struggles to care for. Part of me wanted to scold her or say to her, "Well, that is what happens when you have sex outside of marriage." But when you have an 18-year-old crying in front of you, you realize that is not the place for scolding. Or judgment. Then the discussion begins on what to do. One of my attendings (a very nice, good teacher who is at church every week with us) believes that as doctors we should let a person know of all their options. ALL of them. Even the ones we are completely and morally opposed to. I, on the other hand, do not think that I should have to make referrals or even discuss something with a patient when I am so strongly opposed. At the same time, though, I want this patient to feel she can trust me, and want her to know I care about her.

What did I do? Well, first of all, I got our ultrasound machine and did an ultrasound. Thankfully, I could see the baby really well, along with a perfectly beating heart. I tried to mention the word adoption. I gave some phone numbers to several crisis pregnancy centers here in town. She brought up abortion. And I didn't know what to say. I just said that while that was legal, there were serious effects associated with it, both physically and mentally. I tried to mention adoption again. I'm praying that this week, as she has more time to think and talk with her mom, she will make a decision for life.

After tough encounters I always rerun through my mind all of what I said. I'm not sure I did the right thing or that all of what I said was helpful. I feel like maybe I pressured her too hard, too soon. I still feel completely overwhelmed at the thought of having another conversation like this, and still feel somewhat clueless about knowing how to say the right thing and use the right words to reach my patients. I realize more and more that I need the Holy Spirit to give me these words I need. I hope I am listening to him enough.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December 11 - Lamb

Lamb Shank. One benefit of being in a family practice residency program is that we get to take all the candidates out to nice dinners. For free. I did not realize, though, they were going to bring me just about the whole lamb.

Lamb ornament. This one is a little funky since I was using low light and I played around with my editing software.

Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10

This is what my dog looks like at 5:15 am. She is very safety conscious. She insists that I, too, wear a reflective vest.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

December 9

Our Christmas cactus is blooming. I bought this plant right after I moved into my apartment starting med school. It was seriously neglected for a while, but I guess it's not called a cactus for nothing. These are probably the best blooms we've ever had.

Part of the reason why I love Christmas cactuses so much is that my mom has always had a HUGE one, one that she inherited from her aunt or great aunt, and every year it always blooms around this time.

We've had a wonderful time with Jeff's parents this weekend. My folks even came down today for church and lunch. We are grilled pork and salad and dessert. Yum.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

December 8

I went on a bike ride today, rode a little too close to a rock and ended up with a flat. Here I am sitting on the side of the road, waiting for Jeff to come and pick me up. (He was nice enough not to make me walk the several miles back to the house.)

We also went out to a Christmas tree farm and cut our own tree! A new experience for us. The tree looked smaller out in the field than it does in our house, since in our house it looks huge. At least we have a high ceiling...

Pictures of that to follow.

Friday, December 07, 2007

December 7

The post-call walk.

ps - Happy Birthday to my big brother, who's now become a great dad AND a doctor. I love you.

It is too still December 6th.


It's now 3:45 in the am. And I am sitting on the 8th floor of the hospital waiting for an EKG to be done on a patient. Then I can go to bed.

Jeff's parent's arrived safely last night (That would be Wednesday night) and we are very excited about fun activities during my weekend off.

More photos to come later.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December 5

Having family come to visit is a good excuse to finally get some things hung on the wall.

And buy some new Christmas table linens.


I've finally finished reading The Cancer Ward by Solzhenitsyn. It took me months, not because it wasn't good, but mostly because it was long. And some days, after coming home from work, my brain was not exactly ready to delve into serious Russian literature.

But I found this great quote, which helped remind me why I'm a doctor, and the attitude that I always want to have. So I thought I'd share it here:

"At such moment the whole meaning of existence--of his own life throughout the long past and the short future, and his late wife's, and his young granddaughter's, and everybody's in general-- seemed to him to be not in their chief activity, in which they were constantly engrossed, in which all interest was supposed to lie and by which they were known to people. It was the degree to which they were able to keep unmuddied, unfrozen, and undistorted the image of eternity that sits within each person.
Like a silver moon in a calm pond."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

December 4

Since I felt bad for cheating, I ran around and took a few photos. Here is the best one. This is a cool gift given to me by my sister-in-law, and it's sitting on top of my kitchen cabinets, which I'm trying to finally do something with. Tonight I hung (my myself!) some plates after buying these little plate hangers (by myself!) at Lowe's.

December 4

This is one I took a few months ago. It sort of feels like cheating, but 1) I like this photo and 2) I worked all day (which is not unusual) and it was dark when I got home, making it harder to take a picture of something. Tomorrow I'm off (Hoorrayy!!) so you will get a current photo then.


I do not like giving up on patients. I'm finding I have a very hard time talking to families about giving up on their loved ones. This week I had to talk to a family and counsel them that their mom was not going to make it. I wrote the order after they decided to stop aggressive treatments to pull out her breathing tube, and stood by while it was removed.

Only 45 minutes later, she was gone. A nice woman who, although she was sick when she came in, was only 58 and walking and talking and living a fairly normal life. And then she was gone, ushered out of this world and into the next.

It is still very strange for me to be standing looking at a patient who is alive one morning, only to be standing by that same bed a few hours later, performing an exam to pronounce her dead. You cannot hide from mortality in a hospital. Daily I am confronted with the realization that it only takes a few short minutes for life to slip away.

I think a lot about something C.S. Lewis said in his book Mere Christianity, something to the effect of how the strangeness and horror that we still feel when we see death is proof that death is something that is not supposed to happen. If this was how it was supposed to be all along, he argues, then we should be more accepting of it, or we should have been able to evolve the anti-sorrow gene. Something deep inside us, though, whispers to us that all is NOT right here.

More and more I realize that this would be even more difficult and confusing if I didn't know that there is hope in the midst of death. And I praise the one who was born, and lived, and died, but conquered the finality that death was supposed to be.

Monday, December 03, 2007

December 3

This is my real photo for the day, taken at the hospital Christmas party. There were great decorations.

I also liked this one, mostly because you can see a reflection of the party. I'm holding the camera, wearing my nice dress. So today you get a bonus photo.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Substitute Photo Taker

There will likely be a lot of pictures on the blog this month, as Aubrey has signed up to take part in the December Photo Project. But Aubrey and her artistic eye are at work all day today, so I am stepping in to make sure the daily photo gets posted. The instructions for the project were to take a daily picture that "shows what you're looking at." Well, between preparing to lead bible study tonight, and an exegetical paper that's due on Thursday, this is pretty much what I've been looking at. Too much perhaps. Now when I look at a page in English, my eye instinctively tries to read it right to left. That doesn't work so well.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December 1st Photo


A few days ago, I admitted a 63-year-old man who also happens to have Down's syndrome. That's right. He's 63. (So do NOT try and tell me that people who have disabilities cannot have long and meaningful lives.) He came in for pneumonia from a residential facility where he lives. (And where apparently he enjoys flirting and hugging all the ladies - or so his mom tells us.)

When I did my initial physical, he did seem to have pneumonia, but I also made a rather stupid mistake. He had a bandage on his foot and the nurse who normally takes care of him told me he had an ulcer there. She didn't make it sound very bad. So since it was bandaged, I didn't feel like spending the extra 15 seconds to take off the bandage and actually look. Two whole days later, after he continued to have problems with low blood pressure, our wound nurse at the hospital took a look.

He had BONE sticking out of his skin. His pressure ulcer had actually eroded down to his BONE. And I didn't look. He's been on very good antibiotics since he came in, and probably couldn't have gone to surgery anyway, but I have been feeling very, very dumb. The orthopedic surgeon who I had to call at 4pm on Friday afternoon also wasn't very happy with me. (Rightfully)

The only good thing about making mistakes is that they allow you to learn. I will NOT be making that mistake again, but I'm sure I'll make plenty of others. Hopefully I can learn from them, too.

Residency lesson #242: Always, always, ALWAYS take off the bandage.