Monday, June 30, 2008

The strange and sad delivery....

My rushed delivery on Friday was probably the oddest and in some ways the saddest delivery I've ever been in on.

The mom came in with little prenatal care. She told us she was moving from Illinoise to Florida, and was just passing through. (Though Greenwood is not exactly on the way...) She had lost her insurance and so could only go to a free clinic, where she was told her due date was at the end of July.

She also told us almost immediately that she wanted to give the baby up for adoption, she thought, but she and her husband (who was there with her) still needed to talk about it. In between the every 2 minute contractions, I tried to talk to her about some of her options - since she hadn't yet made any arrangements about adoption. She and her husband thought they had more time before the baby came, so they hadn't really decided on anything. I even mentioned that I know someone who wants to adopt and has their paperwork ready, but they said they just couldn't make a decision yet. It was also strange, though, because she told us she was 34 and this was her first child. And she was married. Not the usual kind of person who wants to give their baby up. Her reasons for giving the baby up had more to do with her mom than what she or her husband wanted. It was all very odd and didn't really make much sense. But since I didn't have much time to talk with her before the baby was there, I couldn't really press her on anything.

Neither she nor her husband wanted to see the baby after he was born, she just wanted me to tell her if it was a boy or girl. He came out a handsome, squawking boy, with a fuzzy light brown hair and a cute nose. He looked just like his mother. I got him delivered, and then the nurses took him almost immediately back to the nursery, something that is very rare at our hospital - babies always just stay in mom's room. Later they both asked me if he looked alright, wanting to make sure he had all ten fingers and ten toes. I went and counted those sweet little fingers. He did.

She also had told us that this was her first delivery - that she had had no other children. Judging, though, by the one-push speed with which she progressed from 8cm to complete to crowning I find that hard to believe.

Less than two hours later, I was paged by the nurses who told me that Mom wanted to leave and had already taken out her own IV. I went and spoke to her and told her that she could begin hemorrhaging and even die, but she was insistent. I again tried to talk to her about her options, but at this point she tried to say that she and her husband just needed to talk about it, privately, and that there were just too many people around, but that she thought they'd keep him. She said they'd come back after they discussed it. She also said (and I quote) "I really need a cigarette. I just can't stay. I also need an iced coffee from McDonald's somethin' fierce."

So she signed her papers and left. And hasn't been heard from since. The baby's urine drug screen, not surprisingly, was positive for cocaine and opiates. And now there is a beautiful baby boy without a name. Without a family.

I am certainly thankful that they at least did the right thing by coming and having him at the hospital, and by choosing to carry him to term. But it is hard for me to fathom being able to leave your newborn son at the hospital all because you need an iced coffee and a cigarrette. My heart just aches for this little one.

I've been praying that as DSS gets involved they will be able to find him a wonderful family who will love him they way he needs to be loved. Hopefully, they will also be a family who can teach him about the way our heavenly Father adopts us into his family - brought forever into a loving family, into an unfathomable kingdom together with the one whose blood was shed for us.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Meme time.

I was tagged for a meme by Totally Scrappy! I've never actually been tagged for a meme before, so this will be fun.
Prince Caspian - It was rather different than the book, but I still thought it was a great movie. Jeff and I don't really see many theater movies, but last night we watched The Bee Movie on DVD. I do still want to see Indiana Jones, Kung-Fu Panda, and Wall-E before they leave the theater.

I'm in the middle of re-reading The Poisonwood Bible (on my all-time favorite list) and also reading The Nanny Diaries, which is certainly entertaining. And also a little sad, that some kids have the kind of existence where they get pawned off on a Nanny while Mom goes to Junior League meetings all day. I also just finished The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Di Camillo, both of which I loved, and will definitely be bought at some point for our future children's library.

Scrabble. Without a doubt. It involves words and dictionaries. What more could you ask for?

I am a sucker for magazines. My favorite right now is World magazine. Kind of like Newsweek, but from a Christian perspective. National Geographic is also an all-time favorite.

Fresh laundry or fresh bread baking in the oven. For Jeff it would be either chlorine (a la swimming pool) or grapefruit. I am not kidding about that. I always say that if I were to design his ideal perfume for me to wear it would be a combination of those two.

Babies laughing. Or maybe the gentle ba-bump that I hear when my head is on Jeff's chest.

The feeling you get when your pager sounds at 4am to jolt you out of a near sleep and you see the number 5709 (the ER extension) come up and realize that you have to go back down there for an admission.

"Come on, Aubrey, it is time to get up." Then I repeat to myself: "I like to run in the morning. I like to run in the morning. I do, I really do, like to run in the morning."

Chick-Fil-A or Subway. Or if I see one, a Panera.

I'm not really sure. I always said Emma but now I feel like that name is a little overdone, so I doubt we'll use it. Maybe Calvin for a boy? I feel like boy names are harder for me to think of. But I do know that we'll definitely use Ruth as a middle name for a daughter (after both my mom and my grandma, and also my dad's sister, and it's my middle name) and probably Mitchell for a boy middle name (my mom's maiden name). I also like the name Jane for a middle name - Jeff's Grandma and his mom's middle name. So basically I have plenty of middle names, but not enough first names.

Travel more with my husband. And maybe buy more books. And some cool fabric from stores like or And then are are lots of ministries I'd love to support more - especially Scripture Union, the ministry in Peru where I spent 3 summers.

Umm. Yes. Not too fast. But I'd say I consistently speed about 8-10miles over the speed limit.

No. Just two comfy pillows.

Cool. If I were Melanie, living in Tornado country, I'd probably say scary. And in the past when I'd see a huge hurricane looking like it might hit Charleston, also scary. But here in Greenwood, they don't ever get that bad.

The first car I drove was a small, purple Ford ranger with no frills - no power steering, no ac, stick shift. It was fun.

I mostly drink water. I do love Vanilla Coke Zero, though. And the occasional Woodchuck.

Read, sew, or sleep more. And do more traveling with Jeff.


I like my hair, even though I do have an increasingly alarming number of grays. But maybe more reddish?

Oberweiss, Germany. Piedmont, SC. Seneca, SC. Columbia, SC. Charleston, SC. St. Louis, MO.

Jeff has lived in numerous other cities including: San Diego, CA, Peoria, IL, Colorado Springs, CO, Champaigne/Urbana, IL. And a city whose name I cannot remember near Sacramento, CA.

Anything on the Olympics. College (especially SEC) Football. And Cubs Baseball with Jeff. And even, occasionally, a good golf tournament with Jeff, if Tiger is winning.

I haven't even met Totally Scrappy, but she has been faithfully commenting on my blog for a while. And getting comments on the blog is always a nice feeling. So Thanks! And she's a pastor's wife, so I feel we're kindred spirits now that I am, too.

An overdue library book. (I'm guessing) And dust. And probably something else I've been missing, like a lone sock.

Yep. I've got a great family, an awesome husband, and a job I love.

Night owl. Helpful on call, but not as helpful when you need to be up, out of bed, and thinking well as a physician early in the morning.

What's the difference? Just give me a little runny yolk.

Somewhere far, far away from the hospital. Like the Lake. Or the beach.

My mom's homemade peach ice cream or the chocolate irish cream flavor I occasionally make.

I don't really know. But I will tag:
Austin (so he'll post again)
Lindsay @ Somewhere over the Rainbow
Katie @ House of Payne
Hannah @ The Ball Family

Have fun!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The long year.

Remember this delivery? I do. But today I realized just how far I've come this year.

Because basically it happened again.

A lady came in in labor, with almost no prenatal care. (More on that, later.) She very quickly progressed from 6cm dilated to complete and pushing. So quickly, in fact, my attending couldn't come. I was the only doctor in the room. I was even wearing a skirt and had to pull on booties over my shoes, throw my gloves on, and gown up, just in time to catch the head.

Then there was a small shoulder dystocia (when the shoulder gets stuck after the head comes out). And the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck - just like last time.

But I guess I've really learned something this year. Even though I was still sweating bullets, I no longer thought, "Where is the doctor??" My heart was still racing, but I was able to calmly tell the nurses what to do and quickly get the baby delivered. And this time, he quickly let out a strong yell. It was kind of a nice reminder to me that even though this has been a long year, it's been wonderful and all the long, stressful hours have taught me a lot. God has been incredibly gracious to me, keeping me sane, helping me learn, and hopefully helping me become a doctor who can be Jesus' hands and feet to the sick and hurting.

I am not, by any stretch of anyone's imagination, ready to go out there on my own. I still have so much to learn, but maybe, just maybe, I am ready to be (in three short days) the "experienced" upper level resident, over-seeing the interns, and helping them during those situations when they want to scream, "I need my mommy."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Except that there's no parsley, instead there is basil, dill, and oregano. But Basil, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Dill and Oregano doesn't a catchy tune make.

This is the corner of the garden reserved for herbs and spices. And despite the fact that the picture makes it look like there is a lot of empty dirt, it is actually going pretty well. We started all of them from seed, except for the rosemary. None of my rosemary seeds germinated, so I just bought a little plant from Lowe's. We've already gotten quite a bit of use out of the basil, rosemary, and sage. Anyone for some homegrown basil on a homegrown tomato with fresh mozzerella? Mmmmm...... And tonight we are going to use a bunch of the delicious smelling fresh dill in some tzaziki sauce. The little white pot in the middle of the dirt is the oregano. So far it has been a magnificently slow grower, so we're letting it get a bit bigger before digging in. Every time I smell it it reminds me of pizza.

In the other corner of the herb box I put a bunch of Zinnia seeds, and wah-lah! They turned into Zinnia's!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike to Work

When we lived in Charleston, it was very easy to bike around. Since we lived right downtown, I could bike to work in about 5 minutes. Moving to Greenwood this became a seemingly much bigger task. After all, it was Five. Whole. Miles. With Big Hills. to my wonderful job. (Well, at least one big hill.)

All winter long I talked about how I should bike to work. Then I'd just hit snooze one extra time and drive. For the last three weeks, though, I've biked to work at least one day. This has been great, and I think I'd like to try to keep this up.

1. Instead of waking up early to go run, I can still sleep in a little and get my exercise in two chunks of time - on my way to work, and on my way home.

2. It saves gas. We don't have to drive around our little town a ton, but I'm still using less gas by biking.

3. I feel much cooler by biking to work.

But here are some good tips for biking:
  • Wear a helmet! All the time! This is especially important for parents since you need to model good behavior to your children. There is nothing that bothers me as a physician more (other than maybe smoking) than seeing people on their bicycle without a helmet. Even if you're just going a little way. People get serious, life-ending head injuries from falling off a bike.
  • Obey all traffic laws.
  • If there is a smaller street with less traffic that you can ride down, take that instead of the busier road, even if it's a little longer.
  • Avoid riding in the dark, or wear something reflective. So everyone can see you.
  • Use arm signals to let cars know when you are turning.
  • If you are a driver and you drive by a biker, slow down!
Biking definitely works for me.

Tough Day

I love ultrasound. I really do. I used it several times today on OB visits. Yesterday, though, I was reminded that sometimes it's sad to use ultrasound. Sometimes it tells us sad things.

A patient came to clinic for her first OB visit, but was having some problems. I was called to see her to make sure the baby was ok. She was supposed to be about 9 wks pregnant. I used our machine at the office, and could only see the gestational sac. I couldn't see any baby. We sent her for an official scan at the hospital. They couldn't see a baby either. But this couple doesn't speak English. So then they were sent back to our office, where I had to tell this couple that she had miscarried, and that there was no baby. It was the first time I'd ever had to tell someone this.

She cried.
Her husband cried.
I felt like crying.

Being a doctor is great. But so often hard.

Friday, June 20, 2008

First Fruits (and veggies)

Here we are, the proud gardeners with our first tomato. We were quite excited. We've been using various herbs from our garden for a while now, and lettuce and spinach, but the tomatoes have been the one thing we've really been waiting for. I guess this is a roma tomato? Or a grape tomato? I dunno. It's small, and it was really really good.

We sliced it up and ate it on barbeque sandwiches. Oh, did I mention Aubrey and I stopped at J.I. Baldwin and Sons on our way out of Nashville and bought five pounds of pork barbeque to bring home? Its the best barbeque in the world. Come visit, we'll share.

Several more tomatoes are on their way to turning red, including one of the big heirloom tomatoes. Apparently they go a little slower. But if I can fend off the rabbits, caterpillars, and any other natural predators, they should be ready soon.

We also picked these five squash.

We ate one last night and it was quite good. They are a variety of spaghetti squash, which is not what I was expecting, but good none the less. Although I didn't know when I was supposed to pick them, and I think I waited too long. The squash are still good, but a neighbor told me that if you don't pick squash almost right away it causes the vine to shut down production for the year. Which explains why my vines have stopped flowering. Oops. Oh well, I started some new regular squash seeds yesterday as a backup in case the original vines don't recover. And squash grow fast, so even the new vines should be producing by August.

The Bell peppers are also progressing well. They are still cute and small. For size reference, picture a human fetus at about 6 weeks.

Editorial Note: That last line is funny because pregnant women are always comparing their babies to vegetables for size reference, so I compared my vegetables to a baby. Ha!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sick doctor

I hate being sick. I was expecting that I'd get sick a lot this year, especially since I spent October and December on pediatrics, seeing all manor of crusty-nosed kids with vomiting and diarrhea. Thankfully, though, I really haven't been sick at all this year, except for one bad call night back in December with a 24-hr GI bug. The only thing worse than being sick is being sick on call.

Now I've got some kind of nasty head cold that is just making me feel like crap. It's easy to forget why everyone comes to the doctor when they feel like this. But now I can remember.

A little empathy is a good thing, I guess.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Menu planning: a review

My first two weeks of menu planning went great. There are lots of benefits to this whole "meal planning" thing. One is that it is nice to not have to worry about what to make for dinner, since I already know. Also I've planned ahead well enough to make some good meals. Another benefit is that I love hospitality and want to open my home more to others. It is a lot easier to invite people over when I actually know what I'm having for dinner that night before 6:30pm. And with the new interns starting orientation tomorrow, I can definitely try to serve them by inviting them over as much as possible during the busy and long months of intern year.

I did realize, though, that Jeff and I always have lots of leftovers and so I need to plan at least one night each week to eat leftovers. Since I didn't do that this last week, I had some meals planned that we didn't eat. They'll just get plugged in this week.

Monday: Jeff's veggie sandwiches
Tuesday: CALL, eat at hospital
Wednesday: BBQ sandwiches with carrots
Thursday: Chicken parmigiana with salad
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: CALL, eat at hospital
Sunday: Grilled marinated chicken with brussel sprouts (which I've never cooked - any good recipes?)

I did finish my little meal planner, but I haven't yet figured out how to post it on the blog. I'll try to research this week. Or if you want me to send you the word file, just leave a comment with your email address.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Grandma Pat

My mom called me last night to say that my grandma, her mom, had died. She had been slipping away for a long time, really -- sinking into herself as the pathways in her brain became more and more disordered, and she was like a child, lost somewhere in the tangled branches.

The first time I remember noticing her forgetfulness we were visiting her and Papa Neal in Florida. She kept asking me what grade I was in. My smile would falter, but I would tell her. That was only the beginning of a long, downward spiral as she sunk deeper and deeper into the murkiness.

Today, though, I do not want to remember that. I want to remember her ever-present cheerfulness. A smile the sparkled in spite of the abandonment, poverty, and tragedy that characterized her childhood. The love she found in the Father, and around the table at the Mitchell House. I want to think about how she was artistic - the beautiful Santas she painted and gave away to us all. It is from her, through my mom, that I think I got the sewing bug. Within the last year, I was given a bunch of her old sewing stuff - buttons, thread, some old material. In it I found these beautiful wooden spools of colorful thread. For some of them, she had hand drawn some little animal heads and animal tails and glued them to either end - a homemade menagerie probably made to entertain a child or grandchild.

So today I remember the wonderful, Godly woman she was and also :"...that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, NOR ALZHEIMER'S, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

When I die, don't cry for me
In my Father's arms I'll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I'll be whole.
Sun and moon will be replaced
With the light of Jesus' face
And I will not be ashamed
For my Savior knows my name.

It don't matter where you bury me,
I'll be home and I'll be free.
It don't matter where I lay,
All my tears be washed away.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pizza on the Grill works for me

I recently started doing a little menu planning. When I made the first weekly menu, I knew exactly what I wanted to do first: I wanted to make pizza on the grill. I've been wanting to make this for a while because I had heard this crazy rumor that you could, in fact, make pizza on the grill, but I was somewhat skeptical. My doubts faded just as soon as I'd had my first bite, though - this was some of the best pizza I've ever made.

I used frozen bread dough, because that was what I had on hand, though making homemade dough would probably be even better. First of all, it works best to make smaller, thinner pizzas than normal so that you can manage them easier on the grill. Work the dough into a roundish (or possibly squarish) shape. Take some olive oil and brush it on one side, and also spray or brush oil onto the grill. Put the oiled side of the bread directly onto the grill, heated to medium heat. Soon it will start to rise up a bit and cook. While it is cooking, brush oil onto the other side. When it looks done, flip it over. It should look something like this:
(ooh - what nice grill marks!)

Now begin to assemble the toppings. Jeff and I like somewhat non-traditional toppings, so for one we used pesto and tomatoes with spinach and fresh parmesan. I would recommend using just a couple of toppings - you don't want to over-laden the dough.
For the other two, we used carmalized onions, olive oil with rosemary fresh from our garden, and topped it with some fresh parmesan. (This was my favorite.) If you want the toppings to cook some while the bottom of the pizza cooks, then close the grill lid. Otherwise, you can just leave it open and admire your handiwork while congratulating yourself on being cool enough to grill pizza. Cook until the bottom looks done, maybe another 5 minutes.
This works really well for me for a number of reasons:
1) cooking outside in the summer always is much more pleasant than cooking inside. Except maybe when you live in South Carolina and it's still over 90 with 97% humidity at 6pm, in which case you might just want to use the AC.

2) You don't need tons of cheese - and as someone who gets certain digestive um... unpleasantries with lots of dairy, it's nice to eat delicious pizza that isn't drowning in cheese.

3) Pizza made on the grill is aesthetically pleasing.

And lastly, 4) I supposed because of the higher heat or something the dough tastes much better than regular dough cooked in an oven. It tasted much more like something I'd get in a nice, even upscale pizza place than when I have used the same frozen dough in the oven.

This meal will definitely be in high rotation this summer - I'm excited to try out some other interesting combinations. Anyone with a favorite unique or unusual topping?

Monday, June 09, 2008

A good call

Last night was a good call. Good because I got to help a nice girl during her labor. Unfortunately for her, I also accidentally missed the baby being breech, and she ended up getting an urgent c-section. (I knew that head just didn't feel right.) The nurses told me she was breech because once she started pushing, they could see the part coming down the pipeline and let's just say that it was not a nice round baby head. Oops.

Also good because I actually brought my sewing machine, fabric and even an iron to the call room. Yes, that's right. I'm the dork who brings her iron and sewing machine to work. But I recently started one of the larger projects I've had and since I had the entire day to spend at the hospital, I figured I might as well get some work done on it. It was great - in between delivering a baby, doing an ultrasound on a newly pregnant lady, and eating with my husband, I got a LOT of work done.

Also good because I got in bed at 11:30, went to sleep and slept more or less uninterrupted until 7 this morning. Though that did not stop me from still taking a 2-hr nap once I got home. (And for those keeping track, we did eat quiche for dinner tonight. I gotta say, this whole menu plan thing just might work.)

Sometimes I really love OB call.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Charleston trip

We took a brief jaunt to Charleston last weekend for a wedding. And since it is spring, the season of weddings, we're going back next weekend for another one. It was great seeing old friends and watching a dear friend get hitched. Here are the photo highlights:

Lucy interacting with Alfie, a friend's puppy:
Sadly, most of my wedding shots did not turn out. Erin was a beautiful bride, though, and the ceremony and reception were lovely.
(And yes, that is a huge painting of a somewhat feminine Jesus floating the air. It's a really old church and when our church took over the building, that had to stay.)

It was great being back in our Charleston church and seeing the town. Mostly, every day I'm thankful for where we live and really enjoy living in Greenwood, but I do miss this:
Of course then we hit bad traffic, and had to hunt for a place to park. Ahh...big city life.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The disorganized doctor

I am not, by anyone's estimation, organized. I think sometimes people think that everyone who goes to medical school is a type-A, uber-controlled, checklist-making robot who plans down their days to the last half-hour.

That's not me. If you don't believe me, just ask my husband. Or my mom. Or any one of the residents who walk by my desk every day. That said, I do recognize that it is a problem. Although I do sometimes enjoy being a fly-by-the-pants, spur-of-the-moment kind of person, I realize that there are times when that does not really work.

Case in point: Every day recently, Jeff and I have been playing this game:

Me: What should we eat for dinner?
Him: I don't know. What do you feel like?
Me: I don't know. What's in the fridge?
Him: Um...eggs, spinach, and mushrooms that are brown and moldy.
Me: oh. Well, I'm tired/post-call/don't feel like cooking. I'm eating cereal.

I realize that I'm tired of a) eating cereal (though it is the perfect post-call meal) and b) getting frustrated with Jeff for not having something in mind to eat when I am post call or tired. I guess I realize that the food is one area that I am and should be more responsible for, since most all other areas seem to be falling on and be well taken care of by my wonderful husband.

This week we are starting a little experiment. I'm going to try actualy planning ahead for meals. This is a big step for me, the ultimate, last-minute, roll-with-the-punches girl. Last night, I even got on my computer and used Word to make a cute little chart (complete with some nice clip art) to post on the fridge so everyone in our house knows what we'll eat for dinner. Because having a cute thing to put on the fridge might make me more prone to use it. And maybe, just maybe, we'll have all the ingredients we need from the grocery store, and simultaneously avoid bags of brown and mushy vegetables.

So without further ado, here is our dinner menu for the next two weeks:
(I only planned out dinners since I eat both breakfast and lunch at work everyday, and Jeff loves cereal for breakfast and manages to find things to eat for lunch without much help from me.)
Monday - CALL - eat at hospital

Tuesday - Grilled pizza, salad, mango

Wednesday - steaks on the grill with grilled squash and zuchinni

Thursday - Onion pasta with salad

Friday - CALL - eat at hospital

Saturday - leftovers (which might be cereal for me)

Sunday - CALL - eat at hospital

Monday - Quiche - to be made on Saturday

Tuesday - bacon, pea, and onion pasta with salad (I can't remember the real name, but I know where the recipe is at my house)

Wednesday - Chicken parmigiana

Thursday - CALL - eat at hospital

Friday - in CHARLESTON

Saturday - in CHARLESTON

Sunday - Jeff's homemade veggie sandwiches

We'll see how this little experiment works. I still have some changes to make to my little menu planner, but perhaps when I'm happy with it, I can upload it here if anyone would be interested.

Maybe one day, I'll even manage to make an organized grocery list that goes along with this, or -gasp- try to plan my meals around what's on sale or what I have coupons for.

But first, steps, Aubrey, baby steps.

(For the ultimate guide to menu planning and other organized gurus, go here.)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The light at the end of the tunnel...

I think I can finally see it. On our walk after church today, we passed by two houses in our neighborhood that now have real, live, in-the-flesh, soon-to-be interns living in them.

When I see them, it is a little hard not to cry with joy at the thought of being on call only two nights in an entire month. As good as this year has been, spending every fourth night at the hospital can make you feel a little exhausted.

Just 29 days until they start. But who's counting....