Monday, March 30, 2009

Not your doctor.

I do not want to be your doctor.

You come in, complaining about bleeding and cramping. As the only female doctor in clinic that morning, I am asked to see you. I notice the high school ID badge you have hanging around your neck, your gray hooded sweatshirt.

Four days ago, see, you had an abortion. 7 days ago, I had a miscarriage.

I listen quietly to your story, gently examine you for signs of infection, and do not understand your decision at all. The voice inside of me wants to scream at you. How could you purposely end the life that was growing inside of you? It doesn't seem fair - you did not want to be pregnant, but were, and so ended it. I have tried to get pregnant for months and months, and yet lost the tiny baby that I carried.

I think about our children - the ones neither of us will know. They would have been almost exactly the same age. Maybe one day they would have met - at school, or soccer, or swim lessons, two bright-eyed, smiling children.

I do not want to be your doctor, yet here I am. I have to put aside my sorrow, my anger, and try to be the best doctor I can be. That is what doctors are supposed to do. I try to treat you just like I would treat anyone else, like I would treat my mother or a dear friend. I lay my hand on your shoulder, explaining that this is all normal. But it isn't. Abortion isn't normal. Expected would have perhaps been a better word. I give you medicine to treat your pain, antibiotics to make sure you do not get sicker, and encourage you to come back in a few days so we can make sure you are getting better.

As I think about you, over the next few days, I say some silent prayers.
That I will remember that Jesus died for your sins just like he died for mine.
That God will replace my bitterness with compassion.
That God will comfort me as I mourn.
That God will comfort you as you mourn.
That God will heal the wounds I cannot see that I am sure you carry, underneath that gray hooded sweatshirt.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Seven Quick Takes

1. A few months ago, we started getting Sports Illustrated. I have always loved to read magazines, and Sports Illustrated is no different. I skip the articles about Nascar, professional basketball, skim the ones on college basketball and the NFL, and enjoy the ones about baseball, college football, and any olympic sport.

2. I am not a graceful crier. My eyes and nose immediately turn bright red at the first hint of a tear, and so there is just no disguising the fact that I've been crying. I've always wished that someone could invent a magic cream that would instantly clear up all evidence of tears so I could get on with my day. Because when someone asks me if I've been crying, it tends to make me cry more.

3. I love Starbucks coffee. Why is it so much better than what I make at home? Maybe I need more lessons.

4. Several times I've made pulled pork in the crockpot. Every time I do, I remember exactly how easy it is and wonder why I don't do it more. So here's the recipe for anyone else who wants a super easy meal that's delicious and fuss-free.
1 pork shoulder/roast/butt
1-2 sliced onions
garlic salt, pepper, other spices you like (I used grill seasoning.)
1 can coke (I used coke zero.)

Put onions in crock pot and the pork on top, sprinkling it with seasoning before you put it in. Pour the coke over and turn it on low for 8 hours. When it's done, shred it with two forks, then serve barbecue sauce of your choice. If you're like me, that sauce will be a good, South Carolina mustard-based sauce.

5. Also for dinner last night I made a sort of cole slaw that, in my mind, was way better than the usual. Also fairly fuss-free. I got a bag of pre-shredded cole slaw mix, added more carrots, then added frozen peas. I'm not a fan of the creamy slaw dressing, so instead, I made some homemade balsamic vinaigrette, mixed that with some of the homemade pesto I have in my freezer, and tossed that with the salad. I topped it with some parmesan cheese. Yum.

6. I came into work today, and then realized that the psychologist I'm working with is actually off. So I don't even need to be here until lunch time. What I need to do is go home and run, but part of me doesn't want to because I already took a shower today and feel cute and the thought of getting dirty and sweaty does not really appeal to me. Plus just now I looked out the window and it's pouring. Although normally I love a good foul weather run, maybe I'll wait until after work.

7. I went shopping at our "mall" the other day. "Mall" is in quotes because although it looks like a respectable mall from the outside, the reality is that it is seriously the worst mall I've ever been in. There is a Belk (southern department store for those of you who live elsewhere), JC Penny, a Walden Books, a Bath and Body works, and a hat store. That is about all. Sadly, neither department store really has anything good. But I did get some new hand soap, and decided it was time I read Peter Pan, which I found inexpensively at the book store. Ever since seeing the movie Neverland, I've wanted to read it. It really is wonderfully imaginative and so far I'm enjoying it. I have always loved to read children's books. Anyone have any other children's books they find that they love as an adult?

For more quick takes, go here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The other side of the stethoscope.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I quickly realized that going to the doctor really makes me nervous. And I don't like it. I attribute it to the fact that growing up I barely ever went to the doctor. This makes Jeff wonder where his dislike of the doctor's office comes from.

And don't get me started about the waiting. I actually had an argument with the lady at the office about when my appointment was. I was mailed a card that said it was at 12:45, and that I should come another 20 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Although they mailed me paperwork, which I filled out before I got there. But then they didn't believe that I would have been told the appointment was at that time. Or maybe the time I was given was early so I'd have time to fill out the papers. Except that they mailed me the papers AND told me to come ANOTHER 20 minutes early. It resulted in a lot of thumb twiddling.

And then, when he asked me if I had any questions, I couldn't think of any. Of course as soon as I was back in the car, I actually remembered a bunch of things that I wanted to ask about. Grrr.

I do think it's good to be reminded about what it's like being a patient sometimes. Hopefully, it makes me a better doctor.

And reminds me to apologize when people have been waiting.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Please turn to hymn #420...

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me
O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way.

You should check out the Wikipedia article on Fanny Crosby, author of this hymn.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Seven Quick Takes

This has not been a good week. Next week is currently not looking very promising, either. Even though I have always considered myself an optimist, sometimes I get very negative about things. Too negative. So, in light of that, I'm doing the last six of these quick takes as things to be thankful for, to remember God's goodness even when I'm sad.

1. After the new year started, I decided I needed to eat better. Residency is not exactly the best place to be healthy since we are often surrounded with food that is not so good for you, plus being on call every fourth night kind of messes up the eating schedule. I had already been bringing my lunch for a while, but decided to make sure these were healthier, and realized that I didn't really need quite so many sweets. The result? I'm down 10 pounds! And I'm feeling better-- so it's a double bonus.

2. I have gotten to sleep in until 7:30 for the last two days, go running before work (yesterday), and make it to a women's bible study at church that I never go to since I'm always working (today). I even squeezed in a swim this morning.

3. Spring is here! I love seeing all the daffodils - and we even were surprised with a hyacinth bloom in our yard, where we planted it last year - one I had totally forgotten about. Spring in SC is so beautiful - the sky is blue, the sun shines, and the air is not yet humid. We've had great spring weather over the last few days.

4. Monday night, when I was post-call, Jeff and I actually went out. On a date. And watched a great movie at the theater (!!). (I know it's rated R, but I definitely recommend Slumdog Millionaire - it has several violent scenes and some cursing, but little else as far as objectionable content.)

5. Yesterday was match day! We found out we have a great group of 10 excellent interns who will be coming here next year - which means I'm almost (gulp) a third year resident. God was good to us with our match this year and I look forward to getting to work with these 10 people.

6. I'm off this weekend! No moonlighting, no call, no responsibilities. And my Aunt Ruth Ellen is in town, so we're hoping to meet her for dinner tonight.

7. My rotation this month is behavioral science, which means I work with our psychologist who helps diagnose and differentiate mental illnesses, dementia, and help diagnose children with ADHD and distinguish that from other problems like learning disabilities or autism. I'm learning a lot - but it has made me so thankful for the wonderful family that I have. It is exceedingly obvious that a lot of the behavioral issues that kids deal with is directly related to poor family life. I know this is not always true, but a lot of the kids we've seen so far have very dysfunctional home lives. I'm very thankful that both Jeff and I were blessed with parents who loved us, disciplined us, and didn't just cart us off to live with random family members to suit their needs, though I'm sure they occasionally may have felt like it.

And I'll wrap up this month with one of my favorite hymns, because sometimes I just need a little poetry to soothe my troubled soul:

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Holy His will abideth.
I will be still whate’er He does,
And follow where He guideth.
He is my God,
Though dark my road.
He holds me that I shall not fall
Wherefore to Him I leave it all

For more quick takes, go here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Works for me.

I haven't posted one of these in a while, but I did actually have a good thought the other day.

I hate cutting jalapenos. I hate how the juice gets under my nails, and stays there - even after I furiously scrub my hands. I hate how if I try to take out my contacts, even hours later, my eyes are left burning.

I hate it. But I also love fresh salsa and homemade pepper jelly - so sometimes I just have to do it.

Now, you'd think I'd just bring home some gloves from work whenever I needed to cut peppers. But I don't usually think that far ahead. So what do I use instead? Plastic grocery bags. I just put my hands inside and use them sort of like gloves. I always have a big pile of them around, and when I'm finished I can use them to pick up the scraps, and then throw it all away. They're not perfect, but my hands stay pepper juice free, and my eyes are happy.

That definitely works for me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More Christmas Photos

Looking again at my Christmas photos, there were a bunch of great ones that somehow never made it on the blog. So here is my attempt to catch up.

Dad, Jeff, Dave, Hannah, and I all went to an NHL game. There was a fight less than a minute after the game started. This photo, though, is of two pee-wee hockey teams that played each other during the intermissions (or whatever you call the time in between each of the three periods).
We really had a great time - though sadly the Avalanche lost.
And of course, I couldn't resist posting a few more great photos of Jack and Ashlyn.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009


I don't post much about politics here. Not because I don't have opinions, but mostly because it's just not something I like to write about very much.

I know lots of people my age really like and support Obama. And certainly, he is a gifted speaker who has some interesting ideas and at least talks a good talk about wanting to change things in Washington.

So far, I'm not impressed. What really concerns me, however, is this. During the election, he talked about trying to unite pro-choice and pro-life in trying to decrease abortions. During his almost two months in office, though, none of his decisions about abortion have been moderate. Instead, he is making moves to force physicans, nurses, and other health care professionals into having to perform procedures to which they are morally opposed. As a doctor who disagrees with many of the procedures in question, I am especially worried. Will I one day have to choose between giving up the OB care that I love just so I won't have to do things I cannot, in good conscience do?

Another bill he wants to support? Read about it here. It has not yet come before Congress during this session, but certain Senators say that they will introduce it soon. And during the campaign, this is a bill about which Obama said, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign that bill." Why should my tax dollars fund something that I find so reprehensible? Why should our government pay for a procedure that is very damaging to women, not to mention the small, but important life it extinguishes?

I worry for women - for teenagers who might rush into an abortion without having to talk to their parents about it first, making a foolish decision they later regret, for those who would suffer through the horror of a partial-birth abortion, and for patients who are currently served by Catholic hospitals that might close rather than be forced to do procedures they disagree with.

I'm trying to remain hopeful, and I certainly recognize that God is sovereign, but right now, I'm very worried about the next four years.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


It was wonderful seeing Melanie and the boys this weekend. Caleb is just getting huge! And so smiley, at least when he's not tired. When we first got there Friday night, he was feeling very tired, and Jeff greeted him with a friendly kiss on the head, which caused his sweet face to melt and big, gigantic crocodile tears to come out. But Saturday morning was a new day, filled with lots of laughs and giggles.

Sam continues to be a big talker. And a big lover of all things round and/or mechanical.

We talked for a long time about the gears that turn the paddles on this contraption my mom has. And I threw a lot of rocks into the lake.

I love being an aunt.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Etsy goodness.

Since there is no where to shop here in Greenwood, I occasionally like to "window" shop on etsy - dreaming of the cool things I could buy. But I have a much harder time actually buying things from etsy - they tend to be more expensive (although much better made) and since I can't try things on or pick them up, our bank account remains safe.

Here are some things I found recently - maybe some of you all like to "window" shop as well?

How cute is this handmade necktie?? I have never before thought about sewing neckties, but I might have to start now.

I'm not a big jewelry person, but this ring is just lovely. As are the matching earrings.

We got Sam something similar to this for Christmas - it satisfies both his desire to stack, his love of cars, and it's a puzzle!

This is a beautiful dress. If only I had an extra $200 to spend on a dress and a place to wear it.

Here is a cute cake topper.

Lots more great earrrings.

Anyone else have any good etsy links?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Craft Update.

I got some photos of the cute note card portfolios I made for Jeff's parent's - so I thought I'd go ahead and post them here. It was a really fun project, and not too difficult. (And see the manly sewing on the brown one? I was very excited to have actually made something I could describe as manly. Because there are just not that many things to be made that are manly. Or if there are, I haven't found them.)

I also made a bag for my good friend Kim, given to her last weekend when we went up to the lake house and hung out with her and a few other friends from seminary during her weekend-long birthday bash. It was a relaxing time filled with lots of good food (including this cake that Kristin made) and we even got in some craft time! Check out Sara's blog for photos of that!

This is another bag from the patterns in this book, which I really love. I've only scratched the surface of the patterns in it, but they've all been great. The baby bib pattern I use constantly, and there are still so many great projects in it I could make. Just thinking about it makes me want to go sew.
Until I remember that the dear sister-in-law and nephews will be in South Carolina tomorrow. Then I just want to squeeze some cheeks.
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

True... But is it good for business?

I pass this sign several times a week driving around town. And although the moralism is generally true, I always think it is particularly ill-suited as a motto for a repair shop. Doesn't a shop like this really thrive on discontent?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Great Blizzard of '09

Here is our house as the snow began falling.

Here is the neighborhood, being blanketed by the fluffy pillows of soft, delightful snow...

"Why are we standing out in the snow, Papa?"

And this I took this morning, a bright bluebird morning. The snow started melting early, and didn't take long to go. But it was nice while it lasted. Hopefully these pear tree blossoms won't die from the cold.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Actual forecast in South Carolina!!!

"Snow this evening will taper off as a few snow showers late. Low 24F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 90%. 2 to 4 inches of snow expected."

Updated: It is definitely snowing here, and pretty hard - I'm at work, but hopefully Jeff will post some photos later. I have to admit that snow always brings out my inner 6 year old. I've already spent 15 minutes outside, trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue.