Sunday, January 31, 2010

My dog is glad I'm a literalist.

Whenever Lucy hears the toaster click she comes trotting into the kitchen with great expectations. This is somewhat my fault. I always give her a piece of the crust when I make a piece of toast. And being the good Pavlovian dog that she is, she begins salivating at the click of the toaster. I feel like its the right thing to do.

After all, the word "companion" comes from two Latin words, 'com' meaning 'with,' and 'pan' meaning 'bread.' Therefore, a companion is one with whom you share your bread. Lucy is my faithful canine companion, therefore, I give her the crust of my bread.

I think Lucy appreciates the fact that I respect a good etymology.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Phone Calls

When Aubrey and I go to bed we each put our cell phones on our nightstands. She brings hers in case one of her patients goes into labor and a baby is born. I bring mine in case somebody dies. This week its been my phone ringing. Twice.

We've lost two stalwarts of our church community this week. The first was a sweet old lady, 95 years old. I don't think anybody can remember anything about our church without thinking of her. She lived in the manse for a long time, always was cleaning the sanctuary, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, and could give the best historical tours of the graveyard. We gave her a glorious homegoing celebration yesterday. One of her life verses was Psalm 84:10, "For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness."

Then today an 89 year old gentleman went to be with Jesus. He had lived in Cross Hill since before the beginning of time, I believe. He was one of our most talkative members, always ready with a story from his years at Clemson, or his days as a traveling door to door salesman. He was a true southern boy, loved to wear bow ties, and always very polite. But early on we established that I would call him Bob, and he would call me Jeff. We were first name friends. Anytime I visited with him, he would get to talking and I would get to listening. Nearly every visit, at some point, he would get real earnest, look me in the eye and say, "I'm so glad you're my pastor." He was so sweet, the kind of guy that made me glad to be his pastor. He leaves behind a wife, three kids, three grandkids, two great-grandkids, and many friends.

The funerals for these saints are sad, yet glorious, mournful, yet filled with joy inexpressible. As we learn to grieve as those with a wonderful hope, we are often led by our hymns:

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
bear me through the swelling current,
land me safe on Canaan's side;
songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee,
I will ever give to thee.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

32 weeks

I'm 32 weeks today.

That's a lot of weeks. This whole pregnancy I've found myself mentally counting down to different milestones.... 12 weeks - made it out of the first trimester. 20 weeks....halfway there. 24 weeks.... our baby would have a chance at survival. Today I had the thought that if our baby was born soon, not only would he or she have a chance at survival, but would most likely do really well. It was a comforting thought. (But if my baby is listening, stay where you are!! We'd like you to cook a little longer. That was not an invitation.)

All that said, I thought I should finally put up a belly shot. For whatever reason, I just haven't been big into taking belly shots.

But here it is.... in all its glory.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random tidbits.

Being on medicine means less time for blogging, so it's going to have to be short today.

1. It's amazing how much less stressful it is when I take just a little time to meal plan. And how much more delicious. Tonight's dinner: Panko-crusted salmon and roasted brussel sprouts. It was delicious. And even Jeff ate all his brussel sprouts. (So you know they were good.)

2. I did some actual sewing for the baby: 3 bibs and 2 burp cloths. And figured out exactly how I'm going to make the bumpers and the crib skirt. I'm feeling a little more like maybe I'll actually get the sewing finished before his or her arrival. And I got registered! Mom and I went on Saturday and picked out some stuff at the enormous and somewhat overwhelming babies r us. It's like I'm finally starting to believe that I'm going to be bringing a baby home in 8 weeks.

3. I was (praise the Lord!!) off this weekend. It was wonderful. And I came back in today and one of my more frustrating patients (frustrating because no one knows what is wrong with her and she just wouldn't get better) was totally healed. I'm not sure what it says about me that it wasn't until I was gone that she got better, but I was very thankful to be able to discharge her home today all fixed.

Friday, January 22, 2010

An actual conversation with an Alcoholic:

So I take care of lots and lots of alcoholics. Because of their usual poor health, they get admitted frequently with seizures, pancreatitis, bleeding ulcers, etc. They certainly make for some interesting interactions.

Here's the actual conversation I had with one of the alcoholic gentlemen I currently have on my service:

Me: How are you feeling?
Him: I feel good.
Me: Well, we have to give you one more dose of the IV vitamin tomorrow, but then you'll be able to go home.
Him: I am home.
Me, thinking he misheard: No, we're going to send you home tomorrow.
Him: No, I'm at home right now.
Me: Um...sir... no, you're in a hospital right now.

He looks very confused and slowly looks all around the room, checking out his surroundings, deeply pondering his location.

Him: You're telling me I'm in a hospital right now?
Me: yes, sir, you're in Greenwood in the hospital. You've been here for 6 days.
Him: I've been here for 6 days?? But yesterday, my cousin came and got me and took me home.
Me: No, sir, you haven't left here.
Him: But yesterday I was watching my mom feed her chickens in that field. (He points vaguely out the window towards the parking lot and several tree-lined streets.)
Me: No, I think you must have been dreaming about it.
Him: How is my mom doing?
Me: I've never met your mom. Maybe you should call her.
Him: I don't know if she lives in greenwood or Abbeville, so I guess there's no point.
Me: um.... ok... well I'll see you later.

Apparently he needs a little more medicine to help combat some confusion....


I think we might have an early bird.

I woke up this morning around 5am, well before my 6am alarm. As I tossed and turned and tried to get back to sleep, the baby woke up. For the next 30 or 45 minutes, all the baby did was wiggle, squirm, kick, and hiccup. It felt like there was some kind of dance party going on in there. I quickly gave up trying to sleep.

I'm beginning to envision lots of early in the morning feedings. I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jeff and Alton

My wonderful brother-and-sister-in-law got me a great new cookbook for Christmas. (yes, this is Jeff writing, and yes I do like cookbooks. Laugh it up...) Its by Alton Brown, and is another expression of our Food Network junkyism.

I've cooked two things out of it so far, and both of them have been exceptional. I'm thinking about cooking everything in the whole book. Maybe giving Julie and Julia a run for their money. Well... probably not. But I did entertain the thought, especially given that the first thing I cooked was the first recipe in the book.

It was a recipe for steak. Its pretty simple, not a lot of ingredients, but a special technique. You sear the steak on a cast-iron skillet on each side, to form a delicious little crust, then finish it in the oven to acquire the desired doneness. It was really great, much better than any steak I've cooked. Perfectly pink in the middle with a nice seared flavor on the outside. The only setback was the prodigious amount of smoke produced by the searing, which I did inside. The kitchen filled with smoke, so we had to open several doors and windows. And it was 29 degrees outside. But the steak was worth it.

Tonight I used another recipe from the cookbook. Sure, it was just for baked potatoes, but still, the potatoes came out perfect.

What will I cook next?

Monday, January 18, 2010


I feel like I'm drowning in patients right now. January is apparently a very popular time to get sick.

Ever since starting residency, I've tried to be positive and avoid complaining. I mean, I've always figured that I chose this profession, I'm here to learn, and since I have to be here, I might as well be happy about it. (Or at least try my best to be happy.)

I'm having a really hard time. I had a long, busy call on saturday, and was back on day call today - when we had 4 or 5 admissions, including two that went to the ICU. I actually rejoiced when one of the patients we were supposed to admit got so mad when I was talking to him that he decided he wanted to leave. (To my credit, he didn't really need to come in, is very manipulative, and addicted to pain medicines, making him one of the most frustrating patients I've ever taken care of.) All I wanted to do today was grumble and be annoyed with the ER doctors for giving us patient after patient.

Then one of my patients in the ICU died. He was very, very sick, but his sweet wife was there beside him, and actually thanked me for taking care of him. And then I took a breath and was glad that she reminded me why I do this.

I'm not sure the point of this post, other than to say to please pray that I'll have patience for my patients. And that I'll have a good attitude, even when the ER is pounding us.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

More fun party pics

Grandma and her four daughters posing for the paparazzi.

Uncle Jerry having fun in the kitchen.

Aunt Elizabeth (Grandma's older sister), Grandma and Aunt Harriet (Grandma's sister-in-law).

Cousins Victoria and Ally

Cousin Vince.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I started my last month of inpatient medicine today. I enjoy inpatient, I really do, but the first day on always makes me feel sluggish and like I don't know anything.

Hopefully the long, exhausting day that was today is not an indication of how it's going to be every day this rotation. Medicine is definitely going to be harder, though, 30 weeks pregnant during January, when everyone seems to get sick.

Right now all I can think is that I'm going to enjoy my bath tonight.

And that I only have 27 more days of medicine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


A few of my favorites from the party!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

NYC photos

A few more favorite photos....

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Jersey!/York! (part one)

It was a quick trip to New Jersey/York, and we got back home yesterday. We had a good time, and are already talking about how we would like to go back sometime. The purpose of the trip was to attend my Grandmother's 90th birthday party, which went off without a hitch Saturday night. But we squeezed in a few other activities as well.

Mom and Dad picked us up at the airport, and after dropping our bags at the hotel, we headed out for lunch at Bobby's Burger Palace. As Food Network junkies, Aubrey and I were excited about going to one of Bobby Flay's restaurants, and this one turned out to be about a half mile from our hotel.

The burgers were delicious. Dad, however, eyed the sweet potato fries with some suspicion.

Saturday morning the four of us (Mom, Dad, Aubrey and I) took the bus into New York city. We walked hither and yon (as they do NOT say in New York), all throughout midtown Manhattan.

Here we are in Central Park.

I gawked at the tall buildings around Times Square, advertising myself as a tourist to everyone around. But really, those buildings are so tall!

St. Patricks was breathtakingly beautiful.

Thanks to everybody for their suggestions for what to do. We also walked down 5th ave, saw Rockafeller Center with the ice skaters, went to Magnolia Bakery for delicious cupcakes, and ate NY bagels (Mom even went traditional and got lox) at Ess-a-bagel. Three and a half hours after we got off the bus, we got back on and went home. And our feet were tired.

Friday, January 08, 2010

We made it!

We landed in New Jersey today - the flight was short and smooth and on time. It doesn't get much better than that. AND we could even see the empire state building as we were coming down. It was really cool.

I learned just how much Jeff loves me because he could have had a seat on the exit row (but not me due to being pregnant) but he said he's rather sit by me than on the exit row. Now that's love.

Tonight we got to spend some time with Jeff's grandmother and some aunts and uncles and cousins. Tomorrow's the big day - going into the city in the morning, then coming back here for the big 90th birthday celebration tomorrow night.

Lots of pictures to come later!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


There are lots of things I love about our hospital. One of them is something the hospital does for all babies born at the hospital. They make a medallion with the baby's footprint and hang it on the wall. Pink for girls, blue for boys. I walk by these walls almost every day and sometimes stop to admire them. I love finding the names of babies I delivered up there. I'm excited that our baby will one day have a sweet footprint up there, too. Here you can see John Owen Reinhardt - a baby of another friend that I delivered this past July.

You notice that some of the medallions are silver and some are gold. The silver ones just have the baby's name and birthday. The gold ones have both the baby's birthday, and the death day. These are for babies who died. I think this is part of why part of me still struggles to be too excited about this baby. There are too many reminders around that things do not always end happily. And I'm a worrier, so I waste lots of mental energy thinking about all the possible what ifs....

These tiny footprints are the smallest ones on the wall. Olivia Rhiannon Confer. She died in 2006. I always notice her medallion and think about her parents. How I'm sure they still grieve her. How nice it is that there is still this tangible memory of her that others can look at know that she was born, and was loved, and died.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Baby update...

I had another doctor's appointment yesterday. My doctor, who was at our clinic having a check up for her absolutely adorable baby, graciously offered to check up on me while she there.

I got her to do an ultrasound because I wanted to see if the baby was head down. I was pretty sure the baby was, because I get kicked a lot up by my ribs on the right side. The baby was head down, with the back laying on my left side, which is exactly what I thought when I tried to do Leopold's on myself. It was a treat to see the baby again. I haven't had an ultrasound or ultrasounded myself in over two months. (Now that's self control, folks. Too bad I don't have any when it comes to chocolate.)

We got a great look at the face. I could even see some fuzz coming off the head. The head, by the way, measures 2-3 weeks AHEAD of the rest of the baby, which is measuring right in the 50th percentile. The head?? Measuring in the 95th percentile. Yikes! I wasn't too surprised, though. My head is enormous. One size fits all hats do not, in fact, fit me. And although Jeff's head isn't quite as big as mine, it's not exactly small, either - so genetically our babies are bound to have decent-sized noggins. The estimated weight right now is 2 lbs 14 ounces.

We took some pictures of the sweet little feet that keep kicking me, and got a great look at all four chambers of the baby's heart. It was a great visit. Sadly, Jeff wasn't there, so maybe in the next few weeks we'll get another one at the clinic so he can see the baby, too.

Friday, January 01, 2010

It's a new year...

As a resident, my new year starts every July, so I have tended to do a lot more reflection then. It's sort of nice, actually, to have several times each year to think about what has gone on in your life, and what you have to look forward to.

Now, at the beginning of 2010, I'm definitely looking forward to what this year has to offer. This past July I thought a lot about how glad I was that my second year of residency was over. Second year was tough - not because of anything at work, but because of numerous sadnesses and frustrations of things we were dealing with at home. We had our first pregnancy, our first miscarriage, numerous troubles with licensure, the continuing struggles of infertility, and our first (and hopefully last?) experience with infertility treatments.

Then we found out we were pregnant on July 15. Pregnancy after miscarriage makes it sort of difficult to be happy at first. But our tentative excitement has grown with each kick and hiccup I feel this baby make. There have still been sadnesses these last six months - like losing my grandmother just a few weeks ago - but honestly, overall the last six months have been wonderful.

2010 should be a great year, with lots of things to be both excited and nervous about. I'm excited and scared about hopefully meeting this little person in a few more months. I'm excited (I think) about turning 30 in the fall, about finally finishing my training and being done with residency, getting a real job, and continuing our ministry at our little church.

Even though the first part of this year was tough and the second part felt easier, I'm also trying to remind myself now that the same God was sovereign over it all. He carried us through the difficult times and filled our lives with blessings no matter what we were going through. Mostly I want to remember that no matter what else will change in the coming year, HE is the same.