She and her husband were in the clinic for an OB visit, the third time I've seen them for this pregnancy. She has been my patient basically since I started my intern year and I also take care of her son. Her life has changed dramatically in the time I've known her.
When she first started seeing me, she was single, had a new baby, and was fresh out of an inpatient drug treatment facility for pregnant women. She came to me for her postpartum depression. When her son needed his vaccines. When she inexplicably started losing weight, too much weight. I've been her doctor and have slowly come to know her. She trusts me now.
She has done remarkably well since those first days. She has stayed clean. Within the last year she has gotten married to a really nice guy who seems to adore her. And now she is pregnant. At our visit I was asking her something about her first pregnancy and what experiences she had. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "Dr. Tell, I was on drugs pretty bad during that pregnancy and I really don't remember." It's like she is experiencing pregnancy for the first time again. She is so excited every time she comes and we look at the baby. She loves hearing the heartbeat. Her husband also gets so excited to see the baby. This is probably the best part of my job - coming along side a patient and their excitement about their baby and helping keep both of them healthy.
I'm not exactly sure what happened to me the last week or so, but it's like a switch went off and I started sewing up a storm. First I decided I wanted to try to make Judah an Easter outfit. Generally speaking, I find sewing from patterns to be intimidating, but I braved it and got a couple of patterns to try. First, I used butterick 5510 to make a shirt. Although there was definitely some teeth-gnashing (especially after I accidentally trimmed through the sleeve and had to redo it, and then sewed the new sleeve on backwards...) I did actually finish a pretty nice-looking shirt.
One frustration I'm having is that I have a hard time figuring out what size to make. The shirt is a little big, but overall pretty good, so I don't think I'll be doing any more adjustments.
I also made Judah a new sun hat, since the last one I made definitely no longer fits his generously-sized noggin.
Next, I tackled burda 9932 to make a vest and bowtie. The pattern actually comes with a vest, bowtie, and shorts, but after making the vest I decided to do something different for the shorts. I found the burda instructions a little terse. I think there were like three steps on the vest directions. Eventually I figured it out, but I guess I prefer instructions with more pictures and descriptions, which is why I decided the shorts might be more complicated than they are worth. Plus I found this fantastic kid's pants tutorial and decided to do that instead. I gotta say - those pants are super easy. It took me maybe an hour start to finish. I ran into more sizing problems with the vest - I think it's too big for him to wear this year. I guess I need to measure him better. I'm still debating making another smaller vest. Since I have enough fabric and some more time before Easter, we'll see.... The bowtie I'm going to attach to a piece of elastic or ribbon. (Sorry for the bad photo, but I really wanted to post a photo tonight. On the plus side, I would like to point out the clothes are on the floor of my craft room and not a scrap, thread, or piece of clutter can be seen. Yep - I also cleaned the craft room today. It's been a productive couple of days....)
Finally, I've been doing a little birthday-party sewing. I made some bunting in the colors I'm using for the party. Not pictured here is the name pillow that Judah is getting as part of his gift.(Tutorial to come!)
I also finished Judah's birthday crown, which is something I'm hoping he will wear for years to come, both at his birthday and for pretending. There is elastic in the back so it will grow with him. Here's that tutorial.
All this sewing has gotten me even more excited to try some more things - I've got an old shirt of Jeff's that would be perfect to refashion using this tutorial into a shirt for Judah. I've also been hankering to try to make Judah a tie.... We'll see how that goes...
I'm working in the Edgefield ER again today, a shift I had (oops!) forgotten about until yesterday. Thankfully, Jeff is a real trooper and is taking care of Judah today, even though he's had a sort of stressful week that culminated yesterday when he took his oral comps for his Th.M. He, of course, passed with distinction.
1. Even though this is technically a job, it really feels more like a vacation. Since it's so slow, I can often get a nap in during the day. There is no laundry to be folded. No dishes to be put away. And I get paid.
2. The 50 minute drive between my house and the ER is beautiful. I realized again this morning how much I love a good drive through the country. Especially at Sunrise.
3. One of the oldest living people in the US lives in the county and is a semi-frequent visitor to the ER here. I learned that at one of my last shifts and ever since have been paranoid that she was going to come in when I'm working and die and then I'd forever be known as the doctor who killed her.
4. I did actually get to meet her today as she was getting some IV fluids. All I can say is she looks amazingly great for being over 110. I don't want to say her actual age so as not to violate HIPPA in case that could somehow identify her. Her daughter who must be over 80 was here with her and she could easily have passed for 70. They must have some good genes in that family.
5. I do miss the wee little hands grabbing my legs and the face that burrows into them.
Some recent nice weather has given us the chance to explore the back yard. I'm looking forward to many more days outside this spring and summer. A few days ago, we went out and Judah took the spatula with him. This face he's making is very much a face he makes a lot these days - where he kind of sucks air in his mouth and makes a little noise. I love it.
The spatula might actually be one of his favorite "toys," right up there with the car keys or one of the big rubber spoons we have in the kitchen. He can play with these things for an amazing amount of time. Much longer than he plays with one of his real toys.
If you look closely, you can see both the big tear on his cheek - Lucy had just knocked him over by running crazy in the yard - and the bruise on his other cheek.
Several people have asked me how he got the bruise. Honestly, I have no idea. I am constantly finding bruises on him that I have no recollection of him getting. Thus is life with a nearly-walking baby, I suppose. I had a patient come to see me today, a seven month old who had fallen off grandma's bed the other day. He had the biggest goose egg I've ever seen. I'm talking the size of a softball. There really wasn't anything to be done about it, as he had it for several days and was totally acting happy and normal. I could identify just a little with his mom, who was mortified at how bad it looked.
Here is something I am ashamed to admit. When I was a resident, I didn't really take the time or energy to learn the names of most of the nurses at our hospital. Honestly, I love nurses. My mom was a nurse. My sister-in-law is a nurse. I have many friends who are nurses. The nurses at our hospital are especially excellent and take really, really good care of my patients. But until I started my current job, I just never really tried to learn all their names.
I wish I had a good reason. I tell myself that it is because I was so overwhelmed trying to get my work done and keep up with my patients and learn how to be a good doctor that I just didn't have enough time or energy left over for anything else. Really, it's just because I didn't try. Because I didn't deem it important enough to make it a priority. Other residents would mention certain nurses by name and I almost never knew of whom they spoke. I cringe now when I think of it.
When I started my current job, I realized that I needed and wanted to know these nurses and their names. I wanted to have a face in my mind when I called them on the phone to ask about my patients. When I got a page telling me that my patient needed an additional medicine or was getting sicker, I wanted to know who was talking to me. It's easy to get annoyed at phone calls from nameless nobodies when I'm in the midst of doing something important, but much more difficult when there is a face and name attached. I tell myself that I became a doctor because I want to minister to those around me. How can I minister to someone if I don't even take the time to learn their name?
Since July, I have been on a mission to learn as many names as I can. I'm happy that it is slooowwly working. There are still many whose names I don't know, but the names of the nurses who work regularly and most of the secretaries I am finally learning. It is much easier to politely ask them to do something for me when I start my request by saying their name. I guess this is a priority I should make in other areas of my life - taking the time to learn the name of the barista who serves me coffee regularly or the neighbors I see walking their dogs every day or the person who checks me in when I go to the gym. God has placed these people around me, and how can I ever know why unless I learn who they are?
I am realizing that I need God's help to be in each moment of the days he has given me, not just rushing around from place to place always trying to think one step ahead.
This was a long but fun week that included an overnight call, helping a daddy (and good friend) deliver his sweet baby girl, and several days of a fussy and sick Judah. Thankfully, everyone is well now and I finished work early enough today to come home, take a nap, and then go to the park for play group.
It was also match day today, the day when all the US medical school students find out where they will be spending the next several years of training. We had a fairly low-key party to celebrate the ten excellent students we matched. Since I only work part time and am not a resident anymore, I felt very disconnected from the recruiting this year, and haven't even met everyone who is coming next year. It has been fun every year to see the newbies come in, so nervous and fresh, and then finish their year much more confident doctors.
I did think back to the day four years ago when we had our match day. It was an exciting day, and I'm still very thankful that the city listed on that piece of paper was Greenwood. Now I see even more clearly God's goodness in leading us here, and know that his goodness will continue to lead us as we look to the future.
Sometimes I get funny little notes from the nurses telling me the interesting requests patients sometimes have.
Here is today's:
"Pt. is requesting special shampoo for dry scalp. Pt. states selenium sulfide does not work. Pt. states he had another shampoo on another admit in a small white bottle with 1% on bottle. The shampoo was orange. Pharmacy did not know what it was. Pt. states smells like eggs."
So now I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what orange shampoo smells like eggs....
1. This weekend was the annualresident retreat. This year, though, I was not a resident. Thus there is no annual post highlighting a trip to the mountains. Instead, I had the pleasure of taking overnight intern call at the hospital on saturday night. I was at the hospital all night, taking outside calls and answering floor pages about our patients who need tylenol or had low calcium. Ah, the joy. I do not miss those days. Not one bit.
2. I also participated in a women's health event up at the church I grew up in where I got to be on an "expert" panel. I felt a little like an imposter - sitting on an expert panel. But I certainly have learned a LOT these last several years and it was fun sharing some of what I know to educate the community.
3. My dad actually flew me back to Greenwood last night and picked me up this morning so we could spend a little more time at their house. Going to call by airplane is infinitely cooler than going by car.
4. We did this so that we could finally take my sweet Judah baby to the church I grew up in. There are so many people who have prayed for me for a long time who have yet to meet him. (Such is life when you are married to a pastor and can't really go somewhere just for the weekend.) Sadly, he started having a fever on Saturday night and continued having one all day today. So no church for us. On the bright side, I was thankful for a chance to take my post call nap. And sick Judah is super snuggly. But also super fussy. Hopefully he'll be better tomorrow, when I go back to work.
Tonight it was the invitations. I really love how they turned out - I just printed them on to some cardstock and used a circle cutter to cut them out and glued them onto slightly larger circles of red card stock. I used a glass to trace the red lines onto the circles, and drew on the little stitches.
I cannot take credit for the little poem - I saw a pic somewhere online with it, but I can't find the link right now.
A few months ago, I made this butternut squash recipe for the first time. I have been remembering how good it tasted since then, and so tonight I decided to make it again. The first time I made it, Judah loved it, nearly inhaled it actually. I was hoping he'd be interested again since he has pretty much been eating mostly bananas and cottage cheese and bread since he first got sick. He didn't really go for it today (sigh) but I still loved it. As an aside, how am I supposed to get him to eat things he is not interested in? He will just push anything away that I try to get him to taste. If I do get something in his mouth, he just spits it out. I don't want every meal to be a battle, but I also do want him to eat veggies. He used to eat tons of peas and blueberries, but since he was sick he just won't touch them. I am perplexed. I feel like he used to be much better at eating a variety of food. I've been telling myself that it's probably just a stage. We did just discover that he also loves scrambled eggs (woohoo!), but I am cooking carrots, green beans, zucchini, and all sorts of things, but he basically just sticks to the carbs.
Most of the time, my favorite things to eat are those that are simply prepared with few ingredients. I have learned that recipes do not have to be complex to taste really good. This recipe definitely qualifies. Many thanks again to Mark Bittman.
2 T. Olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
Put these in the pain on medium high heat. When the garlic starts to brown add:
1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1in. cubes
1/4 c. chicken stock or water
salt and pepper to taste
Bring to a boil, cover and turn to low until the liquid is gone. Then uncover and let it cook until the squash is soft, about 10-15 more minutes.
Lying in bed last, I was pleasantly surprised as I was reading before falling asleep.
It seems I got another letter to the editor published in World magazine! I was actually totally surprised by this one - last time they let me know they were going to publish it. This time I was just surprised to see my name (and letter) in the letters to the editor section. Woohoo!
They must have been hard-up for letter this week....
Gretchen commented in my last post, asking if I was planning a birthday party for my boy. Unlike my normal, go-with-the-flow, last minute, seat of my pants kind of planning I normally do, I have actually been trying to do some party planning.
It's actually a little bit funny. Before I had Judah, the idea of a birthday party for a one year old seemed a little bit silly to me. Not that we shouldn't celebrate it, but that a one year old would need a party that one had to plan. Why would someone spend a lot of time and money planning something that their kid won't even remember? Just throw a party hat on the kid, let him rip into the cake, and snap a few photos. Easy peasy.
Then, of course, I had a baby. After the months of trying, praying, and waiting, he was finally here. And I realized that the party isn't really about him. I am so thankful and so happy to finally have my son that I find myself wanting to plan the biggest, funnest party I can to celebrate all those people who prayed right along with me, who felt our pain and sadness as the months ticked by, and rejoiced with us in our good news. I started looking online for cute ideas for birthday parties and found my creative side itching to make some adorable decorations.
Once you start looking around for kid's party ideas, let me tell you, things can get out of hand quickly. Letterpress invitations! Candy station table! Bunting! Water bottle with homemade labels! Prizes! I loved the look of this party, thinking that a baseball-themed party would be just about perfect for our baseball-loving family. The party could have easily involved 50 people, if we invited all our close friends, church friends, and family.
Then reality set it. First of all, we have a little boy who gets overwhelmed by loud noises. Having a house full of people in the afternoon, during what tends to be his crankiest time, could be the beginning of a disaster. Plus the fact that all those little things I wanted to get to make the party fun and adorable can add up quickly.
So where did I come down? Somewhere in the middle. We are definitely having a party. One that I'm planning, that will involve some sort of invitation (homemade), tasty homemade cupcakes, balloons, and a homemade birthday crown. But no ornate decorations or games or favors or personalized water bottles. I'm very excited that my parents and Jeff's mom will be there, and hopefully an aunt and uncle and some of our close friends, including some of the physicians who were there the day he was born - in the delivery room and doing Judah's newborn exam.
Jeff told me I could save up all my pent-up party planning energy for when he's 6.
Judah's mullet has slowly been getting longer and I finally decided something needed to be done. I waited a few weeks longer than I probably should have, because I thought maybe I should be more sentimental about his first haircut.
The truth is that I like for him to look like a little boy, and every time I saw the long hair hanging down past his ears all I could think about was how badly he needed a trim.
Thankfully, my mom came down on Saturday night since my dad is out of town and spent the night. (Yay for date night!) She has lot more hair-cutting experience than I do, so that was something on the agenda for her visit. Actually, anyone who has ever cut any hair has more experience than I do, but she's actually good at it.
I'm so thankful she helped because cutting the hair of a nearly one-year-old is at least a four-hand job. And since we also needed someone to take pictures, it was actually more like a 6 hand job. Some of the photos are a bit blurry, but I actually kind of like them that way. He was wiggling all over the place and I was constantly having to find some new trinket to amuse him.
He looks older to me now, more like a little boy, and less like a baby. I like it.
We got to hang out with Skylar again a few weeks ago while her mom was working. It was very different from that first time, when Judah was a glorified slug and basically just laid there. She climbed onto the chair, and he stood next to it, and laughed as she rocked it back and forth.
Then she showed him how to put the shaped blocks into the tub. Life-changing stuff, really.
It's fun how they almost seemed the same age now, though they are about 3 months apart. I guess in another 6 or 8 months they'll be even more similar.