Sunday, July 31, 2011

Re-entering reality.

You know it's been a great vacation when you get home and realize you have no idea what's going on in the news, you didn't wear most of the clothes you packed because you spent most of your time dressed in a swim suit and cover-up, and you go to download your photographs and discover you apparently took over 500 photos.

We had such a wonderful time doing a lot of nothing that it is going to be hard this week trying to get anything done. Jeff's big accomplishment of the week was, according to him, improving his chaco tan.

I don't think I have a big accomplishment of the week because I did a lot of nothing. Which was perfect.

 It was also nice just spending time with all my siblings and seeing my sweet nephews play with Judah. My brother's family has been living in Iowa for the last five years and finally (finally!!) have moved back to South Carolina. (And live less than an hour away!) We have missed having them close but this vacation was a wonderful chance to catch up and get excited about having them close again.

It was definitely sad that the week ended so quickly, but I am already looking forward to planning another one next year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sorry for the lack of posting, but .....

This is my current view.

The first annual Rampey family vacation.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

True Story.

Yesterday I had the unique experience of actually having to pause the patient history I was dictating because I could not get through it without laughing.

The patient I was admitting? He had swallowed four pencils. Whole. On purpose. And he was not 2, not 4, and not even 11 and doing a stupid dare. He was 22. Now we could actually only see two of them on the ct scan, so the actual number is somewhat debatable. I have a hard time imagining why someone would lie to say that they had swallowed more pencils than they actually had (bragging rights??), but since he came from the local detention center, who really knows.

I asked him why he ate them, and he told me that "someone made him really mad, and he got really upset, and grabbed the pencils, and didn't really think about it."


I later discovered that he actually has a history of ingesting things when he gets mad, including a box of gloves, a nail, and a bolt.

Sometimes I have a weird job.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I was reminded of a very important fact this week: No medical therapy is without risk.

I did a paracentesis a few days ago, a procedure I have done numerous times with no problems. This is something that is done when a patient has excess fluid floating around in their belly, a problem that most commonly arises when someone has a diseased liver. It is not a complicated procedure. I even had one of our ultrasound technicians come up to the patient's bedside and mark a spot where there seemed to be the most fluid.

When I did the procedure, I put the needle in, and normally, the fluid is a nice, clear yellow. Saturday, though, what I got out looked like, well, let's just say it looked like the kind of fluid you would find inside someone's bowels. Just to recap: putting a needle into someone's belly and getting out nice, clear fluid = good. Getting out something that looks like it came out of their bowels = you probably stuck the needle into their bowel = you perforated the patient's bowel = very bad. Because it wasn't clear to me yet what had happened, I got an xray and ct scan and watched the patient overnight. Then she had a fever. Then she had more pain.

The next morning, I just realized that I had to call a surgeon to tell him what had happened. I was so nervous that he was going to yell at me. But he didn't. He was exceedingly nice and gracious and didn't make me feel bad at all. He could tell I already felt bad, and like many people with whom I've discussed this issue, understands that sometimes these things happen. He took my patient to the OR, and didn't find any evidence of bowel damage (whew.).

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that the things we do can cause problems. Big problems. Even though I don't think I necessarily did anything wrong, there were several things I could have done better. I was in a rush that day, trying to get it done, and then having to rush down before the cafeteria closed to get lunch. Even something as routine as a paracentesis should not be rushed. I ended up leaving the patient in between doing the ultrasound and the paracentesis, so something probably moved into that nice pocket of fluid I had seen earlier. I will never do that again. In fact, I learned that our radiology department actually has a special ultrasound probe specially designed to do procedures, and so I can actually do the whole thing watching with ultrasound guidance. That will be my plan from now on.

I hate that bad outcomes have to happen for me to learn, but hopefully I will remember with everything I do that no treatment is totally benign.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

LASEK update, part 2.

I am now just over 1 week out from surgery, and I can say easily that I have enjoyed waking up every day and getting out of bed and being able to immediately see well. It really is a little crazy to me that I haven't needed glasses or contacts at all and am seeing well! I have had to wear contacts to be able to function since I was in 8th or 9th grade, so this is a big change for me. I think I'll enjoy it even more when I'm at the beach in a few weeks and the next time I go water-skiing.

I am definitely still having some dryness (a common side effect), but I'd say my vision is about 95% of what it was with contacts prior to surgery.  My left eye, which was worse before, is still a little worse, but the doctor expects it to catch up within the next few days. They did the laser a slightly different way on that eye which slowed down the healing a little bit. He also said that since every 7 days the cells covering the eye regenerate, that my vision should continue to improve over the next few weeks. My next check up is the first week of August, so it will be interesting to see how my vision is then. At my last visit this past Monday, my right eye was already almost 20/20.

So that's the scoop for now. If anyone has any questions about my experience, just shoot me an email. aubreytell at yahoo dot com!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The great iPhone dump.

Even though my iphone pictures are not quite as nice as the ones I take with my regular camera, I do love its portability. Often as we're out and about I'll just snap pictures of what we're doing, and maybe post them on facebook or text them to one of the grandmothers. I was realizing I had some fun ones that hadn't been posted here yet and so decided to get them all onto the blog in one fell swoop. So here is a quick visual summary of what we've been doing lately:

1. Judah loves ice cream. And especially ice cream cones.

2. My mom grows the most beautiful hydrangeas.

3. Judah looks really cute in the hooded towel I made him. And he's learning how much he loves the pool.

4. The eye doctor gave me some goggles to wear in my sleep. They made me look awesome.

5. A cool moth came to visit our garage.

6. And the video version:
Judah's favorite new toy? The broom. He could walk around holding it and pounding it for a long time. I might let him, too, but the long handle can be dangerous.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

An update.

I was chatting with my cousin, Marian, yesterday (along with lots of other friends and acquaintances) and we were catching up and I realized that I hadn't really posted an update about our life. I mean, I've blogged about vacation and cute Judah pictures and infertility, but nothing about what is going on with our family since last summer.

The short version, I guess, is that things are about the same. Jeff is still not preaching anywhere. I am still working part time. Judah is still growing.

The longer version goes something like this:
Jeff spent much of this past year focusing on finishing his Th.M. - which he successfully defended (with honors - he's my husband so I can brag) at the end of June. The last 4 months or so, he's also been much more active on the job hunt. Unfortunately, it's sort of a bad time to be looking for a pastoral job. With the economy the way it is, churches aren't hiring additional staff and so there are more people looking for jobs than there are job available. But Jeff has been diligent to chase down leads and talk to lots of friends and acquaintances in the denomination to see if anyone else has any suggestions. Although we'd love to be near family, we are applying to lots of jobs all over. I am trying not to be afraid about the possibility of moving far away.

We are still going to our same church. I have continued to be incredibly proud of Jeff as he faithfully and gracefully continues to serve our church in ways that do not include preaching. He is essentially leading the pastoral search committee. We are hopeful that the committee will find a wonderful man to continue to minister at Liberty Springs, and are excited about the person who is currently doing pulpit supply.

We are in sort of a holding pattern, I guess, waiting to see what God has for us next. We are thankful that I have a great job and can continue working there until we need to go somewhere else.

I do not know what our next step will be, but God is here, beside us in the uncertainty, and we are excited to see his plan unfold!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I've been holding out on you...

So I totally took this picture a few weeks ago, but didn't post it until now. Sorry. One of my favorite Judah pictures I've ever taken. But here it is. I love this boy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Two dear, dear friends lost their little boy this weekend.

Before I had Judah, I knew, mentally, that losing a child was an awful, terrible thing. Suddenly, though, the thought of it is overwhelming. I say "little boy" even though he was 27 - a man really, not a boy. But to lose the one whose little fingers grasped your thumb when he came home from the hospital. Whom you rocked and nursed in the quiet, dark hours of the morning. Whose giggles, smiles, and laughs made your day. Who learned to walk holding onto your finger. Whom you watched eat ice cream and corn on the cob for the first time. Who fell asleep snuggled on your shoulder:

This one will always be your little boy.

My heart breaks.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

48 hours later

Well, it's been a long 48 hours. The surgery went well, according to the eye surgeon. The worst part of the whole thing was actually when they took the sterile drapes off at the end: drapes that were stuck to my face sort of like a bandaid.  My vision is still fairly blurry, which is normal after the procedure, although I was sort of hoping to be more functional by now.Mostly I've just wanted to lay around with my eyes closed the last two days. Even though my vision is blurry now, I can definitely tell it's going to be much better soon.

Thanks for the prayers!  I'm hoping to be a little more functional by tomorrow, but we'll see....

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Here's to better vision!

Hopefully, today will be my last day ever wearing glasses or contacts! Tomorrow morning I go for LASEK surgery. I am looking forward to no longer needing anything besides my eyes to see. If you think of it, please say a little prayer - this is a very routine, very straightforward procedure, and I'm not really nervous, but still - these are my eyes. The only two I get.

I have been thinking about doing this for a long time, but finally got fed up with wearing glasses and contacts earlier this year. As an active person, sometimes the contacts just slowed me down. And my vision is bad enough that I have to wear something all the time. If I want to function. When my seasonal allergies get really bad, I have a lot of eye symptoms, which are only made worse by wearing contacts. Most likely, in 10 or so years, I'll still need reading glasses, but I feel like that will not be nearly as annoying as needing to wear something all the time.

The procedure I'm having done is called LASEK, which is not the same as LASIK. In LASIK, they actually cut a small flap of your cornea, lift it up, and reshape underneath. In LASEK, they just move the cell layer on top of the cornea and then reshape the top of your cornea. This way has a longer recovery and more pain but fewer long term complications, which is why I decided to go that way. Plus the cornea specialist I went to recommended it.

I'm not sure what I'll feel up to doing over the next few days, but hopefully I'll be back here in a day or two to let you all know how it went. Being a patient when you are a doctor is always an interesting experience....

Monday, July 04, 2011

My new favorite thing to sew

Even though I still make lots of baby shoes, I have a new favorite baby gift. Obviously, this one only works for a girl, but it comes together super quick and with not very much fabric. I think this might be the cutest thing I've sewn in a long time. I also think that I really need a daughter to sew for one day.

Dress tutorial found here.
Diaper cover here.

Other fun tutorials I've used lately: (Sorry, I haven't taken a picture of them, but trust me when I say they turned out well)
Tote bag - This is a super easy project that ANYONE could do - actually it would be a fantastic project for someone new to sewing who might be afraid to try something. I also like it because although I normally line my bags, when you use a heavier weight fabric you really don't need to. An unlined bag comes together really fast, and even faster when you just buy the pre-made woven webbing to use for handles. As I have a bunch of decorator weight fabric lying around, I'm going to make another batch of these bag really soon.

Pillowcase bag - Another quick project to make from an old pillowcase. If you want a better explanation of martha's somewhat terse directions, check out this website that has included more pictures.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


A couple of weeks ago our residency program had its annual end-of-the-year barbecue and skit night. It's a fun time for visiting with families, celebrating the graduates, and getting a good laugh as all the classes perform skits to roast the other classes. It's a good time.

Except when it isn't. I remember so vividly two years ago the overwhelming feeling of sorrow as I walked up to the party. Honestly, I nearly told Jeff to turn around and just take me home. These parties, you see, are filled with babies and small children and big pregnant bellies because nearly everyone who is involved in our program either has a big family or is working on it.

When I think back to the very beginning of our struggle to get pregnant, part of what was so hard was that I felt alone. Of course, if I had let others in to our struggles sooner, I would have quickly discovered that I was not. But maybe part of why it was so hard to open up was that I didn't hear lots of other women openly talking about their struggles. I have often felt that being infertile gets you admittance to a club, but unfortunately sometimes it's a top-secret, private club with an ultra-secret handshake that everyone is ashamed to be in and no one wants to talk about. Why is it that only once you can "come clean" about your infertility do you suddenly find yourself meeting lots of other women who have been there?

After I got my plate of food the other week, Judah and I sat down on a blanket with two friends: one of my residency classmates with whom I now work, Christy, and the wife of a graduating resident, Sara. As we were eating, I was struck because both of these women also struggle with infertility. Christy also used IUI to conceive her son, and Sara  has attempted IUI several times unsuccessfully. It's almost like we had planned an actual meeting of the infertile club right there on that plaid fleece blanket, in a sea of the uber-fertile. As we ate and chatted, Sara's Grandfather-in-law came over and made a comment to Sara, gesturing at Judah and Christy's son, Cayden, pointing out how many kids were around and how she should have a child. In that moment my heart just hurt for her. And for me. And for Christy and all those women who have this struggle. Sara, without a trace of bitterness, assured him that she "was working on it." Christy squeezed Sara's knee. I talked about how I used to hate these parties. I was glad we were there together.

I thought about all this again when I went to a wedding last weekend and ran into my middle school history teacher (small world, huh?). As we were catching up, she talked about how thankful she was that God called her into teaching. "I was never able to have kids," she told me, "but as a teacher God made me feel like I did." She just openly volunteered that information. We were basically just making small talk and even though I can imagine the months and years of pain contained in that single sentence, she just freely told me. I was able to tell her a little of our struggles and even in that brief interaction, I was encouraged. I am not alone in this. Even if we never have any more children, God is still good.

That kind of openness is what we need more of in the church. Women who can bring up the pain that God has redeemed in their lives freely and easily and in such a way that those who are entering the same hard path will have a light to follow.

I hope I get there one day.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


So I'm not sure where the week went. I posted on Tuesday and then blip.... now it's Saturday and I haven't posted anything since.

I guess I do know where the week went - four days of working, one day of recovery, 5 pairs of baby shoes sewn (I have a rather fertile group of friends), and several loads of laundry folded.

Jeff successfully defended his Th.M. thesis this week - and passed with distinction. I am so proud of him. He has been working on this paper for months and months and now is completely finished. We went out to our local brick oven pizza place for the first time to celebrate. Then we went and got ice cream at Bruster's. Apparently they give a free mini ice cream cone to all kids under 40" tall. (With free sprinkles and candy eyes!)  Judah very quickly figured out what to do with it and ended up with an adorable chocolate ice cream goatee.

So goes our summer...