Friday, October 31, 2008


Kate hands Dylan a ponytail holder

Dylan: Pocket?

Kate: No, you don't have any pockets today. Largely because you insisted on wearing pajamas.

D: Okay.

**Shoves ponytail holder in belly button and walks away.**


My mom, on speakerphone, yesterday: Do you guys want me to stock up on anything for dinner tomorrow?

Aaron: Yes, eggs.

Kate: And toilet paper.

MM: But I have eggs and toilet paper!

**snickering from K & A**

A: Perhaps a crowbar then? Or that flamethrower I've had my eye on?


I finished my test this morning. Yesterday they told us that if you don't walk away feeling like you failed then something is wrong. So! I'm right on target! But done. It is not that much of a relief due to: the 200 messages in the my inbox, the enormous pile of papers and associated debris in the dining room, the trip to Ithaca we are packing for, the as yet not quite finished dissertation...you get the idea. But! Done.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blogging instead of studying

I came home today to the smells of Aaron having cooked roasted vegetables, garlic, and couscous for dinner and Dylan happily sitting and eating. I'm going to have to take off for days on end more often.


One of the anesthesiologists was playing with his new iPhone and took this really cool picture of me stitching up someone's incision after surgery. He said he would e-mail it to me, but apparently he hasn't gotten that far in the manual yet because I never got it. So let us all take a moment to visualize a cool picture of me in full scrub regalia.

Almost there...

But in the meantime, here's an article about refugee health care in the Democrat and Chronicle. I worked with just about every one of the people mentioned here during my dissertation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Further adventures in dumb things I have done this month

I have to pay $1.50 for parking each day, so I handed the attendant a $1, and then a $5 to cover the other 50 cents.


"So you're from Ithaca...how did you come to Rochester?"

"Up 89 or 96." Really? Does he really want to know that?

"No, what brings you to Rochester."



Surgeons do not like uncertainty in response to their questions. They also do not like it if you say "I don't know." Which leaves me no choice other than a blank stare, with blinking, in response to most questions. They actually don't seem to mind that as much.


One of the residents I am working with is really nice, and he figured out that I had slipped out of the operating room tonight to go say goodnight to Dylan. When I got back he loudly told me that I had to go home since I had been on call overnight last night, even though he knew I had not actually had to come in or had my sleep interrupted in any way. I got home in time to put her to bed, so I sent him this to say thanks.


9 more days.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


ed note: aaron has seized control in my absence in a bloodless coup

For the weekends that kate has been doing surgery she has been getting home at around 10 in the morning. Yesterday was going to be different because she was on call yesterday. I thought that she would be home by noon, but with a possibility that she could be home as late as 2 in the afternoon. I think that she got home at 11 last night. I can't be sure because I went to sleep before she got home, and woke up this morning after she left. (I know I know, I'm not pulling my weight around here sleeping all the time - 8 hours a night.) So yesterday, a weekend, and what I had counted on being a short day of surgery for Kate, she worked for 17 hours.

There are many milestones in a child's life, and Kate has been present for all of them so far. Like Dylan's first smile or steps or word or the time that she said her uncle had poopy pants, but yesterday Kate missed her daughter's first chocolate croissant. I think that makes the 17 hour days harder when she misses such important moments in her child's life. I also don't think it helps that the c. c. was intended for Kate. At least I had gotten a picture of the event:

Kate and Dylan have been leaving each other videos on my computer. They make Dylan really happy to watch. Here is one from Kate and Dylan for Dylan:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Surgery: Day 17

I am grudgingly starting to enjoy myself. All those years of video games paid off when I got to control the camera during a colonoscopy yesterday. And I have been stapling and suturing various things to various other things and there is starting to be a little bit of knowledge that has been stuffed into my head, although it tends to leak out rather quickly. I think I am also doing better because I am not so anxious and disoriented. Also, I only have two more weeks left of this rotation. Also, I had no idea how many people need their gallbladders out, all day every day.

There is a lot of teaching by the socratic method (def: allowing me to make a fool out of myself at great length), which is actually a nice way to learn if you can get over being wrong (confidently!) all the time, but I think one of the surgeons has gone a little overboard as he spent the day grilling me about state capitals (hint: bismarck. also: south carolina is the palmetto state).

Aaron and Dylan are muddling along without me, although Dylan now turns into a clingy mess when she does get her mitts on me. It took me two hours to get her to bed last night, I think because she just wanted to be with me instead of going to sleep. When I'm not around she's totally fine though, so I'm not really worried about her (except for a slight increase in grumpiness; aaron gave her a big smile when he got her out of bed yesterday and she glared and pointed at him and yelled NO).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

my "next post"

I've been told I am 1) a downer and 2) not posting enough pictures. So I will give you a break, but only for today.

First, a story from Uncle Tommy, who is at College.
He walked into the dining hall, excited about Taco Day. He gathered his meal, plopped down next to a friend, and excitedly exclaimed, "Tacos, Eh?" (also, he's Canadian now). His friend is not usually a big talker, but he did think it odd when the friend said absolutely nothing in response. He sat there for a few more minutes, looked up, and realized it was a guy he didn't know at all. At which point Tommy silently got up and walked away.

Second, I told Dylan yesterday that we needed to check to see how cold it was outside to know whether we needed sweatshirts. She immediately ran out of the kitchen with great purpose and triumphantly came back with the thermometer we use when she's sick. Nice try, kid.

And finally, a couple of pictures I call When Bear Bear Gets Washed

Saturday, October 11, 2008

20 more days

Not that I'm counting. This week was hard. I didn't see Dylan for three days and I was feeling generally incompetent for much of the week. A friend suggested a cheer leading session to psych myself up at the beginning of the day. So I suggested that it would be more helpful if I could call her for a cheer leading session when I got up at 5:00am, but she demurred. I decided yesterday that I would just be more confident in the absence of any increase in skill or knowledge, and that actually did help. Part of the problem is that there is not much a medical student can do to be helpful during a surgery ("here, let me take that scalpel, I'm sure I would have an easier time figuring out what this ominous looking mass in this gentleman's abdomen is") so it's not always obvious to anyone what our role should be.


On an unrelated note, have you seen this blog? Awesome.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

hey, maybe that was what all that honking was about.

I have not seen the light of day since Sunday.

This morning I drove to work, on the highway, with my sneakers on the roof of the car. After a twenty minute search for my sneakers before leaving.

I'm not sure I'm functioning at full capacity here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Still alive and kicking...well, not really kicking, mostly standing in the operating room

My surgery rotation is going reasonably well, except for a nagging feeling of not knowing very much no matter how much I read. I've gotten to see a lot of surgeries already, and everyone I'm working with has been really nice. Mentally, it's actually just like when Dylan was really little. I don't have any control over what happens to my day, I'm tired most of the time, and I never know when I'm going to be able to eat or sleep or sit down or what I'll be able to get done in a given day. This makes for a rather anxious Kate, but I'm starting to relax and get a handle on it. I guess the main difference in this scenario is that I also don't know when I will see the actual child. She's doing fine though and I got to spend almost all weekend with her.


Dylan's old buddies Kate and Annabelle were in town for a day this weekend. She hasn't seen them since May, which is a good chunk of her life, but I'm pretty sure she remembered them. Dylan has a gig as a flower girl at Kate's wedding next month so we wrassled her into the dress, which was a lot of cute in one place.


Delayed thanks to Juliet for the award! I'm too scattered at the moment to pass it on, but I do appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Checking in

So far surgery is going reasonably well. I've watched a lot of mucking around in people's abdomens, which doesn't seem to phase me. I guess there used to be a pig lab where students got to remove the still-beating heart of an anesthetized pig, but we don't do that anymore. Something about PETA. The standing and standing and standing for ungodly numbers of hours is really hard, and I still feel like my functional knowledge is way less than it should be, and I'm in a different hospital than usual so I'm again totally disoriented. But this is a pretty interesting thing to be doing, so I'm trying to get as much out of it as I can. Oh, and they have a lot of fancy retracting devices, so the traditional med student role has been preempted. My hours so far this week have actually been reasonable, but I think that was sort of a fluke. The household seems to be muddling along okay without my micromanagement. I've been leaving videos for Dylan in the mornings and evenings for when I'm not around. She's still puttering around saying DYLAN HAPPY though, so she's doing okay.