Sunday, December 23, 2012

Delayed light

Solstice has come and gone.  For me, this is the spiritual part of the winter holiday season.

I am Unitarian.  Growing up, we always had secular Christmas, which meant family and food and decorations and pagan symbolism everywhere.  And as I've started older (our family grays early...I state that I am indeed getting older based on the number of grays I have to dye at age 29), Solstice is what rings as my spiritual core.  If I miss celebrating/acknowledging it, I feel empty.  And if I do it justice, I feel good.

This year, my yoga studio had a candle-lit yoga session with live music and chanting.  We did sun salutation modifications aplenty and set intentions for light and hope and growth.  And, it may sound silly, but in that practice I met two of my yoga goals of 2012: to hold crow pose for a substantial amount of time and to be flexible enough to do my downward dog with flat feet.  Light indeed.

Don't get me wrong, Christmas is not about yoga and candles.  It is about a Christmas Eve walk to look at the lights (except my neighborhood now is way to posh and boring with regards to lights) and Silver Packages readings and stockings for everyone.  I buy bagels and lox, because apparently I believe that is what one should eat on Christmas morning?  My husband has learned that I am happier with a tree, and he has started pressuring me to get one earlier and earlier in the season.  And I top my tree with an owl, because I am a dirty pagan at heart.  He has also learned that I Despise malls during this time and has volunteered to go get what we need there tomorrow (a yankee swap gift).  Yes.  Be jealous.

It has been three years since I've been with my parents and family in Minnesota for Christmas, and I ache for it.  And next year I will be a junior fellow with no clout whatsoever.  So I shall call and skype and make chosen family.  On Christmas Day I will join fellow residents in eating decadent food and lighting candles.

Because candles are light, and light is hope.  And even one candle can keep the darkness from being complete.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Votes for Women!

Today, after a 14 hour shift at the hospital, I drove home (past my house and warm bed with husband in situ)  and stood in line for an hour to vote.  There were many other individuals with me.  Presumably, they were getting frustrated with the delay because they had somewhere to be, not because they got 4 hours of sleep yesterday and were itching to get more.  One gentleman decided to tell the poll workers that they clearly weren't doing their job right.  The woman beside me kept telling the air space surrounding her that she was thinking of cutting the line.

Um...What do you think voting is?  And what do you know of the history of voting?  I know you're annoyed that you had to spend some time in the 34 degree chill in your NorthFace jacket, but this is not really suffering for your rights.  I'm sorry this voting establishment in the yuppie intelligentsia side of town isn't big enough or climate controlled or churning out lattes while you wait.

But I had my knitting.  And as I stood in line I focused on the construction of fabric instead of the irritated young woman beside me.  Although, I was tempted to fire back when she said (after 25 minutes), "Oh my god...we're still waiting.  This. Is. The. Worst."  I wanted to say, No.  No, it is not.  Last night I delivered a 25 week baby (breech en-caul) through a uterine incision that will make it very dangerous for her to labor again.  And gave blood to a woman whose body is simply unable to keep up with her needs to make the cells and factors that make blood clot and not simply pour out of you.  It is that last woman I'm trying to push from my mind so I can sleep.  I fight the urge to keep checking her progress and her labs and her CT read today.

That is the worst.  Waiting in line to vote?  That is a privilege, a right, and a personal responsibility.

Minnesota voters: it is you I look to today.  Please validate the same sex couples of your and other states and Vote No.  You are better than that, and I expect the best of you.  Make me proud.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Paradise it has a name

I am going to Utah.

In 7 months, I will drive the 38 hours almost across the country and start measuring addresses by their distance from the Temple.  Yes.  That Temple.

And I will know not a soul for miles and miles.

My husband will be in Philadelphia (probably with our cats, because we all know that if I take the cats he'll just get...more cats) and I will be in Salt Lake City.  And with our frequent flier miles we will go to Fiji at the end of this endeavor.

We are both happy with our fellowships.  Maternal Fetal Medicine at Utah is a dream fellowship, arguably the best in the country, depending on whom you ask.  I wanted it, badly, and I got it because I'm good and I know the right people, and one of the guys there is from Minnesota and went to St. Olaf and has a combination of Buddhist and German Philosophie quotes in his office.  And when I was there I went to the Red Butte Gardens and had a blissful nap on a bench (like drifter) and went to Red Iguana for one of the best Mexican meals I've had in a long time.  And the airport has free wireless and good restaurants.  And the lack of humidity means my hair was so smooth and easy to blow dry.

Brandon gets to do the prestigious health policy research fellowship he's always wanted.  And that is right for him.

I know I will be happy, in part because I am the sort of person who is happy, but I am scared too.  Scared because I will know no one.  Scared because I will be hours from my husband.  And scared because I matched to (arguably) the best program in the country and now I need to prove to them that they didn't make a mistake.

The have a yarn store and a Unitarian church.  If I can find somewhere with good Zumba and good yoga, I can make do with anything.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Part of that world

Yesterday I learned that the labor nurses have a nickname for me.

When I first heard this, I thought, "Yikes. Nothing good comes from this." What was it? I thought I had really good rapport with them, at least with the day team whom I've really enjoyed working with this year. Was it something mean? Patronizing? Something to put me in my place, take the resident down? I had not seen this coming.

Turns out, it was none of the above.

You see, they have started referring to me as "Ariel." A few months ago I died my hair red (the goal was Addison Shepherd red...this also works as Ariel red). And on the labor floor I wear green snakeskin (?fishscale) Dansko clogs. Thus...Ariel. And, to quote Donna, the labor nurse who told me about my new name, "because I'm so sweet." Awwwwww!

I'll definitely take that. And I don't think the seashell bra would really be appropriate on the labor floor.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Can I just say, it's really, really awesome when a patient wants to take a picture of you holding her newborn before she goes home from the hospital? I delivered her baby and tied her tubes, and she couldn't be happier. This is a truly amazing job.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Glycemic control

Sometimes I feel like a small child on call. For example, when I look back on the night and realize my PO intake consisted primarily of:

-apple juice (from the labor floor juice machine "for patients only")
-graham crackers (from the ER cracker box - saltines or graham, take your pick)
-peanut butter M&Ms (from the triage nurse who said I "look like I need some food")

Good thing I'm not diabetic. Oh, yeah, I also had french fries for lunch. Because I got down to the cafeteria after the "real food" was finished, and I had the forethought to realize that a salad just was not going to cut it. One of the silver linings of calls like last night is you feel totally justified in the amount of junk you eat. M&Ms and all, I still didn't get enough calories to make up for a) my basal requirements or b) my running around like a crazy woman. I need to hire someone to spoon feed me mac and cheese while I write notes or I'm going to whither away.

In other career news, I start my first day of my first Maternal-Fetal Medicine rotation tomorrow. I'm so nervous. More nervous than I've been for a long time. It's like a first date with someone I really, really like. Is this going to work? Is this for me? Could we make a go of it for the long haul? What should I wear? (Cough...I may have ordered fancy new scrub caps in hopes of wearing them on this rotation...oh, yeah...) The more I learn about MFM, the more I think it might be what I want to do with my life. It's complex and dramatic and can see why I might like it. It's about thinking like a medicine doc and cutting like a trauma surgeon. It's about saving lives - two at a time (sometimes three or four at a time). It's about being the resource for patients whose babies you cannot save. And, unlike what my med school MFM department led me to believe, it is NOT just about diabetes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Local cuisine

I don't think I've stated it on this blog before, but I have a complicated relationship with food. Namely, I think about where it comes from and how it was grown/raised. I also love it and am a total food snob in a lot of annoying ways. Lots of reading and discussing has led me to a place where my "food rules" are as follows:

-I only eat meat (includes poultry and four legged creatures) if I can confirm it was raised in a humane way, i.e. running around in the grass and killed in a so-called humane slaughterhouse. (I've done a significant amount of time as a vegetarian and 1 year as a vegan, so I've played the spectrum.)
-I eat fish. I don't eat the "bad" fish if I can help it. I consult these people to get an idea of what is okay and what is not. However: if I'm on call and starving for a protein source, I'm flexible.
-I buy free range/no antibiotics eggs, preferably from the farmer's market looking the farmer in the eye. At work, I eat any egg. I believe that this compromise makes me a happier resident (see also: well fed).
-I'm doing my best to decrease high fructose corn syrup. I don't think it's evil, per se, but the more I read, the more I'm convinced that it isn't doing anyone any favors.

Tonight for dinner, I made rice, Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, Ledge Ends CSA swiss chard with tomatoes, topped with farmer's market eggs. I'm pleased. And well fed. And also becoming more and more like my mother everyday (I'm pleased with that too).