Sunday, January 24, 2010

Food...yum yum

Lately, I've been having a lot of fun mixing up some great concoctions in the kitchen. Although my rotation is pretty exhausting, the hours aren't too long, which means most nights I can come home and make dinner at a decent time. I tend to get bored with certain foods pretty quickly so I've been trying a lot of new recipes. Take tonight, for instance. I made homemade split pea soup and cheddar biscuits from scratch (with help from an Ina Garten recipe). Both were quite successful! The biscuits were a little on the salty side, so next time I'll cut back a little on the salt or cheese, but they were so easy to make and super yummy. Click here for the recipe. Last night I made Brinner - aka breakfast for dinner - waffles, eggs and turkey bacon. The waffles were made with the Golden Malted flour from Williams-Sonoma and were the best waffles I've ever made! I've learned that the key to fluffy pancakes and crispy waffles is separating the eggs, beating the egg whites until nice and airy, then folding them into the rest of the batter just before cooking. Corey and I love breakfast foods, but never make breakfast because I'm just not a morning person. We decided to start our own tradition of making Brinner every weekend - I'm excited to find and try a bunch of breakfast recipes!

Other yummy things I've made lately include herb-crusted pork tenderloin with roasted butter potatoes, ground turkey enchiladas, steak marinated in soy sauce & garlic with sticky white rice, chocolate chip pancakes, cranberry muffins (sooo yummy!), turkey chili, pizza bread, beef & barley soup, mint chocolate chip cookies....and the list will just keep growing. Sure, I've had some flops, but not too many, thankfully! And Corey has been great about trying everything I've made :) If anyone has any favorite recipes they want to share with me that would be awesome! I've found a couple blogs of people who cook then post their recipes and pictures, so I've had lots of fun reading those. I've only tried one recipe from them, but plan on trying lots more. Only problem is many of their recipes are baked things, and I'm trying to cut back on the sweets, so it will take me a long time to try every recipe I'd like. I'll get there though!

Thankfully we just received the treadmill we ordered after Christmas (using money we received from the in-laws and money Corey's company gives to employees to spend on fitness equipment or a gym membership). Our goal Saturday was to assemble it in our guest bedroom/office. It took a couple hours, some arguing and frustration and a couple curse words, but we were successful! We also set up a TV Corey was able to get using some credits from his company to watch while working out. Both of us worked out on it today and are pretty pleased with the machine! So now despite this cooking I plan to do, maybe I'll not only not gain weight, but hopefully lose some (as I have managed to pack on more pounds than I like in PA school).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thoughts on Surgery

I've completed 2 weeks of my surgery rotation which means I'm 1/4 of the way through and I'm still loving it! Most of the past week has been spent doing ortho cases with a few general cases sprinkled in between. Thus far I've scrubbed in on total knee replacements, total hip replacements, a partial knee replacement, an ACL repair, a rotator cuff repair, a open reduction and fixation (ORIF) of a tibia fracture, just to name the ortho cases! I have also scrubbed in on a few hernia repairs, a mastectomy with lymph node biopsy and excision, a breast implant exchange, a laparascopic cholecystectomy and a nephrectomy. I've done more on some cases than others - like doing some drilling or hammering on the ortho cases, stapling or suturing some cases and others just holding retractors or sucking smoke out of the operative field (the smoke is caused by a tool that cuts and cauterizes tissue). I was even put on a case this past week as a first assist (no other PA with me, just the plastic surgeon and I) and was complemented by the surgeon. He even let me do some sutures on the breast implant exchange and told me I did a "respectable job." I'll take it!

Things I've determined in my time in the OR:
1. Plastic surgeons are by far the nicest and most charismatic surgeons I've come across thus far (with the ortho guys coming in second)
2. I haven't gotten used to the smell of burning flesh
3. Total joint replacements are cool to see the first few times around, but can get a little old after that
4. I need more upper body strength to be an ortho PA (Lots of lifting, holding, manipulating legs when the patients are practically dead weight)
5. Scrub techs/nurses don't trust students and won't ever trust students - but I don't blame them, I'm sure they've had many a student contaminate themselves or the field!
6. There are a lot of egos that must be stroked while working in the OR including, but not limited to, the surgeons, the scrub techs/nurses, the anesthesiologists and the reps from various biomedical supply companies
7. Bone bleeds a lot when cut/sawed
8. Ortho and plastics guys are fanatics about preventing infection (kudos to them!)
9. Some people love working with students and others would prefer to never see them in their workplace. How to handle those who don't like me? Smile and kill them with kindness :)
10. I find surgery fun and interesting because its something new everyday - will I still like it in 6 weeks? We'll see!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hello 2010!

Lots has happened since my last post!

First, Corey and I headed down to Hilton Head, SC to spend New Year's with Adrienne and Shane (Corey's sis and her husband). After a scare that Corey might miss his connecting flight and not make it back to NC, we jumped in the car and made great time on our drive farther South. We had a ton of fun with Adrienne and Shane - Adrienne and I spent some time shopping at the outlet malls while Corey and Shane watched football and drank beer. On New Year's Eve we had a GREAT dinner at a really cute restaurant then went to a bar for some drinks. It was pretty crowded and not too fun so we walked the few minutes back to condo and finished off the night there. I may have had a little too much fun that night and definitely paid for it the next day. We spent most of New Year's Day sleeping, lying around, reading and watching some football. We finally made it out that night for some dinner. Unfortunately we had to leave the next day, so after packing up and having a late breakfast, Corey, Lacey and I headed back to VA. When we left Hilton Head it was a very comfortable morning in the 50's, when we reached VA the wind chill was 4 degrees! Made us want to turn around and head south again! We had a day to relax, run errands and prepare to go back to work.

On Monday I started my 8-week surgery rotation. I was pretty nervous about it because I didn't think I would really like surgery. Although I found neurosurgery to be very interesting, I often found that I did not like the environment of the OR. Since starting though, I've enjoyed it greatly! The other PA's that I'm working with have been super nice and helpful and the surgeons aren't too bad! Actually the second PA I met my first day is a Boise State Alum and, knowing I was a TCU alum, he greeted me by showing me his Boise State scrub cap. My first day was just orientation with learning to scrub (despite me already knowing all this) and learning different kinds of sutures and knot tying. The second day I scrubbed into four orthopedic surgeries and LOVED it! I got to drill a hole into a guy's knee for an ACL repair - awesome!!! I also scrubbed in for a total knee replacement - also a cool surgery. It is pretty brutal because they literally open up the entire front of the knee from the thigh down to the mid shin and then cut into various things and shave away a ton of bone from the femur and the tibia. There is literally bone dust and pieces flying all over the place :) The next day I scrubbed in on a really cool case which involved a new procedure for closing hernias. It was a long case, but crazy interesting. One of the surgeons was super cranking and mean to me, but it was mean to everyone in the surgery so I didn't take it personally. Funny thing - I was scrubbed in on a case with him this morning and he was so nice! He even thanked me and complemented me - he's an odd little old guy, but very cute. Tomorrow I'll be scrubbing in on a mastectomy and reconstruction which will have special meaning for me because of my mom's current fight with breast cancer. (Luckily her cancer was caught early enough that she did not need a full mastectomy)

We are looking forward to what 2010 has in store for us because there is a lot up ahead for our family. We have several weddings to attend, including Corey's best friend, Corey's step-brother, and some college friends. Also, our best man from our wedding just proposed to his girlfriend so they might be getting married this year too! We are also expecting a new niece this year (due in March) and will be celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary. Soon Corey will start to look for jobs back in TX, I'm hoping to get a final rotation in TX and then before we know it I'll be graduating (in August), and we'll be moving back to TX - woohoo! Then it will be time to get a job, take my certifying exam, travel to Europe, and, finally, start a real job with a real paycheck! And I'm sure there's lots more I'm not even thinking of! Like I said, we are very excited for all that will be happening this year :)