Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Corey

Two years ago today we were married in front of family and friends. We promised to honor and love each other. Little did I know that day what the future would hold for us. Over the last 2 years you have been more than I could have ever expected or asked for. From helping me through the most stressful times of school to comforting me when I was feeling homesick, you have been amazingly supportive throughout all that life has thrown at me. The last two years have been amazing, fun, hard, stressful, trying and exciting. We moved away from everyone and everything we knew to start off on a great adventure. We knew it wouldn't be easy, and at times its been even harder than we thought. But through it all, our marriage and love for each other has grown stronger. I never knew I could experience a love like this. I am constantly amazed at how much you love me and how much my love for you continues to grow.

So I want to take this opportunity to thank you. Thank you for being my rock, my comforter and my cheerleader. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made to allow me to chase my dreams. Thank you for loving me despite my imperfections.

I am so excited to spend the future with you. We have a lot in store this year and I couldn't imagine having all these exciting adventures with anyone else.

Happy anniversary. I love you!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Deep in the heart of Texas

Whew! This weekend was quite an exhausting whirlwind! Thursday afternoon I picked Corey up from work and we drove to the airport to catch our 7pm flight to TX. After what seemed like an eternity in security, we grabbed a bite to eat and boarded the flight. Corey's mom picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at his dad's place. We stayed up chatting with his dad and stepmom until pretty late. The next morning we met Corey's mom for breakfast. She was watching our niece Lexi, so we got to spend some time with her as well. Friday afternoon Corey had an interview at his old job. While he did that I got to spend some quality time with Emily, a good college friend. We did some catching up and had some good laughs. Corey's interview went pretty well, despite being surprised with an exam to take. Friday evening was spent with the combined Sacken/Meadows clan - all 11 of us went to dinner at a Mexican place with great fresh tortillas! After dinner Corey and I headed over to a college friends house to spend some time with a few of my girl friends. We had fun telling stories and catching up. It was nice to just relax and see everyone.

After a late night on Friday, Saturday morning came a little too quickly. We met up with Corey's friend Bill and his fiance Jennifer. It was our first time meeting her and she was great! A very sweet, easy going woman who was very easy to get along with. After breakfast, Corey and I decided we wanted to look at some housing developments under construction. See, we've been on a big house hunting kick, despite the fact that we won't be able to buy until the end of the year at the earliest. Anyhow, we thought it might be fun to just take a look at what there was. We looked at the model home in 2 different developments. It was pretty informative and fun just to look. It definitely made us want to buy that much more! After the house hunting we met Oliver and Claire for lunch. Claire and I talked wedding plans while Oliver and Corey discussed business and job stuff (boring!). Unfortunately we didn't get to spend as much time with them as I would have liked because we both had places to be! Saturday evening was the wedding of a college friend, Callie. The ceremony was short and sweet with a great pastor and some beautiful music. Of course the bride was beautiful as well :) The reception was held at a country club not too far away from the church. The best part of the reception was when the groom did a song and dance routine as a surprise for Callie. It was so cute - and he could actually sing!

The band didn't play much in the way of slow songs, so Corey spent much of the reception sitting down with Kyle (Dianna's husband). Nonetheless, Dianna Emily and I spent our fair share of time on the dance floor. Another great thing about the reception? They used the same cake baker as us, and had our favorite filling on the bride's cake! I thought it was pretty cool considering it was this weekend just 2 years ago when we were celebrating with all our family and friends.

This morning we crawled out of bed, packed up our bags and sleepily headed to the airport. The flight home was the best kind of flight - uneventful. Plus we had 3 seats for just the 2 of us so we were able to spread out a little. Finally, we made it back home. Our bags haven't moved from the spot we dropped them and I have done little to prepare for work tomorrow or my presentation on Tuesday. But I was able to get in a much needed nap this afternoon. Tomorrow it's back to the daily grind. Only a few more months until we are back in TX for good!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When it rains, it pours

In Virginia, you are required to get a safety inspection on your car every year and an emissions inspection every other year. This weekend Corey took his car in for the safety inspection - later that day we get a phone call from the auto shop saying he needed new front brakes and new windshield wipers in order to pass inspection. So instead of paying $16 for the inspection, he paid over $200. Ouch, right? Well today I took my car in for an oil change. As I was waiting I got the dreaded question - "Who owns the Mitsubishi?" I followed the mechanic to my car in the service bay where he proceeded to show me my cracked and leaking radiator. Great...just what I didn't need. Ouch again, right? Oh wait, there's more. I wait a few minutes then head to the desk to find out just how much this radiator is going to cost to replace. The friendly guy behind the desk informs me it will be $400 for the radiator (including labor) and, oh by the way, I needed my front brakes replaced too! He told me they would possibly get another 5,000 miles before it was metal to metal....Awesome. And he suggested I get a coolant flush to top it all off bringing the grand total to $870! Are you serious?!? I was practically in tears - you know what that much money can buy a grad student and her underpaid husband? So, of course, I tell the guy I need to call my husband. After a few phone calls between Corey and I, we decide to go ahead and replace the radiator and brake pads but forgo the coolant flush. We also are able to get a minuscule discount on the brakes, tell them no on a $60 air filter than can be bought at wally world for $20, and get him to lower some BS "shop supplies" charge. What's the grand total now? The low low price of $660 (hey its $200 less than the original, right?)

So, in the span of less than one week, we managed to drop almost $900 on our two cars, when we originally intended on spending only $45. But I'm trying to look on the bright side - at least we realized the radiator crack/leak before it got to a point where it messed up my engine or left me stranded on the side of the freeway to or from work.

Now I'm at home without a car trying to get everything in order for our trip tomorrow. Unfortunately I need to do things that require my being able to drive around town - guess when Corey gets home we are taking a field trip! After this week we are definitely looking forward to getting out of town for the weekend :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring!

Happy 1st day of Spring!! We've been blessed with absolutely beautiful spring weather to celebrate. We took advantage of the gorgeous day by heading out to a local lake. Corey and I had a picnic lunch while Lacey sniffed around the grass. After that we headed down to the water and walked around quite a distance of the lake. There were many places where Lacey could dip her feet into the water, so we let her when she wanted to. Then we went for a long distance where she couldn't safely get down to the water and there wasn't much shade, so she tired out pretty quickly. Eventually we turned around and she jumped into the water every chance she got. She had a ton of fun running into the water, then running out and shaking off. She'd repeat this several times then we'd walk a little further. Funny how she loves to run and play in water, but screams (and it really sounds like a scream/cry) when we give her a bath. Of course she was filthy by the time we made it back to the car, but she had a blast. And we had a blast watching her! Here are some pictures from our adventure:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh outpatient

I've just made it through my first 2 weeks of outpatient medicine and it's been quite an interesting ride thus far! I'm working at a community clinic in MD that serves the uninsured, low-income population. The patients have to pay a copay for each visit, then get a discounted rate for bloodwork and other testing. I would say almost all of the patients I have seen thus far were born outside of the US and English is not their first language. I've treated people from Iran, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Guyana, Nigeria, Cameroon, India, Pakistan, and many many more. (I try to make it a point to ask each patient where they are originally from) I've seen things I probably would not have seen in a family practice/internal medicine practice seeing all insured patients. For instance we had a patient walk in with a blood pressure in the range of 200/120 who had not been on high blood pressure meds for several months. I've had more than one patient who had an initial hemoglobin A1C of >12% (normal being less than 6%). It's also great because my preceptor LOVES to teach and he tries to give me at least one lecture a day on something ranging from reading EKGs (and what abnormal findings indicate) to the workup of a thyroid nodule. Despite all this interesting stuff, there are downsides - like the fact that most of my patients don't speak the best English making getting a reliable history out of them difficult. Also many have little medical knowledge (or what medical knowledge they have is more of a cultural belief regarding certain diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure) making their compliance to medications and diet/exercise recommendations less than ideal. I can't tell you how many times I've sat with patients for an extra 10 minutes explaining what medications are their BP medicines vs their "sugar" medicines vs their cholesterol meds. But, despite the negatives, at the end of the encounter - no matter how frustrating or time-consuming, the patients are sooo grateful to be seen and treated. I've had many patients thank me profusely for doing something that many of us with easy access to medical care can take for granted. They appreciate the time spent explaining things and truly listening to them.

I've made some observations through these two weeks and have some tips to share. The next time you go see your friendly physician or, better yet, PA please remember the following:

1. If you are going to the Dr to complain of a sore throat or cough, please brush your teeth! There's nothing worse than getting a noseful of stinky breath

2. Please shower within 24 hours prior to your Dr's visit - stinky patients are no fun for anyone. And on the same note - try to clean your feet - we do have to look at those too

3. If you must have your young children with you in the exam room, please don't ignore them while the scream blood murder - it makes it very difficult to hear your heart and breath sounds with a screeching toddler in the background

4. Please please please - know your medicines and what they are for - and if you don't know - ask! Telling me you take that "little green pill for cholesterol I think" does nothing to tell me what medication you are actually taking

5. If you are told at your previous visit to bring something with you (whether meds or blood sugar logs) bring it with you...we don't just tell you that you need to bring it for fun - it really is important information

6. If you have diabetes - check your blood sugars regularly...we don't tell you to do this in order to torture you - it's important that you monitor them and it is important that we know this information to keep your blood sugars controlled

7. When you are told to get labwork before returning for your next visit - get the labs done...they really are good for something, I promise!

8.. Please don't quote Dr. Oz or Oprah or Dr. Phil for that matter...I realize that all these people are probably quite knowledgeable but they don't know your case, your medical problems and are getting paid lots of money to say what they say. If you really want to treat your medical problem with their advice try to get an appointment with them, not me.

9. And finally - we like treating you and we really like it when you thank us. There is not much better than seeing a patient smile and thank you as they leave when they came into the exam room looking rather wary

*[Note - the above tips were meant to be somewhat offense was meant by any of it]*