Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let the Countdown Begin!

A couple weeks ago I excitedly wrote a post about finding the perfect kitchen table.

Then a week, and dozens of furniture stores and websites, later we decided on our ideal sofa and love seat.

Now we are trying to find that perfect coffee table to match.  Problem is, the sofa we bought is oversized.  And when I say oversized, it measures over 100" long (the average sofa length is usually closer to 90").  So we're trying to find a larger coffee table that won't be dwarfed by our Texas-sized seating receptacles.  Oh, and we're trying to avoid spending a fortune on said table - easier said than done we've discovered.

On a better note I found some fantastic bedroom furniture from IKEA which means its on the less expensive end of furniture!  Hopefully I can convince Corey that its a good idea to furnish our bedroom with new shiny stuff and use our current furniture for a guest room.

We've accomplished a lot this week, despite our inability to close the deal on a table.  Our mortgage got the full, final approval by the bank, we signed up for a home warranty, confirmed the closing date, set up some utilities and finally chose a moving company.   In other words, we are all set for closing in 5 days and the big move in 10 days!!  Hooray!

While driving into our apartment complex tonight with my car full of groceries and other purchases, I thought about all the things I'm excited for with the house.  Here's my top 10:

1. I won't have to carry 10 bags of groceries up 3 flights of stairs anymore

2. I can park right in front, or in the garage, of my own home rather than parking far away and walking in the middle of the cold, dark night

3. Our kitchen will be at least twice its current size - meaning lots more storage and lots less clutter!

4. We'll have a backyard - that means we can open the door and let Lacey out to play and do her business when its too early or too cold for us to take her for a walk

5. Our washer and dryer will have their very own room - no longer a tiny hall closet that's too small for them

6. My new gas stove - no more funky sized electric coil burners to deal with!!

7. No more smelling onions, garlic and curry at 9 am in our bathroom (I think our downstairs neighbors are Indian or Pakistani and we always smell their cooking at the strangest times and always in our bathroom)

8. A clean, tidy room for our treadmill and other exercise stuff (right now its stuffed into our tiny 2nd bedroom along with a desk, TV, 2 bookshelves and air mattress - yikes!!)

9. Plenty of room for guests with 2 guest rooms

And most of all:

10. We'll have a comfortable space to live and establish ourselves - It will be the perfect place for our family to grow (in a few years - don't get any ideas!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm not a doctor but...

The first thing I do when I walk into a patient's room is introduce myself as a physician assistant.  Some family members hear that and understand that I am not a physician but that I will be handling their care and am competent to do so.  Others think I'm a doctor, despite introducing myself as a PA.  And then there are a few that understand I'm not an MD and think I am not qualified to see, touch or treat their child.

Luckily for myself and the patients, the last set of parents I described are few.  As in, I've only had one mom make a comment regarding my non-physician status.  Now, I don't mind when parents address this because I'm not a doctor and I don't want people to think I am.  That would be misrepresenting myself and I'm not all about that.  This particular mom asked for me if I was a doctor and when I told her no, she said "Oh well, you'll be one soon, right?"  I kindly told her "No, I have no plans to go to medical school and I'm very happy with what I do."  She then sheepishly asked me if a physician would be seeing her child or "just you."  I kindly told her that my attending would be by to say hi, ask questions and examine the patient.  That soothed her anxiety.  

Much more common are the parents who are talking on the phone when I peek my head back in to re-check the patient.  Nine times out of 10 I hear "Let me call you back the doctor's here."  I usually don't proactively correct them in this instance, but every other time they refer to me as a doc, I try to gently remind them I'm a PA.  

The most common person calling me "Dr. S" is other PAs/NPs, physicians or nursing staff.  They call my mobile phone asking for "Dr. S", return pages asking for the same or chart in the computer that MD S is at the bedside with the patient.  When it comes to these whenever I introduce myself I say I'm a PA but beyond that I don't waste my breath correcting them, they'll figure it out eventually right?

In summary, I am a PA-C, not an MD and I'm perfectly happy and content with that title.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Dirty Little Secret

If you are easily grossed out, please don't read.  If you will judge me based on the following, please don't read.  Okay, here's the post:

Last night as I was putting away dinner's leftovers (delicious pork tenderloin, potatoes and green beans...yum) I noticed the fridge was quite full.  I had done some grocery shopping that day, but didn't buy that much stuff!  And we haven't had many leftovers recently because I've been working the late shift.  So what was all this filling up my fridge?  Here's the gross part - old leftovers.  And when I say old I mean some go back to Thanksgiving - eeewwww, yuck, nasty!

So here's my dirty little secret:  I hate throwing away leftovers and cleaning out my fridge.  I would much rather let them sit there and grow out funky organisms and multi-colored mold.  I know... this is bad, right?  I feel like I should be more worried about cleanliness and hygiene, especially given my career choice.  However, I can't bring myself to open a tupperware container that's been in the fridge longer than a week.  It just freaks me out!

How does the fridge get cleaned out then, you may wonder.  Well, often I complain enough until my wonderful husband takes it upon himself to purge the icebox (I like that term for a fridge - makes it sound so much more sophisticated).  However, although we've been talking since last night about the need for a deep clean, he hasn't once offered to take care of it.

Tonight while I was cleaning up after dinner I decided I would bite the bullet and clean it out myself.  And I did.  Well, mostly.  Ran out of room in the dishwasher so there are a few stragglers left behind.    However, thankfully, the food wasn't as nasty as I expected!  The stuff from thanksgiving was in surprisingly good shape (by that I mean it was still recognizable).  I didn't get any whiffs of offensive odors  and didn't get the urge to vomit so I'll consider that a success!  Next time though I'll leave it to my better half.

So, there's my dirty secret.  Hopefully you don't think less of me now... Although I have a feeling I'm not alone in this...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Foreign bodies and head injuries

Working in an ER means you get to see some pretty crazy things.  Working in a pediatric ER you get to see some unique things and you start to notice some patterns.  Like whenever the weather changes drastically (cold front moves in, storm blows through, windy weather arrives, etc) all the "breathers" come in - aka the asthma kids.  Or when icy/snowy weather arrives the arm and ankle injuries follow shortly after. 

One thing I've noticed is that when kids injure themselves, especially when they get lacerations, its located on the head.  Every single laceration I've repaired has been on the head, and I'd venture to say 80-90% of those are on the forehead.  The thing about head lacerations is you have two concerns to deal with.  First and foremost, the head injury.  Have to make sure that they don't have any underlying brain trauma requiring a CT head (which most don't, thankfully).  Then, the laceration must be repaired.  It's a little unnerving to be stitching up a kid's face knowing that if you don't do a good job they are going to have a big nasty scar front and center for the rest of their life.  No pressure, right?

The other things you don't see with adults, foreign body ingestion.  In my short tenure I've seen cereal up the nose, beads up the nose and a swallowed coin.  In fact last night we had a patient who swallowed a dime.  Yep, they went to surgery on a Friday night to remove that sucker.  If my child ever swallows something and needs surgery to retrieve it, I'll be ticked!  Well, after its removed and all is okay.

Here's a picture of what the x-ray looked like (not the actual XR because I'm not into violating federal privacy laws, just found this on another site):

Those are just a few of the joys of working with kids.  There are many more, like getting popsicle juice stained smiles, grimy hands grabbing at your dog badge-holder, and nearly getting peed on my baby boys.  I love my job ;o)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's All Coming Together

Buying a house is a lot of work!  No one tells you that finding the house, putting together an offer, and coming to an agreement with the sellers is the easy part.  After all that is said and done you have a million things to do.  Like fill out an innumerable number of forms for a mortgage company.  Those forms include odd questions and require your signature and/or initials far too many times.   And not only do you have to fill out forms, there are dozens of documents that must be sent in like bank account statements, student loan documents, pay check stubs, retirement account statements, school transcripts.  I'm pretty sure our loan officer has over 100 pages of documents in our file at this time.  We also had to set up and be present at a home inspection.  Ours went very well, but there were a few things that needed fixing.  We spent 45 minutes on the phone one evening going over the inspection report with our realtor and deciding what we wanted to ask the sellers to fix.  Luckily they were very fair and fixed almost every item on the list.

Then you have to lock in a mortgage rate.  You probably haven't been paying much attention to them, unless you're in finance or you are buying a house right now, but they are all over the place!  After dozens of phone calls with our loan originator we finally locked in a rate that we are happy with.  And don't forget, we are in an apartment right now, which means we had to turn in our 60-day notice.

Aside from all the paperwork there are tons of other things to do.  We are planning to replace some of the downstairs flooring with wood floors.  We've been talking to a couple floor installing companies and have narrowed it down to two.  Before we can go any further they need to measure the rooms and show us the wood samples.  But the sellers are still living in the house and are less than flexible with their time.  

Also, this house is much bigger than our current and previous apartments, therefore requires a lot more furniture.  We spent all day Sunday driving around in the snow and slush looking at several different furniture stores for the perfect living room set.  We've also been looking around for a kitchen table.  Last night we went out again and checked out a few stores.  By the end of the evening we narrowed down the options for sofas and purchased our kitchen table set!  (Well only the stools, the table was out of stock, but should be there next Monday for us to pick up.)  First piece of furniture for the new house - it was exciting!!  Here's a picture (we got 4 stools):

Our kitchen table - I love the idea of a couple baskets beneath

Now we need  to pick out paint colors for a few rooms, find a moving company, start packing and find more furniture pieces (desk for the office, TV, media console, coffee table and a patio set).  We close in 20 days!  Yikes!  We can't wait to have the keys to our home!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

No Pressure

Part of being a PA working in the Emergency Room is doing procedures.  Since starting 6 week ago, I've had my fair share of them, including suturing, abscess incision & drainage, and lumbar punctures (aka spinal tap).

One of my first procedures was stitching up a little kid's eyebrow laceration.  It didn't go well for various reasons and after that I was a bit gun shy about doing any kind of procedures.  After several successful laceration repairs, my confidence was on the rise.

When I first started every procedure I performed was supervised by another practitioner, usually another PA or NP.  Now that I'm credentialed that is no longer necessary.  The first procedure I performed completely solo (with the exception of a tech holding the kiddo) was a bit nerve-wracking, but I did beautifully.  I've become much more comfortable doing lacerations and abscesses and actually look forward to them now.  Lumbar punctures are still a little anxiety inducing, but my most recent was super easy and I even was complimented by both my supervising NP and the tech.  That was a good day!

Well, last week, I'm getting ready to stitch up another patient's face (it seems like kids only cut open their faces, why is that?) and the parent starts snapping pictures with their camera.  Okay, no big deal, I've had that happen before.  We always tell them that its their child so they can take as many pictures as they'd like.  After getting my supplies set up and the wound thoroughly irrigated, I notice the dad is holding a video camera.  Whoa now...what's this?  I proceed to tell him that he is more than welcome to use it, but he probably won't see much because of the drape used to keep things sterile.  Unfortunately he didn't get the hint and kept recording.  Yikes!!  Talk about pressure!  My hands were shaking like never before.  It was worse than having to suture in front of my attending (which also sucks).  I successfully finished sewing up the face and made my way out of the room.  I don't think I've ever sweat so much during an easy, and pretty routine, procedure.

Afterward I tried to think of why I was so nervous.  I was going to do the same thing with the same amount of care and attention to detail whether the parents were video taping or if they weren't even there.  Honestly, I think it was a legal thing.  Now that I'm out on my own and practicing under my state license, I often find myself worrying about making a mistake and getting sued.  (I suppose this is a healthy fear because it makes me double check myself often.)  The video taping just made me more anxious about messing up and having it caught on tape.  

So, the moral of the story?  Please, if you take your kid to the ER, leave the camcorder at home!  Thanks in advance from your child's health care practitioner  :o)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2010: A Year in Review

I know this is a little late, but the end of the year was a bit busy for us around here.

2010 was a busy, crazy, fun, stressful, fantastic year. And then some. While we had many great moments, there were some not so great moments. Overall, we were so blessed and experienced an unbelievable amount of fortune. Here are my top moments by month:


We started off the year in Hilton Head with family - had a fantastic time!


We got all dressed up for some PA School Formal fun
We got also got a huge snowfall for the 3rd time that winter...Lacey loves the snow!


We attended the first of 3 weddings in 3 months - it was great catching up with friends


I got my brand new toy (my camera) and we spent a few days visiting my sister's family


May was a busy month!  First we spent time in SC celebrating a family wedding

The next weekend brought my "pretend" graduation on the National Mall attended by my mom and mother-in-law.

Corey also moved back to TX in May (2 months ahead of me)


We went to the last of 3 weddings in Houston.  Again, it was a great time to catch up with friends and let loose.


We moved back to TX officially, meaning we got to see a lot more of this face


I officially graduated from PA school.  My parents, in-laws and Corey all helped celebrate in Washington DC!


Europe, oh Europe...need I say more?


I got to meet this beautiful girl - my goddaughter, Harper

I also got to visit my PA school buddy in Arizona!

We also celebrated the marriage of good friends


Thanksgiving with family was fantastic!


I love Christmas with family

2010 was definitely a busy, stressful and fun year.  I was blessed to do tons of traveling within the states and beyond.  We were also able to celebrate weddings, births, birthdays and more with family and friends.  

And it looks like 2011 will have lots more fun and adventures in store!  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Purple Roses

Purple roses have long been my favorite color of roses.  This weekend made them my all-time favorite flower, I think.

We had the awesome opportunity to go to the Rose Bowl this weekend to see our beloved Horned Frogs play the Wisconsin Badgers.  And, in case you've been living under a rock, TCU won!  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the TCU Horned Frogs are MWC champs and Rose Bowl champions with a perfect 13-0 season!

Our weekend got off to a rough start due to a 3 hour flight delay.  We were supposed to arrive in CA at 10:15 pm on NYE - just in time to make it to my parent's house to ring in the New Year.  Unfortunately, we arrived at 1:15am instead, completely missing midnight both in TX and CA.  However, the rest of the weekend made up for that shaky start.  Here are some pictures:

All packed and ready to go!

Chris DelConte, the TCU AD, stopped by the tailgate to say hello

Found some friends!

We were outnumbered but not out-played or out-yelled (is that a word?)

Sooo happy to be here!

Happy horned frog!

They parachuted the game ball in - it was so cool

TCU Band and Showgirls

Go Frogs!!

Half-time - still nervous, but having a great time

And the crowd goes wild!!  We won!

Proud Horned Frogs

Awesome - just awesome
We had a great time at the game, especially since we won!  Corey told me it was the 2nd best day of his life (after our wedding).  Yep, that's my husband, a sporting event as one of the best days of his life.

We concluded the weekend by spending time with family and friends.

Anbo "washing" her hair

Emersyn - always with something in her mouth

Nieces - they're pretty cute ;o)

Anbo helping Uncle Corey blow out his b-day candles

Em and Uncle Corey spending quality time together

Best picture of the weekend - Lacey helped herself to a spot in Lexie's car seat on the way home from the airport...she's kind of a funny pup