Thursday, January 19, 2012

Becoming the patient

Ask any doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, nurse or paramedic and they will tell you, medical personnel make the worst patients.  I am 100% guilty of this!  I'm terrible at taking medications when I should (I'd rather sit with a headache than take aleve or motrin), dismiss my symptoms and dislike going to doctors appointments.  I'm also pretty whiny when I don't feel well, just ask my husband! 

Now that I've broken my first bone, I've realized what its like for the many patients I see every day with fractures.  It's a pain in the behind to have a part of your body not functioning, especially when it comes to your hands.  I only broke my thumb but its on my dominant hand.  This has made every day activities difficult like washing my hands, brushing my hair, taking a shower and getting dressed.  You don't realize how much you use your thumb until you can't!  Not to mention I can't get my splint wet, so doing anything around water is risky.  It's gotten me out of doing the dishes on a regular basis, but that's about it.  I haven't been able to cook much because my left hand isn't coordinated enough to chop, slice, flip or rotate things.  An attempt at making pancakes got very messy and ended up with burnt pancakes and a very frustrated cook!  I made soup last night and almost sliced through a finger on my left hand trying to cut up some carrots.

What's black, blue and swollen all over? My thumb!

Sporting my splint

I'm not trying to complain, just pointing out all the little things that I would normally take for granted.  My experience has given me a new-found sympathy for all the patients I send home with broken arms, hands and fingers. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Loving my job

This originally started out as a blog to document my experiences through PA school, navigating the boards and starting out as a new PA-C.  Somewhere along the way I started posting more about my personal life including travels, cooking and exciting events.  The other day I was going through old posts and realized its been quite some time since I´ve posted anything about work.  I feel like I have some sort of routine at work and there is not much new to say, but I realized there´s a lot to blog about.  So I will try to inset a post a week pertaining to work, medicine, the PA world, etc.

I´ve decided to have a series of posts about things that make me love my job.  The number one reason I enjoy my job is my patients.  There´s just something about kids that is so fun and refreshing.  Sure, I see some pretty ill children and it can be heartbreaking, but kids are also so resilient.  They are also filled with hopes and dreams.  Plus, it helps that they forgive pretty quickly (it´s amazing what a popsicle can do!)

One day a few months ago I was treating a young boy maybe 8 or 9 years old with a laceration to his face.  He was extremely nervous, despite being prepped by one of our child life specialists (more on these amazing people in another post).  However, he sat very still, breathed deeply and asked many questions.  When it was all done, he sat up, smiled and thanked me (without any prompting from his parents).  I  brought a popsicle into the room and he told me ¨When I grow up, I want to work here because everyone is so nice.¨  Ugh, my heart just melted.  It was an amazing thing to have a patient who was so anxious and upset when he walked in tell me how great his experience was.  It doesn´t get much better than that, ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011: A look back

The past year has been one for the books!  Talk about an amazing 12 months!

We started off the New Year in CA experiencing then celebrating a huge TCU win at the Rose  Bowl

We moved into our very first home just a couple days after an ice/snow storm

We showed off our new home, complete with some paint and fixture updates, to friends and family at our housewarming party.

Corey was a member of our great friends' wedding party in Austin.  It was a great weekend and great party to start their married lives.

We enjoyed several TCU baseball games and I traveled to Las Vegas for a conference and fun with friends

My best friend and her daughter (my goddaughter) came for a visit.  I had a great time with them and they survived the heat!

Corey and I packed up the car and headed to New Mexico for a short mountain getaway.  We were blessed with beautiful scenery and lovely weather.  Sadly, my grandmother passed away at the end of the month.  We were lucky to be able to travel to North Carolina for her funeral.  While it was a sad occasion, it was nice seeing family.

I must of spent a lot of time in the kitchen avoiding the scorching summer sun because I only have pictures of the food I made! These tamales were my favorite.

We definitely made up for a lack of activity in August.  I traveled home to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friends' weddings.  We had tons of fun spending time with friends and family/  I also celebrated my birthday while there.  September also brought the start of a new TCU football season and our first glimpses at the stadium renovations.

We visited the State Fair of Texas for the first time in several years.  The weather was gorgeous and the fried foods were delicious.  Halloween was fun, despite running out of candy for trick-or-treaters! Oops!  October also brought lots of TCU games and tailgating with friends.

The highlight of the month was a week-long vacation to warmer climates.  First, Corey and I played around in Orlando visiting Universal and Disney World.  Then we met up with friends for a short cruise to the Bahamas. 

Where did it go?  On the 31st, I couldn't believe it was already over.  Between work and Christmas activities, the month flew by!  We had a great time seeing family close and far.  In addition to all the fun festivities I've already blogged about, we went to ICE (a themed display completely made of ice) with Corey's sister, brother and their daughter. 

That concludes our 2011 highlights.  We had a great year filled with travel, family and friends.  I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for us!  We have lots of exciting things planned!

Christmas - The Food!

This being the first major holiday we hosted at home, it was my first time making a big holiday dinner.  And, of course, I got in way over my head and decided to do it all from scratch.  Many thanks to the several food blogs I got my recipes from!

Let's start with dessert (because we all know that's the best part!):

Pumpkin Pie with homemade whipped cream
 Recipe: Pumpkin Pie from Paula Deen
I've made this pie several times since I first discovered the recipe a few years ago.  Not bragging, but EVERY time I make it, there are rave reviews.  The addition of cream cheese lightens up the texture and gives a little different flavor.  I've had people tell me, "I don't really like pumpkin pie, but this is good!" (BTW I cheated and used a pre-made pie crust because the thought of making pie crust is anxiety inducing) 

Recipe: Whipped Cream from  
Its so simple (and even easier with an electric mixer) and tastes so much better than the stuff in the can or tub.  Just try it once and you'll never go back!

Onto dinner!  We had a Honeybaked Ham as the centerpiece.  While the instructions were to just bring it to room temperature, I stuck it in the oven to warm it through.  If all our food was going to be warm, I wasn't serving room temp ham.

The sides included green bean casserole, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, a veggie platter and cranberry-orange sauce.  And I made biscuits to go with it all.

Left: Green Bean Casserole, Right: Macaroni & Cheese
Recipe: Green Bean Casserole  by Alton Brown via Brown Eyed Baker
If you like the usual Campbell's soup version, you'll LOVE this!  And if you don't like the canned soup stuff, I think you'll still like this.  I cheated and used the canned fried onions because, really, I had enough going on in the kitchen.  This dish was my favorite of the night.  

Recipe: Classic Macaroni & Cheese from Cook's Illustrated via Annie's Eats
This wasn't all I hoped it would be.  While it was creamy and cheesy and had a nice crunch from the topping, there was something missing.  To be fair, I left out the dry mustard because I didn't have any and subbed some medium cheddar for part of the colby jack because I didn't have enough colby jack.  So perhaps those changes altered the final taste.  Honestly, this got better when reheated I think. I think I'll have to keep searching for the perfect mac 'n cheese recipe.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce
 Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce by Two Peas and their Pod
I made this particular version for the first time at Thanksgiving.  It consists of water, sugar, cranberries, orange zest and orange juice.  So simple, so easy, so delicious.  I accidentally put too much orange zest in this time, giving it a strong citrus taste, but I still think it was pretty good.  Plus the leftovers can be used to make all kinds of things from cranberry cream cheese spread to cranberry muffins!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Recipe: Mashed Sweet Potatoes inspired by Paula Deen
I didn't follow her recipe exactly, but I mashed up the potatoes after boiling, added butter until melted then incorporated honey, cinnamon and salt to taste.  These were simple and delicious!  A little sweet, a little salty with a hint of cinnamon...mmm.  I ate these multiple times as leftovers and plan to make these throughout the year!

Cream Biscuits
Recipe: Cream Biscuits by the editors of Cook's Illustrated via Smells Like Home
I've never made homemade biscuits before because I've always been intimated.  I've heard stories of rock hard pucks or tasteless and crumbly mounds of dough.  I know the key is cutting in ice cold butter, etc and that's too much work when I'm making all this other stuff.  I came across these biscuits and knew I had to try.  These things are amazing!  Soft, buttery, flaky.  And no cutting in butter!  Just heavy cream, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder stirred with a wooden spoon and cut out.  I actually bought some  cream today so I can make them again! 

The spread
I had so much fun cooking up Christmas dinner for my family.  It was hectic and stressful and messy, but very rewarding!  I hope you get in the kitchen and try one of these recipes for your loved ones.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Flab to Fit - Week ??

Oh man, let's talk about epic failure!  I was doing so well with working out and not too bad at the whole eating right thing.  Then came Christmas...

The week before I was busy working and prepping our house for visitors.  That included cleaning out the fridge and washing everything in sight.  It left little time for cooking healthy dishes (resulting in healthy leftovers for lunches).  Not to mention there was the TCU bowl game we watched at a sports bar complete with fried foods and alcohol.  All that work and chores also left little time for the gym.  Then our guests arrived and there was definitely no time to work out.  Not to mention the pounds of butter, quarts of heavy cream, dozens of eggs and packages of bacon we went through over a week's time. 

All this is to say, I have not stepped foot in the gym since Dec 15th.  Ouch, that hurts!  On Saturday I told myself Monday (today) would be my first day back in the gym.  Well, then a little incident happened just after midnight on NYE resulting in a broken thumb on my dominant hand (more on that another post).  While you may think its a lame excuse to skip a workout, I've found doing pretty much anything fairly difficult.   I can only imagine trying to hold onto the treadmill grips or elliptical handles without using my thumb.  I'm going to wait until I see the orthopedic surgeon before working out.

However, I'm glad to report, despite the absolute lack of working out and plethora of unhealthy foods, I only gained a 1/2 pound over the last 2 weeks!  Whew, dodged a bullet there.  Now I need to focus on healthy eating and being active in other ways (like walking the dog, perhaps).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holiday Recap

Sorry I've been MIA lately!  Christmas snuck up on us and before I knew it the house was full of family and life was crazy.  This was our first Christmas in our house and we offered to host.  So my mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law and three nieces arrived Dec 23rd from both coasts to visit.  We had fun spending time together, eating food, opening gifts.  Lacey even got along with my sister's dog, Brownie, and didn't seem to mind sharing her house.  I think Lacey particularly liked my 2-year-old niece Juliet because she frequently left behind crumbs of tasty food for her. 

Our Christmas decor

The banister dressed up in purple and silver

A great stocking stuffer!

Checking out the loot

Excited about gum

She loved tearing off the wrapping paper

Our dinner spread

The day after Christmas we hosted Corey's granddad, aunts, uncles, cousins and their kiddos.  Including my family we calculated 34 people at our house for brunch.  It was a little loud, quite busy but rather fun as well.  We hadn't seen some of this family for a couple years and there were new babies to meet, so lots of catching up to do.  It was only a few hours, and pretty exhausting, but I'm glad we did it.

Most of the boy cousins

Grandad + cousins + kids

Four of my seven nieces

After the house cleared out, my family headed out to the movies to see Sherlock Holmes.  We grew up listening to the old Sherlock Holmes radio shows on tape and watching the old BBC TV episodes.  It was a good movie and a good time.  My parents flew home the next day and my sister's family stayed for a few more days.

We spent a lot of time around the house, watching movies, playing games and cooking/cleaning.  It was nice having a full house, since its usually just us three.  Yesterday was the first full day of just us again and it took a little to get used to the quiet! 

Hosting Christmas meant a lot of cooking, cleaning, dishes and stress but it was well worth it.  I don't think we could do it every year, but I definitely look forward to many more family Christmases at our home.