Tuesday, December 28, 2004

If I'm quiet...

...it may mean that things are going on which will make awesome stories, but not yet.

Because things are too fresh in my mind, and need to be processed; because I need to think of cool pseudonyms for people I'll need to talk about; because I need to obscure identifying details; or maybe because I've been too dang busy to write.

The urge to blog is not insignificant. Someday this will be a sort of a record of selected impressions, opinions, and reflections from this particular part of my ongoing drama. And it will be a depository for amusing and maybe even interesting stories. Plus, it's practice for me, as I learn to formulate thoughts about these topics in a way that holds together.

But the urge to sleep is stronger, dude. No contest. So I'll just say I recently met some cool people, and I did some extremely cool stuff.

Hey, and I left a message for Turk. They need techs on that show, truly. Sassy, intelligent people who describe themselves as "low-life-techs," but who in reality make the place run well and help docs to be on their best game. It's TV gold, I'm telling you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

things that make me laugh, with glee, on the bus

1) "Indie RnR" by the Killers came up on my iPod. I'd never heard it before, and it was awesome. It helps that yesterday, I read the essay that Rivers Cuomo wrote when he re-applied for admission to Harvard.

(to be continued)

Monday, December 13, 2004

tonight's dinner

Just as a glimpse into the way I live these days, let me describe dinner for ya.

Arrived home a little after 5, already starving. Munched Corn Nuts while surveying pantry and fridge. (Side note -- Hanukah gift from mom was a giant bucket full of foodstuffs. Quite the care package. More of that when I go to school next year, plus some time in the Fitness Barn, and I'm in good shape).

Contents of fridge include skanky au gratin potatoes made from scratch four to five weeks ago, in need of disposal. Milk, past expiry date by more than 10 days, in need of disposal. Film on bottom of pitcher where sugarless "-aide" style drink evaporated. Rice and beans, made from scratch like the potatoes, and similarly skanky due to dearth of preservatives, plus lots and lots of time. Eggs, reading 'Sell by Oct 5.' Mushrooms, fresh two days ago. Shredded cheese, fresh two days ago. Onion, sorta fresh, sealed in zippy-bag. Leftover salmon-in-phyllo-dough deals made-- hm. Over a week ago.

Oh, and wait, some of mom's turkey-and-stuffing (another thing that I hauled home from the Open House of Lights this weekend), a goopy and delicious concoction that is more souffle-like than many other, inferior stuffings. But at the moment, I was not thinking of it much. It just sat there, looking bored. Also, jaunty seafoam green boxes containing vials of Enbrel, plus syringes for reconstituting and injecting the drug. Much as I'm pleased with what recombinant live cells derived from Chinese hamster ovaries can do for me, a dose costs my HMO like $200 to $400. So that's more a specialty item, not part a wholesome winter meal.

Pantry: pasta, instant brown rice, popcorn. Mac & Cheese mix, but that would mean going out for milk. Did I mention at this point it's about 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside? The guy from the TV Weather said (by way of the phone recording one can call) "Wind chill, 4 degrees." Four flippin' degrees. As I walked home from the bus, about 10 minutes previous to this, I had decided I'd be staying in for the night. If I'm going for milk, I may as well go to the airport and fly to a hospitable part of the world.

Inspected coupons for local chicken/pizza joint. Yes, I'm curious about the broasted chicken, but keep those eggs long enough and maybe I can broast one here. Feeling like cooking, dammit.

Inspiration: olive oil plus 'shrooms plus onions, over rice, little shredded cheese, there we go.

Checked freezer. One pork loin, frozen. Hallelujah. (Yes, I did say "Hanukah" earlier. Also, "cheese" and "pork.")

So, when all was said and done, I carbed it right up by oven-broasting the pork at 400 degrees for 35 minutes over a pile of the stuffing, which gave a nice moisture to the meat. I stirred the stuffing back together, the crunchy bits and the juicy bits, together with some of the sauteed mushroom/onion mixture, the rest of which adorned some rice. With cheese on top.

There are times, usually those rare occasions when I bring lunch in to work, when people talk as though I was a good cook. Maybe there's something to it. I really could use a bunch of steamed broccoli, I don't mind saying. And a tall beer.

But it is freakin cold out there.

Monday, December 06, 2004

CALL-TURK update

I actually got through last Friday, and was able to leave a message. We shall see.

Also, I worked in the trauma room over the weekend. Just apropos of nothing at all, if ever I'm feeling weird and sort of dizzy, and a head CT at my friendly, competent, perfectly good small-town hospital shows nothing wrong but I'm admitted to the hospital anyway for other sorta-related neuro reasons... please make sure the staff doesn't let me sleep for like 10 hours straight without waking me for vitals, talking to me, or doing a crapload of neuro exams. Because, while I do like helicopter rides, and I love to take naps, I also like waking up.

DISCLAIMER: I actually don't know how this patient is doing today. Could be anywhere on the spectrum. Plus, there's not a lot of info about what happened in the case before the patient's arrival, and I may not have seen the whole chart. This is more a story about how things might go, sometime, somewhere... but back to our story.

Preferably, if I'm checked in with a nonspecific problem in the noggin, you'll room me with a noisy 8-year-old insomniac who is not actually all that sick. I say this because either playing Ratchet and Clank or plotting revenge against a tiny tormentor would be a higer brain function, and in times of neurological distress, I'll want a reason to practice those.

Like I said, the facts of the case are admittedly a little sketchy (which by the way helps me to obscure the identifying details; convenient!), but the principle here is like I was taught: "if you don't put it in the chart, there's no way to know it happened." And we know that the scan done less than 24 hours previous, at PGSTH, was read as normal while ours was really, really... not. Whatever the specifics, my part of the story ends with a CT control-room-ful of EM and Neuro docs anxiously watching successive slices of brain imaging come across a monitor screen, like really shitty cards being dealt, and going "arrrgh" in unison. That's just never a good thing.

One resident commented, later, that the systemic kind of bad luck is the kind that can sometimes really screw a patient. Hospitals with sprawling residency programs training new doctors, and with med students rotating through, sometimes get scoffed at. Sometimes the scoffing comes by way of well-fed, comfortable small-town docs who work in hospitals with fewer than 50 beds, and sometimes by way of their patients. But it's a fact that some poor schmuck intern who has to come see you at 11pm, then 1am, then 3am could be the one to notice something that, if noticed soon enough, might not kill you. Food for thought. And when the day comes when I'm that poor schmuck, I guess I've learned a little something about being glad I'm there.