An exceedingly boring and parental post

November 14, 2012 22:17 | Permalink | Comment?

Sunday I loaded the washer improperly, and our apartment flooded. We were all so tuned in to our devices that it wasn’t until I heard the dog splashing that we realized the rising water. The maintenance people were, as usual, fantastic; within 2 hours our apartment was dry, and we totally reorganized the place. Long story short, it was a surprise great day, a refreshing change from the recent string of grumpy ones. I’d like to blame it on the weather, but I think it might be the culmination of hectic schedules and/or the bad parenting catching up to us. Mine, not Joel’s, to be clear.

Because of the generalized craziness above, and the fact that I ended up with 15 residency interviews, November’s radiology elective has been quite a boon. My hours are ridiculously awesome right now. Good news, because kindergarten is no joke. Her school is probably about as good as they come, but I feel panicky every time I enter the place. Utter chaos. I want to be more involved, but this may require tranquilizers. Having her officially enrolled in school and looking at the next 12 years of it kind of feels like… prison? Is that too dramatic? If so, I may have caught it from Zoe. Drama ERRWHERE. I had no idea kids this age are already lying, conniving, stealing, snitching, boundary-less scoundrels. We had it so easy. I can honestly say I never had that feeling of wanting to put her in a bubble until now. She’s so sweet and sharing – they don’t let her eat her food at lunch! We ate with her last week, and it’s like the hands come out of nowhere to swipe food directly from her lunch box. She’s also totally overwhelmed with requests to play at recess and honestly seems miserable sometimes. I’m hoping we can help her develop some healthy boundaries and feel terrible that we didn’t prepare her well. There are definitely sweet kids in the class; I’m just blown away by the depravity so far, the likes of which I hadn’t expected for at least 5 more years. It’s not like she has been at home this whole time, either. Apparently the med center is more of a bubble than I realized.

So there’s that. I also think she’s bored. It may sound like bragging, and maybe it is, but she’s reading at a third grade level among some kids who are still solidifying the alphabet, and I’m sure every stage in between. Which is fine, but with an overfull class I think she ends up with a lot of idle time. The testing begins in a couple of weeks for the gifted/talented program, so maybe next semester will be different. In hindsight I might have pursued the advanced programs prior to kindergarten had I realized how this all goes. “But Blake,” you’re saying, “some kids are starving or terminally ill or forever mentally 5 months old. Why is your kid being smart a problem?” I know. But my baby isn’t happy and I want to fix it for her.

Family, General, Life, School

How a weekend should be

October 21, 2012 21:18 | Permalink | 2 Comments

This is what I’m talking about when I talk about America.

I’ve been enjoying this month’s rotation in the ICU at MD Anderson. While that may not sound fun on the surface, there is excellent teaching, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I like critical care. An added bonus is: I have weekends. My days are early and long during the week, and the puppy has a nasty habit of waking me about an hour before my alarm sounds. So I’ve been grumpy. With life traveling at the speed of sound, I really need these weekends.

For this one, I made a list so we could have a prayer of getting things done. Friday and Saturday morning, we baked some BOOnana donuts, Spoooky Chocolate Chip Coookies, and Ginger SNAP!s for the Spooky Spaghetti carnival at Zoe’s school. After dropping those off, we took Ellie to the dog park, where she was a little more comfortable than last time. After a nap, we were off to school; the carnival was much more fun than I imagined it would be. Despite planning to stay up later than Zoe and watch Dexter, we all fell asleep early, and for the first time in what felt like months, I got decent rest.

Today felt like a dream. No arguing. General pleasantness. After a family breakfast, we had a combo cleaning/dance party to a playlist of Beatles, Beach Boys, and Rolling Stones. We took Ellie to her first dog training class – she was great, and super cute, and Zoe got to hold a kitty. Zoe and I got our hairs cut at the mall. The stylist worked magic, and Zoe was well-behaved. Then she helped me try on every pair of shoes at DSW to find the perfect look for my interview outfit. (I’ve been invited to nine residency programs.) In return, we found her some sequin boots and twinkle toe shoes at another store. We jammed in the car on the way home – she sang at the top of her lungs. My brain kept checking in to see if this was real life. When we got home, we learned that Joel had taken Ellie on a run and made dinner. Tonight homework was complete in record time with no tears shed. Pinch me.

Family, Pets

Welcome, Ellie.

September 30, 2012 17:41 | Permalink | Comment?


We adopted Ellie September 29, 2012 at about four months old. She’s a very cute chocolate lab/pointer mix from BARC. She had a terrible case of kennel cough, but after about a million trips to the vet, she is healthy and very energetic. We’re happy to have a canine member of the family again!


What’s the point?

September 22, 2012 18:24 | Permalink | 2 Comments

We had been on the porch, taking turns on the exercise trampoline, and it was time to come in. Out of the blue, she says, “Mom, you know what I don’t understand? Life. Like, what’s the point?”


I just kinda stood there staring at her. I felt like I’d been hit in the face with a big bouncy ball, not by her question, but because she’s five and asking the question.

When I came to and realized this opportunity, I started by asking her what she thinks the point is*, hoping she’d give me the answer in her five-year-old wisdom. She’ll do that quite often, with such clarity and confidence that I can’t believe I’m the adult. She insisted she didn’t know, and that’s why she asked me. I felt a huge responsibility to say something profound or have AN answer, at the very least. The truth is I don’t know, and I have a philosophy degree so that statement is really just too much on its own. But we have to live our lives, and I have some ideas. So I asked her if she thinks it’s about people being happy or being together or being good people to everyone or something else. She nodded and offered her opinion that the point is to play and have fun. But then she clarified that she’s confused about that: how do they make the rules, and why do we play?

I think we have another philosopher on our hands. ๐Ÿ˜‰

*There’s a word for this. Not Socratic or reflective or metacognitive. Help?



September 8, 2012 22:46 | Permalink | 1 Comment

So I’m lying here listening to all the noises in our apartment. Laundry, fan, snoring, sleeping sighs. The mini fridge that needs to be kicked into silence. Vibrating phone from text messages as I ask and my sister solves most of life’s philosophical issues. Neighbors above us who must be new or have recently quadrupled both their weight and activity level. Earlier this week, we seriously considered running up to knock on their door to make sure everyone was okay after a particularly heavy commotion. Against everything I know about science and the body (my own especially being somewhat lactose intolerant), I purchased HEB’s dulce de leche ice cream, and now it’s the only food I want. Thus I have eaten a scoop each day since Thursday. I await my diabetes. Or I won’t replace it when it’s gone. Anyway I’m thinking of recording the noises my stomach is making because they could be useful to Skrillex, and I’m laughing really hard, and then Joel’s tummy makes a noise in his sleep that sounds EXACTLY like the beginning of that Dinosaur, Jr. song. This is my Saturday night.


Scrubs in public

August 24, 2012 8:56 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Drug rep talking about meet the teacher night and seeing parents in scrubs: Man, I was like, put something else on. That’s really not flattering.

I happened to be able to change. But many of us come directly from work and have jumped through hoops to leave early enough to get there, so give people a break.

I know there’s a controversy about wearing scrubs in public. I get it – we don’t want to bring germs from the hospital into the community or our homes; likewise, we don’t want to bring whatever’s at home into the hospital, either. Ideally we’d all decontaminate from whatever hazardous job we work. But no one is asking the preschool teachers, for example, to change before they come to whatever, even if they’re carting tons of germs to and fro. Did you, drug rep, change your clothes after going from clinic to clinic?

There will be other, more personal, less judgmental posts to come as it has been an eventful few months with plenty of fodder, but I had five minutes and was annoyed.

Family, General, Life

An open letter to the guy who hit on me

June 18, 2012 20:46 | Permalink | Comment?

Our daughters have played together two nights now. We had already talked about play dates and even a sleepover (Zoe jumps so quickly to conclusions). You have a girlfriend, who may or may not be the mother of your child. I don’t know, because we’ve had all of one conversation. But you know I’m married. You were drunk. You made it uncomfortable. So much for that sleepover. The girls lose.

People can be attracted to other people. That’s fine. But you don’t cross lines or make it weird. You rise above it, be mature, and coexist. Hell, enjoy the company and conversation. But don’t be an extra large creep and talk to my husband for almost an hour, and then wait until he goes to get a flashlight to find my daughter’s toy (which your daughter threw into a sea of plants, by the way) to slither up and proposition me.

Does this work for you? Do you actually get married women this way? I tell my husband everything. (And the Internet, it seems.) I’ve released him from any obligation to kick your ass on my account, though I’m sure you’ve also broken some sort of Dad code.

AS AN ASIDE: for the future, not that it should happen EVER, but expand your vocabulary. “Hot” might get certain women, which is probably where you’ve set your sights, but how about commenting on a great conversation, or intelligence, or wow your kid is amazing – you’re an awesome Mom. I think that’s at the root of my disgust. Do you think I’m attainable just by telling me I’m hot? Do I seem like the kind of girl who will respond to carnal compliments? I’ve got a healthy enough self esteem, but look: at best, I’m cute. I’ll take much more notice if you comment on some aspect of the substance I’ve worked so hard to have, or my energy, or whatever. Hot girls are a dime a dozen. I’m a lot more. I’ve got over $200 grand invested in my skillz.

Think before you act. Which is hard when you’re full of wine. But you certainly weren’t thinking of your daughter or being a good neighbor or even what I would think – you had something to say and just said it. And then, as an added bonus, you and your friend – grown men, the two of you – left your three girls in the pool as we were clearly packing to leave. For all you knew, no one was supervising your kids. We were, but it wasn’t so you’d not appear in headlines. It’s because for a real parent, every kid is in a way your own. And now I’ll never, ever trust you around my kid.

This is what I don’t get about cheaters. Cheaters cheat. If you cheat with someone who is also cheating, there’s a good chance s/he will cheat on you. No one wins, unless the game is just to cheat, in which case I suppose you both win. Young/stupid/teenage times aside, as a married person and a parent, the concept is fairly well gross and illogical. What’s the best outcome here? I’ve been with my husband for 12 years. We have a beautiful daughter. I’ve known you all of 24 hours, and you think you can approach me like that. Not this girl.

I was caught off guard, too. Kind of like in pretty woman – if she’d been dressed as a hussy instead of all lovely at the polo fields, she could have dealt with Stuckey’s advances. But I don’t go to bars, and I’m playing with our kids at the community pool. I’m not trolling EVER, and I wasn’t expecting you to be, either. If you were a flirtatious patient or a fellow grocery shopper or some drunk jerk at a bar, I’d know what to do. I’d know how to set the appropriate boundaries, or laugh it off, or say thank you and move on. What I want to do is diplomatically point out the facts of why it’s inappropriate, but I wasn’t expecting to have to do that with another parent. I feel there are lines already in place. And you crossed them.

Thank you for limiting it to the one comment and not touching me, or pressing on when I shut it down. You can go ahead and thank yourself since there was much flagstone and deep water around; I’m stronger and feistier than I appear, and I don’t take kindly to unfamiliar paws on my person. I’m certain that if you even remember, you’re embarrassed. And I’m not going to avoid the pools or common areas or the girls’ school to protect your ego. But if you bring it up again, I’ll share these and other insights with you, since apparently you need some training.

Baby, General, Life, School, Work

After a long absence

May 17, 2012 21:23 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Family medicine, dermatology, spring break, ob/gyn, and now psych. That’s what I’ve been doing. A brief report: great, great, great, great, MIIIIIPPP (so far). Don’t worry – I journaled along the way for humanities, and wrote down about a hundred other things I’d like to write, if ever I have the time, which I won’t, until I’m senile, at which time I’ll have forgotten it. So I try to be present and dance along the air like confetti. Tonight I have things to do, so of course, I’m avoiding it by posting a totally unimportant assortment of thoughts, some of which are new to me, and some of which are confirmatory:

  • Fresh babies are slippery, and birth is amazing. I was present at over a dozen, delivered about 10 placentas, had my hands on 8 babies, delivering 3 my very own self. And scrubbed on a few C-sections. Loved it. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • When you have to cancel a dental appointment that you made 6 months ago not knowing what your schedule would be even one week from that time, inevitably you will have tooth pain within 48 hours.
  • Medical school rotations are not created equal.
  • Death is absolutely not the worst outcome.
  • I like to be DOING things instead of THINKING about things. If I have to stand in a circle discussing a single lab value for more than 30 seconds, I will require haldol. (A little psych humor there.) Oh and this is made worse if you discuss said lab value for >10 minutes and walk away having come to no conclusions or DONE NOTHING to fix it. You know what’s helpful? “This is out of whack, by this much, I’mma do this for it, and then we’ll discuss the mechanism while we watch things change. Mkay?” RIGHT?
  • We are all addicted to our Apple devices, and the very next chance I get I’m whisking us away to a secluded cabin so we are forced to interact. I’m concerned about the neural pathways that Zoe and her generation are making as they grow up as cyborgs. At least we became cyborgs after our neurons were myelinated.

That’s all for now, as I have to research and write up something totally uninteresting.

Baby, Health

Zoe’s five year stats

February 27, 2012 21:18 | Permalink | 3 Comments

I’ve enjoyed being able to search my site for the details, since unlike many of the children I saw in the county pediatric clinic, Zoe isn’t locked into a system with what you would call continuity of care. I’m keeping track, though, and I guess she has been to the same pediatrician since she was three. And does it make me a worse Mom or med student (or equally poor at both) that I have to look up what she needs in terms of immunizations so I can schedule her appointments? Sigh. Actually, she’s all done with immunizations till she’s twelve (except annual influenza), and our insurance does not cover a routine physical, which I think might be bogus – I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about the philosophy of health care. The point is that I haven’t made her an appointment, and I might not. I trust that I have a high enough index of suspicion with regard to any health problems, and that her teachers and grandparents would identify any learning/social development problems, and this village is going to raise her. (Her teacher conference last week went really well, despite the words “untapped potential” echoing in my head daily.) Still, I know I want to see my patients at least yearly, so why wouldn’t we practice what we hope to preach? On good days, I have fantastic ideals. I probably want to be a family doctor as part of a medical home for patients, yet I have no such thing for myself. Multiple journal entries have been written about this hypocrisy of medical people; perhaps I will share these and other thoughts when they’re more organized.

Anyway. Zoe is growing. She seems taller and only slightly heavier. (Shockingly, I saw a 5 year old today who weighs 95 pounds.) Fortunately, we have objective measurements! Ah, science.

Height: 43.5 inches (110.49 cm), 70th percentile
Weight: 40 pounds (18.14 kg), 52nd percentile

(One year ago, she was 42 inches and 34.8 pounds.)

Here are some data collected in a brief interview.

Favorite colors: pink, purple, and silver
Favorite number: 4
Favorite food: chicken strip and salmon (carnivore)
Favorite show: Wow, Wow, Wubbzy!
Favorite activity: watch TV (um… yikes.)
Favorite thing to do outside: camping!
Favorite wheeled activity: rollerskating
Favorite place she’s ever been: the playground
Favorite thing to do at school: do art, make hearts
Favorite animal: zebra and cat
Favorite holiday: Valentine’s Day AND Christmas
Favorite sport: ice skating
Favorite baseball player: Daddy!!!
What she wants to be when she grows up: a ballerina
What she wants people to know about her at five years old: that she loves to put clothes on the funny way, with underwear on her head.

Health, Life

Bedtime routine

February 23, 2012 1:00 | Permalink | Comment?

Don’t get too excited – we haven’t established a bedtime for Zoe or anything. No, it’s 0100 and she’s awake. I’m here to write about my bedtime routine, mostly because I think it might be crazy and I’m interested in what other people do. I take comfort in what has become my morning and evening routine, despite (or because of?) the many steps and apparent high maintenance of it all.

At some point we have eaten dinner and hosed off the girl. After some playtime or milling around unproductively, I realize it’s much, much too late for any of us to be awake, and I’m exhausted. So I frantically finish up whatever it is we’ve been doing, make sure lunch is packed, shut down the apartment, and herd the mammals into the bedroom. There Zoe usually requests a show and/or a snack, which gives me a chance to get myself ready for bed.

I remove my jewelry and start to floss, then remember that I’ve forgotten something; we take our vitamins. I take my zyrtec. I floss, use the little brush where it’s made necessary by my permanent retainers, brush my teeth, brush my overnight retainers, and put in my retainers. I brush Zoe’s teeth, wipe her face, and get her a drink. At this point, depending on how much “free” time I have, there may be several minutes of preening. Eyebrows don’t tweeze themselves, mkay, and I have a magnifying mirror that undoubtedly contributes to a pathological awareness of each pore on my face. I wash my face, either in a full shower or at the sink, and get dry. If I haven’t already been in my pajamas since after work, that happens now. I refill the humidifier and plug it in.

The following is unpaid product placement.

Next on the list is more allergy control: the Sinus Rinse. My ENT recommended it years ago, and, coupled with flonase, it has allowed me to breathe. (The rinse helps to expose the actual nasal epithelium so the flonase can work better.) I have a deviated septum and completely destroyed sinuses, so 50% air movement is the best I can hope for; without these things I’m working at 25%. So this provides sweet, sweet relief. Plus, Zoe was under two when I started using it, and nightly she would remind me to “do nose” – which is obviously quite cute. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then comes the acne treatment/preventive gel and moisturizer. This is a post in itself. Suffice it to say that I love Dan Kern’s products. They have changed my skin and my life.

Now back to the show.

Finally I brush out my hair, refill my water, and snuggle into bed with a device and a cute little girl.

That’s actually not so bad, really. All that takes about 30 minutes with a few interruptions.

The trick now is getting this insomniac monkey to sleep so I can play words with friends and pass out.

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