Thursday, July 28, 2011
While I've been making some progress over here in house world, some projects have come to a... stand still.  One of those projects is repainting the cabinet doors and hanging them.  Part of the problem is it takes some heavy duty paint stripper to find clean metal under at least 5 layers of paint.  The cabinet hardware isn't made anymore, so I have to restore the stuff I've got.  My friendly neighborhood Lowes people recommended Jasco Paint and Epoxy Remover. 

So I bought a tin.

And I took it home.

And I tried to open it.

And I tried and tried and tried.

And then I got a blister.

And then I got angry.

Really, really angry.

Inanimate objects have an uncanny ability to make me extrordinarily irritated when they don't do what they are supposed to.  Like open.  I've become similarly outraged when a light switch plate wouldn't screw into the box, a masonry bit wouldn't drill into a cement block wall, and a dryer hose wouldn't fit into the back of the dryer.  There is much yelling, some (okay, much) cursing, and maybe throwing things.  I didn't throw the paint stripper because I thought it might blow up and burn my eyeballs out. 

So, since the jasco has been sitting in my sun room, useless to the world because I can't open it (which, PS, is somwhat surprising because I can almost always open any jar), the hardware for my kitchen has been sitting in a bowl covered in potentially lead based paint, and I've been unmotivated to make any progress on the kitchen.

Until today, when I went to Lowes because I had a coupon (and needed a few things... shocking), and bought another tin of Jasco.  THIS time, however, I asked someone to open it before I left the store.  It took three people trying, but eventually someone got it open and then loosely put the lid back on.  I think they thought it was a strange request until the second person failed to be able to open it. 

Now I can strip paint.  and paint cabinet doors, add hardware, hang them, and have a functional and complete kitchen.  Woot!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
It's been a while since I wrote on here.  Have no fear, real life progress is being made.  I've been busy with this whole doctoring thing, and still working a lot on my house.  More on that later this week. 

I haven't actually written about any experiences in residency yet, so I thought I'd do that.  I've been on pediatrics for the last three weeks (finish up that rotation on Friday).  One of the things that always affects me when I've been on pediatric rotations is how quickly a parents life can change when their kid gets sick.  In general, it's totally unexpected.  Even if the kiddo has been sick, you fall into a routine and something changes, so does the life you knew. 

We had a patient the other day that made me think about this.  He was a 3 month old infant with respiratory problems that was admitted to the PICU.  He was born at 28 weeks and had been in the NICU until being sent home at the beginning of last week.  Four days later he was back in the hospital, in our PICU this time, because of difficulty breathing.  Overnight, he suddenly had more difficulty breathing and died.  No one was necessarily expecting it, but there are always risks with babies born that early.  When they are first born, they require tremendous amounts of support just to survive. 

But after three months in the NICU and being sent home, I imagine the parents put their guard down, thinking they'd been through the worst of it.  And then, suddenly, all that time spent in the NICU, all the trips to and from the hospital, just around the time you originally thought you'd be welcoming your son into the world, he's gone.

I haven't been thinking about this case so much for the parents and baby that died, but for someone I know who recently delivered her baby at 28 weeks.  I've been following the baby's progress at a distance (you know, through Facebook).  It's very different to watch someone you know go through all the struggles of having such a premature infant.  I've seen the excitement that comes with each little step of progress she makes: getting off the vent, getting off oxygen, the first time she got to be outside the incubator, first time she ate from a bottle.  And I know there will be so much excitement when she gets to go home.  I can't help but be apprehensive about that excitement now.  I would never tell the mom to take each step with a grain of salt, because she deserves every bit of positive news and excitement that come her way.  But still, I can't help but worry that each step is one towards more disappointment when something goes wrong.  How depressing is that??

I keep trying to think of an upbeat way to end this train of thought... but I've got nothing.  Sometimes, life just sucks. 

Enjoy the times that don't.
Monday, July 18, 2011
For those of you not familiar with Young House Love, their Do-It-Yourself awesomeness, and their adorable bald baby, you should check them out.  If you are already familiar with them, you'll know that Sherry, the female half of YHL, loves white ceramic animals.  And, if a ceramic animals happens to not be white, she always has a can of spray paint handy to remedy the situation.

Well, I figured I'd channel my inner Sherry to turn an old keepsake from a bottom shelf bookend to a crisp white accent piece for a console table (I don't have the console table yet... but I'm planning ahead).

This is my elephant.  When my grandma died, we were each allowed to choose one thing from her apartment to keep.  I chose this elephant.  It's occupied various homes over the last 15 years, and finally made itself comfortable propping up some books on my bookshelf.  I decided it needed to come off the bench and take it's rightful place in the starting lineup of home decor (see that soccer reference there?  In honor of world cup soccer...)  So I busted out some white spray paint (which I have tons of given my current kitchen shelf painting project) and gave it a face lift. 

This is circus elephant, before a few coats of white paint.  He looks so happy!

Then he got a few coats of paint.  It definitely took a few because each coat seemed to miss some little crevice.  It took many tries to get his whole trunk painted... tricky little loop.  When it was all done, I left him to dry in my garage-turned-paint-shop (you'll be happy to know I've reclaimed it as an actual garage now).   He looked a little like this. 

He didn't lose his smile.  Phew. 

If you haven't noticed yet, this little circus elephant is hollow.  So not only did I have to paint him, but I had to fill him with something.  I decided to fill him with chocolate.  Really, I decided he always needs to be filled with chocolate.  That way, when I get around to having people over to my house (you know, where there's a place for them to sit, and a place for them to eat...), they will be greeted at the door by circus elephant filled with chocolate. 

As I said above, the console table I plan on eventually sitting him on doesn't yet exist.  And to be honest, it's not super high up on the "things to be purchased" list.. which is extensive.  So for now, he'll wander from place to place.  I stuck him up on the mantle tonight for a picture because everywhere else seemed to have crappy light.

You can see that he's already been stocked full of candy. 

So, I think Sherry would be proud of this ceramic animal rehab.  If you'd like to come see him for yourself, he'll be waiting with candy in hand.  Unfortunately, you'll have to eat your kit-kat on the floor, because I have no functional chairs.

Baby steps, people.  Baby steps.

Sunday, July 17, 2011
Today marks one week since Erik was killed in a cycling accident.  Today is also the day that friends, colleagues, and family with gather in Winston-Salem to celebrate his life, share stories, and drink Heineken.  Since I am 1) on call, and 2) in Indiana, I won't be there, and I won't be drinking Heineken.  So I thought I'd pay homage to Erik by doing a gear post about something he and I both love:  the Trek Madone. 

Mine looks like this:

His looked kinda like that, except more manly and about twice as tall.

When I got my Madone about 3 years ago, it was a significant upgrade from my previous road bike, a used and too-small trek 1500.  There was nothing wrong with m old bike, but I made some extra money working over the summer, and had an opportunity to get a new bike at a really great deal, so I jumped on the chance.

The Trek Madone 5.2 (2009) is a full carbon fame with Ultegra SL components and Bontrager race Lite wheels.  I've kept pretty much everything stock except the handlebar tape, which I switched to teal. 

Not having much experience with other full carbon bikes, I can't really compare it to anything else.  But I can say that I love it!  Other than the fact that its light and snazzy looking and riding smooth, the thing I like most it the geometry.  I have a long torso and short legs, so standard geometry means that standover height limits how big a frame I can get, and the top tube length is pretty much universally too short for me.  The WSD geometry has a sloping top tube, giving a larger frame size a shorter standover height.  My Madone is a full two sizes larger than my previous bike and is WAY more comfortable! 

The other thing it does very well is climb.  I'm a horrible climber.  But with the Madone, I can at least make it up pretty much any mountain without rolling backwards!!  In NC, this was important.  I needed to know that even if I was totally spent, I could get home through the rolling hills without falling over on the side of the road.  Now, living in IN, I don't think this will be as big of a problem...

So there you have it.  I love my Madone 5.2  I don't think at my level, anything more expensive would make a bit of difference in my riding.  But there is definitely a difference between an old aluminum frame and a solid carbon fiber bike.

And since this is a tribute gear post to Erik (which, PS, I DID start on Friday night during his wake), I'll leave you with this.  When he got his used, new-to-him Madone we talked about going for a ride together.  I said he'd have to take it easy on me because he'd be way faster with his ridiculously long Scandinavian legs.  His response: "You know, you'd think that'd be the case.  But it's become clear that they provide absolutely NO kinetic advantage."
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I was sitting in the residents lounge, snacking on some easy mac (like, 7 minutes ago), and it reminded me of a commercial.  I love this commercial.  Mostly because it actually could be me and any one of a number of friends.  It makes me laugh.  I hope it makes you laugh too. 

Please enjoy.  I'm going to watch it a few more times before my three pending admissions arrive and all my happiness melts away.

Peace out,
Tonight I start my first stint on nights.  My grand plan was to stay up late last night being uber-productive, then sleep kinda late today, then take a nap before heading in at 7 tonight.  I stayed up until about 1:30am last night, then slept this morning until 8:30.  That doesn't really qualify as sleeping in... I mean, it's better than waking up at 5:15.  But still, not what I was hoping for!  I do have a nap planned for 4. I'll be awesome.  But I still think I'll be pretty tuckered tonight as I try to convince my body that 2am is the new lunch time.  I'll probably end up looking like this:

Any brilliant ideas for making the switch from days to nights (and then back to days...) go smoothly??
Monday, July 11, 2011
Since it'll probably be a few more months before I actually have my kitchen finished enough for "after" pictures, I thought I'd give you a little update on how things are going with the process.

They are going slow.

Very, very sow. 

I though yesterday was going to be a breakthrough day where I could pick out new hardware, attach it to a few pieces, and get an idea how everything might look when it's finished.  Ha.

Here's a glimpse into the future of my finished kitchen:  the cabinets are from 1947... ish. 

And, apparently, the standard size for cabinet handles (or "pulls" as I've learned they are called n the biz) was 2.75 in.  Sometime between then and now, they have changed the standard to 3in.  Umm, hello?  What is the point in changing a STANDARD if there was nothing wrong with the first one????  Really, how much of a difference can that quarter of an inch make?

So yesterday, after realizing that I had non-standard cabinets, I started looking on the Internet for some options, thinking that with the whole world wide web at my disposal, there would be a fair number of options.  I was wrong.  There about about 2 options.  Along with many many forums where people try o figure out where they can get pulls that are 2.75in. 

So, if you're looking for a project, find me some pulls.  This is the one that's on top of the list as of right now:

But I'm accepting other options.  I will say that altering the size of pull I need is NOT an option.  This would involve drilling new holes in every door and drawer, and then finding pulls that cover the old holes.  No thank you. 

Other than the cabinets, things in the kitchen are actually looking pretty good!  The other hold up is that I need some strong paint stripper, and while I have it, I can't open the can.  Yes, I know this is pathetic.  I have considered returning it and getting a different brand with an easier top to open.  Or introducing my self to a new neighbor with the line, "Hi, I'm Kari, your new neighbor.  Can you open this can of paint stripper for me".  I think that's a great way to make new friends.

Anyway, that's whats new on the project: kitchen front.  Slow and steady progress.  But mostly slow.

Sunday, July 10, 2011
This weekend started with tragedy at a cycling race in western North Carolina.

Erik Lie-Nielsen, a faculty physician and friend from Wake Forest, was killed in a crash while competing in a metric century in the mountains in NC.  He lost control of his bike of a steep decent, and collided with an oncoming car. 

He left behind 5 year old twins, adoring patients, and colleagues and friends who know he was one of a kind.  He loved his patients, his job, and most of all his children.  Everything Erik did was with joy, passion, and infectious enthusiasm.  He loved his new bike.  He drank Diet Dr. Pepper every day.  He was too tall for most of his pants.  And he died far too soon.

Keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

And ride safe.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I feel the need to prolong any word ending in A with an extra "aaahhhh", in honor of our hospital cafeteriaaahhhh (no, really, that's the name), which has kindly been feeding and caffeinating me free of charge for the last five days. 

That aside, I've been conspicuously absent from my own blog since starting residency on July 1.  That's partly because I've been working, but mostly because I'm having a hard time deciding how what I write on here will have to change as I transition from medical student to resident.  All the "non-medical" stuff will stay the same.  I can still write about gear and things that make me happy and road trips and cooking and all the stuff I've always written about that make up the part of my life that happens outside of the hospital. 

But since more than half my life will be happening INSIDE the walls of the hospital, and this blog is about a doctor in the making, and not a blog about a person who like to run, cycle, hike, cook, travel, and fix up a house while also having a time consuming job, I have to talk about the medicine.  I want to talk about the medicine.  But I need to make sure I am being respectful of my patients, my colleagues, and a little law called HIPPA.  The hospital where I was a medical student was HUGE, and I felt like I had a lot of anonymity there.  It's not like any more people than before know where I work, or that I plan on giving away any more patient information than I have before, I just am a little apprehensive about giving too many details, getting hunted down by the HIPPA police, being arrested, having my license taken away forever, and becoming a public service announcement producer. 

Okay, maybe that's a bit of an overreaction?

All that said, I'm going to try to give you as much insight into the life of a family medicine intern as possible.  But I'm still working on exactly what that will look like.  That being said, here's a glimpse of what the first five days have looked like

We officially started Friday morning, although it was a short day because rotations switch on Saturdays, so our teams on Friday were totally different than on Saturday.  I'm trying to adjust to the differences between how things operated in NC, and how they operate here in IN.  There are some differences in the structure of each team that just work differently, and when you only have ever known one system, it takes a while to get used to a new one!  But I'm starting to settle in, and definitely feel like I've been here for more than a week! 

One thing I really like about our rotations here is that there are no specific ICU rotations.  While on pediatrics, if my patients goes from the regular floor to the ICU, or vice versa, I continue to follow them, just with a different attending physician.  I feel like there's better continuity, and you really get an idea of how ICU care fits into the continuity of care for patients. 

I'm also getting used to using my shiny new iPad in the hospital.  I'd say within another week, I'll comfortably be able to use it for all things related to our EMR, and won't need to haul my laptop around. 

And with that, I'm off to work on my kitchen.  I'm home early today, but on call tomorrow... gotta use the time while I have it!


About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


Visitor Count