In which there’ve been midterms

 

For disclosure - not take-out soup, but it was made from a lot of cans.

For disclosure – not take-out, but it was made from a lot of cans.

I’ve been in midterms for the past two weeks and then to round out the spectacularity of being in the twenty-second grade, I was on call with an incessant pager and worked the holiday. There’s something about it all piling on at once that can crush your soul a bit.

Each time that I find myself so exhausted that I want to take a nap in my car in the few moments between class and clinic or want to complain that I have to go in to the hospital again right when I just.sat.down to eat the dinner I was interrupted from three hours ago for another call or when I’ve had problem sets due every day and sometimes on lectures we haven’t had yet or when I’ve spent several precious hours researching medical complexities on patients who then don’t make their appointments or how it’s now the second day I haven’t seen sunlight because our nights are so, so long or when I realize we’re eating take-out again because I can’t find a moment to do adult-like activities like grocery shopping…

I just take a good, deep breath of our cool, rainy air. This is all part of it. No one reminds you when you tell them your plans that it’s going to be a long string of tired. It’s going to be many weeks of constantly feeling like you should always be doing something and lots of take-out food. But if this is anything like dental school was, there is the sweet, sweet amnestic healing that comes with being another semester (or quarter or even half quarter) closer to your goal. You forget how stressful the last push was and continue onward.

As I hurry between buildings on campus, I find myself quietly rejoicing that I am fortunate enough to have a coveted parking spot so I can drive between class and clinic. When I walk into the Emergency Department I remember how blessed I am to be on call for such a great hospital, and how I’m so very, very thankful to be in聽this program I fought so hard to continue. I am grateful that I can work in this fun, little waterlogged corner of our country. I feel like I’ve made it. I feel like I have so far to go.

Beyond anything else, I feel so incredibly lucky to be living my dream.

Thanks.

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In which I took the month of August off

Whoops. I meant to update this thing. Summer is here is so wonderful and short that after work I want to go relish it instead of writing. Our days are so long – 18 hours of sunlight! and I know that the rains are acomin’, it’s been great. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Enjoying time with my Aunt Teresa and Uncle Larry who came to visit once on their way to a fabulous Alaskan cruise and once on their way back to Nashville. Loved seeing y'all!

Enjoying time with my Aunt Teresa and Uncle Larry who came to visit once on their way to a fabulous Alaskan cruise and once on their way back to Nashville. Loved seeing y’all!

We took them to Golden Gardens for a picnic with Paseo sandwiches on the Sound.

We took them to Golden Gardens for a picnic with Paseo sandwiches on the Sound.

And to all the touristy things downtown, like the gross Gum Wall in Post Ally. Yuck! Come back to Hotel Sarvas anytime!!

And to all the touristy things downtown, like the gross Gum Wall in Post Ally. Yuck! Come back to Hotel Sarvas anytime!!

Enjoying runs around Greenlake in the evenings (and not getting my phone stolen again)!

Enjoying runs around Greenlake in the evenings (and not getting my phone stolen again)!

And beautiful sunsets on Tom's boat on Lake Washington. This is the UW Huskies' stadium from the water.

And beautiful sunsets on Tom’s boat on Lake Washington. This is the UW Huskies’ stadium from the water.

Pretending I have a boat and a dog, because I not so secretly want both.

Pretending I have a boat and a dog, because I not so secretly want both.

Checking out cool Seattle landmarks like the Elliot Bay bookstore in Capitol Hill.

Checking out cool Seattle landmarks like the Elliot Bay bookstore in Capitol Hill.

Eating Molly Moon's ice cream. Strawberry balsamic is my new favorite flavor.

Eating Molly Moon’s ice cream. Strawberry balsamic is my new favorite flavor.

Finally getting the hang of being Seattleites and bringing our reusable grocery bags to the store five times in a row!

Finally getting the hang of being Seattleites and bringing our reusable grocery bags to the store five times in a row!

Spending more time at Seattle Children's Hospital in the OR for long and rewarding days.

Spending more time at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the OR for long and rewarding days

Celebrating co-resident's children's birthdays with cupcakes and sunshine.

Celebrating co-resident’s children’s birthdays with cupcakes, new books and sunshine.

Branching out of our usual neighborhood restaurants to indulge in duck burger sliders at Tilth.

Branching out of our usual neighborhood restaurants to indulge in duck burger sliders at Tilth.

Meeting up with old friends from North Carolina and showing them Gas Works Park. Thanks for visiting Melanie and Jeremy!

Meeting up with old friends from North Carolina and showing them Gas Works Park. Thanks for visiting Melanie and Jeremy!

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Melanie and I worked on a dust mite study in North Carolina from 2007-2008. We probably logged over 5000 miles driving around the Triangle getting lost and collecting dust from people’s homes. At the time we both wanted to go on to dental and physician assistant school and shared in each other’s stress of applying and then triumphs of getting interviews and acceptances. Later we shared our engagements and then weddings. It’s been so great living this dream with you, even from afar! Come back to Seattle soon!

Jeff and I just returned from our camping trip in Nevada and as soon as I’m able to shake the dust off of everything and collect myself from that amazing experience, I’ll get some pictures of that up too.

In which we go on a tour

Last Saturday the dental residents got to go on a tour of the new Building of Hope at Seattle Children’s Hospital that will house the brand new Emergency Department. Forgive me for not taking more pictures, but I was so enraptured by the vastness, the planning, the prettiness, the thought out flow, the detail, the design, the 24-hour Starbucks!, the resources, the sparkling brand newness of the thing that I totally forgot to take a lot. Here are some pictures, plus some I stole from my co-resident David’s phone:

First years on tour: Janice, Christine, Jim, myself and Kat

First years on tour: Janice, Christine, Jim, myself and Kat

This view will be prettier when the clouds are gone

This view will be prettier when the clouds are gone

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Kat and I

Kat and I

I was a little late because I stopped to return a page since I was on call. But I brought doughnuts! So all was forgiven.

I was a little late because I stopped to return a page since I was on call. But I brought doughnuts! So all was forgiven.

We start seeing patients in the new ED soon – which will be a big change from how our call works now. Currently we go get them from the ED, bring the back to the dental clinic and patch them up and take them back. The new ED will be too far away to do that easily, so we’ll be doing a lot of treatment there. The doors to “our” bay aren’t scream proof. We checked.

This point was hammered home on Saturday night when Kat and I spent some time in the ED for a trauma patient.. we were discussing different treatment options with the attending that night and he made the comment that he guess he didn’t realized how hard our jobs were. In their eyes, we pick up the patient, take them away and bring them back all fixed up. No big deal. They don’t witness all the behavior management and sometimes the wealth of crying, that happens when we’re away treating a kid that’s had a rough day. I hope they’re ready for us to bring our excitement down to the new ED! I can’t wait! 馃榾

In which it’s all about the perspective

Getting some work and blog posting done on my research time.

Getting some work and blog posting done on my research time.

Last night I was chopping vegetables for the week because it turns out I let them rot in the fridge if I feel too lazy to do it when I get home from work. I’ve been using emeals to help us plan and keep a budget (remember when I tried to meal plan on my own? hahahah, turns out not so much) – plus it’s fun to try out their recipes. Right in the middle of grating some ginger my pager went off; there was a three year old with facial swelling and infection due to a large cavity at Seattle聽Children’s Hospital and my co-resident Bri and I were being called in to take care of it.

Thought 1

Annoyance. Seriously? The best time you could think of to take care of your kid’s cavity was at 8:30pm on a Tuesday? Oh, it’s been like this for weeks. Great. All cavities are preventable you know, with a toothbrush, good diet and some floss. We like to fix things before they get too big and create a medical emergency. Cavities can kill. You’ve already seen two other dentists today? They did nothing? Why, we’re all trained how to extract teeth in dental school and they’ve been dentists way longer than I have. Plus, it’s not a super complicated procedure. Oh, they didn’t feel comfortable treating children.. Perfect excuse. At this time of night I have none of my magic tools to make it anymore comfortable than you could’ve done earlier today and saved this family a three hour trip and overnight stay in the city. I certainly wasn’t trying to do anything else tonight after a long day of work.

Thought 2

Thanks. Thanks for pagers, so I don’t have to sleep overnight in the hospital waiting for the kids to come in and I can hang out at home or go to the grocery story or do anything else in a 20 minute radius of Children’s. Thanks for good co-residents to share the burden of trying to treat a hurting child when they and their parents are not at their best and have already had a long day. Thanks for a car to drive me to the emergency department so I don’t have to take the bus or walk and for good, safe, paved roads to drive on. Thanks for hands (that yesterday smelled like ginger) to help lessen the pain. Thanks for student loans to pay for the lessons that have molded these hands over the past almost five years. Thanks for antibiotics so this kid won’t die of a toothache. Thanks for parents who trust that I’m only trying to help. Thanks for good lighting, clean facilities, a plethora of gauze, sterile instruments, a dental chair. Thanks for working suction. Thanks for the Starbucks to grab a quick tea while waiting for the ED nurses to be done with their assessment. Thanks for a dictation system so I don’t spend 30 minutes writing my notes. Thanks for a great partner to work with. Thanks for the chance to heal.

It’s all about the perspective.