Sunday, January 31, 2010

This SUCKS!!!

I don't want to do school or work or ANYTHING right now! I just want to hang out with my husband and be married and happy and all hibernating in our newly wedded bliss! Instead I am at the kitchen table surrounded by PowerPoint's about heart disease and green tea and he is up the mountain at work. Waaaaahhh! I know I just knocked the honeymoon but I would KILL to be wearing flowing linen and drinking an umbrella drink like one of those douche bags in the travel mags or on the Knot.....Kill I tell you. Alas, it is not to be....tomorrow is another day in the OR....and so is the day after that. The day after that aka a huge f-ing test in pharmacology as well as a major assignment due date in medical emergencies! Fuck Me!!!!!! I am tired and behind and having SO much trouble finding the motivation to do anything but run for the nearest airport and fly to Belize or Mexico...hell right now I would settle for Tampa Florida! Oh well, back to the heart and all the ways it can die....seems so unfitting since I feel like mine couldn't be more alive right now....Fascists!

PS...Spell check just corrected my spelling of Douche bag! I LOVE it!

Fitness Day 43.
Tried on my dress yesterday and almost cried! I am seeing results ladies and gents! It is working.
10min of Get ups
30min 400kCals on the eliptical

Friday, January 29, 2010

"You're a Married Woman Now...."

All the romantical travel magazines and wedding sites would have a girl believe that once married she will spend a little time in the following way....
Lounging about on a beach looking post-coital and blissed out. Or maybe wearing white, flowing garments and walking hand and hand on the beach....or better yet sitting barefoot in side by side hammocks sipping umbrella drinks. Bliss bliss bliss! Well, I am here to tell you that it ain't so. Instead, I am wearing the sexiest of blue scrubs, a hair net, a surgical mask and a stethoscope about my neck. I am trolling the halls of the OR doing my best to looks smart and capable in hopes that some anesthesiologist will give me a shot at an airway.

The paper wedding is still mostly a secret as there are just some family members who would be hurt or upset about it and we don't want to hurt anyone or cause any strife. We did what we did because it was what was best for us and our particular situation. We made it more than just signing papers because it is MORE than just paperwork when you commit to spend the rest of your life with someone. We wanted to be able to address how special the occasion was without making a super involved process out of it. As I have said before, this was about us and September is about our families and friends....but I digress.

I initially decided to write this post in response to another blogger's post about her feelings about family. She writes about how she doesn't want kids and how she feels about the liberty people take expressing their opinions about young married women and "family". She tells the classic stories about the unwelcome opinions from the little old ladies saying "Oh, you'll never feel complete until you have children", or "Someday you'll wake up and realize you missed something". She doesn't see it this way. She expresses thoughts that she would feel trapped and angry if she found herself going though pregnancy and motherhood. She points out how once you get married you are supposed to want babies and how married people get pregnant and keep the babies and if they don't often there is a great deal of struggle and discord between families.

This is interesting to me. I want babies and the Hubbs wants babies too. In fact, we are crazy for babies and I am really looking forward to 18 months or so from now when I get to take the breaks off and see if I can even GET pregnant. However, six months ago I had a friend call and tell me she was pregnant. She had a sweet boyfriend who was a victim of the current economy, she had amazing parents with very liberal minds who would have likely been very happy to help her, and she had a good strong head on her shoulders. She also had just received an acceptance letter to graduate school. Her life's dream was to be an engineer and she had the chance to achieve that goal. She called me because I am that girl. My mother was a Nurse Midwife and all my adolescent/adult life I have been little miss women's health information. I talked with her about what I knew. There is a great clinic in the city where she lived at the time, one where they really respected women and their options. My friend 'N' knew that if she told her boy or her mom they would want her to keep the baby. She knew that was a death sentence for her dream. Long story short she decided not to have the baby and she is now working her way through graduate school. This spurred a conversation with my mom. I told her about my buddy and told her that I didn't know what I would do if it were me who was pregnant. I had just been accepted into a 11 month paramedic program that would definitely NOT be conducive to a pregnancy and would actually be out of the question in the last few months. It would be impossible to complete an internship filled with CPR, intubations, and stretcher fetching while enormously pregnant. Also impossible would be doing all of this while nursing and not sleeping during the first few months of motherhood. The upside would be that my program is very accommodating and I would be able to take the time off to have the baby and get my feet under me again before they would set me up to finish my education be it testing, interning, whatever...They are great. They have accommodated illness, fire academy and serious family situations in the past. That is not the point though. I had told my mom that I didn't think now would be an OK time. I thought mom would be all supportive and proud of me for being sensible and driven. Weeeeeell, my mom had other thoughts. She gave me the "talk" of a lifetime about how unrealistic women of my generation are and how it is getting us into more trouble than we realize. She says all this waiting for the "right time" is part of our controlling nature instilled in us by the culture of our time. She pointed out that I am (was) in a fantastic, supportive relationship with enough income to have a nice place to live, good insurance through my job as well as his, supportive family near by...all good things. All more than a lot of families have when they first start out. She had a point. I had long waited to be in such a good place in life. I had all the fundamentals in place. It would not be convenient but it would be OK. I was flabbergasted to think that I was *here*. I was in the zone where it was no longer insane to think of having a baby in fact, I am almost to the "you're not getting any younger" stage. It was no longer a "teen pregnancy". When the F did I get so OLD!?!!?? I know 26 is not geriatric but it is also not teenage anymore (thank god!). I just don't remember getting here. It was a real head trip to think about reaching this phase of my life. It was even stranger to realize that my friend 'N' was theoretically, there too. As modern women we had reached that diving board where we were about to start making those decisions about life, education, family and our futures. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I don't think her parents know to this day. I don't know if she ever told the boyfriend. I regret to report I haven't talked to her in quite some time as we are both pretty overwhelmed with school right now. But the message is in there none the less.

As women we are being told that we should be sexy, smart, driven, sensitive, organized, spontaneous, laid back, committed and family oriented. We are being told to be Betty crocker, June cleaver, as well as the CEO with a corner office. Who can do this? I am not saying we have to choose career or family, success in the outside arena or a happy home but I DO want to point out that women these days are expected to make a home, grow people inside of them....breast feed and rule to corporate world. The expectations and opportunities of the modern times have not absolved us of the "responsibilities" bestowed on us by our mothers, grandmothers and the many way backs before them. It's sort of insane! To add insult to injury we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Women who marry and have families, who "settle down" and do the wife/mom thing while they are young are labeled sell outs, unmotivated, gold diggers...Women who decide to forgo the "family life" in the traditional sense, are labeled as cold, ball busters, selfish, or worse, barren. If you don't "dare" to take on the balancing act or *gasp* don't want to for whatever reason you are judged. Why People?! Why can't we just let people have their choices and lives? Why are women the target of this? Men don't get this shit. If a man is sitting around with his buds and says "nah, we have decided not to have kids" his buds are likely not going to say "Ahw brah, you HAVE to have kids! You won't feel complete, your clock will be ticking, you'll feel like something is missing..." It just isn't common. Anyway, my aim with today's post is to point out the insanity of what we put married women though as a culture. I am not trying to leave the single ladies or the dating ladies out of this particular post but lets face it, married women fall into a whole different puddle of expectations after the I Do. I am lucky enough to have supportive family however, I am also looking forward to babies be they homegrown or adopted. I don't have to go though the process of going against the grain of my family's opinions and hopes for us. That process was saved for the name change process which is another post all together.

Fitness Day 44
15min free weights and get-ups
35min aquajogging.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Things That Make Me jack asses in the OR

I am back in the OR today for another run at some intubations. I woke up at 0550 in order to get myself together and be on time 0700. I arrived at 5min to 7 to find the place a tomb. No one was there. I found the charge nurse making coffee in the break room and she informed me that Thursdays always start at 0800. "I always ask if they are going to tell the students and they always say it would be too confusing". Too COMFUSING?! WTF?! We are learning how when and why to paralyze people, how when and why to shock people with electricity and how when and why to do nothing more than provide 02 for people. Coming in at 0800 on Thursday is beyond our simple medic brains? Jeeezus! Anyway, after getting over that I went to the atrium where there was a beautiful sunrise happening just outside the window. I had some coffee and did some homework. It was a pretty nice start to my day after all.

I made my way back down to the dungeon and looking at the schedule saw it was going to be a mostly LMA day. LMAs are an airway device that sits above the glottic opening and occludes (mostly) the esophagus allowing ventilation of the trachea and thus, lungs during surgery. They are mostly NOT used in EMS as they are not a definitive airway and they do not block the esophageal opening enough to prevent aspiration (at least not to the standard of most medical directors). They are however, quite popular for healthy pts having routine and short surgeries with the opportunity to fast beforehand to avoid vomiting and aspiration...and all the associated baddness. So, LMAs mean very few intubations.

On top of this there is a Life Flight RN in the OR today trying to get some tubes himself. There was a similar situation on Monday and Bernie and I worked it out. This guy today was a different story. A jack-ass, big, dumb, tube stealing, jerky themed story. I went to my first case and asked if Dr Scott, the doc I worked with last time who had been so wonderful to me, would allow me to shadow him and maybe assist. This is how I approach these guys. They don't want a tube whore they want a student. He told me he was going to LMA her and there wasn't really anything for me to do. I stood outside, waiting for my coffee to kick in and hoping something else might roll by. I heard the overhead pager "Lifting help to OR 6..." That was something I could help with. I walked back into the room and said "I can help lift". Dr Scott looked at me and said "You just earned yourself a tube." We moved the pt, I applied 02, then he put her under and I started preoxygenating her.
C-E seal and jaw lift as shown in this pic I pirated from the intertubes...I had her at 100% and had the doc happy with my technique. He told me to intubate and I took a look and thought I saw the cords and promptly tubed her stomach. Bummer. I was sure I was gone but nope. He told me to pull it out and get back in with the blade and show him my landmarks. This time I placed it and saw mist in the tube, equal bilateral chest rise and fall as well as a proper end tidal C02. I was in. He taught me how to tape and then we positioned her for her procedure. I was so high! I LOVE Dr Scott and I don't care who knows. He is my hero. My airway guru. Unfortunately, the next 2 cases he had in the day were going to be LMAs for sure as they were young healthy peeps with minor surgeries. Bummer!

I went on to find my other buddy Dr Pan. He had been quick to recognize me the other day and let me take a crack at the tube in the young woman with success. He was quiet but very nice and very helpful. I had seen him earlier but had not had the chance to ask about his cases. I was standing talking to the LF RN who had already been kicked out twice after missing 2 trys this morning, and I said "Oooh, I need to ask Dr Pan if I can get in on his late morning surgery, he's great." The charge RN came up to tell me something about tomorrow and the instant Dr Pan hung up the phone the LF RN went over and asked him if he could tube the late morning pt! What the FUCK!!!!!????? Pardon my french but the F word doesn't even begin to do justice to the horror of this dude's actions. What the hell kind of person does something like that?! What a shit head! Dr Pan of course, said yes. The LF RN smiled at me and I said "Nice, thanks" and walked away. There was nothing else to do. That was the last shot of the day. Fuck him! This means I got ONE tube today. I know that's better than none but c'mon! ONE after that bastard misses 2! and then steals mine?! I am pissed. He knew I am a student. I am not getting paid to be there I am paying to be there. He is on the clock! He only needed 2 tubes to be up to date. He will have had 4 tries if he can even make the next one. What a jack ass. I felt like saying a whole lot of "I hope you...." but wishing ill on other prehospital providers is bad mojo as far as I am concerned. When people are taking care of other people's lives you don't wish them ill. Especially since the Hubbs wants to fly some day. I just think it's poor form. So, I wish that someday really soon, he does something heroic. Something truly newsworthy...something that gets him on TV....maybe national news....and then I hope the butt of his flight suit rips....wide open.

Fitness day 42
I am down a true pant size! Woot Woot.
Water aerobics today again...
Also probably some weights. Feeling good. Love being at my own hospital so I can plan a work out before heading home. Makes things MUCH easier!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And Now We Share Two Last Names

I got married on Monday night. It was the best day of my life. However, before I jump into the description of the nuptials I have to preface it with a bit of context on the day as a whole.

We have established that I am in Paramedic school. I began my clinical rotations on Monday. Not just clinicals in general, but my OR rotation. This is the rotation where you humbly grovel at the feet of the ass kings known as anesthesiologists. I don't mean to bag on anesthesiologists as a people (he he "bag"...a little airway humor)...well ok, sure I am bagging on them as a population because they SUCK (for the most part). They are inept cellar dwellers who put people TO SLEEP as a profession. Most of them have the social graces of a glass of water. Actually, water is usually more refreshing. Anyway, there had been some scheduling snafu and my program director was left short several OR spots. I had said maybe I could get in at the hospital where I work...My director took off with this concept and began the long frustrating road to getting me a slot on what turned out to be a bloated student schedule in the OR. The day before I was to begin my rotation I received a forwarded email from the head of anesthesiology to my director. I paraphrase when I say it said they were frustrated and irritated to have to accommodate me, they will "never do this again", and it puts a major imposition on the other students down there. I got that email and panicked! Holy Shit! They don't want me and my director has begged and cajoled and there I am! F!

Needless to say I was very anxious on Monday morning. I walked into find the woman assigned to me was not there yet and when she finally arrived she didn't look me in the eye, didn't say anything to me, handed me an OR schedule with several check marks next to surgeries I assumed she thought I had a shot at and walked away. OK, I thought, I can handle this. I have been in tough spots before. I will smile and be kind and deferential and I WILL survive this day! I may not get any tubes out of it but I will not die of anxiety. Long story short, I got several tubes! The first doc recognized me and pulled me in right away. The second one recognized me as well and after quizzing me on bagging and preoxygenation he too let me place and ET tube in a pt. It was WAAAAAAAY COOOOOL! It is still frightening as I feel like at any moment they may say "Nope, you're clearly and idiot! Get out of here! Bugger off!" But the take home point is that that did NOT happen on Monday. Thus, I left the hospital (after working out) and headed out into the misty late afternoon of Oregon feeling preemptive shock for what had happened and what was to come in just a few hours.

I had told the hubbs that I was going to hit the store for flowers before coming home and as I walked in I must admit, I was NOT feeling very bridal. I was wearing scrubs and frankly felt exhausted after all the adrenalin of the day. I was wandering about the flowers and the young woman finally asked me if she could help. I wasn't sure. She asked what the occasion was and I said I was getting married tonight. "Oh my gosh! I have never done flowers for a wedding before!" She said clasping hands to heart. "It's cool" I said, "I have never been married before. We can figure this out together." And we did. She made me the sweetest bouquet of hyacinth (sitting on my night stand now still smelling like heaven) and 10 mini Gerber daisies that all looked different and hand painted. As she put things in order I ran in to fetch green tea and salad for the mister. I decided I wanted to give gifts to our small collection of buddies witnessing things. I wandered about for a while trying to decided. I settled on a gift bag containing Annie's mac and cheese and a gourmet chocolate bar. I went to check out and the guy ringing me up looked at me and asked "Do you really like Mac and Cheese?" I could have honestly replied yes! I do love it you know. However, I explained to him that I loved melted cheese and my theory about how it comforts and fills in the cracks in the soul like nothing else and I thought it to be the perfect gift of friendship. And chocolate...only freaks don't like chocolate and if they don't give it to someone else and make their day. Simple, but perfect. I told him "nobody is going to open the bag, see Annie's and chocolate and say Oh damn! I hate this shit." He had to agree. By this time I had received several hugs from perfect strangers and I was feeling more bridal by the moment as I walked to my car in the misting rain.

I went home and got dressed and we headed to the pub to meet our friends. We were almost the last to arrive and as soon as we walked in we both got nervous. I couldn't sit still. There were lots of hugs and kisses and thank yous exchanged. I was pretty sure I was going to explode. Hubbs was wicked nervous too. He couldn't stop pacing. Our friend Bear who was marrying us asked us if there was anything he didn't know that he needed to know. We both said no and looked at the other one for confirmation. As if we hadn't driven there together or something. Everyone was smiling and chatting politely. Somehow it was recommended that introductions be made. I still don't know how it happened but we all ended up going around the table saying our name, favorite flavor of ice cream, and what "brought us here tonight". It was priceless. My good friend Jen (not the get to know ya game sort of girl) looked like she had just been transplanted to a bar mitzvah on mars. But, being the big sister I never had she played along beautifully. It made the old outward bound instructor in me sooooo happy. Classic Me.

After the get to know ya circle Bear said some beautiful things about marriage, weddings, seeds and love. He seemed to have found just the right words to encircle what we are trying to do with the two step wedding thing. I can't quite put the words down here but maybe eventually I will stop cherishing them so dearly and will type them up. After Bear the Hubbs said some very sweet things to me about what he always thought his life would be like and how I was a perfect piece to the puzzle. I in turn, said some things back about how he makes perfect broccoli, leaves very sweet notes and how much I love him. I left out the part about him being the only person in the world who doesn't bug me as much as everyone else in the world (with only one or two exceptions) as there were other folks there and I didn't want anyone to take offense :) After "vows" we cheered, exchanged rings (his had fallen out of my pocket and was sitting in the grass by the side of the street! OMG close call!) ate some dinner and then cut the cupcake. Yes, cupcake. They were delicious!

After cupcakes there were stories of medicine, weddings, school, love, shenanigans and friendship. It was litter ally, the best night of my life. Friends took pictures and played silly songs on the juke box. Our friend Annett had collected beautiful glass jars for the wedding in September. I can't say that ALL of my people were there but somehow, the group that ended up at that table on Monday night was the perfect blend of people from the skeptic to the eternal optimist, the new friend to the life long one. It was a beautiful patchwork quilt of people who love us. I felt so happy and so special (just like everyone else). It was the perfect night.

I know that the wedding in September will not be the perfect day or weekend. There are too many people and variable for it to be a blissful and precious as 3 hours at a tiny pub on a Monday night. However, my sights are not set on perfection in September. My family will be there, my brother from far away and my in-laws from as close as downstairs will all be there. There will be weather and uncomfortable beds and people who bug one another. I am hoping for a majority of good time and a chance to stand up in front of my family bio and otherwise as say "I love this man. I choose him. We want to build a life and a family together and maybe help make the world a little better than it was before we got here. Help us, Help us in the hard time and help us celebrate the good times. We love you and we want you to know how much we love each other." Damn....that's not half bad for off the cuff. Anyway, Monday was wonderful. The Hubbs is still freaking out about the ring on his finger and I am still trying to wrap muscle memory around signing my new last name, but all in all I would say it is utter bliss.

Fitness day ???
I have been working on get ups, rocking the elliptical and tonight was water aerobics. I am still at 8lbs down but have recently noticed I am down an entire pant size not just barely but really down. Hip Hip Hooray!

Monday, January 25, 2010

OMG Today is THE Day!

Here we go folks! I am getting MARRIED IN about 12 hrs! First things first however, I have to go to the hospital and start my first day of clinicals in he OR hoping for some intubations. So much excitement! Wish me luck! I'll post more later. Off I go....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Falling Behind

Getting back into the groove of school has proven harder than anticipated. I took my first quiz this week and got a B! This may seem crazy to the outsider but I don't get Bs in medic school. I am in medic school because I had too much fun in all the other school I have done and thus did not get into PA school the first time. I can't afford not to take this seriously. I have just been struggling getting back into the groove. It feels like there is so much to do that there is no way to get it done so why bother? Defeatist! I know. Anyway, this is my public declaration that it is time to lock it up and get serious again. I have come too far and paid too much money to F it up here.

In other news I am getting married in 3 days! OMG! I am so excited. I picked up The H2B's ring the other day and it was one more little piece of real. It felt so exciting. It was a beautiful day and we went to see Justine and her boy was there and we were all squishy and happy. I love that feeling. I hope I feel that way for the rest of my life. H2B and I both got new outfits and I am all excited to get dressed up and go to the pub with our buddies and "do this thing". Game ON!

This week was rough at school for another reason. I don't want to jeopardize the program or the university by being too specific so I will be vague. We had a lab experience where we practiced procedures and ran a true code. It was educational and awful. I did my best to keep my mind clear and focused on what I was there to learn but I spent a lot of time the weeks and days leading up to it practicing mindful reflection on all the elements of this event. There was a life on the table being offered so that I may learn and become a better provider when faced with the need to perform any of these skills in real life. I spent a great deal of time first, trying to decided if this was something I wanted to participate in and second, just how I intended to participate. I thought long and hard about participation and I came to think of it a lot like I think of eating meat. The life was going to end weather I was there or not. There would be no more damage done from me being there and in fact, there would only be more of us there to share what I have come to think of as the "Karmic Burden" for the ending of the life. I decided it was my responsibility to be there, to learn as much as I possibly could and to bear a respectful witness to the end of the life holding my awareness, compassion and gratitude out there. It was hard. It was so hard. The hardest part was remembering to stay totally engaged with the learning part and remembering to try my darnedest to learn every little thing I could. I can't really talk that much more about it as it is still upsetting and I don't really know what to say. Except, I was there and I am grateful for the chance to learn and I hope that someday, when I am faced with the need to use any of the skills I practiced that day I am ready and the life will have been worth it after all.

On the heels of that....I start my clinicals on Monday. Weeks ago my program director indicated that she was short several sites for students and I had said maybe I could get in at my hospital. I met some resistance and decided to let it drop. My director did not. She pushed and pushed and got me a spot here. I in turn was forwarded the letter she received from the head of Anesthesiology which stated "We are not happy about this. She will be sharing OR time and cases with another student and that will dilute the experience for both of them. We will make this exception this once but please do not think we will do this again." Holy SHIT! How am I supposed to go in and feel anything but scared and guilty after a letter like that?! I am freaked out enough without adding the whole "they don't want me there" part. Yikes! So, I have added LEARN EVERYTHING I CAN ABOUT INTUBATION AND THE PHARM AND MECHANICS SO THEY DON'T THINK I AM TOTALLY STUPID AND WAISTING THEIR TIME. Its a lot!

Needless to say dear friends I am at capacity. I am bursting and I think I will cry both tears of joy as well as tears of frustration in the next week. I will try to keep you posted short though they may be. Hang in there with me...root for me! I need all the help I can get.

Fitness Day 30+
I am still working out and still on the shrink. I have been behind on tracking the exactness but my pants fit differently and I am still a grand total of 8lbs down since December. Elaine has gotten me started on "Get-ups" and other than the possibly torn quad I am loving them. I spent 10min with weights and 35 on the eliptical last night. Water aerobics continues to be fun...It's all good. Oh yeah, and I ran 2 miles in 19min the other night. It felt great!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Time Flies When You Are Panic Stricken...

Are you interested in a fast paced career in Prehospital Emergency Medicine? Thinking about becoming a paramedic? Good choice!

However, boys and girls, before you can do this.....

You have to be this....

This is Baby Medic Sue and Baby Medic Tyson...just roll with me people.
These two wide eyed, white shirted, fresh faced babes are at the doorstep to their future. How exciting! Unfortunately, they have fallen prey to the "dorky-shirt-itis" of EMS education. Sue and Tyson live in Oregon so they are working on associates degrees in order to work as medics in the state. They have taken A&P, basic science, math and some sort of BS "health and fitness for life" class. They looked at all the various programs in the area and decided the University program looked like the best option as it was associated with the medical school, well respected and only a year! Woo hoo! Who doesn't love just one year when all the others make you do two? Sue and Tyson are stoked! They have their dorky uniforms all presses and their stethoscope at the ready. They are hungry to learn the business of saving lives!

What they didn't anticipate was that the "Sweet dude! It's only a year!", would become HOLY F-ing SHIT! It's only a year and it's almost half over! OMG I am supposed to start poking people and sticking tubes in places any minute now and I AM NOT READY! DEAR GOD, JUST GIVE ME A LITTLE MORE TIME!!!!

As you may have now gathered I am freaking out just a little bit. In fact a lotta bit! I am at work again tonight and I am taking care of a psychiatric patient who needed some labs drawn. Her nurse is a friend and knows I am mere days away from starting my clinical rotations. She offered me the chance to go in and draw labs. I have taken the phlebotomy class and am technically, able to draw blood here at work. I never do though! I have not yet taken the precious hours needed to get checked off by the phlebotomy Nazis in the lab. Who has a spare 20hrs?! Tyson and Sue do not! I don't either. So, that means that other than class, tonight was my very first stick. I thought I was pretty cool and collected. My buddy disagreed. Said I was all shaky and would have made her nervous. Not nice J! I thought I was chill. The pt was so busy telling me about her rum and coke habit that she didn't even flinch. It is the beginning.

So last term was hard core but do-able. I was (pardon my French) Balls to the Wall the entire time but I was doing well. This term is doubled up here in the first month since we will soon be spending 80% of our time out in hospitals and only 20% in the classroom. Thus, they are cramming in the extra 80% now....ouch! My brain hurts. In fact, as soon as I am done here I am on to cataloguing a myriad of respiratory diseases and sorting through the common presentations and signs and symptoms. Exciting, no? I will not belabor the point I am trying to make any further except to say I am excited, freaked, exhausted, in-love with it all and fed up to the teeth all at once. It is a rather euphoric feeling most of the time...sort of like taking cold medicine and then trying to stay awake and perform cognitive tasks. A little light headed and looped all the time. Maybe Sue Tyson and I need to go get a beer....

Fitness day 30
Wow! A month of efforts has yielded 8lbs total and I think a real change in my attitude towards food and exercise. I still LOVE melted cheese! I love it like oxygen. I love it almost as much as the Hubbs. I treated myself to melted cheese on toast this morning after the absolutely criminally long day yesterday. It was soooo good. But the thing is it's a treat now. Not a food group. I think about my fruits and veggies and make sure to eat breakfast. I have broken and supplemented some "diet food" for convenience sake. Special K protein snack bars in chocolate peanut butter only have 180 calories. I know this is technically a lot of calories when there are a zillion 100 calorie packs out there but riddle me this all ye dieters...are you EVER satisfied after one of those little packs? I'm not. I may even be hungrier. I always end up over eating if I under eat. Thus, 180 calories midway through my afternoon of school is just what I need to keep my focus and my blood sugar in the right place. I have also started using a knock off slim-fast shake for breakfast. All the vitamins and nutrients I need, protein, fiber, and its dirt simple. It even comes in a can that I can recycle. Viola! I eat breakfast now. On my own time without having to cram it in before I run out the door.

Last night I went to the gym and did my 30min on the Eliptical - 400cK
Today, I got up to spend a little time with the Hubbs before work and hit the gym for 10min of abs and another 30min/400cK on the machine. And I intend to do it again this morning before heading home to have brunch with the in-laws. I am all about eggs, cheese and bacon. I will have already earned it and hell, when it's once a month and not twice a week its OK. It's what we call moderation. Its what keeps us positive when the weight loss isn't as fast as we want but when we know we have been "good" to ourselves all week. A little melted cheese can do a world of good.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thousands of Women in Hundreds of Countries Cant ALL Be Stupid...Can They?

I was born in a hospital under the watchful eye of a physician after weeks of bed rest, medications and even surgical closure of my mother's cervix to avoid preterm delivery. By the time the doc decided it was ok for me to come out I was over the whole thing anyway and decided I was staying. My mother had an induction, episiotimy and forceps to bring 7lb me into the world. It is a day my mom says she will never forget.

I was born the week my mother was due to graduate Nursing school. It would be ten years before I would sit in the driveway of Mary Breckenridge's Homestead 'Wendover' in the hills of Kentucky and watch my mother graduate from the Nurse Midwifery Program. It would be three more before I would attend my first birth and another seven after that before I would find myself (unintentionally) alone (due to a tremendous snow storm) attending the Christmas birth of a little boy.

I am older now and friends all around me are parents, pregnant or trying to become pregnant. I am thinking about it too now that I am on the door step of married life. I spend a lot of time thinking about what it will be like to be pregnant, if I can even GET pregnant, how I will handle my type-A-ness in concert with my "daughter of a midwife-ness". I think about how much aversion I feel to the idea of hospital birth. In most states out of hospital means a limited choice of providers as it is largely the Lay Midwife population (no nursing certification or master's degree for those who care)who catches the home births or birth center births.

I am well aware that there are bad lay midwives out there. There are bad mechanics and bad dentists out there too. That doesn't mean you buy a new car every time your oil needs to be changed or that you have an oral surgeon do your routine cleaning. Birth is high stakes, I get it, I really do. However, we have an utter inability to trust women and babies and their bodies in our culture. We think that giving birth in a room with the machine that goes bing, to quote Monty Python, means everything will be perfect or that we will be able to fix anything that is not perfect. This is a bummer!

I was in PALS this week (Pediatric Advanced Life Support). It is a class for EMS, RN, MD folks who may be responsible for recognizing and caring for a child in a very bad situation. We spent the two days running what they call "mega codes". Kids were doing everything from simple upper respiratory infections to horrible trauma and cardiac arrest with shockable and unshockable rhythms. I am not saying any of this to horrify any of you dear non-medical readers, however, my take home message was kids will choke on things, stop breathing, seize and ready. Bbbbrrrr gives me the willies just thinking about ever having to intubate or cardiovert a newborn. But it happens and it is important to be ready and to know your drugs and the doses and the algorithms to use in each situation.

I got started on this whole topic because one of the instructors was giving the radio dispatch to set the scene for the call we were about to run and she said something to the effect of "You're called to a home where a mother has just given birth assisted by a midwife *gratuitous eye rolling*, the baby was born under water *more eye rolling* and now is blue and breathing "funny" per the midwife". The lead medic started in on questioning and asked about the labor and delivery and if it was normal, any excessive bleeding, how many weeks mom was, if she had any prenatal care and what the one minute APGAR score was. Great Questions! The instructor replied "this is a lay midwife, *disapproving tongue click* not a medical person, she doesn't know APGAR. And the mother hasn't had any "real" prenatal care. These women never do *eye roll, tongue click*. They have their babies underwater and then wonder why they can't breathe".

I was PISSED!!!! After the scenario was over I talked to the instructor and informed her I felt it to be a pretty toxic and biased view for her to be slamming all home birth mothers as stupid and irresponsible as well as all Lay Midwives as uneducated and negligent. I acknowledged that she probably only ever saw the really bad stuff but that doesn't mean that they are all high risk, stupid or end badly. She said she just presents the scene as she saw it. I said I think she did a lot more than that and I did not think it particularly helpful to impose her biases on a fresh batch of medics. We agreed to disagree and I went away pissed off.

This really chaps my ass, as if you couldn't tell...Childbirth is not an illness women have been dropping babies in the fields of Cambodia, Mongolia, West Africa, Egypt. Hell, even European and Chinese women have higher rates of home birth and lower rates of c-sections and associated complications than we do. Why do we think we are so friggen special?! Why are we so unable to trust ourselves and the providers we chose to care for us? Why must we always have some machine tell us things are 'OK'? Its sad ladies!

Now, lest any of my expecting, or trying, or been there done that got the onsie monkey friends think I am dissing their particular choises I am not. I understand that every woman comes to this situation with her and her partner's own context. I am simply observing the fear mongering and undermining of our intuition that is so rampant in our American culture. It makes me sad that something that is so wonderful has become a medical procedure and in many cases is not in the hands of the woman or her partener at all. It makes me angry to hear and see perpetuation of this behavior in the education of EMS, RN and other "medical professionals".

Fitness Day 29
NO real exercise to speak of in the last 2 days! How depressing! I have simply been exhausted and utterly lacking in time durring all of this PALS stuff. They have been almost 13hr days if you count wake up, travel time, class time and eating (yes I count eating). That's a L-O-N-G day for learning at high speeds. So, I have been working hard to eat sensibly and decrease the calories with the exception of the beer I had last night as my "F yeah I survived this day from the underworld" celebration. I hate drinking alone in bed on nights that the Hubbs works....Anyway, I am at work now and will be headded to the gym here in about 2 hours to get my fittness on before I go home to bed, thus ending my 27hr day! Yay for redbull and green tea!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What I wrote

I am new to blogging and thus find I do not have the discussions that more established blogs have going on. That's fine... I am boaring and blogging is a baby step sort of thig. Anyway, as paper wedding day draws nearer it has me thining about the big day in Septemeber too. That has me thinking about how much I miss my best friend since November and if we will ever recover from this fall. Here is the email I wrote to Meg over at She is a WELL established blogger and very thoughtful woman. In fact, most of the women who regularly read and respond to her posts seem to be "my kinda gals" to sound like my mother for a second. As I have more studying to do tonight I will leave you with the email I wrote to her and see if anyone here has anything to say. I want to prefice this all by saying that R is my dearest friend. I love her like a sister and that means sometimes I want to kill her. I will likely never stop loving her as my best friend so any advice along the lines of "you don't need her forget her...are appreciated in spirit but wholy unnecissary as I will be completely incapable of writing her off. That said, here is my letter.

Hi Meg,
My name is Anna and I am a recent blog reader writer. I am also a soon to be wed woman. I was wondering how to pose a question to the wedding blog gang and decided I would try emailing you directly. Maybe this has already been addressed and I just need to be pointed to the post. Maybe not. Anyway, my question is about best friends and things you say or don't say about their choice in partners. Here is the context first. I am engaged to a wonderful man and we live 3500miles away from my family and best friend. They have had a few small periods of "get to know ya" time over the two years we have been together. I was home this summer while my best friend had her first baby. She is a fantastic woman. Her husband has always and likely will always drive me insane. He is just not my cup of tea. He comes off as loud and immature at the wrong moments (like the birth of their first child). I spent two weeks with them leading up to the birth and he was a handful the whole time. He isn't the guy I would have chosen for R if it had been up to me. The thing is it wasn't left up to me. She says he makes her happy and that she loves being married to him. I believe her. So I love him because he makes my best friend in the whole world so happy.

This fall my fiancé and I hit a hard place in our relationship. I was freaked out and rattled on top of my baseline freaked state heading into finals for paramedic school. I called R in the middle of it all hoping for my friend to tell me to trust my gut and follow my heart and all the other things you are supposed to say to a friend going through a minor crisis. She took the opportunity to tell me that she "isn't crazy about G". She went on to say that she just wouldn't have chosen him for me, that she loves me so much she isn't sure there is anyone "good enough" for me but he "isn't it". I was devastated. I was already having my faith shaken and was questioning my judgment and now this? She told me that she just felt that way and that I had to swear that if G and I made it through this patch that I would forget that she ever said anything. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. The wind was totally knocked out of me. I agreed and said that I had to go. That was in November.

I am not angry. Mostly I am hurt. On top of that I feel like it sucked the fun out of my "wedding" planning, as she was to be my lady. I am not having attendants but as my best friend for the last 10 years she was going to be my right hand for wedding things (per her request upon learning of the engagement in July). I don't know what to do with this bomb I feel has been dropped in my lap. I want to call her but I don't know what to say. The last time we spoke I was in tears and now after several months of effort and some help from a therapist G and I are in love and happy and really looking forward to the wedding in the fall. I feel like she has condemned my relationship and I am not sure what I do now. Why is it that once you get engaged the world puts a higher price on struggles? I feel like people struggle and being engaged can sometimes exacerbate that struggle feeling and why should those of us who choose to deal with it promptly, with professional help instead of pretending we have it all under control, be made to feel like failures before we even reach the altar? Why does admitting to struggle become a point of no return after engagement? Beyond that, how do you move past a hurt and get back to the fun of the wedding stuff? What do you say when a friend doesn't approve of your intended and you're marrying him anyway?

There are a lot of questions in there I know. If you know of places that address any of these I would love a good point in the right direction. If you think any of them worthy discussion I would dig that too. As always, you facilitate such great discussions. It has been nice to feel that there are others running into some of the same issues and asking the same questions. Thanks for your presence out there in the bloggosphere.

Fitness day ???
Water Aerobics was AWESOME! 75min
No pilates

Tomorrow = more running
In other news I am down 3 more lbs! I do so terribly miss cheese though. Maybe taco salad tomorrow night with that only just palatable low fat cheese....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Paper Wedding Draws Near

In two weeks I will be married. I am getting excited about this. Really and truly excited. I was a little apprehensive until recently but I am starting to feel the butterflies of anticipation and giddy school girl nonsense that you are "supposed" to feel. In fact, I am sure it will be exactly like the picture above. Ha! Not. If all goes as projected I will spend the day in the OR learning how to intubate people and then around 3 when I am done I will head home and take a little power nap? Wishful thinking maybe. Then around 6 we will get dressed in our finest carharts and favorite skirt and head down to the brewery where we had our first date.

If you have never been to the PacNW you may not understand the brewery phenomenon and if you haven't been to North PDX you might not understand how cool Amnesia Brewing is. It is this funky little microbrewery where some guys who love brewing beer serve beer and sausages. They are under obligation to sell said sausages by the OLC who says "pub" means food and brew. Thus, these guys could really give a shit about the food they are all about the beer. So are we! It is great beer. Small batch, yum yum yum! They are just as happy if you walk next door and get pizza or down the block for Mexican and bring it back if it means they don't have to mess with the food.

Anyway, back to the wedding. We decided to make this a no family event as my peeps are so far away and we decided that if there was family it would change the very casual yet very special feel of the day and while we are so excited to have our families participate in the Quaker ceremony in September, we want this one to feel like it is just us starting out on our own as two individuals and not two siblings, children, cousins....etc. This is a little tricky as the Hubbs' sister lives with us. I am not sure yet how we are going to manage this one. I am sure she would say she understood and was fine with it, I just know that it would bum me out if my big brother had told me and then gone and done it without me. Thus, I think the tactic is one of telling after the fact. That way there is no regret of leaving someone out who feels left out. It really isn't about AKB at all, it is all about the shared desire to have part of the wedding that has nothing to do with our wonderful families and fully embracing our adulthood and the commitment we are about to make to one another. September is ALL about community and family and bridging two families with a new relationship. It is going to be great. This however is just ours.

We have some friends who have offered to be our witnesses and one friend in particular is traveling 200miles on a school night to be here for us. I am so grateful. Our friend Bear is marrying us and for that G and I both feel overwhelmed with gratitude. Bear is a good friend and the perfect person to officiate something off beat but serious like a wedding. The rest of the witnesses are friends from our EMS world. There are only 4 of them total but they are a crew who has seen the Hubbs and I through some difficult times internal and external and have now asked if they could come bear witness. I am joyful for this as the wedding wedding in Sept will be very small indeed. There will only be about 50 folks including us on Friday for the ceremony. The idea of standing up and declaring my love and intention to be his partner and love for the rest of our days in front of more than my most near and dear makes me want to vomit and die. As much as I loved the spotlight in theater as a kid my personal life is my own and being the center of attention on this special and emotional day is not something I wish to do in front of everyone I know. Somehow it seems like a private thing. Those big weddings on TV are cool but I would feel like I was standing in a swimsuit in time square.

Anywho, Hubbs and I are going to get the licence next Monday and the Monday after that we are tying the knot. I have ordered the ring from this wonderful artist who made mine. I wrote about her earlier. Singlebbeautiful on Etsy. She is making him a white gold band. It will match mine. I am just waiting for her to call and tell me it is ready. Something about seeing him wear a wedding ring has me totally excited. Little child on her birthday excited. Is it the symbol of the commitment? Is is the symbol that "Hey Ladies, this one is taken?". I am unclear but I do know that I can't wait to see the ring on his finger and kiss him for the first time as his wife. Even in spite of all my non-traditional behavior I am still a giddy mess when it comes down to it. I can hardly wait.

Fitness Today
Pilates 35min
Running That's right RUNNING! At lunch today. It felt pretty awful but I am ready to work through the fascia pain and get my running back on track. I ran about 30min today.

Tomorrow Water Aerobics!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Temper tantrums and snowventures

A view from Trillium Lake in spring/summer...there was a LOT more snow everywhere yesterday.

Today is my Sunday. At least for the next 2 weeks my school schedule leaves me with Mondays "off". I am still working Friday and Saturday nights so Sunday is mostly spent in bed swatting away the hubbs who is really only respecting my request that he get me up to do something together. Somehow I always seem to think that "sucking it up" will be easier than it feels in those first few moments, ok hours, of doing so.

None the less, yesterday we went up to the mountain to visit some friends and go for a snowventure. I had been crushed earlier in December when the broken paw prevented me from fully indulging my desire to get all wintry and hike in the snow on our vacation to the mountains way out east. Yesterday was awesome. In spite of the fact that upon getting up I proceeded to go off about how men are totally incapable of looking for things in a thorough manner. You see, we had not anticipated the snow trip when I had hit my double Friday (school all day followed by work all sucks!). Thus, I had not organized my outdoor gear and honestly, had no idea where my rain/hiking pants had gone during the recent move. The Hubbs had agreed to look for my stuff and had 90% of it located when I "woke up". The 10% missing was sort of a big deal. It was my pants. I could have worn snow pants but a. I would have sweated my ass off b. They are minimally waterproof. Hubbs said he had looked and I believed him (it was true he had "looked"). I got upset and started ranting around the house about not being organized and how frustrated I was by having moved and still not knowing where important S*&T like outdoor gear was. I basically had a big fit. I had looked in the pit we call a garage, I had looked in the back of the goodwill mobile (AKA my car) and I was taking what I thought was a totally superfluous tour of the hall closet when Ta Da! There they were. The were even hanging on a GD hanger! My next move should have been to say "Yay! My pants! Now we can go to the snow! Let's hit the road." That was not my next move however, I went with the ever popular foot in mouth/head in ass tactic and ranted about how bad men are at looking for things.

I pointed out how many times in one week the Hubbs will stand infront of the fridge, door ajar, and say "Do we have any fill in the blank?" . This is almost always followed by my walking over and picking up said item and saying "Yes Honey, it's right here". This happens on a very regular basis. It's not really a problem because I am known to wait until the worst possible moment to ask him to do something like walk the dog or bring me coffee at work and he ALMOST always does whatever it is with a smile and a little kiss. I very rarely have to envoke the power of the boobs or any other such dirty and underhanded tactics so all in all I think we have a more than equitable relationship. The big difference is that Hubbs NEVER and I mean NEVER chastises me about my F-ups. He just helps me. He may roll eyes or whine a little but he never gives me the business for f-ing up. I need to be more like the hubbs in this respect I think. I am unsure it will ever happen as I am just wired with a shorter fuse for craziness than he is. I will continue to make efforts at extending my fuse however, I will not be holding my breath on this one. I hope his insides match the calm exterior and that he truly does manage to take my bull shit with a grain of salt. He never seems to lose it with me when I am badly behaved. Not saying I like being badly behaved. I actually hate it. I feel sort of embarrassed as it is NEVER as bad as I make it out to be in the middle of a fit. I am usually quite sorry and quick to apologize and take full responsibility for my crappy attitude. He usually looks at me, smiles angelically, kisses my forehead and says something to the effect of "Oh, my little rager, I love you. Even when you are bad. Because it is silly."

This is why I am marrying him folks. He totally and completely gets me. He even gets that sometimes I am not for him to get and thus he waits out the hailstorm and welcomes me down from the crazy tree when it is over, It is because of this that we are able to have a start of the day as described above, followed by snowshoeing out to a friend's cabin with other friends, followed by an AMAZING dinner and some laughter before trundling back down the mountain and snuggling in together only to stay up way too late making plans for the future. I love him. I think I'll keep him.

Day 25
Yesterday was 30min Eliptical 400kCal
Snowshoeing 2hrs 1800kCal

Today 20min Pilates
20min circuit training
Today was an exercise in going rough the motions as I was SORE! But hey I did it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Word About Paramedic School

So I am about a quarter of my way through a one year intensive paramedic program. Most days I am pretty in love with it. I spent one year studying Marine Transportation Operations, two years studying Nursing and another three getting my bachelor's degree in Biology. I know school. My ultimate goal is to become a PA and to work in women's health. I made a run at PA school about a year ago and was not accepted to any of the schools out here and was not willing to gamble and go to the interview I was offered in Phili as things with the "boy" as he was previously called, were new and good and if I had gone things most likely would not have worked out. The Hubbs is a paramedic and in Phili you must be a resident for at least 2 years before you are even able to apply for anything they deem a "civil service" job. In short he could have come with me but that would have just meant two of us out of jobs and far far away from family. This is not the recipe for success. Anywhoo...I freaked out after realizing that I had heard from all of my top schools and the answer was a resounding no. I did a little homework to figure out why they didn't want me and what I should do about it. Here's the scoop. PA school is a 2 year Master's degree program. It is intensive and they require a great deal of patient care experience prior to even applying. It is the new medical school in essence. For folks who don't want to spend a zillion dollars and a trillion years in school, it is brilliant. Lots of education for less money and less time. A great career and lots of opportunity for change even after school. It covers the gambit from surgery to pediatrics and everything in between. The catch is that it is about as competitive as the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader tryouts, thousands of applicants per school for about 30-50 slots, in the largest programs. Also equally upsetting is that they seem to be accepting people a lot like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders...they are all the same. That is the bitter bias of someone who did not get in by the way...grain of salt folks. However, it does seem that there are ways to make myself a more desirable applicant and they do not, thankfully, include hair bleach or silver hot pants. I decided that my option of choice for application improvement was paramedicine. PA schools love medics. They are trained to respond to chain of command, think with varying degrees of autonomy and act in all types of situations and environments. It just so happens that I live in a city home to three different medic programs. I was pretty set on making my way through the stupid ass prerequisites for the on closest and cheapest but turns out that was going to require me to take several "fire science" type classes and jump a bunch of other hoops I have no interest in doing or paying for first. I was feeling fairly demoralized when the ever sensible Hubbs directed me to look into the University program. He was a graduate himself and while it was exponentially more expensive than the community college one, it was only a year and it was consistently graduating some of the finest medics in the area. I can say that without any arrogance as I have spent 2.5 years out here working in Emergency Departments all over the metro area and have seen LOTS of medics. Now that I am becoming part of the EMS family, marrying in and otherwise, I am learning who went to school where and I am surprised to find that so many of the best medics came from the U. They are inquisitive, compassionate, intelligent, professional, assertive and have great patient skills. It is not just a handful it is almost across the board. I would almost be willing to bet that if you put 100 of the city medics in front of me I could tell you who went to the U. Anyway, I got in to the program in about 3 seconds. They were happy to have me and I was so ready to have someone be happy to have me. Rejection hurts...that's all I am saying.

The first days of class were a whirlwind of BS and paperwork. After the second week it became clear that they are NOT messing around. The workload is insane. The teachers are mostly wonderful, caring people who really want to see all of us make it through. This brings me to the real reason for this post. We recently had a regime change where a teacher who had been doing this stuff for a LONG time left to take a job as an occupational health RN. It is a fantastic chance for her and I am happy for her good fortune. That said, I am happier for my own good fortune because she was so OVER teaching us that it was becoming painful. She is a well seasoned EMT-P and RN. She was bored with the work of teaching medic students. I can sympathize. It must suck to feel like you are redoing medic school every year for oh, ten years. If you are that kind of person you are bored out of your mind. That is a sign that it is time for you to do something else. I am glad that she will still be part of the lab instructor group because she has an absolute TON of experience from which to teach us. She just sucked at being a full time classroom teacher. She was never there for our guest lecturers, she tested out of random sections of the book that only highlighted the fact that she had been to NONE of the guest speakers' presentations. If you asked her a question and happened to say "this is confusing," she quickly took an argumentative posture and informed you that No, in fact, it was not difficult or confusing, you are looking at it wrong. Blech! That sucks right? So I figured out her games and managed to get my A in both of her classes this fall but I was not looking forward to the goat rodeo involved in doing it again. I was more than a little pleased to discover that two guys who are themselves, recent program graduates, brand new medics and both highly educated Master's and PhD, were going to be taking over the Medical Emergency class and trying to build a better curriculum where we would be learning information in a way so that it could be easily accessed when we get to the field. They explained that they had had many of the same frustrations as us when they were in the program and they wanted to make it better. They are not the most exciting guys to listen to and neither of them know how to stay on schedule but the desire to make things better and the willingness to take the time to make it happen when they both have lives and families, jobs and education going on. They don't owe us anything so everything they do I see as a gift.

Many of my classmates do not see things this way. Today Jamie and Hugh came and gave us the syllabus for the term. This term is notoriously rough. There is the beginning of clinicals on top of an almost full class schedule. It is ten pounds of work in a five pound sack! It sucks. However, Hugh and Jamie did not make this up. They have made some large changes that I believe will make things better for us. The assignments are now presented in a way that corresponds to what we are doing elsewhere and there are clear objectives outlined. It is all spelled out for us. Do the work and you will succeed. My Fratboy-Fire-Medic classmates spent the entirety of today's presentation rolling eyes and making faces like "Oh, geeze, this is such BS". One of them even had the balls to raise his hand and ask why we have to write a paper when "I can learn from reading just as well as I can from typing. What an ASS! I just thought it was so Flippin' rude! I just hate it when people are rude to teachers. It makes us look bad. It makes me feel bad. I know none of the guys acting like babies today would have said anything like that to any of the fire guys who come lecture us. It sucks! I am excited because the work now requires me to think and use my brain in a way that will keep me learning. They are fire wannabes who don't care about the medicine anyway so they are just as happy to NOT use their brain and do BS busy work. It is irritating to say the least. I just think there are too many paramedics in this city. Somewhere someone decided that it was a good idea for firefighters to get their medic cert in order to make them more highly desired on a company. This is Bull Shit people. Pardon my french but it is a horrible idea to tell people who want to put out fires that they should go study medicine so they have a better shot at getting a job putting out fires! It's stupid and it makes it harder for those of us who DO love the medicine and do want to get jobs as paramedics. Why couldn't you tell them to go get degrees in engineering or physics!? This makes far more sense if the bulk of your desired career you will be deciding how to run into burning buildings or cutting people out of horrible traffic accidents. OK, my feet are getting tired on this here soap box....I shall step down now.

Fitness day 22.
I was EXHAUSTED today. I woke up with a nasty headache and 100% lack of motivation. I slept in. I have my gym bag here at work and will be making the trek to the gym on my lunch break. Not my best day but it has been a LONG week so I am letting myself off the hook and just making better eating choices.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back in the saddle? I think not!

Today is my second day back to school after holiday break. I am exhausted. I have trauma conference and M&M on Wednesday so the fun started at 5am so I had time to get my things together, run through the shower and pick up my buddy E so we could grab some coffee at the Evil Empire in the basement of the hospital and still hobble our way (well, I am the hobbler she walks just fine) up to the 12th floor or something awful like that in time for Dr Shriber to holler "settle down people! Lets get started!" promptly at 0700. I generally like trauma conference. There is almost always something cool to learn about even if the last case is almost always some boring ass general surgery blah blah about pancreatitis or something...filler usually. I just haven't been in the mood the last 2 days. I am a little fearful that I have lost my mojo. I was very focused and did very well last semester. I worked my ass off! Just ask the Hubbs....this was part of our problem. Anyway, I am feeling a little jaded and burned out on the University and how highly everyone thinks of themselves just for being there and breathing the air in the building. Yes, cool stuff happens there, great research and fantastic docs, nurses and *medics* come out of this program. I am just feeling like I don't want to be around arrogance and competitiveness right now. I am well aware that I must pull my head out of my ass, and quickly to get on track before I have to play catch up. I am just allowing myself this first week back to wallow a bit. I'm still going to do my drug studying tonight....but I'm not happy about it.

Things I am happy about include the fact that the Hubbs got the "invitations" done today. We have decided we want to be low paper and are using a "wedsite" (barf) for RSVPs and information. We went and took pics at our favorite dive bar's old timey photo booth and were holding signs that said "We're....Getting....Married....9/17/10". Not THE most original, I know, but us none the less and lets be honest, it's ALL been done at this point. Anyway, we did that back in Oh, I don't know September? August? I don't remember except that it was a long damned time ago and the picture has been taunting me from the fridge. The Hubbs took the picture to the locally owned mom and pop print shop and had copies made for something sick like 38 cents each! OMG 200 for about 25.00. Now, I just have to make write the letter that goes with the picture. Back to my court dammit! We will also be making about 20 "fancier" invites for some of the older family members who will expect that. I am fine making my grandparents happy. It doesn't take that much on my part.

Other things I am happy about include the book our "guy" gave us. It is called "The Five Love Languages". It is a book to help you learn what makes your partner feel most connected. Basically the languages are Physical touch, Positive Affirmations, Acts of Service, Gifts, and Quality time. I know what you may be thinking, "I don't need a book to tell me what does it for my partner...they like ___fill in the blank." I felt the same way. That said, I now have bimonthly appointments with a "guy" to help me build a better relationship for now and for the future and I think if we are all honest for a second anyone who has been in a long term gig knows that sometimes we fall into patterns of convenience or habit and we should stop every once in a while and ask ourselves if we do what we do because WE like it or like doing it...or if it is truly what our partner would choose. Like I said, I already have a "guy" so why not really look critically at my decisions. So what I found was that I LOVE love notes. They are my crack. Whats more is that getting them...tiny post its on my pillow saying "sorry we didn't see each other today, sleep well, I'll kiss you in the morning", make me want to do whatever it is that will make him feel as loved as that little square of paper makes me feel. The book has a test you take and you end up with a percentage breakdown of your affinity for the 5 categories. Its very simple and the author does not write too much into any of it. It is just a simple tool to reality check yourself and your actions. It has already sparked my heart in little new ways. Here is the cover.

The final straw in my very early, very long, sort of exhausting, yet happily smooth day was my good fortune in stumbling upon a water aerobics class tonight at the pool. I was feeling rather uninspired as I walked into the women's locker room and was met with the sight of 15 women my mother's age laughing and joking as they climbed into swimsuits. I was thinking "Oh, great. I just wanted to listen to my music and do my thing and go home", when one of the women looked at me and asked if I was there for water aerobics. I made a flash decision. "Sure am!" I said with a smile and I climbed into my own suit and before I knew it I was doing bicycles to show tunes and the best of the 90's. It was super fun. It was just what I needed. I think I may try to make it my new Wednesday night thing. Nothing like a little community to spark a girl's motivation.

Day 20.
Aquaerobics 60min
Walking 30min

I think its time to talk a little more about school as well as the upcoming paper wedding stay tuned!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

He's too what?

When it comes to wedding planning and the obligatory worrying about details and time lines I have decided that Hubbs and I are best likened to these two chairs. He is comfortable and cozy. You could curl right up and take a nap. This chair is full of patience and seems like a nice place to just wait it out. I am not like that.

I am much more like this shaker ladder backed rocking chair. It is a fine place to knit or rock a baby to sleep. It is not someplace you pull your knees to your chest and take a nap. It is a classic (I too am a classic when it comes to wanting to have things a certain way and wanting more than anything to know when, why, how, how much and by whom). I hate not knowing.

Currently, the hubbs and I are trying to reschedule our "paper wedding". We are getting married before the actual wedding in September for many reasons. It started out as all about the health insurance as I will eventually lose mine through work when my clinicals are over and I start my externship taking me out of the ED and into the back of an ambulance for the final push of school. The cost of health insurance through school is so obscene that we decided that getting "paper married" so I could join his policy early was the best plan. The reasons seem to have multiplied from there. Several friends of ours did the wedding before the wedding thing and all of them are very glad they did. All of them claim to have felt like the paper wedding was a special time for just them that set them up to feel more excited and relaxed on the big day allowing for focus on friends and family and fun on the "Day".

Unfortunately the Hubbs and I hit a bit of black ice this fall and though we were slated to make it happen over my holiday break from school we decided to wait and spend some time really working on putting strong habits and tools in place so that we might weather the inevitable storms ahead with all the tools possible. Basically, we never fought, argued or struggled before this November. We didn't. Some couples say that but we really didn't. We struggled with the outside world sometimes and had to work through obstacles but they were always external obstacles and we always just stood back to back and worked it out together. This time it was different. There had been a breech in the fortress and I didn't know until it was too late that I was responsible for the severity of some of the contributing factors. My being so focused on school and grades had left Hubbs feeling a bit abandoned. He knew fundamentally, the reason for the long hours and stress and so he didn't want to put it on me to have to make it better. I want to say now that he did not go have an affair or anything profoundly stupid like that but there was a system failure. It was not pretty.

Anywhooo....I digress. So now we are trying to get the rescheduled paper wedding off the ground. Our dear friend who will be marrying us in Sept is going to be marrying us this time too. We have a few friends who will be joining us for beers and likely, I will have to get up and go to school the next day. I am excited about this. I want to know when this will be. My school schedule is about to get crazy with clinicals beginning in 2 weeks. I had really hoped to have all of this off my plate before I had to move onto clinical and honestly, planning a wedding. Our dear friend happens to be a lawyer and devoted husband and father to two beautiful daughters. This translates to busy and usually in deep doodoo with his wife already for having an impossible schedule without the added fun of trying to fit in a night at a bar marrying some friends in the middle of one of their busiest months. Basically we suck for him right now.

Tonight, on my way to work, Hubbs and I were talking about how we were going to pull this off and I was feeling more and more hopeless. I think sometimes I take his laid back, easy chair approach to things as a lack of concern, enthusiasm or commitment. He truly does not sweat the small stuff. That said sometimes I think he neglects to sweat the big stuff and it leaves me feeling panicked that if I don't do (fill in the blank), it won't get done. This is unfair of me for 97% of our lives. Our bills get paid, the dogs eat, laundry comes up from the basement and the rent check goes out on time. A Christmas tree even appeared and was decorated in the living room without my orchestration. I am a very lucky woman and in the relative sense I should shut my mouth and thank my lucky stars. I am not that kind of woman however, I am the open your big mouth and realize later that you should apologize kind of woman. I am also the type of woman who believes we are more than our gender roles and expectations of ourselves. I like to be challenged and am attracted to people who aspire to grow and learn continually. I also don't want to plan a dammed wedding by myself. Its not fun.

My best girls are on the other side of the country with brand new babies, off the coast of Japan on a navy ship doing anti-piracy actions, living their own freshly married or engaged lives or becoming DOCTORS. I don't have a lot of ladies near by and my mom lives at the other end of an entire day's travel to the other side of the country. There won't be showers and all of the traditional fuss. I am a little bit on my own here.

I have support from some new friends who have offered generously to help but I feel a little bit like there is nothing to help with yet as I don't know what I need to do. I DO know that we need invitations sent out. We need a photographer and we need speakers for the party. I also know that there will be a thousand other little things that I will need help with and won't have time for. What I want is a united front. I want to know what he thinks and wants and I want him to pick a few things from the ever expanding to do list without me having to melt down first. I want him to read my mind. He doesn't see the need to worry about this or that. He just trusts that it will happen and usually, it does. But this is our wedding and time is money in the WIC. Waiting can be the difference between yes and no or 300.00 vs 1,000.00. It sucks but its true.

So we had a long talk about how his chill attitude leaves me feeling a little psychotic and like I must nag to see results. He explained that my impatience leaves him feeling as though he wants to say not now just to teach me to wait. It all seems fair enough and nobody got upset. However, I do think its something to bring up next time we are with our "guy" Tim. I want to learn how to communicate better so that we get things done without nagging and I can chill out without him feeling the need to teach me a lesson in patience. Now that I have worked through all of this in blogland I think I see that this is all part of it. This dance of triggers and anxiety, patience and love is the dance of life. Weddings put all of that into a high powered magnifying glass and turns up the gain. In the grand scheme of life I think we do pretty well. I need to remember to keep wedding perspective and life perspective in their proper places.

Fittness Day 17
Eliptical 75min - 900kCal
Pilates 10min

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Celebrating practical engagement rings and giving a big middle finger to "color palates" for weddings

Fitness day 16!
Pilates 10 min
Eliptical 45min - 700kCal

Last night the Hubbs and I went to a New Years Eve party at a friend's house. We were surrounded by kindred spirits in the form of medics, nurses, and various aspiring medical professionals. In particular our friends Gabe and Christina were there. Gabe recently proposed to Christina during Christmas at her family's home. He took her for a hike in some lovely forest and got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes and last night they were both still aglow with the candle of their new engagement. As she and I swapped stories and plans/dreams it became clear that the two of us were kindred spirits. She too has a list of practical wedding blogs she follows and upon hearing me answer "no" to her question of if we were having "colors" and "bridesmaids" laughed and said she too thought most of that stuff was not necessary and not "her".

I think it is interesting to reflect on the phenomenon of otherwise rational and practical women becoming engaged. As I have joined the ranks of the engaged I have begun to watch as a staggering number of my friends have become engaged. Women who once espoused feelings of commitment to small carbon footprint, conflict free, fair trade, eco-friendly and financially reasonable products and habits now are sporting large (new) diamonds and planning high impact events. I feel a little like I might have back in high school if all my girls and I had made a pact to shave our heads or wear head to toe pink and then I was the only one who did it.

I want to be clear that I feel good about our choices to have responsible bling. My engagement ring is a piece made from reclaimed white gold and white sapphires. It was created by a local artist and is practical for my life as a glove wearing health care provider, an avid outdoors woman and an aspiring mother. It also reflects where the Hubbs and I are right now. We are not in a place where spending thousands of dollars on something that we cannot eat, commute in or live in makes sense. I am proud of where we are and feel no need to wear some big diamond as a status symbol real or not. I think the exception to this would have been some family ring. If there had been a family diamond I think I would have worn it with pride and gratitude however, it is clear that an antique is not the same as a shiny newly mined diamond....but I digress.

I am not trying to slam women who chose to have the big traditional Cinderella day...ok, maybe I am a little...however, how can we justify going so far into excess and in so many cases deep into debt for one day? I understand that it is a special day and a very important day. I am psyched for my wedding too. I am calling out to my girls who would have us believe that eco-conscious and practical are important to them yet when the "big day" comes they toss it out the window. I say that the big day is an important time to lay a foundation and possibly even demonstrate to others that you are committed to a certain belief that the earth, its people and responsible spending are part of who you are. In today's economy and this culture we live in there is a LOT of room for creativity in this wedding planning nonsense. You can compost, choose a green venue, buy a dress that doesn't require refinancing you entire life. You can start by finding a ring that did not require modern day slavery. If you are into diamonds there are options if you can live without diamonds there are LOTS of options.

I am not hear to rain on any one's parade but as the girl who is planning a summer camp wedding where friends and family are doing things from making cloth napkins and collecting glass jars, to picking wildflowers for me and baking cakes, I am here to salute and encourage my would be practical sisters to shave your head and wear that pink. You are not alone and you should not feel pressured to cave into the wedding industrial complex just because that is what sells bridal magazines. This is the beginning of something new and exciting. Right now, with your wedding planning you and your future Hubbs have a chance to design something that speaks volumes about who you are and what is important to you. Think carefully and take your time. It means something.

ETSY is my favorite inspiration site currently. My ring came from a wonderful woman named Justine at SingleBbeautiful. She uses reclaimed metals and conflict free stones for all of her stuff. Check her out on ETSY - Sellers SingleBbeautiful.