Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lessons Learned

It was a rough day in the ER.  Perhaps this puts it in perspective.

1.  Freezing cold mornings = empty ER.
2.  Savor each minute of idle time.  Things change in a hurry and you'll wish you had enjoyed the peace.
3.  Asking a child with the flu to take deep breaths while your face is at their level results in a spattering of icky flu bugs all over said doctor's personal space.
4.  Sometimes I wish I could treat the parents rather than the child
5.  Children are a product of their environment, no questions asked.  See #4.
6.  There's something to be said for being taught to play well with others in the sandbox.  Despite being highly educated, some people missed that life lesson.
7.  It's a pretty cool feeling to gain the trust of a kid.
8.  Football keeps the ER in business.
9.  It's easier to smile and laugh than it is to get angry.
10.  Sarcasm is a good coping mechanism.
11.  Poop and snot are two very good reasons that I did not choose to be a pediatrician.
12.  If #11 isn't enough to keep me away, refer back to #4 and 5.
13.  Chaos and insecurity breeds more of the same.  Step up and take charge!
14.  Small hard objects traveling towards the face at high rates of speed have bad consequences.
15.  Snoop Dog and Snooki are "role models" to preschool children.  Another fine display of parenting skills!
16.  It's awesome to care for kids with loving families, yet sad that it isn't the norm.  A simple reminder of just how lucky I am to have amazing parents!
17.  Are you a physician or a robot?  There's a big difference.
18.  I couldn't be happier that I've chosen to be an orthopaedic surgeon.
19.  Shift-work can be a really great thing.
20.  Cozy pajamas, a blanket, and eating gelato straight from the container makes everything right in the world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In a Rut

I'm in desperate need of some new and different food in my life.  Let me explain my predicament.

I spend the majority of my meal times at work.  The hospital provides us with a very generous meal fund.  During the day, the food options are quite plentiful and I'm almost always pretty excited about the multiple options.  At night and on the weekends, however, it's a totally different story.  The problem - those are exactly the times I've been working the past 2 weeks.

Here's a sampling of the options for dinner last night:  baked chicken quarters (floating in mystery greasy sauce), fried chicken, mac&cheese, broccoli, butter corn, mashed potatoes, white rice, and gravy.  Any one drooling yet?  Or you can choose from the delicacies at the grill:  burgers (literally floating like little buoys in a vat of their juices), philly cheesesteak, fried chicken fingers, or a "black bean veggie burger".  So among those stellar options, I went with the veggie burger.  It is new to the menu since the dazzling cafeteria remodel (the only change I've noticed is INCREASED prices).  Well, let me tell you, I don't know where they got that nasty slab of a veggie patty, but I never want to see it again!  I should have taken a picture to show you the horror, but I was too busy gagging.  And just for the record, there were definitely no black beans to be found in it!

When I am home, I try to cook a fresh meal.  Last week I made a delicious BBQ salmon and sauteed greens.  Enough, in fact, for 4 or 5 servings.  It was quite good the first day, and even the second.  But by day number 5, I was over it!  I tried to trick myself into making a casserole of sorts with it, but to no avail.

For dinner the other night I was trying to come up with something appealing that utilized all of my fresh farmers market fruits and veggies.  It was tasty, but just didn't leave me feeling very satisfied.
Toast with hummus and homegrown tomatoes, the LAST bit of sauteed greens, and apple with yogurt dip.
So my mission for the week - diversify the food situation.  I'll start with a dinner out at Cantina 1511 with the ortho girls tonight!  Yum!  Then I might just have to make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and Sloppy Josephines later in the week.  And I might just need a little meat in my life - time to defrost some frozen organic chicken.

And speaking of ruts, what on earth is up with my workouts recently?  To put it bluntly, my runs have sucked  the past couple weeks.  I've got this little Thanksgiving Day Half-Marathon coming up and my legs aren't having any part of long runs.  Currently, 8 minute miles are dreadfully painful.  That could spell trouble for what I though would a very easy endurance pace sub-1:38 half in a few weeks.  I've been swimming, biking, and fitting in some yoga and pilates too, but nothing that stellar to write home about.  Maybe it's the lack of sleep, working the night shift, less than stellar food choices some days, or the absence of my awesome teammates and training buddies at The Sport Factory.  Whatever it is, I've got to make a turnaround and find some new fire in my swim-bike-run life!

Guess I'll start by taking a run in the beautiful weather and contemplating all of the great sleep and tasty meals I'm going to enjoy over the next couple weeks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Dear ER patients,
Would you forgive me if I stayed right here under my blanket and slept like a normal person does at night?  Your wait times might be an extra hour, but I promise that it would be for a good cause (my sanity).  Besides, you really don't need to come to the ER at 2am for a scratchy ear, back pain that you've had for the past 10 years, or because you just aren't sure why you can't fall asleep.
Your friendly surgery resident

Yes folks, I'm back to working nights again.  The hours aren't bad at all - 9pm to 7am or 7pm to 5am.  My issue is the fact that I am NOT a daytime sleeper.

I've been using this very unattractive eye pillow and ear plugs to attempt to convince my body clock that it's not a bright and beautiful day.  Despite that, I fell asleep at 8:15am this morning and was getting up at 11:57am.  And I was awake three times during that very short time.  I have blinds and window treatments on my window, yet I still had to get a little creative to block out the sunlight.

Yes, you see that right, it's a beach towel.  Totally tacky, but all I could come up with to reduce the bright light.  That was, of course, until thermal window treatments arrived on my doorstop.  Meet my new and improved dark room!

Still some light coming through, but certainly an improvement.  I can't wait to try it out tomorrow morning!

Time for work - but first, MUST FIND COFFEE!

Monday, October 17, 2011


After a nearly 3 week hiatus from grocery shopping, I officially made my reappearance at Harris Teeter today.  It was pretty refreshing!  I can only forage from the cafeteria and surgeon's lounge for so long.  After a while, granny smith apples, oranges, bananas, fig newtons, and pint-sized milk cartons get old.  After all, variety is the spice to life.

Today's grocery store finds included organic milk, soy milk, nature's path waffles, frozen edamame, wild sockeye salmon filet, mustard, vidalia onion, bananas, hummus, and frozen blackberries and strawberries.  I really wanted some different fresh fruit, but Harris Teeter prices are absolutely ridiculous!  Fortunately, I'm in love with my Vita Mix, so may daily fruit allowance will be coming in the form of berry-licious smoothies.

Today's workouts included a 9 mile run (slow and painful - someone please return my running legs!) and a pilates class at the YMCA.  I registered for the Atlanta Thanksgiving Half-Marathon, so hopefully these miserable runs won't become a trend.

Dinner tonight was pretty darn tasty!  BBQ Salmon, Mustard Greens with Onions and Squash, and Wild Rice Pilaf.

The salmon marinated in a mix of BBQ sauce and Hoisin sauce for about 2 hours.  Then I baked it at 400 degrees for 13 minutes.  The veggie mix is courtesy of the farmer's market.  I sauteed onion and garlic, added the squash, and finally tossed in the mustard greens.  For seasoning, I added a splash of balsamic.  I really enjoyed the mustard greens!  I've been on a kale kick recently, but these greens had tons of flavor.  Finally the rice blend was something I had picked up from the bulk bins at Healthy Home Market more than a month ago.  Once cooked, I seasoned with curry, turmeric and nutritional yeast.

Enjoyed with the company of the nightly news!  Time to be a night-owl - off to work I go!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back to Reality

My last meal in Atlanta was a birthday dinner - take 2!  Dad, Mom, and I dined on a delicious sushi dinner at Kani Steakhouse.  I can't begin to remember which rolls I selected for us all to share, so you'll have to drool over the pictures instead.  It was fantastic!

Vacation came and went and it's back to the reality of being a surgery resident.  I caught an early morning flight back to Charlotte on Wednesday.  I won't always fly home, but it worked out well this time and allowed me to maximize my time in Atlanta.  

I have to share my in-flight breakfast with you.  Even in the Atlanta airport, which has pretty extensive food selections, healthy options for breakfast are few and far between.  In an effort to save some money and enjoy a healthy breakfast, I raided my parents fridge before I left.  A little extra effort  and planning resulted in a delicious breakfast of yogurt, berries, and mixed cereals.  

I've learned the hard way once before that the grumpy security officials consider yogurt to be a liquid and are very quick to keep it for themselves.  So, how have I managed to work around the system?  Freeze the yogurt.  An easy breeze thru security and by the time I'm ready to eat it on the plane it's thawing.  Got to use all those brain cells and years of education for something!

It's been a busy week in the pediatric emergency room.  Lots of worried parents with very well children and a few interesting cases mixed in.  I enjoy interacting with the kiddos, but it's yet another rotation that reinforces how happy I am that I'll ultimately be enjoying a career in orthopaedics. 

Between workouts and working, I've not had any time to hit the grocery store since I've been home.  Fortunately, I received lots of birthday emails from restaurants last week and I've been putting them to good use.  Dinners have included Moe's, Jason's Deli, and McAlister's.  Tonight, however, I was forced to raid the freezer.  I did make a short stop at the farmers market before work yesterday, so I've got plenty of fruits and veggies.  Here's a poor girl's "freezer finds" dinner.

Masala Burger on toast topped with salsa, sweet potato fries, steamed carrots and squash
Tomorrow I must go to the grocery store, or it could start to get ugly!  I'm feeling a crock pot meal.  It needs to include kale since I might have bought a giant bagful at the farmers market (it was only $1 - I couldn't resist).  And I have about a dozen baby squash as well (that $1 basket really had me excited!).  Hmmm . . . what should I make?  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Birthday Dinner

October may possibly be my favorite month of the year.  There are so many things I love, including the cool crisp fall air, apple season, farmers markets, the smell of wood-burning fireplaces, holiday decorations that fill store aisles, and birthday celebrations.  My Mom and I nearly share birthdays - mine on the 11th and Mom's on the 13th.  Regardless of whether I've been in college or medical school, I've always made it back home for the weekend on either side of our birthdays to celebrate with the family.  I was fortunate this year that my schedule allowed me to get away for yet another October vacation.
Enjoying every moment of my vacation with the people who have supported me through it all!
Last night we went to Firestone Wood Fired Pizza and Grill in downtown Woodstock to celebrate.  The restaurant scene in our area is pretty pathetic, and so we often venture downtown or towards Roswell for most special occasions.  I've heard great things about Firestone and have been craving a great pizza for weeks, so it fit the bill for the birthday dinner.

Our table started with a mix of appetizers, which included Calamari, Fig Pizza, and Grilled Artichokes with Lemon and Honey.  My favorite were the artichokes - grilled to perfection and perfect combination of flavors!  The Fig Pizza was good, but sadly quite sparse on the figs. For my entree I went back and forth between the pizzas, but eventually settled on the "Crispy Shrimp Pizza".
Crispy Shrimp | $13.50
Hot Cherry Peppers, Arugula, Roasted Garlic Aioli

Overall, it was delicious!  I was expected fried shrimp given the "crispy" title, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the shrimp were simply grilled.  I opted to try the gluten-free crust since I had never seen that as an option on a menu before.  Sadly, it was not nearly as crispy as the traditional crust.  Oh well, live and learn.  Fortunately, the leftovers crisped up just perfectly for lunch today, so I still got to enjoy the crispy thin crust pizza I had been craving.

Dessert was literally the "icing on the cake".  My grandparents joined us for dinner and brought a surprise birthday cake!  
Caramel Pecan Crunch Cake from the Publix Bakery
This was easily the best cake I've eaten in a very long time.  Publix, I'll be back for that cake again soon!  That is, of course, after I demolish the leftovers calling my name from the refrigerator.  It took a lot of will-power to resist having cake for breakfast.  After hitting the gym for strength and yoga tonight, you can be sure to find me snuggled up in pajamas and eating cake!

The evening concluded with presents.  I received so many fantastic gifts!
  • Vitamix Blender - this thing is life-changing, and deserves a blog post all to itself!

  • Phillips Fidelio speaker dock - awesome gift from my brother, can't wait blast music thru my house

  • Bluesky Scrub Hats - no more ugly cafeteria-lady OR hats
  • Triathlon Medal Hanger - perfect addition to my "triathlon" room and solution for my bag full of medals
  • Scarf and French-Themed Recipe + Music Set - from my grandparents, perfect for the cooler weather

Delicious dinner + decadent cake + gifts + celebrating with family = PERFECT NIGHT!  Thanks for sharing a birthday with me, Mom.  Can't wait to celebrate again next year!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hello Vacation

After 14 weeks of hard work, vacation has officially arrived!  During our intern year, there are only a few rotations during which we are "allowed" to take vacation.  Unfortunately, they are our easier months, so it sort of defeats the purpose.  Regardless, there was no way I was going to miss out on vacation days during my month in the ED.  I'd been advised to take advantage of every spare hour of vacation, so I did exactly that.  After finishing a ED shift at 9pm, I hustled to the airport and caught a 10:50pm flight.  The flight was short and sweet and my midnight I was being welcomed back to Atlanta by Mom and Bailey.

One thing I've quickly learned during residency is that sleep comes really easy when you are exhausted.  I don't remember the last time I had any difficulty falling asleep.  That being said, however, I can probably count on just two hands the number of times I have slept in past 8am in the past several years.  I've always been a morning person, and feel that sleeping later than that wastes my precious time off.  That being said, you can imagine my surprise when on both Thursday and Friday mornings I never even rolled over the first time until 9am!  Sleep has never felt so amazing!

Thursday morning I enjoyed a run with my best running buddy - Bailey.  Runs just aren't the same without her running by my side.  And yes, I took her running with the jingle bells and all.  She's not a big fan - all the noise scares off the bunnies and deer before she gets the chance to sneak up on them.

That afternoon Mom and I ventured downtown to check out the food truck scene.  I've heard great things about the culinary creations that serve up and was ready to partake.  We visited W.O.W (chicken sofrito and vegetarian arepas), Yumbii (fish tacos, spicy pulled pork sliders, and sesame fries), Yum Yum Cupcake (brownie cupcake and vanilla cupcake with raspberry filling and white chocolate buttercream), and Honeysuckle Gelato (spicy cinnamon chocolate and toasted almond).  It was a foodie paradise!  Sadly, I was too busy enjoying the food to capture any photos.  We saved the cupcakes for dessert later that night, and I did remember to snap a picture before we ate every last crumb.

Dad was out of town Thursday, so Mom and I were on our own for dinner.  I've been dying to try Mama Pea's Yumm sauce that has been taking the blog world by storm.  So with that as my starting point, I whipped up a stir fry with bell pepper, snap peas, onion, garlic, brown rice, and fajita chicken.  The Yumm sauce was all I had imagined and more.  I'm pretty sure it could be the perfect addition to any number of dishes - everything from salads, eggs, chicken, fish, and toast.
I love coming home to all of the seasonal decorations!
I really need to invest in some for my place to add excitement to the holidays!
Friday was a nice lazy day around the house.  It feels so great to be home!  I did interrupt my laziness for an hour-long swim followed by a short walk with the dog at the park.  Bailey and I spent some quality time together soaking up the sun on the back deck.  It's interesting that she can go months without seeing me, yet as soon as I come home, she clings to my side like we're best buddies.

Then I spent the majority of the afternoon soaking up the beautiful weather on the back deck.  Homemade guacamole even made an appearance!
Hands down, THE BEST guacamole!
Please, just give the good dog a chip.  I'm going to stare you down until you share with me.  I will win!
Saturday morning I made my way back to The Sport Factory for strength class.  I certainly miss that group!  I've been working hard to spend at least one day a week incorporating strength training into my workout routine, but it was sorely apparent that my attempts have been weak, at best.  The work out was easy, by Sport Factory standards, yet my muscles are definitely screaming at me today.  Royce joined me for strength and then we headed down to the river to enjoy a run.  It was a great morning, and extra special to spend it with my brother.

Sunday morning started with a lazy few hours of newspaper reading, tea sipping, Today Show watching, and pumpkin pancake eating (once again my stomach got the best of me and food went unpictured!).  Then we headed down to Riverside Park to enjoy the cool day.  Bailey and I enjoyed a 9 mile run that left us both exhausted.  Tonight we're headed into downtown Woodstock for dinner with the whole family to celebrate Mom and I's birthdays at Firestone Wood fired Pizza.  Hopefully I'll remember to capture some pictures before I clean my plate!