Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween at Work

Here's the yearly Halloween crew - it was Fairies this year, so everybody was a different fairy. It's amazing that we all got different wings and were different colors. Some of the pediatric residents and medical students dressed up too - made me want to cry when they walked in to my lecture! One of them had the day off and still dressed up and came to the lecture - now that's a good doctor! And another attending dressed as Road Kill with some kind of wolf mask, but he didn't make it into the picture.

We did have a couple of patients dress up for their appointments, but HIPAA guidelines prevent me from posting their pictures; otherwise I'd have to kill you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Saudi Arabian friend

Well I ran into a woman I trained with at said meeting in St. Petersburg. She's Saudi Arabian and told me she had a husband of 3 years - good for her! She invited me to eat with them one night, then said maybe we shouldn't because if he saw a tall blonde woman that wouldn't be good for her. That tends to make one a little skittish, no? Then she said he was very nice so I could drink in front of him. (Beg pardon?) Apparently it's illegal to drink in public in her country, and she said even in the privacy of a home some men would leave the table if a woman drank alcohol. (Honey, I'd've been alone at the table a long time ago!) He also speaks very limited English. Well, that sounds like a jolly good time - I'd be crazy to pass it up!

So we ate at an outdoor restaurant and her husband smiled nicely and was a good bit smaller than me (I was confident I could take him if necessary). She told me he and his brother were in the military and also royalty, and they had been in New York for a meeting at the U.N. Okey dokey! It also turns out he has several missions while they're in the U.S. that are top secret. At this point he says something to her and she says, "He knows we're talking about him." At which point I mime zipping my lips and tossing a key, which makes him smile and makes me think maybe he won't kill me just this minute.

Later our entrees arrive and she tells me he's upset that I'm not eating some of his chicken. Because when you host someone in Saudi Arabia you share your food and it's rude that technically we're not sharing. After lots of conversation which excludes him, he says something to her and she tells me he wants me to come with them. Where to? Why Vegas, of course! They're going to Vegas for 5 days when this meeting is over. I resist the urge to do a spit take with my second glass of wine (gasp!) and politely decline, then he tells her I should come visit them in Saudi Arabia. (Well sure - love to!) This is where I find out they have a house in the city with servants, but his sons live with their mother at the family compound. "Oh, is he divorced?" I stupidly ask. Then I find out they're allowed to have up to 4 wives....alrighty then!

Anyway, I finally finish dinner and say thanks and goodbye (and shake his hand with a clap on the shoulder, which I'm sure means he has to go purify himself and possibly amputate that hand). They sit back down at the table and as I walk away I turn back to see if they're leaving yet, and they're both sitting there watching me....waiting for the hired car to careen around the corner, jump the curb, and snatch me up for my midnight flight to Saudi Arabia where I will either be forced into life as #5 or beheaded, you make the call.

Needless to say, I frantically called Dean as I walked as fast as I could back to my hotel, then desperately locked myself in my room and waited for the heavy footfalls to come for me down the hall. I also called my mom to tell her I loved her. (And if I disappeared to look for me in Saudi Arabia.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trip to St. Petersburg

So I went to St. Petersburg for a meeting last week and flew out of Pensacola on a nonstop 1.5 hour flight - FABULOUS! From Mobile it was going to be connections in Atlanta, Dallas, or Houston, so I'm way ahead of the game here, right? Well, when I look for my gate I have to ride an escalator down to a tiny area where 3 men are sitting and there are a total of 8 chairs, so I think "mistake" and ride right back up that escalator. I restudy the signs, and realize that that was indeed my gate. I bravely go back down the escalator (yes fellas, I'm back, I meant to go in a circle - I love riding escalators!). When we finally walk out to the plane I climb up the stairs and have to duck my head and swallow back a little claustrophobia. This plane is tiny. I'm sure the logo painted on the wing is Fisher-Price. There are 19 seats and a tiny aisle from which I can touch both sides of the airplane simultaneously.

I take my seat and watch the man close the door then go sit in the cockpit. There's no door on the cockpit - cool! Someone makes an announcement about flight time, etc. I look around for where the stewardess is sitting, because I've missed her. Nope, no jumpseat by the front door. Nope, no jumpseat in the rear. Hey, where's the bathroom? Holy crap - was that the pilot locking the door and talking???

Now I realize that this is a tiny do-it-yourself flight for businessmen. And I wish I was a businessman wearing a suit - it's freezing with no heater and no blankets. I also refrain from holding my arm out to see if I even need to lean over to reach the window across the aisle. When we land (I was tempted to shout suggestions from my seat on the approach) and I finally get to the luggage carousel, I feel very foolish. My suitcase is the only one sitting on the silent conveyor belt. Silly woman - if I didn't have that damn bottle of Clear Care for my contacts I could've been in a cab already!

The return trip was even better because I was the only passenger - it was a charter flight! That is why I surreptitiously snapped some photos before turning off my phone. I was tempted to take more during takeoff and landing, but I would've had to reprimand myself and take my phone away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Camping at DeSoto

Mercy, it's been awhile! To update you, that kid never came back to karate - guess he's getting tutored at school. I just hope his mom called that doctor.

I've been blogging in my head for weeks now, and you have missed some good stuff! We had a camping trip to DeSoto State Park that was just awesome....if you like freezing temperatures and constant drizzling, that is. Luckily, Elizabeth thought ahead and booked a cabin for us the second night - phew! Between my ankle cramps and Tracey's claustrophobia, it would've been hard to stay in that tent again!

I was almost asleep (well I wouldn't call it that really, I was just burrowed down in my sleeping bag wondering if I could stay there comfortably for 8 more hours) when I realized something was wrong with both ankles - they felt really tight. Tracey DID say that the thermal socks she loaned me squeezed her ankles, but this was ridiculous! I finally realized that the muscles going to my outside ankle bones (lateral malleolus, that is to say) had spasmed - much like a toe spasm, if you've ever had one of those. (Have you ever had one? They're so much fun to share with the kids - how does that toe BEND like that??? - but so excruciatingly painful!)

Anyway, I am marveling at the power of the ankle cramp and in awe that it happened bilaterally simultaneously (both at the same time, that is), and I realize I have to break it, so I bend down to rub the muscles. Now it hits me that I'm bent almost double in a zipped-up sleeping bag, and I have a moment of panic when I can't see the opening and realize I'm WAY in over my head - AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I fight to the surface, twisted feet be damned, and take a gulp of ice-cold air - ah. I can breathe. (Doesn't Robert Plant sing that - I can BREEE-EEEathe again)

Whew, I have to get a glass of wine. Retelling that was emotionally draining. On to the Saudi Arabian dinner host later...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Overstepping My Bounds

So I was going to blog about the schedule today and how busy it was and how proud I was that we made it to karate and 2 Scout meetings with a 15-minute dinner at Arby's (dine-in!) and kids changing in the car, etc. But this kid at karate broke my heart and I stuck my nose in where it probably wasn't wanted, so I need to vent.

I've watched this boy for 1 month now, and something is terribly wrong with him, but I don't know if his Mom knows it. He drifts in and out of awareness, and one karate instructor told the other one, "he's just lost," after teaching him a kata. This is at the YMCA, and he apparently comes straight from school and rarely has his uniform, so he routinely does push-ups and stands at the end of the line. For sparring one day Sensei told him to get his gear, so he followed the kids to their bags, then just stood there with his hands clasped to his chest staring into space. For 10 minutes he just looked into space, despite everybody telling him to get his gear. Turns out he didn't have his gear, so he just kept standing there.

One day he was in a group of 4 doing a kata for Sensei, and halfway through he just clasped his hands to his chest and went off into space - just looking off and wringing his hands. I asked another mother who happens to be a pediatrician if she had noticed his behavior or talked to his mom, and she said he'd actually "come out of his shell" over the past year. Helluva shell.

Last week the kids were saying he tried to walk home from the YMCA and got in trouble. Tonight a staffer brought him to class and made him sit on a bench till it started. She had him by the arm and all the kids were staring. He was agitated and told Sensei that he wasn't supposed to be there, he was supposed to be at school but he took the bus by mistake. She went to call his mother then came back to class and told him to sit till his mom came. Halfway through he got up and started edging toward the door. I was the only parent in there and Sensei was busy, so I called him to come sit with me and got him a chair.

He sat down facing away from me and continually picked at his hands and arms - his fingernails were long and dirty. I asked him about school and he told me he was supposed to be touring and today was the first day but he messed up and took the bus to the Y. I finally figured out he was saying "tutoring," and he said he hated to stay at school but his mom wouldn't come get him earlier. He said, "Her works at a beer plant," (interesting, because she wears scrubs) "but her could pick me up earlier if her wanted to."

So I cut to the chase and told him I was a doctor, and did he have a doctor? So this is where you gasp at my political incorrectness and I am ashamed of my in-your-face-ness. He says he has a doctor that gives him special medicine to slow his brain down, because if he didn't take his medicine his brain would be going too fast. Okay, sounds like ADHD medicine, but this kid needs an antipsychotic or something. Then he starts talking about getting shots at school and how he hates needles, and he's picking at his arms and acting out sticking a needle in his arm, and I'm afraid he's going to draw blood and hurt himself, so I change the subject. I ask him about brothers & sisters (I have a sister but her don't live with me - her's way older than me ), then about any pets, and find out he has a big backyard but nobody to play with and that's usually lonely, but it depends on what you're playing. He says it's real boring at his house but he loves animals. Oh, and the shocker that he's actually 13 years old and in the 7th grade. He's older than has this child fallen through the cracks?

My heart's just breaking for this kid who keeps looking at the door to see if his mom is there, so when class is over I mention to Sensei that he needs a psychiatrist, and she says his mom took him off his meds for the summer and only gives about half of them to him now. So I wrote down the name of a behavioral pediatric specialist for her to give the mom if she wants - she desperately wanted - and I see her hand it to the mom when she shows up. We'll see if I get cursed out Thursday night or not.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lucas's Popcorn Tent

Hey, did I mention Lucas got some positive reinforcement for all that hard work he did selling popcorn? He won a TENT for filling up an order form! And it's not just any tent, it's a 7x5 Coleman tent with a small rear door that you back your cooler up to so you can access your drinks without going outside, and a tiny zipper to run your plugs out to the electrical outlet! Or he said the cooler door would be handy for Jake to come in and out if he was camping too.

So we had to put it up in the den to see it, then he wanted to sleep in it so he took it down and put it up all by himself in his room (after I rearranged some furniture.) He's been sleeping in it for a week now....should I think about taking that down?

Florida Gators

I'm a little late with this one, as evidenced by Tebow's very healthy appearance, but the boys had a ball seeing the Gators at the Swamp while I was cavorting with my BSC women (and by cavorting, I mean limping, swelling, medicating, and inebriating). You can never have enough Gator paraphernalia, and even Jake looks like he had a little too much to drink at the tailgate party. Doesn't he look buff in his jersey? He asked me later, "Mommy, can I take it off now? I can't breathe."

I was surprised to see Drew in a red shirt, then I realized that was a different day and he very maturely changed clothes, whereas Lucas wore the same shirt all weekend. Nice....wonder if any teeth got brushed on that trip?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Divorce and Shacking

Lucas must've watched some show or heard somebody talking about divorced parents, because out of the blue one day he asked me who I picked to live with when my parents got divorced. He asked me if the judge asks the kid to make the decision. Then he wanted to know how often we stayed with Pappy, etc. Then he made an astounding connection and remembered that Mimi took care of Pappy before he died, so he asked me if they "had to remarry and do the dancing stuff." Huh? "You know, the dancing stuff you do after your marriage." Oh, maybe we can skip over how Mimi and Pappy came to live in the same house again without doing the dancing stuff.

That reminds me of my grandmother coming to see our first house when Dean and I were engaged (rented the house in June but the wedding was in November - sorry). I toured her around the house and pointed out, "Here's my bedroom suite and my sewing room, and over here is Dean's bedroom suite." I thought that was so clever - I pointed out where my bedroom furniture was, but not if I was sleeping in it or not.

And that reminds me of my other clever dodge when Drew was in the 2nd grade and asked, "What's sex?" I said, "whether you're a boy or a girl." He said, "oh," and that was the end of that. Clevah guhl! (Name the movie, BB)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just a Taste of BOW

Oooooh, BOW was this weekend and it was a blast yet again! I mean literally a blast, as evidenced by the 5 Conservation agents (well, 1 Sheriff too) supervising 5 women who are fixing to blow those targets to kingdom come. This was Pistol 2 which is about self-defense with a firearm. Yikes! More to come later....