T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Survival of the Fittest

We survived the last week...

I now have two weeks of urgent care and many hours under my belt. I treated a ton of upper respiratory infections, diagnosed some pneumonia, uncovered a few fractures, and even sewed up a simple laceration. I have a tremendously patient and knowledgeable preceptor. I am grateful for this as it has really been solidifying my knowledge base and skills. 

At first I was having a hard time connecting with my preceptor. Oh she was great but I just felt like I was just another student to her and I wanted to be a three dimensional person with a life beyond the clinic - tough when there is no time to talk. One night before I was scheduled to work I said an earnest prayer that I could make a connection with her. The next day while I was standing in my preceptor's office I recognized a person in the photo on her wall. It turns out we were neighbors once upon a time. Connection made - it was a great day!

My urgent care clinical days are full. I've lost a couple pounds just because when I'm at the clinic I'm pretty much on a diet of anything that can be eaten within 2-3 minutes and in between patients. We see an endless stream of patients and most of the time our days extend well past the 12 hour mark.The days are more like 14 hour days with commute making it so I often miss out on seeing the kids during the day. One day, Lil Sister was so mad at me for being away she would not even look at me. It's been tough on all of us but last week was probably my hardest so it will start to get better.

I finally have a long weekend to reconnect with my husband and kids. It's been wonderful. Although, T Rex Dad and the kids have been struggling with a cold so we did not do much this weekend but we did sneak away for a brief visit to the Cabella's fish tank. It's been years since I've been there and the kids had never seen the trout or catfish tanks. What a fun free outing!

The sturgeon was by far the coolest and attracted the most attention of all of us. I took a few photos of the kids in proximity to it so you can see how large it is. This, of course, is a juvenile. The trout in the tank, however, are adults. I find sturgeon to be very prehistoric looking. (They are also very fun to fish - catch and release only, though.) Lil Sis also loved the albino channel catfish (meow-fish as she called them). She kept trying to show them her beloved "Meow-Meow".

It has certainly felt like survival of the fittest but we continue to survive and the little ones are even thriving. They are truly the sweetest and continue to make us smile day after day - even if their noses are red and endlessly dripping. 

This was certainly a much more pleasant read than what I almost posted - last week I had two patients yell at me because I refused to prescribe antibiotics. My preceptor supported me 100% - I did my best at educating but some folks just don't understand why inappropriate use of antibiotics is dangerous and unethical. Let me know if you want me to post my rant. (I know I still owe a posting on pediatric UTIs). In the mean time, I think photos of our outing are much more uplifting.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lady Bug...

During lunch today, we spied a lady bug crawling up our window on the inside of the house. We take these things as good luck. The kids were most fascinated saying she was diverted from her trip to the lady bug picnic due to cold weather. Honestly, I am amazed she is alive but we suspect she is living in our ficus tree upstairs which was where s(he) returned after the visit.

First some cute photos of the event followed by a couple of very short videos (15-19 seconds each) of each of the kids holding the lady bug.

I just love their little smiles - genuine happiness mixed with intrigue and wonder - only at this age does this occur and only for a short time. I am so glad to have captured such a moment. Thank you, Lady Bug, for stopping en route to your picnic.

Oh, I found out yesterday that I passed my written master's project/exam. Sigh of relief but the butterflies in the stomach are fluttering as I think of my oral exam and last standardized patient exam. Now to just survive the last of my clinical rotations. Urgent care is fun, interesting, and really keeping me on my toes - making me a bit paranoid about my own kids and sad to see so many antibiotics being over-prescribed. Plus, I did not realize how gratifying draining an abscess can be (this is probably the nurse part of me coming out).

Gotta go - working tomorrow. Let's just say the kids have big plans for T Rex Dad on Saturday! I also have it on good authority he's pretty excited to hang out with them, too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


These are a few of my recent favorite moments with the kids that I don't want to ever forget - little things that T Rex Dad and I will be talking about when we're old and gray reminiscing in our rocking chairs.

Moments like bedtime stories - various tales of Elmo and his lost puppy, Blankie, Yummy/Yucky, Jenny's Birthday Book, Kim and Carrots, Cris Cross Applesauce...and all their sweet voices helping tell the tales.

Moments at the Burger King play center, a place that is almost always unoccupied allowing for uninterrupted, free entertainment. I love seeing Lil Sister crossing "the bridge" (I wish I had a recording of her little voice saying that) or seeing her hanging at the top of the slide before going down the twists and turns. Or the look on T Rex's face as he is actually in the tube sliding.

There are even some great moments for me but less enjoyable ones for the kiddos - blending ice cream ingredients, a loud task, but oh so cute to see them covering their little ears.


The kinds of moments that help me through long clinic days when I see my kids for less than an hour in the day, if at all.

These are the kids of moments that simply make me smile.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


We have a new aquarium in town. It just opened at the beginning of the year. The kids were so good during my last 5 day stretch of clinical days so this weekend we surprised them with a trip to the new aquarium. T Rex Dad insisted we wait for him to join in the fun and I am so glad we did. It would not have been as fun without him.

Quick school update first -  I finished up my time at the GI clinic and will be moving to urgent care for 6 tough weeks - 12 hours shifts, the first week I'll be doing 5 days, after that it will decrease to alternating 2/3 days. Urgent care - one never knows what I'll see - no scheduled patients, just walk-ins. Maybe I'll get to practice some of my suturing skills or casting/splinting.

This week, though, promises to be a tough one. I'm lining up meals, clothes, and even some blog posts, too. I did also managed to finish the kids' Valentines and even a baby afghan with a coordinating baby doll blanket for the big sister. It ships out to Iowa this week so I'll try to remember to take photos before it is mailed.

Here are my favorite photos from the aquarium trip:

The salt water talk - observing and later feeding. Lots of Nemo and Dory fish to see, even Scar, Bubble, and Peach, too. The fish are even a bit neurotic like their namesake (anyone who's familiar with Finding Nemo knows what I'm talking about).

The sea horses were my favorite. I rotated the photo - they are actually parallel with the ground.

Petting the rays and sharks. T Rex Dad and Lil Sis are petting a ray. Later T Rex was braver and also patted a ray. He was really proud of himself. I'll be posting a video on his blog in the next day or two of him recapping the visit.

There was a balloon animal artist there raising money for the aquarium - T Rex chose a shark and Lil Sis asked for a lady bug. 

It was a really fun time and we liked how everything was nearly a hands-on experience. A really great place for little kids. It was a little expensive for an outing, at least for us on the graduate student budget. We're more into the free outings like a trip to Burger King's super cool playland (more on that later) but it was still great fun with some extra memories to keep me going while I'm away for 60+ hours this week. I just keep looking at that ticker in the top right corner...soon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday Fun...A Wonderful Day

The week was long but we have the weekend to relax and recharge our fun batteries.

It was a good week at the clinic but Friday ended kind of rough. My last patient was a middle-aged person who was dropped off by a transportation service. This person could not speak due to a health-related issue and was only accompanied by a note from the nursing home saying "check tube". Clearly the person had not been bathed in several days with soiled clothing and disheveled, matted hair. I was glad we were able to take care of the patient and offer some relief from the discomfort. As I left the clinic and walked to my car I saw the transportation service wheeling the patient out to the van. When I reached my car I sank into my seat and cried. That poor person had no one. How many other people are there out there in similar situations with no one to care for them?

Then I picked up my phone and called my dear hubby for some words of encouragement from his soothing voice. He, too, was having a rough afternoon. The CEO of his company died in a plane crash that morning. T Rex Dad did personally know him and had worked with him for many years. It is a huge loss not just for the company but for our community. Despite that my sweet husband still cheered my spirits before I embarked on the drive home. He is quite amazing that way.

That night we all just snuggled as a family. We clung to each other and thanked God for all our blessings and the life we enjoy. There are tough days but as I often say these days remind us of the wonderful days. Thus, we headed out this morning with the goal of having a wonderful day. It was a simple morning - running at the park pond followed by lunch in an abandoned shopping center. We like to keep things simple.

Watching the wild ducks from a distance. You can tell the wild from the local because of their striking colors.

Picking up sticks and rocks and tossing them into the partially frozen pond.

Just a nearby building with some reflections allowing for an impromptu family photo.


Then onto the abandoned mall. We used to frequent this place before the kids were born - back when we had two incomes and no debt. It was a trendy place. Alas, it is now about 80% empty of businesses and on the weekends it is nearly completely empty. However, it is the perfect indoor running place for kids who need to work off their after-lunch energy.

The day ended with a grocery trip to Target - that wasn't exciting enough to merit photos but sometimes the most mundane things can be enjoyable. We had a great day and feel like our fun levels are going back up. We still feel a bit sad about Friday's events but our hearts are not nearly so heavy after reflecting on life and thereafter.

What do you do after a rough day?