Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Song Meme

Since Fat Doctor tagged everyone, and I find it funny. I'll play along.

My Top 5 Christmas Songs in no particular order
1. White Christmas (Bing's version, of course)
2. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Trans Siberian Orchestra)
3. O Holy Night (no particular favorite version)
4. I Pray on Christmas (I particularly like Harry Connick, Jr's rendition)
5. In Dulci Jubilo (esp when done by the Vienna Boys Choir)

I tag: KLT,Jim , Dawnstar , Erin , BaseballChica03 (and anyone else who wishes to join in).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

About an hour and a half ago we finished cleaning up from Thanksgiving dinner. The fine china is clean and put away. The fridge is stocked with leftovers. We've already run the various articles of clothing which received various food/wine impacts through the wash (ES1 is on her third shirt today). We can now finally relax and think about all we have to be thankful for.

First, we can be thankful that that there are great people whose Thanksgiving posts can be easily liked to. Examples include:

The Manolo

LaShawn Barber

Kim at Emergiblog

The boys of BlackFive

The boys at OpFor

ES1 had the week off, and we decided we wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner. Her parents brought a Turkey, stuffing, and bread. My parents brought red cabbage and dressing. We made a beef roast, squash, mashed potatoes, gravy, a Pumpkin Pie, a Pecan Pie, and cranberry relish. We had 11 people altogether, 2 of whom had to leave towards the end of the meal, but actually stayed longer than we thought they could.

Everyone had a great time.

Nobody fought.

We only went through 3 bottles of wine.

There's still plenty of my 18 year old Macallan left.

The cut on my finger didn't hit the bone and should heal quickly.

It makes us feel like real adults. It scares me how much that doesn't scare me. Or maybe it doesn't. What did I just say?

Anyway, the last few weeks are starting to catch up to me. For our freedom, for our family, for our friends, for each other, we give thanks.

Anyone hungry? We have food.

Really. We have food.

Really. Kristen and Howard are coming over tomorrow and we still have too much food.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Physician, heal thyself (it's much harder than it seems)

So as some of my friends/family know, I have been having some problems with my voice. In brief: back in September, I had a cold and lost my voice for about two weeks. When it came back, and I started going back to my regular chorus rehearsals. The first week I had lost my voice completely by break and the next week wasn't much better. Pretty much since then, I would start rehearsal with a normal voice and I would end up hoarse by the end. Then my voice started to fade to nearly nothingness after a really long day at work, especially if I had to do a lot of talking.

The worst was probably this past weekend. We had a three hour rehearsal on Saturday, and a performance on Sunday that lasted at most 45 min. My voice is almost back to normal today. In the beginning of this month, I had made an appointment with an ENT because things weren't getting better and I was getting worried that I was damaging my voice.

So, I saw the ENT yesterday and came home with a diagnosis of GERD. It's always odd being on the patient side of things. I knew I was going to get a scope while I was there and I was right. I was wrong however about having nodes. No permanent damage, yet. I do have some swelling and it's preventing my cords from closing completely. Apparently I've been having reflux for years and never really had any symptoms. Looking back, I had a relatively few episodes of heartburn, nothing really severe, and a fair amount of coughing. Right now, if I don't do something about the reflux and stop singing (temporarily) I will do damage to my cords.

I walked out of the office depressed and with two prescriptions for meds I'll likely be taking for the rest of my life, which is a fairly long time given I haven't even hit my 30s yet. I already know I'm going to have compliance issues. Not with the meds, I can take a pill in the am and one at night and I won't forget that. The hard part is going to be not singing. I've been consciously trying not to for the last day and it has been much harder than one would think. I never really grasped how often I'm humming or singing softly to myself without realizing it. Or how often I sing along with the radio (pretty much any time I hear a song I know the words to). I guess I'm developing a better understanding of why it's so hard to make a patient comply. Even with taking the meds. I know that if I didn't know better, it would be hard to convince me to spend $15 a month (and I have low copays) on two medications to treat something I really don't have symptoms from. So I can imagine how hard it could be to get a patient (especially one with less or no insurance coverage) to take pills to treat an illness when they feel fine.

Sometimes seeing things from the other side of the fence is a good thing.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sometimes it pays to be smart.

Friday was a long day at work. I knew that I needed to pick up beer afterwards, since we were out. Our usual place is the Consumer's Beverage location on Eggert Road, since it's near our usual Wegman's. Since it's completely out of the way of my route home, I decided to hit the Consumer's on Elmwood in Kenmore, since it's only slightly out of the way.

Lucky move.

When I got there, the first thing I noticed was that it was a lot nicer than our usual location. The second thing I noticed was the half dozen gentlemen in various articles of clothing that all happened to have the logo of J.W. Dundee Brewery. Now, ES1 & I have been big fans of Honey Brown lager for some time. I decided, therefore, to check it out.

It turns out that they were in the process of expanding their line. They were giving free samples of their new beers, and a free pint glass to anyone who purchased a 6 or 12 pack.

I first tried their Festive Ale. It was quite good, though nothing to scream "Yip, yip, yip yahOOOO!" about.

Next, I tried their IPA. Being a big fan of India Pale Ales in general, I looked forward to it. I enjoy Dogfish Head's 60 minute IPA, Middle Ages Brewery's ImPaled Ale, and, of course, the Defiant Class of beers, the Inferno Pod Ale. This one, I had to say, ranked up with the best of them.

Finally, I tried their Porter. This one was so new, that it was not yet in bottles. If you wanted to buy it, you had to buy a growler. I've always liked porters, such as Sam Adams' Holiday Porter. ES1 is not a big fan of them in general. I tasted it with an eye towards not just my own enjoyment, but what she might like.

The porter was a thing to behold. Full bodied and smooth, with a flavor that stays with you. I knew we had a winner.

The gentlemen helped me to get myself a growler of the Porter, and to find the 6-packs of the IPA. Since I was walking out with both of those, they felt that it was fitting that I get not one, but three of their glasses with their complements. I walked out with the porter, the IPA, the glasses, and a case of Labatt Ice, just to make sure we always had the staples around.

ES1 & I have immensely enjoyed the Porter. The officially half gallon growler of Porter actually yielded 5 pints. For 6.99, that makes it $1.40 per pint - pretty darn cheap for quality beer. We may have to get another growler before Thanksgiving. Between that, the 18-year old Macallan, and the Johnson Estates Port Wine, it should be a good evening.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Elton John, you have lost a fan.

I just read this article about Elton John via Drudge . I really used to enjoy his music. In fact, I used to sing one of his songs as a solo piece. I made Peter put my favorite cuts on the ipod, in fact, we even bought a few tracks to add on. As of right now, all of his music is unchecked. I may even decide to delete him completely and destroy my cds. I try not to let the politics, belief systems, lifestyle of a musician influence my ability to enjoy their music. After all, music rises above all that, music in and of itself exists.

But I don't think I can listen to music produced by someone who views me as a "hateful lemming" and feels I "lack compassion" because I have strong religious beliefs. He is being as judgemental as he is accusing me (and those of strong faith) of being. He assumes we are all homophobes (those of you who know me personally know the absurdity of that statement) and unwilling to accept anything out of the norm.

He also blames all of the current wrongs of the world on a lack of religious intervention. Where are the religious leaders he asks? If you look at the Big 3 religions (Christian, Judaism, Islam) all three have had violent pasts and two have eschewed violence completely. It is hard to dialog with someone who's goal is your total annihilation. And don't get me started on the hypocrisy of saying religion doesn't work and then expecting religious leaders to fix things.

Maybe his ego just doesn't allow him to accept that their might be a being higher than him. But it does make me respect him less. Not because of his lifestyle or his politics, but because of his ego and closemindedness.

Edit (11/13): found another link on

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Tale of Two C-Sections

The first was a section I gave anesthesia for a few days ago. The 37 week twins, active labor, one in breech position. Initially there's a rush of activity when you start a section. First we get the patient in the room, sit her up and do the spinal - easy landmarks, 1st shot yay!!!. Lay her down on her back, tilt the OR table to the left and let the spinal set up. Once the level's good, the incision's made, grandma comes in (dad was squeamish). It's twins, so they page the NICU as a precaution. It's generally less than 10 min from skin incision to delivery and the rest of the time is spent putting mama back together. The twins were beautiful and healthy, 5.5 and 6.5 pounds respectively. There's lots of noise after the delivery, mostly people talking about how cute the babies are, "look at all that hair", and the general murmur of the OR "cut", the count, etc. But it's a happy sound. The babies are being held by grandma, so that mom can see them.

Here is the second, a little more recent. Mom is young (not yet in her 20s) with PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) on its way to becoming preeclampsia. She's 28 weeks pregnant. She's got 3+ edema in her back and I unbelievably got the spinal on the first shot. I think God had my back on that one (I pray He's watching over the new baby girl I helped bring in the world). Dad was in the room after they started. They got the baby out and of course NICU was present. She only weighed approx 600g (about a pound), putting her in the extremely low birthweight category. The tone in the room was completely different. The baby wasn't breathing well, so they intubated her. There was almost no noise whatsoever, and you couldn't really see the baby because she was surrounded by the NICU staff. The tension in the room was palpable. Mom noticed she couldn't hear the baby crying. Dad was sitting with his head down and I watched his tears hit the OR floor. He was trying not to let Mom see how scared he was. Then the NICU docs came over to talk to them. Mom got to see her baby for a minute in the incubator before they wheeled her off. I hope things go well, but the road is long. Girls at that young of an age do better but now all her parents can do is hope and pray.

Thankfully most of my c-sections are of the first variety. I can only hope that those of the second type are few and far between.

Thank a Veteran

The greatest generation had one failing.

An entire generation grew up during the Great Depression, and then came of age fighting the Second World War. They had seen every kind of hell this planet is capable of producing, and had saved the planet from descending into darkness.

When they came home, they wanted to make a new life for themselves. They were determined that their children would not have to suffer the way that they did. Many could not even speak of what they had seen.

Consider the book, Flags of Our Fathers. The primary author, James Bradley, knew that his father had served in the Second World War, but knew little more. When his father died, and he had the task of going through his stuff, he discovered a Navy Cross. Not even his mother knew that he had won it. Furthermore, he discovered that his father was one of the men in the famous picture of the flag raising on Iwo Jima.

One can certainly understand, given the hell that they went through, that they simply could not talk about it, and never really told their children about it. The result, however, was that their children grew up insulated. Their children never really came to know what sacrifices were made to secure their lives. Their parents gave them everything. They grew up with a sense of entitlement.

Nearly the entire baby boomer generation grew up completely ignorant of the horrors that lay beyond their doorstep. They felt the Soviet Union and Communist China, both of whom slaughtered more people than Hitler ever did, were merely misunderstood. Simultaneously, they considered those who gave their lives to protect them to be imperialists. They remained as children, who thought that if you simply tried to understand people, then everyone could live in peace.

Today there are still a significant number of people who remain blitheringly ignorant of the horrors just outside their doorstep. After the Khobar Towers, USMC Barracks in Beirut, World Trade Center Attack of 1993, the USS Cole, and of course 9/11, attacks spanning several administrations with wildly different foreign policies, they still blame the violence on their own nation.

The American people will argue about who is the best person or party to protect their interests. They will argue about who is the best person to keep them safe. Those who would denigrate our brave servicemen, however, are thankfully in the extreme minority. There are arguments about how, where, and who we should fight. The American people have just made it clear that they were not happy about how things have been handled, and that they want someone else to give it a try. The American people are united, however, in the idea that we must fight and defeat those whose stated goals are the subjugation of women, the slaughter of all people of other faiths, the slaughter of all homosexuals, the establishment of a system of law which includes such gems as punishing rape victims by death, and the general destruction of every part of our tolerant society which we hold dear. The big argument is how best to do that.

We stumble. We make mistakes. We change course when we think things are going the wrong way. But the hounds of hell are kept at bay. We are free to go wherever and say whatever we want. We are free to have nasty and vicious arguments and still go home safe every day. We are free to worship as we please, to live as we please, and the worst we have to endure is criticism of others.

For our health, safety, and prosperity every day, we have our servicemen and servicewomen to thank. Every May, we thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Today, we remember those who made it home. Take a moment to think of all you have to be thankful for. Remember that you could not have it if there were not people who put their lives on the line every day to protect it.

Thank a veteran.

P.S. - Happy Birthday USMC!

P.P.S. - Here are a couple of photos of Nicole's Grandpa in Germany in May of 1945. It's especially significant to me, seeing as how both of my parents were born under Nazi occupation.

Her grandpa is "me." MacArtur is, obviously, not that one.

Updated 8/16/07 to correct image links.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sometimes being nice pays off

So after Peter picked me up from work this morning, we grabbed a Burger King breakfast (no comments please) and headed off to check out a store called Tuesday Morning . We did this because they were advertising a sale on "First Quality Famous French Cookware" at up to $100 off. What they were selling were items this collection at really good prices. The store opened at 7 am, we got there at about 7:30. There were none of the dutch ovens left on the shelves, but there were two women shopping together who had the last three (1 oval, 1 large round and 1 smaller round). I overheard one say to the other that she wasn't sure if she was going to get all of them, so I quietly kept an eye on them while we browsed in the area. No less than 3 people walked directly up to them and asked if they were going to buy all of them, getting rather huffy when they said they were still deciding. One woman even had the nerve to say "you're taking too long to decide." I said nothing. It paid off for me. They decided to only take two of the dutch ovens. They looked at me and said they weren't taking this one and handed it to me. One of the women went so far as to say that she was glad we were buying it "not that woman." Being nice definitely pays off. We walked out of the store and saved 50% on a really high quality piece of cookware that we actually needed.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A good sunday

Yesterday was overall a good day. I started my new rotation at WCHOB on Wed and had my first in-house call there on Saturday night. Our call there is L & D call only and it was a busy 24 hrs for me - 2 d & cs, 3 c-sections, 3 epidurals (not counting the one I had to redo because the patient pulled it out). I managed to get about 5hrs sleep (uninterrupted) once things died down. I came home about 7:30, slept another 3 hrs curled up with the husband. We got up, had a wonderful breakfast of cheese grits and bacon. I got to watch a Bills game where we actually won, bummed around for most of the day, managed to get the dining room table organized and most of the junk off it. We went to my in-laws for dinner and I even got the presentation I need to give Friday morning done. I have to start a week of nights tonight, sadness. The upshot of this being my week of nights: 1. Peter is off on both Tuesday and Friday so we'll potentially get to see more of each other than we normally would, 2. when combined with my 24 hr call next sunday, it represents all of my on-call requirements for this month.

Now it is time for the Epidural Fairy to sleep, so she can work tonight.

Oh, yeah and my Sabres won yesteday too. 12-1-1 baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Too cool not to post.

What American Accent do you have?

Mine nailed me (and Peter) dead on (although I'm not sure that's a good thing).

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
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Hat tip KLT