Friday, March 24, 2017


Yesterday morning gave an update on the thumb injury.  It didn't quite carry it far enough, apparently.

Each workday since the injury, I've had the same nurse unwind the ACE wrap, pull of the gauze and really LOOK at the boo-boo with me.  Monday - okay, not bad - and a whale of a lot better than the massive Sunday morning swelling that I had before my dose of Godzillamycin.

Tuesday, same.

Wednesday?  That drainage looks a little....yellow.  And what do you think? Is it more red? No?

Thursday I start work late.  So after I did yesterday's post, I got the bandage off.  Hmmm... That's DEFINITELY more red. And more swelling.  And doesn't this area feel a little mushy to you?  So, naturally, since I had a million patients scheduled, I kept working and went to the walk-in after work. (To give me credit, I did call my doc.  He was off work. HIS little girl was home with influenza and a fever.)

The walk in doc heard the story and basically said, "So what do you want ME to do about it?" and sent me to the ER.  The ER called in the troops and had me admitted.  So I've been on IV antibiotics for over 24 hours, and the thumb is looking better. Orthopedics have me in a bigger brace. Infectious disease ordered an MRI and won't let me go home without a second look tomorrow.

MRI with AND without contrast.  Thirty minutes of lying on my back with my broken thumb jacked up in an awkward position while IV fluids continue to fill my bladder.  Yoga practice to the rescue!  I was the longest, noisiest shivasana EVER, but I actually fell asleep for a couple of minutes.


I tell my kids all of the time that intelligent people are NEVER bored.  It's true. But sometimes we ARE at a loss for things to do. I should have grabbed my Sudoku book.


Thursday, March 23, 2017


It's been 5 days since I put a drill through my thumb.

For those of you who didn't hear the details.....

I was working with the mission team at about 9:30 AM Saturday, making Christmas ornaments out of wood to sell as a fundraiser.  As I was drilling through one piece, the 3 mm drill bit snapped.  I had quite a bit of downward pressure on the drill, so when it bucked sideways, it went into my left thumb.  Since there wasn't much left of the bit, I avoided impaling myself to the table, but you can see; looking at the side opposite the entry wound, just how close I came to having an EXIT wound.

There was a 3 mm entry wound and a good bit of bleeding.  My tetanus shot was up-to-date, so I had a teammate bandage it up, mopped up the bloody floor and continued working.  It was just my left hand, after all.  I changed the bandage about 5 times over the course of the day as the wound continued to bleed (a good thing for a deep puncture - you want it to wash itself out, really).  At our 11 PM bedtime, I took the bandage off for a final cleaning and fresh dressing and realized it was throbbing a bit.  And....there were some red streaks headed up past my wrist into the forearm.

Well.  That's not good.

So I did what any sensible person would do. I went online and checked out the ER wait time.  It was a little over 2 hours.

I did the math.  Two hour wait, 4 hour treatment time.  Added up that equalled no sleep, and I'm on call tomorrow.  Yeah, nope.

I took three Advil and went to bed.

When I got up in the morning it didn't look any worse (nor any better, truth be told) so I checked the ER times again. Twenty minutes?  Hallelujah!  I preregistered and was assigned and arrival time in 45 minutes, time enough to eat breakfast (NEVER go to a hospital on an empty stomach, never ever ever) and pack my gear.  I arrived ahead of schedule.

X-rays showed that there were no drill fragments in the thumb, BUT!  I had managed to knock some bone fragments off the edge of the joint with the drill bit.  I done broke it.  It really didn't feel that bad, honest!

The ER doc had an out-loud mental discussion about what antibiotic to use given my list of allergies and recent bout of C. diff, and opted to give me a dose of IV Godzillamycin while I was there to jump-start the treatment.  He also scolded me for waiting.  I'm not thinking that what amounted to a 5 hour delay in starting that antibiotic really mattered a lot, but time will tell I suppose.

I was back at church before the service was over.  Early Sunday morning IS the time to be in the ER.

So.  It really doesn't hurt much.

But you can't button your jeans with only one thumb.

You can't hold a dog food can and fork out the food with only one thumb.

You can't cut meat like an adult with only one thumb.

You can't open ziplock bags with only one thumb.

And for absolutely sure you CANNOT remove a 4-hook bra at the end of a long day with only one thumb.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Homey Blizzard...

I grew up south of Buffalo.  OMG BUFFALO! People say! SO much SNOW!!

Well, the honest truth about the city of Buffalo is that it is generally sunny, fairly windy, and not too snowy. (Think about it.  If it got 10 feet of snow at a time ALL the time, would it make the news when it did?  I mean, who ever reports on a snowstorm in Syracuse?? In 'Cuse, a snowstorm is just SSDD, right? In Buffalo, it's an Event.) In fact, if you listen to weather reports in the area, you generally hear things like, "In the city we expect 2 - 4 inches of snow overnight. But in squall areas south of the city we can expect up to 18 inches."

"Squall areas."  "The Snow Belt south of the toll booths."  "South of Rich Stadium."

Call it what you will.  It was my Dad's driveway.

It wasn't at all unusual for us to get 6, 8, 10 inches and go to school in the morning with the snow still coming down. We used to speculate the the superintendant of schools had a bright sun and blue sky painted on the inside of his window shades.  When the snowfall got above a foot, there was one area where the buses just couldn't get to, so those few kids down in the valley simply didn't make it to school.  It had to approach nearly 18 inches in one snowfall to make them close the schools. Snow commonly started in October. We were frequently ice skating on ponds at the end of November.

Our town was Prepared. They started running plows when the first flakes flew.  Our town had SIDEWALK PLOWS.  Seriously. Sidewalk plows.  I miss those babies. Especially today.

We've had 30 inches of snow since midnight.  They cancelled school preemptively.  I've shoveled the sidewalk three times and my FitBit says I've done 15,000 steps even though the dogs only got walked a mile. I've helped dig out about 8 cars.

I'm sitting here with hot tea, getting ready to assemble some goulash and put a pumpkin custard in the oven. I'm supremely grateful for a large number of things:

Central heat.
A gas stove.
Neighbors who help you dig your car out (and who get excited when they get paid in organic Farmer's Market beer).
Neighbors who can't dig themselves out, and the strength in my own arms to help.
Fleece blankets.
Warm socks.
Snuggly dogs.
Well-stocked cupboards.
Childhood memories.
Memories of my children's childhoods.

No matter what our day-to-day struggles, having that odd event that makes us completely switch up our lives and schedules can trigger gratitude and reset our hearts back to a quieter, more elemental time.  Snow.  The smell, the beauty, the challenge.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Stick a Needle...

On Thursdays I take Capone to doggy daycare.  He's just two years old, and a complete lunatic, and he picks fights with the big dogs at the dog park so I can't let him run off steam there. I have a friend who trains dogs and keeps our pups when we are on vacation, and she has 'small dog day' at her place once a week.  Since it's around the corner from my office, I walk him there on my way to work.  Her big fenced yard is perfect for him, and he's exhausted by the end of the day.

Yesterday, just as I was dropping him off, I got something in my eye.  It felt like an eyelash, under the edge of the upper lid, but I just COULDN'T get it out.  It wasn't terrible, but SO annoying.  My next stop was to get a haircut, so I figured sitting still with my eyes closed (and watering!) would wash it out and I'd be fine.


From there I walked to work and asked my partner to see if she could get it out.  She couldn't even see it, and was unable to flip the upper lid inside out to get a good look.  We just don't have the right tools.

The staff cancelled my patients and the nurses set me up with an ophthalmologist.

A couple hours later I was meeting what appeared to be a 19 year old girl with a black ponytail.  She put drops in my eye, flipped the eyelid, scraped off some 'debris', yanked a couple of eyelashes and sent me home with $25 eye drops.  It will be interesting to see the bill for that.

This morning I am off work to finally repair the root canal that caused all the trouble last summer.

The really sad part of all this?

My computer at work has been acting up, fading out as often as twice per patient.  Yes, IT has looked at it. Yes, they replaced it with a new laptop and it still has the same problem. No, no one else is having this problem. NO, we have not yet performed an exorcism.  It has made work so stressfull that I've had more headaches in the last three weeks than I have in the last year.

I am looking forward to a revision of a ROOT CANAL as a fun alternative to going to work.  And the possibiity of someone sticking a needle in my eye yesterday didn't seem so bad either if I got to go home.

THAT's how bad work has sucked for the last month.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Too Many Shoes....

Our church has always done Wednesday night dinners in Lent, with a short Bible study and communion.  I like them, always have:  Informal, friendly gatherings, usually including at least a couple of people I don't know extremely well.  It's nice.

Babygirl and I went together tonight and enjoyed the discussion, and spoke of gratitude (and the lack thereof) on the way home, one of the more subtle themes of the evening.

And when we got home, we caugh up on a Lenten discipline designed as a fun way to raise money for UMCOR (the United Methodist Comittee on Relief), given to us at dinner.

March 2: "We waste food while others live without. Pay $.01 for each disposable cup and plate in your home."

March 3: "Most people in the world walk to get around.  Pay $.50 for each vehicle you own."

March 4: "Heat is an expensive luxury. Pay $1 for your warm home."

March 6:  " "I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." Pay $.05 for each pair of shoes.

March 7:  "Do something fun with friends or family and give $.10 as a thank offering for each one."

March 8: "Many have no bed or inadequate bedding. Give $.50 if you slept in a warm bed last night."

Well, we didn't have to sacrifice much on the paper plates and cups (although some friends had just stocked up and ended up ponying up $12 LOL). But I got nailed on the shoes.  I was a little surprised, actually.  I don't feel like I have a ton of shoes, but it turns out I have nearly 30 pairs!  Like, how...???

I'm a walker, so I have two pairs of sneakers and two pairs of 'snow sneakers.'  A pair of work boots for mission trips and a pair of 'apre ski' boots. Oh, and actual ski boots.  Three pairs of flip flops, two pairs of hiking sandals, a pair of waterdogs,  Eight pairs of cute flats in a variety of colors, mostly leftover from all of last years' wedding parties. One pair of dancing heels, also wedding shoes. And the rest are 'work shoes', nice enough to wear to work and comfortable enough to survive the day in.  With the exception of one pair of sneakers and two new pair of work shoes, none are less that a year old and most are more than 4 years old. Several are hand-me-downs that Citygirl got tired of. There is a small crowd of shoes under my desk at work.

I grew up at the bottom of middle class, or at the top of poor depending on whether my dad was laid off or not at the moment.  I had a pair of sneakers for gym and a pair of shoes for school.  The first year I had a job and could buy myself two pairs of shoes for school stands out in my mind:  I could CHOOSE which shoes I wanted to wear!

I'm generally not a hoarder, and not a collector.  But today's Lenten discipline uncovered that memory.  I didn't really 'go without' as a child, but I frequently had less than my friends did.  I can fit nearly my entire work wardrobe into one large laundry basket, and I have a small dresser and the world's smallest closet.  But apparently I have made up for some childhood insecurities with my shoe collection.  I'm no Imelda Marcos, but hey, it's a start.


PS Our total for UMCOR so far is $7.05.