Thursday, July 12, 2018


My mother: "How long do you cook spaghetti after the water comes to a boil?"

Me: [baffled that my 70-year-old mother doesn't know how to make spaghetti]

Mom: "Well, I never make spaghetti!"

If it were someone else, I would worry they were getting demented, but it's actually the kind of question my mother asks me not infrequently.  Like she's never sure how to calculate the tip in restaurants.  And she didn't know what a pinata was.

I finally told her to look at the box, which said 10 minutes, but she insisted that wasn't usually that long.  Although I don't understand how it can "usually" not be that long if she "never" cooks spaghetti.  I asked and she said:

"I cooked it once a long time ago."

I can just see my kids writing stuff like this about me someday.  They already gave me a hard time for not knowing which produce qualifies as fruits.  (How could a zucchini be a fruit????)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Mosquito Bite

I don't know what it is, but it feels like as I've gotten older, mosquito bites have been getting itchier.

Last week, I got a mosquito bite on my elbow.  It immediately started driving me totally insane.  I read somewhere that toothpaste helps with the itchiness, so I smeared that all over it, which everyone in my household informed me was "really weird."  Then I used witch hazel pads to ease the itch.  I was bad enough that it was waking me up at night.

My husband: "Why don't you just use calamine lotion?"

Me: "We don't have any in the house."

Actually though, it turned out we had TWO bottles of it, which I've been using religiously ever since.  It's a lot less messy than toothpaste.  I also tried liquid bandaid, which burned so much, I had to wash it off immediately.

I have to say, I think the elbow must be one of the worst places to get a mosquito bite.  After the penis, I suppose.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

New stuff

I don't know why, but I have a lot of trouble buying new stuff.

I don't mean stuff that I need necessarily.  But new versions of items I already own.  For example, I only recently got rid of a jacket I've had since college.  I've been wearing the same shoes for two years (although I have replaced the insoles).  I do have new clothes, but only because my mom loves buying me clothes.

When we moved to this area with all our old furniture gone, we bought an apartment-full of stuff at this college store nearly a decade ago, which we assumed we'd replace over the years.  We still have almost all of it.  Ditto with all my pots and pans and dishes, aside from my one big frying pan.

I don't know why I'm so adverse to buying new stuff.  I guess I always just feel like why should I replace a perfectly good [insert name of object]?  I don't really enjoy shopping for new things.  Honestly, it sort of stresses me out.  I only replaced my awful laptop because it wouldn't run a program I needed for work.

But you'll be happy to know I do replace my toothbrush on a regular basis.

Monday, June 11, 2018


I feel massive, crushing guilt about not posting here more frequently.  Well, not really.  But I do feel a little bad about it. 

The problem is, the less you post, the less you post.  No, that's not a typo.  Basically, if you're only posting every couple of weeks, you start to feel like every post you make has to be incredibly profound.  It's not enough to make a post about a Cheeto you found that looks like a guy masturbating.  And since my life is not that profound, I don't know what to post.

Also, I'd post more if the blogger app didn't suck so bad.  Just sayin'.

The big drama in my life these days is I bought a new car.  It's a Subaru Forester--my first SUV.  I'm horrified I did this... the best thing about my kids getting older was I didn't need to have a bigger car, but somehow this car happened. I love/hate it.  I love the way it drives and the visibility is great.  I hate everything else about it. 

The thing I hate most this week is I realized I had the option of getting a trunk that opens automatically, but because the salesman didn't tell me this was an option (because he probably wanted to unload a car nobody wanted), I didn't get it.  So now I have a trunk that's impossible to close for short little me.  I called the car dealership and cursed them out, but it's not like it's some big revelation that car salesmen are skeezy. 

Question of the day: if I live in a place where snow comes out of the sky on a regular basis during the winter months, do I need special tires?

Monday, May 21, 2018


I don't want to overgeneralize, but when it comes to patients, all old women love me.

Partially because I really try to relate to them.  I ask them about their kids and their grandkids.  Again, I don't want to overgeneralize, but all old women love to talk about their grandkids.  Although I do pretty well with the ones who don't have grandkids too.  Like, we talk about bridge.  I think deep down, I'm actually a 70-year-old woman.

The only problem is that once I get them talking, it's hard to stop.  I find it very easy to do a directed history on a chatty patient, but I feel bad interrupting someone in the middle of a story about their grandchild.  But if I let them, each of these patients would go on for hours and I'd get home sometime after midnight.

Any advice on how to cut these conversations short after a respectable amount of time?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Vitamin D

Vitamin D seems to be the new big thing.  I've had multiple friends tell me they were feeling tired, then they were diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency and started feeling better after taking supplements.  We check Vit D levels all the time on patients.  I myself have been a believer in the Vit D hype, and even take supplements myself.

But now this review has come out, stating that "Routine vitamin D supplementation does not prolong life, decrease the incidence of cancer or cardiovascular disease, or decrease fracture rates... Randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of depression, fatigue, osteoarthritis, and chronic pain show no benefit, even in persons with low levels at baseline."

Interesting.  I have to admit, it gives me pause.  Is all the Vit D hype over nothing?  Is this like when I used to take zinc when I thought I was getting sick?

Monday, April 30, 2018


Maybe it's just my imagination, but lately, I feel like I've been noticing a lot of people saying "supposably."  And I'm talking about college-educated people who should supposably know better.

Supposably--not a word.

And neither is "irregardless."

But I'd probably sound like a jerk if I said that.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Being responsible

It feels like the people I know who don't work in medicine don't seem to understand the responsibilities people in medicine have toward their jobs.

I was ill with a fever a few weeks ago, and I was having a bit of post-viral malaise (still am).  I wasn't feeling fabulous, but I wasn't actively sick or anything.  Just dragging a bit since the fever, although improving.  I was supposed to work at the hospital over the weekend, and multiple people told me I should blow it off.  Adults.  Who have had or currently hold jobs.

One person further suggested I should take several months off.

It's exhausting to explain this to people.  Including my husband.  Do people in other fields really don't get that you can't just take off work without warning just because you're a little tired?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Our neighbors

I don’t know what to do about my neighbors.

I live in an apartment building, so I’ve never actually met them. I’m not even sure if it’s my upstairs neighbors or my side neighbors. But lately, they’ve been bothering me a little.

The guy who lives there shouts curses a lot. That part doesn’t bother me. Usually I notice it because I’ll be getting dressed in the bathroom and I’ll hear him screaming curses.  It’s a little unsettling, but also somewhat amusing.

However, on two occasions, his shouting woke me up. Last night, it woke me up at 1:30 in the morning. On another occasion, I think he might have been having a fight with his wife at six in the morning. I heard him screaming, “What the fuck do you want from me???” over and over at what sounded like the top of his lungs, and then a woman giving a muffled response.

I’m not sure what to do about this.  It’s not in a place where the kids can really hear it, so I’m not bothered if he yells curses during the day, but I’d rather not be woken up by shouting. But I’m not even sure where the guy lives, and he seems like a possibly unstable person I don’t want to antagonize. We’re only going to be living here for a few more months. What do you think I should do?

Sigh.  Just when the baby moved out...

Monday, April 2, 2018

Customer service

I feel like as a doctor, part of my job is customer service.  Because when I see inpatients, a lot of the time when I ask at the end of seeing them if there's anything else I can do for them, they have a complaint about their call button taking too long to be answered, the food being bad, their roommate being too loud, etc.

I try to handle the complaints best I can.  I never ignore them.  I say something like, "I'm so sorry that happened.  Let me see what I can do to fix it."  Then I tell them my plan, which involves anything from talking to the nursing supervisor about nursing issues or to the unit coordinator to get them a room change.  I can't personally fix the problem, but at least I try to show I'm taking it seriously and addressing it.

It's made me a lot less tolerant of bad customer service.

Recently, I got an email at 6PM from our leasing office, saying that tomorrow (a holiday when kids were off from school), they were doing repairs and our water would be shut off intermittently "after 8AM."  I was horrified.  We didn't even have a day's notice of this!  I was going to be home with the kids all day and how can you do anything at home when you don't know if you're going to have water to clean it up?

I called the office, and the woman I spoke to was almost rude.  She assured me they were in no way obligated to inform us in advance of such a thing.  When I asked for a better estimate of when the repairs were being done, she huffed, "I gave you an estimate already!  It's going to be after 8AM."  I was like, "But that's the WHOLE DAY."

Finally, after talking for several minutes, I pleaded with her to at least talk to the repairmen in the morning to see about getting a better estimate on the time, and she very grudgingly agreed.

How hard would it have been to apologize to me for this unexpected inconvenience?  How hard would it have been to offer to check with the repairmen instead of forcing me to beg her to do it?

I think Customer Service 101 is not acting like the complaint is the fault of the customer.