Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weekly Whine: Vaccines the exception?

I know a lot of people have issues with the government passing laws for our own good, such as a law requiring parents to vaccinate their children. Except here's the thing. There are a lot of laws dictating what we can and cannot do with our children.

You can't feed them some crazy weird diet of like only wheatgrass juice that leaves them malnourished. Even if it's the diet you're eating and you think it is perfectly healthy, and that normal human foods are poison.

You must put a baby in a car seat, despite the fact that car seats are expensive and there are plenty of websites out there extolling the dangers of carseats. (One I found talked about some chemical used in making many brands of car seats.)

Your child must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, even if plenty ofadults think helmets are stupid and useless hand refuse to wear them because it restricts their rights.

And the funny thing is, each of these laws just affect the individual child. It doesn't hurt your neighbor if your kid isn't eating properly or not strapped into a car seat.

However, vaccination is an issue that affects Public Safety as well as your own child (and unlike food, helmets, and car seats, vaccines can be obtained for free) yet there are no laws requiring parents to vaccinate their kids. What's up with that?

Friday, February 27, 2015


 I was looking up previous orders on Amazon and I realized that I have placed 55 orders in the last six months. I think putting Amazon as an app on my phone has definitely influenced my purchasing.  Since making this realization yesterday, I made two more purchases. I'm going for the world's record.

I may have a problem.

I'd like to argue that this is somehow okay though. When I looked through all my purchases, there are only two or three of them that I regretted. There were a handful that I returned as well, but most of them were things that I really needed.  For example:

-- diapers and wipes for six months, cheaper than I would've gotten them at the supermarket or Costco

-- each book of the diary of a wimpy kid series purchased used individually

-- scrubs (I inexplicably threw all my scrubs out a while ago during a bedbug infestation)

-- New crockpot

-- birthday presents for at least half a dozen birthday parties for little kids

-- supplies for my daughter's birthday party

-- thank you cards

-- some medical books that my work reimbursed me for

-- New bookcase

-- paperclips 

-- some pens I really like for work

So I don't think I've bought anything ridiculous. I mean, you've got to buy things, right? I'm stimulating the economy!

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Apparently, Alaska has become the third state to legalize marijuana. Because I guess Alaska is the cool liberal state? Um, yeah.

Marijuana being illegal is one of those baffling things. It's much safer than alcohol or most illegal drugs. Nobody gets into a bar fight and kills somebody because they were high on pot. The worst they might do is break into a convenience store and steal some cheese doodles. No, you shouldn't drive while high, as you shouldn't drive drunk or on any number of mind altering legal substances. Alcohol is responsible for a huge amount of morbidity, and I've read that heavy drinking shortens your lifespan by an average of 30 years.

I think cigarettes are worse than marijuana too. Because people don't smoke two packs a day of joints for 30 years. The health implications of cigarettes and alcohol are considerable, but both of these substances are completely legal. Hell, you could argue that marijuana might be better for you then Coca-Cola. It's less addictive than caffeine.

I dated this guy in college who had a theory about why marijuana was illegal. It had to do with the paper industry and how hemp paper is cheaper than regular paper, so the paper moguls wanted to keep it from being produced. Sounds like a theory you'd come up with while high, right?

I've seen a lot of patients get considerable relief of pain and nausea from marijuana and it's pretty safe as a recreational drug. I think it's high time (no pun intended) that we legalize it everywhere.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dr. Orthochick: Expectations

Dr. Germaphobe and I did a hip the other day, the patient got admitted, I rounded on postop day #1, everything was fine, then I went in to see her on postop day #2

Patient: Dr. Orthochick! Dr. Orthochick! You'll never guess who I saw yesterday!
Me: Who?
Patient: I'll give you a hint: he's a doctor and you work with him
Me: ortho doctor?
Patient: Yes
Me: Is it Dr. Germaphobe?
Patient: Yes! I was so excited to see him yesterday! He came in to visit me!

We are doing a really good job keeping our expectations low around here if patients are getting excited about seeing their surgeon the day after their surgery.

Monday, February 23, 2015


I know several people who are attempting to contact agents and publishers to get their novels published. Obviously, I have chosen the self-publishing route for my books. Since I've been asked about it before, I thought I might talk about why I chose to “not get my book published for real", as my mother said.

I wrote my first novel over 10 years ago. By some stroke of luck, I did manage to land an agent for the book. Unfortunately, that’s where my luck ended. I didn't find a publisher, and after a year of looking, the agent dropped me and my book went unpublished. (Probably for the best, because it was sort of a dumb book.)

Several years later, I bypassed the agent route, and found a small publisher willing to handle a new book I had written, and then subsequently published a second one I wrote. While it was nice having my stuff in print, I wasn't really happy with the publisher. Sales for the first book were okay, nothing great, but sales for the second were abysmal. I felt that the reason for it was that the publisher didn't really do enough to advertise the book. In any case, we mutually parted ways.

I heard about publishing books on Amazon, so when I wrote The Devil Wears Scrubs, I decided to go that route. I paid to get the book professionally edited, and I made sure that it looked good. Long story short, I would never consider doing anything besides self-publishing again. Here's what I like about self-publishing:

-- You know exactly how many copies of the book you have sold in real time, which is definitely fun for an author

-- You have complete creative control over your cover, title, and work

-- You don't have to split the profits with your publisher

-- You can run promotions for the book on the Kindle, where you can literally sell 300-400 copies of your book in a single day

-- You can run free promotions on the Kindle, if you just want to find an audience, and have tens of thousands of people download your book

-- There's no point where the publisher "gives up" on your book and stops advertising it. You can continue to promote your own book as long as you want.

-- Chances are, you won't hit it big. But you might. 50 Shades of Gray was self published. And it's not like most traditionally published books sell huge numbers of copies.

There are so many resources out there to help self-published authors. These days, it almost seems stupid to go the traditional route. I have sold about 4000 copies of The Devil Wears Scrubs, and I’m continuing to run promotions on it. A friend of mine published in autobiographical novel the traditional way at the same time and it hasn't done nearly as well.

Bottom line is, I just think self-publishing is a lot more fun.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekly Whine: Lice

I hate lice.

I mean, I'm sure everyone hates lice, but as a woman who is the mother of two little girls, I really, really hate them. I would say that it is one of the worst things you can get after all the life-threatening stuff.

First of all, there's a huge social stigma attached to lice. If you have them, your kids can't be in school or daycare, you can't go on play dates, you can't tell anyone about it or talk about it (unless you have a big mouth like I do). If there weren't such a social stigma attached to it, I would've figured out my daughter had it much sooner, since her best friend's mom might've actually told me about it. (Or vice versa.)

And once you have it, it is impossible to get rid of if you have little girls who value not being bald. The shampoo? Useless. It basically says on the bottle that it's useless. It says that using the shampoo doesn't actually work, and in order to get rid of the lice, you must pluck them out one at a time from your daughters hair. You can imagine this is a really fun and easy task with a three-year-old.

When my girls had it, I cut their hair as short as I dared. My youngest definitely looked like a boy, and asked me tearfully, "will my hair grow back?" My older daughter cut her hair fairly short (it was buzzed in the back), but her hair is so thick that it was still really hard to comb it out. It was torture.

And I got it too. Yes, I admit it. I cuddle too much with my girls. And you can imagine that it was super fun trying to comb out my own thick, curly hair. I finally had to ask my husband to do it. Sexy.

I tried the following: the shampoo, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, hand lotion, a blow dryer. I lay overnight with a plastic bag on my head. (I heard about a little girl who suffocated during a lice treatment.) I came so close to getting out a razor and shaving all three of us bald.

Finally, after a month, at the point at which the girls would automatically burst into tears every time I got out the lice comb, I went to a service that combed out our hair for us for three hours and got rid of it. All for the low low price of $800.

And did the insurance cover it? Excuse me while I laugh.

Here's a thought: Lice is a health issue so why don't they actually make a treatment that works, or else make insurance cover some sort of professional treatment? I mean, I assume I wouldn't have to pay for my own scabies medication.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Funniest typo

In one of student written transcripts in medical school from biochemistry, I found what I thought was one of the funniest typos I've ever seen:

"The most advanced gene therapy is in pants."

It's funny because I assumed they meant plants, but you know, gene therapy, jean therapy, pants. Lol right?

Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, over the years, I started to wonder if maybe this typo was made purposefully. It's almost too clever. Like the time when I creatively italicized certain letters in thrombocytopenias.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dr. Orthochick: Pat your head and rub your stomach

Me: Hey, this is important. I was scrubbing with Dr. RBro and he said that Dr. Anal used to grab his junk every time he looked at an xray. Apparently in the days before xrays were online, he used to hold up the xray to the light with one hand and the other hand was on his crotch. So Dr. RBro asked me if he still did that and I legit don't remember because the last time I did hand was almost a year ago. Since you're on hand now, the next time you work with Dr. Anal, would you mind checking it out?

Hand Resident: I'm supposed to do clinic with him today so I'll look into it.

***12 Hours Later***

Hand Resident: The answer is, "yes." Dr. Anal now puts one hand on the mouse and the other hand is on his junk.
Me: Thanks for following up on that for me. I'll let Dr. RBro know.

We may not be curing cancer, but at least we're (occasionally) having fun.

(also, the word "crotch" will never not remind me of that time my high school boyfriend told me that his friend wanted to name his quizbowl team "Mike Rotch" and I asked--loudly--"who's Mike Rotch?"

Oh. Yeah.)

Monday, February 16, 2015


Patient's husband: "My wife hasn't had a bowel movement in a week!"

Confused Patient: "Yes, it's horrible!"

Me: "Actually, according to the nursing notes, you had a bowel movement yesterday."

Patient: "Oh. Well, next time they should tell me about it!"

Sunday, February 15, 2015


After having the same crappy 2 quart crockpot for the last five years that I made stew in about once or twice a month, I finally decided to upgrade to a 3 quart crockpot that has (gasp) a piece that can be removed and washed in the dishwasher so I don't have to wash the entire thing in the sink.

 I'm very excited about this purchase and it's renewed my determination to make things in the crockpot again. When I first got my crockpot, I tried all sorts of recipes, and the only one that came out good was beef stew, so now that's all I do with it.  (And everyone loves the stew.… The whole family looks forward to stew night.) But everybody else raves about their crockpot, so I feel like maybe I'm missing something.

Does anybody have any good/amazing crockpot recipes that require five ingredients or less? That are kid friendly? And not a huge amount of preparation?  I found a website that has a few dozen easy crockpot recipes, but it's always good to hear some testimony.