today is the first day i've had opportunity to blog in a long long while
and true to form, i don't really feeeeeel like blogging.
i start a string of night shifts in the Trauma ICU tonight.
six in a row.
just me, an OB/GYN intern, and 12 of the sickest patients in the hospital.
fun times. just trying to keep everyone alive until morning.
to prepare, i'm painting my nails
(it was time)
going to the gym
(again, it was time. it's been awhile.)
(good sweet Lord, yes.)
and avoiding phone calls from a sergeant
claiming there's a "detail" i've been "tasked with"
(translation: it's time for my urine drug test.)
if they think i'm going to skip my nap to go pee in a cup, they're smoking crack
which would, of course, make their piss test positive.
in other news,
i've started seeing a counselor about my emotional overload issues.
i'm not sure i like her, actually.
but she did recommend some things that just might help.
so we'll see.
she described me as a tire that keeps getting air pumped into it, but hasn't stopped to let out any air, and is going to pop. or has popped?
either way, sounded pretty accurate to me.
so i'm trying to decompress a bit.
not go postal.
that sort of thing.
and i found out my Christmas/New Year's schedule isn't *quite* as terrible as i'd thought.
working Christmas Eve till midnight
but off Christmas Day.
off New Year's Eve, but working New Year's Day
BUT not until 11pm.
working the night shift before my birthday
so i'll turn 29 in the ER
and be sleeping most of my day of birth
but up in time to maybe go to dinner or something equally celebratory.
so there's hope.
plus, in two short weeks, i'm headed to California
for this lovely lady's #BS2
blates will abound, my friends.
it's going to be epic.
for now, i'll leave you with another shot from our Xmas card shoot
because these are the only photos taken around here these days
gosh i'm gonna miss this guy for the next 6 nights.
and may the trauma gods go easy on me...
posted on: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
here's a little snippet of our family Xmas card photo shoot
oh you guys. it's been a hell of a week already.
to top it all off, i discovered today that this job,
which already sucks my time and my energy away,
has now laid claim to my youth and beauty as well.
i found. a gray. hair.
at first i thought it was just the light
but upon closer inspection, no such luck.
just bury me now.
i have so many emails to return to you guys.
you always give me props for being so honest.
this is not a trait of mine that has always been appreciated.
so thank you. (:
and i would LOVE to have you all over to my house tonight
because i'm throwing a party (!)
to help bolster my spirits about my craptastic holiday schedule.
it's a Stella & Dot jewelry party
with wine. and probably hot pink sequins. i won't lie.
and all of YOU can participate in spirit.
here's a link to my very own trunk show.
so go on...frost yourselves.
posted on: Thursday, November 22, 2012
all week i've been majorly bumming about working on Thanksgiving
and i've also been absolutely freaking. out.
about taking care of the sickest patients in the hospital
all by myself.
today wasn't as bad as it could have been.
no major crises.
i had it all [mostly] under control.
and i found countless reasons to be thankful.
so many of my patients couldn't eat today.
they were getting nutrition through feeding tubes
and were super bummed about missing out on the turkey.
they were also bummed about not being able to get out of bed.
they were in pain, from open abdominal wounds covered by wound vacs,
from external fixators screwed into their pelvis
from broken bones.
i had a patient who suffered an irrecoverable brain bleed.
and her family decided to discontinue life support,
which was the right thing to do,
but so incredibly hard.
i am thankful for my health
and the health of my family
and my ability to eat
and get out of bed
and my job.
and sooo many other things.
but i also missed my family today
and wished i could have been with them,
instead of taking care of other people's families.
i wished i could have cooked Thanksgiving dinner
and i wished i could have eaten a home-cooked dinner,
instead of cafeteria food at work
and leftover Mexican at home.
and i'm so thankful for my husband,
but i'm disappointed that his Thanksgiving plans were delayed
which meant that he wasn't home to be with me when i got off work.
i've been feeling guilty this week for my grumpiness
and general dissatisfaction with my circumstances.
i've been feeling convicted by the saying,
"it is not happy people who are thankful,
it is thankful people who are happy."
but i think the truth is somewhere in between.
that it might be possible to be thankful and pissed off.
maybe it doesn't make you unhappy,
maybe it just makes you honest?
i've been beating myself up for feeling so crummy.
because i truly believe in how important it is to be thankful
in all things.
even the crappy circumstances.
and i am.
but being thankful is not magically improving my mood.
and i'm tired of pretending.
it feels like almost too much.
i'm an emotional wreck
and every year, around this time,
i cling to the holiday season,
like a lifeboat in a tumultuous sea,
counting on it to bolster me and hoist me up
above the waves that are beating me over the head
threatening to drown me in my own tears.
i go to work every day, terrified that i'll encounter something i can't handle.
whether it's a situation that requires medical knowledge i haven't learned
and experience that i don't have,
or perhaps it's another tragic story that i'm way too affected by
adding to the huge emotional burden i'm already carrying
unable to put it down and let it go,
for fear that i'll lose my ability to feel anything at all.
then i find something like this, on silly ol' Pinterest
and it makes me feel like i just might make it.
i'm thankful all over again for the struggle
because it reminds me that i feel it all.
and that it's worth it.
hearts are funny things, eh?
happy (ha!) Thanksgiving
posted on: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
as i alluded to before, these kids got married.
they wanted an intimate wedding in the Blue Ridge mountains
with all their family and friends pitching in to make it happen
and that's exactly what they got
it was a DIY extravaganza
and Mel nailed every single detail and made it all so THEM.
ball jars and "redneck wine glasses"
to be filled with their signature cocktails:
a moonshine drank and a pecan-infused bourbon drank
or Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale from one of the kegs
they know how to throw a party, these two.
burlap and lace on the tables
Mel's dad cut all of these coasters
and my sisters branded the "drink and be married" on them
they handed them out as favors
i grabbed a few extras
(which was handy, because as it turns out, Waylon LOVES to eat wood.)
Mel made this "Love is a Journey" board
with postcards and pictures from all their travels together
they're planning to hike/backpack through South America in January
for their honeymoon
those crazy kids.
Joe kept telling Nick, "we got one back!"
because they lost me as a Kreidel when i got married and changed my name
now i've been replaced. (:
200 yards from the North Carolina border made for a breathtaking backdrop
Nick the bartender, serving it up.
i wrote the bar menu on the window behind him
everybody pitched in. it was perfect.
two of the three most important men in my life:
my baby brother and my dad
shots of bourbon right before the ceremony
Nick knows how to put a man at ease.
waiting for his bride
they're laughing here,
but moments afterward, my dad proceeded to bring everyone to tears
with his words about Mel waiting for Joe
during the year he served in Afghanistan
there are no pictures...because i was bawling.
and so was my dad. and mom. and Joe. and Mel. and everyone else.
it was incredible.
and Mel is incredible...for waiting for him.
and believing in their love.
here's a couple photos i stole off Facebook, taken by my uncle...
bird's eye view of the boys setting up the buffet table
my baby sister and my new sister
then things got a little weird...
two of Joe's USAFA peeps, keeping it real
official Kreidel family photo.
chances are, this will find itself on a Christmas card.
mark my words.
you know these kids.
i can't say enough about how much this wedding meant to me
it was incredible seeing how much of themselves
Joe and Mel poured into this thing.
and my MOM. good God, my mom.
she catered the entire thing, with help from my teenage cousins, her sous chefs
the food was incredible:
pulled pork with sauces crafted by my brother...
Barbeque au Jous, chimichurri, cranberry horseradish
winter squash gratin
loaded smashed potatoes
plus local breads and compound butters and PUMPKIN GOAT CHEESE
i ate so much.
thanks to Joe and Mel for agreeing to let me share these with y'all.
hope you get a glimpse of how my family does weddings.
to the hilt, that's how.
there may or may not have been keg stands.
all photos © Emily Fleming 2012
please do not use or reproduce without permission
posted on: Monday, November 12, 2012
a few of you gave me the advice that i should plan a trip
to cope with my holiday blues this year.
i'm way ahead of you, friends.
we Flemings are busting out all the cold weather clothing
we accumulated while living in Chicago
and going to Europe.
tickets are booked! and so are hotels!
so this is Salzburg.
the only vacation time we could get was the first week of January
which happens to fall right between our birthdays
happy birthday to us!
|we're staying at Hotel Stein|
which has an epic rooftop that overlooks the fortress
then we're taking the train through the Alps
and hitting Innsbruck for a night
|borrowed from Liz|
this is probably the WRONG thing to be focused on when planning a euro trip
but our hotel has the most phenom chandelier in the cafe
i'm pretty excited about it.
one night in Innsbruck (which probably won't be enough, but whatever),
and we're off to Venice
and this will be where we live for the next four nights
i want that headboard for my very own
plus, regardless of your opinion of them, Nick and I are huge fans of hottubs.
and this hotel has one.
i can't wait to cozy up next to my lover as we freeze our butts off
strolling down these treacherously frozen, narrow streets
no seriously. i can't wait.
plus i'm picturing all the delicious Austrian beer we'll drink
and all the cappuccinos we'll consume while ducking into cafes in Italy
and the pasta. my God, the pasta.
a wise friend once told me of how she visited Italy first
before heading to another European country (that shall remain nameless)
and how the food there was just such a letdown after Italian food.
i have learned from her experience, and will not be making the same mistake.
this will be my first trip back to Italy since our wedding
and to say that i'm excited is the understatement of the year.
on a personal note (as if they weren't ALL personal notes on this-here blog),
i just wanted to say thank you to all of you for your uplifting and encouraging comments
on my last few posts.
you have no idea how much the exhortations of strangers made my day
and made my world seem a little more cozy and friendly.
i'm working my way through my inbox responding to each and every one of you
so if you haven't received a reply yet, it's coming.
i have a special place in my heart for all of you, and for the support that you've given me.
thank you. from my deepest depths.
posted on: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
these are some images from a morning spent
capturing memories from Nick's Nonni's house.
they have about as much to do with this post
as any of the following things have to do with each other.
i took my Air Force PT test this morning.
lessons learned: it takes a loooong time to recover from a respiratory virus.
my lungs felt like they were going to explode.
even though i allegedly got over my illness two weeks ago. gross.
added a solid 45 seconds to my run time,
so now i have to retake the PT test in 6 months
instead of a year from now like i was hoping.
(i passed easily with an 89.2. but if you get >90, you only have to take your PT test once a year.)
yesterday, on my day off, i decided i needed some pampering.
so i went to get a haircut, and threw in a pedicure while i was at it.
the dude decided to give me the scalp massage AFTER he had washed my hair (yes)
but he also opted to go ahead and drip massage oil on my head even though it was already clean (no).
when my haircut was over, my hair was so greasy it looked like i hadn't showered in 2.5 weeks.
and then i remembered why i never get pedicures...
because they judge me for my callous-y heels
and don't do as good of a job painting my toenails as i would.
i realize that other people have much bigger problems
than greasy post-haircut hair and poorly-pedicured feet.
but this is my little corner of the internet
and i'll whine if i want to.
i'm fully aware that i'm whiny. i accept that. and i'm trying to work through it.
but today i voted!
did you know that the state of Texas elects a Railroad Commissioner?
i did not.
this was my first time voting in this state.
but we do.
so i picked the girl.
because Railroad Commissioner seems like a pretty badass job for a chick to have.
i have voted in the past 3 elections (before that, i wasn't old enough. duh.)
and, incidentally, i have voted in 3 different states:
Florida, Illinois, and now Texas.
how bout them apples?
happy Election Day!
i'm going to work.
keep me posted on all the big developments.
may the most popular candidate win!
(i kid. God bless democracy.)
posted on: Monday, November 5, 2012
it has been a rough week, y'all.
this is the part where my job starts to kick my heart's ass.
i'm overworked and overtired, yes.
so what else is new.
but this week has been about more than that.
|an instagram repeat. harry potter the doctor. my halloween costume.|
that was my halloween costume.
some people didn't get it,
because i never got around to drawing the scar on my forehead.
just as i was about to, my first patient of the night was a guy having a heart attack
and his wife looked terrified...white as a ghost.
i figured she didn't need her husband's doctor
to be dicking around with a lightning bolt scar on her head
but i digress.
i've had some rough cases.
usually i try really hard not to refer to patients as "cases".
but it's becoming a self-preservation mechanism.
in one week, i had a shaken baby,
a young woman who bled out into her pelvis fracture and died.
cracked a five-year-old's chest and still couldn't save her.
and spoke to a woman with severe pelvic and femur fractures for the last time before she coded and died in the OR.
this isn't a post about the medicine.
i don't care about the cerebral aspects of it all.
"you did what you could."
"can't save them all"
"this stuff happens"
i'm writing about my struggle to cope.
i think i referenced the fact that i cried at work last week.
maybe some of you cry at work all the time.
but it's not a very popular thing to do where i work.
being an emergency department in a military hospital,
it's much more acceptable to tough it out.
partially, i think, because people don't need you crying all over the place
reminding them that they're humans, doing an impossible job.
but that's neither here nor there.
i've struggled this week.
not just because i cried at work.
i'm actually pretty okay with that.
it might not have been the popular, cool, or tough thing to do
but it seemed like the human thing to do.
to cry when a four-month-old has old, healing rib fractures
and blood in his brain and retinal hemorrhages.
to be horrified that someone, anyone, could do that to a baby.
and to have held it in long enough to get the baby up to the PICU where he would be safe
before letting it out while finishing up the paperwork.
that experience drained me.
i was physically and emotionally exhausted when it was over
but it was only 11am.
and i still had 4 hours left in my shift.
more patients to take care of.
so i swallowed my emotions
and put my work face back on as best i could.
but then we received a five-year-old traumatic arrest
which means that her pulses and breathing had stopped as a result of her injuries
she wasn't in a car seat when the driver of the car she was in
swerved into oncoming traffic
and hit a bus.
we did everything we could, including cracking her chest, and still couldn't save her.
that one barely fazed me too...
but the next day, i was a wreck.
a woman was hit by a truck in the church parking lot,
crushing her pelvis and her femur
but she was awake and talking to me for the entire time she was in the ER
then she went to the OR and succumbed to her injuries.
i'm starting to wonder how much more i can take.
the easy thing would be to just stuff it all down.
to chock it up to being part of the job
but i worry that it makes me less human, if i choose not to feel it.
and that is my struggle.
i'm equal parts terrified that this job is going to make me hard and cynical
and terrified that it won't.
which would be worse?
to be an emotional basket case after strings of cases like this because it's all just so horrifying?
or to be a hardened shell of a human being who takes it all in stride?
i have a hunch that there are going to be many more tears shed at work for me.
and thanks to Zooey, i'm starting to feel a little more okay with that.
posted on: Friday, November 2, 2012
once upon a time, i went on a blate.
with this gorgeous gem of a lady.
|Anna and Em. love at first sight.|
for those of you that might be a titch behind the times,
a blate is a blogger-date.
it is a beautiful thing.
people who once only stalked each other on the internet
becoming friends in real life.
a little weird if you let yourself think about it too long
but Anna turned out to be even more beautiful and amazing than i had imagined
and not at all the 56-year-old creeper man i feared she'd be.
so last week i happened to be in Atlanta.
my brother's wedding was in Blue Ridge, GA
and i got into town on Thursday, but Nick couldn't fly in until Friday
which left me a day and a half to hang out with my two preggo besties
before i had to pick him up from the airport and drive north to Blue Ridge.
i gave Anna pretty short notice that i was coming into town
but she is--fortunately for me--an obliging girl
and dropped everything to meet me for breakfast.
AND she brought her precious lambs with her.
those of you who are moms
know that having breakfast with toddlers ain't easy
but Anna and I had a wonderful time getting to know each other
over quiche and cappucinos
i shared my crust with baby V
she shared her headband with me.
Gabe was a little unsure of me at first
but then i tied his shoe
and we were besties from then on out.
Anna left me a little in awe.
so effortlessly put together
such a wonderfully loving and patient mama.
i hope i can be like her when i grow up.
until then, here's my outfit post of the quarter.
and what i wore to breakfast with Anna and her toddlers.
clearly i have some experience to gain in child-appropriate clothing.