the best kind of work

posted on: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

i watched the Oscars on Sunday night with the rest of America.
i had mad respect for Seth McFarlane (words i never thought i'd say) for hosting it so flawlessly
i fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence as she fell down the stairs
i, too, wished Daniel Day-Lewis had delivered the Gettysburg Address in character in lieu of an acceptance speech.

but Ben Affleck got me.
the beard was everything
i thought he addressed his being snubbed for Best Director with incredible grace in his Best Picture acceptance speech
and above all, i loved what he said to his wife about their marriage.

it's so refreshing to see a Hollywood couple stay married for longer than 45 minutes
and to publicly acknowledge the work that goes into making a marriage successful.
because it's true.
it's work. hard work.
but it IS the best kind of work.

i love this Huffington Post article written about Ben's speech.
the author is absolutely right.
anyone who thinks that the work is over they day they say "i do"
is kidding themselves. or, they just don't get marriage.
she talks about how it's a trade-off. a choice.
you choose to exchange
"the toil and risk of dating for the toil and risk of marriage"
because you believe it will be worth the risk.

i agree with her 100%.

walking home from the gym the other day,
Nick asked me what it is in life that i've pushed myself the hardest for
i hesitated, thinking, and he answered for me, "is it me? our marriage?"
and we both cracked up.
but it's kind of true.
through medical school, and joining the Air Force, and being the oldest of five kids
the thing i've worked the hardest for, is us.

there are days when the work is easy.
thank God for those days, amiright?
but they lull you into a false sense of security, such that when they are inevitably followed by those days when the work is hard---really really really hard---it surprises you.
knocks you on your ass.
you think to yourself, surely something is wrong. surely it can't be meant to be this hard.
and as someone who grew up in the Disney princess generation,
i can't help but wonder if Hollywood had something to do with perpetuating that fallacy in all of us.
so it's refreshing when someone in Hollywood shakes things up and stays married
and is honest about the work that goes into it
and how truly good it is.

photo: by Jessica Lorren, taken on our wedding day

into the wild blue yonder

posted on: Friday, February 22, 2013

yesterday was, hands down, one of the coolest days of my life
flying in the T-6 was like being on a rollercoaster with no tracks
we pulled somewhere in the range of 3-5 G's...which was INTENSE
those chap-looking pants i'm wearing are actually a G-suit,
designed with inflatable bladders that automatically inflate
whenever the plane starts pulling G's.
to keep you from passing out.

speaking of passing out,
i almost did.
i'm very familiar with the sensation of almost-passing-out
i went to medical school, after all.
i have never--knock on wood--actually done so
and my record still stands
but up in the air after doing barrel rolls and loops and cuban 8's (?)
i started to get that hot, sweaty, almost-nauseous feeling
and i had to tap out
what a rush, though.

my pilot, LtCol Lane, or "Lois", as was his call sign
let me take the joystick a few times
and i got to fly that beast on my own which was CRAZY.
towards the end he let me do a loop
and i will remember that experience for the rest of my life.

as we were sitting in the plane, about to hit the runway,
with the afternoon sun shining gloriously before us
getting ready to hit the sky in this little plane
i said to Lois, we have pretty cool jobs, ya know?
he laughed and said, there are absolutely worse ways to spend an afternoon.
i couldn't have agreed with him more.
 my very own locker for my very own loaner gear

 sun setting over the flight line

the Texas sky was celebrating my day with me.
seriously. no filter. it was that phenomenal.

there are days when being in the military seems like a real drag.
and then there are days like yesterday, when you feel connected to something bigger
more powerful. more purposeful.
and it makes you feel proud, to belong.

even if you needed to paint your nails this morning,
just to remind yourself that you are, in fact, still a lady.

gearing up

posted on: Thursday, February 21, 2013

being in the Air Force has its perks.
they DO have some really sweet planes.
and if you're good, they let you ride in them.

my residency awarded an incentive flight
to the best resident in each class, based on first quarter performance
and i won for my second year class
i was supposed to fly last month
and the damn fiscal cliff threatened to take it away
but the wing commander decreed that if it was a flight i was promised,
a flight i would get.
so here i am.

yesterday i had egress training
in preparation for my flight today.
what is egress training, you ask?
well, it's basically learning how to get out of the plane in an emergency
either while it's in the air, or on the ground.

i won't lie.
it was some scary ish.
took the whole experience from this is awesome! 
to i could potentially die from this...

favorite lines from the training day:
"pulling on anything labeled yellow and black will result in violent action"
(the eject handle is yellow and black. so is the canopy release.)
"if your parachute malfunctions during descent, 
you have the rest of your life to fix it"
(ha. ha. ha. funny death joke.)

there's a Google image of my aircraft. the T-6.
i'll be up there in the backseat this afternoon
joystick between my legs
pedals at my feet
and a bunch of buttons i'm not supposed to touch.

here's hoping i can hang on to my lunch
while we're pulling G's up there...

that time we almost bought a house

posted on: Monday, February 18, 2013


this weekend will forever go down in infamy
as that 24 hour period in which we almost bought a house.

it started out as a hunt for a new rental.
our current apartment complex's management
was starting to feel/act a little like the Gestapo.
no more than 2 guests per apartment at the pool...
police officers questioning residents at the pool to determine where they lived...
poor handling of packages in the mailroom...

you know. typical apartment complex issues.

the straw that broke the camel's back,
was last week, when the "courtesy officer"
(a cop who happens to live in our complex)
took it upon himself to ring our doorbell 17 times at 3AM
to inform us we had left our garage door open.


my sleep-deprived self stewed on that debacle
for the better part of the next day
and decided something had to give.

so i checked out a new part of town.
scouted some we might look for houses to rent
Nick and I both managed to have an afternoon off on Friday
so we hit the streets. on a mission, we were.

on our search, we came upon a charming little house with a red door
in a historic neighborhood that is very up-and-coming
"for sale", the sign said.
it was empty, so naturally we peeked in the windows
and liked what we saw.
the price tag wasn't bad either.
i plugged the sticker price into an online mortgage calculator on my iphone
as nick continued to drive up and down every street looking for rent signs
...we could be paying less than our current rent...

we went for beers to process this new idea.
could WE buy a house?
is this crazy?
we don't even know for sure where we'll be living in two years!
this is nuts!

we kept turning over the idea in our minds over dinner
and promptly got into a fight about something completely unrelated.
(it happens.)

the next morning, we still didn't think it was a totally terrible idea.
so we called our dads for advice. obviously.
they--surprisingly--didn't think it was a terrible idea either.
and gave us lots of things to think about...questions to ask.
so we called the realtor and scheduled a viewing.
for that afternoon.

up until we met the realtor,
we were busy researching things like...
property taxes...appliance costs...homeowner's insurance
"the true cost of home ownership"

then we saw the house.
and cute as it was, it needed a LOT of work.
like air conditioning.
new windows
the floor plan was really funky too.
not like, quirky-cute funky. like, pretty unworkable funky.
le sigh.

our 24-hour dream of owning that house sort of went up in smoke
there weren't any other houses in the area in our price range
and we didn't really want to live in any other area
so the vision of home ownership this year vanished as quickly as it had appeared
and we're re-signing our lease in the Gestapo apartments.
wah wah.

as anticlimactic as this tale is, we learned a lot.
about how spontaneous we REALLY are
about how we're more grown up than we thought
and mostly about how content you can feel
when you compare your current situation with other possibilities.

as disgruntled as we had become with our current apartment complex,
we still really love our apartment. we've made it home. it's cozy.
and it wasn't enough to just move. we needed to move somewhere decidedly better.
nothing better is available right now.
so we're staying put.

we still love that neighborhood.
with its restaurants and community feel
Nick has said he'd like to live there, especially if i deploy next year
it'd be nice for him to be in an area with more people, more social events
so he doesn't feel so isolated while i'm gone.

so maybe next year?
now we know we could do it.
and now you know the story
of that one time we almost bought a house.

the end.


posted on: Friday, February 15, 2013

oh Valentine's Day.
once again, you fail to live up to my lofty expectations.

don't get me wrong.
i felt loved.
and i felt tremendous love for others.
but the day itself was just sort

first of all, my super cute V-day outfit
was Air Force fatigues and a low tight bun in my hair.
so hot right now.

then i spent my entire. day. at the hospital.
13 hours.
the first 8 in mind-numbing lectures and board review
the last 5 on shift in the ER
and to top it all off, someone died.
happy love day.

i got home to a sickly feeling husband
who was desperately fighting off a stomach virus
so i cooked up some pasta
and ate most of it myself. [fatty]
then we watched a dvr'd Top Chef
and went to sleep.

if you follow me on Instagram,
and you saw my post from this morning about all the fantastic LOOT i got
then right about now, you're probably thinking to yourself
this girl is ridiculous. get over it. people obviously love you.

and you would be exactly right.

but here's WHY i am the way that i am.
thanks to the ever-popular, super-quick Meyers-Briggs online personality test
i now have explanations for all my quirks.
reading the description of my ESFJ personality
was like looking through a window into the depths of my soul.
and i'm willing to admit that sounded slightly over-dramatic.
but it's true.

"Guardians of birthdays, holidays and celebrations, ESFJs are generous entertainers. They enjoy and joyfully observe traditions and are liberal in giving, especially where custom prescribes."

YES. THIS. no wonder i get all bajiggity around the holidays
and get super disappointed when they don't turn out picture perfect
the way they were in my head.
i am a GUARDIAN of the holidays.
this sounds so much more intense and purposeful than
"she gets bummed out when things don't go her way"
it's in my personality.
makes so much sense now.

"All else being equal, ESFJs enjoy being in charge. They see problems clearly and delegate easily, work hard and play with zest...They willingly provide service (which embodies life's meaning) and expect the same from others."

this is a nice way of saying, You're super bossy, Emily.
but you can't help it. it's your personality.
no news there. i totally knew that already.
and work hard play hard? yes. i can totally jive with that.

"As caretakers, ESFJs sense danger all around--germs within, the elements without, unscrupulous malefactors, insidious character flaws. The world is a dangerous place, not to be trusted. Not that the ESFJ is paranoid; 'hyper-vigilant' would be more precise. And thus they serve excellently as protectors, outstanding in fields such as medical care and elementary education"

when Nick read this part, he was all, but you're not a germaphobe!
which is true. i'm not. if food falls on the floor, i totally 5-second-rule that ish.
but i am incredibly hypervigilant.
when i was learning to snowboard (let's be honest. i'm STILL learning to snowboard.),
i would stand at the top of the mountain
and just visualize myself running into a tree,
with blood and body parts strewn down the hill.
i'm sort of a worst-case-scenario person.
which honestly makes me a really good ER doctor
"what could kill you right now? heart attack? aortic dissection? pulmonary embolism?
let's rule that out first, shall we?"

all this to say, i've really enjoyed reading about my personality.
it has shed so much light on how i've dealt with so many things in life
from friendships, to relationships, to my career.
it's like someone is giving me a hug and saying
you couldn't help reacting that way. it's the way you are.
so much of the time i felt like something was wrong with me
because i didn't react the way my friends did.
or make the same choices as everyone else.
i have an explanation for all of that now.
it's funny how much of a relief that is.
i used to just think i was weird.
now i know i'm


posted on: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

this guy.
so happy i have him.
our EuroTrip was so so good.
it renewed the romance. which was so needed.
we were starting to feel like roommates, ya know?
trucking through residency together.
and we're still trucking.
we just smooch a lot more now.

this week has been particularly ridiculous, as far as patients go.
a few of the more memorable gems:

the patient's husband who gave me a huge hug
after i told him his wife didn't have a bowel obstruction that needed surgery
she just had buckets of gas in her colon. and needed to...pass it.

the urology resident who remarked,
after i told him about my patient with testicular pain
that didn't have torsion or epididymitis or anything scary,
"so he's just one of those dudes with ball pain"
me: "that's like, a thing? ball pain?"
him: "yup."

the patient who decided today was the day to come to the ER
after ONE YEAR of vaginal bleeding.
one year.
what about one year of symptoms constitutes an emergency?
an inconvenience, yes. i'll give you that.
but an emergency?

the patient who had to be admitted to the ICU because they literally
took so much Vicodin
that they stopped breathing.

the staff radiologist who put in his report
(which, by the way, goes in the patient's medical record)
"this is a very sexy case"
when talking about the specific type of calcification
on the patient's pulmonary nodules

this is just a taste, my friends, of my daily life.

i have a remarkably entertaining job.

finding beauty

posted on: Friday, February 8, 2013

i woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
with a sore throat.

all week, i've felt like i'm drowning.
this time of year gets especially stressful for us emergency medicine residents.
it's the time right before we take our inservice exam
i feel like i've been pushing myself nonstop
go to work
see as many patients as possible
chart as quickly as you can
movemovemove. gogogo.
then come home and studystudystudy.
read more. do more practice questions. get smarter.

i always start to freak out a little when my life becomes singularly focused.
i love the balance of science and art that my life typically has
i love blogging, taking pictures, getting DRESSED, doing my hair
making things around me beautiful.
appreciating the things around me that are beautiful.
it's hard when the scales are tipped too far towards the science.
the harsh, gloomy, not-glamorous science.

i dried my hair as i got out of the shower last night
and realized that i hadn't worn it down in over a week.
i don't think i've worn anything but scrubs and pj's in over a week.
i certainly haven't blogged in over a week.

my life feels out of balance.
and i'm not happy about it.
but there just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all this month.
i have to keep pushing.
there aren't a lot of beautiful things in the ER.
most things are broken and hurting.
but i'm working hard to remember to notice the sunsets
or the way a 3-month-old patient smiles at me
to take pride and joy in the fact that i really am saving lives.
but it still feels like it's not enough.
social media constantly reminds me that there is so much beauty out there
and i feel like i'm missing it.

there are times when the path i've chosen to take
gets particularly hard to journey on.
this is one of them.

bear with me?

images: [1] [2]
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