Chronologic acceleration

I have now completed 4 rotations of my intern year which means that 24 weeks have gone by since the last time I wrote in my blog. So much has happened over that span of time but I have frankly been either too busy or too tired to write about it. Residency is not nearly as difficult as I was expecting – perhaps because I love what I am doing! – but it certainly eats up a lot of time. The march of time seems to be accelerating as my world spins faster and faster.

Since residency started in June I have now caught 38 babies (vaginal deliveries) and cut out 23 more (Cesarean sections). That’s 61 kiddos I’ve assisted bringing into this world! I have also either performed or assisted in many other procedures. Each experience is so much fun and my knowledge and skills continue to grow exponentially. The night before last I received my first obstetric baptism; just as the infant’s head was starting to crown (visible without the need to manually separate the labia) with me poised to catch, it’s bag of water (amniotic sac) burst and showered me. Fortunately there was no baby poo in the fluid (meconium) and I was wearing protective gear but it still managed to wet my hair. The first of many I’m sure.

During my first rotation I managed to take a tumble off my bike and break my left pinky just past my knuckle (5th proximal phalynx). I bike commuted all summer and early fall and on this particular day it was raining. As I attempted to veer across some railroad tracks along the parallel S-curving bike path my bike completely slipped out from underneath me and I dived face first toward the pavement. After skidding to a stop using my elbows and chest as breaks I noticed that in addition to the minor scrapes I had sustained my pinky was deviated away from my other fingers at an abnormal angle. Long story short, the orthopedic surgeon offered me two options: either wear a cast to my elbow for 6 weeks or have a plate and screws surgically placed (open reduction internal fixation). Given that I need my hands to do my job, I underwent surgery and was able to perform surgery on others the next day. It’s still not completely back to normal but the pain is gone and it is completely functional. Morals to the story are: 1, Don’t try to bike across wet train tracks at an oblique angle. 2, I am breakable after all! And 3, these hands are priceless and I have to be more careful in the future.

Patrick and the dogs finally moved our stuff up from Utah in August, 2 months after I had started residency. I had missed them so much! We are currently living in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood in a large 3 bedroom duplex that we love. We occupy the top floor of an early twentieth Century home with 12 foot ceilings, wonderful architectural details, lots of light and a large screened in balcony overlooking our front lawn. The house sits in the middle of an entirely fenced in yard that the dogs enjoy. We have lots of rabbits and squirrels which the dogs love tracking and gobbling up their turds before we can stop them. Yuk! Copper actually caught a rabbit in our yard one morning and almost wouldn’t let it go when Patrick protested. Fortunately the rabbit was not injured and bounded away when Copper finally opened his jaws. Just the other night Patrick was telling me that both dogs were asleep on the couch and whimpering in their sleep. They must have been picking up on each other because apparently they started whimpering at each other louder and louder. Patrick tried to videotape it but unfortunately failed. That surely would have been a contender for $10,000 in America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Patrick continues to look for work and takes of the house, dogs and me in the meantime. His big news is that he will be getting a cochlear implant in the next few weeks. His hearing has digressed to the point where he can no longer hear on the phone even with state-of-the-art hearing aids and he is now legally deaf, no longer just hard-of-hearing. Technology is now available however to insert sound-sensing electrodes deep within his inner ear to stimulate his auditory nerve replacing the function of inner ear hair cells. Patrick is a bit nervous about the procedure because the insertion of the electrodes into his cochlea will effectively destroy what little natural hearing ability he still has and he states that he is grieving this loss. On the other hand he is excited to go bionic (or Borg if you’re a Trekkie) and to hear probably better than he has ever heard in his life.

JD and Kayla have yet to visit but will be here for 2 weeks during the winter break. And they are growing like weeds! JD is enjoying junior high – I can’t believe I’m old enough to have a kid in junior high! – except all the homework. Kayla seems less interested in school though she is just as bright; she’d just rather play or read on her own.

Fall is now gone with all the vibrant colors that go with it. In its place are the monochromatic tones of winter with blinding sunlight, lengthening shadows and sleepy landscapes. The temperature is still bearable usually in the 30s to 40s and I continue to mentally brace myself for the arctic blast that I’m told is right around the corner. I am however looking forward to ice skating outside on one of the many lakes like so many faded holiday images of a not so distant past.

Although I am much less communicative than I have been in the past I hope you all know that you are often in my thoughts and I wish you happiness, peace and light.

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