Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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Sunday, March 27, 2011


I consider myself a really efficient person...like the Michael Bluth of real life. Okay hopefully I'm not that uptight, but you get the idea. Well Val is in Savannah for the weekend with all of her high school friends (can you believe she's still such good friends with girls from high school?), and I'm at home in Winston with the C-Monster. Going into the weekend I was super excited. Carver and I were going to go off on adventures, see the town, not spend much time at home, and have an all around awesome bachelors' weekend. Well, being a stay at home parent is tough. Give me some credit, I already knew it was tough, but I totally underestimated it. If you are a spouse who has a stay at home spouse, you are probably underestimating the task they have every day. Again, I already knew it was really tough, but if Val wasn't involved in our lives this family would resemble two toddlers, trying to find their way in the world without adult supervision. We finally got around to eating at like 8:15 last night. Carver normally goes to bed at 7:30! We were at the neighbors watching the basketball game and Margie, our wonderful neighbor, could tell it was past dinner time, and I was just oblivious because it was going into overtime. I was doing my best at some kind of pseudo-Lent, in which you deny your children rather than yourself. All in all the weekend has made me feel a lot less like the great dad I thought I was and more like someone who is completely dependent on God as a parent. So I guess it does fit in the Lent category. I gave up Val's parenting for a weekend of Lent...and it has humbled me!
I should also say that I've had a wonderful weekend with Carver. He is more wonderful than I can say. He is also saying "poop, Imma poop," in the bathtub right now, so I better get going!

Update: Okay so it hasn't gone as rough as I made it sound. We've had a wonderful time which included a cookout at the neighbors and a trip to Greensboro to walk around REI and find (unsuccessfully) the homebrew shop there, among other things. I am absolutely thankful for a weekend with just the two of us, but it has correctly highlighted the 80% of the pie-chart of household holding together that Val does for us!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Remediation Nation

I am in the throes of finals right now. Let me tell you what our finals week is like. Monday morning always entails two essays over a three hour block. In the afternoon we typically have some kind of lab practical. This unit it was mainly on chest x-rays and Acid-Base problems. Tuesday is a full morning of multiple choice exams for each course, and then we take the same exact exams in the afternoon, but with our small group. Its a way for us to get somewhat immediate feedback on how we did as well as a chance to talk through questions we may have missed in the morning. Wednesday we go to the hospital and see a standardized patient, which is to say, an actor who is acting out a certain constellation of signs and symptoms. After the history and physical you present the patient to your facilitator, who has been watching and listening to you through a one sided mirror the whole time. Then you write up a history, physical, assessment and plan for the patient. After that you have 48 hours to manage the patient's care. This includes ordering labs, tests, etc. Then on Friday we have an oral exam with a different faculty member about our management of the case, our understanding of pathophysiology, treatment, risk factors, patient education, follow-up, etc.

Normally I'm pretty good at most of the above. This week I am struggling. I walked into the patient room this morning and my patient interview/clinical reasoning skills apparently forgot to come with me. I can't give too much detail because some people are still testing throughout the day, but let's just say that there's a good chance I will be remediating my clinical applications class. I've never had to remediate anything as far as I know. I'm not gonna get discouraged about it. Instead I'll look at it like I'm going to get so much more learning and time with faculty out of my tuition money...its just going to require a bit more of a time commitment in the spring. (Insert bear growl of frustration).

In other news, Val has had a terrible sinus infection. She finally got put on an antibiotic yesterday because it started seeming more bacterial. Hopefully she will start feeling better by the time we leave town on Saturday morning for Christmas break!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clue Coach!

Hi there. Sorry I haven't blogged in over a month! It quickly took a back seat once I left my job at the VA, at which I sat in front of a computer all day and was usually ahead of my work load. Since I started school in June, and seemingly until I finish in just under two years, I have not and will not be ahead of my work load! Nevertheless, I want to keep blogging on a regular basis.

I recently was inspired by a blog written by a post-doc at MIT who writes about time management. Basically he accomplishes way more than I do in a 40 hour work week. Outside of normal business hours he doesn't even check email, walk his dog, or work out...the latter two of those I don't do at all! Ha! Anyway, so I have this new process for my week in which I make an extremely detailed schedule and stay on task from the hours of 7:00AM until 3:30-5:00PM depending on the day. It has worked great so far, and I've found that it makes it possible for me to study things that I wasn't touching until finals week last unit. I think if it keeps working well I'll at least be able to blog once a week.

So things in North Cackalacki are going well. Val started her new job at a really great pre-school and Carver started going there, but is in a different class, which is good. She's running a triathlon this Sunday and I'm really proud of her. She wanted to do this before she became pregnant again.

I like school a lot. I think one thing I've learned over the last few years is that no matter how compelling, challenging, edgy, or inspiring my occupation is, there will always come a time when it becomes at least more rote than it used to be. I think its really important that I realized that, so I can expect it and do things that will kind of throw me off my routine. I've also realized that, for good or for bad, I am the type that is constantly looking toward the future. I've already started thinking about trying to find a job when I'm done where I could practice medicine at a teaching hospital and also teach at their PA school. The problem based curriculum at Wake is going to become more and more popular as time goes on, and I'm pretty good at it, and I think it would be a blast to teach. We'll see what happens.

In related news, I had my first ever co-ed intramural flag football game last night. As you know, there's a recurring theme in my competitive athletics life in which I mouth off, argue with referees, and generally overreact to all things competitive. I think I literally had something like 60 yards of penalties just against me for "illegal contact". But seriously, how can you protect your quarterback without initiating a little contact? Apparently my best Pouncey impression is just too spot-on. I was thankful when the spot-light finally shifted off me as my friend Ben told the ref he was just going to start "running them over", to which the ref replied, "You will not be running them over." I'm 28, Ben is 30 today. It has been 16 years since I first punched Brian Hendrix in the face instead of telling him good game. I think it's clear that I've learned my lesson, as I didn't punch anyone in the face last night. It turns out that all the time I was at my flag football game I was supposed to be in the ER, shadowing. That's a conversation with th efaculty I'mnot looking forward to today!

Well, off to learn about all things gastro-intestinal. Avoid Barrett's esophagus as much as possible. Its a doozy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Settled in

I know I haven't blogged a lot lately. For a while there before we moved I was on a role...but that was before I started school...well, this school.
Things are going great here. I have a somewhat regular week this week, except for a couple of big tests, and then next week we start was is called SPA week. SPA means Standardized Patient Assessment. On Monday we have a day of essay tests, Tuesday is a big multiple choice test, Wednesday we go see a standardized patient at the hospital. The next two days we are spent developing an assessment and plan and following up, and then we have an oral exam on Friday. I am very excited about this style of testing...but a little apprehensive!
Valerie is in Tampa for a week with Carver. Portia flew them down for a party she's throwing for Gary at the beach. After a really tough year for Gary and Portia they are celebrating their lives and loved-ones. I wish I was there! Plus they get to see the Dourtes...and I'm sad I'm missing out. The extra time for school is a real gift though.
Vinny came over from Windy Gap last week for a few days. He had taken Gainesville kids to camp and drove himself so that he could come see us afterward. It was so great to spend time with him. Its amazing how much more time I spend laughing when he's around. We went to see Inception which blew my mind. He also built us a chicken coop. We're getting chickens soon!
I better get to some studying. Chemo drugs. This unit included oncology, which both compels me to work in that field and also has me wondering if I could handle that long term. It also included dermatology. Do a google images search for cutaneous dermatoses and you will know why I am leaning away from derm.
Thanks for following my blog. I will try to be better about blogging! I promise!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Not really about anything

There have been a few times in the last few weeks that I've thought, "Will I ever have time to blog again?" Turns out I will!
PA school is awesome. I am really enjoying it, and last week I got a 100% on my pharmacology midterm! I was in a lecture when I got the email telling me that I aced it and was totally blown away. I wanted to jump up and down but all these folks are super professional and don't tell each other their scores...which is fine.
Life in Winston is great. We love our neighbors and our neighborhood. Valerie got an awesome job at the best pre-school in town, and we have two great churches that we really love.
I think the main reason I haven't been blogging is because I haven't been in the writing mood. That may have something to do with the amount of brain I've been dedicating to the rest of my day. I'm gonna say yes.
I have three more regular weeks of school, then a week of finals, and then a week off! This program is going to FLY BY! I am SO excited to become a PA!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend in Gainesville

So this weekend we headed to Gainesville for Travis and Rachel's wedding. I was a groomsman. It was a BLAST. I still cannot think of an event that compares to weddings with your best friends...specifically dancing at weddings with your best friends. When the DJ stopped playing music, after disregarding about 30 of our really good requests (Fergie didn't even make one appearance) I thought about pooling money to get him to stay for another hour. We didn't, though.

Let me back up and tell you about the whole weekend.

We left the Dash straight from school at about 5:00 on Thursday, and stopped just north of Charlotte at a Chicken-fil-et. That new spicy chicken sandwich is gangbusters for real. So anyway, we get back on the road and about half way to Gainesville the car starts doing a hic-cup type thing every 5 or ten miles. It was almost like it was out of gas for a split second, and then it'd be fine. I called my dad. I still call my dad with all my man questions. Yes, I'm 27. But he's there, and he knows. Not calling him would be like not going to wikipedia if I wanted to know why flag day originated. So he says to put premium in it, and maybe change the fuel filter when I get to Gainesvegas. I did both (we made it to Gainesville). The car wouldn't start Friday morning and hasn't started since. It also got egg'd last night. At first I was like, WTF? Then I was like, when it rains it pours, and then I was like, "I was such a punk when I was in high school." I even helped my best friend siphon gas from his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend's car once a week in the high school parking lot. Kid deserved a lot worse though. I think my favorite part about our car not starting (yes, I have a very good attitude about it and have a favorite part) is that I got such good time with Dan while we tried to fix it.
In the midst of car trouble Friday morning, Carver had some out-of-the-blue asthma attack/allergic reaction to Tug (the Dourte Labrador). I've heard wheezing and stridor, and this was some serious wheezing and stridor. Val was at breakfast with a bunch of people. I gave two puffs of albuterol, which he could barely breathe in because of the airway constriction and crying (he is very interested in the inhaler until you smash it against his face.) We went on a walk with Noanie (Nana + Joanie). After about a half an hour he was much better. Then we took him over to PJs (our newly graduated PA friend), where he and Adam listened to his lungs, gave him some pediatric singulair, and C's been right as rain ever since.
The wedding, like I said, was a blast. About 3 years ago I didn't dance. Something changed one day and thank the Lord it did, because now I love dancing...at least at weddings. I would say, though, that this DJ played a little too much traditional wedding dance music (NOW WAAIIIIIITAMIIIINNUUUUTTTEE!!!), and not enough Fergie, Gaga, K-C and Jo-Jo, etc. Nevertheless, it was a blast. The ceremony was wonderful, too. It is such a privelage to see Travis and Rachel get married. They are both my former YoungLife kids turned good friends, and they are truly in love.I know their marriage will always stay fresh and alive and growing. Rachel was beautiful, and wore the same dress her granmother wore when she got married in 1955. It was classy, timeless, and beautiful. Travis is always classy, timeless, and beautiful, so I won't mention anything about his attire. I am very proud of him, though.
So about the car...I ended up renting a car from Avis for $10 a day, because the need to get some cars to Winston, and out of Florida. As far as I know there are no elicit drugs in this deal...just a car.
So my folks came up today and we went to breakfast and spent some time with them. After they left I left and made it home (to W-S) in less than 8 hours. That will probably forever be a record because I doubt I'll do the drive alone again. (Did I mention Val and Carver stayed behind?)
So, tomorrow begins another week of school. I better get to bed.
Go Gators.