Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Language Lesson #2

Let me clarify there, their and they're for the people who are constantly using the wrong version.

There is a place - "The book is over there."
Their is a possessive pronoun - "It is their book"
They're is a contraction of they are - "They're going to buy a book"

Piece de resistance

They're going over there to get their book.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tense Lanuage Lession

Okay, so there are several words to which I have a chronic difficultly applying the correct tense or conjugation. One afternoon I, who apparently had nothing better to do, asked a friend, who happens to be an English major, to review the correct usage of the following words: lie, lay, lain, laid, who and whom (Thank you Ashley – and if you or the Trussian whore, you know who you are, can correct that last sentence or any other glaring mistakes I have made it would be much appreciated). I will post it here to enrich the lives of others and to make it easier for me to reference later.

Word: Who
Part of Speech: Subject
Example of proper usage: Who is the woman in the red dress?

Word: Whom
Part of Speech: Object
Example of proper usage: With whom am I speaking?

*When trying to determine which to use try substituting he/she or him/her. If he/she is correct then use who (She is in the red dress.), use whom with him/her (You are speaking to her.)

So that is the easy one. The others are a little more complicated

Word: Lie
Verb Tense: Simple present
Example of proper usage: I am going to lie down.

Word: Lay
Verb Tense: Simple past
Example of proper usage: I went to lay down.

Word: Lain
Verb Tense: Past participle
Example of proper usage: I have lain on the bed.

Word: Laying
Verb Tense: Present participle
Example of proper usage: I am laying on the bed.

Word: Lay
Verb Tense: Simple present
Example of proper usage: I will lay the book on the table.

Word: Laid
Verb Tense: Simple past
Example of proper usage: I laid the book on the table.

Word: Laid
Verb Tense: Past participle
Example of proper usage: I have laid books there before.

Word: Laying
Verb Tense: Present participle
Example of proper usage: I am laying the book on the table now.

Well, I hope that clears things up for everyone. I know that it is clear as mud for me. I am sure that I will continue to use all of these words incorrectly at least half the time but you have got to give me credit for trying

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I’m sorry Miss, but we can’t let you do that.

As I am preparing for the transition from student to physician it has become more important for me to address the actualities of patient care versus the ideals that are discussed when we are being taught. After being away from clinical medicine for about a year and now being immersed in it again, something that I had contemplated as a medical student has come back to the foreground of my thoughts.

What do physicians and hospitals mean when they say “we don’t allow a patient to do X” or “a patient must do X.” I have heard this most often when discussing obstetrics as in the examples below.

“We don’t allow patients to go past 42 weeks.”
“The hospital does not allow VBACs (Vaginal Birth After C-section).”

Realistically, a physician can discuss these issues with a patient, present the risks and benefits, use strong language like “we don’t allow” and “you must”, but, in the end, it is the patient’s decision and they have the right to refuse. Many, maybe even most patients will take the advice of their physician and do whatever they recommend. However, there is going to be a segment of the population that does not agree with conclusions that the physician and/or hospital has reached and decline.

In reality, what does a physician who says “we don’t attend VBACs” do when a patient, who they have seen for nearly 9 months, refuses to schedule a repeat c-section and shows up at the hospital in labor? Will they refuse to admit the patient or admit them and then annoy the patient during the entire labor until either they give in and allow the c-section or the baby is born vaginally. What about a patient who is at 41 weeks gestation and refuses to schedule an induction for 42 weeks? Will they discharge the patient from their care when labor is imminent and refuse to attend the birth when labor finally begins. Will some go so far as to perform the procedure without their consent? Or try to obtain a court order to force them?

This place is where the theory we learn in school and the reality of patient care meet in direct opposition.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rusted Root Concert

It has been a while since my husband and I last went to a concert (The last one was just after Christmas in 2007 and I was 7 months pregnant at the time). Last last night we talked some friends into watching the little scream machine that is currently masquerading as our son and headed off to The Handle Bar to see Rusted Root.

The concert was amazing. The Handle Bar is a small venue with an intimate feel. We were right up next to the stage for the entire show.

At the end of the show some of the players from STOMP joined them on stage and jammed for a little while as part of the Encore. When the show was over Michael, Patrick and Liz came down to meet with fans and sign autographs. Being the dork that I am, I purchased a t-shirt and a copy of their new album and had them signed. I also managed to get a picture with Michael but unfortunately it was with a camera phone so it is not all that great but here it is.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Conscience Clause

There exists a contingent of people, I assume mostly evangelical christians and catholics, who think that providers of medical care should be able to not only refuse to perform or provide a particular treatment (which they can already legally do) but to also refuse to educate their patients about the same or even refer them to a provider who will provide that treatment. They are under the mistaken impression that the current laws force health care providers to do anything other than give their patients all of the information and allow them to choose for themselves what the best path is.

What the individuals and groups pushing this law want is for the government to force employers to hire and/or keep employees who refuse to perform all the duties in their job descriptions. I agree that any medical practitioner should be able to choose what procedures they want or don't want to perform, what medication they will and will not prescribe or any other decision they want to make about their practicing of medicine. And as private physicians and nurses they have the ability to do that. However, it is just as important to preserve the rights patients to informed refusal/consent.

The owners of hospitals and clinics also have the right to decide what procedures and treatments will be available within their facilities and have the proper staff available to provide those services. When these employers are looking to hire physician, nurses or other health care providers it is reasonable to expect potential employees to reveal if they are willing to perform all the duties of the job. It is also reasonable for a hospital or clinic to require a potential employee to reveal if there is any part of the job that they refuse to take part in for any reason and to use that information to decide if they want to hire them. Physicians and nurses also have a choice to search out employers who do not offer those treatments or who are okay employing individuals who won't perform them.

The other problem with this issue is a lack of transparency. Medical care is expensive and patients should be able to acquire a full list of the things that a physician will not do or offer referrals for before choosing them as a care provider. No one should have to spend hundreds of dollars and many hours in appointments with doctors to question them about every every possible treatment or procedure they might ever need or end up with a doctor who will not provide the necessary care, regardless of the reason. Patients should have all the information about a providers ability to care for them so they can make informed decisions on which provider to see.

I for one would not want to see an OB/GYN who would refuse to operate on an ectopic pregnancy because of the infinitesimal chance that it could survive to viability rather than rupture and kill me. Or a family medicine doctor who would refuse to prescribe an OCP to a woman with PCOS because of the possibility it might stop the implantation of a fertilized egg. Or a psychiatrist who refuses to write prescriptions for antidepressants. I am all for them making the choice they feel is appropriate for their conscience/soul/morals/ethics/religion or whatever but patients should have a choice as well. Health care providers should be open, honest and upfront with their patients (or potential patients) about their self imposed limitations and allow the consumers of medical care to make their choice as well.

In the end it comes down to balancing the right of one group against the rights of another. Personal beliefs are just that and should never be forced on others, this is doubly wrong when done without giving them a choice. When faith becomes motive and not a private matter we are no longer a country where people receive the best care, but one where care is given only when it suits the personal choices of the medical staff on hand.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Clipping post for RSS feeds

I use Google reader to keep up with the blogs that I read the most often. It has worked pretty well except for a couple of little quirks. I wish I would get a notification when someone updates an older post and I wish I could get them to show up in chronological order rather than reverse chronology. Those thing aside I have been very happy with it.

Lately though, it is a decision that my favorite bloggers are making that is driving me up the wall. I really appreciate those bloggers that allow the entire post to show up on the reader and I ofter click on to the page to read the comments when I have the time. I am even ok with those who put up one or two paragraphs with a 'click here' to read below the fold. What I can't stand is the 10-15 word truncations that rarely even give me a clue as to what the post is actually about. I get that you want people to go to the actual blog page because it brings in revenue (i guess) but mostly it just make me not want to read your blog at all.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I am hugging my munchkin a little tighter today

When I first became pregnant I started reading books and articles about pregnancy and child rearing and eventually I looked on the internet for women who were or had experienced it. It was during this search that I can across the website of Heather Spore. She was due near the time I was but was having some complications. I sat with baited breath as I waited for updates and was scared for her when little Maddie was born very early weighing just a little over 3 pounds. Over the last year and half I have read as Maddie passed all the normal milestones and enjoyed looking at the pictures of her shinning smile.

After being off the internet for several days I was giving a horrible shock upon logging on to the news that this adorable, happy little child had died. My heart aches for Heather, Mike and their whole family and I will continue to have them in my thoughts. Even though I never met her in person I will miss her and her smiles. I will be hugging my sweet baby boy (and all my loved ones) closer as I am reminded of the frailty of the human condition and our ultimate mortality.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Death March of Evangelical Christianity

I was directed this evening to a opinion piece published in the Christian Science Monitor written by Michael Spencer (an evangelical). The following quote sums up the article nicely.
We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

These few sentences give me hope that this group will lose their strangle hold over the American democratic system. Throughout most of my life, Evangelicals and other Christians have attempted to impose their beliefs on everyone else through legislation and judicial challenges. Hopeful this is the first whispers of an impending lose of power.

Spencer describes the reasons he thinks the dissolution will occur and many are the precise things that I had previously recognized.
Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society...massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence.

I am glad that others are or soon will be catching up.

The author describes that he thinks currently religious people will take one of two paths. They will either leave religion behind or shift into the more orthodox and dogmatic forms like Catholicism. This will widen the gap between the religious and the non-religious by removing much of what is considered 'mainline' Christianity. This stark contrast will result in many moderates choosing a more secular path rather than the more fundamentalist ideologies.

I see this as a precursor to the death of Christianity as a whole as it will inevitably continue to follow the same path that past religions have. Initially, the religion is concentrated with its single set of dogma and orthodoxy. As time progresses the religion becomes fractured, as happened when the Protestants split from the Catholic Church, the Church of England split from the Roman Catholic Church, when the Protestant church fractured into it many denominations and most recently with the advent of the emerging church and mega churches. As the divisions occur the message becomes watered down and loses its power. As this occurs, the stories of God and Jesus will turn into myths and hold the same power as stories of Zeus and Thor.

Spencer, M. (2009, March 10). Title:The coming evangelical collapse [Editorial].
The Christian Science Monitor, 9. Retrieved March 10, 2009, from

Monday, March 9, 2009

Our First Trip to the Emergency Room

I had visions of our first trip to the ER with Sebastian being one of a broken limb from falling out of a tree or needing stitches after falling off his bike. I did not expect it to be due to him smearing food on his face. Here is what happened (Sebastian's view of the events can be found here).

Our family was sitting down for a lunch of mostly leftovers. I decided to have a peanut butter sandwich and gave a small piece to Sebastian. He ate the first couple of bites normally and then began to play with and mush the pieces. About 10-15 minutes later he started his usual "I'm ready for a nap" motions including rubbing his hands and whatever is on them all over his face. I proceeded to wipe him clean and then go lay down for a nap. I noticed that his face was a little red at this point but figured it was just from the washing. We had been lying down for about 5 minutes when I noticed that he had developed hives all over his face and the backs of his hands. I quickly sent Brian to the store for some Benadryl and more thoroughly washed him off and eventually put him in the tub. When Brian got back we got him out of the bath and dosed him up with the Benadryl. The reaction was limited to the skin that had come in contact with the peanut butter and he never developed any respiratory symptoms. Even though the reaction seemed to be taken care of by the Benadryl we decided to go to the hospital just in case.

When we arrived at the ER the swelling had gone done considerably but it was still very noticeable and red. We were checked in and triaged fairly quickly and sent to the waiting room. About 20-30 minutes later his face was started to get redder and the swelling increased so we went back to the triage nurse who got him in to a room. The nurse came in and checked him out and a few minutes later the doctor came in to examine him and get the history of the event. He was given a dose of steroids to further manage the reaction and finally the swelling started to diminish and redness started to fade. We were discharged with instructions to continue to give the Benadryl and steroids for 3 days, to avoid all products containing peanuts and carry and EpiPen at all times.

This was the last thing I ever expected to happen. Neither Brian nor I have any history of food allergies or any other allergies except poison ivy and hay fever. The most current research indicates that early exposure is protective against allergic reactions.

1. He is actually allergic to peanuts or to some other substance in the peanut butter (Smart Balance)? I guess we won't know the answer to this until we take him to an allergist.
2. Why did he only react once he 'applied' it to his skin? He had been fine for while after ingesting and only broke out where he had speared it. He had no swelling of his mouth (except bottom lip) or throat.
3. Is it possible that he has only a topical allergy and ingesting it would not pose problems? I have heard anecdotes from people who report getting rashes and/or hives when getting other foods (tomatoes, mangoes, some meats) on their skin but they are able to consume them without any problems. Are stories like this not common with peanuts because it doesn't happen or because people freak out with the skin rash that ingestion is never attempted again?

With the diagnosis of 'peanut allergy' there comes a lot of decisions that have to be made. Do we have to take this to the extreme of avoiding anything that was manufactured in the same place as something that contains peanuts? After he stops nursing do I have to continue to avoid peanut products as well? Do we need to be a peanut free house? Will he need to sit at a peanut free table at school? Can we take him to the circus or baseball games where others will probably be eating peanuts? How do we proceed with this without it taking over every decision we make? Right now it is easy because at only 1 year old we control everything he eats but as he gets older how do we make him aware of it without making him scared?

These are only a fraction of the questions and thoughts churning through my mind right now and the information out there is either purely speculation or inconclusive at best. What is a mom to do?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I think he is missing the point.

One of the presents that Sebastian got for his 1st birthday was a Shape Sorter. You know, the toy with the different shaped blocked that are supposed to go in the same shaped holes on the top.

Well today, we were playing with the toy and I was attempting to show him how the different shaped blocked went in the same shaped holes. After watching me do a couple he looked at me with a confused look. He then proceeded to remove the lid from the box and put the rest of the blocks in.

I think he is missing the point of the toy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Birthday Buddies

Growing up, I envied my friends who shared birthday with siblings or friends. It seemed like such a special things to share with someone so I always wanted a birthday buddy.

One year ago today I got my wish when this precious little boy was born.
(2/19/08 9:57am)

I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by. It seems like only yesterday I was pregnant anxiously waiting for him to make his appearance. It is amazing, that in such a short period of time, he has changed from a tiny baby who depended on us for everything to a little boy striving for independence.


After having my birthday to myself for so long, I was unsure how I would like sharing it now. It has had one unexpected consequence, it is nearly impossible to fret about getting older on your birthday, when watching your ecstatic child run around playing with friends and family, devouring cake and opening presents. So while some of my friends lamented this year's birthday and the continuing march of time, I rejoiced in the excitement of my son's first birthday instead.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My son. The traiter!

This adorable, precious, sweet and innocent baby is actually a vile traitor who has forsaken the women who birthed him.

For about 6 weeks Sebastian has been regularly saying 'dada' and will readily point to him out if asked. Hoever, he has yet to utter the word 'mama' and if you ask him "Where is mama?" he will give you a blank stare as if to say "Who?"

Well, last evening while we were all standing around the kitchen, he looks at my mother-in-law and says clear as day "gran-ma". My own son, that I carried around for nine months, labored and birthed with no drugs, feed from my body and love with my whole heart, says gran-ma before mama. How horribly unfair.

NOT the Mama