Sunday, January 15, 2006

happiness is.....

- snow (after a day of torrential rain yesterday I'm glad to see the more solid version)
- a grande decaf non-fat cinnamon dolce latte from the cafe inside the local big box bookstore
- a new Grey's Anatomy (sidenote: where is my George? he seems like the perfect intern and I think we'd be good together....)
- lentil soup
- a trip to my local yarn store and having the owner greet me by name and ask how things are going

Cascade 220 in a heathered olive green color won in the swatch contest for Rogue.

This is attempt number (to be determined) of sleeve #1 for Rogue. There's a mistake that just occurred and I can't figure out how to fix it. Now isn't the best time for me to be working on it, so I'm putting it down for the night and will re-examine it tomorrow. (I thought I'd be slick and do both sleeves at the same time but that, er, was simply a mess. Instead of learning from my mistakes I attempted both again (and again) and wound up with wonky numbers that resulted in ripping and restarting. I have the first few inches of this pattern memorized and not a whole lot to show for it.)

this is what I got done last week though...(only thing keeping me from finishing it is that my chibi and needles are MIA...they are somewhere safe, of that I'm sure....).

some have SSS: second sock syndrome.
Me? I have SSWSS: should stick with socks syndrome.

My ribbed "no fail" pattern of socks fall into one of three categories:
1. the start of a sock, the cuff that can essentially go on forever and doesn't need any specific counting more past a 3/2 k/p or 4/2 k/p and can be done under a table during a meeting or lunch presentation.
2. the heel and gusset, which I can't do without looking and needs to be worked on when I'm not too tired and I like to get it all done at once.
3. The foot portion, which is similar to the cuff in that I can knit around and around and not worry, but more than once I've knit past where toe decreases should have started.

These categories help me to justify having more than one sock on the needles at all times, preferably one at each point because otherwise they all get stuck at the heel... and then I run out of needles. And at that point I find myself trying to come up with another simple sort of project to work on during the week, when in truth I should probably just buy more needles. I can only wear so many scarves, but socks? I could wear a new pair of handknit socks each day and be happier than happy.

The sock above is from the yarn I wound on New Years Eve; I was aiming for striping and it sorta stripes. The repeat is a bit shorter then I'd like, so next time the chairs need to be further apart so the colors are "thicker" in the sock.

I have been trying to figure out a good way to explain the service I'm on now and truthfully I'm at a loss for words. I'm doing a 6 week stint in heme/onc: hematology is the study of blood (anemias, and bone marrow diseases for example) and oncology is the field of medicine that focuses on cancer. Some of the patients that we are caring for in the hospital won't go home, and the process of dying has been a real education for me. The doctors I'm working with do not do pediatric care and seeing some of the patients I do is humbling; they've come to a point in their life where they can accept the cards they've been dealt and it's emotionally taxing on me. I am completely aware of my own mortality and am not afraid of my own death (that's something that I hear changes if/when I have kids of my own) but seeing patients hours before they die is hard. Seeing the families go through the process (potentially before they are ready) is hard.

This rotation is one that I set up with the hope that it'd help me learn more about cancer and see if doing a rotation at St. Jude's cancer research center would work for me. Right now I miss kids - they bring so much to a day - and the cure rates can vary from cancer to cancer and with age so some childhood cancers are more "curable."

As a result (of the early mornings, and experiences I'm having, and the grey days that make up the weekends and the clear days that I spend inside in the basement clinic (only to emerge after the sun has set)) I am tired. I know what signs to look for and am taking care of myself, but blogging will probably be hit or miss for a little while longer.

I hope those who are here in the northeast are able to enjoy the snow!


Blogger Cari said...

Can't say I was happy about the snow (which was really just a thick layer of ice on everything by this morning here in NYC), but I'm glad it pleased you. Guess you got more of a real snowfall than we did.

Mmmm...lentil soup...

11:59 PM  
Anonymous jess said...

sounds like a tough rotation, keep your strength up!

Love the way that sock is turning out. And, yum, lentil soup (I do it the Spanish way with Chorizo sausage and garlic and tomatoes).

6:18 AM  
Blogger Carole said...

I'm guessing your current rotation is more draining emotionally than physically. But these patients need your care and concern just as much as the younger ones and I know I'm not telling you something you don't already know.
I, too, like to finish the heel flap and gusset all in one sitting.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

We hardly got any snow here, just a dusting. I"m sad because I wanted to get out and cross country ski again.

Take care, this does sound like a tough emotional rotation, just bring whatever smile you can to lighten their days.

Having gone through loosing a good friend to cancer I can imagine the emotional drain it is causing you.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Looking good on Rogue. I understand what you hate about the two sleeves at the same time - last night (yeah Gray's Anatomy!) I knit for two hours straight and it only seems just a little bit longer - granted, they're both longer, but still.

On Heme/Onc, one of our jobs is to (eventually) learn not to take (all) of our patients home with us. To compartmentalize some of that empathy and leave it at the hospital. But the people who do it naturally, right off the bat? I have classmates like that, as I'm sure you do, too, and they scare me. They'll never care more than they do now? Terrifying. Being too involved at this stage is better than being uninvolved.

On another note, I've heard really mixed things about rotations at St. Jude's as a med student. Email me if you want more details.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I'd imagine that doing an emotionally tough rotation like that would be even tougher at this time of year. I admire you for being able to handle it and take care of yourself. When my mom was dying of cancer, the hospice drs, nurses, aides, and volunteers were amazing. I don't know how they did it.

On another topic - I don't understand what you're saying about winding the yarn. How does that change the striping pattern? Is it because you dyed it yourself after winding it?

10:39 AM  
Anonymous margene said...

You are receiveing a full education of human life. Last time you brought new life into the world and this time you are there to aid in its passing. It would be draining just as the births were at the other end of the spectrum.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Learning compartmentalization is important if you don't want to be pummeled emotionally day after day. There are always some patients where you can't, and that is good too. Sometimes doctor tears are okay.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

It's good to be secure in your own mortality, as you are. And helping someone face the end of their life with dignity is an incredible gift.

I do really like that green for Rogue, and the stripes on the socks look good to me (is that what mine will look like?)

1:26 PM  
Blogger Jocele said...

Medicine is certainly a difficult field at times. Sometimes it's really hard when one of our patients pass away and you don't ever get used to it. Nor should you. I think one of the most educational nights for me was a couple of years ago. My residency (and practice) is truly a full-spectrum residency, where even on an internal medicine month we admit and deliver OB patients. The same night I had an ICU patient pass away, and then 20 minutes later, I delivered a baby. Both ends of the spectrum in human life. It certainly helped put things in perspective and to see the cycle that we're all a part of. Hang in there. Things get better.

P.S. The socks look great.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Janine said...

I've worked (very tangentially) with doctors at St Jude's--I remember vividly one who told me that, although hard, working with the kids there was a joy and a privilege. His attitude contrasted greatly with that of many people I was working with and has stuck with me.

I won't even stop to count how many sock needles I have--they are so inexpensive and I'm with you: I seem to pile them up like planes on the runway, waiting for the right time to do the "thinking" parts...

7:19 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

I hope you won't think I'm being overly forward, but I think you need this: *HUG* :)

You asked about my clerkship. I actually start with an elective - I'm doing 2 weeks of palliative care: one week in-hospital and one week in the community. Next up is anesthesia for two weeks, and then eight weeks of internal med.

Keep smiling. :)

8:18 PM  
Blogger Carina said...

Am I the only one who thinks George should just switch to being an FP or internist? I mean, he's just too good at reading patients and figuring things out to be a surgeon. ;)

You'll find your George. He's around somewhere.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Hey Kristin,

The rotation sounds sad and tough. Each time I read one of your posts about med school, I think "she's going to be a really GREAT doctor."

Love that green Cascade -- so pretty. And lentil soup -- yum!

8:59 AM  
Anonymous melanie said...

I want a George too. Love George.

Your new rotation will teach you so much, good luck! We'll be here for ya.

1:57 PM  

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