Thursday, November 30, 2006

please cross your needles today at 2pm...

g'morning from Conshohocken, PA - the site of my clinical skills boards. (I think I can finally say it correctly...though that shouldn't be a part of my exam...)

I flew in yesterday and have been fighting with my computer and this hotel wireless system (instead of going to the webpages I request, or sending out the emails I've written it refreshes to the hotel's wireless policy and requires me to click "okay") and my phone died (again) in the middle of saying goodbye to a local knitter/blogger.

I wasn't nervous until about an hour ago - now that I've ironed my white coat and am reviewing all of my physical exam skills my stomach is doing flip flops and I have to remind myself that I don't actually need to pee. (again.)

I tried to knit a bit last night, but ripped out what I did accomplish because (un-surprisingly) my tension was wonky and it didn't look right. This morning's attempts were just as bad, and my brain seems to have forgotten that knitting used to be a calming thing.

I can't wait until this is over.

And I really, really, really, really don't want to have to do this again.

(test is from 2-9:30pm and it's a clinical skills exam that requires me to see standardized patients (trained actors) for 14 minutes then write a note (in 10 minutes).)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

a tale (tail?) of two stuffed sheep.....

Two years ago Kohl's featured farmyard animals as their "Kohl's Cares for Kids" campagin mascots. In a moment of weakness I hunted down a cow, a duck and two sheep - the sheep were the most difficult to find. I called around to several stores before learning that a shipment was due in the following Saturday morning. I was there when they opened, and at the customer service desk I managed to convince every customer that they too needed a stuffed sheep.

This trio was intially introduced here and they lived with me for many months before finding new homes.

The reason for getting two sheep? One was procured in honor of my parent's new mattress - she still sits on their bed during the day, and has affectionetly been named Berta.

(I'm not sure which my mom was more excited about - the finished sweater I knit her, or the new sheep....) (original post with this picture is here)

Eventually the animals found their way to other places. The cow went to live in my friend's research lab and last I heard was doing okay (despite living with master/phd students who, sometimes, on occasion, mumble to themselves).

The duck stuck with me until the end, and made the cut for deep storage. She's not in there alone - there's a stuffed pig (not pictured) that I hold onto for sentimental reasons, and there's probably a bear in there too.

The sheep?

I wasn't sure what to do with the sheep. I enjoyed him, and loved how soft he was, but I didn't think I needed to hold onto him. At some point during my board studying, on a whim, I put it in the mail to my local yarn store owner. The package would never get through security today - imagine a stuffed sheep smooshed into the fetal position in a plastic bag wrapped in brown paper and taped with as much clear packing tape as I had. I even had the audacity to write "do not use scissors to open!" all over it.

A few months later (being that I'm only in town where this particular sheep lives every now and then) I stopped in and saw the him modeling a sheep sized scarf. The next season he looked dapper in an infant sweater sitting in a pile of Dale of Norway yarn. Every time I go in I look for him, and it's always a surprise where he is and what he's wearing.

Yesterday I went in to pick up some red yarn (for the red scarf project) and while I was there I looked high and low for the sheep. After a few minutes the owner saw me looking and then she started to look in the usual places - he wasn't in with the Dale yarn, nor overlooking the pattern binders. He wasn't nestled in the Lamb's pride or sitting at her desk.

It was then that she confessed that her other employees liked to dress him up and move him, and that they must have re-accessorized him and put him somewhere else. Then she thought to mention the front window....

which is exactly where he was!

I'm so glad that he went to live with them - no only is he not smooshed in storage, but right now he's front and center in a shop window.

(I do believe he needs some socks.....)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Sky - from a midafternoon walk today

Friday, November 24, 2006

the graduation shawl challenge

[edited to add links that didn't work the first time and endnote below]

knitting (and spinning) has been a big part of my medical school education…so much so that my personal statement included at least one “wool” mention in each paragraph. (that’s the same personal statement that has gotten me interviews at the places I applied, so I’m not worried that they thought it was strange.) Wool has been pivotal to my getting this far, and I’m relying on it (heavily) to get through the next 27 weeks.

I’ve attempted to knit lace in the past and only had limited success. That being said, I’ve been overcome with the urge to knit a shawl for my graduation. I’ve been thinking about it for the past several weeks and was going to keep the idea to myself until I had things lined up, but I need some help….

the color of my “hood” is green – somewhere between a kelly green and hunter green. (it’s a velvety texture and can change with the light) The color green is the traditional color for the field of medicine, and though it’s not my favorite color, I like the idea of knitting with the color green for this project. I’d love to find something with silk and with some subtle variegations but I’m not having any luck! I contacted a few of the people I’ve bought hand-dyed yarn from in the past (and need to send out a few more emails), but many do not take on custom orders. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to dye it myself (or with guidance from those who know what they are doing) but that begs the question of when and where I’d find the space, materials and time – let alone what I’d do if my experiment fails to produce what I’m thinking about.

My next quandary is the pattern. I have several lace patterns that have been knit by many people (flower baskets, icarus, helen’s lace pattern, etc) but if I’m going to pick a color that mirrors my graduation color, I feel like I should try and find something that has a sentimental element to it. The caduceus is the best known medical symbol (I just spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out it’s origin and I’m just as confused as this guy) but after reading this I’m leaning away from intertwined snakes and a set of wings.

(however, a single “snake-like” design around something that resembles a “staff” still appeals to me. That should be easy to find…shouldn’t it?)

On the one hand I don’t want to make this a complicated project, but on the other hand I don’t want to just knit anything – trying to find the balance before running out of time is why I’m going to ask you…
do you have any ideas? about the yarn or pattern? thoughts?

[note: Sundara is one of the people I've emailed - because what I am looking for is custom, it isn't something that she'll do...]

Sunday, November 12, 2006

putting yarn buying in perspective....

- clinical boards exam fee for Nov 30th: $995
- flight to Philly for boards: $400
- hotel room for stay outside of Philly for 2 nights: $450
- hours spent studying for the boards so far: 20+
- hours spent on residency application: 25+
- fee for submitting residency application: $110
- fee for computer based boards, still not scheduled: $495
- fee for January ER rotation: $150
- graduation fees paid so far: $55
- weeks til graduation: 28
- rotations left to schedule: 2
- miles put on my car since August: 6,000+

- yarn bought this past week: $150
- hours said yarn will last: 40+

(my eye is feeling much better; using Rx antibiotic goop to "glue" it shut several times this weekend seems to have helped. Thank you for all of the positive thoughts over the past several weeks - I am still behind in getting back to everyone but hope to be caught up soon!)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

happiness is.....

- 29 weeks 3 days until graduation
- my current rotation; a four week stint with a surgeon (who is the most un'surgeon-like surgeon I think I will ever meet...she actually talks with patients...AND...she knits. More thoughts on what it's like to work with a doctor who knits in the future.)
- being in the middle of half a dozen or so knitting projects, and always having one nearby to work on (more on this later as well; it is getting late...)
- hot homemade bean soup on a rainy night and leftovers for lunch tomorrow

leaves and leaf-prints on slate

sheep ears and

blue gates...

(I really wanted to take this one home with me; the sheep at Rhinebeck seemed much calmer and personable than sheep I've seen other places.)

prize-winning needle felted Kangaroos

and a pile of dogs won a ribbon too!

- sitting on cats two weekends ago...

taking care of a cat who loves to perch (he jumped up and sat long enough for me to walk around, find the camera, set it up and get several pictures. Finding a cat on my shoulder happened a lot while I was watching was lovely.)

and his love of fleece rivaled my own.

(even the shy little one decided to play)

Life has been busy here, with lots of going to and from and back and forth and moving in and out and all over the place; a new rotation means a new place to stay and a new routine.

During my last week of my sub-I I had a few bouts of awful eye pain that were mostly unexplainable. Medical people are notoriously bad patients, and it took my mom seeing how bad the pain was and how it teared up suddenly for me to even consider making a doctor's appointment. One general appointment and one specialist later it was clear that something wasn't quite right. The diagnosis went from a scratch on my cornea to an area of corneal abrasion to, most recently today, a corneal ulcer. I think they're all the same thing (or same basic idea) but I haven't had time to consult with Dr. Google yet. (they also tried a foreign body removal and thought it might be a reaction or local infection; consensus now (after two and a half opinions) is that it's an ulcer.)

The eye doctor initially told me that once it was patched, it would heal within two days; today, two and a half weeks later, he finally admitted that 10% of people take "longer" to heal. He was vague about how long "longer" is. My spot still isn't completely healed. It still hurts. He even had the gaul to admit that sometimes, even after the spot has healed, it can spontaneously re-occur.

I'm not impressed. And I haven't the slightest clue how it happened. (I wear glasses, all the time. I thought they supposed to protect me from flying debris and such...)

(but! at least I'm not patched anymore - I like depth perception.)

my left eye, pressure patched with half a roll of tape (done at the eye docs office)

The breakouts you see in that picture should have been a bigger warning sign to the impending doom of this month's pms; yesterday I curled up on the floor of the surgeon's office with a room'spinning start of a migraine and awful abdominal cramps. I am forever grateful that she didn't demand I sit up and look alert, and that she simply double checked that I was okay.

and tonight I had a moment of silence for Jake, a fabulous golden that I used to sit on from time to time. He was a kind, gentle and patient animal and he will be very much missed. (my favorite picture of him is here)