Monday, December 22, 2008

Away from Home on Christmas....

What could be more depressing than being away from home on Christmas you ask???

Answer: Being away from home while working at a Jewish Hospital. No signs of Christmas to be seen except for a few lights hung on the side of the walkway connecting the employee parking lot to the main hospital...of which, only about ~1/3 of the stings actually light up...almost more depressing than if the lights weren't hung at all!

I did come into the ICU today to be greeted by a lighted menora celebrating the beginning of Hanukkah. So, I guess I will pull out my dreidel and join in the festivities....or maybe just go home and sit in front of my beatifully lit Christmas tree, look at my nativity set, listen to The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing songs rejoicing in the birth of our Savior and reflect on Christ and His meaning in my life...

And yes, I will be away from home on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, however Todd and I will be celebrating and exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve and have the blessing of feeding our dear sister missionaries on Christmas Day (best way to spend the day if not at home in Utah).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How I spent my Thanksgiving....LA style...

Todd and I spent this Thanksgiving in Los Angeles....and yes, we both actually had the day off and were able to spend it with each other. One of the residents that Todd works with was kind enough to invite us to have dinner with him and his wife's family. We were very excited for the prospect of a home-cooked meal since we both worked last year and enjoyed a late evening dinner at a restaurant. Todd grew up eating Thanksgiving at Snowbird and in recent years has just come to appreciate all that a Thanksgiving at home has to offer....especially the late night leftover sandwiches on yummy homemade rolls!

So, Thanksgiving morning came. I blissfully slept in while Todd went in to the hospital around 7:00AM to make rounds. Being the sweet, wonderful, adoring man that he is, he brought breakfast home with him which I got enjoy while still in bed! We left our apartment a little before noon to venture the 70 miles to Temecula, California, for our 2:00PM dinner. The first hour went well with very little traffic, however that all came to a screeching halt around 1:00PM ~15 miles outside of Corona, California. Over the next TWO HOURS we moved a mere FOUR MILES! By 3:00PM and still 35 miles away from our final destination with no end of traffic in sight, we finally accepted that a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal would not be our fate this year and we turned around and headed for home, arriving back around 4:00PM. After drowning our sorrows in half-melted pie which had been in the backseat of our car for our 4 hour journey to no where, we strapped on our feed-bags and headed back to the trusty Stinky Rose in Beverly Hills for the 400-clove garlic turkey and mashed potatoes that we feasted on last year!

Thank goodness for satellite radio and good tunes to pass the time!

"See...this is my happy, driving...I mean LA traffic face!"

All that matters is that we were able to spend the day TOGETHER!

Hope that you all had a wonderful, home-cooked turkey with homemade rolls and left overs kind of Thanksgiving Day.

Two more and counting before we are home for Thanksgiving for good!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Magic Number "31"...

As most of you know, that last two birthdays have been quite traumatic for me. If asked my age and I know that you truly don't know...I will still respond "29"...very silly, kind of embarrassing, I know...sad but true! Maybe it is because I truly can't remember where my 20s went... aside from undergrad, medical school, residency.... Maybe it is because I can't justify feeling so old and tired...those 31+ hours in a row every 3 days aren't good for the mind, soul, or bags under your eyes.

However, I have a new-found love for the #31, my current age...

As of today, I have 31 months and 31 days left of residency...let the countdown begin!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Crew!!!

Happy Birthday Crew! What a happy, sweet and fun little boy that you are! Crew never fails to greet me with a huge smile and laugh despite the months that may go inbetween us being able to see each other! I can't think of a better traveler than this little guy! His face just melts your heart! And who can resist him when he says "stop" and "dog"...

Happy 1st Birthday Crew!
We Love You!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is this what you call family fun???

New lesson learned....
you can buy an airline ticket, get from Beverly Hills to Marina del Rey and a suitcase "packed", to the airport, on a plane and to Utah in less than 6 on to see how I learned this the hard way...

Phone call from Laurel crying hysterically on Friday 10/24/08 afternoon around 3:30pm...
"I am really worried about Dad. His nurse found him in his office on the floor after trying to book a case and with slurred speech exclaiming he couldn't see and had arm weakness. Mom is taking him home right now, he thinks he just needs to sleep "IT" off (keep in mind this was all communicated by him with SLURRED speech)."

Me in the middle of the ICU trying to keep a patient alive..."WHAT??? WHAT??? GOING HOME??? He is having a STROKE....and at this point I am nearly having a stroke of my own....YOU AND MOM MUST GET HIM TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW...TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!!! GO TO THE ER....DEMAND STROKE PROTOCOL BE INITIATED!!!"

In my own tears and hysterics, quick phone call made to Mom who thankfully at this point had somehow convinced Dad that he was going to the hospital to be checked out after receiving a frantic phone call from Johnny prior to me getting through.

Quick phone call to Todd who is performing a procedure with the following message relayed to him by an intern...."Your wife is on the phone....I think something is wrong because she doesn't sound so good. Father having a stroke...maybe??? Leaving you, going to Utah, doesn't know when she will be back." Intern to me..."I guess I will have him call you when he is done..." Gee, thanks for being so helpful....glad that MD degree is serving you well...

While trying to check in at the airport, quick phone call to the ER doctor arranging Dad's care....
ER doc..."So, I understand you are a physician and want to talk to me. Can you tell my your training background so I know at what level I can communicate with you on so you can understand what is happening?"
Me..."general surgeon, subspecialty training in trauma and surgical critical care, currently helping to run a neuro/stroke ICU. I am sure I can understand anything you need to tell me....after all I did finish intern year and that is likely YOUR level of understanding...."
As you can imagine, the remainder of our conversation was quite contentious....lesson to you ER doctor for your future safety....don't mess with a red-headed female general surgeon while you are working her father up for a stroke...

Several patient in the ICU actively trying to die, two interns on call in the ICU....still not quite sure how the patients ultimately faired.....

As I started this blog, I got on the internet and had an airline ticket purchased in less than 5 minutes, somehow managed to drive the 20 miles from Beverly Hills to Marina del Rey all while sobbing on the phone to Grandma Char and Emily, somehow threw some sort of clothing assortment into a suitcase in under 10 minutes (as you all know that is an accomplishment in and of itself for me as I usually take days to finalize my packing prior to leaving town), called a cab to take me to the airport and was on a plane arriving in Utah and to Ogden Regional Medical Center in under 6 hours.

My family and I are truly blessed as Dad's symptoms quickly resolved and he improved! He was even able to make the rest of us laugh about the incident that night while visiting him in the hospital...what would we do without our precious Daddy???? A question I never again want to contemplate!!!

I am so eternally grateful for the family that I have been blessed with!!! I have absolutely the best parents, siblings, husband and extended family on the face of the earth!!!! My siblings and I were able to all quickly pull together providing support not only to Dad and Mom but also to each other...although I do not tell you all enough, I love you so much!!! Grandma was able to calm me down enough to prevent me from having my own trauma while trying to get to Utah in such a rush! Todd was so wonderful in sending me away not knowing when I would come home and calling as often as possible to offer his love and support from a distance as he was not able to leave and come to Utah with me! What a peaceful feeling I am left with at the overwhelming support I am surrounded by! I must also express my feelings of love and gratitude for the gospel, the priesthood and the worthy men who honor it!!!

Dad, don't you think there are better ways of gathering your family together for a weekend of "family fun"???

Monday, October 20, 2008

San Francisco...A Trip Back Home...

Todd and I were able to travel from Utah to San Francisco and spend five days there while I attended a surgical conference. I absolutely loved the year that I was able to spend living there while doing my internship at UCSF. For me, this was truly a visit back home. My dear husband on the other hand, does not have such "fuzzy" feelings regarding the quick trips he would make to SF while completing his last year of medical school in SLC.

We flew out of SLC early Sunday morning during a wicked blizzard and arrived to beautiful weather in SF....October is the best time of the year there! We drove straight from the airport to Candlestick Park for the 49ers vs Eagles game. We had a blast! Our tickets were on the 5th row up from the 49ers home endzone. We were surrounded by crazy fans who have had those tickets for years! The game was awesome and exciting, however the Eagles ended up victorious...hard to be sad when you like both teams!

A view of the field from our seats!

Nice behind McNabb...I love him!!!

Coach Andy Reid...a fellow mormon and good guy

O'Sullivan back to pass...

Just enjoying the game and our surroundings!

A view of the final score...high scoring and very entertaining!

The dejected team after a tough loss...

A view of Steve Young's retired is he a hottie!!!

A view of the field from just below our seats right after the game...
Following the game, Todd and I drove around the baseball park and the financial district...our old stomping grounds!

Our old apartment. We lived on the 10th floor and had a

perfect view of the Bay Bridge and water from our living room!

While living in San Francisco, I was obsessed with Nob Hill....the view, the cable cars... Todd and I were able to stay at the Fairmont atop Nob Hill during our trip.

Monday was spent at the conference, but that night Todd and I walked down to Union Square for some shopping and sight-seeing. As most of you can imagine, Union Square was a place I spent much of my free time enjoying!!! On our walk from Nob Hill down, many begging homeless people were passed. One was even holding a sign, "Need a Hooker, please give money!" I was dying to take a picture, however couldn't justify contributing to his cause.

Right in front of Nordstrom on Market Street, an elderly man holds this sign and yells.

A similar aged man next to him has a sign about "sinful sex".

They have been there since we lived there...

The following pictures were all taken from the same street corner. Man I miss this city!!!

After our time shopping, Todd and I ate dinner at an Italian restaurant near our old apartment overlooking the Embarcadero and the Bay Bridge. I had my camera, but didn't stop to take any pictures.

Tuesday again was spent at meetings during the day. That night Todd and I met up with some of the other residents from Harbor-UCLA for a great steak dinner at Mortons in Union Square.

I became a true "city" gal on the trip down from Nob Hill.
I wore flip flops and carried my heels. Here I am in front of Saks...
We took advantage of the cable car to spare my footsies even with my
flip flops. I had always wanted to ride them and never did
the entire year we lived there!

The only "heart" that Todd leaves in San Francisco...

Being serenaded while waiting from the cable car after dinner.

Wednesday after the meetings finished, Todd and I drove out near the SF VA Hospital and to the beach. We ate dinner at a fantastic restaurant we found literally the night before we moved to LA...

A view of Golden Gate Bridge from the VA parking lot.

Quite the scenery to enjoy during the few spare moments you had to eat lunch!

The Cliff House restaurant and it's spectacular surroundings!
Thursday we spent time sight-seeing before heading to the airport.
The Golden Gate Bridge...

Coit Tower with Bay Bridge in the background from the top of Lombard Street.

Lombard of my favorite places in the city!

No trip to SF is complete without stopping at Ghiradelli Square for sundays!

One of our favorite parts about SF was our ward.

Who can forget the homeless people coming into sacrament, leaving multiple times within the hour to go out for a smoke in front of the building...

How about the man dressed as a woman who was never lacking comments to contribute to the Relief Society lesson...

The journey to get to church was also never without excitement.

One Sunday while Laurel was visiting, we had to brave the Gay Rights Parade...

Every Sunday we had to pass through the sinful city's perception of Eden to get to ours...

Now to our Garden of Eden in the wicked city...

The church sits on the corner of a neighborhood surrounded by apartment buildings.

The parking lot can only hold ~12 cars so it was always an adventure trying to

find street parking and get into church on time!

And of course, we had to drive by UCSF and SF General Hospitals.

On the little terrace you can see with the trees, the homeless people would sit and wait for you to through your lunch tray away and then go and eat whatever you had left on it. It only took me a short time to realize it was better to just hand off my unfinished plate than to make them dig through the trash for it. You also quickly learned not to eat from the salad bar after seeing the homeless people eating out of it with their bare hands...I didn't eat much when I rotated there!

The Bay Bridge and Embarcadero just a block away from our apartment...

No vacation is complete without documenting Todd managing our luggage...

Hey, I was gone for 2 weeks....what's a girl to do....wear something twice???

I truly have such fond memories of our year living in SF. I am one who leaves a small piece of their heart in the city. It was so fun to be back as a tourist and do some of the things I never got to do while living there. I can't wait for the next visit back!!!