Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Thirty Types Of Baby Daddies

1.  The Fifteen Year Old:  No, really, he’s fifteen.  Has cap on backward.  Laughs uproariously at everything that is said, whether it is funny or not.  It usually isn’t.  Has his mom with him, because neither “parent” is old enough to drive yet.

2.  The Redneck:  Has on fishing hat with giant fishhook clipped onto it.  John Deere t-shirt.  Camo pants.  Dip can outline in his back pocket.  Talks much more than he should.  Asks really stupid questions.  Calls his girlfriend/wife “darlin'”.  Calls the doctor “darlin'”.

3.  The Metalhead:  Long unruly hair.  Black everything.  Is usually standing just outside the exam room door on his cell phone setting up drug deals.  Reeks of pot.  And what is that chain that hangs out of his pocket and hooks on to his beltloop?  Has not realized that Hair Bands were out after the eighties.

4.  The Tattoo Man:  Seriously.  Has full sleeves tatted on both sides.  Has tattoos on every visible part.  Has teardrop tattooed on his cheek.  Isn’t that supposed to mean he’s killed someone?  Or is that just urban myth?  Girlfriend covered in tats too.  Usually a pretty quiet, decent fellow.  Unless he’s actually killed somebody.

5.  The Head Shop Manager:  Marked similarities to #3 and #4.  But everything is also pierced.  Makes jokes about Prince Alberts.  Nods head and taps feet to imaginary music.  Reeks of patchouli.  Wears extremely hip and ironic t-shirt from the shop.

6.  The Dirty Ignoramous:  Wears the same thing everytime he comes in.  Fat, unshaven and slovenly  Everything is gray with dirt.  Stinks of body odor.  Tries to look wise by asking questions that actually make no sense.  Asks A LOT of questions, all of which make no sense.  Like, is it better to keep the cat box in the kitchen, or the bedroom?

7.  The Troubled Youth:  Slouches in chair with hoodie over face.  Refuses to look anyone in the face.  Refuses to answer questions, or speak when addressed.  Pants are falling off.

8.  The Uniformed Butthole:  Upright self-important martinet who wears whatever uniform he has to every appointment.  Police uniform (has to speak into walkie talkie at some point), military uniform, mall cop uniform, firefighter, whatever.  Distinguished from the general working population in that he wears a uniform every single time they come in, not just when he happens to be working.  He wears the uniform in the delivery room too.  Obviously has something to prove.  Very authoritative.  Wants to make sure everyone knows he’s boss.  Asks lots of dominant questions.  Demands certainties in circumstances where nothing is certain.  Wife not allowed to speak.

9.  The Concerned Yuppie:  Dressed in button-downs and khakis all the time.  Occasional blue blazer.  Very serious expression at all times, very earnest.  Lots and lots of questions.  Seems to feel deep down that if he doesn’t ask all these questions, that nothing will be done right.  That he alone must save his wife from our obvious incompetence.  Has done just enough reading to be dangerous.  Control freak.

10. The Asshole CEO:  Very similar to #9, but is extremely aggressive and accusatory in his communications.  May possibly be beating his wife.

11. The Tofu Crunchy Granola Dude:  Also very earnest.  Has also read enough to be dangerous.  Wants to know about tub births, birthing balls, candles and ambient music during labor, and doulas.  Feels that modern medicine is the enemy of natural childbirth.  Feels we will foist our uptight medical beliefs on his wife, and ruin her organic birth experience.  Rants about C-Sections.  Wants to refuse IV access and has to be talked down.

12. The Jokester:  Alway wisecracking, everything is funny, nothing is serious.  Passes out when his wife’s epidural gets put in.  Wife is exasperated with him.

13. The Leech:  Clings to his wife at all times.  Gives her deep soulful kisses while we are trying to find the baby’s heartbeat.  Holds her hand and strokes her hair while the big mean Ob/Gyn does her 15 second cervical exam.  Urges her to breathe deeply so she can survive it.

14. The Frequent Flyer:  Has actually impregnated two or more of our patients during the same time period.  Looks nervously over his shoulder a lot.  Yes, we know who you are.

15. The Gross And Annoying Kid:  Pops his pimples in the exam room mirror, without shame.  Rifles through our drawers and pulls out q-tips to clean his ears.  Holds up various medical equipment and says, “Whuts thi-yus?”  Breaks stuff.  Steals other stuff.

16. The Military:  Poor guy barely makes it to one appointment before he is redeployed to Afghanistan.  Is grateful just to be there and hear the baby’s heartbeat.  Sometimes is not allowed to come home for the delivery.  We literally Skype these births sometimes.

17. The Jailbird:  Usually only present on the other end of the mom’s cell phone.  She is screaming obscenities about child support.

18. The Jerry Springer:  Gets into arguments and fistfights in the waiting room, sometimes with his “fiancee” and sometimes with some stalker guy who thinks he may be the dad.

19. The Restraining Order:  This one is very serious, and dangerous.  He has actively harmed his girlfriend/wife in the past.  He is not allowed any information about the woman or her pregnancy.  Sometimes appears menacingly in the waiting room demanding to know where his “woman” is.  Scares the office girls to death that he will whip out an assault rifle and waste everyone.  Usually means a call to Security.  OK.  ALWAYS means a call to security.

20. The Addict:  Comes to appointments so wasted that he slumps out of his chair onto the floor.  The girlfriend explains:  “The demerol he got in the ER ain’t mixin’ good with his methadone.”  Babbles incoherently.  Slurs.  Stumbles around.  Too f’d up to be dangerous.

21. The Creepy Older Guy:  17 year old girl is accompanied by her 30-something husband.  Sometimes parental consent is the only thing between him and statutory.  Looks ridiculously pleased with himself all the time.

22. The Homewrecker:  The patient is married.  Just not to him.  Sometimes the husband shows up for the delivery.  AWK-ward.

23. The Great Guy:  Comes only to the appointments that his wife asks him to attend.  Obviously thrilled to be a daddy.  Pleasant and generally likeable.  Appropriately concerned.  Very rare.

24. The Extended Family:  One concerned citizen just isn’t enough.  The daddy brings his mom and sundry other family members.  They make sure  to ask questions too in case he forgot any.  They sit on every available surface in the exam room, and carry on loud conversations while the doctor is trying to talk to the patient.

25. The Absentee:  Never comes to a single visit.  Doesn’t come to the delivery.  Sometimes doesn’t even know he is a dad.  The girl is attended at the delivery by her mom and her two sisters.

26. The Mail-Order Husband:  Chubby, short, bearded dork accompanied by astonishingly beautiful Asian, Filippina or Eastern Bloc hottie.  The patient doesn’t speak a word of English.  The mail-order dad doesn’t speak a word of her language either, which he tries to overcome by shouting at her really loud because then she will surely understand him.  She just smiles inscrutably.

27. The Medical Dad:  Doctor, nurse, or EMT.  Either way, he knows WAY too much and yet not nearly enough.  Convinced of his absolute knowledge and our absolute incompetence.  Asks lot of technical questions meant to prove his medical prowess, which actually reveal exactly how little he actually knows.  Mentally exhausting.  Tries to control medical treatment at all times.  Makes helpful suggestions during times of crisis.

28. The Shrinking Violet:  The subject of anything medical or anything related to bodily functions makes him nauseous.  He blanches at discussions of labor, babies, vaccines, needles, IVs, blood or C-Sections.  Wife threatens him with bodily harm if he balks at attending the delivery.

29. The Family Guy:  They’re on their fifth baby, and he believes the first four should attend every visit with them.  Is frequently found crawling across the floor towards a toddler while another kid dangles from the exam room curtains.

30. The Documentation Guy:  Wants to get a recording of the heartbeat, stills and videos of every visit, plus video and stills of the gory details of the delivery.  Wants to photograph the afterbirth.  We never know if he is just overenthusiastic, or trying to sue us.


Hell Is Small Town North Dakota

So let me just rant a bit here.  I am here in this little town in North Dakota, and let me just say I have never been a small town gal.  (Not crazy about the word “gal” by the way, but it seems to be the going terminology here.)  Now I know, I’m only going to be here for a few weeks, but finding things to do has been remarkably hard.  It’s too bad I don’t drink anymore, because this place definitely makes a stiff drink look better and better.

Now, I don’t want to be a hater, but things here are just bizarre.  I’ve learned that with the fracking, this place has turned into a real boom town.  This leads to serious weirdness when working in the Women’s Clinic.  Every patient I see, just about, is new in town!  They’re from Florida, or Utah, or Idaho, or New York, or you name it.  They always say, “I just arrived here from X last week, and my doctor there said I needed an ultrasound after I moved.”  Of course, those records are not available.  And then I write them a prescription, and they’re all like, “Oh, where’s a pharmacy, I just got here.”  And then I have to tell them that I just got here Sunday, and I don’t have a fracking clue where they should go.  All I know is, the WalMart here is not allowed to have a pharmacy, because in these parts, pharmacies have to be owned by the pharmacist who runs them.

And speaking of WalMart, this is Sunday morning, and I got up this morning thinking I would hit the WalMart before all the church people got out and crowded the place up.  It’s a Super WalMart, so it didn’t even occur to me that it wasn’t a 24 hour WalMart.  Who in the hell has ever heard of a WalMart that doesn’t open until noon on Sundays?  Seriously, WTF?  I drove over there, thank goodness it’s close, and there were other confused people standing by the doors at the WalMart all looking dazed, because, seriously, who ever heard of a WalMart not opening until noon?  One guy didn’t even know what time zone we are in.  Of course, he and his buddies were in a big jacked up pickup, and were obviously oil workers who, yes, had just moved here out of town.  And they were as bewildered as I was.  So of course, when it opens, the parking lot will be packed with church people circling and snatching up all the good spaces, and the lines will be packed, and it will just be yuck.  I’m not even sure if I want to deal with going back there.

And there is no snow.  Of course, I brought all my camera equipment, taking up a large amount of space in my suitcase, thinking I was going to get some beautiful snow pictures of this quaint little town, and there is no snow, and everything is just brown and muddy and ugly.  I don’t even see any snow predicted for the entire time I will be here.  WTH?  This is February people, and, not to bitch, but there is supposed to be freakin’ snow here right now.

There is a tiny little mall here, and of course it is basically a ghost mall.  They have two department stores:  JC Penney (barf) and some Hertzbergers place or somesuch that I have never heard of.  And of course, it isn’t open on Sundays AT ALL.  And all the tourist attractions (what there are, seriously, I have no idea why tourists would come here) don’t open until April.  They have a dinosaur museum I would like to see, but of course, not open until April.  And there’s a little shopping-type tourist town about 30 miles up the road, but, not open until April.

The movie theater, of course, only shows “blowed ’em up real good” movies that all the oil workers want to watch.  If Jason Statham isn’t in them, seriously, they’re not showing.  I can totally see why there are so many liquor stores here.  I know I sound really intolerant; I like to travel, and I knew this was a small town when I came, but this place is seriously morbid.  And it’s not like there’s an influx of college professors here, it’s oil field workers, and as far as the eye can see, there are young, rough looking men rolling their noisy-tired monster trucks around town.  And they are bringing an influx of drugs here, and all the pregnant patients that are moving here are seriously unhealthy and obese and drug addicted.

So I am watching the clock and waiting to head for WalMart, because that will be my exciting activity for the day, which makes me physically ill, because I won’t even go to WalMart in the town where my family lives, because it is just too crowded and depressing.  And here, it is potentially the highlight of my day.

There is my rant, and I apologize for the rantiness and negativity of it, but, seriously, a girl’s gotta vent.  And it looks like my next job will be in South Dakota.  Fortunately, it will be in Rapid City, which is much larger and has the potential to contain something entertaining.  We’ll see.  I’ll be there covering for a solo practice, and I may be so busy I won’t have time to go anywhere.  At any rate, it’s getting close to noon, and if I want to get a parking space at WalMart that’s closer than the moon, I’d better go.  Wish me luck.

How Many Earrings Are Too Many?


Answer : you can never have too many! Especially when you make them all in a hotel on a lazy weekend in North Dakota.

Happy Birthday, Baby

Today is my husband’s birthday.  It is also National Marguerita day, which is probably not a coincidence.  Gosh, we’re getting old.  He is 48 today, which is really close to 50, which is really old.  Right?  And I’ll be 45 soon, which is also really old.  For me, anyway.

We are about half a country away from each other.  Here I sit in a hotel room in North Dakota, surrounded by jewelry makings and sugar free candy.  In honor of my husband I am watching Underworld, which I would probably not be watching otherwise.  This movie serves my purpose, though, which is that it not demand enough attention to keep me from making jewelry, or writing blog posts.  He is with my daughter in San Francisco.  They arrived there today – he has a conference to attend and he has brought our daughter with him, since I am in North Dakota.  He is speaking, so she will sit in the back of the room and read until he is done.  Then they plan to visit the town, go to the zoo, ride a streetcar, you know.  My daughter wanted to visit the “pretty jail on the island”.  I told her maybe not.  I’m hoping they will Skype soon.  Today I have yet to speak with either one of them.

Seems like my husband and I always have a computer or two between us.  Computers are his livelihood, specifically, data base administration.  He can work from home a lot, but he also travels.  We met online, through an online dating service.  He was several years out of his divorce, which occurred because he wanted children and she did not.  I was 34 and single.  We exchanged witty emails, and eventually phone conversations.  At that time he was at home because his father was dying of colon cancer and was living at home with him.  We talked on the phone until the day his dad passed away; my husband couldn’t leave the house long enough to go out on a date until then.  His devotion suggested to me that he would make an excellent husband and father.  Any man who, alone, gives up his job for 8 months to stay home until his STEPdad passes away, has got some serious caregiving dedication.

We had a couple good (and funny) dates, and then we were dating.  A year later, we got engaged.  He chose me the most beautiful, the most perfect ring ever.  I was unhappy with my present job and we moved to Alabama to be closer to my parents in case we had kids.  We had a daughter, a wonderful daughter.  My husband proved to be every bit the excellent husband and father I thought he would be.  He found out we were pregnant online too.  We were chatting between my office and his office, and I couldn’t get him on the phone after I took the test, so I typed it in the chat line:  Oh, by the way, we’re pregnant.”  My phone rang about 30 seconds after that.  “That is NOT the kind of news we pass along on chat,” he said.  “Oh well,” I said, “We met online, after all.  I thought it was only appropriate.”

We’ll be married ten years in October.  Wow, where did the time go?  I just left my job of ten years, just in time, as the town’s Obstetrics and Gynecology service was imploding in the ugliest way possible.  Two hospitals and two services were dumped together.  Then the firings started.  Nurses and doctors are being fired from the service every day now.  I had a job if I stayed, but the circumstances were repugnant to me.  Thus, I have decided to go adventuring, working as a travel doctor.  It has always been a dream of mine.  I love to travel.

But here I sit, tonight, in a nice hotel in a small town in North Dakota, and I feel just a bit lonely.  I texted my husband a happy birthday greeting, but that is not the same.  I haven’t spoken to him yet today.  And I miss my little daughter.  We will Skype tonight, and I will see their faces, and hear their voices, and I will feel better.

So, happy birthday honey.  It’s been a crazy ride, these last ten years.  We’ve moved, and gotten married, and had a baby, and here we are getting all old together.  I sure do love and miss you!  And I sure will have a lot of new jewelry to show you, since I’ve been sitting here making it every night since I’ve been here.  Hope your Speaker’s Dinner and your ballroom dance are great tonight!  Can’t wait to see you again!

Things To Do Alone In A North Dakota Hotel Room


Not THAT, ya pervs.

1.  Listen to Duran Duran on your computer.  Watch the swirly designs in time to the music.  Ponder the lyrics.

2.  Make earrings.  Dozens and dozens of pairs of earrings.  And an owl necklace.  With matching earrings.

3.  Gaze out at the snow and think how neat it is that you are somewhere that it is snowing.

4.  Dance around to the song “Milkshake”.  Damn right, it’s better than yours.

5.  Cuddle the stuffed duck your daughter sent with you.

6.  Smell your clean laundry.  Marvel at how clean the fleece and the Cuddl Duds and scrubs are.

7.  Check WordPress to see if anyone liked your post.  Check it again.

8.  Charge your phone.  Try to figure out how to turn off the alarm that goes off every time you get a Tweet.

9.  Drink soft drinks out of the little refrigerator.  Marvel that they didn’t explode in the car.

10. Wish fervently that a new episode of Big Bang Theory was coming on TV.

11. Recheck Facebook to find out how many of your friends, doctors and nurses, have been fired in your hometown today.  Be deeply thankful that you got out of there when you did.

12. Make more earrings.

13. Talk to your Mom on the cell phone.  Tell her about the exploding soft drinks.  Discuss how many inches of snow they are getting in the Midwest right now.

14. Plan how you will take snow pictures with your daughter’s stuffed duck in them.  Plan to photograph the duck on the giant dinosaur outside the dinosaur museum.

15. Watch the static electricity make blue sparks under the sheets on the bed.

16. Make WalMart shopping list.  Nail clippers.  New hairbrush since you destroyed the old one this morning drying your hair.

17. Listen to the heat cut on and off, on and off…

18. Check Etsy to see if any jewelry sold.  Check Pinterest to make sure you didn’t miss any awesome shoes.

19. Fill out job paperwork.  Wonder how the hell you will print it out without a printer.

20. Miss your husband and little daughter like crazy.  Wish you could have Skyped longer.

Fear And Loathing In North Dakota

I’m slowly getting settled into North Dakota.  I’ve been here almost a week.  They tell me this has been a very mild winter so far – I believe them and I’m grateful.  It was snowing this morning when I got up, but not very hard and it was not predicted.  There was just a little snow on the roads.  It was a hard pellety kind of snow, almost like little styrofoam balls coming down.

I ate breakfast in the hotel this morning.  They have a “free” breakfast every morning.  It’s pretty nasty, especially because I’m still on Atkins and all I can eat are the eggs and meat.  The scrambled eggs the other morning were like dried up little yellow goat turds – pretty gross.  The only other alternative is to eat Atkins bars for breakfast, which I really shouldn’t do because I eat them for lunch.  I’ve arrived at the conclusion that every single dish they make in the hospital cafeteria is loaded with raw onions just before it is served.  Everything I have eaten in there has left a nasty taste of raw onions in my mouth.  I can deal with cooked onions, but raw ones?  The food there is pretty bad.  The vegetables are overcooked and so mushy that they fall right off your fork.  The meat and fish are dry and generally covered with some kind of coating I shouldn’t be eating.  So it’s Atkins bars for lunch.

And I must feed my diet Coke addiction.  I get a big one when I get there first thing in the morning and another one at lunch.  At least they don’t put onions in that.  I consume untold quantities of diet Coke.  Except for the 12 pack I exploded in the trunk of my rental car.  That’s there to stay.  And it’s pretty cheap – 30 something ounces for $1.02.  People understand the Diet Coke Imperative when I explain that I can’t drink coffee.

Clinic is pretty dang light.  I’m not sure why they need to bring in all these travel doctors, seriously.  A big load for clinic here is 5 patients in the morning and 5 in the afternoon.  Hell, back home I saw that many in about 2 hours.  Today I had only one patient after lunch.  The other two docs only had one or two also.  So I went home at two o’clock and decided it was laundry day.  I wore my last pair of Cuddl Duds today and must have fresh ones.  They get kind of sweaty under those scrubs.  Plus, I didn’t have time to wash them before I left home when I got them out of my ski box.  They were kind of musty.  So off I went to the laundry room on the third floor and now I have all soft fresh scrubs and socks and undies and Cuddl Duds.  Nothing I love more than warm fresh laundry!

There’s a lot going on in the background with what my next job will be.  I thought I had a pretty guaranteed repeat job here in N.D. but the way they’re hemming and hawing at the locums place, I really don’t know.  They’re still unable to let me know if I have any days in April.  And April is soon.  I need work.  Now they’re offering me a job in South Dakota starting in March, and I don’t know what to do.  I only have 5 work days here in March, the fourth through the ninth.  I can do two weeks at the end of March in S.D., but then I don’t know what to do about April, since I still don’t know about days here.  They’re already wanting me to fill out paperwork for S.D.  I have a bunch of papers to fill out and mail, but they’ve all been emailed to me and I don’t have a printer hooked up to my laptop, obviously.  So I’ll have to figure out a way to download and print all that stuff from clinic.  I feel very confused and disoriented.  And I can’t always get in touch with my rep at the locums place when I want to, and I can’t always get in touch with my husband, and I always forget to ask one or the other one of them something that I need to tell the other one.  Is it too much to ask for just a nice recurring gig?  The new South Dakota deal is supposed to be that, but so was this one.  They’ve got too many locums here.

I’ve been making jewelry in the hotel room with all my free time from clinic.  Here clinic starts no earlier than 9:15 and the last patient is at 3:30.  If that.  Hell, at home, we started at 8:30 sharp every morning, sometimes 8:15 and ran till noon, and then afternoon was from 1:15 to 5:00.  I don’t even have any patients here tomorrow until 10:00.  So, wow, I can really sleep in, which I love.  And I don’t have any call, which is good because I don’t have to stress over it, or be up all night, but which is bad because I would get paid a lot more if I had it.

I’m waiting to get some real snow so I can get out and get some pictures in it.  I’m beginning to wonder if I should have taken up all that room in my suitcase with my camera equipment, because this little town is not all that picturesque.  I think it will look better if covered with snow, but then there is the whole matter of driving in the snow in my tiny little Chevy, which is so not equipped for heavy snow and ice driving.  I’d like to go out in the country a ways to get some pictures, but I’m scared I’d get lost in the cold or slide into a ditch.  So for now, since there really isn’t any snow, I think I will stay in my nice warm hotel room and make some more jewelry.  I’ve already made eleven pairs of earrings.   I wore some of them today.

I’m just really confused with sorting out all the job possibilities and opportunities, and I feel like I need to be able to communicate more and better with my husband, so I don’t sign up for something that will mess us up or piss him off.  For example, I called him about two hours ago to see if the attorney gave me a tax ID number for my new P.C., and he hasn’t called me back yet.  And since I am now a P.C., and not just me, I need to have all the checks deposited into my new business account.  But to do that, they need my tax ID number, and hubby still has yet to call me back.

So here it is, 430 in the afternoon, I’m off work for the day, have written a blog post and done all the laundry.  Now I’m off to make some jewelry.  That I understand.  That doesn’t confuse me.  In fact, I downright enjoy it.  Then I need to recheck Facebook to keep up with all my nurse and doctor friends back in Alabama, because they are getting fired daily just as I predicted, which is why I left that crazy town anyway.  They fired a great nurse last night, and I hear they let one of the doctors go today.  So I’ve got lots of communicating to do.  And then I don’t have to be at work until 10:00 tomorrow morning.  I’m so glad they pay me by the day and not the hour!

Traveling Guck


When I left for my 3 week engagement in North Dakota, my daughter gave me Guck to travel with me so I wouldn’t forget her (like I could ever do that). Guck has slept in bed with me every night. Guck goes to clinic with me every day and sits on the counter and helps me with my charts. The nurses think Guck is very cute and love that my daughter gave him to me to travel with. They’re not sure how she could give him up since he is obviously so well loved. Guck has been featured widely in our Skype conversations and in clinic photos I have texted for my daughter. I have special plans for Guck. When I have time to explore around here and when there is snow for beautiful photos, I plan to feature Guck in all the pictures just like the traveling gnome in Amelie. Then my daughter will have a special souvenir of my travels with Guck!

Things I Have Learned In North Dakota

1.  They actually expect you to know North, South, East and West when they give you directions on how to go somewhere in town.  Seriously?  Nobody from the South knows what direction they are headed.  That’s because in our part of the country, a lot of the roads are laid out along old carriage trails, and they wind, and curve, and double back on each other.  So telling me to head North is like telling me to close my eyes and pick a direction.

2.  Soft drinks are referred to as soda pop.  In the South, all soft drinks are called Cokes whether they are or not.

3.  They actually DON’T talk the way they do in the movie Fargo.  At least not in this part of North Dakota.  It’s more a Midwestern twang.

4.  They have two seasons:  Shovel and Swat.

5.  The state bird is the mosquito.  The state tree is a telephone pole.  (Thanks to Rose Chimera, who filled me in).

6.  It is freaking cold.  And there are no trees, or hills, or anything to block that howling wind.  It’ll whip the hood right off your jacket.

7.  Catholic hospitals don’t do birth control.

8.  The process of fracking is turning small North Dakota towns into boom towns.  People are pouring in for work and they can’t keep up with the housing.  They can’t even put up trailers fast enough.  And a lot of these folks don’t know how to drive on snow and ice.  Driving is now dangerous in the winter just due to all the out-of-towners who don’t have a clue.

9.  WalMart can’t have a pharmacy.  In North Dakota, pharmacies must be owned by the pharmacist who runs them.

10. Serious Note To Self:  12 packs of soda pop forgotten in the car trunk explode.  Violently.  And you can’t get the soda pop out of the car, or expect it to dry up because it is frozen solid and stuck to the carpet.  Not sure how the car rental people will respond to this.

11. I think I may be coming down with the flu.

First Day Craziness

Wow.  Holy crap!  What a day!

I arrived in North Dakota yesterday, in preparation for a 3 week stay as a temp doc (known as locum tenens).  I have never been to North Dakota before, I don’t think.  My parents did a lot of traveling when I was a kid, so maybe we went to North Dakota and I just forgot.  I have definitely never been here in February.

My first day of work was today.  I had to arrive at the hospital at 7:30 AM to start my hospital orientation.  Even though my hotel is like, five minutes up the road from the hospital, I got up at 5:30 (ouch) to make sure I had time to shower, dry hair (so as not to become a docsicle), put on makeup (which I rarely do, so I wasn’t sure how long it would take), eat breakfast, deal with any ice situations, and find my way to the hospital on time.

I got to the damn hospital 45 minutes early.  I hope they were impressed with my punctuality.  Tomorrow I’m sleeping later.  It was supposed to snow 3 inches last night, which was part of why I got up so early.  Instead of 3 inches, there was just some loose snow eddying in the wind in the parking lot.  I was unimpressed.

The lady who was to meet me at 7:30 was actually already at the hospital when I got there, so we went ahead and got started.  I was photographed, rephotographed, processed for a badge, guided through several hundred pages (a somewhat abridged version, but still) of the hospital rules and regs, given a crash course in the hospital computer system, which I must say the IT girl had an alarmingly low understanding of, taken to medical records for dictation numbers and instructions, and given a full out tour of the hospital.

As I have no sense of direction, I have no idea where anything is.  They took me to the clinic where I will be working at about 11:00.  My first patient wasn’t until 1:30.  I met the nurses, and some of the doctors, and became aware that the system is pretty much chaos.  They have so many temporary doctors coming in and out of there, there are hardly any permanent ones.  Maybe because, hmmm, it’s North Dakota?  Actually, it’s because this place is a boomtoom.  Hundreds of people are pouring into this little town because they are now fracking full steam ahead.  I will have no office – I will just work out of whatever area they have available for me with whatever nurse they have available for me each day.  It’s crazy.

Now here’s where the serious craziness comes in.  Since I didn’t have any patients for a couple hours, I started asking questions.  At the time I finished my residency and was looking for my first job, I interviewed with a woman who was a very strict Catholic.  She informed me that she could not condone tubal ligations or basically any other form of birth control.  So I thought, well, surely since we’re in the twenty-first century, that would no longer be the case, but this hospital is a Catholic hospital.  So I asked.  Holy crap, Fertile Woman!  They don’t tie tubes.  They don’t do IUDs, or Implanons, or Depo Provera shots.  If you give a prescription for birth control, you pretty much have to establish a medical reason for it.  Other than just not wanting any more babies, which appears not to be a valid reason.  Shit, when I was working in Alabama, I put everyone on birth control.  Seriously, I made sure my teens, and my patients without insurance, and my patients who wanted no more babies had birth control and plenty of it.  Isn’t that kind of a big part of the job of an Ob/Gyn?  BUT NOT THIS PLACE!!!!  (Yes, I am screaming here).  How can I be an Ob/Gyn and not help with birth control?  WTF?

So I chewed on that bit of craziness over lunch.  By time for clinic to start, I was pretty well convinced I wanted to go home and never see the place again.  But once again, the patients won out.  I saw some great patients, and after a little conference with the nurse taking care of me, I established that I could, in fact, prescribe birth control.  We just don’t install it.  So if they want a shot, or an implant, or an IUD, we send them somewhere else in town.  So there are options.

By the end of the day, I was feeling better.  The nurses were nice, the patients were nice, and I was learning a few things about how to get along in the clinic.  I felt sufficiently energized at the end of the afternoon to go home and read and write a little and had a lovely Atkins dinner of eggs and cheese.  And Mom called to see how my first day of work went, so I filled her ears with all the details of my first day at work.  And now I’ve filled your ears (or at least your eyes, since you’re reading) and feel much better.  And soon I’ll have a little Skype with my husband and sweet little daughter, and I don’t need to be in clinic tomorrow until 10:00!

Tune in tomorrow for more fun-filled North Dakota escapades!  Beadstork OUT!

Dickinson Or Bust

Well, here I sit, wore slap out.  I got up at 3:20 this morning to get to a 5:30 flight on time.  Today is Dickinson day!  5:30-7:30:  in Atlanta.  8:30-10:30:  in Denver.  11:30-1:30:  in Dickinson.

Wow, that alarm went off early.  My husband and I both staggered out of bed.  I had taken my shower the night before, being unwilling to wake up early enough to wash and dry my hair.  The last thing we packed up was my computer.  I had my purse loaded up with money, ID, printouts of plane tickets, Hertz reservations and hotel reservations.  There was also plenty of gum, and Atkins bars.  My little quart Ziploc was loaded with various liquids under 3 ounces.  I did a tight pack job on my backpack, which is designed to carry my laptop plus some other stuff.  The other stuff was spare thermals, spare scrubs, clean underwear and socks, in case they lost my luggage, along with scarf, muffler and gloves.  And more Atkins bars.  We scooped our daughter out of bed in her footie pajamas and tucked her into the van with her blanket and a stuffed animal.  And we were off!

I made it through security without being cavity searched, which is an acheivement for me.  Well, I did get patted down AFTER I went through the little x-ray revolvy thing.  The connection in Atlanta was going to be pretty tight, and I was worried that my suitcase might not make it.  The suitcase contained my camera equipment in a hard case, about ten pairs of scrubs, about 20 pairs of underwear, a couple pair of jeans, my tennis shoes, a pile of thermals, some polar fleece and yes, you got it, more Atkins bars.  Just in case they don’t have them in Dickinson.

I barely made my connection in Atlanta.  I sank with relief into the airplane seat.  I was actually so exhausted that I was able to sleep on the plane.  I also discovered two great things about traveling with a big fleece jacket:  you can wear it like a blanket when it gets cold on the plane, and you can wad it up into a ball and make a dandy pillow.

When I arrived in Denver, I had to go all the way to the A terminal.  It seems the A terminal is kind of where the misfits go:  international connections to Montreal and Cancun, and the dreaded Great Lakes Airlines.  There is a basement in the terminal just for Great Lakes.  You are at the level of the tarmac and have to walk out to your plane.  Their fleet of planes are all twin prop jobs, alarmingly primitive and ancient in appearance.  Then I got a nasty shock.  A woman in a uniform came up to me and told me I would have to check my backpack; only one piece of carry on was allowed on these tiny planes.  My backpack had my laptop in it!  Unless, she told me, I could somehow fit my purse into my backpack.  Impossible!  My purse was very large, and very full, as there is no point in bringing a small purse as one of your carry on items.  You have to pack as much stuff as you can.  I started freaking out; they were going to smash my laptop in the cargo hold.  I quickly discovered that it is amazing what you can stuff together when you have to.  The woman did say that they wouldn’t say anything to me if the backpack was unzipped, as long as the purse was all the way in it.  Well, I STUFFED that sucker in there.  And no, it wouldn’t zip, but it was in there, and if I held it with both hands, it would hopefully stay together to make it onto the plane.

They let me on the plane.  Then another awful shock!  The overhead bins were so tiny, I couldn’t even fit the backpack in them.  I started to panic, then realized that the gaps under the seats were pretty roomy.  I stuffed that sucker under my seat and kept kicking it until it fit like a cork in a bottle.  I sort of rested my boots on top of it, so the flight attendant couldn’t see that it stuck out a little bit.  And seriously, she was the Carry On Police.  She inspected each row on each side to make sure not even a tiny bit of anything was sticking out anywhere.  I rested my fluffy jacket on my lap to make it hard for her to see down there.  Somehow I passed muster.  I made it on with my stuff and saved my laptop!  The downside was, I couldn’t access my purse, as hard as it was stuffed into the backpack, which was jammed under the seat.  So I couldn’t get to my Kindle and had no way to entertain myself.

The view out the window was not reassuring.  I was right over the wing, with its rickety looking propeller, with warped looking metal and graying rivets.  Now, my husband owned a Cirrus, and I am used to riding in a prop plane, but his plane was new when he bought it, and the whole plane is fitted with a parachute in case the engine goes out.  This plane had no parachute, and seriously looked like a relic from the 1940’s.  I closed my window because I did NOT want to see the engine when it caught on fire.  I stuffed my jacket up against the window and buried my head in it.  I woke up and we were landing.  Yay for landing!

I was surprised to see there wasn’t very much snow on the ground.  I had expected feet of snow just lying around from previous snows, but it seemed like most of it had melted.  Today was a super warm day here too.  I’d been following the weather out here before my trip, and had gotten used to seeing temps like -8, so it was at once a relief and somewhat of a disappointment that it was 44 degrees.  However, it seems the weather is going to oblige me tonight with a blizzard of at least 3 inches of snow and a precipitous drop in temperature.  I’ll be ready for it!

We trekked from the plane into the tiny airport.  The baggage claim was a single slanted straight ramp.  Lo and behold, my suitcase was on it!  I went to the Hertz counter and they had my reservation all ready, with a packet of keys and instructions.  He was nice enough to have a guy bring the car around, and gave me some directions to get into town.  Frankly, navigating town wasn’t too hard as it is laid out with two intersecting main roads, and the population is only 18,000.  I made it straight to the hotel and got checked in.  No problems!  The girl behind the counter said she was incredibly bored.  I verified that they had an exercise room and a laundry room.  I got her to give me directions to the WalMart, which turned out to be about six blocks north.

I decided to do the WalMart trip this afternoon, before the cold snowy weather set back in.  I drove up there, and I think I have the only car in town.  Everyone else has big pickups, vans, and four wheel drive SUVs.  WalMart was WalMart.  I’ve never been crazy about the place, but as far as I know, there’s only one other Mom & Pop grocery store in town and I’m not sure where that is.  They sure are optomists in there, because they had aisles of Easter candy and little short-sleeved Easter dresses on display.  I think Easter is in March this year, and surely these people are aware that it will still be freaking cold here in March.  I was pretty amused.  In this unseasonably warm 44 degree weather, I saw families and teens without coats and wearing shorts!  I guess it’s kind of like a heat wave.  But the snow is supposed to come in tonight, and by tomorrow night, the temps are going to be down around 3 degrees.

I’ve explored the hotel and unpacked my bags and written a blog post.  I texted my hubby to let him know I made it OK, and I called my folks and chatted with them.  They were anxious to hear all the details of the town; they’ve always enjoyed travel wherever it led them.  They are considering coming to visit me while I’m up here.  So I’m going to force myself to eat a frozen dinner (I’m not really hungry) and then I’m going to load up my backpack for my trip to the hospital tomorrow.  And then I think I’ll go to bed, because I’m exhausted.  So tomorrow I will post about the first day on the job in Dickinson, ND.

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