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12 March 2003

I try to make Tuesday's entry about weight loss, but I'm running out of angst and new things to talk about. Besides, this was a good week. I lost a pound and a half again and I'm back in the swing of things. I didn't stay for the meeting because (a) I had to be at work early, and (b) I'm going to a second meeting in Sacramento tomorrow with a friend, so I figure I'll get my inspiration tomorrow.

I had hoped to go to the grocery store after work, since we're out of lots of food, but I worked so long I was just too exhausted to go through the supermarket, so it's going to be a "scrounge through the fridge for leftovers" night tonight.

It's been the week from hell--and it's only Tuesday. But since Dr. G is going away for the next three days, today seems like Thursday--and it definitely feels like I've worked for four days.

We suddenly seem to be very busy. Partly we've been around long enough that patients are now coming back for their one-year checkups. Partly, new publicity is working. Partly it's the addition of a new bone density machine and the hoopla that has gone on surrounding that. And partly it's just word of mouth.

But I seem to be juggling so many things at once that it's a wonder I don't have a concussion from everything coming crashing down on my head. The phone rang non-stop, and every time I started doing anything, it would ring again. Since we had so many patients, my presence was needed every 30 minutes to assist with an exam.

Then there were just...different things. We had a contractor in to give an estimate on some building modifications. The newspaper showed up for a photo shoot for the article they are doing on the new machine (I was the patient for the exam). The new radiation technologist started work, all bright eyed and eager to do it all and though she's delightful, it's very difficult to be overworked and try to train someone at the same time.

But the big new thing was actually something fun.

I've been working as "medical assistant" (without training, without experience, without knowledge, without skill) ever since I began. Usually my role consists in standing by the side of the exam table and showing a patient where her uterus is on the ultrasound machine, or standing by Dr. G while he takes a Pap smear and getting the sample ready to send to the lab.

Occasionally I've assisted with minor procedures. My part usually involves wiping off the bottle of Lidocaine that he injects into the appropriate body part to numb it for whatever procedure is being done, handing him stuff, and pushing the button that will take pictures on the ultrasound machine. And then cleaning up afterwards, of course.

I've mentioned here before that the reason I never went into nursing was because I didn't think I had the stomach for it, but I'm discovering that (so far) I really do. Blood and other bodily fluids don't bother me at all.

Today I got to find that out even more closely than usual.

The patient had a Bartholin's gland cyst. The Bartholin gland is located just inside the entrance of the vagina and it normally secretes a substance which helps to keep things lubricated. Sometimes the opening to the duct gets clogged and then gunk backs up inside, a lump forms, and if several days of soaking it by sitting in a bathtub doesn't loosen things up, then it needs to be--you should pardon the expression--lanced (cut open) and a small catheter inserted to keep it open until all the stuff inside has drained out.

Well, the procedure is a 4-handed one. And since Dr. G can do everything but hasn't yet mastered the art of developing a second set of hands when needed, I got my first experience in hands-on care. I have to admit I really enjoyed being a part of it. I separated and held, he cut and drained and the patient very patiently let us perform this assault on her coochie snorcher (The Vagina Monologues has made that part of my vocabularly now!).

There was blood. There was gunk. There was injecting and cutting and pushing and pulling and in the end, the problem had been solved and the patient went home in better shape than when she arrived.

Of course I feel like a total dork. "Get me the #11 scalpels," he said. I didn't know we had scalpels, where to find them, or how to tell what size they were. "I need 4 by 4's," he said. I figured out that must be gauze pads--but didn't know where they were kept. "Pour this," "push that," "hold that".... all the commands felt awkward, but I did it. I'm sure he's had more experienced assistants--ANYBODY could be a more experienced assistant, but I'm enjoying the chance to learn how to get better.

I don't know if I'll continue to do this assisting, now that we have someone who is experienced in the office. Dr. G may decide to have her help instead. If that happens, I'll be sad, because I'm enjoying my opportunity to get a taste of what life might have been like if I'd decided to go into nursing after all.

On a totally different note--literally--Congratulations, Steve and Jimmy!   The Big Voice just won the LA Drama Critics Award for best musical score.  It's coming to a theatre "near you"--some of you, at least--in the coming months--Houston April 4-19, May 12 back by popular demand for another 3 weeks in Rochester, NY, July 1-6 Dallas, and other locations in the discussion stage.

wpe23C.jpg (3339 bytes)Thanks for your nomination of Funny the World for a Legacy award, of all things. You can find all the nominees here.

Congratulations to all the other nominees--especially my buddies Haggie and Marn. If you have a journal, support the community and be sure to vote.

Quote of the Day

Show business is really 90 per cent luck and 10 per cent being able to handle it when it gets offered to you.

~ Tommy Steele

Today's Photo

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(This is pretty much how I'm feeling this week!)


One Year Ago
My Life in the Fleshpots of San Francisco
The first thing that was strange about this experience was that it took place in 1967 and his wife and I were both pregnant. Two pregnant ladies out on the town looking for nude female dancers.

Two Years Ago
Rose Colored Glasses
I felt like Dorothy opening the door of her sepia- toned Kansas farmhouse out onto the jumble of color that was the land of Oz.

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Pounds Lost:  71.6
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

On the Odometer

URL Total 748.3
Blue Angel Total 745.6
2003 YTD Cumulative:  268.9

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