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The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Good news!  I've had volunteers!  These next magnets are from the fridge of the (in)famous Marn;

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Marn's fridge has real class


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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette

My Amazon wish list


Dharma & Greg
Spin City

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Just say "No" to the Salvation Army.

If anybody is looking for an alternative place to donate money this season, I'm not going to make a big pitch this year because you were all so incredibly generous last year, and I don't want to feel that I'm taking advantage of anybody, but Priscilla is again saddled with her 5 grandchildren, is being operated on for her rectal cancer on December 10, and all the resources for Christmas assistance have dried up.  Our family is  "adopting" her family this year, but if anybody would like to make a donation for her Christmas, it can be sent to

Breaking Barriers
1722 J St., Ste. 321
Sacramento, CA 95814

and be sure to say that it's for Priscilla, since they are working on finding Christmas assistance for a lot of people.

(I'm including the BB address because I'm uncomfortable that people might think I'm using the money for myself or something.)

That's it for today!



5 December 2001

It's amazing to me that I'm enjoying my new job so much. All the secretarial stuff is nothing new (well, except the bookkeeping, and I'm finding that I'm even enjoying that). What surprises me is that I'm enjoying a lot of the medical stuff so much.

"Chaparoning" patient exams is something I knew I'd enjoy, and now that I'm learning how to take a patient's blood pressure and not find her dead, it's even more fun. I've also always been fascinated with ultrasound exams. It's like something out of a sci fi movie. The patient lies there on a table, her head propped up comfortably on a pillow, her feet cuddled in oven mits over cold chrome stirrups and her legs spread wide apart like a turkey about to be stuffed for Christmas dinner. The doctor has this long condom-covered wand stuck up inside her, and all three of you are watching the movement of her organs, the pumping of blood and the movement of stool through the bowel, all while chatting away with each other.

This is certainly nothing that Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman could ever have anticipated.

I had seen ultrasound photos forever, as they were quite common when I worked in the obstetrical office. And it was generally pretty easy to look at a picture and see where baby's parts were--well, at least the baby's head, which is rather distinctive looking, even in an ultrasound photo.

But non-ob ultrasounds are a whole new world for me. It's fun to know that I'm starting to "get it." When Dr. G asks me to point out to the patient her uterus or her ovary, or where the blood is flowing through blood vessels, I've learned to get it right. I still can't distinguish the finer points, but I'm definitely getting better. It's really a lot of fun.

Of course, with fun there comes the grunt work, and cleaning up after exams is part of it. Scrubbing those speculums, cleaning up the "wand" at the end of the exam—removing the condom (they call it a "sheath," but it's really a condom) and wiping it down so it's ready for the next patient. It's the sort of thing that prevented me from entering nursing in the first place--the "ick factor." But it's not all that bad, once you get used to it.

This is a far cry from my very first job, and a horrible job it was. Of all the jobs I've ever had, working for the Medical Arts Laboratory was my least favorite. I was in high school at the time and this was going to be an after school job. This was the place where patients came to have blood and other bodily fluids drawn to be smeared on glass slides and checked under a microscope for suspicious things. This was long before ultrasound equipment came along and diagnostic tools were much more primitive.

Of course for every slide that was checked under a microscope, that was a slide to be cleaned. For every tube of blood that was drawn, that was a tube that had to be washed, and for every stool specimen that was examined, that left a smelly petrie dish to be scrubbed.

And that was my job.

I'd come in after school, put on a rubber apron and head to a sink heaped with stuff that needed to be washed. Kind of like home now, without the ants.

Only this wasn't the good china to be sparkled up and put away till the next company dinner, or the everyday dishes to be put in the cupboard till the next meal. No--these were dozens, perhaps hundreds, of slides, petrie dishes, and tubes, all with gunky stuffed caked on them, some of it not smelling very good, and all of it for me to clean and make ready for the next day's victims.

I think that was what made me decide not to go into nursing.

Of course the fun part of that job came when there was an hysterical patient who was terrified at the thought of giving blood.  I'd be called to come and help hold the patient's arm down so blood could be drawn. I discovered then that I had a pretty good bedside manner, but I couldn't get past all that dirty glassware and decided that putting my medical interest to work by typing about medicine rather than actually participating in the process was significantly more pleasant.

But now I'm learning that you do get used to things, and surprisingly quickly.

I'm still not sure I'd like to go back to the Medical Arts Laboratory and scrub poopie petrie dishes again, but at least it doesn't bother me to take a toothbrush and some antibacterial soap and wash out a dishpan full of used speculums any more.

One Year Ago:
A Ticklish Situation

(Club Photo has started deleting
photo albums after 90 days,
so the photos which were once there,
have been removed now)

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