Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

I've learned quite a bit about eyes while working in eye surgery here in Salt Lake. I've found it all really interesting and it's useful for me to know since I'm married to an almost-ophthalmologist. Maybe one day we'll go into business together and open our own eye clinic. Peter will be the brains and the dexterity behind the outfit and I'll be the one making eye-shaped cookies and taking care of the eye clinic cats. (It will probably be called Peter and Leslie's Eye Surgery Extravaganza and Bakery.)

By far the most common thing we see is cataracts- an opacification and hardening of the lens. You will probably develop a cataract if you live long enough but they are very easy to fix and usually have no complications. We also see a variety of other eye conditions and diseases that require surgery. Occasionally, maybe once a week or so, there is a trauma case. Some of these are not preventable- like a pipeline exploding into your face or some such freak accident. Some might be preventable- like getting into a bar brawl. Some are not preventable. But there are a few types of injuries that I have recurrently seen over this year that have led me to believe that there are three things that you should avoid or take precautions while using if you want to preserve your eyes:

1) bungee cords
2) exercise bands
3) BB guns

Bungee cord injuries are some of the worst eye injuries. Just don't use those things unless you're wearing goggles. Seriously. If it snaps back into your face in the right way the hook on the end is perfectly positioned to rip open your eyeball. It's usually not a pretty outcome. And if it doesn't rupture your eye it will probably rip open something else on your face. It's just better not to have elasticized hooks propelling towards your face. Peter's boss once said that when he uses bungee cords he turns around so that the hook is behind him. To which one of the students replied "you're going to get something else ripped doing it that way." Indeed. Beware of the hook/elastic combo.

It's the same story with exercise bands. I only saw one example of an exercise band injury. I doubt they're very common. But the patient had to have multiple surgeries and she had no sight in her injured eye except for light perception. Wear goggles.

Finally, BB guns. I've seen several children and a few adults who have come in to have BB's removed from their eye sockets. Surprisingly these usually turn out pretty well. In the cases I've seen the patients have retained their vision. The BB's seem to mostly go around the eyeball and lodge in the socket as opposed to penetrating the eyeball. Regardless, who wants to go to surgery to have a BB removed from his/her face? So, put the BB guns down and just play duck hunt on Super Nintendo.

The good news is that people do really well with only one eye. That's another thing I've learned this year. Hopefully none of us will have to face that scenario. But even if you have vision in only one eye there's almost nothing you can't do depending on your vocation etc... Also, really excellent prosthetic eyes are available these days. Sometimes I can't tell if someone has a prosthetic even if I'm right in his face given him eye drops. So, that's comforting! But still, wear goggles.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Just like the birds outside our windows that constantly tantalize Theodore and Penelope, we have been nesting! Only instead of gathering bits of grass and leaves to build a bed for our baby we just set up the pack and play that I got at my baby shower.

Our duplex is mostly packed, I have 1.5 weeks worth of food in the freezer and our hospital bag is packed. I don't think that my friends and family would recognize me. I have made an about face from my usual procrastinating habits. I think we're as ready as we'll ever be to have our lives completely upended.

So now all I have to do is chillax until the baby comes. And by chillax I mean my normal routine of working, exercising, housekeeping etc. But without all the extra packing and planning to do I feel like I'm on vacation! Part of me hopes the baby will give me a few more weeks to spend doing some things that I enjoy doing. I might regret even letting that thought cross my mind. But I suppose it doesn't matter what I want. The baby will come when s/he wants to come. Unless s/he waits too long and must be dragged into the world kicking and screaming via induction which I hope doesn't have to happen.

Here's me at 38 weeks. Many people continue to comment about how I'm still carrying high. But the baby has definitely dropped. And if you need proof you may speak to my bladder. I used to be able to go nearly all day without peeing which was sometimes necessary if I was really busy at work. I don't know if that is an indication of an extraordinarily hearty bladder or just that I have a high tolerance for that feeling of having to go. Regardless, I can hold it only about 1-2 hours now. It seems that it just takes a thimble of fluid before my bladder is screaming "halp meh! I can't take it!"

So, after a thorough discussion of my bladder I'll leave you with this picture of Penelope. It's blurry but I thought she was so cute perched on the top of the chair like that.

We often refer to Theodore as our favorite cat (mostly Peter says that). He just has that certain feline je ne sais quois. Penelope probably doesn't get enough credit. She's so cute, she's such a good lap cat and a really good cuddler. We got ourselves two winners!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I don't know what to title this post...

...because almost anything I thought of writing might lead people to believe that I had delivered my baby. But no. Not yet. My baby is still enthusiastically nestling his/her rear end into my ribs. But my brother in law and his wife did have their baby yesterday afternoon! She is their third girl! Lots of pink going on there!

If you'll remember, she and I originally had the same due date. I wrote a post about it and made a comment that we were in a 40 week race and may the best baby win. Well, then my due date was pushed back and she was induced about a week early. So, I must retract my comments about one baby being the best. We'll call the whole race a wash and acknowledge that both babies are indeed "winners" in the birthing game. (I can't have my child read my blog later on in life and believe that I thought s/he was a loser.)

Congratulations, Jake and Daniele! And happy birthday Megan!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good Recipes

I've been away for a while. I've been busy "nesting." Yet despite all the preparations I've been making, I'm still not ready. My to-do list continues to grow and has taken on a life of its own.

Anyways, I've been wanting to post a few recipes. We just recently finished all of the meat we bought last October. (We bought 50 lbs. of pork and beef from a woman that I work with who has a farm.) We were really pleased with it!

I'm not familiar with many cuts of meat so a lot of them were new to me and I didn't really know how to cook them. There was a lot of experimenting. By and large everything turned out really well. Apparently it's hard to go wrong with steak. There was a lamb stew catastrophe but no need to dwell on that. (They gave us a package of lamb stew meat with our order.)

We had four rib eye steaks. I don't think I've ever eaten rib eye steak, let alone cooked one. But we made French Onion Rib Eye Steaks a few weeks ago. They were delicious. I served them with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I think you could get the same effect with a cheaper cut of meat. The flavor was in the onions and cheese.

I'm always looking for good slow cooker recipes. I love the convenience. Last weekend I made this Seafood Gumbo and it's definitely going on my list to make again. I used frozen scallops instead of crab meat because I couldn't find any crab meat at the store.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What the Dog Saw

My inaugural read on my Sony Reader was a book called What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell. I probably would never have chosen it but the book club at my church was reading it. I really liked it and I would recommend it.

It's a collection of articles that Gladwell wrote for the New Yorker. I wasn't impressed by the first couple of them. They were interesting but not absorbing. But the more I read the more the book became almost a page turner. Even though there was no plot, character development etc, that you would find in a novel or story, I really got into his writing. He has a way of "upending conventional wisdom" (from a review I read on Amazon) and making the mundane seem very, very interesting. I also like the way that he uses very disparate topics to illustrate his points. For example, he wrote an article on the problem of how to predict job performance using the NFL and our country's educational system to flesh out his thesis. He talks about criminal profiling using our attitude towards Pit Bulls as an example of how it should not be done. He writes about everything from hair dye to national intelligence, from Ceaser Milan (the dog whisperer) to Enron.

I thought it was a very good read.

Side note: One of the things I love about SLC is that it is a book club city. Almost everyone I know is in a book club. Everyone is always reading. I've never experienced a place where the love of reading exudes from people's pores and wafts around on the breeze. I fit in very well. I will miss it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sick Day

I'm at home sick today. I actually feel pretty good right now but I was up a lot of the night last night. I won't go into all the gory details but I will say that I continued my streak of never being able to make it to the toilet in time to throw up. Our bathroom is in the kitchen half way across the duplex and I've decided that this an egregious design flaw.

I hated to call into work because they are really busy today. But I suppose it's better to leave them a little short staffed than the possible alternative which may involve a decidedly non sterile combination of urgent bodily functions and a bathroom not in immediate proximity.

I do feel a lot better today, though. I think it was just a 24 hour bug. But I'm just going to rest up so as not to give an opportunity for things to get worse.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Never leave home without sunblock or a book

That is one of the cardinal rules of my life. You are not likely to find me without those two things. And inevitably when I forget them my day includes a long wait in the sun.

The sunblock is rather easy to tote around. But the book can be trickier. Usually I just carry one- the one that I'm reading. But if I'm close to finishing it then I need to bring another one that I want to start. Only, I don't always know what I want to read next so I might have to bring a few extras so that I have choices. This can become unwieldy.

It is especially tricky when traveling. January/February of 2009 Peter and I spent in Africa doing work at a clinic. We packed super light. We only took what we could carry on our backs. Which, for me, included 5 or 6 books (I think Peter had at least 4 or 5 books as well). I think I had more books than I had pairs of underwear with me.

But now I have something that has radically changed all of this. My dear mother bought me a pocked edition Sony Reader for Christmas. Honestly, when I received it, I didn't know how much I would use it. I'm rather attached to the book in its traditional form- you know, with pages and whatnot. I especially love a good, worn in book from half-priced books. It's as if they each have their own story. I love to think of how many people might have read them.

But I finally bought a book to put on my reader last weekend. And I am converted! It was so convenient to carry it around this past week. I had 5 books at my fingertips at all times! It was so great to use on the elliptical. I didn't have to hold a book open. I could turn the page with one finger. I really didn't expect to like it this much. But I LOVE it!

The only unfortunate part is that you have to buy the books. Usually I just check them out from the library and pay nothing except the occasional $.50 fine for returning them late. You can download a lot of free books that are in the public domain. But if you want to read new books, you're pretty much paying full price. And books are so expensive! I can foresee a large portion of my income going to the Sony Reader store. I'm going to have to be careful not to send us to debtors prison. But, if we do end up in the poor house, we'll have plenty of reading material.

So, if you've thought of buying one of these, I would recommend it! And I should note that I'm not a high-tech person. I still don't even know what an iPad is. (Though, whatever it is, I think it has an unfortunate name reminiscent of a maxi pad.) But the Reader is easy to use for those of us who are technologically challenged.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Like a Bandit

Today some lovely friends from my church threw me a baby shower and I made out like a bandit! I received such cute things! This is one of the stars of the show that everyone oohed and ahhed over:
My friend Sarah crocheted the blanket. I love it! And I love that it's homemade. Such a nice gift. I also got an adorable nursing cover that another friend made for me. And a travel crib/bassinet and some other goodies! I had such a nice time.

I'm so thankful for the travel crib. We're inching ever closer to being "ready" for the baby to come. But we still don't have a lot of baby stuff. So recently we were discussing that we've done a lot of things around the duplex but we still don't have a place to put the baby. But now we do! The baby has his/her very own bed. Now s/he doesn't have to sleep in the cat bed.

This picture was taken at the baby shower. 36 weeks! 9 months! (I'll fully admit I'm displaying a wee bit of solipsism by putting a picture of only myself at the top of the blog. But I was getting tired of the last picture we had because it was in the snow. We don't have any "springy" pictures of the two of us.... besides, I write 99% of this blog so I should get top billing, right?) Pregnancy actually lasts between 9.5 and 10.5 months. I don't know who came up with the 9 month time line. So it could still be another six weeks but any way that you look at it, I'm in the home stretch. I still feel really great. And people are really nice to me now that I have a huge belly. They get up for me on the train and get out of my way when I'm walking. And carry things for me. This is great!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Whether he admits it or not....

Peter is a cat person! This took four years of hard work. Lest he ever think otherwise, I had to constantly remind Peter that the moment we moved to a place that allowed pets that I wanted to get cats. He begrudgingly agreed and was mostly patient with my lamenting about the lack of cats in my life. But look at him now! He will deny it when I say that I've made him a cat person. But, clearly people, here's the evidence. Judge for yourselves. Penelope has this effect on many people.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Winnie the Pooh and Me

A few weeks ago I was baby sitting for some friends of ours and we were watching an episode of Winnie the Pooh. It was so cute, it made me want to invest in some Winnie movies for my own baby. Since then I've occasionally gotten one of his songs stuck in my head:

Up, Down And Touch The Ground
When I up, down and touch the ground
It puts me in the mood,
Up, down and touch the ground
In the mood for food

I am stout, round and I have found
Speaking poundage wise
I improve my appetite
When I exercise

I am short, fat and proud of that
And so, with all my might
I up, down and up, down to
My appetite's delight

While I up, down and touch the ground
I think of things to chew, like honey
With a hefty happy appetite
I'm a hefty happy Pooh

With a hefty happy appetite
He's a hefty happy Pooh

Then it hit me one day: I am exactly like Winnie the Pooh in this song. This song is about pregnant women!

I often "up, down and touch the ground" (figuratively speaking. What I actually do is the elliptical or swim.) which puts me "in the mood for food."

Stout? Yes. Round? Check. Short, fat and proud of that? Well, yes as long as there is a good reason for me to continue being "fat."

While I up, down and touch the ground I think of things to chew? Do I ever! And sometimes I start salivating on the elliptical just thinking about what I'm going to eat for dinner. And I often eat honey (though not necessarily for dinner).

And of course, with a "hefty happy appetite" I'm a hefty happy Leslie.

But, when I get too hungry I turn into a bear that is more like the one in Legends of the Fall. The one that killed Brad Pitt. I try to avoid the murderous bear. Frequent snacks work wonders! I haven't attacked any one yet...