Sunday, February 28, 2010

Second Place.

Weaving through the past week, I have to admit it's nice to be on the other side of it. Thinking back, it's been a week of both disappointment and resilience.

It's a given that I've been short on sleep since the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, and I freely admit I'd do it all again! But it can make for some exhausting days in the clinic and the operating room. Monday was no exception, so I thought I would try to rest up, knowing our day in the O.R. on Tuesday would be one of the longest in a while. Unfortunately, I instead received a phone call later that night to inform me that my position in the O.R. has been phased out. Effective March 1. Believe it or not, I understand - it's business. But it's no less disappointing to me. To say the very least.

I celebrated that news on Tuesday by operating from 7am to 6:15pm. Now that is exhausting. And I had to submit edits on two of my articles for Livestrong due later that day. The edits, I felt, were simple. I completed them and quickly returned them to my Copy Editor. So a little 'chin up' goes a long, long way, and I was still in the game for the week. After a rescue meal from Chick-Fil-A with my best guy, I finally got around to checking my e-mail late Tuesday night. And there it was in my Inbox: my 'Rejection.' It turns out, after some miscommunication on the topic of fish oil (fish oil!), my article was not accepted for publication. Never mind that my first nine articles were published. All that I could focus on in that moment was the fact that the answer was, for the second time in 24 hours, a resounding 'no.' Turns out, it was a tough way to realize that I get one - and only one - chance to make any and all edits on each article. Okay, lesson learned. And sure, I'll make an appeal for a chance to rewrite on the components of fish oil. But the biggest thing for me was balancing the newfound joy of becoming a published freelance writer with the sting of having an article returned for not quite meeting the mark. And on the heels of potentially having to step aside from the O.R. altogether, the week was off to a rough start.

The alarm clock Wednesday morning was as unforgiving as it had been all week. Instead of having a day off, I spent the day evaluating PA students, trying to help them fine-tune their skills and strengthen their clinical weaknesses. That day is always really tiring but so rewarding for me. This time around, it gave me the chance to reset a little, to remember my own roots as a PA-in-the-making, to put aside the drama of the day-to-day rigors of the week to that point. And we capped off the day by celebrating Barry's birthday with his wife, Lisa, at Foothills Brewery. The week was starting to show some signs of life.

In the midst of this (otherwise) typical week, I continued to get a thrill out of watching the Olympics and, as usual, I had my face in a book. As I'd written earlier, our book club chose The Help to take us on our first literary journey together. The more I read of that book, the more I wanted to read, if that makes sense. It took very little time for me to feel as though I'd known Skeeter and Aibileen and Minny for a long time - and even less time to be glad it felt that way. I'll save my discussion of the book for our next book club. But as I read the final words of the book, suffice it to say that I had gained plenty of perspective on what it means to feel as though you've been deemed second-rate. My week quickly became not-so-bad.

As the work week came to its slightly chaotic end, things continued to look up. Whether in the world of freelance writing, the operating room, or the clinic, everything will work itself out. It always, always does. And even today, settling in to watch the epic hockey game between the United States and Canada, I had reason to reflect once more on my past week...not that everything has to be about me. (Well, okay, maybe just on this blog). But watching the hockey players from both countries fight it out on the ice - Canada surging forward with a two-goal lead on their home ice, the United States storming back with mere seconds left on the clock - it was awesome. So into overtime they went. And though I had absolutely nothing at stake (with the exception of bragging rights over all of my favorite Canadians), my heart was pounding! I watched intently, just as I had from the moment they first dropped the puck. And even in the midst of sudden death, with the slapshot that sealed the silver fate of the good ol' U-S-of-A, it was thrilling to see. I felt like I was probably watching live as a hockey game for the ages unfolded. Would I have preferred to see Red, White, Blue, and Gold? You bet. For that matter, would I have felt better if my article had simply been published? Certainly. And would I rather step aside from the O.R. at a time of my own choosing, especially after more than three years of scrubbing in? Absolutely. But in the end, I'm just not sure that's how it's supposed to be. For whatever reasons, I'm meant to focus on clinical work only, at least for now. And maybe somebody else can write a more thoughtful article on the components of fish oil. (I know. I know.) And you know what else? Today was simply Canada's day. But I think that might be the better story after all. If we always win...or get every article published...or get to call all the shots, where's the fun in that? I mean, really. It's not the first time I've been told 'no' or 'not right now.' And believe me, I've certainly come in second place before. What I remember most about those times in my life is that I wouldn't trade anything for it. Much as I hate to admit it, it probably helped me to be better in the long run.

Well. Stupid philosophical mumbo-jumbo. So what else is there? Nothing more than onward and upward, right? Right?!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Days Go By

I finally laced up the running shoes again this past week. The combination of warmer temperatures and watching the world's finest athletes from my couch proved to be the perfect motivation. I'm not saying I was at my fastest - nor did I have the most fun ever - but I was out there. And that feels pretty good. It didn't hurt to hit The Loop with my running buddy afterwards either...

As has been the case more and more lately, I spent a big part of the week reading and writing. I love hanging out in 1962 Mississippi with Minny, Skeeter, and Aibileen...The Help is every bit as good as advertised so far. And I tackled five new articles for LiveStrong over the course of the past several days. I'm not a fast writer, so taking on several articles at once can be a sizable challenge for me. But it's fun, and I'm hoping that will be the kind of challenge that makes me better.

Speaking of living strong, Erich has been tearing up the pavement lately. I've mentioned it before - I totally get a kick out of creating (and tweaking) training plans. And to see him starting to reap the benefits of all his hard work is rewarding for me as well. He had a whale of a training ride yesterday, and it's a ton of fun to chat up the details of max heart rates and intervals over an ice cold Red Oak after satisfying workouts for us both. Our journey to New York is not as far away as it once seemed, and I'm starting to get really excited about that whole adventure...

The week ahead already looks busy with my anesthesia clinic gaining momentum and seven joint replacements on the docket in the O.R. on Tuesday. It's also exam week for the students in the PA Program, meaning Erich and I will spend all of Wednesday critiquing the history and physical exam skills of future PAs. Thankfully, we have a super-cool birthday celebration at 6th & Vine to look forward to later that night. Of course, we're continually absorbed by the Winter Olympics. And next weekend? Who be sure, some kind of madness will make its way onto the agenda.

And so life goes on, a little better (and faster!) as days go by...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

With Glowing Hearts.

The last several days have been pretty busy, but again, in that positive, really 'living life' sort of way. Aside from the usual duties of the clinic and the O.R., I also continued work on my new project of writing freelance articles. I'm finding that I really enjoy the challenge of writing, and I've focused on the topics of health and sports, both of which I genuinely love. Exciting, too, is the fact that my first few articles have now been published by LiveStrong, the health and fitness website created by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. So it's pretty cool to see where a fun hobby can take you...

I also had a blast this past Thursday night as we kicked off our first little book club! 7 of the 8 of us gathered around the table for some wine and chit-chat. And somehow, in spite of (or perhaps as a direct result of) all the wine and chit-chat, we also managed to pick our first book! From everything I've heard and read, Kathryn Stockett has written a wonderful novel, The Help. It's a small miracle that none of us had actually read this book to date, so we agreed to let this story be our first book club journey together. As I finish up the Twilight Saga, I can hardly wait to see what the pages of The Help have waiting for me.

Then we were off to Raleigh on Friday night to meet up with Shelly, my college roommate (now of the wintry Disney Half-Marathon fame!). Erich was signed up for the Wolfpack Classic Bike Race just southwest of Raleigh on Saturday morning, and our plan was to have dinner, hang out with Shelly and Jason, and see some speedy cyclists battle it out on the road while we sipped coffee. And that plan worked...sort of. We had a great dinner with Shelly and Jason at The Twisted Fork Friday night. As we finished up our yummy food and drinks, snow began to fall - first as tiny, beautiful flakes, and then as (less than) tiny, (but still) beautiful flakes. The roads quickly became more treacherous, so we were glad to settle in at Shelly's house. We still woke up at 5am, only to learn that the race had actually been cancelled! You'd be surprised, though, how quickly bacon, eggs, pancakes, and coffee can squelch the cancelled-race disappointment! And after a great visit with our buddies, we headed back home where Erich got in his fastest ride to date. Look out, Battenkill.

Just last night, we joined all of our friends in the City Loop Mafia at a farewell party for Scott. Truthfully, his new adventure of moving to Spain simply gave us the excuse to gather together and share some laughs, along with tasty food and drinks, entertaining music, and hilarious videos. More importantly, Scott's new pad in Bilbao, Spain, actually gives us added (though totally unnecessary!) incentive to go watch the peloton of the Tour de France pedal through the Pyrenees someday. Though a little bittersweet, the Mafia put on a great party, as always. And I am grateful that my husband has (and shares) his cool/crazy friends.

We're also really excited that the Olympics officially kicked off over the weekend. Erich and I are both self-proclaimed Olympic-nerds. We can get excited about every event from biathlon to curling, skating (figure and speed), and slalom to luge. Beyond that, these Winter Games are hosted by Vancouver, which is in my second-favorite country of Canada. No bias there. So our Valentine's Day celebration looks a little like cinnamon rolls and Jittery Joe's coffee in the morning, followed closely by a training ride (for E) and some page-turning (for me) in the afternoon, capped off with cooking a great dinner together and watching the athletes of the world put on their show. You know, life is pretty good these days...and so much the better if lived 'with glowing hearts.'

Friday, February 5, 2010

Reading. Writing. (But No Arithmetic.)

I suppose I've spent the better part of the past week just as the title suggests - reading and writing. And I've thoroughly enjoyed it. Gone are the days of regular obligations to textbooks and term papers. It's different, you know, when you read what you like and write only because you want to.

Like most of the rest of the free world, I, too, have fallen victim to the Twilight Saga. And after flying through Eclipse, the third volume, I could hardly wait to sink my teeth into Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final novel. Okay, that was a terrible pun, even for me. But all kidding aside, these books are really, really good. Admittedly, I'm not usually a fan of other-worldly stories. But I have found this series to be different in all the ways that make reading so much fun for me - filled with emotion, suspense, friendship, needless to say, I'm fully immersed in the world of Bella and Edward and Jacob.

But even as I draw near the end of the Twilight Saga, I'm looking forward to reading more good books. As always! I'm actually really excited that our hope for something like a book club appears to have caught on. Next week, a few of the coolest girlfriends I know will gather to catch up, drink some wine, and begin our journey together through some wonderful books. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone whose life wasn't enhanced greatly by being part of a book club. So I can hardly wait to get started...

Besides reading my book whenever I've had the chance this past week, I've also snuck in a little writing - for fun, of course. I love tapping out some thoughts for my blog - it's been great for me. But I also learned of a pretty cool freelance writing opportunity just over a week ago. So I'm trying my hand at writing an interesting article or two. Who knows how that will turn out? I guess my goal is to be the most renaissance version of 'me' that I can why not?!

As for the upcoming weekend, there certainly seems to be some pretty limitless fun on the agenda. Aside from relaxing with a good book and a cup o' joe inside while it rains, snows, sleets, and hails outside, we plan to watch all the Super Bowl commercials (and yes, the actual game, too) over a beer with our buddies, plus shoot darts and bowl (Wii-fit style) with a bassoonist. It's not every weekend you get to say that...