This past week was a completely crazy week of work and travel. While I certainly don’t feel like I have a problem saying no, this past week had so many interesting things smushed into it which I said yes to all.
The week actually started out on the wrong foot the previous Friday. When I was trying to make a walk-in for a patient the next Friday, the nurse and I realized that the main scheduler had scheduled both a clinic and OR for me that day. This was especially stressful since I found this out during an hour with three scheduled patients and three complex walk-ins during my triage clinic where my “help” was an intern that was in so over his head, his help was completely worthless. Sorry. That sounds harsh. I know that I, too, was in that spot at certain points in my training. But still, it just added to my stress on that particular afternoon. I finally got through the afternoon and, as part of the solution for the double-booking, my clinic schedule for the next week was pretty packed.
Over the weekend, I got ready for my trip to Japan and other assorted errands. I worked a weekend call with one bad night that resulted in some intense sleep deprivation thanks to a very unfortunate patient with a posterior nose bleed who bled a LOT and was in pretty bad shape by the time I got to him. I got the nosebleed under control but prior to me getting there, he had been intubated due to altered consciousness and had aspirated a lot. So, he had a rough road to recovery coming his way, even with the nosebleed stopped.
So. Onto the workweek. I had initially planned on taking a 3 day faculty development course, so I was scheduled for a full day of clinic on Monday, which is not my normal day. Then on Tuesday, I went to faculty development classes in the morning and then had clinic in the afternoon. Wednesday was another clinic day thanks to the scheduling mix-up for Friday. What made it annoying was that it was the second time in six weeks that this had happened to me. I understand people make mistakes (I do!) but to make the same mistake twice in such short order was aggravating. Anyway. I’ll give you a second or two to dry your tears that I know you are shedding for me right now. You’ll need clear eyesight to call the Whambulance for me.
After a clinic day, I headed off to the airport. The prior week, I had accepted an offer to be a last-minute replacement faculty for the oral board review course taken by exam candidates the two days before their oral boards. I had taken the course myself five years ago and found it to be helpful. It is funny to be on the other side as teaching faculty. It was a little more prep work than I anticipated because I thought the cases were prepared by the course designers and I was just a body to present them. Nope. So the day prior, I put together cases to present in private and public sessions. It wasn’t hard but was another few hours of work that I hadn’t anticipated (but had totally signed myself up for).
Back to Wednesday. A huge bonus about the course is that it’s held in Chicago meaning I got to see my brother and his wife. Yay! I was also happy that I made it into downtown alive since I had a very nice, very enthusiastic Lyft driver who initially seemed like a competent driver but then as we approached the city, starting changing lanes without really looking if anyone was in the next lane. He would look out the window to make sure no one was immediately next to us but did not really consider how badly he was cutting people off. There was another stellar move when, at one point, I was wondering why the car next to us was in two lanes but then when I saw the lane markers, I realized it was us.
Ed and I met in a downtown bar where he was waiting for a text from The Purple Pig restaurant, which is a delicious foodie delight! I had been a few years ago during a conference and was excited to go back. Ed was a little disappointed he wasn’t showing me something new-to-me but it’s ok, we were both excited about the food and drink.
The text message came through and Ed had me leave ahead of him to try and get to the restaurant quickly. Since I was walking fast and had two heavy-ish shoulder bags, I promptly bit it on the sidewalk right outside the bar, tripping over a large crack that caused a level mismatch. Ok, ok, I know what that looks like but seriously guys, give me more credit than that! Wait, does it sound better that I fell because I can’t manage walking on a city sidewalk. You know, walking, that skill I’ve been “perfecting” for the last 39 years? Oh well. I banged my right knee pretty hard which has actually continued to hurt and impact my running. Since I was planning a race in May, TBD on that particular event.
The Purple Pig was awesome. Meg joined us after her review class and the three of us ordered multiple sets of paired dishes, since our table couldn’t hold more than that. Ed promptly told the waitress many lies about my military service, to which I embraced the improv comedy mentality of “Yes, and…” which opens up many possibilities in an improv sketch, rather than shutting down funny comedic flow. Well, even though it was slightly ridiculous, it did cause them to ask for my id in order to give us a discount. Which ended up being 50%. That is totally insane!!! I have never had a discount that big in a restaurant and TBH, I wonder if there was an industry discount applied since they knew Ed worked in restaurants. Who knows? I will take the gift horse! And don’t worry, I tipped on the original amount!
The next day, I proctored the mock oral exams. People were nervous, of course, but everyone did well apart from one person who did not have a large fund of knowledge for a certain subspecialty that is 1/4 of the oral exam. I advised her to get a review book and cram in that particular subject. I hope it worked out. It may have been better to postpone the exam although I definitely did not say that aloud. That would have been a little too discouraging for the role I was serving there.
After the mock orals, I got a ride back to Chicago Airport by a professional driver who had immigrated from Pakistan 25 years ago. We talked for about half the ride and he was very interesting. I flew into Norfolk by mid-evening and headed home to the apartment.
The next day, I had an OR day followed by a slightly crazy afternoon filled with catching up on work notes, followed by dropping off the birds at a friend’s house for birdwatching while I was gone for the next two weeks. Then, I drove up to Alexandria to sleep at my other brother’s house since I was going to be on a panel the next morning at a medical meeting.
I woke up before the rest of the house and went to Misha’s coffee, where I got a delicious Americano. Then, I went to the meeting where I got CME and gave a good presentation, although I know I talked to fast. But at least I had practiced so I didn’t stumble over my words, just spoke too fast. The problem was the first person had gone over her time and I felt pressure since there were still two speakers after me. Ah well. I got a few compliments and although I know I could have done better, it was overall a good talk rather than bad. Success!
I left the meeting after the initial afternoon lecture and went to River Farm where Joe, Nicole and the kids were hanging out and buying plants. It was great to see the boys and excellent timing since they completely crashed for naps when we got home. My nephews are so cute and I was so happy to see them. I hung out with Joe and Nicole for a bit and then headed back home. I actually had a few hours of work to do at the hospital and although it was a late night, I am going on vacation obligation-free and completely caught up on work, which is a very good feeling!
Sunday morning, I headed out to the West Coast where I spent a 23 hour layover with my favorite person- SMS! He picked me up at SJC and we went to San Pedro’s Market for lunch. We split Aloo Gobi and a plate of nachos that were pretty middling. The afternoon was pretty mellow since I was so tired from the week prior. SMS made a reservation at Oak + Violet, a restaurant in Menlo Park that was pretty awesome. The decor was Scandi-chic and the food delicious. We each had a Pinot Noir (we liked the Emeritus over the local Santa Cruz) and a drink. Mine was a paper plane with bourbon and Aperol, was his was a dark rum Caipirinha. They were both delicious but when I go back, I think I’m getting the Caipirinha with a little snack plate!
Monday morning featured a crepe and egg for breakfast, followed by being dropped off at the Palo Alto train station, which I greatly appreciated. I took the train followed by the bus to SFO. I shopped for my Japanese friend that I am seeing for lunch on Wednesday and then got some much-needed coffee from the Centurian Lounge. And now I’m up in the air, landing in Japan in just a few hours to complete my week of sibling visits by seeing Brady, Ricardo, and my newest nephew!! I am so excited and happy! Vacation and adventure awaits!