16 December 2012

The day I could cook but not clean.

Merry Christmas Season!


Cutest. Boy. Ever.

He was that age that was where boys turn from cute little angels to pre-teens who grunt a lot and are too cool to talk to adults.

He was in for a wart treatment and was acting TOO cool to be afraid of the knife and freezing treatments.

He had on one of those silicone bracelets.  Those are really the IN thing right now.  I tell you, kids have those bracelets now for Drug Free week.  WAY cooler than Red Ribbon Week. 

Anyway, it had the letters YOLO on it.

To make conversation while I treated his wart, I asked him about the bracelet.

What does it mean?

YOLO: You Only Live Once.

(Which I suppose now is in the news made famous or something, but I’m not hip enough to know that)

“Oh”, I told the kid, “that’s neat.”

Well, I finished up the treatment, and told his mom exact instructions on how to care for the wart and when to come back.

The sweet boy slipped the bracelet off his arm and held it out to me,

“Here,” he said, “you can have it.”


Too sweet!

I told him to keep his bracelet.

And that I thought he was the COOLEST kid ever!


“My daughter won’t eat”

For how long?

“The past 6 months”

Really?  She’s been gaining weight for the past 6 months, in fact, she weighs A LOT more than she should now.  Has she been eating or drinking anything at all?

“Well, she’s been eating, but only cookies and chips and soda and candy.  I can’t get her to eat anything healthy at all”

Do you give her the option of what to eat?


Clearly, there isn’t a problem with you child not eating, but there is a problem with YOU not feeding her properly…


“Do you live with your mom?”


“Then who cleans your house?”

I do.

“But you work.  You can’t do both.  You need someone to clean for you if you don’t live with your mom.”

Thanks, but I live in a small apartment.  I don’t need anyone to help me right now.

At least, not in my opinion!


It’s a shame.

I hear the FUNIEST names at work, but because of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) I can’t really give you names.

Unless I change them and I don’t give you any other protected health information.

Because I see some of the best names.

I think I blogged about SirCharles a few months ago.

I see lots of kids named Juan.  Just Juan sometimes, other times Juan and another name together like Juan Carlos or something.

Well, now I’ve met a Juana.

A Mary Juana to be exact.

I’ll pause to let that one sink in.




And I’ve met twins with the same first name.

Kevin Sergio


Kevin Iglesias.

Really?  You couldn’t come up with two unique names for your twins?

You had to name them the SAME first name?


Ok, and this last name I can’t tell you.

But I can get you to picture Mario kart.

Yoshi.  Luigi.  Wario.

That character that goes

“Itza M_-_-_-_”

Its all I could do to not exclaim his name during the exam.

“Itza M_-_-_-_”


We all ate together for thanksgiving.

All the office.

There are 6 PAs, who 2 doctors are in charge of.

Then each of us has 2 medical assistants, about 12.

Then 5 people to bill and code.

[About half of the girls at the office}

(side fact, there are 1800 codes in the ICD 9, what we use now to bill for an upper respiratory infection or a wart.  But by 2014, we have to use the ICD 10, which has over 40,000 new codes, including a code for running into a pole.  For the second time.  Really?!?  This is why our doctor pays 5 people to bill and code for us.)

Then 8 people to answer phones and sign people in.

Then a few miscellaneous people to clean the clinic and send referrals to the specialists.

In all, we have about 40 people in our office.

And they asked me to make mashed potatoes for all of them.



Oh man.

Cold mashed potatoes are the WORST.

What can I do?!

Well, Ana, my brilliant co-worker gave me the idea to make them in a crock pot so they could warm all morning.


Now, how many potatoes do I need to mash to feed 40 people?!

I got 10 lbs of potatoes.  Surely that will be enough for the whole office. (because we’ll be having a bunch of other sides like corn and lentil casserole.  Because who doesn’t eat lentil casserole on Thanksgiving?!)

Do you know how long it takes to peel 10 lbs of potatoes?

Even with your husband helping you?!

I found the first crock pot mashed potato recipe that came up on google, and I cross referenced it with the Pioneer Woman mashed potato recipe (because that woman is a genious!) and they looked pretty similar so I went with it.

Cream Cheese, sour cream, butter, and chicken bullion cubes.


It was delicious.  (or so I thought)

I made it the night before, then got to work at 7 am and plugged in my crock pot.

I stirred the potatoes about once an hour between patients.  (Don’t worry, I washed my hands really good before touching the food).

Then, 300 patients and 1 fire drill later, we sat down to eat at 2 pm.

My potatoes had nicely warmed by then.

Everyone loaded their plates with food.  And when I say loaded, I mean there was not a single plate that wasn’t piled high with food.  Because who could miss out on trying someone’s macaroni salad, egg salad, or flan.

Because all those things come to mind when I think of thanksgiving… especially the flan.  I think maybe the pilgrims ate flan at the first thanksgiving.

Everyone thought my potatoes were delicious.

Where did you buy them, they all wanted to know.

I made them, with the help of my husband.


Yeah, we cook.  Mostly my husband cooks, he’s really good at it and I’m ok at it.

I’m glad they were surprised to see I can cook.

Because clearly, it’s a valued talent in the community I work in.


Mostly I write stories about work.

But sometimes I have funny stories about other stuff.

Like the silly boy pharmacist at Walgreens.  I went to pick up my medicine, and I told him that it was probably in the refrigerator.

He couldn’t find my medicine in the front, so he proceeded to the back, which is where they keep the fridge, so I assumed he was getting it.  He came back to the front and asked me if I went by a different name.  I thought, maybe I gave them my wrong name when calling, so I gave him my other last name (unmarried name).  He looked again.

After looking for 5 more minutes, I suggested he try the fridge again.

He said, “Oh, is that where you told me to look 5 minutes ago, I didn’t hear you very well.  I’m really new at this.”

And then found my medication instantly.



So If you asked me 2 months ago, I would have told you I LOVED living downtown.  It has its perks and drawbacks just like anywhere else, but its mostly great.

Last Saturday they had an awesome parade downtown.

It benefitted Children’s Medical Center, something I’m supper passionate about since we end up referring most of our kids there when they need to see a specialist.

They had cool floats and dancers, it felt just like I was downtown New York on Thanksgiving day!

So parades are great.

Even grater was taking out our dogs at 9 am, when the parade didn't start for another hour, dressed up like elves, complete with jingle bells.  LOTS of kids loved us!

Some of them had been lined up on the streets since 5am just to get a good spot for the parade!  It was chaos getting our dogs to potty.

We were told we wouldn’t be able to leave since the parade blocked off ALL the roads downtown from 6am to 2 pm, but I didn’t think it was a big deal.

Until I woke up with the WORST sore throat ever.

And then I remembered the bratty boy that spit in my face 4 days before, that ended up having strep throat.  It wasn’t really his fault he spit in my face, I stuck a stick down his throat, so I kinda deserved it.

And then I also remembered that my co-worker that I share a computer with had checked herself Friday and ALSO had strep throat.

So I figured I might have it too.  Bummer.  But since there was no way I could get to an urgent care clinic (and because I actually work and have insurance, I have a huge deductible for urgent care) I just took some pain medicine and went back to bed.

There were SO MANY people outside it looked like our building was under attack by zombies.  

At least that’s what Ryan told me.

I felt much better after taking ibuprofen, so I got up and had a free mimosa (just another perk of living downtown.) and I felt even better.

The next morning I still had a sore throat, like glass in my throat, so I skipped church and took more ibuprofen, and then I felt much better when I woke up and so I went to teach Sunday School.

And then Monday I still had a sore throat, so I tested myself at work.

Turns out it was strep throat.

So they gave me antibiotics and sent me home.



So my 2nd room is all pretty, like seaworld with dolphins and fish.

All the kids love it.

Except this one kid.

I walked in, and mom had moved ALL the chairs to the other side of the room, and her daughter had her face buried in mom’s arms.  I thought maybe it was because she was scared of the doctor.

But no, she was scared of my fish mural.

Of a picture on the wall.

Poor girl!


Our little Smothers Family photo!


Another Wedding!  All the way in Longview!

I promise the Christmas Lights downtown looked WAY cooler in person!

Shannon and Scrubs

Ryan and Rue.

25 November 2012

The day I built an aquarium.


[My aquarium room.

Funny Story about that next blog.]


Sometimes I love checkups. Especially checkups with kids who brush their teeth and eat their vegetables and play sports.  I ask the kids half a million questions when they come see me for a well-child checkup, looking for anything to improve their health.  My favorite question, by far:

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I feel like I'm Bill Cosby on that show "kids say the darnedest things."

Only most of my kids aren't that creative.

Almost all boys want to be police or soccer players. The girls get more creative, but by far teacher, doctor, and vet are the top 3.

My favorite though, is when I ask if the kid likes school and they say no,

"So, no, you don't like school?"

You don't like anything about school?  Not math, or science, or recess or gym class or your friends or ANYTHING?

But then they say they want to be a teacher.

You want to go back to school when you finish?

Or a doctor.

Do you know just how LONG you have to go to school for?!

My Favorite by far:

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

A princess.

I struggled to keep working, while secretly inside I was laughing internally.

Laughing HARD.

That might be a little difficult? What do you want to do if that doesn't work out for you?

A cleaner and a mommy and a vet and a teacher and a babysitter and a professional soccer player and a singer…

Sounds better.

Pick just a few of those and you should be fine.


I try to learn one new word each day. My favorite are the easy words: Tractor. Botas. Dinosaurio.

But there are always words I’m just never gunna get.

Pruine Juice.  Pig.  Counselor.  Wart.

Yep, you’d be surprised how many times I’ve needed to use those words and have had to look them up on Google Translate.


Gosh, I love poison ivy. It leaves a nice rash, and the more you itch it, the more it spreads.

I can't tell you how many little boys don't understand that.

And I can't tell you how many mommies think its super weird that their son has a rash on his legs, hands, and private area.

I can draw them a map of exactly HOW that rash got on their son's private area.



I've seen a disproportionate number of kids with what I suspect is vitiligo lately.  It's especially noticeable in my kids with darker skin that suddenly turns white.

And there's not much I can do to help.

It’s a condition similar to Type 1 Diabetes or Rheumatoid Arthritis, where your body basically attacks itself.

It’s the condition that Michael Jackson had, where your skin turns white because the melatonin-producing cells (the ones that make your skin look tan or dark) stop functioning properly.

All I can do is tell mommy that we can try a cream, which probably won’t work and wait 6 months for the dermatologists at Children’s medical center to see your child, who probably wont’ have anything much better to try.

Stuff like this makes me sad.

I just told a Hispanic mom that her son might have white hands, then arms, then a whole body that’s spots of white. 

He may never look like the rest of his family again.

And there’s almost nothing I can do.

Lord, be with these mommies and babies!


A 3 year old: "mommy pee."

His mom: "you need to go potty?"

Nope. He peed.



Lately, we've been slow at work so we have taken the time to decorate our rooms.  A few of us also have books in our rooms to entertain the kids.  Most moms have smartphones that even the youngest child can play with.

So it really makes me mad when I walk into a room and see kids playing with my doctor supplies. And/or try to walk out with my stuff.


I know you're getting free healthcare.

And free medications.

But you can't also have free stickey notes and pens.






(Which I use all the time to write down the correct dosage of tylenol or the name of the over-the-counter medication I want mom to try, because really, who can remember that stuff once they leave my office?!)

Mom, your daughter is not only not supposed to touch my stickey notes but she is REALLY not allowed to steal them.

I know you probably got confused by the aliens vs. animals game on your phone and all the other free stuff around here, but we are not a candy shop. You can't just let your kids take whatever they want.

I coulda kicked that mom.


I saw the smartest 2 year old the other day. She knew all her shapes, letters, colors, AND she was polite!

Those are the kids I wish I could see all day. They make me dread walking into the next room where mom and kid sit, entertained by a movie on their phone, while the 5 year old can't even say his letters.


Your kid could be twice as smart as half the people in this country by speaking 2 languages, but you waste it.

And now I have to refer you to a specialist so your child can learn how to speak.

Because as entertaining as Dora the Explorer is, she isn’t the one who’s supposed to teach your kid how to speak.

YOU are!


I'm getting so fluent at Medical Charade Spanish that sometimes I forget just how much real Spanish I don't know.

Which makes me look like a fool when mom asked me to explain things like strokes and the HPV vaccine.

Um. Um.


Yeah, I'm probably not going to conjugate any verbs in this tangled mess of words I'm going to throw at you. If you understand something I say, that'll be awesome. And if you don't understand, let me know and I'll grab someone who speaks much better Spanish than I do!

I’m not super comfortable talking about a sexually transmitted disease in ANY language, let alone Spanish.

Yet, almost ALL the questions about HPV come at me in Spanish.

Time to learn some more words!


So I’ve been confused lately.

My new MA, who is super sweet, and great with kids, but only 19, has been putting my kids in the wrong rooms.

I wonder how I can label my rooms so my new MA knows which room is room 8 and which one is room 9. She keeps putting kids in room 8 for real, but putting them in room 9 on the computer, causing me a lot of confusion and making people wait for longer than they need to.

I thought the big, silver numbers we've had on the door for years would be good enough.

I guess some people need a bit more help.


At our clinic, we provide 2 chairs and a table for people to sit on.

So it kinda drives me crazy when kids sit on my stool. It is clearly under the desk I sit at.

And I look super funny when I hunch over awkwardly to try to use my computer standing up.

Some moms are just too distracted to notice I guess.

Sometimes I try to cleverly hint at moms that I need my stool, but it doesn’t always work. 

Maybe I need better hinting skills.

So, when I had 3 checkups in the same room: 9 year old, 11 year old, and a 6 year old who kept sliding around on my stool, I could see it coming.

Mom yelled at her 3 times to get off.

But the little brat wouldn't listen.

Until she fell off.

Then she cried for a minute, climbed into mommy's arms, while I reclaimed my stool!!


Or so I thought.

But when I got up, the little brat climbed back on it and slid around again!

'I hope you fall off' I silently thought as mom screamed at her.

She did, and then I felt bad.

But not too bad.


And now, NOTHING about work.

But all that we've been up to over the past month:

(well, all except the sickness we've been having. First me, then Ryan, then me again with a Fever and NO other symptoms for 5 days, then Ryan again, then me again....All different.  We felt lousy.  But much better now!)

So, in October, Ryan and I took our second trip on an airplane!

We went to Colorado to visit my brother!!

We had to wear our BIG jackets!

Sean and Shelby.

They're too cute together.

Our family (Dad is taking the pic) eating THE BEST breakfast tacos you can find for $2.


Hi snow and freezing weather!

One of Ryan's awesome friends, Brett, LIVES here.  He gave us a tour.  It's a place called Westminster College.

Only, because of WWII it was never really a college.

But it's still an awesome castle!

Cool water flowing off the Rocky Mountains.

Guess where you taste that water?!

This is Ryan and his awesome friend Brett who lives in that castle.  We all watched my brother play soccer.  It was a great game!


Some girl "didn't see us" stopped at a red light with a car in front of us.

She totaled Ryan's Car.

We dressed up the "kids" for halloween.

Everyone keeps telling us that the dogs turn into "just dogs" once a real kid comes along, but we're hoping that's not for a few years.

For now, we'll just have fun with our dogs and my kiddos at work and ALL the kids our friends keep having.

That should keep us busy for a while!

14 October 2012

The day I hung up the world!

Yep, you're child's cold is contagious, which means you can catch it.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

I kinda just thought that was common knowledge.

Good thing I warned you!

Hanging the world:

All the kids LOVE this giant wall sized map.

Plus it's educational.

This is the WORLD.

And no, it doesn't revolve around you.

Or your mom with her Coach handbag.

Just in case you were confused.

I'll blame the salt.

I had an early lunch for Ana's birthday because I owed her.

We were super slow and I couldn't get this 7 year old to open her mouth if my life depended on it. She had a high fever and a rash like scarlet fever (strep throat) and I was sure she would test positive for strep if I could just swab her throat.

I tried every trick in my book: being nice, being mean, bribery....nothing worked. I went to look for someone to help me hold her down.

The girl got lucky my medical assistants were no where to be found, but one of my colleagues was.  And she got lucky it was Ana.

Ana's really good with kids. I figured she could teach me a new trick.

After all, she showed me how if you pinch a kid's nose they have to open their mouth to breathe.  And most of them open their teeth too, giving you the perfect opportunity to swab their throat or shove medicine into their mouth.

She spent half an hour, but she finally got this girl to open her mouth.

Thankfully, because she did test positive for strep throat.

Well, then I owed Ana lunch. So I ate lunch early.

And by the end of the day I couldn't remember anything. I was SO forgetful!

I stood there while this mom told me about her gassy baby and couldn't think of the medicine for that.

I just stared at the computer, hoping something would jog my mind.

Mom just stared at me like I was an idiot.

I redeemed myself though.

I left to "wash my hands" and thankfully ran into a medical assistant who had kids, and she helped me out!  She knew exactly what I was talking about and gave me the name right away.

Yep, sometimes I'm crazy.


I love it when kids come in and tell me they're constipated.

Most if the time they come in with belly pain and I have to convince them that it's constipation.

Eat a bunch of tortillas covered with meat and cheese and don't eat veggies.

I promise you'll be constipated to some degree.

Happy 6 months: homemade s'mores!


You need to tell me what medicine I can give my 2 month old for his cold.

Um, no ma'am.

He is 2 months old.  There are NO medications for him.  He is too small, his kidneys can't handle cough syrup.  The best I can do is give you information on humidifiers and bulbs to suction his boogers out.

Which one of those is his cough medicine?


Dear God, please protect this child!


So this 4 year old boy walks into my office.  Mom tells me a story of how he fell 3 days ago and she thought he was just fine, but each night before bed he would cry, so she thought she would bring him in to get his arm looked at.

I looked at him.

He had no point tenderness.

He was climbing on my exam table with both arms.

He was giving me high 5s with both arms.

He had NO bruising or swelling.

But I, like his mom, wasn't super comfortable with the fact that he was crying at bedtime every night.  Yeah, it could be an emotional thing, but that's not normal behavior.

Turns out this kid didn't have one broken bone in his body.

He had 2.




Kids are resilient! Never underestimate them!


So, you're about 14 years old, why don't you tell me what's going on.

"I have this pain in my stomach."

Ok, how long have you had it?

"Off and on for a year."

How many days a week do you get this pain?

"About 3 days a week."

So, about every other day.  That's a lot.


Ok, so how long do you have the pain for?

"About 1 second."

And where is this pain?

"I don't know.  Just anywhere in my belly."

And what does it feel like?  Sharp, dull, aching?

"It feels like someone just shanked me."


I'm not quite sure how to tell you this.

But sweetie,

you have gas pains.

I'm pretty sure you're gunna be ok.


all smiles!