08 July 2012

The day with the spoon

I think I’ve been pronouncing the word spoon wrong.

Only, no one ever corrects my usage of the word spoon, because I’m so fluent in Charades.  I hold up my hand like I’m holding a soup spoon and put it in my mouth, and people instantly know I’m talking about a spoon.

Everything at our clinic ends in the suffix –ita, meaning little.

So when I take cuchara, which means spoon, and try to make it cucharadita, to mean little spoon or teaspoon, which is what I actually want people to use.  My confusion comes when I look up the word for teaspoon in my handy google translate app.  It also gives me the noun form of the word: cuchararilla.

Don’t ask me what part of speech cucharadita is if google translate calls cucharailla the noun form of spoon.

So now I need to consult one of the other fluent Spanish, and not Charade Spanish speakers at our clinic, to get the correct pronunciation for teaspoon.

Although, I’m starting to become more fluent in Spanish and not just Charade Spanish, because I’m finally able to make phone calls to patients in Spanish and get across what I’m meaning to say.

Without begging one of the medical assistants to help me.


Business as usual this weekend on Monday.

Until 5:30 when the waiting room still had 10 people in it and the lights flickered a few times. 

Then, like something out of the twilight zone, the lights flickered again and went out, which was accompanied by numerous screams from around the clinic.



[This is a re-created version of what it looked like in our clinic.  I was too busy saving lives at the time to actually take a picture]

All the exam room doors opened, and I looked to Ana, my college that constantly teaches me correct procedures for any variety of situations.

What are we supposed to do now?!

When you're a little kid in school, and the lights go out it's awesome.  You don't have to do anything because you can't see your work.

Its just like that when you grow up and become an adult.

Only now you have to comfort a million screaming children, assure their moms that they can get seen the next day right away without having to wait in line again, and save the millions of dollars worth of vaccines your boss has stored in the refrigerator.

We finally convinced all the moms to come back tomorrow to get their kids examined, and that they wouldn't have to wait in line.  That didn't really appease them, but they kinda understood it wasn't our fault the lights went out.

Then we set out to save the vaccines.

We went straight for the "Emergency action plan" written on the vaccine refrigerator.

We grabbed the coolers from the attic, ready to fill them with store-bought ice and liquid nitrogen until we could find a suitable fridge to store the vaccines in.

But the appointed people who were supposed to get ice were no longer working.

And the electric-powered gate that fences in our cars wasn't working.

Which meant we had to move on to plan B.

But there is no plan B.

We called the office manager, who didn't answer.  Just as we were deciding to draw straws to walk for ice, the power came back on.  Around 6:30 pm, about an hour later.


 Ana and I decided to leave our charts open and deal with everything in the morning.

And I went to share stories and Sangria with my small group :) 



So, I continue to have to gag children with sticks. It’s inevitable if I want to see the back of their throat or test them for strep throat.  I always pray silently that I won’t make them vomit, especially since they’re usually already nauseous.

But one time, I guess I asked for it.

There was a 6 month old baby with a fever.  Which means I have to pull out urine and blood artificially and test for roots of the fever unless I can find something on physical exam.

And I was SO excited because I found sores in the back of her mouth, herpangina, which is a viable and legitimate cause of fever.  And just to be sure, and ease mom’s worries, I had mom come look in her daughter’s throat.

Only her daughter was fighting a bit now that she knew I was going to stick my tongue depressor down her throat, so I had to fight back, lest I get bested by a 6 month old, and as a reward for my efforts, mom got to see the sores, I got to confirm my diagnosis, and





Which I suppose is only a fair effect of my actions.  Still, it was a first for me in all my clinical experience, so I had to document it.


What’s more fun than being a brand-new PA?

Getting to teach a PA student!

She spent one day a week with each of us, minus Ana, because Ana exempted herself from having a student.

Which I think is silly because sometimes the student was super helpful, even though my medical assistant kept making fun of me because I was moving slower than a snail.

Because suddenly, I wasn't the lowest person on the food chain!  I had someone to paint floride on my kid's teeth.  I had someone to counsel all of my obese children for me (after watching a few exams and deeming that she was good at it).  I had someone to teach about asthma drugs.  And someone to teach all the stuff they don't tell you in school.

 Now that this student is gone, I can hardly wait for another one!

All day Friday at work, I kept smelling a rotten banana smell, and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.

I thought maybe I was having some kind of crazy delusion.  So I looked through my desk and my bag and everything.

No banana. 

I must be crazy.


At the last minute, I decided to take my work bag to Philadelphia with me instead of my generic African bag purse.  My work bag has more pockets in it for pens, power cords, and hot chocolate packets.

Which meant I had to clean it out.

Upon searching for my iPhone ear buds not ten minutes prior, I dug through numerous other bags, searching for them in miscellaneous pockets. I found 4 other sets of ear buds, but not the ones I wanted.

I also managed to find what I thought was a rock, but turned out to be a petrified clementine orange.


After giving up the search, I moved back to re-organizing my work bag.

That rotten banana smell?

Turns out, it was an actual rotten banana.

That I was about to leave in our closet all week.



Sometimes people complement me at work.  I really love it when people smile and ask my name when they leave the room.  It means they want to see me when they come back, which means I did a good job.

It’s probably my favorite complement.

But second to that one, I’d have to say, is when a teenage girl complements me on my eyes.  Or, my eye makeup, really.  I just think its so cute.

Who knows more about cute eye makeup than teenagers.  And their moms who silently agree with them by shaking their head yes.

And it's 800 times better than the days I wear no makeup and people keep asking me what’s wrong and why I look so tired.  Or asking me if I'm a student in High School and when the real doctor is going to come in the room.  

But my 3rd favorite complement, making it a cooler complement that when people like my TOMS shoes, is when they ask me:

“How did you get your tummy so flat?”

The question usually follows a long visit talking about the sniffles their kid has or how their kid’s BMI is so high, it isn’t even on the chart anymore, and comes in ENGLISH even if the mom just spoke to me in only Spanish. 

I usually talk about how I eat a lot of fruits and veggies.

Which I'm glad is a true thing.

Because I think admitting that I don’t have kids yet would be tantamount to your mechanic admitting he’s never owned a car.  Even if he’s been to mechanic school, how good can he be if he doesn’t even own a car.


[Julia, who has been to 8 million other countries, visited our couch one night last week!]

[We all like Sunday afternoon naps]

[getting ready to go out in Oklahoma City!]

[the Bachelorette!]

Our trip to New York City and Philadelphia!

[The view from Central Park, where we ate hot dogs from a street vendor!]

[He was so pleased by our visit to Central Park, that he came out of his home and posed for us!]

We were coincidentally in St. Patrick's cathedral just 2 days after Alec Baldwin got married; we're big 30 Rock fans]

And speaking of 30 Rock:

[Ryan and Micah made the light room at the Rockefeller Building blow up when they crashed into each other because they're so powerful.]

[The view from the TOP OF THE ROCK!]

[After enjoying the Apple Store but before enjoying gelato at Grand Central Station]

[Dinner with these people at Carmines = Winning!]

[Because we're so smart, we navigated the subway, and were serenaded on it]


["Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"]

[Everyone told us to eat at Pat's in Philadelphia.  I'm not a fan of cheese wiz so much, but I guess Pat wins because he is a king.]

[Hanging with the Fam in New Jersey.  The kids liked Ryan a lot because he helped them beat zombies.  I think they also like us because they got to dress up and be in our wedding pictures.]

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