Friday, December 21, 2012

Boxes and mess to holiday fest

So, it's been a crazy month and a half since we moved! It has taken every bit of that time for us to get settled in. 

It was a nice move, as moves go... Being able to load the truck, move, and unload the truck in one day is a big (and welcome!) difference! We are so excited to be here in Charlotte. So far we like the area we are in and we like our ward. We love being able to hang out with our families more often. Our apartment is not without it's flaws but it's a definite big step up. One of the big highlights of the last month or two was purchasing our very own washing machine and dryer! I'm still getting excited to do the laundry, if that tells you anything. Once we finally got a few pictures hung on the walls and put up our Christmas tree the place really started to feel like home! That Christmas tree is on it's 5th year and holding strong.
In the lower left picture you can see the TV stand/shelf Burke built/stained/etc. It added a lot of time to our "getting our stuff situated" but he did a great job and it's what we needed. Also it gave Burke a hankering for power tools and space to build stuff. 
Burke's been very busy with his new job, including a trip to Denver. I loved my orthopedics rotation in November. Really, I loved it. Except I'm still not super crazy about surgery. I started pediatrics in December and am really enjoying this one. I haven't yet found as much fulfillment on any rotations as I feel when I walk into a room and get to make friends with a sick little kid. It doesn't happen every time, but it's so fun. 
I took my first sick day since I can remember last week and today Burke left work early sick. I'm not sure if I should blame working in pediatrics but I have sure been exposed to a lot of germs over there. It's a bummer, but hopefully Burke will be better tomorrow so we can start our Christmas partying! We're feeling so blessed to have each other, wonderful people in our lives, and all that we need and so much more.

By the way, I'm super excited to live in North Carolina again.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Best of Norfolk

I asked Burke what he would miss about living in Norfolk and together we came to a simple consensus. There are only 2 things:

the beach

and the people.

Our memories of Norfolk and our time here will be filled with lots of other interesting and unique things:
Like I-64 W that goes north and I-64 E that goes south
Our apartment, which smelled musty when we were gone for a weekend, leaked in a ridiculous amount of cold air through the windows, with carpet that was stained and didn't meet the door, miss-matching and miss-fitting linoleum in the bathroom, and neighbors who we could hear every.dang.thing about.
The roads! Oh the roads! From the pot hole-filled interstate to the narrow-laned Tidewater Rd
The hula-hooper on Granby St
Tunnel traffic
Jet noise. Those "I <3 Jet Noise" bumper stickers? They're sarcastic.
Hurricane hype

We may look back on those things with a sense of nostalgia. But we won't miss them.

We will miss our beach. Living on the beach. A luxury we will likely (almost certainly) never enjoy again. And while I'm sure we didn't appreciate it and utilize it like some others would, we still loved it. And we'll miss it.

But more than anything, we'll wholeheartedly miss our friends.
(and many more, not pictured)

We've been so blessed to meet some awesome, awesome people that we will sorely miss. Thanks for being the best part of Norfolk!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The pluses and minuses of ER (updated)

+ The opportunity to learn and do procedures
+ Getting (relatively) quick results on labs and tests
+ Lots and lots of variety, and lots of things I've never seen before
+ Connecting with a patient, and feeling like they like and trust me
+ Wearing scrubs...  happy to put aside my dress pants for a while
+ Days off...'nough said

- Long shifts
- Nights. For me, they were brutal.
- Draining abscesses is far less satisfying than I imagined it would be. Actually, it's really gross (I know, shocker). 
- Screaming, sick children still terrify me
- Lots and lots of sad situations
- Nobody is having a good day when they come in to the ER

There's all kinds of tough stuff coming through the doors. There's addicts, psychiatric illnesses, people who refuse to take care of their medical problems and end up so far gone. Sometimes there just isn't much we can offer.

Overall, now that I'm done, I have to say I really enjoyed it. Most days were pretty fun and exciting. Naive little me learned a lot about the great big world out there and the struggles people face. And I learned a lot about medicine. Do I want to get a job in an ER when I'm done? Quite possibly.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy fall!

Happy fall, from the Chesapeake Bay!

So far it looks a lot like the other seasons around here, but it is most definitely fall. 

How do I know? First of all, I've started running again...a clear sign of the coming of autumn.

Second of all, I'm working in Family Medicine right now and let me tell you, people attribute all kinds of things to the changing seasons. 
I like my rotation a lot and think family med wouldn't be bad at all. The one thing I really don't like? Dealing with "colds/coughs/sore throats/sinus infections/upper respiratory infections/bronchitis/whatever you wanna call it" all. the. time. Seriously. But otherwise it's going great!

Burke and I gave talks in church today and as we were introduced the bishop said we would be leaving soon. Between that and Burke's emotional-ness during the intermediate hymn of "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good," (Really? Who can we blame for picking that song?) now everybody has to say something to us about how sad they are that we're leaving or what not. It just feels kind of funny because we aren't actually moving for another month and a half. People are going to keep seeing us around and be like, "Wait. You're still not gone yet?" Let's be serious; nobody wants to say goodbye too many times. 

I hope you're enjoying September, wherever you are! I know it's got to be one of my favorite times of year.

Friday, September 7, 2012


No more working in's back to the office with this guy!

Burke has accepted a job for TIAA-CREF in Charlotte, NC, and will begin October 1st (or thereabouts).

He'll be there and I'll be here for one long and lonely month. Then in early November we'll be moving to Charlotte, and I will finish up my rotations there and come back to Virginia to graduate next May as planned. We are super excited!!!

Last year a guy that Burke used to work with at Thrivent who now works at TIAA-CREF tried to recruit him. It wasn't the right timing, obviously, but it got us thinking about future opportunities. Burke already knows several people and has a great reputation at CREF. When Burke's dad got a job for the same company and started plans to move to Charlotte it was even more of a reason to pursue it--both sets of parents are in the same state now! I started working on arranging away rotations in Charlotte so that if the opportunity presented itself again, we could go ahead and move down there. The only bummer is that this job is lining up  a month too early. But that's that!

I feel so blessed and so proud of Burke. We don't know quite where his career will lead us, but he is doing a great job wherever and in whatever he does. I'm so grateful that he supported me in moving to Virginia even though it meant sacrificing a lot for him to work from home. It was a huge blessing that he was able to not only keep his job, but do so well in it, for those 21 months. We're excited for the opportunities that he will have in NC, and I'm thrilled to be moving back "home." We will live really close to Burke's parents and about an hour and 15 minutes from my parents, which is so exciting. North Carolina is wonderful and we can't be happier about our next big change!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Surgery update

Surgery is going surprisingly well! 
I am a lucky, lucky girl, because my surgery rotation is with a group that has me work M-F 8ish-5ish, no call. Some of my counterparts work those 60-80-something hour weeks when they're on surgery, but not me! The only complaint I can muster is that I sometimes don't get lunch, but that sounds pretty lame when I consider the schedule I could be working.

The docs are great overall and I'm learning a ton. The first couple of weeks I did more rounding and sometimes went to the office to follow the docs there, but last week I was in the OR all day every day. It's been almost surprising how much I have enjoyed my days, most of the time. I was so anxious about this rotation, but it's really not been a big deal. In the OR I recognize that it is easy for me to just be in the way, so I try really hard to just do as I'm told. This week I'm trying and ask to get a little more involved if I can. It's a great opportunity for me. 

Because I am enjoying the rotation, the patients, etc., I feel like I would certainly look into a job in surgery if it were available. PAs can fill all sorts of roles in a surgery practice, taking care of the patients in the hospital, doing consults, seeing patients in the office, or assisting in surgery. It's hard to imagine, though, that any doctor would want me for a first assist in surgery! With my meager 4 weeks of surgery rotation experience, I think that would be a tough sell. But it's exciting to consider what my options might be and refreshing to no longer feel that fear and aversion to the OR. 

I will never forget some of the things I've seen and experienced on this rotation. Getting to meet these patients, and then see the anatomy so up close and personal, really puts their pathology into perspective. It's a great way to learn. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The commute

One thing I miss desperately about my time at BYU was being able to walk, all the time. If I got to drive/get dropped off at work it was lovely, but most of the time I walked everywhere. I miss that.

Especially because I am now in my 4th rotation, and all 4 of them have been in different cities, other than the one I live in. And because traffic in this region is hideous. Horrendous. Not near as bad as D.C. But still horrible.

Today I left work on the east side of Virginia Beach around 5. I had to run 2 small, short errands. I got home at 7:30. Now that is bad for the environment.

We live right next to the bridge-tunnel that leads to the peninsula (where Hampton and Newport News are) and the traffic backs up there like you wouldn't believe. It's bizarre, because the freeway is only 2 lanes for miles and miles leading up to the tunnel... it's not like it's merging traffic. And yet, every single day, traffic backs up like there's a friggin hurricane coming. I don't know if I will ever understand it. Today just happened to be particularly bad. 

So today I say, I can't wait until I can live really close to the places I have to be every single day. Maybe walking distance, even? I miss Provo.

Can you tell I've been home alone all week?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


We sure had a great weekend... it was a cryin' shame for it to end. One highlight--and dream come true--was when we saw 10-15 dolphins in the water just out from where we were swimming. It was awesome! But of course, no photos of that.

Thanks, you two, for coming to visit! Have a great semester at BYU!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

July in photos

July just slipped right on by, and we were busy as ever.

Passing a lamborghini on I-85 in northern NC. It's safe to say it was a defining moment in Burke's life, hence the picture he made me take.

Spending a long weekend with Mom, Dad, and Dill, including an evening hike/swim at Stone Mountain

Celebrating Burke's 26th birthday with candles and his favorite Raisin Cake

Bowling... and Burke got two fantastic scores--an excellent birthday present!

Watching a glass-blowing demonstration and checking out the Chrysler Museum of Art (these are some of my favorite glass sculptures)

Taking our neighbor David to the temple for the first time

Sunday, July 15, 2012


This week, for the first time, I

-Watched a baby being born. Beautiful, happy and strange. Wonderful. I felt like laughing and crying, but instead I just smiled.

-Assisted with a C-section. Oh my bloody goodness! I couldn't believe how bloody it was and I sure hope that doesn't happen to me. It was pretty incredible too, though. During pregnancy mom's body makes lots of extra blood to more than compensate for birth, so even c-sections usually go okay as far as blood loss goes.

-Scrubbed in for surgery. This is where you get all dressed in sterile gown and gloves in order to assist with surgery. I learned how to do this and all about sterile technique last fall, but I had so far not had the opportunity to scrub in.

-I got profusely sweaty and "about to pass out" sicky during surgery (a hysterectomy) and had to break scrub and sit down. Oh don't worry, this was DAY ONE. I was HORRIFIED. Talk about a fantastic first impression. As it turns out, breakfast really is a good idea.

-Sutured on a real, though asleep and anesthetized, person. So much easier than a pig's foot.

-Drove the camera during a laparoscopic surgery.

It was an incredible week! But firsts are stressful!!! And exhausting! And exciting!!!
I also did some pelvic exams, learned to measure pregnant bellies, and some other such stuff. OBGYN is a pretty fun rotation. It's super weird though that every single patient is an adult woman. Since general surgery is the rotation that I am the most worried about and I have that to look forward to in August, I am really grateful that I'm getting the opportunity now to get some good surgery experience. I am somewhat anxious but excited for what week 2 will bring! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dreams, little dreams

This morning I woke up dreaming about kidneys.

For real.

It happens all the time nowadays. I'm studying in my sleep people! Making up for all the time (like, oh, now for example) that I'm not studying when I'm awake.

I wonder if this will continue for the rest of my life. It's fairly annoying, really. But can we blame my brain? When I have been spending the majority of my time lately learning and thinking about the kidneys, what else is it supposed to give me at night?

So I was thinking about my dreams and this little gem of a song popped into my head. Burke brought home a whole slew of CDs from Paraguay, and one day while listening to a CD I had never heard before, we ran across this. And we happen to think it's charming! So I decided to look it up on Youtube.

Here you have it. The lowest budget music video ever made. But do enjoy the song. It's mostly Spanish, but my favorite part is the two little English words in every chorus. And the violin.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Love family time.

Ian, Emma, and Beth came to visit from Utah. Ian and Emma got in later Saturday night, and Beth came in on Sunday morning. It was a blurry, busy Father's Day. We ate breakfast, went to church in my parents ward, Daddy opened his presents, all of my dad's side of the family came over for a get together, and then they had Dillon's eagle scout court of honor at my parent's house. Burke and I unfortunately had to miss that so we could get back home for work on Monday morning. The weekend was lovely, but very busy. 

My family's plan for the week was to go to the beach for a few days, to the beach in southern NC. However, through much persuading, they were convinced to come vacation by us. I couldn't get out of work to go with them, but since they were close we are able to hang out in the evenings. And it was priceless.

The house they stayed in was on the bay, right down the street from us. They were able to go to nicer beaches during the day, but play with us at night.
Emma loves the beach. The sand, the water, the shells, the crabs... she loves it. But she did not want to smile for a picture!
 Bright colored pedicures for Mom's birthday! 
 Ian got a much-needed vacation from his 80+ hour work weeks.
 We enjoyed a little bit of much-needed sister time! So sad to live so far apart.
 Grandpa loves his little girl
...and can provide hours of entertainment for a 4-year-old!

Thanks, family, for coming to Virginia instead! Being able to join in on your vacation a little felt just a bit like a vacation for me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weekends and between

A couple of weekends ago I got to help my dear friend Elise celebrate her birthday by going to the Eastern Shore. We stayed at a quaint bed and breakfast in a quaint, quiet town. We enjoyed ourselves so much! The bed and breakfast was hilarious. Breakfast was a sit-down, "three course" meal at a dining room table with all of the other guests--who were all old couples. The three of us girls showed up at breakfast following a run on the beach... everybody else was cleaned up and showered and ready for the day. Then we spent literally an HOUR at breakfast waiting for the next food, being polite, and making conversation. It was so funny. Elise's favorite part was when the three of us sat around the piano and played and sang together. It was so lovely to spend that time with Elise and Laurel!  

 That same weekend Burke took the youth to the D.C. temple. It was one of those marathon trips--6 am til 11 at night. So don't worry, he had plenty of fun without me too!

Last weekend was Harborfest. We went on Friday night as soon as I got done with work. We made it in time for most of Gavin Degraw's performance, and Burke, who for some reason unknown to me had previously referred to him as "Gavin De-Blah," also enjoyed the show. Then we looked around for a while, admired the huge ships, watched break-dancers and drummer guys, and then watched Colbie Caillat sing for a while. It's such a cool festival, one of Norfolk's funnest things.

In between weekends we've been busy working. I finished my primary care/internal medicine rotation. Now I'm on a nephrology rotation--that's the kidney specialists. The docs I'm working with are fantastic, but it's been kind of tough. I really started out having no idea what was going on. Week 2 is going better so far, but I'm awfully slow at figuring stuff out. I have learned a lot and I think it's pretty awesome stuff. I've enjoyed getting to be in the hospital and learning the culture there and the way things work. Burke is working hard at home still. Things are going well for him. He is staying extra busy as Young Men President. And I just got called to my 4th different calling in this ward! I was released as a teacher in Relief Society and will now be teaching Gospel Doctrine. I am so anxious about it, but I am also excited to study the Book of Mormon better. 

Next weekend we'll be heading to NC for another whirlwind weekend. Ian, Emma, and Beth are coming for a visit. We'll only get to see them for a day, but we're excited!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Two-car family

Proud to announce that we are now a 2-car family!

Yes, that is a big car. No, that was not the intention. Though now we can give rides to church to all of the members in our neighborhood with no problem. (Maybe it was Burke's secret intention...)

We have been sharing a car for our whole marriage, which has certainly been problematic plenty of times. But with Burke working at home since we've moved here, we've been able to make due. However, now that I am working full-time, varying hours, commuting to a different city every month, it's becoming (and will become) even more difficult. For example, Burke, who is the YM president, almost missed the youth activity on Thursday because I was stuck in traffic on the other side of the bridge-tunnel. We've been car shopping for several months, and yesterday, since we both happened to be off work, we went to check out this Explorer and decided to go for it. Burke is excited to have a car that he feels like he fits in. I am not super excited and I'm nervous about having such a big car... I hate driving big cars and especially putting gas into them, but hopefully we still won't be needing to drive it very much. We got a good deal and are hoping it will do the job for the next while!

Burke said he'll drive it for now, and when we have kids I can drive it. I just had to remind him that by the time we could have enough kids to need a car like that, that explorer probably won't even be running!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

GIM Weeks 1 and 2

Alrighty! I am already halfway through with my first rotation! And today marks 355 days until graduation. But who's counting? I can definitely tell that this year is going to be one of the fastest of my life so far.

My first rotation is general internal medicine. It's outpatient, so I work in a primary care office. It's a little disappointing that I'm not in the hospital for internal med, and this rotation is probably going to be very similar to my family medicine rotation, but that's ok. At least I have a cushy schedule! I'm an 8-5er, with only half-days on Fridays. I work with a nurse practitioner 3 days a week and a doctor twice a week. They are both very different so it's good to learn from them both. It's been a bit of a challenge adapting the things I learned about history taking and physical exam to real patients who come to see this doctor all the time and have chronic problems instead of acute issues.

Most of what I have to look up/study these days is pharmacology. What I generally remember from pharmacology is drug classes, but suddenly I have to know specific drugs (trade names and generics) and their specific dosages, side effects, interactions, etc. I have met some patients with very interesting diseases. Chronic diseases are the norm. By the time I'm done I should be a pro at blood pressure drugs. I've seen a lot of people in chronic pain, and learned quickly how to recognize patients who are drug-seeking and need to be sent to pain management. I'm realizing how frustrated I feel with many of these processes that we really just don't have a lot of options for. My preceptor has taught me that most of medicine is not about "cures," and I think that's a little bit of a depressing fact. I do feel overwhelmed looking at a patient's medication list that is 10+ drugs long, or trying to sort out a 81-year-old's medication history when they're not really with it enough to tell you what's going on.

But it's rewarding too. I do love connecting with a patient. It's a really neat feeling, and it really helps them to make changes or to do the things that are hard for them in order to take care of themselves. And helping a patient to help themselves is the best thing ever.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Music in my life

On May 9th Burke and I celebrated 3 lovely years of marriage! Ok, well, "celebrating" is maybe a stretch. But Burke made a special breakfast, I made a special dessert, and we made a special dinner together. We tried to watch a movie, but I kept falling asleep so we only watched it for an hour. Romantic, huh? It was day 3 of my first rotation, and a long day of work for Burke too, so that just doesn't leave a lot of energy for much celebrating. (I guess that's what our Outer Banks trip was for).

Anyway, the highlight for me was Burke's gift to me.

I was so touched I cried. Music is really important to both Burke and I. Without having a piano in our home I know I have slowly been losing my talent. We both want to have a nice, real piano someday, but that is probably a very long way off. Ever since we first got married Burke has wanted to get us a piano, and he said he didn't want to put it off any more. He didn't spend a whole lot of money on it, and it's nothing fancy, but it is a full-length keyboard with weighted keys and a pedal, and a volume button and a headphone jack (a necessity for apartment living). He asked me to play Clair de Lune. I did, and as it usually does it made me a little sad how badly I fumbled through it, but it was so exciting to be playing the piano in my own home! I need it--I need music in my life.

Thanks, Best Friend, for filling my life with music! ...well before you bought me that keyboard. Our three years so far have been full of life's music. I'm holding out for an eternity more.

Oh and by the way, speaking of music, after so many years of not watching American Idol, a few weeks ago I caught it while I was at the gym, and I got hooked! This season's top few contestants have been phenomenal! Wednesday night's show this week was so good I even bought the songs.