Saturday, August 11, 2007


It's been a bit of a tough week. Wednesday I visited the friends whose baby had died, and Thursday I had a really draining shift at the hospital: two visits with terminally ill patients (one of whom got a grim test result while I was in the room), followed by a visit with a haunted, conflicted combat veteran. I bungled that one very badly, undoing the good work of what had been a positive interaction by asking a singularly stupid question; the patient chewed me out in no uncertain terms, very understandably, and I felt horrible about it. (When in doubt, shut up. As often as I relearn this, I always seem to forget it again.)

I had more than my share of confronting my own limitations this week. This is, of course, a reminder that God can do what I can't, but in situations where one wants to demand of God, "What were you thinking?" that reminder isn't necessarily a comfort.

Yesterday, things turned around. Remember the baby shower I was going to on Wednesday? (It was a really nice party!) My pregnant friend had been scheduled to have the baby by c-section this coming Wednesday, but Friday she went for a routine checkup, and her doctor decided that the baby needed to come out then. Right then. Her doctor's appointment was at 1:00. The baby was delivered by 3:30. Mother and child, a little girl, are doing very well, thank you, and yesterday I visited them in the hospital and got to hold baby Ada, who's just gorgeous.

Holding a healthy newborn was exactly what I needed after the events of the previous two days, and the fact that the obstetrician picked up on warning signs and saved what could have been a dire situation restored my faith in what medicine can do, after a few too many examples this week of what it can't.

Babies: good medicine!

Meanwhile, I had a meeting with my friend Marin at the medical school to go over my teaching plan for the med-school seminar on Tuesday. We had a comedy of errors finding each other, but when we finally did, the meeting went swimmingly. I feel good about what I've planned, and Marin was very enthusiastic. Now I just hope the students like it!

My father arrived safely last night, after another comedy of errors involving delays -- he was two hours late -- and United's dithering about whether they were going to allow me to meet him at the gate or not. They finally decided that they would, after telling me categorically that I couldn't (this after I'd made two separate calls to the airport and the airline and been told that of course I could).

When we got home, I found e-mail from my friend Ann the poet, who'd written a thoughtful and very helpful critique of my ED sonnets. She has a lot of good ideas for strengthening the sequence, but certainly seems to feel that doing so will be worth the effort. So that was heartening.

Oh, on Tuesday I saw my psychiatrist, who's taking me off the nortriptylene -- just in case it contributed to my wonky EKG -- and has begun the process of starting me on Lexapro. I'm still taking the Effexor too, but the ultimate goal is for me to be only on the Lexapro, which supposedly had fewer side effects than other SSRIs. I'm a little nervous, since I couldn't write on Prozac, which is also an SSRI, but my doc assures me that if this happens, I can go back to the current regimen.

Fun with meds! Yay! But I like the idea of only one pill. And I haven't given up on my eventual goal of being off meds, at least for a while, even though my doc's dubious about that.

And, finally, here's the latest batch o' cat pix. I had a quilt and some blankets piled on a chair while I was making my father's bed, and Figgy discovered that they made a wonderful cave. Click to enlarge, and enjoy!


  1. Beautiful cat. Those pictures brought a smile to my face! My sister's cat, who is all black, with green eyes, used to hide in a garbage bag we'd stuffed full of shredded paper. So under the desk was the big black blob with green eyes. One of these days, I'm going to write a children's story about the black blob with green eyes.

    Many Blessings as you keep muddling through!

  2. Thank you, BB! We have an all-black cat, too. We think he's as beautiful as this one, and if you think he's pretty, you should see our long-haired black-and-white cat.

    We think all our cats are beautiful; but then, we're biased.

    Come to think of it, we think all cats are beautiful!

  3. Great shots of Figaro, Susan! He must be a very calm cat to allow you to get so close with that camera. I assure you my Hyram would have turned tail and run.


  4. Thanks, Lee! He's actually the twitchiest of our cats, but since I'm an Official Food Source (TM), he puts up with things from me he wouldn't tolerate from strangers. Also, I think he's intrigued by the camera. Also, he felt safe in his little cave.

    And, after all, like any other cat, he knows how photogenic he is!

  5. I really hope that the new med doesn't decrease your desire/ability to write. I look forward to your posts every day. But having experienced/experiencing a bad case of writers block, I know it's much more unpleasant for the author.

    I'm also going to go back and reread your poosts about your heart troubles. I'm on the same class of drug (Amitriptyline/Elavil) and wondering if our issues are similar. I hope the medicines work out well for you.

  6. Thanks, Nickie, and I hope your writer's block lifts soon! Yes, it's very unpleasant!

    And I certainly hope the Elavil isn't causing you any cardiac problems. That is a known possible side-effect of tricyclics, though (and one of the reasons why most people prefer SSRIs).

  7. My great-great-grandmother's name was Ada Mae, so i think that kid's got a pretty awesome name. (For the record, she lived until i was ten years old, so she's more than just a name and a story to me.) Aren't babies great?

  8. Anonymous3:06 PM

    I always love the cat pix, but somehow these are the cutest ever, especially the close up in the lower right hand corner.

    Glad you and your Dad are having a good time,



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