The Storm

Storms have always been a fear of mine.  As a storm is fast approaching, I consider the other storms that have gone before.   I remember a tornado when I was in college that tore apart my hometown and wrecked landmarks left and right.   Friends lost everything they had as the storm ripped their dorms apart.   The thing I remember most is that I was doing a research project with rats.  Because the buildings were not declared “safe” yet, they wouldn’t let me in to feed them or check on them and they ate each other.  It was like something out of 1984.  Very traumatic.

Fast forward to Hurricane Elvis while I was in medical school at UT.   I remember walking over a breezeway going toward The Med watching the storm hit.  We didn’t have much damage, but we didn’t have power for two weeks.   I slept and showered at the children’s hospital where I was on rotation.   We ate like kings at our apartment complex because everyone had to grill the meat from their refrigerators.   Then, about a week in, my brother who had gone to stay at my mom’s in the air conditioning called to say he had left “a few things” in his refrigerator and could I go clean it out.   Oh Mother of Mercy.  A few things was basically a whole hog and possibly half a cow, rotted for a week in the Memphis heat.   Again, traumatic.

Then there was residency.   A tornado rolled right down our street taking the windows, siding and roof on one side of my house.   I remember laying on the floor and hoping and praying that the storm would pass us by.  It did, by about 20 feet.  It picked up the roof of our house and set it back down, cracking most of the rafters.  We walked through debris in stunned silence that night helping neighbors crawl out of their demolished homes.  I remember the fear after it passed of not knowing if it was really over, or if we were still in the “eye” and another round was coming.   Also, traumatic.

Last week we all slept as a family in our “storm room” as another storm was bearing down.  I was lying there awake with Baby Bird nestled onto my chest as I was trying to avoid hearing the roar that is my husband’s snore.  I noticed as he started snoring, that Z, my three-year old, was laying on his back.   She was sucking her thumb with one eye open.  About the time I would get really annoyed with Daddy’s snoring to the point I was about to kick him, sweet Z would reach over and yank his ear really hard.   He responded by grunting and a temporary cessation to his snoring.   I observed this three or four times to ensure it wasn’t a fluke.  I. Love. that. kid.

Tonight, we are in the storm room again, praying for safety for all, lucky to have a “storm room”.  Wonder what this storm holds?


Why My Daughter is a Better Person Than I Am

One of my friends recently posted this bit of hilarity on their Facebook feed:


Is it completely inappropriate and mean spirited?  Absolutely.  Also, really, really funny.

Imagine my horror when my three-year old leaned over my shoulder and said, “Is that you mommy?”

What? Really kid?  I haven’t lost the baby weight entirely, but I’m not THAT fat and besides I would never wear that. (Is what I wanted to shout at my child)

Instead I said, “Sweetie, she doesn’t have red hair.  Mommy has red hair.”  (I really didn’t want to mention the size difference because we are working on avoiding mention of such things in front of an impressionable toddler)

She persisted in her belief that it was a picture of me.

I finally asked, “Baby, why do you think that is mommy?”

“Because she looks so pretty and happy,” she replied.

And then I realized that what I saw and what my sweet daughter saw were two very different things.  I love her heart.  I love that she saw pretty and happy where I saw fat and smug.  I wish I saw people with her heart and eyes.

You stuck what? Where?

            In nearly ten years of being a physician, I have pulled foreign bodies out of every orifice of the human body.  I have washed bugs out of people’s ears (and peas, and corn) and pulled bits of foam out of nasal passages.  I will not even begin to address the other orifices and the things I have found there.  This is not that kind of blog.

            Every time I have pulled a popcorn kernel out of a toddler’s nose as their mortified parents protest their embarrassment, I have been smug.  I have smugly informed them, that it is really common and a “lot of kids stick things in their nose or ear.”  Inwardly I was thinking, “Yeah, stupid kids.  Not my kid.”

           That was until today. 

          Z has been picking her nose for about two weeks.  We have been trying to discourage this behavior, and we thought it was just something she was going through.  We tried to not make a huge deal about it.  We hoped she would grow out of it.   Finally, I had it with her today when she kept her finger in there for about an hour straight, and being the competent physician I am, I dusted off the old bulb-suction and went to town.

          I saw something back in the back of her right nostril.  I thought to myself, “This is the mother-load of boogers.”  I suctioned several times, and it moved forward, but not enough to get out, but enough to make it apparent that this was a foreign body.  I asked her if she stuck something in her nose, and she giggled, “Yeah, Mommy.” 

          This is where my expert medical training came in.  I grabbed a set of curved Kelly forceps from the manicure kit, and told my two-year old to “hold still”.  With the illumination of a flash light, and a couple of fishing expeditions, I was rewarded with a chunk of styrofoam, and a smiling toddler saying, “Thank you, Mommy.”



            I found myself examining this, thinking to myself, “When was the last time we had a package delivered with foam?”  and, “How long has that thing been in her nose?”  She has been having trouble sleeping at night and now I am second-guessing if this was the problem all along.  Oh, and don’t forget the amazing diagnostic skills that allowed this physician to overlook a giant piece of foam in her toddler’s nose for at least two-weeks.  Mommy fail.  Doctor fail.  I guess it why they recommend not treating yourself or your family.

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