Dear Memphis,

Dear Memphis, You are not that pretty. Actually, in some places you are kinda dirty. Your river is muddy, everybody thinks you are dangerous, and you are very expensive to fly to. You are famous for BBQ, the Blues, and a King who never really ruled anyone. You have a strange pyramid in the middle of your city, you have a sports team named for an animal that doesn’t live even remotely close to you, and you have a “island”...

Weary Soul

Yesterday, I came home from work a little early. I just simply could not. do. it. any. longer. Total exhaustion. I wandered around the house aimlessly, in a fog. While trying to get my younger boys ready for the Cub Scouts Pack meeting, I mumbled my words…or couldn’t find words altogether…they got lost somewhere in my head and I couldn’t get them out of my mouth. “C’mon boys! Put on the…you know…the thing. That…whatever it’s called…” I faded quickly at...

A Different Conversation

Last week, Allie, my 14-year-old daughter, and I went to the doctor together. Neither of us are sick. We are preparing to travel out of the country together, so we set up an appointment with a travel medicine physician, to be sure our immunizations are up to date and that we have our malaria prophylaxis covered. I handed the doctor the tattered stack of papers I have been carrying around since medical school, proving I have had my tetanus shots...

Worth The Risk

Last week, I was  on a ski vacation  at a trauma surgery conference. Every year, trauma surgeons from around the country gather at a ski resort for a week of science sharing, friendship building and skiing. Now let’s set the record straight…I am an advanced beginner.  I ski mostly greens and blues. I can stay on my feet, but not gracefully. My husband convinced me to ascend the side of the mountain that promised a nice easy blue run, but despite the...

It Needs to Hurt a Little

The other week, I finally tackled the job of painting Scott’s office. He works from home now, so we agreed that setting up his office was priority #1 when we moved into this house. I decided on a paint color and blocked off a Sunday afternoon to sequester myself in his office and get it done. I have painted many, many rooms in our homes over the years. I have, what I think, is a pretty good system. Tape on the...

The Sacred Cookie

I’ve been making these chocolate chip cookies for 25 years. These cookies have traveled from my hometown of Troy, Ohio, to my alma mater, Miami University; to Clarksville, Hopkinsville, Villa Park, Chicago, Memphis, New Albany, Columbus, and Indianapolis; they have a connection to Jamaica and Lima, Peru. They have fed hungry tummies, lonely hearts, homeless souls and the sickest of the sick. They show up when the spirit and the stomach need nourishment. When I was in med school, exhausted and...

Password Protected

I have spent many hours this week on hold with several kind customer service representatives trying to help me hack back into my life. Sadly, about two weeks ago, while syncing my phone to my computer, I must have unknowingly checked some box that indicated that I didn’t want to transfer my apps from my phone to my computer…because why, when you are doing a backup, would you want to preserve all of the data from your phone to your computer?...

The Abundance of “No”

Across my desk, sat the Vice Chair of Surgical Education. She was debriefing with me after an observation of my interactions with the residents and students I have the honor of teaching and mentoring in my new job. She offered some kind and complimentary words followed by a few pieces of advice to make me a better teacher. The interaction was comfortable, but matter-of-fact and compulsory as part of my role as academic faculty. But just as she was getting...

The Gift We Never Knew We Needed

It’s Christmas Eve in my parents’ house. My brother and I have descended upon their space with our spouses and children; with suitcases, bags, and toys; from baby bottles to teenage ambivalence, we are all hunkered down in the warmth of their home, taking turns in the bathroom and bumping into each other in the kitchen. As per tradition, we have a meal and go to church together on Christmas Eve, at the church where we grew up. And sometime...

Breathe With Me

The elderly woman we had been taking care of in the ICU looked younger than her stated age. But her medical history on paper was more consistent with her 79 years…the heart failure, the diabetes, the chronic lung disease. She managed to fight for three days before the exhaustion from the work of her breathing overcame her and she had to have a breathing tube placed. She spent the first night anxious and breathing rapidly. She sent her heart rate...