August 28, 2009

How to Give Your Kid a Spinal Cord Injury:

Purchase one of these.

Let 'em loose with this one.

And use this device while driving.

That's how my pediatric patients got theirs.
(Yet another scare-you-straight post from Resident Mommy)

August 26, 2009

I Won My First Giveaway Prize!!!

Check it out, y'all!

How perfect is this win for my wardrobe project?! After the crappy week I had, this is just what the doctor ordered. EEEEeeeeeeeeee!

Thanks so much to Kay at The Van Gogh Cafe for the CZ Fashion Springwear tops.

I will have to post pictures modeling the clothes when I receive them.

August 17, 2009

My Tailbone May Never Be the Same: Part I

I hope not to need a cushion for sitting for the rest of my life.

The medical literature doesn't mention coccygodynia (tailbone pain) until 1726, either women weren't forthcoming about this common problem or men didn't pay attention until then!

Anywho, from my brief literature perusal I've come to discover that it's not uncommon for women to be told that pain in their tailbone is all in their head. The reasons for this are that nothing can be seen on X-ray or MRI, and/or the pain does not improve with standard treatment.

To aid diagnosis, any imaging study should be performed to include views of the patient sitting down. This would seem like a no-brainer, especially since that's when most people complain of discomfort, but it is not a traditional way of looking at things!

Alas, my baby has decided to teeth early. . . I'll discuss more later.

August 16, 2009

Coccygodynia, Otherwise Known as Pain in the Tailbone

I have it and let me tell you, getting up from a chair is quite the ordeal.

I'm going to dedicate this week to discovering the causes and treatment options for this ailment. Follow along!

August 15, 2009

The Essential Scarf

From H&M, only $7ish

Let me tell you why I can't live without this accessory. I have used my scarf to:
  • Look put-together, without the effort.
    It may seem impossible to look stylish when you have a child consuming all your time and energy, but adding something as simple as a scarf really does wonders to make an outfit.
  • Cover myself during public breastfeeding.
    I have the standard shield, but in summer it gets unbearably hot under there. I discovered this use when I was in a parked car trying to feed my boy and my scarf, still around my neck, fell perfectly into place. It's very light and Philippe got a lot less sweaty during the feed.
  • Hide nipple leakage.
    This was my initial reason for buying scarves.
  • Block out smoke.
    A bonus! When I pass by cigarette smokers I hold my scarf to my face. Do you think that's rude of me? I don't, in fact when people have said something about my conspicuous dislike for tobacco smoke I say "Sorry, but I'm allergic to cancer."

This post is part of my follow-up to The Resident Mommy Makeover.

August 12, 2009

Women: Made to Suffer?

I felt nauseated the other day, told a male relative of mine, and all I got was "oh, too bad."

I then realized that the many months of pregnancy-induced vomiting had given the impression that pukey was my baseline status. This bothered me a bit as I began to ponder all the horrible things that could befall me, and garner little or no attention from others, simply because these are 'women problems.'

There's no one to blame. The notion that each pregnancy ends in a medical emergency (i.e. labor and delivery) makes it seems as though women are accustomed to extremes. Add to this the fact that vaginas are known for discharging blood, mucus, and people and it's no wonder many gynecological symptoms/complaints appear unimpressive.

Did you know this is the reason STDs are caught sooner in men? When a woman spots something unusual on her toilet paper, she's more likely to dismiss it. Men, however, when they see something funky coming out of the penis they get it fixed right away because it's not acceptable.

I would like to reclaim my 'baseline status' today. I, Resident Mommy, am not supposed to double over in abdominal pain, puke my guts out, or stain my pants. -Geez, how did I even get to this point in my life where I need to declare such a thing?

August 7, 2009

Tips for Pumping - Thanks Marketing Mama!

Check out this awesome how-to guide from Marketing Mama on how to pump successfully at work. It is an awesome resource!

I would like to add a few things from my limited experience. These are tips specific to being a doctor, but can be applied to any mother who is extremely pressed for time.
  • Check in with the RN station beforehand = Get things in order first
    All residents quickly learn that if you want uninterupted time, you speak with the ancillary staff to find out if they need anything from you before you take care of yourself. Nothing cuts off a milk letdown like hearing your pager go off in the middle of pumping, and I imagine the same is true for moms who hear their children screaming for something when they've just gotten settled.

  • Say it straight-faced = There's no need to get embarrassed over pumping
    Doctors hardly blink an eye when they hear about body parts and functions. The truth is, if you don't make a big deal about something it doesn't become one. In contrast, if you're red faced every time you say 'breast' that's going to have a positive feedback response from the person hearing it. So just say what you need to say to communicate with people your needs for pumping breast milk. -Tee hee.

  • In case of a Code Blue = In an emergency. . .
    Detach the tubing from the breastshield and bolt. If you remove the tubing from the pump itself you will not be able to lay the bottles on a flat surface and run. And don't even think about spending the time to transfer your milk to another container when your adrenaline is pumping.

  • Type progress notes while you pump* = Go hands free
    There's that goofy looking bra you can wear to hold the breast shields in place and many mothers swear by it (I'm not knocking them, but c'mon, don't tell me that picture doesn't make you crack up). I recently found, however, that my Playtex nursing bras have enough elasticity in them that they can be clipped around my pumping parts and actually hold them in place!

  • Consider your rotation schedule when returning to work
    Don't jump back into residency with an in-patient month if you can help it. You'll be too tired and literally drained to get through it well. If your schedule has already been made, see if you can switch with another resident for an elective month.

  • Create an involuntary pathway = Train your brain
    Repetition will limit the amount of time it takes you to pump, and hopefully limit mistakes that will eventually happen when you're sleep deprived.

  • Build your reserve by the end of maternity leave
    This is really difficult as a resident because most of us get only 6 weeks off, the end of which usually marks the time when baby is going through a demanding growth spurt. But if you can push yourself to have a nice supply sitting in your freezer, a HUGE weight will be taken off your shoulders and you'll be a milk machine.

* Marketing Mama brings up a good point that you should just focus on your baby when you're still getting into pumping.

August 6, 2009

A 'Private' Place to Breastfeed

Have a good laugh on me.

Pumping at work requires a lot of preparation. As a resident, it's particularly difficult because we're on a rotating schedule and that means I'm moving from place to place.

I've saved a template for my requests to have enough time to pump, in a clean and private place, with access to a power outlet and fridge. I sent this to my current hospital site, but failed to realize that I would be spending time at my affiliate medical school for lectures. It's not my alma mater, so I'm not familiar with its layout. Almost frantically I called a male friend who is currently a student there the night before saying "I just realized I'm going to be at your school tomorrow for many hours, I'll need to pump my milk over there, where can I go?"

The poor guy felt bad for not having an immediate answer, but obviously he'd never had to think about this before. He called back to tell me that I could use an 'OSCE room.' Of course, I thought!

OSCE stands for Objective Structured Clinical Exams, and most med schools have rooms set up like actual doctors' offices so that students can be observed in a real life setting. It would be perfect because I could lock the door, plus there'd be a sink in the room.

I was glad everything worked out. As I got myself settled I pulled a privacy curtain around me to make me feel extra secure. After all, it's a vulnerable position one's in with plastic funnels gripping the breasts and both nipples pointing out like torpedos.

That's when my own OSCE exams played over in my mind. I used to hate having the video cameras hover over me to screen my performance. . . DOH! There they were, two lenses pointed right at me! I hoped no one was filming, and I nervously finished pumping with the assumption that there's not a lactating porn market out there.

(If someone calls me Dr. Galactasy one day, I'll know I've been had.)

Coming soon
Scarves - The essential mommy accessory
Cancer prevention - Why breast-feeding helps
Residencies - Which are the most pump-friendly?

August 4, 2009

Return to Work

Sorry about the pause in posting, I'm back at work.

I cried for the first couple of blocks during my commute, but I felt very comforted knowing that my family members have stepped in to help watch my boy. When I arrived at work I was humbled by my new surroundings. I'm starting with a pediatric rehabilitation rotation and it broke my heart to see so many children with injuries, making me appreciative to have my healthy baby even if I don't get to see him as much as I'd like.

Pumping is going to be a challenge. My setup isn't bad, but with my doctor responsibilities crashing on me like waves I'm having a hard time getting into the 'mood' of producing an adequate supply. Thanks goodness for the Medela Microwave bags for sterilizing my pumping parts, it saves me a bit of time.

Here we go. . .