Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oktoberfest and Upheavel in Dayton

Hello friends! It is 9:32PM here in Columbus, OH and I have just finished eating dinner (after getting home about an hour ago), talking to Charlie and I'm now enjoying a Lakefront Pumpkin Ale while I write about my thoughts for a little while.

I'm working in Dayton right now, and things have been absolutely crazy. For real. The contract with the VA there used to be held by Educational Ophthalmology, Inc, which was a company owned by Dr. Carroll (an OSU alum and retina specialist in Dayton) and his practice.  Well, the VA was making some sort of demand that Dr. Carroll's group couldn't meet, so they decided not to renew their contract. We knew that awhile ago, and that OSU was going to take it over. They were supposed to extend the current contract until a new one could be worked out. However, that did not happen,which we found out about two weeks ago. So, now me, Adam, and Abbe are sort of in limbo. There will be no surgery in October (which is a bummer, because I was just getting the hang of it) and we will have clinic but only on Monday morning, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning so far. Dr. Kurz is our only staff because he was our only attending that was a VA employee. So he gets to do everything including take call with us.

On top of that our lady that schedules everything and keeps clinic running (Andi) worked for Dr. Carroll. So today was her last day. So we have to do all of that for ourselves too. And we have to use our spare time in the next several weeks to go through approximately 300 of appointments and see who we can see, who needs to be referred to Columbus, and who Optometry can see. Fun times. In the mean time the VA is trying to hire new ophthalmologists to work for them, and OSU is trying to negotiate a contract. All while trying to make sure that Cincinnati (or, heaven forbid, Cleveland Clinic) does not realize what is happening and try to compete for the contract.

And Dayton has always been sort of "out of sight, out of mind" so no one seems to know what the heck is going on. All I know is that today all of the patients scheduled from 8:00-10:30 showed up at 9:20 (I don't know if all 10 of them car pooled or what) and we got behind and we never got caught up. I never got lunch. I went to the bathroom before clinic and didn't make it back there until after 2:00pm when I suddenly realized that if I didn't go to the bathroom soon I was going to soil myself. I finished my last patient at 5:00 (clinic was supposed to be over by 3:30) and had almost 20 notes to write. I had a headache. And I wanted to lie my head on the desk and take a nap. That was after yesterday when we left even later because Andi tried to cram every retina patient for the next Lord-knows-how-long into one day. So despite no surgeries, it will be good to have some down time while we figure out how this is all going to work.

They vets in Dayton are a different breed than the ones in Columbus. We always joke that there is a manual in the waiting room about how to be the most frusterating patient possible. Our typical interaction goes something like this:

Me: Hi, Mr. Smith, how are you today?
Mr. Smith: You're cuter than my last doctor. But that was a man. Are you married?
Me: Isn't this fall weather nice?
(we get into the exam room - which takes approximately 3 minutes because they all move so slow)
Me: How is your vision?
Mr. Smith: Do you have any kids yet? What does your husband think about you working here?
Me: Let's check your vision. Can you read that top line?
Mr. Smith: silence
Me: Mr. Smith? Can you see the line?
Mr. Smith:, they're so blurry! Um, Q...X...7...2...G
(note, there is no Q or X or number anywhere, though they all think there is a Q, X and number)

And on it goes. They guess numbers, no matter how many times you tell them they're all letters. "Is that an 8?" "They're all letters, sir." "Oh, is it a 9?"

You try to look at their eyes and they squeeze them shut. How in the world they think that I"m going to be able to see their eyes if they're closed is beyond me.

Open you eyes, sir. Sir, look at my ear. Sir, open your eyes. Your eyes are not open.
Yes they are!
Can you see me?
Then they're not open. Open your eyes, please.

And every once in awhile you get the vet who can't hear a blessed thing and you spend most of the time yelling yourself hoarse to get the point across.

Despite all that, I like going to Dayton. The attendings that we have (and hopefully will continue to have) are really good teachers, and they love to teach, that is why they are there. And you do get pretty close with the people you drive up there with every day. I hope that everything works out there, because it's a really good rotation for us as residents. I mostly just hope that things get better so I don't get a headache every day...

On a different note...

Last weekend we went to Oktoberfest here in Columbus. We went with some of my friends from residency, and it was really a lot of fun! It also happened to be Charlie's birthday, so it worked out pretty well. The beer was expensive, but they had a good selection (Hofbrau, Bitburger, Spaten and Brooklyn). And the sausage was expensive but also good. And there was polka!
Lots of men in lederhosen. Charlie was jealous like always, but still too cheap to buy any ($269!!!)

I swear there were rabbit bits still, I kept sneezing up a storm...

Dominic, Christian, Palak, and Katie with Miss Oktoberfest

Actually a pretty good job decorating!


Haha, we're obviously singing along. I don't think this was polka.

Billy in Charlie's hat. He was bummed that Billy looked more Irish than him in his hat.
It was fun! Expensive, but fun! Charlie and I are hoping to go to the REAL Oktoberfest one of these days.  But that was in the last post....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Places to Visit

Charlie and I have come to a difficult decision. We travel too much. We really do. We go on too many "little" trips that we convince ourselves will not cost that much money, until you go on one every other weekend all summer and then you are like "Where the crap did all our money go?!" So we are going to need to go on fewer weekend trips. That is kind of upsetting because we really like weekend trips. But I like 1+ week trips better. So as long as I don't have to give those up...

I'm not sure when we started this list, but we have a travel list. Places we want to go before we die. Our long term plan is to work, raise our kids, and then retire as soon as we can and start travelling. Probably down size to a small house that we can go to when we're home, but just GO.SEE.DO in the meantime. Every time we see a place we scratch it off the list. So, here is our list. Any places you'd add?

London (June, 2005)
Paris (June, 2005)
Barcelona, Madrid (1999, June, 2005)
Rome (June, 2005)
Cinque Terre (June 2005)  I'd like to go back here though, we only spent one day...
Austria June 2005
Switzerland July 2005
The Baltics
Hungary (June 2005)
Brugge (July 2005)

South/Central America
Peru June 2011
Brazil June 2009
Costa Rica - planned December, 2011
Galapagos Islands
Belize (March 2010) I'd like to go back, we didn't have that much time on our cruise

South Africa I've been there but Charlie never has. I want to take him and show him all that I saw in Cape Town and Kruger National Park.
Uganda I want to see the gorillas! Not till they quit killing each other though...

Napa Valley (September 2010)
Red Woods National Forest (September, 2010) I want to go back, we didn't have enough time!
New Orleans (March 2011)
Grand Canyon
Charleston, SC
Monongahela National Forest
Smokey Mountains
Nashville (March 2008)
Prince Edward Island
Cancun (December 2007)
Bryce/Zion Canyon, Utah
Denver (May 2007)
Chicago (lots since Karrah lives there)
New York City (lots)
Boston (lots since Rhonda lives there)
Puerto Rico - planned February, 2012


Middle East

South Pacific
French Polynesia
New Zealand

That is it. That is the list so far. This list is in constant flux. It changes with our (mostly my) whims and whatever I happen to be reading about recently.

The world is a great, big, beautiful place. And we only have one life. So get out there and LIVE IT!

Now I'm going to go study...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


This past weekend Charlie and I drove to Skaneateles, NY to see one of our very best friends get married. Katie and Tyler live in Skaneateles and got married on top of a beautiful hill overlooking Lake Skaneateles on a beautiful day.

Ceremony Site

Reception Tent

Table Settings

Bella, the flower dog, was super cute

So pretty!

It's official!
Happy Couple!

The UofR contingent + Tyler - we're only mising Alex and Andrew

It really was such perfect weather. It got a little cold when the sun went down, but if you were dancing or sitting near the heat lamps it was no big deal. Tyler did most of the planning (he's like that) and he did a great job.

We all rented a house instead of getting hotel rooms since Skaneateles does not really have big hotels. It was perfect too! It was as cheap if not cheaper than a hotel and it was gorgeous! There was plenty of room for everyone and we then had a place to go to after the bars closed:)

It is always good to see our college friends. One thing I have definitely learned as I've gotten older is that people come and go in your life more than you think they will when you're younger. When you're younger you think that every friend should be a forever friend. As you get older you realize that you can't keep in contact with that many people. It is just not possible. Between work and family and life your time is limited. There are a lot of people that you will not keep in contact with over the years. It doesn't mean that they were not your friend or that you don't love them. It just is the way that it is. Then there are friends that are your forever friends. The ones that know and love you for you. These are my forever friends. The ones that knew me before Charlie, that let me cry on their shoulder when I broke up with Adam. That watched me fall in love with Charlie. They celebrated with me when I got into medical school, and talked to me on the phone and listened to me cry when I moved to Columbus and away from Charlie and all of them. They danced with me at my wedding, and I will dance with them at theirs. They have seen me at my worst and loved me despite that. I feel very lucky to have them, and am very grateful to be able to see them as much as I do.

It was interesting to see Katie get married. I was there the night she met Tyler in Syracuse. Shared in her excitement the next day that she had met a boy that she liked so much after Dan had broken her heart. Being there and watching them get married made me feel like we were really getting older, growing up some more.

That is all the sentimentality I have for now. I'm excited to see my forever friends again in February when two more of them get married in Puerto Rico:)

"The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend."
Henry David Thoreau 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Four Years Ago...

September 2, 2007
 Last Friday Charlie and I celebrated being married for four years. It is crazy that it has been that long since that very hot but very beautiful day in September when we said "I do". A lot has changed since then. I remember thinking before I got married that not a lot changed when you got married. I mean, how different could it be? So we share a last name and a checking account, so what?  I couldn't have been more wrong, and I could have never imagined how our relationship would mature and change over the next four years. To celebrate all of that (and the end of summer) we went to Hocking Hills State Park, which is about an hour or so south of Columbus.

 When people think of Ohio, they usually think of farm country. What a lot of people do not realize is that southern, especially southeastern Ohio, is anything but. It is really very much Appalachia, and it is beautiful.

We stayed in a little cabin just outside of Logan, OH. It was a tiny little thing with a lofted bedroom and a jacuzzi tub and fire pit out back.
Our cabin
 Old Man's Cave was where we started exploring on Saturday. I remember as a child being totally fascinated by the notion that someone lived there, in that very cave, for decades, and even died there. How was that possible?! Didn't he get cold?
Old Man's Cave

 From there we hiked to Cedar Falls. It was a 3 mile hike or so, and it was very, very hot on Saturday. We're talking 100 degrees hot. And humid. But we were prepared and we hiked all the way to Cedar Falls and then found a rock by the water and ate our lunch.

I think Old Man's Cave? So annoying that I can't remember!

Cedar Falls
 All of the kids were having a heyday in the water by Cedar Falls. That girl above was particularly cute:)

The next day we hiked the Cantwell Cliffs. This is where I almost died when I hit my head so hard I started sliding over the edge of the cliff. Luckily for me I caught myself when my jaguar instincts kicked in and I put my hand down to stop myself.

Cantwell Cliffs

After Cantwell Cliffs we went and checked out Ash Cave. One of the biggest rock formations in the park, it is really, really cool.

Ash Cave
After Ash Cave we decided to head to Athen's for the rest of the day. On the way, I kid you not, we passed a turkey vulture going to TOWN on a dead deer carcass. Too bad we didn't get any good pictures. He kept flying away when we drove by. We ate at a great Mexican Restaurant and samples some of the local beers before heading back to the cabin for the night.

All in all it was a great weekend of being outside and just being with each other. Sometimes I think we need that, especially with him being gone so much and our summers always being so busy with travelling around to see people.

It is hard to believe that it's been four years since we got married. It's been basically a decade since we started dating. For crying out loud my littlest sister was in middle school and now she's all grown up with a real person job. Crazy how time flies.

I had no way of predicting how much would change in the last four years. We've lived in three houses, Charlie has had two jobs, I rode my bike across the USA, we've been to four different countries, we've fought, we've laughed and we've slowly learned what it means to be married and how to give and take. Who knows what the next four years will bring us. I can't wait to find out:)

"Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs
With sepia toned loving.
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart,
Like why are we here? Where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and 
Sometimes life can be deceiving,
I'll tell you one thing it's always better when we're together."