Sunday, April 25, 2010


Here’s a riddle for you…what sound do you get when you cross an active garbage disposal with a shot glass?

The sound you get…and I quote, is “Whir…whir…clink…clink…CRUNCH….” followed by silence.

Yes, folks…I was minding my own business and washing dishes. The sink was starting to get a little clogged so I flipped the switch to the disposal and that was the sound that arose from the mysterious depths of my sink. Though I am not overly familiar with garbage disposals and how they work, I am at least knowledgeable enough to know that they don’t normally make that sound. Frowning, I turned off the switch and turned to Chris, who was also in the kitchen.

I think we both said, “Uh oh” simultaneously, but I can’t be absolutely sure.

After making sure that the switch was in the “off” position, Chris gingerly reached his hand down into the disposal (are you cringing yet…? I know I was!) to find whatever item had begun the wild rumpus. While he was doing this, I was sitting in the corner with my hands over my eyes, absolutely certain that in some freak twist of fate, that the disposal would turn itself back on and munch on Chris’s hand.

I looked up in time to see him pull out a chunk of glass. I was baffled, because I’d already washed the two glasses that were in the sink. I wondered whether one of our smaller table glasses had somehow mysteriously bent the laws of physics enough to fit down the disposal inlet. After grabbing one and twisting and turning it, I was able to conclude that it probably wasn’t one of our small glasses.

To make a long story short, in a very tense and terse 30 minutes that involved a lot of glaring, grunting, and “ewwww” noises, Chris unscrewed the disposal apparatus and began to pull out pieces of glass with a pair of pliers (his hands were too big…and let’s face it; I was NOT going to put my hands down that thing!) to ascertain that one of his shot glasses had fallen into the disposal. Oops.

By the way, I can’t stress enough just how disgusting the innards of a disposal are, for those of you that are unaware. I deal with deceased people, a myriad of unpleasant smells, and parts of people every day so you’d think that nothing would faze me. Clearly, this is not the case because I nearly vomited when I saw the disposal. I’m not sure whether it’s a testament to the grossness of the disposal or to just how immune I have become to my job, but I can honestly say that I would much rather perform an autopsy than clean the disposal ever again. And I wasn’t even the one with my hand in there. *shudders*

Anyway, I wish I could say our problems were solved by Chris and his magic pliers, but alas! It appears that the garbage disposal is, for the time, rather unusable. Chris wants to tackle it again tomorrow. I want to call a plumber. Mars and Venus are going to go head-to- head over a garbage disposal.

Somehow, I think I’ll win.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cinderella's Shoes

I’ve taken up running again. To be fair, I’m not currently and never have been much of a runner. I’m definitely not one of those hard-core runners you see on the streets. You know, the ones in the SERIOUS running gear, even down to the waist belt with multiple slots for trivial little things like water bottles – the ones that run every day, no matter what. Rain, sun, sleet, snow…nothing stops the SERIOUS runner.

No, I am definitely not one of them. I am an indoor-running kind of gal…the one that *gasp* prefers running on the treadmill to running out-of-doors. I am the kind of runner that likes even, modulated room temperatures, a distinct lack of flying insects, a readily available sink faucet, and the upstairs bathroom. I am the kind of runner that cannot, even to save herself, modulate a running pace outside – I need the treadmill because it forces me to keep a steady pace. I need to be able to listen to music unencumbered by obnoxious ear-buds or sweaty headphones. I will never run in a marathon, and if I’m being completely honest, I don’t even have desire to run in a half-marathon. No, folks, a SERIOUS runner I am not.

Be that as it may, even a not-so-serious runner needs the proper equipment. I am not of those people that can just pick out any old pair of running shoes and go about my merry business (apparently, there are many things I am not). What I am is a relatively flat-arched, significant overpronator with history of surgery on both feet. It means that when my running shoes are not exactly right (or when the exactly right shoes are old and worn down), running causes me significant pain. As a result, I was professionally fitted for running shoes while I was in southern California…and they were fantastic. I was pain-free. I felt that I could exercise for days (although, clearly, I did not).

A few weeks ago, I revved up the motor on my trusty treadmill, laced up my shoes, and began to jog. No more than 3 minutes into my journey, the old, ugly pain began to rear its head. The unthinkable had occurred – my Brooks Adrenaline shoes (yes, I am name dropping, because they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G) had given up the ghost. I pushed through the pain for a couple weeks - or at least until payday – before hitting up the local running store.

I walked in and made a bee-line for the Wall O’ Shoes, where I spied the Brooks Adrenaline. The salesman walked over to me, asked how he could help, and I immediately pointed to my shoes. “I’ll take the Brooks Adrenalines” said I.

“I am not sure they are the appropriate shoe for you,” said he.


Somehow, I found myself seated across from this man, inches from my precious Adrenalines, explaining that I was re-entering the running world and needed to replace my running shoes.

“What shoes are you currently wearing?”

“The Brooks Adrenaline 8.”

“Oh. It’s been awhile for you, hasn’t it? We’re now on the Adrenaline 10. And anyway, why do you think that the Brooks Adrenaline is what you should be running in?”

“Because I run in them and they work well for me. Oh – and I was already fitted for shoes in California, and the Brooks are what I was recommended.”

“Well, be that as it may, I never sell shoes to someone unless I’m 100% happy with how they fit. I must observe the body mechanics and the alignment and the ------ (lots of other factors that I, a mere running peon, am not familiar with).”

(Excuse me, but this is not the Project Runway ® of shoes, sir. The only thing you need to observe is my credit card as I pay for the shoes that I want. You know, the ones that actually work for me…)

As he was the only salesman in the store, and this was the only running store in the vicinity in which I had a hope of getting my Brooks, I was doomed.

So I sat through a lengthy session in which he told me many things that I already knew – from my previous fitting: that I overpronate significantly (and more on my left foot), that my feet are different sizes (one is an 8 and one is a 7…inconvenient, trust me), that my heel widths are different from foot to foot, and that my arches are pretty flat. I tried on many, many pairs of very uncomfortable shoes and a variety of equally uncomfortable inserts while the salesman tried desperately to find a shoe that he was happy with. At this juncture, may I add that we were both frustrated, but for different reasons – he had no clue what shoe I needed so had to go back to the drawing board repeatedly, and I knew exactly what shoe I needed but had to keep trying on pair after pair of stupid shoes.

Finally, he came back with just two pairs of shoes in his hand. He looked at me with an air of defeat and said, “You’re really hard to fit. If neither of these pairs works for you, I’m not sure what we’ll wind up doing.” So, like Cinderella, I dutifully squeezed my feet into the first pair of white running slippers with inserts…which really didn’t work at all.

“Sir, they rub against the top of my foot, and the insert feels like a hard knob underneath the ball of my foot. I don’t like these. I don’t like them at all.”

“Ok. Here’s the last pair of shoes that I think might work…I only have them in an 8. I don’t know if they’ll work or not.” (Said with an air of desperation and a facial expression close to tears)

I slipped my foot into the last pair, stood up, and walked – and somewhere along the way, the magic happened. They didn’t rub anywhere. They didn’t slide or slip. They didn’t pinch. My overpronation was corrected, my body mechanics and alignment and goodness knows what else were corrected.

The salesman was happy. I was happy.

“Sir, I like these shoes. They are stupendous. I will take them.”

He looked like he’d just won the Golden Ticket into the Willy Wonka factory.

At the register, I handed him my credit card and he rung up and boxed my new pair of shoes, exclaiming all the way that I had been “…challenging, but we mastered the challenge!” Apparently, he felt like a million bucks. Good for him.

As I walked out of the store nearly 2 hours after I had entered, with my new shoes tucked firmly under my armpit, I looked down at the box and nearly laughed…ok, I did laugh (the maniacal laughter that comes only after extreme frustration) but managed to hold it in until I was safely in my car.

There, wrapped in tissue paper, were the Holy Grail of shoes…the very shoes that had cost everyone 2 hours of time and frustration to find. Cinderella had finally found her slipper…

The Brooks Adrenaline 10.

I hate to use this phrase almost as much as I hate to hear it, but…TOLD YOU SO, Mr. Salesman…TOLD YOU SO!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Histotechnologist Day

Apparently, this year was the first annual histotechnology day nationwide. There were a lot of lab-related celebrations and happenings (scavenger hunts, potlucks, gifts, etc) to celebrate...and seriously, our histology department deserves some celebrating. They are pretty amazing. Apparently, they also made and submitted a video for some contest as part of the festivities - and the video won! So here's the video - with a variety of our staff, transcriptionists, attendings, and residents. Thankfully, I do NOT appear in this video - trust me, you don't want to see this white gal shake her tail feathers! It's a little corny, but I think it shows that we have a pretty fun department.