Thursday, June 23, 2005

the Joy of Sox

Just back from a whirlwind roadtrip to beautiful Cleveland to see the Red Sox play. It's a peculiarity of our new home that we've a better chance of getting Sox tickets here than we ever did while living in the Bay State. Since they happened to be playing the Indians on my birthday, it was a no-brainer: a couple of minutes on the internet with the credit card, and we were good to go. It was a pretty painless 4-hour drive down rte 90, and the hotel and Jacobs field were easy to find. I was a little worried about how the kids would handle a 3 hour game, but they did really well -- C actually got into the game (remarkable since she has no interest in sports whatsoever) and S didn't start losing it until about 2 hours in. And there was a kids' playground right behind us in the stands -- J had to drag S up there towards the end of the game. Seemed like the crowd around us was at least 50% Sox fans, so no worries about whooping it up. C rooted equally for both teams, so no one could hold anything against her (or everyone could; I guess it just depends how you look at it) Altogether a completely rocking birthday. It was just gravy that the Sox won 9-2.

The kids at their first game. C brought reading material in case it was too boring, but it all stayed under the seats when the game started.

We had really good seats -- 3 or 4 foul balls came our way -- though not close enough to catch. Here was our view of the action ( a little blurry this one) -- here's Mark Bellhorn swinging at one...

We finished up the next day with a quick trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, hit the road, and were home by dinner time. Couldn't have been sweeter.

So today, I bought some Sox t-shirts for the kids, and new running shoes for myself. Took my old faithful pair out on the trail one last time and got them good and muddy first. Tommorow S and I will try to hit Black Creek early with the jogging stroller and see if we find any rabbits or deer.

Friday, June 03, 2005

the hands know

I've been a birth center nurse for just shy of two years now, and I still feel so green it's not funny, but the other day I managed to share some info that one of my more experienced colleagues didn't know. It's purely anecdotal -- someone mentioned it to me, and I've seen it several times, but I don't know if it's something that's been confirmed by research. Babies who are born shortly after mom gets nubain (say 1-2 hours before birth) are miserable for a couple of hours -- screaming and inconsolable. One of the other nurse's attributes it to a "nubain headache." So we saw another kid that pretty much fit that description the other night, and I told a couple of people what I'd heard & it was new to them. Now we all want to go look it up in the literature and see if it's something that others have noted. If there's nothing in the literature -- hey, a couple of us have masters degrees, we could do a study and put something in the literature.

That's what I love about my profession -- the body of knowledge we work from is always in flux, being added to (in many cases) by the people doing the work. People talk about using intuition in making assessments, but I think it's more a matter of noticing patterns in a way that's difficult to articulate -- you're using senses to pick up things that you don't generally have language to describe, so you credit intuition rather than logic for your conclusions. But really, you're taking in objective data and analyzing it -- it's just harder to pin down.

Everyone does this sort of thing -- if you do any gardening, you learn how to pull weeds so that they give it up at the roots rather than just snapping off at the soil surface. You also learn that different weeds come up with a different grip or tension. And you dread the weed that can't be pulled by any means you've discovered -- the leaves mash and strip from the stem, leaving your hand coated in slime and a root that will send up more leaves still in the ground. You know by the feel and sound of things when you're car's brake pads are gone and you're scoring the rotors, but how do you describe to someone how that feels coming through the soles of your feet? If they haven't felt it before, how do you convey the info so they would recognize it if they felt it? Language is all about making mental pictures, so it's easier to describe things visually.

I remember learning in nursing school how to feel pulses. It would seem straightforward, but you have to learn to feel at different depths to get a radial pulse versus a femoral pulse. Sometimes you get fooled, if you're listening hard for a popliteal pulse, and you have strong pulses in your fingers you might be hearing your own pulse. I slipped and said listening -- but when you're trying to feel something moving, it almost feels like listening. And the way we sense pulses in western medicine is completely different from what they do in traditional Chinese medicine -- there are more distinctions that can be made, more information that can be gathered than I've even scratched the surface of.

I always wondered what it was that I should be doing with my life, but I knew that when I found it, it would be something that would educate my hands as well as my mind. My hands are very happy with my choice, and they're still learning.