Sunday, August 29, 2010


I have reached the halfway point on my San Antonio journey. 2 weeks down! 2 weeks to go! I learned a lot working in the clinic these past two weeks. I saw a number of different things, got a lot of experience with sport's physicals and hopefully made a good impression. I learned a lot, but most importantly realized that I love working in the pediatric clinic as much as I remembered from last year. Now it's on to the wards - I will be working in the hospital on the pediatric ward for the last 2 weeks. I'll be up before the sun everyday for the next two weeks.

It's not really fair that once the weekend arrives I'm totally commitment free and can do as I please. Not fair because Leisy is stuck at home with two demanding children that won't leave her alone for 2 minutes. Not fair because I don't have children to wake me up at night. It's just not fair. I wish I could fly home every Friday night and give Leisy a reprieve from Motherhood. She is doing a fabulous job and I can't imagine anyone who would do better without a husband for weeks and weeks.

This Saturday I went and saw the world's largest pair of cowboy boots. These puppies are 40 feet tall and 35 feet wide. Their official name is "Giant Justins" and were built in 1970. I was trying to get a good shot with me and the boots, but becuase they are so big I was having a hard time capturing the shot. Some nice people took pity on me, pulled their truck to the curb to jump out and snap this pic. (Leisy would have been mortified!!)

I also went to the McNay Art Museum. It is a beautiful mansion that has been converted into a museum. The grounds are vast and have fountains and all sorts of sculptures. The back of the mansion is an extension of the museum. It has a lot of really cool art including some Monet, Picasso, O'Keeffe and other big names. There is also a lot of funky modern art like the exploded tire below. I loved walking through the house and the inner courtyard. This place also charges $8 a person and might be worth it, but I got in free because I am active duty military!!

Sorry Leisy that I can't jump on a plane and come home on the weekends. It doesn't make it any easier for me to be gone when I get to go do fun things without you. Really this weekend was boring and I would much rather be at home with you!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A few self portraits

I got a package!! It really feels like I'm on a mission when I get a package full of goodies! Not only that, it took about a week to get here. Who would have thought the mail would take so long to get to me on base. Thank you Mom and Family!! I stuffed myself full of pistachios!!
In my attempt to see as much as San Antonio for free, I paid a visit to the San Antonio Museum of Art. It's a big museum and fairly close to the Alamo. They charge eight dollars to get in ($8?!?!) but Tuesday evenings are FREE!! I would only have to pay $5 with my military discount - but $5 is too much for this museum if you ask me. On the fourth floor they have a walkway that gives a nice panoramic view of San Antonio.
I only have 2 more days of the pediatric clinic. I still really enjoy the clinic. Most people either hate it or love it. I start working on Inpatient Peds at the Army base next week. I have really enjoyed the hospital being 2 minutes from my bedroom. Now I have to catch a 30 minute shuttle to work in the mornings. blech...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mormon Mafia

I first heard of the existence of the so-called "mormon mafia" when I was applying to med school. Interviewing can get really expensive, with airfare, hotels and rental cars. If you can connect with someone in the church they can save you a lot of money and provide you with valuable info. Like when I interviewed in Toledo - I had a ride from the airport, a place to stay (thank you Andrew!) and was immediately put in contact with several other mormon med students (including one on the admissions committee) who could share experiences and what they liked or disliked about the program. Once I was accepted to med school, I became a part of the "mormon mafia" and helped similarly strapped-for-cash interviewees.

I discovered today at church that the "mormon mafia" is even bigger in the military. As soon as I walked into the chapel I was greeted by a member of the bishopric. He found out why I was here and he introduced me to one of the pathology residents, who introduced me to one of the pediatric residents, who introduced me to a pediatrician who just graduated from the program I'm interested in, who also knows the program director of said program who just happens to be the Bishop in his ward. (phew... follow all that?) My phone was soon full of new contacts with e-mail addresses, telephone and pager numbers. All these people were more than willing to answer any questions I had and made sure I could contact them if I had any more.

It looks like I choose a good ward to attend on the first Sunday here. It is full of young families in the military. Most of the residents from Wilford Hall attend this ward. They welcomed me and all asked about my wife home alone with two toddlers. Many of the wives here can empathize with Leisy being all by herself right now. It's hard! Especially on Sundays. Love you and miss you жена моя.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Alamo!!

For my day off today I explored some of historic San Antonio. I made my way into downtown starting at the Alamo. (I, like Pee-wee Herman, was devastated to discover the Alamo has no basement!). I refused to pay $10 for parking so drove a few blocks away to find free parking. I had one hour to tour the Alamo and part of the River Walk. I moved fast and kept thinking of my parents trailing behind me when we were touring Brazil. It's a good thing they weren't with me today because there was no way I was paying for a taxi! ;)

I then drove to the other four Spanish Missions: San Jose, San Juan, Concepcion and Espada. I made it to all of them without GPS. I'm not sure if my in-laws would believe I didn't get lost once - but I did fairly well. I'm directionally challenged so exploring new places is good for me. Maybe it's Leisy's giggling that distracts me and when I get lost she giggles even more. It's a downward spiral. Downtown San Antonio is a busy place. It looks like there is a lot of fun to be had, and a lot of money to be spent. I'm determined to see as much of it and spend as little as possible. I don't like spending money all by myself.

Info on the Five Spanish Missions

Check out the rest of my pictures on facebook.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to School!

School starts on Monday for most of the kids around here. That means we did a lot of back to school physicals in the clinic today. They had the whole clinic set up this afternoon with various stations to get things checked off before seeing the doctor. The hallways had footsteps leading to each station (vitals, immunizations, vision screening, etc.) It was really fun to sit and chat with the teens going back to school and find out what sports they were involved in and what they were most looking forward to. It's nice that they give me 30 minutes with every patient! I can actually get them to open up. One 17-year-old after his visit was over said to my attending, "Are there comment cards anywhere, 'cause this guy is da'bomb!" It kind of made my day.

I have the whole weekend off. I hope to explore San Antonio and find some cool stuff to do. I found a site that had a list of all the free things to do while in San Antonio. I may be going to Catholic Mass if time allows!! One week down. I'm sure it felt much longer to Leisy than it did for me. I have stayed busy. Weekends not working away from home make the time drag by. I miss Leisy and my boys!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First full day!

My Day:

Morning report and lecture - 0730 - 0900
Interesting case of a 5-year-old with unilateral facial droop. Stroke? Bell's Palsy? She had a crazy rare inoperable brainstem tumor. Rare and very poor prognosis.

Joined the NICU team rounds - 0900 - 1130
Quadruplets were among the little ones we rounded on this morning. All have feeding issues and are fed with a tube that goes into their stomachs. They are going to let them try to feed on their own soon. The little tiny ones are so fragile. It seems like a different world in the NICU.

In keeping with local customs I decided to try these cup fruits that were all the rage. A nurse came and asked us for orders. The attending was almost jumping up and down he was so excited. An assortment of fruit with lime juice and chili "spices". Interesting. When my fruit cup arrived it looked strange enough to be good. I nearly threw up a few times with the first bite. Not what I was expecting. It somehow robbed the fruit of it's sweetness and left a nasty, spicy aftertaste in my mouth. But I kept eating... Nothing better than a bowl full of fruit. I just pretended the spices weren't there.

Afternoon peds clinic 1245 - 1600
I had my own office with a computer and a patient bed. It was awesome. I would go out to the waiting room and call the patient back. The nurses had already triaged and got vital signs. I have 30 minutes with the patient before I present to the attending. Then the attending comes in and we see the patient together. I love working with kids. I love teaching parents about their children's illness or development. I'm so excited to be a pediatrician. Now I just need to learn how to be a good one!

Exploring, workout and studying 1600 - 2100
I got off base tonight and explored a little more. This is a such a different place. It's unlike anywhere I have ever been. I'm excited to get into down town and explore some more. San Antonio is huge. I love having free membership to a gym. Such a stress reliever at the end of the day! Time to hit the books.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Lone Star State

Howdy from the great big, hot state of Texas!!

It was so hard to leave my family on Sunday! I had to choke back the tears as I waved goodbye to Leisy, Zeb and Ike from the window of my airplane. I was in full uniform and I didn't want everyone to think I was leaving to Iraq for several months. I'll only be gone for 28 days! However, with only three behind me 28 seems like an awful long time.

I was so nervous about putting my uniform back on. What if I wasn't wearing it properly? What if I forget to salute someone? What if I get yelled at for not doing something properly??? But once several people in the airport thanked me for my service I remembered how much this uniform represents and how lucky I am to wear it. People stepped out of line to shake my hand, or to tell me good job, or just to tell me how beautiful my family is. Tonight after a busy day of running around trying to get proper computer access and security clearances for both hospitals, I stepped out of my car just as the National Anthem started. I stood at attention and saluted all alone in the parking lot. A sense of pride filled me, and I realized again what an honor it is to wear a uniform that represents the courage and bravery of so many Americans.

I'll be rotating in general peds and pediatric infectious disease while I'm down here. The San Antonio program is a combined Army/Air Force program. I will spend half of the time at Wilford Hall Medical Center and the other half at Brooke Army Medical Center. The docs I will be working with are all really cool. I met most of the pediatric team this morning at morning report. One of the infectious disease docs is Mormon! He seems really cool but will be leaving to Haiti next week so I won't get to work with him. (If I stay in the Air Force long enough I may be able to go on several mission trips like he has!!) I am anxious to actually get started now that I have been here doing nothing but busy work. I'll spend tomorrow morning in the NICU and the afternoon in the peds clinic.

WHMC (Left) BAMC (Right)

The heat is super intense. Everyday is over 100 degrees. I'm not sure if Leisy could live here during the summer. She may need to take extended vacations if I end up here!! Yikes!! San Antonio does seem really cool and has a lot of fun things to do for visitors! I'll go check out the sites this weekend. The Alamo, the famous river walk, Sea World maybe??? Anybody been to San Antonio and can suggest cool things to see?