Wednesday, February 29, 2012

potty humor

Some parts of this New York Times article about the dearth of women's toilets in China are pretty hilarious. Like, for example, this part:
A little more than a week ago, in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, she and half a dozen other activists commandeered the men’s stalls at a busy public restroom near a park. For three-minute intervals, they warded off the men and invited the women to shorten their waits by using the vacated men’s stalls. Then they waved the men back in for 10 minutes.

The operation, dubbed “Occupy Men’s Toilets,” ended after an hour with, according to Ms. Li, greater public awareness and no trouble.

And this part:
Last November, China hosted the World Toilet Organization’s 11th World Toilet Summit and Expo on Hainan Island. The Chinese authorities there said that the island, a tourist spot, was in the midst of a “toilet revolution.”

But, for someone like me who likes to keep hydrated, the article also kind of terrifying. When I was a dog walker in Manhattan, I knew every easily-accessible toilet on the Upper East Side (if you're on Fifth Avenue, I highly recommend the Guggenheim). And I had a mental map of all the places one could go in Soho during a long day of shopping (Cafe Bari, unfortunately, has turned into a real restaurant and one can no longer sneak down to the basement bathroom without buying anything). But I pretty much avoid Soho now, except to buy Japanese socks and underpants. Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, China and peeing. Point is, I am worried and will probably become insanely jealous of toddlers and their split-crotch pants. Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out this video. I recommend watching a bit of the beginning and then skipping to 1:55.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

fuck, i'm (not) in my twenties


Is it shameful that I am in my 30s and really, really relating to a Tumblr called "Fuck! I'm in My Twenties"? In any case, I think its creator is pretty darn brilliant. An example:

Another example:

click and it will get bigger! worth it i promise

Yesterday at work, I was sitting at the nurses station with a delightfully brazen 24-year-old nurse. "How old are you?" she asked, out of the blue. "Thirty," I said. Her eyes got all big and she laughed and said "What?!" and "No you're not!" about eight times. "I thought you were like 18." She then asked if I was married, had a fiance, had a boyfriend, had kids, in that order, with increasing incredulousness as I answered "no" to each question. She could not wrap her head around the fact that I was a dinosaur and didn't have any of those things. Her next and final question was, hilariously, "Well then, so do you like drinking?" I was relieved that one of our patients needed our attention at that moment and I didn't have to explain to her that I used to, very much yes, but it hasn't been doing it for me like it did before, the guilt and physical manifestations have started to outweigh the fun, and most of the time it's not even that fun anyway, but I still like one or two beers or glasses of wine at the end of the day, and so, apparently, I am developmentally appropriate in at least one regard.

As nice as it is to know people think I look youthful (at least a dozen people at work have reacted with similar, if more restrained, disbelief upon learning my age), it makes me feel kind of funny. And sad. Because I've been in my 20s, and it was fun and exciting and ridiculous and hard, but I wouldn't go back there if you paid me. And now I feel like I'm in this kind of limbo zone, waiting for my life to catch up to the new creases around my eyes when I smile and the white eyebrow hairs that are appearing with ever increasing frequency. But, maybe it is catching up? And like how people aren't noticing my wrinkles and eyebrows, the changes are too slow and subtle for me to appreciate.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

words are like way-upons

Because I don't have several papers to write, jobs to apply for, and a Chinese visa to acquire in DC (*ahem*), today I decided to drive up to Philadelphia to visit a friend and the best museum ever, the Mutter Museum. (I am too lazy to figure out how to make an umlaut on here, but the former German student in me needs to point out that there should be an umlaut over the "u".) I also intended to eat a really good sandwich.

Disturbingly Informative.

The Mutter is dedicated to the history of medicine, with a particular focus on abnormalities, aka Fucked Up Shit. There are casts of faces with giant growths on them, the real corpse of a lady who turned to soap, sections of Albert Einstein's brain, two walls of shelves with deformed fetuses in fomaldehyde-filled jars, and so much more! What I was most excited to see, however, was the megacolon.

You are not supposed to take pictures at the Mutter, but I felt it was worth getting thrown out to take one of the megacolon, even though they sell a better picture in postcard form (which I bought for 40 cents). This poor guy was born with a nervous system abnormality which rendered his colon unable to, well, do its normal functions, and stuff accumulated, and it grew to unfathomable proportions.

I've had an ongoing list of heavy metal band names related to medical terminology. My current faves are Toxic Megacolon, Tenacious Sputum, Weepy Scrotum, and Anasarca.

The other highlight of the visit was getting hit on while looking at the aforementioned shelves of deformed fetuses. While that would be a meet-cute if ever there was one, I responded kindly but did not engage. When he said he wouldn't be able to eat again for a while, I refrained from telling him that I was about to go eat a giant sandwich.

Which brings me to the sandwich! I am usually opposed to waiting in line for anything, unless it's something I've bought a ticket for, but my friend Ellen said this one sandwich at Tommy DiNic's at Reading Market (which, for the Baltimore folks, is the same idea as Lexington Market, minus the crackheads) was "the best sandwich in the world," and, as a long-time sandwich lover, I felt I owed it to myself to have one.

The line was at least 30 people deep, but it moved pretty quickly, and soon I was rewarded with roast pork, sharp provolone, and broccoli rabe on perfectly absorbent Italian bread.

My poor friend was sick and just got a matzoh ball soup :(

Next time (AND THERE WILL BE A NEXT TIME), I think I'd hold the cheese, because, while I love cheese (duh), this was real-deal provolone, not the tasteless plasticky stuff, and the sharpness overpowered the pork. And god I love pork.

My day was concluded with a drive down I-95 in my Zipcar. I rarely drive, so when I do I play the radio real loud and it is such a treat. In just 15 minutes, I heard Incubus, Nickleback, and the theme song from The Hills. And then there were non-guilty pleasures like T-Rex and Led Zeppelin. And then, while I entered suburban Baltimore at dusk, the best song of them all came on. Life is alright sometimes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

a very mental health-y valentine's day

I just had what will surely go down in personal history as my most memorable Valentine's Day ever, after that time in early grade school when we all made decorative valentine receptacles out of shoe boxes and went around putting valentines in everyone's box but somehow my box got pushed off to the side and so no one saw mine and I didn't get any valentines.

But I'm over it.

Anyway, at 10 a.m., a dance party commenced at the community mental health agency where I'm doing my public health nursing rotation. A DJ played club music over impressively loud speakers, many clients, including deaf ones, displayed some rather skilled dance moves, and many more watched from folding chairs on the sidelines. One little 50-something man in a scarf and shades kept doing breakdance-y splits, and even though it took him a solid minute to get his aging joints off the floor, he was beaming the whole time.

We nursing students provided the clients with sugar-free Kool-aid (many psych meds cause diabetes, you know!) and materials with which to make valentines.

Some were kind of confusing.

Some were just, well, the best.

And some were just plain sweet.

One guy just wrote his name on his.

I can't say I'd be terribly upset if this holiday just disappeared altogether, but even this old grinch's heart grew a few sizes today.

Monday, February 13, 2012


There is nothing better than having your eye on something you want to buy and then having that thing go drastically on sale. Okay, I suppose there are better things, like achieving world peace, eradicating AIDS, and acquiring a puppy. But I will take victory where I can get it.

I have been kind of obsessed with L.L. Bean's newish "Signature" line since it came out, probably because it allows me to turn into my parents without fully admitting I am turning into my parents. I saw these wonderfully grandpa-ish pants back in November and knew they had to be mine. And then I saw that making them mine would cost me $149, and I remembered that I am trying to be a responsible adult with goals and plans and stuff and restrained myself. And then they went on sale. And then I bought them in two sizes, because sometimes my weight fluctuates and, clearly, I should never be without plaid wool pants in a color and pattern that goes with approximately one shirt in my current wardrobe.

Here is me modeling the pants, using my camera's self-timer feature and some jumping moves I learned from my 10 years of watching America's Next Top Model.


Saturday, February 04, 2012

stuff, and things


Scene: A room in the ICU. Present are a patient suffering from Hepatitis B-related liver failure and agitation which put him at risk for falling out of bed and/or pulling out assorted important tubes; me, to prevent said patient from falling out of bed or pulling out important tubes; the patient's wife of 30 years and his sister. A cardiologist enters the room with three med students in tow. They are there to discuss the patient's irregular heart rhythm that occurred earlier in the day. The cardiologist explains that the dangerous rhythm was a result of being so sick; the patient did not have anything wrong with his heart. The cardiologist then begins examining the patient.

One of the med students decides this is a good time to ask the family, to whom he has not even introduced himself, a question. "Are you aware that he [patient] has Hepatitis B?" The wife says that, yes, they are aware. "Do you know the reason he got it?"

Now, anyone in the medical profession knows that there are basically two ways to get Hepatitis B: IV drug use and sex with someone infected. Anyone in the medical profession also knows that it has absolutely nothing to do with cardiology. And that the family's knowledge of a patient's sordid past is pretty irrelevant when the patient is knocking on heaven's proverbial door.

"Yep, we know the reason," she said.

"And what is that reason?" he asked.


"ASD;LFJAOU2P99EUP9," I thought.

"That's not up for discussion," she said.


I almost wish she had said something like, "Oh, well a few years back he fucked a prostitute and shot heroin with a needle he found on the sidewalk," just to make the med student uncomfortable.

I kind of want to vomit when people post photos of their Yogi Tea teabag tags, because they are so moved by the inspirational phrases written on them. The second incidence of this popped onto my News Feed yesterday, and my first response was to post my disgruntledness in a Status Update. But then I realized the offenders could read what I sad, and that would be mean. So I'm posting it here, instead!

I just started my last semester of nursing school! I am taking four classes:

1. Adolescent Depression, which will involve me, ME, going into a 9th grade classroom and, like, teaching them stuff. I have never taught in front of a classroom before. If I get through it without fainting or having my fly down the whole time, I will consider it a success. Stay tuned.

2. Public Health, which involves some pretty excruciating three-hour lectures and two days a week working at an awesome organization that serves the low-income and homeless mentally ill adults of Baltimore. Highlight so far: my classmate's very sweet patient told us he was happy the organization was helping him because, among other improvements, he was no longer "assaulting people with [his] bowels."

3. Transitions, where we talk about professionalism and hospital hierarchies and licensure issues and I'm falling asleep just writing about it. But for which I am spending the second half of the semester working in an Emergency Department in Beijing, China, which brings me to my last class...

4. Medical Mandarin. Apparently, learning Mandarin is not necessary and extraordinarily difficult, and the hospital I'll be working in is English-speaking. But, in order to speak Mandarin you have to smile and sing and shout and grunt like you've just been punched in the stomach, which is pretty darn fun.

The format of this blog post has been borrowed from Mimi Smartypants, because she continues to pretty much be the best (see: the part in this post about buying clothing), and because I am too lazy for transitions (the writing device, not the class...err...).