Saturday, January 15, 2011


It's hard to believe, but I'm adjusting to my new normal here in Cincinnati. Some thoughts about the first two weeks:

It is colder here than at home, but it's true that expectations and preparation play an important role. When you're ready for it, it doesn't bother you. I have a strange sense of enjoyment when the weather is going to be really cold and snowy. And I'm surprised that the people here aren't more prepared for snow. Roads, schools, grocery stores, etc - they all take a hit just like at home. I've been told you have to proceed a couple more hours north for the true winter-ready folk. Parking outside is not a big deal. Parking just across the street is not a big deal.

The apartment is a good fit. It had been a while since I lived somewhere with radiant heat (ahem, Gorgas), but it sure is nice to have tall ceilings, hardwood floors, and a real claw foot tub. The sun room is a perfect place for my bike and car seats. Going outside and down the stairs for laundry is not a big deal.

The job is great. I am not overly taxed, but I am busy. The days feel complete. I am learning and sharing knowledge. I keep taking Evernotes to try to remember how to set up for and perform certain procedures. The attendings are friends. The techs are fun. The atmosphere is collegial, and they appreciate my sense of humor. Perhaps best of all, the four IR docs let me be one of the guys. We make dirty jokes and go out drinking after work together. Hangovers are not off limits as conversation topics.

The hospital is picky, though. These people scrub their hands three times (we prefer once). They do not one, but three timeouts for every procedure. They go nuts about badges, isolation, and protocols of every type. And the scrubs are kept in a stupid machine that delivers "credits," but woe to those who wear a size "small" and expect to retrieve in the 7:00 AM range. Sheesh.

Technology makes life easy. GPS in the Pilot is used daily. Skype is used daily. Oh, what a difference. I have a nearby Whole Foods, a nearby gym, a nearby Target, and a nearby movie theater. I've read two books and seen two movies already. OK, if you must know: A Moveable Feast, The Sun Also Rises, True Grit, The King's Speech. These are things I don't get to do at home.

It's kind of a simple life. I have with me only what I need, and I prepare my own breakfast and dinner. A lot of nights, I have cheese and crackers and berries for dinner.

My family and I are adjusting well, but it's never the same. I love being here. I just need the best of both worlds to coexist.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


I read hundreds of RSS feeds every day, many of which are blogs of people I know and (more often) people I don't know. Mom blogs, Arkansas blogs, political blogs, news blogs, gay blogs, mac blogs. You name it. I read facebook updates. I even follow like three twitter people. I am constantly reading, reading, reading. I am a book lover with a recently established book club. I am an academician, constantly staying abreast of the latest radiology publications. It never stops. And I haven't even bought an iPad yet - I'm waiting for the second version.

Almost all of these things in my life, with the exception of the old-fashioned book, are new. I didn't have them a few years ago. God knows I wasn't reading journals when I was a resident, even though I should have been. And now, I check the computer in the morning, I check my phone between cases at work, and I often sit with my computer in the evenings. When I'm moonlighting, awake at 3 AM waiting on a CT to download, I see who's posted. And I haven't mentioned a little thing called television yet.

I know this is the most un-original topic of 2011, but sometimes I think I am over-digitized. I might look back on my life and declare standing in line in June 2007 (for the first day of the first iPhone) to be the pivotal point in my life. Seriously, what DID we do before smartphones?

Is my new years' resolution to ditch the digital and spend more time talking to family, taking music courses, drinking wine at art galleries, and exercising? Do I vow to get out and enjoy real life more?

No, I'm much too far gone. I've been thinking of ways to do it all better. Get rid of some FB friends (at least block their posts): done. Delete all FB following that isn't a real live human being (e.g. Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood): done. Pare down the RSS list (even NPR! gasp!): done. Save feeds that list convenient iPad apps for efficient browsing, blogging, etc: done. Get a ReadItLater account, so that I can blast through feeds and save some for a more appropriate time: not yet done.

I've come to the conclusion that technology does more good than harm in my life, and I'm not ashamed to say it. In all honesty, it is quite rare that Erica or I look at one another and give that suggestive "put the phone away" stare. Apps like Todo, Mint, and Evernote have changed my life for the organizational better. I can actually tell you my DEA number and Reid's social security number within about 10 seconds. Hipstamatic and MobileMe Gallery have improved how I save and view images of my family. I shop on my phone so that I don't have to go search for crap, and it makes me a more discriminating buyer. I pay bills in the bathroom sometimes. I can tell you how many miles I ran and biked in 2010 (not even remotely enough). Another saving grace: I'm not a gamer. I play Words with Friends with my mom and Erica, rarely anyone else, and that's it. And I haven't been lost in Little Rock or elsewhere since June 2007. I've been lots of places since then.

So, yes, my screen time has to be monitored in a way. I can't let myself become one with the computer chair, ignoring my life. And I know all about the iPhone moisture sensors, so I can't use it in the shower after all. But I would argue that my life is more efficient, more enriched, and more aware than it was a few years ago. That's why I'm not blogging about a week-long hiatus from technology and how cleansed it made me feel in the end. I'm looking for the next best app.