Monday, July 31, 2006

By the way
It's crazy hot in Chicago right now. Today the heat index was 105. God bless my little window unit of AC!
Weekend rundown
Wow, what an awesome weekend. Anne swung into town on Friday, which was perfect since I ended up getting to take a half day that day. I promptly met Anne and we had an awesome celebratory lunch complete with strawberry margaritas at Las Mananitas. From there we went downtown to have another celebratory drink at the Signature Lounge on top of the John Hancock Center. The stars were aligned and we got a table right by the window. From there we went back to Boystown where we met Todd for dinner at Joy's, and then finally headed to Bucktown for some beers at the Map Room. Eating and drinking in Chicago!

The rest of the weekend was spent mostly at the Pitchfork Festival, which is still like the most organized, polite festival there is. It was super hot both days as well, so everyone lolled a little more. The bands were good. My favorites was seeing The National and discovering The Mountain Goats. Sunday we were at Pitchfork from 1 to 7:30. I was so wiped out that I urged us to leave during Yo La Tengo, which was actually the band that I had originally been most excited to see. But being in the sun, lying around, and fighting the humidity takes it out of a girl. Still: Pitchfork is one of the best deals there is around (two days for $30!), with good crowds and cheap food and drink.

Also, I should note that Anne and I talked to Christie on Sunday where she shared some very awesome news with us. Congratulations to Christie and Stefan!

Thanks to Anne for coming and making the trip too. I miss her already.

I'm starting week six at the hospital, so now I officially have four weeks and four days left! Today was the first day in a while that didn't kill me, so maybe (maybe?) things are on the upswing? I pray that it is so.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Happy Belated Birthday, Annie!
Annie celebrated her birthday yesterday in the midst of much upheaval before her big move. Hope that bowling was as awesome as it sounded like it would be!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dad!

He's in Arizona as we speak. Woowoo!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Six more weeks...
...left to this quarter. I'm totally doing the count down right now. Is that bad? If it is, eff it.

Also, Anne arrives in five days, which is awesome. She'll be here for the Pitchfork Festival, and it will be great.

This weekend went by too quickly, as usual, but that's the way it is. Friday night, Hillary had people over in her expansive and green backyard for a grill-out. I was completely wiped out by the week, and it was just what the doctor ordered. Yesterday, I took the day off from doing any work, and Todd and I puttered and walked over to the Wicker Park street festival. I love street festivals. It was nice weather, fun bands were playing, and there was much people watching to be done. We stuck around for a couple of hours and then wandered back to his place to cook up a big dinner and fall asleep before 11. Clazy!

Tonight Todd's band, Wind or Ghost, is playing at the Fireside Bowl. I had to ditch out since I have to wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go to the hospital early to read files. I'm sending good vibes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

There's something to say...
...for being really, really busy. Time sure does move quickly. I spend an average of 9-10 hours at the hospital every day and then come home and do work in preparation for the next day. There are some grinding moments, but overall it's fulfilling. I completed my first evaluation of a patient (or "pt" as they refer to it in med speak, and what I caught myself typing just now) which was something I felt some nervousness about. Glad to be over that hurtle.

One of my primary patients was dismissed today, but I still get to see the 6 month old baby who's still there. I love my therapy time with the baby where I do feeding and language stimulation. It's so calming and relaxing; my favorite time of the day.

I stayed later tonight to attend a presentation on pediatric traumatic brain injury which was informative and good. It occurred to me that that is definitely one of the perks to being placed at this very excellent hospital. The doctor who was speaking knows his stuff and was giving practical information on how to answer families' questions.

So, yes, the hospital continues to be grueling but it's definitely a learning experience. I won't lie and say that I'm not looking forward to the weekend though.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Weekend roundup
Man, how do these weekends pass so quickly? It's unbelievable.

On Friday I went with Megan, Laura and Hillary to go and see the Indigo Girls play at Ravinia. Despite the godawful weather forecast, it was clear and cool that night and a perfect night to sit around and drink wine and eat brie to the sweet soulful sounds of folk music. It was great.

The next night was the antithesis of that experience since Todd's band All Limbs Intact played at the Note in Wicker Park. They were the last band to play and followed four (!) other bands, a few of which were very loud metal-ish sorts of bands. A good show still though.

The sad news is that I think that the ringworm has shown up on Todd. It's on his back which in a way is good since he won't be able to scratch it as well, but it's sad since we thought that he was out of the woods for sure. Sorry, Todd. :( My own ringworm is actually fading away and is now a dullish red spot on my chin.
Happy Birthday, Erik!

He's 17 today. Living it up in Spain at the moment. Life is tough.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Back in the ring...still with the worm
Well, the ringworm circle is still there, but not as raised and disgusting as before. I know that some asked for photographic evidence, but be glad that you weren't exposed. I will describe it instead: it was this red, puffy plateau on my chin that was white in the center. Grody stuff. But that medication that I took did the trick so now it's just a red circle on my face. I can deal with that. I need to cover it up while I'm at the hospital so I wear a huge band-aid on my chin during the day. Like Nelly, except with the ringworm (although maybe Nelly has ringworm, who knows).

The hospital is still busy and a roller coaster. Yesterday I had a wholly sapping day. I'm learning lots about the recovery process of kids with traumatic brain injury--basically, it's fast. The kid who I was treating I hadn't seen in a couple of weeks. When I left he was totally non-verbal and not very responsive. When I returned, he was walking and speaking again (not a lot of intelligible stuff, but still). Anyway, my session plan was totally outdated and the session went pretty woefully. I came home last night and worked from 5pm to 11:30pm. It sucked a lot, but it paid off since my session with the same kid today went a lot more smoothly since I was well-prepared. Evidence that I'm learning (which is the point) but, damn, learning can be a pain in the ass! Is it bad that I'm counting down the days till it's over? I know that I'll be happy for the experience then, but right now it's tough as hell! And you guys know how I like things easy.

Anyway, in other news, it was a good weekend. On Saturday my parents rolled through town on their way to the west coast and then Alaska. They got here around 7pm and we promptly went over to Southport to have a drink and then a lavish dinner at Tango Sur for Argentinian steaks. My parents then hit the hay since they were wiped from the drive (which they did in one day), and then Todd and I went over to the Hideout to see Gil Mantera's Party Dream perform. Awesome stuff. Two dudes on stage, one dressed in a red mask and some kind of loin cloth thing and they were playing some dancey, energetic stuff. It sounds like it was some kind of gross strip show, but I assure you that it was far more joyous.

The next morning before my parents took off, we all met at the Bongo Room in Wicker Park since my parents had heard me rave about it. We got there at 9a.m. and I despaired when I saw a long line outside (already?!), but it was actually just people waiting for it to open. We ended up getting a big booth. sweeeeet!

That's all that I've got.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Well, I went to the hospital employee health doctor this morning to find out whether I can work or not, and the answer was a resounding 'no' for the remainder of this week. Since there's a ringworm epidemic in my floor now, three patients have it and five staff members have come down with it. So I need to stay away while I'm getting it cured (with my "aggressive" meds) for infection precaution purposes. I think I'll be back in business on Monday when I get it checked out again. It messes with my schedule, but my hands are tied.

So I took advantage of the awesome weather and went for a jog down by the lake and then lay there and read for awhile. I feel like I'm playing hooky, for real. The weather continues to be damned awesome in Chicago.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I have RINGWORM!!!!
Yes, it's true. I developed what I thought was a giant zit on my chin last Friday. When I got back to the hospital today the nurses took one look at me and told me to get it checked out stat (look me at: using the hospital lingo already). See, I did therapy with a kid who has it from head to toe now, but all of those days ago when I worked with him, noone was any the wiser. Gross, right?

Anyway, after many hours of visiting various hospital nursing and doctors offices (at least I work in hospital central) I got diagnosed and a prescription for meds that should take care of it in the next couple of weeks. I also am armed with ointment to stop any itching and to prevent me from spreading it to other parts of my body. Several other therapists I talked to have contracted it over their time at the hospital and kept on working, so I don't think it'll screw with my time at the hospital.

What I did learn from my research this afternoon is that ringworm is not actually a worm, but more of a fungus. Better. Not much better, but better.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July, peoples of the world. How was everyone's? The weather in Chicago was flawless today, and we joined Steve and Kiley and others on an impromptu bbq that they organized in Wicker Park. The park wasn't crowded, the grass was a verdant green, the sun shined, and the breeze kept up. We grilled up some hot dogs, drank some cold sodas, and played some Taboo. It was quite an excellent celebration.

Todd and I returned from our trip to Milwaukee yesterday. We were there for two nights, which was a good amount of time to go. Again, we were treated to some amazing weather. The downtown area, where we stayed, sits right against the lake as well so we got lake breeze going the entire time. What did we do, you ask? Well, let me tell you!

Day one:
We walked down to Summerfest, which touts itself as "the world's largest music festival." It's this huge county fair like area that's right on the lake and has about six or seven stages with different kinds of music playing. $15 gets you in for as long as you want, to listen to all of the bands except for the headliner, which is usually a big name. The day we went, Paul Simon was playing which sounded awesome, but then the ticket prices of $41.50 for the farthest seat didn't sound quite as awesome, so we opted out. We stayed for a few hours, long enough to run across a band play in which Todd knew the guitarist, to eat a Wisconsin sausage, to drink a Wisconsin beer, and to ride the sky cab. There was some prime people watching available as well, so that is always a good thing.

As we walked back to the hotel we decided to walk along the River Walk area, along the Milwaukee River. There's a pedestrian walkway and it's dotted with restaurants with riverside views. We waited way too long for a table at one restuarant, but since we didn't really have anywhere to be we decided that it was worth it.

Day two:
We got up late and then walked down to the lake again, this time to go to the Milwaukee Art Museum. It's an interesting structure that looks like some kind of ship created in a drug haze. It was quite lovely inside though since it was walled with windows and you look straight out upon the lake. We went to the "Masters of American Comics" exhibit which was very cool. Incidentally it had a section dedicated to Chris Ware, so that makes two Chris Ware exhibits in four days.

We explored a couple of other neighborhoods too, driving up to the UW-Milwaukee neighborhood which was charming as one would expect from a college campus, and then to the
"historic" Brady Street area which was filled with shops and cafes. Since we wanted to have our nice dinner that night we couldn't find much that matched what we were looking for and decided to head back to the downtown area for dinner.

In the end, we ended up walking to Third Street where we had dinner at a nice restuarant right on the water again. We realized afterward that we hadn't celebrated my half birthday this year, so that was a very awesome half-birthday dinner. We ambled over to some German brew place a couple of storefronts away and had huge German beers while drunken dudes at the bar sang, did "shot skis" (shots lined up on a snow ski) and chanted "USA! USA!" to anyone who walked in. A good night in Milwaukee.

Day three:
Time to check out. So we did and then went to lunch in the Marquette neighborhood to a restaurant with a salty waitress and a dank and dark inside that smelled like stale smoke. A total college bar. But prices to match, so that's always a good thing.

So bottom line? Milwaukee is a super charming city. And less than two hours from Chicago, so that's kind of impressive.

Tomorrow I head back to the hospital and the idea of going back to work couldn't be less appealing. At least this is only a three day week, so that's a good thing, right?