Sunday, May 27, 2012

Doctor. Doctor.

In addition to my lingering insecurities and self-ridicule, Jameson’s second semester in medical school introduced a course called Introduction to Clinical Medicine or ICM.  This course taught students how to interview patients and figure out why they were being seen.  Grey and I were home practice patients for Jameson. Though, we seemed to be a practice in his restraint rather than clinical skills.

“Wife, stop moving! I’m trying to do this exam,” Jameson said and then let out another sigh. This was the third such outburst during this go round.

“I can’t help it. How long are you going to shine that light in my eye? Cripes! It’s killing me. What are you doing anyway?”

Ja answered, “I’m doing a lot of things. One of them is to see how your pupils react to light.”

“Why don’t you tell me how they react after I’ve had a glass of wine?” and I got up to open the refrigerator. Frowning, I noticed there was less than a glass of chardonnay left. Still, I pulled the bottle out and grabbed a glass from the cupboard.

“Kel, you told me you’d let me practice on you and instead all you’ve done is ask me questions and not let me finish a single examination point.”

Mental Checklist: Wiki search the meaning for blood pressure numbers. Husband is not in the mood for more questions.

I took a quick swallow to finish off my chardonnay. I knew what was going on my grocery list for the Monday afternoon shopping bonanza known as Cost-U-Less.  Looking at my husband I could see he was frustrated. I thought I was helping by quizzing him on everything - not the case.

“Sorry,” I said to Jameson.  “I just want to know what you’re doing. We literally see you like two hours a day during the week and only for a few hours on the weekend. I’d like to figure out what it is that you do during all that time. In my mind you’re letting Bob Hope play through and getting ready to cut open some dude in a tent.”

“Spies Like Us?”


“Loved that movie. Dan Akroyd at his finest. And no, we’re not cutting people open in a sand trap,” Jameson said while making quotes with his fingers to mock me on the cut open comment.

  “Fine, I’ll suck it up and be a more patient patient.”

I belly laughed at Jameson’s response, “Wife, like I’ve never heard that one before.”

Grey walked in the room at that moment to see that his dad’s instruments were still out on the kitchen table.

“Dad, still doing the doctor thing?” Grey asked.

Jameson nodded cautiously and asked, “Yes, why?”

“Wanna practice? ‘Slap Shot’ is over and I’m bored.”

“Yep, give me a sec to get reorganized and then I’ll start the exam,” Jameson said excitedly.

“A’ight. Let me know when we get to the questions about bowel movements. Sweet logs to talk about.”

With that comment, my sweet husband’s mouth dropped open and he shook his head. Maybe I was the better patient.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

“Have I taught you nothing?” Taffi lectured me over Skype. “No, you can’t wear a cardigan to the White Coat dinner tonight. Are you trying to look like a blue-hair? Turn the computer around so I can see the options again.”

We were leaving in a few minutes for the 1st Semester White Coat dinner over at Bliss. My wounds, still fresh from the flabby arm comment the week before, were making it hard to decide what to wear. I’d called Taff and now wasn’t sure I’d be done listening to her school me on trendy clothes in time to go through the buffet line.

“OK, wear the black sundress and some cute sandals. Call me the minute you get home. I want to hear all about it.”

I ended our call and I put on the black sundress with spaghetti straps. One look in the mirror and my panic began. Memories of Jameson’s White Coat Ceremony flooded my mind while I pondered, To Cardigan or Not To Cardigan.

Last semester while sitting in the back row of LH1 and watching the youth gone wild while waiting for the ceremony to start, Grey and I overheard a group of girls talking about whether or not you could actually see their ass cheeks because they were wearing such short skirts. While they were talking I was wracking my brain to remember if A) I’d ever been in shape enough to wear something that short and B) if so, did I?  Grey thoroughly checked and determined that yes he could see cheeks and wanted to “help” the girls by sharing this information.  I politely explained that if he ever dated a girl who thought it was acceptable to wear a dress the size of a washcloth, we’d exchange words.  This flashback didn’t stop my batwing anxiety. On went the cardigan and flip-flops.

We arrived at Bliss just before the mad rush of buses from the AUC Campus. This was great news to me because we’d hit the buffet line early and hopefully get back home in time for me to wrap up some work. I was living up to my blue-hair image alright. Jameson and I stood in the line for the left of the buffet and Grey in the right. 

While slowly moving closer to the buffet tables and food, Jameson began talking to the 3rd semester in front of us. I completely tuned him out and began scanning the students and their dates.

“Are you having fun?”

I glanced behind me and 2 guys were standing in line to go through the buffet. I asked, “Are you talking to me?”

“Uh, yeah,” the kid in the purple shirt and gold necklace said.

“I guess. Are you having fun?”

Purple shirt kid looked at his buddy, shrugged and replied, “Yeah.” We scooted forward in the line and he asked, “Are you like, here with your kid or something?”

I told him that I was here with my husband and son. Purple shirt kid visibly relaxed and we moved forward enough to grab plates and silverware.

“Do you know if any of your family could see the live stream of the ceremony? I told my mom to watch but I don’t know if it worked.”

“Oh,” I answered, “I have no idea. We didn’t go to the ceremony; we just came straight to the dinner. And, I didn’t even check out the site to see what the address was for streaming. Sorry.”

Using tongs to grab some chicken I noticed the guys looking at each other after that statement.

Kid in the white shirt and brown tie asked me, “Why would you come to your son’s White Coat and not even go? You here on vacation?”

My spine straightened, my jaw dropped open, I turned to the infants and said, “I’m going to assume you’re joking before I go Joan Crawford on your ass.”  Both boys stopped grabbing food and stared.  I added, “My husband is a 2nd semester student and my son and I are here with him while he goes to school. I am not your mother’s age unless she gave birth at 14.”

My comment left a slight pause in conversation so I turned back to the buffet and kept walking.

“Dr. Crawford? Is she a professor?” White shirt kid asked.

“Yo. Fail,” Grey said to the kid. It was the first I’d even noticed he was listening to the conversation.

Over a 7 day stretch I’d been told that my arms were flabby and now I parented a child who had just walked in White Coat. I couldn’t hit the bar fast enough. Thank gawd for the free drinks. I went straight for a chardonnay, leaving my food on the buffet.  

Jameson had missed the entire conversation because he was trying to get some notes from the guy in front of him. Though, after hearing my story he wasn’t surprised to learn I’d be drinking my dinner.

Monday, May 7, 2012

To the Bat Cave

Jameson had successfully passed his first round of exams in Semester 2 and I was visibly calmer. I had no idea I’d stress out more than my husband about the possibility of failing an exam and staying on this rock longer than planned. Quick reality check. Yep, still no Target here.
“Wife, what are you doing?” my husband calls through the bedroom door.  “It’s a beach party.  We’re not meeting the Queen.”
Oddly enough we could meet a queen. Beatrix, the Queen of the Netherlands, was here during the first semester. I remember it fondly because we had water, electricity and internet service the entire week. That glorious trifecta of convenience was well worth the bad traffic.
While yanking the door open and wearing my stern face, I snip back, “I was having trouble deciding what to wear, okay. Happy now?”
This statement puzzles Ja while he backs away from the bedroom door.  He looks me up and down, shakes his head and hollers for Grey to hurry up. Why am I the only one in this house worried about going to a beach party with a bunch of toned, tanned 20-something chippies in bikinis? Grey can’t get out of the house fast enough and here I am trying to figure out which swimsuit offers the most coverage. Oxymoron with a side of apathy, coming right up.
Walking down the hill toward Mullet Beach I quickly recite my story about the dog poop and the naked guy. Grey rolls his eyes and requests, “Mom, please don’t talk about dogs dropping a log or some grandpa and his junk while we’re at the beach.  It’s embarrassing. “
“Embarrassing? You just turned thirteen and you’re crushing on one of your dad’s classmates and my story about dog poop is embarrassing?”
“Agh! Seriously, I’m running ahead. Just act like you don’t know me,” Grey adds while jogging off to the beach.
“What did I say?”
“Wife,” Jameson starts, “Just try to make it through the next couple of hours. I want to see how people did on exams. Plus, it’s free food so we get off easy feeding Grey.”  Jameson pats me on the shoulder and dismisses me to head over to the crowd.
My husband was mingling with students from all semesters and Grey was hanging with some boys from his school so I set up my beach bum station.
Mental Checklist: the black hat I bought to shade my face not only attracts the sun but doubles as a portable heater.  Purchase new hat and maybe some Toms while browsing online later.
I was 2% into my book on my Kindle when the back of my arm lit up in pain. I shouted, jumped up and began shaking my right arm while trying to swat at my shoulder and back with my left. What the heck?!?  I don’t know what bit me, but I wanted it squashed under my heel immediately.
“Ohmuhgawd! Are you okay?”
I turned to see two tiny girls in bikinis with concerned looks and Heineken’s. Oh, they were talking to me. My dance of life must have spooked them.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Something bit me and I just, I just freaked out I guess. Thank you for asking,” I answer while trying to smile and not worry about my roots. I knew I should have colored my hair this morning. I knew it!
“No, I totally would have done the same thing. Bugs freak me out,” explains yellow and black bikini girl.  I decide she reminds me of a bumble bee.
Her friend in the pink suit adds, “And how awesome that you have like almost no fat on your triceps. My friends’ mom moves her arms and it’s like she’s got wings or something.” They both giggle at that and continue down the beach sipping beer.
What. The. Frak.
Not only am I being grouped into what I consider to be a Grandma-like branding, I’ve been reduced to comparison to a mom with flabby arms who can fly.  No amount of chardonnay can make me forget that shit.  I settle back on my beach towel and plan my personal attack.
Mental Checklist:  Can I get a trainer here? How well do the Turbo Fire DVD’s really work if you use them “as directed”?   Has Jameson noticed my bat wings and just not said anything? If I Google flabby arms will I find a support group in my area?  Should I ask Grey about this and risk personal ridicule or just drink my way through this hitch in my giddy-up?
I decide on the latter and head over to the beer tent. Flabby arms or not, I can throw back the beers with the kids.