Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hernial Hiatus

I may or may not be taking a hiatus for a little while.

I need to concentrate on some things in my life right now, and putting the pieces back together may take all available time and energy.

Until we meet again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Completely normal bloodwork.

If this is normal, I don't ever want to be ill.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break...and I'm Exhausted

Not surprisingly after the Saturday night we had, the kids and I didn't make it to church in the morning. Sunday evening had been set aside for cleaning out the garage so I could work on Herman, but that just didn't happen. No matter, the parts I needed weren't here anyway. Instead I thought it would be a great idea to invite 3 other couples over for a St. Patrick's Day party on Tuesday evening. So I made a trip to the grocery store instead of doing anything productive around the house.

Monday was supposed to be a day of working around the house. Mrs. Drofen got up with the kids and let me sleep in since she'd slept part of the day on Sunday and she wasn't able to sleep late. As soon as I got up my FIL called to say that he and my wife's 17 y/o sister were headed to the dealership to buy her a new car. I'm apparently the family car deal negotiator ever since I negotiated almost $12K off MSRP of his new Dodge truck a few years back. I'd like to think it's because I'm cranky beyond my years, (Get off my lawn, ya damn kids!) but it's more likely because I was taken advantage of by a car salesman when I was young and stupid. I swore that would never ever happen again. And it hasn't. Anyway, SIL went home with a brand new Civic $4500 under MSRP and 2.9% for 60 months. Mission accomplished. Caught the beginning of rush hour on the trip home from the dealership but still made it in time to go to small group for church.

Tuesday morning dawned and it was time to pay the piper. The lawns both desperately needed mowing because we got rain last week, and now it's 80* out, so hello spring. I mowed the back yard at 1/2 notch above the lowest blade setting on the mower since it's the first mow of the season. It was a beating mowing it that short. It took me an hour and a half and I was left with 8" snow drifts of cut grass. Next I headed to Lowe's and bought a leaf rake to rake the cut grass into the compost pile. When I got back I started raking, but about 10 minutes into that job I figured out it was going to bring the major suck. I decided get out the leaf blower, and although it was like standing in a sand storm of cut grass I managed to blow the lawn clean of cut grass. Then it was time to head out front. Another 2 hours and I had the front mowed and blown clean. Inside for a quick shower, and it was time to start cooking and help Mrs. Drofen clean the house. We were still vacuuming about 10 minutes before our guests arrived, but the entire house did get cleaned pretty well.

For our St. Patrick's Day dinner I prepared corned beef and cabbage, venison skewers, boiled red potatoes, and steamed carrots. Our friends brought a salad, Irish soda muffins, and an Irish apple pie. It was a really great meal. And we had blast just hanging out and watching The Biggest Loser. Yeah, we're old.

Today my day started ok. Until I moved out to the couch to give Mrs. and Baby Drofen the run of the bed for baby-breakfast in bed. Somehow I moved just the wrong way and my upper back was instantly in spasms. So today I started at the chiropractor's office, and then I got to go to the local doc in a box to get some blood work done. I've got a supraclavicular lymph node that is about 30 times larger than normal and tender to palpation. Yes, this is the second very scary symptom I've had in a week and half. Lab work comes back tomorrow.

This afternoon I went to the grocery store, rented lighting equipment for Baby Drofen's 3 month pictures, and tried to buy the girls a swing set but struck out.

And now, I'm just exhausted. Again.

I really hope this fatigue isn't the third very scary symptom in a week and half.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tag Teamed

Ugh. Last night was killer. It was Mrs. Drofen's 3rd in a row at work, and frankly I envied her.
  • 1755--Mrs. Drofen leaves for work.
  • 1800--Baby Drofen goes down for evening nap.
  • 1810--2 y/o goes into the bathtub.
  • 1845--2 y/o climbs out of bathtub on her own to say she's ready to get out. (Oy.)
  • 1920--Baby Drofen wakes up, hungry.
  • 1930--Baby Drofen eats 4oz bottle of Mommy Milk.
  • 2130--Baby Drofen is so beside himself cranky--no choice but to put him to bed, for the night hopefully.
  • 2150--2 y/o goes to bed.
  • 2220--Baby Drofen, very restless--get him up because he really needs to eat again.
  • 2230--Baby Drofen eats another 4oz bottle of Mommy Milk.
  • 2300--Attempt #1 to put Baby Drofen back to bed. Not happening.
  • 2330--Attempt #2 to put Baby Drofen back to bed. Much rocking, back rubbing, cuddling.
  • 2350--Baby Drofen drifts to sleep.
  • 2355--Baby Drofen wakes up.
  • 0030--Attempt #3 to put Baby Drofen back to bed. Not happening.
  • 0100--Attempt #4 to put Baby Drofen back to bed. Much rocking, back rubbing, cuddling.
  • 0130--Baby Drofen drifts to sleep.
  • 0135--Take a shower.
  • 0200--Fall asleep.
  • 0355--2 y/o wakes up screaming--bad dream.
  • 0400--Watch an episode of Miss Spider's Sunny Patch with 2 y/o.
  • 0425--Attempt #1 to put 2 y/o back to bed. Not happening.
  • 0430--Watch an episode of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.
  • 0500--Attempt #2 to put 2 y/o back to bed. Much book reading, back rubbing, and tear wiping.
  • 0520--2 y/o drifts to sleep.
  • 0521--Back to bed and precious sleep.
  • 0545--Baby Drofen starts grumbling.
  • 0600--Grumbling escalates to a level where possible it will wake 2 y/o asleep next door. Retrieve Baby Drofen.
  • 0605--Call wife at work, irrationally blow up. Wife says, "You're on speaker phone." Hang up on wife.
  • 0610--Baby Drofen eats 4oz bottle of Mommy Milk.
  • 0630--Attempt #5 to put Baby Drofen back to bed. Not happening.
  • 0645--Spit bubble practice.
  • 0700--Attempt #6 to put Baby Drofen back to bed. Much rocking, back rubbing, cuddling.
  • 0730--Baby Drofen drifts to sleep as wife walks in door from work.

The Rite of Parenthood #11

Even the successful parent has to wonder if 6:45 am is the best time for supervised spit bubble practice, instead of going back to sleep after demanding to be fed. Even for a 3 month old baby.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I got TAGGED and now you're IT!

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My first name is a family name extending back 5 or 6 generations. My middle name is after my uncle who has passed on.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? During 'Fireproof'.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR OWN HANDWRITING? My handwriting has really deteriorated over the last few years. My wife is convinced it's because I'm a doctor.


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Yes, 3.


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? Yep, it's like a whole other language for me.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes. Not missing any hardware, although that may change soon.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Probably, if they had bungee cord thick enough to hold my fat butt.


11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? When I'm feeling responsible.



15. RED OR PINK? Red.

16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My weight, or my job situation.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? The happy fun person I used to be. Bitterness sucks.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO COMPLETE THIS LIST? If you have 5 minutes to waste, please do.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? I'm wearing blue J Crew chinos, and I'm barefoot at the moment.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? "Element" by Moses Mayfield--great song.


23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Yeasty beer, a well crafted scotch whiskey, rain on the breeze, honeysuckle on the night air, ozone from a close lightning strike, cedar burning in the fireplace.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? The insurance adjustor coming to look at my wife's car post-Post Office fender bender.


27. HAIR COLOR? Graying by the minute.

28. EYE COLOR? Hazel with fleks of red.


30. FAVORITE FOOD? Sushi, New Mexican cuisine.


32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Watched part of Bram Stoker's Dracula last night before I fell asleep.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Blue with a gray stripe.



37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Hmmm, probably Christy, Kirsten, or Heather?

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Probably Dana. ;)

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Searching for a cheap copy of "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell. Just finished "City of Thieves" by David Benioff.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Cheesy beach and palm tree scene.

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? A whole lot of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.

42. FAVORITE SOUND(S)? My kids' laughter, a well tuned acapella group, a well played bagpipes, snow falling.


44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? NYC or Vancouver BC, not sure which is further.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I have an amazing ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. I also read non-verbal communication far better than most.

46. WHERE WERE U BORN? San Diego, CA

47. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? Anyone who will take the time to write.

48. WHERE DID YOU MEET YOUR SPOUSE? Microbiology class in undergrad.

49. WHERE IS HOME? Not sure, still looking.

50. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF? Be patient young man, and stop screwing around.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Drama Magnet

I'd advise all persons maintain a safe distance from me in the foreseeable future.

Today I looked up my accident report on the local PD's website and it was still not available. It was supposed to have been available 3 days after the accident occurred--it's been 5 days. I called the PD and was transferred to the records clerk who informed me the report had been sent back to the officer on scene to make some corrections. Now, I'm all for getting the accident report correct, but I still had not been given the insurance information of the other party. The records clerk felt bad for me and read the insurance information to me over the phone.

I was writing down this information while sitting in the the car at the local Post Office. I was there picking up a certified letter the mail lady said she attempted to deliver but nobody was home--a total lie. It was raining, she didn't want to get out of her vehicle. Anyway, as I'm writing down the information from the records clerk, the asswipe in a Infiniti Q56 parked next to me backed out of his spot, and somehow managed to hit my wife's Xterra in the process. There isn't a lot of damage, a small scrape, and maybe a small dent, but DAMN! So I got HIS insurance information as well.

So once I got home I called the first insurance company regarding my truck and filed a claim. Wouldn't you know it, it turns out that the insurance policy the minivan and driver was insured under has probably been canceled, and prior to accident. The insurance company is trying to determine if there is coverage left or not.

Why me?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Answered Prayers?

During clinical/lab this afternoon I got a phone call from my chiropractor, and don't think my heart wasn't about to come out of my chest when I saw his number. Lucky for me the call came outside a patient room because I would have answered it if I'd been in the Oval office receiving the Medal of Honor, let alone in a patient room. It's just better because now I don't have to explain myself.

Anyway, the CT w/ contrast came back "largely unremarkable with no evidence of soft tissue trauma, mediastinal mass, or large vessel aneurysm."

The radiologist was dumbfounded, comparing my first chest X-ray and my second X-ray 24 hrs later that were identical, to the CT done 24 hrs after that. She doesn't have an explanation as to why it resolved so quickly. I don't have a logical explanation as to why either. There is no logical explanation.

I'm not necessarily one to cling to the idea of miracles. I do believe they happen, but I also know that it's probably not best to depend on them. In my mind I keep ending up at the same logically illogical explanation.

So, it is with great humbleness and eternal gratefulness that I thank those of you that prayed for intercession on my behalf. Maybe that's what did it, maybe I'm just a freaky fast healer. Regardless, I'm not man enough to deny that a miraculous healing has occurred.


Today was our final day of the semester in our clinical labs. The rest of our clinical days will be spent at our assigned hospital. Frankly I'm relieved because it ends my interaction with the other clinical instructors. I'm not sure how, but mostly by pure dumb luck, I managed to situate myself to be instructed by the best clinical instructor in all of Junior 1. Since it was the last day, we filled out evaluation forms about our experience in lab--another answer to prayer I think. I hate to admit it, but I took a small measure of joy in professionally (and ever so respectfully) expressing my dissatisfaction with two of the clinical instructors. I was not the only one.

Today was medication administration to 'standardized patients' (actors) and it was a completely draining experience. Obviously the patients couldn't take the drugs, even if they were real. It was so tough to figure out where the acting began and real life began. On one hand they'd tell us information we needed to know for the scenario completely lucidly, but then turn around and try and trick us with their acting. Really tough. The woman faking Alzheimer's that threw her crushed medication mixed with chocolate pudding across the room, all over the bed, floor, and wall was taking it just a little too far. I had to give her a SQ injection of heparin too--real needle into an injection pad she had positioned on her abdomen. When she became combative and nearly made me stick myself, it truly pissed me off. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. There is no valuable lesson to be learned there in my opinion. But that's just me.


As so as I got home from clinical lab, I immediately went to my other job--Mr. Mom. I have the kids pretty much to myself from this evening until Sunday afternoon when my wife gets up. My last time to myself was last Sunday evening following my car wreck which I spent frantically studying for my Foundations exam. (Which I somehow managed to pull at 87 on, despite being completely in pain and only studying for 2 hours for.) Oh well, that's what being a dad means, right?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Mrs. Drofen has her PALS recertification class today, so I've been all kids, all day, instead of using my day off to study like I normally do. Thank goodness next week is Spring Break.

Monday was an interesting day. I went ahead and took my Foundations exam even though the events the night before kept me from being prepared as much as I'd have liked to have been. I was also in quite a bit of pain and kept mis-copying answers to my scantron. I hope my grade doesn't suffer too much, but I guess I'll find out later today.

After that I had a group project for my Health Promotions class due. We had to teach the general public about fitting exercise into a busy schedule, and why it's important to do so. We set up a table in the on-campus activity center and started handing out free water bottles and conducting a raffle for free Six Flags tickets and Chipotle Bucks, in exchange for them listening to our spiel. We gave away 4 flats of water, so 96 bottles, and had over a hundred entries in our raffle. All in an hour and a half--I was hoarse by the time we were done.

Next, I headed to the chiro to get checked out. He shot X-rays, gave me an exam, adjusted me, and did some PT modalities. I felt a ton better afterward, and didn't need any pain relievers at all yesterday. However, when I went back for my follow-up appointment yesterday afternoon, we put the X-rays up on the light box and we both immediately saw something concerning. At about T-3ish, my trachea takes a sharp turn to left. I'm by no means a radiologist, but the chiropractic education includes over 20 credit hours of radiology since we can write for and perform Xrays. There is not a simple or benign reason for the trachea to deviate in the mediastinum. The best case scenario is a contusion and hematoma from the wreck. Other causes might be lymphoma, a thoracic aortic aneurysm, or even lung cancer. Needless to say I was freaked out.

After my appointment and associated troubling news, I got to go take my first OSCE of the semester for Assessment. I was able to pull it together enough get through it, and scored a 99.17%. The only thing I missed was stating 160* nail angle as related to digital clubbing from chronic hypoxia. Doh!

This morning the chiro hand carried my chest film to a radiologist he works with regularly, and she was concerned too. Concerned enough to pull some strings and get me a same day CT w/ contrast. So at 1620 I'll be lit up like a Christmas tree. Let's hope there's no packages under that tree...

I'm doing ok I think. I'm pretty scared at the moment. I have a lot of things going for me, and a total lack of secondary symptoms to suggest a disease process. But the diff dx's that come with a mediastinal mass aren't nice playmates. I'd really like to just take my toys and go home, but I'm going to have to deal with this one.

I'd appreciate good thoughts and prayers. :(

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Study Break

Was on my way up to a local bookstore to do some major studying for my Foundations exam tomorrow. Unfortunately the jack-ass in a minivan that turned in front of me and totalled my truck had other plans for my evening.

I'm pretty scraped up from the seatbelt and from the airbag, and I'm already feeling big time sore. Other than that, I'm not hurt. I'm definitely going to be feeling it tomorrow. Popped an Aleve and will be taking another shortly. I've got an appointment with my favorite chiropractor to get checked out tomorrow.

Called in and filed a claim with my insurance company a little bit ago. They've set up a rental car to be waiting for me, and the adjustor will be looking at my truck tomorrow sometime. My guess is that it's totalled given that it's a 2002. I'm positive the frame is bent because the cab was shifted to the right, the airbags went off, and the entire driver side suspension was ripped out from under the truck. What a shame, it only has 62K miles on it--a 7 year old truck...

This could have been much much worse, but I was by myself. Mrs. Drofen and the 3 kiddos were all safe at home. So for that I'm very thankful.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Against the Flow

My tender male student nurse feelings were tested on Tuesday during my assessment lecture. The topic of the day?

Male & female genitalia and rectum & anus. Surely you see the male-bashing potential from just that bit of information. We'll also ignore the adolescent-silly comments that peppered the entire lecture, and move on to what really pissed me off.

We were discussing the need for STD testing, and the lecturer asked the class if we thought that a patient that claims to be in a monogamous relationship should still be tested for STD's. Of course the correct answer is yes.

But then the lecturer went on, and way too far, in my opinion.

She said, "You know these high paid executives, they run around and sleep with any little young thing they can. And then they come home and give these STD's to their unsuspecting wives who have stayed home working hard to care for their children and keep the house just the way the husband likes it."

Now, I'm positive what she describes has happened before. But I'm also certain, (from personal experience), that husbands are NOT the only people who cheat. Wives do too.

I couldn't resist it--I raised my hand and made that point. The lecturer begrudgingly agreed. But it wasn't 5 minutes later that we were discussing statutory rape, and she made another comment about how when this happens she has to "turn the boyfriends in to the cops."

Again, making the assumption that the males are the only ones who might commit statutory rape--a point that is debased quite effectively I think by the rash of female teachers having sex with young students in the news lately.

My clinical group and I (all females) were discussing this at lunch. One of my clinical-mates asked me, "What did you expect going into a female dominated world? If I (she) had gone into engineering, I'm sure that there would be all kinds of female bashing jokes and comments being made."

I responded that while that may be true, that it certainly doesn't make it right.

As nursing students we are expected to act as professionals at all times, representing our school in a respectful and courteous way. We are constantly being reminded to develop our critical thinking skills. One of the principles of critical thinking that we were tested over was the removal of bias and discriminatory language from our discourse.

Unfortunately, this lecturer apparently missed that class...

Maybe I've been over-sensitive here. And the truth is I'm up for a joke as much as the next girl. If the same words had been said in jest, I think they probably wouldn't have bothered me. What bothered me was the fact that the lecturer was completely unaware of her bias.

I'm sad to report that sexism wasn't her only downfall. She is not our regular professor, and she had a poor grasp on the material in both of her lectures. Her previous lecture was on the heart, where she informed the class that ventricular filling is what triggers the systolic contraction...without mentioning the conduction system except in passing... This lecture she made several breast cancer gaffes and reversed syphilis and gonorrhea. Not my favorite lecturer.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fiasco de Vizio

The 32" CRT TV in my daughters room started acting up about a year ago. When trying to play movies from the DVD player, the picture would flicker badly, and finally it just went out. My thought was that it was the DVD player finally crapping out. I swapped in the one from the living room, and it still didn't work. Next thought was a bad component cable, but when I bought one it still didn't work and I returned it. Sound was fine, just no picture. Obviously this left only one possibility--the video input on the TV was bad. It was kind of a bummer because my girls like to watch movies, and it's nice to let them watch in another room, allowing us to watch what we'd like to watch. It's also nice to put on a movie in the other room to entertain the kids when we host small group at our house. But the TV worked with the satellite, so we just lived with it for awhile.

Well, we got a stupid big tax return this year and I thought that one of the things we'd replace would be the TV's. Walmart had a 32" Vizio LCD on sale for about $450, so I thought now was the time. Vizio is known as a bargain brand, but quality rivals much more expensive TV's. Clearly not the absolute best, but far and away better than comparably priced units. A good value in other words. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought so, because they are sold out online, and none of the 10 nearest stores had them in stock. I managed to locate one in the next town over so I immediately (830 pm) drove over and bought it.

I lugged it home and set it up, first removing our other 32" CRT TV from our entertainment center and putting it on the floor in the living room. Those CRT TV's weigh about twice what the LCD does. I'd put them at 55-60lbs. Anyway I hooked up the new TV and it was beautiful. We happily watched for the rest of the evening, awed by it's bright colors and sharp picture.

This morning I decide to complete the TV shift, and lug the CRT from the living room into my daughters room, and the CRT from my daughters room to the garage. Writing that blessedly lightweight compound sentence in no way approaches describing the effort it took to do that seemingly simple task.

Anyway, I got everything plugged in and setup. Satellite worked fine, and then I popped in a DVD to test...

...and it didn't work.

After much cursing, and plugging and unplugging, it turns out that the cable AND the DVD player were bad. What are the odds of that?

So then I had the treat of packing the pretty Vizio back into it's box to be returned (mostly because I relish being treated like a criminal at customer counters.) Then the TV in my daughter's room had to be moved back to the living room, and the TV in the garage had to be moved back into my daughter's room... Ugh.

So a new DVD player and cable later, we have movies in both rooms. All it took was a late night trip to Walmart and then a morning of moving TVs around, capped off by another trip to Walmart.

Did I mention I hate Walmart?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I've had nurses tell me that everyone has "one thing" that they just don't do, or have a hard time dealing with. For my wife, her one thing is open, sucking, gaping wounds. They make her queasy and have made her light-headed before. But she's also a testament to learning to deal with your one thing--she's been a successful pediatric critical care nurse for 6 1/2 years now, and she does see her fair share of patients with open sucking wounds.

Well, my one thing is...shit. I don't think it's the smell--I've learned I can close my nose off pretty effectively from all the poopy diapers I've changed. It's not the sight of it either--once you're used to breast milk poops, there's not much that will faze you in that department. Unless it moves on its own. But mostly I think it's just the thought of it that gets me.

I know that a lot of nursing care is dealing with poop. I know that it's a fact of life. I know that most patients can't help what's oozing out of their ass. I also know that most patients KNOW that there poop situations sucks and it's a great source of embarrassment to them. I know that putting on your nurse face is the greatest gift you can give these patients.

But the thought of ass juice just makes my skin crawl.

I'm working on it.