Saturday, December 19, 2009

Losing myself

I managed 10.5 miles this morning.  Kept my pace about the same as it has been.  It was ridiculously cold (3 degrees F), but once I got going, it felt great.  I am beginning to think I just might be as crazy as people keep telling me I am.

Needless to say, over the course of the past few months I have been pretty regular with the exercise.  I have been doing some resistance training along with the running.  And I am finally starting to notice some results.  My pants are getting quite baggy.  Particularly through the legs.  This is unusual for me, as I have always had beefy legs.

So, I decided to break out the tape measure and see what was going on.  Here are some comparisons to this summer.

I have lost 20 lbs

I have lost 2.5 inches in my waist

I have lost 3 inches in my chest

I have lost 3 inches in my hips

I have lost 3 inches from EACH thigh

Slowly, but surely, I am losing myself.  I think I like this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Meet Captain Ice Beard!

Another Saturday. This means time for another long run. After the success of last week's endeavor, I decided to push a bit more this week. It helps that I have a wonderful wife who is so supportive.
So the plan for the day was 9 miles. For the record, that would be the farthest I have ever run. At once, of course.
Last night, though, the temperature was in a bit of a downward spiral. The wind was blowing and what started out in the 30s was quickly approaching the bottom half of the 20s, with a threat for a continued downward trend. I have this awesome clock that projects onto the ceiling. It syncs the time automatically from the atomic clock in Colorado, so it is always correct. And it connects to a remote thermometer that I have placed outside in the back of the house.
Last night, as I was going to bed, the temperature was 22 F. Hmm. Chilly. But I was determined.
So the alarm goes off. I gaze at the ceiling. 12 F.
Are you freaking kidding me? That is like -10 C! That ain't right. Freaking New England. Freaking snow. Freaking winter. I could still be wearing shorts in North Carolina. Argh.
But I really wanted to go. So up and at 'em. I did wait until the sky started to lighten, so that at some point during the run the sun would actually rise. I layered. It worked. Mostly.
My face was incredibly cold for the first mile or so, but by then I was starting to warm up and I was beginning to sweat. A few more miles down and I was sweating in earnest. But it was too cold to evaporate. So what does it do? It freezes. On my face. In my beard.
9.3 miles later I had become Captain Ice Beard.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Changing color, changing seasons

Faithful reader(s), you may have noticed a change in the top of my blog. I just couldn't resist. The picture of the vibrant red leaves was just too beautiful. I had to add it. Fall in New England is truly breathtaking (even though it only lasts for a week or two). It is sort of like Mother Nature's last chance to apologize for what is to come. As such, the changing color of the leaves is always just a bit ominous.
I was thinking, though, about another change of color. One I find far more ominous and frightening.
My hair.
I have blond hair. It is true. I have white eyebrows and a red beard. It is sort of like my genotype just couldn't make up its mind about what sort of phenotype it wanted to produce. Yeah, even my genes are wishy-washy. However, because of the red beard (and the, ehm, "fair" complexion) people in the operating room just assume I have red hair as well (since they always see me with an OR cap on). And while the reports are that I had red hair when I was born, I have never seen photographic evidence of this. Mom, I'll just have to take your word for it.
Be that as it may, my hair is blond. Not almost-white-blond, but not really red or strawberry-blond either. It hides things well. Things like gray/white hairs. I consider this as something that works in my favor.
Something else that works in my favor is that, for about 8 years or so, I kept my hair mostly buzzed. Not Gillette smooth, but very short. You know, no attachment on the clippers short. Earlier this year I decided I would try the whole hair thing again. Interestingly, quite a few people told me I actually looked younger with hair. Bonus. Right?
I'm not so sure.
A few weeks ago, my dear wife was standing close by and looking at my head. Not sure why, but there you go. Suddenly she asked, innocently enough, "Is that a gray hair?"
I was taken aback. I was speechless. I was horrified. I was irrational. For reasons I still cannot explain, that simple question was so offensive to me. The very notion that I was starting to go gray was anathema. My wife looked at me as if I had lost my mind. She tried to assuage my grief, ensuring that it was "dignified". Hogwash. It isn't dignified. It is OLD.
In an effort to rally the troops to my side, I mentioned this experience to some fellow residents. To my horror, they agreed that I was overreacting! What is their problem? I am too freaking young to have white hairs!
To the bathroom. Tweazers in hand, I gazed into the mirror. I saw an errant sideburn hair. Grabbed, pulled, out. I looked closely. Crap. It was white. A few minutes later, a few more hairs, all white. But I think I got them all.
Fast forward to this week. Again, while looking at my sideburns, my wife sees another couple of white hairs. And POINTS THEM OUT TO ME!!! As if my reaction the first time wasn't enough, she tempted fate and went down that dark path again. My reaction was, well, irrational. Again.
Reflecting on my reaction, I just don't know why this is bothering me so much. My hair color hides the white hairs quite well. You only notice if you are looking closely. Nevertheless, I am really bothered by this. I mean, I am only 33. Going gray/white already? And yet, it has never phased me when I see those younger than me with much more gray adorning their crowns.
Some times it frightens me just how crazy I am.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A moment of revelation

In an effort to improve my over all health, I decided to plunge back in to the world of regular exercise. It is amazing how poorly us doctors do at taking care of ourselves. The medical field has created this culture of self-neglect. In some aspects, I think the pendulum is swinging a bit. However, life as a resident is built on a firm dictatorial foundation. As in you dictate next to nothing about your life. However, as this year is my "research" year, I felt it was the best time to establish some healthier habits, ones that hopefully I can carry through the next two years after this until I am done and (hopefully) have a little more control over my schedule. As such, I have rediscovered that perhaps running isn't just as insane as I used to think it was. Here is a little secret: I used to hate running. In fact, hate may just not be sufficiently strong to convey my feelings about it. I loathed it. I thought it was evil, a beast that should be chained in the deepest pit of Tartarus. Yeah, not a fan. But biking just wasn't doing it for me. It didn't feel like enough of a workout unless I really went for a while. Still fun, but just not what I was looking for. So I decided I would try running again. I have flirted with running in the past. I have even reached a point where I didn't despise the very thought of it. But I never honestly could say I liked it. Until this morning. Getting back in the swing of things after some sickness and some stress at work, Thanksgiving morning I went for a 5.5 mile run. The most I have done in at least 4 years or so. It hurt. But mentally I was pleased I had done it, even if it was not fun. I have done pretty well since then, running regularly (a well as some cross training with weights, jump rope, etc.) with one other >5 mile run.
I planned to do a 10k this morning.
10k isn't a lot for people who actually run. You know, people who are healthy and in shape. Those sorts of people. But for those like me, you know, us fatties, 10k is a long freaking distance. I mean seriously, moving my meaty frame at a constant jog for 6.2 miles is a pretty big deal. So it took some mental preparation. I knew how far to go, where to turn around and had a sound plan.
0630 this morning I set out. A tad later than I was initially planning, but still early enough. As usual, it felt a little rough for the first kilometer or so. But I kept going and eventually it stopped hurting, and if it didn't feel good, it wasn't at least feeling awful.
Then "it" happened. For the past week the Nike+ sensor in my shoe had been telling me the battery was low. But it had still been working, recording my mileage and telling me when to turn around. Alas, at 3.92k my iPod told me it had stopped recording activity. Yep, my sensor was dead.
I won't lie. There was a part of me that just about turned around then. It would have been 8k, not bad and still a good run.
But I still could listen to music, and I knew when to turn around to make it the full 10k. So I decided to press on. I hit the half-way point and a funny thing happened. I decided to go a little farther. I knew how far to go to add another half mile out, adding a full additional mile to the run. 7.2 miles was sounding pretty good. Still, sitting in the back of my mind was the fact that however far I went away from home, I had that far to go on the return trip.
But I made it. Then another funny thing happened. I decided to go a bit farther. Up, over the pasarela (overpass, but for some reason they will always be pasarelas to me) and up to the High School. There I decided to turn around. I was actually feeling pretty good. Granted, I wasn't setting any speed records, but I was still running my pace and in a groove.
Five miles into the run, with a way to go still the weirdest thing happened. Something I have never felt before. I felt great. Not just good, but great. I'm talking grinning from ear to ear, breathlessly singing along with my iPod, giving high-fives to the low hanging tree branches great. I felt giddy.
I have heard about a "runner's high". Lis talks about them and my dad has even made mention of it. I thought it was fiction. You know, something that runners talk about to fool us regular folk in to running, telling us eventually we will feel it just to keep us going. In short, I thought it was a lie.
Not any more.
I felt higher than a kite this morning. I don't regularly use mind or mood altering substances. I have, on very few occasions, used narcotics while in the throws of passing kidney stones. I hated those. No idea why people would pay good money to feel that way.
But this was different. If I could have bottled this feeling to sell, I would be a millionaire. I felt invincible. I loved it. I crave feeling it again.
Oh dear. Looks like I got my first hit today, and now I am hooked. I just may become something of a junkie. 7.8 miles done, and I was already planning next week's runs. And, yes, I bought a new sensor today.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Gareth laughs and fills us with joy

Three months have passed, and Gareth is turning into his own little person. It is amazing just what the simple things will do for little babies. As he smiles more and becomes more interactive, he fills our home with just that much more joy. Here is a bit of that joy to share with you all.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama and the Homecoming Royalty

Congratulations to President Obama. Really. I mean it. I swear.
I don't mean this as a slight to him. On the surface, he certainly seems to have sincere intentions. I say on the surface because anyone who knows me knows I think all politicians who reach the upper echelons of government are corrupt individuals. Yeah, I am that cynical.
Rather, this is directed toward the judges of the (once) prestigious Nobel Peace Prize committee.
Really? Obama? Seriously?
He has been President for just over 9 months now. I'm sorry, but that just isn't enough time. Coupled with crises on the home front (with health care and the economic issues) he just hasn't had time to demonstrate actions that, in my opinion, warrant such an international honor. Again, not saying he won't, but it just seems premature. All he has had time to do is spout honeyed words. I don't see any evidence that the world is a more peaceful place since he took the helm of this country.
What it really screams of, though, is spite. I can't help but feel that this was done simply to spite George W. Bush. Sort of the final slap to the face. You know, "Hey, we are so glad you are gone, we're going to give this guy an award he hasn't done anything for other than not be you." Trust me, I get that. Heck, a lot of us who even may have voted for him at one time are glad he is gone. But this just isn't good enough a reason to award President Obama.
And while they have picked some other, ehm, questionable people in the past (Arafat?!?!?), at least those people had been around for years, working at whatever they were nominated for.
Sort of cheapens the whole thing. Makes it feel like a popularity contest. "Are you going to vote for that Barack guy for Homecoming King? He is sooooo dreamy!"
I only hope President Obama leaves a legacy that warrants this award. I really do.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lullabies and high fives

One of Alex's favorite things is to give very energetic high fives. He high fives with quite the gusto. Every once in a while though, he will settle down enough to be a very sweet little guy.

First weeks and first days

Well, we are coming up on Gareth's 2 week birthday. In the weeks he has been home with us he has just been an amazing little boy. He eats well, sleeps well and is generally very even tempered. What a little joy. Here are some moments he has shared with us.
Likewise, this past two weeks have brought some first days of school for the older siblings. Here they are, heading out.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Welcome Gareth

Today we came home from the hospital with the newest addition to our family, little Gareth Tayt Jones. Checking in at 8 lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long, he joined us yesterday at 1:06 pm. So far he has been a great little baby and mom and baby are doing awesome.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Cruisin' in style (or at least more room)

Time rolls on, and swallows us up in its passing. For over four years now, we have crammed our family of five into either a Hyundai Sonata, or (surprisingly, we fit better in the second) a Mazda Protege. We flirted with the idea of a minivan a few years back, when he had a foster daughter. However, we resisted, and have, in a very cramped manner, used the Mazda to cart around our family of five. Heck, we have even used it a couple of times to head down to North Carolina. Alas, with the impending arrival of Jones kiddo number four, we have no choice but to upsize. And so today we did:
There she is, our new van. Honestly, I am excited. It will be very nice. The room is wonderful, as is the fact that it is just a nicer ride than the Mazda. But I do bid a fond farewell to our Hyundai. She was the victim, as she was a couple of years older and not quite as easy on the gas mileage. Needless to say, the kids (the ones who benefit the most from the extra space) are thrilled. New wheels for the Jones family!

Monday, August 03, 2009

On being on call

Call as a resident is one of those dreaded things. No one wants to be on call, yet we all knew, going in, that this would be a requisite part of our career. Despite that knowledge, we all dread it.
Like the plague.
See, the problem is people don't understand what it means to be on call. After years of being a resident, my own parents still don't seem entirely comfortable with what that means. Granted, it is something that has changed over the years as I made the transition from General Surgery to Urology. So for that, I forgive them.
But it isn't just those of us going in who don't understand what call will really be like. Our "customers" don't understand what call is like.
Be they nurses, patients, or even colleagues, the tendency to abuse call is rampant. It is perfectly normal for a patient to call at 2 am to discuss something as mundane as when are they scheduled for their next appointment. A patient called me the other night to ask who was right, he or his wife, in regards to how a medication worked.
It happens all the time. People assume that, because they can call someone at all hours, that they SHOULD call someone at all hours. Nurses are just as bad. It is completely normal to get a page at 3 am about a medication that will be due at 9 am, or "just to let you know" that a medication (eg. an antiemetic) did what it was supposed to. Right. Because at 3 am I really want to know that the prescribed medication had its intended effects. Because at 3 am there is nothing else I would rather be doing. In fact, I was probably just sitting there, NOT trying to sleep, wondering if that Zofran that someone else ordered worked for that patient I didn't even know I was covering.
And that middle of the night call from the medicine resident who was told by the nurse who tried once to place a foley catheter that she couldn't? Those are the best. No, he/she didn't try themselves because "the nurses do this more than I do, if they can't, I won't be able to". What a great response. I will remember that one the next time my patient's blood sugar is elevated. I'll call you at 2 am before I try, oh, say, some insulin.
But you know, after a weekend like this last one, it is hard to complain about call. Until I remember that I have to do it again, and there is no way it will be as nice next time. One good weekend guarantees a couple more filled with severe pain.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's this, a blog?

A good friend of Lis's (and mine) stopped by yesterday, out visiting from Utah. In passing she mentioned she had been checking our blogs on occasion to see what was up.
I thought to myself, oh, yes, I do have a blog.
Looking at the date on the last article, it is easy to see that I may have forgotten about this existence of this little corner of cyberspace. I stopped by. It was dusty, smelt musty, and looked a bit forlorn.
Well, since I am currently enjoying the, ahem, liberties of my research year, I thought it might be a good time to dust things off, improve my colloquial writing, and perhaps let people know, again, that I am alive and kicking. Well, maybe not kicking. That is for younger kids. I am getting on in years you know.
Hopefully this won't be a flash in the pan.