The BackRow Ballers are no longer lowly medical students, blogging about the daily grind. They are now doctors, who will continue to bring light, joy, sunshine to their readers' lives with their blogs. You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Dark Side of the Gym Part 3

I figured it's about time for the backrow ballers to get back to embarrassing stories about themselves doing things that ladies and acclimated people without foreign parents do so naturally.  Mariam - if you think I'm including you in this call to blog again, you are correct.  Come re-join the sinking ship of blogging with me.

Yesterday I saw a sign for a coupon for a gym membership, which means yesterday I signed up for a gym membership.  As part of my ongoing effort to lose 300 pounds (to become negative 200 pounds... I set lofty goals and never use a scale), I thought the extra exercise would allow me to eat more delicious foods, such as the full size ice cream cake and four mini ice cream cakes currently in my freezer.  Mariam has previously discussed the darker aspects of gym membership (Part 1 and Part deux), but I learned about a new dark side - bootcamp.

I've always liked going to classes when I join a gym, since they make me do things I wouldn't normally do.  When I go to the gym without direction, I listen to this American Life on an elliptical and eventually stop moving to listen more closely when the story gets very happy or very sad.  When I go to the gym with the direction of the class, I am forced to do push whats, jump things, and squat ups.  I only briefly looked at the classes and saw there was a 7:30 pm class called body pump that fit into my schedule.  The class was described as "This class is for every level of fitness. A series of circuit exercises, designed to elevate the heart rate and cardiovascularly challenge the heart and lungs. Add some strength training to the bootcamp and you will have a complete full body workout." As somebody who has done light yoga for a month after not working out consistently (other than Just Dance) for 3 years, I thought this class was for me - I'm "every level of fitness" and I stopped reading there.  For some reason, despite the use of the word bootcamp at the front desk, I still thought I was going to body pump.  

When I arrived in the class, there was an instructor named David, 4 dudes (maybe better described as bros), and me.  I was clearly in some kind of terrible class, and I started to think about how to leave.  Then David came up to me and asked my name, and if I had ever done bootcamp before.  I told him I joined the gym yesterday, thinking the whole time what kind of insanity or P90X shit have I gotten myself into.  He said I could take the class at my own pace, so I decided to stay.  

It started with light jogging and then quickly progressed into some strange spiderman stretch that required more upper body strength than my arms could accommodate.  Eventually we did high knees into "burpies" with 45 second bursts of intensity.  During these clumsy burpies instead of checking out the bros in the class, I had to focus not to slip in my own sweat, truly embodying the Mindy Project at the gym.  Eventually we did circuit training which was okay, except for the kettlebell swing.  David said, "well everybody knows how to do a kettlebell swing."  He then looked at my face, and based on my expression knew instantly that I definitely did not know how to do a kettlebell swing.  He kindly demonstrated a building of momentum swinging the kettlebell between your legs, until you thrust your hips forward in the most overtly sexual thing I've seen at a gym throwing the kettlebell over your head just with the force of your hips.  When I got to that part of the circuit, David tried to give me pointers that a lady would understand, "think of Legally Blonde and the bend and snap" and "you might feel like you're 
being indecent if you're doing it right."  After the 3rd run through the circuit, he kept saying "good job Farrah" probably because he could see me dangerously approaching emesis.  

I did feel like I accomplished something after the workout was done, but I'll probably go to Zumba class next time.  The moral of this story is details matter, bootcamp is not body pump.

--By Farrah, who enjoyed a piece of ice cream cake for dinner  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Constant fear of murder

Like any single lady living in a big city, I live in constant fear of murder.  Please see conversations below for examples.
--By Farrah, who thought the autocorrect from right to tight worked out well here

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Question of the 2nd date hike: The Inaugural Survey of the Safety First Ladies Survey Train

I blogged previously about the tiresome world of internet dating (see post: Willing to find true love, but only with a coupon).  I didn't learn my own lessons, because history repeated itself as I just completed another 3 month run of internet dating (with a coupon) with no improvement in prospects.  But that's not the point of this blog, this blog is about the dates themselves.  Today, on the last day of my 3 month membership, I was set to go on a second date with somebody I met from the site.  The necessary back story to make sense of the ensuing events is that we had actually started texting a month earlier. I had joined the site prior to moving to my current city (pretty bold single lady move), which usually resulted in an awkward moment in my first e-mail where I confessed I didn't live in the city yet.

"A second date, how promising!" you might incorrectly presume... Our first date was a weeknight at a local pub where the conversation was pleasant, but not exceptional.  There wasn't a lot of chemistry at the first date, but in an effort to "put myself out there" I decided to give this person a second chance.  We arranged to meet for a second date - he asked "museum or a hike?"  I immediately thought, "hike with a person I just met, NO WAY," and picked the museum.  We arranged to meet at a museum the following weekend, until he canceled due to a vicious hangover.  I was less than impressed with this behavior, but a few days later he sent his apologies, so we arranged to go to the museum again today.  I figured everybody is allowed to have an off night.

Then this morning, he sent an early morning text, "Good Morning!  Soo I was thinking... it looks like a beautiful day today.  Would you like to do some light hiking instead?  The museum isn't going anywhere :) Up to u."  I abhor the use of the letter "u" for the word "you" but I'm working on pushing my boundaries and being open minded.  In this spirit of being open minded, I looked at the yelp reviews of the hiking destination, and it seemed quite popular.  It seemed like a crowded place, though I didn't know anybody who had ever been there before.  I agreed we could try the hike - he offered to drive, but it started to make me feel uneasy - I still didn't know this person well to let them drive me out of town 20-30 minutes for a hike.  This is when I harnessed the power of my lady friends to ask "is this safe?" in what I'm calling The Safety First Ladies Survey Train (TSFLST).

These are the responses I received within the hour:
- Michelle: It's likely going to be well populated given the weather.  But if you don't feel comfortable you can always suggest going to the park and walking around the local reservoir, or just tell him you've been looking forward to the museum.  Send his name and number (just in case!!)
- Betsy: I don't think it's a good idea kid... oh it's a second date?  I still don't know if it's a good idea kid.   He probably won't murder you, but if he does those are pretty high stakes.  Back out kid.  It he's a good guy, he will understand the change in plans.
- Abby: Approval
- Kat: hike vs stroll (I'm not sure what this means?)
- Katherine: it's sweet.
- Anna: Depends on the distance, if it is a paved vs isolated way.  Also is this your style? All sweaty?
- Carrie: Sounds like something you'd hear about on the news
- Julie: walk with a picnic would be good
- Sarah: Just you and him? ... send out a warning text if it starts getting sketchy.  A reservoir sounds like a good place to dump a body.  If he tries to murder you, poke his eyes out or kick him in the junk.... I'm nervous about this.  I'm also nervous about everything...  You've met him once? Maybe you should get to know him more! (nervous Sarah face)
- Samira (my sister):  I didn't really consider the murder aspect, but now that you brought it up, I don't think you should go to the woods with him.  That's weird that he asked you what you wanted to do, and then suggested changing to what he wanted to do.
- Suesie (my sister): I don't think it's a good idea.  Maybe if it was somewhere you were familiar with, but you don't know this place and he could lead you down any path and then just push you into the trees where he knows it's not crowded.  Back out, blame it on me.
- My mom: Are you crazy?

Now that so many of my friends have depicted this date being a future episode of Dateline NBC mysteries, I had no choice but to change the plans.  I was probably overreacting, and the results were mixed, but TSFLST had spoken, this is not safe.

We had the following text conversation:
- Me: So would you like to do a city hike instead to one of the downtown gardens? Sorry to go back on accepting before, I'm just not sure I want to drive out of town on our 2nd date. :p
- Him:  Oh ya... I was actually talking to my friend just now and he said it was kind of a weird time for a second date.  Lol I don't know.  I don't think about those things.  Maybe we should reschedule?
(Side bar - totally inappropriate use of lol, this guys texting style always made me upset)
- Me: Ok, yeah, maybe the hike another time, are you still up for hanging out in the city today?
- Him: I don't know.  I feel put off and weird now that you think I'm sketchy after more than a month of talking and meeting up.  You also initially lied to me in the beginning about being here before you moved.  I've been nothing but honest to you... And yet you're unfairly judging me.  I'm going to hang out with my friend this afternoon instead.  Sorry.  There's always a ton of people at that park btw.  Especially on nice days like this.
- Me: Sorry about all the bother.  This just doesn't seem to be a match.  No worries, have a good afternoon.
- Him: You too and good luck.

Some TSFLST was contacted for follow up safety reports.
- Michele: Not worth your time.
- Sarah: He probably wasn't your future husband, good thing you got out while you could!
- Betsy: Insecure much?!
- Jennifer: Booooooo.  You're too good for him anyway!
- Anna: DONE!  Delete his number

The lessons I learned: trust your gut, no chemistry on the first date means no chemistry ever, consult the Ladies Safety First Survey Train before accepting an invitation, all my lady friends are amazing, internet dating is still not for me.  Also, I was wondering, what do you think, is this safe?  Did TSFLST overreact?

-- By Farrah, who has deactivated her internet dating profile for good... she hopes

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Memories of Teddy, Teddifer, Theodore, Tugboat Jenkins

Seven and a half years ago, I was maladaptively dealing with a broken heart until I adopted Teddy.  His previous owners had to leave the country, and couldn't take him with them.  He was 2 years old, loved to put on sweaters, and rang a bell to go outside like a true gentleman.  My first week with him, he spent all day looking out the window waiting for his previous owners to return.  The picture was his first day with me, and he was looking out the window with extreme focus.  We kept each other company and slowly started to live our lives.  We went on daily walks, and got ourselves out into the sunshine.  He wagged his nub tail the minute I got home and jumped frantically with excitement.  Coming home to him made me happier, and living with him made me calmer.

It was not all sunshine.  Teddy pooped in my bed and my sister's bed (see post: Reasons to get a roommate besides Teddy).  He knocked a mocha into my car radio trying to sit on my lap while I was driving, causing the radio to make a horrible beeping noise for 2 hours until it stopped working altogether.  He bit my nephew Brayden when he was 3 years old, and I remember Brayden running round exclaiming, "Teddy bit mine finger in the kitchen."  His frequent ear infections unfortunately smelled like expired cottage cheese.  Despite all these things for which you can't really fault a dog, he was wonderful company.  He insisted on sitting as close as possible to you, and he would back his little doggy butt against you while he pushed your friend, or laptop, or boyfriend out of the way.  When I played guitar or piano, he sat underfoot and quietly listened seemingly soothed by the music.  When he slept on the bed, he somehow maneuvered himself until the bed ratio was 3:1 Teddy to me (see image).  If for any reason I was sad or crying, he managed to know and sat even closer.  While I was in medical school, he lived with my parents and younger sister for 2 years, and became a part of the family.

June of last year, Teddy developed elevated liver enzymes.  Already overwhelmed with the cost of treating his ear infections and possible doggy food allergies, I decided to wait to check them again until his next set of labs in December.  In September, he developed a sore by his nose.  After two courses of antibiotics from his regular vet, the lesion did not heal, new lesions appeared under his mouth, his paws were sore and cracked, and he was trembling regularly.  His labs showed further elevation in liver enzymes and anemia.  Through my penchant for diagnosing rare diseases, I did a literature search and became concerned about hepatocutanous syndrome.  I brought this up to my vet, and she dismissed the rare diagnosis which made me earn the nickname "Persian Fury."  I cannot recommend the Petsmart Banfield clinic to anybody after my experience.  After a referral to a specialist in November, the diagnosis was confirmed as Hepatocutatnous Syndrome - a rare and progressive liver disease with unknown etiology associated with painful skin lesions.  The vet told me that it was impossible to predict his life span, but I knew from aggressive googling and literature review that median survival after skin lesions develop was 5 months.  My friend was dying, my heart imploded, and I became frantic.

The only treatment was a permanent IV with weekly amino acid infusions, only palliative, not curative, and invasive.  I tried high protein diets, denosyl, vitamin E, carafate, iron supplements, antibiotics wipes, medicated shampoos, doggy shoes, and diaper cream to protect his sores without any improvement.  He didn't eat, or bark, or move from his chair.  I decided to finally get the amino acid infusions and in 3 weeks, the difference was amazing.  He was walking and playing, not as much as he could last Summer, but he would greet me at the door and wag his nub tail joyfully.  We tried to space out his treatments to every two weeks in late January with lousy results and return of his painful, cracked paws.  With weekly treatments, he improved again and I started to plan for his future, thinking he may even move to Boston with me.  Over the past month, I held my hopeful plans as I saw subtle deterioration with each passing week.  Every delicious snack I brought home would be tolerated for a day before it was dismissed.  He would limp after walking long distances, and lifted up his paws with discomfort.  I would carry him outside to use the bathroom because he was often reluctant to leave the sofa on his own.  Over the past week, he was breathing fast every night when he slept, developed a heart murmur at his last checkup, and started to refuse many varieties of food.  I knew our life together was becoming maladaptive again.  Over the weekend, I said goodbye to Teddy after a final trip to the park and ice cream treat.  It was one of the most difficult things I've every done.  I know loving Teddy was an important part of my life, but this is an impossibly sad experience.  If having a pet prolongs your life, going through the loss of a pet seems like it might shorten your life.  Anyway, I was terribly sad, so I thought I'd share this story.  I would like to thank my family and friends for helping me cope with my overwrought emotions with lovely stories about Teddy and notions of lovely meadows in pet heaven, and my internet readers (people who inadvertently end up here with a google image search gone wrong) for stopping here for a moment.

-By Farrah, who developed the term post-lacrimation emesis recently

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Willing to find true love... but only with a coupon

Despite my embarrassment, I present for your entertainment the tale of my 3 month participation in internet dating.  Like many of my single lady resident friends without the time to meet new people outside of the hospital, I turned to the internet.  The marketing was excellent - commercials pan in on a single, confident woman running her own business and talking about how she was too busy to take time away from work, then it cuts to a scene of her wearing a giant engagement ring with a handsome fellow hugging her and smiling on a beach - because that's what people do and it looks so natural!  So after months of deliberation in my head, I finally signed up.  After signing into the site, I scoffed at the price.  Sixty dollars for one month!  That money would be much better spent on one third of a dress at Anthropologie. I let my profile sit unpaid for on the site for a few months, and the site started sending me increasingly desperate e-mails - 30 people have viewed your profile in the last 5 seconds! Your match could be in this e-mail!  Once you start paying, you can communicate with your matches and tell the world you're ready for love!  Finally, the site started sending me coupons (3 months for the price of 1), and much like an Anthopologie dress in the clearance section, I didn't wait any longer to make my purchase.  

I made a profile full of charm and charisma.  I put up pictures of me at a friend's wedding, whitewater rafting, and wearing a fake mustache.  Although I felt at the time it was an interesting profile, looking back it was pretty standard.  I somehow became this foil of myself with a diluted personality presented for others approval.  I found myself to be overly judgmental of what others put up for my approval.  I automatically disqualified any potential match that had taken their picture with a camera phone in front of a mirror.  I created these arbitrary rules mostly out of fear, hoping my instincts would prevent me from accidently meeting a kidnapper on the internet.  Strangely, I don't apply the same judgment when I meet somebody in a coffee shop or park - I guess I'm more willing to be kidnapped by somebody who likes the same coffee I do.  When a potential match finally made it past the initial screening process, we were forced to answer horrible dating game type questions to communicate.  For example: What is your idea of a romantic time with somebody you've dated for over a year? What is the worst date you've ever been on?  How would you describe your parents relationship?  The answers were often predictable and more often boring.  To be fair, I quickly discovered I was very bad at conveying my dynamic personality over e-mail with strangers. I asked banal and idiotic questions - what is your favorite movie? What kind of music do you like? I could just as well have asked - do you like cheese? Do you own a vacuum? 

At the end of 3 months, I had viewed thousands of profiles, sent and received hundreds of communication requests, e-mailed dozens of eligible partners, exchanged numbers with six men, and met three men for coffee (strangely all named Mike).  I had to turn down a few men rather awkwardly and got accused of playing the "Persian game" at one point.  Most of my matches lived in another town, and all the men I met had to drive between 40 minutes to 1.5 hours to meet up with me - not the easiest way to get to know somebody and keep it casual.  After the subscription finally ended and the e-mails stopped, I felt relief.  I did not find true love, even with the coupon.  I am happy to get back to my old methods of acting awesome with my good friends out on the town and then waiting for a stranger to notice - the most passive form of flirting (flirting is a skill I never practiced).  

Since I know what you really wanted from this internet dating story is embarrassing stories of first dates with creepy strangers I will leave you with a creepy excerpt from a creepy match that I quickly deleted.  This particular fellow looked like Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, and describes what he wants "In his own words": 
Any woman who bring smile on my face.  Who is good companion sensuous and love having intimate moments and share happiness of life.  With whom I feel as if I am on top of the world who love to have sex and know what she is doing. 
Reading that really makes me wonder if I need to give this internet dating thing another chance!

--By Farrah, who often can't watch the show New Girl because it reminds her of herself in a way that is awkward to watch

Monday, December 5, 2011

Southern Hospitality... NOT

It's time for another blog post - that makes 2 this year, I'm on a roll!

Today in clinic a patient came in with his home health nurse.  I went in the exam room to get his pillow for his wheel chair, and his nurse followed me to gather the rest of his belongings.  My attending was still in the other room talking to the patient's mother, and the elderly female nurse stood in front of me staring at my ID badge.  "I recognized your name, and I was wondering if you were planning on continuing your work here or going back overseas," she stated with an eerily calm demeanor.  At first, I thought she meant she recognized my name from the hospital and her other visits with this patient.  Then, I realized with a crushing blow of racism that she recognized me as a foreigner.  Was it my yankee English that made her suspicious? Did I inadvertently slip into my mom's accent? Was she just screening every vaguely foreign person she met (even if they did look like an innocuous pediatrician in a cardigan) for suspicious behavior to report to Homeland Security? Are my eyebrows significantly bushier than usual today? I responded that I was born and raised in Colorado, and she seemed confused.  I was confused too because I don't encounter this stuff much... maybe out of willful ignorance.

--By Farrah, who was asked by an attending physician once if her favorite movie was Aladdin because she looked like Jasmine.  She didn't know if she should be flattered or offended, so she just nodded.  

Friday, February 25, 2011

Reasons to get a roommate besides Teddy

This morning at 3:14 am, my alarm started its mighty wail. I leaped out of bed, unaware of the time or the implications of the alarm going off. I went straight to the wall and turned off the alarm as if I had walked in the door from the garage and nothing was wrong. I finally took in the alarm's unfamiliar phrase as I typed in my code - back door open back door open back door open. I looked at the back door, and it was OPEN. Teddy was hiding under my bed shaking - a very useful watch dog. My phone started to ring as I stepped toward the back door. The alarm company called to verify I was still alive. Talking to the security guy on the phone, I verified my safety code without really considering if I was safe or not. Security guy asked if I need the police. I replied, "I don't think so, nobody's here. I just wonder why the door is open." He said obviously, "maybe you didn't close it all the way." Uh, thanks dude for your insight. I closed the back door, and set the alarm again. Teddy and I sat in my room revved up and wondered what the next step should be. It was very windy and a little rainy outside. It was probably the wind, plus teddy is afraid of rainy weather which explains his persistent shaking. But then I thought, what if an intruder had intimidated Teddy into this fearful behavior. I decided if I ever wanted to sleep, I would have to search the house for intruders. I went to the kitchen and grabbed the biggest knife I could find. I sleuthed through every room like a detective from Law and Order, my back against the wall sneaking to the doors, then busting though each door knife pointed forward. I was reassured after my search, and I settled back in bed with the knife on the nightstand. I let Teddy climb into bed to help calm him down. Teddy promptly pooped in the bed - parasympathetic rebound is the pathophysiology, an hour long clean up was the result. Now, needless to say, I cannot sleep - though my bed is now in perfect condition to prevent SIDS - no bedding or pillows, just a warm outfit on firm mattress. The washing machine is producing the noise of a large unbalanced centrifuge unaccustomed to the weight of a duvet and pillows. I may just have to invest in a new bedroom set.

This is not the first time Teddy has soiled a bed. Back in our Boulder days, Teddy soiled my sister Sami's bed when he wasn't feeling well. Sami was in Denver that weekend, so I started to clean everything with the hope she wouldn't find out. In another battle of washing machine vs. duvet, her bedding ripped and the washing machine flooded. I started to sew everything together, hoping I could still salvage the situation. The rip was right in the center after repair, and I went to the fabric store looking for something to help. I bought her name in iron on letters and ironed them over the sewn up tear. She got home shortly, and I told her I had a surprise for her. She went up to her room and emerged with an extremely confused look asking why I had labeled her comforter. I hurriedly replied, "Teddy pooped in your bed, your comforter ripped in the clean up, there's a small flood in the bathroom, and I have to go to work now. I'm really sorry! byyyeeee."

--By Farrah, who's sleeeeeepppyy