Monthly Archives: September 2012


It was a well-fought game throughout the whole game. It came down to 3 turnovers for Oklahoma and the Wildcats winning time of possession.

John Hubert had a great day rushing the ball. Collin Klein had solid numbers. Ryan Doerr pinned OU inside the 20 and all five of his punts. There were no big special teams scores this time, but everyone played well.

Defense rocked. Aside from the quality play of Arthur Brown, other guys stepped up to make quality tackles when they needed to be made. The defensive line put pressure on QB Jones for the whole game (which we never did last year). The turnovers were key: a Ty Zimmerman interception off of QB Jones, a fumble by QB Jones that resulted in a touchdown, and another fumble by QB Bell”dozer” at the goal line. Those were all big plays that kept momentum going our way.

I, unfortunately, did not get to watch the game as it transpired. I was working in the ER and kept busy enough the whole time that my colleagues were keeping track of the score for me. However, when I got home at 11pm, Linda and I watched the whole game. It’s always nice to fall asleep with a smile on your face.

Photo credit: K-State Sports


The score may not to show it, but the Wildcats just barely eked out the victory the other day. Despite a dominating victory over Miami the week before, Kansas State came out looking very stale this past Saturday. In fact, they had -1 yards total offense in the first quarter.

It was a very concerning first half. However, the Wildcats came around and found a way to beat North Texas. Credit to Bill Snyder for finding a way to coach the team to a win.

The scary thing is the fact that we go to Norman, Oklahoma this next weekend to play the #5 ranked Sooners. Bob Stoops, their head coach, has never lost to a ranked opponent at home. In fact, he’s only lost 3 games there in his many years as their head coach. Seems Snyder taught him well. But, can the teacher beat the pupil?

Here’s hoping to a great game on Saturday.

Homecoming dance

Not wanting to embarrass any of my young family members, but a certain high schooler was asked to the homecoming dance. Again, not wanting to call too much attention, but this is too big to let it go unnoticed. We love you, sweetheart.


Will U Go To Homecoming With Me?
– MTV”


I came across this article yesterday and felt like it needed to be reported here so others could get a fairly honest glimpse into my life as an emergency physician. Dr. Leap really sums it up very well – and I couldn’t have done any better.

Please enjoy “The Psychotic, Frantic, Tragic Republic of Emergistan
From Emergency Medicine News Volume 34, Issue 5

I know a fine, caring physician who has a heart for God and a heart for people. He often goes overseas to serve the poor and needy in developing nations. I saw him in his lucrative practice where he asked this question: “Ed, do you do any mission work?”

“No,” I replied.

“Well, maybe someday,” he said, and patted my shoulder in encouragement.

It bothered me. It seemed like pity. It bothered me because, like in so many great moments, I hesitated. Later, I knew what I should have said: “Yes, I do! Every day that I walk into the emergency department!” But I didn’t say that. I smiled, and went on my way.

I thought about it some more. Mission work, mission work, where do I go, and then it hit me. Every day I travel to work in Emergistan.

Emergistan is less a place than a state of mind. It is a place that is so unlike the rest of the human experience that many individuals find it difficult to believe the stories we bring back. “People actually suck on their fentanyl patches and die?”

“Yes, they do.”

“People come to the ER in ambulances for colds?”

“Yes, they do.”

The customs are difficult to explain. Emergistan almost seems to have its own language. Spend enough time there, as we do, and you understand some of it. You understand tingling and buzzing, squeezing and spinning, burning and vomicking, and any of a dozen words for genitalia and a hundred more for drugs: tabs, bars, ruffies, Special K, K-2, bath salts, and all the rest. You know that two beers means two dozen, that disability doesn’t always mean disabled.

But it isn’t just the words. It’s the content, the meaning that evades so many. Even after years of practicing emergency medicine, we don’t fully understand a patient who leaves, with staples in his scalp, to go finish the fight. We don’t understand a 15-year-old child whose parents are excited about her second pregnancy or a 22-year-old man thrilled to be committed again because it will help him get his disability. We have difficulty with an old lady ignored in her home while sores develop on her back or a newborn with a broken skull because his cry interrupted someone’s television show. We weep, out loud or silently, at the young father with a new brain mass.

Emergistan is not only a different mindset, it’s practically a different dimension. A place of bizarre time and space. A woman can have an exam, CT scan, labs, and pain medicine in a two-hour period, and her husband will stamp the floor and curse because “we been here two hours, and ain’t nobody done nothing!” Two hours is interpreted as four, four as eight. What most would call a one or a five on the pain scale is always a 10. And a work excuse is a civil right in the endlessly shifting constitution of the land.

Perhaps it’s no surprise. While we travel there and see many patients like ourselves who do not want to be there and who are in great peril and great need, we do not grasp the mindset or philosophy of the native Emergistanis, those whose lives seem to revolve around the triage desk, the patient room, the CT scanner, the coveted prescription. They are unfortunate, many having been neglected their entire lives. Never nurtured by parents, never loved by spouses, never taught to cope (as shown by their constant anxiety), never taught to learn or to strive. Only taught to need, to dramatize, to expect.

I know, our experience in Emergistan makes us cynical. But it may be because so many bad things, so much manipulation, so much need, so much pain ends up there. We see it all. We see the refugees from normality, the abused and the wretched, all mixed in with the abusing and the hateful, the dishonest and the addicted, the slothful and the cruel, the dying and the broken. It’s tough not to mix them all up.

It’s also difficult because we are expected to do it as if it were mission work. It is for some. It is genuine mission work for some whose faith or philosophy calls them to give altruistically. For others, who do not hold that view and who are compelled by the government to work in Emergistan for free, it is a place of bitterness and anger that understandably grows with every passing mandate, every new rule about our travels and travails there, imposed by those who have never crossed the border with us, who only know that it saves money when we do so at our own expense and risk.

Emergistan gets inside you. Sometimes you love it. It can be a land of thrills and challenges, rescuing hapless Emergistanis from disease and misfortune and sometimes from their own bad decisions. Sometimes you hate it because it is all-consuming and overwhelming. Or because the tragedy, like a parasite, has found its way into your heart and mind and made you fearful of every cough, every fever, every car you pass on the highway, every person you pass on the street. Emergistan’s doctors bear emotional scars that may never heal in this life.

Here’s the thing. They can call me bitter or angry, burned out or hateful. But I love Emergistan. It is a kind of home for me, where I spend days and nights, where I make my living, where I support my family. In some ways, I am a dual citizen. I understand the regular world, the world of normal rules and behaviors, of clean offices and polite conversation, where sobriety is expected and work rewarded. But I understand addicts and drunks, violent criminals and irritable, dying old men, fearful mothers with sick children, and frustrated, beaten-down physicians and nurses. I see so much. I have seen so much.

I can criticize and observe, I can lay out the truth as I see it because I have been there, I have served there. I am a veteran of the daily battles in my second home of Emergistan. I know the truth as no policy maker ever will. I am, and have always been, committed to that other country that daily seems to suck out my soul and daily calls me back again, that rejuventates me with every save, every successful intubation, every good diagnosis, every smile of gratitude from the sick or fearful.

I am a missionary, I suppose. And so are you. And we can hold our heads high because we have worked in one of the hardest, darkest places in the world. The psychotic, overwhelming, frantic, tragic Republic of Emergistan.

May her streets be paved with oxycodone.

* Read Dr. Leap’s blog at

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Never forget 9/11

I am struck at how often my mind tends to wander when I think of September 11. It was a day that many of us will always remember. Most of us remember what we were doing and where we were when we heard the tragic news of the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. It’s interesting how events like that can burn such vivid memories into our brain, when often we have trouble remembering our meal the day before.

More intriguing is how there have been different iconic events for each generation. For those belonging to the generation of my now-deceased grandparents, December 7, 1941 will always be remembered. My parents and those of their generation remember November 22, 1963. I thought, for many years, the date my generation would remember was January 28, 1986 – the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded after takeoff. However, September 11, 2001 has become one of the biggest dates of tragedy in the history of the United States. It is important that we never forget – and never forget to tell future generations about what happened that day.

Looking back through the blog, I found a post that I wrote 2 years ago about how my day unfolded on that fateful morning. I was in my surgical rotation during my 3rd year of medical school. It’s an interesting read if you’ve never read it before. Check it out at this link.


My new job has the perk of access to the hospital laundry service. It’s nice to be able to go to work in “regular” clothes and then change in to scrubs there. Therefore, my partners suggested I purchase scrubs with my name embroidered on it so I could use the laundry service at work.

In the 25 years that I’ve worked in the healthcare industry, I’ve always worn my own scrubs to work and then wore them home. It’s simple laundry, as laundry goes – but there is the concern of germ transmission. I’m not aware of ever bringing germs home to my family and causing them to be sick, but it’s always in the back of my mind. I’ve had several friends that are over-the-top careful about this (even changing clothes in the garage to avoid bringing the clothes into the house). Some parts of the hospital provide scrubs to avoid any issues (e.g., surgery); however ER doctors are usually on their own.

So, when the scrub laundry service became an added benefit to the job – I thought it’d be nice to finally be able to take advantage of this service. My colleagues recommended I purchase 10 sets of scrubs to be sure I always had some available while others were in the laundry service. I purchased the 10 online they arrived within the week. I was excited…except the pants were 4 inches too long.

I decided I could make the long pant legs work with some creative rolling, except it didn’t work very well. I looked pretty stupid with my pants rolled. Embarrassing!

I made the decision to hem all 10 pair of pants. I knew it would be expensive to take it to a seamstress and I didn’t want to ask Linda to take on this big task. So, I determined that I would learn how to do it myself.

I watched about an hour of YouTube videos and talked with Linda about helpful tips. We discussed it with expert sewers – my mother-in-law and a very good friend in the neighborhood. They both offered to do it, but I had resolved that this would be MY project.

The project went well, except our sewing machine began to have mechanical difficulties after the 4th pair. We borrowed a very nice Bernina machine from our neighborhood friend and it went very smoothly after that.

The picture shown is the last leg of my 10th pair. I’m pleased to have added another skill, thanks to the help of a great wife, good friends, and YouTube.


On a day where I was prepared to drive home disappointed by a loss, the Wildcats proved to everyone that they are not a fluke. With a very balanced attack of both passing and running, they easily scored and pretty much kept the Hurricanes from scoring.

It was an early day, leaving home at 7:30am for the game. In fact, for the first time ever, our seats were in the shade because the sun had yet to come up enough to shine down on our east-side seats – and it was even chilly. By half, we were in the sun and it was plenty warm.

What a wonderful day of football. There is a lot to be hopeful for – including the possibility of winning games that everyone had pretty much assumed we would lose. Here’s hoping…