Christmas Letter 2015

Sally (our basset hound) has written our Christmas letter every year – following the tradition of our first basset hound, Sarah. This year, Sally was joined by Suzy to tell everyone about our past year.

Woof, Woof, Bark from Overland Park.

It’s been another exciting and buys year here. The biggest news is that we have a new recruit in the house. In what some have termed a moment of temporary insanity, we got a basset hound puppy in June. Suzy Beatrice has put a skip in all of our steps. Sometimes, tat skip is a rush to see what she’s into, but she tries to be a good girl like me. Suzy and I enjoy walks, playing outside together, wrestling, and cuddling. I’ve dropped a few pounds thanks to the extra exercise Suzy needs and have a renewed interest in toys. Suzy’s main job is being president of the Sally Sue fan club. She begins each day with a little parade for me. We are best buddies.

Anna is a senior this year. I’m not sure what this means, but I hear she will be leaving home and heading to K-State to study music next year. I’m pretty sure I won’t like this one bit. It’s a little surreal to my parents to think that Anna will have some of the same teachers they had. Anna continues with piano, violin, and voice. She is in orchestra, choir, marching band, and musicals at school. She also works, is in Girl Scouts, and is very active with music and youth group at church. It’s scary to think of Anna heading out into the world, but I’m going to be brave and Mom is going to stop tearing up whenever some says “this is Anna’s last/next to last…”. We know she’s going to do great at college and everyone looks forward to seeing her on football Saturdays.

Emily is our dancing junior. Drill team at school and ballet at the studio fill up her and our nights and we love seeing her shine. Emily continues with piano and flute, has a job and is also active in music and youth group at church. Thanks to Emily, we were able to host two German band students in April. I became an international internet star (at least in my mind) thanks to these two girls. In June, she took the trip of a lifetime with the school band to Austria and Germany. We got such great reports from her, we weren’t sure she would come home. Emily is interested in Spanish and law in the future. Emily has always been our girl on the go.

Dad became a runner this year. He completed the Bill Snyder Highway half marathon in May for his first ever race. He’s got his eye on a marathon next spring. Dad has been super busy with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus this month, but he loves it. He continues to work as an emergency room pysician, which keeps us flush with dog treats and trips to daycare while the family travels. Dad is still our biggest KSU football fan and never misses a game.

This was an excellent year for Mom. In case you didn’t hear, her KC Royals won the World Series! We spent many hours in the sunroom together this summer watching baseball and cycling while training Suzy. Mom serves as chief dog walker and continues to rule the scheduling world with her paper calendar. She is still teaching piano lessons. Mom planned trips to Mexico and California for the family this year.

As the year comes to a close, I hope your days are filled with tail wags, sunshine, and belly rubs like mine. We all wish you a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

Love, Sally & Suzy

Husband vs. ER Doc – where’s my loyalty?

It was a phone call I worried that I’d someday receive. I was about to leave for work when my cell phone rang. It was our good friend, Nan, calling me to let me know that Linda had crashed her bike and they needed me to come get her – she was too injured to ride her bike home. 

As cyclists, crashes are a given. It’s said that there are two kinds of cyclists – those that have crashed and those that will crash. I’ve had my share of crashes and injuries. Fortunately, up until now, Linda has only had some minor spills.  However, this one was pretty bad. Her front wheel had drifted off the side of the pavement and, upon trying to correct the wheel, she was thrown to the ground suddenly and very hard. She couldn’t put weight on her right leg whenever she tried to stand up. She had some big abrasions and was a bit woozy.

There was a very big problem – I was leaving for my job as an emergency physician on a Sunday afternoon. I was 15 minutes away from pulling out of the driveway and she was over 20 minutes away in a rural area south of town. As an emergency physician, it’s not possible to just call work and say that you’re going to be late or that you won’t be coming in to work that day. Someone has put in their 10 hours and is expecting someone to replace them – just like I expect someone to replace me at the end of my rough 10 hours. 

But, this was my WIFE laying on the side of the road, injured and dazed. She needed help and she needed to go to the hospital. She needed ME!  But, there were also at least 20 people that would need me during my 10 hours of work; thy would need the attention that I’d been trained for and contracted to provide during those exact 10 hours. My heart sunk and my stomach rose up to my throat. I had to tell Nan that I couldn’t come get Linda. I asked if there was another alternative. Both of my daughters were also at work at the moment and were not available to help. I felt like the worst jerk of a husband. What kind of guy chooses his job over his injured wife? 

Really – what kind of jerk chooses his job and leaves his wife on the side of the road, hoping that someone else will step in and do what he should be doing without hesitation!?!?!

I was physically sick and my mind was racing. Fortunately, she was riding with a physician friend and other friends that are as close as family. Nan contacted her husband and he was readily agreeable to help. He had her retrieved and returned to his house in short order. By that time, Anna was available to pick her up and get her to the ER close to our house.  By the time Linda had arrived to her ER, I’d already seen several patients in my ER and was doing my best to keep my focus.

Linda was evaluated and cared for by a friend and former emergency partner – and found to only have scrapes and bruises. But – thoughtout the whole time, I kept asking myself if I did the right thing. What would I have exptected from any of my partners – would I expect them to leave their wife injured on the side of the road to come relieve me from my shift. Surely, no – but should I expect someone else to work longer hours for me? I really didn’t have time to try to contact any of my partners that were off for the day. It really was just the most worst possible timing. 

I have beat myself up over this for more than 24 hours. Linda tells me that she understands and states “That’s the price for being the wife of an ER doc”. Is that a price worth spending? I was taught that the priority to family outweighs that of any job – but I clearly chose my job over my family. But, I really didn’t see much of a choice in this matter. What a position to be in. 

I hope I never have to choose again between my duty as a physician over my duty as a husband and father.  

Anna plays violin recital – Romance in F major, Op 50 (Beethoven)

Anna has been working on a fairly big violin piece since January 2015. Her goal was to be selected to be a soloist on the “Masterworks Concert” with the high school orchestra as a Senior. This concert involves one vocalist, one band instrument, and one orchestra instrument performing with the orchestra or band as the accompanying music. It’s a pretty big deal.

She’s worked amazingly hard on this piece, including memorizing this work that is over six minutes long. Her audition reportedly went well, but, unfortunately, she was not chosen for the concert. There were reportedly so many great choices, it was hard for the music faculty at the high school to choose what would work best for the concert.

Despite being a bit saddened by not being chosen for the concert, Anna has kept her chin up and has carried on. She performed the piece for the studio recital for her teacher. Enjoy the hard work that Anna has accomplished:

PS: Linda is accompanying. 

Anna and Emily play Christmas Recital

Linda has had her piano students play a Christmas recital each year at a local nursing home. It’s easily a favorite of the students – they get to play fun Christmas songs and it really pleases the audience. 

Enjoy the pieces played by Anna and Emily:

Anna: What Child is This?

Anna: Away in a Manger

Emily: O Holy Night/Silent Night

Emily: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas