where does she like to live?

8 Oct

Today was the first day of ENT (ear, nose, throat = otolaryngology).  For years I thought this field would fascinate me, being a long-time lover of singing and music and sound.  Maybe it’s the near end of a long year and I’ve mentally checked out, or maybe I’m thinking of all the other projects I’ve wanted to get done before our daughter arrives, or maybe I’m simply on pins and needles about the birth but, frankly, my mind could not care less about ENT at the moment.  It kind of saddens me…like I’m wasting part of my education.

The highlight of today was definitely watching two of my friends–brave souls–get scoped by two other med students.  Ah, to see the arytenoid cartilages work their magic…  The rest of the day was kind of a blur (as in, I fell asleep in most of the lectures and missed the OR to go to my prenatal appointment).  So I thought I might share a quick anecdote about my pregnancy and the practice of obstetrics, since I was reminded of this one at today’s appointment.  I’m worried that, as the days until my due date enter the single digits, I’ll be posting a lot more pregnancy/birth/baby-related stuff.  In all seriousness, please let me know if it gets old.  Pregnancy and med school…it’s been a pretty great interplay so far.

At the women’s clinic where I was for part of my obstetrics rotation, I was given the great advice that, if I couldn’t find the fetal heart tones on doppler after a minute, I should (calmly) ask the mother, “Where does your baby like to live?”  Totally brilliant.  The parents therefore don’t see the med student start to sweat and it gives them an opportunity to contribute a piece of information about their child that only they know…that has to feel a little good after being bludgeoned with information and instructions from the OB or nurse on the fetus living inside them.  Probably 90% of the time, mom would be able to give a relatively specific answer: “Oh, yeah, she normally hangs out in my lower left.  That’s where the doctor normally hears her heartbeat.”

My daughter loves my upper right quadrant.  The higher my uterus extended throughout the pregnancy, the more she liked to wedge herself next to my liver, to the point where my belly looks pretty damn lopsided most of the time.  Of course, at this point, it’s mostly knees and feet, but she’s a strong, stubborn one.  We can actually grasp what we think is a foot and knead it back toward the midline, but she always squirms her way back into her favorite position with more force than before.  John attributes her preference to the fact that he sleeps on my right side and she likes to edge her way closer to him.  Adorable, and perhaps somewhat accurate.  Either that or she is a budding hepatologist.

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4 Responses to “where does she like to live?”

  1. jwocrc October 10, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    Reading your comments about ENT reminded me of a workshop I took with a singer many moons ago. He talked about many fascinating things, such as the words singers sometimes sang in lieu of the actual libretto, if they were getting bored with the opera. But what really sticks in my mind just now is his remarks about doctors who were taking care of singers. No matter what they came in for, the first thing — the very first thing — the doc looked at was the cords.
    “Doc, I fell and I think I broke my leg.”
    “Okay, we’ll have a look in a sec, but first, open wide and say ‘ahh’…”
    It might seem funny, but as one who has seen how capricious a mistress music can be (google Saramae Endich), I heard absolute admiration in his voice. This was a doctor who really got it: what was the most important thing in the singer’s life.

    • annaojesus October 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Oh, I love this! Thank you for sharing, Uncle Jim! It really warms my heart to hear stories of people who felt like their passions and priorities were respected and acknowledged by physicians. Saramae Endich…wow. To what part of her legacy are you referring? She seems like quite the mystery.

      • jwocrc October 11, 2012 at 3:00 am #

        I met her at a concert she gave at my school the first year or so I was out of high school. I thought she was a marvelous singer, but what sticks with me is that she took the time to stop and listen to what this young man had to say. As if what I had to say was important.
        She recorded (under Robert Shaw) the Poulenc Gloria and Britten’s “Jubilate Agno.” I still have the LPs — really well done.
        I went into the Army for a few years and returned to school and eventually got a job in New York State, where I was singing the Poulenc Gloria for a second time. It got me thinking of Ms. Endich, and I asked our leader if she had ever heard of her; indeed she had.
        I was saddened to learn that Saramae’s life had come unravelled. Her husband had divorced her, and she believed the stress was irretrievably damaging her voice. Apparently she could not see a way to go on, and she took her life,
        As it turns out, this happened just a couple of years after I heard her in a recital.
        I think we’ve all known stellar musicians who could not get work; it’s not uncommon for things to go wrong. This was particularly tragic an end for a nice lady.
        Music can be a cruel mistress for those who try to make a living at it.

      • annaojesus October 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

        Jim, I have really loved reading this; thank you! I’ve had a few similar instances with musicians/composers and writers…John Rutter and Jonathan Safran Foer are the first ones to come to mind. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much foresight, so I’m so glad that I realized then what truly special moments those were. They’ll stay with me forever.

        Her story is haunting. I would love to listen to those LPs one day, if that is okay with you.

        And I agree with you…there are some who are either hugely successful or who are able to derive balance and happiness even while within the career; they do well. Sometimes I get very sad by how little I’m involved in music, but I’ve honestly never looked back at my chance in career path. I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to major in music.

        I hope you’re well, Jim. Thank you so much for writing!

        Did I mention that I’ve been playing our daughter Rachmaninoff? Speaking of Robert Shaw…

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