Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy PA Week!

October 6-12th marks National PA Week.  It is a week to celebrate physician assistants and educate the public on what it is we do.  The dates are significant for the profession because the first class of PAs graduated from Duke University on Oct 6, 1967.  Back then the profession was made up of male ex-corpsmen but now females make up the majority of practicing PAs.  A physician assistant works under the supervision of a physician to obtain histories, examine patients, order and interpret tests as well as prescribe medicines.  Some work in clinics, others assist in surgery, and many practice in hospitals or Emergency Departments.  They work for government agencies, every branch of the military, private physicians, prisons schools and public or private hospitals.  In fact, the Army named a PA as its 2011 Flight Surgeon of the Year.

For more info on what PAs are and can do you can read my previous post.

I have been practicing as a physician assistant for 2 years now.  In that time I've repaired lacerations, drained abscesses and stuck needles in spines (lumbar punctures).  I have treated thousands of children suffering from various ailments such as asthma, broken bones, cancer, and diabetes just to name a few.  I have made kids feel better and seen most leave with a smile.  I have learned more than I ever thought possible and know there is even more to learn and experience.

Overall, I chose the best profession out there (for me, that is)!  So Happy PA Week to all of my fellow PAs: those who took the time to teach me, those I went to school with and those I work with every day. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Summer 2012 recap

Since it took me all summer to complete my Europe trip posts, I'll catch everyone up on my summer in one quick post.  The theme of our summer was definitely family, friends and fun.  One of the highlights of my summer was my trip home for a week to see high school friends, my parents, my brother & his family and my sister's two oldest girls.  Plus I got to spend some time with my best friend (since preschool) and my too-cute-for-words goddaughter.  It was a great but crazy busy trip! Instead of describing every important event of the summer, I'll give you a photo montage :o)

TX family photos
V-Day presentation with Corey's Granddad, mom & sister
Menchie's w/the Munchkin
Girl time with a special Ohio visitor
Spent some wandering around TCU
4th of July
4th of July
Coop's 1st birthday

Jersey Boys!
Out in San Diego
Rangers at Angels with the Fam 
My oldest nieces
Fair food! (OC Fair)
My oldest niece - all grown up :(
Gardening with Harper
Met GP!
Kelly's 1st birthday

Lexie's 4th birthday
Celebrating love @ a wedding

It's been a great but busy summer!  Despite both of us being super busy with work, we actually managed to be pretty social (woohoo!)  We had so much fun with all our friends, new and old, as well as family.  Now we're very much looking forward to a fun-filled fall, including TCU football (and tailgating), a wedding, friends visiting and a small trip or two.  Christmas will be here before we know it - yikes!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Europe 2012: Spain (Part 2)

On our 3rd full day in Spain we took a day trip to Toledo.  The first train we planned to take was sold out so we had to wait around for an hour or so until the next left.  We wandered the area near the train station, got a late breakfast then finally lined up to board the train.  A quick train ride on Spain's high-speed (and rather nice) train and we were in Toledo.  

Madrid's train station

En route to Toledo
It has an interesting history and a rather large, well-preserved medieval center.  At one point it was the capital of Spain and has been a home to Jews, Muslims and Christians.  We took a cab to the old city and started walking the narrow (like some so narrow I can't see how a car can pass through) historic streets marveling at the old architecture and crazy number of shops.  We toured a church then climbed to the bell tower and took in great views of the city and surrounding countryside.  After lunch and more walking/wandering/shopping we were tired and hot so decided to catch an earlier train back to Madrid.

Mosaic art in the Toledo train station 
Narrow medieval streets
View of the cathedral spires

Inside the church

Alcazar (old fortress/castle, now a museum)
Puerta del Sol - one of the entrances to the old city
We were pretty tired thanks to the day in Toledo so we planned for a low key night.  We had dinner at a cute little restaurant where one of the workers (manager or owner maybe?) gave us complimentary glasses of a home-brewed liqueur.  Not sure what was in it but neither of us were fans.  We decided to stop in at a little bar for a drink on the walk back to the apartment and met the cutest old man who was bar tending.  He made us Caipirinhas which were dangerously delicious and we attempted conversation with him (thank goodness Kirsten is pretty fluent in Spanish).  

The unknown and not very good liqueur
Mixing up a delicious concoction
This man was a drink artist!
Enjoying our libations
Our final day we decided to see the Royal Palace, the cathedral, a market and have a picnic lunch.  It was a beautiful area of the city that we hadn't seen yet so it was a great experience.  Unfortunately the entrance fees for Palace and cathedral were more than we wanted to spend so we didn't see the interior of either.  The market was quite a sight and packed to the gills.  They had cheese vendors, a huge pastry/candy vendor, as well as people selling olives, fish, nuts, potato chips, sushi, tapas, drinks and more.  We gathered a few items and made our way to a grassy area near the palace to eat.  

Fountain outside the palace

How European, no?

Violinist in front of the cathedral

At the Palace gates

Palacio Real de Madrid

Fish in the market

Olives abound
Enjoying our picnic lunch
 Later that afternoon we went to Museo del Prado which is one of the best known art museums in Madrid.  They had free entrance after 5pm so we queued up and enjoyed looking at various well-known works of art (as well as some we probably should've known but didn't).  For dinner we attempted to eat at the same restaurant as our first night but were turned away because we didn't have reservations.  We found a different place to eat and enjoyed it (although not as much as the first).  After dinner we walked to the Plaza Ciebeles and Puerta de Alcala before walking back to the apartment for the last time.
Museo del Prado
Enjoying our last dinner together

Plaza Ciebeles

Puerta de Alcala

My airport shuttle arrived at 3:30 am so I could make it to the airport for my 6am flight back home.  I was amazed at how busy the streets were at that time - more people were out at 3:30 am than 11pm!  After a short layover in Amsterdam I flew back across the pond to my wonderful husband and pup.

It was a great trip filled with culture, sights, food and fun.  In 18 days I visited 4 countries, 7 cities and countless museums, churches, historic sites, shops and restaurants.  We had our fair share of hiccups including travel issues, a day or or two of crummy weather and illness but overall the trip was wonderful.  We're planning a trip to England, Ireland and Scotland for 2013 and I can't wait!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Europe 2012: Spain (Part 1)

After spending a couple hours sitting among a group of Italian soldiers in the airport, I boarded my flight to Madrid, Spain.  I made my way to the metro, figured out how to buy the correct ticket and hopped on board.  After a few train changes and lugging my too-heavy suitcase up a flight of stairs (with a little help from a very friendly Spaniard) I found myself in the Barrio de las Letras, home base for the next 5 days.  Since mi amiga Kirsten would not be arriving until early the next morning, I had all afternoon and evening to entertain myself.  After settling into the apartment, I quickly set out to find internet, food and a much needed hair product.  I was pretty proud of myself for finding all 3 rather easily and didn't get lost!  It was fun wandering the streets, taking in the sites and just trying to absorb as much culture as possible.  I even stumbled across a really cute market, bought some delicious fresh produce and a few tasty baked goods.
The neighborhood
Cute apartment!

Great kitchen!

Cream puffs and amazing strawberries = happy me

Madrid scenery

 The next morning Kirsten arrived from her transatlantic (red-eye) flight.  We hadn't seen each other in 18 months so it was great to reunite!  We set out for breakfast and had a delicious meal of churros con chocolat, tea, zumo (fresh squeezed OJ) and pan de tostada.  Later we explored the Parque de Retiro which included befriending a cute kitten and a boat ride on the "lake".  After some more walking, exploring, stopping in at a few churches and lunch, we visited the market and bakery I had found the previous afternoon to load up on more goodies.  Then it was nap time!

Iglesia de San Jeronimo - a favorite church of the Royal Family

Met this cutie in the parque
Enjoying the sun, scenery and company 
Professional rower right here
Pork products, anyone?

Bakery display
After a little nap, we opened a bottle of wine, enjoyed the sunset from our tiny patio, then set off to find food.  We stumbled across a cool looking restaurant and ended up having a fabulous meal.  After dinner we did a little bar-hopping, came across more than a few sketchy characters but in the end we made it back to the apartment safe and sound.

Post tequila shot:  Who's idea was that?

Sangria at the club
 The next morning we were late risers.  After breakfast we spent a little time at the Caixa Forum, a free art museum with a famous vertical garden.  We also spent more time wandering around the streets of Madrid.  We then packed up a picnic lunch and headed off to see Plaza Mayor.  After lunch and a little window shopping, we stopped in a Casa Patas to make reservations for a Flamenco show that evening then headed back to rest up/prep for another night on the town.

Vertical garden at Caxia Forum
Picnic in the Plaza 
We made a quick change, enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine, then headed off to catch the Flamenco show at Casa Patas.  We settled in with some sangria and Marcona almonds to watch an amazing show.  Neither of us knew what to expect and both were pleasantly surprised with the entertainment.  The dancers and musicians were so into their performances and it made it that much more enjoyable.  After the show we went out for a dinner of tapas but were sadly disappointed with the food quality.

Sangria makes us happy!
Flamenco dancers
We still had another two full days together in Madrid so the next day we set out for Toledo.  More on our day trip and our final day in Madrid in my next post!