Tag Archives: new york

Holidays, Laughter and Foreskin: The Fundamentals

The back to school or work adjustment is always a challenge post-holidays. On the one hand, people are often invigorated with big plans for new year, which is adorable. On the other hand it’s cold and, in my case, lonely and trying to get back into a routine after time off can be a little bumpy. Everything you had delegated to future you is now present you’s problem and I always have more faith in future Lea than she really deserves. But in any event, here we are. Mostly due to excessive aforementioned faith in my future self, my past self decided that my partner and I should visit three states in the 10 days he could reasonably be expected to take off work for the holidays. Fun!

So, we did it: Texas for Christmas, Florida for Hanukkah and New York for New Years. It was as crazy as it sounds but totally necessary and worth it. We had recently seen the family we have in Arkansas and California, but the Floridians and New Yorkers had yet to see the whites of our eyes since we became a married couple. Our jaunt included planes, trains and automobiles, Texas BBQ, Florida beaches and Times Square on New Years (just kidding, only a crazy person would do that). Our hearts and stomachs were filled with love, pizza and bagels and before we knew it was back to reality, whoops there goes gravity.

School has been back for a week now and this year marks the start of my clinical rotations as a midwifery student. It reminds me a lot of my first rotation as a nursing student with all the fumbles, missteps and fear. I had the great pleasure of enjoying dinner with some of the colleagues I shared my very first nursing rotation with and the laughs we had while reminiscing reminded me of the post-rotation conferences we had when we were all still learning to listen to hearts and lungs.

I always consider the beautiful souls I went through undergrad with to be kindred spirits from whom I can never really part. The impact of nursing school has bonded me to some of these people in a similar way. The image of being surrounded by my male colleagues outside the room of a patient whom I was about to catheterize is forever burned in my memory.

“Is he circumcised?” they asked.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. My preceptor then asked if I had ever seen a foreskin, to which I quickly replied, “I really don’t see how that’s any of your business.” We were off to a great start. Ultimately the procedure was successful, but there was and is always one thing to do in nursing school before you are allowed to call it a day: reflect.

In keeping with the tradition of reflection, I shared my experience of the catheterization with my group. Specifically, I highlighted my surprise at how profoundly I was able to feel the catheter in my hand through the patient’s penis. I looked at one of my colleagues, a woman I admire more than most on this Earth and admitted, “I guess I’ve just never held a flaccid penis before.” Without missing a beat this incredible woman facetiously replied, “Well, good for you!”

It was the best day of my life.

Any day that comes anywhere close to feeling as connected as I did to those people during that rotation will be an opal in a week of dumb, stupid rocks. Here’s to hoping we all continue expanding ourselves with people we can have a really good belly laugh with; I’m convinced those are all that really matter in this world.

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Filed under Midwifery

Peer Pressure, I’m very sensitive.

It has been a minute since I’ve used this space but two of my best friends have recently taken to the social media and now I’m gonna, too! Their excellent writing has impressed in me the importance of using the online to spread information about women’s health. Please check out this great blog: https://acrossthespeculum.tumblr.com/ and follow this twitter feed: @southern_stdtNM. These are two brilliant women who inspire me to be more but make me feel like I’m enough. It’s possible that I will write some about women’s health, but no promises.

A lot has happened since I’ve been away. We lived in Carolina while Jared did the MBA thing and then we backpacked around South America for a few months (cause when else are we going to have the time?) and now I live in Nashville where I’m studying to be a midwife (what?) and Jared lived in Seattle, where he works for Amazon. We also exchanged sarcastic nuptials in a bar last March. Mazel to us.

But back to being a student midwife and all the amazing women I get to grow into this role with. After spending a year becoming an RN, which included spending time with a lot of 22-year-old blonde women, I am proud to call one or two of them my friends. My other comrades in this program are older, wiser and more brunette (although the true geniuses among us remain defiantly blonde). We are a motley crew of individuals from all over the country with different goals and opinions about women’s health. How great is that?

Our group runs the gamut. We have die-hard liberals eager to take issue with the status quo as well as southern conservatives whose norms are being challenged. I believe the breadth of experiences each of us bring makes all of us better. Our differences are representative of the wide range of women we will be serving, all of whom deserve health care providers who will advocate for their wants and needs.

A brilliant friend once said, “If I’m ignorant about something don’t belittle me, educate me.” This knife cuts both ways because I know firsthand that liberal New Yorkers are just as capable of being closed-minded as conservative Texans. Being truly able to embrace newness without judgment is a skill I have yet to master, but it’s one I aspire to. We have only to gain from being open to learning from people who are different from us. It’s when we think we’ve figured it all out that we’re really missing opportunities to grow.

This program has shown me both that I know nothing, Jon Snow, and that I’m capable of literally anything. We all are. In 18 months Vanderbilt has turned 140 students, some fresh of out undergrad, into nurses on their way to becoming NPs. What’s an NP do again? They help the doctor, right? And midwives – are they really still a thing?

In a nutshell, a nurse-midwife is an advanced practice nurse just like a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner is an independent health care provider who can work with or without doctors in a variety of settings. Other types of nurse practitioners include those who work in primary care, those who work in acute care (the hospital), those who just see kids, those who just see older folks and those who specialize in mental health. 95% of CNMs (certified nurse midwives) work in hospitals attending vaginal births and our scope of practice includes primary care for women from puberty through menopause.

Pelvic exams, STI testing, contraception prescribing, IUD insertions, prenatal care, labor and birth support, sexual health needs, menopause symptom management — midwives do it all.

The more you know.

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Sweet Grass Grill

About a month ago, the stars aligned in such rare form as to grant me and my paramour a week day off together. Even more serendipitous was the access we had to a car, something that is almost never the case (and never necessary) for us in Queens. But on this fateful Friday, we were in New Jersey and we wanted to go on an adventure. There was just one hiccup, it was pouring down rain. This only strengthened my resolve to have a great start to a 3-day weekend, so we scrapped our initial plans to drive down to Seaside for an impromptu interpretation of The Jersey Shore, and opted for the creepy Sleepy Hollow, a nearby town that had haunted my childhood.

Turns out Sleepy Hollow, NY is much more sleepy than creepy, but it was pretty and I’m glad we went. The little town next door, called Tarrytown, seemed to boast a more happening downtown scene, so we stopped there, after a roll through Sleepy Hollow, for a bite to eat. After checking out a few menus on the main street, the Sweet Grass Grill really tickled my fancy:

sweet grass grill, draught beer, IPA, tarry town, new york

We chose two different IPAs. Jared’s was better 🙂

We had planned to stick to water originally, but the plethora of craft ale options on tap forced me to shrug and say, “YOLO, I’ll have a brewski.” Unfortunately I cannot recall the names of these IPAs, but I can assure you they were bold and tasty, just like an IPA should be 🙂

Next came the food:

sweet grass grill, draught beer, IPA, tarry town, new york

Jared chose a chicken pesto sandwich, the food of his people.

It takes a lot for my man to overlook a chicken pesto sandwich on a menu. Unless another option is lamb or mushroom-based, he’ll almost always opt for something in a chicken-pesto variety. He said this was one of his favorites, and the fries were perfection.

sweet grass grill, draught beer, IPA, tarry town, new york

And I chose the bacon mac and cheese, the food of my people.

Equally as challenging is for me to overlook a mac and cheese dish, especially one that includes bacon. This particular béchamel sauce was light, yet flavorful and the cherry tom-toms were a cool, fresh burst of yum.

If you find yourself driving around the sweet little villages of Westchester County, check out this little gem, you won’t be disappointed!

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Filed under Restaurants

Green Bean Casserole

We were invited to a BBQ in Queens last month, and I was asked to bring a dish but offered very little guidance as to the type of dish. So since no one said I couldn’t, I decided to whip up a batch of green bean casserole, just like we do down home. My version started with onions, garlic and mushrooms in one pot and green beans in the other:

green bean casserole, barbecue, bbq, side dishes, grilling, outdoor recipe, recipe

Saute garlic, onions and mushrooms for 10 minutes.

green bean casserole, barbecue, bbq, side dishes, grilling, outdoor recipe, recipe

Boil green beans in salty water for about 15 minutes.

Once the veggies were all cooked through, I threw them into the skillet and added a can of cream of mushroom soup. I then let all this cook together for another 5-10 minutes on low heat. Turn on that oven to 350!

green bean casserole, barbecue, bbq, side dishes, grilling, outdoor recipe, recipe

I first threw everything down in a lil’ bit o’ butter.

green bean casserole, barbecue, bbq, side dishes, grilling, outdoor recipe, recipe

Then add the soup, bring to a boil, then back down to a simmer.

Then I poured this tasty mixture into one of my uber-classy foil baking dishes, added french fried onions and baked at 350 for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and brown.

green bean casserole, barbecue, bbq, side dishes, grilling, outdoor recipe, recipe

Mmmm…. smells like Thanksgiving, y’all.

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