Thursday, December 29, 2005

Red rock country......

Finally, some free time to post. My brother-in-law and his wife were just here for a few days visiting us, so I was pretty busy. We did some fun stuff while they were here, so I hope they enjoyed themselves. They drove in from Denver and got here around 730pm on Monday. Becky and I prepared a bunch of yummy appetizer type foods for them, and we just munched on them for dinner. The next day we took it pretty easy, just sleeping in and then watching the food network for a while (one of my favorite channels). We went to this great Asian Fusion restaurant called Monsoon on the Rim for lunch. We all shared several different kinds of sushi. I highly recommend going there if you ever happen to be in Flagstaff, Arizona. :-)

After lunch we went out to visit the museum I used to work for. Its actually a pretty nice museum. We spent a few hours looking at the exhibits, then we came home for a few hours and just chilled out (i.e. more food network!) For dinner, we went to this little Italian restaurant called Oreganos. The food is always good, especially the thin crust pizza, but unfortunately the wait is always long.

Yesterday, we got up a little earlier, at the crack of 930am, ha ha, and drove down to a small town south of Flagstaff called Sedona to go hiking. Sedona is known for its beautiful red rock sandstone formations. We took a short hike to the top of Bell Rock, can you guess how it got its name?! ;-) Here is a picture of us at the top:

Around 2pm, we went to lunch at the Bice Grand Cafe and Restaurant. Becky and I had gone to dinner there for our 1 year anniversary a few weeks before and we were itching to go back. The restaurant is situated on a large hill overlooking the city and various rock formations so we had a great view with our meal. Also, the weather has been very warm in Arizona lately and the temperature was a very comfortable 65 degrees F, so we were able to sit outside on their terrace. Here is a picture of us at lunch:

We were pretty tired when we got home that night, so we decided to stay in and I made spaghetti with my homemade sauce, cheesy garlic bread, my wife's specialty, and salad. Oh and wine of course! Can't forget that! After dinner we watched the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", the newest version with Johnny Depp. It was pretty good, and also very trippy. I had been wanting to see that one for a while.

This morning my Becky had to leave for work at about 630am, so they decided to just get up at that time too and leave. I got up to see them off, but then went right back to bed. I have to savor my time to sleep in since next Tuesday classes start for me and Monday thru Friday I will have to be at school at 8am, which means getting up at about 630am everyday! Yuck! I am excited to start school and get the proverbial ball rolling. I am sure once the homework starts pouring in I will be singing a different tune, but right now it is exciting. I really hope to make some new friends and have a good relationship with my classmates. I have read on several nursing student's blogs that they become very close with the other students in their classes and end up forming lasting friendships. I hope to do that. Since we moved to Arizona from Minnesota about a year ago we have had a really hard time making friends, so I hope that school will provide the outlet I need to find some chums.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Healthy again....

Well, the cold has finally left. I still have the sniffles, but they are managable. Just in time for company to come too. Becky's brother and his wife are coming to visit from Denver and will be here for a few days. So I am glad I wont be moping around the house all sick and tired. Thanks for the well wishes from some of you. I appreciate it. And to all those who may still be sick......take it easy, rest a lot, drink lots of water and tea and think healthy thoughts.

Happy Holidays to all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

sickness descends....

Yuck, I am sick. I have a head and chest cold. It could be worse but it could be better too, that's for sure. After weeks of diligent handwashing, keeping my hands away from my face and avoiding using the mass transit system, all my work went out the window when I woke up with a deep cough 2 days ago. Since then it has progressed into my sinuses. It's never fun being sick, obviously, but it is especially not fun over the holidays. I plan to get lots of rest, drink lots of fluids and take a vitamin every now and then and hopefully I will be back to normal in a few days. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Have a coke and a smile.....

OK, I just had to chime in about this whole problem of Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays. I think all the "controversy" is much ado about nothing. If this is the biggest thing people have to complain about, they must have it pretty good.

I guess for me, just to play it safe and since I don’t usually know what religion people are, I say Happy Holidays, since that pretty much covers all the holidays regardless of which one an individual happens to be celebrating.

BUT I would certainly not be offended if someone said Merry Christmas to me, or Happy Chanukah or Happy Kwanzaa or Happy December, or whatever...I'm just happy they are not slapping me around and trying to take my money. People seem so uptight these days about such small issues. Why spend so much time and energy complaining about an ultimately unimportant thing. Your time and energy would be better spent playing with your kids or talking with your wife or husband or helping out at the local soup kitchen.

I think that if someone gives you a greeting, regardless of what it is, you should acknowledge it, return a greeting of your own and count yourself lucky that someone was nice enough to take the time out of their busy day to talk to you at all. So my advice to everyone is chillout, sit down and have a coke and a smile.

A simple exercise........

Today I thought I would make a list of simple sentences that, when combined, give an idea of who I am, what I believe, what I think is important, etc. You may agree with some of my statements, and you may disagree with others, but that is just fine. That’s what makes each person unique and, dare I say, special. Anyway, here goes……

My name is Dustin.
I am 27 years old.
I was born in Ontario, Canada, but grew up in Minnesota and now live in Arizona.
I am agnostic.
I love to cook.
I watch Star Trek when my wife isn’t home.
I believe in a woman’s right to choose, but that right should not be abused for convenience.
I believe in the death penalty, but that the punishment should not be abused, either.
I speak Spanish.
I love to travel, preferrably internationally.
I agree with the theory of evolution, but realize it is a theory, not a law, and can be improved upon.
I LOVE cheese.
My favorite TV shows are LOST, Grey’s Anatomy, ER, and Invasion, in that order.
I believe that Jesus Christ was a great and wise man, whether or not he was divine is not up to be to determine
Someday I will be a radiographer.
I love my wife.
I love my family.
I read science fiction books.
I read science “fact” books.
I believe in “an eye for an eye”……in most cases.
I can crochet.
I enjoy working on computers.
I am currently unemployed.
I am a student in a Radiography/Medical Imaging program.
I celebrate Christmas, but I’m not a Christian.
I believe in helping others who are less fortunate and those who need our help the most.
I think that nurses, teachers, farmers and police officers are the four most important and under-appreciated professions in our society.
I believe there is too much emphasis on Hollywood.
I have blond hair.
I know how to flintknap.
I believe in “everything in moderation”.
I am a dog person.
I am a cat person.
I hate it when people drive slow in the left lane.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Archaeology
I am always cold.
I suffer from chronic back pain.
I like to hike and camp.
I believe in a thing called love.
I wish I wasn’t so shy.
I own 3 pairs of shoes.
I clean up good.
I am not scared of heights.
I enjoy talking with intelligent people.
I do not believe in Zodiac Signs.
My favorite job was working in a coffee shop.
I wish I were taller.
Cornbread, ain’t nothing wrong with that!
I enjoy being challenged.
I should have more confidence.
I think greed and evil are often synonymous.
I have been to Europe 4 times, Mexico 3 times, Canada once but never to New York or LA.
I’m scared of not being a good enough father to my children.
I have a Master’s degree in Anthropology.
I am scared of clowns.
I enjoy learning new things.
I wish I didn’t care so much about what people think of me.
I am uncomfortable with confrontation.
I am not allergic to anything.
I hope to never stop learning.
I hope to someday own a home.
I have blue eyes.
I am ME.

Well, that felt good. I am sure there are many, many other things I could add to the list, and I may in the future, but that is good enough for now. I hope this lets you get to know me a little better. I suggest you try it some time. You may be surprised at what you find.

EDIT: Since I made this post, some of you have asked me what exactly flintknapping is. Flintknapping is the process of chipping away material from high silica stones like "flint" or chert in a carefully controlled manner with special tools to produce sharp projectile points, sometimes called arrowheads. Here is a website that will give you a little more information about it if you are curious.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Identical bottles...

Man, I must have been really out of it this morning when I was getting ready for work. In my haste, I accidently put on my wife's perfume instead of my cologne. They are both from Eddie Bauer and are in bottles that look identical. I didn't even realize it until I was sitting at my desk at work and kept smelling Becky and wondering why. Then it dawned on me that I had used the bottle on the left side of the sink, instead of the right side. Oops! I hope no one notices....

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Anyone need a pool boy?

I am contemplating whether or not I will want to work while I am in school. I guess I am pretty lucky in that I have the option to WANT to work, rather than to NEED to work. While in nursing school, before we were married, Becky went to school full time, worked 32 hours a week and still found time to spend with me. I really don't know how she did it. She is amazing.

I think I will wait and see how the first couple weeks shape up in the way of homework and study time needed, and if I find I have a lot of spare time on my hands I think I really should get a job, at least a very part time job. I just wish I could find something that would allow me to pick my hours, so I could still have the weekends off so I can see Becky. But probably any parttime job I have would want me to work on the weekends.

Also, having a job and contributing some income to our little family would make me feel better. I do feel guilty about quitting work and giving Becky all the pressure of being the sole bread winner. She has been very understanding though and knows that I am doing this so when I do finish school I can find a good, well-paying job.

There should be plenty of options for part time work in Phoenix and its suburbs, which together total a population of about 1.5 million. Yikes! Maybe I could hang fliers and pimp myself out as a Spanish tutor like I used to do during graduate school. However, I would usually just end up with freshman who wanted me to do their homework for them, rather than help them learn. That's not only annoying but unethical, too. But at least it's an idea. Lots of people own pools in Phoenix, maybe I could be a pool boy. :-) If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Phase-Sensitive X-ray

Could Phase-Sensitive X-ray be the next big step in imaging technology? Read this article to learn more about it.


We got some news on Friday that completely ruined out night. Because of our misunderstanding of our dental insurance coverage, Becky and I get to pay for pretty much all of the bill for my wisdom teeth extractions......$1350 worth of extractions that is! DAMN!! This could not have come at a worse time. Just as we are about to go down to one income and start paying rent and utilities at two residences. I felt so stupid. Misreading one little line in our coverage caused the screw up. Under Calendar Year Maximum the sum of $1000 was listed. Well, we interpreted that to mean the max WE had to pay in a year would be $1000, but it turns out thats the amount the INSURANCE would pay in a calendar year, and since I had had 8 cavities filled earlier this year, that number had been reached already. Hence, us getting stuck with a $1300 bill. Hopefully the dentist has some type of payment plan, otherwise its onto plastic for that "purchase". Son of a......

Friday, December 09, 2005

No tengo ritmo...

We went to the hospital's Holiday party last night. Let's just say it wasnt the most lively party I've been to in my life. Pretty slow. Becky and another nurse played some Christmas music for everyone while they ate, Becky on a keyboard and the other nurse on her violin. They did very well, but unfortunately the keyboard volume was way too low for the size of the room, so they probably couldnt hear it too well. Becky is a great piano player though. She can hear a song 3 times and be able to play it perfectly on the piano, she amazes me. I wish I play an instrument. Maybe someday I will take lessons. Maybe when we get a piano, Becky can teach me how to play.

Later, after everyone was done eating, the daughter of one of the nurses and her boyfriend gave everyone a little salsa dancing lesson. They have a business in town that gives lessons in various forms of dance, and they were nice enough to come to the party and show us some steps. I think Becky and I did pretty well, for not having any rhythm! Again, SOMEDAY, I want to take some lessons to learn to dance. In the mean time, maybe I can find that elusive rhythm I so desperately lack!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

New title banner.........

Whoopee! A new banner for my blog. What do you think? Comments welcome. I guess it isn't the most exiciting title banner I've ever seen but it will do for now. It took quite a lot of tweaking of the template script to get it right, but with help from Monika from "Becoming a Nurse", I finally arrived at what I was looking for.

I opened my first X-mas present last night. I know, I know, I am naughty. But it came in the mail and I couldnt resist. It is a new laptop computer from Dell. I havent really had much time to tinker around with it yet, but will this weekend. I wanted to open it early so I had time to get it all prepped for school (i.e. get all my programs, music, photos, etc. on it before I move down to Phoenix). Although it is technically a present from my wife, I was the one who went online, added the features I wanted and then ordered it. So it wasn't too much of a surprise, but it will come in very handy for school and communicating with Becky while I'm living in Phoenix.

Oh, you know how I was so excited to see LOST last night, well it turns out it was a rerun! Dammit! Last week they said "Tune in next week for an all new episode of LOST!". Yeah right!! Oh well. There is always next week. One show I am into lately is the mini-series "The Triangle" on the Sci Fi channel. In the story, 4 scientists explore the causes of the weird occurances reported in the Bermuda Triangle. Although I like science fiction movies and books, I usually dont watch the Sci Fi channel because I find most of their shows kinda cheesy, and the one's that I dont are on at weird times and I end up missing them. Anyway, "The Triangle" has been pretty good so far. Usually, TV movies are not done very well, but this one is. It also has some pretty big names in like Sam Neill, Eric Stoltz, Lou Diamond Phillips, Catherine Bell, and Bruce Davidson. If you have a chance, I recommend watching it. All 3 parts will be on, back to back, this Sunday.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hump day........

Yay! LOST is on tonight. Perfectly positioned on hump day. The perfect thing to get me thru the rest of the week. Its Becky and my weekly ritual to sit down to watch LOST with a homemade pizza with all the toppings you can think of. We eat well the rest of the week so why not have some fun on Wednesday, right?!

There was a staff meeting this morning at the museum....which I skipped of course! I think the director must have told everyone that I was leaving because people have been making comments to me all day about it. Some positive some neutral, so far none that are too negative or judgemental. Its probably all in my head, but the mentality of the museum folk is a little weird. They dedicate their lives to a job that pays horribly and almost never delivers the kudos it should and when someone (like me) wants to leave it for "greener pastures", they get pretty defensive about it. Or at least I expected them to, but maybe I was wrong. From my countdown meter on my sidebar ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
it looks like I have about 8 days left until my last day of work, yay!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Remember when TV used to be good.......

I caught my first episode of "Grey's Anatomy" last night. Good show!! I am already a devoted fan of "LOST" as well as "Invasion", but had never seen "Grey's Anatomy" before. It makes me long to the good ol' days, when TV used to be good. Do you remember the times before so called reality TV, when smart, creative people produced sometimes brilliant, sometimes not-so-brilliant scripted TV? I miss those days.

When the first season of "Survivor" was on, of course, I watched it. It was new, innovative, even thrilling at times. Fast forward about 2 years and the airwaves are filled with more "reality" BS than you can shake a stick at. It seems the networks, in all their wisdom (cue sarcasm) took what was at one time a good idea and beat it to death. The next thing you know you are watching "The Littlest Groom" or "Wife Swap" and wondering why you even bothered to turn on the TV. I hope the networks will soon pull their proverbial heads out of their proverbial a$$es and start producing creative, inventive shows again. Maybe that should be be my Christmas wish this year.

In other news, today is my first day back at work after handing in my 2 week notice last Friday. So far so good. A couple of the nicer people I have worked with have come by to say they are sorry to hear I am leaving but they wish me luck in school. Most are having a hard time understanding what radiography is, but I try to explain it the best I can. The Director of the museum even came by to wish me good luck, which surprised me because I always thought he didn't much like me . Maybe he just felt obligated to come and say something. One staff member even told she thought it was a good idea to get out of here and she thought I would probably earn more money doing something, anything else. I certainly didn't argue with her on that point.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Recent happenings.......

Wow, a lot has happened in the last few days. On Thursday Becky and I drove down to the Valley for my orientation at SPS. It was pretty short, from 2-3:30 or so, but we talked about a lot of stuff. Most of it I already knew from reading the various info packets they have given us, but some was new. Almost all the info, though, was about the school in general, financial aid, how to get your books, ordering "uniforms" (which in reality were just scrubs with the schools logo and name on them), and stuff like that. She said that we would have a more specific orientation to the program the first day of school, which is actually coming up quickly! The orientation also gave me a chance to see who else will be in my class. It was split almost 50/50 men and women, although maybe just a few more ladies. And ages ranged from probably just out of high school to probably about 55 I would guess. There were a couple of guys who were starting to go gray! Although the bulk of the class looked to be about my age or in their early 30s.

After orientation we went up to North Phoenix to meet the guy I will be living with while I'm in school. He seems really nice and has a good sense of humor like me, so I think we will get along really well. He owns a 4-bedroom house in a pretty nice location. The house is in a newly built residential type neighborhood. Then again pretty much everything in Phoenix is newly built. That city has exploded in the last few years. We also met his girlfriend to whom he just got engaged. The timing for my living there is perfect, because I will only need to be there for about 8 months and will move out in August, which is right around the time he had planned to have her move in. Right now he is renting one room to a student from Germany. I met him too and he seemed pretty nice. He offered to help me move when the time came. I think I really lucked out. It is a really nice location and the house is almost brand new. The price we decided on was at the high end of our budget but still a lot less that what he could potentially rent the room out for, so I was pretty lucky there too. And most likely I will have the house to myself most of the time since he works long hours as a dermatology resident at a Scottsdale hospital.

The other big thing that happened is that on Friday I handed in my two-week notice. I was pretty nervous about it and all day I had to put up with that anxious feeling in my stomach, but at the end of the day, I called my boss into a back storeroom, so I could have some privacy and broke the news to her. I had prepared a little speech ahead of time, so this is what I said verbatim:

"I just wanted to let you know that 2 weeks from today, December 16th, will be my last day here. I want you to know that I really appreciate all the help and guidance you have given me, you are a great teacher and mentor, but after much soul-searching I have realized that this is not the career for me and that I need to make a change."

Even though I really didn’t like my job and most of the people there rubbed me the wrong way, I still wanted to be professional and stay on good terms with my boss. After I said my piece, she said she was sorry to hear that but she could understand. She asked me what my plans were and wished me good luck. To tell you the truth she didn’t seem surprised at all. Before I could even finish my prepared speech I had come up with she was asking me if it was because of the low pay. I said yeah partly, but also that I wanted more stimulation in my job and to be challenged. I also (believe it or not) really missed interaction with people. She could understand all that and was very nice about the whole thing. I hadn’t planned on telling her what my new career plans were unless she asked. Well, she did ask, so I told her I was starting school in January down in Phoenix at a program in Radiography. She thought that sounded interesting and wished me luck. She asked if I had turned in a letter of resignation yet. I hadn't even thought about that. I figured I was so low on the totem pole that that kind of thing wasn't necessary. But she thought it was a good idea to write one up quickly and give a copy to her, the director and the HR person. So I wrote one up handed it in and got out of there. The thing that really surprised me (and don't get me wrong, it's a good thing) was that she didn't seem surprised or shocked and she didn't seem to be mad or become standoffish at all. Maybe things will change by Monday, but she was the same helpful person as she always was, suggesting things to put in the letter and letting me know what to do next. I told her several times that I really appreciated all the help and guidance she had given me while I was there, and I think she really appreciated hearing that. And it wasn’t just lip service either, I have always liked her and she has been one of the better bosses I have ever had.

Anyway, it's over, so that’s good. I just have to get thru the next 2 weeks and I am on to bigger and better things. I am kind of curious how other staff members will take the news. Will they come and say good-bye and wish me good luck or shun me because I am leaving the profession they all love? Who knows! Either way, I am out of there in 2 weeks and nothing can stop me now!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Docs upset over Cruise's unnecessary use of Sonogram Machine

In one of my previous posts, I posted a link to an article stating that Tom Cruise had bought a sonogram machine for his own personal use for viewing his and Katie Holm's unborn baby. Here is a link to one of probably many followup articles relating doctors' concerns regarding overuse of the machine.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Orientation tomorrow......

Tomorrow I will be playing hookie from work (calling in sick) and going down to Phoenix for orientation at SPS. I'm really looking forward to it because I will get a better idea of what is ahead of me. We will meet some of the instructors, go over course syllabi and order our scrubs. I am most looking forward to meeting some of my classmates. I am guessing they will be all over the map as far as age and life experience goes. I would guess that my age, 26, would probably be the average, roughly, but we shall see.

I am also finally meeting the guy I will be living with for the first 8 months of the program (before I start my externships). He's a dermatology resident and a friend of a friend. He owns a house in Scottsdale and is nice enough to rent out a room to me. I have emailed back and forth with him and talked to him a few times on the phone, so it will be nice to meet him in person and also see the house I will be living in.

Then Friday is the big day. I will be quitting my job. I have been looking forward to this and dreading it for some time. I am hoping it goes well. I have worked here for over a year and I am pretty close to my boss, so I think it will be a big shocker for her. She has no idea how miserable I am here. I have told a friend of mine, who used to work here, that I will be quitting and she is convinced that my boss is going to cry when I tell her. God I hope she doesn't. I really have no idea what to say to her if she does. Its hard to tell someone that you are quitting because you hate the same job that they have devoted their life to for 2 decades, without offending them. I will have to pick my words carefully. I plan to do it at the end of the day and then just leave afterwards. I am sure I will tell you all about about after it's over.

SPS = Some Phoenix School

I thought it better not to reveal the name of the school I will be attending, in case I feel the need to complain about it in future posts, so I will just refer to it as SPS, meaning Some Phoenix School. Got it? :-)

Hilarious blog...

You have to check out this blog I found, if you haven't already. It's called Ah Yes, Medical School. It's written by a medical student who writes about his experiences as he does different rotations at various hospitals. He is hilarious. He has a very interesting and funny way of looking at life. Give it a read.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tom Cruise and a sonograph machine

Don't even get me started on Tom Cruise. Not only is he a certifiable nut, but he is completely over stepping his bounds with all his comments about post-partum depression being unreal and his not considering psychiatry a real science. I wont even tell you what I think about the "religion de jour" he follows, scientology! Now he thinks he is a sonographer, too. Check out this article about him actually buying a sonograph machine for his own personal use. Presumably for viewing the spawn he has placed in Katie Holms poor womb. Who does he think he is. Again, over stepping his bounds. At least he says he will donate it to a hospital after the baby is born.

the Back Situation......

I finally made an appt to see a doc about my back.......again!! I haven't seen anyone or been treated for about 2 years now. I had gotten pretty frustrated with my other doctors so I stopped seeing them. They were unable to tell me what may be causing my chronic pain and their treatment didnt seem to do much for me. I was on Bextra for a while, but after that was discontinued I just went back to taking Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) for my lower back pain. The thing that motivated me to finally make an appt is that my mid and upper back had started to hurt too. We had determined that my lower back pain was from a chronic inflammation of my Sacroiliac joints (or SI joints), although the cause was unknown. Anyway, I had figured out a way to somewhat control the lowerback pain with just Naproxen Sodium and light stretching, although I would frequently have "flare ups". Then, co-incidentally not long after starting my present job at the museum, my mid and lower back started to become stiff and painful most of the time, too. I was pretty sure that it was muscular rather that joint pain, and probably from sitting hunched over a computer all day. I tried acetaminophen (Tylenol) to control the pain, but that only worked marginally and I usually felt like I had been hit by a truck by the end of the day as well as when I woke up in the morning. So I decided I couldnt live with it anymore and made an appt with a Physcial Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist.

I had the appt yesterday and it went pretty well. He actually LISTENED to me!! Can you believe that!! Most of the docs I had seen up to that point conducted the patient interview with one hand on the door handle, at least mentally if not actually. So it was refreshing to have someone at least pretend to listen to my symptoms and concerns. After telling him everything, he suspects that it is either a form of sacroiliitis or possibly early onset of arthritis. He ordered several tests including a CBC and CMET to see if my having been taking NSAIDS for so long has started to effect my liver and kidneys, an X-ray of my thoracic and lunbar back (which I am actually kind of excited about since I will get to talk to an X-ray tech during it), another steriod injection to the SI joints to decrease or eliminate the pain so that I can start physical therapy soon. Also, he determined that my mid and upper back pain was indeed from muscle tightness and strain from sitting and doing repeated motion at the computer and he gave me some muscle relaxants for that, which are working well so far.

So things are in motion, which is good. It would be great if I could get the healing process well on its way by the time I start school. It would be very difficult to coordinate doc and PT visits while being 2 and a half hours away. Wish me luck.

Car guy....

I love my car. I know it is silly to love an inanimate object, but I really do enjoy owning it. I recently bought a 2001 VW Jetta and it is great. Its silver and has a manual transmission. Here's a picture of it:

I had driven sticks before but never exclusively, so it took some getting used to thats for sure. I am not looking forward to having to drive it in stop-and-go traffic down in Phoenix once I start school though. One thing I love about it is that it gets great gas milage, especially for being almost 6 years old. It gets 30-31 mpg highway and 25-26 mph city. I just love to look around at all the people driving the big gas guzzlers and shake my head. I mean who needs a hummer to drive 1.87 miles to work in the city. It just doesn't make sense to me. I also really like the European style the Jetta has. Sleak and efficient. Those Germans know what they're doing!

Actually, I'm not really a car guy at all, I have no idea about anything under the hood, although I do know the basics (changing the air filter, rotating the tires, changing the break pads, etc). I just didnt grow up with it like a lot of guys did. I think that my generation was more interest in electronics. I could take a computer or printer apart and put it back together long before I would know what to do with a carburetor. My dad always did the servicing of our family cars himself and only took it to the garage when he didn't have the right tools for the job, and believe me that was not very often. Even my older brother (granted he is 15 years older than me) knows more about cars. I just never got into it. Sometimes I wish I did know more about how the internal combustion enguine works and when someone asks me why their car is making a funny sound, I can say with confidence "oh, that sounds like the strutts on the mounting head next to the Johnson rod {insert additional motor jargon here}....", but unfortunately I wouldn't know where to start. Maybe in my next life I can be a real car guy. Who knows!?


I guess it has been a while since I posted and a couple things have happened since then. I figured I would break the different topics up into different posts so it is easier to read.

The healing is going pretty well. I am back to a regular diet, solid foods and all. You don't realize how much you enjoy solid foods until you can't have them. I still can't open my mouth too wide without pain and there are 4 gaping holes where my teeth used to be. These are kinda gross and I am looking forward to them closing up soon. Right now everytime I eat anything, the food likes to hide out in the holes, so I have to use this little squirty thing (and yes that is its technical name, squirty thing), to clean out the holes so they don't get irritated or infected. I guess if I were food I would hide out in there, too. I wouldn't want to get smashed up by teeth and then swallowed down into a skin sack filled with acid. But, hey, that's me. I was pretty swollen for a few days but that was more of a cosmetic thing and it didn't hurt too much. I thought I would post some pics of what I looked like during the whole thing.

This is what I normally look like:

This is me right after the extraction with ice packs on my face. I don't really even remember this being taken I was still all looped up on the anesthesia.

This is me trying to eat ice cream. Our cat, Imara, was even trying to make me feel better. :-)

This is me during the high point of the swelling.

Anyway, I am glad to have it over and done with. And I know I never have to do it again! I have heard some nasty stories about other people's experiences and I think mine went very well over all. The pain only lasted a few days and I was able to control it very well with the meds they gave me. So I wish good luck to all those out there who still have to do it. It will be over before you know it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Image game

Here's a fun game. Type in a word in google search, do a search and then click on the "Images" tab and see what kind of images come up associated with that word. You would be surprised. I just did the game with the work "x-ray" and this is what I got:

Some expected images:

And some not-so-expected images:

Try it yourself and see what you come up with.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I survived....

I survived my wisdom teeth removal. Everything went smoothly and I am presently in the peak period for swelling...(i.e. I look like a chipmunk collecting nuts for the winter). They have me on some pain meds which are nice, because not only does it control the pain in my teeth, but for literally the first time in about 6 years I don't have any back pain...NONE!! I can't believe. I feel like a normal person again. And even when my teeth do start to hurt, at least the pain is in a different place for once. A nice change of pace. My wife has been great at taking care of me and keeping me on a strict schedule of meds. It's almost like she is a nurse of something! :-)

I need to go back in to see the oral surgeon on Monday morning, just for a short check up to make sure the healing is progressing as it should, then unfortunately I am back to work. However, this week will be a short one since we have Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving. God bless those pilgrams!

I also got my TB skin test read on Wednesday, right before going to the oral surgeon and of course it was negative. So that means I am all set, and have all my paperwork for orientation in 2 weeks. I am excited for orientation because not only do I get to learn more about the program and meet some of the instructors but I also get to see some of the other students who will be in the program with me. Potential friends, study partners, etc. However, at the same time I am a bit nervous because the day after orientation I am planning on quitting at the museum. I am looking forward to it and dreading at the same time. I can't wait to leave that place, but the awkwardness of actually sitting down with my boss and telling her "That's it, I'm out", will be unpleasant. But like Jerry Seinfeld would say "Just like a bandaid. One motion, RIGHT OFF!" Quick and very painful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Option 1 or Option 2

This is how my schooling is going to work. The program is 2 years long. The first 8 months are spent in the classroom, 8a-12p M-F. The second 8 months are spent at one Externship site, and the 3rd and final 8 months are spent at a second Externship site. But there are two options for being assigned Externship sites, lets call them Option 1 and Option 2.

Option 1 - If you pick this option you are garanteed assigment to a site in the Phoenix metro area. Within this area there are roughly 20 different sites/hospitals. Which site you are assigned to is random, which I will get to in a second.

Option 2 - If you pick this option (which I did) you will be assigned to a site somewhere else in Arizona besides the Phoenix Metro area (excluding.Tucson). So this includes Flagstaff (awesome), Cottonwood (next closest, 1 hour from Flag) Prescott, Kingman, Payson, Bullhead City, Show Low or Yuma.

Here's a map of Arizona with the site in Option 2 circled:
I had a lot to consider when I was choosing. If I chose Option 1, I knew I wouldn't be placed any farther from Flagstaff than 2 or 2.5 hours and I would be able to stay living wherever it was I was living in Phoenix, but I also knew that there was no way I would have a chance to be placed at the Flagstaff hospital.

And if I chose Option 2 I could potentially be placed at the Flagstaff hospital during one of my rotations, meaning I could live at home with Becky and also make connections for potential future employment. But it also meant I could possibly be placed in Yuma, a good 5-6 hour drive from Flagstaff.

So, after much thought and advise from friends and family, I decided I would take a gamble and choose Option 2, sites outside of Phoenix. Time will tell if the gamble will pay off or not.

The actual sites are chosen a different way entirely. A few weeks before the externships are to start all the names of the students who chose Option 1 are put into a hat and all the names of the students who chose Option 2 are put into another. One by one names are drawn from each hat and each person who is drawn gets to pick at which site they want to be placed. So if I get picked first from Option 2 hat, I obviously will pick Flagstaff. But if several students are picked before me, and one of them picks Flagstaff, another picks Cottonwood and another picks Prescott (my first 3 choices) then I may get left with stinkin' Yuma. Granted that is the worst case scenario, but it could happen.

I am very concerned about this part of the program, as it will dictate not only how much driving I will have to be doing in the next 2 years, but also how much time I get to spend, or not spend, with Becky. I have my fingers, toes and anything else that will, crossed that they pull my name first, or at least that no one picks Flag until they pull my name. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Love Story.....

I will seek and find you...
I shall take you to bed and have my way with you...
I will make you ache, shake and sweat until you moan and groan...
I will make you beg for mercy, beg for me to stop...
I will exhaust you to the point that you will be relieved when I'm finished with you...
And, when I am finished, you will be weak for days.

All my love,
The Flu

Now, get your mind out of the gutter and go get your flu shot if you are at risk!!

I found this little "Love Story" at this blog: Student Nurse, PRN

Monday, which was never good anyway....

YES!! I got my TB test done today. It's sad that that's my biggest news, but it's 1 less thing on my "To Do" list a far as school goes. It went very smoothly. I went to the County clinic, cheap, cheap, cheap, thats me. I got there at opening, waited a quick half hour, most of which I spent filling out paperwork, I was called to the back and Wham, Bam, Thank you ma'am and I was done. I have to go in to have it read in 48 hours of course but that should be a snap.

The first time I had a TB test I was 16 and it was the third of 3 shots and I passed out. Don't tell anyone. ;-) But this time I was fine, I didn't get woozy at all. It's not so much the pain with shots, it's all mental with me. I mean, lets face it, they really don't hurt that much, but its just the thought of a long, metal needle being slide into my skin that makes me anxious. I have always been like that with any kind of puncture wound. Even as a kid, when I would step on a nail or something I would get all hot but I would be white as a sheet. The biggest test for me was when I had steroid injections in my SacroIliac joints where I have my chronic back pain. They slip a long needle in there and then inject the joint with a steroid fluid. The worst part of that is actually when the joint starts to expand because of the extra fluid introduced into it. Now that is painful. But I am slowly gaining control over my mind, and each shot is less of a problem for me. Call me a baby, call me a wuss, but each person reacts differently to injections, ask any nurse that.

One major thing going on this week for me is I am have my wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday. All F'ing 4 of them. Can you believe it? Am I crazy? All signs point to yes. But I figured I HAVE to have 2 out, and while he was in there what's 2 more. I am gonna hurt either way. Luckily my little nurse of a wife will take care of me free o' charge. She has already bought the frozen bags of peas to wrap around my face for the swelling. In my opinion that is about all peas are good for...yuck! If I feel up to it, I will try to post something while I'm home recovering.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

TBISA (Too Bad It's Sunday Already)

You know it's funny. I complain about being stuck on the computer all week at work and what do I spend half my weekend doing? That's right, futsing around on the computer. But at least I can do what I want when I'm home, instead of data entry. I did spend a couple of hours trying to troubleshoot a problem I was having installing Norton Antivirus Software. But after much research and help from my dad, I got it installed successfully.

Qué más? I got a much needed massage on Saturday from a student at the Phoenix School of Theraputic Massage. It's great...prices are discounted because they are students, but they still do just as good a job as any other massage place. My back is feeling better already. Speaking of my back. I have had back problems for several years now and have seen various back specialists in all the places I have lived, and none have been able to give me a reason why my back constantly hurts, much less give me a way to fix it. So I had stopped going for about a year or so, and in that time we moved to Flagstaff. It is really starting to give me trouble again so I decided to bite the bullet and see yet another doc for treatment. My first appt is in 2 weeks, so we will see how it goes. Check back for an update.

Well, since I didn't have much to say today, I thought I would tell you a little bit about the town we live in, Flagstaff, Arizona, and take a first try at posting some pictures with this post.

Flagstaff, Arizona, is a small mountain town of about 60,000 people. It is located in northern Arizona and is about 60 miles south of the Grand Canyon....yes, THE Grand Canyon. So that gives us lots to do when we have visitors. The city is situated on the south side of the San Francisco Peaks, Humpreys Peak being the highest point in the state. When most people think of Arizona they think of the dry, empty desert and most of the state is just that. However, Flagstaff is at about 7,000 feet (2100 meters) above sea level, so are climate is rather different from other parts of the state. In the summer the average temperature is about 80 degrees F (26 degrees C) and in the winter the average temperature is about 35 degrees F (2 degrees C). We have snow frequently in the winter, which is great for the Arizona Snowbowl, 1 of only 2 ski resorts in the state, which is just NW of Flagstaff.

Flagstaff has about 120 years of history, established in roughly 1870 as a logging and lumber town. Since then its economy has changed to rely principly on Tourism and manufacturing. The historic downtown area has been preserved and restored and is still used today by tourists and locals for shopping and dining. Now for some pictures I've taken around town:

The San Francisco Peaks:

Babbitt Brother's Sporting Goods store, continually occuptied by the Babbitt Family since 1886:

Flagstaff Court House:

Heritage Square in the historic Downtown area:

Historic Bank building:

Monte Vista Hotel:

Historic Catholic Church, made from local volcanic stone:

Weatherford Hotel, first hotel in Flagstaff, opened on January 1st, 1900:

Well, that's Flagstaff in a nutshell. It's a great little town and so far we have loved living here. That's all for now.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Not much to report on the radiography front. The boss is gone today so, as you can imagine, I am not as productive as I usually am. Ha ha.

One new development though....I am now in contact with a friend of a friend who may be interested in renting a room out to me in his house while I'm in school. He has a 4 bedroom place in Scottsdale. For those of you who don't know Phoenix, Scottsdale is one of the richer suburbs of the city...very La Dee Da. I havent seen the place yet or met him, but he seems nice over email and the house cant be too bad. I plan to take a look at the house and meet him on Dec 1st, while I'm down there for orientation at SPS. Wish me luck.

TGIF thats for sure. I didnt know if I would make it thru this week without going crazy (see earlier post). Although no big plans for the weekend, the fact that I am not at work is good enough for me. Becky works 7a-7p this Sat and Sun, so I'm on my own for most of the weekend. That's OK, it will give me some time to "fix" the computer. My virus software has been problematic lately....maybe my virus software has a virus, how ironic would that be!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

NA10254.GSQTRENCH1.2a........yuck!!! Do I hate my job. I can't even convey the loathing I have for it, right now. I can feel it slowly sucking the life out of me. I just got home from it and I had to post. It has to be THE MOST BORING JOB IN THE WORLD. I work in a museum, and at first that may seem cool and exciting, but I assure you, it is not.

This is my day, everyday, for weeks now with no end in sight until I quit sometime next month. Every object in the museum, and there are 100's of thousands of them, has an individual number labeled on it called a catalog number. This number is matched up with a record for the object in our database. Type in the number, do a search, get the info about the object, yada, yada, yada. Anyway, I am working on an inventory project that entails basically going over each object, recording its number and its location. Lucky for me, I have assigned that job to some poor Federal Work Study students. I am sure they are back there wishing they could take a turn with the hari-kari knife.

Anyway, after they have recorded the numbers on a sheet, they pass the sheet to me and I sit at the computer, 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week, entering numbers like NA10254.GSQTRENCH1.2a, NA10254.GSQTRENCH1.2b, NA10254.GSQTRENCH1.2c, and so on. You get the picture. No human interaction, no challenges, no thinking involved. At first you may say, "wow that sounds great, better than the stress at my job", well try it for a week and I guarantee you, you will be looking to get back to whatever job you have now. So that is, in a nut shell, why I am changing careers. Sometimes, when Becky comes home from a particularly bad day at the hospital, I ask myself "Do I really want to do this? Leave this easy, unchallenging job, for a stressful one?". So I ask Becky about her day and her job in general and she says that although she is stressed a lot of the time, and feels like there is way too much to do and not enough time to do it, she comes home satisfied that she has done her best, has helped people and knows the work that she does means something and matters. I, on the other hand, have not had that feeling for some time, if I ever did have it at my job.

Well, sorry to put up such a dreary post. Normally, I am not like this. I am generally an up-beat, fun guy, ready to crack a joke. I hope this depressed feeling will go away once I start to make some changes. Anyway, I promise my next post will be more positive.


I went this morning to try to get my TB skin test at the County Health Clinic. It is required before I start the program, but because Friday is Vets day and they are closed, I wouldn't be able to go back in and get it read the requisite 48 hours after the injection. So I guess I will have to wait. I am thinking about trying to get a nurse on my wife's floor at the hospital to do it for me. I just need it done by Dec 1st, which is the day of orientation at SPS. They are requiring that everyone show records of having had 2 MMR and 3 Hep B immunizations, plus a current TB test. I have, after much work, tracked down and acquired records of the MMR and Hep B, but have not had a TB test since 1999. I also had to do an online background check to make sure I didnt have any felonies or any of that fun stuff. Check came back negative, of course! Now if I can just get that TB test I should be all set. Wish me luck. Lots of hoops to jump thru.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Radiography, here I come...

NOTE: See edit below for explanation of text in bold.

OK, where to start? My name is Dustin and I have created this blog, so that others can follow my experiences and thoughts as I enter school to be trained as a Radiologic Technologist (also known as a Rad Tech, X-ray Tech, or Radiographer). I have searched and searched for blogs on this subject and there don't seem to be to many out there, so hopefully, by sharing my thoughts and experiences, it will help prepare students in similar programs for what is ahead of them.

Just to give a little background on me. Unfortunately, I spent the first 7 years out of high school getting a "higher" education in a field which pays horribly and has almost no job availability or job security. "You can be whatever you want!" they told me, "Follow your dreams" and other such rubbish. That idea is all fine and dandy until you have to find a way to pay rent, buy food and pay your car insurance. Basically, I have a master's degree that will get me a job punching numbers into a computer, a job which a drunken monkey could do with very little problem. Oh yeah, it also pays about as much as a job at Starbucks. Soooooo, long story short....I needed a change. I wanted to change careers, but didn't want to make the same mistake I made the first time. So after months of researching I found that the position of Radiologic Technician, seemed to fit my personality and skill set quite nicely. Job openings for this position were plentiful in addition to paying well and provided numerous opportunities for advancement. My wife had recently finished nursing school and was adjusting to her first job as an RN, so she was partly responsible for pointing me in the direction of the healthcare field. Something I thank her for on a regular basis.

Like I said I didn't want to make a decision until I had all the information I could get about it. So I called the local hospital and asked if i could shadow an X-ray Tech for a day or two so I could see what an average day was like for someone in this position. Well, my experience there clinched it for me. I was convinced this was a job I could do, and do well. It was exciting, required specialized skills, dealt heavily in science (my favorite subject since I was kid) and allowed you to help people. In short, a lot more satisfying than doing data entry all day long as I am doing now.

So my next step was to find a school with a good program. I live in Flagstaff, Arizona, a small mountain town of about 60,000 people and although there is a large university here, it did not have a radiography program. The next closest large city with schools that had a program in radiography is Phoenix, a 2.5 hour trip from Flagstaff. I looked at all three of the schools there, taking into account several factors including: length of program, cost of program, clinical/extern experience provided, length of waiting list, etc. The one that stood out was SPS (Some Phoenix School) . It was a 2 year program and although it cost more than some others, there was no waiting list, which meant I could finish the program in 2 years and be out earning money before I could even finish my prerequisite classes at some of the other schools. It also came highly recommended by the X-ray Techs I talked to during my shadowing.

So I wasted no time in putting in my application. They required records of past schooling, grade averages, etc. I also had to take 2 placement tests, which determine if you have at least the basic education necessary to enter the program. These were reading and comprehension, and basic algebra. I passed these easily and was accepted into the program for the semester starting January 3, 2006. So as you can see from the date stamp of this post, I still have about 2 months to go before I start classes. During which time I will have to do several things:

1. Quit my present job! This I am looking forward to very much. I have not liked it for many months and can't wait to make the change.

2. Find housing in Phoenix. I am looking to rent out a room in someone's apt or house. This will only be for the first 8 months of the program, since after that I will be in externships full time outside of the Phoenix Metro area. Unfortunately, my wife, Becky, agreed to a sign-on bonus when she started at the hospital in Flagstaff and must continue to work there for 2 years. That means I will have to live away from my wife for at least 8 months and up to 2 years while I am in school. This is a crappy development to say the least, but she has seen how miserable I have been in my present job and has been very supportive in my decision to change careers.

3. Fix my back. I have had chronic back pain for several years and I will soon be seeing a specialist who will hopefully get me on the track to fixing this problem.

I am sure there are many, many other small issues to deal with before school, but I look forward to dealing with them. I have needed a change for quite some time and I am much anticipating the future.

So now you are up-to-date regarding my situation.

I will do my best to update this blog regularly, telling about what's happening in my life and passing on info regarding the field of radiography. I will not start school until January 3rd, 2006, so updates may be slow in coming until then, but once I start I am sure I will have many experiences I will want to share.


EDIT: Originally when I wrote this post, I had named the school and program I had decided on. However, after thinking about it, I may have the desire, or possibly the need, to complain about the program, various instructors, etc. And I realized it was probably best not to use any specific names, should some one from the school find this blog and raise a ruckus about it (as if anyone is reading this anyway!). So the school I chose will now be referred to as SPS (Some Phoenix School) when I write about it.