Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recycle Me

As of this week I am the official chair of the Broken Bow Green Coalition's newly formed recycling sub-committee. I am very excited to have such a role! While others may look around Broken Bow and see a hopeless community of uninterested resource squanderers, I see immense potential!

This is a community where men think of F350 pickups as a symbol of their masculinity: drivers of girly Ford Rangers and the like are ridiculed as driving something other than "a real truck". This is an industrial farming community dependent on gas powered tractors and chemical fertilizers and pesticides to raise immense fields of corn. The life's blood of Broken Bow is a large cattle feed operation that produces tons of cattle waste and ozone depleting methane on a daily basis. (Unlike other industries, there are no governmental regulations requiring "farm" waste to be disposed of in environmentally sound ways).

This is community in which lives a young man who, upon seeing my husband peddling to work one day, commented on the anomaly: "that guy must need to save money". This in turn sparked a conversation between this teenager and his mother about how people without kids have time to do things like ride their bikes to work, and yes saving money is an important thing to start thinking about with college around the corner... No mention of how much impact gas spewing motorized vehicles have on our environment or our current problems related to dependence on foreign oil. The green thing just isn't in peoples' consciousness here. I think part of the problem is simply lack of education, and the other problem is the unfortunate political connotation in so many people's minds when the words "environmentalism" or "green" are spoken.

But do I find these facts about Broken Bow daunting? I think not! I am truly excited about the potential of our town (including my household) to improve our carbon footprint. Although many rural people are behind the curve on environmental issues, there are also a bunch of smart, informed and interested people here (hence the coalition). In addition, for every F350 driving litterbug out there, there is a little grey haired lady who has been saving yogurt containers to use as tupperwares and reusing the waxed paper liners from her cereal boxes since the great depression. There is hope for this small town!

Check out Keith's awesome website he made for our cause at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So Long Anonymity

By my calculations Keith and I have been BB inhabitants for precisely 18 months. That has been sufficient time to get settled into the community and to make a few dear friends. It has also been enough time for a good proportion of Broken Bow-ites to have needed our services in the clinic or ER, and thus recognize us in the streets.

As the "homemaker" of our domicile I am generally the one out doing errands and jaunting about town. It is not uncommon on these escapades for me to be stopped by a patient, or a patient's family member when they have a question or comment about their medical condition. I always thought when I went into medicine that this would not bother me. I felt that I liked helping people, and if I had to sacrifice a few personal minutes out of my day to do that, so be it-- it would be enjoyable. What I didn't fully conceptualize was the types of things people would stop me about and the completely inconvenient times they would stop me.

For example, yesterday I had a 30 minute slot between patients when I planned to pop down to the hospital's annual rummage sale and hunt for treasures. I scarcely passed through the doors when a patient cut me off to ask me about her husband's recent blood work. "What were the numbers?" she demanded. I was torn between repeating a conversation with her which I had had on MANY occasions versus finding cool, cheap stuff. Of course I did my best to answer her questions.

When I finally elbowed my way past all the elderly thrifters and their shopping carts to the back of the rummage sale (where the books and LPs are) a woman identifying herself as a neighbor (I am learning that anyone in a 1/2mile radius is a neighbor) stopped me to talk about her husband whom I had pronounced dead in the hospital. I nodded sympathetically then awkwardly went back to sifting through the LPs.

The next day, equally as hurried, I planned a quick stop at the grocery store. As I was loading up on sale peppers a patient's mother veered out of her way to come talk to me about her son. I had seen him in the ER the night before, and he was still hurting. This was a 28 year old man who had twisted his ankle when he hopped out of his pick-up truck. He was just certain he had broken it even though all of his x-rays were normal. She wanted to let me know that the 800mg of ibuprofen wasn't touching the pain, and he wanted to be re-evaluated for a fracture (I'll have to make a separate post someday about the incredible wimpiness of 20-something year old males). When I started to offer suggestions the mother told me that she didn't necessarily want me to do anything, she just wanted to share. I simply looked at her, silently wondering why she felt this was an appropriate vegetable department conversation.

My anonymity is a thing of the past. My medical school ideals of being available to those who needed me at any given time still exist, but the problem is that a rummage sale or a grocery store are simply not practical places to diagnose and treat, and unfortunately too many people somehow feel it is okay to infringe on my personal time for relatively trivial problems.

If I could send a message to all Broken-Bowans it would be this: I cannot diagnose your daughter's knee injury when she is not even present. You are lucky if I can remember your name much less you husbands blood work. And I find it terribly awkward to discuss your continued rectal pain and bleeding in the supermarket. Please take note.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Birthday

I guess all my complaining last year about not being spoiled on my birthday did the trick (thank goodness Keith cares not about the effects of positive reinforcement on whiny behaviors). This year not only did I get a delicious homemade meal, but I also got homemade cupcakes! Look at the care and love he is putting into those little gems. They were superb!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Look What My Worms Made!/Vacation

I'm glad someone has been working hard around here, because lately it has not been me and Keith. While we were on our mountain getaway, the worms have been working hard for us. Beautiful compost to make Terry green with envy! My garden is going to be awesome this year.

Keith and I were in Crested Butte Colorado last week. We had a fantastic (and much needed) vacation. Although the 9 hour car ride with methane producing beasts was not enviable, the skiing, snowshoeing, scenery, food and friends were superb!
See Bryan, skiers and snowboarders can get along (Not sure what's wrong w/my face here)

Bryan and Christa

Where did this doggie come from? His tag said "Wiggle Butt" which I though was rather demeaning.

Marie, Thad and Espera

It was a dog heavy week. There are actually 4 dogs back there, but I think Lucy and Thena are crushing the others.