doc in the box

Next week is moving day, again. You’d think I’d be sick of moving, wouldn’t you? But this one, I’m OK with.

D’s mom has found a house, and will be moving in next week. It’s about five miles from us. She really likes it, and I’m happy that she does. I’m even happier that her two dogs will be moving with her, and that I’ll be able to sit in my living room and watch a movie for the first time.

I love her, but it’ll be wonderful to have just two people in our house. We haven’t had that since March.

I’m happy that she’ll be able to spread out in her own place, too, because I know how hard it is not having your own stuff. And I’ll try to get by without the things she’ll take with her, like her huge plants that have overtaken our tiny back yard.

It will take approximately 24.2 trips by Two Men & A Truck to get her storage shed unloaded at her new house. Unless, of course, we can hire 12.1 Men & 12.1 Trucks, which will be much quicker.

As happy as I am, I’m sure she’s quite happier. It can’t be easy living with me, either, especially when I’m nagging her to close the door behind her because it’s 140 degrees outside and our electric meter is spinning like a top. Or when I pause the TV 17 times during a show because her dogs have chosen that exact moment to begin barking until she throws them their chew toys.

So I think it’ll be better for all of us. Especially poor D, who’s been monkey-in-the-middle for quite a while now.

We had friends in last weekend, our first real guests since we moved. We ate at Uncle Julio’s, drove down Turtle Creek and around White Rock Lake (too hot to walk about it), got “Frozen Heads” from RaceTrac.  (They’re actually NumbSkulls, but I got confused, and they haven’t let me forget it. Real friends are like that.) We grilled the best fish tacos ever, and saw a Melissa Etheridge concert at SMU. It’s almost as beautiful as Vanderbilt’s campus.

So Dallas felt a bit more like “home,” showing out-of-towners around. We’re having more guests soon, too, so that’ll be great.

Also, I’m simply thrilled to report that one thing at work that’s been giving me fits is going to get better. (No, I’m not being fired. Or at least, I don’t think I am. Hope not.)

On Sept. 3, be alert for the fireworks I’ll be setting off, and the confetti I’ll be throwing off of our building, and the champagne I’ll be pouring. We are switching from our bizarre email system, Groupwise, to Outlook, like the rest of the free world.

I’ve mentioned Groupwise before, I think. It’s the program written by 78 little tiny green gremlins sitting at long tables in a drafty old stone dungeon somewhere.

These gremlins think it is a great idea to make Groupwise clients take three or 13 steps to handle an email, instead of just one. They think it’s a gas to not allow you to hit “reply all” as a followup to your own email, even if it does have the 34 people on there you need to reach. And they really love creating a procedure for an “out of office” reply that only an engineer with an advanced degree from MIT can figure out.

It, truly, is the most bizarre program. Coming in from outside, it’s almost impossible to intuitively pick up. The “cheat sheet” I got from our computer guys after my 1,985th plea for help is 12 pages long.

Of course, I feel for my colleagues who’ve never used anything else but Groupwise. But since Outlook is easier to use, I’m hoping they’ll adjust quickly, so I don’t have to feel selfish about this. I’ll be able to help them, too! I like to help.

Colleague: “Oh, no! I have to put on an Out of Office reply! Help!”

Me: “Never fear, dear colleague. I’ll help you! I like to help!”

Colleague: “Oh, thank you, thank you!”

Me: “Here, click this menu, then select “Out of Office.” Type whatever you want in this box, then hit ‘Save.'”

Colleague: “Great! Now what are the other 17 steps?”

Me: “Well, that’s it. No more steps.”

Colleague: “Are you kidding me? For reals? Shut up! I could do that myself, dimbulb!”

So on Sept. 3, the gremlins are outta work, at Children’s, anyway. That will be a red-letter day for me. I fully expect to become 17.658 percent more efficient, starting on Sept. 4. But don’t tell my boss, because she’ll hold me to that.

I also connected last week with my new cancer doc, who’s over at UT Southwestern, just down the street. That was one of the hardest things about deciding whether to move or not, and one of the things I’ve been dreading. The relationship with your oncologist is pretty special. I mean, I always love my GP, especially when I have strep or something icky like that.

But the cancer doc’s the one who keeps you alive, and that’s kind of a whole different level. So I found one who came highly recommended, and did a bit of research. This consisted of a few minor things like checking out her credentials, verifying her degrees, obtaining transcripts from her undergraduate school, reading her dissertation, editing her research papers, running a background check, interviewing all friends and neighbors from the past 11 years, checking that her dog’s shots were up to date, and plotting a graph of her patients and their outcomes.

She balked a little at filling out the 7-page application and really hated giving me her fingerprints and a DNA sample, but she finally gave in. I think we’ll be fine.

And she even seems OK with talking on a level that befits an OCD type like me. (I hate being talked down to about my own health.) I knew we’d be OK when she tossed out a few clear, simple thoughts in a chipper little voice:

Dr. H: “Based on the histopathologic classification seen upon light microscopy and excision and a reclassification of the molecular type of certain midgrade tumor cell pathology, not to mention the snigulator expression of proteins and genes, I think that’s the best course of action, don’t you? Besides, kinase (Brk/protein tyrosine kinase 6(PTK6)) is a non-receptor, soluble tyrosine kinase overexpressed in the majority of tumors. Previous work has placed Brk downstream of epidermal growth factor receptor (ErbB) receptor activation and upstream of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5) and p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases. So we’ll investigate the regulation of Brk kinase activity and cell migration in response to treatment of keratinocytes (HaCaT cells) and breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and T47D cells) with hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and macrophage stimulating protein (MSP), peptide ligands for Met and Ron receptors, respectively.”

Me: “Uhhh… yes! I mean, no! Maybe? Possibly? Yes! No!”

She also zapped me straight into the UT Southwestern pipeline for all of my other docs, which was handy. (You get a lot of docs. forever and ever amen, when you get cancer. It’s in the rule book.) I don’t even have to do any work myself at all to ferret out names. That was pretty cool. And the tech who stuck me for my labs was good, too.  So it went as well as could be expected when starting all over with something like this.

So, off to a much-awaited weekend, the last with three people and three dogs. Think how peaceful and relaxed I’ll be next week!

About wordsmith1313

Now: Somewhat retired, although I don't do it very well. Formerly senior director of Communications and Marketing for the Dallas Zoo. Journalist. EMT. Writer. Breast cancer survivor. I love to travel, and will always return from a trip with a new friend or two. Those fortuitous meetings bring velvet to the rough edges of life.
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4 Responses to doc in the box

  1. Ken Myers says:

    You’re a nut!!! Sure do miss you around Children’s Hospital. Love the blog – take care. Ken

  2. jessica pasley says:

    gawd i miss you! haven’t been reading blogs so i am catching up now….
    there is something special about you laurie holloway and i don’t mean short bus kind of special either. love you. so much to share with you about the gigi!
    hugs to you both and d’s mom too.

  3. Beth says:

    Nice try with the only two people thing. Here come the Schwingels!! Should we bring/take (you know I never know) Maggie? (tee-hee)

  4. Phil and Lois Stanley says:

    Laurie, love the blog. Paul told us you had a blog and I did the “Google” thing and found you. What a moving mess! Ironically when we moved to the Dallas area, years ago, we used the same moving company and they came a day later than promised. (we slept on the floor). That’s not as bad as your saga, but it must be something in the water. Glad you are finally getting to settle in…. and as for getting Outlook, welcome to the new millineum.

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