a day in the OR

This week, I spent about 10 hours shadowing one of the amazing doctors from MUSC.  He is an orthopedic oncologist, which is a very unique and rare specialty.  Dr. L specializes in bone tumors, but he works on general orthopedic cases as well.  I chose to shadow him in order to get more experience in another interesting focus of surgery: orthopedics!

I spent 2 hours in the clinic with him and his team on Monday, learning about how they deal with patients and what type of cases they work.  Then, I showed up at the hospital at 6 am on Wednesday to attend the Orthopedics M&M (Morbidity and Mortality) conference, which is where the residents discuss with their attending physicians things that went wrong in various cases and what to do differently next time.  After that, we headed to the OR! I got to observe two surgeries, which took about 6 hours total.

Here are two videos from youtube (preceded by explanation of what the surgery entails) showing surgeries similar to what I observed:

(ps I know a lot of people will find these too graphic, but for those who aren't squeamish about surgeries, these surgeries are super cool!)

1.  Total Hip Replacement (this video is of an anterior approach, and we did a posterior approach...but same idea!)
  • Cut through the skin, fascia, fat, and muscles to get down to the joint capsule, which is opened.
  • Dislocate the hip and remove the head of the femur (which is the problem...often, it is arthritic)
  • Ream (with a thing that looks like a circular cheese grater) into the acetabulum (aka the hip bone, where it articulates with the femur) until you hit bleeding bone (which will help the bone grow into the implant)
  • Place an acetabulum prosthetic and plastic liner
  • Ream (aka drill) into the femur with increasingly large reamers and then fit the hole in the bone with the correctly sized broach (which is a piece of metal that is the same shape as the prosthetic)
  • Place the prosthetic into the femur (this part is called the "stem")
  • Then add a false neck and the real femur head prosthetic
  • Relocate the hip and take an X-ray to check leg length (want it the same as the other leg!)
  • Dislocate the hip, attach the real neck and femur head prosthetics to the prosthetic stem
  • Relocate the hip
  • Sew the patient up!

2.  Tibial Nail
  • Make incisions over the knee, to the side of the knee (slightly lower than other incision), and to the side of the ankle
  • Disarticulate the tibia from the femur (aka pop your lower leg bone out of the knee)
  • Place a guide pin to make sure you are going through the center of the bone as you ream down (as was done in the hip replacement)
  • Hammer nail into place
  • Screw nails at side of knee and side of ankle incisions (to ensure stability)
  • Place tibia back in place
  • Sew the patient up!

TOO COOL!  These surgeries make such a difference in the patients' lives...decreasing pain, increasing mobility and quality of life! Amazing.



That is what I am right now. weary.

With all that life is throwing my way, there are days that I wake up and just feel so weary, so worn-out and worn-down.

When the dogs wake me up early again...
When school is hanging a long list of to-dos over my head...
When the laundry isn't done and the sink is full of dirty dishes and half of the surfaces in our house are covered with junk that has accumulated over the past week...
When my back hurts and my eyes want to close and my mind can't rest...

I am weary.

And I know I am so blessed.  And while that sometimes helps, other times it just makes me more weary...because I don't always feel like life is this huge blessing, but am I allowed to get frustrated with life when I have so much more than so many others? Weary.

This is one of those mornings...a morning when nothing can fully quiet my spirit and all I can do is call on God to help my unbelief.  To give me grace when I am graceless, peace when I am in turmoil, and hope when I am hopeless.

I don't deserve it.  I don't even fully believe it is going to happen.  But He does.  He knows.  He's in control.  And so I say it with my words and in my mind, and I hope that the Truth of His love and rest will somehow penetrate through my overwhelming weariness and into my tired soul.

28Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.


give the world a reason to dance

Just wanted to share this little pep talk with whoever needs a little encouragement today.

Take the road to awesome!


a new addition

Meet Duchess

We weren't planning on expanding our little family just yet, but when we heard about the sweet girl's story, we couldn't resist the opportunity to have her as a part of our family!  This beautiful dog was abandoned at a rental property, where she had likely been mistreated and neglected for most of her life. She is underweight, has heartworms and an ear infection, and had never had a rabies shot before this week when Mikey took her to the vet.  Other than that, however, she is in incredibly good health, and she is probably the sweetest, most gentle dog I have ever met.  We are so glad to have her as the newest member of our clan!

Me with all three of the dogs :)

Because of Duchess's separation anxiety, we try to leave her out of the crate unless we are gone from the house, which means she has been sleeping in our bed with us.  And so as to not be unfair to Oliver and Berkeley, all five of us have been sharing the bed every night for the past week! At least we have a king-sized bed :)

We are getting Duchess treatment for her heart worms, fixing that ear infection, and feeding her regularly (of course!) to get her weight up to normal...and most importantly, we are loving on her like crazy! She deserves a lot of TLC after all that she has been through!