Friday, September 30, 2005

Claire has a cold.

feeling sick
Originally uploaded by shalberg.


I sent most of the cookies I made a few days ago with Mike to give to the guy who helped him out with getting to and from Chicago a week or so ago. Turns out the guy is on a diet...and diabetic.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, the perfect thank-you gift for your dieting diabetic.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Mike took me out for a late lunch today after we saw about ten minutes of the final brewer home game of the season (Claire has a hard time at baseball games). I ordered a hamburger (well-done) and couldn't finish it. When I got home, I forgot to put it in the fridge. When Mike got home, six hours later, we debated on whether it was safe to eat. So what do you all think? Would you eat it? That sounds like a segment on the Letterman show: "Would You Eat It?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Where is she going? Looks fun!

red shirt

Originally uploaded by shalberg.
We took a leaf and a stick home from Frame Park.

Treasures everywhere!

red shoes

red shoes
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
These have to be the coolest red shoes on the face of the earth. I really had to beg to get Claire to stand still long enough for me to take this picture, but it is one of my all-time favorites. There is just something about it that makes me feel happy inside.

red flower

Originally uploaded by shalberg.
I don't know what these red flowers are called (if someone does, fill me in!), but I love them. They remind me of Farmer's Market in the fall.

Frame Park

Claire and I spent the morning at Frame Park. We had a great time exploring the garden and river. I took quite a few pictures, and I'll post some of my favorites, but check out Flickr if you want to see more. After Frame Park, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things so we could bake cookies. It was suppose to (and it did) rain, so that worked out very well. Claire was a BIG help, but strangely, I didn't have time to take any pictures. After giving her cookies, I put her through the torture of all child tortures and made her try on some of her winter stuff to see what fits and what doesn't. I remember my mom making me do this, and though I was older and understood what was going on, I didn't like it much. Claire doesn't like it either. But we eventually, with much complaining and wriggling, got through it.

And now for some pictures.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

disappointed fan

disappointed fan
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
I just love this picture. Put your cursor over the pic to see the annotation. Unfortunately, this represents the Packers season thus far. Don't worry, we won't go 0-6.


Ted....... Ted????

Ted, I have been trying to email you, but they come right back as undeliverable! I will try your phone one of these days but until then, what's up? How's Atlanta? I applied to Emory, so let me know how you like it. I have a friend doing his Pathology residency there and he loves it. And I hear the tennis ain't bad.


at the park

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Too cool for our own good.

Originally uploaded by shalberg.


Mike got his first interview! He really wasn't expecting to get any until mid-November, so to get one now at the end of September is surprising. Its also really exciting. Its for a school in Pennsylvania, I'm not sure which, I didn't see the email, but at this point the fact that he got an interview is exciting enough. Yay!

Congratulations Mike!

Not much else has been going on. Things have been pretty quiet. Claire is completely getting older every day, talking with all these new words and sentences, having her own ideas about everything. Its very fun.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by shalberg.
...and he sent Claire a box full of shredded paper!

birthday flowers

birthday flowers
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Mike sent me flowers for my birthday...

Happy Birthday to ME!

Its my birthday! What a great day! If I could have ordered the weather for my birthday, I would have gotten exactly what I asked for: cool and breezy, sunny and dry. I love the fall weather. Claire and I will probably be heading out to a park after she naps. No other plans, really. The big celebration was the Packer game last weekend. Today, we'll just kind of lay low. I think I'll make apple crisp instead of a cake...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Packers Pictures

I got my camera cords in the mail today (That was fast! Thanks mom!), so I can post some pictures of the game. I took a ton, so I'll only make some links to my favorite.

Mike and I asked someone to take our picture in front of the stadium. He backed way up, I did some cropping. You may have noticed Mike's shirt. I made it for him at the last minute, and though it was good, he still couldn't compete with this guy, or a lot of other people for that matter. We took some time to visit the North Pole before getting to our seats for the game. We were early enough to see some of the practice, and I took one of my favorite pictures. My dad and brother sat in the third row. We were lucky to have the sun to our backs until it was low enough to reflect off all the glass of the private boxes, but I even thought that was cool. It was a great time, and I'm pretty sure we enjoyed ourselves much more than this poor guy did.

Who woulda thought? - Part 2

Remember that post a few days ago about getting two Packer tickets at one time? Well this weekend was kind of like that, only not as good.

My car broke down on Friday in a big puddle of its own antifreeze. Its being towed to our mechanic's garage tomorrow. Then, this morning, Mike was leaving for Chicago to take step (seems like) 47 of the Boards, and the Service Engine Soon light on his car starts blinking. I only know two things about this light, and they both come from my own experiences. #1 If the light is on solid you can go ahead and ignore it, it will probably go off by itself later. #2 If the light is blinking, you better pull over and hope your car doesn't blow up, and you can usually keep it from blowing up by feeding it $100 bills. So at 5:00am, after working until 11:00pm the night before, Mike is on the phone trying to find a person who is also going to Chicago today, and he does! Actually, the guy has already left and is out of Milwaukee, but comes back to get Mike. The day is saved! This guy also had plans to stay in Chicago and visit friends, but he cancelled so Mike would have a ride home. I don't know who this person is, but I think he deserves a big batch of cookies for being such a good person. Meanwhile, I took care of the car, and I'm glad we're back to having ONE car (I was complaining about this on Monday, so it serves me right I guess).

Monday, September 19, 2005

My First Packer Game!

It was a blast! They lost, but that is besides the point. There was an amazing fly-over. I knew about it before hand (I have very good sources at the airport), and I wanted to get a picture, but it was so fast that it was impossible, and it was so loud I was cowering under Mike's arm. I'm honestly not sure if I've ever heard anything that loud in my life. It was very cool. There was a Lambeau Leap. The Reggie White ceremony was nice. I was able to see Favre play. I was really surprised at how small the field is! Being zoomed in so close on tv really creates the feeling that the field is gigantic. And the whole place has such a high school feel to it. Even the announcer didn't have the booming voice I expected. It was very fun to be a part of the atmosphere.

I took a ton of pictures, but I left the cords for downloading in my brother's truck. I'll post some as soon as I get them back.


Originally uploaded by shalberg.

front row

front row
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Mike thought it would be fun to throw the ball right at me while I was distracted with the camera. Many thanks to Dave for catching it.

great catch

great catch
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Mike making a great catch. I love that he is airborne.

dora ball

dora ball
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
One of Claire's favorite toys, the "Dora Ball". In this picture she is trying to figure out how to blow it up.

All Done.

Mike, Claire and I went to Green Bay this weekend to see my family and go to the Packer game (more on that later!). On Saturday afternoon, I put Claire down for her nap like normal, but she was having a difficult time falling asleep. We thought it might be a good idea to go sit outside and talk, as opposed to the dining room right off the room she was in, just in case she could hear us and that was keeping her from getting to sleep. We got to talking about spiders. My parents had this large creepy brown spider in the corner of their garage, and they killed it, but another had since moved into the same web. My mom said she has seen them by the door, crawling into the crack between the step and the wall in the garage, and my brother's girlfriend Sharon was sitting on this step. Dave, my brother, then points at the door behind Sharon and says "Oh my gosh!", and we all were like, haha Dave, I'm sure there is really a spider by Sharon. But we look, and while there is no spider, Claire is standing there watching us all. And she said "All done nap, Mom." Its as simple as that. I tried to fall asleep, but I am just not tired, so I am all done. And by the way, I figured out how to get out of that pack'n'play thing.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Who woulda thought?

I've never been to a Packer game. I've always wanted to go, but somehow I just never made it to the top of the waiting list for someone's unused season ticket. In fact, I have been on the Official Waiting List for Season Tickets since I was BORN and my name still hasn't come up. Anyway, this season, I told Mike, my dad and brother that if I didn't make it to a game this year to see Brett Favre play, and if this is his last year and I never got to see him play, it will be on all their heads. Today, Adam Sutter called and said he had tickets we could have if we wanted. So Mike and I are going, and I'm so excited. I can't wait. As soon as I got off the phone with Adam, I called my parents and talked to my dad. I told him about the tickets and how excited I was. He was really quiet, and then said "I actually was going to surprise you. I found two tickets for the game and was going to take you." Ugh. Now I feel bad. Not that I could do anything about it, I didn't have any idea I would have had TWO chances to go to the game. I just know how disappointing it is to have this great secret surprise and then watch it dissolve in front of you. But it will still be a great time. And I still can't wait to go.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Originally uploaded by shalberg.
It sure has been a while since I've posted a picture! I love this one of Claire and Mike. You can almost hear them laughing.

pool side

Originally uploaded by shalberg.

For real. Submit.

Its done. All the applications for residency have been sent. It was funny last night (this morning?) as we submitted. There is a big bold official-looking button that says "Submit Application", so you would put the cursor on the button and hesitate, thinking "Is it really the final final? Are there any spelling mistakes? Did I choose the right letters of recommendation...", but then you'd just push it and give this big sigh. The next screen would come up and say "You need to certify before you submit." So we'd certify, and then go through the whole submitting drama again, only to get a message that we had to do this other thing first, and then submit. It probably happened four times before we finally submitted for real. But then we did, and it was great! How nice to be finished with this step.

Even if things are bad - Keep Getting Up!!!

I picked up a guy walking by the side of the road tonight and brought him a couple miles to his destination. My "How are ya?" brought on a story of lost jobs, family problems and legal dilemmas. He was saying that he didn't know why he got up in the morning. I think it is amazing how when things are going well in life we think that they will always be that way, but the same is true when we are down on our luck. Why don't we remember that things were just fine a while ago and will likely get better soon if we just keep trying? I told him my fee for the ride was that he had to keep getting up each morning and it seemed to make him smile. All in all it made me want to go find another dude walking by the side of the road to pick up.


It is just after 3am and I just submitted my final application for residency! It is crazy to think that nine months we may be living anywhere from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon! The next step is waiting to find out where I am granted interviews and which to accept (assuming that I get more than one :-)

I did want to give a shout out to the many people that helped. Sheela did a ton of work. Mom, Monnie, Jim and Ann Higgins. My advisor Dr. Bob Leschke gave a great critique (not in the oh this looks great sense, more in the this needs serious work here and here and here and here....). He has also compiled a sweet file of what students thought of the different programs around the country (not sweet like oh this paper tasts like candy, but sweet like oh eveybody says this program sucks, sweet, I won't waste my time).

Monday, September 12, 2005

To the Ear of the Beholder

One of the toys that Claire got for her birthday stands out from the rest. It is a pink guitar, and there are a few reasons it stands out.

1. There is no volume control.
2. There is no on-off switch.
3. It will play the same pattern of chords over and over non-stop, until the batteries run out.
4. It comes with a microphone.

Basically the thing DEMANDS your attention. Its loud, to say the least. So somehow it was left in the car last night. This morning Claire had her two-year checkup, and when we went to get in the car, Claire saw the guitar and really wanted to play with it. I decided that she could have it, the doctor's office is all of seven minutes away, surely I could put up with The Guitar for seven minutes. But I swear, before I turned out of the driveway I was ready to throw the thing out the window, except we were still too close to our house and I would probably be able to hear it playing from the ditch through our bedroom window. Then I looked in the review mirror and saw that Claire was dancing, arms swinging, feet kicking and all. She was really enjoying this 'music'. So I managed to let her have it the whole trip. Now it doesn't have batteries, but its still completely functional. Claire loves to play it, and she sings as she plays, which is music to my ears.

Sitting on the stump #2 - Migraines in Pregnancy

"So - Dr. Mike - my original issue going into the hospital was a migraine - I've had 'em since I was a teenager. In fact the only times I haven't had them was when I was pregnant. What's up with that?"

My first thought is that when a woman gets pregnant she actually gives her pre-existing migraines to her husband believing that if he is willing to track into the night for pickles and ice cream he must be willing to do anything!

Actually, the physiology of pregnancy is one of the most interresting (and confusing) subjects I have studied. There is no concensus on Migraines and pregnancy. Many woman experience migraines for the first time during pregnancy (15% of all woman with migraines have their first one when they are pregnant), and for others this is the only time when they are symptom free.

We know that migraine headaches are effected by hormone changes (get stressed out = get migraine). Migraines are thought to be caused when a blood vessel in or around the brain constricts or dilates. Estrogen and progesterone both have rolls in this process and so when you are pregnant and your hormones go crazy you may just get lucky and find a hormone balance that you head really enjoys.

If you are still having migraines you can always just have more kids and keep your fingers crossed!

Love you,

  • Mike

Stump the almost a doctor - MRI craziness

"okay, stump the nephew - so what about a doc reporting that the results from an mri scan require an appt. with a neurosurgeon because of concerns...and no other info besides that? then, as i call around for more info i am told medical jargon i do not understand and somethiing about a small malformation in the left frontal lobe in the arterial veins...possibly nothing to worry about??? the appt is on the 21st so i will know more concrete stuff then and will keep you posted just for fun..."

1. It is total crap for a doctor to tell you that you must get results from someone else without explaination. It is not unusual for a physician to get a test result and need help in reading it and providing treatment, but you deserve an honest explaination of what he/she knows.

2. What you describe sounds like an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). This is a tangle of extra blood vessels in your brain. It is present at birth but often presents later in life. Most are discovered after a headache, seizure or a brain bleed. After an MRI suggests an AVM is present the doctor may want an angiogram (test to look specifically at the blood vessels in your brain).
Symptoms and treatment depend on the size and location of the AVM. Typically treatment includes either surgery to remove the vessels or radiation to shrink them. If this treatment is possible, symptoms usually go away and further side effects are minimal.

It sounds like your doctor isn't sure this is an AVM and doesn't want to give you false information on what to expect. I would schedule an appointment with a neurosurgeon and discuss your options. I hope this informations is helpful, and I would love updates. If you send me the date of your appointment I am happy to try to come and help translate/support/visit.

Love you,


Just One More Run!

My friend Eric left a note about a crazy ironwood happening a number of years back. Eric is a US Marine and on this day he learned to endure true pain.

It was winter and with a couple days off of high school school Eric and I made the trek to the cabin. In the winter the trip is truly a trek because a car can only take you so far down the cabin road and then you snow shoe in with supplies on sleds. The lake was beautiful and the tranquility was calming, but soon we were off to ski the big Mt. Zion.

After a few trips down the "mountain," I noticed a man made jump and thought it would be fun to get some air. Eric went first and fell on the ice. I followed and like any good friend I spead up to him and hockey stopped to spray him with snow. When we reached the bottom of the hill Eric turned and with a grimace he told me that he hurt his arm. I totally blew it off and suggested we start for the lift. Not amused, Eric started to wimper (I swear it was a whimper), he said, "I think it's broken." My empathy showed in my reply, "Come on, just one more run." Eric demanded we leave and soon we were at the hospital (after a quick trip to Granny's where we unexpectedly found my brother Jim's friends who had stopped in and aunt Ann who sweetly came to the hospital).

The emergency room doctor got an x-ray and Eric's arm was of course broken AND displaced (bones not lined up correctly). The doc first tried to reset the bones by manipulating the index and middle fingers (OUCH!! - you really need to be unconscious or nearly so for this procedure). Eric took the pain like a true Marine, but required an operation in the end. I guess one more run was out of the question?


Sunday, September 11, 2005

a few things

Claire's birthday was great. My parents visited on Thursday and then we went to Sun Prairie tonight. I think its always best to spread out your birthday and celebrate on as many occasions as possible. My birthday is coming up later this month, so I think I better start celebrating and eating cake now. Well, I guess I have been eating cake, so maybe I'll just continue. So Claire has a bunch of new toys and they all are very cool.

Some of you who read this blog know Mike has been working on his application, or personal statement more accurately, for residencies. Its been ... well, stressful, to say the least. There have been many nights lately that I wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning to find Mike typing away because he couldn't sleep. But the good news is that it is finally to The Version that will be submitted, and thats big news at our house. I'm thinking we should eat cake to celebrate.

Maighie has a blog! I put a link to it over on the right. Its called Open Space. I didn't know she worked with the Red Cross. I can't wait to hear more about her experiences there.

I'm pretty tired, so I'm going to get to bed. Hopefully Mike will come along. He's sitting right next to me, on his own laptop, writing his own blog entry. How crazy is that? I remember when my parents bought our first computer and I was so excited because it came with SOLITAIRE! I wonder what technology Claire will have that will cause her to look back and wonder "how could we live like that, way back then?"

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I'm pretty sure this makes me famous.

I don't know how many of you ever check the Earth Science Picture of the Day link I have over on the right, but if you have been, you would have seen one of my pictures featured on August 29th. I submitted one of the pictures I took of the clouds over Brookfield back on Jimmer and Monnie's wedding weekend, and they used it!

There is also a really amazing picture of Hurricane Katrina's eye wall for today's picture, but I didn't take that one.

Spinal Headache - Ouch!!!

There were a couple comments regarding complications after a spinal tap, I thought I would blog a response. There is a crazy contrast here between Sheela's artistic pictures and family notes and my medical stuff. I guess this is true insight into our family! If you have any medical questions, feel free to fire away and I will post a response anonymously.

The headache after a spinal tap is appropriately termed a "spinal headache." They say the pain is unbearable. Amazing that two different people in our family had one. There is a 3% chance of getting one if a very small needle is used (more like 15% with a medium size needle). If it doesn't improve with time a blood patch is tried. This is where blood is injected in the space around your spinal cord and it actually clots over the hole left by the original injection.

I read today that some ER doctors call their patients 24-48 hours after their shift to see how they are doing. It really improves compliance (did you call your doctor and make that appointment? are you feeling better with that medication?). I like the idea. Has anyone ever heard back from an ER doc? Just curious.

Friday, September 09, 2005

What an imagination!

Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Tonight when I told Claire that it was bedtime, she went over and started to play with one of her new birthday toys. Or so I thought. I was just about to tell her she needed to listen to me, it wasn't time for playing, it was time to brush teeth, when I noticed she was giving a kiss to each of the little 'people' (the little man, dragon, and horse), and saying "na-nite" to them.

She had tucked them all into their little imaginary beds for the night.


Originally uploaded by shalberg.

happy birthday, claire

happy birthday
Originally uploaded by shalberg.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

pink roses collage

pink roses collage
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Leslie sent me a link a while back of flickr photos that were collaged like this picture was. I thought it was very interesting, and wondered what pictures I would 'combine' if I had the opportunity. And now I just discovered you can do your own collages like this with picasa!

Making them is much different than looking at them. Adding or deleting one picture from the collage can make a big difference. Including three rather than 30 pictures obviously gives you very different results. Things you choose at random can turn out very cool while things you think would be interesting end up not.

I guess this is another cool toy that will be sucking up my time in the future.

The Birthday Is Coming!

flower and balloon collage
Originally uploaded by shalberg.
Today Claire received a beautiful vase of flowers and a balloon from Granny and Grandpa Fitz. The balloon (she calls it a ba-boon) has inspired almost continuous laughter for about 45 minutes now. I guess you can't beat a balloon filled with helium.

I am always amazed at how many people think about and love this precious girl. She is so lucky.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Shift II the second episode

I worked the 11pm to 7am last night. The front end was crazy with tons of trauma. Four shootings at once, all standing on the front porch, some shot in the abdomen and others in the legs. For future reference, you should pick getting shot in the legs over the abdomen if they give you a choice. Speaking of which, I did like the movie GO - recommended by my big bro. There is a part where a guy chooses to be shot in the arm over other less desirable places. Very funny.

The rest of the night was more bread and butter complaints. I like the variety. One woman with a kidney stone and an older woman who fell on her knee. At the beginning of my shift I saw a gentleman with liver failure and a belly full of fluid. I ended up treating him for most of the night.

Peace in New Orleans.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Did You Know?

Here are a few things I learned last night, thought it may be helpful to others if I share:

1. Bee stings: The stinger should be removed, but don't squeeze it. I think this releases more venom. If you have a minor reaction you can take some Benadryl, and of course if you can't breath you use your epi pen (if you have one) and go to the ER.

2. Headaches: If you are less than 50 years old and your headache isn't new, it is not likely to be something serious. If Ibuprofen isn't helping your headache you can take caffeine with it and the two together help more than one or the other.


I just finished my first emergency room shift. Very cool. As expected the variety was amazing. First a pregnant woman stung by a bee, then a man who had just had a stroke, a woman with severe migraines and even a car accident. The pace waxed and waned through the night with times where I was juggling multiple things at once and also times where we just chatted about emergency medicine. Very cool.

I hope to post after most of my shifts this month, so stay tuned! Oh, and I did a spinal tap tonight (long needle into spinal column to sample the cerebral spinal fluid and check for a cranial bleed).


Thursday, September 01, 2005


This morning I watched two of Elissa's kids, Jalyn and Mason, and when I told Claire they would be coming, she got super-excited. They were coming over pretty early, at 8:30, and I was already behind 'schedule', but I decided I could probably take a very quick shower and still be ready to go by the time they got here. Just as I was putting shampoo in my hair, Claire comes tearing in the bathroom saying "Mason door! Mason door!". I asked her, "Did Mason ring the doorbell?", hoping hoping she would say no, but to which she replied "YEAH! MOMMA! MASON DOOR! MASON DOOR!" and ran out of the bathroom. So I hurriedly rinsed my hair and wrapped towels around myself and went down to answer the door. No one was there. I completely thought I took too long and they left. Oh! How awful of me! Elissa is always available to watch Claire and she is always home when she says she will be, and then I take too long in the shower and now she has to miss her hair appointment, and it will be weeks until she can reschedule (I know, I go to the same lady, she is ALWAYS booked). But then I turn around to go back upstairs to call Elissa's cell phone and Claire is standing there, and she starts laughing at me. Laughing. And she says "Silly Mama". So I asked her again, "Claire did Mason ring the doorbell?" and she said "Nope. Silly Mama. Funny." Ha. Real funny.

I can only hope that maybe the doorbell did ring, (it has gone off all on its own in the past), or that maybe Claire and I had a misunderstanding, and that Claire then thought I looked funny running down the stairs in towels. If not, I am dealing with a prankster who is way out of my league. A trait, if she has it, that most definitely came from her father.