Monday, December 17, 2007

The saga continues

Cocoa Brown is fucking crazy.

When newFNP returned to work and asked Dr. Dual-Ivy-League-Degrees if Cocoa had returned to clinic for her syphilis treatment, she stated that she had and proceeded to recount a story that put Cocoa Brown into a special kind of crazy league. NewFNP is not talking about the kind of crazy that causes you to feel that it's appropriate for your BFF to check out your herpetic labia or the kind of crazy that remarks con gusto about vaginal odors. No, this is a new kind of crazy.

One might call this kind of crazy "felonious."

Apparently, when CB learned of her multiple STI diagnosis, she confronted her new partner, a wise and responsible move all in all. That is where wisdom and responsibility end and crazy as fuck enters. CB's partner, upon learning of her HSV infection, informed her that herpes was not likely to be the only infection that she had and that she had better check in with her doctor.

At this point, Cocoa Brown understandably lost her shit. Who wouldn't? One would assume that words such as "motherfucking asshole shitlicker" and "son of a bitch piece of shit no good dog-humper" would be employed, that voices would assume a fever pitch, that the sensation of imminent explosion resulting from extreme anger would be palpable.

One would not expect, however, that Cocoa Brown would attack her disrespectful partner with a 2x4 that had exposed nails with such vigor that he was hospitalized, but that is in fact just what happened. According to newFNP's colleague, she seemed not at all disturbed by this.

CB went on to explain to Dr. Dual-Ivy-League-Degrees that she had previously been incarcerated for prostitution and "other things." What could those be, newFNP wonders? Aggravated assault? Assault with a deadly weapon? Jaywalking? Furthermore, Cocoa is apparently treated for mental illness.

Just a hunch, here, but newFNP thinks that she might need a med adjustment.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cuckoo for Cocoa Brown

NewFNP's readers are already familiar with our good friend Downtown Cocoa Brown. As it turns out, she not only had a culture confirmed herpes infection, but also had a bonus STD: syphilis!


NewFNP, upon receiving the result from her lab and seeing the reactive FTA with a 1:8 titer, called her local public health department. She asked the helpful STD man if he had any record of having ever treated Ms. Cocoa Brown for said treponemal infection. He had not. NewFNP then proceeded to call Cocoa and ask if she had ever been diagnosed or treated for syphilis. She had not. NewFNP strongly encouraged her to return to the clinic A.S.A.P. in order to glean a better syphilis-related history and to start her some some sweet Pen G. Oh, and in the meantime, do public health a favor and keep those sweet legs tightly closed, would ya hon?

This was Tuesday. She swore she would be in Wednesday at 8:30 AM. NewFNP even requested an overbook. Therefore, one can imagine the importance newFNP placed on this visit. Around 9:30 on Wednesday, newFNP received a phone call from Cocoa's friend, the vagina voyeur, noting that they were a little on the late side in coming in for the syphilis appointment but that, not to worry, they would be there.

The dynamic duo never showed.

Again, newFNP feels compelled to point out the differences between her experience as a patient and that of her patients'. If newFNP has a blemish, she is powerless to not treat it. And she is talking about a micro-papule that she and only she can appreciate while her otherwise dewy and glowing skin is illuminated in the magnifying mirror. Intralesional kenalog STAT! If newFNP's vag* doctor told her that she had motherfucking syphilis, she would be destroying herself with penicillin!

NewFNP received a call today from the friend. The reason that Cocoa Brown had not returned to the clinic is that her friend's foot hurt "real bad." Ever heard of a bus? Taxi? Tricycle? Walking?

They swear that they will be there tomorrow. NewFNP, alas, will not. Her new work buddy, Dr. Dual-Ivy-League-Degrees, will. As sad as the case may be, newFNP knows that Dr. Dual-Ivy-League-Degrees will have quite a time with these two.

* rhymes with badge

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

First base.

NewFNP found herself in something of a clinical pickle today. She has a patient for whom she has been caring for his diabetes for quite some time now. However, he had not been to clinic in over a year when newFNP happened to run into him last week as he was exiting his dental appointment.

"How are you?" he asked, in Spanish of course, as he gave newFNP a warm hug - a practice of several of newFNP's patients. "How was India? Are you married?"

"India was great," newFNP replied. "And I'm single."

He proceeded to tell newFNP how he was in the midst of a divorce and that he would take all of newFNP's worries away by making her his second wife. Nice gesture, but newFNP will decline with a wave of the hand and a shake of the head.

Fast forward two weeks and here this gentleman is in newFNP's exam room for diabetes care. He told newFNP that he and his wife were considering divorcing because he, at age 45, wants a child and she, at age 50, is unable to provide him with one. NewFNP noted to herself his mid-life crisis, practiced supportive listening and attempted to steer him back toward the safer ground of DM2.

He, however, was not to be swayed. We chatted a little more about decisions, how one never knows what life will hand them, blah blah blah. What is this, talk therapy? After some more chatting and a sprinkle of dietary education thrown in for good measure, newFNP stood up from her rolly stool and declared that it was time to go to the lab.

At this point her patient stood up, went to embrace her and kissed her. On the lips. No tongue, but still. He then invited newFNP to "have babies with him." He was joking, of course. Right? NewFNP blushed eight shades of red and told him to knock it off.

What a bummer. NewFNP used to look forward to her visits with this intelligent and, today notwithstanding, thoughtful patient. Now she needs to wear a teeth guard and perhaps some Mormon underwear before she enters the room.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Balls - redux.

When purchasing her new car earlier this year, newFNP felt confident that it would not be tampered with when she parked it in her clinic's ghetto-esque area. Why, you ask? It is because, time and time again, newFNP noted that all around her were big trucks with flashy 16-inch rims, SUVs with the same, minivans with those spine chilling stick-figure family stickers, or piece of shit junkers with piece of shit spinning rims. NewFNP bought a hybrid, a very hybridy-looking hybrid. They are not so common or coveted in newFNP's hood.

NewFNP loves cars. In her dream world, she would have her sweet hybrid and she would have a sweet Audi S6 all-wheel drive wagon for snowboarding with George Clooney. But she would not, under any circumstances, buy a big truck, fashion a skull whose eyes glowed red when she stepped on the brakes to the trailer hitch and hang from its truck underbelly a huge pair of swinging rubber bull testes.

Yet newFNP has seen this accessory more than she would have liked to. For the record, she would have liked to have seen it exactly once, just for shits and giggles, but to have seen it repeatedly feels somewhat abusive. Does newFNP really need to be hypnotized by faux balls as she leaves work?

Who hangs these balls from their truck? Do they have female partners who deign to be seen in such a masculinely adorned vehicle? Do they feel appropriately shamed when they go to the bull-ball store and weigh the decision regarding color? Do they cup their purchase in their palms and feel pride? And - really - who chooses blue?

NewFNP knows the message that these chaps are trying to put out there. They are saying, "Do not fuck with me. Smoke comes from my nostrils when I am incensed. Furthermore, my testicles are laden with semen and my semen, if you must know and - trust me - you must, is the stuff of legend. In fact, I am quite certain that there exists a tome entitled 'La Leyenda de mi Semen.' My erections are formidable."

The message received by newFNP is more like this: I am compensating for my small, poorly functioning penis, I do not know where the clitoris is, and I drink too much.

Can't we just go back to sexy mud flap ladies?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Downtown Cocoa Brown

NewFNP has rarely, if ever, found herself in the position of requiring - let alone desiring - a friend's presence while at the doctor. Truth be told, she would rather keep that part of her life private. Especially as it relates to her lady business. Good news? Great! Bad news? Private!

However, if newFNP's patients want to drag their sisters/friends/cousins to their appointments, who is newFNP to deny them? Of course, newFNP asks family members to exit the room during sensitive histories or exams, but respects it if her patients want to use the buddy system.

This morning, when newFNP read the chief complaint of "boil on her vagina," she felt a little glee at the thought of incising and draining what she assumed to be an abscess. It's been a long time since newFNP performed any mini-surgery and, frankly, she's been missing it.

Alas, it was not to be.

NewFNP received permission to make this a group visit and proceeded to ask her patient who, by the way, had a BMI of 41, how she could be of help. Her friend, whose BMI was easily 50-plus, piped up with, "She got a boil on her cocoa brown!"

NewFNP elicited the pertinent history and got the patient into the lithotomy position - no easy task - and began to survey the region when her friend came around to get a lay of the land as well. NewFNP quickly maneuvered the makeshift drape in order to cover her patient.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," newFNP said. "Is it okay with you if she looks?" NewFNP's patient, astoundingly, gave her the go ahead and her friend jumped on in.

Again, newFNP would prefer that all of her friends would just stay the hell out of her own cocoa brown. Permission to view the pelvic exam denied!

This lady's cocoa brown wasn't exactly rocking the cocoa puff, per se, but more of the cocoa herpes. When newFNP asked her if she had a new partner, she answered in the affirmative. After determining that this was a male partner, she asked if he was a good guy. Her friend emphatically answered that he was, in fact, not. To which, newFNP's patient informed the room that she would no longer be "fucking with him."

Good then. NewFNP provided some safer sex counseling, offered further STI screening, and bid these two fine ladies adieu.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Go Bruits!

NewFNP knows a thing or two.

For instance, she knows that she should not wear black trousers with brown shoes, even if the shoes are Sigerson Morrison and cute as hell. She knows that grown men should not wear bikini underpants. In fact, if she were pressed, newFNP would assert that no men - regardless of age - should wear bikini underpants. Not even George Clooney. Because if there is anything that could render an otherwise ridiculously handsome and obviously virile man pathetically unattractive, it's bikini underpants.

NewFNP also knows that when one auscultates a carotid artery, it should not sound like there is a frigging Harley Davidson Chopper racing through at breakneck speed. And it sure as shit should not be happening on both sides. No, the finding of bilateral rumbling carotid bruits is undesirable. In concert with a fasting glucose of 392 and a BP of 204/90, it makes newFNP's eyes glaze over and forces her to consider a career as a nail salon girl. In an upscale salon, of course.

If newFNP were to adopt a "half-full" approach, she would be gratified to observe how well one can look and for how long one can push on while one's blood supply to the head is compromised.

What's that, you say? You're dizzy? No shit.

The reason that newFNP's is able to observe just how long a person can survive with said pathophysiology is that this patient, like so many others, is uninsured. Sure, when she went to the ED after passing out in her chair for no apparent reason and newFNP called the attending physician to give a little carotid bruit heads up, one would think that this patient would have exited the hospital with, oh, let's say having had a duplex ultrasonography and an MRA. One would be wrong.

NewFNP sent off the referrals today. Frankly, until this lady gets health insurance, newFNP is not hopeful that her condition, which clearly warrants an urgent evaluation, will be so.

Did newFNP mention that this patient is 57 years old? Not exactly a spry fifty-seven.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yeah, you're in the right place.

NewFNP recently had a conversation with a good pal from grad school, BostonCNM (not to be confused with although currently and temporarily co-habitating with BostonFNP). BostonCNM has recently changed practice sites from a cushy suburban practice with an educated clientele committed to a midwife assisted birth to a ridiculously busy community health center in a wrong-side-of-the-tracks area of Boston.

There is something deeply validating about sharing the experience of working in a completely fucking disorganized setting, yet loving the work that you do -- and bitching about it with one of your BFFs.

It started newFNP thinking about how one might truly know that they are working in urban community health. What are the requisite community health bona fides? NewFNP will share them with you.

1) In general, your patients will not speak your primary language. Their language might have no written form or may consist of clicks, thus making them impenetrable to an otherwise educated and teachable person. You may perhaps speak the language, but that would mean that you or your parents had acumen which started you off on the Spanish language path at an early age. NewFNP's mom had that insight. Sadly, newFNP was both intransigent and snobby and insisted, at the age of eleven, that she would speak French. While this proved quite helpful during her Tahitian vacation at the age of seventeen, it has proven itself much less so in the years since.

2) You will run out of crucial supplies. These may include but are by absolutely no means limited to: specula; lead testing strips; table paper; otic thermometer probe covers; patient drapes/gowns; charts; and medications. Furthermore, you will discover that these supplies are missing at inopportune moments, such as when your patient is in the lithotomy position, covered with paper towels and with two serving spoons fashioned into a speculum by the ingenious placement of folded cardboard and a rubber band in lieu of the real deal.

3) You will care for patients who have absolutely no idea how to care for their health. You will feel astounded at this. This feeling will not go away.

4) Your patient no-show rate will be in the 50-70th percentile. Therefore, your front desk staff will bring in tons of walk-ins. And then, one day, your no-show rate will be 10% but they will still let in the walk-ins. On those days, you will be fucked.

5) You will work with people who frustrate you and who could, at times when one is feeling less than generous, be considered incompetent. NewFNP has noted this before, but believes that because it is so intrinsically linked to community health practice, it is worth noting anew. See Office Staff Rant for a more thorough investigation of this phenomenon.

6) You and your co-workers will have more than one job. Medical assistants double as referral coordinators. Admin assistants place the orders. Providers do everything. NewFNP makes copies, fills out a trillion forms, writes letters and fields phone calls from senior management asking about this or that. This does not lead to efficiency, nor does it lead to satisfactorily completed tasks. Moreover, it may contribute to job dissatisfaction.

7) You will have crazy stories to share with your pals who work in law or fashion or business. You will frequently hear phrases such as "No fucking way" or "What the fuck?!" or "Jesus, how long do you have to stay there?" when you recount these stories.

8) In the end, goddammit, the goods will outweigh the bads and you will feel good about your work at the end of the day. But not so much in the morning when you see the line snaked around the block as you walk into another day of 10-15 minute appointments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Seriously, what the fuck happens to people over a holiday weekend? NewFNP is gone for four days and the whole world goes to pot.

NewFNP is continuing her week of meaningful encounters, which is lovely and, given newFNP's semi-cynicism, oddly life-affirming. NewFNP is not one to curl up and hug one's inner child, but it has been making her feel good to do good. Because, you know, she is so used to doing evil.

But newFNP just wouldn't be newFNP if she didn't talk about a jacked up penis, so let's get on it. Figuratively speaking, of course.

There is something to be said for having the parent in the room for at least part of an encounter with an adolescent male. For instance, when newFNP asks something along the lines of, "How can I help you today?" and the kid responds, "Oh, you know, I had a headache a few months ago," newFNP is appreciative when the mom jumps in with something like, "And you were hemorrhaging from your penis and went to the ED."

OK then. Let's get down to business.

When newFNP sees a 16-year old guy with a hickey the size of Wyoming on his neck and hears about penis hemorrhages requiring trips to the ED and stitches, she has two differentials: aggressive masturbation or buck-wild teenage sex.

In order to screen for other risky behavior, newFNP asked, "Were you having sex when this happened?"

"Noooo!," he responded, a look of horror and shock on his face. "It was in the morning!"

Ah, to be a teenager and not yet have experienced the beauty of the morning sex. NewFNP had to grin.

Apparently, he just had to pee really badly and then all of the sudden, his foreskin just blew up like a fucking landmine and his penis started bleeding like he was beating off with Freddy Kreuger's scary blade-hand. Yeah, buddy. Whatever you say. NewFNP will just send that urine off for GC/CT just to be on the safe side. She feels somewhat assured that this young patient will not be having sex anytime soon -- at least until the fucking penis stitches dissolve.

Monday, November 26, 2007

In memory of J.L. 1927-2007

NewFNP hasn't had a patient die since she was in training.

Today she received news of her first patient death. She got a phone call from the funeral home, letting her know that her 80-year old patient with cor pulmonale had died over the Thanksgiving weekend and would she sign the death certificate? Alas, as an NP, she cannot but her MD co-worker would.

He died at home in his sleep on Saturday. On Friday evening, he told his son that he thought he should come on in to the clinic the next morning. His son found him the next morning, "cold" in his bed. This same son came to clinic today just to stop by and thank you to newFNP for the care she had provided. It was incredibly touching.

NewFNP often felt as though she hadn't done much to help this old gentleman. Sure, she wrote his O2 and furosemide prescriptions and closely followed him and his lower extremity edema. But what newFNP remembers most about her appointments with this guy and his son, totalling maybe five over the past year or so, was that she smiled when she walked in the room because he was easy to smile at, that she answered his questions when he had them, that she sent him to the ED at the right time early on in his care at newFNP's clinic. He joked with newFNP with the ease that only elderly men have with far younger women: playful yet appropriate, full of vibrancy and mischief.

NewFNP doesn't spend a lot of time reflecting on her role in her patients' personal histories, but she very much is. The manner in which she cared for this patient exemplifies how she wants to practice with all of her patients. While it is perhaps an unattainable goal in her current place of employment - given systems failures that are far beyond her control and her own variable capacity to control her frustrations - she would like for all of her patients to leave their encounters feeling cared for.

After all, there are many ways in which to care for one's heart.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Feelin' good, feelin' *real* good

NewFNP's four-day wonder-weekend is winding down. Thus, newFNP forced herself to return to her normal Sunday routine of gym and a trip to the farmer's market.

While at the gym this morning, newFNP was perusing the current issue of The Journal of Family Practice and stumbled upon an article which sought to elucidate the role between marijuana use and the use of Viagra (sildenafil). Although the sample size was only 231 and was only selected from one outpatient practice in Brooklyn, fully 59% of the Viagra poppers did not have diagnosed ED. They were, in fact, recreational users of the little blue pill. Of this sample, 76% of them admitted to feeling a kinship to Snoop Dogg, not in relation to weapons charges or hos, but to loving themselves some weed. These stoners also noted that they sometimes procured their Viagra from "friends" or "street vendors." NewFNP is so worldly in some ways, yet so naive in others. She was just not aware that a market existed for this type of prescription drug.

Maybe A&E will do an "Intervention" about it. NewFNP imagines that the actual intervention would contain the plea, "Your ridiculously hard penis is ruining our relationshop! We never go out, we never invite friends over - we just sit around and smoke weed and have sex because of your crazy penis! I can't take it anymore and I will no longer enable you with my multiple orgasms!"

It is a stretch for newFNP to remember the days when marijuana played any role in her life, but it would have been when she was in high school and, frankly, newFNP is quite certain that - weed or no weed - teenagers are going to have sex. After they eat some Hostess and Taco Bell. Therefore, newFNP thinks that the population polled for this study is older, say in their 30's-50's, although age was not reported on.

NewFNP found the article amusing and appreciated that someone had to think of the research question in the first place. It really begs the question of the researcher, "What was that guy smoking?" Additionally, the article brought up the following questions for newFNP.

1) Who are these middle-aged guys who smoke weed? Do they still live in their parents' basement watching Soul Plane and playing air guitar, or are they just normal guys with girlfriends or boyfriends or wives and with careers and college educations? NewFNP hypothesizes the latter, but is willing to allow that the former do exist as well.

2) Where do these people buy their weed? NewFNP isn't all D.A.R.E. and Nancy Reagan, but she would be scared as shit to get busted. NewFNP will just stick to red wine. Unless you know anybody. Kidding - geez, calm down.

3) Are these guys popping Viagra because their libidos are diminished from the mary jane? Or are their libidos diminished by the paranoia that their special friends are in the DEA? Or because their ladies are all red-eyed and messed-up-haired with powdered sugar from the 6 Hostess Donette Gems she just consumed all over her t-shirt ? Or do these guys just want to experience more pleasure? Here is newFNP's null hypothesis: weed smoking = love of feeling good. Sex feels good. Maybe it just feels better when you're stoned and hopped up on Viagra.

4) Why do we still care if people smoke marijuana and why is it illegal? Just like the OGs say - regulate, motherfuckers, regulate. Don't drive stoned, don't get stoned while you're hanging out with your kids in the jumpy house at the neighbor kid's birthday party because, even though you'll really want to, you can't go in. Just think of the tax revenue we could create of we added a tax to your pack of joints? The schools would benefit! The food industry would certainly benefit. While we as a country, astoundingly, cannot seem to get behind gay marriage and tighter emissions standards, maybe we could all join hands, pass the duchey on the left hand side, and demand that we don't criminalize our weed smokin' fools!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving thanks.

NewFNP is often flippant and irreverent. She can, however, be ruminative as well and would like to take this time to note some of the things for which she is grateful. Only some of them will be flippant and irreverent.

1) Four consecutive days off for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Thanksgiving week is newFNP's favorite work week - it's three days!! Even newFNP can manage to smile for three days. OK, mostly. NewFNP is almost unsure how she will spend her Thanksgiving mini-break. She will not shop, although she loves to, but will just enjoy her time off and attempt to be mindful of just how fortunate she really is.

2) Literature. NewFNP loves to read. She intends to read a lot these next few days. She may shop, after all, but only to buy a highly recommended new book.

3) Friends. Friends who don't think she's a lame-o when she cries to them about love gone awry, who feed her well and ply her with good wine, who go on hikes with her, who laugh at her jokes and make her laugh in turn, and who just let newFNP know that she has a place in this world. NewFNP will be attending a potluck tomorrow. Some of the people are new to newFNP, others old. How lovely to spend a day eating potatoes and pie, and sharing one's life. And eating again.

4) Pie.

5) Family. NewFNP has had a lot of family time this year and a lot of fucking devastatingly sad changes. Her family has been through so much. NewFNP wishes she could be with them, but to do would mean breaking her longstanding prohibition against Thanksgiving holiday travel. She broke her self-imposed rule for Thanksgiving 2005 and believes that her ass might be extra-flat as a result of the fucking long drive.

6) Trouser jeans. Joe's Jeans, can you do no wrong? Your fits are amazing and your trouser jeans with patent leather trim on the pockets are divine. NewFNP is truly thankful for their flattering fit and reasonably lengthed inseam.

7) Paycheck. Without it, how would newFNP afford said fashionable Joe's Jeans?

8) Contact lenses. NewFNP suffers from extraordinarily poor vision. How would newFNP sport her perfectly over-sized Tom Ford lunettes de soleil if not for her contact lenses?

9) Retin-A. She has said it before and she'll say it again. NewFNP cannot extol its virtues enough. Why is not every 29-year old at their dermatologists demanding this prescription? Give up on the Creme de la Mer and get thee to thy derm!

10) Her readers. Seriously. Thank you for being interested in what newFNP has to say and for coming back for more.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Get me out of this thing!

NewFNP infrequently finds herself in the position of being a patient. Yet she found herself dialing the on-call physician for her practice last night, her wrist pain registering an 8 on a 10-point scale. She had fallen earlier in the day while hiking, thinking only her pride wounded, but as she palpated her very own anatomic snuff-box and brought a tear to her very own eye, she knew that something was woefully awry.

NewFNP patiently waited for Dr. On Call to call her back and was pleased when he did so promptly. NewFNP often feels a bit guilty when she is on call and attempting to do over-the-phone triage. It requires the patient to make a decision about their needs, to weigh the benefits of emergency room care over waiting for a clinic visit. Sometimes the answer is clear cut, others fall into the category of "art" rather than "science."

NewFNP's on call provider essentially told her that, yes, she needed an x-ray. No one wants to miss a scaphoid fracture, what with all its risk for avascular necrosis and non-union even when frigging treated! But did she need to go to the ED right then? NewFNP struggled with this.

For one, her ED co-pay is a Benjamin, whereas her office co-pay is a Hamilton.

NewFNP is all about the Hamiltons, baby.

For two, what was a trip to the ED really going to do? X-rays, maybe a splint. Was newFNP going to see a hand surgeon at 10PM on a Sunday? Was she going to get casted? No, she would be instructed to follow-up with the appropriate provider the next business day.

And finally, would newFNP be entirely truthful if she omitted the momentary thought of leaving work early in order to see her own primary care provider? She would not and newFNP is nothing if not honest. And fashionable. And stuck on this Sunday's NYT crossword puzzle.

In the end, newFNP decided that her x-ray could wait. But newFNP has years of education and practice under her belt and had the requisite knowledge to really weigh her options.

She was, however, unsure in her decision as she struggled to unhook her own brassiere prior to retiring. Can you imagine the panic - frantically struggling to unleash one's heaving bosoms from their support in order to repose without wires and cleavage? Agonizing. In the end, newFNP was able to shimmy her arms out, rotate her band around and unhook in front just like her 92-year old grandma does.

NewFNP is in great hopes that the humiliating extraction from her t-shirt bra will not be replicated in the upcoming weeks (months?) if newFNP is in a fucking spica cast. To her moderately-trained eye, the x-ray looked fine. To her internal med (handsome yet pleated pants wearing) doctor, the films were lovely. Now we wait for the radiologist to keenly examine newFNP's scaphoid and deliver the real diagnosis.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Once is never enough. Unless.....

If newFNP were to be flippant, she would counsel that if you have to acquire an STI, chlamydia is the way to go. Think about it, 1g of Azithromycin and, if you treat it early, you're likely good to go. This is in contrast to say, Lymphogranuloma venereum, which is, in fact, caused by C. trachomatis but appears to be much, much worse. Or ophthalmic gonorrhea in which your eye tries to kill itself by drowning itself in pus.

OK, enough of that fun mental image and back to chlamydia.

It's no big epidemiological secret that chlamydia is widespread in young sexually active people, much like their legs, newFNP presumes. NewFNP treats it on a fairly regular basis. In addition, she dispenses partner therapy in order to nip that drip in the bud.

So when newFNP diagnosed her new prenatal patient with chlamydia on her routine OB labs, she happily dispensed an extra gram of azithromycin for this young woman to give to her partner. She counseled pelvic rest for at least a week and instructed this woman to come back three weeks later for her routine OB physical and pap.

She returned, and guess what else did?

Where newFNP must have failed was in not dispensing an extra dose to treat her partner's partner. NewFNP will find out tomorrow when her patient returns for a second course of treatment and, perhaps, some frank discussion regarding the asshole who is re-infecting her.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A little help here, please.

NewFNP has been living in her major metropolitan area for over two years. She, for the majority of that time, has had a boyfriend. She has now been single for approximately four months. She has had not one date.

OK, sure, her dating life was theoretically complicated by the fact that she and her Punjabi ex-boyfriend were still living together, but that apparently would have made absolutely no difference whatsoever.

NewFNP was pondering her sad state of affairs when a young woman came to newFNP's clinic on Thursday, in need of some help with her lady business. You see, she had moved from Texas three weeks ago and now was having vaginal discomfort. Three weeks! That was all it took for this lady to get both a boyfriend and an STI.

Seriously folks, three weeks? Granted, newFNP would rather keep her downstairs free from the utter mess that she saw in this woman's vag, but for Pete's sake! Three. Frigging. Weeks.

There are many things that newFNP does not understand in this world. For instance, why does newFNP's front desk staff continually allow patients to be roomed without charts when they have appointments for follow-up? How does someone move from another fucking state and have an immediate, albeit undesirable, hook-up? Why is Designs Within Reach so named? How is a $3000 Le Corbusier cowhide lounge chair within reach? A little off topic, sure, but something about which newFNP has spent many hours considering.

In case any newFNP readers were curious as to the state in which newFNP lives, that state is celibacy and newFNP needs a change of venue!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Respect my authority!!

Prior to her current role, newFNP has never really been in a position of authority. Sure, she has been an authority on clear skin and flat-front pants for the fellows for some time now, but these things did not carry with them the burden of being feared, being disliked or being the target of shit-talking as a result of asserting her authority. Not even when then-studentFNP threw her law school pal's pleated pants across his apartment in fashion protest did her authority engender such strong responses.

NewFNP readily admits that she has an exceedingly low tolerance for incompetence and laziness. She values initiative and intelligence. She can see that these are her own values and can own her own shit, therapeutically speaking. This does, however, make her experience at work challenging at times.

But one would think that newFNP was in league with Pol Pot or Idi fucking Amin with the way the shit talking has been flying lately. NewFNP finds it bothersome.

When newFNP's MA asks her in which room she would like to see the prenatal patient and newFNP responds, "room 4" and then heads off to room 5 to see another patient, that is not yelling, nor is it saying that she no longer wants to see patients.

Likewise, when newFNP instructs the same MA to put one of the two 3PM adult physicals in with the other provider, that is neither yelling nor is it refusal to do one's job. It is a little something that newFNP likes to call "sharing the burden."

NewFNP's clinic manager and other MA basically just counseled newFNP to shrug it off. The exact words might have been "Fuck 'em."

NewFNP sort of agrees - who the fuck cares? Talking shit about one's boss is natural, healthy and fun! But newFNP is, in fact, no one's boss and she just wishes that they would all save the shit-talking for after 5PM.

This crap on a day when newFNP showed up bearing gift cards to thank staff for having Halloween spirit and dressing up! Lame.

Monday, October 29, 2007


NewFNP is no Dr. Ruth, but she does pretty much accept that the most important body part in many a man's life is his penis. No big surprise there.

So when a 50-something year old guy presents to clinic with the chief complaint of the old johnson not working, newFNP is generally willing to help a dude out. She does, however, want to know why said johnson might be flying at half mast.

Thus, the history. Onset? Two weeks ago. Taking any meds? No. Any known health problems? No. Hmm, not much there. Glucose is normal. Chest pain? Maybe a little this morning, but none now. Next up, EKG.

This is where it gets interesting. It's not so often that one catches a guy in the middle of an M.I. but one might think to delve further into this possibility when one's EKG shows both ST elevation and T-wave inversion. When newFNP brought up this likely scenario, her patient noted that he had, in fact, been diagnosed with an M.I. a mere three days ago in the emergency department. He received some medications, but wasn't taking them because he didn't trust the doctors there.

Didn't think to bring that up, did you pal?

Well, buddy, newFNP won't be bringing your penis up with a Viagra prescription since you are actively infarcting. Now, take an aspirin and high-tail it back to the ED, would ya?

Maybe we should all take a lesson from Harlequin romance novels and embrace the notion that if you take care of the heart, my friend, generally the penis will follow.

Unless, that is, you've decroded its blood supply with Gatorade, tortillas and Sugar Babies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Trichtillomaniac, maniac on the floor!

NewFNP has few compulsions. Yes, she likes to keep her eyebrows groomed. True, she flosses regularly. OK sure, she wishes that she was more of a compulsive exerciser, but who amongst us could resist the lure of Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle arriving via Netflix? NewFNP is not made of steel!

What newFNP does not do is pull her own hair out. Figuratively speaking, sure, during a tough clinic day. But literally? Friends, newFNP quite frankly spends too much on highlights to just toss these tresses aside!

NewFNP would have never suspected her first trichotillomaniac this week. Please bear in mind that it is Tuesday and that newFNP works in family practice, not psych. Anyway, this woman only pulls out her eyelashes. Holy crap, that has got to hurt! NewFNP's patient was less concerned with the pain, however, than she was with the mounting costs of false eyelashes. She felt despair because, as she said, her natural lashes were much more lush than the falsies. She felt embarrassed that she could not stop pulling them out. She never even mentioned pain, although newFNP is wincing at the thought of pulling out her own eyelashes. Fuck. No. NewFNP grimaces when one lash gets a little cattywompus and has to be realigned.

The second trichotillomaniac has been a patient in newFNP's practice for as long as newFNP has been there. Today, she told newFNP that she has been pulling out the hair on her scalp for years and has now begun to yank out her armpit hair. Now, newFNP has waxed her own axillae and knows that experience to be somewhat unpleasant. But to take each hair out individually? No, no sir. No can do.

This patient has beautiful braids and has them styled in a fashion which successfully hides her compulsion. But move them aside and hello patchy alopecia!

Now, newFNP's family practice curriculum did not really cover trichotillomania. NewFNP only really knows about it because there was a random treatment center in the town where she completed her undergrad education and she felt compelled to learn what in the hell the place treated! What newFNP didn't know then is that some trichotillomaniacs eat their pulled hair. These folks can develop trichobezoars, or hair casts, in their stomachs and intestines.

Go ahead and put that on your differential for abdominal pain.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Natural mood enhancement

NewFNP did not go to nursing school to have days like this. There are some days when one just wants to be a researcher. Or a bank teller. Today was one such day.

For starters, how do all of the depressed patients know to come on the same day? When they go to the ED for headache and back pain, does the attending tell them to head to newFNP's clinic at 8:30 on a frigging Monday morning? If depression is contagious, that may explain why newFNP was in a pissy mood after her first three patients. It wasn't just newFNP who got bum-rushed with neurovegetative complaints today. Nope, two of us had multiple patients in need of what newFNP charts as 'supportive encouragement' with a side order of SSRI.

Then, one of newFNP's few patients who are circling the drain came in after having been discharged from the hospital yet again. In health age, this gent is at least three times his chronological age, putting him at about 163 health-years-old. The most fucked up things is, despite test after test and hospitalization and after hospitalization, newFNP isn't entirely certain why. This is partly because he is so unaware of what his doctors and nurses in the hospital are doing and is, thus, unable to share any info with newFNP. It is, however, in large part due to the fact that newFNP has never received any documentation regarding his inpatient care.

What newFNP knew today was that his BP was a troublesome 56/36. That is on the low side for him, but - astoundingly - is not out of his range of normal. The highest newFNP has even seen him is around 80/50. He's got a touch of the old renal failure and truly variable glucose. Addison's? Perhaps, but newFNP has never been able to get an ACTH on him, nor has she been able to get his hospital records.

Now, newFNP has sent him to the ED once to rule out Addisonian crisis and a second time when he was hypotensive and having syncopal episodes at the vital signs station. Today, he was rather perky aside from complaints of dizziness. NewFNP had him drink about 32 ounces of water in 30 minutes and then rechecked his BP. It was 70/50. He felt better. NewFNP's big treatment for this guy today was none other than water.

Take that, big pharm! Water saved the day.

NewFNP left work today feeling as though she had really helped no one. It was a horrible feeling. Thankfully, newFNP's city is enjoying unseasonably warm weather - the kind of weather that makes an evening walk while listening to one's iPod cure a rotten day in the clinic, proving newFNP's rule that a little physical activity really improves one's mood.

Let's hope this weather holds on a bit longer.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Exam room 6, ready for seating

NewFNP hasn't commented on obesity lately, but she cared for a patient who got her thinking. This patient has a BMI over 60. Although newFNP is no Mavis Beacon, BMI >60 is no typo. This patient came in for various complaints, including abdominal pain. Let's just call newFNP's exam "limited by habitus."

This patient also noted lesions in her skin folds. NewFNP has treated fungal intertrigo in this patient before, but has not seen her in well over a year. Perhaps if she would have, newFNP might have stopped the awful maceration to this patient's thighs, pannus and buttocks. NewFNP hasn't been doing weights lately and it showed as her arm was shaking in an effort to hold back the pannus in order to examine the extent of the damage.

And can newFNP say it once again, ladies? If your BMI is over 60, your lady parts are also going to be fat. And when those lady parts get fat, the picture is oh-so not pretty. And when you have macerated abdominal, thigh and groin-adjacent skin, it is, quite frankly, time to hang up the bikini underpants and find peace with the big cotton grandma bloomers.


But what really struck newFNP is how demoralizing it must be for this patient to come to the clinic, to have newFNP struggle to hold back her obese belly and to have newFNP counsel her on the merits of the grandma panty. How she must feel some amount of shame every day regarding her weight. How every activity must be a struggle for her. As horrifying as the physical effects of obesity are, the emotional effects must be comparably devastating. NewFNP felt a combination of honor and horror when this patient asked her if she would do her pap. On the one hand, she must have felt respected and cared for by newFNP. On the other hand, that is going to be one hell of a pelvic exam.


When newFNP was in public health school, she had this frigging awful narcissistic professor who informed the students about her success as a physician, model, poet and basketball player, ad nauseam. She also took away our break, probably because she knew that we would talk vicious shit about her, not only to read us her crappy poetry, but also to make us exercise. We hated her for it. This was, after all, public health school. The majority of us had already had our morning workouts before we came to her piece of shit class. NewFNP isn't saying that she is going to adopt this as a practice, but that she must admit that she has considered finding a far less offensive way to encourage physical activity in the waiting room. After all, the patients may be sitting there for hours.

Perhaps newFNP's clinic should buy buzzers a la Cheesecake Factory. The patients can then go exercise and we can buzz them when their exam room is available!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yuck Mouth

Two thousand and seven has been, quite frankly, a real drag for newFNP.

To recap, a truly beloved family member died, newFNP and her formerly live-in Punjabi now ex-boyfriend broke up, and a mere one week later newFNP was in a serious car accident from which she walked away without a scratch - so, a bad and a good there. Then, one of newFNP's BFF's moved to South frigging Africa to do public health. Ugh. In sum, a shithole of a year to date.

And now newFNP has to have a fucking root canal tomorrow morning.

Son. Of. A. Bitch. Seriously, there are not enough swear words in the universe to express newFNP's distaste for her current situation. And if there is one thing that newFNP knows, it is motherfucking swear words.

NewFNP's insurance covers a portion of this horrific and utterly undesired procedure, but leaves newFNP to cover upwards of $600 of the cost herself. Really, Dental HMO? That is coverage? No wonder tons of poor people are walking around with mouths that look like jack-o-lanterns from just yanking those decayed fuckers out.

NewFNP has known for quite some time that community dental health is utterly lacking, but it seems as though dental care for the insured leaves a lot to be desired as well. Even The New York Times took this on today in this article noting how dentists are faring well, although many teeth in the heads of Americans are not. NewFNP's clinics is one of the rare free clinics around that offers dental care - free dental care. One shudders upon seeing the lines and is astounded by the number of emergencies who are seen on a daily basis.

As much as newFNP enjoys a day off, she would rather be opening huge abscesses and taking cockroaches out of ears than sitting in a fancy endodontist's office trying to figure out how she, a relatively well paid person, is going to pay for this.

No wonder newFNP's patients are so sick by the time they get to newFNP's clinic.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Say what???

NewFNP must be a monkey's uncle, hell must have frozen over and pigs must be flying because the brain-trust at newFNP's clinic did not can the mooning LVN.

Nope, the flashing was just a "joke that went too far."

Yeah, too far over her bare ass. And, please, let's all just overlook the fact that she denied it all, just flat out lied. Strong character. Good choice to keep this one.

Seriously, what do people have to do to get fired? NewFNP could hypothesize that flashing one's va-jay-jay might do it? On the other hand, maybe not - there is another provider who pretty frequently rocks the camel-toe and shows a significant amount of cleavage and she's been there longer than has newFNP.

Maybe the administration figures that patients will continue to frequent the clinic of they know that there is a chance for a free peep show.

Seriously people, what the hell?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Now boarding

There are several ways in which patients can endear themselves to newFNP.

For instance, they might express heartfelt thanks for the care they've received. They might tell newFNP how young she looks when, in fact, she is not.

Most endearing of all, they might be funny as shit in the exam room.

NewFNP's first patient of the day hit the ball out of the park when she did all three and started newFNP's first post-move work day off right!

Now, newFNP knows that it is through the magic of Nars that she looked so youthful this morning. Who the fuck wouldn't look youthful with a fresh sweeping of Sin blush across the apples of one's cheeks? However, beyond her welcome flattery, this patient was truly grateful for the care she received and expressed her gratitude freely.

It was not, however, the flattery or the gratitude which endeared this patient so profoundly to newFNP. No, it was the fact that she was the funniest historian newFNP has encountered, hands down.

This patient, a woman in her fifties, came in with a chief complaint of vaginal discharge - already one can appreciate the potential for humor in the face of a not-so-humorous condition if you are the patient. This discharge, according to newFNP's patient, had "set her back." NewFNP had never heard that turn of phrase in this context before. She is more familiar with its use in the context of something along the lines of "That new Miu Miu purse set newFNP back a car payment!" So, when evaluated in that context, newFNP understood that the discharge was significant.

NewFNP's patient went on to give newFNP details of the discharge, such as the fact that it was malodorous enough to warrant "a hell of a scrub" before coming to the clinic. In addition, it was copious enough to require the use of feminine protection.

Now, newFNP's patient had a hysterectomy some years ago and, as a result, was unfamiliar with the decades-old advances in pantyliner technology. She stated that she had purchased some pantyliners but, upon running out, could not afford another box and borrowed some pantyliners from her daughter.

"Those damn things look like an airplane! I ain't never seen a pantyliner like that - it had wings!"

Superfluous information? Sure. Welcome? Fuck yeah.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Full moon

NewFNP's clinic has rapid staff turnover. Now, there are some staff members who have been there for years and years, but it is not uncommon for people to not last through the 30-day probation period.

The most speedy exit came from an MA who just didn't show up to work her third day. No phone call, no 'nice to have known ya!' - she just didn't come back.

Then we had an LVN who single-handedly emotionally dismantled our MA staff by starting rumors and spreading gossip. He was let go after several wildly inappropriate comments in the presence of the interim COO after about two months of employment.

And finally, the current employee termination. Our most recently former LVN began working ten days ago. She was lazy, said 'shit' in front of a patient on one occasion and engaged in useless banter with the MA's. That kind of behavior, while bothersome to newFNP, does not get you fired from newFNP's clinic.

But do you know what will get you fired? Mooning three other staff members in the hallway during a busy clinic day.

A few years ago, newFNP and her girl gang were returning to our grad school's home town after having attending one of the most well-attended political marches in recent history. We were driving alongside a van caravan, each van filled with eight undergraduate-aged guys who appeared to be jocks. Four of the front man-van riders mooned the gents in the rear van. NewFNP's car honked and the guys were clearly embarrassed to have flashed five lovely ladies. But these are just the people who should be mooning - 19-year old guys.

Not a 30-something LVN. At work. When work is not a strip club. Sure, pink undies are nice but newFNP and her staff do not need to see them.

Don't let the door hit you on your currently covered ass on your way out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


NewFNP is here to tell you that there are simple ways in which to ensure that your visit to your doctor, nurse practitioner, midwife or physician assistant runs smoothly. NewFNP is not able to say whether these tips extend to the more holistic professions, let's say one's acupuncturist or colon hydrotherapist, but she is sure that some of them will be applicable.

1) Schedule your appointment early in the morning. This is helpful for a variety of reasons. First, your provider will likely be on time or only marginally behind. Second, it is easy to be compassionate at 8:30 in the morning - that is, of course, if your provider is compassionate to begin with as newFNP likes to fancy herself. Like it or not, even the best provider wants to go home on time so avoid the 4:30 appointment slot unless you only need a Retin-A refill and have absolutely no complaints whatsoever.

2) Avoid using a harsh tone with the front desk staff and saying things such as "You all are fucking retards!" or "I am fucking pissed!" or even "This is bullshit!" That kind of language will not help your case and may earn you the title of "difficult patient." Let's face it, shall we, if you are throwing the F-bomb at a receptionist, you are a difficult patient and your clinician will know that you were rude to her staff. In practices other than newFNP's, this type of behavior might just get you escorted out the door and fired from the practice. But, no, not in newFNP's clinic. Bring on the verbal abuse! We'll see you anyway. Of course, newFNP does not assume that her readers would engage in such behavior, but offers this advice merely to file away as an FYI.

3) Smile when your provider enters the room. NewFNP tries to smile at every patient in order to tip the encounter in the direction of "pleasant" rather than "emotionally draining." A little smile, like a little hot sex or Comito Mojitos, goes a long way in making one's day more enjoyable.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy 5768, Jewish Style

Shana Tova, newFNP readers!

Nothing has been very exciting in newFNP's world, except that she did go to a yoga class this week with her friend CDCMPH and got her ass kicked. Jump back into plank? No thank you. NewFNP will step into plank and will pretend that she and her pal are not the only yogis who are sweating like wild boars!

Clinically speaking, newFNP has been recently plagued with the mind-numbing "same old-same old." The potentially interesting cases have not followed up and, thus, newFNP is in the midst of several clinical cliff-hangers. Does the seven year-old with B-cups rivaling those of that 'High School Musical' nude-internet-picture-girl merely drink too much hormonally-ridden milk or is she in the dangerous clutches of McCune-Albright syndrome? NewFNP would love to tell you, but this young lady has not returned for further evaluation. NewFNP hopes that she has followed up on her endocrine referral.

What newFNP has noticed of late is that she is spending an inordinate amount of time educating her patients on something that she herself has taken for granted for years, no - decades: the medication refill. NewFNP expects that when she gets her Retin-A prescription, it will damn well come with a year's supply of clear skin and wrinkle prevention, all with a simple automated phone call to her friendly neighborhood pharmacy. To newFNP's patients, most of whom hail from countries where over-the-counter meds are the norm, the concept is foreign. "What?!?" they say with raised brows, incredulous that they could have more than one month's worth of hydrochlorothiazide! Ah, yes, newFNP explains. All you have to do is call. Then newFNP reviews why it is important to, therefore, use the same pharmacy for all prescriptions. This interaction takes significantly longer than one might assume.

NewFNP is a joker, but she is not joking about this. Patient after patient, newFNP must review the concept of a refill. Swear to God. No fucking joke.

The other thing which newFNP finds striking is the all-too-common answer to a question posed by newFNP during each and every well-child visit: What kind of milk do you drink at home? To newFNP, it is as relevant as the presence of smoke alarms, medication allergies, asthma and if there is a frigging TV in the three year-old's bedroom.

And how do the vast majority of newFNP's patient's answer?

"De galón."

Oh, no shit? You get your milk from a gallon container? As opposed to, say, drinking directly from the teats of the many cows freely roaming the streets of newFNP's urban metropolis! What the fuck? NewFNP is not sure if she is missing something in the translation, but, in writing this, allows that she could simply ask if the 50-pound toddler is still drinking whole milk.

But shit, where's the fun in that?

"De galón." L'chaim!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Welcome back, my ass!

The rough thing about attending a posh CME in a serene location is that one tends to forget the reality of everyday work life in the ghetto. In case you had forgotten, allow newFNP to refresh your memory: it sucks.

NewFNP is right back in the thick of it: leaving an hour late, attempting to correct the fact that she had seven patients scheduled in the three o'clock hour today and dodging bullets fired by the ever-critical and sorely lacking in introspection OB-GYN. Hey sister, when you point one finger at newFNP, there are four pointing at yourself, you ho-bag.

NewFNP returned from her conference ready to take on the world. Well, the world has dealt newFNP a real shit-storm. So much so that newFNP has begun to question whether she really is doing well for her patients.

The OB/GYN is quick to point out the cazillions of flaws she sees in the care that newFNP and the other prenatal providers have delivered, yet this provider sees an average of 10 patients per clinical day. She is not at all hesitant to allow other providers to see the remaining patients on her schedule as she delves into every detail of her patients' care. NewFNP truly makes every effort to address all pertinent aspects of medical care as well as engaging the patient about social issues, but newFNP has a 30-patient schedule and, therefore, misses things sometimes. Does this make newFNP a bad, incompetent or inadequate provider? Is the OB/GYN right in just giving a big "F-you" to the rest of us while she assesses for every fucking hangnail that may trigger preterm labor, birth anomalies and the omnipresent threat of legal action?

Another new physician pointed out that newFNP's clinic is "killing" our patients because we cannot start diabetic patients on insulin if their A1C's are over 8.5 or 9. The reason newFNP is unable to do so is that a very small number of patients can afford blood glucose monitoring supplies. The new provider didn't mean it as a judgment, but rather as a statement of fact. However, newFNP feels acutely aware that she is between the proverbial rock and hard place. NewFNP can either slowly kill them with the ravages of hyperglycemia or quickly kill them with the rapid action of hypoglycemia. Talk about choosing between the bat and the belt! What a fucked up world we live in. Perhaps there is a program that would supply all of newFNP's DM patients with testing supplies and syringes, but newFNP doesn't have even five minutes in her day to research this.

NewFNP is uncertain what to do. She is at her two-year anniversary at her clinic. NewFNP is community health and had planned on staying at this clinic indefinitely. But how in the fuck can newFNP put up with all of this?

On the positive side, everyone loves newFNP's new hair-do - even the fashionable gay guy so newFNP knows that she is looking hot! Watch out!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

And she's back...

New FNP learned quite a bit while she was at her CME. However, the most striking thing that newFNP learned is that her patients will likely not benefit from a fucking shred of what they should be receiving.

For instance, the lovely and brilliant physician who lead the Obesity 2007 chat couldn't stress enough the importance of a nutritionist. Yes, indeed. However, let's just say that hiring a nutritionist is not on newFNP's clinic's short-list. Very low calorie diet? In newFNP's clinic, we call that 'food insecurity' as no one ever self-restricts to 800 kcal/day. NewFNP was thrilled to have it made public that a BMI of 26 has a positive effect on mortality. Ah, NHANES, God bless ya! NewFNP already knows that a little extra cushion is her natural set point, but she is stoked to know that science is getting on board with the voluptuous lady. Interestingly, this speaker did spend a fair amount of time on discussion of how fitness truly helps in preventing mortality. If your BMI is 31 but you are a walking-fool (45 minutes/day while talking), you're actually not in that bad of shape. However, if the only exercise you go is extending your left arm though your auto-roll-down car window to reach for your double bacon piece of shit burger, then - yes - you are on the train track to an MI.

And the fertility lecture. Fascinating, especially when newFNP has had two thirty-something friends struggle with it. Practical in newFNP's urban free health clinic? Uh, no. Interesting to learn that laying supine with the knees up for twenty post-coital minutes is advised if attempting pregnancy. NewFNP suspects that adopting such a position might lead to a 'round two' which goes against the tenet of QOD action for best baby-making.

NewFNP learned a lot about bisphosphonates. However, newFNP has succeeded in getting a single patient a bone mineral density scan. NewFNP would love to help the ladies spare the hip fracture - hell, who wouldn't! But newFNP is reluctant to just start adding Actonel to the water supply.

One great overall experience that newFNP had was to see that her practice was already mirroring a lot of what these experts were recommending. Hallelujah! And she is doing procedures which many of the physicians in attendance don't do, such as IUC (new phrase - apparently IUD is out of vogue) insertions. Why would anyone want to do less? Sure, newFNP would want to do fewer prostate exams but newFNP wishes that she could, for example, be doing biopsies for her patients. Because frankly, if newFNP's clinic isn't providing the care, it's unlikely that newFNP's patients will receive specialist care.

There are, however, things that newFNP would like to do more of, such as starting patients on insulin. However, newFNP's patients don't have glucose monitors so one shan't prescribe a hypoglycemic without appropriate monitoring! This conference recommended starting patients on insulin when they have an A1C greater than 8.5. Holy fuck - newFNP rarely sees a patient with an A1C that low, at least when they initiate care with us. A1C of 15.4, sure. Of 17.2 - rarely but not unheard of. When newFNP gets an A1c into single digits on oral hypoglycemics, she is quite thankful.

Mostly what newFNP learned is that she loves to take bike-rides through one of her state's most beautiful areas, amongst trees and rivers and a huge, glorious lake. NewFNP learned that perhaps her huge urban area is not where she will be for the rest of her life, that perhaps she will need a mid-point between the luxuries of urban life and the natural beauty which is too few and far between in her city.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

CME Update

When attending a CME, all of the answers seem so obvious.

Duh, the lesion in slide is melanoma. Ray Charles could see that!

Clinical practice, however, is not so tidy. Especially family practice. Being a generalist is tough. In the eyes of the patient, one is expected to know it all, be it funky dermatological lesion, West Nile Virus or lumbago. However, in clinical practice, patients give horrible histories and, in newFNP's practice, this issue is significantly exacerbated by the ole language issue. In clinical practice, newFNP doesn't have the luxury of having convenient multiple choice answers from which to choose her differential diagnoses.

NewFNP will, at some point, share some of the more illuminating information gleaned from the conference, but in the mean time, can she just say that she enjoyed so thoroughly her 12-mile scenic bike ride with BostonFNP and her younger sister RooSF? NewFNP is leading a life of leisure! Post-conference and gym yesterday, we all hit the pool where newFNP donned some very now Tom Ford sunglasses, slathered herself in SPF, and read The NewYorker. She topped her evening off with not one, but two margaritas and a crab tostada.

NewFNP loves her CME. It's not just all the leisure either. NewFNP feels inspired yet again to be an excellent clinician and is in touch with her inner nerd as she basks in the glow of the Power Point slides.

Ahhhh..... Continuing Medical Edu-vacation. Just what the nurse practitioner ordered!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Life imitating art

Does everyone remember when Aidan and Carrie broke up? At the end of the break-up episode, Carrie had her wild, curly mane and, at the opening of the next episode, it was transformed into a chic, short-ish curly-bob. New hair, new life.

NewFNP. New hair-do. Soon to be new apartment with new couch (thank the heavens for Crate & Barrel). Still with old job but without old boyfriend.

And, in the midst of it all, newFNP was actually thankful to have her crazy job, her NP student and her intellectual stimulation. How do people go through break-ups if they have some mindless job in which they can ruminate and sift through the remains of the relationship? It's not often that newFNP is thankful that she has nary a minute to re-apply lip gloss or take a sip of filtered water, but she has been very thankful for her hectic schedule this past month.

Even more so than that, newFNP has been thankful that her career actually means something to her patients.

This past week, newFNP had the pleasure of working with Dr. G. Dr. G. is newFNP's age and went to med school a mere block away from newFNP's nursing school. Yes, newFNP and Dr. G. have probably walked the same hospital floors but never knew each other until practicing community health on the other side of the country. Dr. G. mentioned to newFNP that one of the things -in a very long list, of course - that makes her a good provider is that she truly cares for her patients, that she listens, that she asks them questions about their lives. During this time of major personal change, it was nice to get that validation from a co-worker.

It was just as nice when a patient's fasting glucose dropped from the mid-300's to the low-mid 100's after newFNP stopped his oral hypoglycemics and started him on an all-insulin regimen. Most of newFNP's patient cannot afford glucometers and supplies, so newFNP hasn't had the opportunity to do this transition very often. Nonetheless, even though he is technically a Type 2 diabetic, newFNP believed that his pancreas had thrown in the towel. There isn't enough metformin in the world to help this guy out. Furthermore, this patient was an exception in that he had glucose monitoring supplies, so newFNP wrote out a detailed baseline NPH insulin regimen with instructions for regular insulin sliding-scale coverage. She was so proud of herself and her patient when his glucose started to stabilize.

Now, newFNP knows that this one day of control may be an anomaly. However, to get props from a co-worker and to achieve something akin to medical success constitutes one hell of a week for newFNP.

Just wait until those fuckers see newFNP's fierce new hair-do. They'll have to wait a week, though, because newFNP and BostonFNP are hitting up the vacation CME in a fun-filled resort town.

As BostonFNP's dad once told us, learning without laughter is like a day without sunshine. NewFNP cannot wait to have both at her Continuing Medical Edu-vacation.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Continuing education

Jeez! Where has newFNP been?

NewFNP's student finished her month at the clinic and claimed to learn a lot from newFNP. Ah, shaping young minds - what an inspiration. It helps when the student is brand new and literally everything is a learning experience.

All in all, newFNP was glad that her student got to see just how community health practice is.

For instance, one day newFNP asked her student to leave a half hour early so she would be spared the experience of observing newFNP rail on the manager for overbooking appointments at the end of the day. Certainly not community health's finest hour, but an integral part of newFNP's clinical experience.

Another day, newFNP was giving a little nutrition education to the parent of an obese three year old which included advising her to avoid giving her kid candy, to which this parent responded, "Oh, I don't give him candy - just lollipops." Bingo. When newFNP explained that lollipops are, in fact, a form of candy, the mother was astounded. "They are?," she asked, wide-eyed and as sincere as could be. You just can't pay for that kind of education. Truly, how many people with whom newFNP's student is in contact fail to grasp that a lollipop is candy? Are there some marketing geniuses at the super mercado who are selling lollipops in the produce section, convincing slow parents that a cherry-flavored lollipop is one in the quest for five fruits/veggies per day?

NewFNP had her patient doing paps, cleaning out cerumen, listening to hearts and lungs - whatever she could get her to do. NewFNP really loved doing the teaching, but realized that she was completely disorganized in the process. As newFNP's student has just finished her accelerated RN year and has yet to do her health assessment class, newFNP felt a little unsure as to how to help her along. At any rate, newFNP thinks that her student will be ahead of the pack when she starts her master's clinicals next year and that she herself will be better organized when the next student comes along.

And, for newFNP, it was really meaningful to help to support someone in their learning and in their development into an NP. So thanks to newFNP's alma mater and to her student for making an otherwise crappy July 2007 something meaningful.