Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Work Spa

A locums pulmonolgist at LHITBW and I were talking about our experiences at LH.  She works at a large hospital in Sacramento, and she loves coming up to LH because, "It's so peaceful.  I only have 8-10 patients.  It's like a vacation." 

My feelings exactly.  The last week was so completely relaxing.  I was able to easily get back into reading diagnostic studies, which is delightful.  As far as IR, well, I did several biopsies and a couple of drainages--"light IR".  I almost had a GI bleeder, but they were able to treat the patient in Endoscopy. 

This leads to my only true complaint/concern about this posting: IR, real IR is hard to practice in this tiny hospital.  I don't know how the prior group kept their IR skills sharp.  Maybe they rotate out to bigger hospitals.  There is no dedicated IR suite, it's a Cath Lab.  There's no IR call.  I was told about the GIB when I walked into the hospital at 7:45.  The Cath Lab tech didn't even come in until about 8:30.  I checked out the IR inventory, and there was the necessary equipment to perform the procedure, but it still was suboptimal. 

So generally, LHITBW is like a spa (maybe things will be more exciting as I am there for a month solid). 

Now I'm off to the ACR Education Center in Reston, VA, for Mammo Boot Camp!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Little Hospital in the Big Woods

The hospital I will be spending time in this month and next is in a teeny-tiny town at the foot of a mountain range.  It's set in a residential area that is tucked into the trees, and behind the hospital is a canyon.  In the canyon is a river, and I am told that you can hear the river rushing in the summer.

This very tiny hospital is so small that it smells sterile, like the OR.  And that is because the ORs take up most of the floor plan of the first level of the building.  The second (actually the lower) level has the medical unit, which currently is closed because there are not enough patients to fill it.

Benefits of a tiny hospital include ease in finding one's way around, learning most everyone's name pretty quickly, a general feeling of happiness and teamwork, having referring physicians drop by to discuss cases and (bonus!) free food for doctors in the teeny-tiny cafeteria.

I had such a great time today.  Finally, I'm back to being myself--really loving my job, feeling happy and comfortable.  And (bonus bonus!!) since it's RadTech week, one of the vendors brought in food for lunch--real Mexican food!  It was so good, like El Pollo Loco but better.  (Food means a lot to me!)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

And Now For Something Completely Different

I quit my job at UAMS (way too much drama involved in that situation).  My last day was October 31.  My original plan was to take a job with a radiology practice here in Little Rock.  If they had offered me a job back in August when I interviewed, I'm sure I would have accepted it.  However, they were not in a particular hurry to make a decision, which gave me time to think about what I really wanted in my work life and in my work/life balance.

The thing is, I realized that I didn't want to take a job based on convenience--I need a job, they are offering me one, I'll take it.  That didn't work out well at all last go-round.  So to fill time while I find what I want (let's not say the "perfect" job--nothing is perfect, not even the very wonderful job I had at Kaiser), I'm going to do some locums.

Physician locum tenens jobs are plentiful.  I put a few feelers out there and was inundated with possibilities almost immediately.  Oftentimes, these are to fill a spot somewhere in a not-particularly-popular part of the nation, such as Anywhere, North Dakota or Bordertown, Texas.  Radiology is growing as a specialty while radiologists in mid- or late-career are becoming burned out with the case load, so there are openings as those physicians cut back, take early retirement or retire on schedule.  So there are lots of opportunities to temporarily fill those spots.  The groups are hoping that they will find a good locums person and get him or her to stay on permanently.  It also helps the locums figure out where they want to be and what kind of practice they want to be in.

I have worked with three recruiting companies that have really impressed me:

1,  Foster Crown ( advertise themselves as "The Boutique Recruitment Firm", working only with radiologists, vascular surgeons and hospitalists (internists).  Steve May is the CEO.  He is very approachable, knowledgeable and trustworthy.  His assistant, Saj Cherian, is prompt and professional (as is Steve).  They scheduled my first locums, which will be at Feather River Hospital in Paradise, California. 

2.  Medicus Healthcare ( is a larger company, but I have been very happy with them.  Scott Dulac is my recruiter, and he's been totally on top of things for me.  He scheduled my second locums assignment.  I'll be in Nashua, New Hampshire, January through March, 2018. 

3.  Staff Care ( haven't booked anything with Staff Care yet, but I have really liked my recruiter, Ashli Lakey.  She's really positive and pleasant, and she's keeping up with me.

So, here I go!  I'm leaving for California on Sunday.  I'll spend a week there, then come home for a couple of weeks, then go back until the end of December.  Rowdy will hold down the fort here.  I will update my blog as things go along.  Feel free to ask questions, make comments.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Long-Awaited Story of How Rowdy and Diane Ended Up in Little Rock

(The details may be somewhat sketchy here, but these are the basics from my point of view.)

Somewhere in April or May of 2015, Rowdy reached the end of his rope with living in California for a lot of reasons, including the lack of personal liberties, high taxes and cost of living, and a general need to move around.  Ten years in one place was more than he could bear.

Unfortunately, this caused a lot of strife.  I was perfectly happy in San Diego.  I was in the perfect job--I loved the people I worked with, my work schedule and the kind of work I was doing.  Let's face it, I spend as much time at work as at home, so that was important to me.  I also loved my ward family and my other friends.  Rowdy made it clear, though:  he was out of San Diego by May, 2016, with or without me.

So I cried.  We argued.  I have moved before, so I knew that I could find friends and make a new life, but the thing that really scared me was finding a new job.  I'd gotten pretty cozy and complacent where I was, and I didn't think that I'd be able to get a job that would bring in the same level of income and be something that I was happy doing.

Blah, blah, blah. This probably isn't in chronological order, but we did struggle about this for weeks. One day, Rowdy said, "You know, in the ten years we've been married, we really haven't made a habit of praying and reading scriptures together every day.  I'd really like us to do that."  I think that was the real turning point.  We humbled ourselves and asked Heavenly Father where He needed us to be.  In addition to improving our daily prayers and studying the scriptures, we fasted and went to the temple more than we had before.  If you get nothing else out of this post, I hope that you get that Heavenly Father loves his children, we can have personal revelation to know what path we need to follow in life, and the way to get answers is to humble yourself, pray with real intent, and be willing to listen for that revelation and follow the counsel given by the Lord.

Rowdy suggested that we both make lists of places we would live, and we would compare the lists.  The final list was:

1)  Austin/San Antonio, TX
2)  Raleigh/Durham, NC
3)  Boise, ID
4)  Utah/AZ
5)  Little Rock, AR

Our main criteria were:

1)  firearms-friendly
2)  proximity to family
3)  good cost-of-living
4)  good quality of life overall

Rowdy was surprised to see that I had listed Little Rock.  I had never been there, but he had been several times and was always complimentary of the area.  Since it was somewhat close to my parents in Austin, and Rowdy had the greatest opportunity to improve as a shooter there, I thought it was worth a look.

I enrolled in a couple of job search boards through professional associations, contacted some recruiting companies and looked into teleradiology groups.  I had a couple of phone interviews with a practice in Ogden, Utah, but I wasn't right for that practice, and they certainly weren't right for me.  Recruiters called with opportunities in Texas, but we had the luxury of not really needing to pick just anywhere.  Beaumont and Amarillo just were not in our plans.  Nothing really turned up in Idaho or North Carolina.  I cold-called a practice in Little Rock, but they weren't sure if they needed an Interventional Radiologist.

Finally, I decided to sign with vRad, a teleradiology group that provided overnight diagnostic radiology interpretations.  The company itself is really outstanding.  I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of working from 7 pm to 7 am, but they were very accommodating and offered me a 2 pm to 10 pm shift.  I also wasn't thrilled about not having the opportunity to interact with patients and do procedures, but I was hoping that there would be a way to find a group that would be okay with me coming in on a part-time basis.

So once we decided on that, we both felt that Little Rock was where we needed to be--where the Lord needed us to be.  We scheduled a trip to Arkansas in November to look around at homes and the town in general.  Meanwhile, I was still wanting to try for an IR job, if possible, but I thought that maybe my cover letter needed revamping.  My friend and co-worker, Danielle, graciously took a look at it and made some very helpful suggestions.

Rowdy and I took a trip to New Jersey for our grandson's first birthday, then spent ten days enjoying Spain the last week of September/first week of October.  Sometime near the end of the trip, the ACR job board posted an IR position at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.  I thought that was about the nuttiest thing in the world. I really wasn't thinking that I wanted to be a full-time academic radiologist--I wasn't sure that I would have the skill set they were looking for, and I was sure that they would not have much to offer in the way of income, but maybe they'd be the kind of place that would let me just be a part-timer.

The details of this whole experience are a little fuzzy, but it seems to me that it went something like:  we got back from our trip on a Saturday, Sunday evening I sent of my new-and-improved cover letter and my CV, and first thing Monday morning, I got a call that went something like this:

Mollie Meek, MD, UAMS IR Section Chief:  Hello, is this Diane Bricco?

Me:  Yes!

MM:  Uh, uh (splutter, silence)

Me:  Can I help you?

MM:  (incredulously) Are you really moving to Little Rock?

Me :  Yes.

MM:  (still incredulous) And you're really an interventional radiologist?

Me :  Yes. 

MM:  Well, uh!  Wow!  Okay.  Do you know Mike Beheshti?

Me:  No....(Like, should I?  I don't know....)

MM:  Well, he trained me and he's amazing and the nicest person ever and he's the Chief of Radiology over at the VA right now, but he's just the best and HE'S THE BISHOP OF ARKANSAS!!!

Me:  (chuckling)  So you mean to tell me that he's LDS?  (I have my affiliation with Mormon Women in Medicine and my experience in stake and ward callings on my CV.)

MM:  Yes!  And he will be so excited to meet you!

Mollie and I talked some more.  I told her that we had a trip to Little Rock planned for the following month.  She asked me if I wanted to come by to see the place, or maybe interview.  I figured that I might as well go interview, if nothing else to get experience and to let them know that I'd be interested in working part-time.

But the interview ended up going really well, and I was offered a job pretty much at the end of the day. [I did have an interview with Dr. Michael Beheshti, AKA former Bishop of the Pinnacle Ward, AKA Little Rock Stake President (at the time of my interview, so I got both a professional and stake president's interview) and currently Elder Michael Beheshti, Area Authority.  He is a really good guy, and also happens to have graduated from Bountiful High School the same year as my friend Sharon's brother, David.  Small world!]  My prior experience with interviewing at academic centers was that their salaries were far below what I was making at my current job, but Mollie offered me something that, particularly with the difference in cost of living between San Diego and Little Rock, really wasn't much of a pay cut.  Of course, I would have to be full-time--no part-timers allowed.  And they didn't seem to be that bothered by the fact that I hadn't been doing a lot of the stuff that they do regularly.  

Long story short, it just felt right.  Rowdy gave me a Priesthood blessing before I went to my interview in which I was told that it would take time and work on my part, so I figured that meant that getting the right kind of job would take that.  But it seems that the real counsel was that I was going to have to put in time and work to succeed at that job.  Which is okay by me, and I have had the opportunity over the last six or seven months to really prepare, study and get up to speed on some things.  Plus, my offer letter from the University stated that my success was important to them, and they make sure that I had what I needed to do well.  So I think it's going to be a little stressful at times, but ultimately really good for me and my progression as a physician.

And more importantly, this move is going to be really good for Rowdy and his progression in his field.  He's already shot more matches and had better opportunities for good training than he had in San Diego.  There are probably lots of hidden blessings in this move that we have yet to uncover.

We are both adjusting to life here in Little Rock, but we are loving it.  Even Mr. Oliver Hammond is getting happily settled in our new home.  I will probably write other posts about the process of buying a home and selling our SD home and land (an amazingly simple process, as it happens), my experience living with my sweet friends for five weeks while I was working out the end of my contract with SDPMG, the many "tender mercies of the Lord" that I received during this experience, the drive out to LR from SD with Ollie and my sweet parents, and our adventures in Arkansas.

So, that's basically the story from my point of view and how I choose to recount events.  Trust me, I shed a lot of tears about it.  It hasn't been easy for me, but I know that it's the right thing.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm Not Catholic, But I Like Lent

One new post every five months...sounds about right!

Lent starts tomorrow.  It is not something that is a part of my religion (LDS), but I like the concept of having a defined period in which to better myself in some way, either by giving something up (the traditional Lenten sacrifice) or taking on a new virtue.

My friend, Jen, introduced me to the "40 Bags in 40 Days" decluttering program, which is scheduled to begin tomorrow.  I certainly have drawers, bookshelves and even rooms in my house that can use some decluttering.  My office at work definitely needs some work.  What I like about this program is that there are also "non-stuff things" that can be decluttered, like email inboxes and computer desktops.

That got me to thinking about other "non-stuff" areas that I can declutter.  I can declutter my mind of negative thoughts.  I can declutter my body of fat, excess calories and (maybe) sugar and artificial sweeteners.  I can declutter my heart of judgement and grudges.  Those things sound like good things to do any time of the year.

I could also do a "40 Days of Personal Progress", which would probably get me to complete Personal Progress.  That would be pretty fun!

I am also working on doing at least one kind of physical activity every day for the next 40 days.  I'm pretty good at doing something for five or six days in a row, then I blow it.  I'll be counting even my short ride or walk to and from work, so that is helpful.

What could you do for Lent, Dear Reader?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

This Month's Fix

Stitch Fix is still coming regularly, but I didn't blog last month's picks.  Eh. I kept two things.  One was a dressy-ish blouse that I promptly splashed oil on.  Of course, it was dry clean only.  The other thing I kept was a peacock blue sweater with dolman sleeves (that's the third Fix in a row that included a top with dolman sleeves--what is their obsession with dolman sleeves?).  I kept it only because the color was gorgeous.

Here's the latest:

This skirt is really comfortable and flattering, but it is 6" too long.  I'm probably going to keep it and have a friend shorten it. The stylist wrote, "A maxi skirt by Market & Spruce for your model frame will give you modesty and also still flatter your model height,"  I would have to be a good 4" taller and still wear heels not to trip on it.  I've told her several times that I have a long body and short legs, but I guess it's hard to really understand a person's dimensions when you don't ever see them in person.

You can see how I feel about this top.  Just because I'm turning 50 next week and am going to be a grandmama in a few short weeks doesn't mean that I have to dress like one.  It's from a good company--Kut from the Kloth--but it's made out of icky polyester and has those roll-up sleeves with the tab and button that I loathe.  There are probably people who can wear this and make it look cute, but I am NOT one of them.  I just don't want to, is the thing.  It has too many elements that gross me out.

Both of these tops are meh, M-E-H, meh.  My t-shirt drawer is overflowing, and I can't justify paying $54 and $68, respectively, for them.

This scarf wasn't too expensive, it is soft, and it's pretty cute, so I think I'll keep it.  However, it's hard for me to muster too much enthusiasm for it when it is 91 degrees here today.  It doesn't ever get too cold here, anyway.  Maybe in January I'll wear it to work, or in my office when I am freezing.  I can also wear it in our travels.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


There are some things that give me a nostalgic feeling that almost bring me to tears. Often those feelings are tied to books.

When I was a little girl, we had some book, perhaps it was
It had a picture of a little black-and-white cat in an English garden.  I loved that picture, and when I see Oliver in the yard, surrounded by flowers, my heart overflows with love for him--my sweet little kitten in the garden.

I like to read the blog Luxarrazi, which is all about the Luxembourg and Lichtenstein royal families.  These are Catholic countries, and they are often having big events with their cardinal or archbishop or something.  That august person usually looks like this:
with the big tiara (mitre?  beats me, I'm not Catholic), and the shepherd's crook.  And that, even though I'm not Catholic, brings me back to a book I really loved when I was little (and still love)

I think that's where I originally saw that kind of image, and it brings such a warm, happy feeling to me that I think I might try to hug that person if I ever saw him in person.  (Which would probably be creepy on a number of levels.)

Today, I had another strong feeling of nostalgia (non-book-related), and I almost teared up.  I was able to go into the OR and perform a procedure.  The IR suite isn't quite the same--we wash and gown up beforehand, but not in the same way as the OR.  There's something so special to me about the OR and surgery.  Perhaps if I had completed my medical training earlier in life, I would've become a surgeon, rather than an interventional radiologist.

As I was traveling home from work today, I was thinking about why I felt that way. I think it's because the OR is similar to the temple, and it feels sacred to me.  Here are the similarities I though of:

1)  You have to be worthy to enter.
2)  There is ritual washing.
3)  You are dressed in special ceremonial clothing.
4)  You are doing something that someone cannot do for themselves.
5)  If you're in the right frame of mind, you're in partnership with God.

Maybe that is why something about the OR reaches into my heart and tugs at it in a special way that I can best describe as nostalgia.  Don't get me wrong--my current job is perfect for me, and surgical training would've been a disaster for me to try to go through when I was a resident.  But I will always be just a little jealous of my surgery colleagues, and I will always have that tender feeling when I have the opportunity to join them in the operating room.
My Rad Life!