Monday, June 30, 2008

Julie & Jeff's Wedding Album

A few photos from this weekend's DC wedding extravaganza. To begin with, Julie being escorted down the aisle by her father.
Aunt Susie, why do you have a nosering?
Grandma Pat with little James O'Malley.
Susie & Andy horsing around at dinner.
Henry distorted reflection in a vase of flowers.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sophie Turns 1

What a difference a year makes!

Not only is my hair much, much shorter than in the picture on the left, but my pint-sized daughter Sophie--2 days old in the photo--is now 366 days older and wiser. She turned 1 on June 28th.

We were in Washington, D.C. at the wedding of my sister's sister-in-law Julie to long-time beau Jeff. Sophie visited the White House for the first time since our hotel was only a few blocks away.

After many flight mishaps in both directions, we're safe at home in Boston--and exhausted. I'll write more & post more pics tomorrow. Congrats to Jeff & Julie!
Sophie wanted to tell George Bush what a crappy job he is doing but he wasn't around.
Mom & Dad were given serious baby-sitting responsibilies during the wedding. Cousins James & Sophie were both fairly well-behaved during the ceremony, much to the relief of their parents.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Non-Vomitus Sophie

Before we leave for this weekend's marriage of my sister's sister-in-law in D.C., I'm posting a few more flattering pics of Sophie to make up for the fact that the last picture I put up was after she had puked all over herself last Sunday.

Happy to report that all Hellmans are feeling much better.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

#2 on the Way!

It's been awhile since I've blogged, but it's been a heck of a few days at the Hellman household as my excuse.

Let's share the good news first: Claire is 20 weeks pregnant and all is going well! We had the ultrasound yesterday which demonstrated that Sophie will have a LITTLE BROTHER, due on November 24th. We're very excited.

Now the bad news: Claire, Sophie, and I were all hit with a very contagious GI bug which I believe Sophie picked up in day care. It started with Sophie who on Sunday afternoon began projectile vomiting in the car (see photo). Then Claire caught the bug on Monday night, preventing her from enjoying a very nice meal at an Italian restaurant in the North End for our end-of-the-year Fellow's dinner. On Tuesday I started feeling unwell and decided to leave work (for the record: I have never skipped a day of work for illness for either residency or fellowship until now), and on the way home, puked orange Gatorade all over our car on the way out of the Brigham & Women's parking lot. As icing on the cake, our friend Cecile, who had courageously volunteered to babysit Sophie, last night came down with the same illness. This is one contagious virus, whatever it is (?rotavirus ?Norwalk agent) but fortunately, the duration seems to be relatively short (about 48 hours later and I think I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow). And I took this as an opportunity to wash our car which has been puked on twice, both inside and out, in the past 2 days...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bike Ride Pics

Here are some pics on my bike ride today around the Cambridge/Somerville/Charlestown area. We are in the process of house-shopping, and I wanted to be certain that the places we are looking at are in reasonable biking distance of my future laboratory.

Pic #1: M.I.T. Building in Cambridge with Imposingly Large Windows.

Pic #2: Who decided that this would be a suitable acronym?
Pic #3: Funky Stained Glass Lighting on Graffiti Wall in Cambridge
Pic #4: Those M.I.T. Dorks are at it again: the "Miracle of Science Bar & Grill."

Pic #5: Barbecue at fellow Duluthian Nils' place in South Boston showing off his 3-month old daughter Carolina.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Splish Splash

A short entry today (as I'm busy preparing tomorrow's Journal Club presentation on the Renal Assist Device) of Sophie taking a bath. I like the way the splashed water turned out on film. Sophie turns 1 year old in just over a week!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics Blowout Victory

Sophie says: "The Boston Celtics are #1!" What a fun game to watch yesterday (if you were a Celtics fan--a Lakers fan, not so much).

Mom & Dad treated us to an outstanding dinner last night at Legal Sea Food. Very tasty. It was a quick trip by my parents to Beantown but we will fortunately see them again in about a week and a half at a family wedding.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

12:00 Left!

Only 12:00 left in tonight's Game 6 Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals Game...barring a monumental letdown by the Celts, it looks like Boston is on its way to winning its 17th NBA title!

To recap, my arrival in Boston has coincided with:
1. Boston Red Sox winning the World Series.
2. New England Patriots going 19-0 in regular season, playing in and nearly winning the Super Bowl.
3. Boston Celtics beating long-time rivals L.A. Lakers for the NBA title.

In unrelated news, does anybody else besides me get totally annoyed with automated faucets? The kind which senses when your hands approach and then dispenses about 5 milliliters of water? What was wrong with the traditional models?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Throw Me The Idol and I'll Throw You The Whip

I'm currently watching Game 5 of the Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals. I'm obviously ecstatic about the Celts' chances of winning the title, but there's also a part of me that's secretly rooting for L.A. to win Games 5 & 6 so that the series can go the distance and obtain "legend" status. By the way, Paul Pierce is playing totally awesome tonight.

If you hadn't seen a movie in the theaters for 6 months and had the opportunity to see just one--what would you choose? Well my wife & I chose "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" last Wednesday, as Claire's mom agreed to babysit while we took in a film for the first time in a long while. My review? It had its moments, but overall was so-so. It was overly goofy at times, but at least its spirit was in the same vein as the original movies. Also, I loved the car/motorcycle chase scene on the university campus, which was clearly filmed on the Yale campus where I went to college.

Link of the Day: my parents are coming to visit Boston this week. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Isn't it a rule that all kids have to like ice cream? Sophie recently had her first experience with ice cream. It was a lemon-flavored ice thingee, and at first you can tell that she is turned off by the bitter taste--but after realizing that it's also quite sweet, she comes back for more!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tonsillectomy for Kidney Disease?

Believe it or not, there is actually a kidney disease where one of the recommended (albeit controversial) treatments is a tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils) .

Before accusing nephrologists of charlatanism, hear me out: the disease is termed IgA Nephropathy (which happens to be the most common form of inflammation of the kidneys that we see), and it tends to get worse with episodes of strep throat. The rationale here is that by removing the tonsils, you can decrease the risk of strep throat infection, and thereby limit the amount of kidney damage which takes place. I have a patient in this situation right now whom we are presently trying to convince to have his tonsils out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So we treated my wonderful mother-in-law with an unexpected Boston summertime treat last night while she was trying to fall asleep: BATS.

2 bats flew in through the open windows and were flying around the room as we were about to go to bed. My first instinct was to rush to my camera and document the scenario as shown above. After accomplishing this task, I next sprinted through the living room and opened wide our front windows & balcony door. Eventually, after about 5 minutes or so, the bats eventually found their way out. Stupid bats--you'd think with their vaunted sonar they could have found the exit a little sooner.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Altruistic Kidney Donation

There are two ways to get a kidney transplant: (a) find one yourself in the form of a living donor--typically from a friend or relative, or (b) wait for 3-5 years for a cadaveric to become available.

There's a third option which is apparently becoming increasingly popular: altruistic donation. There are some individuals in society who wish to donate their kidney anonymously to somebody who needs it. Ethically, this is accepted as an option given that for the most part, patients can get by with a single kidney very well provided they don't have any other health problems (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, etc).

We just transplanted two patients with altruistically-donated kidneys in the past few weeks. The recipients of such kidneys (taken from the waiting list for cadaveric kidneys) are actually quite lucky given that kidneys from living donors often last much longer than kidneys from cadaveric donors.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Busy Saturday

Just got back home from a Saturday packed with activities. It started with a waffled breakfast courtesy of yours truly...and then we met the ex-St. Louis gang for a brewery tour at the Sam Adam's factory in nearby Jamaica Plains. Perhaps not as awe-inspiring as the Budweiser tour in our former home of St. Louis, but fun nonetheless.

The next step on the day's itinerary was hiking about at Thoreau's beloved Walden Pond. When we last visited last Fall, there was hardly anybody there but us. Today the tiny beach was packed.
It was a miracle we all had the energy to BBQ at Heidi's place...Sophie's high energy smiles kept us all going.
Au revoir & have a great rest of the weekend, everybody!

Friday, June 06, 2008

St. Louis Reunion

What a treat this past Thursday night...St. Louis friends and basketball!

Some of my MD-PhD mates from St. Louis are visiting Boston this weekend, and one of them (Doran--pictured at left meeting Sophie for the first time) came over to watch some NBA basketball just like the old days. Also in attendance were Claire, Mami Christine, Tom & Lisa.

Sophie's walking is improving on a daily basis and today walked all the way from Beacon Street to Commonwealth Ave holding mom's hand! A historic occasion.

By the way, I thought Game 1 of Celts-Lakers was phenomenal from my perspective--a close game with some interesting subplots and the right outcome (a Celtics victory). Some ferocious dunks by Garnett. Kobe ended up scoring 24 on an off-night and I was still scared shitless the entire game that he could erupt at any moment. Pierce's comeback from an injury was a great subplot--had his injury been as bad as originally feared, it could have been one of the biggest letdowns in NBA Finals history. Instead his Willis Reed-like return and subsequent draining of several key three point shots will make this game go down in history as the "Paul Pierce Unexpected Return from a Seemingly Serious Knee Injury Game."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Toys Toys Toys

Monday, June 02, 2008

Grocery Shopping Avec Mami Christine

Sophie's French Grandma (Mami Christine) is in town and on Sunday we all celebrated by the occasion by....going grocery shopping! It's actually one of Sophie's favorite activities since she gets to sit in the shopping cart, get waved at by plenty of strangers, and we sometimes even open a package of animal crackers for her to munch on while strolling the aisles. I also took some pictures of Sophie with some of her favorite foods, including (left) "La Vache Qui Rit" (The Laughing Cow)-brand soft cheese...

...and also the incredibly versatile Pepperidge Farm "Goldfish" crackers...
...and we knew we had a true Frenchie on our hands when she started to chow down on this block of gouda cheese.

Sophie et Mami Christine at the end of a long days' shopping.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Obesity & Dialysis

Congratulations to my father who is the senior author on a paper just recently published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases describing the dialysis of a the fattest patient (466 kilograms, or 1,024 pounds) ever reported in the literature.

The challenge is on!