My three-year-old has this annoying habit of waking up every single night for some reason or another. Usually its for another sippy cup of milk, or to go to the bathroom (we are in the midst of toilet training). Last night was no exception. After getting him the milk, helping him with his pull up, he insisted I sleep with him. It was 4:30 am and rather than fight, I succumbed and crawled into bed with him.
As I was drifting off to sleep, scratching his back, I suddenly had a great idea for a blog post. I had the title and everything. I briefly considered getting up to write it down but thought, “Nah, I’ll remember.”
I don’t remember what the idea was.
It was so brilliant, I swear it was. It was going to mark my comeback to the blogging world.
I thought if I started writing it would come back to me. It hasn’t.
It has been a week since I took myself off social media, well except for Facebook, let’s be honest, I’m not that strong. I have to admit it was easier than I expected it to be. Whenever I felt the need to pick up my phone and open an App, I found myself instead picking up a magazine at the office or reviewing an interesting medical topic on UpToDate.
The one thing I do miss about not being on Instagram is posting photos of my progress on my cross-stitching projects. It was nice to see that other cross-stitchers enjoyed my work and “liked” my photos. I was also apparently missed by a few followers and received messages from them asking why I left.
I left for a number of reasons, many of which I won’t discuss here but suffice it to say it served mainly to rid myself of a desire to watch others at a distance. It was unhealthy and really served no other purpose than to torture me. I created my own prison and couldn’t find a way out, or rather, knew exactly how to get out but didn’t have the courage to do so until last week. The year is coming to an end and a new one is just around the corner. It’s time to move on.
I have decided that I want 2016 to be a year of less Internet voyeurism and instead more real-life interaction. I want to read more books and enjoy life for myself. I want to stop using my phone to take a photo and immediately think, “Oh, that would make a great Instagram post.” I want to live in the present through my own eyes rather than a camera lens. I don’t need anyone to approve my life or “like” what I’m doing, least of all strangers. I also don’t need to provide an open window for my past to watch me through.
Which leads to me this blog. It is the one thing left (other than Facebook but thanks to good privacy controls, I may still keep my accoount) that I still allow my past to witness. I could make this blog private and I might still do so in the new year, I haven’t decided yet. I know there are those who visit my blog whom I no longer see in real life. It used to really bother me that they were visiting my blog and it caused me a lot of frustration and stress. It became an obsession to check the tracking log every day to see if they were back. I am happy to report that that obsession is now over. The website tracking is gone and I kicked another addiction.
Kids were up early. Mommy and daddy slept in. Big sister made breakfast for herself and brothers (read: juice box, cheese and yogurt). Only decaffeinated coffee left. Hustled everyone in the car. Late for school drop-off. Drove to shopping center. Ahh …. coffee.
October was a pretty spectacular running month for me. After a summer plagued with injury I was able to make a comeback and completed my first half marathon. It wasn’t fast but I crossed the finish line at 2:37:17 which was three minutes faster than my goal time of 2:40.
Currently I have no plans for my next race. For someone who swore she’d never enter a race, the fact that I have nothing planned honestly feels strange. Never thought I’d ever say that.
My running goals now are to change my long runs to 10:1 intervals – 10 minutes of running then 1 minute of walking. I would also really like to phase out the walking altogether on my regular runs. I’m also going to start running hill repeats once a week provided no new injuries arise. In the past, hills have always led to some sort of injury so I will keep on eye on that. I have a weight goal as well which is totally silly, but there you have it. It’s the last on my list so it’s not terribly important but I have a number in my head and I would like to reach it. It is likely an unrealistic goal given that I am also doing some weight training and not really being very strict with my diet. One has to live, right?
It all started with a little television show called The X-Files. I was obsessed. Of course aliens are real and have been visiting our planet for decades! Of course the American government covered up the events in Roswell, New Mexico. Now, before my fellow physician colleagues out there call for a psych consult, let me be clear that I don’t really believe any of that. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to think that we, humans, are not alone in this vast universe, but I certainly don’t believe that we are being visited on a regular basis by other intelligent creatures from far away galaxies. Nor are select individuals being abducted from their homes and experimented on in spaceships. (Though, as an aside, have you ever been in an MRI machine? The bangs and clicks those machines make are startling similar to the sounds that abductees often describe. I’m just saying.) The concept of “We are not alone” is an intriguing one. One pervasive human trait is our fear of being alone. I think we pair bond for that reason (and of course to reproduce, but really I think, to avoid being alone). How can we be the only intelligent life in the universe? What makes us special? Was it happenstance? Divine intervention? A fluke?
Speaking of mish mash. On a trip to Montreal about 8 years ago, husband did some research on where to eat and what to do in the city. He found a little greasy spoon outside the city that had a wonderful reputation for something called the mish mash. Apparently this was the place to go to for a hangover breakfast. And that’s exactly what we did. The restaurant was called Cosmos. Run by a Greek family, the house specialty was the mish mash – fried mashed potatoes, bacon, sausage, eggs and anything else you wanted, all mashed up together. Seriously, it was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.
Shockingly, we found out a few years ago that Tony (top) was killed in his home, his son a suspect in the murder. So sad and tragic.
I started this blog in September, 2011. I was a month away from starting back to work after my second maternity leave. I felt like I had learned so much from experiencing pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum depression that I realized how much it helped make me a better doctor and wanted to share some of that experience. Little did I know that three and a half years later, I’d still be writing and would have close to 350 followers! It’s been fun being able to see where all my visitors are from. Some of you are thousands of miles away, others are just hop, skip and a jump from my back door, and some are from cities I’ve never heard of! Some of you are active contributors, others merely quiet observers.
The FB running group I am a part of held a virtual race this weekend to end the month of November. It’s been a pretty crappy month of running for me. One of the worst this year. I’ve been feeling like a sloth all month and with how busy it’s been at work and the multiple illnesses I’ve been plagued with, it’s really no wonder I haven’t been able to run.
But all that changed today. On this final day of November I made a deal with myself that I would get out there today and just do it. And I did. I managed a pretty decent 5 km run to share with my running group. It was a solo run, all my runs are, and it felt great. I suppose actually that this was my first race though the entire time I was running I kept telling myself it wasn’t. Yet by the time I was about 500 meters from the finish (aka home) I found a burst of energy and ran home as if I were crossing a finish line.
Ah, that felt good.
And with that, another NaBloPoMo Is done. Thank you all for all the comments and encouragement. It’s been fun.
My professional trust has been shaken. There was an incident at my office last week. A patient was given a test result over the phone by one of our front desk staff without consulting with the physician (wasn’t me) first. This patient was told his results were all normal but in fact one critical result was not yet reported and he wasn’t told that. So he was under the assumption that all if his tests were back and reported as normal. You can imagine his surprise when he was called back a few days later and told that the one test he wanted a result on was in fact was never done by the lab and he needed to repeat it.
The physician, my colleague, was quite upset by the encounter and rightly so. This physician confronted out staff and explained in no uncertain terms that any test result given to a patient must first be authorized by the attending physician. Obviously the assumption is that our staff are not trained in interpreting results nor would they know if all tests that were done were in fact reported back.
Yet on that same day, this colleague was covering lab results for another colleague (not me) and instead of reviewing the labs as requested, the physician delegated the task to the front desk staff. “Please look at Dr.X’s labs and tell me if there’s anything abnormal I need to look at.”
On the one hand, the front staff is not competent to give test results to patients without express consent from the attending physician while on the other, the same staff member is competent enough to review test results for the physician?
I have reviewed this physician’s labs on countless occasions when they’ve been away on vacation. I have stayed late doing so as I have an equally busy practice. I am flabbergasted that this physician would actually delegate this task to our staff when they told our colleague they would review the labs. I don’t even know how to address this with the physician, I am so disappointed and upset.
A person’s memory is everything, really. Memory is identity. It’s you.
-STEPHEN KING, Duma Key
Another doctor’s appointment with my dad. I got up at the crack of dawn just as the baby was waking up for his bottle. My dad’s appointment was at a downtown hospital early this morning so I had to hustle to get there on time. They had already started with the nurse when I arrived. She was just starting to get his history as I sat down on the exam room table. Looking around it was your typical hospital office/exam room. I noted the clock on the wall and stared at it for a second, realizing it wasn’t working; I checked my phone to confirm the time. Dad was busy talking away with the nurse. My eyes kept returning to the clock; probably five minutes elapsed before I realized why I was drawn to the clock.
By this point the nurse was starting the memory testing with my dad so while I was trying to pay close attention to how he was doing and mentally trying to remember how to score the test as he did it, several minutes elapsed and I noticed something else about this clock.
It was very surreal. I wish I could describe the thought processes my brain went through when it was trying to reconcile what I was seeing with what I know about how a clock should look and act. When it all came together I almost laughed out loud but I restrained myself as at this point in the interview, my dad was asked to draw a face of a clock and put the hands of the clock on to show a specific time – 10 minutes after 11.
The clock drawing test is a brief but highly informative tool that physicians and psychologists use to test an individual’s executive functioning. It is a very easy test to administer and is part of the screening tests used to diagnose, or exclude, a diagnosis of dementia. My heart skipped a beat when I watched my father do it. He drew the circle, placed the numbers and the hands of the clock correctly, without missing a beat. I’m pretty sure I breathed a sigh of relief when he was done. In fact, most of his cognitive testing was normal, particularly in executive functioning, language and calculation skills. Where he failed was in memory and recall – pretty much exactly what we’ve noticed over the past year or so.
We were reassured in one respect that his issues right now are mild and that 90% of individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment remain stable over time. Yet now as I am reading up on mild cognitive impairment, it is widely considered to be a precursor to Alzheimer’s dementia. I think it might be time to stop reading. He’s going to be seen again next summer and I suppose we will just have to take the “wait and see” approach. Right now there’s nothing we can do and for a doctor who is also a daughter, that’s probably the hardest thing in the world to be told.