Friday, November 30, 2007

My First Blogaholics Anonymous Post-Addicted to The Web

I joined Dr A's Blogaholic 's Anonymous group this past summer but never wrote a post for there until now. The post is self explanatory. The post is called Addicted To The Web which really is the name of the Winter Wonderland ditty that gave me the courage along with Nightime Theraflu to go over there to write. We'll see how SeaSpray feels about it in the morning.

If I don't get into bed right now I am going to fall asleep on the keyboard...Y-A-W-N x 10 while just trying to write this paragraph. is that one of the criteria for being a blogaholic...faalling asleep on the keyboard? ;)

P.S. I just want to say that I called one of my docs today to ask about OTC meds I've been taking because I have been living on Theraflu around the clock and was wondering if I should switch to Robitussin or something. He said I could keep taking the Theraflu but to drink tea with honey and lemon. Oh my gosh!!! What a wonderful difference. I feel like it opens up the airway so much better and is coating my throat blocking the drip from starting the God awful cough spasm that makes me feel like my eyeballs are going to pop out while simultaneously expelling my bladder! Just the Theraflu was making me uncomfortably dry but in conjunction with the tea/honey and much better. Now I may end up with brown acid eaten teeth before this is over with but at least the cough will be under control. I am going to drink so much of it tomorrow that the mug will appear to be a permanent appendage to my body. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

12 Days of Anatomy

Okay...just one more because I LOVE this! I am already singing I just have to memorize it. ;)

Carols For the Psychiatrically Challenged

The Worst Moment in My Life!

I was over at MedFriendly's today and his post and someone's comment triggered a memory of my not being able to process information normally because of the extreme stress I was experiencing. I never would have thought it could've happened to me but I shut down. I would like to think that I would have snapped out of it and become productive -fortunately I didn't have to find out.
* I know this is long and so I have broken it up into 5 parts (on the same page) for anyone so inclined to read it but not wanting to endure a long post. Think of it as 5 short posts! :) I think I should put up a funny post soon after this one.

Part I - Background
I am going to describe some of my personality traits as I see them to set up for why I surprised myself in how I reacted in a potentially serious situation. I am prefacing the important part of the post with the following because I am so ashamed and embarrassed at how I crumbled and got hysterical and was useless when I was needed the most.

Well first of all I think I had to grow up early because of circumstances when I was a young girl. I have felt like I needed to parent my mother since I was 12. (She was/is a good person and didn't do horrible things ever, but she lacked good parenting skills and due to some unfortunate circumstances in her/our lives seemed unable to cope with a budding adolescent among other things and so I feel like our rolls reversed. But that is a post for another time.) I said that because I learned early on if I didn't do it- then things didn't get done. I consider myself a level headed thinker. I don't "react" to people that go over the edge themselves and always manage to stay composed and even smile regardless of what I am really feeling. I forgive easily-ever the peacemaker. I also think I am good when a crisis hits or there is an emergency of some sort. Many times in my life I have been the go to person for help or guidance. I can be strong willed, determined and principled if it is important. Some people will say things like "Why bother? It's not going to make a difference anyway." That is s-o-o-o-o not me because I really believe there is always hope and the promise of new possibilities. I am optimistic and can usually see the good even in the bad. If there is a problem and you can't go over then go under or go around...there is usually a way. Even as a teenager...I never succumbed to peer pressure. I always had the ability to reason things through. I am strong in abstract thinking and can totally step outside myself and see the larger picture. I have a very strong faith in God and do believe that no matter what is happening in life that all things will work out for good even when we don't understand at the time. I believe fear is the opposite of faith…I know it.

Now I can just hear some of the people that know me in real life that are reading this saying "and WHEN...are getting to your FLAWS? Yeah...I guess I have one or two...ahem. ;) I pretty much hide my more serious side and will usually present more animated and perky particularly if I am enjoying the people I am with. I know I come across ditzy at times (I really do have those Lucy moments) and fortunately I can laugh with the best of them. And if I am totally comfortable with someone I will share my hurts and weaknesses and even cry if I need to. There have been many times in my life where people from all walks of life have totally been there for me and given me a shoulder to lean on or helped me back up when I was down. That's what it is all about anyway...right…that we are there for each other?

I also want to add that I have always been a protective and sometimes over protective parent of our sons. (I know from experience how sometimes even the people you trust can sometimes be dangerous. (Fortunately my guardian angel took good care of me) I was always careful about who the boys were with, where they were as well as what TV shows they watched or music they listened to and kept the computer out in the open. I welcomed the kids to hang out at our house because then I knew who their friends were and what was going on. (I also think it is important for parents to build a good relationship with your child's friends and parents when possible, but I digress. I did have to work, but I did 3-11's PT so they rarely had to go to babysitters. I was there for them. I am just as protective with Devan.

Part II - Where is she?
A few years ago, when Devan had just turned 4, I brought her to church with younger son and me. We brought her downstairs to the preschool Sunday school class. They gave you pagers in case the child needed you and took all of your names down. (I think that is a great idea) We left her happily playing with the other kids.

This church is a large, thriving and growing church that is filled with people of all ages. That day, son and I were toward the front. It takes awhile for the sanctuary to empty because there are 4 aisles all leading out to the one exit into the lobby and people stop to say hello to pastor and his wife (who is also a pastor) and then head out into a very packed lobby. There are also kids coming upstairs from Sunday school and emptying out from the teenager groups on the other side of the lobby. Halfway up the aisle I stopped to talk with someone. I wasn't concerned with rushing downstairs because it is packed and you move inches at a time and then have to wait to get to the door of the classroom and she liked to play as long as she could.

When son and I went in to get her I didn't see her with the other kids. An internal mini alarm was starting to go off. I calmly asked the girl where Devan was. The girl looking somewhat puzzled said "Devan? Your with Devan? She walked out with some other people. I thought she was with them?" Just seconds from totally losing it I somehow calmly managed to say "What people?" She said "I don't know... they just came and got the kids." Now with an escalating voice" YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT PEOPLE?????" "OH MY GOD!" I said as I reeled around looking back into the hallway that still had people coming and going. I was getting a sinking, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. From this point on it was like time stopped. I don't remember ANY of the faces around me. Not even my son's face. I mean it never registered with me if he looked upset. I am sure he was! Before I even stepped into the hall I had a mental picture of sweet little Devan scared in the back of a stranger's car and being carted off somewhere for no good purpose. I looked both ways down the hallway and called for her but I felt like I couldn't see. Obviously, I could see but my emotions were so strong that I apparently was unable to process what was happening around me and it was all blurring together and I was only going through the motions and beginning to feel a disconnect. I bolted into the room across the hall to see if she had gone in there because she liked the toys in that room. She had played in there when she was at a harvest event and didn't want to leave that time. I saw the teacher and blurted out "DEVAN IS MISSING, MY LITTLE GRANDDAUGHTER IS MISSING!" She immediately came over to me and said she hadn't seen her and reassured me that they would find her. Like a fast moving zombie (it was all so surreal) I went back down the hall toward the stairs. I was simultaneously thinking "Oh my God...What am I going to tell her parents??? All these news images were rushing into my brain about missing children and the devastation! I saw the Sunday school director by the stairs and blurted out that Devan was missing. Oblivious to my history with meniscal tears I then bolted up the stairs and don't know how I did it but it must have been the adrenaline.

I darted into the lobby, quickly scanned it. To my dismay it had mostly cleared by now and the parking lot was looking pretty empty. I still couldn't really process visually but when I looked over to my right I saw the pastor, felt a momentary relief because he feels like a real go to kind of guy and I have always felt secure around him. He's just a take charge guy and gets things done. I do remember his face when I blurted out "PASTOR___, DEVAN'S MISSING...MY LITTLE BABY GRANDDAUGHTER IS MISSING!!!!" His eyes got really wide and he came right over to me. Then he or someone else asked what she looked like and what she was wearing. I managed to get that out and then began to cry hysterically...I was useless from that point! I remember turning around to look back out the lobby doors that were opened wide and now all I saw was bright light. All the people, whatever was outside blended into that light and I just couldn't see. I was totally consumed by the mental image I had of her in the backseat of a stranger's car while driving down the hill of the church parking lot onto the main road. Somewhere in the process I know I had thoughts of calling the police, get someone out to the parking lot to check all the cars that were leaving but I never actually said it to anyone and I don't know why. I guess the shock of it all.

The Sunday school teacher who had been in the other class room came over to me and said "C'mon...lets pray." I was sobbing but nodded yes. She wrapped her arms around me and held me close to her. I know she was praying but I really couldn't hear her words. The only two things I was aware of was the comfort of being in her arms as I had basically collapsed onto her while still sobbing and her voice. Not her words…just her voice. Everything seemed to stop around me as though we were outside of time-it seemed forever. As I said it was surreal.

Part III- Pizza!

But then someone shouted from out side “WE FOUND HER!” Then some other voices from in the lobby also shouted “THEY FOUND HER!” Then someone closer said in a soft normal tone said “Look here she is…she’s alright.” I turned around and the only person I saw was Devan who was looking all wide eyed and innocent. I do remember smiling and saying “Devan! Thank God you’re alright!” I hugged her close to me and started crying all over again. I looked up and saw younger son smiling as he was looking down at us. At that moment they were the only 2 people in the lobby that I was aware of. Then the young girl who had let the children out of the class came up the stairs and came right over to me to apologize. She kept repeating how sorry she was and I told her accidents can happen and that it was alright and I hugged her. Somewhere in those reunion moments I heard some people telling me that she went outside for pizza. (The youth group was selling pizza outside at the bottom of the church steps) It turns out that some people who were picking their kids up were telling them that they were going to buy them pizza that was being sold outside. Devan heard that, decided she wanted pizza too and so she followed them.

I don’t remember who found her. I don’t remember who was telling me that she went outside for pizza although I do remember some adults chuckling at that point because of the cuteness and innocence of it all. I don’t remember what the girl who was watching the class looked like even though I talked to her and even hugged her and I don’t remember the sweet woman who prayed for us and held me close. To this day…I don’t know who she was. (I am not consistent about going to church and there are a lot of people.)The only faces I remember at that time are the Sunday school director, the pastor, my son and Devan. This all transpired over 5 maybe 10 minutes at the most but it felt like an eternity.

I know I talked to her about why she should never do that again but I don’t remember at what point. After we got home I couldn’t take my eyes off of her for awhile and kept imagining what could have happened. I also thanked God she was safe. And I dreaded telling my son and daughter-in-law but they were very understanding. They also chuckled when they heard she followed them out because she wanted pizza too. I still felt awful about it. It was what it was and it was an accident. I will be forever grateful that it had a happy ending.

Part IV- Good from Bad

It could have ended so differently! At any point along the way someone could have easily taken her off the church property. If I hadn’t stopped to talk to that woman in the sanctuary it probably wouldn’t have happened. I guess it still could have if the people still got back down there before us.

Something good that came out of this is that the pastor called a meeting and they implemented better security measures. Even though there is a door into the room they built a secondary door or gating system. For the main part of the room they added a half door attached to a wall the same height that runs across to the opposite wall enclosing the kids so there is a barrier between them and the main door to the hallway. They also implemented a bracelet system so that they still record the child’s name on a list but they put the child’s name on a wrist ban they have to wear. The only person allowed to pick the child up also has to have a matching bracelet or they will not release the child. They still use the pagers too.

Part V-Afterthoughts

As for my self, it was truly the worst moment of my life. I have had other big scares like when I thought I was going to miscarry our first baby or the time I thought we lost older son in the ocean. I am pretty sure most parents have some traumatic moments where they are experiencing total fear regarding their child’s safety and welfare but what sets this apart is that it felt sinister. All I heard was that she walked out with other people and the girl didn’t know who they were. And so I immediately jumped to the worst conclusion.

I hate that I went into hysterical mode. I am used to working in an emergent environment. Granted it wasn’t in a city hospital where you have all the major traumas but rather it was a community hospital, but they still get their share of serious and stressful stuff. Plus we trained for disasters and had to take tests annually on the procedures for various codes. BTW…one of them was called a code Lindbergh which involved the protocol for finding children abducted in the hospital!

Finally, fear is the opposite of faith. I have a very strong faith in God. Yes, bad things still happen to good people whether they believe in God or not and we often don’t understand why. But where was my faith at that moment? How did I succumb to fear like that? Once when I actually thought I might have just seconds to live (lost control of a car when I was 17) I remember going up the embankment into the air, seeing the car lights on the tall grass contrasting the night sky. I resigned my self to the fact that we might die and I didn’t scream and my last thoughts were “here we go”. That was it…faced with possible death not a whimper from me. God forbid anything this serious should happen again but if it does I hope I remember what I could have done better this day and then do it.

I guess we never really know what we will do in certain situations until we are in them. I will cut my self a break with one thing and that is I know it is difficult to be emotionally involved when there is a serious situation. One night just before my shift was over… I got a call from a family member stating that my husband’s grandmother was being transported by the paramedics to the ER. So I asked the house supervisor if I could stay in the cardiac room with her when she got there. Admittedly, just a few minutes before she got there I had second thoughts because I started feeling uncomfortable about it and told her I would wait in the waiting room with family. I felt better being with the family. I am thinking that because of their training that most medical or emergency personnel would be able to override their true feelings and do whatever they need to do although not the optimum choice. I do believe that wild horses couldn’t keep me away if it was my most immediate family. Then again…

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

10 Pound Hairball

Here is a link to a short article about surgeons removing a 10lb. hairball from a girl. There is a link in the article to click on if you want to see just what a 10 lb hairball looks like. I found the shape to be interesting as it seemed to mold with the shape of her internally. Fortunately she got the help she needed and is doing better.

Years ago the lab at our hospital had specimens in jars that they kept on a shelf. One of them was of a hair ball. I used to like to look at the stuff after I dropped off the OP specimens. Gross but intriguing. Anyway, this hairball was a large oval of bound up hair that had been removed from someone and I couldn't imagine how someone could have swallowed all that. It certainly wasn't anywhere near 10lbs.

One night while I was watching Devan I got really concerned because she seemingly started gagging for no reason. She was only 3 and I thought maybe she had put something in her mouth that she shouldn't have. While I was making dinner, she and younger son were having a pillow fight with stuffed animals in the living room and that is when she started gagging. I immediately went in to see what was wrong and asked her if she swallowed something. She shook her head no, that she didn't. She was distressed. I had her go into the bathroom to swish water around in her mouth and spit it into the sink. She still was gagging. I asked more questions, looked in her throat and still nothing. So I reassured her and said it was time to eat. I watched her like a hawk and was contemplating a trip to the ER. (I know that was probably an over reaction but I wasn't convinced there wasn't something else.) Younger son had said stuffing came out of one of the animals and that it probably had gotten in her mouth. I was just concerned that maybe she inhaled a wad of it and is why I thought maybe food would push it down. She was breathing just fine. But it was hard to see her reacting that way but she settled down. A little while later older son came in to pick her up. I told him what had happened and he chuckled a little and said that if she gets even the tiniest hair in her mouth she will start to gag. He asked her if that was what happened and she nodded that is what happened. She got some of the animal stuffing in her mouth. I had asked that too but she was more focused on getting it out. I never did see anything.

Personally, I can't stand to have even the tiniest piece of hair in my mouth. I can feel it instantly and am uncomfortable until it comes out too. Guess I am with Devan there. :)

P.S. I haven't forgotten my Keeping Secrets post. It took a different twist than I had originally planned and have been editing things out and just rethinking it a bit. I wanted to present a hypothetical situation and just wondering what others would have or would do and then other stuff. So...I hope to put it up soon.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Keeping Secrets

I have been thinking about secrets. You know the kind that you can never tell or should never anyway. Didn't someone somewhere say secrets were meant to be broken? Anyway, I have some commitments but I will come back to finish this post ASAP. But SHHH...don't tell anyone. ;)
Have a great day! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Where's the Turkey?

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I am thankful for so much... the many blessings in my life now and for the many blessings yet to come. Wishing everyone and their loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Frazier is a little bit jealous-HILARIOUS!!!

He probably wished he could dive under the bed at that point! Yikes! LOL! :)

I think it is always better to just be ourselves and we will attract the right people and circumstances into our lives - the one's drawn to us because of who we really are. I also think there is a time to let go...really let go because the energy expended in some lost cause of the past robs our precious moments in the present, potentially skewing what could be cherished future opportunities.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How To Handle A Kitchen Fire (34 second clip)

The following is the other part of the e-mail:

At the Fire Fighting Training school they would demonstrate this with
a deep fat fryer set on the fire field. An instructor would don a fire
suit and using an 8 oz cup at the end of a 10 foot pole toss water onto
the grease fire. The results got the attention of the students.

The water, being heavier than the oil, sinks to the bottom where it
instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows
the burning oil up and out. On the open field, it became a thirty foot
high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast. Inside the confines of a
kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room.
Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup creates the
explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.

A friend (Thank you Linda) recently sent me this clip in an e-mail. I really burned my hand today and so got thinking about this clip and am posting it since most of us will be doing even more cooking in the kitchen now that our holiday season is upon us. I didn't know this was as simple as putting a squeezed out damp dishtowel across the top of the pan. I did have a fire extinguisher at one time but would stop to read instructions - this seems quicker providing it is still contained in the pan.

I was cooking something in a big stainless steel frying pan today and when I removed the meat I didn't realize I had pushed the handle around so that it was heating over a candle flame. (Yankee candle Christmas cookie scent) So I firmly grabbed the handle while lifting up the pan which I quickly just dropped onto my glass top stove. *Mental note made...pot heavy-glass top must be strong. I burned the whole rounded padded part of the hand at base of thumb, the entire padded upper part of hand at base of all the fingers most of my middle finger and my entire ring finger which got it the worst.

They say not to do it but I have kept my hand on a big ice pack (that has now melted down) all afternoon and took my last percocet from last winter. I'm glad I had it but that was supposed to be my emergency back-up for a kidney spasm or kidney stone which I know I don't get anymore. The thing is I have only had 2 kidney stone attacks while home. Both were in 2004, 2 weeks apart and I knew immediately what it was because I had seen pts with the pain. I called the ER to say I was coming in but could I take a left over Vicodin I had from knee surgery a few months prior -they said yes. Two weeks later,the second time I had actually had a stent removed that day and so had a percocet in me but began spasming at home. It was so horrendous that the doc said take 2 more. The pain was exacerbating, I was vomiting and in tears. There were 3 more stones. So believe me when I tell you that you are fortunate if you happen to have this kind of medicine in your cabinet if you get a stone..'tis a good thing. I will admit that this burn has me thinking about going to the ER and I'll see how I am doing when the percocet wears off. As it is now as soon as I take my hand off the ice I feel like it is on fire. :(

And about that anyway...years ago, one of the nurses at work told me to keep ice on a little burn I had for as long as I could stand it and I wouldn't get a blister. He was right and I have done that every time since then that I have burned myself. You can always tell when I have been cooking or baking something-there's usually physical proof on me as I seem to have a propensity for branding myself.

I have since read though that you are not supposed to use ice on a burn but I am not sure why. I am not able to tolerate a burn without almost constant ice. I will be surprised if I don't blister this time even with the ice.

It has been tough doing an e-mail and putting up these 2 posts and they are mostly copy and paste. I am a righty and have been trying to do this with my left hand (type and mouse) but have also been using my right hand quickly and even though I try to dry it off have been getting water drops on the keyboard and the mouse. I couldn't get electrocuted, could I?

And what is it with family leaving one ice cube in each of the 4 trays? That's why my hand is now in a melted bag of ice water right now. The ice bag evidently has a leak and so that is in a plastic bag and my hand is in the mix. I guess there's always frozen vegetables.

Well that's it. All prayers welcome for quick healing. Thank you. :)

P.S. On the up husband finished cooking the dinner and will do clean up.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cookies

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Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cookies

(cookies in pic are similar yet different than mine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cream together: 1 cup shortening, 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar

Then add: 1 1/2 Cup of pumpkin and 1 egg (sometimes I add a bit more pumpkin, but not much more) Cream together

In a separate bowl mix together: 2 cups of sifted flour, 1tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1tsp. of cinnamon (I like cinnamon so I always add 1 heaping Tbs. instead of the tsp.)

Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix well.

Then add 1 cup each of raisins, walnuts and butterscotch bits

Mix together and drop in tsp. on to cookie sheet. (can do Tbs. and bake longer - adjust time accordingly.)

Bake approximately 10 minutes - ovens vary (Cookies will rise and not spread out far and so you can get a lot on one pan)

While baking - make frosting

Frosting: heat on low - 3 Tbs. butter, 4 tsp. milk and add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. When cooler, add 1 cup of confectionary sugar and 3/4 tsp. vanilla.

Ice cookies while they are warm.

(I add and mix together as soon as everything is melted. Also, sometimes frosting starts to dry by the time ready for last batch and then I just stir in a small amount of milk.)


p.s. I usually "only" make these for Thanksgiving and so they have become a Thanksgiving tradition that everyone looks forward to, which is a good thing since I DON'T do pies! :)

It's time to start baking the Thanksgiving Pumpkin cookies. Devan has been asking about doing that with me for a while now. :) Since I don't do pies these wonderful cookies have been my special tradition. I ONLY make them for Thanksgiving and once gone that is it, which is what makes them so special...well that and they're good as in decadent good. :) Everyone wants them and they go really fast. I have been making them since 1977 the 1st fall we moved into our house. Once a person stopped my husband when he was out somewhere and said he heard all about these good cookies I made. Evidently my husband's uncle raved about them to this guy. That warmed my heart. :) I never shared the recipe and no one else made them. Then about 5 years ago I brought the cookies up to the hospital and gave the recipe out as the requests came in. Now it's not so secret anymore. :) Last year for the 1st time I made them in December especially for urodoc's office and they really liked them. Oh and I made some for my private Doc in February. I think I will break tradition again and make them up until Christmas...I'll see. I will be seeing him at the end of the month and if I have time I will bring them another batch of pumpkin cookies. Last year I gave them a lot of food for Christmas but I think I will just do these cookies this time. I have fun bringing the food in my Longaberger baskets because a. I like to use them b. they're convenient c. they make a nice presentation and d. the ladies like the baskets. So it's just fun to do that for them. :)

I love this time of year! All the holidays, getting dark early, cold weather and being cozy. I'm grateful for our blessings and hope that I am a blessing to others-most of the time anyway. :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ferguson Speaks From The Heart

Wow! I don't see that many late night shows but when I do, Craig is my favorite. I give him a lot of credit for taking the stand that he did. In the 2nd shorter clip he is interviewed about the stand he took. It is refreshing to see someone want to take the high road. (Be sure to watch the top clip first and then you will appreciate the interview in the lower one.)

This is a powerful monologue particularly because it was through this medium, from a source (comedian) you wouldn't expect, as a guy who has walked the walk and has earned the right to talk the talk. However, Craig being Craig ...there is humor laced all through this and yet he remains on track with his important message.

In self disclosing about his own past he demonstrates sensitivity and gratitude along with compassion toward others, particularly Britney Spears because she was making the headlines at the time (sadly, still is). His candor is refreshing as is his wanting to be supportive of people floundering in their addictions by not knocking them down with with jokes, etc.. I agree with him. We are all human. Sometimes we make poor choices. Sometimes we make these choices over and over and over again. But there is always hope for a new beginning. Kudos to Craig Ferguson!

I was just looking up tickets to go to the performance of the Nutcracker Ballet in December at (I would love to bring little Devan to see it) when I came across tickets being sold to see Craig Ferguson in February. I couldn't find tickets for the ballet but will check with a local book store. I would really like to see Craig Ferguson and hopefully I can get some other people to go too. He had me with his Scottish accent before I even realized just how funny he is. He did a monologue on VP Dick Cheney shooting his friend that was absolutely hysterical. (of course not funny to get shot...just Craig's version) Maybe I will post that if I can find it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Conflicted Patient is November Guest Blogger

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Dr. Dominic Carone, PH.D., author of the MedFriendly blog has recently asked me to write a guest post for his blog. I decided to write a post about myself called "The Conflicted Patient" in which I describe some of my internal struggles relating to the medical professionals as I emotionally project myself from the stretcher to their side of things while simultaneously trying to be "just" a patient.

I have been thoroughly enjoying the Medfriendly blog and highly recommend it as a good read. (It is on my blogroll) Not only is it interesting, informative and fun but it also contains good links as well as it is a good source for medical terminology.

Dr Carone, thank you for inviting me to write a guest post for your blog. I am both honored and pleased to write for you and to be included in your list of esteemed fellow bloggers. Thanks again for the opportunity. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Am An Artist

I have never done this before but I was so impressed with the eloquent comment The Happy Hospitalist left on the White Coat Rants blog that I asked if I could please post it on my blog. He graciously agreed and so Happy Hospitalist...thank you for sharing. :) I also want to add a link to the comment - I Am An Artist because there is an anonymous person leaving some comments refuting the picture that he (Happy H) painted, basically stating that doctors do little good. But read for yourselves as I don't want to misrepresent this person, although I vehemently disagree with the statement about the doctors.

WhiteCoat's post is called"Will Primary Care Be There When We Need It?". White Coat recently wrote a moving post called "The Little Things" which is both heartwarming and inspirational. It's this girl's opinion that anyone crossing this ER Doc's path will be all the better for it, whether as a patient, in his personal life or any blogger that might be passing through his site.

Everyone knows our health care system is a mess. Anyone perusing the med blogs is familiar with the concerns expressed by the physicians and other health care professionals. My stats show that my post on socialized medicine gets more hits than anything else I have written. Every day people are coming in to read that post which BTW is just my opinions/concerns expressed, but I added several informative links to docs who posted about the topic. Although... rivaling for 2nd place in my stats are people hitting on my kidney stone post vs any post I have written or joke I have put up about peeing. (some of the searches are hilarious and I may post them sometime-I will say a trend seems to be developing) I would also say that based on my stats on urological topics researched leading people to my blog, that urology is a secure field to go in to. We all need our plumbing to be in working order. :) But I digress and so here is The Happy Hospitalist's post.

I Am An Artist

This is my response to Anne on WhiteCoat Rants as he worries about "Will Primary Care Be There When We Need It?

Anne. As a physician I will be the first to say that part of being a great physician is knowing what you know but more importantly knowing what you don't know. I am a physician, someone who devoted a great part of my youth(my entire 20's) to learning the art of medicine. I trained in the footsteps of other great physicians, who themselves have devoted a great deal of their entire lives to training people like me. I am a physician, not a provider.

I am separated from providers by my vastly superior knowledge base, (let me repeat that, vastly superior knowledge base), my integrative training capabilities, my wide range of developing the differential diagnosis, my understanding of horses and zebras and when to look and when to look the other way. Medicine is not a book. It is an art. No matter how hard you try to package medicine, it will never be a book. I have learned the art of medicine and will continue fine tuning that art for the rest of my career. My service to you, as a physician is to promise you the art of medicine. You can think of me as a highly scientific painter.

No painter, no matter who hard they try will ever be able to paint the exact same painting, ever. Anne, you are my painting, for which my artistic brush has created, what I believe, to be the best possible picture of health, based my my artistic abilities. You are different from every other person on this earth. You are living art. And a great physician will treat you as their greatest painting ever, every time.

There is no provider of medicine, no matter how many years of practice, that will ever be able to promise you the art of medicine.

Anne, you can read a medical book yourself, but you will never be able to practice the art of medicine without the intense training, experience and knowledge base that medical doctors achieve by way of their rigorous training. Any provider who claims otherwise fails the first rule of being a great physician. You must know what you don't know. Nobody can Google their way to great painting, no matter how great the Internet is.

Having providers assume the role of primary care is flawed on so many fronts. (You are making the assumption that they would even want to based on the current decimated reimbursment scheme, but that is an entirely different post)

A doctor is so much more than prescribing drugs, ordering labs, and reading xrays. It is understanding why, why not, how, how much, how little, how come, how do you do, every time, all the time. When you see your doctor for that 10-15 minute visit, so much is going on through your doctors mind that involves the art of medicine, every time, all the time. Something a provider will never understand. What you see from a doctor of medicine is but the sliver of a tip of that ice berg of knowledge in your doctors mind, something a provider will never be able to offer.

When you see your doctor for one medical problem and you get upset that the fee is too high for the information received, understand that your information is but a minuscule aspect of thousands of bits of knowledge in your doctors mind, which he/she is inter playing with each other to determine the best drug, the best lab, the best test to evaluate. You are paying for the artist, not the book. And beautiful art priceless.

I have seen more cases of everything you can ever imagine in a vast array of situations (acute and chronic), in my seven years of post graduate training than any provider will see in a life time.

A provider is the single chapter of a library of books, but will never be the art. Wishing for providers to take over primary care, is like wishing for a field full of chapters of knowledge, but no artists.

Artists create a beautiful world by thinking outside that box of knowledge, driving innovation and forcing greatness.

If you pay a provider, understand what you are getting, but more importantly, what you are not getting. I am not arrogant, I am not eggocentric. And I am not God. I am reality. I am an artist and a damn good one.

I will leave it at that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

SeaSpray Quote

"If there was a DYFS for houseplants... all my plants would be in foster homes." ~SeaSpray~

I just said this over at Dr Keagirl's Urostream blog in response to her post regarding her concern in killing her office plants. For anyone that may not know, DYFS stands for the Division of Youth and Family Services.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ever Go Too Far with a Prank?

Yesterday morning I was calm and just kind of waking up. I casually pulled the coffee maker out from under the cabinet when to my absolute HORROR I first saw these huge black muscular spider legs (the kind that I fear most) that were attached to a BIG spider body! I was so scared that I didn't scream because it took my breath away and all I could do was inhale hard and fast! Then I realized it was one of those big fake spiders that came in a bag for Halloween. With my next breath I yelled, "CHRISTOPHER!" to which I heard him just cracking up in laughter at the computer desk. He KNOWS how much I don't like spiders, especially the big hairy muscular ones. (shiver) If I were going to be phobic it would be over spiders. :)

I love a good joke or prank and he got me good. But ya know..joke revenge is sweet..thus saith SeaSpray. :)

If ever I deserved a revenge joke it was over a prank I played on someone when I was 23. It is probably the worst thing I ever did to anyone -ever and boy did I incur wrath and deservedly so. God forgive me but I did see humor in it (but it was wrong, wrong wrong) and so did the others that witnessed it. It was my idea and I set it up. I just had a little help from the guy next door in getting the object from the pond. After the fact and after laughing, I finally realized the error of my ways and so I apologized profusely but to no avail. Then the apology was accepted or there was a truce of sorts but then the next day I started to tell someone and started laughing all over again which totally obliterated any chance of that person believing I was sorry. All I am going to say here is that it involved a real SNAKE. (I deserved a thousand spiders in my bed - I know - and I did wonder)
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Personally, if someone played a prank on me with real spiders...yes they would scare me..BIG TIME but I would still see the humor, maybe not right away... but I'd come around. I always loved the pranks that Hawkeye & co. on M.A.S.H. played on various individuals and by the way so did this person. But knowing what I know now..would I do it again? No, absolutely not! Things are not funny if they hurt someone in any capacity. Maybe if we didn't have to make a trip to the ER..(I'm kidding!) one was hurt physically. I was outside and an event occurred that caused me to get the idea. It wasn't like I was prone to dreaming up ways to scare people with all just kind of fell into place.

Chalk it up to the ignorance and insensitivity of youth. I haven't picked up a snake since then. :)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Coffee Quest

funny cartoon of coffee pot that has overflowed; coffee-addicted woman is using straw to slurp coffee off floor


You’re not waiting for Mr. Right, you’re waiting for Mr. Coffee

It’s midnight and you’re weighing the pros and cons of making a new pot

Your favorite entree:
coffee meatloaf

Part I

Before I get into my story, I am going to digress for a bit to explain that I am in no way a connoisseur of fine coffees. I am not at all a fussy person. As a matter of fact, when it came to home brewed coffee the closest I ever came to that was pouring boiled water into a cup with freeze dried Taster's Choice. I did that for about 20 years. If I was entertaining, I always had someone else help me make coffee because I was never exactly sure how it would taste when I made it. Once we had some relatives visiting from MN along with other family and I put on a pot of coffee which I hadn't tasted first before serving. I decided to have a cup after they left. Oh dear wonder no one wanted seconds-it was AWFUL! I had used a can that had been opened but I didn't remember the last time I used it...months at least. Amazingly, they drank it. Nothing like trying to poison your out of state relatives! (Ahhh...just the thought of it reminds me of Trench Doc's red velvet cake story where his little old lady schizophrenic patient put rat poison in the cake at a family reunion that people from out of state attended, but I digress.) I am the only one in my family that drinks coffee. My husband and sons didn't/don't and so I never bothered to make it for just me and I wasn't at all familiar with how to store coffee or shelf life etc.. Just never thought about it.

I think the ER coffee was always so good when freshly brewed. The smell of it wafting down the hall was as good as opening a fresh can and taking that 1st intoxicating inhale. Having a cup of coffee there if possible during a busy shift or s-l-o-w one was always greatly appreciated! One Christmas the ER docs chipped in and bought one of those industrial type of coffee makers where the coffee brews instantly. I was pretty intrigued by that. Anyway, it wasn't long before I got one for myself. Not the same quality or as big but it did brew instantly.
Last year I bought this Bunn coffee maker. I love it! I was drawn to it because of the stainless steel and the sleek design. I love that the hot water is stored at (I think) 200 degrees and all you have to do is fill the pot with the amount of water you want to use and that same amount instantly pours out already heated into the coffee filter. Presto-in a couple of minutes you have hot coffee. I have always been happy with the quality of coffee regardless of which brand I purchased.

Part II

It all started with the excellent cup of coffee I had after our meal at the German restaurant last month on the evening of October 18th. Ever since that fateful night I have been on a quest for a good home brewed cup of coffee. Mind you, I had always been satisfied with my coffee until THAT delicious cup of coffee.

*I had recently finished a can of Of Chock Full o'Nuts hazelnut coffee (that I liked) and was currently drinking CFN (Chock Full o'Nuts) original flavor...which had also been fine. (couldn't find pic of CFN hazelnut)

However, the very next morning (morning # 1) I was seriously disappointed with my home brewed coffee. It tasted like lightly flavored coffee water in comparison to what I had the night before. I thought I miscalculated the measurement, so after a couple of sips I dumped my cup and the coffee pot. I proceeded to make a fresh pot being extra careful with the measurements. The 2nd pot didn't taste good either. This pot seemed weak too and yet I was using the same measurement that I always used. I let it go and just drank the coffee...but I was perplexed.

The next morning (morning#2)... the same thing happens. So I decided to make another pot and my thought processes were,"O.k. what are the directions on the can? Maybe my heaping 1/4 cup measurer isn't good enough. (it always had been) Heaping Tbs they say? I'm measuring the exact amount of coffee per CFN instructions. The coffee looks light coming out of the brewer. Did someone unplug it? Is the coffeemaker breaking? I put my hand on the feels as warm as it always does." I poured a cup, tasted it and dumped that batch out too.

I decided to make another pot and poured the measured water into the brewer but I got distracted with something and forgot that I didn't put the lid down after I poured the water which then activates the release of hot water through the brewer. When I went to pick up the pot it was light, didn't notice the lid was still up and I thought that I still had to add the water. So...I added the same amount of water, put the lid down but unbeknown to me at that moment it was now going to brew double the amount I wanted, which it did. Fortunately, I only make half of a pot for myself (I don't even finish that) and so it didn't overflow. Obviously this would be really weak and so I dumped that pot out too and brewed another half of a pot. Except this time I decided to shake the coffeemaker and filter slightly thinking maybe something was wrong with how it was flowing through the coffee filter. As I gently shook it, some thick darker coffee seemed to come through. Now THAT'S what coffee should look like! However, I only succeeded in causing the coffee grains to come through into the pot. Evidently my shaking the filter and coffeemaker caused the coffee grains to overflow down into the pot! I decided that I didn't want coffee after all. I dumped that batch out too!

But then it was bugging me. So I decided to brew another pot in the afternoon just so I could try it another way. Instead of a measuring spoon, I used heaping tableware Tbs. Still not right. What the heck??? I resigned myself to the fact that this is just how it tastes. It must be ME!

It's morning #3 and I am thinking, "It's true. You don't miss what you never had." But I had it and now I wanted more of the same. "This isn't rocket science...I can do this!" So I thought about how good the ER coffee was...even if I made it. What was different? They used a disposable medicine cup to measure with. For a full pot-5 heaping little medicine cups to be exact and one nurse used 6 because she liked it strong. Of course we didn't have any because I just finished throwing old medicines out! I just made the coffee the way I always do and drank it. This CFN Original coffee wasn't so heavenly and it was boring. I called my husband and asked him to bring home a can of hazelnut coffee since that is my favorite and I liked it a couple of weeks ago.

Part III

On Morning #4 I brewed the hazelnut coffee
. This also tasted like flavored coffee water with hazelnut. I drank it anyway.

I drank it for a couple more days until I couldn't stand it. Then I called my husband at work and said, "Honey I'm not liking my coffee...could you bring home something Columbian? N-O-O-O NOT "a" Columbian! Chock full o' nuts Columbian COFFEE!" Nah...we didn't say that but I did ask him to bring home a New Yorker. Oh wait...I didn't say that either. ;)

Suffice it to know that I felt the same about the CFN Columbian coffee. CFN advertises it to be a "rich full flavored indulgence". Indulgence? I never felt the guilt...evidently not indulgent enough! I drank it for a few more days.

ThenI called my husband at work again. "Honey could you please bring home a can of CFN New York Roasted coffee? What? No...I'm NOT drinking too much coffee!" At this point I now have 3 half full or so CFN cans of coffee sitting on the counter.

CFN advertises the New York Roast to be "dark, bold and intense". I had figured "intense" would be good. Unfortunately, it wasn't intense enough! I just drank it anyway.

"Am I pregnant? Did I have one too many scans? It's has to be me." I'm not product loyal but I stayed with it because it was cheaper than the other coffees. That week it was $1.64 a can although if I was dumping it down the drain, I guess it wasn't such a bargain after all.

After 12 days of this I decided to buy another brand. I decided to buy THREE cans of Maxwell House coffee while grocery shopping last week. I added these to my now FOUR half full cans of CFN that were sitting on my counter.
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What can I say about Maxwell House rich French roast but... Ooooh la la! I love it!
Hazelnut is my favorite coffee and I am nutty (couldn't resist) about this one! :)
This is the only can I haven't opened yet but I am sure that it will be EXCELENTE!

Also,I have doubled the measurement in the amount of CFN coffee to get almost the same rich bold flavor as the Maxwell house. All this and I really only drink 1, maybe two cups of coffee per day. Probably more like 1 and 1/2. It's just that my morning cup of coffee is something I savor and I want it to be enjoyable. I also want to say that the CFN coffee did pass the CAT (coffee aromatic test) but just didn't capture the bold flavors for me as they have in the past.

I now have SEVEN cans stacked up in my computer armoire that I have looked at for my inspiration for this post...three more and we could go bowling...well almost! ;)

P.S. Grunt Doc has a good idea for making good coffee. It helped as did increasing the strength but still needed more kick or something. Being an ER Doc , I am sure he knows good coffee and it works, but for some reason the CFN coffee just doesn't do it for me anymore. It's just odd because I have always liked it before. Literally, I changed from one day to the next. Oh well...what do they say?'s a woman's prerogative to change her mind. :)

Also, for anyone who may be contemplating getting a Bunn coffee maker in the future, I have mixed feelings about the one I have now. As I've already said, I was drawn to it because of the stainless steel design. So that is a pro for me. I like the idea of no burner so that the coffee doesn't taste old after awhile. I like that I can take the carafe with me to where ever I am working in the house if I want to. I also like the idea of never having to worry weather or not I turned the coffee pot off when leaving the house all day. The cons: Because there's no hotplate the coffee doesn't stay piping hot after a couple of hours. However, someone in Grunt Doc's site told me that with a carafe, you have to warm it 1st. I didn't know that. So now I run hot water in it before I let it fill with coffee. It helps. Now this is part of the coffee experience for me so is a definite negative. The coffee aroma doesn't go wafting through the house or for long because it drips directly into a thermal container. I did have a Bunn with the glass coffee pot and did appreciate the brewing aroma more.