It's not often I talk about one of my avocations: trail running.
Now, before you think that it's glamorous or that I'm like those models in Runners World, trim and womanly yet exuding gentle strength, while decked out in sleek tech gear and bounding down the trail like a graceful gazelle...that's nothing like my reality.
Imagine if you will a deranged oompah loompah who appears to be on the verge of a coronary, careening off rocks and roots all while muttering profanities as though f$%k is the only word in her vocabulary. (TBH, it IS one of my favorite words and I don't get to use it nearly enough.) What I do in the woods can barely be defined as athletic -- much less photogenic.
Have I mentioned that my ability to sweat buckets would put a Serengeti water buffalo to shame? It's impressive. As are my cankles. Hey, there's nothing wrong with sturdy legs. (Note to self: never wear skirts and heels.)
Every so often, in between barking my toe on a rock, then using the word f$%k like a verbal paintbrush and the world around me is a Jackson Pollock blank mural, I get kind of philosophical. And then I trip again.
Oh boy, it’s been so long since I’ve written a proper blog. You all know how much I love lists. And cats. So let’s do this thing!
Sadly, I lost two cats to illness last year. While I cannot replace my lovelies who crossed the rainbow bridge too soon, we were able to adopt more. So let’s introduce you to the most recent family of shelter cats.
Fluffy – Pretty plus and absurdly hirsute, her main hobbies include judging others and hissing. And snacks. Lots of snacks. Preferably brought to her by her human slaves.
Man, I hate to call them “resolutions” because the word sounds so formal, so big, and so insurmountable. But for the first time in a long time, I feel the need to make a list about the upcoming year, if only to bring focus to the next 365 days. Also, it’s scary to write these things down for all to see – but it’s important to keep doing stuff that scares me. So here goes…
#1) Get better at saying “no” to more call/more duties/more meetings and not feel any guilt when saying “no”.
#2) Complete a 4-year longitudinal leadership course to create future non-clinical opportunities.
#3) Cease being afraid/too modest to describe my experience, background, and strengths.
#4) Focus on patient care, and try to ignore all other BS. If it’s not about patient care, I’m not spending time/energy on it.
#5) Seek out leadership opportunities.
#6) Champion development of a resident training program at my hospital.
So I thought about naming this post “How To Make Your Tweet Go Viral”, after my (in)famous pool float/women’s menstrual pad tweet hit over 8 million impressions. But then I realized that I had ZERO idea what the hell happened and could speak with zero authority as to how to reproduce these results.
Instead, we're going to do a postmortem on the insanity generated from this one itty bitty, flippant, off-the-cuff tweet.
First of all, let’s provide some background for those of you who don’t know me. I try to navigate the fine line between promotion as a developing author, but also avoid totally outing my physician self. Why the secrecy? Because most physicians are now employed, and their respective Big Brother (BB) employers are increasingly becoming too involved in their non-physician lives. Case in point, an ER doctor colleague who finally “came out” with her real name on Twitter. Turns out she was writing thoughtful, patient-care focused, and status-quo challenging blog posts. No HIPPA violations, no snark, nothing inappropriate to any objective observer…except her employer. Dismissed without due process or recourse. Just because they didn’t like the hint of being challenged, and rather than deal with patient care issues raised, they preferred to fire the physician instead.
Over a week’s vacation from Day Job recently, I had one of my hardest running weeks, probably ever, as I’m training for a trail marathon. In case you didn’t know, trail marathons are just like regular road marathons except muddier, buggier, longer, and nastier than their refined road-based counterparts (which are also no cake walk). During that same week off, I had one of my toughest writing/editing weeks in a very long time. Given that one of the training runs was over four hours long, I had time to think. A lot of time. Too much time.
Seems that marathon training and writing aren’t that much different, after all.
Before I leap into the analogy, I need to make myself crystal clear on both topics. Full disclosure. I am in no way a great athlete. This chunky bod is getting dragged 26.2 miles (hopefully) because, well, the challenge is there. I’ve wanted to do a trail marathon for >15 years. Now is my chance, and you bet your left bunion, I’m downing the biggest bag of Cheetos + a Blizzard after I finish/collapse/die as I cross the finish line in dead last place. Also, I will not be setting any land-speed records. In many respects, that’s like my writing career. I’m not a bestselling anything. The writing happens because I need to/want to/enjoy it and I want to always improve. You can bet that writing consumes a huge amount of time and it’s exhausting. Also, Cheetos.
Pull up a chair, my friends. I’m going to tell you a story. It’s the story of how Hubs and I met. Pretty much encapsulates our entire lives together.
It was a cold but sunny February day in a cold area of the country, and I was skiing that day while on call because…I like to tempt fate. (Hey, at reckless speeds, I could go from the top of the mountain to the hospital in 25 minutes, so…close enough.)
As per usual, I got in the “Singles” line of the ski lift. You know, the line where you’re skiing alone? Fine. Also, the Singles line because, a few years earlier, I had gladly jettisoned Bad Decision from my life. And had no intention of attempting any more Decisions for a long, long time.
So, this guy also got on the lift with me because…singles line. He had a snowboard attached to his foot. Strike one. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt over his thermal shirt. (It >was< a sunny day, but really? Hello, overkill.) Strike two. A helmet and reflective goggles completed the ensemble. Okay, I’d spot him those items, because…safety first.
With dry, winter weather comes dry, winter lips. Which makes me think of one of my favorite products: ChapStick.
Whoever came up with this stuff is a verifiable genius. Here’s why I love it. It’s possible that I have a medically definable diagnosis relative to this petroleum-based product.
#1) Fits in every single pocket of every single pair of pants I own.
#2) Stashes easily in purses and desks at work.
#3) Comes in different colors that all end up clear on your lips.
#4) Saves having to apply lipstick. Lipstick? Yuck.
#5) If I have ChapStick in my pocket, my stress level magically drops 10 points.
#6) Zipper stuck? Rub some ChapStick into it and the zipper will work again.
#7) Survivalists out there? Yeah, you can smear this stuff on any fabric and use it as fire started. (After swiping it one last time over your lips, of course.)
#8) Scuffed shoes? You can fix it with ChapStick. Yeah. I said it. Dab or rub the product on the shoes, then buff with a soft cloth. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do in a pinch. Note to self: do not use the ChapStick on your ips after using on the shoes, because....yuck.
#9) No sunscreen? No problem. Smear the product on your face. Gets you somewhere from 4-15 SPF, depending on the flavor.
#10) Stops bleeding. What? You bet. Of course, it won’t make a lick of difference if you’ve severed your femoral artery. No amount of ChapStick will solve that little conundrum. But if you have, say, a paper cut? Smear a little bit of amazing-ness on it and voila? No more bleeding and sealed from infection.
This blog post highlights a unique anthology slated for release in 2017 and spearheaded by Victoria Griffin. It involves stories regarding brain injuries/concussions. The anthology, “Flooded”, will contain selected works from authors who have experienced or observed brain injuries, or who have written about them in a way that makes the experience tangible to a reader.
As a physician, I see the devastating effects of brain injuries in my patients. From teenagers who are no longer allowed to play sports and who now have cognitive challenges, to adults whose brain injury has literally changed their personality, to veterans who have suffered TBI’s (traumatic brain injuries) and struggle to explain why they are disabled when they bear no visible scars – brain injuries can be complex to manage, long-lasting, and the effects can change from day to day.
One of the most profound concussion cases I witnessed was in medical school when an internal medicine physician in a rural practice had what anyone would think was a simple concussion. Dr. Smith (name changed) was pulling into his driveway, had his seatbelt off, and another vehicle hit the back of his car. He had a brief loss of consciousness and a headache.
Three months later, Dr. Smith still couldn’t function at anywhere close to previous work capacity. His short- and long-term memory suffered. He couldn’t recall patients he had cared for over the past 20 years!
Ok. We’re talking about fun stuff today. Like shopping.
Why? Because I’m in Seattle at the ECWC conference, and the hotel is right across from a big, beautiful mall.
So what, you say? Why the big deal about a mall, you might ask. Well, going to the Big City is a treat for those of us who live hours away from a Big Mall. And to find out there is a Big Department Store in the mall here? That’s me, totally verkelmpt over here. >fans self wildly<
But…there are things that make no sense in a mall.
#1) Why is there an extra large size in the petite section? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
#2) Why do they write on the bra tag “comfort underwire”? That’s also an oxymoron. Written by morons. Who don’t wear bras. Who are these people and where can I talk with them. Alone. In a small room.
#3) Why is there a chocolate store next to a sporting goods store?
#4) Why don’t they make bras that really fit how breasts go…like sideways. The tag needs an extra designation. Like “34D, laterally” or 38B, downward” so you know you’re getting the most accurate fit before going into the dressing room and acting like a monkey wrestler, trying to get those darn things on.
What dudes see. (and what they don't see)
Here's the scene: I'm working late, hubs is at home waiting for a Handy Guy to come over and give us a quote for repairs.
My text: Please make sure personal stuff and mess is picked up before Handy Guy comes by
His text: Roger.
I come home after Handy Guy has left. In my bathroom is the untouched mess of hair product, hairdo electronic implements, and assorted anti-old age goops. Oh, and my Pill package is wrapped up inside a crumpled towel. Ah yes, he has removed the offending Personal Item from view but left the messy stuff out. Sigh. Good job.
Then, as I walk back through the bedroom, I see it: 2 bras and several undies. Just sitting on the dresser in plain sight. Super obvious. Yup.
When asked to describe the logic behind the choices made, hubs said, "I didn't see the clothes."
Right there. Plain sight.
But thank God the prescription was hidden...
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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