Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Greatness Prescription

We all with for mentors in life that embody all of the characteristics of greatness to observe and emulate. Sure greatness is a perception of one's self, but it is a composite of learned skills and discipline that provides the pathway to, even private, greatness. I see those characteristics in the many medical professionals around me: colleagues, administrators, attending docs, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and other health care professionals. I've even seen it in the non clinical staff...campus security, maintenance, housekeeping folks. Some of those characteristics I've noticed:

1. Relaxed confidence - It's both in skill and emotional maturity that relaxed confidence exudes. More than a look or feel, it allows one to think logically, respond appropriately and overtly remained balanced in this unbalanced life.

2. Knowing what's really important - Se never learn this skill in school but some learn it on the street or at home. It's the ability to honestly follow one's heart, mesh it with education and experience, and figure out what's really important. More than anything, this allows releasing anger or frustration for those thing that aren't really important.

3. Focused activity - I've heard it indirectly referred to as "doing what's important" but it's really doing those things that feed what's important once you've identified that (see #2). When we become in "other" things we are distracted from the path to that success we seek.

4. Play - You've heard work hard, play harder? Well more than having the capacity and finding the time to play, it's also about seeing the fun in the everyday. It's easy to focus in the negative and what's wrong, but when we consciously understand that bad stuff happens, and deliberated search for the "present(s)", the good, the playful, the fun... our whole outlook improves and we become better at playing in the off time.

5. Positive expectations - A program director MD has never complained about what's not. But he constantly searches for ways to positively identify what's possible in the future. His expectations are verbalized in his statement of every problem that arises, offering solutions and positive outcomes as a probability.

6. No excuses - "I couldn't because..." is not helpful. Identifying what needs to be done and understanding our limitations, expressing them to others, is conquering over ego and stubborn pride. Excuses are mental obstacles that keep us in the past.

7. Balance - Life at home, work, play, gym, eating etc...all in balance. If it's not "peaceful" than you are out of touch with what's the right reality for you (from a nurse who smiles all the time).

And so it is, I've got lots of work to do.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Viral something

Yep, you got the flu or that flu like thing or could be flu lite or viral this or that.

Yes, could be plague or burbonic or consumption, or rheumatiz. Sure could be the blight too. What? You saw the river "part" on your way to the hospital? Ya, amazing.

Nope. No antibiotics. Just lots of fluids, a hot water bottle, chicken soup, ibuprofen or tylenol for aches and fever, sleep and time in bed...time.

And throw away your toothbrush when you start feeling better.

I know. I got the vaccination too.
Bless you! Oh, that was a cough? I take back the blessing then.
Don't want to waste those.

Flu-like what?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sick Kids

Pediatrics is a funny place. Mostly I have found we just humor the parents until the kid gets better. Expectant hand holding, saline mist, bulb suction, and lots of talk about poop, wet diapers, vomiting and breast feeding. Any people get paid for this?

But every once in awhile, a really sick kid comes in and the real art comes in. I'm blessed to have seen some really keen artists practice this craft, separating the patient from the ranting parent, and actually make a cool diagnosis and heal sick kids. I gain greater respect for pediatricians every single day.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

God bless YOU!

A room full of doctors. One sneezes. Several say "God bless you". The sneezer says "thank you". All totally without thought, automatically. For those who claim to practice evidence based medicine, there is little evidence that saying "God bless you" provides any healthful benefits that we know of.

History says we have been saying "God bless You" since about AD 77. There are lots of theories where this came from and no real consensus on the origin. Could be from the lavish blessings Pope Gregory 1 in AD 590 ordered to fight the bubonic plague when sneezing was thought be an early sign.

Or it could be to bless a person to prevent the soul from being thrown from the body during a sneeze....a shield against evil. Another theory says that saying "God bless you" restarts the heart, thought to stop during a sneeze. Or maybe, it's just a reaction to feeling like you have to do something when you don't know what to do or say.

So next time I hear "God bless you", I'll know the plague is prevented, the soul is retained and the heart will continue to beat.

**Level I: Scientific evidence is lacking, of poor quality, or conflicting, such that the risk versus benefit balance cannot be assessed. Clinicians should help patients understand the uncertainty surrounding the clinical service, and stop saying it around other clinicians.

Slavery, today?

It is hard to believe that it still exists. Millions of working "slaves" in farming, domestics, manufacturing, sex trade and other industries around the world today. All forced to work without basic rights, compensation, freedoms or care. All ages, all continents. Struggling to find a way out but feeling there is no help. But there is help.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. It is our duty to identify and stop human trafficking in the world.


Studies have shown a higher lifetime prevalence of depression in those who go through medical training, perhaps as high as 30%. With propensity, family history, genetics, prior history or other precipitating factors, maybe higher. Choose the wrong specialty, location, or institution and the chances are good it will ensue.

Is it any wonder why I see so many unhappy people around me?