First of all I want to thank everyone for the all the well wishes and salutations on my blog-day. I felt I was at the centre of the sun. 

After such jubilation, the question arose: “Now what?” What could I possibly write to follow such hype? 

I thought I would start the next decade of blogging by sharing a little lesson in humility I recently received.

 

Office

 

At work I am on the look-out for rapscallions who are ‘doctor shopping’ for prescriptions.  Last autumn soon after I saw Dicky Purdy* his pharmacy called to inform me dastardly Dicky was getting duplicate amphetamine prescriptions from myself and another doctor. I looked in the controlled substance prescription monitoring program (CSPMP) to discover his profile proved to have parallel prescriptions from Urs Truly and a Dr. Demento**.

Dicky Purdy came in to his appointment today and I had the CSPMP print out ready. My approach is not to immediately pounce or accuse, but to get the suspect to talk first and hang themselves. Mr. Purdy reported he was OK, the Rx remains efficacious. He had no other prescriptions but the one he got from me, and it was due to be refilled (the CPSMP shows he got a three-month supply Rx in December).  I then brought up in matter of fact and neutral tone I was confused for the CSPMP reports says he is getting a similar scripts from Dr. Demento. How do I make sense of this?  Pause and wait. Normally the patient turns beet red and starts to protest  or run out the door. Mr. Purdy looked bewildered; he didn’t know what I was talking about.

After a long and at ease process I learn Mr. Purdy lives with his father, Mr. Purdy senior. They have the same first and last name and address. The printout was printing his and his father’s prescriptions as the record of one person. The pharmacy hadn’t seen there were two date of births on the report; neither had I.  His last Rx from me was right on time.

He was not upset; he explained this mix up error has happened before. Dicky Purdy senior and junior will go to the pharmacy to process this matter.

Afterwards I realized I felt not a relief but a disappointment. A disappointment! I stopped to ponder this revelation. I was actually feeling disappointed I had not caught him in a ‘I gotcha you rascally rabbit!” scenario. By talking about it rather than creating an accusation I had saved the alliance and I did not have egg on my face for having been wrong.

It reminded me to presume innocence until proven guilty and not be so quick to judge or profile. Also, I learned not to assume the monitoring program is a guaranteed truth (or pharmacy reports for that matter).

Patients can be right after all – who knew?

It was a humbling experience but a good lesson I won’t soon forget.

 

*Not his real name of course.

**Again not his real name but I suppose you figured this out.

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On 8 February 2006 I started blogging; today is the tenth anniversary of Spo-Reflections.

My first entry: The Journey Begins.

My thoughts on the day is summarized in one word:

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Every year on this day on this day I say the same things really. I’ve often wondered what on earth is there left to write. Somehow I keep typing, the words keep flowing, and lo! it is a decade later. I hope my style and content have improved with time. I like to think I have become an amateur ‘man of letters’, for which I am most grateful.

More miraculous are the people who drop by to read my scribbles. I so appreciate Spo-fans and your comments. Every writer wants an audience and I have been blessed to have such an assortment. Over the decade I have encountered fabulous and foudroyant men and women, old and young, gay and strait, and far and wide. Many of you have become my friends, which I would not exchange for anything. I have lost some through death; the loss is a true sorrow.

 

The entry most visited:     My dopplegangers    (over 46,000 views! )

Here are some of the most popular writings:

What do Canadians think of Americans really?

Pap smears for men.

Depression from a Jungian point of view. 

The Victim Complex.

How not to be neurotic. 

Hors d’oeuvres: the gay man’s dilemma. 

 

Here are a few of which I am quite proud:

Qi

Last Night’s travel through the universe.

A plum stone. 

A Spo-tale.

Wicked fairies around my house.

Reclaiming solitude.  

I think my all-time favorite entry is “Noteworthy Kisses”.  It leaps to my mind whenever I wonder what entry is my fondest.

Finally, to celebrate the day here is the Spo-Shirt lottery:

Thank you for being part of the Journey.   I wonder what the next decade will reveal. Who can say. Come along with me. Along the way may we find happiness in a nice hot cup of tea (no rubbish) or with a small chocolate cone or a snort, a lovely roll down a grass hill, and may all the rats be the finest from Tewkesbury.

OXOX.

ratsRolling down grass hills..jpg Tea cup 2

 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections approves of this entry. 

Apology

 

Today is the birthday of Urs Truly’s favorite author and wizard of words Charles Dickens. I have written about this before, so I don’t have more to add to the feast day other than I am still quite found of the old rascal, fustian as he can be at times. If you think Urs Truly likes to pepper his prose with lofty lingo try reading Dickens some time. His work is an encyclopedia of grandiloquence. I  wish I could talk and write as he does. Someone once said during a road trip when I was reciting a munificence of flumadiddle that I already do. I think it was a compliment.

Unless you have been living under a rock then you know today is also the Super Bowl. I won’t be watching it for I have not gotten around to cleaning up the morass that is the backyard. It is today or never; I won’t have time this week. The Best Friend arrives this Saturday. Someone recently drained the pool and replenished it with fresh water. I have my fingers crossed the Spo-spa will be fixed in time as well. With the pool looking limpid this makes the patio look even more dingy; it needs a great emunction and I plan to do give it.  Perhaps I will put on the audio-book rendition of “Little Dorritt’ to inspire me to my tidy-task. I must be careful not to inadvertently put on something by Karl Dikkens the well-known Dutch author.  The pace of his writing I find more satisfactory but I can’t grasp a word of it, dank u.

PensiveI fear Spo-fans are in a state of disquietude, for it seems a very long while since I posted anything. The hiatus may be a record as the longest time between entries, other than when I was out of the country and there was no internet (overall a more peaceful state). It’s the usual equation:
(Excessive number of new patient + evening theatre / time needed for sleep) – lack of anything to say = nothing to post.
Here are a few imperial tid-bits to tide you over until something more interesting arises.
A reminder: in celebration of blog-day #10 on 8 February I will draw the name of the winner of a custom-made Spo-shirt (how jolly). If you haven’t yet put in your name and would like to be part of the lottery, please say so in a comment.
Nothing gets my bosses into a swivet more than Urs Truly having open appointment slots. They remedied this malady by filling my dance card with fourteen new evaluations this week. I am going to spend all Saturday dictating charts. How terribly tedious. But have not fear! I have a pot of tea and some soothing Josquin to help me through the task (just luv them old Josquin tunes).
There’s work to be done and not just homework. The Best Friend is coming to town and the house looks like a scene from “Enchanted”. Alas, my sonorous summoning song conjures no pigeons or rats (Tewkesbury type or otherwise) so I will have to do it all myself. The backyard looks like the secret garden just after Mary Lennox just entered for the first time. I need to throw out the dead plants and do battle with the mesquite seedlings, which grow like weeds and resist like triffids. It will be a long weekend.
Later this evening when I am exhausted or have snapped a tether I plan to read blogs and discover what fabulous things people have been doing. I hope everyone had an interesting week.
Spo-fans will find it amusing Brother #2 and Cousin Tim are coming to Uncle’s funeral. Both want to ‘stay in the same place as I” even if it means the two of them sharing a room. I am persuading them to stay at the local Motel 6 rather than Inndulge. Imagine the pool-side conversations as the boys play twenty questions with them and extrapolate they are a) not a couple b) cousins and c) not the usual type of fellows who haunt these hallowed halls. I registered the three of us for the reception at Uncle’s swanky private club so we won’t be turned away at the gate.
Perhaps by tomorrow I will have a proper entry so hang in there.

I am listening to a lecture on how to evaluate patients with psychic pain in context of legal matters. These poor unfortunate souls have anguish for having witnessed something grisly or upsetting to create a state of mental disquietude. Listening to their tales of woes (ranging from seeing decapitated heads to McDonald’s hot coffee spilled on the crotch) it evoked my own psychic pain from Cirque du Soleil.

Picture it: Urs Truly, in his youth in residency, ‘post-call’ having been up for 36 hours without a break. I had tickets to see Cirque du Soleil, which at the time traveled about and performed under a portable tent like a proper circus. I met my friends and we took our seats which were located close up front and on the aisle.

Being post-call without sleep creates a stupor from which a chorus of “Thunder Down Under” boys could not awaken me. The show was dazzling but not enough to keep me alert. I struggled to stay conscious but alas, no such luck, Chico.

Back then CDS had dastardly clowns who would go out into the audience intent on mischief to publicly humiliate somebody for the comic sake of the others. One of these villains spotted me nodding off, let out a shriek, and gestured the tech-man to shine his 10,000 lux spotlight ron me. Being roused by a roar of laughter and the radiance of a brilliant sunrise is discombobulating enough, but imagine the horror of a 200lb-plus clown descending on you like a quarterback retrieving a fumbled football.

I don’t remember the details. I still can hear the crowd’s laughter. I could not see much thanks to the cynosure of the light and a lapful of clown intent on smothering my face into his mammoth bosom. The ordeal probably lasted less than a minute but in these trying moments time stands still. Afterwards my seatmates complained they were like oh so embarrassed by it all. Well darlings they weren’t the ones underneath a ponderous palliacci.*

According to the lecturer, being rudely roused in public by a machination in a circus show does not quite qualify for psychic pain or PTSD – not enough anyway to put my hands into the very deep pockets of the Cirque du soleil company. It was a long time ago. Since then I have gone to many CDS shows without incident or flashbacks or triggers.** So I should count my blessings the only damage was a temporary loss of dignity and an interrupted nap.

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*After the show I bought the CD; my name was not listed in the cast.

**I always make sure to sit in the middle in the back, and get a good night’s rest beforehand

 

Last month my Uncle Mick died; he went suddenly having had a ruptured aorta. He and his wife, my father’s sister, lived in Oregon. Because of the haste of his death only some of the family made it to Bend to attend the funeral. Half of the year my Aunt and Uncle resided in Palm Springs, CA , where he designed a very elite golf club. Aunt Judy announced there would be a second memorial service for Uncle some time in February in California. This works well for me: Desert Springs (where it would be) is within driving distance from Phoenix.

Many months ago my chums and I planned a week’s holiday in Palm Springs for mid-February. Auntie announced the funeral will be Saturday 20 February. What a fortuitous circumstance! I will be in Palm Springs already with mentioned friends. On Saturday morning I merely have to drop off The Best Friend at the airport and go straight (pun intended) to the funeral and afterwards the reception at their club.

Meanwhile, various brothers, cousins and other relations are making their plans to come in for the funeral. The constellation of friends and family is makes an interesting perfect storm.  I am getting calls from siblings and cousins asking me ‘where I am staying” so they can stay there too for company’s sake and the sharing of rooms and rental cars. Normally I say yes, but I am going to stay at Inndulge.

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For Spo-fans unfamiliar with this ashram, Inndulge is a lovely gentleman’s resort of the type the GOP claims is ruining the country. It would be a ticklish for a bunch of Spos to descend on the place. Mind! My male relations are quite handsome* and thus they would be warmly welcomed by the usual patrons – at the start. The boyz will be disenchanted to discover my relatives all bat for the other team.  “If this is turning into a straight place I’m outta here”.  Worse, we tend to get each other wound up and excited and consequently make a lot of noise. A collection of Spos resembles a ritalin-less grade school room.  I need to tell the relations about the dress code (or the lack thereof); this may make them uncomfortable. Worse, if they had no issue dropping their trousers I may be the one uncomfortable having to see my relations so.

In the end I adore my chums and I love my relations but I think I will keep them apart when it comes to lodgings. They can stay elsewhere and I can meet them for the funeral.

At the other end of the political spectrum and ambience of Inndulge is Uncle’s elite private golf club.

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I am told I need to call the club to register my name lest they not let me in. If they run a background check on me I don’t have a chance. The attendance at Uncle’s reception will be the 1% type you often read about but never see. I doubt there will be any democrats other than those bussing the tables. Perhaps I will invite the reception audience back to Inndulge after the funeral for “whatever”. I suspect some of them already know the address.

Meanwhile, does anyone know where the straights stay when they come to Palm Springs?

 

*Brother #2 resembles George Clooney.

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I made another shirt. This one is a commission/request from Spo-fan Raven. He and I worked together to find the right fabric, he sent it, and off I went to work. At times the shirt felt cursed; almost everything had an impediment.  At one point I had to make the decision to take it all apart in order to redo the collar.  However it came out OK. The pocket is a little off-center. All my shirts have a ‘quirk’ to them. His texts convey he is happy. Off it goes this week.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections nearly axed this entry.  After much negotiating (and threats of removing digits) I am allowed to post it only after first making it quite clear this is humor and not reality and it’s all fun and nonsense and please don’t write in.  Urs Truly. 

Tiberius,_Romisch-Germanisches_Museum,_Cologne_(8115606671)   Every once in awhile my inner-Tiberius likes to knock the Ego out of the CEO chair within my psyche and declare a day of debauched and depraved daydreams. It’s rather embarrassing and shameful to go about town consumed by Archetypal Imperial libido, man-watching, running my eyes up and down the men like an East German searchlight looking for escapees. I consider it very bad manners to approach a total stranger in a coffee shop and ask him if can lick his fingers. In public places hiding lecherous leers behind an open book works only so far as I remember to periodically turn the page. A lot of time is wasted wondering what’s underneath certain gentlemens’ garments. Being profligate possessed, my morals and self-respect are lowered lower than a limbo bar; just about anyone with whiskers will do as a tasty ingredient to be folded into the batter of my cookie dough. I lump fronts and backs into the common category of “cute”, and on the whole I prefer a lovely backside to that of a gibbous groin. It is considered louche if not lunacy to ask some man man-spreading on the bus may I run my hands over him as I am very nearsighted and I can’t quite make out if he is happy to see me or not.  During these demented times I am like a democratic drawbridge, going down for everyone – provided they are at least breathing and recently washed. I acknowledge sex between two people can be tender and and rewarding but sex between four or more sounds fantastic.* I have a patient who is getting laid 4-5 times a week; it always bothers me when my depressed patients are happier than I.

Happily the Tiberius Complex is as fugacious as it is furious. Before I succumb to its commands it passes. Having my personal life be the lead on the news is something to be avoided – although the redhead at Einstein Bros today may have made it worthwhile.

Having ADD wiring helps. As I start toward Mr. Right-This-Moment, tripping over my falling trousers as I run across the room, I become suddenly distracted by some bright and shiny object, usually dangled at the end of a fishing pole by the Ego who is back on its feet and ready to put Mr. Tiberius back into his own chair with a good dose of saltpeter.

 

*Just remember to get the names matched with the proper numbers for later-on thank-you texts.

Office

January is a mercurial time in the field of Medicine as new insurances start and deductibles kick-in. Like two planets in conjunction they portend a disastrous time*  of angst and no-shows. Whenever a scheduled patient fails to make their appointment the time-block turns from ‘blue’ to ‘red’. My January schedule looks like somebody riddled it with a machine gun. People just don’t want to come in nor pay for prescriptions at this time of year. New patients fall into the common category of thems obligated to change doctors due to insurance. I see this pattern every year like the celestial sky. A few weeks ago The Wonder Receptionist was warning me I needed to fill my dance card lest the bosses vituperate. This week I am told I have no openings for five weeks. February is a doleful month for many, but at least they are willing to pay again to check in with me. A few solicitous patients have asked if a rumor true I am leaving. ** It is a nervous time for many.

Back in Michigan February used to be quite busy with patients suffering from seasonal affective disorder, thems who are sick and tired of winter and gray. Once a week or so I would get someone with the chief complaint of panic attacks, which were actually the result of taking over-the-counter decongestant cold medications. ***. In contrast February in Arizona is quite lovely and there are no “SAD” patients.

The ones scheduled to come in will have the leitmotiff of having skimped or stopped their meds/relapsed/want to get back on them. Some of them will tell me what was taken is no longer affordable and we have to come up with some cheaper alternative. February will see a few phone calls from folks stating they can’t come in anymore/they have to go elsewhere.   It is all rather predictable like the winter constellations making way for the spring set. The time of Capricorn goes into Aquarius ****. I have a vague recollection people born under the sign of Aquarians are more ‘go with the flow” types while Capricorns can be stubborn goats. I just hope the Aquarians have met their deductible.

 

* Word pun intended.

**No.  But it is nice to hear I would be missed.

***This always makes me look like a genius. When something is going wrong it is usually a side effect of medication.

****This is according to the old astrology calendar. By now the sun has shifted ahead by one or two signs and a few new ones have been added to the zodiac. We may be entering Pisces or Leo for now all I know.

 

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In my kitchen pantry there is nearly always a supply of powdered milk. It was first obtained for bread machine recipes for many of them call for a tablespoon or so of the stuff. I’ve discovered a small spoonful does nicely in tea or coffee. It keeps well and it costs much less than conventional milk or half and half. Buying the later often creates waste for I don’t go through it quickly. Someone drinks a lot of milk but he won’t touch the powdered stuff not even in a pinch.

On the kitchen counter among the hodgepodge canisters of flour, salt, and sugar is a small glass container of wheat bran. Bran is bought in bulk from Whole Foods; it is added to anything possible to increase fiber content. It’s nasty by itself, so the dish must be pretty stalwart to withstand a scoop. Oatmeal works best. Do not add to ice cream.

More interesting is the assortment of powdered chilies. Ten years of living in the Southwest has altered my taste buds to the point food without chilies lacks kick and tastes bland. In recycled spice bottles lie a spectrum of chilies ranging from mild (poblano) to hot (habanero). Sprinkling some on nearly everything make foods various, spicy, and tasty – like my men.

Similar to the chiles is my  rubs collection. Making rubs invariably results in excess, so they are put away for later use. I’ve learned over the years to label them with date and contents. I erroneously believe I will remember what is what only to become dumbfounded by the mysteries surmounted on the panty shelf sometimes within only a few days of creating them. Rubs make good condiments when chili powders won’t do.

Speaking of failures to identify kitchen ingredients, I’ve learned to put a label on or in the canisters. Someone appreciates this. Recently he was doing some baking only to read the flour he was about to use was actually bread flour and what he thought was baking soda was really my workout protein. That was a close call.

At work I have three canisters labeled ‘Eye of Newt”, “Half Baked Ideas”, and “Fairy Dust”. Few patients if any ask about their contents, which is good, as I don’t remember. Recently I took a peek into “Fairy Dust”. In it there seems to be either a homemade potpourri or a rub which I don’t dare try lest I get sick, fly away to Neverland, or drop dead of apoplexy. For the next batch I should put in a label.

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