You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2010.

Note:  Today I dealt with 72 charts, 20 patients, 4 evaluations, and 2 nervous breakdowns.  This entry is a ‘quickie’ as I am too pooped to write much or profoundly. I’ve told the Muses to take as needed Risperdal and call me in the morning…..

I recently griped to The Personal Trainer (TPT) I don’t feel like I am making progress viz. I am no thinner.  Last weekend I tried on a few of last year’s suits and they remain a bit snug.
He scrutinized my diet for what he calls “cheat meals”. He discovered I was having far more than allowed (one per week). I was mildly scolded my workouts haven’t much of a chance against weekend cocktails (with popcorn) and Sunday night pizzas. It was time to get serious about my diet.

He’s right of course, so I’ve tried to remove more nasty carbohydrates from my diet. I’ve cut down on portions and no late night snacks of cheese.

I am going through withdrawal.

I crave starch. I imagine getting a ‘fix’; when I do it feels fantastic; I feel more at ease and ‘normal’. Afterwards, I feel guilty and vow ‘not again’. I’ve never done cocaine, heroin, MJ etc. and I’ve never smoked cigarettes. So I don’t know first hand what it is like to go off drugs. But what I am experiencing seems like withdrawal to me.  I am caught going to the pantry at night time, looking for a cracker – opening the same drawers a few times like an idiot hoping there will be something there.

I suspect my body will adopt in time. I hope it pays off. Meanwhile I am a tad touchy.

Please don’t mention ‘pasta’…….

Spo-fans know I keep a diary. I started journaling in the 70s. I documented the day’s or week’s events. My journals are helpful when Someone and I can’t remember which year we did something or for recalling the name of a restaurant we liked when we were in Charlevoix Michigan last year. I document thoughts and things I do not put in blog-form. It sometimes acts as a bowl in which to purge up black bile and other dark humors.

Last night I sat staring at the blank page. I haven’t written in over a week. I could not recall anything happening.  There wasn’t anything to record. I try to avoid mundane entries such as –

“The week was consumed with work. We had pork chops for dinner. We went to the symphony and I fell asleep – again.”

But that is what the week was: daily doings of no importance.  “How dull” I thought, but then I remembered this is Life: the process of doing things that don’t seem important or thrilling.

Alas, most people realize happiness only after it passes. “Last year I was happy” people tell me. Yet if they were to go back in Time to that time in their lives, and asked themselves “Are you happy?” the past self would be bewildered.  “Happy? What do you mean? Can’t you see I am busy?  I am doing my job, running a household and I have nothing exciting going on.”

So I wrote an entry I had a lot of work, I went to the gym 4x this week. I am working on a shirt. I fixed the computer, and read some books etc. etc. etc.  Harper had a bath.  We changed the spa water, as it is that time of they year.”  And then I added, “And I am happy.”

That is worthwhile to reread someday.

Barbara Holland is one of my favorite writers. She has a happy style I find lovely. She was inspirational for me to try writing. If you have never heard or her, I thoroughly recommend her.  My favorite of hers is titled “Endangered-Pleasures”. When I first took up blogging, she was one of my Muses.

I went so far as emailing her. I had never done anything like that. I wrote:

Dear Ms. Holland,

I have never written an ’email fan letter’ before. I suspect you get many.  I will keep it brief. I enjoy your essays and writings. If I could write, I would want to write like you do; I don’t mean in the same style, but in the same response: to evoke smiles and thought in my readers.

Keep up your work,



To my amazement she emailed back. She wrote;

Thank you, thank you!  Hey, write it!

And so I did. Spo-Reflections was started.

Last weekend, I thought of contacting her again to tell her how happy I was for writing. I wanted to thank her for the inspiration. I learned she died, earlier this month. I missed her by a few weeks. I was very sad to hear of her death, and also I hadn’t contact her in time. I am sad to hear of passing of my one of my favorite authoresses and mentor.

This week, I’ll reread “Endangered Pleasures” in her honor.

In it she writes –

“Let us strive to be merry. Gloom we have always have with us, a rank and sturdy weed, but joy requires tending.”

Thank you Ms. Holland, for providing me joy and inspiration to write.

Every season I go through the closet and discard the items worn out,  unwanted, or not worn. I also do this with blogs. I take stock of what I read – which ones are active or inactive and who remains interesting.  Blogs change; sometimes they change ‘style’ or contents. Their writers gain or lose interest.

I have 85 bookmarked blogs (!).  Some are visited every day and others once a week.  While I love reading blogs, reading all of them is time consuming.  This weekend cut off some.

I don’t like to do this. This is based on the emotion I’ve spent a lot of time and energy getting to know someone and ‘closing down’ is a sort of good-bye.  It feels a disappointment; a budding friendship failed to bloom.

It also makes sense to discard blogs I don’t find anymore interesting.  And I decided to stop reading one or two who didn’t seem interested in me. I would stop by and write comments of support, but this is never reciprocated. I would not do this with a “flesh and blood” friend.

Well, this happens in life all the time, so I shouldn’t be so sad about losing a virtual connection.  Many of these closed bloggers I follow on Facebook, so it is not like they disappeared; they have merely changed genera.  I find Facebook flightly, but hey it is better than nothing.

It is Saturday morning; here are some items on my depraved gay agenda.

1 – Paperwork.  What is a weekend without a pile of charts that need dictating, editing etc.? I also have a handful of patients to call back. This all should take up most of my spare time this weekend. Ah, the joy of being a physician…..

2 – Shopping.  I have quite the treasure hunt to do.  I want new head phones (for the old ones are cracked), tea candles, and a shirt.  I need to find a fabulous and marvelous notebook so I can finally send my Spo-shirt on its merry way.

3 – I shall leave blank lest my family is reading.

4 – Speaking of shirts, I have two months until a trip to Palm Springs and I have nothing new, what’s a girl to do?  Get crackin’ !

5 – Read blogs !

6 – Exercise.  TPT (The Personal Trainer) and I have a ‘hot date’ this morning. I think we are working on shoulders today. Whatever, I need work !  Or structure.  Or discipline.  I suspect I am in desperate need of discipline.

Someone and I both have hypothetical boyfriends.  When one of us is failing to be all he should be, the other states he is leaving to live with his REAL boyfriend who will treat him right, listen, and take out the trash as asked to do three times already etc. etc. etc.

The next Mrs. Someone would be Anderson Cooper.  Mr. Cooper must be a much less hyperactive man who doesn’t leave half consumed beverages lying around the house. He is reportedly someone who actually separates the whites from the colours when doing laundry.

Someone can run off to his white haired beau. For I too have a virtual life-mate. However, mine changes frequently. Like Carmen, I never know who my next heart throb will be.

Speaking of Opera, the next Mrs. Spo  can be this fine fellow:

Mr. Pape is an opera singer. Thanks to the Met, I am schmitten with this fine German fellow. We have yet to meet, but I am certain he will be zehr spannend and quite an improvement over my last virtual boyfriend Mr. Downey Jr., whom I threw over when Mr. Radcliffe couldn’t keep up.

Back off Bloggers – Mr. Pape is “taken”.

As a boy, I liked the notion of “Message in a Bottle.” I fancied putting something profound in a bottle and settibg it afloat, not knowing who would discover this. Fate would deliver my bottle where they willed. The finder would contact me and convey the marvelous tale how it was discovered.

Now my dream is about to be realized. My Message in a Bottle is a Spo-shirt; the bottle is a USPS flat rate box.  Where it goes and when it get backs to me is not too clear; it will be an adventure. It goes out this week.

I ask each recipient does the following –

  1. He or she takes a photograph of themselves with the shirt (preferably wearing it!)
  2. Make sure I know, so I can see !
  3. They will tell me which of four charities I am to donate 5 dollars for their participation.  Test Positive Awareness, Doctors without Borders, The Humane Society, or Research for Prostate Cancer.
  4. They write a little something in the notebook that travels with the shirt.
  5. They will pass it on to someone else. I have a list of people who told me they want a turn. So if they don’t have a ‘taker’,  I can guide them towards the next Spo-fan.

Some day the shirt will come back home.

What a marvelous gift it will be for me to see this journey.

I received some recent emails for Spo-fans.  One suggests I ‘lighten up’. My recent entries are too political and not my usual ‘fun’ entries. The other email questioned my writing about patients on-line, and I should be more prudent.

I will first address the later. I don’t write about specific patients, but patient types. When I write about work, I change details (the person’s age, or gender for example) to make the case abstract.  Sometimes I combine certain types into one hypothetical example. So while nothing is ‘false’, there are no literal truths. If a patient reads my blog, what they would read is ‘something made up’; patients privacy is protected. I hope this satisfies the APA Secret Police.  I suspect my medical associations prefer I don’t blog at all, lest I embarrass the profession.

On the assumption humor is still the best medicine, what I write is jocular and those with no sense of humor should suck on some lemons to sweeten their disposition.

About the first matter….

When Spo-Reflections dabbles in politics  it does so to make a psychological point and not to argue a politician or topic is right or wrong.

It is late, and I have been toiling all day. I am rather cross from too much work and not enough TLC.

I’ll stop now before I get cranky.

I don’t follow the political news too closely. Most of the time I find it depressing. While I was in Wisconsin, the Republican candidate Ms. O’Donnell went from being the darling of The Tea Party to a pariah when it was discovered in her youth she dabbled in witchcraft.  Mind! I don’t have all the facts, so if I am wrong; I admit so. I admit too I have a bit of empathy for her. People do things they later find embarrassing. This is where they should stand their ground and not be ashamed of what they did/who they were.  This is impossible to do in America. We demand purity; no one can be frail or have foibles.  Oscar Wilde said it best in one of his plays.  A politician is being threatened with blackmail for something he did in his youth –

“Remember to what a point your Puritanism in England has brought you. In old days nobody pretended to be a bit better than his neighbors. In fact, to be a bit better than one’s neighbors was considered excessively vulgar and middle-class. Nowadays, with our modern mania for morality, everyone has to pose as a paragon of purity, incorruptibility, and all the other seven deadly virtues – and what is the result? You all go over like ninepins – one after the other. Not a year passes in England without somebody disappearing. Scandals used to lend charm, or at least interest, to a man – now they crush him.”

I try hard not to be ashamed of who I was or am. Only acts of cruelty or uncaring are truly shameful to me. I have lots of foibles, ‘warts’, and Shadow parts. I claim them as my own and I don’t pretend I don’t have them. I do not claim to be ‘good’.

I could never run for office, but at least I am not a hypocrite.

Ms. Christie O. may try to poo-poo the witchcraft matter as just adolescent high spirits, but the nation won’t let her. It is sad she if she goes down it will not be because she is a wacko, or has awful ideas, or is a hypocrite. The Nation will reject her for investigating Paganism.  What a country.

“Solitude” – A. A. Milne

I have a house where I go
When there’s too many people,
I have a house where I go
Where no one can be;
I have a house where I go
Where nobody ever says “no”;
Where no one says anything- so


There is no one but me.

I have just returned from a pleasant visit with The Best Friend. He lives in a small town that seems so quiet compared to Phoenix. Other than watching a movie, we did not have TV or a radio. He does not carry a cellphone. When we were out and about there was a sensation of being unaccessible. The world couldn’t get at us and didn’t even know where we were.  It gave me a lovely feeling of Solitude.

Being alone with ones self (or with a select group) is a delicious sensation. Introverts will readily appreciate this.  I suspect few people in the younger generations have experienced Solitude – or even desire it. They seem constantly in touch with each other via texting and calling. They become uncomfortable at the notion of ‘being alone’.  Once upon a time a young patient came to me for anxiety while hiking. He discovered his cellphone had no coverage and for the first time (ever?) he couldn’t call anyone, nor could they call him. He found the experience horrible, and thus had a panic attack. He expected me to relate to this.  He was bewildered, even offended, when I suggested being by himself was a worthwhile thing to cultivate.

I remember reading Maya Angelu makes a concerted effort to ‘disappear’ from time to time. Sensible woman!  I too long to be alone at times when nobody can find or get hold of me – particularly patients.

I seldom experience Solitude. What gets in the way is my cellphone, which I carry for work. By now, 24/7 accessibility has become so integral to my life, when it is not there I feel vaguely uncomfortable. There is something not quite right about being there 24/7 for everyone.  Only a few times in my professional life I have been ‘not available’; it was absolutely lovely.

Well, I can work on this. I can turn off the laptop and not answer the phone. As a bonus, I can turn off the the ipod and create Silence, another state of being even more rare than Solitude.

Yes, this needs to happen again very soon – and often.

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September 2010
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