Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm addicted to Psyllium. In the last 2 weeks, I have eaten 6 quarts of tangy tropical fruit.

The problem with staying in your PJs all day is that you never truly wake up.

A full day of catching up on sleep and never moving more than 7ft from being under the covers has been delightful. My predicament is that I still have 50pgs of research papers to read for tomorrow and a mock-licensing exam to study for later this week.


1) Snuggle with the bunnies while I watch them tear the research papers into confetti.

2) Dance around in my underpants and claim that my under-preparedness was a rogue act of insanity. Since I'm doing my psych rotation, I know the criteria I need to fulfill to make my story seem plausible.

3) Finish watching the 3rd season of Scrubs- ostensibly under the excuse that listening to the characters' banter is "studying" in and of itself.

4) Continue to caffeinate myself with homemade chai until I'm so buzzed I can't possible sleep tonight and thereby finish my reading.

Hmm. what to do? what to do?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding.

Why is it that on the one day I call in sick, my hair couldn't possibly look more perfect?


"It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better people." - Wendell Berry

Two interesting insights for you folks....

Insight #1:

Dr. Gilbert Welch: "I think the generic problem is somewhat like the "check engine" lights on your car. Do you have check engines lights? My first car was a '75 Ford Fairlane. There were only two things monitored: my oil pressure and my engine temperature. I now drive a Volvo that is 10 years old, but it is checking about 25 different engine functions. And sometimes a check engine light comes on, and you’re really glad to know, and it leads to something you want to do something about. Sometimes the check engine light is just a nuisance, and it just keeps flashing on and off and the mechanic can’t fix it. And some of the audience might have this experience where they went to get it fixed and it made matters worse. And if you had that experience, you’ve had some of the experience of overdiagnsosis and that’s what I’m worried about. We’re putting more and more check engines lights on the human body. We have to ask ourselves if that is really the best way to get to a healthy society. We’re constantly monitoring for things to be wrong. Is that really the best way to achieve health?"

Insight #2:

Dr. Santher: "Women who have been sexually assaulted should never call themselves 'sexually abused' as this terminology implies that being a victim is now permanently part of their identity. Rather, they should state instead that they have had 'a bad sexual experience' and nothing more. For example, if a house is broken into, we do not refer to it as a 'broken into home' from that moment on. Rather, the house remains 'home' and the burglary is thought of as an experience the home has survived - much like an ice storm.

Also, by referring to the act as an experience rather than a condition, women are given ownership. If abuse is thought of as a passive act on behalf of the victim, this does not empower survivors of rape - how can it? If they did nothing at all to influence the circumstances that allowed the event to occur, there is no way that they can prevent it from happening again and again in the future. Thus, while any house can be broken into at any time, it is understood that this doesn't mean that the house is a bad house or that we cannot do things to prevent or discourage burglaries in the future, such as locking the door, owning a big dog, and/or cultivating good relationships with our neighbors, etc.

While it is true that we may feel uncomfortable living in a house that has been robbed, we can't move every time there is an incident in the neighborhood. We also can't sleep with one eye open every night for the rest of our lives in fear of the experience happening again. With time, love, and work, we will be able to enjoy many christmases, birthdays, and other joyful events in the same house as we continue to make our home there in the future. Eventually, the burglary will only be an unpleasant memory. And this is how it should be with women who have had 'bad sexual experiences'... nothing more than an unpleasant memory that happened in a body otherwise engaged in joyful celebrations."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

12 Grapes at Midnight

Happy New year, everyone!

I know that it's been quite awhile since I've posted - I spent most of Nov/Dec in a little town in The North doing a family medicine placement, followed immediately with Christmas shared between my family and Penguin's, after which we flew out to BC on Boxing Day to go skiing for a week. Throughout most of this, connection to the internet was quite spotty, so all I could really do was try to keep up with everyone else's blogs and posts and e-mails without ever really having the chance to post my own.

Needless to say, I have quite a bit of catch up to do here! However, you'll have to wait patiently since we just got back to Penguin-ville yesterday and I have to drive back to the Tropical Tundra tonight.

What I really didn't want to miss the opportunity to write about was my New Year's Resolutions. Penguin was kind enough to define the first goal...

1. Go to the doctor's when necessary. And dentist. And any other health care provider. Actually, we could make this resolution as simple as: make time to look after yourself.

It's easy enough to write but the last 1.5 yrs of medical school have proven it very difficult to find time to make and go to appointments since I'm usually working during business hours. Frankly, going to the doctor makes me feel like I'm a flunk since I feel like I really ought to be able to diagnose myself for most of this stuff and when I do know what's wrong I don't like going in because who am I (a measly baby clerk) to tell an old, experienced doc the diagnosis and treatment plan?

That said, I have had some persistent problems that really need attending (as Penguin has been very vigilant in pointing out) and since I don't have prescription powers, I really do need to make the time to go and get things looked after.

2. (A) Don't eat anything store bought with more than 5 ingredients (none of which can be weird chemicals) and make everything that I can't buy from scratch. (B) When shopping, buy as much as possible from the Farmer's Market - even if it means getting up early on Tues and Sat to go before rounds!

There are some exceptions to this rule:
  • If I'm starving to death and desperately need food.
  • If I'm eating at a friend's or at Penguin's or at a restaurant*
  • If this resolution significantly limits how many hours of sleep I can acquire, I may temporarily suspend the resolution until I've caught up on sleep.
*I will make every effort to only eat at independent, non-chain restaurants with the exception of getting Chai teas from Starbucks because otherwise I will surely fail out of medical school for lack of caffeine.

This resolution was inspired after reading "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan over the holidays. Most of the stuff in this book wasn't news to me but seeing that kind of info in print certainly did a lot for validating my inner granola-crunching, tree-hugging eco-freak so I hope to spend a good proportion of this year actively pursuing those ideals.

This goal also fits in with Resolution #1 because by spending more time cooking (and therefore hopefully eating), I will be looking after myself. AND - by eating well, I should be inspired to also hit the gym more.

That's it! Two easy-breezy, lemon-cheesy resolutions to keep in the new year. I feel healthier already. With that, I'd like to raise a glass to 2010 (a year full of potential to be significantly better than 2009) and dedicate myself to inspiring health in others while cultivating health in myself.

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