health care

Day 2417: Roadmap for a respectful culture

Hello, my respectful readers!

Yesterday, I noticed this big roadmap on the office wall of our Senior Director of Social Work and Patient/Family Engagement at the hospital:

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Respectfully, I realize that parts of that important roadmap are difficult to read.  I hope this helps:

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In case it doesn’t, I respectfully submit this list of behaviors promoting a respectful culture:

  • Intentionally engaging and including all constituents by participation and information sharing
  • Spending time with people
  • Introducing new employees via walkabouts through the department
  • Saying thank you
  • Asking questions
  • Listening more, talking less
  • Paraphrasing to check understanding
  • Coming up with at least 3 possible rationales for an action
  • Making eye contact
  • Saying “hi” to everyone
  • Helping those who are lost
  • Smiling
  • Show gratitude frequently
  • Asking for and accepting help when needed
  • Asking for feedback across, down, up

Yesterday, I met our neighbor Will Isenberg,  who is offering a roadmap for a respectful culture …

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I’m voting for Will on September 10 because I believe his roadmap will lead to a more respectful culture.

Today, I will be respectfully appearing on the podcast Heart to Heart with Anna, in which Anna Jaworski and I will be intentionally engaging and including all listeners by participation and information sharing about my very unusual heart. I don’t yet have a specific roadmap to my episode, but I’ll insert that link later today.

Here’s the link to the podcast. The first airing will be noon USA Eastern time.

And this link lets you listen at your convenience.

I respectfully submit all my other photos from yesterday, wondering which offer a roadmap for a respectful culture:

What music comes to mind when you think of a roadmap to a respectful culture?

This is what comes up on YouTube:

This shows up, too:

Now I’m asking for feedback across, down, up, with a respectful roadmap to the comments section, below.

Since gratitude is such an important part of a roadmap to a respectful culture, thanks to all who helped me create this blog post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2327: Why? Why?

Why oh why am I writing a fourth blog post about Why?  Why am I linking to the previous three posts (here, here, and here)?

Why did I write “Why?” on two different white boards at work yesterday?

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Why do white boards consistently get more difficult to erase?

Why were people in therapy yesterday asking so many WHY? questions, including:

Why is there so much traffic?

Why did it take me four times as long as usual to get here today?

Why do people back their cars into spaces in parking lots?

Why do people do what they do?

Why do I deliberately act like a mischievous child?

Why am I in so much pain?

Why am I in therapy?

Why aren’t other people in therapy?

Why did I take the rest of these pictures?

 

Why is it taking so much longer for me to access and transfer my photos? Why does that happen periodically?  Why does it bother me less each time it happens?

Why am I still having trouble writing that letter from the President for my professional organization’s newsletter?  Why did I start fresh yesterday with a new topic?  Why did Michael say he thought my first, abandoned topic  (the rejuvenation of Spring) was better? Why am I going to finish the second topic and then write another letter with the first topic if I have time? Why am I using the quote “If you want something to get done, give it to the busiest person” in my letter?

Why did I ask all the questions I did in this podcast (starting at 19 minutes and again at 28:34)?

 

Why did Michael not want to listen to that podcast last night? Probably for the same reason he doesn’t usually read this blog.   Why did I think I could find the post that explains that by searching on “Why Michael doesn’t read this blog”?

Why would you leave a comment today?

Why would I thank all those who help me write these posts and also YOU?  Why do you think?

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Categories: health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2242: How to use your energy

When I was using my energy, yesterday, to return to work after a week at Disney World, I saw this energetic teabag saying:

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An hour earlier, I saw many people using their energy to destroy a building.

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Sometimes we have to destroy what’s there to build something new in its place.  Of course, that takes a lot of energy.

An hour before I took that photo, I had the energy to take this one:

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No matter how much I summon my strength, I have less energy in the winter and also as I’m getting older.  So it becomes even more crucial how I choose to use my energy.

I didn’t have the energy to take any more photos yesterday, but I do have the energy to list what I am NOT using my energy on, these days:

  • worry about the future,
  • regret about the past,
  • guilt,
  • shame,
  • judgment,
  • toxic people,
  • anger, and
  • the news.

However, I do have the energy to think about positive, achievable solutions and I do have the energy to take the next, small steps towards those solutions. I think those are good uses of my energy.

Yesterday, at my first day back at work, many things happened that could have sapped my energy — like multiple crisis calls coming at the same time AND a patient showing up a day earlier than she was scheduled.  It always helps my energy to embrace “the full catastrophe” of life and I survived another work day, with energy to spare.  I’m glad I’m using my energy, at this phase of my life, on work I love and value.

Now I’m using my energy to share the original use of “the full catastrophe” in a very energetic movie.

Here‘s another energizing scene from Zorba the Greek:

I hope you use your energy to share your thoughts and feelings about this post.

As always, I use my energy to express gratitude to all who help me create this blog and — of course! — to YOU, for using your energy to read it.

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Categories: gratitude, health care, personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1186: Violent Agreement

You’re probably in violent agreement with me that one rarely sees the words “violent” and “agreement” linked together, as they are in today’s post title. You might violently agree that the words “violent” and “disagreement” are MUCH more commonly paired.

People who have have read this blog before could be in violent agreement about all this:

  1. I usually blog about things that have happened the day before.
  2. If I see or hear something that agrees with me (violently or otherwise), it appears in this blog.
  3. Since I started this daily blog, cardiologists have been in violent disagreement about my very unusual heart, including how it affects my health and my prognosis.

Yesterday, I wrote a  despairing (if not violent) email to my chief cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, with the subject heading “descending into confusion and anxiety (again).”

Hi Deeb,

I know that’s a dramatic subject heading, but there it is.

One heart specialist tells me I’m in class 2 heart failure, a week ago Friday.

That affects how I feel.

Another one insists that I need to have a surgical consult when I visit with her at the Mayo Clinic.

She is not available for me to ask her why.

Her very kind and nice scheduling person tells me that she was concerned by the data she saw in my records about my valve and believes a surgical consult is necessary.

My mind goes to — THEY WANT ME TO HAVE A VALVE OPERATION!

And I remember you and I deciding that the odds were not good for a valve operation.

Why would I want to talk to a surgeon in Minnesota ? There is no friggin’ way I would have the surgery out there, away from my friends and family.

So my question is this: does it make sense for me to shlepp all the way to Minneapolis, especially if the likelihood is that they are going to suggest valve surgery, which people here have  already convinced me would be very dangerous?

I know that you are used to dealing with smart people who ask a lot of questions. Please answer as best you can.

I am seeing Dr. Laura Snydman today and I’m sure we will be discussing this also.

Inquisitively,
Ann

After I saw Dr. Laura Snydman yesterday  (whom people would agree, violently or otherwise, is AWESOME), I checked my email and saw this:

Ann,

Give me a call.

Deeb

When I called Dr. Deeb Salem and told him where I was, he invited me up to his office.

Then, Dr. Salem listened patiently as I expressed all the thoughts and feelings in my heart, about my heart.

When I was finished, he said:

I’m in violent agreement with you.

Which immediately made me feel less violent and much more agreeable.

Isn’t it amazing how validation and agreement can do that?

As I write this “Violent Agreement” post today, Dr. Salem and I are in violent agreement about the following:

  1. I will consult with adult congenital heart specialists at the Mayo Clinic in May.
  2. My sister will accompany me there.
  3. No matter what happens, that will be a valuable trip.
  4. Brown University and the University of Edinburgh would both be non-violently agreeable places for my son to attend college next year (if he gets into both of those, which we should find out today).

Here are some pictures I took yesterday, in the midst of much violent agreement:

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Are you in violent or non-violent agreement  or disagreement about any of the above?

I hope you are in violent agreement with me that Dr. Salem deserves to be on my

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and so do my readers, including you!

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 1185: I left my phone at the office

I left my phone at the office, yesterday.

That means

  • I can’t show you any new photos,
  • I might have missed an important call from the office of cardiologist and Congenital Adult Heart specialist Dr.  Carole Warnes at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and
  • something significant to Sigmund Freud , although he might have made an exception for cell phones.

Because I didn’t leave my laptop at my office, I can look this up, here and now:

Freud said we often forget things for a reason. Motivated forgetting is a concept well documented in psychology and recognized in everyday life. For example, workers at dental offices know they have to call patients the day before an appointment, because otherwise patients commonly forget to show up. Freud would say this is because on some level they want to forget a dental appointment.

How can motivated forgetting or losing things reflect an “unconscious wish”?
Losing things can be revealing if the loss occurs “accidentally on purpose.” Freud said people sometimes lose a valuable thing they borrowed because, unconsciously, they rebel at giving it back. On other occasions, a loss might reflect an unconscious wish to get rid of something.

A student who raised her hand during a discussion of meaningful losses supplied an example. She said, “What would Freud say about this? I threw my wedding ring away while I was sleepwalking the first night I was married!” Not wanting to say, “That means you don’t want to be married,” I said, “Freud would probably make a lot out of that, but not all errors are meaningful.” In this case, however, the student was divorced within a year.

“Freudian Slips” and Other Errors (www.intropsych.com)

What do you think it means, that I left my phone at the office? What do you think it means when you forget things?

I may have left my phone at the office, but I didn’t leave my mind at the office.  Therefore, I can share some videos my co-worker Megan and I were talking about yesterday:

Even though I left my phone at my office, I can still remember that next Wednesday, April 6,  I’m seeing Martin Short and Steve Martin in “An Evening You Will Forget For the Rest of Your Life” with my son Aaron!

I wonder what Freud would say about that?   I especially wonder what Freud would say if you left behind a comment.

Left behind thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for not leaving this blog behind, today.

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Day 1184: You’re in

You’re in for a treat today, if urine the mood for stinky puns.

Are you in, pee-ple?

Yesterday morning, as I was minding my pees and q’s, I was  feeling  a little pissed, about my heart.

Then, I became much more pissed when I realized that our cat (whose name begins with O, not P), had urinated, peed, and pissed all over the bottom of our bedroom closet.

Of course, I had to de-urinate, de-pee, and de-piss the closet, pronto, even though I had an early appointment about my heart.

Does this  pissy post on my Facebook page sound pissed off?

Apparently, one of our cats tried to distract me from worrying about my heart by peeing everywhere in our closet. It worked.

After this pissy and pee-ved start to my morning, I met with Melanie at the New England Cardiac Arrhythmia Center.

Urine for some surprises, perhaps, when I tell you that:

  1. Melanie and I have worked together, through many pacemakers, for thirty years.
  2. I always feel less pissed after I talk with wonderful pee-ple like Melanie.
  3. Melanie showed me empeethy and understanding, as usual, which helped my heart feel much better.

Throughout the day, I felt pissy about these things:

  1. I could still imagine smelling that cat pee.
  2. Several pairs of my shoes are probably ruined because of urine, which is very pee-ving.
  3. I phoned  pee-ple at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and Dr. Warnes (who is the expert in pee-ple with my heart condition) is taking vacation the same week as my vacation in May, which is pee-ving, because now I’ll have to miss work to visit her.
  4. Dr. Warnes wants me to meet with a surgeon when I visit her in Minnesota, and surgeons are pee-ple who can piss me off.

Ready for some pissed photos from yesterday, pee-ple?

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That last pissy picture shows our own personal Urinetown — the back porch containing everything Oscar has recently peed on.

Because personally, puns do NOT peeve me, here’s the subject heading of an email I sent to my doctors about my mixed feelings re: traveling all the way to the Mayo Clinic about my pissy heart:

Hold the Mayo?

Here’s a punny clip from the very punny movie Airplane! about the Mayo Clinic:

Pissed off, peeple?

If urine the mood to mark this territory with a comment, I will not be pissed or peeved.

Many thanks to all people who pee, including those who helped me create this pissy and punny post and to those who are reading it, here and now.

Categories: health care, humor, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 1183: The positive and the negative

In life, in batteries, and in mathematics,  the positive and the negative have to coexist.

In my life (which has depended on  cardiac pacemaker batteries for the past 53 years), I have encountered the positive and the negative.

Throughout my positive-and-negative life, I’ve been told I have a surprisingly positive attitude, considering all the negative experiences I’ve encountered.

On my medical dream team, there is a more positive cardiologist and a more negative cardiologist.  In other words, one cardiologist accentuates the positive and another one focuses on the negative.  Both work very hard to help keep me alive and well.

When I see and hear the positive,  I feel better. When I see and hear the negative, I feel worse. Even though my logical mind knows they both, together, provide necessary balance, my very unusual heart reacts positively to the positive and negatively to the negative, every time.

10 days ago, I heard the negative words “heart failure” from one cardiologist.  Since then, my heart has been struggling.   Today, after I publish this positive-and-negative post, I’m going back to the place where I heard those negative words. I am positive that my heart needs to say something, to maintain the balance of hope and caution so necessary for survival.

What will I say, today, to communicate to my medical team how we can balance the positive and negative more effectively, going forward?

Maybe I’ll sing this song:

Accentuate the Positive

by Harold Arlen and  Johnny Mercer

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do just when everything looked so dark?

Man, they said “We’d better accentuate the positive”
“Eliminate the negative”
“And latch on to the affirmative”
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

Ya got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene

I’m accentuating the positive by including several versions of that song:

Do any of my photos from yesterday accentuate the positive?

Please leave  any comment — positive, negative, or in between.

I positively could not do all this, every day, without music, my doctors, my family, my friends, and my readers. Positive thanks to all!

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 47 Comments

Day 1178: What is heart failure?

Yesterday, I asked the blogging question

What if the concept of failure did not exist?

Today, I ask the blogging question

What is heart failure?

Please do not fail to take a moment to answer that question, in your own heart.

My heart  tells me there are many definitions of heart failure. Indeed,  I did not fail to find this definition of heart failure online:

Heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it and, specifically, failure of the heart to pump blood with normal efficiency. When this occurs, the heart is unable to provide adequate blood flow to other organs such as the brain, liver and kidneys. Heart failure may be due to failure of the right or left or both ventricles. The signs and symptoms depend upon which side of the heart is failing. They can include shortness of breath (dyspnea), asthma due to the heart (cardiac asthma), pooling of blood (stasis) in the general body (systemic) circulation or in the liver’s (portal) circulation, swelling (edema), blueness or duskiness (cyanosis), and enlargement (hypertrophy) of the heart.

Until today, my heart has failed to tell you about this heart-felt exchange with one of my heart doctors, Dr. Estes, last week:

Dr. Estes: I think you’re in Class 2 heart failure.

Me:  I don’t believe you. Maybe Class 1.  MAYBE.

Dr. Estes:  Well, there’s a grey area between Class 1 and Class 2.

Are you surprised at my heart’s failure to

  • report about that conversation before today or
  • accept Dr. Estes’s opinion?

My heart has such an unusual structure that nine out of ten doctors fail to agree about its failures and its successes. And I find that thinking in terms of failure — for my heart or for anything else — does not help me survive or succeed.

My heart will not fail to provide you with a definition of Class 1 and Class 2 heart failure, here and now:

Class I

No limitation of physical activity. Ordinary physical activity does not cause undue fatigue, palpitation (feeling heart beats), or dyspnea (shortness of breath).

Class II
(Mild)

Slight limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest, but ordinary physical activity results in fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea.

Again, my heart expresses this:  I believe my heart is not failing me. I feel comfortable during all ordinary physical activities, except climbing stairs. And, I have no swelling, blueness, or duskiness, EVER. I do have some enlargement of the upper part of my heart, because of my leaky valve.

Also,  I have an amazing team of heart doctors, committed to helping my heart not fail.

My heart will not fail to express this, either:

I think the term “heart failure” is a failure of the heart because it is WAY too frightening.   My heart-felt suggestion:  stop using “heart failure,” replacing it with a more heart-successful term, like “heart struggle.”

Do you see any heart struggles in my heart-felt pictures from yesterday?

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Please do not fail to express what is in your heart, below.

Heart-felt and successful thanks to all who helped me create this heart-struggling post and to you — of course! — for not failing to read it.

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

Day 1086: Hard to read

Yesterday, on my drive in to work at a major Boston teaching hospital, I saw somebody holding a sign that you might find hard to read.

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Sometimes, I find people’s expressions hard to read, too.

I hope it’s not hard to read, here, that lately I’ve been thinking that maybe my visions of very large faces who all look very angry might  be faces hovering over me — after I was born with a congenital heart condition — that were actually worried, not angry. After all, grown-up faces can be hard to read, for a very young child.

Which of the following photos do you find hard to read? Which are easy to read?

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If anything here is hard to read, please ask for my assistance.

Are the lyrics for this song (which first appeared in my blog post titled “Everything you need to know about the world”) hard to read?

The rules for “The Voice” try-outs (which are not hard to read) indicate that I should prepare five songs to sing in Philadelphia, two months from now.  I’m thinking I might attempt a reading and a singing of  “Mad World.”  I wonder if I’ll be able to read the expressions on people’s faces then.

Thanks to all my wonderful co-workers (who are easy and a pleasure to read), to grownups and children, to red, green, and pink cupcakes,  to all the people responsible for creating “Mad World,” to judges everywhere, and to you — of course! — for reading this blog today.

 

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism, taking a risk | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1057: Phew

“Phew” is a sound of relief.  It’s one of a few sounds I make — to myself and out loud to others — that  I call “comic book noises.”   Another comic book noise I make is “Eeeek!”

Because “Eeeek!” is a sound of fear, “Phew” is a good balance for that one.

Phew!

It’s a relief to have balance in my life.

When I woke up this morning, I realized I had lived through another  November 22nd.

Phew.

Now it’s time to think about

  • my new psychotherapy office in Newton, starting on December 1,
  • the holidays,
  • my almost-full-time work at a major Boston teaching hospital where I provide group and individual therapy,
  • my 17-year-old son’s college application process,
  • the increasingly cold weather,
  • blogging every day, and
  • lots of events and obligations, coming up soon.

For everything in that list, I could say

Eeeek!

or

Phew

… depending on my mood and my perspective.

I’m much more likely to say “Phew”  if I

  • focus on the present moment,
  • take one step at a time,
  • identify what is achievable,
  • exercise self-care, and
  •  connect with others.

What makes you say “Eeek”?  What makes you say “Phew”?

Do any of my  photos evoke comic book noises?

If I don’t include music in today’s post, will that cause an “Eeek!” or a “Phew”?

It’s a relief (Phew) to thank people, cats, personal produce (Eeeek!)  and you — Yay! —  no matter what noises you’re making, here and now.

Categories: blogging, health care, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

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