health care

Day 2677: Who is the enemy?

These days, sometimes what I’m hearing is people trying to figure out who the enemy is.

Is the enemy

  • a political party?
  • a political leader?
  • those telling us to practice social distancing?
  • old habits?
  • cognitive distortions?
  • the news media?
  • the virus itself?
  • ourselves?
  • those we see as different from us?
  • confusion?
  • mixed messages?
  • hoarding?
  • lies?
  • the truth?
  • greed?
  • business?
  • socialism?
  • capitalism?
  • fear?
  • death?

Trying to figure out who the enemy is can take up a lot of energy.

When I look around, here, and now, I see no enemies. I see people trying their best to (1) figure out an ever-changing, unknown landscape and (2) get through this with minimal losses.

Do you see any enemies in my photos from yesterday?

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Here is “The Enemy Inside” by Dream Theater:

And just to balance things out, here’s “You’ve Got a Friend” covered by my musical hero Jacob Collier, whom I am almost definitely not going to be able to see perform in Boston this May.

I’m sure I’ll see Jacob Collier in better days to come.

Who is going to comment on enemies, friends, or anything else below?

As this tea bag tells us …

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… kindness has no enemy and neither does gratitude.

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Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2676: What I’m hearing

What I’m hearing, whenever somebody asks me what kind of animal I might want to be, is myself answering: “I would want to be a duck, because ducks are comfortable on land, on water, and in the air, they mate for life, and they make extremely silly noises.”

What I’m hearing, these days, are people are having more difficulty hearing because there is so much competing noise out there about what people need to do to be healthy and to survive.

What I’m hearing is that it’s time for me to share my first photo of the day:

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What I’m hearing is that I will be able to conduct my Coping and Healing groups using a remote telehealth platform, starting today.  What I’m hearing is that several different people will be participating in today’s group.

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What I’m hearing is that people are nervous when they do anything new for the first time.  Who looks particularly nervous in that photo above?  I’m hearing that the duck is a little anxious.

What I’m hearing is that the supply chain of food is okay, for now.

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What I’m hearing is that sometimes happy coincidences happen, as you can see from last night’s teabag saying:

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I’m hearing that the power of music can help us stay sane during these nutty times.

Here‘s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” performed by Marvin Gaye, a capella (because we’re all making do without all our usual supports, these days).

What are you hearing, here and now?

I hope you’re not sick of hearing gratitude from me.

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

Day 2675: Nuts! We’re all nuts!

Hello, my fellow nuts!  Today’s title is inspired by the very first photo I took yesterday:

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We’re all nuts because people are still

  • ignoring requests from governments to maintain social distancing,
  • hoarding certain provisions,
  • acting in old ways in the face of major new realities, and
  • personalizing, labeling, minimizing, magnifying, blaming, fortune-telling, mind-reading, negative-filtering, and all those other nutty cognitive distortions.

I hope that we nuts can figure out how to save ourselves and the planet before it’s too late, so we can keep being nuts together in less nutty ways.

All my photos today are nuts!

 

If you’re nuts about any of those photos, you can click on them to enlarge them.

Here‘s one of my favorite songs about how we’re all nuts (from before the days of social distancing):

 

If you’re nuts like me, please leave a comment below.

I am grateful to share this nutty blog with you, every day!

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Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 2674: What we can teach each other

Yesterday, I decided that our shy cat Harley could probably teach people a thing or two about social distancing, so I started taping this tutorial:

However, Harley didn’t teach the way I expected him to. Based on my past knowledge of Harley, I assume that Harley’s behavior was different because his best friend Michael was in the room.

This morning, when Michael was not in the room, I tried again:

Somebody can teach me something about how to hold the camera and Harley can teach us all this about social distancing:

  • Maintain a distance of six feet from people.
  • If somebody gets too close, move away, if possible.
  • If not, ask the person to back off.

Harley also teaches us that fear can make us very catty.

What can these other recent images teach us?

That teabag can teach us that our strength is our own knowledge.

I hope our knowledge and our strength help us all get through this.  I look forward to the teachings in the comments section, below.

Thanks to all who teach and learn, including YOU!

Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 2615: Proud to be

Proud to be

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  • someone who follows my dreams,

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  • a  healthcare worker,

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  • a functioning adult,

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  • somebody who notices requests and rules,

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  • somebody who gives respect and gets it,

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  • quiet, and thankful every day.

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What are you proud to be?

 

Categories: group therapy, health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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: , , , , , , , , | 22 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: , , , , , , , | 48 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

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