Posts Tagged With: childhood illness

Day 737: Home

Today, I’m returning to Boston Children’s Hospital,* where I spent many days and nights away from home, between the ages of 8 and 27.

People’s feelings and thoughts about home are shaped by many things. My experience of home was highlighted and shadowed by many experiences at a place that was NOT home for me — the hospital.

Here are my in-the-moment associations with “home”:

  • Home is where the heart is (something my late mother used to say).
  • I sometimes have a lot of feelings — including fear, sadness,  and anxiety — when I have to leave home. These feelings can be out-of-proportion to the current situation and — I believe — influenced by my experiences of home and the hospital, when I was a little kid.
  • Between the ages of 8 and 13, being away from home at the hospital was particularly difficult for me, because I had to undergo many scary procedures and surgeries, and — in the 1960’s — Children’s Hospital did not allow parents to stay with their children outside of regular visiting hours.
  • When I would arrive at the hospital, in the 1960’s, for yet another stay, I would immediately make myself feel more at home by spending hours on the pay phone, talking to my friends, feeding the phone with a pile of quarters (supplied by my parents).
  • Because of my many experiences at the hospital — dealing with a range of different nurses, doctors, and other big people — I am very skilled, to this day, at homing in on who is kind, empathic, and trustworthy and who is not.
  • Home = safety, wherever we can find it.

I love that I’m home, as I’m writing this blog post today.

Here are some photos of home:

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A penny for your thoughts about this post, so far?

Here’s one of my favorite “home” songs:

Pat Metheny‘s music (including “Letter from Home” found here on YouTube) has made hospitals feel more like home to me, many times.

When I was home with my family in the 1960’s, Burt Bacharach brought many songs into the home, including this one:

“A House is Not a Home” is making a home here, on YouTube.

What’s your favorite “Home” song?

While I may have some feelings of anxiety and sadness right now, as I prepare to leave home for Children’s Hospital,* it helps to tell myself this:

I am no longer a child. I am an adult now, with control, power, resources, supports, and skills I did not have back in the days when Children’s Hospital was my home-away-from-home.

In my usual free-associative way, I am now thinking about the word “homework” and how — as a psychotherapist — I like to give people homework.  Here are some of my associations with “homework” as I’m writing this at home:

  • When I give my patients/clients homework and they don’t do it, I tell them, “That wasn’t the right homework” and we try something else.
  • When I was in therapy decades ago, working on difficult memories from my hospitalizations, I came up with a particularly helpful homework assignment for myself: to draw a map of the 5th Floor of the Fegan Building of Boston Children’s Hospital, and to illustrate — with pictures and words —  vivid experiences that happened to me there, in many rooms and locations on that floor.  One thing I drew on that map of the Cardiology Unit at Children’s Hospital from the 1960’s: the nurses’ station, where I spent a lot of time, talking to as many kind adults as I could find there. Another thing I remember drawing on that map, which helped so much in my personal healing: the pay phone with a pile of quarters, located in the hallway off the elevator between the regular hospital rooms and the Intensive Care Unit, where children, including me, recovered from surgery.

In my free-associating style, writing that previous paragraph inspires me to share this movie clip with you, now:

(“E.T. phone home” clip is here, on YouTube.)

I may have felt like an alien, at times in my life, but it always helps me to phone home. Every morning, that’s what I do, here on WordPress.

Thanks to all who do their best to make homes in the world, including you, of course.

* This morning, I’m going back to Children’s Hospital for an outpatient appointment with a new cardiologist. I should be home, soon.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Day 727: Guess what I did

As I’ve written about before (like here),  I have certain repeating, repetitive dialog exchanges with people, especially my boyfriend Michael (not shown, identified,* in any photos in this almost-two-year blog).  

For example, when I am telling Michael a story, this exchange can happen:

Me: Guess what I did then, Michael.

Michael (exaggerated pause, indicating thinking):  You cried?

Michael is a very good guesser. Maybe that’s because I’m a very good

Guess what I’d like to do now!

If you guessed “cry”









And that incorrect guess would show that you’re probably not as good a guesser as Michael, but that’s because

  • you don’t know me as well as Michael does and/or
  • I sort of set you up there, didn’t I?

This is what I want to do now in this post. I want you to

Guess what I did yesterday.

If you guessed “cry” there …


However, I’m not that impressed by that guess, because I told you I cried in my weird blog post yesterday morning.

Also, I did much more than cry, yesterday. How am I going to tell you, in this post, what I did?


What I Did Yesterday: A photojournalistic essay

by Ann

I wrote a blog post in the morning, sitting on a sofa with two cats and a calculator.


Then, I had lunch at a favorite restaurant in Arlington, Massachusetts, USA, with my son Aaron.

IMG_4220 IMG_4221 IMG_4222

Guess how old Aaron (not pictured) is! He’s 16, soon to be 17. Guess what I do, sometimes, when I think about how lucky I am that he still likes having lunch with his mother.

Guess how Aaron feels about my taking photos for this blog!  Like Michael, Aaron is not exactly thrilled,  but he’s also tolerant of my stopping to capture images I like.

Here are the photos I took, as Aaron and I walked through Arlington after lunch:


IMG_4224 IMG_4226 IMG_4227 IMG_4228 IMG_4229 IMG_4231

Aaron got into one of those shots above. Can you guess which one?

Then, because neither Michael nor Aaron wanted to see a movie I wanted to see, guess what I did next! (There’s a hint, about that, in this post.)

IMG_4232 IMG_4233 IMG_4234

Guess what movie I saw, happily, by myself!

There are hints about that, here, here, here,  here, and here.

Guess what’s telling me where those hints are, about which movie I saw yesterday. WordPress!

You may not guess this, but I always want to put a “?” at the end of a sentence that begins with “Guess.”  Guess who told me not to do that!

My son, Aaron.

Guess what I did when I saw Into The Woods  yesterday!

Right now, I am secretly guessing what some of the comments about this post are going to say.  Let’s see if I’m RIGHT!**

Any more guesses about what I did yesterday?

Michael, Aaron, and I went into Harvard Square  last night.

IMG_4237 IMG_4238


As I’m looking closely at that last photo, I’m guessing that somebody else wanted to capture a memory of what I was seeing there, last night.

Guess what I did, after I took that picture!

  1. Michael and I dropped Aaron off at Tasty Burger in Harvard Square, so he could join his friends for a sleep-over.
  2. Michael and I went home.
  3. I fell asleep while we were watching “Chopped” (not pictured).
  4. I decided to give my sleep machine another try by wearing one of these masks (pictured previously here and here):


Guess what I did when I had to wear machines in the hospital when I was a little kid!?!?

I never cried then, actually.

Maybe that’s why I love crying so much, now.

Guess what song I’m going to include in this post!

If you guessed a song from Into the Woods ….

You’re WRONG!**

(Did you guess I would find a live version of Seal singing “Don’t Cry” here on YouTube?)

Guess what I’m going to do now!

I’m going to give thanks, of course, to Michael, Aaron, the Madrona Tree Restaurant in Arlington, Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods, Harvard Square,  Aaron’s friends,  Seal,  guessers everywhere,  and  you — of course!  — for reading and guessing here, today.

* Would you like to guess whether Michael is pictured, unidentified, in any photos in this blog?

** If you’ve ever been to Boston’s beautiful baseball stadium/temple Fenway Park any time in the last few decades, you might guess how I came up with that kind of RIGHT and WRONG, here in this non-judgmental blog. If not, I’ll tell you.***  The scoreboard in Fenway Park asks people to guess the number of people attending the game and it reveals, after dramatic pauses, who is WRONG and who is RIGHT.

*** If I hadn’t told you, would you have guessed?

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 582: Cool

“Cool” is a word I use, almost every day.  “Cool” is very high praise, from me.

As I wrote about here, I remember being 7 years old and suddenly  being aware of how cool I was, in my own unique way.  Then, as I dealt with illness, multiple  hospitalizations, and adolescence, I lost  touch with my own coolness.

However, whenever I heard cool music, I would move cool and feel cool, during that time.

Here are some examples of what I would classify as  “cool music.”:

(coolness found here, on YouTube)

(coolness found here, on YouTube)

(coolness found here, on YouTube) (and in a previous post, here)

Listening to cool music helps me feel cooler. Even when I feel awkward, down, out of sorts, out of place, or uncool in any way, cool music is a great cure for all that.  When I’m listening to cool music, no matter what’s going on, I feel cool.  I walk cool. I talk cool. Hey!  I am cool.

Let me check in with you, right now, to see if we have this in common. When you listen to sounds you find cool, don’t you feel cooler? Even just a little bit?


And now, my cool compatriots, here are some  cool things I’ve encountered recently, in this cool world of ours.

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I know that, for some of you, when I include a lot of images, the page can take a while to load. I hope you were able to stay cool, during that.

And I hope you know it is very cool to ask questions and to ask for other things you need, here and elsewhere.

In conclusion, isn’t it cool that I get to share with you sounds and sights I love?

I’m telling you, writing for you all is the coolest.


Thanks to Nelson Riddle, to Hank Mancini, to Leonard Bernstein, to cool cats everywhere, and to you, for how cool you are, naturally.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 321: The gift of mortality

When I was in my 20s, I was talking to a friend where we both worked, at a high tech company.

That day, we were talking about mortality.

He, who was also in his 20s, declared that people of our age could not possibly have a sense of our own mortality.  We could not  really understand, said he, that we would die some day.

I had heard that before, but that was not my personal experience.  I was born with a congenital heart problem, received my first cardiac pacemaker at age 10, and was definitely aware of mortality issues, in ways my friend was not.

This is my recollection of the rest of that conversation:

Me: Well, that’s probably true for lots of people. That’s not my experience. I’m very aware of mortality issues. I know I’m going to die, and I think about that a lot.

Him:  I don’t believe it. You might think you know you’re going to die, but you don’t really know that.

Me: (pause, not knowing what to say to THAT.)

Him: Look, if you really knew you were going to die, you wouldn’t show up to work here every day. You’d be doing things you REALLY want to do.

Me: (Laughing out loud)

Him: What’s so funny?

Me: I have a lot of trouble showing up here every day.


That conversation has always stuck with me, because it represents something important.

I have always had trouble spending time on something that doesn’t feel like a “good enough fit”, because I am sooooo aware that my time is limited.

I think that has served me very well.

It has guided me, continually, in improving my situation, at work (through career changes), in love, and at home.

I’m not saying my progress has been perfect or linear, in any way.  (See this post for more about that.)

However, increasingly as I’ve aged, my presence indicates an active choice to be there.*

Every day, when I post, I am choosing whole-heartedly to be here.

I may never know what form the post will ultimately take, but I trust in the process of creation.

That’s how I feel about life, too. I don’t know the course, and how it will end, but I am committed, as much as possible, to every moment.

Okay!  It’s time to choose an image, to end this post.

(Pause, while I check my iPhone for a photo that’s a “good enough fit”.)


When people in therapy report progress, strengths, or anything worth celebrating, I sometimes say, “If I had some confetti, I would throw it.”

Here it is:


Thank you for celebrating with me, here and now.


* With some exceptions, of course. I never want to be present when it’s time to do my taxes.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 320: Show up, be gentle, tell the truth

Hundreds of days ago (doesn’t that sound more impressive than “on March 12”?), I wrote a blog post called “The Secret to Life is Three Things.”

And those three things,  Ladies and Gentlemen of the Blogosphere,  comprise the title of today’s post. Here they are, engraved on a clock:


Many years ago, when I first heard somebody reveal those secrets to life, I believed them, immediately. Why?  Because they matched my value system — how I’ve tried to live.

I remember those three things, whenever I can, and offer them to others.

Personally, I’ve had trouble remembering an important component of Part 2 of The Secret to Life. Therefore, when I pass that on, I say, “‘Be gentle’ includes being gentle with yourself.”

Regarding the other two parts —  showing up and telling the truth — I’ve had no trouble remembering those.

I’m really good at showing up. For example, I’ve shown up here, every day this year, with a post. No problem.

Sometimes, maybe I show up at places when I really don’t have to.  For example, maybe I should take a day off from work (or from other obligations), more often than I do.

I would like to be more gentle with myself, regarding the showing up — to remind myself that I have choices.

Regarding Part 3 of The Secret to Life,  I can also be a little … what’s a good word? — extreme. That’s because Telling the Truth is very important to me.


My parents were very honest.  My parents let me know how much they valued honesty.

Also, when I was a kid in the hospital, somebody lied to me after my first surgery. (As I’ve recounted here before, the nurse who took off the dressing after my first surgery, revealing the pacemaker implanted right under my skin, lied when I asked her what THAT was, by replying, ‘That’s your hip. It’s swollen from the surgery.”)

And if I were going to change anything in my life — ANYTHING! — I would change that encounter, with that lie.

Although, I’ve been more gentle about that, lately.  Last week, I remarked to a friend, “You know, there was a very good reason why people were not at their best, dealing with me after my first surgery. President Kennedy had just been shot.”

And it helped to realize that (and to write, now, too).

I still value honesty, sometimes to the extreme.

What is my definition of Extreme Honesty?  Answer: When you tell the truth, even when it is not to your benefit.

Two examples of Extreme Honesty:

  1. Getting into a car accident, where you and the other driver conclude all the fault is his, realizing soon after that you are somewhat at fault and calling the other driver to confess.
  2. Being involved in a law suit, finding a document that might hurt your case, and confessing about its existence  (even though you could easily ignore it).

Extreme Honesty doesn’t always come easy, I must confess. Sometimes, it involves many hours of soul-searching, including the wish to Not Tell.

Today, I want to be honest about something that I discovered yesterday, on the internet.

This year, I’ve been more open and up front about my experience with illness and hospitals, especially when growing up.

Some of that honesty has involved bragging.

This has been my Big Brag:

I am the longest surviving person in the world with a pacemaker!!  Ta-da!!


People seem impressed when I brag about that.  And I have felt  secure, with that brag, for many years.  Several experts have endorsed that brag, too.*

However …..

This is what I discovered, yesterday, at WikiAnswers:

Wow, I’ve got everybody beat! I recieved my first pacemaker at 21months old in June 1962.( first infant) Next year I will have been pacer-powered for 50 years.I ran on nuclear energy for 30yrs and was one of the 1st 15 people to get an american made nuclear pacer. I was born with a total heart-block with 2 holes in my heart. One closed after the pacer was installed and I had open-heart surgery to repair the second when I was in my 30’s.I now run on a state of the art defibulator and all 4 chambers of my heart now function for the first time.Lets hear it for great technology & fantastic Doctors!!

Rocky Hutchinson

When I found that, I immediately sent it to my cardiologist.

I knew I would blog about it today.

Maybe this is resistance — to giving up what I’ve “owned” for many years —  but that story does seem, in some ways, incredible to me. An enormous pacemaker (much larger than mine, probably, because that was over a year before my first one) given to an infant?  I didn’t think they were doing that.

However, it’s possible. It’s definitely possible.

And I know this: When I tell the stories of my childhood experiences with pacemakers, they can seem unbelievable.

And here’s something else that matters a great deal, to me: To be believed.

As a matter of fact, I treasure, beyond measure, something my cardiologist said to me, two weeks ago:

One thing I’ve learned, Ann, is never to doubt you.

That, in ways, means more to me than any record.

So, how do I want to end this post, today?

I think I showed up, was gentle, and told the truth.

I did my best.

Here’s one thing that feels left undone, though.

Yesterday, Shaun of prayingforoneday gave me the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award.

While I have mixed feelings about awards at WordPress, I accepted that award, with honest gratitude, where it was given (in the comments of my About page).

However, I couldn’t figure out how to include the award logo in my acceptance comment.  So here it is:


I KNOW I deserve THAT award.

Many thanks to Shaun, to Rocky Hutchinson, to the longest surviving person in the world with a cardiac pacemaker (wherever that person is**), to people doing their best with honesty (and other endeavors), and to you, especially, for visiting today.

* Although several have said, “We can’t be 100% sure.”

** See more about this, here.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 318: Other people’s mistakes

I’ve written several times, this year, about perfectionism. (For example, herehere, and here.)

Nobody is perfect — including the writer and the readers of this post.  As humans, we all make mistakes, every day. (Probably, we all make mistakes every hour.)

I react differently to the Making of Mistakes, though, depending upon who is doing the mistake-making.

When I realize that I have made a mistake, this is my usual response:

I feel awful.

Here are some typical, automatic thoughts I have:

Oh, no!  I made a mistake!  I should have paid better attention. This is really going to be a problem for other people, too.  What’s the matter with me?

It’s a different story, though, when somebody else makes a mistake. Often, I forgive other people their mistakes.

It’s much easier to remember that everybody makes mistakes, when it’s everybody else.

However, when somebody makes a mistake that has a direct, negative impact on me,  that’s a different story, too.

Then, this is my usual response:

I feel awful.

Here are some typical, automatic thoughts I have:

Oh, no! This other person made a mistake!  And that really caused me some discomfort. What do I do now?  How do I tell them about it? They’ll probably think it’s MY fault, too!  How can I prove it’s NOT? Maybe it IS my fault, somehow! And what if it’s NOT my fault and they don’t own up to that? THEN what do I do?   Also, if I mattered and was important enough to them, they would have been more careful!  Now I’m angry!  NOW what do I do? If I express my anger, I’ll probably alienate them!  I don’t want to lose them!  But I don’t want to pretend that it’s all okay with me, either, because it’s NOT!

This is what I notice about THAT, now.

When somebody else makes a mistake, I tend to have MORE thoughts.


Well, I’m really used to my own mistakes. I KNOW (by living with myself) how imperfect I am: I’ve got lots of proof about that. At times in the past, I’ve thought of myself as a screw-up — somebody who constantly make mistakes.

So THAT’s familiar.

But, somehow, I’ve never gotten used to other people’s mistakes.

Why is that?

This is my best guess, right now: When I was a little kid, I needed important people — upon whom I depended —  to NOT make major mistakes.  (And they made mistakes, of course. They were human.)

I know I’m not alone, in that.

Here’s a personal example of that: I  needed the doctors keeping me alive —  through surgeries and new technologies — to NOT make major mistakes. Big time.

So, my wish —  even as an adult — is that people NOT make mistakes. But they do, of course, every day.

Also, if somebody makes a mistake that has a negative effect on me and doesn’t own it, I can feel some anger about that (naturally). And as I wrote, two days ago, I can be a little clueless about anger, once I have it.

So there you have it: My reactions to other people’s mistakes.

It’s easy for me to write this post today, dear readers, because somebody — whom I’ve yet to meet —  made a mistake last night which did have a negative impact on me.  At this writing, the person is not owning the mistake, which may or may not change.

This is what I’ve done, so far, this morning, to deal with this:

  1. I wrote an e-mail to the person, pointing out the facts.
  2. By focusing on the facts, I let go of any wish to affect the other person’s feelings about this in any way.
  3. I worked on this blog post.

All those things helped.

What’s missing, for me, right now?

A cool image, for this post!

My next step: consult my iPhone for recent photos.

Oh!  Here’s one:


Recently, I saw this hand-written message on a sign, regarding a overdue repair to a machine.

So there you have it, my dear readers:  Another way to respond to other people’s mistakes.

Thanks to everybody who makes and responds to mistakes and to you — of course! — for visiting here today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 293: Repetitiveness, again

Here are some things I’m repeating, which are on my mind, today:

  1. This topic, from yesterday.
  2. My sister and I get to go to a Red Sox World Series game, for the second time!red-sox-2007-world-series-championsChicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox
  3. I’m wondering  about judgmental thoughts people might have about my writing, right now.
  4. I’m reminding myself that  (a) I don’t know what anybody else is thinking and (b) who cares what other people are friggin’ thinking, anyway?
  5. There are lots of things I want to include in this blog post today, including images of  places I re-visited yesterday:IMG_1930IMG_1936IMG_1946IMG_1950IMG_1955IMG_1957
  6. When I tell somebody something, I like to follow through. For example, a wonderful blogger, The Laughing Housewife, commented about yesterday’s post,  “I can read the same book over and over; but it is its familiarity that makes it so special.” I replied, “I read some books over and over again, too. I think I’ll add that to the post I’m concocting in my mind right now.” So, here are some books I’ve read, many times, that have helped me:                                                                                                                                                                                                      brown  9780064400558 91HJgLKI1GL._SL1500_helpcatch-22_coverpride-and-prejudice (1)                             Awakening-the-Heroes-Within-9780062506788
  7. Making lists of things that seem important.
  8. Noticing something different, as I’m composing this post, which is worrying me.
  9. Fearing some worst-case scenarios (e.g.,  I will lost this post before I can publish it; I will not give people credit who deserve it; links I’ve included won’t work or will be inappropriate).
  10. Accepting that I fear the worst, sometimes, and that I can let go of that, too.

Things on that List of 10, which I’m doing differently, this time around:

All of the above.

That concludes today’s post, everybody.

Thanks to David Ortiz,  Koji Uehara, everyone else involved in the creation of this post, and to you, too, for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Day 292: A good word for repetitiveness

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a fear of repeating myself.

Why? I’m wondering this morning.

What’s so bad about repeating things?

Especially since I talk to people, repetitively — in this blog and elsewhere — about how we humans tend to repeat and relearn important lessons, as we grow. (See my first post about that,  here.)

Here’s an example of “good” repetitiveness:

When I really love a song, I want to play it, over and over again.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have the control to make that happen.  When  I loved a song,  I would listen to the radio for days, wishing that it would play.

Yearning for that song. Waiting to hear it.

I first remember doing that, when I was very young, with this song:

I remember doing that, when I was about 13 years old, with this song:

Nowadays,  if I want to listen to a song over and over again, I can!  And yesterday, I did just that, with this tune:

At this point in this post, I wanted to tell you about another instance of helpful repetitiveness, but here’s what I’m thinking:

Geesh!  “Repetitiveness” is such a difficult word to say and type.  What’s another good word for that concept?

So, I just I looked for another word, and here’s something interesting, people! Most of the synonyms for “repetitiveness” are negative:

Here’s the list I found:

(Thanks to

However, (as usual) when I look at that list again, I see things differently.

Some of those words probably are negative to everybody (“wearisomeness,” “tediousness”).

Some of those words seem negative to me (“routine,” “”unchangeableness”), but not to others, I’m sure.

And some of those words are very positive, to me, right now (“oneness”).

However, I haven’t found a word I like, to replace “repetitiveness.”  I guess that’s a good enough word, today, for this blog post.

So where was I?

Oh, yes. I wanted to include another example of repetitiveness in this post, before I end it.

But first let me say this:  Repetitiveness, like everything else, is in the eye of the beholder.


This is a photo of the first cat I got, when I was 10 years old:



Here’s what’s written on the back of that photo:


Here’s a photo of our new cat, Harley:



That concludes our blog post for today, everybody.

Thanks to Frank Sinatra, Norma Tanega, Donald Fagen, tough cats of all kinds,  repeaters everywhere, and to you, especially, for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 285: How to choose a doctor

Dear Readers,

I would like to share my abundant expertise with you about an important and timely topic.

Where I live, everybody is talking about health care.

And no matter where you are, having a good doctor on your team is really important.

Here’s what I’ve learned — over many decades of experience — about choosing a doctor.

  1. Make a list of your priorities.  In other words, think about what’s important, to you, in a doctor.
  2. Be an educated and self-empowered consumer. That is, ask to meet different doctors until you find one that matches your priorities well enough.

It’s a short list, isn’t it?  However, it took me a long time to figure that out.

But that’s how I always choose doctors, ever since I’ve become an adult.

Let me show you how it works, for me.

Here’s my list of priorities, for a doctor:

  1. Experience with my medical issues (or, at least, eager to get more experience).
  2. Listens well.
  3. Explains and communicates well.
  4. Flexible thinker  (in order to understand unexpected and complex issues of care).
  5. Responsive to requests, in a timely enough manner.
  6. Demonstrates kindness and compassion.
  7. Creates a comfortable enough atmosphere.

For every doctor involved in my care, I’ve made choices, using that list of priorities.

Last week, I saw my Primary Care Physician, Dr. Laura Snydman.  She definitely meets my priorities.

Here’s some proof, of at least one of those priorities:


Don’t you agree?

Thanks to Dr. Snydman, adorable dogs everywhere, compassionate treaters of all kinds, people dealing with health care issues,  and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 280: No Worries, Part Deux

Exactly 39 days ago, I wrote a post called No worries. If I do say so myself, it was a good post.  And other people seemed to like it, too.

What are you waiting for?  Go check it out by clicking on that link above.  I’ll wait.

Back?  Okay.

Yes, I wanted to re-visit that post today, because, frankly, during the past week, I lost track of the lessons of that post.

In other words, I’ve been worried.  My mind has been doing this:


Even though I believed it, when I wrote 39 days ago, that worry doesn’t help us,  I still circled back into worry, this past week.

(Psssst! If you’ve ever lost track of a previously learned lesson, see another previous post — called “The Ascending Coil” —  for a perhaps helpful “reframe” of the perhaps unhelpful concepts of “backsliding” and “losing ground.”)

So where was I, before the aside in parentheses?

Oh, yes, I was going to re-cap some facts, to explain why I “backslid” into worry last week:

  1. Last week, I was surprised by a new development with my unusual heart. I went into atrial fibrillation, where I will most likely stay, for the rest of my life.
  2. As a result of #1, I will need to take medication (to counteract the increased risk of stroke) for the rest of my life.
  3. When unexpected changes happen, my first reaction is often to  catastrophize — a cognitive distortion I seem to share with many other human beings.  (For definitions of catastrophizing and other common cognitive distortions, click here.)
  4. While I actually like certain kinds of surprises (e.g., I’d LOVE somebody to be clever enough to succeed in surprising me with a party, some day), other kinds of surprises make me cranky.  And when I’m cranky, I tend to worry more.

I think those four reasons, above,  are enough to explain why it sucked to be me, last week.

Actually, I don’t think it actually sucked to be me, at least not completely.  In ways, it was wonderful to be me, last week.

I’ve just always wanted to say that:  “It sucked to be me.”   And I haven’t said (or written that) before, until now.

Okay! I don’t know about you, but I‘ve gotten a lot out of this blog post,  already, including these benefits:

  1. I got to boss around my readers, insisting that they look at a previous blog post I’d written,
  2. I got to brag about that blog post,
  3. I got to brag about the fact that I’m so smart, that people have tried and failed to give me surprise parties in the past,
  4. I got to use the term “It sucked to be me” for the first time and, in general,
  5. I got to  complain about my week.

That last point reminds me of a favorite movie quote (at 1:00 in this two-minute clip):

If you had trouble hearing that quote at the one-minute mark,,  Dr. Walter J. Kornbluth (played by Eugene Levy) said this:

What a week I’m having!

But you know what? I hope I’m not spoiling anything for anybody,  but by the end of the movie “Splash,”  Dr. Kornbluth (as well as all the other characters I cared about)  had No Worries.

And I feel safe in saying, now, that I’m back to No Worries, too.

Thanks to Eugene Levy, Tom Hanks,  everyone else who collaborated on “Splash,” other creative collaborators everywhere,  and to you, too, for reading today

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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