Posts Tagged With: Pacemaker Clinic

Day 584: The Red One

Here’s the cool music that came on, yesterday, as I started my walk to work.

(YouTube video found here)

It’s “The Red One,” written by Pat Metheny and played by two amazing jazz guitarists: Pat and John Scofield.

I learned yesterday why that tune has that title.  Somebody at a Pat Metheny concert once yelled out “THE RED ONE!” requesting that Pat play his special red guitar.

Here’s a live version of “The Red One,” so you can see Pat Metheny and John Scofield, playing away,  plus guitars of different colors (none of which look red, to me):

(YouTube video found here)

Anyway, when that tune came on yesterday, I thought

That, right there, is a very adequate title and topic for tomorrow’s post.  Not only does that give me an excuse to share something else by  my favorite musician and tell people about two of the finest jazz guitarists performing anywhere in the world,  it also provides the perfect balance of structure and freedom for the photographic component of the post, allowing me to seek an aesthetically pleasing and visually cohesive solution that embraces perhaps photos I’ve taken in the past as well as those I can take today.

Actually, my thoughts weren’t really like that. My actual thoughts were more like this:

The Red One! Wow! I love that song!  Hmmmm.  Photos? Ooooh!  I like to take pictures of colors, numbers, and stuff like that! Yay!!

And, immediately, I snapped this photo, in service of “The Red One” theme.

IMG_7710

That certainly fits the premise, I thought.  I mean, there IS a red one, in that picture. However, that’s a little too advertising-y, for my tastes.

What do you think?

There MUST be other photos I can find for this piece, that are less commercial, I thought, yesterday morning.  I’m sure I can find images, today, that include …

  • the color red,
  • the number one
  • red letters,
  • other red things, standing out amidst obviously non-red things, and
  • other riffs on the theme “The Red One.”

Hey (I thought) !!! What if I find and show things that are a close-to-perfect realization of tomorrow’s post theme and then –BIG FINISH! — hit my readers with an ACTUAL RED ONE.

I was very pleased with myself, about these ideas.

And, immediately, I saw and snapped these:

IMG_7711      IMG_7712IMG_7713 IMG_7714 IMG_7715 IMG_7716

At this point, I was thinking …

Ooooh!  Maybe I can make the point that when we choose a theme or a way to look at things, THAT is what we’re going to see.

I also thought

I hope I don’t take TOO MANY photos today.  I have sooooo many things to do and take care of. I don’t want to spend too much time photographing and I don’t want to get overwhelmed, later, trying to decide among too many pictures.

And then, I noticed this:

IMG_7717

Okay, then!  I reached my goal, for the day.  I found The Red One!  Now, I can relax.  My preparation, for tomorrow’s post, is done, I thought.

But, somehow, I couldn’t help myself. I took many, many more photos, throughout my day, that I believed could fit my theme.

Now, as I’m creating this post, I have two other goals: I don’t want to overwhelm (1) me or (2) you.

Let’s see how this goes, shall we?

First of all, before I show you any more photos,  I want to tell you that I took (hold on, I’m going to count) ….

ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-ONE photos yesterday.

Wow.  I’ve really got my work cut out for me, today.  So many choices!  I usually take WAY FEWER shots, with my iPhone. As a matter of fact, often I show you most (or even all) of the photos I’ve recently taken.

Granted, some of those photos are ones that my iPhone snapped on its own, accidentally, with no intent of mine —  but that number is  (hold on, I’m going to count) …

12 of all the photos I took yesterday are obvious throw-aways.

Eeeek!  How am I going to show you photos that meet my theme AND capture my day yesterday, as I:

  1. Walked to work, from the parking lot where I leave my car,
  2. Interacted with many people, in the morning,
  3. Left work and walked back to my car,
  4. Went to Pacemaker Clinic to get my pacemaker checked, at a different hospital from where I work,
  5. Ran into one of my cardiologists, Dr. Salem,
  6. Drove home,
  7. Interacted with my son Aaron and my boyfriend Michael,
  8. Welcomed a veterinarian who makes house calls, so she could (1) give our two cats their yearly exams and shots and (2) meet our newer cat, Harley,
  9. Said goodbye to Aaron as he left for (1) the final dress rehearsal for his play and (2) his Wednesday night stay with his father,
  10. Spent quality time  with Michael, at our usual Wednesday evening haunts of (1) Panera Bread, for dinner, (2) PetSmart, to get cat supplies and to hang out with the animals there, and (3) Whole Foods, to hang out and buy one or two items that strike our fancy….

…. without getting overwhelmed?!?!?

I shall do my best.

Wait!  Here are some things I know will help me not get overwhelmed, from past experience. I need to make this task do-able, by setting limits. For example, I am now telling myself that:

  1. I don’t need to show you all the photos I took yesterday.
  2. The photos I choose will be good enough, for the purposes of this post.
  3. The post is already good enough (AND I can make it better).
  4. I can’t think of a fourth thing, right now, but that’s a good enough list, already.
  5. If I think of something else I want to tell you, I can add it later.

Oh!  I remembered one more thing I want to tell you: I didn’t take pictures of EVERYTHING yesterday.

Okay! I shall now present you with some photos I took, yesterday, inspired by “The Red One” (in order of appearance):

IMG_7718 IMG_7719 IMG_7733 IMG_7734 IMG_7735 IMG_7737 IMG_7741

IMG_7742 IMG_7744 IMG_7747 IMG_7750 IMG_7752 IMG_7754IMG_7756 IMG_7758 IMG_7763 IMG_7769 IMG_7773 IMG_7774 img_7777 IMG_7779 IMG_7787  IMG_7790 IMG_7794 IMG_7795 IMG_7798IMG_7799 IMG_7800 IMG_7802 IMG_7803 IMG_7805 IMG_7808 IMG_7809 IMG_7812 IMG_7817 IMG_7819 IMG_7821 IMG_7822 IMG_7823 IMG_7825 IMG_7831 IMG_7834 img_7839 IMG_7841 IMG_7849 IMG_7857 IMG_7858 IMG_7859 IMG_7861

Phew! That wasn’t so bad.

Am I really done, for this post?

Well, I think I need to explain at least ONE of those photos.  I mean this one, where there is NOTHING red to be seen, anywhere:

IMG_7831

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my 16-year-old son, Aaron, who has made two previous photographic appearances in this blog (here and here).  If you’ve seen Aaron before, you would know that his hair is, naturally, red. However, it’s dyed brown now, for his play.

Any questions?

Thanks to all the red ones in my life and to you — of course — because you READ this, today!

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

Day 62: Self Disclosure

Self disclosure — what I reveal about myself — is something I think about a lot, in my work as a group and individual psychotherapist and, now, here in the blogosphere.

Some people who comment to me about this blog have said, “You are so brave, revealing so much of yourself!” I don’t feel brave about what I am writing here. As I’ve said in several other posts, I choose what to write here based on What Will Help Me To Write, in the moment. One might call that selfishness, not bravery.

At the same time,  I recognize that it does take courage for people to expose themselves — because exposure increases vulnerability.

And I do feel fear, at times, after I launch a post into the Blogosphere with the “Publish” button. Sometimes, before clicking that Blue Square of Publishing, I hesitate. And after the launch, several fearful questions can arise — ones that I witness people experiencing in group therapy — such as, Did I reveal too much? Have I put myself in some danger now? Will I lose some people? Will I get hurt? Will I hurt others?

In my work, I am not a “blank slate” kind of therapist. My style is to self disclose, in a thoughtful way. I do let people know what I’m thinking, authentically, usually focusing on their issues — on their journey. When I self-disclose as a therapist, I often ask myself this question first, “Who is this for?” and I let the answer, “For the other person” help guide my choices in self-disclosure.

But the truth is that the answer to that question, “Who is this for?” isn’t a simple one, because any self-disclosure I do is also for … me.

I also guide and limit my self-disclosures as a therapist in another way. I don’t tell people personal details about myself and my life outside of my work. I reveal “existential” information about myself — that is, how I experience and deal with primal, human issues, like dealing with loss, self-doubt, fear, the need to connect with others, and so on.

And I have heard from many clients, patients, and group members — people I’ve worked with in different ways — that the way I self-disclose has been very helpful for them.

But my self-disclosure as a therapist is something I have some fears about, because there are no clear rules. Or — especially in the Earlier Days of Psychotherapy — the Rules of Self-Disclosure can be very rigid, like “Thou Shalt Reveal NOTHING!” And psychotherapy is not a science, folks, as much as some practitioners may want to think that it is, or believe that it’s getting closer to a science. So, to a certain extent, those of us in the Therapy Biz are all making this up as we go along. (Mind-Reading Moment: I’m imagining other therapists reading this paragraph and getting angry.) (Catastrophizing Moment: I’m imagining losing credibility in the Therapy Biz because of what I’m writing here.)

Phew! As usual, catching myself Mind Reading, Catastrophizing, or engaging in any other cognitive distortion — like I just did in that last paragraph —  helps me to let go of fear. And I feel better!

So where was I?

Here’s some self disclosure.  When I ask myself  “So where was I?” I am really asking, what did I want to communicate here?  That is, What was my wish, my intent for this communication?  Because that guides what I choose to write, even if I “veer off” along the way with extraneous thoughts.

Here’s some more self disclosure. I am a lot more forgiving of other people’s imperfections or humanity than I am of my own.  People I witness often apologize to me about their asides, their digressions — how they get “waylaid” when they are telling a story, by “extraneous” thoughts.  When they apologize, I often say, completely authentically — “That’s the way people tell stories.”

But yet, I have trouble forgiving that humanity — that we are not perfect, linear story tellers — in myself.

Which reminds me of  one of the Antidotes (to Cognitive Distortions) I’ve been collecting:

  • The “Double-Standard” Method. Instead of judging yourself harshly, talk to yourself as compassionately as you might to a friend with a similar problem. Also, ask yourself, “How would I react if somebody else did this?”

So, to go back to that “Where was I?” question — What was it I wanted to reveal here today?  What did I think would help me to write?  Which also includes this:  What did I feel a yearning to communicate to you, my reader, today?

Here are  some things I wanted to self-disclose today:

I wanted to let you know about other important members of My Team (people who help me survive in this world by giving me personal or practical support). The team members I wanted to tell you about today include Bob and Laurie, who work at the Pacemaker Clinic, where I go for periodic check-ups.

IMG_0524

I wanted to let you know that I’ve felt connected to Bob for several years, and that I appreciate, so much, how he treats me with respect.

I  also wanted to let you know that, until Thursday (when I took this picture),  I feared working with Laurie, because I did not feel connected with her. Because her style is so different from mine, I projected judgment onto her, and mind-read that she was thinking negative things about me, like “This woman is  a pain-in-the-neck patient.”  “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

I wanted to let you know something else about Laurie and my encounter with her on Thursday: I expected to work with another person at the clinic that day, named Melanie, whom I’ve known, trusted, and pretty-much-loved for over 20 years, and when Laurie came to get me for my test,  I knew that I was showing my disappointment.  As Laurie was putting the electrodes on me for my pacemaker test (which, honestly, has scared me for each of the hundreds of times I’ve had those tests before), I felt so lousy — with disappointment, anger, fear, and disconnection —  that I decided to do something new and be authentic with her. So I said, ” Laurie.  I don’t feel a connection to you. I wanted to let you know that.  I also wanted to say something, that feels important, to myself and to you, right now.  It used to be important to me, when I was a kid, to feel connected to everybody who treated me medically.  But I’m not a kid any more. I don’t need that connection with everybody who treats me.”

I don’t know if Laurie understood everything I was saying to her, but she was authentic with me, too. She told me, in her own words, “I know you don’t feel connected to me. I know you feel much more connected to the other people here.  That’s why I offered you the chance to wait for Bob to be available. Not everybody feels connected to everybody else.  Some people feel connected to me, others don’t.”

And that exchange with Laurie was one of the best things that happened to me that day.

It was also great to see Bob after my test (which showed that everything was working great, by the way) and to blab with him a mile-a-minute about birthdays, vacations, What’s Going On With My Pacemaker, etc. etc.

And when I asked if I could take a picture of both Laurie and Bob and put them in my blog, they both seemed pleased to oblige.

I also wanted to tell you that after I took this picture of Laurie and Bob, I met with Dr. Mark Estes, who is one of  two Crack Cardiologists on my team.

The Lead Cardiologist on My Team is Dr. Deeb Salem, whom I’ve been working with for over 30 years and who I pretty-much-adore, because he, from the moment I met him — when I was interviewing cardiologists after I decided to leave Children’s Hospital, where I had been treated from birth —  showed me how smart he was and also treated me with respect. He let me know that he would treat me as a partner and an equal if we worked together.

And — like they did in my first encounter with my mechanic, Mark —  all my Trust Indicators came up green when I first met Dr Salem.  And Dr. Salem has been incredible — the most appreciated Medical Team Member I could ever imagine — ever since.

But I wanted to tell you, today, about Dr. Estes.  Dr. Estes — because his style is different from mine — is also somebody with whom I’ve Mind Read in the past. That is, I’ve projected judgment onto him, specifically fearing that he might experience me as a pain-in-the-neck patient.  And this is totally unfair to Dr. Estes, which I’ve known before, but which hit me with a burst of new understanding on Thursday, when he sat down and talked to me for about fifteen minutes after my pacemaker test with Laurie.

Dr. Estes is a very smart, very well-respected pacemaker specialist. He is also kind, thoughtful, and — above all — a very modest guy. As he self-disclosed to me on Thursday, “It’s my Quaker background.”  He did not want me to take a picture of him and feature him in a blog post because, as he said in his own words,  I don’t want to do anything that seems like self-promotion.

Dr. Estes also let me know, in new ways on Thursday — which I was able to take in because of the work I’ve been doing on self-acceptance — that he really appreciates me as a patient. He acknowledged that other doctors might find me a handful, because — as he said in his own words — I’m intelligent, I ask lots of questions, and I am complicated medically — but he said this to me, very clearly, on Thursday: I really enjoy working with you, Ann, exactly how you are.

And those encounters I had at The Pacemaker Clinic on Thursday felt so important to me, so liberating, so moving, that I walked away from that appointment, with tears in my eyes.

And I have tears in my eyes, now, dear reader.

Okay.  My work here is done today.

Thank you so much for witnessing, as I self-disclose along this always surprising, team-supported journey.

P.S.  I don’t think I will hesitate much before pressing “Publish” today.

P.P.S. Which is amazing!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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