Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mostly Love, but a little sadness

Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

I have a had a good day. I was joined by my amazing wife for lunch at MD Anderson after a morning of Pediatric Oncology Clinic. (This is also where the sadness comes in, but I will get to that in a moment). Then I was able to leave the hospital relatively early and go to the store to get the finishing touches for an evening at home. I cooked tortellinis, mixed veggies, and we had some TGI Friday's mozzarella sticks. I also found of little cup of semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-able dish that was PERFECT for dipping the strawberries that I bought for dessert. I stopped and bought some daisies for Beth and some chocolates. And ,of course, there was the bottle of Llano Estacado wine. It was a nice meal. Candles, mood music, and dinner in the dining room (which we have never done by ourselves since we've lived here).

But I want to take a minute to talk about the sadness. During lunch, I'm telling Beth about a Mom that has decided to take her child to an "alternative" M.D. Apparently, this guy is conducting "trials" on alternatives to chemo to treat brain tumors. This mom has decided she is going to try.

I just went into a rant about this guy, but it's not the point of this blog. So I give you the condensed version. He charges $18,000-$20,000 as a down payment and then $7,600 a MONTH for "treatment". "Treatment can take 2 years. You do the math. You will read more about this guy in future posts.

What I wanted to say is this...about the sadness...

As I was talking about this kid, Beth told me that Annette, who lives in Southern Illinois, has decided to undergo Chemo and/or radiation after trying some alternative therapy. I was instantly reminded that it was Annette who called me and told me that Beth's dad, Gene, had died. I said that to Beth and she told me that she never knew that. She never knew it was Annette who called me. And in that moment, I was back in our condo on that November day, on the phone with Annette, hearing her tell me Gene was gone. And the sadness took over. A wash of emotions I neither expected nor knew how to handle. So I cried. Not sobbing, but tears welled up to a point that Beth knew I was sad. And so, she cried. And then we did what we almost never do...we talked about the day her dad died.

On this day that we choose to outwardly and openly express love, hear this:

Don't take love for granted. Don't overlook loves in your life. And don't think that you have tomorrow to love again or to forgive love. All we have is today. Call your brother, or your mom. Maybe it's your dad you haven't talked to in years. Maybe there's an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend with whom you need to talk. Not to "get back together" (especially if you're married to someone else). But perhaps to ask for forgiveness. Or give forgiveness. To find closure on unresolved hurt and misunderstanding. Maybe you need to call your best friend and cry because you're sad. Maybe you need them to cheer you up or impart their words of wisdom that always somehow seems to be exactly what you NEED to hear even when it's not what you WANT to hear. Maybe today is the day you let go of the hurt, the pain that love has caused. I'm sure you've learned plenty from it, now let it go. Maybe today is the day you let go of a "love" that continues to hurt. Maybe today is the day that you're finally able to tell love you exist. Or the day you're able to express your love to the fullest, deepest you've ever been able to. The day that you grab onto love and promise to never let it go, no matter how hard it struggles.

A guy a knew in high school was recently electrocuted in a baptistery. His name was Kyle Lake and his death was tragic. Here is an exerpt from the sermon that Kyle was to deliver from the pulpit that day:

Live. And Live Well.
BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.
On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.
Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.
If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.
Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.
If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.
If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well.
At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.

The night before Gene died, I called him. He had only been home from the hospital 1 day and I wanted to know how he was feeling. We chatted and had our usual banter of small talk. At the end of the conversation (and I didn't know why at that moment), I said to Gene, "I love you." He said, "I love you, too" and we said good-bye.

Remember to love. Remember to be loved.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Press the Red Button

Picture pages

So I can see why some have gravitated away from Blogger. I have grown tired of the picture associated with my profile and I am trying to change it. I have followed the intstructions and there is a new picture when I look at my profile while signed in, but when I navigate to the actual page, it's still the old picture. I am hoping that by publishing this post, the entire blog will update itself. I am tempted to move completely to MySpace, it's much easier to navigate...but I am hearing rumblings that it's primarily for people looking to "hook up"...but I'm not so sure I buy that.

I'll keep you posted. I am some words to say about MD Anderson, this months rotation, but I will save them for a dedicated post.

Rachel, ask me anything, call me anytime. My usual fee is $50/hr, but for anyone I've know since middle school, all consults are free (ask Jell-O) and welcomed. Others consults from other people may be free as well, but they will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

February 2006

So it's a new month and a new rotation. Last month in the NICU only confirmed one thing...that I am not meant to be an intensivist. I want to be in the clinic. The month wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. It was my first month of pediatrics since August of 2003 (THAT'S A LONG TIME PEOPLE!!) and I realize that my skills and knowledge in the world of pediatrics is REAL RUSTY! So, my New Year's resolution (on February 1st) is to read SOMETHING related to pediatrics for 30 minutes EVERY DAY. You would think this would be a given for a guy in my position, but it hasn't been. I was never any good at being disciplined enough to sit and read for hours on end. I'm much more hands on. I learn my seeing and doing. Unfortunately, that can only take you so far as an intern. There's too much to know to be able to wait and see it in clinic or on the floor. So, I will read. Everyday. Something. You can help hold me accountable.

This month is MD Anderson. Pediatric Cancer. Another highly specialized month in pediatrics that isn't going to help me in the clinic. I do hope that through this I can learn at least SOME of the presenting signs and symptoms of childhood cancers, so that if I do see them in clinic I will know that they need an oncologist.

I'll try to be more diligent in my posts, but something tells me I should use the 30 minutes I normally spend blogging...yep, reading something in a pedi book.

Days off this month: Feb 18th-19th---that may mean a quick trip to Dallas. I'll let those of you in Dallas know more soon.