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Showing posts from September, 2011

The Creative Doctor

There's something to be said for those ubiquitous, out-of-date and well-thumbed magazines littering doctors' waiting rooms. One recent afternoon, I stumbled across a fascinating article in the October 2010 edition of Smithsonian about a law professor turned art historian who is teaching New York cops the arts of perception and description using great works of art. In short, classes of cops gathered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and were asked to describe portraits without ever using the words "obviously" and "clearly"—two words that instructor Amy Herman says are too often used when a situation is anything but. What may be obvious or perfectly clear to one person may not be to another. Officers also were not allowed to point in the direction of what they described. The location had to become part of the overall description. The power of the class is summarized in a quote from Lt. Dan Hollywood who works a grand larceny task force. "Instead of telli…

Challenge: SoMe Recruitment

I will be the first to tell you that I was slow to get on the social media bandwagon. Heck, I eschewed technology in general. My iPod mini—the one that came out in 2005—was a gift. I refuse to buy a new one because my little green, black and white screened one still works, and really I don't use it that much. I still buy CDs for the most part. I do not have a Kindle or the like. I prefer real books. My phone is a feature phone.

However, this year it seemed that I couldn't much ignore the technology going on around me. I stopped driving a stick shift Subaru and bought an automatic Scion, which has a USB port and a kickin' stereo, so I bought two eight gig jump drives to hold my music—I load them using my 2006 MacBook, and my iTunes is filled with music from my own CDs, save for podcasts of This American Life and Prairie Home Companion the very existence of which I find ironic. We finally got a flat screen TV earlier this year—it was an open box deal, and the high pitched …

An Open Letter to Stanford

Dr. Paul Pizzo
Dean of the School of Medicine
Stanford University Medical Center
Stanford, California 94305

Dr. Ronald G. Pearl
Chairman of the Department of Anesthesia
Stanford University Medical Center
Stanford, California 94305

Drs. Pizzo and Pearl:

I hope that you already know what a tremendous individual you have in Dr. Larry Chu. However, should there be any doubt as to his ability to inspire, please allow me to share my own reflections regarding the good doctor.
Dr. Chu encouraged me to apply for one of the ePatient scholarships to the Medicine 2.0 Conference held Sept. 16-18 at Stanford. I was awarded a scholarship allowing me to travel across the country to join forces with fellow ePatients and learn from internationally recognized healthcare and media professionals about technology’s impact on medicine today. What came as an added bonus to the scholarship was Dr. Chu.
Dr. Chu’s engagement with the group of ePatients selected to receive scholarships was pleasantly surprising. Despite …

Waesuck Wednesday: Air Travel Edition

When I was younger and more limber, I liked flying. These days any trip longer than two hours feels like an eternity. Coming back from San Francisco on a redeye flight was an eternal hell. We left San Fran at 11:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. East Coast time) and arrived in Atlanta at 7 a.m. There was a screaming toddler on board, and my restless leg syndrome was acting up, so there was no sleep to be had. Once at the gate for the flight from Atlanta home, we—dignity be damned—passed out cold on a row of chairs for an hour only to be awoken by the rising din of waiting passengers and giggling flight attendants. Someone make me a millionaire so I can fly first class next time.

The Guide to Sleeping in Airports
Why spend money on a night in a hotel when an inflatable raft on the airport floor is free? Sure, it may sound a little cheap and degrading at first, but read-on and you'll soon discover a travel community that (for almost 15 years) has been sharing their airport sleeping experiences…

When I Grow Up

As a child, I knew I wanted to be a writer—or maybe a lawyer—but mostly a writer. Writing was what I was good at and what I enjoyed. I always made As in English, and I won a few awards. I became the editor of our high school yearbook, and for the first time the yearbook was completed early and turned a profit. With my extra time, I started a school literary journal. Such things looked good on my application to UNC-Chapel Hill. I was accepted. One night—torn by practicality and personality—I cried at my family's kitchen table, "All I want to do is be an English major!" My father, an attorney, walked out of the room cursing.

I majored in journalism—the working man version of an English major—with a concentration in graphic design and outside concentration in political science. I volunteered with a student-run program called Journalists United to Maximize Potential in which we worked hands-on with sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to produce a school newspaper. I joined the…

On Site @ Medicine 2.0

My formal reflections on the experience of being at Medicine 2.0 will come later. Honestly, I'm not even sure that I can blog in the daylight.

I want to say this though—thank you. Thank you to everyone who is here. Thank you for listening and engaging and caring. Please carry the lessons you have learned back home, but do not keep these lessons locked in your head. Share them. Talk to colleagues. Talk to supervisors. Don't just talk to colleagues and supervisors who have a pre-existing interest in the topics covered. Seek out those who actively avoid the topics. Do not brow beat. Who ever wanted to get involved with something that a dour, angry person proposed doing? Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious.

Waesuck Wednesday: Personal Enemies Edition

My students just turned in their first round of journals. Reading student journals is always an enlightening and often emotional experience. Sometimes what students write about themselves is just so honest it hurts.

My class is a remedial level class, so I am accustomed to dealing with those who have difficulty reading and writing. It's not uncommon to discover an undiagnosed learning disability such as dyslexia. Working with these such students is not for everyone, but it is exactly what I love to do. So much of the job is not a matter of subjects and verbs but of self-esteem, study skills, and a sense of caring. Students having been told that they aren't smart enough and aren't good enough to succeed and be worth of success is an all too common refrain.

One student in the class came with a special note from student services that he has a learning disability and that certain accommodations were approved to help him with his studies. The student and I briefly discussed the…

Disease Envy

I am so very jealous. I am jealous to the point that I am angry. I am jealous to the point that I scoff in your general direction. I am jealous because you have cancer. Or diabetes. Or rheumatoid arthritis. Or Parkinson's. Or lyme disease. Or just about anything else. I am jealous because you have it and a bazillion other people have it and because you and those bazillion other people have each other. And I feel so very all alone.

Being diagnosed with intimal fibromuscular dysplasia first came as a relief—I got a name for what has been wrong with me. Within days of my diagnosis, I saw a post on the Mayo Clinic discussion boards from a young woman suffering gastrointestinal problems who had passed all GI workups with flying colors and who, despite medication, had uncontrolled blood pressure. The symptoms echoed my own. Another woman named Kari responded that the young woman might want to have her vascular system looked at—a comment with which I completely agreed and found unusual f…

Waesuck Wednesday: Buddy Holly Edition

Today would be Buddy Holly's 75th birthday had the genius rocker not plunged to his death in a plane crash at age 22. He's been ranked as one of the greatest artists of all time and was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Buddy was one of the singers that my mother and I would listen to when I was little, and so it's often her voice I hear singing along when I'm rocking the "Best of" collection in my car.

The Buddy Holly Center
A historical site with dual missions; preserving, collecting and promoting the legacy of Buddy Holly and the music of Lubbock and West Texas, as well as providing exhibits on Contemporary Visual Arts and Music, for the purpose of educating and entertaining the public.

Artsy Buddy
Check in on what the fun and varied crafters at Etsy have been doing with Buddy as their inspiration.

First Listen: "Rave On"
An impressively diverse collection of takes on the innocence of another era. Listen t…