An Open Letter to the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics

This is a battle worth fighting. We all know that this is an issue, and if it isn’t addressed, the risk is losing rolls of your pediatricians to other careers. Again, I’m familiar with this. We really don’t want a healthcare system that convinces its physicians, providers, and nurses that they are expendable and replaceable. We are on the verge of de-recruiting people from the profession. That’s not a great place to be.

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Post call, July 2005, from being a floor senior in residency. I was back at work 3 or 4 days after Andrew was born. I tried hard to stay awake when I got home, but the Sandman won. Sonia snapped this picture and then scooped Andrew. No, AAP, we weren’t co-sleeping.

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Donut Diplomacy

I once asked one of the nurses, Sharon, if they liked me only because of the donuts. Her response: “No. If you were stupid or a jerk, we’d eat your donuts but talk about you behind your back. We like the donuts, but we like you.” That’s one of the best, most honest compliments I’ve been given.

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Sometimes, Sonia will make donuts. Why sprinkles? Because winners get sprinkles.

“And on the seventh day, God rested. And said, ‘Let there be coffee. And let the donuts be plentiful. Let there be glazed donuts, and cake donuts, and long johns, and buttercream and custard filled Bismarcks. But there nay should be jelly donuts, as those are disgusting.’ And so it was. And as God rested, God said, ‘This is pretty good. Keep ‘em coming. And may I please get another cup of Joe?’”

Genesis 2:2, in the original Hebrew, or at least how it SHOULD read.

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Longview

The recent happenings in the United States Senate illustrates the point. We had two sides completely talking over and around each other, and a president with a need for attention that rivals a spoilt toddler. I fail to recall a “debate” where so little was actually discussed about the problem(s) at hand. The debate was disjointed, much like Kevin Pollack performing a Christopher Walken impersonation. It would have been funny had we, the people, not been held up in the middle of it.

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Ringing the Peace Bell in Duluth, MN.

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Dear Leaders…

You have a mirror. Use it. Please engage in some healthy and regular introspection. Please do so when things are going poorly and doubly when things are well.

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Ice skating with my wonderful niece, Audrey, on an outdoor rink in Sacramento, CA. That last part wasn’t a typo, and I’m as surprised as you are.

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What Chocolate Tastes Like

Even as an attending, I relied heavily on our nursing staff to lean about what we could do to help patients, and how to do it more efficiently. I was constantly learning from the nursing staff and leaning on their expertise.

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I had a little help writing this piece from our pet parakeet, Louie. She’s an albino parakeet, and a good companion for writing.

“Try to tell them about it, they’ll stare at you with those big round candy eyes. They won’t understand zip. It’s like trying to tell somebody what chocolate tastes like.” -Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

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Bootstraps

Your success is not predicated on another person’s (or group’s) failure. Success, compassion, and mercy are not finite propositions.

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Me encouraging my good friend Dennis Fricks at the 1999 Midwest Conference Cross- Country Championships in Monmouth, IL

How did I get to this point? I consider myself to be “successful”. It’s fun to look back and try to figure out where all the forks in the road were. Now, I’m able to laugh at all the possibilities that maybe were not real possibilities. I’m amused by the “decision points”. I was going to be, in no particular order:

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