Hanging Out

Old Ferris wheel in black and white

I find that I am more and more conscious of my own nose hair. What is interesting about this is that I never, ever notice the nose hair of other people and if I did happen to see some bits poking out of a nostril it would not gross me out. So WHY on Earth do I care about my own nostril hair? 

Is this because my nose hair is getting longer? 

Perhaps I am growing more and more sensitive about the change of appearance that comes with aging and I am finding myself more interested in controlling the things that I can have some influence over? 

And then I wonder if there are people who do care about other people’s nose hair and if so, why do they care? What else do they do in their free time?

These are the thoughts I have on a Sunday morning after yet again having one of those pesky hairs ripped from my poor tender nostril by the stupid nose hair trimmer that is supposed to CUT the stupid things. I swear, next time I may as well just tweeze them out….

Show Off

My son finished his piano solo at the Christmas program. Oh Little Town of Bethleham. He played every note perfectly. I was so dang proud of him! I stopped the video I was taking with my smartphone so I could clap like a crazy woman. I *might* have even shouted, “You are so frickin’ awesome!” 

All of the other kids took a bow or curtsied while the audience clapped politely. My son? He paused right there at center stage, a slow grin spreading across his face. And then? 

He dabbed. 

Yes, the boy dabbed. In the middle of the church auditorium in front of hundreds of people, he dabbed. Dabbing, the weird dance move that appears as if you are sneezing at the same time as you are trying to fly off like a super hero.

People laughed. They screamed. They cried. Some whistled. One woman fainted. Strangers were giving him high fives and knuckles as he sauntered back to his seat. Every single boy that followed after him on stage also dabbed at the end of their performance.

And so I was left wondering how on earth did I end up with a cool kid? I was never that cool. I was so square I couldn’t even dream of being that cool. I am still terribly uncool, even in adulthood. Especially in adulthood….

Shaded

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I always block my ID when calling patients. If I don’t, I start getting direct calls from patients. Those kinds of patient calls are the minority, to be sure, but they are exhausting and disruptive and are sure to occur when I am on the toilet having a rather tough poo (lots of noisy grunting) or whilst in the midst of mind blowing sex (also lots of noisy grunting) or something else equally awkward like changing a high lightbulb while precariously balanced on a ladder (probably also involving lots of noisy grunting).

One consequence of this is that patients don’t answer my calls. I have to leave a message and wait for them to call me back, sometimes an hour later. It happens almost 50% of the time when patients call the answering service, even though they are expecting me to return their call. It occurs 90% of the time when I have to call unsolicited, like when the lab alerts me that a patient’s potassium is 2.3 or their platelet count is 10 or maybe the hemoglobin level is 4.5 (these are very bad things by the way) and I need for them to go to the emergency room.

OR, the patients have the feature activated on their phone that will not allow unidentified callers through. That requires that I call the answering service back, then they have to call the patient and walk them through how to deactivate the phone feature, then call me to let me know I can try the call again. Sometimes that still does not work because they are unable to deactivate the feature and I have to call the answering service to call the patient back for an alternate number. 

What I really, really want is a way to ID myself when calling without showing my phone number. “Dr. Victo, phone number unavailable.” Or some such thing. 

Maybe that already exists and I am just a dork when it comes to telecommunications… 

Vented

Floor vents at the opera
There is one of these under every single seat at my local opera house. 

What is it? 

Why, I am glad SO you asked!

Supposedly, they are air conditioning vents. Why the heck would you put an AC vent under each and every seat, right where the butt hole resides?

To keep everyone’s butt cool?

Perhaps.

But I have my other theory….

There is this thing called the gastrocolic reflex. When the stomach distends with a meal, it sends a signal to the colon to make room because more shit is coming down the pipeline. 

Because of how late in the evening the opera takes place, people often eat before hand. What do you do when you need to poo? You start to fart. How old is the opera crowd, on average? Old.

Therefore, operas = old farts.

I can say this because I am one of them.

Now, people who go to operas generally have lots of money. Rich people don’t like farts. Awful smells are very disturbing to their sensibilities. So when you are designing an opera to seat lots of rich people what do you do? You integrate a ventilation system that blows away their farts.

That being said, I sat on the second row yesterday with my kids during an opera aria mashup performance for families. I savored that second row, as it will likely never happen again in my real life. These family things cannot make the opera much money and I am certain that there is not much fame and fortune to be had for performers who do them, but I am grateful, oh so grateful. My son began belting out “La donna e mobile” from Verdi’s Rigoletto as the tenor’s voice soared and no one glared at him. My daughter followed the female conductor’s baton and crazy hair with rapt attention. “Mommy, I want to do that!” she whispered. 

So here’s a shout out to all of those people who work hard to make the arts come alive for kids. You all make a difference.

CostumeĀ 

Interior, Boston church
I am standing there, handing out candy to the hundreds of kids that file by in their costumes when I see him and see that he sees me…

The world is too small.

It’s been years.

He stares at me in my costume and wig and takes a second to recall how he knows my face. Another time, another place. Recognition washes over him.

I know his secrets.

No matter the masks. No matter the past, present, or future. 

I know his lies AND his truth.

“Hey, Doc!”

I smile. He stares at me with a mixture of dread and embarrassment. I wait to see what will come next. 

Finally he sighs. “I promise to call and schedule my physical tomorrow.”

Burned

campfire at night
I made my list and I checked it twice. 

Three times, in fact. 

When I pulled out of the driveway, I did so with confidence that everything important was packed and loaded up in the back.

It was not until the next morning back at the campsite, as I was preparing to wash the 10K of sweat off of my body, that I realized I had not packed clean panties.

Sigh.

And eeeeewwwww.

Figured. My brain was mush after a full week of the new electronic health record. Hence the list. And the double checking. There was nowhere nearby to get new ones and no one to borrow from. I was just gonna have to suck it up. Maybe some hand washing. Still, soggy underwear? Ick.

Three days later….

As I was packing everything up I found where my kids stashed them when I wasn’t looking looking.

At least we had the food and toothbrushes.

Meanwhile, those stinky underwear? 

Campfire.

Unkempt

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“Um, Doc, I can’t do that.” A look of horror crossed her face.

“You are here for your physical, right?” I checked the schedule again to make sure I was not hallucinating. Then, I double checked her preventive care, just in case. She was indeed due.

“Well. I wasn’t expecting to have to do… that.

“Technically, I can’t force you to do anything. It IS your body, after all.” I shrugged, trying to use my body language to convey that I was not trying to pressure her. 

“It’s just,” she leaned forward and whispered, “I didn’t shave my legs.”

“Look, I haven’t shaved my legs in ages, either, so you have nothing to worry about.” I lifted a pants leg to show off a bit of scruffy ankle. “See? No judgement here!”

We both laughed.

She got her PAP done.

Nightmares

dinosaur skeleton outside the Field Museum in Chicago

“Get your jammies on, please. Bedtime!”

“But mommy, I want to wear this!!!!” 

She was standing in the doorway to her bedroom, hand on her hip, wearing hot pink leggings and a long sleeve Hello Kitty T-shirt.

“Why can’t I sleep in this?”

A thousand retorts flew through my mind, none of them really any good, but at that moment it struck me that this was about control. For both of us.

I want to control you.

The reality is not that pajamas help you sleep better. AND, I had to concede that pajamas would not be not more comfortable than what she was wearing. In truth, I suspect pajamas are actually a plot by the clothing industry to force us to spend more money. Like “girl” toothpaste and “boy” toothpaste…

“Please, mommy?” she pleaded.

So who gets to have control in this situation? Me, because I am the “authority”? Should I enforce the rules because if I let the little things slip, it would pave the way for letting the big things slip? Why IS it a rule, anyway? Should I let it go, choose to pick my battles waiting for something bigger? Is it a better lesson to show we can change stupid rules? 

If I don’t have her change, I can get her down for bed all that much faster…

Bedtime.

Screw all of the philosophical mumbo-jumbo. I choose getting to bed. Quickly. Painlessly. 

That is my control.

Maybe I can convince her to wear leggings and Tshirts every day….

A Day of Patient Comments

carvings, Field Museum in Chicago

She looked me up and down disapprovingly. “Doc, that scarf. You need more color. Too much black and brown today.” 

Several hours later, a different patient… Same scarf. “Doc, you look so gorgeous! I adore that scarf!!!”

“Doc, we love your butt! We could just eat that butt up!” From two grown women in with their elderly mother. 

“Oh, Doc, I know it’s a benign skin lesion. I’ve got another one over here. I just wanted you to hold my leg like that. Made my day. My year! I might be old, but I’m not dead…”

“Doc, I am glad to see you don’t drive a sissy sports car!” Yelled across the parking lot by a patient as I was getting out of my big black pick-up truck.

“The only good thing about coming to the doctor is that I get to see you!”

Pan, at On The Road Cooking, asked about best patient one-liners. These are a few. I’ve done a bunch of other posts over the years with funny things patients say. While some of the things may seem shocking to you, I am used to it. Provided they are not being ugly, I just let it go. 

Fiction Friday will start next week!