Reworking Choices With Your Physician as Part of Your Team

What do you want? 

It is one of my challenges as a physician when someone comes to see me for reasons I’m not able to accommodate.  I can’t validate them.  I can’t tell them what they want to hear.

What can I do?  Help them “realize” that they came to see me for another reason.  Another way to say it is to help them “choose” another agenda.  A part of them realizes their need for help; they came.  A part of them believes I am a person that can help; they came.  A part of them.  A part that I and the patient are responsible to find and shift agendas deliberately or by any wiles possible.

Hands touching

Image via Wikipedia

We are an unusual team in this.  How often do you find another so awkwardly paired?  Yet these are some of my best patient-doctor relationships.

What do you want?

When there is a meeting up, a connection and everyone is working for the same “want,” both presence and movement are natural responses.  It’s like we’re standing still in the moment, senses taking it in, and moving all the while.  The process of moving itself brings pleasure and healing.  It is not always about arriving.  It is not always what we think we want.

Self-Care Tip – Enjoy your re-choices and what you will get from them.

Questions:  Have you every found yourself being “helped” to have a different agenda that improved your presence and movement in your personal journey?  Please tell us your story.

Eight hugs a Day

Evening friends.  Spent the afternoon enjoying the company of friends and family.  Including enjoying a lecture from the “love doctor,” Paul Zak PhD.  Dr. Zak gave us a practice run on his upcoming lecture for TED in Scotland.  He told us about the amazing hormone, oxytocin, which Dr. Zak tells us is the morality hormone.  It increases any time we have increased social connection.  Oxytocin makes people trust, empathize and have increased moral behaviors.  Dr. Zak’s prescription is eight hugs a day (hugs increase oxytocin).  Awesome.

Getting or Giving Bad News Without Fear

Slalom skier

Image via Wikipedia

I was reading an article on awareness of obesity the other day telling us that many times, people don’t know they are obese until they are told by someone else.  Ouch.  Pass the Band-Aides.  But it aired our need to stay connected, speak up, and listen.  It also prompted me to reflect on mental illness.  How often I’ve sat with someone’s emotions-history in my hands, looked at them and realized they didn’t know.  They were there, emotions bleeding all over the place but didn’t grasp their injury.

Um, excuse me ma’am.  Let’s apply some pressure on that and get you some help.

Bloody news like this reminds me of my friend Jack.  He was waterskiing with my brother and I when we were college’ish-age.  Jack was not so capable on the water, although he wasn’t afraid.  As you probably know, three is the perfect number for waterskiing – one to drive, one to hold the flag when the skier is setting himself up, and then of course the skier.  Any more and there are way too many polite smiles and way too much advice for the bobbing body in the water.  Jack was working on his slalom moves, thrilled with his progress and after about the third fall, was still ready for another go.

Hit it!

Our boat, Rosewater, eased him out of the water and he was up.  Jack has a way of celebrating like no other.  He whoops and yells and his whole body joins in.  And so he was in his happy place, up on a single ski, unconcerned with the world at large.  It was lovely.  Until the wake of that other huge boat threw him down and his face slammed into his spectacular single ski.  Up he came and we just looked at him, quietly at first.  Jack paddled up to the boat and wondered if he should try again.

Um, sorry Jack.  Let’s apply some pressure on that and get you some help.

Jack had a huge gash, copiously bleeding all over his face and he had no idea.  He was wet already, cold from the water and didn’t feel a thing.  I still feel the creepies skittering up my arms and chest thinking about it.

When we told Jack, he was a little unbelieving.

Are you sure?  Is it bad?  I think I’m alright.  It’ll wash out and I can try again….

Oh there wasn’t much pleasure in telling him the bloody news.  Generally there isn’t that much pleasure in telling someone they are fat or suffering from mental illness either.  It’s the follow-up to that statement where the fun comes in.  The hope that we link the first punch-line to.  Good news is, …along comes the second punch-line.  Hope.  And presence.  Being with someone where they are at, as they are, and with patience doesn’t mean leaving him in the dark, bleeding out.

The reverse is true of course as well.  If we don’t stay connected with others, we may lose the opportunity to see ourselves through their eyes.  It is an opportunity.  When we are with someone we trust, respect and think see’s us as the precious thing that we are, it is.

Self-Care Tip #195 – Stay connected with others and listen without fear – something good is coming.  Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  How do you deliver “bad news?”  What is the best way you’ve ever been given “bad news?”  Please tell me your story.

Trust The Momentum of Your Own Desires

Writing every day has blessed me.  It has however also taken away.  Aside from the obvious such as time, I’ve missed reading in the evenings.  I used to spend most of my evenings jamming happily through fast page turning books.  I love bound paper.

I’ve always had something of sensory issues.  My girlfriend Marlo Albritton, MS, CCC-SLP always laughs at me in the car – every other moment adjusting the angle of the vent or the pressure or the direction of the air that can never hit my face or the temperature.  In books, it is so many things as well that get me.  The smell and touch of course, the sound of fingers on page, swish there’s a turn, the visual in my hands or when I set it down.  I fidget but any way I turn, the book is my focal point, a lover!  The book keeps pace with me too.  When I wander, it waits patiently, unpressured and available.  When I must rush because I might die if I don’t reach the story’s climax, the book is the perfect buddy swimmer.  Like a good psychotherapist, the book is there for me.  It is a unidirectional relationship.  There aren’t many good unidirectional relationships.

I listen to audio books sometimes.  When I exercise or drive alone, and they are good.  But they are the fast food of the book pantry.  Never as satisfying.  They leave most of my senses quite alone.

I realize it is of course my own fault!  Not the blog or the writing.  I make the choices that keep me from reading.  I’m going to have to figure something out.  I can’t not read!  Remember when I said that time and energy increase when you do what you love?  (See “There is Room In Our Wanting Selves.”)  Well that’s what I’m putting my money on.  I’m going to trust the momentum of my own desires.

I’m off to read.

Self Care Tip #66 – Trust the momentum of your own desires.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Do you have a sense of where your own momentum is taking you?  Please tell me your story.

Trust What is Inherent

Does loving and liking go together? Not always. I like to think of loving as a constant not entirely dependent on us. Thank goodness!

Waiting to like someone is like waiting to go to the gym until you’re in shape. Or, not getting to know God until you are a good person.

This morning I woke up to the sound of dishes and quiet excited little voices. There was a vibe of energy in the air. My eyes were still blurry and crusty and my mind in a haze of, “What’s happening here?”

Some mornings I wake up to the anxiety of hearing other sounds. Someone wasn’t being nice to someone else. Wondering if I was going to have that job for the rest of the day of refereeing and…. Some mornings I am afraid. Some mornings when I wake up, they know I don’t like them. Because we love each other so, it just hurts all of us.

But today I couldn’t believe it. The kids had folded and put away the laundry and were unloading the dishes! Before I woke up!

Why? They knew the deal. No going to their friend’s house to bake cake until finishing all their chores. So, their motives weren’t all lined up right. They didn’t do it out of largeness. Nor did they do it for me. After licking that wound, I jumped up and down and whooped for them!

We don’t wait to go to school until we have knowledge. That’s the point of school.
God doesn’t care why you go to Him, he just wants you there. He’ll take care of our motives.
We don’t keep off the game field until we already know how to play.

  • …We all get it.

    With my children, I’m hoping some of how I felt was noticed by them. Maybe they’ll remember some of how they felt. There was a joy in the house that a time-out just doesn’t invoke.

    Moving back to loving and liking, well, they don’t always go together either. The inherent goodness in something like that is responsible for drawing forth the other. The same force I’m counting on to move in my children. The same force I’m counting on for me when I wake up scared. When we trust that force, we’re more able to be present with what is already around us. We can say, “This is enough,” without giving up on what we still hope for.

    Self Care tip #20 – Trust what is inherent. Be a friend to yourself.

  • Sunshine

    My daughter came out of her room. “I can’t sleep Mommy. I feel lonely.” Part of me wanted to run the shadows down, throttle them and take revenge. Another part of me, stopped at what I saw in her eyes. It was as if she was saying, “Am I ok?” And I felt happy with the question. I knew there was my sunshine.

    Am I ok? Am I the only one who feels this way?

    My husband and I went to hear Rob Bell talk about suffering. He had us all write down on cards “I am not alone.” Then he asked us questions about suffering. “If you have loved someone who has died, please stand.” “If you or someone you know has had cancer, please stand.” “Who here is struggling with their finances?” “If you…,” and the questions went on. Pretty soon, there wasn’t anyone in the many hundreds of people attendance not standing. We looked at each other, exposed and awkward. Our crusty’s and defenses barely in place. Then Rob Bell asked us to give our card to someone we didn’t know. He did this over and over until we realized materially, that none of us were alone. I don’t know who’s writing is on my card but it reminds me that someone(s) out there share my suffering and I theirs.

    For now, my daughter is small. For now, I hold her card. I knew what to say, and it felt like sunshine.

    You are not alone. Many people feel that way all the time and feeling that way is normal. But you can’t trust your feelings. When you feel lonely, remember what you know to be true. You are not alone.

    My daughter, looked at me and I saw that I got it right for once! We connected through something like a sliver of magic. I was so glad. She nodded, hugged and kissed and went to bed. It was dark outside but there was light in my heart.

    Self Care Tip #19 – Share your card and take one – You are not alone! Be a friend to yourself.

    Find your Trust

    A knot of tension moving and changing and can’t be trusted is there. Tightness around the eyes and mouth and there is a grim determination not to pull the pin. The determination is supported by love, by choice, by insight, by all that is good.

    However, like a dog on a slope, paws outstretched, gripping at the pebbles and dirt, there is the gravity to account for. The mass of triggers accumulated into a planet – kids woke you up and you couldn’t fall back to sleep, emotions, people not keeping their word, your birthday was a flop, knowing that when you get past this moment there will be more and more and more. All this is a force you know you want to suppress.

    Wanting is good. But like Randy Travis sings,

    I hear tell the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but Momma, my intentions were the best!

    Like him, we find ourselves with wings singed, wondering how can we try something new? Whatever we’re doing isn’t working. We want heaven to start right here on earth.

    Break it down.

    There is the matter of trust. Where do we put it? Where is our hope?

    There is the matter of patterned behaviors. Have we put up roadblocks? My kids are delighted to see the growing dollars in our family money jar. They are also delighted when a day goes by when nothing went in there. I see it in their growing comfort around me.

    There is the matter of biology. Do we remember that the brain is indeed attached to the rest of our body? Do we remember that emotional health affects the rest of our body? That it is contagious to our kids and partners and families. That we can control it as well as we control our liver function. …That doesn’t mean no control.

    But today, I’d like to turn back to trust. Trying to stuff emotions can be like trying to push springs into a box. We know at some point, the lid won’t shut. We can’t trust that method.

    Each of us needs to find the answer to that question and hold on to it. That is where our energies go when we succeed. Holding on to what we trust with both hands. Then we can let the rest go. Both hands are occupied so to speak.

    This morning, I did that. The most beautiful little girl then came, cuddling me in bed, laughing and joking in a way that I knew could only mean she felt safe. I was rewarded with my own self, present with her and my source of Help. It felt like Christmas.

    There is the next moment to contend with and the next – the same way. We can put this in the category of coping skills and biology as well. The brain is messy that way. One thing affects the other.

    Self Care Tip #17 – Where is your trust? Hold on to it and nothing else. Be a friend to yourself.