Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Grind

I have a whole list of potential blog topics that I've accumulated over the past months. And yet, I can't seem to find ANYTHING to blog about. I know I've been gone a lot lately. I've been itching to post a few musings for your reading pleasure but haven't been able to muster the time, mostly, and the creativity.

So maybe it's just time to type. Maybe something will come to me. Or maybe this will go in the recycle bin. Either way, isn't it so nice to have a holiday? And even nicer to actually be home for said holiday? And even nicer knowing I am not on call? And even better that neither is Abraham! It is a little surreal to do normal people things like be home together on a holiday instead of working crazy hours at the hospital (and home together until Sunday when Abe has to work--couldn't be a PERFECT weekend, but pretty close). In case you were wondering, other normal-people-bliss-inspiring things include going to the bank (when it is open), the grocery store during daylight hours, cleaning your bathroom more than once every 6 months, and having/following a chore chart. I know the grass is always greener but I envy you part time workers and stay at home moms who can do any one of these tasks on any particular day. Sometimes laundry is the best. Mostly because I can never seem to get it done. (Luckily Abe is the one who mostly keeps me in clean underwear and socks.)

So, you ask, what have you been up to lately to keep you away? If you must know, I am finishing my last few weeks of "Clinic Chief" for this latest two month stretch. I've been pulling a lot of late evenings fixing cleft palates and crooked faces or small chins and overbites. I've also been doing the hours of lab work that accompanies these fixes.

To clear up any confusion, I have not been doing much of the following: cleaning the bathroom (I probably have a few more months in there to go before I hit the 6 month mark), dishes, organizing or decorating for the holidays, cooking nutritious meals, exercising more than once per week, etc. I just can't seem to find the time/energy/motivation for much of that.

I try to remember there is a time and a season for everything. I think it may be a woman thing to feel frustrated and guilty about the dishes in the sink and the piles of unsorted mail on the counter. For some reason now matter how many smiles I fix, lives that I change, infections that I treat, I still feel bad about those darn dishes!

I've been craving for a day off to take care of some of that. Lucky for me, I have a few this weekend.

But am I going to do dishes and laundry and clean out my piles of clutter?

Probably not!

Because who wants to spend their day off doing that?

And so it continues!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Snake Oil and Social Media

Yesterday on Facebook a friend posted an article about dentistry which basically equated a common dental procedure with cancer ("97% of cancer patients have had this procedure done"), and many other ailments, not to mention possible death. The article claimed to have information "your dentist wont tell you" or "your dentist doesn't know." Despite the fact that the article tried to lead you to use one of their own resources (a website which preys on your old fear of dentists in a whole new way to make money, no doubt) there were multiple responses to this article jumping to the conclusion that this information must be right and yes, dentist are all money grubbers trying to dupe their patients into harmful care for MONEY.

I found the article so inflammatory at first I wanted to share the link. But in doing so, unfortunately, it may lend a larger audience to patients/friends/family/unsuspecting citizens who buy into the sensational dogma of this author-less source (I couldn't seem to figure out who wrote the article! Red flag?). If you really must see it (my dental colleagues I am sure would get a good range of emotions from laughter, disbelief, and frustration out of it), let me know and I can send you the link.

With the connectedness of social media and the internet, anyone with an opinion can find a platform to share their voice on any subject. This can be great! Here I am, partaking in this phenomenon. But when it is used to spread fear, unsubstantiated claims, and quack science, I find it rather unsettling. There seems already to be a large distrust of doctors (I'm including dentists in here, or maybe especially dentists in here) and I find it very sad the number of people who are willing to discount the recommendations of their (hopefully) caring doctor with science and medical societies and years of educational training on their side, for sometimes the advice of harmful vendors selling snake oil and false hopes. I am not meaning to say that there aren't alternative remedies or solutions in health care, and yes, we as health care providers often gloss over these and don't give them the merit they perhaps deserve. But for some reason patients seem much more apt to spend money (and lots of it!) chasing the cure-all remedy that cures not only the common cold but also cancer and acne and uses "science" to prove it while dismissing research and common medical practice from real physicians, researchers, and respected journals as some kind of conspiracy.

I think we all as medical/dental providers have experienced interactions with patients where they chose to disregard sound medical advice due to misinformation. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing these patients choose to put their health at jeopardy based on faulty information often riddled with fear and sales tactics.

I know I am opening myself up to be misunderstood. I agree there are a lot of things we as health care providers don't understand. There are a lot of remedies we don't understand (accupuncture is one I'm interested in trying myself). But before you decide your metal fillings are causing your ailments or that you should stop taking your blood pressure medicine, please consult your doctor. It can be confusing as opinions vary widely among doctors as well. And I'm not naive enough to believe that all doctors really are compassionate and honest. But I hope you can find a provider you can trust to help you make decisions that are best for you. Or at least trust them enough to include them in the conversation. Ask questions. Get a second opinion. And then decide.

If you decide the alternative is right for you, at least you have the information you need to make an educated decision. Not just one based off fear or misinformation.

And maybe, just maybe, consider the peddler of the remedy may have your best interest at heart less than your doc.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November, really!

I'm still here, world.

This past month was pretty crazy. And I didn't have a lot of emotional capacity (or time) to sit down and write. Even today, after noting a whole month of not blogging, I feel a little strained on where to go from here.

The first week after the break in was pretty hard. I felt like I was in a depression: tired, lack of energy, poor appetite, stressed. While it was anxiety provoking to prepare for our upcoming trip to Florida (for a conference/vacation), especially while being cut off from all of our funds while waiting for new credit cards and debit cards to be sent, going away was a huge blessing! The conference was great and Abe and I had some much needed away/down time together.

I think that break really helped us reset and come back together a little more sane. I am ready to move on from the whole thing. Unfortunately, we've made little physical progress in this. We finally got our new doors installed (the side door was broken and we decided to upgrade the front as well to something more secure), to at least a functional manner (yay, we can go in and out the side door again) after weeks of waiting (the door company lost our order so we had to wait even longer than usual). I finally heard back a very short reply from the police a few days ago (my first communication since the first few days) saying basically they have no updates. And we are still working/battling with the insurance company on our claim. I will be so glad when I have most of my stuff back and can do simple things like turn my TV on again (they stole the remote) and return this borrowed computer.

Some longer term implications of it all, the things they took that can't be replaced (besides my sentimental jewelry) include my sense of security. I find myself more scared to do simple things like walk from my detached garage to my house at night, spending the night alone when Abe is on call, and even driving more than a few miles.You never wake up expecting today to be the day you [fill in the blank for something bad that can happen.] I certainly didn't expect ever to be robbed in our little Iowa town. Now I can't seem to help but wonder, Will today be the day I ....?

With the stress of the event and all the time it has taken to sort through everything, I got derailed from my new healthy eating goal. After weeks of cutting back on sugar and processed foods, I was enjoying more wholesome food and saying no to cookies that much easier. I certainly fell back to the high carb comfort foods since then. I gained back most of the 6 pounds I lost and am only just beginning to lose that again.

After months of budgeting and getting ready to make some more sacrificing in the name of frugal living, our computers with all of our budgeting information were taken. I am trying to get caught back up now but I worry I wont ever be able to figure out where we left off. We have had to cut back on student loan payments to cover some of the costs of the deductible and home repairs (hello compound interest!).

The good news is all of the kindess everyone has shown through this whole ordeal. I can't believe the generosity of so many who have made us food, let us borrow computers, brought replacement gifts, or just listened to me cry or vent about the whole deal.

I feel very blessed to receive a scholarship to the conference I attended. The $1500 is almost enough to cover the deductible or one of the door repairs. What a blessing in disguise.

And this has been a good reminder that things are just things. Yes, they are your things and can mean a lot, but in the end, they don't really matter.

I don't expect to ever recover any of our items. I will be surprised if the perpetrators ever get caught. But I am moving on. Even if they have set us back financially, emotionally, and in life goals such healthy living, financial discipline, studying, or even blogging. But I am coming back, even if slower than before.

And I certainly learned a thing or two about protecting against future loss. Maybe that will be my next post.

(Once I get our new computer and settled back in, I hope to include some pictures with my posts as well. Luckily they were kind enough to leave our external hard drive with our personal photos!)