I sometimes resent that the iPhone takes me out of reality; that it sits there, waiting to interrupt whatever mindful business I’m in the process of.
Its presence alone draws my attention away from whatever I’m doing. Having a discussion with friends? Need to check a fact? Grab the iPhone! Well, while I’m fact checking may as well do a quick email check. Oh cool a new email from an old buddy – wonder what he wants. Will send him a quick reply to – oh wait a text, we need more butter.
Wait where was I. Where am I?
And yet, when I get a ring from “Unknown”, I’ll jump over oceans to answer that phone because usually it’s a doctor’s office or hospital.
Yesterday, in the early morning after kid drop-off and stroller put-away I got a call from the Unknown – which I raced and made sure to answer – that there was a surgery cancellation and that I can get my EMR done this Friday! Without even checking my calendar I said yes.
And so there you have it – despite my quasi-vows to leave my iphone at my desk – episodes like the above make me fall back in love with being available to everyone at all times.
Today it’s the iPhone iLove.
I bet you colorectal surgeons’ children are allowed poopy talk at their dinner tables.
The rest of us, however, have been trained, scolded, reprimanded, etc. whenever the word poo is mentioned.
I see blogs of people embarrassed and ashamed to talk about their bowel movements.
Okay so maybe it’s not dinner table discussion. Maybe there is a time and place.
But there seems to be a great fear and embarrassment to talk about diarrhoea, constipation, etc.
The endoscopist I’m seeing won the Order of Canada – all because he made a career – and tremendous scientific and medical contributions – in an area no one likes to talk about.
A recent gratifying experience was explaining to a colleague that there is no law against second opinions; and providing some ideas/strategic tools on how to move forward and get that second opinion.
Many health care providers will make patients feel like a second opinion is an immoral ask. An absurd request. A quasi-illegal proposition.
To be fair, second opinions can be costly. Not just on the public purse but on doctors’ egos as well.
And in fairness, more often than not, a second opinion isn’t necessary and won’t change the course of treatment. It’s more of a “chill pill” to ease a worried patient’s mind.
But on rare occasions, a second opinion might – just might – make a big difference.
I am grateful for a GP whose ego isn’t huge and is open-minded to consider second-opinion referral requests.
Finding a doctor who will go to bat for you (you still need to be your own advocate) is a game changer.
I was getting a coffee at a Tim Hortons gas station stop the other day and saw a beautiful Porsche pull up.
It really is a beautifully designed car and the owner knew it and felt it.
But inside the owner (most likely) was something much more amazing: a colon.
You’d think it’s hard to design a Porsche. And okay, it probably was difficult to get that car engineered.
And yet despite amazing advances in science and technology, human wisdom can’t design something as awesome as the colon.
I really felt the intricacies of my colon after the colonoscopy – when things were entirely clear – and I then had an egg dinner.
I could feel my colon like a caterpillar inching the food along. It was surreal and amazing. I never knew there were so many muscles and contractions going on automatically in the colon.
So, while the Porsche is definitely amazing to look at and drive, the colon is equally awesome in how it moves things along.
It seems that discussing our personal health is often a taboo topic.
No one likes to seem like a whiner about what’s plaguing them.
And yet the economic and well-being cost of not having the right information can be huge.
It was a fluke discussion with a colleague that I learned about a semi-private colonoscopy clinic, a clinic where there was very little wait time (as opposed to a hospital setting), and a clinic that actually called me back to remind me to see if I was still interested in an appointment.
I never knew such clinics existed; I thought all colonoscopies had huge wait times and could only be done in hospitals.
My “fluke” conversation with a colleague about health-matters may have been more than fortuitous. It may have been a game changer. My hospital colonoscopy would have been in September 2016 – a wait that, according the endoscopist who discovered the poly in mid-May, said would not be prudent in polyp management.
How do we balance inappropriate and boundary-crossing personal health issues, with appropriate health and wellness conversations?
I guess blogging is a start.
The day after my scary colonoscopy, I took my kids to their evening swim class.
My mind was wandering well beyond the present moment.
I used my imagination to go into an unknown future, 20 years out – and painted it with all kinds of macabre. I envisioned my kids growing up without me. Could I come back from the afterlife, in some form, to guide them? How would I communicate? Would my kids be okay?
There are no guarantees. May we all live to 120 years – there are no guarantees that – alive or not – we are going to get the results we want, leave the legacy we want, have the influence we want.
Anyhow all these thoughts were chasing me as I stared blankly at the swimming pool.
Then one of those self-help books from yesteryear propped up. “Where are you? Bring your focus to the present”.
And there I was. There she was. A little kid, my daughter, being guided on how to swim. Chaotic-controlled hand-and-arm splashes, learning to navigate and propel in the water. Splashes of water, half way up to the ceiling, drops reflecting sunlight of the setting sun.
The more I looked around that amazingly humid and overheated swim pool the richer I got in the present.
Mindfulness. Who would have thought it could be so rewarding and soothing.