Feast

I took this photo yesterday because I am visiting friends in Texas. We had a memorial on Saturday and on Sunday we had a feast. I have perhaps tasted a single crayfish in jambalaya before, but I have never been to meal like this! Many thanks to the hosts and apologies to the crayfish: I am not a vegetarian…. So this is for Clare and Dean’s photo of the week! . I also am submitting it in response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Fresh.” Fresh with claws…..

“I weep for you,’ the walrus said, “I deeply sympathize.”

With sobs and tears he sorted out those of the largest size

Holding his pocket hand-kerchief before his streaming eyes…

From Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and the Carpenter

Weekly Angel/Devil Fight: Love everyone

This is my weekly (biweekly, snarls my devil) blog about the arguments between the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other.

Do I really see an angel and a devil? Well, no. But we all use archetypes and we all have all of the archetypes within us. So when I have a dilemma or something comes up, I call the angel and the devil to the internal conference table of my mind and ask for their advice. They are going to give it to me whether I ask or not, so it’s more effective to be polite!

Ok, sometimes it isn’t a conference table. Sometimes it’s a hell scenario with bubbling lava or the fire forest from A Princess Bride… or it could be a field with daisies and a blue sky….

Today I am thinking about what we are supposed to do: Love everyone.

How good are we at that? Not very! Or are we?

My angel: You can love everyone. (The angel is kind and completely confident.)

My devil: Yeah, til they knife you in the back. Right. Go ahead, love them and they’ll treat you like dirt!

My angel: You can love them anyway.

My devil: Paula Pell said, “Be nice to all assholes because it disables them!”

My angel: Yes. You should be nice to those people too. (She doesn’t approve of swearing.)

Devil: sulking.

In my job, I get to love everyone. That is, as a doctor I want to be able to treat everyone and anyone who walks in my office. They can be talking about aliens or refuse to do what I suggest or they can say, “I hate doctors especially YOU.” and I am still supposed and do try to help them. Sometimes it doesn’t work very well. Sometimes we don’t connect or they are going to do the opposite of whatever I say or they return to using heroin. But I still get to try.

In my personal life, I would like to be the same. I am not there yet.

Devil: yeah, and don’t want to be….

Angel: keep trying….

But I can bring something from my job to my personal life. I don’t have to love what people DO and they can be MEAN and I don’t have to LIKE IT. But that is separate from the person themselves: I can still love the person even if they seem to be acting like an idiot and my devil wants to strangle them…..

Devil: oooo, strangle, I like it

Angel: separate the person from the action. Love them anyway.

Keep on trying…..

The Wedding Bells Part 5 (Flash Fiction Chain #6)

The beautiful photograph above serves as a photo prompt for Flash Fiction Chain #6 hosted by Jithin of Photrablogger. In this chain, many authors from around the world and from different time zones participate, writing consecutive parts in a beautifully orchestrated story telling.

Anna Brighton- a 32 year old CEO that owns and runs a publishing company

Alex Burns – well established author, Anna’s ex-boyfriend, Toby Blackwell’s cousin

Melissa Doyle – the bride, Anna’s dear friend

Toby Blackwell – co-owns the Blackwell estate, Alexis’ cousin

(Supporting characters)

Jenny- Anna’s secretary

Adam – Owner of Adam and Eve’s

Harrison – Melissa’s fiance.

This is part 5. To read the previous four wonderful parts, click the links below:

PART 1 by Sona

PART 2 by Yinglan

PART 3 by Priceless Joy

PART 4 by Frenesthetist

PART 5 is mine:

Oh, the hen party! The stripping “policeman” was a fabulous dancer. The “police van” took them to a private venue and the women all gave Melissa gifts. She opened them and there were shouts of laughter!

“Look at her blush!” as Melissa held up a scanty see through short neglige.

“Model, model!” shouted the women, as Melissa covered her mouth laughing.

“Here, I’ll do that,” said the dancer, and he strutted around in the filmy top. He stayed in his thong and Melissa would not let him model the very naughty underwear. “Oh!” she said, “I thought I couldn’t be embarassed!” They were quite lacy, see through and absent the crotch.

“This one!” said Anna. Melissa tore off the shiny wrapping and ribbon. It was a black box, with a screen. It was a camera, but how odd. “No download?” said Melissa, looking at Anna.

“No download,” nodded Anna. “You can take pictures but only view them in the camera. It destroys the chip if someone tries to open it.”

“Oh!” said Melissa.

“So….,” Anna grinned, “Your husband and you can take pictures with no fear that anyone else will see them.”

Melissa laughed. “You win. That is the naughtiest present of all.”

And the party continued…

_________
It was nearly dawn, with just the faintest lightening in the east, when the “police van” returned Melissa and Anna to the estate. Jenny and the others were driven to their homes or hotels as well.

Anna helped Melissa to her bed. Melissa was nearly asleep on her feet, though she had stopped drinking some hours ago. Anna was happy that no one had partied until they were sick. Melissa flopped face down on her bed and kicked off her shoes. “Night!” Anna thought Melissa was already asleep.

Anna  was glad that they had a day to rest and get ready for the wedding tomorrow. She started back to her room, but she was not quite sleepy.   She wanted to walk a little. It was a bit lighter. “Surely the gardens are safe,” she thought. Her room had doors onto a patio, and she slipped outside.

The sky was lighter, with turquoise fading up into blue black, and a few small clouds that were tinged at the bottom with gold. The house was dark and quiet. The gardens smelled of roses. She stepped onto the path very quietly.

She wandered a little. She could smell the flowers almost before she could see them. Gardenias. Fresia. More roses. The grass was dewy and it was still just barely cool.

<Crack>

She stopped. A noise. She was frightened for a moment and stood very still. Someone else. She heard quiet footsteps, ahead. Moving away. And then she heard bells. Bells, high and sweet.

She slipped her shoes off and picked them up. She tiptoed forward, quiet as a mouse, and looked around the next rosebush.

It was Alex. He was on his knees. He was humming. And when he moved, she heard the bells.

She watched and he turned. He held a small paper cone, with ribbons and small bells at the end of the ribbons. He placed a forget-me-not among the miniature roses and ferns in the cone. Then he smiled and walked very quietly towards the house.

Anna was intrigued. She followed, quiet, quiet, freezing when he stopped.

She followed him into the house and up the stairs. She felt like a spy or someone watching a romance. Who were the flowers for?

He stopped a little ways from a bedroom door. He wrote something on the cone, but she couldn’t see what. He placed the cone carefully on the floor a bit in front of the bedroom door and then he backed towards her. Anna slipped back behind a long curtain, peeping out. Now he was standing, peering at the door.

They waited. Anna tried to breathe very quietly.

After 20-30 minutes, there were noises in the room. The door opened. A small girl in bright pink pajamas came out, rubbing one eye. She stopped with her fist against her eye, staring at the cone of flowers. She swooped forward and studied the writing. She swept the cone up, hugged it with the small bells ringing and rushed back in her room. “Mama! Mama! Look! They know I am the flower girl!”

Alex turned and Anna could see his face. He looked as young as the little girl and just as delighted. He covered his mouth and stepped quietly down the hall.

Anna stood behind her curtain. This Alex, this was one that she didn’t know. When they were children, they knew each other a little. Once they had been playing at a friend’s and had teamed up to make up an elaborate play, with princes and princesses fighting dragons together. But they had rarely played when they were younger. When they had dated, he was so serious and driven and professional, she just felt cold and eventually gave up. He seemed to only care for his writing and his career.

Anna went back to her room, wondering. Was this really Alex? Was he affected by the cupid’s spirit that Melissa had mentioned? Maybe he WAS the household “cupid’s spirit”. Could he really be a romantic inside that tough exterior?

She fell asleep and dreamed of bells and flowers and….

Part 6  written by Sweety

Part 7 written by Itchy Quill

Part 8: written by on Ruth

Part 9: written by Austin

Part 10 : written by Rashmi

Part 11: written by Phaena

Part 12: written by Manvi

Part 13: written by Sona

Part 14: written by Yinglan

Bill Cosby and the Real Men

I do not want to decide if Bill Cosby is guilty. I am not on a jury nor am I his judge. But I do have a question: Where are the men?

Women have come forward. Woman after woman. They were younger than him and he was already famous and on his way. But there were men there too, who worked with him. Why haven’t we heard from them? We have heard from only one man.

Various people say how dare these women come forward after all this time. But back then, I think that if a woman had gone to the police, the attitude may well have been, “You were out with a married man. You can’t prove anything, you slut whore.”

Why do I say this? In my second year of medical school, in 1990, we had a lecture about domestic violence and rape. A day or two later, I was with four people from my class: we were two men and three women.

One of the men said, “If I were a woman who was raped, I would never tell anyone.”

I said, “Oh, I’d be in the emergency room getting a rape kit done for evidence and I’d have his ass in jail immediately.”

Silence. Then he said, “Um. Wow. Can I ask why?”

I explained that I had been sexually abused by a neighbor at seven. Being a bit clueless, I asked my mother about what it meant when a guy rubbed his penis on a girl. She explained sex. I got worried that I was pregnant, I was sure that I was no longer a virgin and I thought it was my fault. And I told my four year old sister never ever to go near him. I think my mother had no idea what was in my head. I had a doctor appointment a few months later and decided that I probably was not pregnant, because surely the doctor would have noticed. I felt guilty and at fault for letting it happen. I was seven. On the school bus to second grade I thought sadly that I was the only girl who was not a virgin.

I was lucky in the I could and did stop it. It was not a family member. I stood up for myself at seven.

I revisited it in college. I heard a program about how rape victims feel and how guilty and at fault they feel. And how they are often treated with suspicion, what were they doing to inflame the man? I was so stunned as they described the feelings that I had at age 7 that I burned the bacon I was cooking.

“So,” I said, “If I walk naked down the street, I am fine with being arrested for indecency. But no one can rape me. That is violence and it is illegal.”

The medical school men continued to look at me. “See?” I said, “I am ok. I think the perception is still that women are “ruined” and destroyed by rape. The numbers of women experiencing rape or domestic violence is one in four.”

“Yes,” said one of the guys, “But I didn’t believe that.”

“Well, we have three women here.” We all looked at the other two. One nodded yes and the other shook her head no.

After the child abuse lecture, the male student came to me. “I thought of you during the lecture. What you said will make me treat women who have been abused differently. Thank you.”

So: where are the men who worked with Cosby? Was this an open secret?

If the women are telling the truth, then the men who worked with Cosby know. I am afraid that the silence means:

They didn’t want to know.
They turned a blind eye.
They tell themselves they can’t prove it.
He was the goose laying the golden egg.
Those girls deserved what they got, he was a married man.

So: Where are the REAL MEN who worked with Bill Cosby? If it is true and they stay silent, they are accomplices. Every single one of them should call their lawyer and say, “I saw evidence that supports what the women are saying. Please contact their lawyers so that I can make a statement.” Or: “I am willing to make a statement that I worked with Bill Cosby for x years and never saw anything suspicious.” Not a statement for the press. A statement that they will stand by in court: that it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

And think if it had been men being preyed on. Take that as a scenario. Men would have screamed the house down and what’s more they would have been believed. And they would not be accused of leading him on or being whores or being sluts or asked what they were wearing.

Will the Real Men who worked with Bill Cosby please stand up.

Sophistocated Noder

The picture is my daughter years ago. But hey! That’s how I am feeling at the end of the Blogging 101 class! I am a sophistocated noder! I know stuff! I know a lot more than I did a month ago! I have met other people! I have made another page! I have Big Plans!

And…. I am still a clueless newbie really, but it’s been very fun.

Adverse Childhood Experiences 3: Attachment Disorder

I ought to have an attachment disorder, which now is called “separation anxiety disorder” in the DSM IV, now redefined in the DSM IV-TR and then the DSM V. That is, they keep changing the definition of psychiatric disorders. It’s a bit unnerving, isn’t it? Not only the brain is “plastic” and can be rewired throughout our lives, but the psychiatric diagnosis manual is being updated.

When I went into allopathic medicine, I was under the impression that I needed to learn everything I could and apply it. Spectacularly wrong. I needed to learn everything and then track everything because at least one fourth of what I learned was wrong or was going to change. I just didn’t know WHICH 25% was wrong.

This is why older doctors have a healthy skepticism towards new medicines, new equipment, new ideas. Older doctors are more likely to use old cheap medicines and eschew the new-fangled samples. It’s not just that the pharmaceutical companies only give us samples of the new expensive stuff. It’s also that some of the new expensive stuff is not as good as advertised and has a chance of hurting people. I still would advise my patients to use coumadin (warfarin) if they have a clotting disorder. Yes, you can take the new drugs without doing a monthly blood test — BUT if you bleed, I can’t reverse the new medicines. So I wouldn’t take them: if I need a medicine to keep me from clotting, I want coumadin. I will decide about the new medicines in 5-10 years. Old and cynical, that’s me….

As previously written, I had five “experiences” under age three that left me not trusting adults. However, the adults seemed to love me, even though they kept abandoning me to other adults. At under three, this did not make sense. I could have decided never to trust anyone and presumably would have really gone off into some sociopathic bad place, but I didn’t do that.

The clue to what I did is in my mother’s stories. My sister was born five days before my 3rd birthday. She came home right by my birthday, at Easter.

My mother said, “You asked if you could dress Chris. She was two days old. She was nearly ten pounds and had a triple chin. You wanted to put a lacy dress on her. I decided that you could try and told you to be very gentle.

You put Chris into the newborn baby dress. She was so big that it barely fit and in fact, that was the only time she ever wore it. You had to stuff her arms through the sleeves. She cracked her eyes and looked at you, but she did not object at all. You were gentle.”

That doesn’t seem like much. Next story:

My mother said, “You would meet visitors who came to see Chris at the door. You would say “Come see my baby.” I let you open presents for Chris because she didn’t care. You would show the visitors your sister.”

My baby. That is the key.

I think what happened is this:
1. The adults who took care of me did seem to love me.
2. Even though they loved me, they kept abandoning me, or giving me to other adults. I really really disliked this.
3. I thought that adults were misguided and wrong to give me away. I thought there must be some explanation. I would try to figure it out. Meanwhile, I was going to take care of my sister: she was MY BABY. I was going to show those stupid, loving, confused adults how to take care of a baby and NO ONE was going to give HER away. I could love adults but no way was I going to trust them.

That was my crisis brain wiring by age 3. Adults are loving and untrustworthy. You can love them back but they may abandon you to someone else at any moment. You can’t predict what they will do. They may be even LESS trustworthy if they are loving and you know them, than if it is a stranger.

My mother again, “When I got you back at nine months, you didn’t know me. You wanted to be as independent as possible. You missed your (maternal) grandmother. In the grocery store, you would cry if you saw a white haired woman. We couldn’t comfort you.

I thought that you didn’t like us at all until you ate a cigarette butt and got really sick. You let us take care of you. Then we left you with friends for a night. You were absolutely furious when we got back and I thought that you really did like us….”

Poor young mom, 23 and recovering from tuberculosis and still not strong, with an angry and grieving nine month old who really didn’t want much to do with her and didn’t trust her at all…..

Changes from the DSM IV-TR to the DSM V: http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf

The DSM IV criteria for separation anxiety: http://behavenet.com/node/21498

Theme song: The Devil Makes Three “All Hail”

Branded

This photo is really my brand. In 2009 my rural county hospital dismissed me as a physician because I argued against the daily 18 patient quota that they said that Congress had set us. I said, “I will go argue with Congress.” I was not sure how I would get to Congress or when.

Meanwhile, in Oregon, a group called the Mad as Hell Doctors was readying to hit the road. Two weeks before the Mad as Hell Doctors hit the road to go across the country to give talks about single payer healthcare and to listen to citizens talk about their healthcare experiences, a friend called me.

The friend had gone to the Mad as Hell Doctors’ first program, a practice run in Sequim. It was well attended because the community had a controversy over the word “Hell”. The friend said, “It’s a bunch of older white males. They need a woman. You’re off from work: you should go.”

I researched them and called a friend who is a very experienced agitator. He said, “Do it.” I called them and my father drove me to the Bremerton ferry. I got off the ferry in downtown Seattle and was picked up on a street corner to join the Mad as Hell Doctors. I had never met any of them. That evening I was part of the program.

I was and am mad as hell and often sad, frustrated, appalled and incensed by the healthcare industry in the United States, that leaves people without care and dying in spite of costing each and every one of us twice as much as any other country in the world. And all of the CIVILIZED countries have single payer. Am I saying that the United States is uncivilized? Yes, frankly, I am. We are a country run on greed by corporations currently and I am fighting it.

The Mad as Hell Doctors traveled California in 2010 and I was there for a week of that trip. In 2011 they toured Oregon. We continue to work locally, at the state level and at the national level for single payer healthcare, medicare for all. I think that it will happen and hopefully during my career.

We ended the first trip at Congress and the White House. I sent a postcard to my former employer saying “See? I said I would go to Congress.” We haven’t won the health care battle yet but we will.

Here is a ten minute program that I did in Sequim, WA in (2012) at the American Awakening event:  Enjoy. If you want to see WHY we are Mad as Hell, watch “Health, Money and Fear” and the other videos at this site. For more information Physicians for a National Health Care Program is excellent and Health-Care Now! is also excellent.

You can make a difference. Do you know anyone who has lost their house, not gotten care soon enough because they didn’t have insurance or were under insured, or has been harmed or died because they were not able to afford or access care? Gotten sick and lost their job and lost their insurance? You, too, should be Mad as Hell and fight to change this.