She wears two masks out in public.
Infectious control, don’t you know.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: lobster.
She wears two masks out in public.
Infectious control, don’t you know.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: lobster.
…because the pants alone aren’t loud enough.
Another in my Outfits Inappropriate For Work series. It is difficult to type wearing my claws. Also patients would get distracted if I wore something too weird. I can’t think why.
I got the claws at a church sale yesterday. I was told they went with a game, “You’ve Got Crabs!” Turns out they don’t, but maybe they should! I went looking vaguely for a CD case for my car and got two: however they came with CDs. Everything from Cake to Spongebob Favorites to Johnny Cash to Disney Favorites. I am SET.
So who wants to play “You’ve got crabs!”?
Do you have an Outfit Inappropriate For Work? Is a Silly Selfie a Silthie?
I only dress like this part time.
A friend took this with my camera at my request. Thank you, friend!
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt part time.
I took this May 31, 2022. I was still pretty sick with pneumonia and needed oxygen to do practically anything. I had dropped ten pounds the first week of being sick, March 20th. In 2014 it was six months before I could return to work and then only part time and exhausted. So I knew I was likely to be in for a six month haul. I hadn’t figured on needing oxygen, but it made me feel so much better and be able to think again!
Anyhow, I was entertaining myself by going through my closet and putting on things that I did not wear to work. I like the sun lighting up my legs in this photograph. The dress is shorter than it looks and the jacket has tags in Japanese and is a soft woven silk. I thrift shop by feel, because silk and mohair and cashmere and wool and cotton feel so wonderful.
Later the same day, I took this photograph:
I would wear out very quickly during the day. Today it is pouring here and last summer by now it was much much warmer! The sun made my lungs hurt less.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: kooky.
A friend says he does whatever he wants. He refuses to answer questions about how he makes his money. He doesn’t care if this annoys people. I suspect he may enjoy it.
I have one of those public jobs. Well, had. I have now been disabled from Family Medicine for a year. My lungs are much better than a year ago but they are not normal. And I have now seen 17 specialists and 3 primary care doctors since 2012. The consensus is “We don’t know.” Though many specialists are not willing to say that. What they say instead is, MY testing is NORMAL, go to someone else. My lungs are not normal, but I am on my fourth pulmonologist. I saw a cardiologist this year and the first thing he says is, “It’s your lungs, not your heart.” Well, yeah, I know that.
I miss my patients, but there is something freeing about not working. Ok, more money would be nice, but I am doing ok. Meanwhile, I am thinking about what to do now. I can write full time. Write, make music, travel (on a budget) and sing. And speak up.
Doctors have interesting portrayals on television. We went from Dr. Kildare to Dr. House, working our way through the shows with an emergency room and medical residents. ER drove me nuts. No one EVER dictated a chart so at the end of each show I hyperventilated at the hours of paperwork/computer/dictating they had left. House interests me because it’s always the thing that the patient is hiding or lying about that is the key. “Go search his apartment.” says House. I have figured out cases by getting permission to call family or a group home. More than once.
But a physician is a public figure. I had been here for less than a year when a woman comes up to me in the grocery store and says “What are my lab results?” I look at her blankly. I can’t remember if I really did the snappy comeback that comes to mind: “Take off your clothes and I will see if I remember.” I respond politely and she says, “Oh. I should call the office, right?” “Yes, I try to leave the work there,” I say. If a particularly difficult person was bearing down on me, I would whisper “cry” to my kids. That worked. They would act out on cue and I would be the harassed mother. The person would back off.
I am in a small town. We have three grocery stores. I see patients everywhere, now that it has been 22 years. If I remember every detail, that means they are or were really sick. And we have the layers of relationships: someone might have kids the same age or work with boats or be in chorus with me. Once I take my daughter to a party. The mom introduces me to two other mothers. “She’s my doctor,” says the introducing mom. “Well, me too.” says the second. “And me,” says the third. We all laugh.
Once I am visiting my brother outlaw’s bicycle shop. He has a customer. The customer starts talking to me too. Brother outlaw says, “Do you two know each other?” The customer eyes me. I have my neutral doc face on. “She’s seen me NAKED!” says the customer and I howl with laughter. What a great reply. And my brother outlaw gets it.
Docs have to pay attention to HIPAA. When three women say that I am their doctor, I reply, “Yeah and I left my brain at work, so I can’t remember a thing.” Those three were healthy, so I really do not remember labs or the results of a pap smear. Once I was in cut off shorts and waved at an older woman who was at the ophthalmologist’s. She sniffs and looks away. I get the giggles: I think she did not recognize me. My town is only 10,000 people, so after 22 years I have taken care of many of them. Though sometimes people thank me for taking care of their mother, and after it sounds unfamiliar I ask if they mean Dr. Parkman? Oh. Yes. People get me mixed up with two other small Caucasian woman doctors.
I started the “outfits inappropriate for work” category last year when I was still very sick and short of breath and on oxygen. I did not go out much, partly to avoid covid. My pneumonia was something other than covid and it was my fourth pneumonia and I should not need oxygen. Now I’ve had mild covid and the oxygen is only part time. I sang at my son’s wedding, off oxygen, so I can sing off oxygen for a short time. I danced off oxygen too and did get QUITE short of breath. Since I am no longer a public figure, I can speak out and speak up more. I am thinking about that, particularly with the recent Supreme Court news. I do not agree with what they seem to be planning.
I took this photograph last summer at North Beach. I thought she looks like a stranded mermaid, thrown up on shore. I couldn’t move her, she was twice my length. The rock attachment had come too, up from our sea beds.
Happy solstice. Today marks the one year day from when I realized that I was having my fourth round of pneumonia, with hypoxia, agitation, fast twitch muscle dysfuntion and felt sick as could be. I am way better but not well. That is, I still need oxygen to play flute, to sing, to do heavy exercise and to carry anything heavy. Which is WAY better then having to wear oxygen all the time. Today I find a connection between the lungs and the brain, in quanta magazine. This video talks about a new found connection between cilia and the brain. We were taught that cilia and flagella are for locomotion, powered by tubulin. However, this shows that cilia behave like neurons and there is a connection. Since my peculiar illness seems to involve cilia dysfunction in my muscles and lungs, so that I get pneumonia, and the brain, because I am wired when it hits, this is a fascinating connection. If neurons developed from cilia, the dual illness makes a lot more sense. Hooray for quantum mechanics! We use it in medicine every single day.
Happy solstice! Here comes the sun!
You have been perfecting your health for years.
You know the antiaging regime and you follow it religiously.
You have read Jeffrey Bland. You have been tested for the mthfr mutation. You understand pandas. You have taken a functional medicine class and you’ve studied biochemistry in your local functional medicine group. You have reversed your autoimmune symptoms by a combination of the best from Dr. Ballantyne and Dr. Perlmutter. Your adrenal fatigue is gone. You have the pajamas that Dr. Oz says help most with sleep. You know your supplements backwards and forwards and have visited the clean green factories that make them.
You are healthy.
You are ready for the perfect relationship. But…. would you want to date someone who doesn’t take care of themselves? What if they don’t care? What if their bacteria invade YOU?
WELCOME TO THE MICROBIOME DATING SERVICE!
We will remove your fears and cares. All clients agree to a monthly detailed microbiome stool screen. You will date healthy people. If a screen fails, a client is notified and all dating partners are notified as well. Clients agree to EXCLUSIVE DATING with other healthy people, tested and monitored.
You are healthy. You want to stay that way. WELCOME TO THE MICROBIOME DATING SERVICE!
WE KEEP YOU SAFE.
You are sick as shit.
You go to the ER.
You finally feel safe, on a bed, they will save me, you think.
The nurse is on autopilot. He does not seem concerned. You are shaking a little as he arranges you on the bed. He puts the heart monitor stickers on and hooks you up. Blood pressure cuff, pulse ox. Blood pressure is fine, pulse is a bit fast, at 110.
You notice he is not making eye contact.
“I’m cold.” you whisper.
He doesn’t reply. He keeps messing with the wires. He puts the call button next to your hand. He leaves and returns with a warm blanket. It feels wonderful. He doesn’t say a word.
You feel better under the warmth.
The respiratory therapist wheels in the ECG machine. You smile at her but again, no eye contact. She puts more stickers on you. “Hold a deep breath.” The ECG spits out. She takes it and leaves.
The radiology tech wheels the portable xray machine in. You watch his face but don’t bother to smile. He looks everywhere but at you. It’s a bit creepy. Are they all robots? It’s 3 pm, not 3 am. “Lean forward,” says the tech, putting the radiology cartridge behind you. “Take a deep breath and hold it.” He takes the cartridge and leaves.
The nurse is back. Puts in the iv and draws 5 tubes of blood. You are shivering a little. He doesn’t seem to notice. You think about another warm blanket. The iv fluid starts and you can feel it running cold into your arm.
There is a child crying in the ER, in some other room. You start noticing the noises. Machines beeping. People typing on computer keyboards. No one is talking. The kid gives a howl of protest, rising and then is abruptly quiet.
Your hands and feet are tingling and burning. You writhe a little under the blanket. Sensation is returning to your hands and feet. It hurts but it is also good. You were at the point where all your feeling had shrunk to a tiny spark in the center of your chest. As the iv fluid runs, feeling slowly spreads out from that.
The doctor comes in. Grumpy, clearly. “Lean forward.” Listens to your chest. “Sounds clear.”
“It’s been hurting for 5 days. It hurts to breathe. Burns.” You are anxious as hell. BELIEVE ME.
The ER doc gives a little shrug. “Oxygen sats are fine.” He does a half-assed exam. He leaves.
You look at your feet, taking your socks off. Because he didn’t. There are two black spots, a couple millimeters across, old blood. Those are new.
You press the call button.
Time goes by. The nurse floats back in.
“Look. Tell the doctor to look. These are petechiae.” You point to the black spots.
If the nurse had laser vision, your feet would be burned. The nurse glares at your feet. He goes out.
The doc comes in and looks at your feet.
“They are petichiae. I have an infection.”
He gives a tiny shrug. “Your chest xray looks clear. Your labs are normal. You are not running a fever.”
“I am on azithromycin for walking pneumonia. I suddenly felt like all the fluid was running out of my arms and legs. I am worried that I am septic.”
“Blood pressure is fine. You are really really anxious.”
You are furious. It probably shows on your face. You are terrified.
“Could it be an antibiotic reaction?”
Shrug. “No rash.”
“Except the petechiae.” A sign of sepsis.
“I will change the antibiotics. Clindamycin.” He leaves.
You lie back, terrified. He doesn’t believe you. He is sending you home, septic. You will probably die.
The nurse comes in. Removes the iv and unhooks the monitor and the blood pressure cuff. You get dressed, numb and frightened and cold. The nurse goes out and returns. He recites the patient instructions in a bored voice and gives you the first dose of clindamycin.
You walk shakily to the door of the emergency room. To go home. While you are septic and they don’t believe you. You know what happens with sepsis: your blood pressure will drop and then organ damage and then IF you survive you could have heart damage or lung damage or brain damage and you might not anyhow.
You go home.
I never see you again
you never speak to me again
you never love your bearish parts
you never let yourself get angry
you never let yourself get sad
you never let yourself feel
you tell yourself you are happy
you tell yourself everything is the way it should be
I never see you again
I still love you
I still forgive you
I still love you
Ok, maybe it is not inappropriate for work. But it would be a little weird for work… I was going in the woods with my oxygen tank. “Local doctor of 21 years found eaten by cougar, which then died because it couldn’t digest the oxygen tank.” Heh.
Listening to this, fabulous!!!
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Refugees welcome - Flüchtlinge willkommen I am teaching German to refugees. Ich unterrichte geflüchtete Menschen in der deutschen Sprache. I am writing this blog in English and German because my friends speak English and German. Ich schreibe auf Deutsch und Englisch, weil meine Freunde Deutsch und Englisch sprechen.
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