Positively Positive

It was a busy week in clinic and I really enjoyed being back to “normal”.  We are transitioning to an EHR (electronic health record) in the office and it can be a nightmare.  The process takes almost 12 months and we are nine months in.  The learning curve for the staff has certainly been stressful, but in the end we are hoping for a smoother running, more productive office.  I also really missed operating and have bumped up my volume.  I have 22 surgeries next week. My yoga instructor told me to watch how busy I get and offered a quote from a Buddhist teacher, “young people of today are sacrificing their health to assure wealth, and when they get old will sacrifice their wealth to assure their health”.  I appreciate my health more than ever before and will try and heed this advice.  Unfortunately, I happen to be one of those trying to assure people’s health. 

I have an exciting weekend with Ella and Lily with a Daddy-Daughter Dance at our country club.  The girls have new dresses and of course I will be wearing my tux.  They are very excited for the fancy evening and Kathy promised them some elegant hairstyles.  Kathy and Hugh have a big “date” planned of their own.  Hugh and I are planning our Star Wars I 3-D for Sunday. 

My physical rehabilitation continues to improve.  I have continued my 5 mile runs and starting to get under 50 minutes.  Still about 18-20 miles per week.  I saw the cardiologist who gave me a green light for more weight-toning/training.  He never wants me lifting really heavy weights again.  That’s OK.  I am awaiting the results of some tests, but hopefully everything checks out.  I haven’t gained much of my weight back and with my exercise schedule and improved diet, I decided to stay in this range.  I upgraded the wardrobe a little to accommodate.  My strength is really turning the corner and I have no pain.  I feel so good about my future.  This far out, as tough as it was, I have perspective enough to know I could do it again if some unfortunate relapse were to occur. 

The view I have of the world has continually changed throughout my life, as it should.  Experience in life, love, death, health, occupation molds the way we look at ourselves and those around us.  I think that the ability to adapt to the dynamics of life is what brings us a fuller appreciation of the world around us.  I don’t want to change my core values, but I do want to be able to adjust my daily activities positively as a reflection of my ability to see my pitfalls and potentials in a clearer light.  Facing your own mortality, real or imagined, is a very cathartic and awakening process and I encourage everyone to try and imagine your own life in this spotlight.  It will help you appreciate all that you have.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.  It has been an amazing week getting back into full swing at work and still continuing my aggressive workout/rehab schedule.  I follow up with the cardiologist this week and hope for good news all around.  If I’ve learned anything through all this, don’t count your chickens too early.  I know I feel really good at this point, but I need some confirmation this time.  We celebrated the heart with some friends on Saturday and I am so thankful for all of the loved ones around me.  My message for the month is to get yourself a routine physical (or more if you need it). Being proactive undoubtedly saved my life.  I was not the model patient, but still managed to get diagnosed BEFORE major trouble.

I received a wonderful poem from a patient of mine this week.  She was a teacher and poet most of her life.  I share it with you now.

In Praise Of Pigs

Can we look gently at pigs, at the meaning of pigs?

Can we go below, break through the common stereotypes:

The grunts, the squeals, the squinty eyes,

The smelly slop, the muddy styes?

Can we get past fat pigs rooting, black pigs rutting

Dirty pigs rolling all around

Penned pigs lying on fretted ground?

Where is the meaning of pigs?

In pig parts roasted, pickled, fried,

Barbecued, crackled, baked in pies?

In pig tales woven:

Three wee piggies shopping, coping

Five piggie toes eating, running home

Miss Piggy crying, Geico pig flying

Olivia pig puzzling, Porky Pig growing

Wilbur pig gaining in “Charlotte’s Web”

Can anything fine be said of swine?

When the pancreas of pigs creates

The first usable human insulin

Then pigs are big in the medical field

When pig valves provide safe, healthy

Passages for human hearts pumping

Then all pigs transform the meaning

Of being alive

There’s no need for viewing with human disdain

The hierarchy of pigs on this worldly terrain

Now we can pause, give thanks as we breathe

Pigs save and sustain us

As we sense, explore, think, love, and live!

Hooray for pigs!

Written in honor of

Dr. Michael Shaughnessy’s Transformation!

Joan Neth,   February 2012

Have a great week everyone!  Talk to you soon!


The Patient Returns as the Surgeon

Monday marked my return to the OR.  This time I was the surgeon. A much more comfortable position to embrace. I had scheduled fairly light and performed just six cataract surgeries. After 10,000, I had little loss of confidence, but I was glad to get through the first one without a hitch.  Today, I was pleased to examine all the happy patients and their 20/20 vision. I had my first full day of clinic as well today and fatigue was a nonissue.  It was great to be busy again.

After work today, I managed a nice workout and a run of about 4.5 miles.  My arms were a little sore from playing Pebble Beach on Sunday (simulator). We had a great time at a Super Bowl party at our friends down the street.  Our active lifestyle seems to be getting back into full swing as Hugh returned to his tae kwon do this week. He didn’t skip a beat and was welcomed back.

I continue to embrace my incredible blessings since the discovery of my aneurysm and surgery.  I have been able to overcome my own predictions and my recovery is surpassing most everyone’s expectations this early. I am working very hard, but trying to be careful not to push too hard. Life is certainly a precious gift that cannot be taken for granted.  I find myself finally planning and seeing far into the future again.  As I enter into month three of recovery, I realize there is still work to be done, but so much has already been accomplished. Kathy and I are planning a long weekend in Las Vegas and then the whole family will head to Hilton Head in June.  I predict sunny days for all of us in the days ahead.