Snapshots: The First of 2013

The patient knows there's something going on Monday, January 21, 2013, but can't remember what.  "Oh!  The Inauguration!"

We don't schedule for today.

(1) Patriotism

I'm pretty sure I blogged about the last inauguration, too, four years ago. It doesn't matter to me, Republican or Democrat. Where there's poetry, rhetoric, good writing, and music. If it's free, I'm there.

Kelly Clarkson belting out America (My Country Tis of Thee) is worth watching for those of you who love this idea, hope. In psychology it tends to be what keeps us all going, even if it feels irrational sometimes.
Kelly Clarkson at the 2013 Inauguration

The look on the President's face. Why didn't I capture that?  I'm sorry.

Richard Blanco reciting a poem
Then that poem by Richard Blanco, his recitation. Had me in tears.

Rev Dr. Joseph Lowery

Reverand Dr. Joseph Lowery, an old Southern Christian Leadership guy, delivering the benediction, quoting the bible, adding his southern flair,
"Help us to work for that day when . . .nation shall not lift up sword against nation . . .when. . .none shall be afraid. . . . When black will not be asked to give back. When brown can stick around. When yellah, will be mella', when the red man, can get ahead, man. And when white will embrace what is right.  Say Amen."

(2) FD and Exercise

I've had more opportunities than ever to take snaps this year. But let's just start with FD, a primary care doctor, my still intimate partner.

FD with ski gloves and bicycle hat
Would you let this man look down your throat?

You say no, but most people he knows do.  This is what it is like being a primary care doc.

With the advent of dozens of new types of flashlights, primary care doctors are at the same risk as dermatologists who go to dinner at fine restaurants, only to be visited at the table by a patient who literally lifts his shirt to ask, "Should I be worried about this?"

Don't think it doesn't happen.

We accidentally became a 2-car couple when my daughter left town and left us her Volvo (just pick me up from the airport, please!)

We both have a car!  In the winter, the only time we drive, except to shop.
 FD! Don't ride your bike to work!  It is supposed to get down to ten degrees today.
He tells me that this is the best way to warm up so that he plays well for his team tonight (basketball). Riding in the cold is a really good warm up, especially if he is dressed for the North Pole.

Doctors are crazy.

(3) More on primary care doctors, perhaps why they seem crazy.

When asked, What's the hardest part of primary care? FD would probably say, "Why, mental illness, of course. Nothing makes me feel more powerless than the patient being a danger unto himself, or unto others."

Pressed, he would say that it doesn't even have to be mental illness, particularly. Anyone under the influence of negative emotion that compromises judgment is likely to make a bad decision, something he, the doctor, would have vetoed, like taking the wrong medication, or the right one, but too much or too little.

Thus it is depression and anxiety, paranoia and mistrust, that the pri-care fears most.

So they often refer out for this. Don't be afraid to ask for that referral.

What makes family practitioners (a type of primary care doctor) special is that they are trained to look at everything that concerns the patient's health, every organ system in the body, every part, not only the specialist domains, the parts with the presenting symptoms, but the family history, the work environment, whether or not anyone else in the family cares enough to help, and who, for it is sometimes the case, wants the patient dead.

I don't blame him, in other words, for seeming eccentric about exercise, and nagging you to get some, too.

(4) The Friends of Our Children

Parents worry that these natural species will corrupt their babies, turn them onto sex and drug.

But kids and friendship  prove the data on social support to be true. They realize intuitively that connecting, being liked, adds up to a feeling of worthiness, not just being okay, but feeling fabulous.

All we can do is raise our children to be discriminating consumers of friendship, to surround themselves with the kindest people around, and learn what to do when they aren't all that kind, all that healthy.

Not easy at every stage.  Watch the movie Mean Girls to see the perversion of friendship. I saw it on MTV. Difficult, those MTV commercials. Mute them.

But being patient as a parent, especially when it comes to the friends of our children, has unexpected pay-offs. It should never happen to you, but here's a fairly common example.

A friend of mine recently lost a friend, a fire fighter, in a fire. His experience reminded me of my own, when my brother passed away, an untimely death, well over forty years ago.

My friend visited the fire fighter's family, but worried that he might be intruding. Nobody knew him except the deceased.  The fire fighter's father and mother. however, didn't let him go, wanted him to tell them everything about their son, their friendship, how long ago did they meet, under what circumstances, what did they used to do together. Tell me more, more, more.

The mourners need to keep it all alive for years and years to come.

So surely, friends of friends, continue the friendship with survivors if you lose one. Don't visit them once, stay in touch. They need you.



Graciewilde said…
As always, I appreciate your post! Yes, agreed - no matter what the politics , the ritual and hte music and the poetry of an inauguration are powerful. I must add that it makes me cry when I have hope and confidence in the president. In those many past years when I was disappointed in the electorate's choice, it was harder to believe in the ritual. Not this year.
and, yes, I am with FD. Since I took my first college PE class, I have been motivated to move. I find something very valuable in physical movement and make time for that daily. It clears my head and keeps me connected to myself. and, like FD, I ride my bike to work almost every day (okay, not when it is raining b/c I don't want the water all over my work clothes!). Thanks for the post.
therapydoc said…
Thanks GW. I truly only watch for the entertainment value, am very suspicious of politicians in general, this one for sure.

Show me, as we say.
Hi, therapydoc,

At Fist I would like to thank you for those words,

"friends of friends, continue the friendship with survivors if you lose one. Don't visit them once, stay in touch. They need you."

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.