Category Archives: Medicine

Do It Myself!

I have always been a “Do it myself!” sort of person. When I was 2, I got mad if my mom dressed me, so I would take off the clothes she put on me and put them on again by myself. I know. I have control issues.

I am currently the only full time psychologist at my agency. One person does psychological evaluations twice a month at our agency  via telehealth from her office in Florida.  Another guy comes to my agency from the Human Service Center in Bismarck once a month to do sex offender evaluations.

Once every other week, the Human Service Center in Bismarck sends a young woman psychometrist to our agency to administer and score the tests for the other two psychologists. I administer and score my own tests. My agency has lost positions due to budget cuts. With only me full time, we can’t justify a psychometrist just for our agency.  My supervisor, who works at the Bismarck agency, is always encouraging me to have the Bismarck psychometrist score my tests on the days she is here to prevent me from burning out. Sometimes that works. Usually, I prefer to do it myself, because I can do it when I need them scored and I don’t have to wait for her to come and do them.  Last week I agreed to have her take some tests to Bismarck with her to score. That was a big mistake.

The psychometrist is a bright, bubbly, and bouncy young woman who drives me crazy with her bumptous, blundering ways.  She doesn’t think before she speaks or acts, doesn’t read situations well, and often barges into my office when she is here, asking me in a very breathless fashion to do rather inconvenient things to help her and the other two psychologists out without checking what my schedule might be for the day.  “Could you do a IQ test right now on Dr. X’s patient!?  We don’t want to inconvenience him to come back to have it done another day.”  (All hands-on testing like IQ tests have to be done by me, since the telehealth psychologist can’t reach through the screen to administer tests like that).  Of course I couldn’t. I was booked solid the whole day.  It takes an hour and a half, on average, to administer an IQ test.

Last week she took some tests to Bismarck to score, and then put the scored tests in the office inbox of the psychiatrist who works at the Bismarck Human Service Center and who also comes out to our agency.  She asked the psychiatrist to transport my scored tests to me the next time she came out to Dickinson. We often have Bismarck folks transport things back and forth between our agencies. She didn’t check with psychiatrist in person. She just left her a note.

Today I phoned  the psychometrist to ask where my testing was.  She told me about her brilliant plan involving the psychiatrist. I informed her that the psychiatrist wasn’t coming to our center for another 3 weeks, and that I needed the testing immediately and that the psychiatrist  came here only once a month, not weekly, as she assumed. She then went on a wild scramble to find the psychiatrist and the tests. She called me back in a panic and asked me if I miraculously knew where the psychiatrist might be, since she wasn’t at their agency but was supposed to be seeing clients from our agency.  I told her I had no idea where the psychiatrist was. She finally tracked the doctor to her home in Bismarck where she sees clients at our agency in Dickinson via telehealth, and then got the testing from her and scanned and faxed the tests to me.

I think I will score my own test from now on. I don’t need this aggravation. I know. I have control issues.

Tell about your most annoying coworker. Tell about your best coworker. How do you cope with annoying coworkers?

 

MMR

There was a small blurb  in our local paper yesterday about an outbreak of mumps in our city’s middle school. The city Facebook page has a number of antivac and provac responses to this crisis, as crisis it is, as there are several immune compromised students who cannot go to school because they are at risk for terrible infection.

I remember having Rubella, Mumps, Roseaola, and Chicken Pox. Husband had all those and Scarlet Fever as well.  Both our children had the Chicken Pox.  There are many individuals receiving Developmental Disability services in our region because they had mumps or measles or some other childhood illness in the 1950’s that resulted in intellectual disabilities.   Our grandson is now recovering from RSV, and I am thankful his parents are confirmed vaccinators.

What memories do you have about childhood illnesses?  How do you feel about vaccinations?

February Adventure

Today’s post comes from cynthiainmahtowa.

The First of February 2018 was a beautiful, sunny, crispy -10 F day. There was enough snow to snowshoe and I hadn’t been in the woods since I couldn’t remember when…years before my hip surgery. It was a Thursday, and Sunday afternoon our book club was meeting at my house to discuss “A River Runs Through It” by Norman McLean. As our group often does off- book things like skiing, hiking, canoeing, I thought it would be fun for people to ski or snowshoe down the Moose Horn River that meanders through my land.

But first to check it out.  Friend Daina and her Corgi, Jack, were willing to go through the woods, to the marsh and over the river with me. When we got to the marsh, however, Daina was afraid Jack would go through the ice and not be able to get out so she decided to take him home. I decided to travel on.

When I got to the river, I ventured on to the ice for about half a dozen steps when the ice gave out under me.  Suddenly, I was up to my armpits in ice-cold water. I don’t know how deep it was, my metal and rubber snowshoes wouldn’t let me get my feet under me.  Alas, I thought, “This is how I die.”

Though somehow I must not have believed that because I was hanging on to my Icelandic wool hat that I love and was NOT going to let it go! After a brief struggle, I floated myself over to the side of the river where there appeared to be a solid snow covered something. When I got to the embankment I saw a block of ice below me that I managed to get my snowshoes on.  With my one pole (I had hiking poles with me) I managed to pull myself back onto the ice, get standing up, pick up my other pole that I had left on top of the ice and headed back home.

Fortunately, I had on my polyester down parka and nylon ski pants. So I was not weighted down with water-soaked clothing. The worst was the water in my boots. I figured if I kept moving as fast as I could, I wouldn’t succumb to hypothermia. I was about 15 minutes through the woods and up the pasture from the house. At the power easement I considered going back on the road so someone would see me, but it was farther and open and the wind was bitter.

With some difficulty I got myself over the wire fencing and into the pasture. Halfway to the house, I saw Daina coming down to meet me. She, being brilliant in emergencies – and having experienced her husband’s hypothermia a few years ago – took over. She helped me into the house, out of my Sorel-like boots of man-made materials with frozen laces, my wet clothes and into the shower…then into bed with three or four layers of blankets, mugs of hot tea, chicken soup and liquid jello.

I never shivered, though in bed it felt like my deep core wanted to shake. But the adrenalin was coursing through my body the rest of the day and I was fully warmed up in time to feed my animals that evening…and before the day was over I cleaned and re-organized my cupboard of mugs.

I don’t know what the experience has done to my psyche, but looking back there seems to be a sense of appreciation and direction and confidence and generosity that I didn’t have before.

And when I got kicked in the thigh by Derby Horse the following Friday, the resulting hematoma didn’t seem like much of a big deal.

What was your scariest “adventure”?

Silent Healers

It was interesting that, after I mentioned the traditional Lakota healer/medicine man who I know in the Bad Dream post on Tuesday, I heard from him early Wednesday afternoon.  Ed, as I will refer to him, phoned me to say he was in Sturgis and would be going through my town in a few hours and could I buy him a tank of gas?

Ed is a disabled veteran from one of the Iraq wars, and is on a very limited income.  He was on the way to a town on the reservation where husband works, so that he could do a smudging ceremony at one of the schools. “They are having trouble at the school. I am only staying long enough to smudge, and then I am heading right back because I have another smudging to do in Spearfish tomorrow”.

Ed travels all over the Great Plains doing ceremonies for different tribes and native citizens. If your brother is in the University of Minnesota Hospital and is dying, he will go there and sing and pray and do what he can to restore health. I have heard from people that he is pretty successful, and that individuals who weren’t expected to survive rally after he comes to them. He is called in when there is trouble or tragedy, and helps native families with funerals and grieving rituals.  He has an old suitcase full of his paraphernalia and he zips all over in his little white Ford,  healing and being a spiritual presence for his people.

I usually have no time in the afternoon to leave work, but I had a sudden problem with a toothache and had a dentist appointment Wednesday at 2:45 pm. Because I had no idea how long the dentist would take, I cancelled all my afternoon appointments. I was free, then, to meet up with Ed at the Holiday station and buy the gas. I suppose I could think about it as a happy coincidence, or perhaps it was the universe giving me a nudge to further Ed’s healing in this world.  It gives me great comfort to think of Ed and all the other people in our lives and communities who work under the radar, bringing hope and healing in ways most of us never hear about.

Who are the healers and helpers in your lives who fly under the radar?

Storming the Bastille

I have had problems with insomnia since I was a child.  My current sleep pattern is to fall asleep easily, then wake up at about 3:00 am and not get to back to sleep until just before my alarm goes off at 6:30.

I know all the “sleep hygiene” and cognitive tricks for good sleep, but they often don’t work for me. I was gratified to read a recent New Yorker article on insomnia which described insomniacs’ cortisol levels  as so high as to look as though they are getting ready to storm the Bastille.

I know that anxiety and worry trigger the sympathetic nervous system to pump out high levels of chemicals which hinder sleep.  My anxiety and worry are all work related,  and I am hopeful that they will reduce over the next couple of weeks.  Until then, I think I will see if memorizing the lyrics to the Marseilles and repeating them over and over when I wake up at 3:00 will lull me to sleep once more.

How do you deal with insomnia? What puts you to sleep? What keeps you awake?

Self Regulation

Last March I went to the doctor for my annual checkup and he informed me that my cholesterol  and blood sugar levels were too high. He asked me to come back in six months for a recheck.   I spent the summer working in the garden and changing my diet only a little. I  went back to  the doctor in September, and he said my cholesterol had dropped 50 points to a normal level, and my blood sugar was in the normal range.  I was surprised as well as dismayed, since that meant that I had to maintain my current level of activity and continue to watch my food intake.

The elevators at my work have been out of commission for three weeks, and won’t be in operation for another two weeks.  I work on the 4th floor of my building. I know that I will need to continue to walk the stairs all winter once the elevator is repaired.  I hate to exercise, but I hate the thought of poor health even more.

How do you motivate yourself for good health choices?  What should you do for better health, and how will you accomplish it?  How do you maintain your health?

Ice Cream Chronicles Part I

My favorite Twin Cities ice cream shop is not an ice cream shop. It’s a drugstore. It’s called St. Paul Corner Drug, located on the corner of Snelling and St. Clair Avenues. I remember when their ice cream cones cost 35 cents, but it’s been awhile since the price was that low. A single scoop cone is now an exorbitant $1.75. A cup of coffee, however, is still a nickel.

The store has a traditional soda fountain counter that dates to the 1920’s. There are always four flavors of ice cream. Traditional vanilla, chocolate or some variation on chocolate, and a fruit flavor of some kind. The fourth is anybody’s guess. Might be butter pecan or salted caramel, peppermint bon-bon, or some novelty flavor like bubblegum.

The counter sports several racks of magnets with humorous sayings, which you can peruse while enjoying your ice cream.

On the outside of the building, there is a water faucet. Beneath it you’ll find two stainless steel bowls filled with water for the neighborhood dogs, in the warm weather months. There’s also a table if you feel inclined to bring your ice cream outside so you can hang out with your pooch.

There is, of course, a pharmacy counter, but IMHO, the ice cream is the best medicine.

What’s your medicine of choice?