Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 185 - first day back

Back to work went well. Everyone was happy to see me, there was useful stuff for me to do and I felt like I knew what I was doing. My anxious worries that I even knew ahead of time were stupid did not come to pass. I managed to do OK even though we were out of coffee at home (it's coming in the mail tomorrow), I got there right at 8, I remembered my snack, it didn't leak or have so much condensation that it was a huge nuisance, I actually wasn't hungry midmorning anyway, there were enough computers to go around,  etc., etc. I am more tired than I would have been after a morning at home, but not outrageously tired. I got out on time. I stopped at Swann's for coffee with Eva on the way home and I was even able to walk downtown with Emily in the afternoon. So, I think back to work is going to be OK, but will build up my hours slowly.

On my commute, I listen to a lot of different podcasts and continuing medical education lectures. I don't really mind my commute because I feel I get a lot out of the time I spend in the car. Today I was listening to a lecture on "communicating bad news" and I was surprised to discover that I felt I really had info to add to the lecture. There were several points, but the most notable was when she was talking about how a lot of doctors don't like to deal with patient or family emotions and how if you brush them aside, they'll come back and bite you later anyway and how the family may not remember any information you give them, like prognosis or where the mets are or which labs are goofed up, but they will remember how you dealt with their emotions. I actually felt like a related issue was that at the times I was feeling a negative feeling towards my doctors (usually abandonment because that is my specialty), I didn't really want to talk about chemo or fevers or meds or symptoms. I wanted to talk about whether or not they were going to abandon me and how they better not do it again. We know that sometimes our patients come to us with very negative feelings about other doctors or often doctors in general. I have had the experience more than once where the family will want to talk about some prior situation and will need to recount the story with me being a sympathetic ear before we can move forward into the next step. I think it is the same phenomenon as I describe above.

Another talk that I listened to was "Zencast" which I highly recommend to everyone. Gil was talking about how being grateful is a good habit to get into and how people who were grateful and appreciative were happier, slept better and had a whole bunch of other benefits I don't remember. It made me think about how I close each post by hoping for something for the next day. After listening to him talking today, I considered instead of wishing for something, listing off the things I'm grateful for. That seems kind of sappy to do publicly and besides that, I really like the way I end the pieces. I think Gil would ask if I were living in the future because I think every post of how the future could be improved compared to the present. I wonder if he would say that this sort of thinking encourages me to be dissatisfied with the present because I have made it a routine part of my day to think of a way in which the present is not as good as I would like it to be. And, yet, I do not find it to be so. I think of it as "hopeful." How does hopeful fit with satisfaction with/acceptance of the present? Should I consider changing my practice of closing with wishes?

For myself, for tomorrow, I will wish for a sense of gratitude for all the gifts in my life. For you, for tomorrow, I will wish exactly the same.

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