Posts Tagged ‘life’

I came across this advertisement on Facebook . . .

Seriously?  Are we supposed to think that runner is over 45?  I’m wondering if she’s even over 25!

And by the way, I am over 45, and I can run faster than a nine minute mile (especially if I am following her!)

I guess I should get the rate I deserve on life insurance!

And if you are over 45, you should probably ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough to have running.

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The Daily Post prompted bloggers today with this question:  What question do you hate to be asked? Why?

I debated whether of not to attempt to answer this prompt in a blog entry, not because I couldn’t come up with an answer, but rather because the answer was all too evident.  I’m not one that likes to share feelings–I blog for the world to see, but it is an amusing pastime that does not require me to share anything of the real me.


I hate it when anyone asks me, “How are you?” or “How are you doing?”

Because inevitably, I must lie.

No one really wants to hear the real answer, or any explanation thereof.  It’s just part of the rapport between human beings attempting to be friendly.  Some of the people who ask me this might actually care.  But I seriously doubt they want to know the answer.

As a physician, I have to ask patient’s how they are doing, at least in the context of their eyes and vision.  But I don’t really need to know most of the rest of their problems or pains despite the fact that many are overly willing to share that unnecessary information with me.

So I throw out the ever popular, “Fine” and try to move on quickly.  Sometimes, I might just try to ignore the question, as if I hadn’t heard it, but I fear this often comes across as being rude.

Sometimes, I attempt to be a little more truthful.  I might answer, “I’m still alive.”  And if I’m in a particularly playful mood, I might add, “but the bastards are nipping at my heels.”

Or another popular response of mine is, “I’m hanging in there.”  And then I add, “the trick is not to get hung.”

I have no logical reason not to be fine.  Or good.  Or even great.  I make a lot of money.  I have my health.  I remove cataracts and give people the gift of sight, a talent not everyone has.  I have three children who are all healthy.  I have faith in God, and that someday, somehow, He will help me find what I am looking for.  Or comfort me that what I want was never meant to be.

Yet, I cannot bring myself to admit that “I’m good.”

I don’t feel good.  And I am ashamed to feel that way.  My problems all seem so first world.

Traffic irritates me.  If I carried a weapon in my car, I would probably average killing 6 people per day, at least the days I’m feeling “fine.”  Be the last time you pull out in front of me and go slow, though.

While I truly enjoy operating on patients and giving them back their sight, I no longer enjoy all the other bullshit that I am forced by my government to put up with on a daily basis.  I cannot simply treat my patients; I have to treat their computerized record as well.  I have to justify my existence through a process called “meaningful use,” whereby the federal government uses the data entered into the medical record to generate numerators and denominators, and in order to get paid, I must generate certain numerical ratios.  Perhaps I am being overly sensitive, but it makes the practice of medicine miserable and adds not one iota of benefit to actual patient care.

The government has intruded on nearly every aspect of how I care for a person, even down to the point of dictating how, when and where I “mark” the correct eye to be operated on for a patient having eye surgery.  We do “time outs” in the OR which are superfluous and unnecessary.  Insurance companies often dictate what medications I can prescribe–oh, I am free to prescribe anything, but they will only pay for certain things.  I have encountered very few patients who are financially well off enough to override their insurance and pay out of pocket instead of accepting what is covered.

They indirectly control how I keep up to date with continuing medical education.  Everything is regulated and has to be documented.  And while I understand the need to do these things, the amount of paperwork involved rises exponentially with each recertification period.  The governing board of ophthalmology keeps changing the requirements on me as well.  Now I have to travel to another city to sit for an exam.  The exam costs thousands of dollars, and that does not include the travel expenses or the income I lose from not being in my office.  I didn’t have to do that the last time I recertified, but I must now do as they say.

So I work in a job I no longer care much for, other than the warm fuzzy feeling of giving sight, in order to pay bills and taxes I don’t want to pay.  I don’t like how the government spends my money, and no one I elect can change that.  Of course, the last person I voted for that I really wanted to elect was Ronald Reagan.  The rest of my choices since then have come down to the lesser of two evils, and I vote not for who I want, but against who I don’t want.

I should be happy.  Despite the traffic and meaningful use, I make a lot of money.  But I drive the second oldest vehicle out of five (next to my son’s truck which was actually my dad’s before he passed away and I didn’t have to pay for other than the current insurance.)  I have no air conditioning in the summer.  This is a choice–the estimate to fix the unit was $1600 which is nearly three times what I get paid to remove a cataract and give someone the gift of sight.  Seems over-priced and despite global warming, the summer’s aren’t that hot anymore.  Again, I suffer not from hunger, malnutrition or cancer or ebola, or anything truly awful–only first world problems.  Maybe I suffer from being cheap.  But I generally like my jeep and it gets me from here to there.  My phone is a dumb phone–I have to press numbers to text and I cannot access the Internet.  Yet my household cell phone bill is $260 per month.  Don’t cry for me, Argentina.  I’m just ranting now for no reason.  I can still make phone calls without a problem.

I hate when my electric toothbrush battery dies in the middle of brushing my teeth.

I think perhaps I don’t know what would make me happy, and therein is the real problem.

Running make me happy.  But what am I running from?

I like it when my sports teams win, but I am depressed and angry when they lose.

I like it when people like my posts or follow my blog.  I feel liked.  And wanted.  Strange. I don’t know why.

If someone offered me half a million dollars a year to blog, I think I could be happy.

I think winning the lottery would make me happy.  Probably not.

I like making people laugh; but I fear I am becoming Robin Williams.  With all the insurance I pay, I am still worth more dead than alive, but not if I commit suicide.

I am not suicidal.  Perhaps depressed, but more frustrated and angry.  (Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.  This all leads to the Dark Side if you believe Yoda.)  I don’t want any medications or counselling. Counselling has failed me already in other aspects of my life.  An exorcism might help.  I want the government to leave me alone and let me do my job the way I was trained.  I just want people to stop asking me how I am!

I can be in a roomful of one hundred people, and feel as isolated as if I were on a deserted island.  At least the weather would probably be better on said island.  I hate the winter, the cold and the snow.  It has been snowing here all day today.  I hate to shovel it.  I hate to drive in it.

I am not fine.

So please do not ask how I am.

I really don’t want to answer.  I really don’t know the answer.

But I know I’ve got snow to shovel.

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Brutally Honest


I guess this must say something about me????

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I’ve been wanting to write a blog entry about this since 1977, but I didn’t have a blog back then.  I didn’t have Internet back then.  I didn’t have digital.  I didn’t have diddly squat.  I also didn’t realize how profound the movie series was in terms of lessons in life until I lived me some life.

I originally wanted to title this All I Need to Know I Learned From Watching Star Wars, ala Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, but let’s face it.  I’m an eye surgeon.  They didn’t teach me that in kindergarten.  And while Han Solo was temporarily blind after being frozen in carbonite, they didn’t really teach me how to help him.  So it’s really kind of an exaggeration or gross oversimplification to say that I learned EVERYTHING I need to know from either of those two sources.

And, as I prepared to rename this entry, I thought perhaps I should Google it, just on the outside chance that some other brilliant mind out there might have had the same idea.  Someone did.  Fie!  May the Death Star use their site for target practice.  But let the record show that I had the idea BEFORE I Googled their site.

So without further ado . . . valuable lessons I learned from watching Star Wars.  Ta da!

Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering.

There’s actually a couple of lessons in here.  Don’t be afraid.  That will only lead to suffering.  If you are afraid, just cut out the middleman and start suffering.  And if you want to just jump in the middle and start to hate, you’ll still end up in the same place.  It’s like a damned logic problem.  A begets B which then leads to C.  There’s no way you’re going to find D (Happiness) by starting at A or B.  What?  You think Star Trek has the monopoly on logic?

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

I touched on this in previous blog entries:  On a Leg and a Prayer and Finding Faith.  Like George Michaels sings, You Gotta Have Faith. Faith.  Faith.  Tim McGraw has Faith.  But now I’ve really digressed here, and that’s not who I was really talking about in the first place.  It’s not nice to fool with Darth Vader.  If you think Mother Nature is a bitch, just wait until he blows up your planet or chokes you from across the room.  So go out there and get you some faith.

Who is more foolish . . . the fool or the fool that follows him?

This is like those philosophical questions such as ‘if a man is alone in a forest and says something, is he still wrong?’  Which came first, the fool or the fool that follows?  Who is more foolish, the politician or the fools that voted for him?  Nothing is foolproof because fools are so damned ingenious.

Do or do not.  There is no try.

Actually, a very good life lesson.  Even Nike took advantage . . . Just Do It.

What a piece of junk!

Don’t judge a spaceship by its appearance . . . this is broadly a reinvention of don’t judge a book by its cover.  This is actually a very important theme in Star Wars as it appears multiple times in different ways.  That’s no moon.  It’s a space station.  (Things don’t always appear as they are until too late.)  Aren’t you a little short to be a storm trooper?  Judge me by my size, do you?  Apparently, in a galaxy far, far away, size does not matter.  In space, you are weightless, so I guess it doesn’t matter.  No one can hear you scream in space, although Obi-Wan sensed it, but now I’ve slipped into an entirely different genre of movies.

Evacuate in our moment of triumph?  I think you overestimate their chances.

This is kind of analagous to not counting your chickens until they’re hatched.  I think most of us overestimate our worth and underestimate our expendability.  Sometimes, an over healthy dose of confidence can get you blown up into itty bitty pieces.  But then again, Yoda would have told him to do it or not do it.  Either way, I think he gets blown into itty bitty pieces.  But at least Moff Tarkin stuck by his principles as he was spread out over the universe in one fell swoop.

I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.

Listen to your intuition.  How many times have you read Dear Abby where someone is obviously being cheated on and they want to know if they should stay or move on?  Don’t people learn intuition in kindergarten anymore?  Do you really need Dear Abby to smack you upside the head on this one?  If you’ve got a pretty bad feeling about something, it’s probably pretty bad.

I suggest a new strategy, R2.  Let the Wookie win.

Bravado is all good and everything, but sometimes you just have to step down from a fight.  It does no good to have your arms and legs pulled out of their sockets.  You’ll just end up like the Black Night on Monty Python.  It’s just a flesh wound!  If you’re playing against the droid, then do it.  If you’re up against Chewbacca–then do not . . . let the Wookie win.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

This could have gone under the category above–what a piece of junk–symbolizing that things aren’t always what you think they are.  But in this case–in the movie–the droids were what they were looking for.  The lesson here is that sometimes you have to take advantage of the weak-minded.  Maybe it’s politically incorrect, but it might save your skin.  If you are weak-minded and happen to be reading this post, this IS the blog you were looking for.  And you want to send me money to thank me.  Lots of money.  You’re welcome.

What a wonderful smell you’ve discovered.

This is some rescue.  You came in here and you didn’t have a plan for getting out?  Sometimes you have to get down and dirty in life.  Shit happens, and the odor is not always pleasant.  But sometimes, it’s the only way out.

Stay on Target.

OK, so planes are going down in flames around you.  But you have to keep on target if you want to achieve anything.  Stay on target.  Stay on target.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!  Boom.  On second thought, maybe this is bad advice.  Unless you are a suicide bomber.  Stay on target is good advice unless people are dying around you.  Then, you might want to back off and let the Wookie win.  There’s some good advice in here somewhere, dammit.  Figure it out for yourself.  If you don’t like Target, try K-Mart.  Or Wal-Mart.  Just stay on it.  Or not.

Use the Force, Luke.

Sometimes you have to draw strength from a higher power.  It’s there.  You might as well use it.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

You could actually insert [nothing] is no match for a good blaster at your side, but that would be a double negative, and saying ‘anything is no match’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  While not a Star Wars movie, Harrison Ford demonstrates this timeless piece of wisdom in a scene from Indiana Jones:

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