Momwithastethoscope's Weblog

November 19, 2008

Off the wagon

Filed under: Office — momwithastethoscope @ 5:56 pm
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I’ve fallen off, and I need to get back on.  A couple of months ago I started an exercise by writing what I was grateful for each day.  In the beginning, I didn’t think much of jotting down a few notes about the highlights of my day, but as I continued, I realized that the list helped my mental outlook tremendously.  Instead of focusing on the one patient that really pissed me off that day because A) the parent lets the three year old run the family B) another quirky reason not to vaccinate a child or C)  family is in big hurry because they have more pressing things to do like lessons or practice and want me to do the check-up quickly – take your pick – I remembered the parent who told me her son mimics me at home, or the big hug I got from the even bigger teenager who just got accepted to his first choice college. 

I need to get back on the wagon.  The list lets me see the bigger picture of what I do, and not get caught in the “trees” of everyday practice.  By being a gracious pediatrician, I am rewarded in big and little gifts of  items to be thankful for.  Sounds cornball, huh?  Try it.

Here’s my list for today:

Happy old dog in warm house

Old Dog

Old Dog

Cinnamon Yankee Candle that smells like cookies

Yummy candle

Yummy candle

Cooperative two year old in for well visit on time

Wide-eyed six month old with standy-uppy hair

Good latte from Dunkin’ Donuts this am

Time to write a post between patients

Delivery from Amazon of some of kid’s Christmas presents to the office and not to home where I have to explain make up stories about what’s in the boxes.

November 12, 2008

Birdbrain

Filed under: Parenthood — momwithastethoscope @ 5:49 pm
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A silent war is waging in our household right now.  On one side are the bird lovers and on the other, the bird phobes or phobe.  Our cockatiel was a gift from a grateful friend after we had helped her with some legal woes involving a sour real estate venture.  No formal meeting ever took place about this gift.  One day, our friend delivered him, cage, food, and all.  It was kind of a gift/favor.  Friend has a decent size aviary and ailing husband.  She was trying to downsize, and we were ok to upsize our pets.  Or so I thought.

The reaction from Husband was not good.  Bird likes to fly.  Husband likes to swat bird out of the sky.  He has Hitchcock type fantasies nightmares about birds.  Bird must have at least 15 lives, and has used about 7 or 8 of them in the past 2 years.  The two of them have their own private battle going.  Bird will fluff his wings and stretch aggressively.  Husband will try to startle bird, and has conversations with him about KFC, Bojangles, and Church’s Fried Chicken. 

Older and Younger sons adore this bird.  They are the first to let him out of the cage in the morning.  They walk him around on their shoulders, and make kissy noises to him.  Bird’s not dumb.  He knows who his friends are, and treats them accordingly.  Bouncing up and down the stairs is okay with him.  Sons’ friends are also social with bird.  A quiet agreement exists between them: if you’re gentle with me, I won’t bite you. I might even sing or cluck.

Lately, Bird has been a bit more vocal.  Maybe it’s all of the talking heads on political shows plumping their own feathers that has Bird saying more.  The result, I feel, is kind of cruel.  Husband banishes Bird to his cage under an old tablecloth to be quiet and still. 

I felt like it was time for a change, and end to the conflict of man and beast.  Being the modern peace keeper that I am, I put an ad on Craig’s List.  Free Bird – cage and all (to loving family who will shower affection and attention on a creature that deserves it.) I got 20+ replies in about 20 hours.  I guess the free part caught someone’s attention since cockatiels go for $120 at our local pet store and can live 20 or more years.  I narrowed the list down to two gracious takers.

Sons are not happy with the new plan for Bird. Despite my best efforts to convince them that Bird would be happier with other feathered friends and SAHM, my boys have resisted relocation efforts.  They lob tears and accusations at me that hurt.  I like Bird, too, but I also want harmony at my house.  There’s no Zen in my den right now, and I need some.  Mediation efforts between phobes and nonphobes will eventually result in some sort of treaty.  Until then, I’ll continue to walk my fine line between them.

 

November 5, 2008

Wrap Rage

Filed under: Parenthood — momwithastethoscope @ 4:16 pm
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One of the 6,500 Wrap Ragers?

One of the 6,500 Wrap Ragers?

My two sons wanted guns as part of their Halloween costumes this year.  I’m not a gun person. General surgery and trauma rotations as a medical student cemented my mindset.  But that’s probably left for a future post. I have some strict rules about what my boys can and cannot do with fake guns.  For the low. low price of $6.99 each, two fake AK-47s were all mine – including the $6.49 worth of cardboard, plastic coated wired, and industrial tape. I guess these measures are necessary to prevent shoplifting, or are they all marketing strategies meant to capture the imaginations of school age boys?

In years past we have needed a kit (screwdriver, scissors, hacksaws, needle nose pliers, and bandaids)  for all holidays involving presents for children and sometimes adults.  As we wrestle with clamshells and cardboard packaging screwed into the backs of trucks and cars, I wonder where all of this material will wind up besides my garbage can.  It seems that retailers are catching on to the “wrap rage” we’re suffering from.  

Amazon gets it – Jeff Bezos, CEO of one of my favorite websites, introduced “Frustration-Free Packaging” this week as part of an initiative to be more environmentally friendly.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the focus on easier to consume wrappings should reduce the 6,400 emergency department visits arising from opening injuries. (2004 stats).  That gets my safety radar (installed fifteen years ago when I started my career as a pediatrician) focused, and I can imagine the guaging laceration and penetrating wounds as frustrated children try very hard to get to the toy of their choice by any mean possible. 

Amazon is partnering with companies such as Mattel, Microsoft, and Fisher-Price to decrease the amount of time to entry, injuries, and wasteful packaging.  A case in point is the Fisher-Price Imaginext Adventures Pirate Ship:  3.5 square inches of ABS molded styrene, 175.25 square inches of PVC blister (whatever those are), 36.1 square inches of printed folding carton materials, 1,576.5 square inches of printed corrugated package inserts, and 36 inches of plastic coated wire ties.  That one deserves a Consumer Reports Oyster Award.

I understand that some things are safety wrapped and double wrapped for safety purposes.  The latest bottle of Tylenol I opened had a box, a plastic sealed cap and an additional tamper resistant seal over the top of the bottom – not to mention the cotton insert in the bottle before I actually got to the pills.  If I didn’t have a headache before I opened the bottle – the process certainly gave me one – but I understand the safety issues.  And while some of these changes are more amenable to internet shopping where shoplifting isn’t a problem, some retailers are following suit such as Costco’sreplacement of clamshells with a paperboard product called Natralock with a smaller plastic bubble.

So I look forward to seeing fewer wires, screws and plastic clamshells this holiday season.  Also I look forward to a more harmonious holiday morning with less “wrap rage” and more peace on earth.

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