Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Good Eater Award

My wife wanted to get me something strange. It was our anniversary, and she wanted something silly, as she knows absurdity is my style. This ribbon was out in my car, and is now hanging on my rear-view mirror. She was very careful to say that this was not a comment on my expanding waistline (although the fact that she put this disclaimer in makes me a little suspicious). She just was looking for the weirdest thing to give me and this was what she found.

I have to admit, the more I look at it, the stranger it seems to me. When would you want to give this award out? Would it be something a parent would use to motivate a child to eat what is in front of them on the plate? Would it be given at an obesity camp for someone who did not go after the fattening foods but was the "biggest loser?" Would this be simply given to the child who was good at nothing, but in fairness needed something given to them, so awarding them for doing a daily function was the best that could be done? If so, is there a "Good Breather Award" or a "Good Standing Up Award?"

Then there is the issue of the monkey. When I think of something that represents the idea of being a "good eater," a monkey with a banana is not at the top of my mind. Wouldn't a hippo, elephant, or Jabba the Hutt be a better image? Maybe it is not the quantity of the eating, but rather the quality of the eating. After all, a banana is a fairly healthy thing to eat, and the monkey seems to be doing so with vim and vigor. Plus, he is not making a mess of things like the hippo would - he is setting a real example to the children of the world as to how you should eat a banana.

I bet he is not counting carbs, though. If this was an award for the Atkin's diet, the "Good Eater Award" would picture a carnivore of some sort, like a dog, puma, or Great White Shark. Well, I'll have to keep my eye open for one of those.

Anyhow, I display my award so all the world can see that I am, in fact, a good eater. I don't think that those around me would doubt this fact. I take comfort in the fact that, after 16 years of marriage, my wife still considers me a good eater. What more can you ask for? Good father? Good example for our children? Good doctor? No, I am a good eater.

At least this wasn't the "Good TV-Watching, Lazy Slob Award." Then I would really start to worry.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I am an Internist

My training was in both internal medicine and pediatrics, but I have told people that if you held a gun to my head and told me to choose one, I would choose Internal medicine. I would also think you had far too much time on your hands.

So why would someone choose to be a "flea?" Flea is a derogatory term people use for an internist. Why Flea? A flea is the last thing off of a dead person. While I cringe a little at the comment, I am proud to be an internist. The things I do daily as an internist that I enjoy include:
  1. I like elderly people. You get to be good friends with some of these people. They are happy to see you and I am genuinely happy to see many of them.
  2. I like the problem solving side of internal medicine. If I was to just do pediatrics, I would get bored after a while. Most kids have a single problem. It is usually not much head-scratching I have to do to figure out what is going on.
  3. I like the long-term interactions. Often it takes a while to figure out a problem or to stabilize a medical condition. I find that the process of working on a chronic problem or the untangling of a medical mystery is a good way to build a relationship with people. The give and take between doctor and patient is much of the joy.
  4. I find there is honor in being the one to stand by my patients in their hardest hour. Many people feel that it is depressing to be around sick and dying people. Yet I find the attitudes they carry and the way they face suffering is amazing. It is an honor to be with them as an observer, but even moreso as someone who can help in the time of the greatest need.
  5. The great variety you see every day. Whereas with pediatrics, you expect to see a lot of URI's, ear infections, and well child checks; the internist never quite knows what is going to come through the door. They don't teach a class in medical school about "What to do when a person's feet tingle every week - worse with stress." Now, some of these complaints are just plain weird and impossible to figure out, but I pride myself in my ability to untangle what the person is really saying.
  6. Chronic problems like Diabetes and Hypertension are very satisfying when you get them well-controlled. It is great to show a patient how much they have decreased their risk of future problems.
OK, I know that some will read this and say, "Eeeww! None of that sounds good to me. That is why I am NOT an internist." Good. I am glad there are people who are different from me. Personally, I would much rather build relationships and solve problems than do a procedure. So, now you know why some of us are fleas!

Friday, May 26, 2006

16 Years and counting.

Given that this is my anniversary, I need to give major props to my wife, Terri. She has shown major patience with her distractable and obsessive husband. We are up to 16 years, and most of the credit falls on her. Marriage is hard, but as Bruce Cockburn says: "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight."

So I guess this deserves a top 10 list (which I do enjoy doing). So, the top 10 lessons from 16 years of marriage:
  1. It is better to not say something smart than to say something stupid.
  2. It is not always good to say what you think - transparency is over-rated. You may feel totally different in a day (or an hour, for that matter).
  3. They say that the biggest stressors on a marriage are money, sex, and inlaws. I disagree. I think kids are the biggest stress. Discipline is a huge issue, plus they really cause the other issues to get worse: they take a lot of money, they make it so you don't have sex, and they bring the inlaws over.
  4. Don't expect your home to look like your parents' home. This expectation can cause major grief and is not necessary.
  5. Mess up doing the laundry early in the relationship and you will never be asked to do it again (I shrunk one of her outfits and she realized I had no aptitude).
  6. Don't have 3 kids within 2.5 years and then move. It really sucks.
  7. Find someone who shares your musical taste with you - it really is great when you both listen to basically the same stuff (as music is very important to me).
  8. If you marry an artist, expect the unexpected. Predictability is optional.
  9. Laugh often.
  10. The more you know them, the more you realize you don't know. Humility is the biggest key. Don't think you will ever arrive at your final destination because both you and your spouse is a moving target.
OK, now I've got to go and take her out to dinner.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Top 10 Perks of Being a Pediatrician

People think of pediatrics as "Veterinary medicine" or "just all those screaming kids," but there are a lot of perks:
  1. As much Pedialyte as you could ever drink.
  2. Being able to tell your spouse: "I should know about this, I give advice on this for a living" when you get into a parenting discussion. (They subsequently get mad at you and don't talk to you for the next day).
  3. Seeing the expression on a young boy's face when you give him a Barbie sticker.
  4. Having a "Fan Club" comprised entirely of girls in the range of 4-10 years of age.
  5. Getting paid for tickling kids.
  6. Earwax, lots of it.
  7. Having the pleasure of sitting in a small room with a hyperactive child and the mother yelling "stop that!" every 5 minutes.
  8. Justifying all of the doodling you did in boring college classes by now drawing goofy faces on the end of a tongue depresser.
  9. Being wonderfully popular at parties and at church, as people hit you up for advice on rashes, behavior problems, bedwetting, etc.
  10. The grin you get from a 6-month old when all you do is look at them.
By the way, that is a picture of my daughter when she was much younger. The eyes just cut right to my heart.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dentists are the ROOT of all evil

I got this in the mail today:

2006 Biggest Health Threat to the United States - US Dentistry...

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

The US Health Care System, rated 72nd in quality, but number one in cost - worldwide, is known, by government reports, to be the NUMBER ONE KILLER of Americans - ahead of heart disease, cancer, and strokes. There is no argument against facts.

But what is up for speculation are the REASONS why this is so. No one I know of (government agencies, think tanks, etc.) has taken the time to describe, and rate, the reasons why US citizens are being so short-changed.

It is easy to point fingers at the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Hospitals, health insurance companies, etc...

But what if there is an industry, completely trusted by the public, that knowingly, and intentionally, is causing significant harm to America's health?

There is one. It is called "Official dentistry" and I believe that this entity, by itself, is the number one problem in American health care.

Let me tell you why I think so...

The Self-Serving Dental Bureaucracy - "Official dentistry" is not now, and has not been for some time, about Dentists or dentistry. It is about the Dental Bureaucracy protecting the IMMENSE CASH FLOW FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES, into that bureaucratic system. That huge amount of cash sets "Official dentistry's" priorities, and THOSE PRIORITIES do not serve the needs of America's Dentists, and certainly not the needs of the American public. Dentists, within the system, have little, or no, control over what happens in American Dentistry.

Simply, "Official dentistry" is controlled by those that write the checks to that bureaucracy. For instance, forty-two percent of the ADA's annual income is from "Product Endorsement." And, to my knowledge, that 42% DOES NOT INCLUDE the money "Official dentistry" gets from the US fertilizer industry.

The fertilizer industry? Did I say "The fertilizer industry?"

Yup, that's exactly what I said. And, that's not all. There are FOUR reasons I think "Official Dentistry" is the number one US health care problem. All of those reasons will shock and surprise you...
Gosh, I have heard a lot of things, but I never knew that dentists were behind it all. Wow.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Inhale, Exhale

I like to have fun with my patients in the exam room. One thing that happens a lot is that when I tell people to breathe deeply and I listen to their chest, the other people in the exam room take deep breaths with the patient. I am not certain if they are displaying to the patient how to breathe (in case they have forgotten) or if it is just a way of being encouraging, but it is a very common thing. One part of this that bothers me is that it lowers the air pressure in the room if there are enough people in the room - the shades in the window are drawn in, it just messes everything up.

The other thing that happens commonly with the stethoscope is that I have patients hold their breath while I listen for Carotid bruits (a whooshing sound that suggests cholesterol plaques in the carotid artery). If I forget to tell patients they can start breathing again, the sometimes keep holding their breath. It really gives me a sense of power that they need my permission to breathe (although the weight of the responsibility keeps me up at night).

Young Man.....

j0178805, originally uploaded by Rob_Lamberts.

I am very surprised at you. How could you waste all this time blogging? You have much more important things to be doing. I am so disappointed...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I love my guitar

This post may be boring to you, but I have to tell about my most prized possession.

Most people know me in just certain arenas. My physician friends, computer buddies, and blogging contacts are not aware of my deep love for playing guitar. I got my Breedlove guitar about 15 months ago and have never stopped loving it.

I started playing when I was in 4th grade. I have progressively upgraded guitars. I first had an Epiphone, went to a 12-String Guild, got a classical guitar from Japan, finally ending up getting a Gurian solid top guitar. I had my Gurian for 14 years and loved it, but finally upgraded last year. I would go to guitar stores often and play the top-shelf guitars. One time I went to Mars Music in Charlotte and was playing Martins and Taylors. While I was playing, someone pointed to the Breedloves hanging on the wall and said "this guitar blows those out of the water." He was right. One play and I was hooked.

When I finally had enough money to buy the Breedlove, I drove to Charlotte and got the Northwest (pictured on the Left). When I brought it to work and showed it to my staff I told them: "guys, I like this more than I like computers." They were most impressed.

It has a unique truss system inside that causes the sound to just jump out. If you have some money to burn and want to get a very high quality guitar, I cannot recommend Breedlove strong enough. You can find more at

Sorry. It kind of feels like I am bragging about my kid. I'll do that another time.

I hate splinters

My daughter just got a splinter in her foot. It was barely visible but it made her weep as if she had lost a limb. It happens every time and it did again this time...she wanted me to take care of it but wanted me to do so without touching it. Now the fact that I am a doctor makes splinters something I have a great deal of experience with, but I have yet to develop telekinetic powers strong enough to remove splinters without touching them. I need to keep working on that.

That makes me wonder: what would I do with Telekinetic powers?
  1. I'd play fun tricks on my Cat
  2. Clean the room from the comfort of a nice chair.
You know, I can't think of a lot of things to do with telekinesis (at least, not a lot of nice things). Now, teleportation is a different issue. Good telportation would be quite handy, both to cut down on travel and to avoid certain people. Yes, I would like to be able to teleport.

Although it wouldn't be much good on splinters.

I need a home

I now am accumulating a lot of different blogs. I need somewhere that is my main site. This will be it. My home away from home. My blog away from blog. I don't know what I will write in this thing - just thoughts I guess. But the point is to give a jumping point to my many other writings.