Category Archives: Let’s Be Honest

A Blue Day On The Baja

 

 

A blue, pink and yellow day on the Baja.

I’m a little blue today despite the sunshine. What’s la Gringa to do when she’s got the Baja Blues? Put on some music and dye eggs with colorful vegetables from the food bin, of course.

We have been in Mexico away from our family since early November 2016. I have celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and now Easter away from Nevada. I didn’t expect to care so much about holidays when I moved to Mexico but I think it’s a reality of expat life. Holidays have always been family celebrations and I’m missing my family a lot today. It’s true that the kids are too busy adulting to miss us and they don’t actually care where we live but when a holiday is on the horizon they act as though they miss us too. My grandson was going to see the Easter Bunny, my sister will be hunting eggs with her grand children and attending mass, my sons and their mates might cook a ham or drop in at the in laws house. They are celebrating with comforting family traditions.

I’m celebrating by avoiding town. Our rural seaside village becomes a madhouse with Semanta Santa (Holy Week) revelry. It seems all of Mexico is on vacation this week.

Expat Blues?
I think the real answer for the Baja Blues is to make new traditions and stay in touch with everyone you love regardless of where you drop your flip flops.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate and Hoppy Easter to those who don’t.

I was inspired by this post at My Recipes.

An Open Letter To Donald Trump From Some Angry Women.

What’s For Dinner Doc has never been a political blog but I have spent 3 decades providing healthcare to women and I can’t stand by and ignore Mr. Trump’s words and actions against women. I’m a registered Republican but I vote my principles before party. I couldn’t have said it better than this. We will never go back to Mr. Trump’s “great America” when sexual harassment and assault were ignored as “locker room” antics, inequality in pay was accepted and women were expected to remain silent. You have a voice and a vote – use it. Read the full letter with an open heart and ask yourself how do you want the women in your life to be treated.

Dear Mr. Trump… can I call you Mr. Trump? Is that ok? I want you to be happy, that’s very important to me. Before I get started, let me say this letter isn’t from all women. The T…

Source: An Open Letter To Donald Trump From Some Angry Women.

Big Bird Gets the Axe

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Photo Credit@Luther Siler

Big Bird Gets the Axe

“Sesame Street’s themes of tolerance and acceptance are outdated and Fox News has approached us with an affiliate agreement that would increase market shares for both organizations. If we start teaching hate in pre-school, we are certain to recruit future Fox viewers. Cruella, please show us your design for Big Bird’s replacement.”
Continue reading

What’s For Dinner? : Let’s Be Honest

Friends and family often ask, “What do you really eat?” I guess they think that I’m fabricating when I say, “I eat real food, mostly plants, some chicken and lots of fish.” I don’t eat bread, pasta, processed foods or much sugar. (Yes, you can live without simple carbohydrates.) Those of you who know me, know that I’m not perfect. 🙂 I do love a glass or two of wine.

I save my carbohydrate calories for an amazing piece of dessert to share or a square of dark chocolate. If I eat bread it better be spectacular sour dough right out of the oven or to me it isn’t worth eating.

Every day is a reason to celebrate with fresh healthy food, not an excuse to feast on the average American diet of processed foods and sugar.

If you want to feel better then start with eating right.

It works, I promise.

Let’s play a game of What’s for Dinner?

This is actually how I create meals for my family. I buy the freshest, seasonal ingredients so my refrigerator is stocked with vegetables, fruits, lean meats and fish. The secret of course is to actual eat the produce that you buy. 😉

Here’s what’s in the house

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Tomatoes
Italian squash
Eggplant
Red and orange peppers
Basil
Chicken breast or tofu
Olive oil
Any herbs or spices you like

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This is how I play the dinner game.

Pick a cuisine

Italian, Mexican, Indian, American, Fusion

Now add your spices
Italian – basil, oregano, garlic
Indian – ginger, turmeric, curry blends
Mexican – jalapeños, chili powder, cumin
Fusion- Any herb or spice will do. It’s your palette, mix any flavors that appeal to you.

Bake it, sauté it, braise it, or grill it

What will you make for dinner?
Stay tuned and I’ll show you what I made for dinner in my next post.

 

Share a Coke With “Obesity”

The medical community is unhappy with Coke for funding bogus research to prove that Coke is good for your health. The folks at Center for Science of the Public Interest produced a YouTube video showing how Coke refuses to #ShareHonesty about their products.

Please go to the ShareACoke.com website and submit your honest label for Coke.

Share a Coke with
Obesity, Childhood Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Diseases, Tooth Decay

When We Are Just Doctors

I write about health and wellness, life and death, and human suffering through fiction and narrative medicine but this post is profoundly personal and was painful to share. My family has suffered many losses in the last few years. Both of my parents and my oldest sister have passed away in the last three years. My parents died peacefully at home with the family at their bedside. In contrast my sister recently died in a local hospital and this is my experience in the last hours of her life. Hospitals are terrible places to die. There is no peace or dignity in a hospital death.

This is a photo taken with my dear sisters eight weeks before my oldest sister passed away.

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When We Are Just Doctors

“I’m just the night doc,” you said. You said it with emphasis as if that explained everything and dismissed your incompetence, your lack of compassion, your failure to care. Unfortunately my sister was “just the patient”, who lay suffering hours before her death and the RN was “just the nurse” withholding the morphine that the daytime doctor had ordered for air hunger and agitation. The nurse called you in to manage me when I asked her to give my sister a touch of morphine; she was crying out in pain from her hypoxia. A civilized, yet ridiculous argument ensued about the dangers of respiratory depression in a patient who was clearly dying. You and I, physicians and colleagues, were arguing over 2 mg of morphine when you said, “I’m just the night Doc”. I’m still shaking my head over the absurdity. Instead of assessing the situation you felt the need to pass the buck until morning. Does no one die on your watch? You were so busy, not being a physician, that you must have missed the oxygen saturation in the 70’s and the flipped T waves predicting my sister’s imminent demise. The life and death stakes were not high, the end result would have been the same. We both knew that, so why did you feel the need to distance yourself from your decision to withhold medication with a just statement? “I’m just” means that you are under no obligation to act. You were telling me in essence that you were a just an overnight placeholder in the ICU. When we are just doctors we are not our best selves.

A more honest, although equally lame statement would have been, “It’s not my job”. However that declaration begs the questions as to whose job is it to orchestrate patient care after dark? Having been a doctor for three decades I can’t remember a time when my obligation to care for patients stopped at dusk. That implies that patients can only expect our best selves in the daylight hours. Did I miss the memo, has medicine gone so far away from patient care that this shift work mentality is the norm or were you “just an ass”? What if you’re only a Wednesday doctor but you’re working on Friday, will you wait until Wednesday to treat? The absurdity boggles my mind.

I don’t blame you for my sister’s death, everyone knew she was dying. She had asked for resuscitation measures to be stopped. However, in saying I don’t want extraordinary measures she never said, “I welcome a painful, oxygen starved, horrible death.” I had promised to be there with her and I had explained the likely outcome. She trusted me to watch over her as a sister, not as a physician and I couldn’t do it. My real anger is directed inward and I can’t forgive myself for leaving the hospital. I let you drive me away in the last few hours of my sister’s life, because I was angry and powerless. I couldn’t “just be a sister”. Everyone of us as healthcare professionals that night had a duty to care and we all failed due to our individual arrogance.

I used your lack of compassion as my excuse to avoid facing the last three hours of her life. We wear many hats as physicians but can we ever just be family members? The family relies on us, to translate complex medical speak, to help them understand the big picture and to act as liaisons with other healthcare providers. We usually do this willingly and in my experience, it unfortunately also allows us to keep our distance from our own very painful human experiences. I know that I am much stronger in a medical crisis when I am in “doctor mode”. You, the night doc and the night nurse wouldn’t let me be a doctor that night, thus the power struggle at the bedside. I would love to give you credit for urging me be the sister instead of the doctor, a much healthier way to grieve, but that wasn’t your intent. You made it clear that there would be no team decisions despite the fact that I had been there all night, knew my sister’s wishes intimately and had watched her oxygen saturation plummet and the T waves dip. If I hadn’t been a doc, would you have been more compassionate towards my family? Were you practicing defensive medicine because I was there? Who better to understand compassionate palliative medicine than me, your senior colleague?

As we kept our distance from death by arguing a moot point, my middle sister ignored us and kept her promise to my oldest sister. She prayed, “Hail Mary full of grace” softly in my sister’s ear, a comfort to both of these women of faith. She did not distance herself, she immersed herself in the process of helping another die. If we had set our collective arrogance aside perhaps we could have acted as a team and stayed in the moment with a suffering fellow human being.

Patients are never just patients; my sister was a vibrant and brave mother, sister, wife and friend. All of us failed to recognize what a profound privilege it would have been to assist another to die with dignity and grace. None of us were there three hours later when my sister passed away with a team that included a kind nurse, a compassion physician and my sister with faith. I can’t forgive either of us for being “just doctors”, there’s no dignity in that.

Time To Revisit Your New Year’s Resolutions?

New year's Resolutions

Hope is not a plan. Turn your wish into a plan.

What really matters to you in 2015 and what’s your plan?

Take a moment to reflect on the first six months of 2015 and look ahead to the rest of 2015. Do you need to change course? Re-commit? Congratulate yourself?

Try this exercise. Start by writing down a resolution, which is really just a glorified wish. Now write down a concrete plan to make it happen. If the resolution appears to be too much to tackle in the moment i.e. you have no idea how to start, then reframe it. This exercise is about success not failure. Continue reading