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Just Stuff Kind of Thingies

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Big Stuff

Big stuff has been happening over the past few days:

  • I agreed to the construction plan and will begin on the renovation of the office as soon as possible.  My initial thought was that I'd be open for business in December, but that's not seeming very likely now.  I am screaming on the inside, but am trying to meditate those screams away since there's nothing I could've done differently.  Thanksgiving and Christmas also get in the way of getting things done quickly, so I've just got to accept what is.
  • I've made a brochure which will mail out next week to former patients and which I will hand out with evangelical zeal.
  • I've started the process of interviewing people to work with me.
  • I changed the name of this blog from "More Musings" to the old name of "Musings of a Distractible Mind."  I have imported the old posts to this blog and will begin the process of redirecting traffic from "" over to this blog.  More changes will soon follow.
  • I've filled out a bunch of paperwork to do such amazing things as dropping out of Medicare, getting contracts with labs, and being able to run labs in my office.
  • I was contacted by the producer of the NPR radio show/podcast Science Friday about possibly being on a show about the future of health care.  While I am not sure how scientific my part will be, it's a show I've listened to a lot and should be fun to be on.  It's a live show, so the pressure will be on me to not screw up too badly.  Perhaps you could make a drinking game based on how many times I say "you know" (which I realized I do a lot after listening to my last live appearance on a show).  I will be on the show between 2 and 2:30, and it probably won't be all that long.  Go here if you need to figure out how to listen (live or recorded).  Ira Flatow is the host, which means I am one of the few people who's been interviewed by the holy pair of public radio Iras (having spoken with Ira Glass on This American Life a couple of years ago).  Do I get some of award for that?  Perhaps they'll put money in my IRA.
  • Am making final preparations for my trip to Washington DC to speak at the mHIMSS mobile health summit on Monday.
  • I've gotten dirty looks from my wife who is afraid I am getting a big head.
  • My hats don't fit me any more, but I think that's just a coincidence.
  • I wonder if Ira Flatow had a penguin named "Bucky."

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This and That

For those of you who follow my podcast, please note that I have been nominated for a podcast award.  I would appreciate your votes, as I really want the podcast to reach more people.  Is this an ego thing?  Probably, to some extent..  But I am doing it to give plain medical advice to people, explaining difficult things in ways that can help them.  I am giving the explanations that I give to my patients for things, and so hope to help both patients and doctors in this.  Winning an award would raise awareness of the podcast, and that is truly what I want.  I have left behind the fantasy of fame and fortune through podcasting, but I would like my labors to be fruitful.

For those who don't follow the podcast, you can vote too.  You can even listen to the podcast.  You can even subscribe to it.  Really.  It will only hurt a little.

I would appreciate your support.  You can vote once a day (I am in the "health and fitness" category).  If anyone knows someone from Chicago's voting commission, send them my way.  They are known to have "creative" ways of getting votes.

I would also like to thank my advertisers.  Drug of Choice Coffee is a great gift for the medical professionals in your life.  Hint Hint.  We REALLY like coffee.  It comes in really cool containers and trust me, it is good coffee.

And what better holiday gift for the doctor in your life than giving them meaningful use?  Yes, they can get $40,000 from the government, which is a fine stocking stuffer.  Click on the EMR tab and get info from Medical Software Advice about EMR's and how they stack up.

Yes, the computer can be your friend.

Finally, I thank Scrubs Gallery, which offers a great line of medical scrubs, a perfect gift as well!

15% off petite scrubs with checkout code "petit_sale"



Too Many Hats

This is not Mr. Woolsey, but simply an example of what a large hat looks like.

My decreased number of posts is actually a good sign, personally.  I have taken on the task of writing 50,000 words for a novel in November (NaNoWriMo) and would have to carve time out of work or family.  I can only wear so many hats.

But I am here, and my writing has been far more enjoyable than I expected.  This is the time when it is easy to hit the wall (we get daily encouraging emails from successful writers to get us through this time), but I'm OK so far.  I am writing about a doctor who encounters a very unusual patient.  I am writing in the first-person, which was a good choice, as I know the first person of a physician intimately and stand no risk of getting those details wrong.

Here's a bit of the first chapter:

As I entered the room, I was greeted by a man sitting in the chair across from the doorway.  He was looking down and grabbing at his foot.  I saw that he was wearing a hat - I was very curious to see what was so special about the headgear - but seen from the top it just looked black and round.  As I pulled the door shut and sat down, Mr. Woolsey continued his close study of his foot.

I cleared my throat to get his attention as I opened his chart on the computer.  "I'm Dr. Snooker; pleased to meet you...Mr. Woolsey?"  I held my hand out to shake his.  He continued staring at his foot, ignoring me as my hand waved in space.

After an uncomfortable pause, he looked up as if shocked to see me.  His eyes were wide with surprise and he breathed a in quick breath as those eyes met mine.  "Uh...yes....Dr. Snooker.  Yes, yes, yes....Dr. Snooker.  I knew you were coming to see me.  No, wait, I guess I made this appointment and you would be coming to see me then..." he said in a fading voice, ending in a laugh that was almost silent.

As surprised as he seemed, his surprise could not have matched mine as I saw the full-on view of the hat on his head.  After their brief stay at his surprised eyes, my eyes were drawn inexorably to the large black hat that, towered from the top of his head.  It was a generous tribute to Abraham Lincoln - a very tall, black, stove-pipe hat.

I couldn't stop staring at it.  It was enormous.  How had he made it through the door into the exam room?  How had he made it through any building without hitting it on the ceiling?  It must have its own gravitational field.  It needed blinking red lights on it to warn low-flying aircraft.  I gazed at it and mused about the magnificence of the thing.

My gawking was ended by a throat clearing coming from somewhere below the hat.  "Dr. Snooker?"

"Ah, yes.  Mr. Wool Hat....I mean Woolsey.  I'm sorry.  That's quite a hat you have on there!"

So far I've written as I have done my blog: off the cuff.  But this morning I think I got the bigger picture of where this could go.  Hopefully that will give me enough fodder to get me going again (I am at 13,000 words, but the past few days have been slower - partly due to a cold and a busy schedule, but partly due to a feeling of being stuck).

Like all NaNoWriMo writers, I want to write a wildly-popular novel that will change the course of humanity and bring peace and happiness to all.  Isn't that why we all write?  But I guess I should just see if I have the constitution to write 50,000 words by the end of the month.  Can this distractible mind focus enough to get this done?

Who is Mr. Woolsey, why is he so interested in his foot, and what's the deal with the hat?

We shall see.



NaNoWriMo and other Stuff

I have never really wanted to write a book.  That being said, the folks at Macmillan who publish my podcast have been pushing the idea toward me.  At some point, I will publish a House Call Doctor book.

But for some reason, I have been struck with the urge to join the whole NaNoWriMo thing.  What is NaNoWriMo?  It is National Novel Writing Month's webpage/contest or whatever you want to call it.  The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of november.  Why would I be struck with this urge?  Don't I already have way too much to do?   I am not sure what struck me -- although I suspect it might be some type of virus, or a conversion disorder from my past trauma with spider monkeys.  Either makes complete sense to me.

Be that as it may, some of my energy is now directed toward writing a novel.  What will this mean for the blog?  Why are you pestering me with these questions?  I have no idea.  I will say that I am already at word 2334, and am starting to get into it.  I won't tell you what it's about yet, but I will say that I mention an accordion and a sombrero in the first 1000 words.  I doubt that the length of the writing will daunt me, as I can write 5000 words on foot fungus without batting an eye.  My school excuses for kids at work are 2000 words.  I am verbose.

So I pose the question to my fabulously creative readers: why not join me?  Why not write your novel and we can all become deluded at fame and piles of money together?  Why bother with the election and the state of healthcare when we can live in a fantasy world?

I vow to give a Golden Llama Award to any one of my readers who completes the NaNoWriMo challenge.

How's that for motivation?

It beats spider monkey flashbacks.

Here's my NaNoWriMo page: ?



Poll: The Election

With the upcoming US election, we stand at a watershed.  Perhaps it's just a water closet.  Anyway, I want to know what my readers think about the election.  I want to know if my readers think.  I've proven my ability to avoid thinking, and I want to know if I've had a positive effect on my readers.  After all, our politicians do very little thinking; why can't we do the same?

Once the election is over, we can go back to more important the impending zombie apocalypse (or iCarly, which is basically the same thing).

[poll id="39"]



Thanks to Sponsors

You may have noticed the ads on the site/newsfeed.  I am sorry to those who I offend for wanting to earn some money from blogging.  I am doing my best to keep the ads as reasonable as possible; let me know if there is something way off-base. Please note that I have a new tab on my homepage entitled "EMR." This is to give access to the resources of  Software Advice, a company that helps medical offices with the EMR decision-making process.  There are some very good resources on this page (which is why I am promoting them), including information on the "meaningful use" criteria so docs can get money for implementing EMR.  I always advise people to get as much help as possible in the EMR implementation process, and these folks seem to have their act together.

I also have added Scrubs Gallery as a sponsor.  Please note that you can get 15% off mens' scrubs with code "mens_value".

Nurse Scrubs From $8.95
Great uniforms, lab coats, and nursing shoes. Buy scrubs:

If you enjoy a blog or web page, think about supporting that site clicking on their sponsors' links.  If I have any link on my website that ever spams you or does you wrong, please let me know so I can eliminate them from my list.  It does cost money to do this stuff, and it takes time away from work and/or family if I am not careful.  I love doing it, but getting something back for the time spent helps a lot.  You don't do this kind of thing for the money (even my podcast is very modest in what I get paid), but it's nice to think you are worth some pay (over the $2 per month I can earn from Google Adsense).




Show 'em Your Poem


For those who greet doctors with snarls
You should go and read Dr. Charles
He writes with both thought and compassion
And his stories can really be smashin'

And if there's a poet inside you
But accolades have been denied you
Then send him your very best verses
You patients and doctors and nurses

This contest should give motivation
Your sonnets could win acclimation 
The verse should be healthcare related
And still be poetically stated

This contest is not for the slackers
He's giving up five hundred smackers!
For those who don't need him to pay dough
He'll throw in a cherry tomato.



Previous Posts About My Respect of Patients

It's not our fault

Getting Along (Part 1): Doctor Rules



Dear Insensitive Person

How to Be A Good Patient

Ask Dr Rob: Resilience

Joi De Vivre

An Open Letter to Consultants

These are a sampling of older posts that highlight the fact that I feel the patient, not the doctor, is the center of the universe in the exam room.  I have always said that in this blog, and those who are new here need to hear it again.  I am a primary care doctor who loves his patients (most of the time) and hates to see them treated poorly.  The last post in particular is one I wrote out of total frustration at how my patients were being treated by other doctors.

Thanks for visiting.