Love Lemonade

One year ago today, I ended a life I loved very much. I didn’t realize that was happening at the time – we rarely do, when such things happen.

I suffer from a congenital condition called pancreas divisum – or divided pancreas. Put simply, most people have one pancreas – I have two. That’s a vast oversimplification, but it serves. And for most people that have the condition, it really is no big deal – they never hear from it. Some get a pancreatitis episode or two during their lifetime. I’ve been lucky enough to have many, and it has really affected my life.

“Lucky?” Am I being sarcastic? Well, I admit, I am a sarcastic person, and that is part of it. But it is deeper than that. The condition has shown me so very much about life that I would never have seen otherwise: about medicine; about people; about faith. About love. When I decided to be a doctor, I wanted to be the doctor that cared, the one who made a difference – who really made a difference, who went that extra mile. The one you wanted by your child, and by your family when your time came. I wanted to be by your bedside, holding your hand and praying, caring, making the judgment calls, sometimes saving lives, sometimes not, but always caring. But being the patient taught me about caring and loving in ways that medical school never could have. I met fantastic physicians and poor ones; spectacular nurses and nurses who were simply clocking their time. I met patients with stories that were heartening – people who had really beaten odds – and stories that were heart-rending. There was a woman who had, because of race and financial status, been thought to be drug-addicted, and been left in horrifying pain in an emergency room for over twelve hours, unable to move because of a fractured limb. She couldn’t get to a restroom and ended up soiling herself, and when she finally tried to help herself, she was called to the carpet by the very medical personnel who were there to care for her. I was fortunate that this woman opened up to me and shared her story with me when we were room-mates.

So when I say “lucky,” I really do mean it.

Thirteen months ago, I became ill and couldn’t leave work to care for the condition. I took a gamble that I could take care of it myself.

A month later, I came close to ending up in the ICU, and that was the last day I worked – or will ever likely work – as a physician.

Was it a mistake? I don’t think so. I don’t believe in such things. I am a spiritual person; I happen to be a Christian, and furthermore, a Christian who believes primarily that God is Love. But don’t mistake me; unless you’ve spoken with me in great depth about my beliefs – and there are exceptionally few who have – you probably don’t know what that means to me. It doesn’t mean exclusion, and it doesn’t mean lecture; it means love. Only that. So I’ll tell you a secret. For me, that day was a birth. It was a death of one kind, but a birth of another, and for meGod meant that my time working in that particular arena was complete – He simply had something else for me to do. Do I understand? Nope. But I’m okay with that. I go where He asks.

In September, I began writing, and that’s what I’m doing today. I’m hoping that what I write will encourage people a little bit, every day, to love one another – for to me, that is what God put me here for. Not to criticize, but to love. I think that God has lots of room for love.

I do miss working with patients; I miss the ego-stroking of being a doctor. But where God has put people, no matter where they may come from, I truly believe He has put room to love, so I don’t regret it too much.

And besides – it’s summer.

And summer is a great time to make lemonade.

Advertisements

Summer Joy, Summer Love

I read an article posted by a friend the other day encouraging women to get out there with bathing suits on to play with their kids (thanks, Jamie, by the way). (http://www.themomcreative.com/2014/06/put-on-that-swimsuit.html)

It pointed out that women are far too concerned with what other people think of their bodies, and not focused enough on what their own families will gain from their participation in the fun.

Yesterday, our family went to the Delaware shore. Bearing the article in mind, I pulled my bathing suit on over my imperfect frame and sallied forth. Now, it must be said that I generally do this anyway – I was raised near Cape Cod, and have always loved the water. On it, in it – it has never mattered. If there is a water activity involved, count me in. But regardless, I still feel the eyes of others on me when I’m in my bathing suit, just as many other women do, and this article helped remind me what it’s supposed to be about.

It’s supposed to be about joy. It’s supposed to be about fun. It’s supposed… to be about the kids.

And that’s what I wanted to write about today. The kids.

We ran into the water together, jumping over the waves, and sometimes getting plowed down – I think the most fun for my kids was watching their “indestructible” mom get tossed to the sand by the waves. I helped them with their boogie boards. We splashed and yelled. I hoped we might swim beyond the breakwater and float for a bit, now that my children are old enough to be strong swimmers, but it was quite windy, so we saved that for another day.

The lifeguards went off-duty, and the kids found another group of children on the beach who were digging a deep hole – and they were being monitored by a pair of dads. I don’t know where those dads are, but I want to give them a typed-high-five. They dug with the children; they toted buckets of water; they built a makeshift breakwater.

At the end of the day, we went into a candy store where the kids had a small amount of money allocated to them that they could use to pick something, and we helped them figure out what they might like, and what might be poor choosing, and then we drove home – salty, sandy, and happy.

We had an awesome time, and I got pictures and videos – but more than that, I got memories, joy, and love. I was there, and we all know it. I don’t know how many other non-bombshell moms there are out there reading this, but I want to second the words of the author of that article. Forget the supposed critical eyes of others on you – because, you know what? They aren’t critical at all.

They’re jealous.

Here’s to being a mom and not a model,

Lovingly,

Julie

Thunder Over the Plains

I grew up in Massachusetts. There, I saw blizzards aplenty and occasional summertime hurricanes. Now and then, a good Nor’easter would come plowing through.

But in 1999, I moved to Arkansas, and it wasn’t until then that I really saw thunder and lightning. In Massachusetts, thunderstorms were always exciting and interesting for me, and I always sort of looked forward to seeing whether the power might go out – because those were the best storms. But when I moved to Arkansas, I saw a different sort of storm.

I moved down in the summertime, perhaps a couple of weeks earlier than it is now, and I went down to a girls’ camp in Booneville. Very shortly after I started there, there came warnings that a Severe Thunderstorm was coming our way. The radio announcer even told “those girls in that camp up there in the Ouachitas” to get to shelter. Well, we used the pool house as our shelter, and the girls were fine. But I was very curious, and went outside to see it come; people thought I was insane.

I shall never forget the awesome first impression that I had of the clouds coming across the night sky, and my first questioning thoughts of… “Wait a minute… they’re all moving… in different directions!” And they were huge. Big, monstrous, towering things, all moving around and around each other, gradually starting to move… in circles. And then I understood what was happening, and then I was scared. It became a little bit hard to hold the pool house door open, and eventually I went inside.

A tornado did indeed touch down, but it missed us, thankfully.

I spent a couple of years (or, as some of my Arkie friends might say, “a-couple-a-few”) years down there, and never tired of watching the storms come rolling towards us when they would come. Night time, day time, it didn’t matter; I always ran out – even if it rained – into the storm to watch. The colors would be weird… greens, browns, oranges – colors that don’t belong in the sky… and I would lie on my friend’s trampoline and watch them come. But after that first night, I never tempted fate like that again. I always went indoors long before the clouds started circling.

Now, I have a chance to go visit there again. I can’t wait – and part of me hopes that I might see one of those storms.

But not too closely.

Lovingly,

Julie (Angyliadd)

My Beloved Son Patrick – And Asperger’s

This spring, my eight-year-old son Patrick was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

I’ll post more about Asperger’s and the implications as we proceed down this road, because it will be long and full of ups and downs.

But I wanted to start a list of things he enjoys – because I know he’s not the only little boy out there with this disorder, and I can’t find any parent lists of movies and books that THEIR kids with Asperger’s find funny. So I’m starting one.

 

If your child has Asperger’s and has movies / TV shows that he/she finds funny or cool, please let me know! I’ll add them. These are appropriate for 8-year-olds.

Addams Family series

Airbender (cool, not funny)

Beethoven (series)

Buddies Movies (Spooky Buddies, Space Buddies, Air Buddies, etc.)

Cars (esp 2)

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

Despicable Me series

Harry Potter

Inspector Gadget

Lorax

Monster’s University

Mr. Bean’s Vacation

Mythbusters (cool, not funny)

Ninjago

Nut Job

Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything (has Biblical implications)

Planes (cool, not funny)

Power Ranges (cool, not funny)

Rainbow Tribe

Scooby Doo

Shrek series

Spy Kids (all, but esp #4)

Turbo

Wizards of Waverly Place

Birthdays

It is birthday week in my family.

Between 3/30 and 4/6, we have three birthdays –

March 30, it’s my husband’s; 4/2 (today), is my daughter’s; and 4/6 is mine. My poor son is 9/7, which makes him feel very special in September and horribly left out this time of year. It’s a wonderful week – all three of us sort of feel like there is no single birthday, and none of us actually have their birthday end until mine is over, or begin later than Brian’s – in other words, it’s all of our birthdays, all week.

 

It makes most people thoughtful, having a birthday. For me, it makes me thoughtful to watch my husband and daughter have theirs – I only ever feel a bit maudlin about the whole thing, goals not achieved, etc. This year is clearly a little different, but in some ways, it isn’t.

 

So one renews the goals… relearn the maths that I have forgotten, and the physics, and get the books fit for publication. Get the third, maybe fourth, ones written.

 

And Brian and Gracie?

Happy Birthday, Darlings.

Love,

Julie

Time Travel – I

. Physicist Rip Thorne of
Cal Tech writes, “Time travel was once solely the province of science
fiction writers. Serious scientists avoided it like the plague-even when
writing fiction under pseudonyms or reading it in privacy. How times
have changed! One now finds scholarly analyses of time travel in seri­
ous scientific journals, written by eminent theoretical physicists …
Why the change? Because we physicists have realized that the nature
of time is too important an issue to be left solely in the hands of science
fiction writers.”

From Physics of the Impossible, Michiu Kaku, p 222

My take:

10th grade. Reinforcement from mother, father, and chemistry teacher that unit analysis is EVERYTHING.

To wit, to find any variable in a scientific equation, simply isolate and solve.

11th grade. Physics. E = mc2.

Of course one can isolate time. Mathematically.

Whether one can actually achieve it beyond the whiteboard / paper / etc. is an entirely different prospect –

but I believe that it is thoroughly theoretically achievable.

(And, yes, this relates to Angyliadd.)

Life, the Universe, and Everything – I

SO!

My blog.

Very arrogant, isn’t it, having a blog? And, yet, realizing that, I still have one. And am, apparently, typing in it. So there you are.

Never did point this out, but I really ought to – generally, anything posted relates to me and the inner workings of my deranged brain – that is to say, my opinions and no one else’s, and not meant to be taken as that. In cases where I reference the published works of others, I hopefully won’t be so dim as to leave out the reference, but if I do, I heartily apologize. Hopefully, I’ll not make that error… again…. No. Ha, ha.

 

Wondering, lately, about things that future generations will take as obvious – that are, as yet, completely beyond us. As posted to my FB account…

3/31/2014:

I would posit that not only are there true and constant laws governing the physical (viz mechanical / electromagnetic, etc) world; but that there are near-identical corollaries in most fields. Cognitive science – I imagine that there is something akin to a “cognitive potential energy”, related to the ability to think – to access and use data – or the “size” of the bucket (really, the size of what is *in* the ‘bucket’ + whatever one can readily access to put in the ‘bucket’) and a “cognitive kinetic energy”, related to the *process* of thought. Sociology – Le Chatelier – one cannot stress a human-based system without necessitating an equal diminution of the stress. (3 people in an elevator – add another, and, if they are all strangers, they move a predictable distance apart. If they are *not* all strangers, the stress on the system is different, but requires no change in the law – there is still a response, albeit a different one). I believe that although we currently have no way to quantify many of physical science’s corollaries in other fields – it will, someday, be possible to do so, redefining much of our understanding of what is *science* as we learn to make these definitions. I would *so* love to be there when it happens with cognition… to be able to *quantify* thought is to be able to replicate it. I think.

***

4/1

So, that’s the sort of thing on my mind these days. Interesting, isn’t it, how much information is available on the web, and how little we avail ourselves of it? Entire departmental majors. Gosh, I wish I had the time to learn.

 

Oh. Wait.

Well. Back to it. Life, writing, physics, religion, philosophy, chemistry, history, psychology, neuroscience… in the end, it’s all one thing, isn’t it? Mom was right. They had it right in the Renaissance and later in the 17th c… these divisions are artificial, purely imposed by humans who are trying to find their way in the world, and, whether correct or not, coming to some fluid agreement that they exist.

For example, base 10. Why did we decide upon that? It could just as easily have been 25, or 52, or 100. I strongly suspect we chose ten because we have ten fingers… and all of math thereafter was built on radial development of five digits.

Of course, that’s just a thought.

Well. I’ll crawl back inside my own neurons now.

J