Friday, June 25, 2010
What ya gonna do about it?
1:10 pm edt
" Things turn out best for those that make the best of the way things turn out" J. Buck
powerful yet exceedingly simple my friend. Its a matter of finding the salt and the tequila when life hands you a lemon, or
if you are a teetotaler, addition of water and sugar to the lemon that seems to have sucked your dreams and ventures and hopes
and aspirations down John Crapper's invention.
It would be utopian to the point of dysfunction is we all
got what we wanted all the time. That meaning that for me to get all that I want, someone has to lose. That would be blatantly
narcissistic to expect that on yourself, the cosmos and the poor person that is having to suffer. Sometime, and I hate to
say it my friends, we have to lose the battle.
At this point, this being the proverbial lemon its what we
then do with that. A colleague of mine had a recent discussion on outcomes in patients with cancer versus patients in psychiatry
and found, no suprise, that the common thread is the moxie. WHAT does the person do with the diagnosis? What changes do they
make in their life? Wait and lament their cards in this hand or bluff it and play it like a pro? The best outcomes are those
that keep progressing, keep fighting. I know that I have said somewhere in these ramblings that the best outcome of a patient
or person is defined as courage. And to me courage means to take the thing that is kicking them in the butt and make it a
strength, to help themselves they help others. To help themselves they never ever lose sight of the other person, whether
it to be to give another a smile, a hug, a kind word or a birthday wish. How many "well" people forget these things,
even when they have been lavished upon? Complacency, self centeredness and the sense of me. "There are few athiests in
the foxholes" is how the expression goes.
The "Miracle of the Hudson" is eye opening and
a teaching point I often use. How are we going to deal with a situation in our mind before it actually happens helps the outcomes.
So spend most of your time planning. Personally I ascribe to 80% planning versus doing anything. That means if I am going
to do a 1 hr venture and lecture, I plan and prep and strategize for 5 hours. Not just what will happen if it goes right,
but also if it goes wrong. And we know things happen..... oh they so do! But its not necessarily the man that makes the situation,
but the situation hat makes and defines the man.
Be yourself, often
--- Joel Lamoure June 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Learnings from Michelangelo... La Pieta and David
7:05 pm edt
" The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we
reach it. " Michelangelo
I have been away from the hospital most of this week and its been
a wonderful time for me to stop and reflect on many things this week. Stepping away from the patient care and stepping into
self care. I must admit that the former is far easier and if we dont have to look after ourselves, but focus on others life
is SO much easier. This week has brought my final paperwork as an Associate Professor and also quite suprisingly also the
rank of Associate Scientist. Where does this come from? Because I believe, work and most importantly than any of that as what
I do isnt special, but I listen to others and believe in them and try to give them the chances IF they want them. The ranks
arent because of what I do, but rather what other people show me WE can do together. The quote this week comes from
an expression that I tell residents and students all the time. Mine is far less eloquent, and goes along the lines of "It
is better to aim for the stars and to miss than aim for a pile of crap and hit it."
I have been blessed
with many rewards this week of trying to put my money where my mouth is. Didnt matter if I was lecturing at a conference,
driving, playing with a glow stick or being lighthearted. Its all in the concepts and premise of striving to make the most
of the moment. I dont know what the future will bring and I must say professionally that its about doing your best.
The positives and the aiming high if you stand on your taxonomies and believe in yourself, your patients and be open enough
to share the experiences and help colleagues and friends then all benefit. I believe that aiming low and succeeding is when
a person strives to make themselves the root of all that they do. But that in the long run turns out to be a quicksand, danger,
sinkhole proposition. <Shudder>
No matter what Michelangelo did, it has transcended time. When he
carved La Pieta or David masterpieces, he had stone to start with. But he saw the beauty in the raw, unfinished stone. That
is in my mind what aiming high is all about. Fear is what holds us back. Fear stands for either "False Events Appear
Real" which causes individuals to "F*^k Everything and Run". WE can do the same thing and create in my opinion
a life that transcends the level of expectation. Holding our heads high, our goals high and dreaming high will manifest success
if you believe it and work at it. Success is measured in so many ways. Know yours and strive for those dreams. Aim for the
stars my friends. WE can make life better.
Imagine your La Pieta or David and start carving. Be surpised
what you find and look at it with the eyes of a child. Be yourself, often.
--- Joel Lamoure June 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
What do you cultivate? Roses or Weeds?
12:04 pm edt
"Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds" Gordon Hinckley-
matter what we do, we need to know what is important to us and what we value. This week has been one of wondering about hard
work, values and what it all means. There have been numerous patient interactions that make me reflect on this and also personal
experiences, face to face and by proxy.
Before I start my thoughts and assessments, allow me to to be clear.
One doesnt have to grow roses, or a particular type of rose, but it can be any flower at all. We must be able, mature enough
and respectful enough in a non-egocentric way to love and value all flowers for their unique and intrinsic beauty. The weeds
also serve their purpose in the grand schema that are far beyond the likes us us. Tolerance, awareness, compassion, respect
and empathy are key players here. In fact, they make up the flower garden.
This quote caught my attention,
but I dont think that it captures the full essence of the picture. I believe that if we plant weeds and WANT to grow weeds
then lots of hard work will cultivate an amazing garden of well, weeds. Cant expect to get roses folks if all you plant are
weeds. No matter what I do, say, act, contribute or the such if a person wants to grow weeds, they sure are coming. In their
hearts, souls and by proxy of that their lives. Incredible weed garden and let me pause here to sigh in frustration. You can
lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink. Oh so true. I think the saddest part from my perspective is they
dont even know they are weeds. They pluck the flowers, thinking they are weeds and lose the opportunities that come their
way. So unfortunate and they dont know or dont want to know they are flowers. And I mean some of these people are brilliant
people, bright clinicians and still grow weeds... even worse the weeds are invasive and get their roots everywhere. Toxic.
Choke out my flowers. Ah, the Emperor's New Clothes.
May be no suprise to any that a weedy garden takes
even more sunshine, glory and fertilizer and resources than a garden of roses. Thats because in part it is so ubiquitous and
tends to attract these resources sadly. The weeds may grow taller than the roses in their own backyard and blot out the sunshine.
Sad isnt it when coached in those terms? Those are valuable resources that could be used for growing gardens of roses.
Weedy gardens have a distaste for the resources needed to grow roses, and try to choke them out as stated above. In a more
realistic perspective, that causes less positives, less positive ripple effects, less positive outcomes, less resources to
help underprivileged and very frustrated people.
It really comes down to knowing you and whats in your garden
of hearts, mind and soul. What is important to me? When you start looking for similarities and look at the diamonds from a
myriad of different facets, the answers become abundantly clear. The people that have similar values and gardens are so obvious.
They are the high grade diamonds that you want to sit down and chat and listen too. Then if the gardens cross pollinate the
end result is far far richer. THEN hard work can grow an lovely, expanded and extended garden that mirror taxonomies, thoughts
and dreams, advancing the success for a joint cause.
But I must add, if you want to grow weeds and work
hard at it, be my guest. Just dont expect me to ooooh and aaaaah over your imposing, creeping, toxic weed garden. I will gladly
help, when you realize they are weeds and you want my help.
Be honest and true to yourself. Be yourself,
Joel Lamoure June 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Martyrs have less fun...
8:59 am edt
This is a topic I should have thought about years ago. The construct of being a martyr is that one plays the
good cop. Really, seriously....who wants to be a robber? In my days playing cops and robbers (mind you, all the robbers were
imaginary secondary to no friends->another story) I was never the robber. Never the person that needed to take.
does that set up? It sets up a situation where if you always are perceived to be the giver and helping patients, institution,
family and never at the end of the day put yourself in a situation where you need to receive then you flame out, spectacularly.
I can think of several "flame-outs" Ive seen in my career and the results range from resurrecting the phoenix and
learning from the situation to long term brain damage to death. The Tillerman always gets paid. Why? Because the resentment
builds up and if only I was recognized by my family to be this wonderful person, or if they could see my potential and advanced
degrees and connections then I would not have to do that. Ring in what? Seriously? You know the story and the drill. The old
adage that there is no "I" in team, but there is a "ME". Basically resentments are not being able to live
life on life's terms or to rephrase it then its like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We forget that
everything happens for a reason and to contribute in a two way stream. That parties give, but also receive. How this
came about as I embark at the eve of a new job and responsibilities, I was reminded today from a wise colleague reflecting
on her patient interactions that we tend to give until it hurts and rarely do we see the gifts that the patients and families
give us. We give until we hurt, but so do they at a vulnerable time. We cant see it through the forest of ourselves.
years of practice, 72 publications, 9 University awards, 1 national and 2 international award publications and it comes down
to the reminder that its the gift of the patients and colleagues and staff that is afforded to me. I have had the opportunities
because of many factors and chose to make of them what I could. Maybe, just maybe I'll get smarter some day. However, the
older I am getting, the less I am realizing that I know.
The gifts that we get are a smile or even being
told where to go, because we are doing something, but we do get back from it and the encounter. Doesnt matter if you are a
medical person, cleaner, police officer, clerk or unemployed. We do get back from the encounter. Its not as much what we put
into the situation although that does matter but what we learn and take away from the encounter. It is impossible to create
or destroy matter, only change its form.
Be yourself, often...
--- Joel Lamoure June 2010