Medical Disclaimer

Medical Disclaimer

The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

11 Ways to Keep Halloween from Being SCARY as Parents

I love Halloween. I have since I was a kid. I love dressing up in costumes. I love all the scary decorations. I love scary movies. I love the silliness of the whole holiday. Now that I'm a parent it is a lot of fun to see my kids enjoy the holiday as much as I always have. Of course as a parent, there are so many more things to consider. Now that my kids are getting a little older, they've started venturing out on their own more for Trick-or-Treating.  It got me thinking about some safety issues all of us need to consider for the holiday. Here are a few Halloween safety tips to keep your family safe.

  1.  Costumes can be more than just scary to look at.  Check your child's costume to be sure your child has good movement, that they can walk in whatever they are wearing, and be certain that they have a good scope of vision.  Also, if you are using a store-bought costume be careful around any open flames, since most of these costumes are cheap and quite flammable. It’s not a bad idea to go over stop, drop, and roll if your kids are going to any kind of bonfire. The costume should be visible. Black vampire capes are cool and scary, but your child needs to be seen to be safe.
  2.  Make sure you never carry real weapons. It might be tempting to carry or let your kid carry an unloaded  or scary-looking weapon to "complete the look" for his or her costume, but even unloaded guns can be dangerous. If you plan to allow your kid to carry fake guns for their costume, take a few minutes to talk about gun safety. Even a fake gun should not be pointed at anything you do not want to destroy. Act like every gun is loaded, even the fake ones.  This mostly applies to older kids, but use your judgement based on your child’s maturity.
  3. Make sure your child and everyone in your group has a flash light or glow stick. This once again goes to visibility. It is especially important for kids, like mine, who might get anxious and in a hurry and separated from the group.
  4. Emphasize road safety.  In our neighborhood there are a TON of kids. On Halloween night there are kids on bikes and scooters and motorized vehicles, not to mention cars carrying our little goblins to and fro. Halloween is very exciting and fun and THAT along with lots of sugar filled candy can lead to kids forgetting basic safety rules like: STAY on the sidewalk and LOOK both ways before crossing the street. Plus there are plenty of distracted teenagers on the road for Halloween fun as well so BE careful.
  5. And on the subject of drivers...SLOW DOWN if you are behind the wheel. Neighborhoods are bustling on Halloween. if you're driving, keep your distractions to a minimum. There will be all kinds of little ones out who may not be watching out for your car. You need to have your mind and eyes on the road, not the cell phone or radio. Also turn on your headlights early to help increase the visibility of your vehicle
  6. Before you leave the house make sure your children know their FIRST and LAST names, full address and phone number. Don't assume they can call you on their cell phone because you never know if it may get lost. Also, if they get lost, "I live in the brown house with my Mommy and Daddy" is not the best way to get them home.
  7. Make sure your child knows it is OK to say NO to an adult.  It is not rude to runaway from someone if they are feeling bothered or uncomfortable. Make sure they know to yell and attract as much attention as possible if they feel uncomfortable with an adult.
  8. Talk to your kids about the tricks predators use to lure children. These most often include bribes of money, toys, etc., or requests for help, such as help finding a lost pet, or maybe even coming in for the candy that is in the kitchen. Halloween is a night for getting things from people you barely know. There is no point in scaring your children before they go out, but this is a subject that you want to broach, especially if they are being let off the parental leash for the night.
  9. Eat before you go out and accept only wrapped candy. Don't let your kids indulge in any of it until you've had a chance to look it over.  If you make sure your kids have ACTUAL food before they go out, they'll be less tempted to ignore this rule. PLUS, you might end up with a less sugar filled kiddo by the end of the night. We can hope, right?
  10. Practice fire safety.  Don't overload outlets or overuse extension cords. Keep kids away from open flames. Better yet, use battery operated lights instead of candles. It's a great time to practice Stop-Drop-Roll. Make sure exits are clear of decorations and ensure nothing blocks a safe exit in case of emergency.
  11. Make sure your child knows HOW and WHEN to call 911.
Halloween is a time for all kinds of fun.  But it is also great time to talk about safety rules that can keep them safe all year long.  Being prepared and knowing how to react to a situation is one of the best lessons you can teach your kids.We don't want to scare our kids, well.......maybe we want to SCARE them just a LITTLE at Halloween....but we don't want them in situations that could be dangerous.  Following just a few simple rules will keep them out of harm's way.

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's NOT About The Statue! What really matters in the Penn State Scandal

I've been a college football fan all my life. You don't get born in Norman, Oklahoma the home of Sooner football and not grow up a football fan. I love everything about college football games. My husband and I still have tickets and try to make as many games as we can.  I'm a sports nut. I love them all. I watch a lot of ESPN, read the magazines, listen sports talk radio and even blogs and websites. It's my thing.

You'd have to be hiding in a hole somewhere to have missed the news about the Penn State child abuse scandal. It is absolutely horrific. It's been a topic in the news and sports news for several months now.(Please stop reading now if the topic of child sexual abuse is disturbing for you.)

Joe Paterno has been the coach at Penn State since before I was born until his death a few months ago. That's a really long time to be a coach. I remember the times OU had played Penn State and respecting him as a coach. The older I've gotten, the more respect I've had for a man to be so seemingly devoted to doing things right. I remember watching scandals come and go over the years at many programs, yet here he was....Paterno: old Fashioned, upstanding and someone that seemed to be a man made of a different cloth. It was often said of him,  "They don't make 'em like that anymore." This sort of thing was always said with near reverence for the man and all he had done. Now, there are much different things being said about him and rightly so.

In the wake of one of the most devastating and tragic scandals to ever rock college sports, everyone is talking about the horrific acts done at Penn State by former coach Jerry Sandusky and the people who have covered it up. Worse it seems now with all the new information that no one, not even Joe Paterno, did ANYTHING to stop it from happening to more young boys. It is horrible, sickening, gut wrenching to think of even ONE young boy being raped and not stopped. Not to mention the 40 counts of which he was convicted.

As a family physician I am no stranger to abuse cases. Recognizing them, reporting them, dealing with the long lasting psychological  trauma caused by abuse of all kinds is part of my job, my responsibility. The fact that these so called "teachers"or "professors"or "educators" or even coaches KNEW that a child predator was in their midst and did not do everything in their power to stop it from ever happening again is revolting. 

Last week a new report from an independent investigation was released. Since then, many people have been calling for the removal of the statue of Joe Paterno on the Penn State campus. This week I've seen multiple reports discussing whether it should be taken down both in the sports and regular media.  Fact is, we're missing the point. Statue or no statue, child abuse is a REAL problem. We all ought to be spending more time disucssing it, how to recognize it and prevent it.

Every single one of these news reports talk about this as if it's an isolated incident. The sad truth is that children are sexually abused every day, every hour, every minute. Most perpetrators are someone the child knows and many times is a family member.  We should not think that child abuse is committed by some stranger. Just like in the Penn State case, it is almost always someone that is trusted by the family.

As a parent, the idea of what happened to all those poor boys saddens and enrages me. As a doctor it makes me want to be just that much more diligent about watching for signs and symptoms. But more importantly it reinforces the idea that prevention is key.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents teach their children the name of the genitals, just as they teach their child names of other body parts. This teaches that the genitals, while private, are not so private that you can’t talk about them.

Talking to our children about inappropriate touching is also important. We cannot wait "until they're old enough" or be embarrassed or worried about talking about it. Protecting our children starts at home. We all must be sure kids know that if ANYONE touches them in ANY way that makes them uncomfortable they can and must tell someone and not fear ANY repercussions.  Sandusky often threatened his victims and their families as many sexual predators do.  We have to emphasize that they will be safe and not punished for reporting it.  It is so important to teach our children early and often that there are no secrets between children and their parents, and that they should feel comfortable talking with their parent about anything -- good or bad, fun or sad, easy or difficult.

Children who are victims of sexual abuse can display many or few behavioral symptoms. They may withdraw from family or friends, display poor school performance, experience depression, anxiety, or exhibit aggressive and self-destructive behavior. Or they may not display any outward abnormal behavior. It's important to use your instincts. If you are worried about your child, don't ignore that. See your family physician right away.

We also must educate ourselves about how to report and to whom. Every one of us, doctor, teacher or just regular citizen has a duty to report ANY suspected child abuse-sexual or physical. You can make reports anonymously. You can call 911 for any emergent situation. In Texas you can even file a report online.  Please don't be afraid to report. It is much better to make an error than live with the idea that you did nothing to protect a child who has been harmed.  It's only your job to report cases of suspected abuse. Investigators will do their job to see if the abuse really occurred.

The situation at Penn State is tragic and horrible. The victims and their families will face a lifetime of dealing with what was done to them. It is horrible. But, whether or not someone's statue is removed is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that the victims receive the help they need, Jerry Sandusky never gets the opportunity to touch another child, and we ALL open our eyes and protect our children.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

17 Years Ago Today

I was a third year medical student. I was tired and busy and nervous. I was engaged to be married in December. I was on my surgery rotation. One of the most hated. It meant long long hours. I had to be at the hospital and ready to "round" with the intern by 5am so we could round with the senior resident at 6am. Attendings at 6:30am.  Then surgical cases began at 7-7:30am. If you weren't scrubbed in on a case, you were studying, or supposed to be.

I remember it being one of those perfect spring days. A little chilly in the morning. Just enough to feel it and dew on the grass. The sun came up bright and lovely and we were all complaining about how we'd rather be outside than stuck in the stupid hospital.

At 9am that day I had just ran down to the floor to check on a patient. I was on my way back to the student lounge when it happen. The walls shook. There was a HUGE noise. I ran up the stairs to see if my friends knew what had happened. No one knew. A few minutes later we headed to check out the TV. The loud speakers in the hospital began to blare out a message none of us understood at first. "CODE BLACK. CODE BLACK. This is not a drill. Repeat This is not a drill.  ALL attendings, residents and medical students report IMMEDIATELY to the emergency room for assignments."  It repeated a time or 2 before we understood it meant us.

As we ran down the stairs scared to death, we saw nurses and doctors and people scurrying every which way. We were asking each other "What the heck is code black?"  Someone shouted, "DISASTER. It's a disaster. A major problem like plane crash or explosion or something." We ran faster down the hall. On the TV there was already aerial footage of the building and a big black cloud of smoke. The windows in the hospital lobby were blown out and there were people crying in the lobby, but we kept going headed toward the ER. No one knew what had happened yet.

I remember streaming in to the ER and seeing every attending physician in the hospital. All of them. Scariest thing I've ever seen. Ever. We all knew something really really bad had happened. We were given assignments. I was assigned to triage. We gowned up in trauma gear and headed outside where we were given cards to assign to patients-green, yellow, red.  Red was the most critical. We were supposed to start IVs, assign the cards and divide the victims into groups.

You have to understand. We'd only done a few IVs at this point. Sutured a few times. We were absolutely terrified. We looked at each other with excited, but also gravely serious looks on our faces. It was made even more terrifying by the looks on the faces of the surgeons and doctors we idolized and feared. They were scared, too.

Information began to trickle in. There had been an explosion at the federal building downtown. It was a couple miles from where we were. We tried to call friends who were on rotations at St. Anthony's which was closer to the blast. Getting cellphone signal was really hard. We stood and waited in the ambulance bay. And waited. And waited. The worst part. A few people came in cars and trucks. There were a few ambulances.

It was chaos as a few more bomb scares happened. Some of our friends had jogged and walked over to see what had happened. As time went on, it was clear. We were not going to get the injuries we thought. And later, we knew that it was because many were already dead.

A triage area was set up in the cafeteria where students and residents pulled glass out of people and stitched minor wounds and took histories and listened to stories. We gave tetanus shots and bandaged and reassured the terrified people. Then I finally got a phone call. It was my Aunt.

I wondered how strange it was that she called. I figured she knew I was in the area and was checking on me. She was, but then she told me. That building. That was the one my two cousins worked in. They were cousins, but they were much older than me. I called them my "uncles" growing up. I was confused.  She asked me to check to see if they were there because no one could find them.

So, I ran back to the ER. No one registered there by those names. No John Doe with their description. I called my friends in all the other hospitals. No one had them admitted. I tried to walk over to the site. I had heard that some of my friends were there helping triage close to the building. But by then, the streets were blocked and the police and FBI had shut down the scene.

I hung around a while and helped where I could and then I finally told my resident I was going home. I couldn't think straight and I needed to check on my family. I drove home to Norman where the family had started to gather together. We were glued to the TVs. Sat perched by the phones. We had the TVs on different channels in different rooms. We called everyone we knew that might have information. As the day wore into night, and they were trying to find anyone alive it got scarier.  I called my friends who were on call all night. No one had seen my family members. We had hope that maybe they were in a hospital and no one knew yet.

As we woke up the next day, that hope diminished. I drove to the hospital as I had all the days before. I was worried and scared. The first patient I was assigned to was a man from the bombing. He had a skull fracture. He had brain fluids leaking out on his pillow. He was in critical condition and probably wouldn't make it. I walked in the room and began to examine him. I proceeded to have a panic attack.

I was hyperventilating. I was shaking and dizzy. I thought I would pass out. The nurse in the room in the ICU noticed me. Normally this sort of reaction might elicit scorn from an experienced ICU nurse. Another med student freaked by a critical brain patient? But, not today. Today everyone was sad and scared and in mourning. She asked if I was OK. She escorted me out of the room and sat me down. I burst into tears. I couldn't talk.

Another student came over. Asked what was wrong. "My uncles." Was all I could get out. Finally I was able to calm down and explained they were missing and likely in the rubble. The clock was ticking and if they weren't found soon........well everyone there knew what it meant if they weren't found. I was mercifully sent home to be with my family. My fellow students said they would cover for me.

A center for the families was set up at a nearby church. The fire chief and rescue people and medical examiner and representatives from the hospitals were there. Counselors and ministers. We were all on watch hoping our family members would be found alive. We sat there for days waiting to hear and knowing that each minute that went by we were less likely to get good news. Then, we just wanted to know.

One cousin was found after a few days, the other not for weeks. I had nightmares for weeks, months after the bombing where I was looking for them, they were calling me, and I couldn't help them. I was terrified that my soon to be husband would leave and not come home one day. I was afraid of the hospital and sometimes the patients. It changed everything.  It changed me, our family, our state, our nation.

That day 168 people were killed, 19 were children. Nearly 700 people were injured.  It left 2 widows and 5 children without fathers in our family. It left me knowing that everything could end any minute. You'd better live your life the best you can. Love your family and at every opportunity tell them that you do.  I learned to be a better doctor. More empathetic to those that experience trauma.

It left me with more empathy for those that have anxiety and PTSD because it is something I battle even now at times.  I still do not leave the house without saying goodbye to my husband. For years after, I physically could not go anywhere or leave him without saying goodbye.  If I left and forgot to hug my husband, I had to turn around and go back. Had to. Now it's a habit I cherish.

Even now after all these years this day is a hard day. A day of remembrance. A day to be thankful. A day to count our blessings. A day to think about the fragility of life. A day that I will never forget.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Doctor Heal Thyself?

There's an old saying, "Doctors make the worst patients."  This may or may not be true, but I can tell you being both a doctor and a patient is......well a bit weird.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I have a few ideas. Tomorrow I'll have a chance to experience being a patient once more and maybe that will shed some light on the issue.

I have a condition called subglottic stenosis. This is a fancy way of saying I have scar tissue that has grown in my upper airway.  We're not sure why I got this. It is a condition which is usually congenital and usually diagnosed in children. In adults it almost always happens due to trauma to the airway, either being on a ventilator, or trauma to the neck. In my case, I have idiopathic subglottic stenosis. Idiopathic is doctor speak for "we have no idea why you have it".

At any rate, the condition causes a narrowing in my airway. This limits my breathing and makes it hard for me to tolerate any kind of physical activity or exertion.  It also means that any cold or allergy problems I have make it worse. Imagine breathing through a drinking straw all the time. Well, that's how I feel.  I was diagnosed with this problem in 2007. Tomorrow I'll have the procedure to fix it for the third time. It's a simple surgery where they use a laser to burn off the tissue and restore my airway to near normal size. It may or may not come back again, but at least for some time I'll get relief of my symptoms.

Here's some pictures of my first surgery
The picture in the upper right hand corner is before the procedure.That tiny little hole is what I breathe through. If you head straight down that hole you'd hit my trachea and then lungs.  This is about the size of a baby's airway. The picture in the upper left hand corner is the picture after the laser burns away the scar tissue. That is about 2/3 of what a normal adult airway should be but you can see it's a huge improvement.  The other 2 pics show after the doctor inserted a balloon to dilate the area before the laser. After the laser he injects medication into the area to try to reduce swelling and future scarring.

I think being a patient is hard for me and other doctors for several reasons. First, we know what happens backstage. Not to say there is anything scary or wrong going on, but we do know every conceivable thing that might go wrong. All the things that we would assure our patients hardly ever happen.  Like any other patient I have to realize that the benefits of the procedure outweigh any risks.

Second, our colleagues and people we supervise are going to see us naked. Yes, it is just weird having someone you will see next week in the staff meeting while in a gown and no undies. Just weird. At least a regular patient will hopefully never see the nurses or doctors again. With me, there's a chance I'll be chatting with them at lunch tomorrow.

Giving up control is very difficult for doctors. We're used to calling the shots, making the hard decisions. Naturally each of us thinks his or her way of doing things is the best. As patients we have to sit back in the passenger seat and let someone else drive. And anyone whose ridden while their spouse drives knows how hard that is. No matter how much you trust that person, sometimes you get jumpy if traffic piles up.

I think all doctors should have to experience being a patient at some point. It certainly has taught me a lot about how to help patients through their procedures. For instance, I always try to stay away from too much medical jargon.  When I've been a patient I notice so much doctor speak being used. Of course I know the language and I don't need an interpreter, but many patients won't necessarily know what intravenous fluid or endotracheal tube means.

And even with all my advantages knowing all the risks and benefits. Knowing exactly what the anesthesiologist will do, what drugs they will use, what the nurses will do, how the surgeon will perform the procedure, being a patient is just plain scary. I think it is so important for all of us healthcare providers to remember that. We deal with these things everyday. We live in this land of needles and x-rays and drugs and scalpels. Our patients do not. It's like being dropped on a different planet.....naked.

The biggest advice I can give to patients is that you should never be afraid to ask questions. Never be afraid to let your nurse or doctor know that you do not understand something they have said. If you feel uncomfortable about something, let someone know.  But also, choose physicians and hospitals where you can place your trust. It's important that when you are at your most vulnerable you know you have someone that is doing everything to help you. And then......try to relax. Being anxious and uptight can only make things more difficult.

Finally, do what your doctors say. Rest when they tell you, eat what they tell you and don't do things they've told you NOT to do. This is the hardest for doctors. We all think we're superhuman and that we can be back to work seeing patients sooner than we should. We all think we know better. Well....we don't. And we often tell our patient's one thing and do another. Of course not me. NO, no me. I promise I will do what I'm told. I want to feel better.

I want to get back to my workouts and Taekwondo classes and heck, being able to climb the stairs without sucking wind. I am thankful that my health problem is simple to fix. There are many way worse things that can happen. For the time being, I'm going to let my doctor self rest and turn myself into patient me. At least I'm going to try!

Monday, January 23, 2012

What's your excuse???

Right about now the new has worn off those resolutions. It's a little harder.  Maybe you're going a little longer between workouts. Maybe you're eating a little more than you were at first. I know how it goes. Two years ago I never worked out. Two years ago I was 75 pounds heavier. I can't tell you what made me do it, but I can tell you I just decided.  It's not like I didn't know what to do. I just never did it. I had ALL sorts of excuses for why I couldn't eat right and exercise.

Over the last 2 years the thing that surprised me most is how much I really do enjoy exercise now that I do it consistently. These days I'm working out 5-6 days a week, sometimes twice a day.  I have 3 kids and a full time career.  I have a very busy life, but I made the decision that my health was worth the sacrifice. I get up early for a cardio workout most days. I have a stationary bike and some weights at home. I also have videos and a treadmill. In fact I have a WHOLE collection of exercise do-dads collected over the years as I made resolutions year after year. All of them were gathering dust, but not anymore.

On top of that I started Taekwondo classes.  I go to class a minimum of twice a week. I am now half way to black belt. I don't know how long it will take me to get there, but I am absolutely determined to do it. That's going to take comittment and healthy eating and more weight loss. I have to be in better shape than I am now. That's OK. I'm not planning on going anywhere. I plan to be around working toward my goals for a VERY long time. And now.....there's a much better chance I'll make it.

I know what you're thinking. "Yeah, but...." I've used every excuse in the book to talk myself out of exercise. I didn't realize it at the time, but now I recognize it. Even now working out is sometimes a drag. I don't bound out of bed everyday and hop to it. No.....I STILL have to fight myself some days to get the workouts done. Even though I know how much better I feel. Even though I know if I don't do it I won't lose weight. AND even though I KNOW that once I get going I'll enjoy it.

I've complied a list of excuses I've used. Maybe you'll recognize a few of your own here. I can say this: Do.Not.Wait.  There will always be something standing in your way. ALWAYS. That's life. If you let it, it will rob you of your chance to have a longer healthier one. Make a commitment. SCHEDULE your work outs and stick to the schedule.

Here's a few of things I've used to justify NOT exercising:
I'm too fat. People will look at me. I might hurt myself. I don't have time. I'm too tired. Exercise is just not my thing. I'll never be skinny anyway. I have too much to do. I should be spending time with my family. I just need some alone time for me.

It's too hot. It's too cold. It's too windy. I can't find my shoes. I forgot my shoes. I need new shoes. My friend said she'd go with me and then backed out. If only I had an "accountability partner".  I'll lose a little weight first, then it will be easier and I can really focus on exercise.(huh?) It's too late at night. It's too early. I'm not sure what to do. I don't know HOW to do it. I don't have a gym membership. I have a gym membership but I'm too embarrassed to go.

My work out clothes are too tight. My work out clothes are too loose. My workout clothes aren't fashionable enough. My workout clothes are too nice and I might get them too sweaty. (No, really I actually had this thought once)

  I'm sick. I'm getting sick. I MIGHT get sick. I might get hurt. My back/ neck/knee/ankle/leg/elbow/3rd finger/ left big toe hurts. I have a migraine. I MIGHT get a migraine. It's too noisy in the gym. It's too crowded at the gym. There's not enough people there and the trainers will all be looking at me.  I'll have to take the kids to the childcare center and I'm already a working Mom, so I should spend more time with my kids. I should be spending time with my husband/pet/mom/cousin/neighbor.

My closet is a mess. Laundry. Dishes. Kids homework. My homework. I deserve a break. I've lost so much weight and am achieving my goals so I deserve a day off. (pretty twisted one, right?)  I'll start on Monday. I'll start on the weekend. I'll start after this semester/project at work/the busy season at work.  I'll start after the holiday/birthday/kid's birthday/trip/summer break/spring break/cruise/vacation/doctor's appointment. I'm depressed. I'm just in too good of a mood. (really??) I'm too hungry and I won't have time to workout AND eat (oh my!).

I'm on my feet all day at work and I never sit down so I'm REALLY active. I "ran late" at work. I have a meeting. I'm just too darned busy. By the end of the day, I work so hard I just don't have the energy to do it.

I've got my period. I'll be getting my period soon. I'm bloated. I'm dehydrated.  I don't want to have to change clothes and shower again. I forgot clean underwear/socks/my makeup/shampoo/pony tail holder/gym membership card.  I might be over training. I might get big muscles. I might not be building enough muscles anyway. EVERYONE needs a rest day.

I'll do it later. I'll catch up on my workouts over the weekend. I overslept. I slept too much. I didn't sleep enough. I forgot to track my food anyway today(how this relates to me working out, I don't know) I just can't face another workout. I screwed up my training schedule so I might as well wait until tomorrow and get back on track.  I'm really hungry. I just ate. I forgot my water bottle and I have no money. (Umm...can you say water fountain?)

My cell phone battery is really low so I can't listen to my music. I don't have my headphones. My headphones are broken. I never have time to make me a good playlist for working out. I forgot the book I was reading when working out.  I just want time to read my book.

I have diarrhea. I'm constipated. I have a rash. I might get a rash. I need gas (for the car, silly).  I have a flat tire.(OK so that one should probably be acceptable). I really wanted to DRIVE THROUGH the car wash (while sitting on my butt of course).

I don't want to make my husband feel guilty since he's NOT working out. (seriously!?!)  I don't want my BFF to be jealous if I work out MORE than her. (good lord) My BFF is so much BETTER at working out that me. I'll never be an athlete anyway.  Once I start I'll have to keep going or I won't STAY in shape (most twisted one EVER!!)

I SWEAR!  If I'd spent half the amount of time working out as I have spent finding reasons why I couldn't or shouldn't work out, I'd be at my goal weight by now.

Learn to recognize an excuse when you "hear" yourself make one. Spend more time thinking of ways to make getting in a workout easier and removing obstacles. Spend a little time planning workouts into your schedule and then treat it like you would a business meeting or doctor's appointment. That time should be committed  to exercise and if anyone or anything tries to interfere with it, make sure it's important enough that you'd cancel a meeting with your boss/lawyer/doctor/dentist.  Because it's THAT important. Because YOU are THAT important.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The alarm went off at 6:35am and by 6:44am I was finally opening my eyes and beginning to stretch when I hear it.  Crying. I looked at the clock again and decided that I would indeed be facing this day whether I wanted to or not. Sitting up in bed, I looked up to see my youngest child sniffling and crying. Ready to comfort her from a bad dream or mediate some sort of sibling dispute, I began to ask her what happened when out of her mouth came the statement, " I WANT A DOUGHNUT!"

Shocked and confused as to why the pursuit of a tasty sugared breakfast pastry would make a 6 year old sob, I asked calmly for her to repeat her statement. " I SAID....I WANT A DOUGHNUT."

OK. This is a new one. I have not in 14 years of being a parent ever been roused from bed by a crying child demanding pastry. I have no idea where she got the idea that I had a doughnut to give her in my bed. Perhaps she thought I have a secret stash under my pillow?  After explaining that I do NOT, in fact, posess such a treasure and that if I did I certainly would not deny anyone in such a state of distress, I asked her why in the world she wanted a doughnut.

Apparently 6:47am is not the time for a 6 year old to articulate the rationale for anything as the question made her bawl harder and frankly she became down right angry.  "Because they are GOOD! And I REALLY WANT ONE."'s hard to argue with such logic and I certainly wasn't going to win any debates without coffee. I tried the old standby....distraction.  "Why don't you go watch some TV? I'm so glad you are up early and you even got all dressed. OH I like your new sweater. Isn't it nice? The one Nana got you for Christmas.  Since you were so good at getting dressed, I'll let you watch TV while I shower."

This seemed to confuse her a bit. Mission accomplished. She was only sniffling now and cast a glance at me that said, I  KNOW what you're doing. But....I really want to watch my show. (generally TV in the morning is NOT allowed in my house)  Somewhat reluctantly, she headed off to the living room.  Another parental crisis averted.

Feeling quite impressed with myself and my incredibly intelligent and skilled parenting expertise, I headed off to shower and dress. Fifteen minutes later I emerged clean and dressed and mostly just ready for coffee.  She was sitting on the sofa happily watching some cartoon on PBS, still red eyed from crying, but calm.  My middle daughter had now joined her and was pleased to see the TV on.  I asked the question thinking that it was now safe. "What do you guys want for breakfast?"

Suddenly it was clear to me that my expertise in parenting was not nearly as refined as I had thought. If I had thought that moment through, I would have just quietly gone to the kitchen and prepared her favorite oatmeal. It probably would have done the trick. But, the question.......that question was at once a trigger for what I can only describe as a meltdown.

She looked at me as if I'd lost my mind. Obviuosly she'd been quite clear in her requests for breakfast foods that morning. What the heck was wrong with mom anyway? Had she forgotten English? Did she not KNOW what a doughnut was? WHY is it so hard to understand?  Doughnuts are good. I like them. I want one. And I want it NOW.

Of course none of the above was articulated, but CLEARLY it was implied by the crying and sobbing and chanting of "I want a doughnut. PLEASE I want a doughnut, Mommy."

I calmly sat down next to her on the sofa. I looked lovingly into her eyes and took her into my arms. I told her how much I understood that doughnuts are yummy. I also explained that they are not good for our bodies and they are for special occasions. Today was a Wednesday like any other and did not warrant such recognition.  To this she responded that to HER it was a special day because for HER it was ART day and ART day is SPECIAL!

Alright. Right about now, I've had just about enough of the logical parent tactic. Didn't seem to be working anyway. Time for phase 2: The because I said so.

I told her she was NOT getting a doughnut.  I reminded her that we do NOT eat doughnuts regularly in this house. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last year this child had doughnuts for breakfast. I explained that there is no such thing as a pastry deficiency and that nobody NEEDS a doughnut. Our body needs healthy nutritious food and by God, she was going to have a HEALTHY breakfast before school.

I am happy to say that she seemed to recognize her defeat. She was contemplating all of this and seemed to accept it. We decided  on oatmeal and orange juice. Mission accomplished.  And then.....

"Mommy.  Can I have hot chocolate?"