Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sundays at PostSecret

I’ve been a follower of PostSecret for several years now. My friend and I discovered Frank Warren’s book back in 2005. I remember us picking up a copy and spending the next few hours pouring over the postcards – reading them in silence, occasionally sharing a laugh, pausing several times to take it all in, and once in a while brushing off tears from our face.

I am truly amazed by Frank Warren’s project and I am even more amazed at the wonderfully passionate, honest, uncensored confessions that people make through their postcards. It must be so therapeutic to be able to finally confess a secret that would otherwise have been locked up inside – festering away. Is it healthy to have a fear that causes you to self-censor? Is it only natural to do so? Would people be better off if they didn’t feel the need to hide their rage, their anger, their sadness, their fears? Or is that the way it’s supposed to be?

If you haven’t stopped by at Frank Warren’s website do take a moment to check it out. The site is updated every Sunday. You can also check out this article published on CNET News:

Feeling courageous enough to share a secret via an anonymous comment on this post? Go for it. J

Picture: PostSecret postcard found on

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hello? You're Dead.

Phone rings.

Me: Hello?

Caller: This is nurse X. We need you to come back to the hospital immediately.

Me: I’m sorry, what did you say?

Nurse: Some further test results have come in and the doctor wants you to come back immediately. We need to do a CT scan.

Me: But I was just in this morning, he said there was nothing to worry about.

Nurse: Yes, but you really need to come in.

Me: Tonight?

Nurse: Now.

Ok – so what would go through your mind during a conversation like that? I had gone to see the doctor because I’ve had a bit of a cough/shortness of breath recently – I just figured it was my annual episode of bronchitis. Not too big of a deal (though very annoying). I had just started feeling poorly so I hoped the doctor would give me my antibiotics and I’d be good to go.

Unfortunately, my regular doctor was on vacation. In fact, it seemed like all the doctors were on vacation and only one was available … great, I got to see the most spaced-out doctor I’ve ever had a consultation with. My first impression of him wasn’t great … so now to get this phone call had me freaked out. Really, really freaked out.

On my way to the hospital one thing was for sure – I was not going to go through a CT scan without a second opinion. I think too many tests are ordered too quickly nowadays. Anyway. I asked D to come with me for some extra support.

We get to the doctor’s office. He calls me in – I tell D to come in with me.

Doctor: I’d want to do a CT scan.

Me: What for? You looked at my x-ray earlier and said that it was fine.

Doctor: Yes, I know, but the radiologist looked at the x-ray and said that he detected a slight thickening in your lungs. It may be nothing, but still I want to be sure. It might be pneumonia.

Me: Hmmmm, pneumonia.

D: But she doesn’t have any symptoms of pneumonia.

Doctor: Yes, that’s what I thought too. It’s probably not pneumonia, but I thought maybe we can do a CT scan.

Me: Is this really necessary? I don’t want to have to take any tests that I don’t need to.

Doctor: No, we can wait if you like. You can finish your medicine and next week when you come for a follow-up we can see if you need the CT scan. Is that what you’d like?

Hmmmmm let me just think about this for a second.

Of course that’s what I’d like!!

Why the hell did you have the nurse call me up and ask me to come in immediately to do an unnecessary test for an illness that I don’t even have symptoms for?! WTF?!

I was so furious. Relieved. But furious.

Do they not learn anything about how to talk to patients? Did they not even consider how a phone call like that could be interpreted?


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hospital Waiting Rooms

I hate hospital waiting rooms – they’re full of sick people and there’s no privacy!

You get to the hospital and walk into the waiting room, and you know that as soon as you enter everyone looks at you and thinks ‘I wonder what’s wrong with her.’ Come on. You know you do it too when you see someone else enter the room … or when you’re looking around the room to search for somewhere to sit and you think – who looks least sick?

Then there are always a few people who break the unwritten

waiting room ‘etiquette’ rules – which I believe should be written down and enforced … such as.

1) If you’re going to use your mobile, please do it in the hallway or at least speak softly. There’s no need for the rest of the waiting room to hear about your whole medical history.

2) If you’re going to bring children into the waiting room, monitor them. It’s NOT OK for them to jump up and down on the sofas or run and scream all around the room.

3) If you’re going to use a personal media device, use headphones! I’m surprised by the number of people who actually listen to their music or watch their TV programs either on such a high volume that the person sitting next to them can clearly hear what’s playing or without any headphones at all!

4) Don’t jump up and run to look into the doctor’s office whenever the door opens. Sometimes the nurse has to come in and out to get papers or other things. The second or two that the door remains open is not an invitation for you to peer into the room. Obviously the doctor is not ready to see you yet. I’m sure you’ll know when it’s your turn. In the meantime, sit down!

… and finally,

5) Please keep your personal conversations at a reasonable volume. There are people in the waiting room who are genuinely sick or may be very nervous/scared about having to see the doctor. Hearing endless, loud conversations between people shows a complete lack of consideration. Come on people – show some respect!

So yes, I dread any time I have to spend in the hospital waiting room. I just try and keep my head down and read a book until I hear my name called … and pretty much avoid inhaling to stop myself from catching anything that may be going around.