Loving Us Back to Together

I have such sorrow, such a heavy heart. How, on the same day we mourn those who died fighting for our freedom should we have to mourn 100,000 mostly preventable deaths from #COVID19?

Link to video of the NYT front page

How can people justify gathering together like this party in Missouri?

Parties like this will almost surely lead to COVID19 infections…. and deaths. Probably not death for the people who attended parties like this one, but the death of their grandparents, their friends recovering from cancer, the doctors and nurses who see them and take care of them when they fall ill from COVID19.

Photo credit

This is not hard. COVID19 is a very infectious virus that spreads between us when we breath, cough, sneeze or sing near each other. We just have to decrease the time we are together, the distance between us, and cover our nose and mouth when we are with other people if we want to protect each other.

Photo credit

Disregarding the science behind how to deal with this pandemic is like standing in front of a burning building and telling the firefighters as they arrive that there isn’t really a fire.

There is a fire, friends. It will stop eventually, as we get better and better at treating and preventing the spread of COVID19, but for right now… our house is on fire.

Photo credit

I recently listened to the first episode of Nadia-Bolz Weber’s new podcast ““The Confessional”. In that episode, she interviewed Megan-Phelps Roper who grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Megan’s “job” for the church, along with picketing synagogues, the LGBTQ community and the funerals of American soldiers killed in the Middle East, was to use Twitter to spread the hateful beliefs of the church. And boy was she successful.

But then something changed. Instead of being yelled at on Twitter by people who (justifiably) found the behavior of the Westboro Baptist Church abhorrent, she was befriended by someone who was kind to her. I’ll let you read this article, her book, or listen to the podcast, but through the kindness of her new Twitter friend she was able to have space to think without being judged… which led her to a place of love rather than hate.

As I thought about the angry responses to some of my recent Twitter posts, some of which I can’t even share here because of the language, I realized that “yelling”, in person or online never leads anywhere. If we are to get through this time together, and alive, we have to be kind to each other – in person and online. We have to see through the rhetoric and understand that anger often comes from a place of fear. We have to acknowledge that we are all afraid… and that we are all in this together.

Wear your mask. Stay home when you can. Stay at least 6 feet apart. And, please… be kind.  

Photo credit

Happy New Year’s Resolutions!

Like most of you, my New Years resolutions in past years have been something like “Exercise every day” or “Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal.” And, I bet that you had the same experience I did… a few weeks of “success” and then they seemed to fade away. The problem with these kinds of goals are how they are structured. They end up being “either-or” goals … you are either able to do them or, more often, you miss a day (or two… or three) and feel like a failure.

I recently read a blog post by Ryder Carroll, the originator of the Bullet Journal which profoundly changed the way I think about goal setting and New Year’s Resolutions

Photo credit

It’s a simple, but very powerful concept. Set your goal as a destination… as a “lighthouse” in the distance, and then head in that direction every day. As Ryder Carroll explains, “When goals are lighthouses, success is defined by simply showing up, by daily progress no matter how big or small…”

So instead of the usual New Year’s Resolutions, pick a few “lighthouse goals”. Write them down and keep track of how you are doing (every journey needs a map). This can be as simple as one piece of paper for each goal, but I am such a fan of the Bullet Journal, I hope you consider using it.

When you get up every morning think about how to move towards your goal(s). If you veer off course, that’s part of the journey…. look up, find your lighthouse, and correct your course.  Every once in a while (maybe monthly?), look at the progress you’ve made and celebrate it! If, on the other hand, the goals you originally chose don’t make sense for you any more, pick some new goals, draw a new map and start over.

Potential New Year “Lighthouse” goals

  • Learn more about compassion and practice it
  • Be a better friend
  • Write genuine thank you notes to people who have helped me
  • Become more fit
  • Eat real food for as many meals a week as I can
  • Find out more about who I really am through meditation
  • Keep a “stop doing” list
  • Be better at my work through deliberate practice (practicing and learning the things I don’t like and aren’t good at until I’m better)
  • Stay organized so I don’t waste time (and end up focusing on trivial things instead of what’s really important)
  • Read things that bring me joy
  • Learn about and use a Bullet Journal
  • Find a community to support me
  • Learn the names of as many people at work as I can
  • Take the stairs as often as I can
  • Make my living spaces enjoyable spaces
  • Keep a journal to remember milestones and work out struggles
  • Get good sleep as often as possible
  • Learn Spanish (or any new language)
  • Be on time
  • Remember people’s birthdays and send a card
  • Start the day with intention
  • Appropriately limit email and social media time

Twitter for Physicians

I was asked to speak today on using Twitter in medical education at the 44th annual meeting of the American Pediatric Surgical Association. I used Status Present, an incredibly cool software designed by Fred Trotter.  As I talked using these “slides”, they were tweeted at the same time.  It’s interesting to me that using this technology felt like a return to the era before Power Point, when talks were given by following “talking points” rather than slides.  It’s not going to be applicable to all talks, but this was really fun!

Twitter in #meded for #pedsurg – a presentation which will be live tweeted and will then be posted on my blog wellnessrounds.org

I blog and microblog (Twitter) because I am a teacher. #meded

Once you learn the details (easy) Twitter becomes a new platform to teach (and learn) #surgery

Why don’t more #physicians use Twitter?

4 reasons #physicians don’t use Twitter 1/4: “I don’t get it” Link to my post on Blogging, Microblogging and Time

Twitter is NOT email.  Twitter is NOT Facebook.

The best word to describe Twitter is “ephemeral”

Twitter is the surgeon’s lounge.  Walk in.  See who is there. Eavesdrop or join the conversation. Leave when you want.

4 reasons #physicians don’t use Twitter 2/4: “I don’t know how”

Two steps to start on Twitter.  1/2: Pick your @name (handle). Short is better.  Professional is essential. How To Choose a Good Twitter User Name

Two steps to start on Twitter. 2/2: Dive in. Follow a few people, then look at who they follow. Getting Started on Twitter

#hashtags can be a specific event or topic (#pedsurg) or for fun #ihaveglutealischemia How To Use Hashtags in Twitter

Retweet = repeating the conversation you heard in the surgeon’s lounge.

Filter Twitter conversations by making or following “lists” How to Create and Manage Twitter Lists

Twitter 101:  @name, follow @whoeveryouwant,, retweet what you like, follow (and unfollow) as you like, make lists  #havefun

4 reasons #physicians don’t use Twitter 3/4:  “I don’t have time”

Twitter is not email. You don’t have to read it all (you can’t).  #lesstimethanyouthink

Minimizing wasted time on Twitter: 1) Make lists 2) Follow specific #hashtags

4 reasons #physicians don’t use Twitter 4/4: “I don’t think it will help me”

5 ways Twitter helps #physicians. 1/5 Breaking news. @cnnbrk @msnbc_breaking @BBCBreaking

5 ways Twitter helps #physicians. 2/5 Medical (and other) emergencies. @CDCemergency @Houston_Weather @BCMHouston @TexasChildrens

5 ways Twitter helps #physicians. 3/5 Following meetings and thought leaders @APSASurgeons @AmerAcadPeds @BAPS1953 #pedsurg

5 ways Twitter helps #physicians. 4/5. Efficient way to follow journals & journal clubs. @NEJM @JAMASurgery http://bit.ly/10W3Q17

5 ways Twitter helps #physicians. 5/5 Discovering important information in your field or other fields.

Ex: @JAMA Surgery Comparison of #CT scan and #Sestamibi for #parathyroid localization bit.ly/ZrZeMu #PTH #endocrinesurgery

Twitter is particularly powerful for #physicians in #meded

Twitter links #physicians to #meded topics, resources and people

Ex (tools for #meded)  @amcunningham Electronic Clinical Logs/Portfolios for students lnkd.in/_vJPBM

Ex (resources) @bnwomeh Get free copy of ‘Paediatric Surgery: A Comprehensive Text For Africa’ at #eAPSA2013 reg desk img.ly/uuDF

Ex: (GME info) @TheNRMP Match Results Statistics for Pediatric Surgery & Pediatric Hem/Onc ow.ly/kBVAg ow.ly/kBVCS

Ex (meetings) @BrianSMcGowan Please join our #eapsa2013 conversation 2-4 PMET via Twitter – as we help pediatric surgeons embrace #SoMe! #hcsm #meded #eapsa2013

Twitter is an important tool for #meded

You can’t stay with a rotary phone in a smart phone world… especially if you teach. #Meded

“When medical students see an attending with a newspaper they think it is quaint” @LouiseAronson #DontBeADinosaur