Monday, August 31, 2009

I have an addiction

In medical school, we learned the CAGE questions to judge if someone had an addiction problem.
CAGE is an acronym to prompt you to ask these questions
Have you ever felt..
the need to Cut down?
Annoyed when people ask you about your...?
Guilty about the behavior or something you did under its influece?
the need for an Eyeopener?

If you answer yes to more than 2 questions, the teaching is, the patient has a problem.

After an irrational response to the caferteria lady, I asked myself the questions related to my addiction problem behavior...

C- cut down, yep.
A-annoyed, clearly- I'm writing this post aren't I
G- guilty, yep I often try to hid the evidence
E- eyeopener..hmmm-  Well, if defined by once you start, you can't stop.  Yes, undeniably!
Henceforth, why I set rules to control my indulgence (Sounds like that should be the 5th one- do you set rules?)

What is the offending substance-  Garden Salsa flavored SunChips - you got it!

I only indulge at work, and I only indulge when I get them for free from the neighbor hospital. I can't let such things in my house, because I have no will power.  Still when the check out lady comments on it a few days a week when I give in, I have to fight the urge to scream.  Hello, I have like 21% body fat, let me have my chips without comments from the peanut gallery.  That isn't rational, right?

So for I just smile and chuckle.  Then spew here.  Thanks

Thanks and I haven't even done anything... Yet

Just got this email and I have even done anything yet.  

Dear doctors, nurses, and medical professionals, from CHLA and Southern

I want  personally to think you for volunteering your valuable time, energy, skill and wisdom in furtherance of our unique effort to help the women and children of Mongolia.

When we began this program circa 1995 little did we know that so many of you from CHLA would be attracted by our program.  Some of you are now returning for the second time.

I am wishing you a safe trip and a seamless transit to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

 And, I am wishing you as well a successful medical experience and MEEP program.  I hope you make some good new friends, and I know you will make a lot of Mongolian people happy and grateful.

Again,  Thank you very much.  Good journey and good program.

I can't believe that I leave in less than a week, and with all the travel time will be arriving in Ulaanbaatar in about 7 days.  So much to do before I go, but I can't wait for the adventure....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Destination: The Far East- revisited

This post originally appeared here a few months ago, but since I couldn't figure out how to just transfer a few posts from my old blog I am revisiting....

I've done my share of travelling. I've done my share of medical volunteer work, locally and abroad. I've been to Nicaragua several times and had to cancel a trip when I got sick. Ever since then, I've been searching for opportunitites to get back in touch with that side of me that is fueled by being involved in something so much bigger than yourself. I have had many opportunities presented to me over the last year, but for one reason or another none worked out. However, a few weeks ago I was contacted to join CHLA's trip to Mongolia as they wanted to focus on some more maternal- fetal- neonatal health issues this trip. The trip works with my schedule, works with my plans and so I'm in. Plane tickets are reserved and will be paid for by the end of the day. I've never been to Asia, I'm a little nervous, but I'm really excited.
One of the big issues with this kind of work is to find a way to make sustainable differences in the healthcare in developing nations.  This is a huge topic and used to be a source of much dialogue amongst the Nicaraguan group.  Certainly they need supplies, but also standards and education.  The thing I really like about the approach of the CHLA Mongolia mission is their appreciation of those issues and the dedication to going there in order to provide not only education and support during the time that we are there, but also working with the health ministry to establish some standards for continuing education for physicians in Mongolia. Also, there is some effort being spent on extablishing internet based education and support materials for the doctors and nurses there.  I had lunch with the organizers yesterday, and got quite excited about what they're doing.  So now I'm trying to convince a few others to join me. Either way it is a great opportunity.
After spending a little over a week in Mongolia, I am going to continue on to Bali for some vacation while I am on the other side of the world.  I can't wait.  More to follow...

I leave on this journey in less than two weeks.  For now, my days are occupied with writing talks for this trip and my evenings largely planning for the journey. I am beyond excited even though there is so much to do.