Wow. Lot of cobwebs in this place. Kind of scary when you go to log into your own web site and you can’t remember the password or the login link.
There are many things that led up to my less than stellar blogging effort over the past six months. One of the problems was that I felt that I owed everyone an explanation. I still do feel that way, but I never sat down and explained what has happened. That’s where Goldilocks comes in. We spoke at ACEP and I explained to her some of the things that have been going on. She just looked at me and said “you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Just start blogging again. We miss you.” Flashbacks to all the people who have written me over the past few months to ask if everything is OK. Twitter peeps still following me. The tremendous community of medical bloggers that sit around at ACEP and laugh about all the stories from the previous year. The people who do a double take when they find out the funny looking guy in the jeans and sneakers is …. WHITECOAT??!?! Seriously? Part of me feels like I’ve let a lot of people down and that feeling is embarrassing. So even though some people don’t expect an explanation, my interactions with all the people in Boston motivated me to start blogging and you’re still going to get an explanation because it is important to me. Of course it sucks when you type out a couple of posts while sitting in the airport and flying home after a medical conference and they completely disappear from your computer, but that’s another story.
A lot of the explanation goes back to the story about the Rock. I still have that rock sitting on my desk reminding me of the most important things in my life. Family first. Always. My mom used to say that our family has a curse of bad luck. This year has kept up that tradition. In the past year one of my favorite aunts suffered a hemorrhagic stroke while undergoing a cardiac cath. She nearly died and ended up paralyzed on her left side. Our two closest friends were both hospitalized. Our closest friend’s mother was hospitalized for three weeks. My daughter was hospitalized for 10 days. My brother was in an ATV accident and he almost died. He had an unstable neck fracture and was literally millimeters from being paralyzed. He had multiple rib fractures and a lung contusion. Despite being unable to get up off the ground after the accident, he was yelling at the paramedics to leave him alone because he had to go to work the next morning. Another shout out to University of Pennsylvania’s trauma team for their awesome care. Not only is he better, he was back at work three weeks after the accident. It’s scary seeing a loved one laying unconscious in a bed on a ventilator. Picture to the right includes a good luck “emoji pillow” my youngest daughter made for him. My mother in law was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Both my father and my father in law were diagnosed with moderate dementia this year. It’s a slow progression, for both of them and it is tough to watch. Dad putting shoes on the wrong feet and tucking his jacket into his underwear when getting ready to go out to dinner is both funny and depressing. This was once a man whose mind and legal acumen were feared in court. Now he can’t remember the name of the President. There are probably other things that I have forgotten about, but it seems as if the moment one crisis is stabilized, we get another phone call. In fact, I was planning to finalize this post last Friday, but had to go pick up my daughter who was sick at school.
I’m also spending more time with my family. This point hit home with me when my youngest daughter drew pictures of the family for her class. Her picture of me was of my back sitting at the computer typing. That’s not how I want my kids to remember me. So I’ve made an effort to go out and do more things together – both individually and as a family. We’re all enjoying the time we spend together.
Another “rock” that has taken up more of my time is my health. Mrs. WhiteCoat got gym memberships for the whole family and we’re all using them. Time at the gym is now spent getting healthier and talking with my kids – without worrying about them being distracted by their phones or the computer. Or sometimes Mrs. WhiteCoat and I just run next to each other on the treadmills and talk. A different kind of “date,” but one we both enjoy. The thing is that I’m a lot healthier since I got back to the gym. I’ve lost about 20 pounds and I’ve gotten quite a bit stronger. The problems I had with back pain are pretty much nonexistent now. I still get sore now and then, but it’s a good kind of sore. I can deadlift 400 pounds of weight off the floor, can squat 315 pounds, and can bench press 245 pounds. Not a lot of weight for many people, but it’s a lot of weight for me. Before I started I could almost do one pull-up. Now I can do 10 weighted pull-ups without much problem. I used to be able to do a few dips, now I do dips with 100 pounds of weight around my waist. I can jog for a half hour at a 5% incline and a 7 mph pace. Don’t worry, I won’t post pictures and I’ll only do occasional gym stories.
One other thing that’s always in the back of my mind. I want my posts to be pertinent. Well-researched. Pithy. Funny. Thought-provoking. The problem is that to create really good posts, it takes a lot of time – several hours sometimes. For a lot of reasons, I haven’t had as much free time as I used to have. So I’ll jot down ideas (which doesn’t take that long) and then something will come up that keeps me from doing the work to make the posts publishable. Writing good blog posts is hard work. I see why Twitter is has become so popular. 30 seconds typing on a phone in an elevator and bam – another tweet.
The bottom line is that a lot of my lack of writing is because I’ve focused more on the bigger rocks in the jar that I had neglected in the past. But I miss writing. So now I’ve got all these snippets of blog posts sitting on my Evernote account. Waiting. Calling out to be finished. Yearrrrning for completion. I’m determined to work on them.
I realize that this is a pretty crap filled explanation, but that’s all I’ve got. I’m going to make an effort to shorten posts so that I can actually finish them. I’ll never be able to write on a daily basis, but I’ll try to put something up at least once per week – medical posts on EP Monthly to keep up with their quality and focus, dumb stories about life mixed with snark, commentary, and more edgy stuff on DrWhitecoat.com.
We’ll see how this goes. No promises, but at least I finally broke the ice.