Monthly Archives: September 2019

Treading water or swimming?

Treading water or swimming? What’s the difference? They are both in the water. You are putting effort into both. You are expending energy. You are getting wet. You are using a combination of small movements to do something.

But with one, treading water, you are expending energy to stay in the same place and keep your head above water. With the other, swimming, you are expending energy to move and you are going from one place to another.


Which one are you doing in your life right now? Are you treading water or swimming? One is not necessarily better than the other – they are just different motions with different end results.

If I were my own best friend I would step back and take a look at where I am at in my life (this could be with any area or aspect) and decide if I am treading or swimming. Am I staying still and stable or am I moving towards something (or away from something)? And if I am treading water, but I want to be swimming, what do I need to do to shift my position and start moving through the water that is life?


I work in medicine and part of my job is prescribing medications for patients. Another part of my job is reviewing the list of medications patients are already taking. And yet another part of my job is helping patients pronounce the names of medications they are already taking and understand why they are taking them.

The naming of prescription medications baffles me. I have never done any research to figure out how the names are invented, both the brand names and the generic names, but the names are awful. Completely ridonculous (see what I did there? it’s like a medication name!). I feel bad for people trying to navigate these 10-15+ letters that somehow combine to make a word that is supposed to mean something. It is like speaking a foreign language without ever getting any training or education. It’s horrifical.

But it did get me thinking about writing prescriptions and about treating different conditions and I have to tell you, some days I do not want to write any prescriptions for medications. Instead I want to send people home with instructions to take “Laughsalotopril twice a day.” Or maybe it would be nice to e-scribe “hughughugamab take one every morning.” I also would not mind sending off a 90-day request for “afternoonnapsaban take once daily as needed.” And while I’m at it I think a prescription for “cookiesnmilkoprolol nightly before bed” might be just what the doctor ordered. Perhaps tomorrow I will try prescribing “gooutsidemoreazole take three times daily, monitor weather as needed,” and see what happens.


If I were my own best friend I would remind myself that sometimes the best medicine does not come in a bottle (yes yes for things like serious bacterial infections I know it does) but instead the best medicine might be laughter or a hug or taking a breaking or going outside. So remember to do the things that make you well and maybe, just maybe, we can start writing less prescriptions and instead enjoying life a bit more. And if you have cookies and milk feel free to invite me over because I have yet to meet a cookie I don’t like.

An island of excuses.

I have a to-do list that never seems to end. I try to prioritize it but there are always things left at the end of the day. Some of those things have been on my list for months now. And when I look at them (and think about them not getting done) I try to give myself a little grace. I try to say “it’s alright” or “you’ll get to it when you can” or “look at everything else you did today or this week.” But here’s the thing – I am starting to wonder if by continuing to give myself grace I am actually building a making-excuses-island-outpost in the sea of grace. I am starting to think I am actually sitting back in a hammock, under a palm tree, sipping a mai-tai listening to the waves of “it’s ok” crash on the sand?


If I were my own best friend I would suggest I take a hard look at whether or not I am being gentle or kind with myself or if I have become marooned in excuses. I would also tell myself to consider whether or not things that have been on my to-do list since 2017 should really still be on there? What do you think? Grace or excuses? Do you have a list with to-do items from 2 years ago?

Apples and joy.

About one month ago I was driving home after a long day at work. The road is two lanes with a turn lane in the middle and it is generally pretty busy. There are houses on either side and yards and people walking on the sidewalks. A small silver car three cars in front of me suddenly pulled off the road, up onto the curb and yard of a house. The car’s rear was still hanging out into the line of traffic resulting in everyone behind having to slow down and carefully drive into the middle lane and around the car. The driver, a middle-aged woman, got out of her car,  and ran up to a large tree that was growing along the edge of the road and essentially in the front yard of the house. She had a huge smile on her face and started picking pink apples that were hanging heavy on the tree (all while traffic crept by her). In my rear view mirror, after navigating past her car, I could see her pulling her blouse out of her pants and using it to hold apples. I was pretty sure she was completely nuts.

Over the next few weeks I continued to randomly see people picking apples off this tree in the front yard of this house. I was baffled. What was so special about these apples? Why did people think they could just walk into someone’s yard and pick them? What was going on?

And then yesterday traffic slowed at the right time and I was able to see the small handwritten sign tacked to the trunk of the tree. It read “(smudge) share. (smudge) apples all. Spread (smudge) joy.”


I still don’t know what kind of apples they are. I have not stopped to pick any but I might one of these nights on the way home. But that handwritten sign got me thinking about spreading joy and what do I have to offer to the world to simply spread joy? What do you have? If I were my own best friend I would think about simple ways to spread joy and then I would go out and liberally spread that stuff all over, because I don’t think there is ever a time the world could not benefit from a bit more joy.