Odds And Ends Today

Odds and ends today. There is a new message from Bev about the Mindfulness programs at Iowa and it begins with a nice quote:

It only takes a reminder to breathe,

a moment to be still, and just like that,

something in me settles, softens,

makes space for imperfection.

The harsh voice of judgment

drops to a whisper

and I remember again that

life isn’t a relay race;

that we will all cross the finish line;

that waking up to life is what

we were born for.

As many times as I forget,

catch myself charging forward

without even knowing

where I’m going,

that many times I can

make the choice

to stop, to breathe and be,

and walk

slowly into the mystery.

-Danna Faulds

The UIHC Mindfulness programs including but not limited to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) have been in the news recently. An article on the Big Ten Network by John Tolley about a month ago, entitled “An Iowa Group Promotes ‘Mindful’ Management of College Stress: BTN LIVEBIG,” aims to bring mindfulness to college students to help them deal with the stresses of university academic life. The Mindfulness program coordinator, Kerri Erness-Potter, M.A. is the faculty advisor for Mindful@Iowa and as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education teaches a course on the subject. One of her main messages is that “Our bodies are constantly telling us things, but most people are just pushing through the day, and unless something is throbbing or screaming at them–they ignore it. Mindfulness is about being in the present.”

Mindfulness Mid-Week Meditation is held over the noon hour at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital Meditation Room on Level 12 and it’s organized by the UIHC Chaplains. Mindfulness meditation has been offered by the MBSR staff on the fourth Wednesday every month. It’s open to the public.

Lately, people have been trying to return a camp stool to me (my little chair), thinking that I had lost it. I have not. This has become a bit of an adventure with Safety and Security officers trying to hunt me down to return a camp stool that doesn’t belong to me. They sort of leaned on one of our psychiatry staff nurses to reveal my whereabouts. Even under the hot lights, she refused–and then thought this sacrifice deserved a special donuts reward. I was only too happy to oblige.

I’ve had the camp stool for about a year and a half now and rarely forget it on the wards. Patients and families get a big kick out of it–a doctor who carries his own chair. It was a gift from a colleague in Palliative Care, Dr. Timothy Thomsen, who along with others, is now trying to persuade me to co-author an editorial or letter to the editor to some journal about our camp stool fraternity. The lost stool belonged to another member of the Palliative Care service. Tim describes the idea behind the chair so much better than I ever could, I’ll just quote him:

“…the impact of the stool upon families and patients is profound and it seems to convey a caring and humanism which is absent when we stand or sit some distance away.  “I care about you and want to get close to you so you know that I do.”  It speaks to your willingness to be vulnerable.”–Dr. Timothy Thomsen.

I’ve also just heard that at the medical student mid-clerkship meeting, there is a consensus that the psychiatry department should issue stools to every medical student. This message was copied to the acting department chair. No pressure.

Patients still sometimes mistake my camp stool for nunchucks (“I’ll be good, Doc!”). Happened again today (“Darn tootin’ you’ll be good!”).

We’ve been pretty busy on Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry service lately. By the way, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) sent a notice the other day about the name change thing for the specialty:

“Based on requests from practitioners in the field, the name of the ABPN subspecialty of Psychosomatic Medicine will change to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, effective January 1, 2018.

ABPN believes that this name change better describes the discipline’s key focus of treating behavioral conditions in patients with medical and surgical problems.”

And will the ABPN soon drop the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements as well? Wait and see if you want. It won’t happen before I retire I’m sure. It would sure make a nice retirement gift, much better than a gold watch.

As I was saying, we’ve been pretty busy.  I put about 2-3 miles and 20-30 floors every day on the step counter installed on my smartphone. It’s been hard on our mascot, Winston:

Not to worry–ran him down to the gift shop today and he’s just fine.

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