Archives For Health


Madame Weebles —  November 14, 2012 — 35 Comments

The turnout for the Where’s Weebs challenge has been very low so far.  I am ensaddened by this.

I understand that it’s entirely possible that you’re overwhelmed by the extreme beauty of my photo.  It’s like looking at the sun, I know.  So dazzling.  Or, it’s entirely possible that you are so sickened by my photo that you haven’t stopped vomiting since yesterday.

But suck it up.  It’s for a good cause.  Wear dark sunglasses or chug Pepto if you must.  And no donation amount is too great or too small.

Also, if you’ve already donated to Movember, even if not for this challenge, I’ll let you play.  Because I’m a good sport that way.  And because I think it’s wonderful that you donated.

Go here now.  I’ll keep nagging if I have to.  You don’t want that, trust me.

The idea for this challenge came from the ingenious mind of Honie Briggs.  Thank you, Honie!

Below are photos of ten women.  Nine of them are my beautiful friends.  One of them is me, the camera-averse Madame Weebles.  Your challenge:  Figure out Where’s Weebs?

You’ll notice these are all black & white photos and I’ve cropped out details like hair, etc.  I’ve also stripped each photo of EXIF and all other metadata, in case you were thinking about trying to get some clues that way.  But to give you a sporting chance, here are some hints to help you out:  I’m white, and I sometimes wear glasses.  Sometimes.  So I may or may not be wearing them in my photo.

Each donation you make to the Bloggers to Movember team will buy you a chance to guess which one is me.  Put your cursor over each photo for the hovertext number to use in your guessYou can enter up to three guesses, but you’ll need to make a donation for each guess.  It’s only fair!

If you’re in the United States, click here to donate.  If you’re in Canada, click here to donate.  When you fill out your donation form, please leave a note with your blogger name and include “Where’s Weebs” so I know who you are.

Le Clown set the bar pretty high; he’s already more than halfway to his goal of $1000 in donations.  I, too, would like to get $1000 in donations for our team, but I’m pretty easy (just ask Mr. Weebles).  Any amount I can raise for this worthy cause will be wonderful.

Of all the correct guesses, I’ll choose one winner at random.  If you win, not only will you get eternal bragging rights, but you will also get A WEEBLE OF YOUR VERY OWN, from my vast collection.

Please enter your guesses below.  You have until November 30th.  Let the games begin!

In honor of Bloggers for Movember, I bring you a selection of Hot Dead Mustachioed Guys for your consideration.  (Special thanks to Joe Hoover for the suggestion.)

In the Classic Hollywood Dreamboat category:

Errol Flynn, Montgomery Clift, and Clark Gable (especially for you, Sandee!)

In the Handsome Presidential Assassin category:

John Wilkes Booth

In the Ultimate Sweetness category:

Walter “Sweetness” Payton (special thanks to Mr. Weebles for suggesting this one, I forgot he had a mustache)

In the I Was a Badass Until I Got All My Men Slaughtered at Little Big Horn category:

George Armstrong Custer

In the President Most Likely to Kick Your Head In category:

Theodore Roosevelt

In the Yet Another Smokin’ Hot WWII Flyboy category:

Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.—he gets extra badass points because he was commander of the first all-black fighter squadron, the Tuskegee Airmen

In the What Doesn’t Kill Me Makes My Mustache Bushier category:

Friedrich Nietzsche

In the Cloud City Cool category:

In the I Was So Good in Bed That Queen Victoria Never Stopped Mourning My Death category:

Prince Albert

In the My Father Was One of the Most Handsome Men Ever to Walk the Earth but I Was Okay Looking Too category:

John Cornelius and his father, Robert Cornelius (inset), the Greatest of All DILFs

All of these guys would have made sure to get regular prostate exams if they existed back in their day.  Even John Wilkes Booth—he was a fanatic but he wasn’t stupid.  And you just know Sweetness got himself checked out.

So gentlemen, get yourselves screened.  I know it’s not fun but it’s no worse than anything women subject themselves to during ob/gyn exams.  Please, take care of yourselves physically—and mentally, too.  And ladies, make sure the men in your life look after their health.

For more information on Movember, please click here, here, or here.

I was laid off last week.  And you know what?  I was thrilled.  THRILLED.  If I hadn’t been laid off I would have quit.  And while I would have enjoyed leaving on my own terms, it actually worked out better for me this way because now I get severance and unemployment benefits.

I was in the pharmaceutical industry (yes, Evil Big Pharma) for more than 10 years.  I was lucky enough to love my job for much of that time.  But from the very beginning it meant long, long hours.  I frequently didn’t get home until after 10pm.  Getting home at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning wasn’t unusual.  In fact, on my last day in the office before I took time off to get married, I was at work until 3am.  I pulled many all-nighters.  I worked more weekends than I care to count.  I worked my ass off.  And if I say so myself, I was damned good at my job.

But the past few years really sucked, for a variety of reasons that aren’t worth discussing.  And my physical and mental health suffered as a result.  I had no time to myself.  I fielded work calls, emails, and texts when I was out of the office—it didn’t matter if I wasn’t feeling well or if I was on vacation.  They still came after me.  Hell, they called/emailed/texted even when I was at the hospital with Mr. Weebles when he was sick last year.

I was pretty sure this layoff was coming.  So last Monday, when I got The Call (“Hi, can you come into the conference room for a minute?”), it wasn’t a surprise.  In fact, I was truly hoping it would happen.

And now I’m free.  It feels fantastic.  My time is my own for the first time in many, many years.  I’m eating and sleeping properly, which I haven’t done in ages.  I’m having a good time just being.  Even chores like going to the supermarket and cleaning the house are fun activities right now.  (Note to self: Take advantage of this while it lasts.)

And after I feel sufficiently detoxed, I’m moving on to my new career.  I talked about this recently, and after mulling it over a bit more I’ve decided that yes, I will indeed become a Patient Advocate.  People need help, and I want to help them.  It feels right.

I realize how fortunate I am.  I’m not panicked about being out of work, I’m not worried about how I’ll pay my bills and mortgage, and I’m not anxious about finding a new job.  Mr. Weebles is the most wonderful and supportive husband a woman could ask for, and we’ll manage just fine.  I feel extremely grateful and blessed.  By losing my job, I’ve gained a lot more.

Thanks, Former Employer, for cutting me loose.  Thanks for helping me to understand what a dysfunctional place I was in.  If you hadn’t been so over-the-top insane, I might not have realized it.

It’s hot out there today.  Although to be fair, it’s actually cool and refreshing here in NYC compared to what’s going on in other parts of North America.  Some of our Canadian homeys are sweltering in 40+ degrees Celsius (that’s 104+ degrees Fahrenheit for my fellow Celsius-challenged Americans).

In any case, when the mercury rises, so does my cranky level.  And my lazy level.  So it’s time for another reblog.  And what better subject to discuss on a hot, icky day than disease?  Enjoy!

Which diseases were the most glamorous?


Your comments on yesterday’s post are phenomenal. The messages of encouragement and the stories about loved ones who have been battered by the healthcare system have truly inspired me. My eyes got all leaky on more than one occasion while reading them. I kept having to tell my co-workers that I was just having allergies because they were wondering why I was all teary-eyed.

So thank you. Thank you all. Truly and sincerely. I’m not sure I can adequately explain how shivery, powerful and profound an experience this has been.

Also, I received Universal Whack #3 this morning: I usually read the New York Times every day but this week I’ve mostly been just perusing the front page. I didn’t see this article until today. It’s about the struggles faced by patients when talking to their doctors and making themselves heard. The article in itself is compelling, but the 368 comments that follow are even more so.

So okay, I get it now. Time to become a crusader.

You know how sometimes a bunch of things happen at once, and it kinda/sorta of gives you the idea that someone/Someone is trying to tell you something?

I’m having that kind of day. Two things happened this morning that made me cry, in a good way. They reminded me of things I had put on the back burner. And I think it means it’s time to take them off the back burner.

Last night I saw a dear friend of mine, and I did some reiki on her because she’s having a bit of a tough time right now. My intention was for her to gain some clarity and peace of mind regarding her situation. This morning she sent me a beautiful email to tell me that I helped her to see her situation more clearly and that now she feels able to forgive herself. I practically sobbed when I read this. It’s extremely humbling to know that I was able to help, and I feel so happy that I had the opportunity to do this for a friend.

About 10 minutes after receiving this amazing email, one of my colleagues came into my office. She and I have had several conversations about medical care—she’s caring for her elderly father—and about how much unmet need there is for patients and caregivers when dealing with the medical community. She told me that when my name has come up in conversation with others in our industry, one of the things frequently mentioned is that I fight for the people I work with and I make sure they don’t get overlooked. And then she asked me if I had ever considered working with patients.

I felt like I had been clobbered with a Cosmic Sledgehammer.

Since I became a Reiki Master I’ve become much more aware of the different ways I can help people. I can’t prescribe medication or perform surgery, but I can help people endure their treatment or surgery better. I can help people gain clarity on things that are bothering them. I can help empower them to get through really difficult times. Doing reiki has really opened me up to understanding how much is out there.

I’ve toyed many times with the idea of doing patient advocacy, because I know how helpless people can feel. Doctors can be intimidating, and unfortunately quite a few of them don’t really listen to patients very well. And that’s just for your average doctor visit. When you need to go to the hospital, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Mountains of paperwork, hospital staff who ask you the same questions over and over again, and quite often, no clear, direct communication about what’s happening. So patients and their families end up feeling like cogs in the machine, and the result is that they don’t get what they need. If they’re lucky, the experience is merely horrifically stressful. But in worse scenarios, people get the wrong treatment—or no treatment—because there’s nobody to stick up for them.

Over the past several years I’ve accompanied several friends and family members to doctor’s appointments, and I’ve spoken to veterinarians on behalf of friends whose pets were ill. I’ve been stunned by the lack of genuine interest and/or integrity shown by some of them. Too often, doctors will just say “There’s nothing wrong with your blood work” or “Your x-rays are fine,” and then dismiss the patient’s concern as unimportant or medically irrelevant. It infuriates me that they don’t explore other options. I would have more a lot more respect for a physician who said, “Your blood work looks fine, so I don’t know what the problem might be. Why don’t we look at [fill in the blank] as a possible cause.”

I want to grab these guys by their white coat lapels and yell, “Just admit that you don’t know, for crying out loud!” Don’t imply that because you don’t know the cause, the problem must not really exist. Maybe the problem is that you’re seeing 50 patients a day, so that gives you only 10 minutes with each patient. Maybe the problem is that you think your patient is a hypochondriac. Maybe the problem is that you’re phoning it in and you don’t really care all that much.

The point of all this rambling is that too often there’s no care in healthcare. Patients often get shortchanged in one way or another. And it pisses me off. I want to help—whether it’s through energy healing, or advocating for patients who don’t know where to turn, or a combination of those two things, or something else completely. It’s time for me to move these thoughts to the front burner. Otherwise the Universe is going to whack me over the head again.