1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let It All Hang Out

"In the stillness and the darkness, realization soon began to supplement knowledge. The mere knowledge of a fact is pale; but when you come to realize your fact, it takes on color..."
--from Chapter 6, "The Eclipse," Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court--

Sometimes when your life has already been turned inside out for a while, a bit of a scare doesn't seem to faze you much at first. At least not until you wake up in the middle of the night before a big test that you cannot study for but hope to pass all the same. And the worry starts to gnaw at you inside until the morning comes.

Last Sunday, Easter smiles and surprises swept away another kind of funk. It was the kind that makes you wonder about that old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I should know by now that there are some arguments I can never win and that certain naysayers will have their say no matter what. Anyway, that funk dissolved in the Easter sunshine.

Funk #2 came out of nowhere Thursday morning in the form of a phone call from the local mammography center. The radiologist was not satisfied with an image of the right breast taken a week ago. Would I be kind enough to visit the main facility in Pensacola and submit to even more torture? Sure, be glad to. See you Friday morning.

When I used to transcribe medical reports for a living, the tedium of a long day was relieved occasionally by careless docs. The official rule to transcribe exactly as dictated gets ignored when you hear something like this in a SOAP note: "the patient's pus-sy wound looks much better today." Sorry, doc. I'll substitute "purulent" for your choice of words.

I wonder about that fine line between narcissism and reflectiveness. Who really has the right to decide where it falls?

"But it is a blessed provision of nature that at times like these, as soon as a man's mercury has got down to a certain point there comes a revulsion, and he rallies. Hope springs up, and cheerfulness along with it, and then he is in good shape to do something for himself, if anything can be done...."
--from "The Eclipse" as above--

I am in good shape after all.

Addendum: Please, ladies, (yes, and even gents) do yourself and your families a favor and get regular health screenings. The NIH reports that fewer women are getting mammograms these days. So what if it's a little uncomfortable? There are many organizations that can assist with the cost of testing and even treatment, if that's what stands in the way of getting help. And it often does.


  1. Nice to hear that, W2W, that you're fine. Your words initially had that ring of eeriness that kind of crept into my mind slowly, but later on I felt better. Woof! Great photos!

  2. I got a laugh or a chuckle out of your post. One of my daughters transcribes medical records (I think that's what she calls it) and never mentions some of the odd things she has come across.

    I also enjoyed your blog and your photos are very good.

    I have a son who lives in West Palm Beach or has a studio there.

    I am thankful that you found my blog and left me a comment. Thanks.

  3. Good to hear that you are OK and I share aspects of your previous funk. I always go and get squished, but they read it on the spot so any torture is immediate...Love the way you structure your posts..very thoughtful and reflective...

  4. So glad to hear you're "in good shape after all." But then, you've always appeared so to me. ;~)

    I know I'm past due for the prostate check. It'll just have to wait till I can afford health insurance. If ever that happens. **Sighs**

  5. Chandramouli, I love to write eerie fiction, otherworldly kind of stuff. Sometimes life gets weird enough that you have to step outside of yourself and read it like a book.

    Welcome, Abe! I've added you to my Bloglist on the side of the blog. I'll be visiting you often. I'm surprised your daughter doesn't mention some of the bloopers I'm sure she's heard. Maybe I had more than my fair share of strange docs.

    Michelle, thanks. The first technician was perhaps being too gentle. That's the only thing I can figure out as to why there needed to be a retake. And the second tech at the other facility put the pedal to the metal and slammed that puppy down.

    TC, it's not good to wait. Does PA have any kind of state assistance you could apply for? It's frustrating, I know. Sometimes I wonder if our insurance policy is even worth having. Socialized medicine is looking better all the time. Regarding good shape, I think you need new eyeglasses, young man. And I was referring to the emotional state. ;>)

  6. I'm glad to hear that everything came out okay!

    Damn, you beat me to it with the "pus-sy drainage" comment. I have a similar description that I am going to write about in my "Weird Triage Notes" blog entry. But I will save that for your future reading enjoyment.

    I just posted a note on my facebook page that "facebook has brought out all these narcissistic tendencies that I didn't know I had." But you're right, it may be just reflectiveness that I'm misinterpreting, because I'm not used to thinking that much about myself.

  7. Thanks for the heads-up, C.M., on your future post. I've been missing the good ol' days of medical writing. Stranger than fiction, some of those reports I used to transcribe. I used to imagine that some of the docs who dictated simply plucked their medical licenses from Cracker Jack boxes. As for being reflective, it's probably due to a growing awareness and fear of mortality that drives us to it. It's a way to become constructive instead of self-destructive. Life constantly wears us down, erodes our sense of self, and we either have to rebuild ourselves somehow or risk disappearing altogether. Thanks for visiting. Your comments and posts always inspire me and stimulate the old brain. Reminds me of lively class discussions.

  8. thanks for the advice about caring for ourselves.

    my wife has had those call backs. I am glad all went well.

  9. Hello there! Funny I just went in for a mammogram last week. Torture yes but we have the best clinic here on base. They are so good. This one actually offered me a bone screening for density. I am well within normal. Guess all that running in the Army had some benefit afterall as I owe it to them. That and not smoking. Glad you are okay and hope the funk has disappeared! We all go thru it. Such is life I guess. Micah is looking happy in your garden. I love those topiaries!

  10. Wayne, it's worrisome that so many people cannot afford even the most basic healthcare. Regular screenings are essential for holding down future medical costs. If nothing else, I hope and pray that the new administration can find a way to help people left by the wayside without insurance. Our private policy cost has nearly doubled since we left Illinois a few months ago and moved back to FL. We may be forced by circumstances to drop it and join the ranks of the uninsured too. I still maintain that if political leaders had their health benefits suddenly taken away, a solution to this mess would quickly be found.

    Thanks, Tina. I've been luckier than most people, I guess, health-wise for most of my life. And I've got a wonderful support system that never lets me down. You and the other bloggers are part of it. Glad your tests were okay. You're absolutely right about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I get off track with that once in a while (not enough exercise/poor dietary choices), so a scare like the one I had this past week is good to push me in the right direction.

  11. I had to come back and thank you for coming to my Gobsmacks blog. I appreciate it. I did remove the Abe Lincoln Blog for now. I can't seem to keep on a blog too long but the one you chose and My Birds Blog and Brookville Daily Photo are older ones as you can probably tell as there are a lot more followers.

  12. When I read H&P's they usually sound pretty good, no major errors there, and I don't notice those Cracker Jack-type scenarios. I guess I should give credit to the medical transcriptionists! I can't tell what those auctioneers are saying anyways.

    My reflectiveness is based on my love of myself, and sometimes my hatred of myself, and sometimes of other people. Basically it is some strong emotion that brings it out and forces me to deal with the extreme feelings. But also it is the fact that I have accepted my mortality, and I want to leave my children some kind-of wisdom to live by.

    I got written up at work for some things I said on facebook at work. No HIPAA violations, just people not caring to read my reflectiveness on the stressful nature of my job. A few people know about the blog too.

  13. W2W, I'm glad to hear you're ok; I was worried there for a moment. I've had two "there's something a little suspicious here; you'll need further testing" kind of results. Both times everything turned out all right in the end, but it was certainly scary for awhile. The local clinic recently built a brand new, beautiful wing for cancer research, and they have a new, gentler digital mammography
    machine...but you still get squished:)

    I've thought about the possible increase in narcissism with Facebook, blogging, Twitter, etc. Perhaps we're not being narcissistic so much as feeling isolated--reaching out for friends and some communication with someone.

  14. Great footnote. I could tell stories...maybe someday.

  15. I totally agree, W2W. I myself am a suspense writer (well, not officially yet)

  16. Health scares are, well, health scares, then there are the facts and the conclusions. This one sounds like it came to a good conclusion.
    The clothes on the line are a familiar sight at our house these days. I love the smell of sheets after they've been on the line, towels are still dried for a time then hung out so they're not so scratchy. It looks like spring has arrived in Milton.

  17. You're welcome, Abe. I'm enjoying your blogs, focusing on the Gobsmacks one for now as far as commenting. Love that pic of the fly, by the way. I think they're underappreciated as photographic subject material, for some reason.;>}

    CM, I guess those carelessly worded reports really stood out for me among the thousands I transcribed over the years. I worked for a company which maintained hundreds of accounts from all over the country. I was a cog in the transcription mill. Most hospitals now do not maintain full-time transcriptionists and contract for that service. As for mortality, it's not so much the "mort" that's scary but like you said the thought of leaving nothing meaningful in place when you leave. I can kind of see your employer's point if the post was done at work. Personal "connectivity" while on the job is a touchy situation. Those IT people are watching!

    Rose, thanks, and glad to hear your scares were nothing more than that. The terrible "C" has hit my extended family more than once with devastating results, so even the thought of it raises the hair on the back of my neck. I agree that most of us blog to relieve that isolation we all feel from time to time. Some of us have family members who are too busy, just not interested in our thoughts, or downright hostile to us for some reason. When the hostility becomes contempt and the word "narcissistic" is applied, one begins to wonder about one's motives for blogging. Is it a burning desire to share ideas or (in some cases) a strange form of self-immolation? It's an interesting psychological phenomenon at any rate and certainly worthy of discussion. Thanks for your thoughtful participation, Rose.

  18. Troutbirder, I meant to put the footnote in when I first posted, but I was in a hurry and forgot it. I also noticed I didn't proofread the footnote very well. Talk about careless! I point the finger, and look what happens. Sheesh!

    Chandramouli, what do you mean "not officially"? You are in my book, friend. Writing is a craft developed over time, and blogging is one of the best ways to practice it.

    PJ, I think we're the only ones in our neighborhood who hang out laundry. We're saving plenty of money by not using so much electricity, which is pretty important right now for us economically as well as in terms of keeping up with the "green" initiatives. I wonder if we could trade our "caps" (RECs)? ;>} You're right about the scratchy towels. I do the same thing most of the time, throwing them in the dryer for a few minutes. The few times I didn't, SAM said why bother? It's like getting one of those fancy spa scrub treatments!

  19. I'm glad everything turned out OK. Those things are very scary.

    Getting outdoors in the sunshine often lifts my spirits. After this long winter they needed lifting.


  20. Oh are putting me to shame...I still have not had the dreaded colonoscopy, and I am already 52! I will call and schedule it in your honor, tomorrow! Thanks for the wake up call. Good luck with your second Mammo test!

    Tell Secret Aging Man hello!!!

  21. Marnie, thanks. The solar energy can't be beat for a great pick-me-up. And a walk in the sunshine is even better. Hope your spring is sunny!

    Julie, I'm so glad I convinced you to get the dreaded test done. The second mammo was "clean." I got the results right away Friday. What a relief! SAM says hi too. He was hoping you would comment on his latest post. (hint)

  22. Good advice. We're always scrambling around so much that it's always wait until the last minute, or things go to long. As for your question about reflectiveness and narcissism, I find myself in my best reflective mode when I think to myself, and the latter when I talk too much.

  23. W2W,

    Nice post. Stopped by to ask you to let me know when you get the gloves.



  24. Mr. S, to clarify my point, being reflective implies letting your "light source" shine out for others to see, and narcissism implies self-absorption. If someone blogs whole-heartedly (inviting others to visit and comment, sharing ideas, and regularly visiting other sites to learn from/admire and comment constructively on them), how can that behavior seem narcissistic? Almost none of the bloggers I've "met" fit that bill. No, I see you as being reflective (period).

    Thanks, MBT. I will let you know as soon as they arrive, and there might even be a post about them being put to good use. My favorite pair of gloves that have lasted about five years recently disintegrated. I've been using a pair of SAM's old work gloves, and they don't seem to fit for some reason. Cheers back at you!

  25. Glad to hear you got that clean bill of health, despite the worry. Your experience reminds me that we all take good health for granted until we fall ill.

  26. W2W, so glad to know that you're fine. Simply love your wordplay teamed with the photos. I did wonder why you included the clothesline before I noticed the title. Love it! Also the narcissistic bit. Too good!!

    Thank you for your encouraging comment on my blog. Always a pleasure to be here, though I must add that sometimes I don't know what/how I should comment. Your pics are great!

  27. WS, wouldn't life be nice if a bill didn't have to follow that bill of health? Maybe everyone would be a lot healthier and happier. Thanks for the concern and comment.

    Kanak, I hope you're doing okay. This post was a bit "sticky," and I understand your dilemma completely about not knowing quite what to say. The words just sort of tumbled out on this one, maybe not very coherently. It was one of those roller-coaster weeks, I guess. My next post will be a little more down-to-earth, I promise.

  28. Very cute kid in the garden, love your blog. BTW you look good in that new gloves :-)

  29. Thanks, Vuejardin. I'm glad you like the blog as well as the gloves. I hope we'll able to view your garden in a blog someday.