Saturday, February 28, 2009

Healing Health Benefits of Community

Healing Health Benefits of Community- A Shared Blessing Amplifies our Gifts and A Shared Challenge or Difficulty Lightens our Load and Invites Creative Solutions!!! This seems to be ever true in blog land and for this I am truly grateful!!! Merci , read on for the surprise and to find out why I have gone all warm and fuzzy on you in this post!

I am floored actually, upon catching up with my messages  today, I received a delightful surprise from the sweet and talented, Catherine over at , A Thousand Clapping Hands!!!I am so touched and honored.

The surprise was 

Apparently, as Catherine describes  this award-"This award was started by the blogging team at Jane Austen Today" -

 "The aim of the Award is to acknowledge writing excellence in the spirit of Jane Austen's genius in amusing and delighting readers with her irony, humor, wit, and talent for keen observation. Recipients will uphold the highest standards in the art of the sparkling banter, witty repartee, and gentle reprove."

As such I have also learned that-
Recipients are to please claim your award. You may post the badge, list the name of the person who nominated you and link to their blog. Then you may nominate seven other blogs that you feel meet or exceed the standards set forth. But if by chance, you are Award weary - please just enjoy the honor!"

Right, so this is the Healing Aspect of Blogging Communities- at least to me,you see I believe that the concept of passing it on here is real and valid ! I think that , unlike mainstream Internet sites which focus on news, often very negative in its presentation and analysis, that perhaps blogging serves a higher purpose if, you will. It stretches us by allowing us to focus on ideas!! Rather than allowing us to get stuck in just the ever pressing minutia of everyday life- perhaps,it urges us to evaluate events and interactions with people on a more productive,positive level. 

 It connects , it listens, it offers genuine feedback, it broadens one's perspective, it instructs, it delights, it enchants, it fosters creativity, it honors an individuals personal story through her or his own unique lens. 

 I find this phenomenon fascinating and comforting . I am truly honored to be able to contribute in my own small way and to have the privilege of sharing in the worlds of my favorite bloggers. Speaking of whom -now it is my turn to thoughtfully select the next set of nominees---

I would like to nominate the following blogs:
I hope you are all as tickled as I was to receive this tasteful award,it sure made my day!! Thanks again Catherine at AThousand Clapping Hands

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. 
photos credit Internet french

When our Children get sick- Keeping it LIGHT!

Happy Weekend All! Happy Mardi Gras!!!!

We are finally all back on our feet after the nasty gastro that gripped our family for nearly 2 weeks.  I have managed to get back my appetite enough to prepare meals again- hooray !

I do not like being sick nor playing the bathroom cleanup fairy and shall we say that awaking multiple times a night reminds me of nights on call responding to the in 's and outs of bodily functions of my adorable patients

 It is altogether different when the whining patient is your preteen daughter who is having a fit because her hair , recently straightened and washed,  is in the way of projectile vomitus and I can do nothing to assuage her ! It is at times like these which are rather bittersweet, happy to be of aid to my own children during their discomfort with illness yet, noting that it is far easier to care for patients because there is no personal stuff to get in the way of treatments!

So I have been musing alot over these past days away from my blog world and there are a few things I wanted to share:
Taking time to honor great things happening in the world like---
  • I so loved Obama's Congressional Address - he delivered a clear message to Americans about his objectives regarding  Energy, Health care, and Education.  He drew a line for all to see about how these three issues were necessary to address NOW because they impact  the economic picture so acutely. Hooray for logical,bright leaders who can see the forest and the trees.  
Taking time to notice nature's beauty----
  • It has been magnificent these last few days with far reaching rays of gorgeous Mediterranean sunlight  beaming through the french windows.... taunting spring to arrive early!
Taking time to be a bit creative---
  • I have been  sketching up ideas for my horrific garden, which is styled to date in early hillbilly. Yes, my husband is a pack rat, so is my son and OK, I admit to having 8 french,iron beds,in parts mind you , in a corner near the outbuilding....I feel a decluttering coming along. And no, we have no chickens,roosters or pigs.

  • For the children/ adolescents here the transition back to school was slowed as I mentioned due to virus ville,here at the bohemian mini chateau, I advise pushing them to regain their rhythm with sports and studies( I was a tad eager and ended up doing a round trip to the city where my daughter attends school some 1hour away after she redecorated the girls bathroom- if you follow my drift.... 
  • Oh the positives of virus season, you ask- easily inspired weight loss, decrease in the grocery bills for 2 weeks -oh and excuses for long naps and family movie time.
THANKS AGAIN  to those of you who kindly alerted me to the problem of being able to follow my WDF- I hope I was able to fix it! Let me know if it persists! 
photos credit-victorian images

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Doctor Recommends Dreaming While Awake

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt

photo-mine, old house,dance studio
I am suddenly longing for more space, wide open living spaces like in our former french home which you have seen on my blog in the past. Perhaps it is because, we know now we will have lots of spring and summer visits, family sized visits. Hence, I found myself actually scoping out homes for sale in our tiny village. I call this, a type of window shopping. I only look at the photos on line and do not want to move again. I would like to be able to renovate our grenier, (attic) which has 5 large windows and gorgeous beams, old tiles and a friendly bat. Right ,I suppose he would have to find a home elsewhere because I am not fond of flying things in the night, I do not know about you?

It seems counterintuitive to consider any renovation work for various reasons, mostly the ole' bank account, but also the sense that the world has changed. There is a feeling, at least to me, that the world has contracted and as such it is only reponsible to appreciate this climate. Oh, sure I can window shop and gather lovely photos of inspiring spaces and be patient. All in good time. I sense I missed that lesson -patience- I sense many of my generation and the ones that came later have become accustomed to instant gratification.

McDonald's fast pace, is not model for life in general. That is why living in France has forced me to slow down. You can not do anything, or nearly anything, during lunch hours or on Sundays- just relax ,eat well, nap perhaps, enjoy family and friends. Having worked those long hours I loved and told you about during my pediatric practice, I have found the change in pace both relieving and yet unsettling. Still it is ok to dream, in fact dreaming awake and asleep is healthy for the soul.

Tell me what do you dream about? Are they dreams about places, things or experiences? Of course there is no correct answer for this- just fun to think about and share. Have a great day!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Open Heart - All Kinds of Love and Affection!!

Romantic Loves!!! photo by Brassai
Love of Self!! photo Capa for Dior
Love of Family!! photo by Boubat
Love of our furry friends! photo by Doisneau
Impromtu Kisses on Victory over Japan. photo by Jorgenson
Admiration or Adoration! Picasso photo by Capa
 Love from man's best friends!!! photo Horvat
Check back for more images of Love... you know some forms are missing !!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gratitudes a Corrective Lens for our Attitudes during the Gray season of Winter!





Here are some of my favorite gratitudes of the St. Valentine season which I share with you as my gift !


  1. As I sit here by my frosty window looking upon the vineyards in their winter grace, I give thanks for the heat we have- blessed thing called central heating using town gas- HOOOORAY!


  1. I am truly grateful that Daddy is in Atria, hidden from the realities of the irresponsible financial worldwide crisis- he would be really outraged by the government handling of the bailout and the Mad-Off scam.  Really, to truly appreciate this one must imagine Dad watching this unraval on TV ,Fox and C-Span, as was his routine, then imagine his sorrow and anger and fears he would have  had experienced about his nest egg. Lest it be said ,his angels have protected him from this scandal - and for this I am truly grateful he is insulated by those whose focus is supremely  about his comfort!!! And so when you all visit  him this season, try not to fret , and recall that the Atria is his haven , divinely chosen!


  1. I am grateful for Mom that she after so many intense years of trying to provide relief and conforting connections each day with Daddy, that she has a more life- giving solution in place for both of them and can  appreciate him  now through a more positive lens within his haven at the Atria.


  1. I am grateful I have had a head start on living a more simple life-
  2. I am grateful for our new President Obama and pray each day that he is protected and allowed to fulfill his missions with the assistance of our hopeful nation.
  3. I am grateful for my blessed children with their bilingual, or trilingual, skills and their adaptive abilites in this ever changing world
  4. I am grateful for my soulmate, Thierry, who is  a man who lives each day as though he were already in heaven- yes, I know, not entirely profitable or practical sometimes, but, his heart is well intentioned and he loves me in his own way.
  5. I am grateful for the time I have had to spend with my family- focused on them not patients or projects.
  6. I am grateful for having seen the light of change and of perceiving the collapse of the bubbles, housing and credit and lifestlye- noting , I could not feasibly maintain living a script from Dad and Mom's generation -in otherwords , for noting the cheese has moved and so must I.
  7. I am grateful for our food, our gas tanks when full, for crazy glue ,(which worked to keep my window from falling as a drove, the repair of the mechanism was trop cher.)for my sweet dogs, Aunt Betty-Bailey and Uncle Ralph-Nutella who are attentive to never leave my side,
  8. For medicine, for internet, for our working telephones, our fireplaces which brings back to days in Vermont with all of you, for friends old and new, for my creativity which spells out solutions to cramped living spaces and various other quandries.
  9. Lastly, I give thanks for all of you, and each of you- you bring a special something into my life even from afar, the shared memories, which now we know represent one of the most important and comforting gifts of all!


Even when it might appear one does not remember or understand , I always believed standing beside my various patients afflicted with severe disorders ,traumas or neurologic diseases - that though we , on the outside think they are not connecting with us ,


 on the inside or rather on the otherside, on the other plane, they are fully or even more fully, understanding our intentions and our love to connect in that moment. THUS---- The quality of the moment is more important than we ever thought possible! So to each of you I send hugs and kisses and gratitudes !!!!



Saturday, February 7, 2009

Living Room Dancing---a Heart Healthy Way to Clean !

Yes, you heard me right- dancing while cleaning makes it downright fun! Actually, in my past life as a  full time pediatrician, I was blessed with alot of assistance both at my office and at my home. 
I had a secretary, nurse, medical assistant, physical trainer for teens, a massage therapist at the office.- 
At home, I had a part time Nanny who cooked dinners, great food from Cape Verde, a cleaner, an occasional gardener, and pool specialists ----all this to say that I had absolutely superb back up for maintaining an organized and clean environment---Well, then we moved to France, and right, we simplified, downsized and you can guess who is the obsessive cleaner, secretary etc- MOI!  

Yes, I was spoiled before,stateside because I worked long hours but, it has just occurred to me why, in writing this post, that things seemed easier- hellloooo- with a staff it should have! Now I am the official toilet paper fairy, bathroom scrubber, duster, flooring cleaner.... I am not complaining, well kind of, but, to reframe this domestic charge I have adopted my new technique-
Dance N' Clean 
  1. need good music, cleaning products, no audience , good light , a towel., a duster !!
  2. protocol in place , music at high volume- dusting to classical or a slow song for these long feathery strokes... 
  3. vacuuming with headphones and timer ,I use the Dyson vacuum because of the dogs and allergens and right, the dust bunnies which seem to seep out of these ancient french homes and threaten the dogs!!
  4. Then instead of a soft mop, I use a soft bristle broom, kind of like a long handled scrub brush, get it, and off to the  upper & lower body aerobic work out- music, rock, R&B, Salsa
  5. For drying the floors I use the towels, using both feet , a swishing rhythm, until the ancient tiles are buffed dry. 
  • clean house AND
  • pediatrician morphed into a whirling dervish, germ hunting, dancing mom, with hopefully, more toned legs and arms.  
Have a great weekend!
photos mine

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Capping corporate greed and the Health Care Model

Firstly, I must share some of new finds in the blog world- real gems---
The Pink Cowboy -well written, funny at times , poignant at others,love that he shares his own experiences and not
 just his observations- the design is fab!

 - here is writer who has class, elegance and is consistently updating her blog

High Desert Diva-a spunky, creative diva who has charmed me with Americana and her photos

Thank you all for your sharing !
Secondly, I read an interesting blog post on MSN - Obama pay cap puts overdue squeeze on bank CEOs
Posted Feb 04 2009, 02:28 PM by Anthony Mirhaydari

I think it was well written and covered the issues succinctly! Right, this is something I can not seem to do  lately, my run on sentences and dangling participles are out of control, but, do troll on if you dare! These"wall street monkeys", as I call them, gambled away the American dreams of so many during the past 8 years !! Their outrageous risk taking with other people's money created  the Fleecing of America grace à Bush/Cheney's policies.
Right, you may detect a sour taste here at WDF, and you would indeed be right.  You see fellow bloggers, I witnessed, both as a physician and a patient ,the evisceration of the American health care system by the insurers who operated with the so called " business model of Wall Street" Here is how it worked:
- they answered first to their stockholders and paid board of directors ,
-then to their top-heavy administrators, who over a five year period from 2001 to 2005, received a 100% increase in salaries
- and somewhere after advertising, accounting manipulations,ie kiting ,they dealt with paying for health care!!!  After a little whose bill is it pingpong .....An upside down arrangement for sure!

 Meanwhile the small businesses and families of Rhode Island ( a microcosm of America, being the smallest state) sustained  20% increases each year for 5 years- thus a family plan originally costing 425USD per MONTH increased over this period to over 1000USD per MONTH-not including the costs of medications and supplemental fees. 

And we wonder why most Americans have no health insurance?( for those following this from other more civilized nations where health care is a right and not a privilege - this seems outrageous!!!) ps the doctors do not , I repeat, DO NOT see any of this profit because of the strict regulations set forth by the government to date by medicare and a complicated formula similar  to a derivative

For me, the corporate manipulations of the medical system was just the tip of the economic crash's iceberg! Shall we say foreshadowing? 

How could the medical world dedicated to caring for the sick and suffering have allowed these parasites, often masquerading in nonprofit status (ie BCBS), to bleed off the very best  medical system in the world to the point where it now stands at 27 by WHO standards. Luckily, France is #1 and still directed by physicians.
Why did so many of my colleagues leave practice early?  because among other things, they were in moral conflict with themselves to withhold care from patients to obtain, what I called, "kickbacks" but, the insurers called incentives, bonuses! sound familiar?

For me the demise of the American economic Wall Street driven system FIRST took its toll on the weakest of the weak; the sick and the naivest of the workforce ;the doctors and nurses. These third party players placed antitrust laws on doctors preventing them from gathering to discuss fees or collaborative platforms to address these issues to protect patients.  They placed gag rules preventing doctors from communicating to their patients about the insurer's incentives. They  passed the risks onto the physicians, hence the malpractice insurance costs went up as more and more patients experienced the fallout of this process wherein the almighty dollar came before the primary intention to heal.

Why do I say the doctors and nurses were naive? Because they thought that everyone was working toward the same goal on behalf of the patients. Rather, the objectives of the insurers could not have been more diametrically opposed to this goal. 

 The insurers used monies to create warm and fussy advertisements to seduce the businesses but, their modus operandie  sp? was to create a quagmire of ridiculous paperwork, billing procedures, audits, oversight subsidiaries who were  made up of  non clinicians  geared toward debating with the doctors about their choices of medications , treatments or services. Hence, more than 60-70% of clinicians'  time in the USA was spent tackling the paperwork and billing codes to JUSTIFY their clinical decisions. Talk about regulation and capping earnings!  Hellllooo!

Now ,you are no doubt wondering why I have linked my experience with managed care medicine to the financial collapse of the Wall is because the greedy fed on the weak or highly distracted medical world first before it went onto feed on the home buyers and credit markets in the USA and EU, China, Russia...
At least this is how I see it.

For me leaving my work as a pediatrician, trained at an Ivy League Medical Center, and who experienced the realities of being a patient at the mercy of care plans which were directed by the greed from those in control, the 3rd party payer corporations yes, who were bought and sold on Wall Street ,breath--- I can tell you frankly, I saw this financial downturn coming! Why so many experts have denied understanding this infection of the financial systems is beyond belief and borders on disillusionment.

Lastly, on a more positive note:
  • I am glad Daschle withdrew, he was as related in the NYT and THE NATION in bed with these 3rd Party Payers, United Health etc. earning millions from them-  this is much more of a detriment to avoiding taxes.
  •  I am confident in Obama to find the right fit for health care reform, I am rooting for a physician or nurse or someone with more experience with patients.
  • Those of you who know me personally, know I fought not just my cancer, to stay in practice, to keep food on the table for my children and good education in the picture for my children but, also,to stage protests in the dead of winter at an Insurer, to help my patients access their care,  to serve as an advocate for what is  a human right not a privilege of ONLY the wealthy, to gain media support from major networks, to question the editors of major newspapers about their conflict of interest taking big  advertising dollars from insurers and not featuring the real new of the abuses at RIBCBS, to write and lecture and teach about how to be proactive when disease or trauma strikes- and yes, I would say, I am tooting my own horn or as we used to say about my Sicilian Grandma, I am on my soap box. 

However,as is true to form, from my Grandma in the factories defending the rights of immigrant women during the depression, to my Father as he fought to bring pediatric surgical and intensive care up to the forefront in RI, Italy, Argentina, to my cousin who was one of the first to challenge (and win against) the Vatican regarding the Priest abuses - I hope I have been of service to a cause greater than myself.  I so miss practicing, I miss my patients, watching them grow, advising them, being there for them. I see it as the end of a love affair yet,  I know that the future hold  promise with the intention for HOPE and CHANGE.  Thanks for listening to me rant about a subject close to my heart.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An aggressive treatment plan :wings and wishes

The wings of a bird or a plane taunt us with new adventures, new horizons!
I liken wings as symbolic of my love of travel, new smells, new faces, new tastes...
For me wings are associated with freedom, otherworldliness,transformation, perhaps a sense of magic,or that which we do not truly understand in a quantifiable,say, scientific way!
Wings connect me to my wishes and dreams. Et viola,here are some of my favorite saved images to share! Take a whirl!

Every wish needs an enchanted castle- this one is in France ,Chateau Monbrun is said that Richard the Lionheart died at this location after a battle.

These photos are from Graham Green Brocante - love the telephone wires and the birds perched on there, and the fencing! wow! 
May your day or night be filled with wishes that come true! Cheers from the south of France

Monday, February 2, 2009

Medical Monday' s Musings: Inspiration & Illness

Here is a sampling of some of my work using choreography, sculpture, photography and poetry to express the profound ways in which  diseases are impacted by the human spirit and the human spirit is affected by diseases. 

These performances were fortunately well received at the American Medical Women's Association in Atlanta. They reflected my commitment (as well a large group of professional and nonprofessional artist's commitments)  to exploring the relationship of the Arts ,Spirituality and Medicine.  I have  previously shared this passion with my blogland friends because it has been so meaningful to me as a clinician and patient .

This work demonstrates the arts abiltiy to explore various disease states- Cancers, Affective Disorders, Cardiac Illness,the  Surgical setting among just a few. 

This was called Dark Night of the Soul- I was invited to create a piece about depression and suicide on behalf of a physician who lost her battle with this lifethreatening disease at an early age.  It was an opportunity to "reframe" clinicians perspective of the disease in a biochemical, behavioral and social context.  

Below is a piece called Tour de Force- about the nature of Breast Cancer,its affects on the family, groups, body image, sexuality, and motherhood. The sculpture is by Christiane Corbat

Truly, there is a movement out there in the medical world which recognizes the value of spirituality in any of its forms or traditions-do explore this subject because I believe that regardless of our religious or cultural backgrounds that there are universal truths which bind us and inspire us during times of crisis or illness or loss.  I find that knowing the medical world has opened up to embrace all facets, or at least more facets of the our healing potentials , might be reassuring to all of us. 
  •  like Dr. Herbert Benson's Harvard Mind ,Medicine and Spirituality Conferences,

  • like Waking Dreams & Warrior Women's programs 
  • like the work of Christina Puchalski, MD 
    Christina M. <span class=Puchalski, M.D." 

    Dr. Puchalski is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Health Care Sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish), a center that develops educational, clinical, and research programs for physicians and other healthcare professionals regarding the role of spirituality and health in medicine. Dr. Puchalski is an internationally known leader in the field of spirituality and health and a recognized pioneer in the field, especially in curriculum development for Spirituality and Health. Her curriculum has received honors and has been the model for innovative curricula throughout the country. Through her efforts, over 75% of medical schools today teach courses in spirituality and health.

    My work has intersected Christina's work to a some degree in my authorship of a chapter in her bookA time for Listening and Caring and End of Life Issues---.The Arts: A Nondenominational Tool for Reconnecting Spirituality & Medicine, Oxford Press chapter 20 

    Monday's medical musings are not so painful,yes?

    Tommorrow night is about wings: