Menopause

Medical Care: Spiritually Speaking

Doctor

A post by writer Chris Rosen:

The first night in Nashville, I left my book club book in the car.

Not wanting to go downstairs and back outside in my nightgown, I picked up a little paperback I found on the bedside table, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman.

SpiritCatchesYAYFD

Little did I know how much I would enjoy reading about the Hmong people of Laos…currently living in California.

It’s a story about seizure disorder, and about the many ways modern medicine can fail a refugee population. Cultural dissonance is bound to happen when doctors want to order invasive tests for a baby who’s only problem is that her older sister slammed the door coming in and so an evil spirit invaded her body.

For the Hmong, animal sacrifices, amulets, and strings around the wrist should cure her, but instead her parents, who speak no English, are supposed to dose her with a varied cocktail of drugs many times a day. You can see where we’re going.

But it’s not all medicine. I’m almost done with the book and I’ve had quite a history lesson on Southeast Asia.

I was talking about the book to one of the Bride and Groom’s friends, an academic internist at Vanderbilt. She said it was required reading in her medical school. “Which medical school did you go to,” I asked. “Yale,” she said.

This morning, after working all night, my ER doctor daughter asked me to read this article.

How Not to Die: Angelo Volandes’s low-tech, high-empathy plan to revolutionize end-of-life care

Have no fear, yes, it is about dying.

Let’s face it, the spirit eventually does leave us and we all have to think about this stuff, unless of course denial works for you.

It’s about a doctor who becomes an educational/documentary film maker. He makes short films that actually show people what advanced dementia (among other maladies) looks like, and he tells us to have “The Conversation” with our doctors:

“In the health-care debate, we’ve heard a lot about useless care, wasteful care, futile care. What we”—Volandes indicates himself and Davis—“have been struggling with is unwanted care.”

That’s far more concerning. That’s not avoidable care. That’s wrongful care.

I think that’s the most urgent issue facing America today, is people getting medical interventions that, if they were more informed, they would not want. It happens all the time.”

Which made me think.

Sometimes, even when you speak the same language, you still can’t communicate.

Christine Lynn Rosen divides her time between her newly adopted home in Charlottesville, VA and Nashville, TN. She first started writing for The Berkshire Eagle and found the discipline of a newspaper deadline, and working at home, fit seamlessly into her family life. Editors would punctuate the end of their weekend magazine with her unique take on the Berkshires.

After a move back to her home state of New Jersey, Rosen was given carte blanche and her own column at The Two River Times. Her style blended local and political issues with more personal reflections. She would occasionally fill in the split-page with a creative biography; usually finding an outstanding, but little known, local personality.

After moving to VA, blogging came naturally. It was a way to make sense of her newly adopted Southern state, her empty nest, and the process of planning her daughter’s wedding. Rosen is a University of Virginia Community Scholar, she is married to Bob, an ER doctor who specialized in Emergency Medicine long before it was considered an actual medical sub-specialty. They have two adult children and a new son-in-law.

In Mountainmornings: a Blue Ridge Point of View, their daughter is always “The Bride,” and is a brand new ER doc; her husband, “The Groom,” is a physician as well. Their son, “The Rocker,” is the Talent. A gifted guitarist, he stayed north of the Mason Dixon line to play with his band, The Parlor Mob. MountainMornings is a series of expository essays – both public and personal.

Beauties[4]

Top Photo: ER doctor/daughter/bride leaving for the hospital.

Bottom Photo: Chris in 1981 with the baby Bride.

Celebrations, Children, Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents

Guest Post: I Wish I Had an App!

A guest post from writer AND grandmother, Chris Rosen:

Writing a blog was my revenge for being left with an empty nest and moving over 300 miles south to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was also a way to deal with becoming another type of mother – the Mother-of-the Bride, who rapidly turns into a Mother-in-Law, and then wonder of wonders, a Grandmother. My daughter is the Bride (an ER doctor), her husband is the Groom (an Internal Medicine doctor),and my husband is Bob (another ER doctor). Hospitals are their turf, and this is our story.

Bob and I lost the Bride and the Groom in the hospital parking garage. Well we didn’t really lose them, since we have smart cells and can always find them again, wherever they are. Except for maybe a Caribbean island, our collective happy visualization spot!

We were headed for Labor and Delivery; we picked up the happy couple on another subterranean floor and as we’re going up in the elevator, I repeat “BJ,” maybe a touch too loud. That is where we will presumably find my car again, once we are grandparents. Basment level, row “J.” Except for a small giggle from the back of the elevator, the Bride turns to me and says, “Don’t you have that App?” “What App?” I say.

It seems there is an App that will locate your car for you when you are stuck in an airport or mall parking lot, or even a covered, cavernous hospital garage. Now not only will I never get lost, I’ll never lose my car again! “Interesting,” I said, “Have they created an App that will tell me – “‘Why am I here?’” The whole elevator had a smile about that one. But really, besides the existensial question in general, why do we need grandparents? Let me count the ways.

To Cook! Your children will be busy, very busy with a newborn. Cooking anything will be appreciated. I lucked out cause the Groom does dishes.

To Shop! Of course you need to shop for the groceries to cook, which should include all your daughter’s favorite things…avocados, peaches, grapefruit juice. Don’t forget the new Dad, he needs beer and beef. You won’t go wrong. And be prepared to go on special hunting expeditions for things like Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads – amazing things! Spell it out on your Notes App, L-A-N-S-I-N-O-H. ps Target carries them.

To Burp, Rock and Change the Occasional Diaper! Be prepared. Dads are way more involved than they were in our day. So the actual baby nurse duties will be minimal with a nursing Mom and today’s Dad.

To Give Nursing Advice! Who needs a doula when you have a Grandmother? Well, maybe we did. It’s been over 30 years since I nursed the Bride and for some strange reason this hospital doesn’t employ Lactation Counsultants on weekends. I had a 1-800 La Leche number, and now I have a post-menopausal brain that tends to forget the tough times of sleep deprivation and an inverted nipple. Lucky for me, the Bride has a very cooperative baby girl!

To Know When NOT to Give Advice! This can be tricky. I learned a long time ago never to give anyone advice unless they asked for it. But when it’s your daughter, and your brand new grand daughter you may start to feel just like one of those crazy, old women who would constantly tell you what to do when you were a new mom. “What do you mean the nurse recommends not putting lotion on her bottom?” “You’re going to swaddle her that tight?” Anyway, try very hard to keep most of your opinions to yourself – unless asked. My daughter said she only sees babies in the ER who are either dehydrated or febrile and septic, so I trust her to know what to do in most every circumstance. Still, that leaves a wide range of normal neonate behavior, right? “Wait, you want the dog to lick her face?”

To Take Pictures. My phone has like 4 or 5 picture Apps! Here’s the thing, you get to take pictures as much as you want! And you get to catch those unlikely times with the whole new family. For instance, I think this looks like a soap opera. First time nursing in the recovery room: nurse at the computer, BFF and colleague Kristyn comes in, off camera are many of their friends who are residents…all crying. And bam, the Groom turns. What is he thinking?

I  would be thinking, “Should I use my John S Lens, Blanko Noir film/no flash for the next Hipstamatic print  I want to upload on Instagram?”

But, later I will tell the new parents to forget all those Apps that help you keep track of wet diapers and feedings. To  relax, disconnect from the internet, cuddle and play together and try to rest. Because this is the greatest gift we grandparents can give; the gift of time to enjoy the new baby

Chris Rosen divides her time between Charlottesville, VA and Nashville, TN where her new granddaughter was just born. A contributor to Tangerine Tango, she was a columnist for the Two River Times in Red Bank, NJ. She also wrote for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She has been a UVA Community Scholar and is currently working on a book about her Mother, The Flapper. Check out her blog, Mountain Mornings.  She poses below with baby Caroline Rose.

 

Menopause

Tangerine Tango! (And a Bright Orange Book Giveaway)

Color! Color!  Color! Color! Color! Color! Color!

The older I get, the more I’m drawn to vibrant colors.

And so is Lisa Winkler, because she titled her  new anthology Tangerine Tango: Women Writers Share Slices of Life.

I  am delighted that Lisa selected three of my poems and three of my essays for the book.  Thanks, Lisa!

Here’s what the press release says about Tangerine Tango’s contents:

  • There’s Donna Barry who writes about her mother, her father, football, the ocean, and one of her first jobs.
  • There’s Stacey Caron who is a food blogger and antique dealer. She shares her grandmother’s chopped liver recipe, a tart from Spain, and her love of food.
  • You’ll swoon in green with Judy Ackley Brown and smile as you read about Barbara Chapman’s Fifth grade memories, her fight with breast cancer, and her work with hospice.
  • You’ll lick your lips with Gabi Coatsworth’s description of ice cream, empathize with her trip to the dump, envision her shrimping with her father and her grand-daughter, and be moved by her poem dedicated to her sister.
  • Dawn Landau’s ode to her daughter teems with raw emotion and her vision of seeing her late mother is almost scary.
  • Chris Rosen’s mother will amaze you, you’ll share her pride in her rock musician son, and want to climb in the hot air balloon with her.
  • Like Leah Singer, you’ll be annoyed at the salesman, disturbed by her parents chiding her about her weight, and proud that she has made her interfaith marriage last.
  • Those with siblings will hear themselves in Madeline Taylor’s telephone essay.
  • With Patti Winker, you’ll wonder about life with 11 siblings, learn about running a candy store, and reminisces about life with clotheslines and before helmets.
  • From Lisa Winkler, you can reread some past posts – about fashion advice from our mothers, medical advice from her father, hopes for college graduates and tolerance for varying religious beliefs in her own family, and ice cream flavors.
  • Barbara Younger shares three lovely poems – about buttons, socks and fudge, and essays about her father’s music, her allegiance to her ancient stove, and a Valentine’s Day when she was 11.

Me again:

Start your holiday shopping!  A great present, the book’s tiny size makes it perfect to tuck into a gift basket or bag.

Don’t forget birthdays!  With its focus on living an exuberant life, Tangerine Tango makes a great girlfriend birthday present.

You!  And of course you’ll want a copy for yourself!

Purchase the book here. 

Proceeds from the sale of Tangerine Tango go to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

Giveaway: In celebration of the publication of this colorful collection of essays and poems, I’m giving away two copies.  Post a comment by October 24 saying you’d like to win. Two winners will be chosen at random.

Photo Above:  Marina Bang designed Tangerine Tango’s delicious cover!

Photo Below:  Giveaway books stand proud on our old stove, the topic of one of my essays in Tangerine Tango.