November 21, 2008
November 7, 2008
November 3, 2008
It's one of the things that keeps me distant from any significant others I've had since I divorced. Once you establish new respobsibilities with another person, once you are committed, once you have created this new family, you lose the flexibility of the unattached.
If I were to marry again, would I be able to follow E and J if they needed to move away? It's possible, but the scenario scares the crap out of me. I can imagine being remarried and they move, and I feel obligated to stay where I am because of this new partner and potential new family that has developed family roots where we are.
If I stay unattached, then I can always go anywhere my kids are. My profession is highly flexible; I can easily work anywhere in the USA and make plenty of money.
And Dad, he already had formed that new attachment in the form of Cheryl, and her daughter (who he eventually adopted) Terri. So he was stuck where he was, whether he wanted to follow or not...
I don't know if I want to face that...
October 29, 2008
The last time I remember having a face-contorted eyes swollen rivers of salty tears cry was after Emily and I walked out of the lawyer's office and sat in the Pilot and cried together over the finality of divorce. 2005.
Today it happened, and again I was in a truck. This time not one I had just given away, fortunately...
I was driving home from Barnes and Noble after a cup of coffee while reading Donald Miller's To Own a Dragon when it happened. Oh I've felt it coming, and I knew it would happen soon.
For weeks now, maybe the last few months, I've been pining for my dad. This happens occasionally, once or twice a year, but this time I've been feeling it stronger than ever.
It's been 12 years since he left us. That 5 am phone call from Uncle Clancy is still as fresh as this morning...
"You've gotta be kidding me" I tried, but
"No, DV, I wouldn't kid you about something like this."
It was the first phone call I had ever gotten from Clancy. The entire call only lasted maybe 2 or 3 minutes and that was it, he was gone. Emily was there with me when he called. My dad had met her once or twice over the few years we had been dating. [that he had met Emily give me some solace in that it's the only way my dad would know the other contributer to the grandkids I hadn't yet had, and maybe that would mean he had in a way known them somehow. If only they could know him...]
I was 21 and was supposed to start the first day of my second year of med school the day he died. I took a few days off to be around his family, my family, and help sort through his painfully few worldly possessions. And I moved on, not realizing that I was numb and would be for years... Maybe I still am.
Tonight I realized how much of my dad I didn't have, I don't have. The summer I turned 9 we moved 200 miles away from him. 167 miles to be exact, at least according to the sign just outside of town that I would read every other weekend when I would ride the Greyhound bus alone to be with him.
I still am not sure why we had to move away. I never really questioned it, and even now I don't think I want to know. I know my mom had a boyfriend whose family was close to where we moved, and we moved in with him. He later would become my step-dad; still is 25 years later... I believe I would have had more of my dad if we hadn't moved, and I'm pretty sure that would have been a positive thing although how could I know for sure? We moved, I left my dad, he couldn't come (why couldn't he move too, anyway?), and I grew up taking once or twice a month bus trips.
I came out of it an ok person, I just miss my dad... A lot.
August 6, 2008
June 16, 2008
It hasn't happened too many times - when one of my kids says something that makes me pause, gaze at them in awe and feel my eyes start to water. It's when you know that they have experienced something that will stay with them, has affeected them, has moved them... And consequently me. Pure joy...
It's like a couple years ago when we were driving through Virginia on the last leg of a 2500 mile road trip and Anna, the only kid still awake, out of the blue says "Daddy, are we in heaven yet?" and my first and only response was "No baby, but I'm about as close to heaven as I'll ever be ..."
The latest came Saturday from Emma, my 8 year old, on the last night of our week at Sandestin. It was about 9 o'clock, the sky was cloudless and the moon was nearly round. We were alternating between the hot tub and the pool in about 5 minute intervals. We had been talking about all of the fun things we had done last week...
Like spending countless hours net-fishing on the shore, catching tons of little minnows and walking starfish and tiny round jellyfish... Like riding our bikes all over Sandestin, through the tunnel and around the joggers (sometimes over the joggers, right Aidan?), learning little things like it's not always as easy as it looks to get back on the sidewalk after your wheels get in the grass...
Like walking on the pier and spying the raccoon, then feeding the fish and gazing at the yachts... Like Aidan falling asleep sitting upright at the table at Hammerheads during dinner... Like playing with our friends Mike and Reese and Hilary, and Reese being too scared to get in the trunk...
Like Emma winning the prize money for doing the most back flips (18) on the harnessed trampoline... Like Aidan jumping into the deep end then realizing that he couldn't touch, or swim, and me running from the far end of the pool to rescue him after he was under for what seemed like forever (although probably just 7 or 8 seconds...)...
Like the old truck parked for decoration by the ice cream shop that Aidan and Anna played in for hours on end... Like our favorite dockside table at our favorite pizza restaraunt, Robertos, and the giant fish the kid caught from right by our table while we were eating... Like chasing lizards, and frogs, and of course fish and crabs, and squirrels and ducks (at Beef O Bradys), and our pet-for-the-week Gary the snail...
Know what? I wish it would never end too...
Thanks for reading My Daily Spin...
June 2, 2008
I got the race site at Oak Mountain about 0630. After parking I registered, then got my gear ready. I rode about 20 minutes on the road for a warm-up, and then made my way back to the starting line to watch the Junior Olympic categoryies start. Just a few minutes later they called for my group!
I was a little nervous about the start. The marshall herded us all to the front, and there were 5 across in the narrow chute. For the final minute before the start all I could think about was all 5 of us trying to get clipped in and running into each other and falling down.
I paused about a half a second to let the guys around me get just a little ahead to avoid the envisioned fall. It worked great! I got clipped in and within a few hundred yards had zipped into second place. The first half mile or so was on pavement and the remainder was singletrack. I stuck about 20 feet behind the leader on the pavement, but once the singletrack started I lost sight of him pretty quick.
This 2 loop course gains most of its elevation on the first 1/3 of the loop, and I was huffing and puffing before I got to the downhill! The intensity was way high, and I was happy to be done with the climbing for awhile and head back down. Close to the end of the first loop I was passed for the only time on the course and dropped back to second.
This wasn't a technical mt bike course, thank goodness, and only had a couple log jumps a 2 sections of downhill rock steps. The rock steps would have intimidated me if I hadn't rode the course several times prior.
I held my own in 3rd for the 2nd lap, and finished in 3rd place. 2nd was about 45 secondes ahead of me and 1st about 3 minutes ahead. Ok, there were only 5 riders in my division and one DNF'ed, but it's still 3rd, right? Ha!
This race was a lot of fun, and I definitely would do it again. If I do it again, I need to actually ride my mt bike more than a couple times a month to be competitive. But ya know, I don't think I necessarily need to be competitive. As long as I'm having fun, right?
Thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin...
May 13, 2008
I can feel it...
On training success
And pain free running...
Each time I run I feel incredible, and I don't want to stop don't want it to end. But I make it stop, nothing more than 30 minutes at a time still - but next week I get to stretch 30 to 45 one day a week - because I'm demanding of myself patience, patience, patience in building the way a build is supposed be built - slow like the overnight shift with more doctors than patients...
Chicago, from the 80s - yea, it makes me feel old... "You don't know what you've got, until its gone, and i found out just a little too late..." I appreciate painfree running more than ever right now - almost the best sensation I can imagine... (almost...)
Speaking of old, my patients never know how old I am. I inevitably am told still that I look young for a doc, and I typically ignore the comments or brush them aside with a "I don't feel very young for a doc though" retort. Couple nights ago I'm sewing up the forehead of the latest Club Platinum beer bottle to the head victim when she says "You look young, how old are you?" "Oh, I'm plenty old" I said back. "How old are you, like 38?" I chuckled and said "Something like that" to which she responded "No, I bet you're 42..." "No no, why don't you stick with your first guess, I like that a lot better..."
Maybe I don't look as young as I feel like I look anymore...
Thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin...
May 8, 2008
May 6, 2008
I've never mt bike raced before. Well, I actually have never bike raced period, mt bike or road or bmx or anything. Sure, I've ridden a fair amount over the years and obviously completed the bike portion of duathon and triathlon races, but I've never raced a bike race.
If you follow the link to the race site and look at race results from previous years, you'll notice that my division, which is Sport 30-34 male, the winning time last year was 1:12:45. Now I've ridden this 17 mile course many times over the last couple months, and I only once finished less than 1:30. That would put me better than last place, but not much better. I don't like finishing close to last.
Yesterday I decided to do 2 loops on the course, which I've never done. It didn't work out too well. I was thinking about my legs burning and lost my focus. Losing your focus on a trail in my experience predicts a nasty crash about 90% of the time, and yesterday was no different. I went down hard on a rocky section, and my day was done 3 or 4 miles into the 2nd loop.
I've started running more again after minimal to no running since mid January. So far nothing is hurting much, although I feel incredibly tight. 30 minutes Sunday went well, so I'll try another 30 today.
Hopefully, if all goes well, I'll be able to resume more regular tri training soon... God knows I need it, physically and definitely mentally...
Thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin...
March 24, 2008
I give you so much of me, more than I ever expected I would want to, or be able to give.
You have my daylight, and I give my moonlight so that I can give you your dreams.
Soccer, and ballet, and gymnastics, and school, and races... Playgrounds and bookstores and libraries and swimming and boy's days and prayertimes... Homework before you can play, and lima beans before another piece of bread...
One look at you and it's obvious; I am in you. But you too, are in me. In all that I do, and all that I want... Inseparable.
I haven't given you the easiest path, and God knows I don't do things right a lot of the time. But there's not a day I breathe that you aren't with me.
I love you.
March 1, 2008
Anyway, I woke up at 653 and walked the dogs, then ate my mini-bagel and banana, and then fed the dogs. Grrr, the dogs. Mars is, well, in the doghouse. So they are eating their food and Mars walks to the front door and poops on the hardwood. They NEVER do that! So he and I had words, and I the day was not starting out good.
I got to the race in a little bit of a hurry after being delayed by the clean-up. I registered and did a warm-up mile, and then got in line to pee. After waiting for a few minutes they called the runners to the start line, so no pee. Didn't really become an issue, but it still would have been nice to go!
I positioned myself on the 3rd or 4th row of people and the gun sounded. I quickly made my way to the front in the 2nd pack. The lead pack of 5 was about 50 yards ahead by 1/2 mile, and our pack of 6 was another 50 or so yards ahead of the next group. By the 1 mile marker, our pack was spread out and the lead pack was about 100 yards ahead of me. My watch said 5:53.
Now my goal was 6:25 pace, and when I saw 5:53 I knew I had blown the race. I was breathing pretty hard and I knew my legs would start to feel heavy soon. I slowed the pace while trying not to wither completely.
No one was passing me, so I still felt good about things and knew I was still close to or in the top 10. The 2nd mile came at 12:52 and I knew a sub 20 was now out of the question. Now I would just try to salvage race positions.
The 3rd mile had a longish gradual incline that seemed to slow me even more, but I was trying so hard to keep my legs turning over as fast as possible. I got to what I recognized as the last few straights and checked my watch - 18:10, but I wasn't sure exactly how far was left. 2 people passed me in the last half mile, the only 2 that passed me the whole race.
I crossed the line in 20:38, 14 seconds/mile slower than what I needed. So, once again, pacing is everything!! I think the 6 weeks off to recover from the broken heelbone didn't really affect my speed or aerobic ability too much - I did tons of cross training and flexibility/strength stuff to try to maintain that. But it definitely affected my ability to race smart and know how fast I was running.
After the race I was surprised to learn I had finished 1st in my age group, and 12th overall. Not sure how many total racers there were - I'd guess around a hundred. I even got a spiffy plaque to take home, my first real award for running!
I went home after the race, took the dogs to the park to play, and then loaded my bike in the SUV. I drove about 75 minutes to Weaver, the start of the Chief Ladiga Trail. This is a rails to trails success story, a 33 mile paved trail in eastern Alabama that (hopefully) will extend further into Georgia soon and become even longer.
I rode 25 miles out in 1:12, and then cruised back in 1:30. I then topped the 50 mile bike with a 1 mile run to officially make it a brick and then I called it a day.
Riding the trail was extraordinarily nice. I especially appreciate not having to constantly wonder if a car is about to mow you over. And although there were several road crossings, I never had to come to a complete stop to wait for traffic - I was able to pedal the entire time.
Rails to trails rocks!
Next week I travel to western Alabama for the Camp Partlow Duathlon, a 2m/17m/2m race and my first multisport race of the year! Woohoo!
Thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin...
February 26, 2008
Yesterday I ran for the first time since the RNRAZ half marathon, which I suffered through with a stress fractured calcaneous. I ran on the Trussville sports park trails for about 3 miles with my pup Max.
I felt great. I felt so good that I don't think I'll suffer any significant setbacks from the 6 weeks off. Max was impressive, running right alongside me and NOT tripping me the entire time!
I'm jumping right back into the racing scene with the Knights of Columbus 5k on Saturday. Maybe this will be the right time for that elusive sub 20.
So I read an article about Functional Threshold Power testing on the bike last night and tried to test mine this afternoon. I wasn't sure what power to set the computrainer to, so I picked 230 watts. Last season I was using 230 watts for my 3 minute intervals. Today I worked my ass off to pull 230 for the whole hour but I did it and survived. So for now, for what it's worth, I'm calling my FTP 230 watts.
After the FTP session I trekked to the pool with plans to cover 3000 yards. HA! I think the biking tapped most of my energy because after a fast 1000 to start, I was toast. I pulled up and did a few 200s and I was done.
I think I'm going to do a mile time trial later this week and see where I stand. Last year early season I made a goal of a 30 minute mile and never was able to reach it, but I feel like I can do it right now. We'll see...
Thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin...
February 20, 2008
I explained, "Well, when people die sometimes they are buried. And that's called a grave..."
She then picked it up, "Oh and their families can come and see them whenever they want."
"Right, you got it."
"Well, Daddy," she continued further, "Who was the first person to die in the whole world?"
"In the whole world?"
"Well, Tess, I'm not sure..."
Then Emma chimed in, "Was it God?"
"Well, no, because God is still alive and he's all around us."
Tess asked "Was it Jesus?"
"Well, Tess, Jesus did die but then he came back to life."
Then Anna, sweet sweet Anna, asked "Well was it Elvis???"
God, Jesus, and Elvis... We laughed all the way home.
February 18, 2008
February 7, 2008
I stayed in the yard, whistled, called their names (as if they respond to them...), and waited. Bowser has roamed free through the neighborhood for the last 3 years. Several times before he has followed the kids and I onto the trails, left us after a couple of mile, and then wandered back home sometime later. He always explores, and he hasn't gone missing. So I wasn't too concerned initially because I knew Bowser could lead my boys home.
So I waited about 15 minutes, although it seemed like hours. I had all 4 kids of my kids plus 1 extra with me at home; I couldn't just leave them to go chase dogs. But I cou;dn't just let my almost 6 month old puppies disappear either. So I herded the kids inside, threatened to withold dinner for anyone that left the house before I returned, and started hiking the trails to find the dogs. I made a quick 1 mile loop with no sightings. I looked down over the sports fields. Nothing.
I returned home dejected. I didn't know what to do, and I didn't want to just sit and hope they might find their way home. I loaded the kids into the truck and we went searching. We drove around for about 15 minutes, but no luck. I was beginning to think I'd never see my boys again...
We returned home, resigned to a dogless fate. I felt awful. I just adopted these dogs from the shelter 3 weeks ago. I have been given the responsibility to love and shelter and feed and care for them, and I lose them in less than a month.
We got back home and the kids went to the backyard to play and - THERE THEY WERE!!! Right where they had left from more than an hour prior. Except they were soaking wet, as was Bowser, and Max had lost his leash (both dogs were still leashed when they left). I'm guessing they must have ventured to the Cahaba River, about a mile away through the woods, to go for a swim.
Well, I guess all is well that ends well.... Those boys...
February 3, 2008
I don't think I ever appreciated the cumulative benefit of training that you get from multiple consecutive years of training until this month. I've been swimming since July of 2006, with the exception of a couple months off in November and December. It's always been a struggle for me, and I was afraid the couple of months off would put me back at square one. NOT! The yards just flow by so easily it's amazing. I can push hard and then take rests by swimming with an easier stroke without having to grab the wall and gasp. Yesterday I stopped at 1000 yards - my shortest swim this in 2008 - because of a headache and feeling kind of pooped after a trainer ride.
Speaking of headache, I think I might be starting to get sick. I was watching UAB crush Marshall in basketball at Bartow Arena last night when I felt the first hint of a scratchy throat. That plus yesterday's headache and a little more achiness today than I can explain away with training soreness leaves me concerned that I'm about to get hit hard with flu-like stuff. YUCK! But I should expect it. I mean, the last couple of weeks in the ER probably half of the people I've treated had the flu. It's hitting us big-time this year, so watch out!
Until next time, thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin.
January 28, 2008
I responded, after a few seconds hesitation trying to summon the most appropriate thing to say to a man who likely would be dead within a few hours, "Well, I guess as good as can be expected..." And then I took his hand, gave it another squeeze, and he drifted off into that unconscious abyss between life and death.
He was 72. It seems appropriate to say only 72, because I think he should have lived much longer. He never smoked, or drank too much, he fought in wars and represented his people in the political arena. He had a colonoscopy every 5 years and a PSA annually. He took his pneumovax and routine flu shots. He did everything he was supposed to do.
Then again, he was 72. To me, that still seems old. It's more than 20 years longer than my dad lived, and almost 20 years longer than my dad's dad. But this guy had none of my family's bad genes, or bad habits for that matter.
This was the first time I had met him. He was lying on an ER gurney, gasping for breath but not particularly anxious or panicky. He was alone.
Three months prior he had gotten up to pee in the middle of the night and passed out. A doctor's visit followed the next day, and an xray led to a biopsy which showed metastatic lung cancer. He was given a prognosis of 6 months to live. Chemo and radiation wouldn't help him, and the cancer was too extensive to remove surgically. But he told me he never believed them; he thought he would beat it somehow.
For 3 months he toiled along, occasionally having some trouble breathing and coughing a little more, but doing reasonably well. No more doctor visits. No hospitalizations. He didn't tell his family - "didn't want to get them in a worry about nothing" he said.
But the night he came to my ER he started having a harder time breathing. He stayed home struggling for most of the night but when he collapsed to the floor in the bathroom and slammed his right chest into the commode he couldn't stand the pain and was having even more trouble breathing. When he arrived by ambulance about 4 am he was on a 100% oxygen mask with oxygen levels only about 90%, his heart rate was in the 140s, and he was breathing about 40 times a minute. One thing that I try to teach my residents early on is to try to differentiate the patient who is sick sick versus not so sick. This guy was sick sick - no doubt.
He was still coherent, and still competent, despite being critically ill. I sat down beside him, held his hand, got within inches of his face and talked to him while the rest of the ER staff started IVs and got EKGs and blood drawn.
He told me his story, as best he could with the little breath he had. He asked me to call his daughter and explain what was happening, and I did.
His labs and xrays and ekgs revealed to us that he had a heart attack within the last couple of days, that he had multiple broken ribs from the fall, and that his cancer was eating way at both lungs as well as his entire spine, his femurs, and his pelvis.
And so I had to talk to him, about what his options were and about what we could and couldn't do for him. I told him that this wasn't something that he could fix, and that he was going to die within the next day or 2. His daughter arrived.
We all agreed that we would do whatever we could to make him comfortable and let him die as peacefully as painlessly as possible. I ordered repeated shots of morphine and ativan, and we let him drift away.
Ya know, each person has their way that they need to deal with things. Some people won't understand that he wouldn't tell his family he was dying. They might think it was selfish or get angry. But everyone handles their problems uniquely, and there will never be, cannot be, a right or wrong way to handle many of life's scenarios. There can only be your way, his way.
In the end, he got what he wanted. His family never had to worry about him. And as I talked to them in the ER that night, I knew that they understood his decisions. He was intelligent, independent, and strong - and that's how he needed to be remembered.
I guess it went about as good as could be expected...
Thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin. [This story has been altered slightly to protect confidentiality]
January 19, 2008
January 17, 2008
January 8, 2008
I was nervous about it, afraid that anything and everything I have learned over the last couple of years about swimming would be gone - ya know, use it or lose it right... But with the nervousness came a little excitement that by jumping in the water and starting to work on my weakest event, I was in a way committing myself to and beginning training for Ironman.
It's a good thing the water was in the mid 80's because if it at all felt cool I might have just climbed right out and headed for the steam room. But it felt good, and I felt good.
Oh it wasn't pretty.
Take an ugly inefficient stroke and give it a 3 month break and what happens? It gets uglier and more inefficient.
But it was easy at least. I swam 5 x 150 then a 250 and stopped for time constraints rather than fatigue restraints. This was definitely a satisfactory result for me - after all it was less than a year ago when I still couldn't swim a 1000 yards straight.
And with this swim I commence Ironman training.
It feels good to be back!