Showing posts from 2023

Bilbo the Cat: Bearer of Compassion and Soother of Souls, Before I Realized I Needed Those Things

Have you ever loved a pet -- and had that pet love you in return? I surely have. The photo above is of Bilbo, who was my loving companion in medical school, residency, and beyond. My then-boyfriend gave him to me as an early Valentine's gift. At least that was the story he told. More truthfully, we rescued him from Zayre's Discount Store one snowy afternoon, when we were shopping for a few other things. Bilbo was a scrawny kitten sitting all by himself in a much-too-big cage, yelling his head off as I walked by. A sign said he was "free to a good home." I knelt down to his level on the floor, and was smitten from the first eye contact. The little fluff-ball knew it, too. Reaching his paw out through the bars of his prison, he fully claimed my heart with one tender touch. That was it. D's objections were futile. Our shopping list expanded to include kitten supplies and toys, along with food for his hungry belly. (Zayre's profited by giving him away that day!) H

Loving, Holding, and Letting Go

I haven't been in South Carolina for many years, but am here now for a dear friend and colleague's memorial. She didn't live here herself, but her parents moved to Hilton Head in 2000. The place became home for her family, and served as a delightful setting for many joyful reunions.  So it's no wonder her memorial would be held here -- amidst palmettos, salt marsh, and constantly changing skies. I took a sweet walk at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge [pictured] yesterday, just to savor the place.   It has been a time of fullness, connection, weeping, laughter, remembering, and dwelling at the confluence of spirit and flesh. Since it's January, the skies wept along with the humans. There have also been multiple uncanny events which I will not describe right now, because I do not yet understand them. Later, for that.  Sue and I met when she decided to change her specialty from Ob-Gyn to Psychiatry. I felt so fortunate to participate in her training, because sh

Creativity in Physicians: Vital to Our Lives, and to Medicine Itself

  I met with a new coach the other day, as part of a business-building program. "Why are you focusing so much on physicians?” he asked. “There are so many other people out there, after all."  It seemed a reasonable enough question. Yet my first response (kept to myself) was thinking that in his eyes, I was doing something "wrong." I felt inadequate and shamed – as if caring for my colleagues as a psychiatrist my entire career, was lackluster. These people have always sought me out, everywhere I’ve worked. They've been in all stages of career, from medical school through retirement; many have also been medical leaders. Helping them through whatever they’re experiencing, has come very naturally to me. Beyond my office though, I knew many physicians were suffering even if not diagnostically ill. What about them? Thousands were slogging through burnout, just as I had multiple times myself. I knew they didn’t need psychoanalytic “there and then” approaches so