Monday, August 27, 2012

What to do when a woman wants to show you her breast at a football game?

This is not a riddle or a Mardi Gras story

--but a true experience from my years as a lactation consultant 


This anecdote came to mind when I read a post on Dr. Bryan Vartabedian's blog, 33Charts, on how medical practitioners handle questions from patients and non-patients on social media and in social settings in general.

I have many, many fond memories and humorous stories from my years owning my breastfeeding store, Mother's Best in Baton Rouge.  And this one stands out vividly.

I had just finished a busy Saturday at the store on this particular Louisiana Saturday in September.

My family was already at Tiger stadium, aka Death Valley, waiting for me.  I had stayed after hours helping a customer with her nursing and was already late, and in fact had not only missed kick off but the better part of the first half of the LSU football game I was trying to get to.

I was grateful to find a parking spot not too far off campus and was making my way along a half mile trek to the stadium when I was approached by a friendly past customer just outside Tiger Stadium.

She stopped me to say hello and update me on her baby's milestones.

Hello quickly evolved into "I have one quick question" and can we go over here "so you can look at my breast for me?" 

So there you have it ladies and gentleman,

how you get asked to look at a woman's breast at a football game.


How did I handle it, you wonder?  I told her that her baby was adorable and asked her to come see me at the store.

I once worked for a family practice doc who would scratch his fingernails over the cell phone receiver saying "I can't hear you, the reception is bad..." when his service put through a call about constipation while he was at a ballgame.

What would you have done?  Tell me in a comment.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Not to Wear on Your First Day of PA School

Because I love a good list, here goes:

The hit parade of what not to wear:

#1 The Bikini

Even if you look like this wearing one--don't. 

Actually, especially if you look like this wearing one--don't!




Reasons:  obvious


1.-class mates (girls) will hate you instantly


2.-class mates (guys) will never look you in the eyes again



either #1 or #2, possibly both. 


And guys, this means 

SPEEDO = NO for you.


Just say NO to the Bikini concept, your life in PA school will go smoother.





#2 The Tux

 or any Formal Wear 


Anything that suggests you just rolled in from last night's adventure is a definite NO!


Again, Reasons:  obvious


You are here to learn to be a physician assistant, a medical professional, not a reality show celeb -- that comes later.

If you have to think too hard about this one (or #1), revisit your choice of profession. 


#3 Stiletto Heels 

Or any type of "fun shoe"




-Preserve the longevity of your feet, and your ability to stand on them and be a PA when you finish school.


-Don't look like you violated choice #2


And guys, I guess this means no cowboy boots for you, unless you live in Texas.  

Then anything goes!


#4 Absolutely anything you wore last summer!

For me, this will include the above outfit worn in Cairo this past summer (see my Egypt post, "View from a Camel") with my uncle.  

We were trying to blend in, hence the head scarf and long black robes. You will NOT see me in this in PA school.



Wear something new and different.  Last summer is so five minutes ago! 


You are starting a new and important phase of your life!  Wear something fresh, comfortable and appropriate.



Buy some new mechanical pencils, highlighters.

Stock up your book bag and open up a new page in your life! 



If you are a fellow PA student or a school veteran, let me know in a comment what you would add to this list!





Thanks go out to my fellow blogger at TheLondoner for her photos.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Microbes & Spiders

Bread mold - Aspergillus niger

Microbes we love to hate

I found this cool article on some fascinating microbial organisms we take for granted.   Some of these organisms are beneficial to us yet we fear their reality.

There are many microbes that we are unaware of, many that we know and love and many that we fear disproportionate to their power to interact with us.

Personally, I feel very comfortable handling many pathogenic bacteria and I did so for a living for several years.

I can't say the same for spiders.  I have a disproportionate fear of all spiders.  There will be NO spider pictures on this blog.

Spider Seuss

I do not like spiders.
I do not like them in a tree.
I do not like them with a flea.
I do not like them one or all.
I like spiders not at all.

I don't want to know if there are beneficial spiders or should I say spiders that are beneficial to humans.
I understand that there are many that are helpful to plants.  That's fine plants don't know any better.  I do.


Camp Effie 

Live Oak trees at Camp Effie
A visitor saw a brown widow spider in my yard today. 

It was under a large tree in the front yard hanging on a thread of silk.  She identified it and offered to knock it down.  I declined her kind offer thinking that if it ran on the ground I couldn't see it and it might run up my leg.  Yes, probably irrational.  I'm over thinking spiderness. 

She had previously been bitten by a brown widow and was told by the ER doctor that her hallucinations were a common effect of the bite and "enjoy the trip."


Brown widows a gift from Katrina

These brown widow spiders, a nasty relative of the black widow, were blown into our state from the Caribbean during Hurricana Katrina.  Interesting how weather shapes our for years to come.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Medical Professionalism for PAs (and students thinking of PAdom)

Jim Anderson's article on medical professionalism in this month's JAAPA, brings up some important topics for PAs.  He presents a hypothetical scenario of a supervising physician whose personal life has taken a tumble and their professional conduct has been tarnished by alcohol abuse and a personal, romantic relationship with a patient.  The PA working in this practice has a longstanding relationship with this physician and their obligation of action is brought into focus.

I am very interested in how communication between clinicians and impacts patient care.  This article touches on some key points in communication as well as medical ethics.  The juxtaposition of these two topics is fascinating.

The hypothetical scenario that PA Anderson writes about is shaped by the relationship and rapport that the supervising physician and the PA share.  Therefore, their communication style and habits are key to the central quandary presented in the article.

These are the issues at hand that I see:
  • When does "one" equal "one too many"? OR When is a single violation of ethical behavior at work enough to warrant a whistle blowing action?
  • What are our personal and professional obligations to report bad behavior?
  • When does this become a legal matter that requires participation to avoid legal consequences?
  • How does reporting unethical behavior change our professional relationships?  How does one react to these changes?
  • How are we teaching medical professionalism in PA school?

As I approach the start of my PA school, I am eager to learn more about how we handle situations that challenge our interpretation of medical professionalism.  I've just completed a course this summer in Medical Ethics and was exposed to many fascinating case studies and situations.  I wrote a post on my privilege theory that evolved from my theory of "don't do dumb stuff."

I have worked in healthcare for the last twenty years and have seen instances in the workplace that called for intervention or at least reporting to a manager for action. 

Often the guidelines and standards we learn in school are difficult to apply to the gray edges of everyday life.  We make friendships and collegiate alliances with those we work with and seeing exactly how to act and doing so at the right moment is not always as obvious as it appears in a textbook or classroom scenario.