Sunday, May 22, 2011

the life aquatic

I've been a little sporadic with the updates lately, and I apologize for that.  It's just that--well, I was away from home for about a week, and even though I'm really glad that I took the time for the book tour, I had a lot of guilt about leaving my kids, as one does.  It's one thing to be away for work--especially when you work in medicine, most of those long days and late nights can at least be couched in obligation or altruism, I DID IT FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND and all that.  But there's no way around it, leaving home for a week to do book promotion was in large part elective and as such, felt somewhat self-indulgent, so I've been trying to make it up to my kids since then.  Mostly this involves spending a lot of time with them and taking them to the pool, largely so that they could cower by the water and tell me how cold it was.

(At the end of that clip, do you know how hard it was not to start launching into some discussion about hyperventilating at an FiO2 of 100% prior to breath-holding?  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Better for you, really.)

I had my last book event (for this round of book events, anyway) this past Thursday at the Atlanta History Center, and I have to say, it was the event that I was the most nervous about, mostly because 1.) people had to buy tickets to get in, which ramps up my responsibility not to be a blithering idiot somewhat, and 2.) this particular audience, more so than any other event on my tour, had the highest percentage of people who knew me in real life, and whom (I imagined) would spend the rest of my life giving me pitying glances wrapped in dulcet words of encouragement if I really bungled my talk.  I don't like to speak from a lot of notes (there's something inorganic and stilted about being too prepared; see the last Grand Rounds I gave for evidence) so while I had a few bullet points to sort of lead me down the garden path, largely I spoke extemporaneously.  It actually went pretty well, I think.

If you look all the way to the back of the room, you can actually see Cal sitting at the table playing iPad, which I specifically told him to do not only so that he wouldn't get fidgety, but so he wouldn't be paying attention to any of the bad words I was saying during my reading excerpts.  Mack was running around in the lobby (he kept pointing and shouting "Mama! Mama!" while I was at the podium so Joe removed him expediently and they spent the entire evening looking at Atlanta History Center promotional posters), and the one other kid in the audience was, like, 4 months old, so who cares, BABIES DON'T KNOW ANYTHING.  Who knew a memoir about medicine and parenthood could be so corrupting?

Anyway, it's been a very exciting two weeks, but I'm really glad to be going back to work tomorrow.  For all its fallibility and uncertainty, there is a certain concreteness to medicine that I miss, as well as that feeling that that feeling that small everyday actions can make a large, lasting difference.  I know that's true in life overall, not just in medicine, but in a hospital at least, there's usually coffee and day-old donuts hiding somewhere.

And now I'll leave you with this.  Here is a chicken in Uganda pecking at my book.  Why?  More like WHY NOT?

That is all.  (Thanks, Veronica!)


  1. Oh man, I have so been anticipating the Ugandan chicken photo! It does not disappoint...

  2. Anonymous11:31 PM

    Wow,, please tell me. More about the book!

  3. The chicken particularly liked the part where you become a hippie.

  4. I did grow a pretty mean beard.