Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Sunday, January 27, 2008
    How To Knit a Dr Who Scarf

    I once dated a guy who had an authentic Dr Who scarf in his possession and would wear it at every possible opportunity - as in every Halloween, campus party, etc. (I don't mean "authentic" as in "it was on the show" but as in "knitted to those specifications.") I forget who knitted it for him - it certainly wasn't me. Just for nostalgia's sake I went online to see if there might be instructions for knitting said scarf, and what do you know! There they are. (Oh, who am I kidding? This is probably one of the first things ever posted on the Internet.)

    I am not exactly an experienced knitter but I have tried my hand at a couple of scarves, which are what every neophyte knitter starts with. Should you be having a long slow winter and care to have a go, be my guest - just click on the link above.

    ::starts to hum Dr Who theme::


    Saturday, January 26, 2008
    Color Clash

    The NOAA website color-codes all its weather warnings and forecasts. Usually its map of southern California is pretty quiet, either completely blank or perhaps with one or two blocks of color showing up. Things get more active with the winter storms, though, as you can see here. This is what we're dealing with tonight.


    Dr. Alice Has a Camera; Be Very Afraid

    At least once a month and sometimes once a week I spend a significant chunk of my weekend driving around the city rounding on my nursing home patients. When my patients go to SNFs (skilled nursing facilities) or wind up requiring long term care, I follow them there; it's part of being a primary care MD. Two weeks ago as I was rounding I realized that I still had my digital camera sitting in my purse, where it had been living since my vacation. I decided to liven up my drive by taking random pictures around the city and had so much fun that I plan to do this every time I round.

    Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, early Sunday morning

    Los Angeles in January (when we're lucky; right now it's raining cats and dogs.)

    LET MY PALM TREES GO!! - a shot taken though the parking lot gate of one nursing home

    An arty close-up of the cinderblock wall, same nursing home

    It definitely livened up my day. I'll try to do this again.

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    Tuesday, January 08, 2008
    Picture of the Day

    Aah, Los Angeles in winter. You gotta love it.
    (Thanks to L.A. Observed for this one)


    Sunday, January 06, 2008
    Dilemma (Minor)

    I'm home. Had a lovely vacation, thank you, but I managed to come down with a sinus infection during the second week - this seems to happen nearly every time I travel. Whether it was the change in climate, spending time with five kids (several of whom had respiratory infections) or my allergy to something in the Baja California environment - or a combination of all three - I traveled back sick. I finally knuckled under and started antibiotics, which have made a difference already. Now I just have to shake this cough.

    The dilemma I mentioned above is: do I go in to the office today and start clearing out the two weeks' worth of deadwood on my desk, or shall I stay home nursing my cold? I fully intended to go in but the temptation to stay home is growing, especially since we've had a weekend's worth of rain and we're supposed to get more today. Hmm. I did stay home yesterday... I'm probably going to go in. First, though, let's catch up.

    I spent the week after Christmas in San Jose del Cabo with my parents, my siblings and their families - twelve of us altogether. It was a lot of fun, but given that the kids range in age from nine years to eight months there was not a whole lot of partying going on: I think on New Year's Eve we were all in bed by nine-thirty. I was awakened at midnight by the sound of fireworks, went out on the balcony and was rewarded with one of the most beautiful firework displays I have ever seen, held over the ocean with similar displays up and down the coast and not a speck of fog to ruin it! I've been in other parts of Mexico at this time of year, namely Zihuatanejo and Cancun, and found the humidity plaguing. Unlike these areas, Baja California Sur is a desert climate: there was very little humidity in Cabo and a nice breeze. It's definitely geared to tourists, though rather low key. I believe Cabo San Lucas, the sister town about twenty miles away, is much more "touristy" but we didn't get over there to check it out.

    What really struck me about Baja were the real estate advertisements everywhere; condominiums are being built all over town and the English-language press is chock full of photo spreads and articles about new real estate developments. Interestingly, the Cabo airport has a space for private jets between its two terminals and that space was packed the day we left. I think that in the last fifteen to twenty years the Cabo area has really exploded as a tourist and retirement destination. The people who've been here since it was a collection of small towns in the Seventies have either adapted and built businesses or they've moved on to smaller, more isolated areas.

    Interestingly, I ran across this article about crime in Baja after we returned. From what I can gather the biggest problems are in northern Baja, especially near the border, and many crimes are directed at surfers or take place on the toll roads. We had no problems whatsoever, but we were in a relatively well-developed area with a large population and we did very little traveling around. Also, the beaches in our area are no good for surfing or swimming, with warnings about strong undertow currents plastered everywhere, therefore there's no real beach population to prey upon.

    I do want to tell you about spending time with one of my nephews, who's five years old and possessed of a remarkably morbid imagination which pleases me no end. For example, as we were reading an article about whale watching in the Gulf of California I showed him a picture of a whale right next to a boat full of tourists. His first question: "Can a whale kill you?"

    For a millisecond I considered explaining the plot of Moby-Dick to a five-year-old and then came to my senses. "No."

    "But if it was really, really big, could it kill you?"

    I held up my thumb. "Whales eat plankton. They can't eat anything bigger than this," indicating my thumbnail. "They can't kill you."

    Later that day, in the hot tub next to the condo's pool: "Is it true that if you fall asleep in a hot tub you die?"

    I stared at him in disbelief. "Why are you asking?" I managed. "Where did you hear about this?"

    He pointed to his older brother (who's seven) and who chimed in, "I did hear that."

    "Well," I began, "you could, but only if it was really, really hot and you spent too much time in there and you didn't drink enough water. Then you could faint and drown. That's why hot tubs have limits for how hot they get."

    "What happens if it's one degree too hot?" And so forth. I find it tremendously fun to answer their questions, but I did run into trouble with my sister a few times. When she shrieks at me, "THEY DON'T NEED TO KNOW THAT," I know it's time to stop.

    Speaking of stopping, I guess I've put off going to the office for as long as I possibly can. Catch you later.

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