Monthly Archives: February 2012

BRB. It’s only three letters…

Pet peeve: a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to him or her, to a greater degree than others may find it.

Whilst having a conversation with a friend on Google chat the other day (we were discussing the abortion law recently passed in Virginia), I was confronted by my number one pet peeve: leaving in the middle of a conversation without telling the other person you have gone.

Now, this really only affects electronic communications as having someone walk away from you during a conversation is another problem altogether. When you are conversing with a friend over chat or having a conversation via text, I find it extremely rude to up and leave. A simple “brb” or “hold on” or even “I’m leaving,” will suffice. Letting the person on the other side of the conversation know that you no longer wish to continue the conversation is a courtesy that is somehow lost when you aren’t looking them in the eye.

Why didn't they just type "BRB"?????

The entire situation led to a discussion (with the same friend) regarding our pet peeves. I told him that he had just committed the one action that annoys me the most and then he asked what the rest of my “peeves” were.

So I told him.

1. Leaving in the middle of a conversation without telling the other person you have gone.

A quick message telling the person you are talking to, that you are leaving is all that is required. This will allow the person you are leaving to stop typing/texting, so that way they don’t type a well thought-out, lengthy response which is subsequently lost to the Internet
nether-void.

2. When a driver ahead of me refuses to turn right on a red light (it is legal in California).

No one is coming. No one is in front of you. You have a line of cars behind you. We aren’t in NYC. You aren’t breaking any laws by just turning right. More so than people who drive slow, straddle the median or use their turn signal miles in advance of their turn, I hate people who refuse to turn right on a red light.

3. Holding the door open for someone, who is far enough away that they feel the need to run so you don’t have to keep holding the door open for them.

I don’t understand why some people do this. It’s not that much of an inconvenience to open a door. I very much dislike the fact that I feel obligated to speed up my pace, because the person 50 feet in front of me wants to be chivalrous. It has gotten to the point that I no longer quicken my pace to meet the person holding the door. If they feel the need to open the door for me when I’m so far away I assume they don’t mind holding it open while I walk to the door.

4. Patients who miss their appointments, don’t call the day of the appointment, then call days later to reschedule.

This is a very physician centric peeve. When an appointment is made months in advance (and the majority of mine are), I assume that you free up your schedule and won’t schedule something that would conflict with the appointment. It always amazes me, however, when someone doesn’t show up for their appointment. Even after a call from my assistant, which is normally ignored, people still miss their appointment. Several days, or even weeks later, the patient will call and ask if they can reschedule for “later in the day” or “in a few hours.” While I understand that things come up, calling my office to let me know that the appointment is cancelled is common courtesy.

5. Waiters/servers that hover over your table while you’re eating.

On my first trip to any new restaurant, one of the first things I look for is a great waitstaff. One of the things I always look for is a servers timing. I hate it when a server checks on me every few minutes. I get that they need to turn tables in order to make more money, but I want to be able to enjoy my meal with my friends.

When I was younger I hated playing Manhunt with people who had outside dogs. I don’t know that it could be considered a “pet peeve,” but it was the absolute worst to find the best hiding place and then to have their dog bark at you until you were found. I would often put their dog inside, but even then it would run around the house barking at us as we ran around in their backyard.

People’s pet peeves have always been interesting to me. Some of them can be so specific and strange that I wonder how often they are actually encountered. A friend of mine hated summer because he despised flip-flops. He hated the sound flip-flops made and would actively avoid places where people may be wearing flip-flops. As his friends, we found his hilarious and would annoy him by wearing flip-flops while he was around. In retrospect, it was mean and I wouldn’t do it now!

I am curious about other pet peeves people have though…

Question(s):What are some of your pet peeves? What are some of the weirdest pet peeves you have encountered?

There is no word for Valentine in Dothraki…

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Spend time with your sweetheart, eat lots of candy (as long as you save me some Gummy Hearts) and remember to tell the one you love, you love them.

Just Checking

I have lived with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for as long as I can remember. It started when I was younger, my mother noticed that I needed to touch everything. This included the leather boots of a friend of hers who came over to visit. As soon as the woman sat down, I immediately laid down next to her and “petted” the boots à la Gollum. Thankfully I was young and the woman was a good friend, so it seemed less creepy.

The need to touch everything continued and my mother started to worry that something was very wrong. She found me straightening the fringe on our oriental rugs, separating out colours compulsively and checking on random things obsessively. I became increasingly obsessed with our dogs getting out, so much so that I would check the locks on the doors in the middle of the night. I scared my mother to death walking around the house at all hours. Whenever she would catch me out of bed and ask me what I was doing up at such an hour, I would respond with, “Just checking.” Just checking the locks. Just checking the dogs. Just checking that the lights were off. Just checking that everything was where it was supposed to be.

Around the age of six, my mother had finally had enough. She dragged me to a therapist who wouldn’t allow me to touch anything or rearrange his desk. It was torture. He made me sit still for the entire two-hour session and would even tie my hands together so I couldn’t fidget with things. When my mother found out he practiced this way, she immediately found another therapist. I started to learn ways to control my compulsions. Playing with rubber bands, strings and even reading books. When I didn’t show enough progress, however, the second therapist put me on medication. It zombied me out completely and my mother had them take me off medication shortly after.

It was around this time that I left for Vienna and without any sort of therapy, my compulsions began to get worse. I would spend hours perfecting my ballet technique, to the detriment of my growing body. Even at such a young age, I began obsessing over my weight. I would weigh up to four times day, often sneaking into the weighing room in-between practices. I would go long periods without eating very much and was constantly in the clinic due to dehydration. Ballet gave my OCD an outlet. I could control every aspect of dance and it was an obsessive compulsive’s nirvana.

Everything here is perfect. You can control your surroundings.

When I left Vienna, my mother noticed how bad I had become right way. She put me back in therapy three days a week, but did not allow me to take any medications. Slowly I got better and eventually I was only attending 1-2 sessions a month. The last therapist I had in Poland was my favourite. She was kind, knowledgeable and would let me rearrange her desk. She realized that if she could teach me how to quiet my disorder and focus, I could motivate myself to excel at any task set before me. She pinpointed my worst obsessive compulsive meltdowns to periods of intense stress and she then tried to teach me different techniques to mediate stress. Leaving her behind when I moved to the States was difficult and I found it harder to control my disorder.

Throughout my years in school, I tried to hide my tics and compulsive behaviors from my peers. I was terrified that one of them would out me after seeing a tic or ask me questions about why I was constantly fidgeting with something. Thankfully I was never confronted about my disorder directly, though it did garner me some strange looks from lab partners. I managed to excel in high school, even though I had to deal with my obsessive compulsive behaviors. It did bother me when my friends would tease about having OCD. They would fix a spot on a poster and say something like, “Oh my G-d, I totally have OCD” or “She is so OCD about…” I never liked how OCD was treated so non-nonchalantly.

Not OCD

Throughout university, I began to extensively research how to deal with obsessive compulsive disorder and its subsequent tics. I spoke with my professors and physicians about treatments, attended weekend lecture series and spent a good chunk of my time learning to control my compulsions. By the end of medical school, I was well-versed in areas of OCD treatment and was able to deal with it.

All of my research led me to conclude that, while not curable, obsessive compulsive disorder can be controlled. I found that through a combination of medications, psychotherapy, physical activity and stress mediation, I could control the majority of my compulsions. I began focusing my energy on specific hobbies (which would often cause me to procrastinate in other areas) until I was an expert. By learning about how to treat OCD, I (ironically) felt more in control. This caused me to focus on “curing” my disorder and ultimately I was able to overcome a lot of my tics.

So what do I have to say to those who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder? Don’t give up. You can learn to live with OCD, even though it may be hard, you can persevere. Actively seek treatment, learn what sets you off, teach yourself how to mediate stressful situations (or avoid them all together). Find support groups, look to your support system that surrounds you and learn how to live with your tics. You shouldn’t be ashamed of having OCD and you shouldn’t have to stress about hiding it.

Question(s): Do you know someone with OCD? Do you suffer from OCD?

My Puppy

On January 31st at 4:00 p.m., we had to put our family dog of 12 years, to sleep. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and his quality of life had greatly diminished. He was hardly eating, extremely uncomfortable and I could tell he was experiencing some pain. We were worried about him over the last few weeks and I had flown home to be with him. Over the course of my lifetime, we have had many pets. I have had other dogs, cats, ferrets, rats and even reptiles, yet no other pet has affected my life the way Max has. The greatest emotional attachment I have had to any of my pets, I experienced with him. He has been the greatest gift anyone has ever given to me and to know that he is gone is heartbreaking.

I have never actually been present when a pet of mine has passed away. Most of the outside cats have just vanished, the smaller animals didn’t affected me as much (though I was still sad) and my three dogs all died peacefully in their sleep. We have put other animals down due to cancer or fatal injuries, but I have never been there for those. Most of the deaths of our pets occurred during my years at university and my residency in NYC. Getting a phone call that a pet has died is always hard, but I guess it actually softened the blow because I didn’t see them. With Max, however, I was with him at the end. I owed him that, but it was so hard. Seeing the light go out of his eyes and looking at his tiny body on his favourite pillow, so silent and still, was one of the most painful images I have ever seen.

Max was a different kind of pet. He had been given to me by my boyfriend, who then became my fiancé. Even though he and I are no longer together, we shared a common interest in the dog. He would call from time to time, just to check on the puppy and see how he was doing. I loved Max to pieces and I know he did as well. When when found out Max had liver cancer, I called him right away and he was devastated. He told me that whatever the dog needed, he would be glad to help. I know that he wanted to be with Max in his last days, but he respected that we aren’t together and let him be with us. I appreciated that.

Even though Maximus was my dog, he loved my mother the most. Since I was moving around so much, my mother offered to take him and look after him. The plan was for me to take him back when I settled, but I couldn’t take him away from my mother after she was so attached. It was hard, but I relented because I knew that they could take better care of him than even I could. And they did, they spoiled him rotten. Even though this experience has left me devastated, I know that it can not even hold a candle to the pain my mother is experiencing.

I have scoured the internet, look for words to help me describe what I feel right now. I’m not going to write a poem, I’m no poet. I have photographs of him, but I’m not a photographer. I could draw him, but I’m planning on painting a canvas for my mother. She was the one who was with him the longest and she is the one who he depended on the most. So how can I bring some closure to his death?

For me, the best way is to write to him.

My Max,

It was always you who greeted me, not so patiently at the door when I came home. Tail wagging, nose pressed up against the glass leaving marks to let me know you had been ever so vigilant. Your excitement to see me, even after I had just ventured out to get the mail, was so infectious that it made me happy to see myself.  Your loyalty was unfaltering, up the stairs and down the stairs, curled up at my feet or sitting quietly by my side. You were my little, courageous protector through all those nights I was alone. You made me feel safe,  you kept me warm and you made the house feel more like a home.

The personality that you contained in your small being, was greater than most people I know. You were such a lover, so playful and the smartest dog I have ever seen. You understood so much, probably even more than we gave you credit for. With every click-clicking of your nails on the floor, I was comforted to know that you were there. You brought me joy with every bark and howl, even at 3 in the morning.

Maximus, my puppy. I hope that you know that everyone loved you. You were the most amazing gift I have ever been given. No dog will ever live up to you and I will think about you constantly. You have given me some of my best memories, which will last me a lifetime. You have brought such an amazing amount of love into my heart, which is where you will always be.

I love you Max and I will miss you.