Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Archive for May, 2012

An EPIC Adventure IV: I’m In!

Been wondering where I’ve been on this one? Well, a couple of months of frustration, unable to log onto the CCF system either from my office (password issues) or the Surgery Center (no idea), followed by a brilliant phone call with one of the tech support folks downtown and a meeting with Andrew at the Surgery Center and I’m in!

Oooops…well, all is not ducky, but not too bad, really. 50 some odd op notes to sign, a couple dozen useless, unnecessary PAT lab sheets to ignore (we have patients sign a disclaimer punting all interactions re: PAT for cataract surgery to anesthesia who demanded it), and then the stab in the eye: 50+ med orders to sign that were ALREADY SIGNED  in the OR. Thankfully my guy Andrew promised to handle the duplication on the pharmacy side of the equation with a little “education”.

So, I was feeling pretty good when Andrew asked about my standard op note which magically appears the week after surgery to be signed; I have one for right eyes and one for left, all teed up for any case that doesn’t deviate from the norm, representing upward of 80% of my cataract cases. Takes me ~2.5 seconds to sign each one. It turns out that the vaunted Cleveland Clinic is about to move to a digital signature only status for everything. That’s right boys and girls, come October I will have to log on, sign in, find each one, designate the eye or in some other way prove I was there, and “sign” the op note. Yup, ~2.5 seconds per chart will then turn into somewhere closer to 3 or 4 minutes. For the record my “cut-to-close” time for a standard case is roughly 6 minutes.


Let’s hear it for increased efficiency! Decreased errors! More accountability! Oh…right…we’re not having any problems with any of that now, are we? Well then, let’s hear it for progress!

Sunday Musings 5/27/12: The Student -> Teacher Arc

Sunday musings…

1) Squirrels. Apparently a deadly scourge that needs daily policing. At least according to Lil’bingo’s dog.

2) Memory. Mine? Seems shot. When did that happen? If it’s not written down on something somewhere it seems never to have come up.

3) “Murph.” The WOD that keeps on giving. Stairs this AM? No, thank you. Squat down to put away dishes? No way. My upper body just checked in to bingo HQ: unavailable today. Please check back tomorrow. Thankfully 2 days of recovery before my day job kicks back in.

Just a heads up for all of you doing “Murph” today and tomorrow

4) Armageddon. I was thinking about an Arthur C. Clarke short story ( I think it was Clarke) about the end of the universe. Silly thoughts really, something about medicines and how could they possibly manufacture all of the medicines that a space Ark’s denizens would need. Pharmaceutical factories are HUGE ya know.

It was the writing I was really thinking about, though. The story was about the impact of technology on religion and faith. A small group of monks had been counting the stars for hundreds of years, their belief being that when each star was counted the universe would cease to exist and everything would revert to Creation. A computer sped up the count by a factor of a billion or so.

The final lines were simply poetic: “Then, up in the sky, without any fanfare, the stars began to go out. One by one.”

Real writers do stuff like that, write sentences that are simply better than other sentences. They do it all the time, and they do it over and over again. It’s not just the authors of literature, either. Every paragraph that Tim Layden writes for SI contains a sentence that is better than 99.9% of the treacle emanating from my keyboard. Every single one.

4) Students. Life consists of a series of arcs, curves on a scale. The student -> teacher arc, how much we teach vs. how much we learn, has to be one of the more complex of these arcs. The progression from student to teacher, one who is a net gainer of knowledge vs. one who is a net provider, seems to be equally complex and varied. Each one of us should, and around here surely seems to strive to continue to be a learner, a student of things both new and familiar.

It’s the opportunity to teach and how we seize (or fail to seize) that opportunity that interests me today. Think back to your school years and the different types of students you encountered. The “can’t miss” kids who just seemed to get it, get it fast, and get it right time and time again. The “gonna get it” kids who didn’t know that they were actually “cant’ miss” but hadn’t figured it out yet. Almost any kind of teaching was going to work for these groups; the main goal for the teachers was not to screw them up.

It was the “not too sure about this one” types and the “uh,oh…this one might be trouble” kids where you really hoped that the teaching would be top notch. First rate. From the outside you peek in and silently hope that these are the kids who get assigned to the teachers who are to teaching what the Tim Laydens and Arthur C. Clarkes are to writing.

There are other types of teaching out there, though. Think of all the kids who discovered some activity into which they could pour themselves, molded by coaches or instructors who were committed and passionate about not only the activity but also those to whom they passed on the passion. It’s a big-time effort in small-time venues most of the time. Most of these coaches and instructors, at least the ones who make a lasting impact on the “I don’t know about this one” kids, do it out of love for the activity and love of the teaching. Think assistant coach on a Jr. High football team or High School band director rather than Urban Meyer or Jimmy Ivine. Think every CF Kids instructor. Think about where you might be on that student -> teacher arc and how you might become that one teacher who is the shepherd who leads that “I don’t know about this one” kid through all of the phases that lead to “can’t miss.”

Everyone can teach; one simply needs to recognize that they have moved to that part of the arc and seize the opportunity.

“The Heir” and Lil’bingo were talking about a new member starting 6/1. Now, in a young Affiliate every member is a big deal. They were really excited about this one because he’s just finishing his freshman year in High School. “We get him for three years, Dad. Can you imagine the difference we’ll be able to make?!”

You bet I can. That kid can’t miss.

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at May 27, 2012 7:51 AM


Sunday musings 5/20/12

Sunday musings…

1) Milestone. “Lovely Daughter”: “Girls don’t graduate, they just move.”

2) Villain. Where are they? Seriously, where are the CrossFit villains? I’m not talking about folks who have run afoul of CrossFit, Inc, but rather about the kind of villains that fans cheer AGAINST. You know, like Conrad Dobler in the NFL, or Barry Bonds, or Ivan the Terrible, Brock Lesner.

Where are they? In every other sport there are villains with whom you compare your heroes and your favorites. The guy who takes a dive, the ingrate, the traitor. They’re everywhere, but they are not here. One competitor was well on his way to achieving a measure of at least dislike a couple of years ago in SoCal and now he’s showing up on Main Page and Games demo videos. Epic villain failure.

If you know the CrossFit community I guess you wouldn’t be all that surprised by this, but we’ve grown so much you’d figure that by this time we’d have at least one villain, or even a villain wannabe, or maybe someone with a villain starter kit. Nope…nada. Not a one.

I’m gonna enjoy this for as long as it lasts.

3) CrossFit. Why CrossFit? What is CrossFit? Who does CrossFit? Who should do CrossFit? These are the questions that each one of us has asked of ourselves, and each one of us is asked these questions regularly. In a brilliant and inspired move CrossFit HQ has offered us the answers to all of them over the last month or so through the juxtaposition of the publicity surrounding the CrossFit Games (CrossFit as competitive sport) and “Killing The Fat Man” (KTFM, CrossFit as life/health prescription).

No one can deny the spectacle that is the CrossFit Games. My oh my, the gulf that exists between me and the WOMEN competing in the Regionals is so vast it beggars description; it’s hardly worth the electrons to even ponder the performances of the men as a comparison. Strength, agility, stamina, all 10 of our fitness domains are on display in a way that is as  impressive as watching the best athletes in any professional sport ply their trade. CrossFit is a worthy platform for the all-around fittest athletes on the planet to compete.

Are the Games the ultimate expression of CrossFit? I think CrossFit has answered this by posting KTFM during Games season. Love him or not, Gary Roberts epitomizes what is possible if the CrossFit Rx is applied to that broad swath of humanity that will never, ever set foot in any form of competitive CrossFit arena. Indeed, Games Director Dave Castro said as much last week at the Central East Regionals. You could make a case that the vast majority of CrossFitters should NEVER compete with anyone other than themselves (except perhaps as part of building a community).

Why CrossFit? It works. Who should CrossFit? You.

4) Thanks. It’s a very special day chez bingo. “Lovely Daughter” is graduating from college, on time, with Honors. You might reasonably ask why this is a big deal, and what this might have to do with CrossFit. You see, we almost lost this beautiful girl in her teens, just around the time I discovered CrossFit.

CrossFit had nothing to do with saving my daughter’s life, but it was certainly CrossFit and the people in and of CrossFit that saved mine. 3 days on, 1 day off I went to a gym and laid bare all of my fears, my anxieties, my anger. I brought them to each WOD, and more importantly I left them in that dark place we enter when we have pushed ourselves to a brink. Unburdened of that day’s emotional mines and conditioned to now better handle the pressure of moving through the emotional mine field ahead, I was quite simply better at being the Dad and husband I needed to be at such a difficult time.

At the same time the CrossFit community gave me a place to go, to grow, to be all of those little parts of me that were whatever version of good I might have. I found friends here, at first on CrossFit.com and then, well, everywhere. I’ve been blessed to meet many of you for real, to shake your hands, to give and receive hugs, new friends in the flesh found first in the cyber-gym. When much was dark you gave me light.

Thank you, Coach, for this CrossFit. For the program itself. For my seat at the CrossFit table and my tiny little corner of the CrossFit community. For your friendship and all of the other friendships born here. Thank you all for unknowingly being part of helping a family come through the darkest of days and into the light. It’s another good day to be a CrossFitter.

It’s graduation day!

I’ll see you next week, and every next week you’ll have me…



Sunday musings 5/13/12

Sunday musings…

1) Stalls. Either the dividing walls are low or there are some very tall guys at the Expo Center.

2) Production. I admit it…I have a CF problem. I watched the video feed of the Central East Regionals on Friday while doing unavoidable stuff. They were pretty darned good. Not NFL Game Day good, but frankly the ESPN3 feed and the CrossFit on-air talent was better than much of what we see on ESPNU by a long shot. Very fun, even for the non-CF’ers with me.

Makes me very excited to see what’s to come from Carson and the Games this summer.

3) People. “I like the animals; I LOVE the people”. (Movie quote). Sub in “workouts” for “animals” and you pretty much have CrossFit nailed for me.

Why? It’s a combination of finding the same thing each time I meet people in the CrossFit community for the first time, and watching the personal development of CrossFit folks I’ve known for many years. It never fails to amaze me how CrossFitters assume goodwill on the part of another CrossFitter they’ve just met. There is an assumption that you are going to be friendly, maybe friends. You welcome, and are welcomed by, each new CrossFit acquaintance, and it happens right away.

Without plans while waiting to hear from a friend last night I received no fewer than 6 invitations to dinner, most from folks I only really know a little, and one from a family I’d just met. Many thanks to all, but especially to the parents of one very special competitor who extended an invite to the Old Guy they’d literally just met!

It’s also striking to watch the personal development of CrossFit folks I’ve known for years now. Some of these people have become really big deals, and not just the competitors. Bigger jobs with lots of visibility and responsibility, successes piling upon one another. And yet each of these folks has retained a sense of humility that seems to be so often lost in other worlds as success arrives. They seem quite happy, too, even when under the gun. Their memories are long and the goodwill endures. One of them, arguably the busiest CrossFit person on the premises, took a few minutes he didn’t have to chat with an old friend. I’m glad I could make it too, Tony!

I spent a lot of my day smiling yesterday.

4) Mother’s Day. There’s a rather serious tone that pervades our CrossFit world when a new Hero is first introduced. Indeed, there’s been a rather serious tone ’round these parts ever since the “CrossFit for Hope” benefit was announced. How, you might ask, are these two things related, and how, for Heaven’s sake, are they related to Mother’s Day?

“He is survived by his parents, Ray and Pat…”

It’s been said that there are few things that are more painful than losing a child. No parent should have to bury a child. How often have you heard something like this? It’s a hard and dangerous world out there, and men like Mark Forrester do the hard and dangerous work necessary to keep the rest of us safe and secure. We mourn them, thank them for their sacrifice, but especially today we must look homeward toward a mother who has lost a child. We must look to her with arms outstretched to offer whatever support and comfort might be had.

Illness presents a different scenario, one that feels quite random and altogether unfair. No one asks for a life-threatening illness; no one volunteers for cancer. It’s especially poignant when this befalls a child, and then by extension a parent. It consumes you, fills up all of the spaces in your world and then some as you fight to save your child. There seems to be so little you can do, your desire and willingness to do so much notwithstanding.

This is in part because the people and the things that will help a mother save her child are the fruits of labors long-completed, the harvest of plantings made possible by the generosity of those who have gone before. 40 years ago only 25% of so of children with childhood leukemia survived. Now, through the generosity of millions and the foresight and talent of people like those at St. Jude’s hospital, ~90% of children survive.

90% survive to celebrate a Mother’s Day.

This is how these things are related, and this is what we should talk about when we discuss “CrossFit for Hope.” We are led by generous people who genuinely care about stuff like this, and it is on this that we should focus. Especially today.

So Happy Mother’s Day to Pat Forester; we grieve for your loss M’am and we pray for your comfort. Happy Mother’s day to Mrs. Foucher in Columbus, Ohio; thank you for sharing stories of your daughters and for your gracious dinner invitation. Happy Mother’s day to Grambingo, who is still convinced that her eldest is in need of parenting (which he may very well be!), and to Grammybingo who is comfortable that her daughter will ask if she does.

And Happy Mother’s Day to my darling Mrs. bingo, still blessedly the mother of 3 children through the generosity and talents of others long ago which were harvested when our child was in need.

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at May 13, 2012 5:34 AM


Sunday musings 5/6/12

Sunday musings…

1) 5/5. Missed it. Cinca de Mayo is a fun tradition chez bingo; my day job intervened. Illness respects neither the clock nor the calendar.

2) Thug. The world’s biggest rabbit sleeps safely in his steel hutch despite three dogs who are very interested in his “well-being.”

The dogs discovered free-range cousins of Thug’s in the back yard. Didn’t go so well for the cousins.

Thug sleeps on.

3. Title IX. This is the 40th anniversary of the landmark federal legislation known as “Title IX”. Imagine, 40 scant years ago schoolgirls were cheerleaders or they sat in the stands. College athletic programs for women were offered as an after-thought if they were offered at all. The sports themselves were different, too. Ever see a video of a 1960’s girls basketball game? Weird.

Now? A 40 years-long explosion of athletic involvement and achievement in high schools and colleges across the land. Athletic scholarships for every sport that both men and women play. Indeed, at some schools the women’s teams are more successful and draw more fans than the men’s version.

Is it truly equal now? Have we reached a stage where there is true parity between men’s and women’s sports at the high school and college levels? Nah. Of course not. There’s this tiny little elephant in the room called football that thus far has no counter-balancing women’s equivalent, and it’s the biggest sinkhole of expenses at every single level. Drives the advocates of women’s sports nuts, but also screws up the math for men’s sports as well (more in a moment).

I have to confess to profoundly mixed emotions about this anniversary and Title IX. I have 2 sisters, both of whom played 3 sports in high school and both of whom made at least one Div. 1 team in college. It’s quite likely that they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to even play any of their sports at either level without Title IX. I have had too many friends to count who played field hockey, basketball, soccer volleyball in school who were able to take the lessons learned on the court or in the locker room and translate them into greater successes in life. Just like the boys.

So why the mixed emotions? The law of unintended consequences has never been repealed, and it rears its ugly head all the more frequently when a law is placed the the hands of single-issue tunnel-visioned do-gooders. Title IX has been responsible for the death (or failure to birth) of more men’s and boy’s athletic programs than any other single cause. The complexity of the math inherent in the law coupled with the one-gender viewpoint of those who enforce it has led to the demise of countless wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball and other programs on the MEN’S side of the ledger. Providence college dropped it’s baseball program the year after it made it deep into the NCAA play-offs due to Title IX.

I’m sorry…that’s whacked. Title IX makes no mention of “men” or women”, simply that there be no discrimination based on gender. The boy’s lacrosse program at our local high school was in danger of being dropped because it upset the balance and there was no new girl’s sport to make things “even”. Why? It wasn’t due to lack of support, simply that until this year there was no community call for a girl’s team. Whacked.

I wrote once about the difficulty of having a conversation with a “one-issue” person, someone who cannot see any aspect of the other side of an issue. Blind to it. How is it OK to deny young men the opportunity to play baseball of all things? And this at a school that does not field a football team.

Ah. There it is. The elephant in the room. The other “one-issue” individual in the conversation un-willing or unable to see any aspect of the other side. For it is football, of course, that skews the numbers in most circumstances. Providence College should be ridiculed, and one-gender Title IX crusaders mocked for allowing a fundamental sporting opportunity to be dropped in a non-football school. A pox on both sides, there.

But what of the others? The schools that drop successful wrestling, volleyball, tennis, and swimming programs for the men in order to balance the numbers and protect football (and basketball money)? What of the non-gender blind Title IX advocates who allow this to happen? What of the one-issue football supporters wearing blinders that prevent them from seeing anything in April other than Spring Practice? A pox on both sides here as well.

Reasonable people masquerading as adults should be able to resolve the football issue in a weekend. Heck, we’ve solved the BCS thing, haven’t we?

The original intent of Title IX was absolutely to remove the barriers to women and girls playing school sports. To bastardize that virtuous intent into a law that reduces the participation of anyone of any gender is shameful. We have seen in CrossFit and the CrossFit Games that equal participation results in equal thrills.

So Happy Anniversary to Title IX. Here’s hoping she is “born again” as she cruises toward 50.

Posted by bingo at May 6, 2012 7:49 AM


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