Photos: Allie’s First Birthday!

 I actually enjoy milestones. And a couple of days ago, September 1, 2017, I was able to join in on the first birthday party of a darling little sweetie, Allie. 🙂

My dear friend Alex and his wife, Jennifer invited sent me an invitation a month beforehand to Allie’s Mad Hatter-themed birthday party.

Now, Allie is as cute as button, and has the most pleasant temperament of any child I’ve seen. She is one of those adorable babies that absolutely brighten your day both in person, and of course, social media.

She has quite a personality of her own…doted on by her parents who were so obviously in love with each other, and a family from both sides that was always, hands-on with her care.

I love babies, don’t get me wrong. Despite not having my own yet, I’ve always looked at them with a kind of hopeful positive feeling that they were going to somehow make things right in the world somehow, in their own way, some day. They were the primordial “soup” that could turn out into a masterpiece should their parents put in all their best efforts. Although I do acknowledge that parenting is not easy, it makes me appreciate all the more the love and care (and time, definitely), mothers and father put into this.

This sweetie here, is a lucky little charm(er). Love her.

😀

“walking on sunshine”

Just when you think life’s a little bit heavy, an angel of an incredibly upbeat and positive song comes up on your spotify work playlist.

“I’m walking on Sunshine…”, crooned on the radio, and their soft voices and the guitar strums really got my attention. It was supposed to be just background music so I could work on my papers, but the “twinkly” opening bars were very catchy.

To be perfectly honest, it had been a very heavy day at work…talking to those who had terminal illness made me think of my own mortality and what little time I have (or we all have) on this earth. Two people talked of cancer, and how they knew that there wasn’t a lot they could do, but wait…and while doing that, be positive in their waiting.

Oftentimes, we make the mistake of taking too long…and waiting for too long, for something…or someone,  that we might never be with. Time is precious…it is the very essence of life, for once it goes through the sieve, it is gone forever.

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(“And I don’t want to spend my whole life, just waiting for you…”) – excerpt of the lyrics

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The beauty of this song, is it its simple and elegant harmonies, and simple wish. It is a reminder of that happy, giddy feeling of anticipation, for a loved one, which happens to be one of the happiest pleasures in life. And if things aren’t happy now, then they eventually will be.

So, alright, this post doesn’t make much sense, but I do love this song. Just what I needed to pick me up. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Serendipity

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Wildflowers in a bucket. August 2017, Silas City.

My family and I went on a road trip around my home island in the Philippines, and we ended up in an ancestral house in Silay City, Negros Occidental (which is closer to Bacolod City). The house, built by a politician/sugar baron named Gaston, was a roomy 12 bedroom house with old world vibes.

It was a wide-open spaced house, with lots of big floor to ceiling windows, and a very large rooms. Walking around, you could almost pretend that you were in a different century (actually, the whole decor reminded me of the period show, The Knick” :-)).

Anyway,  the story of the flowers was that, in a dark house that was so somber, I found a whole bucketful of them.  Actually, I was just walking around the house, with my niece Kylie, who is 10, tagging along, taking her own photos, when I saw these on the floor.

The were a mixed variety of mums and Santans and baby’s breath…all wildflowers picked from outdoors, placed in a tin bucket, probably for use later.  They were really pretty, and with the sunlight washing the office in light, I had to admit, that common weeds that they were, they made for a beautiful bunch of a serendipitous find. Something I would not have seen if I had not looked, and was always preoccupied with something (that I could not possibly do much about.)

It was just really pretty…and I remembered how important it was to be on the lookout for something. It was always helpful to one’s soul to always look for something beautiful, and good everywhere.

………… 

What was your serendipitous surprise today?

– Stephanie

 

 

 

 

Book quote: The view from the cheap seats

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Newest book acquisition: “The View from the Cheap Seats”, by Neil Gaiman. My delight at the words could not be contained. 🙂

“I was always aware, reading Chesterton, that there was someone writing this who rejoiced in words, who deployed them on the page as an artist deploys paint upon his palette. Behind every Chesterton sentence, there was someone painting with words, and it seemed to me that at the end of any particular good sentence or any perfectly-put paradox, you could hear the author, somewhere behind the scenes, giggling with delight. ”

  • Neil Gaiman, “The View From The Cheap Seats”

“How do I say it?”

“How do I say it?”

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The challenges of referring patients with mental health issues in primary care to the Psychiatry service (For tonight’s #Healthxph Tweetchat)

A few days ago, a respected individual learned announced on his Facebook wall that he was going to throw in the towel, and was going to say goodbye to the world. By virtue of his status update, he was able to call to attention his readers, students and friends, who became alarmed at implicit declaration that he was going to end his life. They all became extremely worried, and exhausted all means to reach him before he could do something to harm himself. One of his friends called a psychiatrist for an opinion, and they were advised certain steps to take, and eventually, after everything, the situation was deescalated.

After the incident, his posts took on a more positive note, which made people believe that the worst was over. In a series of “likes” and positive posts, it seemed all was well. Yet, that unfortunate crisis left his friends frantic at the time, not knowing what to do, and hanging their head at the burden of the possibility…”What if he had really done it? I wouldn’t have been able to do anything!”

Well, this is not something uncommon. With social media being ingrained in our lives, it is commonplace to see people dealing with mental health issues online. For the aforementioned individual, all was well and good, because someone reached out to him. But what of the distressed relative, or non-health care practitioner who does not know how  or where to go for help? Or, in practice, what of the physician who has a patient who walks in his clinic “hearing voices” when there is no one there, or who wants to kill himself/herself? Or what of the in-patient attending who encounters a challenging patient who one day, suddenly refuses to eat, sleep, talk, or worse, refuses treatment outright?

All these are legitimate reasons for referring to mental health professionals, psychiatrists in particular, for further management. However, it is never as easy as ushering your patient on to the nearest psychiatrist’s door. Or telling the patient to see one outright, the way you would refer to the, say, ophthalmologist, or the otolaryngology specialist, among others. There is a certain ‘flavor” with referring to a psychiatrist that is met with some initial hesitation, or in extreme cases, vehement disagreement outright.  The stigma of mental illness is particularly strong in our present society and time.

In a study by Ballester and group,(2015), it was agreed upong that general practitioners indicated that they perceived the mental health problems among their clientele, but the diagnosis and treatment of these problems are still seen as a task for specialists. This is not a surprise, because of in a study of 531 general practitioners (Phongsavan), Mental health problems recognised by general practitioners at least once per week were psychosomatic (93%), emotional (89%), addiction (79%), social/economic (71%) and family (69%), two-thirds recognised sexual problems, sexual abuse and major psychiatric problems less frequently than once per week. Sixty-four per cent of general practitioners reported that patients felt uncomfortable about being referred to psychiatrists; 53% complained that that referral service waiting lists were too long; 51% deemed that they were insufficient local mental health services; and 25% indicated that communication difficulties between referring general practitioners and mental health specialists obstructed optimal care.

These are things we have had experiences with, at one point or another in our careers. How do we do this? What do we say? Which brings us to our topic for tonight’s tweetchat:

T1 In your experience, what are the usual reasons/factors that would make you decide to refer to a psychiatrist?

T2. What factors particularly hinder your referral to a psychiatrist?

T3. What are your recommendations to facilitate ease of referral by practitioners to psychiatry service?

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For everyone, this tweetchat is a weekly event (Saturdays, 9PM) on Tphoto for blog article_.jpgwitter, hosted by members of #Healthxph, with different participants,  discussing relevant medical topics using the social media platform Twitter. To join in the discussion, type #Healthxph on search and stay with the latest posts.