ACPT 2012

Apr. 3rd, 2012 10:46 pm
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A bit of a delayed entry here--I took the day off from work on Thursday 3/15, and drove into Brooklyn. I stopped at the Wareham liquor mart to check out their cider and mead, otherwise straight on in with no major traffic problems. I met Mom at the Marriott.  She had gotten tickets to a play that night, Seminar.  After a little rest we took the subway to the theater district and walked around Times Square a bit, including the M&M store (much better than the Hershey store). There were a lot of people dressed up like cartoon characters, like Spiderman and Elmo. We ate dinner at an Irish restaurant which was okay. On the way to the play we passed the opening of Death of a Salesman; Martin Short was standing outside. We went to our show, which included Alan Rickman and Jerry O'Connell. It was okay, but several of the jokes went over my heard.

The next day, Friday, we ate breakfast in the hotel, then went sightseeing--first to the United Nations. They were ripping up the fancy circle for the official entrance; the visitors entrance was a tent with metal detectors and bag scanners. There were several world art exhibits, including one of quilts/fabric by or for women seeking rights; also pictures of the Japanese tsunami. The pictures of the previous UN Sec Gens were all small rugs done by Iran. We took a tour with a guide and recorders that could be programmed to different languages; we saw the Nobel medal, a Buddhist stupa, and displays on the UNs work with disarmament, freedoms, and development plans, as well as the General Assembly and Security Council rooms. All very dated to the fifties. We went looking for lunch and ended up at a Chinese restaurant with a very international clientele. Then we took a cab to the Rubin Museum of Himalayan art, which I enjoyed but Mom didn't get. It included modern Indian paintings, and lots of buddhist figurines and mandalas. Then back in the subway to the Marriott, where the puzzlers were gathering. For dinner a bunch of us went to an Italian restaurant around the block, Queen (the Mortons closed this year) and we enjoyed a leisurely dinner, some people going back to watch the palindrome competition. After dinner I played a round of Peter Gordon's Celebrity, then we had Bananagrams at the bar.

Saturday was competition day. We went out for breakfast at a diner down the street which was good. Mom found her friend from Reynolds who was  a rookie and shared our room that night. Puzzle 1 was a little tricky, with a letter addition theme. Puzzle 2, Boustrophedon, was more tricky, with alternate rows of clues reading backwards. Puzzle 3 took phrases that started with two initials, such as PR, and added a third, such as CPR. I felt well about the first three and hadn't heard of any errors. We broke for lunch at Panera's, which handled a large lunchtime crowd with good organization. I picked up a couple crossword books, and admired a wreath made of solved puzzles (but underbid the silent auction). Back in the room again, Puzzle 4 was straightforward--movie title mashup, Puzzle 5 put theme answers partially diagonally (easier than usual for #5), and puzzle 6 killed me with its EEW/IEOH crossing. I will not soon forget IM Pei's first names. My only wrong answer the whole weekend. For dinner we went to an Indian restaurant on Montague, Mom and me and her friend (Daphne?).  For the evening entertainment there was a talk by Matt Ginsberg on his crossword solving computer program, which failed on puzzles 2 and 5 but otherwise did fairly well. Then a multipart game from Puzzlenation--I teamed up with Jan O'Sullivan, and we finished about 30th. (Andrew came in second, all by himself).

Sunday came, I was happy with being in the top sixty or so, despite my error (which was fairly common). We had breakfast again at the diner, and went in for Puzzle 7, which was a basic addition puzzle. So I ended up in my desired spot at 10% pretty much exactly. No trophies for us this year--Mom in fifth for age, I in fifth for New England. I did get a button for beating Dr Fill. The finals were good. I theoretically was faster than the third place B finalist. Tyler Hinman again led the pack in accuracy, and Dan Feyer in speed. Then back home again to the Cape, with just a short nap along the way. 

I saw many of the regular crowd there again--Dave, Bob Kerfuffle, Nancy and Beth, Jan, Peter and Robin.  Michael Sharp stopped at our table Friday night at the bar, but was unfortunately too sick with GE the next day for the competition. Brief hellos to Ryan and Brian, Andrew, Robert. I met the other Cape Codder, Ed Foster. Also Laura Dove, a psychiatrist from middle Massachusetts, who finished one place above me in my region--she was very nice, but will have to be my nemesis next year. Steve King was back again, and did a good job in the talent show. I did beat Jan this year, who must have made an error in the final puzzle. I didn't see Roberta, but she did well, as did Peter. Missing this year were Steve Smith and Marion Strauss, due to family issues; also Ulrich and chefBea.

ACPT 2011

Mar. 23rd, 2011 08:19 am
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I went solo this year, for the first time since ~2005, Mom had a meeting in GA she needed to attend (but she says she'll be back next year.)  After spending too long at work, I drove down to NY, stopping in Mystic for a little 5 Guys, sailing through NYC traffic at 11pm to get to the Marriott hotel.  I met my net-found opera-loving roommate from Pittsburgh, Roberta, and zonked out.
The next morning (Friday) we went out to a diner for breakfast together, then I went off to the Metropolitan Museum.  I hit the Egyptian rooms (statues of Pharoahess Hatshepsut and 'visible storage' of lots of beads and findings) and the American Wing (lots of furniture, visible storage of everything, beautiful Tiffany stuff) and grabbed a bite to eat, before dipping into the European wing, deciding I was getting overloaded and went to find the special exhibits--Tibetan prayer rugs (flayed men, to remove ignorance and greed), guitars (including a Strad and an Amati violin), and boxes (etui and puzzle boxes).  Then I went out to Central Park.  The lawns were closed, the croci and daffodils were open, I saw turtles in Turtle Pond, and climbed Belvedere Castle.  Then I went back to Brooklyn.

Placements so far:
05     196/455  43%
06     166/498  33%
07     204/698  29%
08      98/699   14%
09     134/684  19%
10     110/644  17%
11      84/655   12%
(12     59/586   10%, or it was 10% before the readjustments)
(13     88/573    15%)
(14    100/580   17%)
(15    189/567   33%)
(16    89/597 15%)

Back to this past weekend.  On Friday I met up with Dave's group, including Bob, Marion, Nancy and Beth, Sparky, Jeff, and a couple others (including an internist from Floriday).  We went out to Morton's for a lavish steak dinner, which was very nice.  Half of us skipped the evening entertainment (a magician and cryptic crosswords) and just hung out there, then went back and played some Anomia in the lounge.  I also saw my first game of Celebrity there.  Finally hit the hay about eleven.

Saturday morning, up earlyish, I hit my favorite deli (ie within walking distance) for a bagel and caffeine, found a place near the front on the aisle to sit, and went off to do some morning puzzles.  Went back for the usual opening ceremonies, met my seatmate Steve King who was a rookie, also ( I think) George Hyde.  Did pretty well on the first puzzle, but took time to notice the (helpful) theme.  Chatted with Jan O'Sullivan in the hall, and her Millionaire co-player Andy Kravis (9th place for rookies!).  Second puzzle tougher, Brooklyn oriented.    The third puzzle was a Reagle pun-fest.  Afterwards our group from the previous night reconvened to find a Thai place for lunch that one member had fond memories of.  It turned out to be a fair walk, and Beth has bad feet, so we did cabs back to the Marriott.  But the lunch was lovely.  It was the first time Dave had eaten Thai food, although he insisted on the tofu being removed from his pad thai, he enjoyed it.
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Stuff to remember from summer past--really did not suck as much as last year.  Saw the babies and the rest of the family at July 4th;  had a very nice visit, good concert from some guy on Broadway whose name I can't remember, fireworks up close and far off.  Concerts:  Melody Tent with Melissa Ethridge, Hanson, Adam Lambert.  (Last David Cook I saw now almost a year ago).  At Third Fret with Les Sampou  Working a bit on quilting again--completed baby quilts for A and T, iron-on applique crustacean quilt in progress.  Juli came to visit.  Went to Lollapuzzoola.  Saw the Yoders in Boston (they're at ENT conference).  Hospital politicking/physician organizations. 
Upcoming stuff:  high school reunion.  Dom visiting for soccer and TFIA concert.  Christmas.

I need an exotic trip.
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The great pickle giveaway.

I drove from Cape Cod to New London (different route!  Up 495! Through some backroads to 395.) and took the ferry to Long Island.  Stopped at three wineries (Pugliese, Martha Carla (best--I fed goats and saw turtles, plus the best wine) and Macari) and eventually wended my way down to Dom's house in Freeport.  We played trivia at his local bar with Bill (I think) and I did poorly but had fun.

On Saturday we had bagels, I went to the LIRR station for the 2 hour train ride, and found out (after buying a ticket) I'd missed the 8:30 train, leaving me in doubt if I would make the 11am start.  So I ended up driving into Queens after all.  And it wasn't that bad, the traffic was light, my GPS was accurate, and it wasn't an area of huge high rises and honking angry people, but four story [townhomes/walkups/brownstones/whatevers] with people parking both sides of the street, and I found a parking space on my second circle around the block.  I even ended up being early.  So I sat in the car and did the NYT crossword on my phone.

At the church, I checked in behind the couple that ended up second in the pairs division.  Inside the room I immediately ran into Andrew F.  I sat near the Westport gang of Marion S, Dave E, and B. Kerfuffle.  Steve sps was at my table.  Several people recognized my name as Karen from the Cape and wondered which cape it was, to my surprise.  I said hello to Brian C, who asked where my curling pirates hat was (over at my seat) and Angela pg reminded me again that I should be Karen from the Cod.  Maureen from Boston and her partner Steve remembered me.  I gave Amy R an old census pencil, which she thought her son might like.  Robert M told me about coming in second at the senior spelling bee in Cheyenne, missing myoinositol.  I had lunch with Jeff D, Steve S, and Jeffrey H.  I spoke to the Hershes from California (as was Jeff H).  I saw Will Shortz.  And several other people.  Folks like my '50,000 word vocabulary' button, it prompted a discussion with one woman about sf cons.  I also talked with the guy (Eric?) reading the sf anthology, and an older woman who was disliking reading American Gods.  An interesting group of people. 

Re the puzzles--zipped through #1 (Ryan says), struggled with #2 and mimed a punch at constructor Mike Nothnagel (mixed doubles), did okay with #3 (cartoon captioning), on #4 was tanking at the halfway point and threw all eight google tickets (and 300 points and a chance at the locals finals (of course, I shouldn't have been in the locals anyways, so good) to get to the solution.  Okay, one of those tickets I could have figured out for myself, but the cluing on that one was un oso (I figured out the gimmick in about a minute, but loved the sound when people turned over the puzzles--a kind of whimper arose from the crowd).  On #5 I had fun, figured out the gimmick after a few minutes, but still had some surprises in it.  Stared at the one last blank square, ran through the alphabet twice with no luck, and guessed wrong;  but so did the majority of other solvers.

There was also a group game similar to Shortz' contests, and I was happy to figure out a quarter of the initialisms.  And a social game of finding your group based on index cards, and solving a quick puzzle while the finals were set up.  I couldn't solve the express final clues, so gave up after getting about five and did the local clues, which I got quicker than the finalists (but I was on paper, had to turn off my timer when they entered, and had those five words done). 

A fun day.  We'll see what next year brings.  (Last year, Dom was stuck in the hospital at this point.  As was Juli.)

Drove back through only moderately bad traffic (two accidents) to Dom's, played Martian Fluxx, watched NPH on a Batman episode and Eureka, and crashed.  Sunday we went to IHOP, that venerable crosswordy institution (nutella crepes!) and then I drove back home.  Slowly, with several stops, including the Nautilus nuclear submarine and museum. 
brownthrasher: (Default)
Under weird things I learned in training (I'm thinking it was residency) was a tip once when people obviously want to talk about something but don't feel comfortable bringing it up...ask them if someone is in jail (or is using drugs).  Either the person will be so glad that it's not that bad, or they will be surprised at how well you hit it on the head.  Medical cold reading.  And then they can open up and talk to you about it.  Worked today.
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Looking over the notes from my oncology referrals the past few months, in my practice we have:  13 breast cancers (2 metastatic, 4 localized, 5 in situ), 3 lymphomas, 2 lung cancers, and one each of ovary, melanoma, prostate, cecum, colon, neck, leukemia, and carcinoid.  This is not an official count of all the cancers in my practice (I'm sure I'm undercounting the stable breast cancers and prostate cancers) but it's an interesting look at the diversity in one family practice.
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No ribbon at the county fair this year.  One week until Newport Folk Festival.  Two weeks until Ohio State Fair.

Hmm, this was saved in draft for several weeks.  Newport Folk Festival was very good, my favorite this year turned out to be Langhorne Slim.  I got their CD at the concert and didn't like it the first listen through, but the raging beat and hooks have gotten to me by the third listen.  And they have a really intense drummer.

No Ohio State Fair.  I'm hoping Juli is feeling better this month.  Instead I went to the quilt show in Lowell, and caught a Dar Williams concert there.  Outdoors, sitting in a low chair on the blankets with hot dog and whoopie pie, was great.
I also watched the New England Revolution lose to LA Galaxy and Landon Donovan.  It was cool sitting on the west side of the stadium with the larger crowd, the energy would have been better if we'd won.  (There was one guy behind us whooping it up for the LA goals.)

no update

Jun. 21st, 2009 12:29 am
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Still no word.  Although I did chat with KF about having no word.  It turns out she lives just about an hour away from me.  I cried a lot last night.  Today I just don't know.  Looking at old pictures.

no update

Jun. 19th, 2009 11:16 pm
brownthrasher: (Default)
No word today.  Which could be bad or it could be good.  Except I awoke today with a feeling of foreboding.  Some dream with a dragon attacking a crystal city.  I can't imagine what it must be like for his family.  KF got in touch to be sure I knew what was going on.  I keep going back and forth on whether to let LN know.  Not much accomplished today.

As I keep telling myself, my long distance intuitions rarely pan out.  Or my sympathetic cough.
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Here are some of the things from the past few months I should have posted if I were good about keeping up on time with posting:

Crossword tournaments:  New York.  I froze on puzzle 5, although others said it was easy.  I was just hitting a roll when time was called, but really I just couldn't grok most of the clues let alone the theme.  I did perfect on the other six puzzles.  Until I looked at number 3 and found an unmarked mistake (yea for scanning the puzzles online.)  Before reporting my mistake I was ~16%; afterwards, I was 20% (barely) and got a nice note back from Will Shortz.  At the first annual Boston puzzle I met Stephen/sps, I thought I had done well, and in fact I was the best of the folks who had any mistakes.  (~23/150?)  If not for that, I would have been just below the group that won prizes.  More practice (now I'm doing all the cruciverb puzzles, and the BEQ, and the MGCC)

David Cook in Niagara was good, but don't bother visiting Niagara in the winter and not on the American side.  The Marjim Manor on Lake Ontario has some awesome fruit wines.  David Cook in Northampton was great.  Small room, with it crowd, low stress (unless you're waiting eight hours to get a front row view).  Next up, Ohio State Fair (unless I score great tickets at Foxwoods, hah).  

NE Revolution really plays a lot better with Taylor Twellman up front.  A bad year to lose experienced strikers (ie Christman). 

Curling ended with my worst record yet, about 1-6-1.  With Candace St Martin, Martha Kenney, and Jamie Bowers. 

I had jury duty in April.  Got out by 11am.  I had my first root canal, I'm still waiting for the permanent crown.  Not as painful as I'd feared;  apparently I have a really long nerve root, which isn't good.
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I've temporarily stopped duplicating my crossword times here, and am keeping them all on my home computer only;  we'll see if I feel a need to change that.  I'm going to concentrate more this year on getting crosswords right rather than on time.  So far, I'm not writing down (in my list or the other lists) any crossword times if I get something wrong, and next time I finish a crossword book I will go back and count the number I had all correct.  I can record those on my librarything page.  And look for patterns of what I get wrong...did I not read crossing clues?  Not erase a partially incorrect?  Left a space open?  Let's pay attention.

I saw my first post-vaccine shingles case today.  I think it was shingles, it had the right pattern, but he complained of itching rather than pain.  Which means the vaccine is doing its work in attenuating the disease, and preventing PHN.
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Here are some of the things from the past few weeks I should have posted if I were good about keeping up on time with posting:

I went to the Queen of Hearts in Nashua.  With my teammates of PB, LP, and MK we made it to the third event, and this time lost (horribly, trounced, they didn't even keep score) but we got a pin, the only all-Cape team to do so.  Our record was 2-3.  Proving once again, it's best to lose your first game in these wacky draws.

I went to the Westport Crossword tournament.  Not knowing Kemal Ataturk's name may have kept me out of the finals;  I don't know if I had any other errors, and I had pretty decent times.  And I had a great time meeting up with some of the other commenters from Rex's blog, with drinks at Marion's house and a nice dinner.  Good practice for Brooklyn.  Do I really do better with the jitters, or is it that I can ace the easy puzzles?

A car fire across the street woke me up last week.  I'm wondering if having the horn going off is a safety feature or a consequence of how the horn works.  Anyways, seeing a ball of fire will get the sleepdust out of your eyes.  My first instinct was to call 911 (for maybe the second time in my life) and then get on shoes and a coat and get outside.  The go-bag idea is looking better to me now.  Luckily the fire engines showed up soon, and no one was hurt.  It's 'under investigation'.

And I got a ticket to go see DC in Niagara, as a birthday present to myself.  I should do that every year.

I finally won the sf trivia bowl.  (Thanks to a couple of strategic absences, and a round of Bujold questions.  Last year it was a streak on the McKillip questions.  Maybe they can do a fantasy trivia bowl?)
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This week, my Prius reached 100,000 miles.  No rollover on odometers these days.  I missed the exact time it rolled over (I would have like to see the 99999) but that's cool.  So that makes about 16,000 miles/year.  And my dad told me to trade it in when it hit 80,000 miles.  Ha, I say, ha!  I'm hoping it will last until the next generation of (plug-in) Priuses come out.  The local Toyota dealer has a fantastic service group.

Oh, and I had a birthday.  :)
brownthrasher: (Default)
Crossword times
   date Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
 8/18/08 3.39 4.17 7.42  9.16 27.24x4 7.53* 29.10x3 
 8/25/08 4.09x1 5.40 6.58x2 14.37 10.52 >60w2 18.14x1
 9/1/08 4.19x1 4.08 6.20 11.13x1 13.26 21.15 16.54
 9/8/08 8.28x3 5.50x1 3.59* 8.41x1 10.46x1 33.47w2 25.47x2
 9/15/08 4.05x1 5.22x1 8.12 10.49 7.42x111.40 22.09x1
 9/22/08 5.15 4.50 9.11 24.20 10hours 15.46 12.49*
 9/29/08 4.00 5.15 7.52x1 7.57  27.2121.30 34.01x1
 10/6/08 6.01 5.47 5.53 9.38 12.26 12.41 37.34x2
 10/13/08 5.00x1 4.26 8.40 9.56 18.35x117.11 21.49
 10/20/08 5.24 6.55 5.53 7.17 34.17x1 21.53 >30, x's
 10/26/08 3.26 6.13x1 6.14 6.34 21.32x2 13.37x1 24.17
 11/3/08 3.22 5.14 6.13 26.36 35.30w2  19.44x1
 11/10/08 3.08* 8.10x1 6.54 6.55 30+w3 15.58x1 32.19x2
 11/17/08 3.25 5.07 14.11 17.07x1 7.24* 31.10x4 35.13x2
11/24/08 3.30 4.56x1 6.34 9.32 12.04x2 26.05w2 30.17x2
12/1/08 3.45 5.01 5.53x110.51w1 16.24 27.15 21.58x3
12/8/08 3.21 4.0911.01s1 13.42w1 15.37w 17.44 19.04
12/15/08 5.59 4.03 7.24x115.31  16.54
12/22/08 5 9.35x1  6.04 xmas 28.16x1 12.36x1 15.26
12/29/08 5.10x1 6.07 5.58 8.00 15.28 20.45w1 19.00x2
1/5/08 3.22 5.59 5.30 7.14 11.40 36.19w2 49.27x3
1/12/09  4.06 3.57 7.42 16.19 20.48x1 29  w217.74
 1/19/08 4.39x1 5.43x1 7.59x1 8.31 9.05 9.43 16.56x1
 1/27/09 4.00 5.04  7.33    

brownthrasher: (Default)
Stupid spellchecker deleted my entry and have to type it again...I'll live with the misspellings.  SO, last week we were at a bonspiel in Natick.  I skipped, and SW, KB, and JH were on my team.  No practice, little accuracy, cockamamie strategy, the first two teams beat us but didn't make the finals, our fourth game we won by a measure in the eighth end, and we got into the third event.  After the piping and Drambouie we were roundly beaten by the Icemakers, but we had the best score of the losing teams in the finals.  Our overall w/l rate was 2-3, which should put us last of the finalists (the fourth event runners-up would have been 3-2) which just goes to show that curling draws make little sense.   And I had a good time with the girls.
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I was talking to a state epidemiologist this week, about the risk of rabies from a vole bite.  The vole in question having been brought in by a cat, it sounded like perfectly normal behavior to want to bite someone.  The interesting bit was that voles, mice, etc in general will die of rabies before becoming infective due to their low body mass.  A good thing.  I'm not sure the rabies virus picked a good strategy for propagation.

At a talk on chronic pain management, they brought up the idea of pill counts, which seems like a good idea.  Also, let the legal system worry more about what folks do with their meds outside of the office, concentrate on clinical outcomes (until they hit a red flag.)  And neurontin + morphine has improved effect than either.

In curling...I went 0 for 2 this past week.  And 0 for 3 the week before.  Today I practiced some take-outs, and upped my force, with hopefully little change in my aim. 
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Okay, word of the week, for this week and last.  First:  arachnodactyly, having long thin fingers.
Today: urachus, the remnants of the fetal canal between the bladder and the allantois, which can remain as a vestigial ligament by the navel.  A patent urachus will leak urine from the navel.  (I'm sure this word is out of context.)
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In our clubs first annual (?) fall bonspiel, our team (RG, me, MH, and WS) took the third event.  And we beat a bunch of folks in wheelchairs to do it, including one guy who'd only had about two hours of training.  Go us!  Some folks in the next sheet over were making jokes that we were violating the ADA, as we almost skunked them.  Happily they took the last round.  Seriously, they must have played better in the other games to get that far (three other wins, one loss).  Our game the day before at 8am wasn't anything to write home about either.  Generally a successful tournament, next year I'm expecting more outside teams to play (and maybe we'll have more subs.  I know I caught my laryngitis from someone playing and serving food who should have been home in bed.)  And hooray, I won the award for the most words made out of a phrase.  I would have been upset if someone else had won that!  They'll know better than to run that kind of contest around me again.  For the record, I had ~350 words from a phrase of seventeen letters, including etaonrsh. 

curling :(

Oct. 20th, 2008 10:10 pm
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So it's the start of the curling season.  And I don't have a real league or real team.  I got left off the list.  Mike's reply was 'oh well, it's too late to change it.'  I am still deciding whether to show a brave face ,or try to finagle some kind of concession out of him, to whine for a while, or stage a protest.  It will partly depend on if I end up replacing anyone else.  In the meantime, I can practice on Fridays and pick up games on Saturday (am, ugh).  And I already subbed last night.  But getting overlooked like this hits me right in the self-esteem.  No one noticed my absence?  Wah. 

And if the DJs don't want people to look up the answers to the trivia questions, they shouldn't give out such obscure clues!  Heh, it's my CD now. 
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I may have saved someone's life this week.  In asking a woman who's had breast cancer why she wasn't taking any hormone treatments, she said it was because she didn't like the doctor who had talked to her about it.  I pointed out it was kind of stupid to not do a potentially cancer-sparing treatment just because she didn't like the guy.  Although if she still doesn't want the treatment after getting the info again, that's okay, that would be a choice.  We got her to see someone else for a second opinion. 

Other folks going for unusual treatments this week...ileostomy reversal, thorascopic reduction of adhesions.  My prayers go out to them. 

Someone thanked me for asking questions and listening to the answers this week.  That made me feel good.

Employees bickering.  That makes me feel bad.  Both saying 'I don't know what's gotten into her.'
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