Florida Beginnings

For those of you that have been asking how life is in the warm sunny state of Florida for this Northerner girl, blogging is the easiest way to respond. First know that those down here call me a Northern, inspite of the fact I have lived in Nashville for 16 years! I guess, in Floridians mind that is not the south.

When we first moved in, we found out quickly, we have a neighbor much like Mrs. Kravitz on the Bewitched show. Ours is named Wally. He is a very likeable fellow but makes it his responsibility to fill us in on everything not limited to but including:

·        If we pull our trash cans in off the curb and see others, we are to pull theirs up at the same time, as that is the “neighborly” thing to do
·        Our dog, since over 100 lbs. should be wearing a horse saddle
·        Instructions on how often the grass should be cut, how things should be planted
·        We must get Direct TV so he can get $25.00 off his next bill!
·        The bugs on the front of our car have been there for two days and need to be cleaned

In driving around the area, trying to get familiar with the roads, we have discovered our GPS is also unfamiliar with this area of Florida. Apparently the woman inside our navigation system has blonde roots or prefers the scenic route.  She frequently takes lunch breaks and leaves us in a lurch.

We quickly discovered, Florida is the one place everyone makes U turns, and I mean do mean everywhere. Turn signals must not be mandatory or break easily and are never fixed as  u turns are down with relatively no warning and at the most inopportune times.  Imagine, driving down the road, and all of the sudden, in the left-hand lane, the car directly infront of you hits its breaks and makes a u turn in the middle of a double sides highway. Welcome to Florida! Roads aren’t marked well and either are locations, stores, or restaurants. I constantly miss the turn off for Starbucks.  That is downright sinful! So u turns it is,  we have begun to conform to the norm.

I am enjoying seeing all the tropical plants I use to only see on television and on occasional vacations to the beach. Palm trees are everywhere, lining many streets. Drivers are not good-natured when I stop the car though to snap an occasional picture of one to text a friend so I have had to refrain doing so. And our neighbors, they are removing their large palm trees from their yard. As they do, they are gleeful about it and I am sad. Apparently these trees, once large, are a nuisance and yet, I am new to the area and love them. Slowly but surely, I fear the large ones will disappear from our neighborhood.

One of the most bizarre things I have seen in our neighborhood is pots of plants literally lying on the ground as landscaping!  Some folks put the pots half in the soil. I found this silly looking so took it upon myself to take two of ours that were left like that on our newer home to transplant in the ground.  Now, as they are quickly dying, I took the time to ask neighbors why they keep them potted. Now I learn it is because it allows the water to be held in the pots much better than the sandy soil to keep the plants from dying. I come home and look at my dying plants and say lesson learned.  Wally peeps out the window at me shaking his head and laughing.

Our lanai, also called a Florida room is much like a sunroom in the North.  We had no idea, if the door is left open long, those strange reptiles found in the south can find their way in. Baby lizards called salamanders and yes, even last night,  frogs. One night, two were found in it and we fought over who was going to catch the critters. I think we would have left them there with the door propped open but our fear was that Charley would eat them.   It is preferably though to mice in the house in the north.

We lucked out that we are located within ten houses of the doggie park. Charley is overjoyed. However, wow, every time he is taken outside to go to the bathroom, he is pulling at that lead as if there is no tomorrow to walk down there until we give in and off we go to appease him.  And wouldn’t you know it is right by the last hole of the golf course so carts seem to go by frequently getting him all riled up. The good part of this is he comes home exhausted. My arm is pulled half out of the socket too.

Oh we also have had a bout or two of poop in our new home! Strange huh when the HOA insists everyone pick up their dog’s poop.   We thought so too until we learned coyotes are located here too. And we then learned what their waste looks like and found it was that.  Disgusting huh, it somehow landed in our living room. So now, we are on guard for their stuff in our yard.  I am hoping they don’t like oranges as there is a nice orange tree in our backyard.

We have both been busy, my husband and I working on things fixing up the house, putting our touches on everything. Constantly we are asked how is the beach? We want to say, “What beach, are there beaches here?”  We really need to take a break and start doing more things Florida is known for. Home Depot is everywhere and even in Florida it looks exactly the same.

Interesting bit of trivia we learned regarding the county we live in Pascoe County. This is the nudist capital county in the United States. Clothing is optional in many areas. Isn’t that nice to know? Perhaps when my grandchildren come down, I should be certain I know where those areas are at! 

While painting our rocking chairs green, one neighbor was extremely friendly. Ed. He drove his golf cart right up through our yard to the garage to chat with me. As he watched me he kept commenting on how good a painter I was and how much I seemed to enjoy it. That should have been my cue, but no red flag went off.

He then went on to tell me where he lives in the community, towards the front where a huge Buddha is out in the front yard. I told Big Ed I would never have known that. He goes on to tell me Buddha needs very badly to be repainted. Okay, here I sensed what was coming. He told me he can’t handle painting Buddha. It hurts his back too much to bend over. He went on saying he would pay someone to paint it, “Hey why not you?” 

I got out of it but have decided, from here on out when painting I need to look more in pain when I do outside work if Ed is around. He is a sweetheart but I don’t see Buddha in my future!  


And So She Dances....

And so she dances….

Every grandmother dreams that her granddaughter will have all her dreams come true. Every grandma wants her granddaughter’s life to be picture perfect from start to finish, so it was on Dec. 1st 2007 with Ava Alysee Glasmeier, my second oldest grandchild, only granddaughter.

She was born perfect, all five toes and fingers on each hand and foot.  She had no health issues at birth, an adorable smile, a perfect shaped head and a loving mommy and daddy. She grew and progressed according to all the norms set by pediatricians all those growth charts new parents go by, and grandparents follow closely too. 

But her little life, with the passage of time, has seen its own little set of challenges but not one has set her back.  She has seen her daddy work very hard to get not one but two dental practices thriving. Two brothers
were born and then diagnosed with autism.  This meant Ava had to be extra loving and caring to both her brothers. It also made her diligently watch her  mommy make more sacrifices than most moms to care for both boys and balance that with a  marriage and her, Ava’s needs. This has not always been easy, not on any of them, but no one complains in the household and they fully embrace their lifestyle and each other. 

All through this there remains this happy good natured little girl just as perfect in Grandma’s eyes as can be. Never has she varied from the little newborn, the toddler and the now second-grader that is smiling, cracking me up with personality plus.

When Ava first went into school and she found she had a few challenges there.  She approached each with spirit and fiestiness and her can do
attitude just like she does everything else in her life.  Not much gets my granddaughter down in the dumps, not for long anyways.  She is too up on life, if there is such a thing as being too positive!    Her spirit soars, Ava makes lemonade somehow without lemons.    

When her mother put her in dance classes, she laughed with excitement. As soon as Ava could walk it seems she was twirling, bypassing walking to dancing. I can still hear her mom asking to stop dancing all around the house!  Actually Ava danced anywhere, she did not care who was around.  She was the little girl with free abandonment, with her movement and her ability to let you know what she was thinking. So refreshing in a world full of repression where families forbid each other to say what their feelings truly are and people criticize each other for not saying “the right thing.”  Ava is being raised to speak her mind, respectfully and being allowed to be herself at all times, uniquely her.

It is amazing how someone so young can feel so free from the world’s
critical eyes.   This young girl could care less what you think of her dancing, of her family too. She loves them dearly, loves dancing and enjoys life.  She doesn’t want what others have; she is satisfied with what God has given her. This young girl can care less what others think and dance. 

Too often people don’t listen to children.  Too often adults think children are expendable and that they are the teachers, they impart knowledge to children.  It is often times forgotten there is a child in all of us and we lose touch with that innocence we once had, that ability to dream, to be free and yes, to even dance. Being with Ava is a lesson in letting go, in being grateful for what you have and in living passionately without caring what others think. 

With a love of being free to express her inner spirit and fire, yes my granddaughter loves to dance.  She likes moving her body and does it well. Ava is unlike most people I know, children or adults. She has no fear or concern whether her dancing is the best or perfect. She does the best she can do and that pleases her.  Her love and passion is what matters when she steps on the stage. She is doing something fun, that makes her smile and gives her joy.  The lesson in life she can teach us all is life live with choices that give you that, joy, smiles and laughter. Don’t worry what others think, let them wallow in their own worries, you concentrate on your passion, your dance in life.   

My granddaughter roots others on with a sincerity I seldom see in others. Most little girls are jealous of other people that dance better and watch with sorta of a nasty undertone of envy. Not my Ava, she watches with song in her heart and pure adoration.  Yes, she acts proud of their accomplishments. She says to me “Grandma watch how great she is!” with as much glee in her voice as she can muster! She continues to improve and tries to get better but seems to evaluate her progress on herself. 

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder and reality does not exist. We simply try to strive for it though shouldn’t.  Grandparents are given the luxury of sitting back and being permitted to call their grandkids beyond reproach, damn near perfect and thus it is with my dear Ava. My  granddaughter comes pretty darn close.

 Being able to accept others and cheer them on without a thread of jealous is a gift. She has that.  Living your life without being confined by the
judgment of others is a blessing.  This blessing shows that a life may be guided by passion and confidence given by God and family is a hallmark of someone who will succeed in always finding happiness at the end of the road. Having compassion for others innately inside yourself and continually exhibiting it is a true sign of someone who understands actions speak louder than words.   Success means nothing if not shared. My granddaughter, even at her tender age, is truly caring for her two younger brothers already and carries that compassion over to those that she meets that are hurting.  I don’t just believe I know the signs are there, she will set the world on fire.  But I also believe you can.  As long as you are never afraid to close your eyes, throw back your head and dance, nomatter who is watching!

And so she continues to dances, even in the darkness of her bedroom, when no one is watching with the same joy on her face as she has on the stage…..
                                          Images of Ava dancing this year - Click Here


No More Walls

With the Presidential Election coming up, and so many issues of utmost concern to the general public being raised. I think it is important that we all have a voice and be vocal about those concerns we, as citizens have in our everyday lives.

Social media is allowing us to see the concerns that others have and also know that we are not alone in our worries.  Some of the various issues and stressors we face many of our neighbors in our very same communities to do.

Recently I was linked to a site called NextDoor.com and I am continually seeing growing concerns over the same topic over and over for at least as long as the Presidential campaign has been running. I would like to speak out on behalf of the citizens that are finding this issue intolerable and are writing such emails that are full of hatred and condemnation comments and accusatory in nature. I think these are serving to segregate our neighborhoods as opposed to unifying them much like our country. 

In years past, when security within neighborhoods was a major concern, watchdog groups were set up and established. Police officers came into communities and helped neighborhoods set up safety patrols right within their very streets they lived.  This was extremely effective. It discouraged bad  delinquent behavior and violators were caught.

So I am advocating someone take the bull by the horn and suggest our elected running public officials add on to their current campaign issues mandatory Poop Patrol but have it pushed back to the States to be handled in each individual community.  There is far too much animosity building from neighbors being accused of leaving droppings in other people’s yards. This is harmful to our children to be raised in communities where vile things are being said right within their very homes when at times, the perpetrator may be their very own BFF!

Just recently, I received an email via social media, as did everyone connected in my subdivision where each of us was called out as being uncivilized and worthy of having bagged dog poop placed back in our yard.  My fear was that I would walk out to discover some dog’s manure on my property when my dog’s droppings are always proudly disposed of in Target bags, be it the occasional Wal-Mart bag.

I have read several heated exchanges over the dog’s duty not being properly, shall we say, scooped up.   I fear the day is going to be forthcoming where neighbors may begin labeling others and become somewhat biased towards others that are dog-owners. As a dog owner, I do not wish to be discriminated against simply because of someone else’s lack of doing the right thing, proper due diligence.

The only reasonable course of action, as this problem seems to be unfolding in many other neighborhoods across social media, is to take a universal approach.  Poop patrols should be advocated and be a bipartisan measure.  Each state should advocate communities push neighborhoods to delegate someone to monitor social media.  This stream of emails, postings and chatter must be curtailed early on and the watch dogs need to be within the very areas they are occurring thus, saving tax payers money on this issue. Who wants to put out money for a Poop Control, seriously?  As a side note, it is extremely distasteful to be eating a snack, checking email and read these disgusting detailed emails about doggie messes in the yard.  Where has the discretion gone in America?

Please, if you agree, start a petition to your local representative for the need for action for Poop Reform.

If not, the next measure could be neighbors building unbreachable walls in their yards and charging the offending dog owners the cost of construction!


Embracing Aging Changes

Well, it is finally here, it is happening. I knew it was coming but wasn’t sure how it would play out. With my husband retiring in October, we begin a new chapter of our life. This is the time of trying to eliminate more stress and spending more quality time together.  As we are getting older, the focus has to be on making memories to last the latter part of our lifetime. Tomorrow may be fleeting or may not come at all.

Thus, we are moving, very soon. And of all places, further south. This girl, born in Long Island, New York, was raised in Ohio.  With marriage I moved to Kentucky to raise my two children, mostly on my own, struggling and trying to give them the mother I wish mine I had been, making the sacrifices the best I could. I was at school functions, field trips, and letting them playing competitive soccer where we traveled all over the place while working full-time.

I landed up marrying the man of my dreams and moving to Tennessee which has been my home for the last 16 years.  So hard to believe the home I live in is the longest I have ever lived in one house in my life. I look around and see so many memories, happy, funny, touching and sad ones. A bedroom where I laid fighting cancer, a TV room where my grandson made tents of sofa
cushions and we hid underneath them eating snacks. I see a kitchen that was remodeled and remember nights I walked the floor when one of my grand-kids refused to sleep all night when he slept over.  Dog dishes that my youngest grandson, at the time, Jake refused to stay out of when he was crawling. And as I look out the back, I swear I still see Dan, though he is in heaven, in the skyline, watching down over his father to let him know he is at peace.

The new chapter will be further away from so many friends, as we venture to Florida, to an unknown area. I am nervous, scared and abit melancholy. But I know my husband’s parents always wanted to retire to Florida and his dad didn’t live quite long enough to get the chance. Now Jim is living out their dream. We are making their wish, in a sense, come true.

As we take a big step towards a community of folks like us, wanting to be a part of a fun, active lifestyle where we embrace each other’s goodness and stay active, we must feel blessed. God is allowing us to change. After praying for answers, they came. With a price of course, as every change brings sacrifice. No longer can I see some of my friends, children and grand-kids on a whim. But love ties don’t end or stop with distance. Traveling to visit is essential and that time will be cherished and plentiful!

I know for myself, one of the scariest parts of moving away from an area I have called home for so long  is moving further away from folks I hold dear, some people I love so much.  After a great deal of reflection and
prayer, I realize God is leading me down this path. He taught me that some of the most painful experiences in life are also the most important ones.  Those that love you will always be there for you and you are blessed to be there for them, no matter what occurs, no matter where you live. Just as God is always with us, a great friend and a loving family member will  love you unconditionally and have steadfast loyalty and faith in the relationship. Distance does not deter the quality of a relationship, if it truly exists.

On the flip side, if someone is lost so easily by moving away, the bond
may not have been there at all. And some were lost from my life long before this move. Once again I experienced that adage, loving someone, giving all you have to give, does not ensure those feelings will be returned. This is perhaps one of the most painful experiences for me in my home here in Nashville. There is a time to give, and there is a time to give up trying. God has helped me see the light and recognize who he has put in my life that is meant to stay. I also more clearly see If someone is not open to God, it is hard for them to be open to the idea of unconditional love, non-judgmental attitudes, acting respectful, and having a faith of action.  

So as we look to the future, to a new chapter, may you all find that, as you age, you not forget, embrace your age. No matter what it is, recognize that you are called to make changes. Staying well within your comfort zone is easy; making difficult choices is hard, ones that require you to take a leap of faith again, like you did when you were younger.

A true testament to your faith in God is spreading your wings in new directions.  Put your faith in action. If you are still here aging, your life should continue to have meaning and you should seek out new experiences, learning opportunities and continued growth. 

Time is precious. Moving on hurts but is called faith in God’s plan. My grandchildren hold the keys to my heart, right below my husband, who is obviously below God.  I would, without a doubt say my son Michael has been a cornerstone in my life always and will always be, no matter where I live.  No distance would ever change my unconditionally love for him nor his sister. May you still find my blog of interest written from a new location! And to age with grace means changes should be embraced! 

A video is attached with just a few Kodak Moments of images taken from inside our home over the years. The memories we carry forever in our hearts.  For Video Click Here


Pieces of Memories

I never thought of myself as a hoarder. However the word defined is "someone who accumulates a supply that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation for future use." When we think of “hoarding” these days, not in the word’s origin, in the early 19th century, it is more of a dysfunctional behavior. Hoarders are individuals that have stock piles in their homes of anything and everything that make their houses deemed unfit for living, health hazards. As I have packed belongings for selling our home for downsizing and moving, I have realized I have held on to far too many possessions.

Eight years ago, facing cancer, I realized, revising my Will, the most important things I was taking with me were my memories. None of the belongings I had acquired could I take on that final trip, that everlasting vacation, of sorts, to the Gates of Heaven. Once they opened, I wouldn’t look back and would never come back to anyone left behind. And, I would go in to a place with the same thing I came into this world with, no possessions.

Yet, I was confronted with trying to come up with, aside from money, what possessions I have that have value. It is funny, when I thought about it, because value has two meanings, monetary and emotional. There is the charm bracelet my daughter gave me on her first honeymoon. Every stop she made on her cruise she got me a charm and put it on a charm bracelet. I have that but I also have expensive gem rings from my husband. What items would hold value to my children or grandchildren?

 I also thought about so many friends I have met along the way and my sisters, my nieces and nephews? I loved them and wanted to leave a piece of me behind with them. I wanted them to know I loved them after I was dead and wanted them to be touched I thought of them after I died. What could I leave, what item? And then I asked myself was it necessary to do so for them to even know that?

So I scanned my house and tried to come up with all the items, stressing about it while in chemotherapy. Looking at my list, when I typed it up, I quickly realized the items meant more to me than they ever would mean to anyone else. I thought about what I had from one of the dearest people I lost, my Grandma Gliatti.   My colorful bandanna that she had on her head on one vacation she took with us. And that one article was all I needed, nothing more. So here I was wasting precious time of my life worrying about items, things, possessions that would matter not to those people.  So I left my list alone and walked away from it, leaving it probably not intact, but not caring. I realized it really didn’t matter in the end.

Fast forward to now, as I went through room after room, trying to decide what to pitch, give away and pack. Many things have changed in my life. I have lost relationships that I treasured, gained some, and picked up a few items I value. There are a few people I love in my life that I doubt would want any reminders of me, life can be cruel that way.  Do I hold on to those things in the hope, when I die, they will have a change of heart and at least want those items? What if I take the space to hold on to some things people don’t even want? I begun to see the same old pattern here, I have a hard time letting go of things and attach way too much meaning and emotions to items.

What struck me the most was the sheer quantity of what I have. Amazing how many things one accumulates. How could I do that and not even realize it! I recall a week ago standing in the garage and telling my husband that not only was he a hoarder but I was as well. I have held on to far too many possessions. Yes, the woman who had realized when she had cancer and was writing a will realizing my items were, in reality, worthless, was stressing over each one, item by item.

The reason I stress, and so many others react the same way is because attached to each is a memory, like my grandmother’s bandanna. But the truth is, even if, in
the move, that bandanna was lost, that memory would be as alive as if it were yesterday. And the possessions I sit and ponder over what to take, who to give them to, will be too. The memories they represent will be with me no matter where I call home. Those that care about me will have those memories and those that have shut the door on having a relationship with me I can hold on to the memory with or without the item that represented them in my life. 

God really allows us this amazing ability to take our lives’ experiences with us where ever we go. With each item left behind, given or sold, for a few moments, I feel a little bit sad. In a matter of a few more moments, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the precious beautiful memories attached to each and every item.  I then can look at the sky and realize they still live within me, and always will.  


Is More Negativity What We Need?

Negativity is becoming so prevalent on social media these days, especially with the presidential election campaign in high gear and major issues at stake.  The volume of messages from all angles is staggering that contain downright cruel, condescending damning statements of other individuals that most know very little of and yet seem to feel it is well within their right to make deep seeded judgments about.  It is as if the masses become judges or Godlike with the ability to condemn others for sinning.

Messages are sent out on the digital media sites saying the poor that benefit from social welfare programs are fat and lazy.  Never have so many people who need help and are in dire straits due to no fault of their own been so harshly judged because of some that take advantage of the system.  Do these derogatory statements have any lasting effect on the people that read them that use these programs? Or, other messages being posted and circulated slamming people for their opposing viewpoints asking if people are morons for following so and so, etc?

There is a duality in our brain as to how we view the world, positive and negative.  This seems pretty simple but it is, like our bodies, pretty complex.  So many things shape our perception. Anthropologist Clause Levi-Strauss research and studies show, and many others confirm,  negativity always seems to win over positivity.  

Science steps into this equation too. Many researchers want to know how much of negative thoughts are influenced by the brain pathology. Ohio State conducted a study on the “negativity bias” of our brains.  They actually located a certain area of the brain that gets stimulated and found increased neural firing when negative images are viewed.  The end result of this type of knowledge gained from this study is there’s more information processing taking place on negative stimuli than positive inputs into the brain.

CNN, MSNBC, ABC and social media is abuzz with one thing in common: negativity. Thus, even if you switch to a positive channel or image, your brain is still hardwired for the negative for a time.  You are, in a sense, supercharged  with negativity. This is also true of all the negative messages on social media, they trigger your brain to stay in the negative mode.

The significance of this is not good for our society, our relationships and our health.   Much as, in years past, aggressive video games were found to be a link to violent behavior with children, subconsciously the same is true with adults and negative messaging centers in the brain. Science is uncovering that the major downside of negative messaging is it penetrates the way we think and act without us even being fully aware of it.

Step back and recall news programs in the past. Reporters came on and simply told the who, what, when, where and why. Thus, they were given the name “report-er.”  Today, these employees with the same title work for stations with a slant on the news, biased reporting and wanting to promote scandalous stories.  Accuracy is not nearly as big of an issue; a sense of decency towards anyone doesn’t matter as much as increased ratings.  Questions that are asked of people are unfathomable sometimes.  Tact is not important and someone without it gets more airtime than someone diplomatic because it sells.

On the political campaign, the slant is so obvious on news outlets that it almost feels like the media is deciding who voters should vote for based on their coverage, air time and their political pundits.  Is this how the country is supposed to work? Where is fair representation and putting forward positive messaging of issues and all candidates so America can learn about each? 

Many candidates are torn to shreds even before the election in voters' state has started.  This makes supporters feel like losers if the candidate is low in poll rankings they follow when the media and social messages start attacking him/her.  

Young people see the television coverage and the posts on social media. For many, this is the first time they will vote. Psychologists know early adulthood development has more difficulty with sound reasoning.  Influencing new voters with pounding negative messages is not a sound foundation for this young people or our country. They deserve better and so does our country.

The pervasiveness on social media and news fronts of hostility is alarming. Apparently it is fast becoming a feeding frenzy with an insatiable appetite developing across the county. People are less concerned about others feelings and when someone expresses a disagreement or an opposing view, they are receiving horrendous feedback, irrelevant of the topic.   Hating other candidates, other races, and others that don't share your views is individual's rights but to express them publicly and damn them is bullying behavior that is detrimental to our society at large.  You have no way of knowing who or how badly you are hurting someone.  

 There are so many people suffering from mental illness in the world.  These people, just like many others, are concerned about homelessness, health insurance, joblessness, police shootings, economy, terrorism, etc...  For some, social media has been a safe haven to the world and now, it is mass stress and drama of hate.  Simply because someone disagrees  is not a reason to be  cruel on any topic, when did society, in particular the United States, become so anti-tolerant of others' right to differ in opinions and express them?   Negativity not only spreads quicker in our society  it triggers more in the brain and stays there longer.

Colleges across the country were polled and asked if they felt social media is making society more hostile.  80% or greater said yes in several random studies. In regards to recent studies specifically on the current Presidential campaign, recent surveys done show as high as 78% have witnessed outright arguments with "hateful words exchanged."   The posts and  tweets are not promoting issues and supporting candidates, they are insulting other candidates and other people for supporting them.  Citizens are allowing themselves to become an extension of the news media, negative news sources anti-candidates or issues.   The impact this has on our society is not healthy.  Emotions carry over when you step away from the computer and the television.

Our country, our WORLD needs to continue to grow and prosper for everyone.  Crime rates need to decline continually.   Prayers are given daily for longer healthier lives.   The irony is this; it doesn’t matter who our leader is or what kind of money you make, negativity is on the rise and competes with these goals.  

The sun shines every day. That image, or in a text message form, won’t fire off as many neurons in your brain as  a candidate blasting another one as ineffective as a leader.  Babies are born daily and that is truly a miracle, a life-changer. Yet when someone is killed, your brain goes into super charge mode. But, what would you really rather focus on and have guide your mood, your life and interactions, a murder
 or the sun shining on a newborn baby?


Doctors Quality of Care - Are You Getting it?

Most often people talk about health care providers when their experiences are poor. Thus it
is easy to get the impression, if you are new to having chronic illness, you are doomed to have ‘bad service.’ Don’t walk in with low expectations. This attitude is not only counter-productive but simply not true. There are many incredible providers out there. It is your job, as a consumer, and hopefully somewhat informed educated patient,  to find them.

It seems a bad experience with a doctor is always shared but a good experience is an assumption. We expect those that take the oath of serving in medicine to be doing it for the right reason and to approach the job the way we would like. Realistically, that is not the case. Everyone has encountered or heard stories. There are bad employees in every profession including the medical field. Seek out good health care providers if you get a rotten egg. This may mean you have to go through several to find the right one but, your body and you deserve the best!

Social media can be an asset. Patients are lax in taking the time to go online and take the various survey menus on their doctors.  This is important for those who want to screen new
potential providers. The more reviews, the more accurate the results.  If only bad reviews are given, the stats are skewed horribly. One person on a bad day with unreal expectations could unfairly jeopardize a great doctor’s rating for months.  Do due diligence, if your provider is worthy, take time and go online. Give them that consideration and help others out.  Plus, they deserve the referrals if they’re that good. 

It is not always necessary to share unpleasant experiences because yours could be isolated.
E.g. I had a mishap with a surgery causing 9 months of extensive issues.  I did not give out her name because several friends see this physician and have a high opinion of her. Why ruin their relationship because of my experience? It was a fluke mistake and doctors are human much as we like to think they are Godlike.

I compiled a list of a few at the base of this blog of doctors I either know or close friends have had firsthand experiences with that are exceptional. My goal was to get all of you to do the same. Create and share your lists and ask folks to save it on their computer. You never know when someone will ask you for a recommendation. Be prepared and help others get the excellent care they need giving options too.

Doctors should be cognizant of the fact you are a whole person and not just the malady you are being treated for which is old school approach to medicine.  Dr. Shannon Serie is an oncologist at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Her care is exceptional because she takes the time on the front end of treatment to address all questions and concerns her patients have. She is concerned about helping her patients understand that living healthy is removing as much of the toxicity from their life, not just the cancer cells.  She is known for her one-on-one connection with her patients which serves as a motivator to keep the patients positive and diligent in her recommendations.  She truly treats the whole person. 

Being technologically savvy is a big concern to many people in the course of their treatment. If you want this for your issues, do your research! Other doctors in your area are not always going to volunteer this information or refer you out of network or out of the area.  Many may not even know what is available or who is out there doing new work. E.g., Dr. Monsour is a urologist in Dayton, Ohio. What makes him a stand out is his work in treating prostate cancer. He is very proficient and has an established reputation of excellent work in both laser and robotic surgeries for this type of cancer. These surgeries reduce risks and recovery times.

Working with children takes a special talent. Listening to little ones with an inability to express their hurts and pains is innate. Dr. Nasser is a pediatrician who has that, and has been practicing with glowing reviews for years.  She is as devoted to her little patients as she is to their parents. She listens with a fine ear for details and has a history of dealing with children with complicated cases and handling them with ease. Having had some issues of her own, her compassion in health care is unsurpassed!

Many doctors are working with the knowledge base they learned in medical school. They take their required curriculum each year to stay current but have time for little else. Then there are other doctors working and trying to constantly break thru more discoveries to not only extend their patients’ lives but improve the quality of them.

If you have a type of cancer not as common, you want a doctor that is devoted, has a research drive in them, is proactive and cares deeply about you and the issues!  If it is endocrine cancer, look no further than Dr. Eric Liu. Based out of Denver, Colorado, he has been on the forefront of the field of endocrine cancer and will stay there.

Dr. Liu is on the board of NET, an organization solely devoted to these types of cancer. It is estimated more people actually have these types of cancers than are diagnosed. Many health care providers are not familiar enough with the signs to recognize its existence to test for it. The organization is constantly raising funds and awareness to combat this cancer and find a cure.

Finding health care providers you can understand the complex material being thrown at you easily is imperative. It does no good to see the best and not ‘get the message” especially if it is something as important as your heart. In Dayton, Ohio on the Board of the American Heart Association is a cardiologist named Dr. Harvey Hahn.  The affiliation of a doctor to a Board shows an added dedication to the cause.  Volunteering time to increase awareness, address questions and put attention towards proactive measures to decrease heart issues is commendable indeed of Dr. Hahn to his community.   

Dr. Hahn is part of Kettering Health Network and he makes himself relatable to his audience, and is, “down to earth.”  This is not the norm for cardiologists, as most of us know who have spoken with them for media work or health care issues.  I have to pat my ‘heart’ for a cardiologist that is devoted, exceptional at his job and compassionate towards helping every citizen understand this very serious medical condition. I also have to think his great results have something to do with his uncanny ability to communicate so effectively to his patients. Communication is key to being a great health care provider! 

Diversity in options is important too. Let’s face it; no one likes an arrogant doctor anymore. Bedside manner matters. Dr. Mike Glasmeier of Nashville’s First Impressions Family Dentistry was rated close to the top in the military during his residency in dentistry in customer service.

When he moved into private family practice, Dr. Glasmeier’s ratings did not change. He has done so well, he now operates two successful dental practices.  Whether he works on special needs children, a patient who needs sedation for dental work or cosmetic work, he treats each and every one the same. Furthermore, he always gives patients options when it comes to their teeth. This is important because money can be scare and patients can be afraid of dentistry. Health care providers must be cognizant of their patient’s financial and emotional needs. He and his practice are and demonstrate this. 

Remember your health care provider can’t give you good service if you haven’t defined what that is. Be realistic and clear as to what you expect before you go in. Did you know you can request an introduction interview with most providers?  Use it if you need to.  Write down your questions lest you forget them prior to a visit, at home, not in the waiting room where you are anxious. Don’t blame a provider for not answering your questions if you walked in unprepared. They sometimes are rushed. Other patients come in unexpected due to emergencies often not by their choice.

Consider looking at health care as a true partnership. If your doctor is not willing to do so and you are meeting them halfway, you probably need to find another one. No shame, no blame, just move on! Use the tools of social media, and get to work and get living!

Dr. Patty Ghory
Allergy & Asthma
Cincinnati Allergy & Asthma Center
Dr. Ann Ghory
Allergy & Asthma
Cincinnati Allergy & Asthma Center
Bernstein Allergy Group
Allergy & Asthma
Bernstein Allergy Group
Dr. Harvey Hahn
Southwest Cardiology Inc:
Laurie C Goerzen, NP
Vanderbilt Medical Center
Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey
TriStar Summit Medical Center
Dr. Mike Glasmeier
General Family Dentistry & Botox
First Impressions/Old Hickory Family Dentistry
Dr. Raymond Brewer
General Practitioner
TriStar Centennial
Dr. Maria Ysela Carrillo
General Surgery, Critical Care Surgery
Vanderbilt Medical Center
Dr. Eric Liu
NET Specialist &Surgeon
Neuroendocrine Center at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers
Dr. Michael Kirkwood
Seven Hills Women's Health Center
Dr. Ellington
Women's Group of Franklin
Dr. Shannon Stinnett Serie
Vanderbilt Medical Center
Dr. Mark Kroll
formerly Vanderbilt, new location in Bowling Green, KY
Dr. Bruce Holaday
Commonwealth Orthopedic Centers
Dr. Wafa Nasser
Whole Child Pediatrics
Dr. Brian Tierny
Plastic Surgery
Tierny Plastic Surgery
Dr. Michael Baker
Advanced Foot & Ankle Center
Dr. Bonnie Slovis
Pulmonary Specialist
Vanderbilt Medical Center
Dr. Monsour
Dayton Physicians Urology
Dr. Peter Swarr
Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
Cool Springs Internal Medicine
Dr. Howard Mertz
Nashville Gastrointestinal Specialists