Lights in the Dark

by Angela Self, TCMS President

This article was originally published in the May/June issue of the Tarrant County Physician. You can read find the full magazine here.


I once wrote about my hopes for life after medical school. I would imagine my office decor, my conversations with patients, the time I would spend coordinating their care. The thoughts were all happy and gave me hope when the dark days of medical school cast a shadow over my upbeat mood, when classes took me down the road of insomnia and gave me a near flat affect from studying more than 12 hours a day during exam time. I guess we all looked like zombies immediately before and after our exams, and some even had the fragrance. 

Once a girlfriend came to visit me and she stayed at a hotel on the beach. I discovered the pleasure of sitting and enjoying a piña colada and having zero thoughts of gluconeogenesis or small, slow-conducting fibers (protopathic). Denise, the Coyaba hotel, and a piña colada were all little lights for a med student who was over 2,000 miles from home.

There are times during my professional life that I once again feel like I’m over 2,000 miles from home. Denise is now married and living in Ohio. Piña coladas have way too many calories. The Coyaba hotel would require more PTO than I’m able to take. I’m sitting at my dining room table as I write this because stepping back into the office would make me feel like I’m still at work. I started to take an evening walk but turned around when a close friend told me how much my article sucked (the one you’re not going to read). He didn’t actually say that it sucked; he just pointed out how opposite of uplifting or encouraging it was and said, “It’s not your best work.” Thank you, “D,” for your honesty.
  

Why would I not be the happiest person you could meet? I have a great job. I am happily single and able to go out and meet a girlfriend for coffee any time I want. I see my beautiful daughter on a regular basis (who is working, doing well in school, and enjoying her youth by spending time with her close friends). My mom survived a hospitalization that nearly took her life in 2013 and has never smoked again (I had taken her home on hospice ten days after she was admitted). Heck, I barely have enough bills to qualify as debt. I should be dancing around the whole Grapevine/Colleyville area. But I’m not.

The strange thing about being there for everyone else is that you sometimes forget to keep a little piece of yourself to enjoy—you just give it all away. Yes, this is a “me” problem. I am the one who picks up the phone when I know the person calling is going to vent for the next 30 minutes, but after 20 years of friendship, you make an effort to still “be there” because that’s what friends do. When your very best friend calls and frantically asks for prayer because the vet is coming to put their horse down (which happened two days ago), how do you not take that call? When your mom wants to tell you about a grandkid she’s concerned about and says the stress is overwhelming, are you going to hang up on her? Another friend tells you they are really concerned because they are still having fatigue and shortness of breath since their heart procedure—and this is one of your health-conscious friends. How can you not feel that? Then there is the job that you love doing, but sadly you do it for 12 hours many days. I find myself on long walks, asking, “Am I missing something?” I wonder if there are elderly patients that I could be helping, or if I’m not fulfilling my calling by now being on the “administrative” side of Medicine.

Long walks, good coffee, and two cats have replaced Denise, the Coyaba, and even the piña colada. As I walk along, I play music from the 80s and 90s and look at all of the different trees—I love the long needle pines the best, they look and smell good. I see the cardinals and the other birds flying around and admire how they know the meaning of commitment. On the weekends I spend hours at the coffee shop with the same few people I’ve been meeting there for years (none of us got COVID-19, and almost everyone is getting vaccinated). They give me a special discount at Buon Giorno, just don’t tell anyone. What? They give everyone that same discount for bringing their thermal mug? I look up at the stars and try to find the big dipper, but I live in Grapevine and, you know, light pollution. I run a hot bath and sit there until it’s barely warm. Netflix holds many fond memories from my COVID-19 nights: Shtisel, Sex and the City, The Crown, Girlfriends . . . I really do make the most of each day and try to laugh as much as I can. It’s just been hard to laugh lately, and I wanted to share in case someone else is also having a hard time laughing, or sleeping, or even folding the laundry.

We are the ones who are there for everyone else. Who is there for us? Though my friends and family can drain the very life force from my body, I want you to know that I am here for you. You have sacrificed so much for others, and your colleagues see you. They care even though you thought they didn’t like you. I am struggling a bit these days, as I suspect many of us are after the year we’ve been through. 

Perhaps this is just my COVID-19 carb crash, but I am ready for this season to end. I am praying; I like to pray. I am even going to church on occasion . . . not that I care for going to church. But my faith has always seen me through the most difficult of times, and I once again find myself reading Joshua 1:9, knowing that He will be with me wherever I go. I am going to put that and a few other verses on the wall behind my laptop as a reminder that He is always with me. I have friends who do not share my faith, my politics, or my taste in music, but we do share the need to connect, to laugh, and to be heard. Thank you for reading my article and for being one of the lights in a sometimes dark place. Call me any time at 817-798-8087 (text first if you actually want me to pick up). We’re all walking through this—let’s do it together. 

TCMS Pediatrician Voted in as TMA President-Elect

Gary Floyd MD picture

Gary W. Floyd, MD, a Fort Worth pediatrician and longtime member of the Tarrant County Medical Society, was elected president-elect of the Texas Medical Association  on Saturday, May 15. TMA’s House of Delegates governing body announced elections during TexMed, the association’s annual conference, held virtually this year due to the pandemic. He will serve in this role for one year before assuming the presidency of America’s largest state medical society in 2022. 

“It’s an incredible privilege and responsibility – and very humbling – for the members of our TMA to elect me to be the spokesperson for our organization,” said Dr. Floyd. “I will never tire of advocating for our patients and our physician members.”

TMA’s president is the organization’s primary voice to external audiences and to physician members – for advocacy and policy efforts, and in news interviews.

Dr. Floyd has been very involved in TMA and other organized medicine organizations throughout his 42-year medical career. He chaired TMA’s Board of Trustees governing body for the past year, having served in that body for seven years. He led the board in a “disaster board” function last year, temporarily acting on urgent business in place of the association’s policymaking body since the pandemic prohibited an in-person House of Delegates meeting. Board members explored a new diversity initiative as well.

“As chair, I led our board to initiate a task force to study equity, diversity, inclusion, and racism,” he said. “I believe our TMA needs to seriously address these issues as we move further into the 21st century.”

Dr. Floyd also was reelected today by the TMA house as a delegate representing Texas in the American Medical Association House of Delegates. He has chaired the TMA Council on Legislation and served on the association’s Council on Constitution and Bylaws, and the Select Committee on Medicaid, CHIP, and the Uninsured. Dr. Floyd also was a district chair of TEXPAC, TMA’s political action committee.

Dr. Floyd has several objectives planned for his presidency next year, which mirror long-term goals of the association.

“My goals include aggressively protecting against intrusions into the practice of medicine by those who have not done the necessary training, in order to protect our patients and unsuspecting citizens in Texas,” he said. He also lists defending Texas’ liability reforms and defending against intrusions into what he calls “the sacred bond” between physicians and their patients. He believes in protecting physicians’ autonomy to make medical decisions with and for their patients. 

The pediatrician assumes the presidency as Texas continues to vaccinate against COVID-19 and return to normalcy in life and patient care.

“I actively practiced pediatrics over 40 years, but with the COVID pandemic, I retired from daily patient care,” he said. He continues to be very involved in medical management and organized medicine, however.

During the pandemic, TMA distributed millions of personal protective equipment masks to Texas physicians. TMA also guided many doctors in adopting telemedicine to remotely care for patients and provided other information and support for physicians to survive and thrive during the pandemic.

Dr. Floyd previously served as president of the Texas Pediatric Society and TCMS, and he was active in the American College of Physician Executives, and the Society for Pediatric Emergency Medicine. He is a fellow and board member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Floyd graduated from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and completed his pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. He pursued his undergraduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, Dr. Floyd has practiced in various settings in Texas and Oklahoma including general pediatrics, academic pediatrics, and  pediatric emergency and urgent care, and he has worked in administrative medicine and government affairs. He was the John Peter Smith Health Networks chief medical officer and executive vice president of medical affairs, then executive vice president of government and alumni affairs.

Active in the First Baptist Church of Keller, Dr. Floyd has been married 47 years to Karen Floyd, whom he met when they were in high school. “She is my best, most trusted friend,” he said. The couple has two married daughters, Holly Peterson, married to Ben Peterson, and Neely Pedersen, married to Craig Pedersen, DO, and two grandsons, with another due in October.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 55,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

TMLT offers telemedicine ethics CME

Interested in learning more about the risks and rewards of using telemedicine in your office? This month, TMLT will be hosting an ethics CME on the topic. The seminars will take place on April 20 and 28 and will be streamed live.

You can register here. If you have any questions, call 800-580-8658, ext. 5050.

TMA Advocacy Retreat

Join TMA on Saturday, December 5, for their 2020 advocacy retreat, which will be held virtually.

The retreat meetings will take place between 9am and noon, and will cover TMA’s legislative priorities and strategies for protecting medicine and the doctor-patient relationship.

This is a free event, but please register in advance as there will be a limited number of participants. To register or find out additional information, contact David Wilhelm at david.wilhelm@texmed.org.


Agenda: 
Introductions
Diana L. Fite, MD, President, Texas Medical Association


Public Issue Polling Results
Bryan Eppstein, Founder and CEO, The Eppstein Group


TMA’s Legislative Priorities
Debra Patt, MD, Chair, TMA Council on Legislation


Specialty Society Legislative Priorities Update
Specialty Society Leaders
Moderated by Debra Patt, MD

No Cost COVID-19 Testing in North Texas

Nine DFW clinics are offering drive-thru testing for COVID-19 at no
cost. MD MedicalGroup is offering these nine DFW clinics for testing to further the access for individuals to get the care they need in four different counties in North Texas. They do require that COVID-19 drive-thru patients be screened for flu and strep. “The flu and strep tests will allow us to treat positive cases with antibiotics. We are not only testing, we are also providing treatment to patients that need it.”—Chief Medical Director, Dr. Ana Veronica Rodriguez

Drive-thru testing locations are able to test adults and children, two years and older, while minimizing exposure and reducing demands on hospitals. Clinics will be open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and will be equipped to test 200 individuals daily. They are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and other experts to monitor COVID-19.

To ease traffic and wait times appointments are required. Same day appointments are available—call or text us at 1-888-776-5252, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Drive-thru testing locations:

Dallas County
• MD Family Clinic- 2636 W Walnut St. Garland, TX 75042
• MD Family Clinic- 9991 Marsh Ln. #100 Dallas, TX 75220
• MD Family Clinic- 1111 S Irving Heights Dr, Irving, TX 75060
• MD Family Clinic- 9709 Bruton Rd. Dallas, TX 75217
• MD Kids Pediatrics- 3201 W. Saner Ave. Dallas, TX 75233
• Clinicas Mi Doctor- 410 E Pioneer Pkwy #300, Grand Prairie, TX 75051

Collin County
• MD Kids Pediatrics- 7800 Preston Rd. #300 Plano, TX 75024

Tarrant County
• Clinicas Mi Doctor- 4200 South Fwy. #106, Fort Worth, TX 76115

Denton County
• Clinicas Mi Doctor- 701 S Stemmons Fwy, Lewisville, TX 75067

\Individuals can call or text us at 1-888-776-5252. A list of services, hours, and locations are available online at www.mdmedicalgroup.us. Established and new patients can securely and conveniently schedule an appointment online at https://mdmedicalgroup.us/request-an-appointment/. Several clinics offer extended and weekend hours for all other sick and well visits. Patients are encouraged to continue to visit us for chronic conditions, prescription refills, and for preventative care—well visits and vaccines.

Testing location updates and information will be available on their website www.mdmedicalgroup.us and on their social media pages: @mdmedicalgroup

TCMS Gets Limited Donation of PPE

A number of physicians are struggling to get appropriate PPE for their healthcare teams due to shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. TCMS has received a small donation of PPE from MedStar and is dispersing it to some of our members that are currently seeing patients daily without appropriate protective gear. Thank you, MedStar, for donating to support physicians at this critical time. We are hoping that we continue to receive PPE donations to protect our community’s healthcare workers. To donate or find out more information, contact us at 817-732-2825.

Greg Phillips, MD, and Anita King, RN, reviving N95 masks.
Purnachander Sirikonda, MD, 15 N95 masks for his staff of five.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 4/20/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 1249*

COVID-19 related deaths: 39

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 208

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Monday, April 20, 2020. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 4/12/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 806*

COVID-19 related deaths: 25

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 90

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Sunday, April 12, 2020. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 4/11/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 787*

COVID-19 related deaths: 25

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 90

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Saturday, April 11, 2020. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.