Another question asked and answered at the Vermont Marathon. Once again Bev asks the questions and Peter answers. But this one has a guest appearance from the person who asked the question. Sound quality is no better than the others, I’m afraid. But a transcript, as best as I can do it, follows:

BS: We’ve got a question here from Gemini…
PW: Gemini! (Looks at her) Do you want to read this?
Gem: That’s fine.
BS: You once mentioned learning some American Sign Language when Edan was very young. So you still remember any and do you think it will be useful in medicine?

PW: Ummm… So, do I still remember any? Yes, little bits of it. I don’t know where we stumbled across this. But the idea of teaching sign language to babies to have absolutely no hearing impairment just so they had a way of communicating before they had the ability to form words, sentences. That was one of the most fantastic things that we did raising Edan. Because, it wasn’t just that it was kind of cool for him to have a way of expressing himself, it just meant he was so much more connected… than might have been the case.

(Pause to point to the window.) I’m just looking out there and it’s pouring out there…

We started out with a couple of normal American Sign Language things. (makes sign) This is milk. (another hand sign) and this is more… and (puts a finger to his mouth) is this juice? But you start out with a couple of basic things and once the kid picks it up and gets the idea of – I remember this very clearly. He would… for months we were showing signs to him and he would just (puzzled facial expression)… “What the hell’s wrong with you people?”… Then suddenly he was like, you give him milk and he’d go (sign for milk) “so if I do that, you’re going to give me milk? Oh, ok, I get it. And if I do that (sign for more)… Ok, show me another one. Give me some water. I want that thing. What’s that?”

And you could see him just get the idea. “Oh, that’s what this is about.” And then he’s make up signs and we had to … He had a little cloth that he would… you put there (shoulder) for him to throw up. He liked to have the cloth to kind of comfort him when he went to sleep so he made up this sign for cloth, which was… (demonstrates, finger against nose). I mean, that was just so cool, realizing that he was teaching us a language as much as we were teaching him one.

Because of that you’re really focused and present with your child and they know that. That connection is just stronger and cooler and just more fun. I mean, you could talk about things that—you know he’d be sitting there and just go (shows a hand sign) and he’s talking about a plane that went over yesterday that was really noisy and he’s remembering it. Just the complexity of what’s going on and what otherwise…
Again, I grew up with the idea that babies were blank sheets, they were just blobs until you imposed yourself on them. It was my grandparents generation. It was how they viewed things. And it so clearly is not true. … (can’t quite make out the next few words), I remember American Sign Language. I remember a couple of things. But is it useful for other people? Probably not. ‘Cause they’re not going to get the sign for cloth.

BS: Does that answer your question?

Gem: My daughter had a friend in high school whose father was hearing impaired. Watching them, she picked up a few signs. When they were on the basketball team together in eighth grade, they were in this big gymnasium, very noisey, and she and her mother, like clear across the room, conversing with each other. Gee, that would come in handy.

(Can’t quite make out what Peter says in response as he’s doing some typical sports signs. Something about cool stuff or school stuff.)

Gem: Yeah, yeah, you get it. Third base coach.

PW: Yeah. The same in horse racing… the bookies, the guys who take the bets, signaling each other, where the money is going, what it feels like, where the risks are because lots of people are betting on this horse rather than that horse, signaling to each other… it’s kind of cool. Edan, I don’t think he remembers anything more than one or two signs these days. There are a couple of signs that we still use. You know, ‘cause you can tell your kid you love them when all their friends are around and it’s ok. Drop them off at school and go “I love you”…
Gem: Make good choices.

PW: Learn things today. Come back wiser. Yeah, they love that stuff.

Gem: It’s your job to embarrass them when they’re teenagers.

PW: I think that’s very true. I try to do that with the dad humor, dad jokes. Jokes that are just not funny in any way. And you have to do those when all their friends are around. It’s your job.

Gem: … I had the job of doing all that for my kids ‘cause their dad was the coach so I was the parent…
PW: You were the embarrassing parent. Good for you; good for you. It’s all part of growing up and being …

Missed the last word on that. I interviewed Peter about 12 years ago for an article for LFT on this very subject. I will upload it to the LFT site later when I have time. Working on a couple of things right now, including the next LFT. Don’t have access to the LFT pages? You can subscribe to the PWFC here and I’ll send information on how to access the Members Only pages.


Post marathon chat on the run with Peter…


Peter took this opportunity to answer a few questions that had been sent in. Bev Shihara read the questions. I’ll post these one at a time.

Transcribed:
Bev: Here are a couple. What did you think would be your biggest challenge with going back to school and has that issue, or issues, been your biggest challenge? That’s from Susan Arnold, by the way.

PW: OK, Susan, here’s the answer. I thought it would be difficult to do the same thing every day. I am so used to, even a movie or mini-series, even something like Riverworld that I did for two months, that was a long time to be playing the same character. ‘Cause doing something like Highlander, where I played the same guy for year after year after year, I was doing other things as well. I’m just not used to showing up being the same person day after day after day. I thought that might be a struggle for me and I’ve not found that to be a problem at all. All through the last two years, showing up to lectures every day, I’ve never felt it’s really time I did something different ‘cause I’m genuinely interested by the stuff that I’m doing. Switching now to being on the wards, it’s …

Psychiatry was never the same twice. That was kind of the cool thing about it. It’s one of the really appealing things about it. You go in, you have no idea what people are going to say. People would say. People would say sometimes disturbing things and so you’re always wondering what’s going to happen next. And then some days you’d go in and nothing weird would happen at all, which is also disturbing.

But now I’m doing family med and each week you go in and I guess, an average day, is probably about fifteen or sixteen people and everybody is coming in with something different. I mean, you’ll get bursts of kind of everybody’s got a virus and they’ve all got runny noses and sore throats but mixed in with that you’ll have people who’ve hurt their ankle or somebody’s got wax in their ear or somebody who’s woken up in the middle of the night with their heart pounding and they have no idea why, so there’s never a sense of it’s always the same thing. So that’s what I was most worried about and it’s not panned out at all so far.


More from Vermont!

For those who simply can’t hear this, here’s a close transcript:
(as best I can) – Ree:

From the surgery remarks during the “Holby City” references (previous video), Peter continued talking about school and his rotations:
PW: I do my surgery rotation in October, November or something. Pediatrics comes up next and then OB-GYN after that. And then surgery follows that.
Question: Have you made any decisions yet? (I don’t know who asked this.)
PW: Psychiatry is going to be tough to beat. I’m just really interested in people’s stories…
Comment: Like coming up to Vermont to watch a marathon…
PW: Two hours in the rain, with a plastic bag on your head. I’ve got my bin liner. I’ll rip a hole in the head and a couple of arm holes and I’ll run in a rubbish bag.
Comment: You’ll be the height of fashion today. When I came up on the shuttle bus today, half of the people there were (wearing…)
PW: It’s not about fashion today. You’re out there a long time to be freezing cold and miserable.
Comment: It’s a long standing tradition that if you don’t want to throw away the Gortex jacket that you spent 120 bucks on, you go out with your bin liner, then you throw it away if you get too warm.
PW: You can always decide I’ve got too much on and take something off. But if you’re running there in your little tank top and your short shorts and you’re cold, you’re stuck with that.
Comment: You need to run faster (or just run faster)
PW: There’s so much pain anyway, it’s… (fades) I was just watching them start off and watching the elite athletes at the front. They’re a completely different species. They’re just not like us. And they’re wearing hardly any clothes ‘cause they don’t want anything to slow them down. I want lots of things to slow me down!