Friday, May 29, 2009

All About Poker

Probably not the time for this (especially after my "think for the best" speech), but upon awaking after 3 hours of sleep last night, I couldn't get one thing out of my mind, my initial read**. Many that know me well understand that I would rather play poker than most anything, but life and the need to actually receive a paycheck keeps getting in the way. I study body language and reaction to get a read on what to do, fold, raise, call, talk, don't talk, etc. (for those that lost money to me, ignore this post as I am not paying attention, really).

So, what does this have to do with Sophie and the surgery? When Dr. Asano and Dr. Chugani came into the room to give us the surgery news, I had two different reads. Dr. Chugani was displaying subtle confidence (consistent with the not terrible but not great news) but my read on Dr. Asano was much much different. As Dr. Chugani took over the description, I never took my eyes off Dr. Asano. My initial read (the one that poker players say you should stick with 90% of the time) was that there was a level of guilt or concern there. He consistently looked down to the right. As I awoke this morning, I couldn't get this image out of my head. I recalled from the show Lie to Me (predictable but also very interesting analyzing body language) that my read was probably accurate, but what about the Japanese culture. Could it have just been a sign of respect (but then why not just down...why the right also)? Am I overanalyzing? Probably... Nonetheless, I couldn't fall back to asleep, because I didn't trust my read and folded. I chickened out! I did ask the question "knowing what you know now, would you have recommended starting the surgery"; however, only Dr. Chugani answered. What would have Dr. Asano have said?

So, I searched for looking down and to the right on Google and confirmed:

"Looking down

Looking at a person can be an act of power and domination. Looking down involves not looking at the other person, which hence may be a sign of submission ('I am not a threat, really; please do not hurt me. You are so glorious I would be dazzled if I looked at you.')

Looking down can thus be a signal of submission. It can also indicate that the person is feeling guilty.

A notable way that a lower person looks down at a higher person is by tilting their head back. Even taller people may do this.

Looking down and to the left can indicate that they are talking to themselves (look for slight movement of the lips). Looking down and to the right can indicate that they are attending to internal emotions.

In many cultures where eye contact is a rude or dominant signal, people will look down when talking with others in order to show respect."

Pretty consistent with the read but I missed the attending to internal emotions. Maybe he does just take these things personally. Maybe he was feeling guilty for approving the surgery (he is the most conservative, but I hope not). Maybe he was showing respect but he wasn't talking at the time and why right??? Maybe he thought I looked glorious and was dazzled by me...probably not. Part of me wishes I didn't notice.

Okay enough of that. I will ask him in a couple hours. Won't change our course but I need to know that all of my questions were answered and that I hear directly from Dr. Asano what he is feeling...maybe I will get a few more reads :)

Speaking of poker, while talking to Elaine last night, the only analogy I could come up with is that this feels like a race...a coin flip. We have pocket 10s and the infantile spasms has AK suited... The pocket 10s are a slight favorite so maybe it is the other way around. Either way, heads we win, tails we lose. Are we prepared to flip a coin on this? Are both sides tails? If the alternative is don't flip the coin and always lose, don't you have to flip?

I guess I am back to think the worst and hope for the best philosophy. It just works better for me. Many times when facing a race, I will say "I know I am going to lose this hand". Reverse psychology...although it doesn't change a thing. The flop, turn, and river are set. The cards are on the table for everyone to see.

Thanks for reading. It may have sounded negative but it really helped me gather my thoughts. I am not usually this much of an open book. Please use whatever method works best for you: prayer (even if laodicean), thoughts, reverse psychology, positive thinking, meditation, sacrifice a lamb (okay don't do that, a little outdated)...we will take it all!


** All words in italics and bold is poker terminology.


Anonymous said...

I think maybe your "first read" Doc knows the seriousness of your decision (not that the other docs don't). He's had to look into the eyes of so many parents that expect an absolute miracle. One he can't promise you.
He may feel the pain of you who have to turn your most prescious baby over to him for a whole day so that he can give her the best chance to have the life you've always dreamed for her. Maybe he can't look at you without a tear coming to his eye which wouldn't help you. Maybe he isn't good at keeping the "poker face" his job needs him to do.
I am sure they wouldn't put Sophie through this if they weren't sure (as you and Elaine are) that this is the best and only option for Sophie.
I know it's almost time. Give Sophie a hug and kiss for us.
She and you won't be out of our thoughts for one second today.

Aunt Barb

Anonymous said...

Brad, You are doing a great job bloging. It's hard to write things that are just coming from the heart,[not ot of a book or something that has been rehearsed.]It might be alot easier for me to beat Gary in a game of cards now that I know how to watch sommeones body movements. Thanks for the tip. Back to Sophie' I am sure you and Elaine are doing the best thing for her. One day when she is old enough to read this herself she will be thanking you too.Remember,if your going through HELL keep on moving, face that fire, walk right through it, you might get out before the devil even knows your there. Have a successful day little Sophie. WE will be thinking and praying for you all day.

Love, Aunt Tammy, Uncle Gary, Nickie,and Casey

MJStump said...

I can only agree with the comment from Barb on this one. They wouldn't be putting Sophie through all of this if they didn't think she would benefit from the surgery.

Not all docs are cut out to talk to parents about this... some docs are compassionate, some are very thorough, some are cut and dry, and some do not have the bed side manner we would often prefer. Remember that Dr. Chugani is "the doctor" that you all waited to see, so his is the lead you need to follow..he is the captain on Sophie's team.

It is hard to see these things when you have those not so happy thoughts creep in, but focusing on the overanalyzing stuff will just make you sick and worry that much me, we were totally there when we got our baby's IS diagnosis, and it was not a fun time or place for us.

Look at how God gave you your beautiful Sweet Sophie, and focus on her and keep reading back over the prayers and seeing how much love is out there for her and your family. That will help you guys get through this, and let go of the ugly thoughts. It's not easy, as those thoughts try to take over, but you can't let them..for Sophie's sake, you need to be strong and positive.

We will pray for your strength. Trust in Him. This is a passage someone gave me when we were very low with our baby's IS diagnosis.

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Anonymous said...

We are praying and hoping for the best for Sophie. I know it's hard not to overanalyze things, especially this. Just remember, Sophie is in the very best care and these doctors want what is best for her. Give Sophie lots of kisses from us.
Love you guys, Erica, Ricky, and Ben

Anonymous said...

Brandon, Elane always says what wonderful caring doctors this group is. Maybe that was all it was. This will be a winning "hand". It has to be. I don't know if you remember a couple of years ago when I had my problem and I told you not to worry that we had gone through much tougher things than this. I really meant it. In the big picture it was small. Well I know this is the toughest thing we will ever have to do - but together we will do it. Hang on to each other, love each other, and take care of Elaine and the "new" baby boy. Just like the Kentucky Derby, the dark horse won. We are almost to the finish line. Love MOM

JSmith5780 said...

As everyone has said, try not to overanalyze. You are doing what is best. You are giving Sophie a chance. A chance the meds weren't giving her.

I will be praying all morning, for Sophie and for the doctors.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this. We always say that God only gives us as much as we can handle. Boy, He is really testing you right now.

I truely believe that the doctors wouldn't be moving forward if they didn't think the outcome would be good. (To Hell with the Poker Face scenario, Brandon...How often do you really win in cards anyway!)

Below is a little prayer for you to say throughout the day!

O God, the source of all health.
Fill my heart with faith.
Be near me in times of weakness and pain. Although I know You are in control, I am apprehensive about what faces me. You made me, loved me, and have provided my surgeon with needed skill to perform a miracle in my behalf. Sustain me by Your grace that my strength and courage may not fail; Heal me according to Your will.



Jackson's Blog said...

Brandon - We witnessed the same thing with Dr. Asano. He just has a different bedside manner. You will notice his personality and his confidence once the surgery starts. He becomes very involved and typically leads the team at that point. For us, Dr. Asano made the biggest impression during the diagnostic surgery.
We are sending good thoughts to your daughter this morning.

Jackson's Dad

blogzilly said...

I'd be doing exactly what you are doing...analyzing the hell out of everything. Hard NOT to.

Hang in there.

Reagan Leigh said...

I love the poker analogy (sounds just like my husband)! But I do think you might be reading too much into it. Just trust in your decision and keep praying! NO MORE SEIZURES!!!

Leslie Driver-Rowe & Devon Rowe said...

No, thank you Brandon for sharing your thoughts -- I KNOW what it means to write it out to clear your head, and truly appreciate it when others do the same. Of course we are holding our breath for 4a!! --Leslie

Colby said...

Brandon...You do a beautiful job of expressing a loving father's feelings...You may not know, but my son is much older than most of the little ones on these blogs we follow...I wish SO badly that you and Elaine didn't have to deal with such a struggle at the start of your family life...But we DO "play with the hand we are dealt," right?

I have dealt with MANY, MANY docs through Colby's 24 years ago...And I PROMISE you...As much as we ADORE our docs who are "the whole package"...What is MOST important in THIS particular situation is what goes on in that operating room during THAT particular moment...We'd rather them have a good pair of hands than great language skills if we had to pick one thing...

I am still praying!