Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Magic!

Sometimes I find myself wishing I wasn't working. Mostly it's just laziness, but also the fact that I've lost a step. I'm not as adept at keeping track of the multiple problems of multiple patients and the multiple questions and issues that come my way in a busy clinic day (I can keep only about 6-8 windows open). So I'm slower. But then there are realizations that I'm doing a good job for the patients and that I can have some fairly deep clinical insights; there is the pleasure of working with my colleagues; and there are moments like in this photo. What joy to see three generations together like this! What joy to provide care for people who really have their act together, like la abuela in the photo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Photos and words

For obvious reasons I hesitated to write this, but it’s true, so ... I became enlightened and nothing other than this life, including the service, would do. That’s why. Of course it was transient. But those few days spent in that state (and Leslie’s profound influence) were enough to keep me on the path for >40 years. Photo: David and me

An email from a former student, very nice to receive: "Just wanted to see how things are going. J told me he was heading to the clinic, so I asked him to get your email address for me. School is going really well. They are definitely keeping me busy here. Seems like I literally study all day. Fortunately, I am a big enough nerd that I don't mind all the reading. I did not get a chance to come by before I left, but I did want to thank you for your support and encouragement. I remember as a nursing student the professors would always ask us about our plans post graduation. I would tell them that I intended to go to CRNA school. You were the only professor who told me I could actually do it, and supported me. I learned a great deal from you during my clinical rotation, and one of the most valuable things I learned from you was how to be a caring clinician. I admire how you reach out to the patients. Hopefully if all goes well, I can one day offer my services as a CRNA to those in need." Photo above: Highway Colorado headed into New Mexico

Part of my answer: A nerd in understanding the patho, the procedures, the meds, etc., makes for a stud out there at the literal edge of human existence, where you’ve been spending your time.

Photo: Chocolate chunk cookies (the best recipe) and whole wheat bread (Tassajara recipe)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Truth, Justice, the American Way

Like many other people I am deeply affected by the death of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who committed suicide after another student posted videos of Tyler having sex with another man. I realize (sorry to be soooo slow) that discrimination of any sort against gay people is a civil rights, a justice issue – the same as the other great civil rights/justice issues of the 20th Century.

Why this time? Why not (ABC News, I think): “… 13-year-old Asher Brown, who told his parents he was gay, fatally shot himself last week after they said bullies pushed him too far. Two other teenagers hanged themselves after classmates had bullied them for years over their sexual orientations. 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Indiana hanged himself three weeks ago, and 13-year-old Seth Walsh from California died this week, eight days after trying to hang himself from a tree.” Why not Matthew Shepard? Why not others? I don’t know.

But I do know, here I am, with no more tolerance for religious bigots who model intolerance and hate and then lie about it with the old “hate the sin, not the sinner” shuck and jive. No more tolerance for people who justify prejudice because it’s part of their culture (Hispanic, Black, Redneck [everybody else gets a cap, why not us], whatever). No more tolerance for looks and innuendo. No more tolerance for really, face it, people’s own personal threat over something (same sex sex) that isn’t unusual, that lots of people do or have done, that animals other than the human animal do.

Being gay isn’t a lifestyle choice – it just is, the same as being hetero, BUT if it was a choice, then so what. Who is anyone to tell anyone else that a choice that doesn’t hurt anyone is wrong?

Here is a link to the It Gets Better Project - a very good thing for young people struggling with cruelty. From one of the vids:

There really is a place for us
There really is a place for you
One day you will have friends who love and support you
You will find love
You will find a community

Life gets better.