The First Visit. With PCP. (Part 1)

Her hair looked like this, sort of. But, oh, so much better. My first visit to this office, and the eyes, as they do, scan the room, its occupants, and then lock in on the hair. “How smart and understanding nature is, always leading us to the most beautiful!” (P. Highsmith)

I’m sitting on the examination table. Anxious. The paper, Crepe I think they call it, so very thin, so very smooth as the hand glides over its surface, crinkles as I shift. For protection, I’m sure, from bacteria of others. I lift my hands from the unprotected edges of the table, and put them in my lap.

I wait.

There’s a double tap on the door, and Hair walks in.

She’s masked. I’m masked. Breath flows up my mask, fogs up my glasses. Is that claustrophobia or vertigo? My head spins. I remove my glasses. Get a grip Man.

Locs? Dreadlocks? Dreads?  Come to think of it, I’ve never been this close to Hair like this.

“Sir? Are you OK?”

“I’m sorry. My mind drifted for a moment.” Please God, tell me that I didn’t try to touch her Hair. [Read more…]

Walking. With All-Clear Signal.

6:00 am. yesterday. Twilight.  Cove Island Park morning walk. 528 days. Almost in a row.

Parking lot is full.  I mean fulland don’t like it. Daylight Savings Time ends November 7th. Spring Forward. Fall Back. It can’t come soon enough. Clear this park of its Humans.

Fall Back.

Fall Back.

Doctor’s Office. One month ago.

“Have you fallen down?”
“Sure.”
“Sure?”
“Yes.”
“What do you mean?”

Early morning walk. Right toe catches large stone on beach. Think Stop, Drop and Roll.  But without the Stop and Roll.  It’s Drop and Splat.  Entire moment happens so fast, I’m rattled. Laying face first.

He prods and pokes around my abdomen. Lifts my shirt. Slides it back down again.

“What’s this?”

Same morning. Still mostly darkish twilight. I’ve brushed myself off. I’m walking beside the break wall. The pokey end of tree branch, sharp, dry, catches me on forehead, an inch above my eye. My good eye.

“Hmmmmm.  Who’s your GP?” [Read more…]

Moved (By the Greatest Show on Earth)

NEW YORK — Ovations are on pause in the theaters and concert halls and stadiums of this city. But they haven’t ceased. They’ve just moved into the streets. Like clockwork, they happen, every evening at 7.  Up and down Manhattan — and probably the Bronx and Staten Island, too — cheers ring out from apartment towers and brownstones, along with the sounds of rhythmic chants, applause and whistles. The denizens of this city of ordinarily high-decibel levels kick them up an ample notch at this hour for the doctors and nurses and technicians and administrators and custodians of the beleaguered ICUs and ERs. The new urban ritual, which is catching on in other cities, coincides with the shift break of hospital staffs, when medical workers emerge from the covid-19 war zone into the open air, to go home for a spell or smoke or eat or otherwise decompress…The tumultuous reception accorded the hospital workers, though, is no cry of despair. It is an impromptu curtain call, of multitudinous thank-yous, from a vast audience rooting for everyday heroes. It’s New Yorkers joining in a chorus, singing out in solidarity: “We are here.”

~ Peter Marks, from “The nightly ovation for hospital workers may be New York’s greatest performance” (Washington Post, April 6, 2020)

We might lose this child

boy-clouds-reach-light

The team knows and I know that we are running out of time. The anesthesiologist looks up at me and I see the fear in his eyes. . . We might lose this child. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is like trying to clutch-start a car in second gear—it’s not very reliable, especially as we are continuing to lose blood. I am working blind, so I open my heart to a possibility beyond reason, beyond skill, and I begin to do what I was taught decades ago, not in residency, not in medical school, but in the back room of a small magic shop in the California desert. I calm my mind. I relax my body. I visualize the retracted vessel. I see it in my mind’s eye, folded into this young boy’s neurovascular highway. I reach in blindly but knowing that there is more to this life than we can possibly see, and that each of us is capable of doing amazing things far beyond what we think is possible. We control our own fates, and I don’t accept that this four-year-old is destined to die today on the operating table. I reach down into the pool of blood with the open clip, close it, and slowly pull my hand away. The bleeding stops, and then, as if far away, I hear the slow blip of the heart monitor. It’s faint at first. Uneven. But soon it gets stronger and steadier, as all hearts do when they begin to come to life. I feel my own heartbeat begin to match the rhythm on the monitor. Later, in post-op, I will give his mother the remnants from his first haircut, and my little buddy will come out of the anesthetic a survivor. He will be completely normal. In forty-eight hours, he will be talking and even laughing, and I will be able to tell him that the Ugly Thing is gone.”

~ James Doty, MD, from “Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart


Notes:

The best 6 doctors anywhere…

the best six doctors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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