A Cross Necklace

Being a Christian refugee in this part of the world is a dangerous affair.

Unlike in America, where counting oneself a Christian is increasingly perceived as a designation that affords privilege, sometimes to an unfair degree (I have my doubts on that one), there is no question that the opposite is true in much of the Middle East.

It is easy to see that militant Islamists are actively focused on the eradication of Christianity in at least “Muslim” lands, if not the whole world. This is true to some degree in the refugee camps as well.

Even still, many of the refugees we worked with this week are either committed Christians, or are actively exploring the faith.

The stories of how these people came to their decisions for Christianity vary widely, but most are eye-opening. Few in the Middle East can come to Christ as easily and risk-free as nearly every American can if they wish. Apostasy from Islam is often regarded as an offense punishable by death.

One man I saw this week was openly wearing a prominent silver and gold cross around his neck. I didn’t notice it at first, but as I was listening to his heart with my stethoscope the bright golden object swinging in front of me was suddenly hard to miss.

crossRealizing I wasn’t in America, where crosses are so ubiquitous they’ve become a little trite to me, I exclaimed, “You’re wearing a cross!”

“Yes,” he nodded.

I pondered the implications of wearing that specific symbol in the Islamic world. A cross is better described as cross-hairs for a man like him. Yet he wore the symbol proudly, unapologetically. Should our roles be reversed, would I have the same courage?

“You are a Christian then.” I said, continuing in my new role of Dr. Redundant.

“Yes.” He nodded again, smiling.

Through my translator, I learned that a few months ago in Iran he was awoken in the night by the figure of a man calling him to follow Christ. He said he was convinced that the man speaking to him was Jesus, the Son of God. He knew almost nothing of the Christian faith, as he was raised a Muslim.

Still, upon waking the next day, my patient committed himself for following Christ. He felt he had to do this. It was an inner compulsion; he had been called to a new faith, a new life, no matter the cost to him.

But it was indeed a ‘costly’ decision. Read anything about the Islamic regime of Iran (I recommend the the wonderful autobiography Persepolis as a cursory intro if interested), and you will know that the government of Iran is itself a religious organization. Along with typical functions of any secular government, like providing running water, working roads, electricity and health care (which in many instances, the Iranian government does quite well), it also enforces a highly conservative interpretation of Shia Islam.

How do they enforce such a thing, you ask? How do you get a nation of 77.5 million people to follow extremely strict religious rules? How can you enforce an entire nation to put every woman in robes and headcoverings, to allow no music, no dancing and to enforce frequent observance of Islamic practices like 5x daily prayer?

With “religious police” of course!

As a kid from the suburbs of America, following a Christian faith I was always free to reject, it took some reading and imagination for me to even comprehend such a notion.

It was only in 1979 that the Iranian Revolution took place. Prior to that, Iran probably looked much more like America than it does today. But in ’78-’79, things changed dramatically, as that was the year of the Iranian Revolution. It was then that the Pahlavi dynasty, led by Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi was overthrown by the Islamic Republic.

revolution
Supporters of the Revolution. Didn’t Turn Out Like Many Expected.

The Republic was initially a political movement, comprised of a collection of leftist thinkers, activist students and numerous Islamic movements. It was led by a powerful Islamic leader named Ruhollah Khomeini, a scholar, author, politician and political revolutionary.

After the Shah was forced from power, to the surprise of nobody, Khomeini was designated as the Supreme Leader of Iran. However, TO the surprise of many, Khomeini was given final authority on both political and religious matters.

The irony of this transformation is hard to miss. Criticism of the Shah centered around how difficult it was for the commoner to be heard. The Shah’s rulership was a dynastic monarchy, with power passing from father to child generation after generation. This meant that nobody could rise from, say, a community organizer and member of a minority comprising 13% of a nation’s population, like Barack Obama, to the highest position of power in the land (Huzzah! Huzzah! Democracy!).

Yet the solution to this problem that emerged in Iran was the Islamic Republic, which consolidated both political and religious power in one man. The power of the rulers of Iran was, effectively, broadened as a result of the revolution. The “little people” never got their say. And, I suspect, many of those who supported the Revolution experienced colossal disappointment. Power just went from one ruling class to another. To this day, a Khomeini rules Iran.

Some version of the above rushed through my mind as I stared at the cross hanging from my patient’s neck. An Iranian, 4 months in Greece, wearing a bright silver and gold cross. Wow.

As it turns out, the father of this man was a member of this religious police force. This patient had chosen to convert from Islam to Christianity as the son of a man who is tasked with enforcing and promulgating Islam in the country. More irony.

Imagine the shame on their family for such an act! Aside from endangering himself, my patient was possibly even endangering his own father (and mother).

Many immigrants come to Europe because they think it is rich, with jobs and money flowing like wine at a wedding party. Increasingly, they are finding that Europe is no utopia. Millions are unemployed. Millions are poor. Upward mobility is rare.

But one reality of Europe is that it does remain a place where you can follow a religion in nearly any any way you choose, to include no religion at all. Say what you will about the EU, but it remains a place of tremendous religious freedom, rivaled perhaps by only the U.S.

So it is understandable that this man left Iran. But it is still amazing that he was willing to do it. He left with nothing. No family, no friends. He slunk away in the night, alone. As the son of an important man, his life had no doubt been comfortable and safe. He upended all of that.

port
Pireaus Port. Lucky you if you have a tent.

My patient arrived at the Pireaus Port of Athens after crossing the Agean Sea from Turkey. He arrived nearly destitute, having given most of his money to a trafficker to get him to Greece. I think he slept on the concrete sidewalk the first night.

The next morning, he says he prayed that the God of his new faith would spare him, and shortly thereafter was approached by members of a Christian church in Athens who offered him a bottle of water. It was through this church that I met him.

ellenikoGreek authorities soon placed this man in the Elliniko refugee camp, where he made no secret of his faith, sharing it with any around him who would listen. Not long after his arrival, a riot broke out in the camp with Muslims targeting Christians.

The violence carried on for quite some time, as Greek police made no move to stop it, one even pointing out that if some of the refugees died, “there will be fewer of them for us to deal with.” My patient was beaten severely in the melee.

It is inhumane, of course, for anyone to think as these police did. But their attitude is understandable nonetheless. Would you wade into the middle of that mess?

Somewhere in this story, my patient picked up his cross. I don’t know if it was in Iran or somewhere in Athens. But he wears it daily. It is not merely jewelry to him, given at some Christmas party. It wasn’t bought from one of the ubiquitous Christian Book Stores in America, with every possible permutation of “cross trinkets” available for sale. It was bought for a price; worn for a higher one.

This isn’t necessarily a Christian story, although as a Christian I find it inspiring. But from this anyone can recognize the deep human desire to worship in freedom. This man’s life story is a reminder that people are willing to die for the right to think and act honestly in relation to their understanding of the divine.

The cross symbolizes the reality of this man’s beliefs, even if that symbol marks him for suffering or even death. Would that all Christendom be so committed. Would that all who cherish freedom be so as well.

Headed Back to Athens

 

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
Athens, looking pretty. A rarity, IMHO.

For the second time in less than a year, I’m on my way back to Athens. This will be a short trip with virtually no team. My colleague organizing things in Athens has stated that she “feels sorry” for me, as the number of people signed up for the clinic appears to be quite large.

From what I can tell, the situation in Greece has only gotten worse since I was last there. Many borders and routes into Europe have closed, and migrants are being turned away at far greater numbers than they were last year. But by “turned away,” I’m not describing from Greece itself. Nope. Thousands continue to arrive on the shores of Greece every day. I’m talking about further into Europe. So, the migrant population continues to swell in Greece, especially Athens. Although authorities have begun shipping back some migrants (numbering in the hundreds) in the past few days, this is a small small number.

I say I’m bringing ‘no team’ this time, but in reality this isn’t accurate. Aside from what sounds like a great number of willing helpers in Athens, I also will bring my 14 and 16 year old daughters with me this time. I don’t know what sort of role they will be able to play in the work we do this time. It could be simply watching the children of the patients while they’re waiting the doc.

migrantsHopefully, they can learn a bit about medical care in a refugee and/or underserved situation. As their lives are largely consumed with cheerleading, skinny jeans, teen-lit, French horn, Cello, soccer and boyfriends (ex…EX boyfriends), this might be quite an eye-opening experience for them. I hope so.

My biggest concern is that we will successfully collect accurate data on the patients we see. Last time we did a fair job, under the circumstances, but in my spare time I’m STILL working through the XL spreadsheet and trying to come up with data summaries that will be of some use to the wider medical world.

This time, I hope to have time to ask better questions, and to formalize how we input the data. It is well known among those who do medical research that 80% of the study is done before the study begins. Developing a means to collect data, to college USEFUL data, and to do it in a way that is searchable and accessible at a later date is difficult. It is especially difficult when at that later date, you are dealing with hundreds, maybe thousands of data points.

I’ve had enough training in this element of the medical world to feel a gnawing sense of anxiety as I approach the issue. My medical school heavily emphasizes epidemiology and biostatistics, and I was part-way through an Master’s in Public Health degree until I ran out of money. So I have a sense for how easy it is to do this stuff badly. But I wish I had a collaborator or better skills to know I could do it well.

Still, I’ve had some help from a colleague at work who maintains a quizzical affection for XL (I can’t judge, I was once in a steady relationship with Photoshop), and he has helped me clean up our data from October. And I have a much better sense for what I need to do this time around.

14_athens_imgIt should be mentioned that most relief agencies don’t actually do any of this, even the good agencies who actually help people (lots of them are there for the photo-op and little else, it seems). I received some generous help from a professor at the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine prior to my last trip, and he noted only a small number of agencies who provide care AND do good, statistical research on the populations they serve.

So, it makes sense that I’m somewhat on my own here. It’s not easy to focus on research and practical care at the same time, as one is more empathy-driven, the other much more analytical and “cold.”

Example: if someone comes in coughing up blood, you can either turn and enter “hemoptysis” into your spreadsheet (and then get the heck out of there because…ew), or you can throw on some gloves, hopefully a mask, get them on a bed and start working them up for any of the many many possible reasons for that symptom (most of those reasons being prit-TEE bad).

So, we will see how this goes. We leave tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon.

 

Ode To Mr. Fingerprint

We can’t figure it out, exactly.  There isn’t one thing that we can point to and say, “Yeah!  That’s were everything became too much.”

But somewhere along the way, this little adventure piled up and reduced both of us to tears.  How the Army manages to organize itself enough to go around the world killing people – unless through excessive paperwork – still mystifies me.  But I can say that if they just stuck to the paperwork – threatened to attack the terrorists with administrative paperwork – world peace would be ho-hum news. 

“We give up!  We recant!  Never mind all that Allah stuff!  We’re Americans now.  Look, look, we’re buying Hummers and we all have flat-screen T.V. in our camel-skin tents with only CNN and Disney channels on them.”

I will say this:  With exception of the laudable fingerprint dude, I have never been to an Army office and gotten done what I came there to do on my first attempt.  Never.  And, for the guy to do my fingerprints that day, he had to overlook 2 reasons to send me away. 

If I’d had a trophy, I would have given it to him.  I DID sing his praises; describing his feat in a halting, emotional, too-grateful voice.

“I….I….I just want to let you know that.  *AHEM!*  Sorry, something in my throat.  Some sort of lump.  Anyway….”

Corpulent man in too-short square tie knit by kids in Taiwan R.O.C. funded by Wal-Mart stares dully, shifting slightly in his creaking office chair.

“You’re the first, EVER, to give me what I came to get on my very first attempt!  It’s a record.  Over the past 6 months, in dozens – maybe hundreds – of office visits my wife and I have needed to make just so I can do a job, you’re the first to not send me away on my first request.”

“Huh.  That’s good.  Fill out an I.C.E. card, alright?”

“What’s that?”

“A card.  You know, a card.  Tell ’em how I’m doin’.  Let ’em know I set you up.”

Right.  I.C.E. card.  I took that thing home, spent 45 minutes filling it up with love and gratitude toward the first man EVER to spare me making 2+ trips just to get a simple administrative task done.

Then I realized it would take another trip to that office to put the card in the guy’s box.

And I shredded the thing.

Dad + Doctor

You might think that medical training would be a great asset to any parent.  Docs are trained in all kinds of cool things like Heimlich maneuvers and laceration suturing.

Heck, if the wife got pregnant again (Nope…don’t even ask) and went into early labor, I bet I could spread out a shower curtain on our living room floor and just take care of everything right there.  Noo problem.  Doctor DAD!

But when does all that stuff actually happen (and do doctors anywhere really suture up their kids by lamplight in the kitchen anymore)?

What does happen to the kids much of the time is some thing or another that COULD BE TERRIBLE.  Everybody, even the cat, knows the incident, or symptom, etc, might be the end of famSW101 as we know it.  What the untrained blissfully don’t know…is JUST HOW TERRIBLE it might be.

So, in essence, the only difference between a doctor-dad and every other non-medical dad, is a stupefying knowledge of all the evil possibilities that could be behind a kid’s latest symptoms.

Headache for a few hours, some fever, woke up disoriented?  What do you think, honey?

Um.  Well.  Probably meningitis.  Have you ever seen a child die of meningitis?  We’ll be lucky if she keeps her limbs.  Could be coupled with flesh-eating bacteria, too.  Hopefully at least some of her face doesn’t rot off.  We may not even recognize her…if she miraculously survives the ordeal.  It’s ok, though.  We’ll still love her.  Help her set up a profile on Matchmaker.com even though she’ll be totally deformed.  Some saint of a man will learn to love her, unconditionally, like we do.

OR, saaay, it could be an absence seizure.  Maybe the first of many.  Maybe she’ll slowly have progressively worsening seizures until some galactically-renouned neurosurgeon implantes a permanent zaptrode into her medulla oblongata and calms the seizures but unfortunatley makes her arms twitch at 0.5 second intervals, often causing her to smack her own face.

“Probably just a cold, dear.  Check her every once in awhile, and keep me posted,” like, every 8-10 minutes would be nice, at least until I get home from work so I can sit at the foot of her bed chewing my nails down to the carpel tunnels until the last moment before I’m due back at work tomorrow.

Since the day I simultaneously got fired and quit my job (aka graduated, but that’s such a boring designation), I have been much more “Daddy” than “Doctor”.  Of course, this mostly has been great.  Lots of “back-ee-ball” with one particular boy.  Trips downtown to fairs and toy stores.  Swimming pools, squirt guns, stories.  You know…Dad-kid stuff.  Some good catch-up after 3 years.

Today, I got to take everyone to gymnastics.  Excellentcool.  I’m always working at this day and hour when not subsisting on the dole.

All 4 kids have their own class.  Each is good at particular things and they ALL have a blast.  10 minutes into it today, however, I see from the Parent Stadium, my 7 year old crying and sitting on the mat.  The instructor picks her up and carries her over to the parent area.

No problem.  She’s one of the more melodramatic.  We’re good.  All good.  Everything’s good.  I’m fine.  I’m FINE!

I saunter up to my crying daughter – James Dean vibe gushing in all directions – and find that she somehow hurt her knee.  Not sure how.  Didn’t bang it…probably.  But it’s so bad, she can’t bend it, walk on it or use her foot.  Instructor gets me some ice and goes back to her class.

Really?  You can’t walk, or bend it at all?  Like, at all?

Turns out she can, in fact, bend her knee…but every time she does, she screams in pain.  The noise she makes should be built into father-specific alarm clocks.  Set that thing to belt out a child’s scream of pain…and you could show up to a tax-code seminar at 4:30 am with a slight twitch and the retention capacity of a SETI cloud-processing computer.

Daughter is crying both because of the pain, and because she doesn’t get to climb the rope – her favorite exercise (because she’s the only one in the family that can do it).  Daddy knows Daughter would never miss rope-climbing.  You could nail-gun her leotard to the balance beam, and that kid would wriggle out of it and happily climb the rope freak-naked if she needed to.  For her, gymnastics is the rope.

And she’s the one who notifies me that she won’t be climbing the rope today.

*Sirens*

*Red Flags*

*Cow Bells*

*60’s ‘Nam Choppers overhead*

So the poor crying girl is immediately subjected to a bunch of physical exam tests that really should be reserved for the likes of LaDanian Tomlinson or Landon Donovan.

I try to get her to walk (she bawls).  I check her gait (more bawling).  Tippee-toes.  Squatting.  I look for knee effusions (more crying, sorry sweetie), patellar tracking, joint-line tenderness, patellar grind test (she loved this), Valgus/Varus stress tests, McMurray, Lachman, A/P drawer, pivot shift, Nobel’s, Ober’s, Wilson.

None of this, alas, helped with the tears.

Did she blow out her knee?  ACL maybe?  At 7?  She’ll need a walker by 35! Maybe the PCL.  You can usually walk on those and she’s moving around a bit.  Maybe bursitis, or one of the collaterals.  Compartment syndrome?  Nah.  What about a fracture?  Maybe.  Could be.  Jeez, she’s gonna need pins!  Oh!  Didn’t even think of gastrocnemius tear…poor kid! Or meniscal tear.  What about Plica syndrome…I don’t even remember what the heck that is, but maybe she’s got THAT!

I held her in my lap through the whole lesson.  Then I carried her out to the car afterward.  Once home, wife and I set her up with ice and Motrin (anti-inflammatories).

A few minutes after she settled into her at-home field clinic, she starts crying again.  OH NO!  It’s really starting to hurt.  Something terrible really did happen.  Oh, my beautiful child will never run again, maybe never walk.

“Where does it hurt, sweetheart?  What’s wrong?  Why are you crying?”

“I’m so BORED!”

“You’re bored.”  My eyes droop a bit.  I cross my arms.

“Can I puh-leeze get up now?  I had to sit all through gymnastics too.”

10 minutes later, the kid is throwing her brother’s basketball and chasing moths.  Her knee still hurts, to be sure.  But only a little.  She fully plans on climbing the rope next week.

Residency was tough, yes.

But this is why I’m losing my hair.

Retirement Ain’t So Great

As mentioned, I managed to complete residency.

That was a few weeks ago, and I haven’t stopped celebrating.

Minimal blogging.  No professional reading.  Lots of sleeping.  Ice cream pretty much whenever I want it…as if I’ve just had my tonsils removed.

I’ve gone surfing twice and will go again in a few days, after I buy the GREATEST BOARD EVER KNOWN TO MAN.

It’s a far-cry from a bohemian life of decadence – no absinthe, no scantily-clad pixies, no pleasure nymphs to speak of – but I don’t remember being this lax, this flatly averse to self-denial.

But, I have to say, after a week of this…workin’s cool.

I like needing to be somewhere in the morning.  I like having a schedule and trying to be efficient.  Mostly, I just like the purpose that a job provides.  With so many people out of work around the country, I can understand how hard it must be to deal with such a life change.  Aside from the financial instability (which I don’t have), just the dramatic shift itself must be really difficult to bear.

Lucky for me, I’m working some moonlighting shifts at nearby practices.  So, we’ll have enough money until I start a real job next month.  And I have quite a few things to keep me busy until then also, because my next job will be in Germany.  So preparing takes lots of energy.

But after even just a week away from the job, I can see that I’m too young to retire.  There’s lots of things I would change about my last job, and I’m not depressed since leaving or wishing to go back.  NOT AT ALL.  But I am looking forward to many of those intangible things that a daily job brings.  Some people are built to work.  In many ways, I guess that’s me.

Graduated – No Crying

The last days of residency passed – perhaps with a bang, and certainly no whimpers – and I am now full into my first week as a real, live doctor.

Everything feels the same, but with more sleep.

My graduation ceremony occurred 4 days ago, on Saturday.  For as emotional as I felt that night, I managed to survive the entire ordeal without much blubbering.  This had largely to do with my particular approach to the ceremony itself, which involved a skateboard, a wacky helmet and some iffy poetry.

Since there are only 6 graduating residents from our program, each of us enjoys (or endures) a sizeable amount of limelight as we graduate.  It starts with a picture slide show of us from our earliest days up to the present.  Some of my shots were strange, if not embarrassing, as you might imagine.

We are then introduced – for an agonizingly long time – by a faculty member.  Here our history, foibles and dreams are put on display for all in attendance to see.  This part can also be rather painful too.

It was then my turn to speak.  We aren’t given time-limits on our speeches.  As mentioned, there’s only 6 of us, so I guess we have the berth and he right to ramble a bit if we want to.

I survived the process with almost zero public display of emotion.

I’m not sure why this was some sort of goal for me.  I’ve always been a lousy crier.  I’m good at complaining, whining, moaning and bellyaching, mind you.  Rather too good.  But my crying skills must have atrophied somewhere in my childhood.

If I were to guess, I suppose it happened when I was about 5 years old and my biological father had just punched his girlfriend in the face.  He then leered at me and asked, “You gonna cry about that like a little girl?” in a drunken haze.

“Nope.”  I said.  And I never have.  These days, I can only cry when Ariel gets her statue of Eric blown up by King Triton, or the Broncos trade their franchise quarterback to the Bears.

So, I have some issues.  Fine.  I’ll bet you do too.  Intellectually, I admire the Roger Federers of rhe world who can stand on the international stage with unabashed tears streaming down their cheeks when they lose (or even win, sometimes) their latest tennis match.  Emotionally, I want to smack them with their own tear-stained pink hankies, tell them to find their purse and go back to the parlour where life doesn’t hurt so much.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to cry.  Smash my thumb with a hammer…we’ll talk.  But for this?  No way.

So, my approach was to first ride my Sector 9 longboard skateboard up to the podium wearing a tin foil-wrapped, overly-festooned bike helmet.  Why such a rather dumb graduation display?  Why, especially, at a solemn ceremony for a new practitioner of the healing arts?

sector9Aside from the fact that medicine is frequently too pompous and full of itself, I figured that if I could keep it fun and light, I could keep my eyes dry.  Plus, I ride my longboard to work most days, and I religiously never wear a helmet of any kind, much to the dismay and consternation of virtually every person I meet on the hospital campus.  For 3 years I’ve put up with near-constant haranguing to wear a helmet.

Why don’t I wear a helmet?  Well, I just figure that anyone traveling less than a mile, at about a mile an hour, while less than 3 inches off the ground…should garner me the right to feel the wind in their hair.  Granted, there isn’t much wind at that speed…and I don’t have much hair.  But that’s my metaphorical argument, people, and I’m sticking to it.

I also think that Americans are too stupidly safe these days.  We think we have allergies to things that 6000 years of humanity had no problem with.  We pad every corner in our houses and put seatbelts on our T.V.’s just in case the wall trembles and pushes that deadly thing over on a kid.  We have warnings on things like plastic 5-gallon buckets and nylon shower curtains.  Frankly, the fact that my children will never ride barefoot in the back of a bouncing pick up truck, screaming like golden-haired eagles as the wind whips wildly into their eyes, brings me no end of sorrow.

I grew up burning leaves, shooting bottle-rockets out of my hand and hunting fish with a whittled stick.  I think life is risky, and living life is an exercise in managing that risk.  Knee-jerk safety measures without true analysis of risk leads to heard-mentality that rarely leads to anything but really really bad groupthink: racism, genocide, militant nationalism, day-glo, Milli Vanilli, toilet-seat-shaped pillows for airplane flights that everyone carries around airports but never actually use for more than 10 minutes, to name a few.

So, in truth, I don’t wear my helmet when longboarding because I’m determined to not become a Nazi.  Gotta admire a guy like that, right?

Anyway, I understand that most of you dear readers will find fault in my little tirade, and will probably want to admonish my opinion about helmets just like all of the faculty, nurses, staff and freaking maintenance workers I see.

But take heart!  You don’t need to worry!  I rode to the podium in a helmet for the first time.  Just to make everyone happy.  Just to acknowledge that I’ve finally heard the message.  I give up.  It’s time to be responsible and extra-duty safe.  I’m a doctor now.

‘Course, my helmet was covered in tin foil and had sticks extending from it in every direction with tinfoil balls on the end of the sticks…but it was a helmet.

Then I delivered a poem.  It was supposed to be a rap – with a thumping beat and maybe a couple of dancers and lights flashing/spinning with everyone on their feet, their hands in the air all hip-hoppin’ on the floor.

But I’m white.  I’m a doc.  I’m in a tie.

Forget it.  It’s a poem.  A really bad 1-2-3-2 rhyme sequence that rhythmically scans like ice cream might feel if you were dumb enough pick a pile of it out of a sandbox and eat it.  But, in honour of my creation and the initial inspiration for it, I allowed that I would not in fact be delivering a rap, OR a poem that night.  It would be an amalgam, a mixture…a PAP.

This is fitting, of course, since we were all gathered to celebrate my new status as a fully-trained family medicine doctor.

My Pap made my mom cry.  I think my Dad too.  Kinda my wife.  And most of the people I talked to afterward said it made them a bit misty.  My goofy, two-bit hyper-syllabic tossed salad?

Cool.  People cried.  I didn’t.  I was too busy looking goofy, or saying goofy things.

Dear old Dad would be proud.

Saturday Night Quotes I Like – March 1

A compendium of quotes I’ve noticed over the past week that were provocative, thoughtful, interesting, funny or patently absurd.  Sent out (’Lord tarry and the creek don’t rise’) every Saturday:

  • Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing. – Redd Foxx
  • Astounded, I pointed out the obvious. “Your wife died, you stopped eating, cried or slept all the time…and prayed to God that you would die? Sounds like you are very depressed.””No, I’m not depressed,” [my patient] said. “I just don’t want to live anymore.” – Fat Doctor
  • After saying she found her “voice” in New Hampshire…we’ve had Experienced Hillary, Soft Hillary, Hard Hillary, Misty Hillary, Sarcastic Hillary, Joined-at-the-Hip-to-Bill Hillary, Her-Own-Person-Who-Just-Happens-to-Be-Married-to-a-Former-President Hillary, It’s-My-Turn Hillary, Cuddly Hillary, Let’s-Get-Down-in-the-Dirt-and-Fight-Like-Dogs Hillary. – Maureen Dowd
  • buck.jpgBuckley was arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century. For an entire generation he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure. – George H. Nash, American conservative movement historian.
  • “Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.” – William F. Buckley, Jr.
  • “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.” – William F. Buckley, Jr.
  • Buckley’s greatest talent was friendship. The historian George Nash once postulated that he wrote more personal letters than any other American…He showered affection on his friends, and he had an endless stream of them, old and young. – David Brooks
  • Faith, which is the belief in the supernatural despite lack of evidence, is, in the terms of some theologies, a gift from God. It is the belief in things not seen…Anyone can believe in a God who walks the Earth. – PalMD
  • A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient,” – Sir William Osler.
  • …New physicians view medicine more like a job than a calling [while]…politicians and the public have decreasing respect for the profession. In addition, the constant siege by the lawyers is taking its toll…in such hostile times, why should doctors sacrifice more to the profession than they already have? – Kevin, M.D.
  • Today, thanks to the Internet, we are all physicians. And potential fools. – Andre Picard
  • Intubated COPD patients are generally stable patients..[with a] protected airway…[in a] controlled environment… Except when they aren’t.Happy Hospitalist
  • When I was a child, it was an easy time to dream. When you turn on your television set and men are landing on the moon, anything is possible, and we should never lose that spirit. – Randy Pausch, professor at Carnegie Mellon currently dying of pancreatic cancer. See his final lecture on following your dreams here.