Jun 28

The news noted a severe warning of a heat wave all weekend, with the temperature possibly as hot as 90F (32 C). So, I headed out with my newly tuned bicycle out to gates of Rainier. I immediately ended up with a flat. On changing the intertube, I made a minor mistake, and generated a pinch flat. Fortunately, I had brought two intertubes along. Off I went, on a very hilly venture. The weather was quite hot, and I consumed a grand total of 9 liters of fluid. On the way, you pass a number of lakes, one being a large reservoir.

In Elbe, there is a cute little Lutheran church which was built around the turn of the last century.

Finally, you reach the gates of Rainier National Park (above) where you could observe a veritable traffic jamb of people trying to get into the park. Fortunately, bicyclists aren’t quite so affected by traffic jambs. The way home was very hot, and yet another flat, for reasons I’m not sure of. My biggest problem this trip was a malfunctioning front derailleur. That evening, I took my bike into the shop and the bicycle repairman took me through tuning up a front derailleur, very useful skills for when one is on the road.

 

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Jun 28

Die Verlorene Ehre der Katarina Blum ?????

In English, the Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, this is well done film based on a book by the same name by Heinrich Böll, though written in the 70’s, has a contemporary feel to it. It was easy to sense that Böll was protesting the yellow journalism of The Bild tabloid in reporting the events of the Baader-Meinhof gang. Unfortunately, this film has had little impact in the USA, even though it has received international acclaim. The story is of a young lady that is inadvertently acquainted to somebody identified as a terrorist, and so hounded by the police and also the press in a smear campaign that served judgment on this young woman who had done nothing wrong, save to have had an acquaintance to somebody she met in normal social circles. The relevance to contemporary society becomes increasingly compelling, with, for instance, the rulings of homeland security.  I have seen such activity even in my beloved (?) hospital, where people are presumed guilty never to be granted innocence simply because of the system. This is an honest statement against the press and federal oppression that should be more familiar to American audiences.

 

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Jun 24

The photo is that of me in from of the Wiener Staatsoper. Betsy and I had a most wonderful night at the opera in Vienna, forever fixed in our memory. The only sad thing is that of returning to the reality of Puyallup, WA.

 

As I write, this, the little bird in the cuckoo clock will periodically emerge from her den and remind me of who I am. That Vögelchen happens to be the most honest person in my life. Whenever she comes out to say hello, I greet her with great joy. Her running commentary remains the same, which at least suggests that one of my friends is persistent and unchanging. God happens to be the only other person in my life with a strong sense of true honesty. It must be that God is now speaking to me through my pet birdie in the clock. Other cuckoo clocks will sing Edelweiss or “Somewhere my love” to you, but my little feathered friend just lays on the cold hard facts, speaks her mind, and then shuts up for another 1/2 hour.

 

Today convinced me that I am too old to continue practicing medicine where I am at. The “chief doctor and Lord Executioner” of my hospital just informed me that I was a very bad boy for not dumping my asleep patient on the operating table to care for a trauma patient that was undergoing CPR in full cardiopulmonary arrest in the ER. I informed him that I would never abandon a patient in the operating room under any circumstance, and he went into a tizzy. E-mail or call me for details–I want to watch my language on the blogsite and not publicly speak evil of anybody. Well, I’m going to relieve him of some tizzy-ness. I’m quitting. October 31 is the very last day that I’m contractually obligation to St. Samaritan Hospital, and then I will either a) just retire, b) accept a deal from the Franciscans in Tacoma, c) leave the state and move back to Portland, and find a job pumping gas, etc..  d) work out something with my group to be on employed rather than partner status.

 

Regardless of which of the above I do, I would like to do missions work. My friend from Bangladesh  wants me to come. I’ve been suggested to go to the Cameroon or Niger. My Bangladesh offer sounds the most appealing, since 1) it is cheap, and I could semi-retire and still do missions, 2) my wife could be involved as a nurse (hopefully), 3) they are attentive to preaching the gospel while delivering health care–there is no point to saving the body but not the soul, 4) I really like my friend in Bangladesh, even though I don’t know him well, 5) I’d love to learn some Bengali, and 6) if a short-term goes okay, and they like me, I can always return and feel like I’m really helping somebody, without fear of violation of some kooky government regulation or a lawsuit.

 

The other thing that will be factored into our life is me doing the PCT. In case you are wondering, the PCT stands for the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada. It’s only 2800 miles, and can be done in an easy 5-6 months, starting in late April. I would like to solicit people to join me for sections of the hike. I’ve already gotten several people from the hospital, as well as my wife. You too can do it. Hike a 100 with ole’ Cuckoo Ken. I’m contemplating this in either the year 2009 or 2010, preferably the latter (2010). Time to start planning is now. I’d like to chronicle the event, and have a decent camera to photograph the whole event. Stay in touch if you have any other ideas about the PCT, and when/if you would like to join me for sections of the trail.

 

It’s been a year since I had my stents placed. My laboratory evaluation shows normal serum lipids. I refused to take a statin drug, so did it natural including a) excercise, b) diet, with about 50% fish, c) niacin, fish oil, flaxseed oil, garlic, etc. It works, but it was hard. I now have to get the cholesterol down to LOW normal. I think I’ll try curry for that.  Meanwhile, I need some means of cutting back on pills. This is what I do for the month…

There are only four prescription drugs, which I get from India. The rest are vitamins and other dietary supplements. My blood pressure is now normal, but there are too many unnecessary hospital episodes that ruffle my feathers and send my BP up, like the episode this morning. I’ll spend a blog in the near future talking about what is really going on in medicine, and my impressions of the health-care scene in the USA.

Meanwhile, I seriously plot my exit from the severely uncomfortable and stressful situation that I am now in.

 

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Jun 17

Bellini Norma, Bayerischen Staatsoper, Gruberova as Norma ????

This is my second performance of Norma on DVD, the first staring Monseratt Caballe and the French Theater of Orange. Because of the absolutely miserable recording quality of the Caballe version, I wanted a better version. Certainly, the Gruberova version is superbly and flawlessly recorded. Gruberova also is a close contestant with Caballe for the vocal and acting qualities of a magnificent Norma. The staging is a touch odd, with the Romans staged in modern jungle guerilla outfits and machine guns at their side. Otherwise, it was well done. My main criticism is the opera itself. Though Bellini is a master of the bel canto style, much of the opera is a bit weary. Once you have heard the casta diva, it is a touch wearisome making it to the end of the opera. This is not the fault of the performer, even though the virtuoso performances continue to the end of the opera.

 

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Jun 15

Hiking the Triple Crown, by Karen Berger  ????

The reader may first wonder what the triple crown is. Simply, it is the combination of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. All three trails go from (roughly) Mexico to Canada. They all present separate challenges, especially with the Continental Divide Trail being as of yet not fully developed. In this book, the author suggests strategies for organizing and hiking the trails, each of which can be expected to take 4-5 months to accomplish. The author then offers very brief trail descriptions to permit the reader a global idea as to what hiking each of the trails may demand and offer. I find the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail the most appealing, and perhaps the Colorado-> north section of the CDT. Perhaps it is time to kiss the hospital a hearty adieu and accomplish now what, in ten-twenty years, I may not be physically able to accomplish. Betsy sounds interested. Hey, why not?

 

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