Dr. Mike Brown was the anesthesiologist, and we got the team together for a photo of my last elective case at St. Samaritan Hospital. I am still performing smaller procedures at our surgery center, but have refused to take any further hospital call at GSH and so am restricted on performing elective cases at the hospital. That’s okay with me, but their underwhelming friendliness and willingness to accommodate to my particular issues induce a reluctance on my part to ever return. Who knows? There are always locum tenens, the Franciscans (another hospital group in our region), or possibly focusing primarily on mission work. Meanwhile, it is a little slower at work since I am not taking on the huge cases, and elective hospital cases that I see in the clinic are fed to my partners so that they are busier with paying cases.
I’ve been saying goodbye to many patients and will miss them. One patient had a total esophagectomy by me, followed by a major colon resection, and is alive and well ten years later one of my miracle patients. He used to drive a beer truck, and would always ask me for a beer. His first comment whenever I’d walk in the room was “&*^#@!, hurry up, I don’t have all day!” So, the last visit I gave him a few brews to take home.
Bicycles… Another Mike Brown is my bicycle consultant, and he has ordered my Steelman bicycle. I am waiting anxiously. I will probably get a cheap Rennrad (road bicycle) in Düsseldorf in January to get around with. Perhaps later in the year, I could return to do the Rhein or pop down into France and do the Alpes d’Huez (yea, mon!!!). Meanwhile, I did the almost unthinkable. I always thought that I would be totally safe with my bicycle mounted on the trainer in the garage. Well, three weeks ago, for some unknown reason, the back wheel flipped out of the trainer, and completely wrecked the back wheel. I had to completely replace the back wheel. Schade! So, I am back pumping on the cycle. I must be the only person to ever have totaled a bicycle while on a trainer!
I’m ready for the year off. I can’t wait to touch base with Herr Doktor Herbert Feucht in Krefeld. I’ve always enjoyed visiting him. Hopefully, I could be a little more independent in Düsseldorf and thus be forced to speak German. With Herbert, he usually talks English to me and spoke about matters when we were out. So, I’m cramming my German right now, while also teaching myself the Sanskrit of the Bengali language (much slower progress!) and a few Bengali words. Bengali definitely is an Indo-European language, and I can see similarities in many words, such as numbers.
Our (Betsy and I) only significant activity was a trip to Maui for a Wilderness Medical Society meeting. I didn’t really enjoy Maui. It’s expensive and crowded. I find that it is hard for me to just lay out on the beach and get any serious reading in. So, we didn’t lay on the beach or at the pool even once. We did get around the island a bit, and that was enjoyable. While in Maui, we learned that we now have a little Commie Pinko freak as president. I wasn’t really crazy about McCain and so voted for neither McC nor BHO (I wrote in Ron Paul), and do not feel that mine was a wasted vote. But, I was still a little disappointed about the election. BHO’s presentation at the Democratic convention would most appropriately be called the apotheosis of BHO. Later, schoolchildren would sing songs worshipping him on television. Older folk of all intensities of skin pigmentation on television would lapse into trances of rhapsody for their savior and redeemer from the capitalistic pig, a behavior is more fitting for a Pentecostal church service than a political rally. It really seemed like BHO was competing with the Almighty as #1 of the Universe.
I was even more dejected by the vote in our state to approve physicians’ ability to help a patient commit suicide. You don’t need a physician to do that. Any dimwit can figure out how to kill themselves swiftly and cheaper than a physician. It just isn’t our role to assist in killing. So, I am a bit leery about even practicing medicine in our state anymore. Now that we have seen the death of Hippocratic Medicine, I am left frightened by what will take its place. Medicine no longer has a definition as to its goals. Is it to simply prolong life? Is it to maximize the profits of the pharmaceutical firms? Is it a means of giving the State control of the most personal aspects of our lives? Is it entirely a utilitarian function of maintaining maximal functionality of the States’ citizens?
I am left thinking about St. Basil the Great. Basil the Great of Caesarea (in Asia Minor) was one of the Cappadocian church fathers in the 4th century, one of the brightest theologians ever of the church, who also started the first hospital. Sick people were left out in the woods to die by getting eaten by wolves—certainly a convenient way of dealing with the sick! Basil decided to re-incorporate the sick back into society through the use of hospitals.
Kudos to St. B. Is it no wonder that Christianity took the world by storm, without force and without might, but rather by its’ adherents simply being obedient to Christ and being servants of others? Lord, give me both the wisdom and caring heart of St. B.
Finally, thanks to Dr. Middelmann for noting some German grammatical errors on the blog site. I’ve hit the one-year mark for my blog/web page. My children, who inspired me to start a blogsite, are no longer diligent at maintaining their blogsites. Facebook has kind of stolen the show. What next?