LD December 13 2014

Had breakfast with Nick this cool, sunny morning. We sat in a booth in a family dinner joint/bar across the street from the West Richland Post office. Last time we talked, Nick tole me that Tami asks me to ‘drop the charges.’ I told him I would not ( I had done that once before [see broken toe]) but would talk to the prosecuting attorney, which I did. I related to Nick over eggs and hash browns,

“I told her that I was moving to New Mexico, and that the only person Tami is at risk of harming is me, so ‘protection of society’ is really not an issue in her case. The PA (Meg Whitmire) told me that she has no intention of sending Tami to jail for punitive reasons. She just wants what is best for Tami.” We had a pleasant time together.

Tami is crazy as a loon but she seems to be busy and perhaps happy. Often she is, when left alone in her condo with her cats and her plants. She is riding her bike a lot, Nick said. “That bike you got her really has been a god-send.” Good for Tami! I hope she can focus on being happy just living her life quietly.

“Tami thinks that the dates of her previous court session have been changed,” Nick told me. There seems to be no change in her mental state. Now Nick is managing Tami like I used to do. It used to me my show! I offered to help but of course being Tami’s ‘man’ is a solo performance on the stage of life. I feel relieved to no longer be in that role. But I was concerned how she would take news of my leaving the state.

This evening Nick called. Tami took the news of the move well, and wishes me the best. She wants the climbing gear. This is a great request! Now I have to decide how serious I will be climbing in Abq, and I will leave the rest for her.

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LD November 29 2014

I am nearly at a loss! I just flew in from ABQ, where I spent a night at Mom’s and one at Dad’s. Now I am back home and I am seriously considering my position at work and hence the rest of life. On Wednesday last – that horrible day at work – I was trying to change over from volatile agent to deeply narcotized and sedated state via the IV. I was thwarted by a high wedge causing the patient to attempt to kick back to right his pelvis. Faustin was desperately trying to bend the patient’s foot forward in an (ultimately futile) attempt to extricate an old and broken screw from the patient’s heel. To wit, Jim told me, in his office, ‘there are consequences.’ Well, it is conceivable that Faustin will talk to Jim and lo and behold I am out of a job, heaven forfend.

I liked the big city of Albuquerque. I liked meeting the people. I liked just knowing there were tons of concerned and talented people, somewhere in the city. What am I still doing up here, away from my family?

“I am he who must needs take interest in men.”

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LD November 26 2014 Reflections on work

Had a hard day, all of us. The night before Thanksgiving, and Faustin Stevens is scheduled to go until 6 pm. My day began at 6:15 am, when I placed a catheter next to the popliteal nerve just above the knee on the first patient. It was just me and Faustin, so we flopped rooms, meaning he and I went back to back on our six cases. The fifth one was tough for him and for me. We finished, tired, at 8. Tomorrow at 6:15 am I fly down to ABQ.

Half a hammer came down, half did not (or has not), and as I have said since, the work continues apace. I feel knocked down a rung in Jim’s eyes, and this I regret. I also mourn for the potential for Jim to practice his total knee design in Ethiopia, where there are sure to be many patients he could install the first hundred or so. But as Jim said to me in his office last month, “I don’t need to go back to Ethiopia.” So maybe he would not wish to go back even if he hadn’t thrown me out of his OR.

My impression is that the other surgeons and OR staff feel as much fear for their skins, as sympathy for suffering Jim’s wrath. In any event – and this is the point that remains the same – my acceptance is dependent upon my skills. My performance has probably been sloppy these past ten days or so because I am stressed and overworked. I realized recently that for the past thirteen years, I have worked in a window-less environment! I am at a cross roads with WOE. I am sleeping well, but still tired. Plus, I have been doing the buttery-thing morning noon and night.

I say ‘hi’ to Jim in the OR, which reflects the fact that Jim does not dislike me, I don’t think, as a person and perhaps a friend. Be that as it may, if I screw up again, I am sure it will be easy to engineer my release. However, in all probability work will continue as it has in the past.

Thus, as long as we get to the new facility – Dec 15, now – get busier, acquire a third anesthesiologist and continue to slog away as a team, my position is secure. I must continue to work hard and keep on my toes.

It is as though the OR is allowing each person to be more idiosyncratic. Hence, each person can deal with the stress (sustained intense concentration, rather than tension) in his or her own way, and remain true to him or herself. During the fifth case, Faustin barked, “wear a mask when in the sub-sterile room.” Then, before the next case, I saw him eating an apple in the room that was just terminated.

Larry reminded us today, “I am Larry the Legend. Heroes come and go, but Legends live forever.”

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LD November 25 2014 Tears for Links

I cried today. My eyes burned and a tear or two dripped own my cheek into the hot tub. The last time I remember shedding tears, was in the Harrington House, one particular night in “Guy’s Bed.” What caused the sudden emotion in me? Let me see…

It was a long day with Owen Higgs. The last patient of the day was the father of Celina, who had a partially cut tendon in his hand. Tomorrow I start a half hour early to place a popliteal catheter for the first Stevens case. To top it off, Anna and Bella both got out. I picked them up by RV Village on Van Giesen – a long way away!

I got home and immediately after getting high, Susan called. She was flabbergasted at how far they got, and related how they dashed immediately the gate swung open by the wind this AM. Immediately after that, I got into the hot tub. It was pleasant to know that Susan has feelings for A and B. The Link is what is special. It is sort of like my role in life. Sue exists and is wonderful and A and B the same. What makes a link is my presence linking them.

For me, the link between them is a gift. One of many which I prize most deeply of all my [possessions?]. I ‘am gifted with’ the meeting of Jim and Rick, and Jim and Mark. I also so consider the absence of one between Jim and Paul. Here I was, relaxing in my home at my complete ease after a long day in busy week in a monumental month for the surgery center. I lay back and lifted my eyes to the angry evening sky, and I thought of other, special, links I have made.

My mind went to a little guest dining room in Elshadai Children’s Village in rural Ethiopia, where I will meet Hiwot again. I am very fortunate to have my link with her because it shows I have done one unabashedly selfless act in my life. Through Laura Engles Wilder, and myself, Hiwot is receiving a warm impression of the States. This is a good thing, and the thought of it swelled my already full heart. For it may mean Hiwot starts dreaming of her own goals and, may it come to pass, makes a future for herself and her country.

The feeling became too great. For I was here relishing a link in which I was one of the two points. This is selfish! It is not about me – my life – but other people’s connection with (yet) other people. Not me. I have efface myself from the picture and let others flourish. The should benefit independently of me, if I am doing my job. Whether I am good or bad as a person, they should benefit. So I left the line of reasoning connecting me and Hiwot and thought of her. What is the best of for her? Who is the best person for Hiwot to meet? Me? I hazard ‘not.’ And that’s when my eyes welled up.

For I realized Kristin will be in the guest room with me. Tears of pride and honor and good fortune for Hiwot surfeited the tub. I will ask Kristin to spend all her time there with Hiwot! Of course, Kristin is constantly surrounded by children when she is there. So that’s what the tears were for. For the special link I created between Kristin and Hiwot that will cause Hiwot to blossom into a strong woman in control of her emotions. Oh, I have done something right!

Ran tonight with A. B hurt her paw today.

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LD November 23 2014 I cried out

We ran today, the dogs and I barefoot. The wind was cold, the ground dry and the pebbles especially sharp. Visions of trading ten degrees more in temperature, at the price of liquid water to contend with. I should’a taken the moisture!

The dogs were fine up the common drive. They loved it. I was suffering, though. I gritted my teeth at times when I landed on some unseen larger stone, determined not to let out a squeal (ref When Hell Was In Session).

I made past the top of the hill. I clenched my fists going up the gravel, and squinched my eyebrows, and braced every part of the anatomy. In medicine it is called ‘guarding’ the injured extremity. Now my whole body was guarding! And still, something made it past my teeth.


Oh, horror! I had whimpered out loud and in public. What is it with me? If terrain is too difficult for my sensitive nerve endings, then I must decide to turn back. I did not want to go on if I was going to make more noise. I was like a prisoner in a the Hanoi Hilton, entering a bond NOT to cry out in pain; but I was the only one. So I was making it with myself, when,


And I turned right around, not even half-way from the top of the hill to the ‘Right.’ I think that’s only the second time I have turned around because I cried out.

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LD November 21 2014

see ESSAYS in thebrain.com

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LD November 8 2014

Gardening Note:

This past weekend I planted 100 bulbs of various varieties! I feel like I did a good ‘day’s’ work, as I did when I planted twenty trees. Perhaps in the spring I can plant fifteen shrubs or grasses. I can’t wait for years and years of tulips and lilies!

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LD October 31 2014 Half of a hammer came down

I first re-gained consciousness, a little, at 6:00 this morning when the damn dogs barked. I barked back a couple of times, slowly calculating the difference in time till the alarm would go off (it came to 20 minutes). I concluded best use of those minutes would be…

I awoke the second time, right away. It was light out and it was 8:00. My phone was on silent! Holy crap! I rushed to work.

On my way to work I heard a polite but facetious message from Jim on my phone. He was pissed. He told the OR that he never wanted to work with me again. And if I were ever scheduled to work with him again, he would take all his cases to the hospital. I felt hurt. It was a rash sentence, but he said it and he usually does what he says. I remains to be seen if he will change his mind, or how it will play out in the OR.


I did two more cases during the day, and relished my time. I transcribe all of dialogue 4A onto 19 3×5 inch index cards, with Greek on one side in blue and English on the other in black. It features such lines as:

ὀλοφύρομαι τόν ἐμόν ὑιόν, οὐκέτι όντα – I mourn for my son, who is no longer

A favorite set of sounds for me is ἐχείς τά πράγματα – you have ‘the plural of pragmatic’. The singular, τό πράγμα, means deed, event, thing. The plural means troubles. Thus, “there you have the situation” or “there you have the essence of my story.”


Tonight I found Anna and Bella in a lounge-ing mood. This was good, as I wanted to take only a gentle stroll. It had been a hard day at work. I had slacked off both last night, when I just took the garbage to the top of the hill instead of a run, and this morning; so I thought my feet would be tender. I wanted to take it easy.

We leashed up (which they love) and stepped out onto the driveway. I was strict as we took our usual slow pace to the gate. Anna pulled too much, and so we stopped several times. I talked to her in a vocabulary a 4 year old child would understand, but in an adult tone. I was clear, blunt and direct. She was getting it, and by the time we left the property, they were both behaving well. Bella is always great on the leash.

We started into a gentle trot and it felt rhythmic, as though by force of habit we had come to a union of gaits. We were behaving in a rut like the one we ran in. Furthermore, the cold pebbles didn’t hurt as much as I had anticipated. Maybe the 24 hours rest rejuvenated the skin! Now we reached the top of the hill and the leashes were slack. I had now trained them not to pull (at this point of the run) me – so I had to push myself all the harder.

It was tough, and at one point I stepped on a stone and yelped, just a bit (which is very un-Spartan of me). I was breathing hard because of the fast pace I stet. Yet I pushed up to and past the Right. And then over the course of three or four breaths I ‘got my wind back!’ Never had I gotten my second wind while running barefoot, because I always constrain my effort due to pain.

This night, I was able to get to the proverbial ‘next lamp post.’

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