February 12, 2018

hemingway's whiskey

I know it's tough out there, 
a good muse is hard to find.
Living one word to the next,
living one line at a time.
Now there more to life then whiskey,
there's more to words than rhyme,
Sometime nothing works,
sometimes nothing shines.
Hemingway's whiskey

Sail away, sail away,
as the day grows dim.Live hard, die hard,
this ones for him.

Hemingway's whiskey
warm and smooth and mean,

Even when it burns,
it will always finish clean.
He did not like it watered down, 
he took it straight up an neat.
If it's bad enough for him,
you know it's bad enough for me.
- guy clark

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.  But those that will not break, it kills.  It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.
- ernest hemingway

The sounds of the talking heads vaguely reach my ears from the TV.  Yet another study came out touting the benefits of alcohol on longevity.  Countering that was a physician saying that he wished patients could instead use yoga or meditation to relax after work instead of lifting the bottle.  Having pronounced my fair share of patients dead from the liver failure that resulted from hitting the bottle for too hard, for too long, I could see his point.  But the pious, self righteousness of his tone couldn't help but accompany his words.  If only the patient would do what I tell them to do.....What would he tell Papa?  Would he pretend to know what is best for that brilliant wordsmith, that tortured soul, that broken man, that icon of icons?

My yoga mat is rolled out in front of and I stare at it, as if by gazing at it long enough, the pain will subside enough for me to even do yoga in the first place.  Which I do to reduce the pain.  But the pain is keeping me from doing it.  A catch-22, if ever there was one.  Next to my mat is a glass of my type of whiskey, a bourbon flavored with that nectar I have cherished since even as a young child - honey.  If it's bad enough for Papa, it's bad enough for me.

February 9, 2018

down the road

Advice to a future me (and future doctors)

When in doubt,
     Talk to the Patient,
           Listen to the Patient,
Clarity. Will. Return.

January 30, 2018

begins with a broken heart

The following is not FACTUALLY accurate. Details have been changed, things deleted, stuff made up, all to protect identity. But it is 100% absolutely true.

"If we live long enough in this world, we will have our hearts broken.  And do they heal?  Well, maybe not fully, ever.  But in the cracked and broken pieces, that's where the light shines through.  We walk in the world forever after with more depth, more sensitivity, more compassion.  Our love affair with the world begins with a broken heart."
- Marilyn Sewell

He faced an aggressive cancer.  He was facing death.  He certainly faced physical pain as evidenced by the multiple bone metastases.  My experience tells me that bone mets are some of the most painful conditions imaginable.  Experience also tells me that the existential anxiety is equally painful, though.  And he was young.  But not ONE doctor had sat down and asked he how he was doing. And I mean, how are you DOING.  No one had sat down and gotten their hands dirty.  Which is to say, gotten their emotions dirty.  Expose themselves emotionally.  Be open and listen.  Hear the full extent of his pain.  Things he could not tell his spouse.  Things he could not tell his parents.  Things he could not tell his children.  Things he could not tell his best friends.  Things he could not even tell himself.  But things he could tell his doctor.  If only, they would be willing to listen.  So, I listened.  I spent nearly two hours with him.  And I by the time he left.........

A wise man, mentor, and friend once advised me, you're going to have to figure out where to draw the line.  It does no good to open up to every patient if you lose yourself in the end.  You cannot save everyone.  I am still figuring out where to draw that line.

January 8, 2018

miles to go

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Not exactly an even wear.  On a riding heel, no less, so that's not a trivial amount of mileage.  Not ridden atop a mighty steed, but ridden hard and long nonetheless.  And whipped many a time with a riding crop.  It's my left foot.  I don't even need to check which foot it is.  It is the foot that drags when my back starts hurting.  And I don't mean hurting.  I mean REALLY hurting.  A pulsing numbness, yet combined yet with searing pain exists in a mutually exclusive duality going down my left leg.  Numbness.  And pain.  There's no explaining how those two exist side by side unless you've felt it.  And my wife looks for a new pair of boots to last this final sprint towards the finish line.  An identical replacement, really.  For they have served me well.  After all, I have earned the name of Vaquero Doc.  Why trade it in now?