Monday, December 11, 2017

The Whos of Whoville, Pecking Order, and Office Politics as Opposed to Political Office



The attending physician who supervises me is too ill to work, which is extremely rare around here.  What's wrong with him is no business of mine, and, beyond that,  it's best not to ask a whole lot of  personal questions around here, especially since the person about whom I would be asking is one of two people in the entire practice who speak to me, (with the fellow being the other, and the fellow is attending a forum in Chicago), so inquiring as to the nature of the attending ophthalmologist's illness or, for that matter, about anything else,  would be the rough  equivalent of asking my questions to the potted plant next to the office entryway.  I suppose I could ask Siri.  Siri at least wouldn't give me the death gaze.

The  supervision of med school students around here is a chain-of-command sort of thing.  (To be fair, such is the case in all specialty areas, but nowhere else here is it more evident.) You may have heard the expression "Shit runs downhill."  So does the supervision of medical students and their glorified counterparts, the interns and residents. (I won't clump fellows with residents and interns; fellows have been certified in at least one area and therefore worthy of at least a modicum of respect.) An attending physician or surgeon  is on record as being responsible for a med student's oversight and evaluation. Sometimes the attending physician or surgeon has another doctor, called a fellow, gender of the person notwithstanding,  who is certified in at least one specialty and is working to earn certification in an even more narrow field of medical specialization or is fulfilling a fellowship purely for the purpose of picking up additional experience in the field before practicing independently, or, in some cases, is fulfilling the fellowship solely for bragging rights -- for the rightful  entitlement to claim he or she trained under a particular specialist.  The attending physician can lawfully delegate almost any duty to the fellow. The fellow, if there is one, as second in chain of command, can further delegate his responsibilities concerning oversight of med students or of virtually anything else, down to his or her underlings -- the residents and interns. In the field of ophthalmology, the attending specialist or fellow then passes all duties related to the med school student that he or she can lawfully abdicate onto a resident doctor. If there an intern somewhere in the chain of command, the tasks related to supervising the student are then surrendered one rung lower still to him or her. The attending will  lead grand rounds, at which time he or she will ask salient questions in attempt to catch the med student unprepared and to make the person look and feel foolish, and the attending ophthalmologist will be the official author of any and all comments written in the student's formal evaluation, although sometimes said comments have been known to resemble evaluatory comments written by residents and interns  closely to the extent of  seeming to be almost verbatim from residents' or interns' informal evaluations of the student.  It couldn't be, though, that the attending doctor is too lazy to come up with his own original thoughts in evaluating a medical student. It would seem far more likely, I'm sure you would be the first to agree, that it's a simple matter of great minds functioning  in a correlative or consubstantial manner.  Totally. How could anything else be the case?  The bottom line here is that the attending ophthalmologist is still the primary @$$ that seems to require almost constant kissing, but  positing oneself into sufficiently close proximity to the designated @$$ to be kissed is gained by smooching the @$$es of  the underlings who stand between the med student and the God of Ophthalmology, whomever that God might be for a particular med student. The Religion of Medicine is both polytheistic and relative. (Again, it's essentially true of all specialties, but nowhere is it more true than in the specialty of ophthalmology.)

The situation here with regard to this specialty is, then, unique. My particular attending physician has no interns, residents, nor other medical students at this time to supervise. He is here for one academic year only, on loan from another institute of higher learning.  His contract dictates that he is responsible for no interns or residents but will (and does) oversee one fellow, whom he selected from a field of several hundred applicants. I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable in the game of  "Who's Who in the World of Ophthalmology" as produced by Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley,  or whomever else markets board games today, but my attending ophthalmologist would at least seem to be one of the more prominent Whos in Whoville, ranking somewhere between Little Cindy Lou Who and The Mayor.   Yet, paradoxically, he chooses to have as his underlings  one fellow, zero residents, zero interns, and one medical student  every second rotation.  I drew either the long or short straw, depending upon how one views it.

There's no one for me to hide behind in this rotation.  It's just the attending ophthalmologist, the fellow, and moi.  I either know an answer or I don't. Most of the time I do actually have the correct answer, but not always.  At those times when I don't, know, there's an awkward silence as the attending and the fellow look at each other, then back at me. . . except for yesterday, when the fellow admitted, "I don't know the answer to that, either. " The attending ophthalmologist and the fellow broke into loud laughter.  I stared at them unresponsively until the attending said, "You have my permission to laugh, Alexis."  I then laughed along with them.  While it might seem inconsequential to someone who has never played this game, even something so seemingly trivial as laughing along with real doctors, who may very well be laughing at me (as opposed to laughing with me; there's a huge distinction between the two) isn't to be taken for granted.  The topic is addressed even in  The Holy Bible, in the third chapter of The Book of Ecclesiastes. There is a time for everything, and if you want to survive in the world of medicine, you best learn when to laugh along with your superiors at a joke or, conversely, when to suck it up, put on your best poker face, and know that you are the joke.

In any event, both doctors supervising me are away at least for the day. The attending physician appears to be aware that the other doctors in the practice and their staffs are not overwhelmingly fond of me for reasons I have yet to deduce. They're not overwhelming fond of my attending physician or of his fellow, either.  Such should not be a source of consolation to me; I should be a bigger person and should want my attending physician and his fellow (who in this case is not a fellow if one uses gender on which to base the determination) to be liked by those with whom they work. It is, however, a major source of consolation to me. It helps me to feel a whole lot better to know that while, yes, they certainly hate me,  it is not just I whom they hate. And truthfully, I don't think my attending physician gives an opossum's anal orifice whether or not the other doctors in the practice and their wives,  daughters, sisters-in-law, daughters of former missionary companions, and the rest of the motley crew that make up the staff of this practice have any .regard for him. (It does bother the fellow a bit, though; she never says anything about it, or at least not to me, but I can see it in her eyes.)
He just comes in each morning with his coffee (which he needs to pick up from the hospital before coming to the office because God knows there will be no coffee brewing or percolating or whatever it is coffee does to cook itself in the office), greets them all  warmly as though, he, too,  had been one of their missionary companions. (The ophthalmologists in this practice honest-to-goodness became acquainted when they all served in the same mission at the same time.)

My concerns about my supervising practitioner are three-fold.  Numero Uno: I am genuinely concerned about the the man's state of health. He's a kind and decent person who has treated me almost as a colleague from the moment he first was chosen to oversee me.  Numero Dos: If what he has is contagious and is transmitted through airborne means, I've been exposed. I spent most of yesterday in close contact with him. (To any DIRTY-MINDED PEOPLE: my concern for contagion extends only to those illnesses transmitted via shared air and space. I was not boinking or even kissing the guy. He's gay.)  Numero Tres:  If he doesn't get back quickly,  or the fellow doesn't return in a timely fashion, I'll eventually have to be supervised by one of the practice's  blockhead MDs, which would be everyone there holding a medical doctorate other than my attending ophthalmologist and the girl who is his fellow, who is not to be confused with the guy who is his husband (and who is extremely hot, by the way; multiple framed pictures can be found on the walls of his office; if my husband looked like that, I, too,  would plaster his image on every available surface).

The ailing attending ophthalmologist texted me to say that for today I should just hang out in the E.R. and help where I'm needed. He told me which ER physician to whom I technically report today, because if I'm on the job, someone is responsible for my supervision, but that the physician-in-charge would not bother me if I did not bother her.  So far I've stitched boo boos of children and adults, removed a broken Skittle from deep within a child's nasal cavity, held a child while an orthopedist straightened a green stick fracture of  the child's radius and ulna (the two bones of the forearm), assisted in the neurological evaluation of a patient who slipped and hit her head on the concrete sidewalk t her school,  cleansed a wound from a dog bite, and sent a patient off for a CT scan of the abdomen in a case of suspected appendicitis that turned out to be appendicitis, and listened to the complaints of  three urinary calculi sufferers and one likely drug seeker claiming kidney stone pain. I'm pretty sure that dealing with drug seekers will be the aspect of this job that I will hate the most.  I cannot feel someone else's pain. just because a person's symptoms that don't seem to be 100% legitimate to me doesn't mean that the pain isn't real.  On the other hand, if word gets out that a gullible ER doctor will write a prescription for opiates to anyone who can say, spell, or pantomime  hydrocodone,, this ER will become the Haight-Ashbury of the new millennium.  Fortunately for me, I don't yet get to decide which patient gets the good drugs and which patient is handed a piece of paper bearing what the patient considers to be the most offensive expletive in the English language: Ibuprofen.


I do not own this video. To whomever is the rightful owner I express my appreciation for allowing me to have it on my blog for however long you allow it to remain here.




In acknowledgment of the season upon us, I offer a picture of  Little Cindy Lou Who.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

These dreams go on when I close my eyes. Every second of the [day] I live another life.

This is probably my next dream just waiting to happen.


My schedule has been unconventional lately.  The attending physician -- a very compassionate man, by the way  -- who is supervising me doesn't want to put undue strain on my still-recovering eyes, so he's trying to match my work schedule with my natural waking cycle, which is incredibly kind of him. It probably helps that I'm in an ophthalmology rotation; an ophthalmologist might be expected to be more concerned with recovery from an ophthalmological condition than might, say for the sake of argument, a gastroenterologist.

The steroids I've had to take have wreaked havoc with my ability to sleep. Initially I would be awake for sixty hours or so straight, and then crash for four or five hours, then repeat the cycle.  Each week I decrease my daily dosage of steroids by ten milligrams. This has improved the quality of sleep slightly, but only slightly. What now happens to me is that I am awake all night. I was reporting for work in the morning, then either turning into a virtual zombie or literally falling asleep standing up by around 2:30 p.m.  It would be ideal for me to simply work a full med student's night shift, which would be from around 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. until somewhere around noon the following day.  Ophthalmologists, however, don't work night shifts. They became ophthalmologists, for the most part,  so that they would not have to work night shifts. I would be working largely unsupervised by those charged with teaching me what I need to know about the field of ophthalmology.  This would , of course, be counter-productive to my medical education.

We've reached a compromise. I report to the hospital at 2:15 a.m. I check on admitted patients who have undergone eye surgeries or are suffering from eye conditions, and I make my own assessments of any patients in the emergency room suffering from eye symptoms.  As a non-MD, there's really nothing I can do for any of these people. I'm there primarily to annoy them. (If anyone is in grave discomfort, a non-specialist MD on staff can at least prescribe pain medications for the patients I've evaluated. I make my recommendations to them.) Meanwhile, I write my own reports as to my findings concerning their conditions or progress. At around 7:00 or 7:30, the attending ophthalmologist directly supervising me makes an uncharacteristically early appearance at the hospital to check my reports and to check on patients himself. By 9:00, we make it to the office.

The lead RN/office manager glares at me for the next three hours, until she goes to lunch, except when I am in exam rooms administering preliminary exams to patients and sitting in on actual physician exams. I man the phones during the lunch break, giving the paid answering service a pointless reprieve from taking the calls from our office. There's little I'm authorized to tell a patient that the anonymous receptionist from central casting could not tell him or her.  It's essentially "Dial 9-1-1," "Go to the ER immediately. Have someone else drive you there. Do NOT drive yourself!,"  "We'll see you later today. I don't have the authority to give you an appointment time; you will need to wait until our actual receptionist returns at 1:15 and returns your call," or "You should be seen tomorrow or in the next few days" and ditto about not having the authority to schedule an appointment, or "You need to speak to a nurse. I will have one return your call ASAP."  "You're fucking crazy" should be one of the optional responses as well, but it's not on the approved list of comments I'm authorized to make to patients.

Then at 1:15 the full crew returns minus the attending physicians and fellow. Doors are unlocked. The intern and resident begin seeing patients. The lead RN/office manager resumes her glare at me. At 1:30 the fellow returns and begins to see patients.  At 1:45, the attending physicians return unless they are performing surgery at the hospital, which they do on a rotating basis.  My supervising physician's surgery day is Friday, so on Fridays I remain at the hospital with him until he has completed his surgeries or until my waking hours have expired, whichever happens first.

At 2:20, I am kicked out of whatever building in which I happen to be. I rush home so that I will still be awake while driving myself there. I jump into the shower to rid myself of the filth of  germy patients, trying hard not to fall asleep in the shower. I have fallen asleep in the shower, which is one reason I shower instead of bathe. It's more difficult to drown in a shower than in a bathtub even partially filled with water. I do not wish to suffer the fate either of the late Whitney Houston or of her daughter,  the late Bobbi Kristina.

I quickly comb though my tangles, throw on pjs, and crawl into bed and almost immediately fall into REM sleep. It's supposed to take more time to reach that phase of sleep than it is currently taking me, but I'm in dreamland within minutes of my wet head hitting the pillow. I wake up roughly three hours later in the middle of whatever dream I'm having that is so amazingly vivid and real to me that I have a hard time convincing myself it isn't real.  Yesterday I dreamed that there was a sandstorm of Desert Storm proportions going on outside that was so severe that no one was allowed to go outside for any reason. I honestly believed I didn't need to go to work tonight until Matthew came home and told me there was no sandstorm. Another afternoon I had some bizarre dream I cannot exactly remember except that someone in it had painted spots all over Ashley Madison, our cat, and that she now had a job at the hospital and had to be taken to work by six p.m. Matthew made noise that woke me up when he got home. I came out of my room and told him that Ashley Madison was late for work, and asked if he was going to drive her thee or if I needed to do so. He looked at me as though I was crazier than the late Charlie Manson on one of Charlie's not particularly lucid days. Another day I had a dream that I found a cockroach infestation in our pantry. I woke up and called our contracted pest control company, which answers calls after hours, to report the infestation and to schedule an emergency spray job. Roughly an hour later I realized there was no cockroach infestation. I had to call the pest control company back and say, "Never mind"  like I was Rosanne Rosannadanna or whoever it was that always went off on faulty tangents on SNL, then, once she figured out she was barking up the wrong tree once again, just said, "Never mind," as though that excused everything. I didn't even bother explaining about my dream. The receptionist wouldn't have believed it. She would just have thought I was a lunatic. Instead, I apologized and totally lied, saying my younger cousin was visiting and had made a prank phone call to her.

These steroids are killing what's left of my sanity. I just have another two weeks of them, though. By then, I'll be on winter break. At least my sleep during winter break shouldn't be disrupted, either in duration or by the deranged dreams I've been having.

My dad's solution to this problem is that once I wake up, he says I need to either go to the loft area upstairs or very carefully walk downstairs and sit in a recliner  and do nothing except turn on the TV. He said not even to flip through the channels with the remote because I might have had a dream that I was supposed to order one hundred pay-per-view movies or buy something like ten- thousand dollars' worth of Marie Osmond's dolls on one of those home shopping network channels. He said I should sit in the chair, vegetate, and look at whatever happens to be on the screen until reality hits me and I realize that whatever I experienced in my most recent dream was just a dream. He said not to leave the condo unless I actually see flames or smell smoke really strongly. He said not to dial 9-1-1 unless I actually see with my own eyes, once I am up and sitting in the recliner, someone I don't know know burst into our house through a door or window. He said not to call anyone other than my mom or him until I've been awake for at least an hour. He told me, above all, not to call or text Judge Alex or, for that matter,  any judge or MD, because they probably have the connections to have me locked away for a mandatory seventy-two-hour evaluation, which at this point I would almost certainly fail.

The terrible thing here is that I can't think of a better solution. There is no joy in Mudville when I am forced to rely on the advice of as big a wack job as my father because I can't come up with anything better on my own.



I do not own this blast-from-the-past video. To whomever owns it, thanks for allowing it to remain here for however long you allow it to remain here.


-sent from work because I didn't have the heart to wake a sleeping post-surgery patient for no good reason at 2:15 a.m.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

IN A MERE TWO YEARS, I WILL BE OFFICIALLY OLD ENOUGH TO HOLD A CONGRESSIONAL SEAT


                      23 -- the baby version of an adult


That's right; I have reached the age of twenty-three, which in and of itself grants a person no privilege of which I'm aware, but does get a person closer to such milestones as the right to serve as a U.S. representative, a U.S. senator, and even as POTUS. I'm still twelve years away from that last one, however. Furthermore, have I no intention whatsoever of seeking any of these posts. If nominated I will not accept, and if elected, I will not serve.  I doubt there's much a chance of that happening, anyway. I won't even serve as Surgeon General for the same reason Dr. Sanjay Gupta has said he would not accept the position: paradoxically, the U.S. Surgeon General does not perform surgery. I want to perform surgery.

My brother and I made a bit of music tonight in the city, and won a tidy little wad of cash to split evenly as a result. Matthew shared his birthday cash from dear, sweet Grandmere with me. If she hears about it, it's probably the last check he''ll get from her. Or maybe not. Time alone will tell. My relatives are so freaking weird.

My dad Fedexed a new viola bow to me. I had been using the one that originally came with the instrument, but it sucked. The new one is sublime. My parents deposited cash into both my brother's and my bank accounts. In general, we need money far more than we need stuff. A couple of years ago they could give us all the medical paraphernalia we would need, but we now have it and just need money for upcoming expenses, especially those associated with moving to wherever our internships and residencies may be. Internships and residencies pay, but barely a living wage for a single person. Fortunately we're both still single and have no dependents to support with what will be meager earnings.

I just read two blurbs: one about what sucks about being twenty-three, and the other about the advantages associated with the age. The downside is, for the most part, at twenty-three you need to stop acting like a kid but you're still essentially the baby version of an adult and people look at you a halfwit. On the positive side, you're not judged so harshly for your cluelessness as you will be in the future, because society and people like Judge Judy still view you as an idiot.  Furthermore, nothing you do at the age of twenty-three matters unless you want it to, as long as you don't kill or maim anyone, which is far from a given if you plan to begin your medical internship at the age of twenty-three. Sometimes a person cannot win.

I don't think you can win, period,  in being twenty-three,  except to the extent that you still qualify for your parents' medical insurance if you need it, which I don't. I'm covered independently.


                     the iconic April Ludgate turning 23

I don't often promote artists here except for Phillip Phillips, but I received my copies of  Cherie Call's Christmas CD Gifts, and it is beautiful. A few of my lucky friends will receive copies courtesy of me. Even if you're not LDS, you may find, upon hearing her music (particularly the non-Christmas songs in my opinion) that she's one of the greatest ever to have used song to tell stories.. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Worse than Gumby and Pokey Having Sex with Davey and Goliath: KEY LARGO: Arguably the Worst Movie Ever Made




Imagine these four in any configuration of your choosing. It's still less traumatizing than being forced to watch Key Largo in its entirety.


I had to spend time with a patient during the day and into the night yesterday. He used the one of the hospital's luxury features to request a particular movie. In this case it was a particularly bad movie.Thank goodness my work week is complete and I even have a long weekend as a result of having put in excess hours. I need the extra hours to recover from the trauma of having been forced to sit through the movie Key Largo. If you thought the song was bad -- the one sung by Jim Jones look-alike Bertie Higgins about having it all just like Bogie and Bacall --  don't even attempt to
 watch the movie.

It's an asinine plot. It starts with a character played by Bogey going to a hotel in Key Largo in the post-winter off-season to visit the widow (Nora)  and father (Temple) of a former military comrade who didn't make it through the war alive.  The character played by Bacall almost immediately develops the hots for Bogey's character despite being a relatively recent widow.

It also involves a a motley crew of fishermen and fisherwomen who are actually just criminals. They, too, are hiding out at the resort on Key Largo, with a boat waiting for them,  in the post-winter off-season when a hurricane unseasonably strikes. A sheriff  and his deputy show up show up looking for a couple of Osceola Indians on some minor and probably trumped up charges.

A group of Osceola Indians, including the two for whom the sheriff and his deputy are looking,  show up to take refuge from the immediate post-winter hurricane at the resort, where they usually take refuge under such circumstances. The posing fisherpeople take everyone else hostage and won't let the Osceola Indians inside.

The deputy comes back and gets himself killed by Curly and boated into distant waters, then thrown in the Caribbean by the worst of the bad guys -- Curly, I think.

Curly is desperate for entertainment and forces one of the female fisherpeople guests, who may or may not be one of the criminals, Gaye Dawn, who also happens to be an alcoholic,  to sing some gawdawful song called "Moanin' Low"  a capella in exchange for a drink.  The actress portraying her is not a singer and assumes she'll just lip sync to an actual singer's voice, but the director forces her (at gunpoint? I wouldn't be surprised) to sing the song without even first rehearsing it. She sings it so horribly that Curly refuses to give her the drink. The Bogey character ignores Curly and gives Gaye Dawn her drink anyway.

The sheriff comes back. Curly or somebody forces Temple to lie to the sheriff about the deputy's whereabouts. Then the sheriff finds his deputy dead in the water. The hurricane brought his body close enough to shore to be found. Curly  tells the sheriff the Osceola Indians killed the deputy. The sheriff inexplicably believes him, and plays judge, jury, and executioner, shooting and killing the Osceola Indians. The sheriff leaves with the deputy's body.

Another contingent of the criminal element arrives from Cuba with a large sum of counterfeit money. Curly and his henchmen must escape but for some reason cannot take their original boat, so instead take one owned by the hotel, forcing the Bogey character to pilot the boat for them because he has boating experience. Curly inexplicably pays temple for the criminals' stay at the hotel. probably using the counterfeit money.

Frank throws one bad guy (Ralph?) overboard, shoots another, then Curly comes up from the lower deck and gets killed in gunfire. Anyone else who is bad is killed, I think. Part of the criminal gang was elsewhere, but the Coast Guard captured them.

Gaye Dawn tells the sheriff he was duped into killing the Osceola Indians Nora and f/rank forget all about Nora's late husband and Frank's former comrade and hook up. I don't know what happened to Temple, and I care even less than I know.



According to Bertie Higgins, they had it all, so why the hell did they agree to make that horse shit movie?

I would rather be forced to watch Davey and Goliath have an identical Claymation-simulated  gun shoot-out with Gumby and Pokey (or Claymation-simulated human-on-animal sex, for that matter) ten thousand times  than be forced to watch even a thirty-second clip of this movie again. It is going to give me nightmares, not because it was scary but because it was the most deplorable attempt at a movie that I could ever imagine. If I ever see that patient's name on a docket again,, I am calling in sick even if I have to hit my other foot with the bulky part of someone's computer charger and break it (either the foot or the charger or both) to get out of watching any more movies the patient chooses.







   I've said it already, but I'm sure Jim Jones and Bertie Higgins were twins separated at birth.



And just because the song will run continuously through my head all night,  wouldn't you love to have it run through yours as well?


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

One Voice Children's Choir and Uncle Scott

One Voice Children's Choir appeared on America's Got Talent. I don't think, though I could be wrong,  that they were judged overly favorably. They're awfully white-bread for a competitive national program of this nature.



One of the nice things about my frequently being awake during the twilight hours is that my Uncle Scott often has to be up during those times as well. He's usually waiting for something to happen so he can  leave the hospital, and has time to kill. We message, talk, or otherwise communicate.  I love my Uncle Scott.

Uncle Scott kills time when he's stuck at the hospital and there's too little time to go to sleep and he has nothing better to do by watching YouTube videos. He's recently gotten me started watching the One Voice Children's Choir, directed by  native Japanese BYU grad Masa Fukuda. It's a choir of (surprise, surprise, since it's based in Utah) mostly white kids. Some ethnic children are in the group as well. they sing like white kids. They sing the way I think children should sing. They don't over embellish. They sing their melodies and harmonies as written and directed. They dress in  the uniform of the day.. They don't look like a bunch of male and female Jonbenets. They don't draw attention to themselves unless they're singing solos, and do so only subtly even then. In short, they show appropriate choir decorum.

If you listen to them, you won't find them to be the most exciting group you've ever heard. Yet, as they age (it's a multi-age choir from ages five to eighteen) some of them start to show genuine talent. One of their either present or former singers,  Lexi Walker, is showing promise as a solo performer.


Lexi Walker, either Once Voice Children's Choir alum or present member, sings my favorite carol. My mum taught it to me in French when I was barely two. It brings back gingerbread feelings to me.

Most of these kids won't bowl you over with their voices. They sing at age-appropriate levels. The teens seem to be given a bit more latitude, or perhaps they're just given more difficult parts. They don't try to be junior Beyonces, embellishing melodies all over scales and beyond.  Some viewers will be put off by the whiteness of it all, but it takes place in  Utah.  Where is a prospective youth choir director in Utah going to find a majority of singers who have training in music fundamentals? My guess is, in Utah, that would be mostly among the Caucasian population. Other races are not excluded.


This probably isn't an example  the group's best song, mainly because the ending is anticlimactic, but it captures the essence, the age difference, the degree to which the choir takes direction, and the age-appropriateness of the group.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

ALEXIS BEING HYPERSENSITIVE ALEXIS AGAIN, OR DOES EVERYONE AFFILIATED WITH SLC INC. HATE ME?

Perhaps if my name were something more along the lines of "Jenny Oaks Baker," SLC's local contingent  of Salvation Army-assisting bell-ringers would be less resistant to having me within their midst.


I probably shouldn't share as much information as I intend to share here, not that it's of an especially confidential nature, but should it be googled by the wrong person, it will out me. I have, however, outed myself in numerous ways, so it would seem I have relatively little to lose.

With essentially no pressure to participate because enough people are eager to kiss up and earn bonus points in any way they can, a practice affiliated with my upcoming clerkship rotation has associated itself with a particular bell-ringing charitable organization.  Oddly enough, it is through the auspices of a religious organization thoroughly unrelated to the bell-ringing [religious] organization that this is being undertaken.  Most of the physicians associated with the practice with which I will be affiliated and most of the non-MD staff are staunchly affiliated with this religious group.  The group doesn't drink coffee or alcohol. It's not the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to which I refer. You can probably connect the dots without the necessity of my being more specific.

The members of this medical practice are very much aware of my extended family's connections to their religious faith.  Faith is faith, however, and medicine is medicine.  We can work together. Furthermore, no one there knows my personal stance regarding anything related to their faith or any other religious matter. For all they know, I am anxiously awaiting an invitation to join them in some or any activity related to their church. As it happens, I'm not, but they don't know that.

I'll attempt to cut to the chase, which is something I do rather poorly. A message was sent electronically to everyone, myself included, who will be affiliated with the practice in the upcoming three weeks requesting assistance with this bell-ringing venture.  We were told to click on any specific dates that would work for us. I tried, but whenever I clicked on a date, the function malfunctioned on me and clicked on every date, indicating I would be willing to show up and ring bells each night for the next three weeks.

I emailed the person who sent out the message, explaining the dilemma. Her response to me was that my help is no longer needed. I thanked her for her response, and asked if I might have permission to show up at one of the other times at which someone else is signed up, bringing a musical instrument along to make the occasion more festive. Her response to this option was more direct, more along the lines of [not her exact words, BTW] "I TOLD you we don't need you with or without your cello or violin this year.  Perhaps next year something can be worked out, or perhaps it can't, but for now would you please just go away!"

This situation would be awkward under any circumstances, but the woman with whom i communicated is considered the lead RN of the practice and the manager of the office, and is married to one of the founding partners of the practice. I will work with this woman every day I work until Christmas break.

My first question: Perhaps it is customary for two people to be present at each bell-ringing session. Would anyone be harmed in any way if a third person were to show up with a musical instrument, stand several feet away, and quietly play innocuous seasonal tunes? I'm not suggesting that the three of us triple-team any passerby and shake the person down until he or she drops an acceptable amount of cash  or gold or whatever into the little red kettle.  I'm merely proposing that I could have stood off in the distance playing seasonally festive tunes in an inoffensive way. My second question: Is this in some way personal? Do these people dislike me because of my tenuous connection to their religious faith, or do they dislike me for reasons entirely unrelated? Or do they dislike my musicianship? My third question: Do members of this church ever consider how exclusionary actions might possibly  A) hurt the feelings of others, and B) ultimately drive people away from their church?

Members of this religious faith are fond of citing as a reason, whenever anyone leaves their church, that the person did so because he or she was somehow offended by the actions of someone at the church. This isn't entirely fitting in my case, as I'm not a part of their group and therefore cannot technically leave it, but I most definitely am offended by the exclusionary actions of this person in particularly, and presumably by those she represents as well.

Is it my violin-playing that they hate, or is it I whom they hate? I may never know for certain, but it's going to be a hell of a long three weeks, starting bright and early tomorrow morning. Perhaps I should bring my cello to the office, plant myself in the waiting room, and commence with playing Good King Wenceslas until someone calls security and has me forcibly removed from the building. That would be one way to get out of work.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Simply Have a Wonderful Christmas Time! Sexual Assault, Rape Culture, and Related Matters: A Non-Festive Look at a Topic on Which I Have a Very Personal Angle





It seems to me that each time the subject of sexual assault comes up, I make a personal and silent vow to allow this episode to pass without  commentary from me, Then I end up doing the opposite of what I intended to do, and I write, regardless,  about it as it relates to my own personal experience.. One stipulation my major perpetrator's attorney fought my attorney vigorously for was a non-disclosure clause. Those involved defendants represented by other attorneys in my case clearly felt  --  and rightly so in my opinion --   that their clients had far less to lose by anything I might have had to say about their own clients' personal culpability in the case, and about their clients' stories being naked and exposed for all the world, or at lest for the very limited audience would would acre enough to know of their own clients' share in any guilt or blame. Anyway, should I so desire, I possess, at least in the U.S.,  every legal right I could ever possibly hold  (except in the unlikely event that  our less-than-esteemed chief executive were to enact and somehow pass through both the house and senate  and manage to bypass the U.S. Supreme Court with some piece garbage of legislation prohibiting the victims of legally convicted or guiltily-pled defendants'  from the legal rights to tell their own stories in favor of the protection the rights of the guilty, which isn't quite so preposterous as it sounds considering the sources involved, though I will begin to distress myself about that sort of thing if and/or when it comes close to fruition) to share or sell the rights to my story to a movie production company, to a ghost-writer, or even to tell the story myself in my own words.. Much scrutiny would occur were such to happen, and much in-fighting would result as a result of the primary perpetrator's portrayal, but any story told on my behalf, were it not to be libelous, could be told from my point of view. I assume it's something my major perpetrator and his parents fear more than almost anything at this point in the incident, though it probably should be the very least of their concerns. The major perpetrator, to this point, once completing his legal sentence, has experienced little to no personal success or satisfaction in his life , at least as far as I have been able to observe.  Members of the opposite sex who would desire any contact with him whatsoever, or at least the ones whose Venn Diagram circles intersect his in the most peripheral senses possible, seem as far as I can tell to be practically nonexistent. Educational success appears to have eluded him. His family owns a business, which should provide him with steady employment though his skill-set is not ideally suited to moving up the ranks of the business to eventually assume control of the company. Much of what he might once have owned either now belongs to me or will. (Most of my financial settlement related to him was paid by his father, but, even at my personal expense, the judge presiding over the case adjudicated that a portion of the financial responsibility for his actions needed to be owned by him personally and not by his parents, garnished by wages legally documented through proper wage forms and other documents. Creative W-2 and W-4 forms aren't all that hard to come by, but at least someone involved is having to go through the motions and take the trouble to do so. Some of that is money I will likely never see  (though I believe it is exempt from any bankruptcy proceedings) but, for me anyway, it was a price well worth forfeiting for the sheer knowledge of continual inconvenience to the perpetrator and to his enabling parents.

At the present, I have no deep and penetrating desire to become the Erin Brockovich of the world of sexual assault, and I cannot see any aspect of that changing at any time soon. Still, it causes me no suffering in the least that the major perpetrator may occasionally lose sleep in concern over this ultimately happening. Any anxiety on his part is something I view as karmic forces at their very most optimal.

When it happened to me late  that late September afternoon,  I was fifteen  -- a very slight fifteen-year-old, weighing in at about seventy-five pounds and still limping noticeably from a severe compound tibia-fibula fracture incurred he previous spring in a freak track and field accident. I would have been little match for someone my own size, much less for a male more the 2.5 times my size, plus the reinforcements he called in, including one female by herself more than twice my size. The attack was overkill, and perhaps was intended to be literally such. I'll never know.

My situation has relatively little to do with anything going on in today's news world concerning taking of one's sexual liberties. Still, when a related topic hits the news, I often feel both the desire and the technical wherewithal to weigh in on the pertinent situation as it relates to my own. In some cases, the propinquity is compelling. In other cases, it's tangential at best. Still, as a survivor of a rape attempt, I will interject my opinion into any related news story if it seems pertinent to me or even if it would seem in some manner to make me feel in some way vindicated to tell a part of my story one more time, from perhaps one more angle, sometimes for the sole reason that maybe just this once, in sharing it, I will be helped to understand my particular set of circumstances more fully myself and will somehow be made,  myself, to be more whole, more recovered, and less a victim of the trauma. That, for me, is my genuine intent in all of this: I wish, on my own terms,  to permanently renege on my status as a "victim."

Then again, perhaps I merely love the sound of my own voice, even in print, so much that I cannot relinquish the opportunity to tell my story when I have reason to believe others might actually pay attention to something I have to say, as opposed what frequently happens to the often puerile drivel with which I fill up this page on a regular basis. (I do so by choice, finding solace in the absurdity of the mundane world as well.) I can state with total honesty that I'm not in any way gratified by  the negative experience I endured because it  in any way causes people to have to sit up and to pay attention to my words form time to time. Had the incident never happened, my life would be better than it presently is in every sense of the word. I'm not an "everything happens for a reason" sort of person. This incident happened to me because a single person chose to exercise free will to commit evil, because others willfully aided and abetted him in his attempt to commit the almost ultimate evil act, and because one other individual in particular was  derelict in his responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect me from any ill that might have befallen me as a result of this incident, particularly when he had been guaranteed to my parent, in discharging her from her duties as a parent at the site in order to send her to represent the school district elsewhere, that he had assumed  personal protection of me.

I will not say unequivocally that nothing good can or will ever come of the incident.  I cannot foretell the future. In the evil of all that occurred -- the physical repercussions of the attack, the psychological ramifications of it,  the months of my life  lost in attempt to heal -- all of these things, while overwhelmingly negative and something no one --  young, old, male, or female -- should ever endure -- carry with them the potential to make me a stronger and more passionate advocate for anyone I encounter in or out of my career as a medical professional who might experience something of a similar nature.  At this point in my life, I lack the strength of spirit or the perspective to allow those experiences to help me in advocating for those in similar situations. I hope such is not always the case, and I did once actually agree to (and, more importantly, I followed through with the agreed arrangement and delivered a presentation on the topic) a speaking engagement both to peers and superiors concerning my role in the ordeal.

With many accusations being made in politics, entertainment, and elsewhere in the media, the subject of sexual assault, sexual consent, and all-out rape have been in the forefront of current news.  The stories concerning political polar opposites Roy Moore and Al Franken have caught my attention most recently, but all sorts of incidents from the Stanford bicyclist's clear  taking of liberties of an incapacitated female and subsequent almost unconscionably lenient sentence.  The Franken case seems to have been brought to light primarily to somehow justify the actions of which Moore has been accused, which is ludicrous. If Franken did that of which he has been accused (it's hard for me to believe anyone as intelligent as Franken would have allowed himself to have been photographed in such not merely compromising but outwardly damning poses, though un-doctored pictures rarely lie) I have nothing to say in defense of him. Often it's a he-said / she-said situation, in which case I tend in absence of other compelling evidence to side, rightly or wrongly,  with with the accuser, knowing from personal experience how very mortifying it is to report such an accusation even under the presumed anonymity supposedly afforded to alleged victims, which may or may or may not actually exist in protection of the accuser depending upon multiple circumstances, including where and when the incident did or did not take place, who else was present, the use of social media in sharing of details [including but not limited to photography/videography of the incident], the size of the community in which the event happened (or did not; I should at least try to be fair), the integrity of those who may have been witnesses, the integrity and/or objectivity of the supporters of the accused perpetrator, and even the integrity and/or objectivity  of those charged with investigating and prosecuting the particular case. Where Roy Moore's wife and her staunch defense of her husband is concerned, I consider it utterly immaterial. If I had a husband who was considered to be a rising star on the political spectrum who had been accused of the atrocities of which Moore has been accused, any defense I might offer of him should be seen only as self-serving.

Some of the connection to what has been reported in the news has been  superficially-at-most connected to anything that happened to me. I feel almost like a fraud -- perhaps a bit of a hustler -- in that sense of connecting my story to the stories of others whenever the remotest connection might exist, and maybe for, in part, the purpose of self-promotion and of making a greater [pen] name for myself each time the opportunity arises. Yet while I may [and in all honestly am] furthering my  personal agenda ad nauseum from each retelling of my story, I earn not as much as a penny for doing so. Keeping such in mind makes it much easier for me to stare at my image as I brush my teeth each morning and evening and however many times in between that the dental hygiene routine may happen.

I suppose I should now recount the basics of my personal rendezvous with sexual assault for the benefit of those who may have missed an earlier retelling.  The events leading up to my encounter were complicated. An essay authored by me was stolen from a teacher's personal file and was resubmitted by another student who, for whatever reason -- lack of confidence in the ability to produce work of his own at an adequate level, simple laziness on his part, perhaps even a desire for personal gain at the expense of or without regard to the time and effort contributed  by another student,  perhaps even a sense of self-entitlement that would cause a person to believe he had every right to help himself to work done by another, possibly by virtue of his status as a successful athlete and the entitlement afforded to him by such. I'll never know why he stole my essay.

Still, it would have ended there had an assistant football coach who was also a wrestling coach  -- the perpetrator was also a wrestler -- had not been shown a copy of the composition assigned to his athlete as a punishment to the athlete under his supervision and had he not chosen to submit the composition for an award of academic excellence. I find tremendous irony there.  The very idea that a written work  required as a consequence of having ditched a class would then be considered as a sort of justification for accollades of any sort is ludicrous.  Had this coach not shown such  exceedingly poor judgment, none of the events precipitating the ensuing disaster would have materialized. I haven't a clue as to where if anywhere this coach is now employed, but I hope he recognizes his role in setting these events into motion, not that such in any way lessons the guilt of any of the other perpetrators.

Even if the perp were given a truth serum drug [perhaps sodium thiopental, amitobarbitol, flunitrazepam, or a host of others; as effective as these pharmaceuticals are [they're not 100% effective or their results would be used conclusively in courts of law to settle cases of guilt; medical science is not there yet, though we one day may be] asked to provide reasons for his actions, he might possibly be one of those individuals so lacking in a functional conscience that even those measures would be unsuccessful in prompting him to provide truthful reasoning for what were his actions. In the end, we might never be closer to an answer than we presently are. Beyond that, sometimes I'm not convinced of the significance of  the why matter so much as the what in such cases.

The matter of whose authorship under the composition fell should have been not nearly so complicated as my school's administration made it. It was complicated by site the principal having recused herself from the matter, leaving the next-higher-person in the chain of command -- my own mother -- in charge of investigating the matter. My mother immediately recognized her own conflict of interest in handling the matter and called in the district superintendent,  Her major mistake -- and I'm not sure what she could have done about it, even had she known then what is now known --  was to have overestimated the competence, the integrity, and the personal responsibility of the district superintendent. Football game outcomes are important, after all, and so are those who make heavy financial contributions devoted to the purchase of athletic equipment and facilities.

The date on which I submitted the essay preceded the day on which the thug resubmitted it by more than seven months. That alone should have been considered key evidence. The topic to which I wrote was one directly assigned, and I addressed the topic to perfection. I'm not suggesting that my final product was, itself, a work of perfection; I am stating, however, that .I covered specifically and with precision the material I was asked to cover. My foe's assignment -- a make-up assignment for having unauthorizedly missed a class session --had been to write something by way of make-up-assignment that was in some way connected to American history. Between the dates and specificity of the topic as covered, substantial evidence existed to support me up as having been the rightful author of the work..  Furthermore, comparison of existing writing samples should have identified the work as having  been my own. Even had I copied the essay, which I did not, had I plagiarized it, from the consistency of my work, I would very nearly have had to have plagiarized from the exact same author each time I produced a composition for school. I could not have blindly and successfully scoured the Internet for pieces from which to plagiarize and have come up with such consistently linguistically similar written work. Unless I'd had a parent or close relative willing to do my written work for me (which i didn't; my parents and other close relatives were and continue to be busy people who lack the time to do homework for their offspring. They would offer advice when requested, which happened rarely on my part, but they weren't in any way willing to author compositions for either my brother or me, and even had there been one of us who needed such unethical assistance, my brother would have been the likely recipient. He needed far more help than I did. There were multiple times when I went to his assistance, though not by writing his papers for him but by helping him to reconstruct paragraphs or to re-think ideas.  Suffice it to say that I did not have a back-up source completing my written work for me, but had I required the assistance of one, it would almost have to have been the same source in each instance. At one point a linguist from our city's local university analyzed anecdotal evidence of my written work as a favor to the court, and the linguist concluded that my written work was all done by the same person.

Next, questioning concerning the content of the specific paper under consideration was conducted. I knew exactly what was in that essay, even though it had been composed more than seven months earlier,  because I  had been the one to have composed it. I answered any and every query concerning the paper with the direct confidence of the person who authored it.  My adversary had no clue as to the identity of Senator Joseph McCarthy -- the primary subject of the paper --  much less of any of the details covered by the paper.

The investigation to that point should have clearly and sufficiently identified me as the true and correct  author if the paper, yet the adversary's parents' and their attorney's unwillingness to give up on the idea that their son/client might have been the rightful author compelled his parents and their attorney to continually pose counter-measures to support their son's innocence -- even  going so far as to promote his  status as a victim  and mine as a villainess --  empowered their attorney to devise increasingly demanding propositions which were, even more, increasing;y futile on their part and only further underscored their son's/client's guilt.

Each of us was then asked to produce a sixty-minute essay on a topic that should have been clearly to my adversary's advantage.  The assigned topic related to the BCS method of determining the NCAA's annual national championship as opposed to allowing sportswriters' and others votes to determine the national championship team, which sometimes led to a disputed conclusion.   I was them and continue to be much more of an academician than a follower of sports. I had a clue as to what is happening in the world of major sports, but arising each the morning to check out the previous day's athletic statistics  in a newspaper, or even checking into them on my computer early each morning, was not a part of my daily routine. Primarily because of my father's, brother's, and extended family's somewhat extreme interest,  I have a foundation of  understanding of major sports, of conference championships, and of related matters, but I do not  live, breathe, and bleed sports. My adversary, on the other had, supposedly did and does. One might have expected his essay related to the BCS system for determining each year's NCAA  national football championship team should have been something about which my foe could have written with ease.  His problems, as I see them, are that A) he can write about nothing with ease, and B) he may have had strength of body well-suited for a defensive lineman's position on a football squad, but beyond understanding the basic concept of going for the ball at anytime someone on the opposing team held possession, his understanding of even football was limited.

My BCS-related essay produced on demand covered the very basics of how the BCS (BCS is an acronym for Bowl Championship Series)  was a distinct but flawed improvement over the previous system of eligible voters choosing each year's national championship winner.  I suggested ways in which participating teams into the tournament of sorts could more fairly earn slots into the competition, among a few other suggestions. I really don't remember all that I wrote: I remember primarily that I completed my essay in just over forty-five minutes of the allotted time. My foe, in the full hour allotted, completed one-and-one-half sentences in which he attempted unsuccessfully to delineate the words comprising the acronym of BCS. 

I requested to use the women's facilities at this point. Permission was granted. My adversary apparently utilized this opportunity to contact friends through text-messaging.  What may already have been in the planning stages was put into effect. Three girls arrived in the administration hall restroom almost immediately after I did. It soon became apparent that their presence was neither a coincidence nor anything that was intended to work in my favor. I was slapped and punched in the face, burned three times with a cigarette, knocked to the floor, had my not-quite healed fracture stepped directly upon by a girl much larger in size and greater in weight than was I.  It was at this point that my foe was also dismissed to visit a restroom. The bathroom he chose to visit was not the males' restroom directly across the hall from the principal's office, but instead, the women's restroom, which was maybe thirty feet down the hall and around a corner..  As the male entered, two of the three females barricaded the restroom door with their bodies. They also turned a trashcan on its side in attempt to wedge it in such a way as to block the door from easy opening. The third female, who had done nothing to come to my aid by this point, also had done no physical harm to me, The third female, against threats from the others,  forced her way out of the restroom.

The male asked the females to undress me from the waist down, which they did, again kicking my ribs and stepping on my not-yet-healed leg. I had a cell phone in my jacket  pocket, which, for reasons that don't need to be detailed at this time, was of the highly simplified variety. With that phone I was able to reach 9-1-1- and six additional numbers. 9-1-1- seemed at that time like my best bet. I dialed it and hoped that the 9-1-1- operator would hear that something was very wrong and would follow up on what she heard. I also knew that my cell phone was micro-chipped, but I had no idea how long activating such a chip might actually take.

My adversary removed his male appendage from his pants. I'm uncertain as to whether I was to be expected to perform services for him orally or vaginally. I'm not sure it would have mattered. Either would have been equally devastating for me.  The view of his nude penis and of how it would involve me caused me to vomit. This, in turn, cause the male to lose his erection. Despite having studied advanced biology by that time, which should certainly have covered the basic anatomy of the human erection, between shock of the circumstances and perhaps having blocked out anything I hadn't needed to know in order to ace an exam on the topic, I may have, due to lack of comfort of the subject matter and lack of emotional readiness to learn of it,   blocked out much of what was taught in class.  I was so very ignorant at the time of the physiology of an erection that  I was thoroughly unsure of what was happening and as to how the loss of the erection might impact me.

Angry at his lack of ability to perform the one or two functions that he had intended to perform using me as his object of hate, he directed a solid kick at my pelvic area with his steel-toed boot. Except to the extent that my body had been positioned by two of the three females who had participated in some way, I wasn't necessarily lying spread-eagled in order to accommodate his kick. This undoubtedly reduced the ultimate damage, though there was damage. He also  kicked my right flank hard, stepped on my ribs, and urinated directly upon my private places.

A meeting very important for administrators in our county -- in retrospect, it's tough to understand how any meeting for administrators anywhere could have superceded in importance what was happening at our school at that very moment -- had been scheduled to begin. The superintendent was already late for the meeting before the bathroom visit incident even set into motion the devastating chain of events. The superintendent's response to his pending meeting was to send my mother to the meeting in his stead. My mother now says the should have tendered her verbal resignation at that very moment, followed the next day by a written resignation. (Keep in mind, I had not yet been injured or even threatened.) Hindsight is always superior to foresight, though.  My mother had long been conditioned by educational administrative protocol to follow the chain of command. She agreed to attend the superintendent's meeting

Unbeknownst to me at the time, the female who had escaped the bathroom was running furiously though the halls of the nearly empty  building, attempting to get the attention of the adults in the building. She first succeeded in gaining a custodian's attention. While I did phone 9-1-1 and there was evidence that they eventually located the source of the call, without the aid of that third girl, the authorities may not have been able to arrive in time to be of practical assistance to me except after the fact.  Though she consciously made the poor choice to have become involved in the first place with the lower element responsible for  the near-tragedy, her involvement was indeed a blessing, and not a very heavily disguised blessing at that. Charges against her were dropped, due in part to my own family's attorney's involvement, and members of my family did what they could to help her to secure college financial aid. She'll never be someone I'll choose voluntarily with whom to socialize, but I owe her an amazing debt of gratitude, and I've told her so.  She's done well in university, and I think she will do well in life, though guilt can be a powerful antidote to success, and I sincerely hope guilt does not overpower for her what good she is able to accomplish in the world.

My father was out of state when the incident occurred.  After being photographed in my half-nude state, among other things, I was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, and spent that first night in the local hospital  undergoing the indignities of a rape kit. Though no actual rape had even allegedly occurred, there was transfer of body fluid with the perpetrator's having urinated directly upon my open  genital area, in addition to tissue transfer due to his boot's contact with my open genital area..  Injuries, both major and minor, had to be treated, and I was furthermore in no psychological state to be on the loose. My Uncle Steve and my mother spent the night in the hospital with me. The superintendent demanded that my mother report for work at her usual hour of 7:30 a.m. the following morning. She told him in no uncertain terms that he was free to go directly to hell, and not to pass Go or collect two-hundred dollars on his way there. He told her he considered that to be a threat. She told him to consider it whatever he wanted to consider it.  My Aunt Heather spent the night at my family's home with my brother Matthew. Matthew felt strongly about not wanting to be intimidated from sleeping in his own home by thugs. Consideration of the entire baseball team spending the night there was given, but it was ultimately decided that sending just one [very strong and capable] woman to fight off potential thugs sent more of a message to the perpetrators as to anyone's opinion of their power made a stronger statement than did reinforcing the house with a crew adolescent males. Police patrol was provided in a regular basis. Inexplicably, the juvenile perpetrators were released immediately to the custody of their parents.

My father caught the next plane out of his east coast location and made it home by nightfall the next evening, by which time I was discharged from the hospital. It was a very good thing that he was there, as that night, a group of two of the three original females, the perpetrator, and an additional male friend chose to drive to our home between the hours of two and three a.m. and to use a strong slingshot-like device to propel a brick through my bedroom window.  Due either to instinct or to inside source information, the school's head varsity football coach, who lived just around the corner from my family,  knew something was up and was prepared to act. He and two other neighbors immediately blocked the perpetrators' truck in so that no vehicular escape was possible. They chased down the responsible parties.  I wan't physically harmed by the brick or broken glass, but the emotional upheaval was severe. My family no longer owns the home at which this took place, but it took months to sell the place. In the interim, I never spent another night in that bedroom. I don't think I ever even went inside the room again.

There are more specifics I could detail, but I feel that I've said all I want or need to say for now.  Due to mechanical malfunction, I'm nether a rape nor an oral sodomy victim. I'm not sure how much difference would have been made in the grand scheme of things  had I been, but I am very glad that the decision as to when, where, and with whom to have my first sex was left to me and not to the physically overpowering force of a thug. That matters immensely to me. Control is crucial where a woman's sexual life is concerned.

I'll end with a few ideas. Women are told that their anonymity is protected at all costs. We all know such not to necessarily be the case. In some cases, women voluntarily go public in revealing their identities under the [arguably correct] assumption that  a face and name attached to a victim can create the benefit of strengthening a case.  Others feel that they may never be able to get on with their lives even under the cloak of anonymity, much less with a public persona.  I cannot judge anyone for either decision. Furthermore, I should make it clear that, as most of us are aware, not all victims of rape or any other form of sexual assault are female, nor are all perpetrators, real or wrongly accused, male.

Regardless of  however stupid, stoned, inebriated, innocent by way of ignorance, or whatever adjective anyone cares to apply here, consent is consent. No means no, and everyone, barring those with the severest forms of cognitive disability, who, if they're truly so disabled, belong behind bars and razor wires,  knows what is means and has known since roughly the age of eighteen months. The involvement of a few hormones changes nothing.

And, in finality, if i ever have to wonder whether or not this really happened to me or was a bad dream or a figment of imagination, I need only look at my right arm above the elbow, where, despite regular and repeated application of topical Mederma,  a scar from the worst of the three cigarette burns remains.

I do not own this video. I thank its rightful owner for having allowed it to appear for however long it remains here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

PLANS CHANGE, AND NOT ALWAYS FOR THE WORST



My course has not been altered dramatically in any way. I still plan to be roughly the same place this time next year that I would have told you last week that I would be at that point in my life. 

My day today, which was technically yesterday,  did not proceed quite as planned for me.  My maternal uncle by marriage had an only semi-expected surgery. the surgery was exopected, though not quite so immediately or urgently. He experienced a complete urinary blockage, which could easily have quickly progressed to complete renal failure. Fortunately due to being in  good place at a good time, renal failure for him was not in the cards.

Because I was traveling in preparation for Thanksgiving Day, I ended up at the hospital where and when my uncle had surgery. It probably was not a productie use of recovwry time for my eyes, but sometimes the world does not have to revolve around me and what is good for my eyes or for any other part of me.  Because this surgery was to take place in roughly four weeks, few relatives were with my aunt and uncle at the hospital.  I drove myself the two hours from where I had been previously to the hospital where my uncle's emergency surgery was performed.  met with the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other medical personnel along with my aunt. I introduced myelf as the fourth-year medical school student that I am. I highly doubt that even one person to whom I introduced myself as such took me seriously to the slightest degree. I doubt that I came across as eloquent or necessarily even passionate. The others probably thought I was, at best, a pre-med undergraduate students, or, in possibly a more plausible scenario to them, a high school student looking at medicine as a possible future career. I have been told recently, though, that I am maturing in a physical sense and, for the most part, no longer look like a high school student. Some women in particular totally get their rocks off on being told constantly how ridiculously young they look. I am ot one of such women. i am noy one of such women. I consider it a compliment to be told that my chronological age matches or comes close to matching the age I actually look.  If I'm startting to look my age, it's high time., and I've worked hard every laugh line or other indication of age as related to appearance. i do not claim to look like a thirty-five-year-oold woman, but neither am I any longer turned away from R-rated movies when unaccompanied by another adult.

In any event, I'm reasonably certain that even if the medical personnel I met for the first time today  believed anything,  much less everything I said about my status as a medical school student took anything I told them about my status with even a grain of seriousness, they didn't care in the least. Furthermore, had i been in their position and they in mine, i might have felt he same way. My status as a med school student ay my facility gave me no status as a student or member of their staff. For that matter, it wasn't eve a teaching hospital at which my uncle was treated.

At one point, though, they ventured onto territory that was too familiar for me to sit back and be the know-nothing relative. My uncle's surgery produced conditions, including unexpected gravel-like struvite urinary calculi that quite legitimately caused staff members to fear the results of infection. Antibiotics were prescribed, as was appropriate. additionally, my uncle's system was flushed (with H2O) more aggressively than might have been consideted typical.  This elevated my level of concern. My uncle's father experienced a similar though not identical medical phenoomenon  maybe thrity years ago. the increase of watwr created an imbalance between the body's  hydration level and the balamce of electrolyes. in his system. This resulted in cardiac complications that, while it didn't kill my uncle's father right there in the recovery room, caused cardiac complications that ended his life within a few months of the event. the man was not at that point in his life the healthiest creature to walk the face of the Earth, but neither was he expected to be dead within two months of what had been considered to that point to be  a fairly straightforward prostrate reduction surgery. 

If the significant of water imbalance seems unimportant or irrelevant, think for a moment to reall a radio station contest from several years ago where a young mother lost her life by drinking too much water too rapidly in a radio station-'s ill guided promotional attempt of awarding a game system of some sort to whomever who could consume and kep down the greastest amound to water in a given period of time. The poor, sweet mother so wanted an X-Box or Playstation or some similar device for her offspring that she made the ultimate sacrifice in order to obtain it for them. of course she would not have done so had she had the remotest of clues that the end result even possibly might have been lethal. Up to that point, few of us gave any thought to the idea that dirnking too much water could be fatal.  Likewise, meical professionals, who should and usually do know better, can forget that balance in the human body is essentially, and tht flushing a system with even something so seemingly benign as water can produce devastating consequences.

My aunt remembered the events surrounding the death of her father-in-law, as did I , though I'd only heard by world of mouth; the incident took place before i was born. When the treatment pla was presented to her in a small conference room directly off the surgical suite, she paled. I had a good idea of the cause of her concern; she seemed unable to speak eloquently, so I spoke for her in the way I best could. 

My uncle's father's medical hisotry had been entered into records, but the significance and similarity of  his father's history with what seemed to be unfilding before us seemed lost on all but my aunt and myself.  I reminded the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and a patient advocate of my unce's father's situation. The other medical personnel - or should I more correctly say the medical personnel present -- in such a setting, I'm not necessarily even considered medical personnel, period. I'm a mere student, and because I'm not their medical school student, even my status as a student is tenuous at strongest.

Still, this was my uncle -- an uncle by marriage, for that matter but my uncle just the same. His only other adequate at the moment was his pale and shaken wife. One of his offspring was i Newfoundland on military duty. His second child was attempting to arrive at the scene of the surgery preparing for her engineering final exams at a university across the continent. His youngest child was at the mercy of an automechanic attempting to repair the starter on his vehicle  nearly  five hundred miles from the location of the surgery. Other relatives would arrive in the coming hours, but action was needed at tht precise time. My aunt tried to explain her concerns buy had litte success in describing the incident involving her father-in-law some thirty years ago. The only real voice for my uncle twelve or so hours earlier was mine. I'm not certain how interested I would have been, had I been thise medical personnel, in hearing my own notquite-twenty-three year old voice.

there are times to embellish one's voice and one's experiences with hope that bravado increases authority. At other times, bluster serves only to decrease the little credibility one possesses in the first way. This seemed to me to be one of such times. As humbly as i could, I related what was already in my uncle's medical records, but reiterated that neither my aunt or I wanted the same result as what had happened so many years earlier. I calmly advocated for a a more moderate and measured aprroach to the system -- for a modest hydaation, for use of the safest atibiotics, and for a chance for my uncle's body to heal what a body can often heal on its own when left to minimal interference.

My uncle drank 7-up and ate soda crackers a few hours ago. He'll be taking hea y pain meds for a few weeks, as he had a few nasty struvite stine in addition to a grossly enlarged prostate. did I miracuslously save y uncle's life? In the most likely scenario, no. He probably would have urviveved whatever reasonable course of treatment that was ultimately chosen had it not involved the use of leeches or the calling of an exorcist. 

Still, I was able to be what too many times in my career I will not be,  which is an advocate for a patient. It should be a par of a doctor's job at the back of his or her mind at all ties even if it's not his or her primary job.. And we, as medical professionasl (I'm once again calling myself a medical professional again in this sense) need to forget that e ery patient deserves an advocate, and  occasionally there isn't one unless the doctor steps into the role. 

I wsn't entirely the most diplomatic advocate, not was I entirely as humble or as reasonable as I might have been. I have time yet to work on those skills, and i have faith in my ability to improve in thise areas.

It's late, and I still have those miles to go before I sleep along with the proverbail promises to which I'm obligated.  I have a review -which i'm looking forward to writing for my friend Craig. i haven't done my poor and ailing eyes any favrs. My eye muscles were so weakened by tiday's activities that I was unable to drive my aunt hoome; We took Lyft instead. both of our cars are till in the hospital's valet parking secyion. We'll deal with it tomorrow. A generous tip mends fences where most of such things are concerned. We arrived at her home safely. which was and should have been our major objective.

My sub-internship has been a bit of a bust. Injury, illness, and real life sometimes get in the way of the best-laid plans f mice and medical school students, or at least did in the case of this particular medical student. I haven't burned any bridges as far as this sub-internship is concerned; my su;pervisors have been pleased with what work i have gotten in for them. there just hasn't been enough of it. Fortunaely for me, I have a urology clerkship rotation I can scratch in place of a fresh  sub-internship from mid-January until mid-February.  Meanwhile i'm off until Monday, when I will begin  a new rotation in hematology. The career of no doctor of whom I've ever been aware was every harmed by extra knowledge of the field of hematology. 

Plans go awry from time to time. We as prospective physicians and as prospextive aduly humans must learn to adapt or to go with the wind a bit from time to time.

My guess is that both Davey and Goliath would be fully in agreement with my new plans. furthermore, should it not work out, the remake of da ey and Goliath may need a new studio musician, which i could  be if all other options were cut off to me.

Most likely this time next year will fine me in a residency somewhere in the Great Whie north, but even if not, there are other great places to be and other whorthwhile things to be doing.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, all!  Remember that much is expected from those to whom much has been given, and for most of us, in one way or another, much truly has been given.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Literal Biblical Interpretations: Davey and Goliath, Claymation, Gumby, Pokey, Mr. Bill, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Pat Boone, Texas Fundie Nutcases, and Same-Sex Weddings




My dad took me to IHOP at my request tonight, and didn't complain when I was only able to finish about six bites of my meal. I don't know what Mum threatened him with, but it must have been potent. Then again, perhaps his previously nonexistent  conscience finally kicked in.

On an unrelated note, I have a friend who has worked and continues to some degreee to work in the entertainment industry. He now proposes new shows and participates in filming and/or producing pilots. I don't know if any of the newly proposed shows have come to fruition. I haven't a clue as to how the timelines work where such things are concerned.

Along those lines, I propose some sort of remake or update of the 60's Lutheran-produced children's program Davey and Goliath. I'm not certain as to what direction or angle the update or remake should take. Maybe the claymated version of  Emma Stone (who portrayed Billie Jean King in The Battle of the Sexes -- the real Emma Stone -- not the claymated version) could be Davey's girlfriend. Or maybe Billie Jean King herself can be Davey's girlfriend or concubine. Billie Jean already looks a bit claymated. (Sorry Billie Jean, and if I live as long as you have lived, chances are that I won't look as good as you do now.) Despite the excessive with-no-attempt-whatsoever-to -camouflage unabashed push for Biblical morality, the show was pretty damned terrific as originally done. 

I, for one, would not upgrade the animation. Claymation was as about as consummate as animation ever got or ever likely will get, and I'm not sure why anyone would choose to "improve" Davey and Goliath with today's technological animation advances.

Perhaps, trite as this sounds, one upgrade angle could involve including  other claymation characters, including but not limited to Gumby, Pokey, or Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live.  (Let's keep the Godawful California Raisins out of it, however; even tackiness has its limits, or at least should.) These characters could take on traits of Biblical characters, or perhaps not. Maybe Mr. Bill helping the mother who couldn't find her diaper pin or tape for the disposable diaper or whatever it was she was missing when diapering her baby and decided to help out with the staple gun would go right along with Abraham being told be God to sacrifice Isaac. 

Please note that I have lost no fervor toward my resolve to be a more devout follower of Christ. I'm merely suggesting that not every single word or story in the Holy Book was necessarily placed there with what would have been or be best for humanity in mind. The Abraham/Isaac story was a classic a disaster waiting to happen. Mental illness existed in Biblical times. Surely had Yahweh been dictating or writing the entirety of His or Her own story, He or She would have considered that such a passage as that one might easily have been miscontrued, ending up with, hypothetically, some psycho fundo father in Texas encouraging his clinically mentally ill Haldol-withdrawing  wife to reproduce as often as was physically possible, then to homeschool her too many children, ultimately resulting in her drowing them consecutively in the family bathtub. 

Anyway, Biblical characters could be claymatized  -- I recommend Samson and Delilah, or perhaps little Zaccheus and his sycamore tree (I confess to not having read that part of the Bible; was it really a sycamore tree into which little Zaccheus climbed, or was it some random tree but "sycamore" was inserted into the song because it scanned better than did "pear tree" or "holly tree')  -- but the characters in the remake need not be limited to those featured in the Bible or even in the Book of Mormon.  Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump would make excellent updated claymated  inclusions, as perhaps would  Kellyanne Conway, Camilla Parker-Bowles, or perhaps even Pope Francis.

And about the "A Mighty Fortress" trumpet theme; do we stick with it as the iconic Lutheran theme, or are Lutherans so schismed- out by now that not even they remember that "A Might Fortress" is or ever was their iconic theme? And should we choose to stick with it, do we retain the trumpet version, or go with a heavy metal guitar rendition, or even have Kanye West come up with a rap interpretation (that would surely suck; if rap is the selected genre, an artist with more talent than Kanye West would be required)? 

Or do we go with one of those modern Christian anthems - 10,000 Reasons or something of that genre, maybe done in grunge rock style? Perhaps Pat Boone's claymated incarnation could perform it. But would that be before or after the claymated creations of Pat and his son-in-law Gabri Ferrer (son of the late great Rosemary Clooney and lawfully-wedded spouse of Pat's daughter Debby Boone of one-hit-wonder "You Light Up My Life" fame) went to battle with slingshots or swords or other primitive weapons over theclaymated Pat Boone's objections to the claymated ordained Episcopal Priest Gabri Ferrer's willingness to officiate at same-sex wedding ceremonies?

I won't even go into how different the tragedy of Pat Boone's grandson Ryan Corbin's traumatic brain injury that occurred as a result of having fallen through a roof skylight might have resolved in a  dramatically different manner with claymation in the mix, because a body made of clay would tolerate the effects of such a fall with much less trauma than would the standard human body. Whoever it was (besides Yahweh, who in some way had a hand in forming everything and everyone, though His or Her influence would surely have a less direct impact where claymation was and is concerned: Yahweh created humans, who then created claymation) who formed Gumby, Pokey, Davey, Goliath, Mr. Bill, and the rest could simply have reshaped the young victim Mr. Corbin into his original image, or perhaps into an image even more perfect than had been the original. I won't go there, though, because doing such might be perceived as being tasteless. The very last thing I would ever wish to be perceived be would be to be tasteless.

Damn it, I really hope I can get off Prednisone soon. This excessive wakefulness cannot lead to good things.