Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Case For or Against a Blog Pertaining to Jonbenet, Along with Various and Sundry Hospital and Musical Concerns

I told a friend that I would post no current blog about the Jonbenet situation. It would be wise for me to stick to what I told my friend I would not do, and not because of the importance of integrity, of keeping one's word, and of such general moral high ground. In ancient history as pertains to the Ramsey case, people every bit as  insignificant as I  am (it's tough to comprehend that such people exist, I concede) have been sued over such fodder as message board postings pertaining to the case. On the other hand, since when I have shown any tendency toward acting wisely?  I'll say a very few things about it, as i was more deeply impacted by the case than were most people who have no real connection whatsoever to anyone involved in the case. I won't say any of it in this post, however. The preceding sentences were essentially a tease, except it's probably a stretch to refer to something as a tease when the announced topic for an upcoming blog is more likely to turn potential readers away than to entice them to wait with bated breath for the promised future blog.  I would assume that with most of you who read this blog, if you have much if any interest in the Jonbenet case in the first place, your curiosity and/or interest has  already been more than satiated with the recent onslaught of media coverage. Still, I have a few opinions to share, which I will share very soon.Meanwhile, allow me to update you on the current details of life on Planet Alexis. 

The baby who was afflicted with meningitis is making a rapid recovery. In a worst-case scenario, he could be home now, and everything would probably be OK for him, but we are, and, more importantly, the baby is sufficiently providential not to be dealing with a worst-case scenario. His father's employer has chosen to pay for the two additional days of hospitalization that the attending physicians recommended but that the insurance carrier's review board denied. I will not say much, as privacy even beyond HIPAA regulations is of utmost importance, and I'm not sure how much I've already said that violated the spirit if not the letter of HIPAA laws. The patient's family really doesn't care, but my employers (who are technically more like supervisors per se than actual employers, as for them to be my employers, they would need to pay me something for the work I do;  in contrast, I am paying them for the privilege of providing free labor and of lightening the load of the paid hospital and health care staff, probably do care. Allow me to go on record,  however, as urging any and all who read this to use Google as his or her search engine.

I'm a Godmother once again. When the baby was at the most critical stage of his illness, a priest was called. The original plan had been for the baby to be baptized during the recent trip to Mexico for a family wedding, but an elderly relative died during the course of events, creating a wedding/funeral combination in the vacation. The wedding and the funeral were not a combined ceremony, thank goodness; I sometimes find the Mexican community's observance of Catholic tradition to lean in the direction of the macabre, and I'm glad this family drew the line at combining the bride's wedding with her grandmother's recitation of the rosary and funeral. In any event, Baby Boy was not baptized in Mexico as planned. The parents were not so unenlightened as to have consulted a priest before seeking medical help, which is one huge point in their favor, and I would like to think they grasp the concept that a just God would not hold it against their baby and allow it to play any role in determining the eternal fate of any baby who had the misfortune of succumbing to meningitis or to anything else prior to undergoing the sacrament of baptism. Perhaps they're even so forward thinking [in my mind it's forward thinking, anyway] that they view baptism as a mere formality and as a rite of passage -- a nice rite of passage, but essentially a tradition just the same.

Tradition, the stake of mortal souls, and all related points of view aside, the baby was baptized by a priest in the children's hospital's critical care unit. My father and I were there, and, as at least nominally practicing Catholics, we felt honored to have been asked not only to fill in as proxies for Godparents who would be named later, but to serve as the for-real Godparents to the baby boy. 
i have two other godchildren and take the role seriously, not so much as to be some sort of religious educator or moral force in the live of the children, but to be on the lives of the children. Providing gifts on birthdays and holidays to the extent that it is a financial feasibility is a part of it, of course, but not the most important part.  Making an effort to be physically and emotionally available  to the child when needed is really what it is about. This obligation is giving me a tie to the bay area that I wouldn't otherwise necessarily have, but I can live with the encumbrance.

My financial obligation to this endeavor is nominal, and the parents of this baby were quick to make it understood that there was no expectation on their part of anything at ll in that regard. They had no clue when they chose my father just how generous he is. (They knew only that he was "Miss Alexis' " father, that he spoke Spanish, and that he was generous with his time in terms of helping them to understand what was happening with their baby even though he had no formal connections or  obligations to their child's case and was volunteering his time in serving as an informal liaison between them and hospital personnel, too few of whom speak Spanish. I've this mentioned before, but the baby's father does speak enough English to get by at work and in the world in general, but speaking conversational English and understanding the essence of highly technical medical terminology, particularly when one's stress levels are nearly off-the-charts high due to one's child being gravely ill.) The financial aspects of the baby's and of his sister's education (I would say hope for the sake of my own eventual inheritance that these people are not a part of the "Quiverfull" movement and that they cease with reproduction after a reasonable number of children but that, fortunately is not anything about which I need to be concerned; the baby's mother has a precariously thin uterine wall, particularly considering that she has borne only two children, and both were in the moderate weight range; it was strongly recommended when Baby Boy was born via c-section that steps be taken to ensure that no additional children would join the family, at least biologically; following a few blasts with cauterization tools, such is now a reality) have been put into place. I hope the children turn out to be bright enough to take advantage of the readily financed university education awaiting them, but if they're not especially academically inclined, trade schools are also a viable option and will be covered under the plan my dad had put into place.

Little happens around any hospital that doesn't eventually become sustenance for the ubiquitous hospital rumor mill. I was summoned by the dean, who spoke to me of the importance of professional distance between patients and their care providers.  I expressed understanding of his concerns. I can see why he would uneasy because this happened on my very first significant involvement with a critically ill patient, but assured him that I could not afford in any way to make this sort of relationship a habit. I lack the emotional, financial, and chronological resources to become a Godmother or any equivalent to every patient whose chart is thrust in front of me. I will always care (despite the need for professional distance, I'm confident that all decent doctors care on some level; they're not robots or automatons), and perhaps a little more than does the average doctor, but I will not become a Godmother or its equivalent in any other religion or culture again at any time in the foreseeable future, if ever again. The bottom line is that I can say this to my dean or to anyone else until my lips turn purple from talking so much; it is now up to me to demonstrate that I am sincere in what I say and that I can maintain professional relationships with patients and their families. I know I can do it. I merely need to make it plain to others.

Inside my mind, I have an image of where the line between caring and objective needs to be drawn. I understand the importance of remaining on the correct side of it. All I need now is a few more patients - pediatric patients in particular, to demonstrate to my superiors my knowledge of where that line is and of my ability to avoid stepping across or even straddling with it. In this rotation, I have just two more weeks to convince those with power over me of my ability to exercise sound judgment with regard to the objectivity and professional distance a physician must maintain between patients and their families. My grade in this rotation of my clerkship depends upon it.

On a less serious note, I'm enjoying playing my cello less than i did initially. I do not regret the purchase and will continue to play the instrument, but the bowing action causes my hand to cramp.  I assumed the cramping would eventually subside, but it's been the better part of a year since I picked up the cello; if hand cramps due to the bowing action were ever going away, they should have done so by now, though I have not yet sought the help of Benny Hinn or any of God's other healers, nor have I consulted any chiropractors, reiki practitioners, or acupuncturists, or anyone from the headquarters of Scientology. (In some cases a cure can be worse than whatever precipitated the need for it.) It's a tough call to make when one considers the sound that emerges from an instrument to be among the most glorious -- if not the most glorious -- musical sounds on the face of the Earth, but literal pain is involved in the action that produces the sound. 

My cello is a limited edition model; I could likely sell it for at least what I paid for it. I'm not yet willing to part with it, though.  On occasion, I'll play through the pain to hear the sound I so dearly love. At other times, I'll play my piano, violin, or viola. The viola is beginning to grow on me in a way that I never thought it would. I was very conservative with regard to cost in the purchase of the viola. If my skill level continues to grow as rapidly as does my love of the viola, an upgrade may be in the future.

I'll soon share  just a bit of what is going through my mind concerning the current Jonbenet coverage. Meanwhile,  there are friends with whom to spend time, babies to hold, musical instruments to play, and sleep to savor. If your weekend is even half as divine as mine has been thus far, you should are a lucky person.


  1. Good to hear baby boy is well .

    Great weekend. What a coincidence. Went to a concert with the Elgar Cello Concerto as the highlight. As a non practitioner, but avid consumer of music I am in awe of the combination of physical and intellectual dexterity and stamina needed to provide the pleasure of these great works.

    My husband who is a practitioner and for many years teacher of instrumental music posits that certain bodily types are less well suited to certain instruments. You may be just too small the cello, but thankfully just right for the violin.

    Mozart was small. Don't think he played the cello much either.

    1. I think yu're right. I love the sound of the cello and so strongly want to play it, but if it hrts every time I try, it probably will not happen. I shuld be grateful for the violin and viola (and my ever-faithful piano). I'll probably hold onto the cello forever. Someday I may have a child who is big enough to play it.

  2. It sounds like the baby is on his way out of the woods! He's lucky to have you as a godmother!

    1. Yes, it looks as though Baby Bot is going home this morning, and I actually feel good about it, as opposed to when he was about to be tossed out by the insurance carrier based on the review board's recommendation. The review boards make decisions that they lack the medical knowledge to make, and they have killed people with their lack of knowledge. The fluid around his brain needed to continue to be monitored, and , in fact, he'll still need weekly out-patient MRIs for at least 2 months. He's still at risk for all sorts of things, though the promptness with which he received treatment weighs a whole lot of risk factors in his favor. His optic nerve will need to be monitored for at least another six to eight weeks.

      Did you read the Little House books when you were a kid? I always wondered how scarlet fever caused Mary to go blind. Jillian's brother is a neuro-ophthalmologist. i asked his about that once, because I had scarlet fever twice when I was little, and no one was ever worried about my vision. The disease is obviously far less serious since the discovery of antibiotics than it was in Laura Ingalls Wilder's day, but still I wondered what about it even without antibiotics would cause blindness. He said that without antibiotics, the same form of streptococcus that caused scarlet fever could progress to meningitis. In meningitis - again with no antibiotics back in the day - the meninges could continue to swell, particular the fluid in the subarachnoid space between the arachnoid mater and the pia mater. Fluid is supposed to be there, but only in a limited quantity. In Mary Ingalls' case, the fluid built up and the swelling increased until gradually her optic nerve was squeezed to the point that she could no longer see. (I remember in the book that it described her vision following the illness as sort of tunnel vision growing narrower and narrower each day until she could no longer see anything at all.) This happened after she had made it through the immediate illnesses of scarlet fever and meningitis. Back then, they didn't have ways of checking for that swelling, and I'm not sure they had any idea what to do about it even if they knew. Now we know to monitor for weeks or months, and we drain the fluid if necessary.

      He can't stay in the hospital forever, nor would it be good for him, as a lot of germs are present in greater concentrations in hospitals than at a person's home. He needed the constant monitoring up to this point. Now he just needs to be checked frequently, and all we can do is hope for the best.

      I will try hard to be worthy of being his Godmother, as I do with the two others who are my Godchildren.

      i bought a 1/8 size violin for Andrew, my Godson, for his birthday on Nov. 1, because he always wants to play his dad's violin. There is a really good violin teacher in their town who will teach two-year-olds if they're ready. It would seem that there is little harm in tying. If he doesn't like it, no one will force it on him. He can pass the violin down to his younger sister when he outgrows it. He won't start lessons until after the first of the year, although his father and I (I'll get a bit of time off for holidays. We were initially told we got zilch by way of holiday vacation days, but it turns out that was a scare tactic) can informally teach him how to hold the violin and bow and a few other things. I'm qualified to teach violin, though not necessarily to a 2-year-old.

      This week I'm in the E.R. dealing with pediatric cases. i'll need to be there by 6>00 a.m. It's not like surgery, where a 3rd-year student must be the first one there. I just need to be scrubbed up and ready to work at six.