Separation is a good thing. I don’t mean divorce or being away from your kids or breaking up the band. I mean the fact that thing A is over here and thing B is over there, and they stay that way. Air belongs over here, in the lungs; an unpopped popcorn kernel belongs over there, in the stomach. There is a structure in the body, the epiglottis, whose entire purpose is to keep it that way, but sometimes a little boy, who shouldn’t have been eating popcorn in the first place, gets a little too excited over his forbidden treat and accidentally sucked a kernel down the wrong tube. Mercifully, the x-ray says otherwise. Epiglottis 1, popcorn 0. Read More
We didn’t exactly “harmonize ‘til dawn,” but for 2 ½ hours Monday night, I got to harmonize with the nearly ageless songwriter at one of his final concerts, from Pittsburgh’s favorite, “America” (because he and Kathy boarded the Greyhound here) through “Sounds of Silence” at the end of the second encore. For me it was especially fitting that Simon ended with the song that describes “people hearing without listening,” a line that is at the heart of Chapter 2 of Healing People, Not Patients – which is officially in print as of today! Read More
Show of hands – who here has ever been NPO in the hospital? Lots of you, I see.
Another show of hands – how many of you were NPO and had no idea when they were going to let you eat again? Ooooh, I was afraid of that. Still lots of you. Every evening the orders go in for all the surgical patients: “NPO after midnight.” Read More
Last year I wrote a holiday parody song for my office. We speak a dozen languages and observe half-a-dozen religions among us, and one thing quickly became apparent: there are an awful lot of different new years to celebrate: Chinese Lunar New Year. Nowruz. Rosh HaShanah. It all depends on where you decide to start – but you gotta start somewhere. Each new year marks the beginning of something different: trees, creation, the reign of the new king. Whatever you’re marking in time, you gotta start somewhere.