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An Arizona Oleo I

Updated on September 11, 2016
Travelin' Knees
Travelin' Knees | Source

MS Confusion Abounds

It may be me but I feel a disconnection which may be a result of my coming out of the MS fog of the last few months (see previous comments). Unlike other patients with this Diagnosis, I was throughout, fully functional, leading a 'normal' daily round of making and keeping appointments, fulfilling social obligations planned and otherwise and leading an outwardly unremarkable life. But I did no significant writing. This series of comments was left untouched to the point where all my followers seemingly wandered off... Those I carry on a private correspondence with became concerned.

This changed about two weeks ago, when the mental/kinetic wall suddenly dissolved. While my reading had continued Unabated, I started studying again. I played my first games of Chess in four months. Similarly, I re-started daily crosswords. I Picked up my 'Merck Manual' and used it for off-hour reading entertainment (which is it's best use: almost bathroom-reading fare).

I also considered seeking employment as a tutor. The problem here would be the unpredictable arrival of another Down period, in which what should be easy and fun becomes a Foreign Legion slog through the Sahara.

These considerations should not be a part of Decision Making and I will move on, I will 'go forward boldly and with a manly heart' (Longfellow).

The Dust Settles

A quiet early morning in La Jolla after a graduation
A quiet early morning in La Jolla after a graduation | Source

Osler and our Reading Habits

William Osler was the Chairman of Medicine at Duke University in North Carolina at the turn of the twentieth century. Author of the premier textbook on the subject at the time, he was a renowned teacher on the wards and in the labs. His care of his students went beyond the hospital. He and his wife entertained a group of them at their home at least once a week.

He made sure his students were comfortable in his home. After dinner, he would lead the group in a discussion of various topics, wide ranging themes and not strictly medical in nature.

One thing he told the group, something he always stressed, was that every Physician should always keep a non-medical book on his bedside table and this should be the last thing he should turn his attention to for fifteen or so minutes before sleep. This suggestion sounds unusual to our ears in this day of Type-A Go Getters, always seeking the Cure, ever the Nit Picker, the Splitter, the scientists who put Van Helsing to shame on a daily basis.. I don't think Osler was a fan of the soulless techonocrat a la 'Herbert West: Reanimator".

In school I saw too much of that: white-coated unfunny small people with glasses too big for their faces, taking center-stage in the busy corridors laughing loudly without mirth or humor at some too-droll witticism which only they and a limited number of the Intelligencia were in on. (A meaningless word. Everybody has an intellect. What this prissy supercilious mob means is a word too simple for them, one of the ancient honored Chinese ranks: the Scholar.).

After a year in school, totally burned out from the effort to 'take a drink from a fire hydrant' without rest, with much too much coffee and minimal sleep, I found a account of Osler, read it and changed my way of living. I went on a year-long 'drug holiday' from coffee, returning my heart to a normal rate and erasing the fast Premature Atrial Contractions I had had for who-knows-how-long. I made sure I slept eight hours a night. I cut down on my smoking and I read 'War and Peace.' (This was the perfect bed-time book; Tolstoy didn't write a chapter longer than three or four pages until his very long presentation of the Battle of Borodino half way through the book. That I read over an hour on a weekend. The other chapters fit nicely into my fifteen minute pre-sleep regimen.)

Tolstoy, to finish the thought outside of parenthesis, presented to his reader a scene of a too-spooky initiation into the Masonic Order and a consideration of Numerology as a serious study as applied to variations of spellings of Napoleon's name and their relation to the number 666. In the end, his point was how comical all such considerations were, with the involved pseudo-spirituality 'full of smoke and fury, signifying nothing.' I'd have enjoyed dinner with Tolstoy. Or Osler.

Driving from San Diego

Homeward bound. Arizona, West of Yuma.
Homeward bound. Arizona, West of Yuma. | Source

Prognostications from a Fly On The Wall

1.) Hillary as a gauge of american doubt

I have to be very careful when I write on any topic of Current Affairs, here the eternal, forever-ongoing American Presidential Election Race. I will only refer the thinking public to recent stories written in the press, even in the Mainstream Media, even in The New York Times, which question the Clinton motives and outline embarrassing political gaffes and rather astonishing recent behavior. The reality is she may be our next President.


Guarantee of new Racism with non-homogenization of groups

For some reason, the decades-long attempt to bring all races together has seemed, for six years if not longer, to have stopped dead in its tracks. This almost seems to be a from-above governmental change in policy. As kids in our local Portland Catholic school, we learned in a strictly peripheral way about the landmark Supreme Court case pitting St Mary's Academy against the Ku Klux Klan in the mid-1920s concerning freedom of religious education, the former being the place where fully half my female classmates would attend High School. We made no big deal of this; it was a curiosity of the past, thirty five or more years in the past, an odd circumstance in the lives of families of Central or Southern European catholic culture and of Irish, English, Scotch and Welsh Catholic Dissenters. We were all firmly in the process of insinuating ourselves into the mainstream American body politic.

The idea of Black citizens engaged in centuries-old ladders of American advancement of education or the military or Islamic immigrants or communities of various recent asian arrivals, having come here to escape death and chaos in their homelands, not being allowed to rapidly incorporate into our culture is disgraceful. My father and my grandfather made it plain to me and my sibs that we were American first and foremost, no longer Italian and not clinging to any foreign culture. Mom let us know half of our genes were German, Irish and French as well.

We must all of us drop lables of our past cultures, still honoring them of course, and enter the the American culture as our own, our common selected acquisition and birthright.


a few final photos

   A Quiet Weekend in Tucson
A Quiet Weekend in Tucson | Source
A Triumphant Saguaro
A Triumphant Saguaro | Source
'My head is bloody but unbowed."
'My head is bloody but unbowed." | Source

The Cold of Winter - Arizona Style

Outside at Big Earl's
Outside at Big Earl's | Source

All of the above and all previously written and all photos used are Copyright of Thomas Vetto,MD (c)2015

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