Archive for March, 2023

A day after the Nashville shooting, a young man lay in our hospital intensive. He had been shoot. This kid didn’t make the news. Nobody cared about him. No mother sat bedside weeping between heartbeats. This scene repeats throughout hospitals across America. However, gun deaths are unlikely to shake America’s cult-like devotion toward high-powered assault weapons. Before Nashville, we openly coveted these weapons. Post Nashville, they lust today, and they’ll lust tomorrow. Do we love children as much as weapons? Fuck no. 

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Here are the responses from key Tennessee political representatives.

  • Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett (R): “It’s a horrible, horrible situation,” Burchett told reporters. “And we’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are gonna be criminals. My daddy fought in the Second World War, fought in the Pacific, fought the Japanese, and he told me … ‘Buddy, if somebody wants to take you out and doesn’t mind losing their life, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it.”

Burchett voted against a bill expanding gun background in 2021. He was one of 62 Republicans who voted against a bill to support hate crime victims; voted against reauthorizing Violence Against Women Act; and supported efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Wow! What a profile in courage.

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Unfortunately, America continues to repeat its idiotic insanity and love of weaponry. Today, a 28-year-old woman reportedly shot and killed 3 students and 3 adults at The Covenant school in Nashville, Tennessee. During the afternoon’s wanning hours, the NRA mass shooting playbook was pulled from the rolodex. The instructions read accordingly.

  • Acknowledge the sadness.
  • Tweet your prayers and love to those impacted.
  • Hold a moment of silence, preferably in public as it looks humble.
  • Say it’s too soon to discuss meaningful gun law changes while the nation heals.
  • Do nothing.

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The answering machine indicated the presence of a new voice message. “This is Doctor ‘I will perform surgery’ ENT. It’s time to schedule your ear surgery.” The very sound of the receptionist instantly transported me back to late October 2022.

“You don’t have Ménière’s,” the ENT stated. “Whatever you have, it’s more neurological.” However, he believed otosclerosis (a term derived from ‘oto,’ meaning “of the ear,” and ‘sclerosis’, meaning “abnormal hardening of body tissue”) and that surgery could fix that. “I can perform the surgery in April 2023. First, we’ll perform a CAT scan of the ear to ensure there’s nothing else happening; then, we’ll schedule the surgery.” The scan showed no Ménière’s-like damage, and I canceled the surgery. (I’ll give the ENT doctor an ‘A’ for effort.)

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Weird. Just Weird

There’s a moment in everyone’s life when the morning alarm sounds, and you smack the ‘snooze button.’ “Oh God,” we whisper, “Just five minutes more.” That very moment begins another day of weirdness. For instance, I chose to drive to work yesterday. And there’s that weird moment when a white Toyota confused me. At that moment, I lost orientation. Where am I? What am I doing? Where am I going? Why am I here at this spot? What the hell is a white Toyota out here? I couldn’t place my finger on it. Ten minutes later, my brain operated flawlessly. It was weird.

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Question: When diagnosed with severe illness, do you fight like hell or walk away (from life)? When faced with the ultimate choice, there may be offers of comfortable, safe, warm places to stay. However, in the end, will you choose the solitude and movement of life or pour a host of chemicals through your body’s veins in hopes of living three, six, or nine months more? There will be a myriad of kindnesses and struggles, each bringing people together and, on occasion, sometimes challenging their commitment to the vision set for themselves. 

To be more visionary, stringing the body to repeated rounds of chemotherapy offers non-joyful, conflicted rounds of clinical togetherness through an endless maze of medical tests. Moments such as these highlight that aging in America makes people invisible. Even in crowded waiting rooms, in the thunderous booms of clanging bedpans, like a salmon swimming upstream against the tide of infirmity, one wanders the solitary existence of medical marvel. Even in such moments, it’s hard for the ship to remain moored, but it’s never wholly undone.

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