Tag Archive: Life Lessons


We Don’t Know

“We don’t know” comes in many forms. For example, the car mechanic quizzed about a part failure often states they don’t know why it failed. The heater-air conditioner technician told me two weeks ago that he did not know why the blower motor was leaking oil. “It’s old.” Children who spray-painted the car are asked why often retort with “I don’t know.” Then there are medical doctors.

“Doctor, I was cutting vegetables. My right wrist, elbow, and shoulder hurt painfully with each cut. So much so that I had to stop.” The doctor looked at his computer, “That’s a great question.” The comment ‘that’s a great question’ is like, “We don’t know.” Of course, the pain could be tendinitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or “You sleepwalk and play drums all night.” A lot of times, doctors don’t know.

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Researchers report that 63% of physicians experienced burnout in 2021. It’s important to understand that burnout is different from mental illness. There are a couple of symptoms of burnout. Consequences of job burnout include excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia., sadness, alcohol or substance misuse, heart disease, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. I am unsure if I have burnout. I believe I do, but I have not received an official clinical diagnosis. Of course, many factors contribute to burnout, including the stress of treating COVID-19 patients for more than two years. Unfortunately, none of the burnout’s other symptoms are valid outside of exhaustion and sadness. 

My former boss stated I should take advantage of medical leave (if required). I have not thought about it too much, but should one? Does the company have an obligation to accommodate my inability to perform the job? If so, for how long? Given that I am saddled with a terminal disease, what is honorable and not? However, taking advantage of such leave means stepping outside my comfort zone to have that required conversation.

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According to news reports, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, remains in critical condition (Tuesday). I hadn’t watched much professional football this year, but yesterday night, I sat in my chair, surfed to ESPN, and started watching the game at approximately the 7:01 mark of the first quarter. I was reading some prework material and missed the play that downed Hamlin. Looking up, I rewound the game to see what had occurred.

Upon viewing the play, the former medic inside knew what had happened. “Cardiac event,” I horridly whispered. Outside of watching professional soccer players experiencing cardiac events in old YouTube reruns, I have seen this type of incident only twice. And, I vivdly remember both.

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Over a month has passed since the last blog post. I am still trying to figure out why. I may be burnt out. “From what?” one might ask. Sometimes I believe the world is tired of hearing about my various medical freefall(s). And while it’s a great relief to talk about such conditions, they are not ‘page-turners’ for readers.

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Depression: Five Lights or Four

Post Ménière’s diagnosis has been a life of trial and error. Since my last post (September 21st), numerous problems have been my companion. For example, emptying a dishwasher is considered relatively easy for most folks. However, I have to hold the counter’s edge while bending over. Walking a hallway at night is challenging because I constantly bounce off walls and doorframes. Walking downstairs is a damn nightmare. Will I fall, land my cane correctly, not trip and remain even? Other things scare the crap out of me.

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Finding Gratefulness

I think there’s a lot me of in Anderson Cooper. No, I have no delusions that CNN’s Anderson Cooper is remotely related to me. However, I just finished listening to Mr. Cooper’s podcast about coping with grief. Cooper began recording the podcast while cleaning out his mother’s New York apartment two years after her passing. During the session, he discussed reliving grief from losing his father, brother, and mother. 

In his mother’s last few weeks, Cooper recorded some of the conversations he had with his mother. “I was surprised how lonely I felt as the last surviving member of my immediate family,” Cooper said, “and I discovered that talking with others, who’d moved through grief and spoke the language of loss, was life-changing.” It was in that moment of self-reflection I found an uncommon bond.

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Ménière’s Disease

“Well,” said the audiologist. “Ménière’s Disease will not kill you, but it will suck. Elderly MD patients tend to have a higher prevalence of Tumarkin attacks (when a person falls to the ground with no warning). Phrased as ‘drop attacks,’ they seem to come out of the blue and do not affect everyone. Ménière’s Disease victims usually exhibit faster development of hearing loss and vertigo spells in your age bracket. However, you’ll remain awake during the attack and will not lose consciousness. You will experience neither a heart attack nor stroke, but everything will be a bitch.”

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Some are criticized for lack of forthright principles or are looked upon with scornful eyes as  we compromise some political position. However, many engage in the fine art of conciliating, balancing, and interpreting facets of opinion. We mentally thread the needle, balance the justification, and mold the means to justify the ends. I did it. I’m sure many do it today. And damn, we are not profiles of courage.

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Some Missourians claim that after departing the state for better waters, one eventually returns ‘Home’ to the ‘Show Me State.’ (We’ll ignore the fact that Missouri’s statehood originated from the 1820 Missouri Compromise that allowed slavery.) After listening to friends describe the wonders of their home state, I neither lingered nor mixed words. “Well, St. Louis has an arch and a muddy river.” What originated as a ‘do the one-year of hell and get promoted’ turned into ten-years. However, one form of Missouri entertainment remains unique: Politics.

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Many moments in professional sports bear witness to the “F**k you. It’s about me, dipstick.” Last week ten members of the Kansas City Royals could not make the trip to Canada. Why? Well, they have not completed Canadian vaccination requirements. This week, three members of the St. Louis Cardinals bowed out of the team’s upcoming Toronto games for the same reason. Most either claimed “Personal choice” or something to the effect of “I made a decision that’s best for my family.”

Congratulations assholes! You are the epitome that shows formal education gets drained somewhere in-between long hours of training and boring cross-country flights. As noted in countless reports, COVID-19 vaccine risk is negligible and keeping yourself vaccinated (plus booster) is the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID. But none of that matters, as life is about personal choice.

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