Curiosity Over Pride (FYI: To comment, send an e-mail to scifidink@gmail.com)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wave Men

So Deb wanted to know where the hell everyone was. I suspect we have become Ronin or "wave men". Samurai who have lost their fractal master so now wander the internet aimlessly.

I've read some great books, vacationed, and found some sites to lurk on. But I haven't really found any place to regularly interact. I've considered some posts to create; its satisfying to write even if it goes unread.

I do hope you all are well; especially Dr. John with his gastric scourge.

27 comments:

Debra said...

I was afraid that would happen, dink...
It was in the air before I signed off this blog.
Thai was irreplaceable, but...
YOU'VE gotta fill his shoes the best you can, now...
Just... be yourself.
Take care.
Debbie

Dr John said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts Dink. I am coming along. I would say overall the best I have been in almost 2 years although I am still symptomatic with abdominal pain and reflux. I have aching in my teeth and burning of the tongue from the reflux. It has been horrible. At around the time of Thai's death I became quite ill. I was unable to eat hardly at all and lost 20lbs. I was also suffering from daily Cluster HA which I have had in spurts the past 3 years.

I was so ill I could barely get out of bed. If not for my wife and children I think I may have done something awful as I have been coping with daily pain for so long. This was beyond anything I had ever experienced. None of the standard meds were helping or had ever helped and I had gone as far as getting meds in Canada and Mexico to available in the States.

After failing steroids, Verapamil and Desipramine I started taking Remeron on the suggestion of a friend who has migraine and found it to help a great deal in preventing them.. My headaches went away in 2 days after I started it.I had attempted some herbal cures for my gastritis in desperation but without benefit. Around mid June I started taking licorice root. Out of the 30 odd things I have swallowed in 2 yrs for help it is the ONLY thing I could say has clearly been of benefit.

I am eating normal food and even the pizza I cook in my wood fired oven! I am taking my wife to dinner on Saturday. It will be our first dinner out together on a weekend in at least a year. I hope with another 2-3 months time I will be back to normal.

It has forever changed the way I look at life. I have always tried as a Dr to offer empathy but I must admit at times I have grown hopeless with people and angry. Thai helped me with this in the short time I knew him from these pages. I think about him all the time. I know I will be more compassionate with my pts from now on as I know what it is to suffer in a way that you loose your desire to live in that state.

I hope we can keep things going here but I know it will not be the same without Thai.

Like Dink I have been reading more. I recently finished The Black Swan and after it I decided I would take your advise Dink and read some fiction for the first time since high school.

Has anyone read "Crash" by J.G. Ballard? It is the most bizarre amalgam of raw sexuality and violence I have ever read. A pt suggested I read it when we were discussing her collage work and her study of literature. I am trying too understand why she suggested I read it. Regardless I am enjoying it and have never read anything like it.

Good to be back. John

Dr John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr John said...
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Dr John said...
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Dr John said...

Sorry I must be out of practice. I hit publish 4 times as it kept telling me my post was too long! Ha.

Debra said...

Hi, Doctor John.
I am REALLY sorry to hear that you had all those problems... I too know what it means to totally lose hope (AND think that one is a menace to society, husband, children, for example).
Please don't think that I'm uppity for saying this, but I am happy that you feel more empathy for your patients. I think that is really the sign of a very good doctor (care person), and your patients definitely must be getting all the benefits of YOUR suffering, and increased empathy.
I'm glad you feel better physically too.
I too, think often about Thai...
Cheers, Debbie

Dr John said...

Hi Deb. I hope you are well. I know exactly what you mean about needing to suffer to really understand the suffering of others. I think I am a better Dr for it. Just trying to give people humanity if that is all I have to give. I know now what it is to be without hope and feel completely vulnerable. I cannot imagine what it would have been like if I was not a Dr. That knowledge kept me working to cure myself. People need their Dr to offer them hope and work with them on their behalf no matter what. I am not drinking any wine yet but I hope to be by Christmas. I will raise a glass to Thai, you and Dink. Cheers.

John

Debra said...

Incidentally, when i was without hope, it was my GP who pulled me through. Boy was I lucky to have him. His empathy was extraordinary.
The psychiatrist who I saw very briefly at the time was a... COLD FISH. So I... dumped him rather quickly, after telling him to his face that he was a cold fish.
Last summer I saw him and his wife at a party with some colleagues (my husband's now, not mine..) and winningly smiled my widest smile at him (it was no effort, believe me...) and shook his hand FIRMLY and breezily asked him how he was.
I am not so much of a Christian that I did not actually enjoy the extremely uncomfortable expression that appeared on his face...
But... that's HIS problem, not mine.
i'm... doing fine these days.
Glad to hear you'll be back on wine for Christmas. I can even give you.. one or two tips.
I LOVE wine. GOOD wine, of course. Rotgut, well, it can stay where it is.
Cheers.

JP said...

I'm glad to hear that you are doing better Dr. John.

You noted: "I know now what it is to be without hope and feel completely vulnerable. I cannot imagine what it would have been like if I was not a Dr. That knowledge kept me working to cure myself."

Before my (neurosurgeon) uncle passed away from cancer (at about 70), he signed up for an experimental treatment. He figured he might as well try anything.

I deal with disabled people all the time who are losing their house and cannot afford medical care for surgeries and basic treatment. The worst thing for them is being disabled and being denied Medicaid so they can't get basic services/medicine.

Dink said...

Well Hello!

A local theater is playing Moliere's "A Doctor In Spite Of Himself" and I thought of both Deb and Dr John. And so I log on to SRCS and see posts!

"I was also suffering from daily Cluster HA"

Jeez! That's merciless!

"Around mid June I started taking licorice root.... I am eating normal food and even the pizza I cook in my wood fired oven!"

Weird, but such is nature and I'm really glad to hear its given you relief from your 2 year ordeal.

" I think about him all the time."

Me too. He was such a bountiful source of mind candy. He had more ideas than most people would have had in 16 lifetimes.

"read some fiction for the first time since high school"

Awesome! I haven't read this "Crash" you speak of, but I'm curious. "The Tale of the Fingerpost" was a favorite of Thai's that he recommended to me. Its fascinating. Y'all ought to read it and we can discuss ;)

@ JP: "He figured he might as well try anything."

I would too. Besides selfish hope, the data would help researchers. As noted in the movie Animal House, Knowledge Is Good.

"cannot afford medical care for surgeries and basic treatment"

Must be emotionally draining work. Do you ever suggest India or the Caribbean for medical care? Cardiac surgeries for 10k so I hear.

Debra said...

Wow... you guys realize of course that this place is currently MORE ALIVE than the saloon next door, I hope ??
Wonder where THE MAN is these days ??

Debra said...

OOPS, speaking of the devil.. Hell's back.

Dr John said...

It is good to hear from you all.

JP, what were your uncles thoughts on healthcare in this country? Did he share them with you?

Dink tell me about this book Thai recommended.

Debra I had collected and studied wine for 20 years before I became ill. My illness forced me to sell off a large portion of my 2000 bottle wine collection. I would love to be able to celebrate the holidays with a favorite of yours.

John

JP said...

My uncle didn't really talk to me about the healthcare system. He had been retired for several years before he passed away.

I do know that his style of practice was to talk to patients whenever they needed to talk to them, regardless of how busy he was. He definitely didn't want an "industrial assembly line" practice.

My cousin, his son, went into pathology of all things. I think he wanted to avoid patient contact at all costs.

Debra said...

My dad was a forensic pathologist. It was hard... when the kids in school asked me what my dad did (you know the way childhood works...) and I answered "forensic pathologist", and then explained what it meant, well.. I got treated as though I had leprosy...
But HE talked a lot to dead people's RELATIVES.
It definitely gave him quite a sense of mission.
Doctor John, check out "Le Mas Blanc" on Internet. One of my favorite places... the wine is not cheap though, and money is tight these days, huh ? NOW THAT THE DEPRESSION IS IN FULL SWING... (sigh)

OkieLawyer said...

I just made a new post for the first time in over 2 years. It's a song that is appropriate for the beginning of autumn:

Appalachian Melody.

Kathy said...

Hi--it's Mrs. Thai here. It's been a while and I've been travelling a tough journey, especially in the last few weeks. One might think the pain would be lessening a bit, but it actually just gets worse every week. I really seemed to hit a nadir about two days ago and I decided just to check out what's been up on the blog and read some of Thai's old postings to hear his voice again and what do I find but you guys talking about missing him and thinking of him? It seems that people in my daily life have moved on, as is normal, and although I'm still getting support, I notice that people don't really mention Thai to me anymore and when I bring him up in casual conversation, people get a sort of pained, uncomfortable look. But of course he's still on my mind always so it meant a lot to see that he was still on yours as well.

In reading some of the earlier posts (and wow, I really have a hard time following a lot of it. I recognize the gist of the discussion, since Thai often tried out his ideas on me first and I often had the same "Venus" response as Deb), I found some poetry posted and thought you might appreciate this poem. I had heard and fixated on the line "what made us dream that he could comb gray hair" which Ted Kennedy used in JFK Jr.'s eulogy. I tracked it down as the Yeats' poem " In Memory of Major Robert Gregory" and when I read it, I got chills on how much it reminded me of Thai. I still can't read it without tears. The time, skills and interests are very different, but the essence of the man he was describing spoke so strongly to me of Thai, as someone whose "mind outraced the horse's feet." I only have posted from stanza six on; the earlier stanzas discuss other friends he has lost. (The full poem is here: http://theotherpages.org/poems/2001/yeats0102.html) I've posted the poem in another comment.

Kathy said...

IN MEMORY OF ROBERT GREGORY

VI

They were my close companions many a year.
A portion of my mind and life, as it were,
And now their breathless faces seem to look
Out of some old picture-book;
I am accustomed to their lack of breath,
But not that my dear friend's dear son,
Our Sidney and our perfect man,
Could share in that discourtesy of death.

VII

For all things the delighted eye now sees
Were loved by him: the old storm-broken trees
That cast their shadows upon road and bridge;
The tower set on the stream's edge;
The ford where drinking cattle make a stir
Nightly, and startled by that sound
The water-hen must change her ground;
He might have been your heartiest welcomer.

VIII

When with the Galway foxhounds he would ride
From Castle Taylor to the Roxborough side
Or Esserkelly plain, few kept his pace;
At Mooneen he had leaped a place
So perilous that half the astonished meet
Had shut their eyes; and where was it
He rode a race without a bit?
And yet his mind outran the horses' feet.

IX

We dreamed that a great painter had been born
To cold Clare rock and Galway rock and thorn,
To that stern colour and that delicate line
That are our secret discipline
Wherein the gazing heart doubles her might.
Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
And yet he had the intensity
To have published all to be a world's delight.

X

What other could so well have counselled us
In all lovely intricacies of a house
As he that practised or that understood
All work in metal or in wood,
In moulded plaster or in carven stone?
Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
And all he did done perfectly
As though he had but that one trade alone.

XI

Some burn damp faggots, others may consume
The entire combustible world in one small room
As though dried straw, and if we turn about
The bare chimney is gone black out
Because the work had finished in that flare.
Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
As 'twere all life's epitome.
What made us dream that he could comb grey hair?

XII

I had thought, seeing how bitter is that wind
That shakes the shutter, to have brought to mind
All those that manhood tried, or childhood loved
Or boyish intellect approved,
With some appropriatc commentary on each;
Until imagination brought
A fitter welcome; but a thought
Of that late death took all my heart for speech.

William Butler Yeats

Kathy said...

IN MEMORY OF ROBERT GREGORY

VI

They were my close companions many a year.
A portion of my mind and life, as it were,
And now their breathless faces seem to look
Out of some old picture-book;
I am accustomed to their lack of breath,
But not that my dear friend's dear son,
Our Sidney and our perfect man,
Could share in that discourtesy of death.

VII

For all things the delighted eye now sees
Were loved by him: the old storm-broken trees
That cast their shadows upon road and bridge;
The tower set on the stream's edge;
The ford where drinking cattle make a stir
Nightly, and startled by that sound
The water-hen must change her ground;
He might have been your heartiest welcomer.

VIII

When with the Galway foxhounds he would ride
From Castle Taylor to the Roxborough side
Or Esserkelly plain, few kept his pace;
At Mooneen he had leaped a place
So perilous that half the astonished meet
Had shut their eyes; and where was it
He rode a race without a bit?
And yet his mind outran the horses' feet.

IX

We dreamed that a great painter had been born
To cold Clare rock and Galway rock and thorn,
To that stern colour and that delicate line
That are our secret discipline
Wherein the gazing heart doubles her might.
Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
And yet he had the intensity
To have published all to be a world's delight.

X

What other could so well have counselled us
In all lovely intricacies of a house
As he that practised or that understood
All work in metal or in wood,
In moulded plaster or in carven stone?
Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
And all he did done perfectly
As though he had but that one trade alone.

XI

Some burn damp faggots, others may consume
The entire combustible world in one small room
As though dried straw, and if we turn about
The bare chimney is gone black out
Because the work had finished in that flare.
Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
As 'twere all life's epitome.
What made us dream that he could comb grey hair?

XII

I had thought, seeing how bitter is that wind
That shakes the shutter, to have brought to mind
All those that manhood tried, or childhood loved
Or boyish intellect approved,
With some appropriatc commentary on each;
Until imagination brought
A fitter welcome; but a thought
Of that late death took all my heart for speech.

William Butler Yeats

JP said...

Yep, we still miss Thai.

OkieLawyer said...

Yep, I miss Thai, too. There isn't a day that goes by where I wish he was around to call and ask about medical issues. With my new job, it would be great to have someone "put the pieces together" of the medical terms I have to learn about (and I know that Thai would have done that for me).

And, there are some things that aren't written in any medical books (and cannot be Googled).

But you know, life goes on and we'll "muddle on somehow."

Keep in touch, Kathy. You are just about all we have got to connect with Thai anymore.

Debra said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kathy, and thanks for the poetry. Yeats, too... what a treat.
I too continue to think often about Thai. Not every day.. but very very often. And you're right, it doesn't get any easier, does it ?
Since you quoted Yeats to me, Kathy, here is the poem that appears on my father's memorial service. By Emma Lou Thayne, and in another form. I hope that Emma's family will pardon me this citation of copyrighted stuff, huh ??

"On Slim Unaccountable Bones

On a cold day
if some incomprehensible function forces me
into this girdled waiting
I smooth down the suffocation
by sliding off through the talk
on slim unaccountable bones
to where the skis break it all up
into bright feathers.

I come down spraying all my faces
shining with mistaken tears
under the gray hair I keep forgetting.

My slender skis do what can't be done
and glide through the ribbons of falling,
happy to ride me, barefoot inside my boots,
back.
We caress the soft white
with flat fins as sure as scalpels
and all the scars disappear :

My name is cut into pieces
of the mountain to trail past
my destinations and free me
shimmering toward top and bottom
beyond the slip
of even this."

No gray hair for Thai, but.. the rest fits, I think. A hunch.
This poem is from the book by the same name, by Emma Lou Thayne. You would like this book, Kathy. I think...
Cheers, Debbie

Dink said...

Hey Kathy!

Sorry to hear that the journey has been tougher lately. You were so amazingly strong when it happened I was worried that you had gone in to mama bear/warrior mode... so that the sadness would have to sneak in later.

I understand that many people are awkward in discussing Thai with you for fear that they're going to upset you. So I'm glad you've come here where people will discuss him with glee :)

I don't know that the hard time following his posts was a Mars/Venus thing. Its flat out rare to find anyone to both comprehends and enjoys discussing this kind of stuff (making the loss even more staggering). JP had once wrote that the internet was great in forming interest niches because normally there might only be one person in every sixth village who was remotely interested in the subject.

So this blog was really such an incredible gift. But like most fantastic gifts that get taken away (summer days, post-op opiates)we get surly at their loss instead of grateful that we got them in the first place.

The memorials that you posted sure did blow my mind. You'll probably find this funny, but I had assumed that in "real life" Thai was difficult to get along with. He got into plenty of blog fights on
Sudden Debt (a couple here too) and he was tenacious and unrelenting. That piece of data along with the fact he was an MD (who have a reputation for egomania -sorry Dr John!)led me to believe he probably wasn't too social and therefore the saloon was his place to relax. Since we rare people agreed with him on most things he didn't have to fight as much (such was my assumption).

Imagine my shock to hear he was very social (had been his entire life), easy to get along with, and even sang in musicals! Impossible!!! ;)

"Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
And all he did done perfectly
As though he had but that one trade alone."

Damn, how true. I'm afraid that I got a little choked up too reading the poem.

He opened my mind to so many things. Someday I will find a way to present them in a fashion that others can enjoy.

Please do keep stopping by and telling us Thai things. They are appreciated here!

Things have settled down a bit here in Seattle so I can stop in more. JP- I'll add you as an author so you can post that article that you e-mailed me!

Dink said...

Hey Kathy!

Sorry to hear that the journey has been tougher lately. You were so amazingly strong when it happened I was worried that you had gone in to mama bear/warrior mode... so that the sadness would have to sneak in later.

I understand that many people are awkward in discussing Thai with you for fear that they're going to upset you. So I'm glad you've come here where people will discuss him with glee :)

I don't know that the hard time following his posts was a Mars/Venus thing. Its flat out rare to find anyone to both comprehends and enjoys discussing this kind of stuff (making the loss even more staggering). JP had once wrote that the internet was great in forming interest niches because normally there might only be one person in every sixth village who was remotely interested in the subject.

So this blog was really such an incredible gift. But like most fantastic gifts that get taken away (summer days, post-op opiates)we get surly at their loss instead of grateful that we got them in the first place.

The memorials that you posted sure did blow my mind. You'll probably find this funny, but I had assumed that in "real life" Thai was difficult to get along with. He got into plenty of blog fights on
Sudden Debt (a couple here too) and he was tenacious and unrelenting. That piece of data along with the fact he was an MD (who have a reputation for egomania -sorry Dr John!)led me to believe he probably wasn't too social and therefore the saloon was his place to relax. Since we rare people agreed with him on most things he didn't have to fight as much (such was my assumption).

Imagine my shock to hear he was very social (had been his entire life), easy to get along with, and even sang in musicals! Impossible!!! ;)

"Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
And all he did done perfectly
As though he had but that one trade alone."

Damn, how true. I'm afraid that I got a little choked up too reading the poem.

He opened my mind to so many things. Someday I will find a way to present them in a fashion that others can enjoy.

Please do keep stopping by and telling us Thai things. They are appreciated here!

Things have settled down a bit here in Seattle so I can stop in more. JP- I'll add you as an author so you can post that article that you e-mailed me!

Dink said...

Hey Kathy!

Sorry to hear that the journey has been tougher lately. You were so amazingly strong when it happened I was worried that you had gone in to mama bear/warrior mode... so that the sadness would have to sneak in later.

I understand that many people are awkward in discussing Thai with you for fear that they're going to upset you. So I'm glad you've come here where people will discuss him with glee :)

I don't know that the hard time following his posts was a Mars/Venus thing. Its flat out rare to find anyone to both comprehends and enjoys discussing this kind of stuff (making the loss even more staggering). JP had once wrote that the internet was great in forming interest niches because normally there might only be one person in every sixth village who was remotely interested in the subject.

So this blog was really such an incredible gift. But like most fantastic gifts that get taken away (summer days, post-op opiates)we get surly at their loss instead of grateful that we got them in the first place.

The memorials that you posted sure did blow my mind. You'll probably find this funny, but I had assumed that in "real life" Thai was difficult to get along with. He got into plenty of blog fights on
Sudden Debt (a couple here too) and he was tenacious and unrelenting. That piece of data along with the fact he was an MD (who have a reputation for egomania -sorry Dr John!)led me to believe he probably wasn't too social and therefore the saloon was his place to relax. Since we rare people agreed with him on most things he didn't have to fight as much (such was my assumption).

Imagine my shock to hear he was very social (had been his entire life), easy to get along with, and even sang in musicals! Impossible!!! ;)

"Soldier, scholar, horseman, he,
And all he did done perfectly
As though he had but that one trade alone."

Damn, how true. I'm afraid that I got a little choked up too reading the poem.

He opened my mind to so many things. Someday I will find a way to present them in a fashion that others can enjoy.

Please do keep stopping by and telling us Thai things. They are appreciated here!

Things have settled down a bit here in Seattle so I can stop in more. JP- I'll add you as an author so you can post that article that you e-mailed me!

Dink said...

JFC!!! (apologies to those who aren't fans of profanity and/or blasphemy). I went to post the comment and it said there was an error. I thought that I had lost the entire thing (since I didn't save it before hand). I was going to be sick! Instead it posted three times. Sorry :)

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