The Rage That Lurks

The latest public outbreak of antagonism towards masks and vaccinations isn’t just a biomedical issue and it’s certainly not confined to health care settings or schools. It’s starting to creep into everyday life in a way that suggests a broader, more deeply embedded culture war that will not go away soon. We got a sense of that the other day when a sub-contractor for our basement build-out up showed up without mask and made a point of refusing to wear one. It led to quite the verbal scuffle; one I worried might escalate into something worse. It embarrassed our normal, all-purpose genius home repair and improvement guy, our version of Eldin from the 1990s TV series “Murphy Brown,” who witnessed most of the scene and who later apologized for it – though it was not his fault and he had nothing to apologize for. Turns out we needed sheet rock installed in what will eventually become my new downstairs office. Getting quality workers these days is tough in every construction or landscape trade, but the sub-contractor who was called has a good reputation for his work – or did, anyway. The sub-contractor showed up early, without a mask, and while...Read more

Vaccine Suicide

Amidst a global pandemic involving a readily communicable disease whose airborne method of transmission is widely known, it seems fairly simple to invoke some basic methods of suppression. But no, the Republican governors of two of our larger states, Florida and Texas, are intent on a public policy of mass suicide. There is no other way to interpret the wanton disregard for the safety of citizens shown by these two political leaders. What’s really scary is the extent to which roughly 45% of the population nationally has bought into this refusal to get vaccinated and wear masks. I’ve held off writing this because I find it extremely difficult not to convey my disgust at this state of affairs. I wanted to make sure my judgment was sound and I was not showing a lack of respect for the choices that people were making. And I am fully aware that a certain percentage of the populace has justifiable reasons for not wanting to get poked with the now spectacularly successful inoculant that has proven to raise considerably the resistance to infection. Communities of color have good historic reason to be suspicious of the claims made by the medical community. There are...Read more

Vital Signs

There can be no more powerful sense of well being than the feel of walking out of the hospital under your own power. I know this after a four-day stay, one that turned out to be a little longer than anticipated. I went in Monday morning for a standard procedure, one of those classified as “minor surgery.” Earlier this spring, in the course of a standard, once-every-few-years colonoscopy, my gastroenterologist had spotted a small polyp under my duodenum and suggested it needed removal. It’s the kind of growth that, if left unchecked, can mutate into a cancerous growth and so we took the precaution of scheduling what’s called an endoscopic duodenal adenoma. Basically, they burrow inside of you and pull the thing out without making an external incision. I never got to see the contraption they used since I was under heavy sedation for what turned out to be a wo and a half-hour procedure. But as I came to understand, they basically snake a tube down your esophagus, wend a little cutting device down as they monitor it and maneuver the cutting edge so that they can snip off the polyp. Amazingly, they then fish the polyp out and...Read more