Friday, July 29, 2011

Where Williams-Sonoma Meets Cedar Sinai

I spent a portion of my day yesterday at a doctor's office. A third medical provider. A third opinion. A third theory. To the forefront of my otherwise empty mind leap two competing thoughts with regard to Contestant #3: the third time is the charm OR three strikes and you're out. Either way, the full allotment of patience I have for this silliness has now been exhausted. Even when looking from the other side of the reservoir all you can see is a dark, empty, dry space. Hopefully happiness is this issue and the growing caderie of medical professionals whose acquaintance I have made since July began squarely situated in my rear-view mirror. For me, August cannot arrive soon enough.

The great thing about life of course is that one can always find another inhabitant of this big blue marble whose present circumstance makes one stop and think, "It could be worse." And in the interest of full disclosure, let me assure you that I am not quite so self-absorbed that I believe what has been plaguing me the past couple of weeks rises to the level of an actual, grown-up problem. It does not. While it provides me with something about which to whine (Phil Hughes does not toe the rubber for the Yankees for another couple of days so my whine glass is empty), there are (unfortunately for them) too many people to count dealing with actual issues of substance. I know that to be true. I assure you.

Still, how often is it that you come across a story such as the one that made the wires earlier this week from California? A 63 year-old man in Los Angeles became annoyed with his protruding hernia. So he did what anyone would do: he sashayed on into the kitchen, opened the cutlery drawer and helped himself to a butter knife. He then proceeded to use said butter knife not on toast but on himself in an effort to remove the aforementioned hernia. A butter knife.

You probably think that a person would have to be crazy to use a butter knife on oneself as part of some half-assed appendectomy. I concur. Obviously something with a sharpened blade would be much better suited for the task. Serrated? Likely not necessary. Then again, who can argue with the almost-certain uptick in efficiency realized from a smoother, quicker and cleaner cut?

According to Wolfgang Puck's work "Home Surgery and Backyard Grilling: Perfect Together", a butter knife is to be used only for detail work: trimming of nails, winnowing down of bushy eyebrows and the like. Even if one anticipates not encountering a lot of bone on the road to excision, Puck recommends a far sharper instrument. You would not bring a knife to a gun fight; right? Same principle applies here.

It is a flat-footed tie for me anyway as to what is the best part about the story of Dr. KillPatient. I am torn between whether it is the mandatory 72-hour psychiatric hold the would-be bonesaw was placed on when he was admitted to the hospital (one thinks that there might be a psychiatric issue or ten at play here? What a revelatory notion) or the fact that when the paramedics arrived at his home, the man pulled out the knife and stuck a cigarette he was smoking into the wound. Talk about common courtesy. He no doubt realized that smoking would not be permitted in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Rather than waiting to be asked to put it out, he did so voluntarily. A truly selfless gesture. And considering smokes cost roughly $50.00 a pack these days can anyone fault him for not simply throwing it out but rather putting it someplace where he could come back to it later to finish it? Selfless and thrifty.

Here's to hoping that during his vacation (a/k/a hospital stay) our would-be surgeon is getting treatment by an actual doctor (as opposed to someone who plays one only when the voices in his head tell him to) for that pesky hernia. He has a whole drawer full of cutlery and his willingness to use it is indisputable.

One cannot help but ponder whether his kitchen cabinets and drawers contain that 'right tool for the job' regardless of the job. If so, tell him when he is released from the hospital to stop home and grab his meat tenderizer. They appear to be in the market for his particular brand of expertise down in Tennessee.

-AK

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