Thursday, July 07, 2011


I’ve visited two friends in the Emergency Ward at Harborview Hospital in the past week or so: one was a spandex-wearing type cyclist who crashed on a training run, broke three ribs, and punctured a lung; the other was an urban knickers and t-shirt wearing type of rider who fell through a roof while watching fireworks on the Fourth of July and broke her leg pretty spectacularly.

Both are on the mend, though, no thanks, in the first place, to modern Western medicine, which even in the 21st century can’t do much for those injuries other than stand by and wait for the body to recuperate, but with much gratitude in the second case to contemporary emergency medical procedures which, apparently, can pretty much go all Bionic Woman on fractured knees and femurs, insert some pins and titanium, and have the patient back as good as new in far less time than it takes your average auto body shop to repair a smashed-up fender on your car.

I’m not all that great at the hospital visit, other than adhering to the “no longer than 15 minutes” rule. Despite (or perhaps as a result of) having spent many hours as a lad trailing behind my physician father as we navigated the halls of his hospital on weekends while he got in some work before or after sporting events or swimming pool visits, I get all nervous and uncomfortable around the injured and/or ill.

Mainly, I think, I recoil at being confronted so starkly with the frailty of human beings. I don’t like to think about how soft and vulnerable we are and how hard and unforgiving are the structures that we’re apt to impact by accident: tarmac, concrete, crushed gravel, owch.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had it better: when they crashed on the Wooly Mammoth raid or whatever, they were more apt to land on dirt, or grass, or furry moss. We could all do for such softer landings.


Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

Funny - I was out for a walk with this morning with my neighbor, who's a pediatrician. We went thru the graveyard, and our talk turned to dying relatives and hospice, and I told her how very uncomfortable you were in hospitals around sick people. I quoted mom, who always said that she told our dad, who would have been overjoyed if either of us wanted to be a doctor, that I'd be a better doc than you because - "Your son is empathetic; he feels your pain, but your daughter is sympathetic; she tries to understand it and help".

9:51 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home