BEVERLY HILLS – Everyone will agree that if you exercise and eat right and don’t smoke or drink or annoy a cop, you’ll never die. I have been told that by my internist, my beloved cardiologist, my psychiatrist, and all their nurses receptionists and building custodians.
On a recent weekend, I was invited to have cocktails and exchange views with a group of physicians. Immediate was my frank admission that I know nothing about diseases, medicine or physiology, regardless that I’ve been spending all my free time with a renowned and impossibly gorgeous heart surgeon.
The doctors on their side were not much concerned about my tales or its teller unless this writer, were to come to them with an interesting complaint. I stood there in dull good health with not so much as a toothache or cold, or even a mild rash, no visible malady. As a former intrepid crime reporter, blood does not strike fear in my heart, since I used to pay a monthly odious homage to it until that dreadful malady nicknamed menopause inflicted itself.
Doctors absorbed by blood and bone, each one alone in his judgement, walked the fragile bridge between the salvation in to life and the morbid slide towards death…soaked in the disinfectant fetor of hospitals, where the broken and moribund swarm in their cold white beds.
It would be audacious and what gall to suppose that this dreamer of tales and imaginer by trade can bring news of the human predicament to a doctor on his dread rounds..we know that the general perception of these white coat captious tribe are not abundantly given to lyrical or metaphorical speech and thoughts.. they are appalled by it.
I’ve been set down (or set up) among the doctors…the sudden story teller among the healers to increase these doctors capacity to imagine. Cautious and frightened with only the redemptive ardor of literature, I began to read a narrative about a place where the birth of a child is no longer welcome and for prurient technological reasons, they are no longer willing to bear children because they interrupt. They interrupt erotic attachments, useful, joyful, pursuits, self development, journeys and vacations.
But a number of children managed to be born, in any case illicitly and improbably turned out and what happened to the place. One did not wish to tell how these children turned out. My purpose was not to disclose the destiny of the children, but rather the behavior of the doctors: of course in my story, everything ended in barbarism and savagery.
While my anecdote has been directed against artifice and malice and self indulgence…but it was also themed and possessed of fruitfulness, of health and life, sanity and generosity, bloom and continuity, a story contrived to declare itself on the side of life…therefore on the side of the doctors themselves…in a lovely list of parables, in such a light lance to be able to unfold life without using blunt carcasses of heavy norms medical science uses. Just the power and charm of fables and figures of speech and obedient to my topic…that of opening the inmost valve of the imagining heart of these doctors.
The doctors countered with my prattle. I was being obscure and mean spirited…resolved to perplex. They wanted (demanded) plain speech. They are appalled by my fables, images, echoes, irony, obliqueness, double meanings that needed the call to interpret, diagnosis… my ambiguity is akin to arcane, oracular…now alas! The examining table had been turned to them, and in their reasoning authority, when nothing matters most but struggle to heal, the will to repair the shattered…the will to repair and make whole.
I’ve been cheerfully chastised that they are a breed of very serious men and women that are used to feeling at home in their minds…and inspiration is an intruder, a kidnapper of reason, like a burglar who shoots the watchdogs dead.
I reasoned that Inspiration could come from a ray of sun, a toddlers chuckle, a wounded heart…from this writer, inspiration could show itself from an arthritic hobble!
Yet doctors can not weep when they cut the flesh, their own must not bleed. They struggle not to feel when it would be easier to weep and mourn.
Meanwhile the writers in that but just somewhat undisciplined existence is licensed : is open to digressions and promiscuous meanderings of the mind not necessarily out to win the readers unqualified love, but to present the complex portrait of human beings…including doctors!
Notes: This piece had been inspired by the following doctors who had touched my life somehow, at a time; Dr. Antonio Perez Manahan; Dr. Art Taylor from Las Vegas; Dr. Daniel Kharazzi of LA Orthopedic Surgeons; Dr. Randall Sherman, USC Chief of Reconstructive Surgery, and most of all Dr. Antonio Roces Abiog of the Kay Medical Group – Cardiac, Vascular and Pulmonary Surgery of the Good Samaritan Hospital LA who had thoughtfully advised the People Watcher, “Love should not break the heart, but nurture it.”