I could use an alternate brain. It’s simply amazing the number of things I have forgotten. I don’t throw things away. I simply put them away… in places… and then promptly forget until… here’s an example. Back in 2007 Carol gave me a gift that I kept safe and never used. I found the card, box, and all, the other day. We are still in touch, so I thanked her again. … yup! It’s back in the box. I’ll find it in another ten years… and thank her once again.
I was on the hunt for a hard drive that held missing image files from 2007. Right?! Things disappear. Certainly, memory fades. I am always appreciative that computer memory is forever. GIGO – garbage in garbage out and all that. And, hard drives fail – always. But, until they go bad, what’s stored is there. My memory decays and degrades and I forget. I wonder what the memory of the human brain…. 2.5 million gigabytes.
Which brings me to – stored in a random storage bin: surgical telescope? I never called them that. “Loops.” It was magnifying lens through which you operated with a magnified surgical field. So, it was binocular magnified vision that was soon supplanted the operating microscope. They were popular just before the microscope took over neurosurgery as the go-to instrument. Dr. Fred Epstein, my pediatric neurosurgery mentor bought every resident a pair. It was his kind gift to us all. I just want to remember his kindness and remember him today as I look at the glasses I hardly used. They were a significant expense and much appreciated. When I graduated the program Fred also gave me the latest (at that time) six volume set of Youman’s second edition (now 6th). He was a brilliant surgeon, teacher, and mentor. In my own career I never forgot his kindness and often I gave back in small ways to people who worked and trained under me.
So, we were tasked with three white elephant birthday gifts: two guys and one lady. Off we went on a scavenger hunt. Antique stores. Why not? I found a reticulated plate. Okay! One down. Next, I found a reticulated (different) plate. Okay! Two! In between we found a whole of other things not quite suitable, but in the running. Colleen was after a teapot. ??? Okay? She found one finally. Nice! She liked the teapot. So, it was off the gift list; it was a keeper. Okay! But when we put all these things together – they matched. Really! Nah! Ha! Matched! Who’d have thunk it! What were/are the odds? Pretty slim. Neat, sometimes, things just come together. Related? Yes, they are all labeled Germany and have the same print pattern and reticulation. Imagine our surprise? I sure was!
Truthfully, we got these gifts right after Xmas. Sale! It will fit in December. Smart? The stuffed animal is hideous, as in ugly. That’s exactly why I got it. Jules had so many stuffed animals as a child, she finally said, enough! And I got her one more….yup, the ugliest stuffed animal ever. Noa should have one too. Don’t you think?
I’ve been accused of a dry sense of humor. Dry? I attended a black tie optional wedding and wore a black tie – it was dotted with brains embroidered upon it. No one noticed. No one looks at the man as long as he seems to blend in. The wedding couple were both surgeons still in residency. We gave them a cutting board. Careful, the knife’s sharp! I wonder if they will get it? And in keeping with the season…a headless doll seen at the antique store…. afterall I’m a brain surgeon. Last? This basket was displayed too high to read the price. Snap a picture, read the price. It might do to catch my head after this post.
Are you tired of flowers? This set were sent from a florist. There’s a story. Ha! A patient’s family sent them to the office. I had the brilliant notion to invite two families to dinner the previous Saturday. That would be dinner for twelve. I had offered to cook. Yup! I was gonna do it. And then the call came. I had an emergency operation – an acoustic neuroma. They are tricky delicate operations that required the operating microscope and long hours of careful dissection around the nerve and brainstem. Yup, tricky and delicate. I’d draw out this story but long about dinnertime – say about 5PM – I had my operating room nurse call home and inform my wife I’d be a bit longer – say several more hours. Needless to say, my wife had already made Plan B. Everyone went out instead. I finished up around 8PM and could probably have made it to the restaurant. But I chickened out and had dinner nearby with my PA (assistant).
We’re almost at the punchline. After the surgery an anxious family heard the story of the harrowing operation in which we saved their loved one and preserved brain function so that the young man could live on for many more years. I also told them the story of the aborted dinner. The next Tuesday, these enormous roses arrived during my office hours. I would have difficulty explaining how large they were (bigger than my fist – that would be a 7 ½ size surgical glove). I can only say they were the largest blooms I have ever seen. Ok, I’m a guy. What do you do? Take ‘em home to your wife and apologize for messing up dinner the previous weekend. Right! I didn’t tell her the roses were from the family. I told her I’d gotten them (I left out the “how”) and brought them home. The story and apology would’ve worked except that the nurses ratted me out at the Christmas party nine months later. Nurses! They have a long memory. Be nice to them.