Surviving — With Maximized Productivity, Success, & Satisfaction
(Herein Dismissing Sadness & Damage Topics For Future Essays)
The forces that build a special man into a great doctor — that is, a Mensch Doctor, an MD:
Dear Doctor James B: Your experience with cancer forced a time expenditure and provoked pressures that sparked your mind into action. You comprehended that it is not productive to impose forces upon patients when they are ignorant of the reasons for the imposition. When a doctor synthesizes his treatment into the mind of the patient, the treatment has an improved chance for success. And the patient has increased opportunity to recover.
Your paper evokes pictures in the readers’ mind. While being entertained, readers’ resistance to serious self analysis can unconsciously diminish. It is this provocative aspect that may allow people to consider their own medical and non-medical personal situations after reading your paper. Since most people fear doing such an evaluation, your paper can be a direct inspirational force to provoke readers toward the exercise of open self evaluation. Many readers should thank you. Few will.
I thank you for applying your erudition to your experience in order to force me to analyze, and put into perspective, grand events — and personal events.
This herewith identified inter-mind approach to remedy maladies did not exist during my experiences in the Winter of 1972-73. That was when I suffered a herniated disc. The herniated disc had been inflicted by two errant, unthinking physical therapists whom I trusted implicitly at Sherman Hospital. Over the four-month ordeal that followed, doctors at two other hospitals whom I pleaded for remedy, instead imposed upon me a trite, routine, extended procedure with no concern for my well being. In my case, nothing could have made this process successful or fruitful to any degree. Maximizing my difficulties present during this illness was the fact that no family members or friends were able to assist me. I was on my own. I endeavored through toward remedy on my own.
Why do they not teach inter-mind education in medical school? The answer is obvious to a thinking person who is aware of what most people are. It is because few are equipped, as you instructed yourself, to teach such provocative, thoughtful material. Yes, that is correct. There are few mensches in our culture. There are few mensch doctors. Your cancer experience allowed you to elevate yourself to that capability because you had the potential to be elevated.
Pure Person Doctor:
Having experienced the weakness and vulnerability of being the patient, laying helpless, being cognizant of the potential ramifications of your illness, in desperate need of remedy, you realized through your perception of the forces attacking you, that you existence could end. After you were released from your near death experience you became more humane. Post cancer, you were able to know in a virtual sense what your patients needed and how to effectively communicate with them.
Substantive professional progress is often derived by the man who suffers omnipotent attack, wrath, with painful onslaught. Most men fail to develop even in such a situation because they are not man enough to learn from hardship. Most people are blind to the self improvement process. Most people simply demand release. However, you learned. You elevated yourself. You applied experiential lessons. Since your experience, you have endeavored in a more educated way to improve patients’ lives.
Outsiders who observe you may fail to perceive your life-long development. Those observers matter not. You are proud of your development. You should be admiring of your successful, life-long project of self improvement. Surely there are your past patients who held onto life at the critical point, survived, and comprehend that they owe their time extension to your ongoing quest for excellence, your self-energized intellect, and your derived comprehension of their malady.
Unwanted, Unwelcome, & Life-threatening, Yet, An Educating Experience: Your cancer experience was a near theft-of-life attack. Karen’s heart issue was similar within this context. Her shocking event resulted in a stabilization procedure which, with monitoring, can stave off future potentially damaging events. Due to its shocking, instantaneous impact, her event forces rational individuals to perceive the fragility and potential theft of pleasant, productive life. Good health of our most-special loved ones is to be monitored and guarded. Few people of these amorphous times make an effort to monitor their foolish arrogance. Instead, they utilize it to self promote and live stupid lives of noisy annoyances, regardless of how ubiquitous and prevalent is their ignorance.
Knowing of your and Karen’s major, life-changing events, I will never again disregard potential self destruction. While cruising through life, existing in good health, but carrying a minor malady such as Dupuytren’s contracture of little long-term significance, never again will I disregard potential self destruction. Whether via chiropractor or evil or ignorant or thieving force, including quackery, never again….
Ultimately we survive because we have character, courage, and we persevere.
A person may be afflicted by an event which extracts his natural, life supporting optimism. A person may suffer a loss of personal accomplishment which leads to a pseudo death inducing experience. One such event was the instantaneous, shocking theft of my conceived-by-my-mind and built-by-my-hands business. This experience, while substantively different from our medical experiences, is confounding nonetheless. It can also become life threatening.
Near death experiences, while not medical, were literally a threat to my existence. One, a contract specifying my murder for an unknowable business or political purpose, was nearly implemented. Another, from the same force, was the potentially life threatening action when it imposed upon me major financial loss. This carried another potentially life threatening aspect. I was made eligible by the same force to suffer loss of self esteem. However, I was fortunate to have not lost my life to a hit man, lost only financially, and held strong and impervious against the loss of self esteem.
Ultimately we survive and prosper because we have character, courage, and we persevere, and demand more from ourselves.
Some years ago, the IT department of my employer, Sears, IBM’s largest commercial customer at the time, was about to purchase for $2.5 million, its second mainframe computer. It was to be used for system development projects. Additional computing power was needed to serve nearly 220 programmers and analysts. Sears’ was using a unique version of this mainframe. It was the only one of its kind to be used used outside of MIT and was running special software developed at MIT. It was in commercial use only at Sears for our development groups. Its computing power could apparently serve no more than about 18 programmers at a time. That was inadequate for the rapidly growing Sears business systems department’s design and programming of application projects.
While using this mainframe, I perceived a technique that utilized some esoteric features and options of this machine’s hardware and software. One evening I went home with a few technical manuals.
Over the following days, I tested the feasibility of my theoretical approach. Then, one morning around 6 am, I went to the data center, fully tested the approach I created, documented its operation, and implemented that approach for use exclusively by my application team of 15 people. As my team members arrived for work, I told them that they no longer had to work single thread, that is, one at a time, but could now work concurrently. I instructed each to simply proceed and work concurrently with his team members. Within hours my team members were monopolizing the mainframe. My 15 team members were 15 of the 18 programmers whom the mainframe could serve. I had correctly understood that the single mainframe could now potentially serve more users simultaneously.
Later that day, when other team managers and programmers observed that several of my team members were simultaneously working on the mainframe, they asked me how I had accomplished such a mysterious feat. l obligingly provided the mechanism for their teams to use my invention. As more development teams migrated to my invention, I explained to upper management that there was no need to purchase a second $2.5 million mainframe.
Instead, Sears purchased about $30,000 worth of I/O devices. With that improvement, over 120 people could use the original single mainframe. The only unhappy person was the salesman. He lost the sales commission on $2.5 million — but earned the sales commission on $30,000.
Ultimately we survive and prosper because are intelligent, have character, courage, we persevere demanding more of ourselves, and we continually strive to improve our productivity.
Personal Ethical Standard Number 1:
“Accept responsibility for all that you do and all results derived therefrom.”
A Case Study: My desire to eliminate Dupuytren’s Contracture: I do not fault myself for wanting to arrest or eliminate this potentially restricting ailment. Even when relatively trivial, the relevant law guiding our actions is: The illness we have “now” is among the worst illnesses that may be”. I mean this not literally; obviously relatively only. Upon replacement by another more serious illness, this “now” illness would instantly be re-sequenced by any rational individual to a lower status.
My Approach Toward Minimizing Dupuytren’s Contracture: I was unaware of the well-deserved reputation earned by chiropractors. When one approached me offering to apply the remedy that he claimed he had applied with success to his uncle’s hands, I accepted his offer.
I knew of electricity since the age of 8 when my father introduced me to process flows of electrons and their potentials. I had studied and experimented with theory and operation of electricity all of my life. I had no solid reason to believe that the chiropractor’s use of electrical stimulation would arrest the Dupuytren’s contracture condition. I simply said to myself, “Why not? What’s to lose?” I knew why not and I understood what could be lost. But I overlooked my knowledge and experience. Those wisdom operatives, knowledge and experience, were obscured by an usual, for me, moment of arrogance. I assumed that the chiropractor would ensure success as much as possible by preparing and operating the electrical equipment, including its grounding, properly.
I accepted, freely and voluntarily, to allow the chiropractor to apply his electrical stimulation upon my hands and full body.
As he prepared my hands, I observed that the ground contacts did not appear to be of a nature that could make unified, competent contact, thereby providing for adequate grounding. I overlooked this substantive point.
Treatments: After the first treatment I felt uneasy, queasy, shaky. Three days later, during the second treatment I asked the chiropractor how he knows how much voltage to use. He responded by asking me to let him know “when it hurts” as he haphazardly increased voltage. He did not use a digital or analog gauge or measurement of voltage to affect correct application or monitor reactions or electrical resistance for positive results, or to prevent injury to me — or even to his equipment. Instantly, upon his unfettered voltage increase, I felt increased pain and announced that to him. He reduced the voltage. That was likely when major damage was inflicted upon me. Following the second treatment, within a few hours I was losing strength, gaining pain, and feeling nervous (oscillatory) in the physical sense.
What followed was four weeks of aspirin and Advil and an approximately 80% loss of mobility with declining strength. Within six weeks, I consulted a medical doctor. I was put on prednisone for what my doctor called an illness he could not diagnose.
Six years after the chiropractor administered two treatments, the collection of pains he caused provides that forced re-sequencing of my original ailment, Duputren’s contracture, to the status of relative near nothingness. So, in his way, this chiropractor actually did free me of my concern for Dupuytren’s contracture in the relative perspective!!!
There were — and remain — several consequences for my arrogant acceptance of the electrical stimulation process. It is the use of prednisone, a potent drug unceasing pains, tenderness, and some weakness. The pain and soreness in my hands, feet, shoulders, wrists, ankles, adductor tendons, and knees (interior and posterior) continue waxing and waning to this day, each and every day. The pain sometimes diminishes for a few hours. I learned painfully expensive lessons.
My ongoing illness is a manifestation of damage to the somatic nervous system, not the autonomic nervous system. I am very grateful for the law of electric current flow. If not for that law, I might have died during treatment.
Through this experience I computed Corollary Number 1 as identified below.
Of Medical Interest To A Scientifically-oriented Medicine Man:
Point One: For several decades, I had two small skin anomalies. Neither anomaly ever caused discomfort or changed appearance. Within months of completing my regimen of prednisone, I observed, after exposure to sunlight for several hours, each anomaly had erupted. One of these anomalies was a scar about 1/4″ oval resulting from an injury when I was 7 years old. It had always been nearly invisible. The other anomaly measured approximately 1/4″ by 1/16″, had been present since I was about 12 years old. Neither anomaly had ever displayed any change or reaction over the long-term or to intense sunlight. Following prednisone, these changes caused one anomaly to require surgical removal. The other anomaly is being observed for change.
Point Two: I have experienced the doctor-labeled “flair ups”, or long-term after effects, for six years. These so-called flair ups of pain occur, develop, and relent in three phases. These phases manifest as follow: 1.) Event — wherein a muscle or joint, a part unit, is damaged directly by some physical activity; 2.) Reaction — when the autoimmune system springs into action but overshoots its objective, inflames other, but similar part units (such as non-involved muscles); and 3.) Repair — the process of healing the originally damaged part, calming the autoimmune system so that it ceases acting upon other seemingly unrelated part units that are not in need of its actions, thereby allowing the final healing of all involved part units.
After Treatment — over five years later: I was and have been angry — at myself. I am disappointed in myself and felt foolish for having acted foolishly. But, more than anything, I wanted to recover totally. Mt dream was to do anything to be as healthy as I was the day before allowing the chiropractor to practice his method upon me.
I did not make any inquiry toward, or attempt to, sue the chiropractor.
All of my anger, disappointment, and feelings of being a fool are mine to bear — for life. Every day.
The chiropractor had simply made an offer, I had accepted, and I deserved the consequences of my act of acceptance, be it good or bad. It was my personal responsibility to have known, or learned, what was to be done to my body and what sort of person was going to do it before I accepted his offer. I failed myself.
Recently I was non-electrically shocked to have been queried by a life-long friend. Being an MD, after I told him that I had not, and would not sue the chiropractor, asked me, “What if instead of a chiropractor, it had been a medical doctor who suggested the same, or similar, or other treatment that failed to improve, but, in fact caused deterioration of your condition? Would you sue him?”
My life-long friend was met with a instant, but formed over years, and well reasoned response: “No. I do not sue doctors.”
Of course not. The operative relevant proof is this case. A person (chiropractor) offered me something (a service) with no guarantee. I accepted. He provided his service. I deserve the consequences — good or bad. All consequences were and remain my personal responsibility.
Some weeks ago I was sitting with an endodontist immediately prior to his performing a root canal procedure. Following his analysis, we agreed this procedure would greatly improve my life. He read two pages containing several short statements that identified, explained, and clarified what he was going to do. They also identified potential failures and problems.
As I signed the form, I said, “Please know that I know you are well experienced and will do your best. Both in your business and in mine, we may do our best. It may be inadequate due to circumstances beyond our control. I will hold nothing against you. So, please don’t hold my being a potentially problematic patient against me.”
We chuckled. He performed the root canal procedure, thereby demonstrating his great skill. If I need another root canal, I will seek out this endodontist for proven his skill. If that procedure fails, I will work with him to remedy the situation to the best of our combined abilities.
There is no place in civil, decent, skilled, integrity-rich society for lawyers.
Personal How To Live & Survive Policy — Corollary Number 1:
“I no longer reflexively attribute competence, sincerity, integrity, or ability to any individual before that individual demonstrates such traits to me.”
In fact, when I meet anyone, I attribute nothing to his skill level, knowledge base, desire to do good, intellectual skills, or any other positive trait. Usually, no negative traits are automatically assigned. Most every new acquaintance is assumed to be a neutral entity until I observe, or he demonstrates, otherwise.
The following identifies the level to which our culture has eroded, migrated toward, and now slumps toward nearly irretrievably.
Our Culture Is No Longer Our Culture:
A recent mundane experience at a car dealership is noteworthy. It is yet another example of the fact that our, that is, your and my, culture is dead.
People of today do not look at, perceive, and react to operational situations they are involved in as we do — and always have. People care little for the things we care for. People are afraid of they know not what; the majority of people live in fear every day.
This includes EVERYONE whom you meet. This includes the family, friends, office workers, grocery store employees, neighbors, bank employees, financial advisors, auto dealer employees, and everyone. Consider the environment they were raised in wherein their mores and ethics formed them. Consider their education and how it formed them. Consider their workplaces. Consider that all of these people are forced to behave, to fit in, to feign cooperation and understanding of their job requirements and functions.
Being forced to behave a certain way requires that they utilize their mores, ethics, intellect, and knowledge to calculate how to react to. Then, in order to maintain their place, they must somehow determine how to handle those situations.
All of these people, everyone we meet is acting. If you are lucky, they are acting in civilized manners. If you are lucky, they will not do you harm. If you are lucky, you will receive treatment that you expect. If you are fortunate, they will make the correct decision. Then, if fortunate, they may execute the appropriate action on your behalf. For you automobile’s service, this is important. For your medical condition, this can be critical. Recall that all of this applies to everyone you interact with. You know nothing of how and where they were raised. That is, you know not how they developed psychologically, what their morals are, how firm their ethical positions are, and how much they care about you or anything to with your situation.
Do not be naive when interacting with any of these people. Not one was raised by your parents in your household. Not one other person has the good genetics that you have — that you naively attribute to them.
A degree of elitism is appropriate. It can serve as self protection.