Once more our country is focused on the aftermath of the death of a young black man. The frequency with which this scenario occurs is alarming, disgraceful and is not likely to change in my life time. I am a 40-year-old physician without a criminal record. I have a brother who is a Veterinarian and another an Airline pilot. Neither has a criminal record, but we all have experienced the brutality of American racism. We do not often talk about it. We live it and pray that our children will have a better experience. We want them to get a good education and not be killed by the police. That is our American dream.
The truth of what happened in Ferguson is irreverent to us because we live the brutally of knowing that at any moment we could be killed for no reason. As black Americans we have come a far way, but the fundamental problem for us has changed very little. We are not seen as humans, we are seen as murderers waiting for an opportunity. We are determined to survive so we try standing up for ourselves. However, standing up for yourself as a black man is seen as threatening. Success for us is about surviving the constant attempt to institutional us. If that can be avoided material success is possible, but only if you are not convinced to give up before you have had a chance to try. Material success is about picking your battles.
As a Physician I see the contempt patients show towards me at times, I swallow and still provide them the best care possible. I love taking care of patients and that care is not about anything but my pride in doing the best job I can. Because I provide you with care supported by the best evidence I am comfortable. In spite of providing excellent care I am challenged but nurses and patients. I often wonder what I am doing wrong, but it does not matter. I am of the wrong completion, so my care is subject to review. I need to justify my decisions with evidence, while others provide poor care and are not challenged. This is my life as a black physician.
I am strong enough because I was brought up in a culture that expected me to succeed. My early years in Jamaica has given me a belief in myself that is difficult to shake. It has been shaken, but I have recovered. Unfortunately my girls are growing up in a society that does not expect them to succeed. I will push them hard because their mistakes, no matter how insignificant, will be judged and punished harshly. I need to build in them confidence that is based on competence because our country will not give them the chances they deserve. I will teach them about how not to get killed.
The sad story is that my girls and my nieces and nephews will be at risk from violence from all sides. There is more violence in black communities both from cops and criminals alike. There is nowhere to hide, there is only learning how to manage the risk. Our treatment as black Americans is dependent on the complexion of our company. While out with my brothers and nephews we are treated like predators and undesirables. The excuses for treating us like monsters are varied but none are credible. In spite of the despicable treatment I often experience, I will still treat you well. I will still give you the best health care, although I will not be given the same treatment.
Rioting will not help nor will talking. Sorry Martin, I no longer have a dream, just a reality, ” Do Not Give Them an Excuse To Kill You”.
Be safe America.
The debate around health care in our fair country as heated up again. The strange thing about the process is that the majority of the people commenting already have great insurance. They can afford to pay for great health care. The ACA is flawed and all should admit it, but it is not the cause of the chronic underperformance of our system. We have a closed unresponsive system that is constrained by an ill-informed electorate.
We need to exposed the entire system, both strengths and flaws, to the public. Doctors need to be in charge of care decisions and also need to be cognizant of the economic realities. Patients need to have realistic expectations, which should be set by their doctors.
Doctors need to stop listening to the ill-informed lobbyists. Those lobbyists are not working on our behalf, they are working for other economic interests. Doctors need to stand up and start voting our economic interests because the lobbyist are voting for their own. The interests of the lobbyist only rarely intersect with our own.
Let us take a stand together. Let us take a stand firstly for our patients and secondly for our own self interests.
Does music make you happy? I think we all get great enjoyment from music. Not just from the words, but from the whole composition. The ability to be transported to worlds unknown is open to us all if we just allow it. Music will make us think and sway. Music will change or mood and can make every day better. Make your day better by putting together the correct mix. With the advent of music streaming services we all have great options. First things first. If you want to hear your music like you have never before please discard the ear buds that came with your cellphone. Most cellphones will do a pretty good job of bring the content to you but the headphones are a disgrace. Do some research and invest in a good quality headphone. That does not mean BEATS.
Headphones: This is my short list.
BeoPlay H6 Natural Leather
What streaming service: This is my short list.
Nokia Mix radio
Go explore and let the music move you.
The room was still dark, but the gentle climb of my alarm could be heard. It heralded the last job of my trip. The near return to reality was welcomed and abhorred in equal measure. I rolled over to find an empty bed, just the way it was when I got in. The thought of coffee was driving me to get out of bed. Unfortunately my nostrils were not tickled by the usual morning scent of my strong coffee brew. It was a reminder that I was in a lonely hotel room. I missed my own bed, but more so I was missing my automated coffee maker. My alarm had stopped and restarted before I could get the energy to pluck myself out of bed. Suddenly the room and bed were not as warm. The combination of cold room and comfortable bedding was keep me static. I finally convinced myself and reach to get my phone. It was just out of reach forcing me to face the cold and get out from under the warm canopy. The warmth of the plush cushioned carpeting was reassuring and the cool feel of the phone was comforting. I really missed waking up in my own bed, but this was not as bad as I had imagined. Waking in a strange bed had become a familiar process but I still had not gotten the ‘hang’ of it. Bills had to be paid and this was how I got it done. As I opened the heavy drapes the brightness of the morning sun was comforting and exhilarating. I was expecting to see snow, but the joy of seeing the desert and mountain was a real treat. I could feel the heat of the rising sun on the large window panes. I could feel the darkness falling away from my cloudy head and the joy of the new day rising. This was going to be a wonderful few days.
This was the first morning of the new contract and it was important that I started on the correct footing. I had gotten the timing correct, it was 0630 local time. I had gotten in late and went straight from the check-in counter into bed. As I looked around for my bags I noticed that someone had made a every costly error. They should have booked a one bedroom. This looked like the largest one bedroom or I was in the wrong suite. It turned out to be a three bedroom three bath suite. I finally found my bags in the living room, but could not remember placing them there. Everything looked intact and that is all I could ask for. The suite was more than enough for me and family, but I was alone. I was missing my princesses, but I had to get the this last contract done before I could get home. It was day thirty-one and hotel number seven.
I had the same routine every morning. I unlocked my phone and confirmed my location and started my morning play list. It was my routine. I had learned from my mentor that starting the day with your favorite music was essential to the trajectory of the day. “Great music makes the day”, he use to say. Unlike the other many things he had tried to teach, this was the only one I really took wholeheartedly. I was religious about it. I had a 15-minute play list that was my morning companion. Only thing missing was my cup of coffee. I turned the music up to maximum and jumped into the shower. The water was just above room temp and was invigorating. It was a glass enclose stand-up shower with only one facet. There was no hot or cold. There was just a single tap and shower head. It was adequate.
I heard a loud bang and felt heat moving down my back. I had never been shot, but this must be what it felt like. I was usually the shooter. There was shattered glass on the floor and I fell into it with cool water pouring over my legs. This was a kill shot. I closed my eyes and wished I could have given my girls a hug.