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I drove over to St. Helena Hospital to visit. It's just 10AM & I don't know if last night was a re-play of the night before or not, so I am loath to wake him. However, both his earplugs and his sleep mask are in place, as well as his cpap, so unless I touch him, I suspect he'll stay in the land of nod for a bit.

This may be a good time to go caffeinate.
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For someone who just had surgery, he's looking pretty good. He's having some significant pain which is to be expected, but was alert and in decent spirits.

And more importantly, off of his cardiac meds is in a normal heart rhythm, which is thrilling news. His procedure is a two step surgery, the first part on the outside of the heart, which was the more invasive procedure, and tomorrow he'll have the internal part done in the cardiac cath lab, rather than in the operating room. He thinks they'll release him sometime this weekend.

I've been asked what an ablation is. Basically there are specific specialized heart muscle fibers that either conduct or cause heart rhythm abnormalities. A cardiac electro-physiologist can identify the errant fibers that are 'misbehaving' and 'zap' them electrically so they stop conducting the electrical impulses abnormally. Viola, no more problem rhythm such as Allan's atrial fibrillation. The majority of these high tech procedures are done via a cardiac catherization and the problematic fibers are zapped from inside the heart. Sometimes however the problem fibers cannot be completely accessed that way and a surgery to enter the chest from the outside is required.
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Allan is out of the OR and back in his room. He's alert and doing well. The first part of his ablation went well. According to Randy the next part will happen on Friday, and with luck he'll be released to go home on Saturday afternoon.

I'm breathing a sigh of relief.
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Don't you love stories that start, "I have this friend...."

Well, I have this friend, who I fear is squandering both their life and their talents. I want to do something about it, so much so that it hurts, but the reality is, I can't. I don't have that kind of power. I have a wand, a gift from another friend, but I cannot wave it and make things whole. I cannot wave it and make all the debts and guilts and fears go away. Oh, to be an affective practitioner of white magic!

I cannot bind my friend to reality, nor make them accept the responsibility that should come with being an adult in our society. I cannot make them accept real help, and I cannot force them to do the work that accepting real help would entail. I cannot make them bypass the desires of the id, long enough to strengthen and develop the ego.

I don't know how to make my heart stop aching when I think about them, nor to I know how to stop the profound sadness I feel looking at a light so bright, so talented and so totally lost. I'm trying to figure out how I let go of the fear that I sit with, that my friend will never grow up, grow old and have the kind of life they'll look back at with a sense of pride, accomplishment or satisfaction.

So I sit with this, and pray. The Serenity prayer has become a mini-mantra.
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I left for home last night, nearly in tears. It's been a long time since I felt THAT validated.

I'd gone to the hospital after way too long a day at the office, to see a rather difficult patient. He's both medically complicated and not much with the program for taking responsibility for his care. Shall we say he doesn't accept direction well? Routinely, he won't tell me the truth about what he does, that is if I'm to believe his children.

In any event, I had to call in a colleague of mine to consult on this gent. My colleague's a specialist, someone whom I have the utmost respect for; he's got to be one of the brightest physicians I know. Frankly, I think the world of him.

After chatting 'bout the details of the consult I needed, we spent a couple of minutes just catching up with one another. He mentioned he'd just seen my office manager earlier in the day (translating for her mother, whom I'd referred to him for a routine colonoscopy) and what a gem he thought she was. I reminded him of the biblical quote about a virtuous woman being more valuable than rubies (and that Oana is not just my employee, but my friend). Then, I mentioned I'd seen one of his staff people in my office the day before, and what an absolute sweetheart she was. He told me that when she'd asked him for a reference on someone to go see, he'd suggested me, that I was who he would see himself. This raised my eyebrows. He went on to say, he feels I'm a healer, a 'gifted intuitive', "something no residency can train you to be." "You either are, or you're not," he continued.

I was nearly speechless; I'm not sure just how deeply I blushed, but one of the nurses commented about my color, after I got off the phone. All too often, I feel like the 'brain-dead' generalist, and this is one of the specialists to whom I turn when I'm in waters over my head medically. To have him pay me a complement this huge, was one of the biggest professional rewards I've had in I cannot remember how long. He called me a 'gifted intuitive'....

As I drove home, I thought about the things I seem to hear and recognize, that often surprise me, as mulled over what had been said to me. After a bit, I thought, "Alright, enough positive strokes for now, your head is quite big enough!" and I turned on the radio. Instead the CD player kicked in. I had "Wicked" in and the song that started, interestingly enough was rather ironic.

"Wicked" is a re-telling of the "Wizard of Oz", from the viewpoint of the Wicked Witch of the West. It starts with Elphaba (the Witch) and Glinda (Good Witch of the North) as freshman college roommates. The particular song that started was "When I'm With the Wizard". The lyric starts with the college teacher singing, "Oh, Miss Elphaba, many years I have waited, for a gift like yours to appear........." The witch responds a minute or so later, "Did that really just happen? Have I actually understood? This wierd quirk I've tried, to suppress or hide, is a talent(?!?), that could help me meet the Wizard, if I do good? So, I'll make good!"


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