What is there say about the 2020? In my opinion probably one of the most transitional years we’ve ever experienced. At this point in time we as a medical community are like a punch-drunk fighter who is completely desensitized to the imminent pain that he is suffering , almost like Novocain being injected after the tooth has been pulled. In this case however, the tooth extraction is is a pretty silly prevue with pain when considering the fact that we are losing almost 4,000 people a day, and somehow not noticing it.
What does that say about us? Have we really become this?
Every day in this particular operating room as well as operating rooms throughout the country, we all do the same dance over and over, trying to keep people alive while we’re at the same time putting our heads in the sand like ostriches. As I type this in the pump room, listening to ancillary conversations emanating on the periphery from our chief surgical scrub tech Pedro, life seems to go on even as grind to a stop.
There’s no quit in these people, there’s no quit in us, it’s what we as fuses are trained to do. We don’t tolerate failure at all and consider “marginal success” an unacceptable endpoint when engaging cardiopulmonary bypass.
So without belaboring the point of what is clearly obvious, 2020 totally sucked, so let’s see what 2021 has offer us and let’s get a handle on this pandemic as well as the relative indifference that we are now surrounded with in terms of trying to rationalize countless deaths out of our surroundings because it’s too horrible to contemplate.
If you ever stare into total darkness you realize that the concept is inconceivable to us, because it implies an end and since our field is all about continuation any premature ending is antithetical to our principals, spurs us onward to make the best lives that we can possibly make for our patients moving forward.
It’s a funny thing how your life’s journey has a mind of its own so to speak. It seems as if 2020 for me separated into three different phases:
Emergence and awakening was the first three months in southern Indiana, one cove it reared its ugly head and we realized it to be something more perilous and we had originally thought;
Furlough: Then came three months of furlough, a time to reflect upon the challenges that lay ahead, gathering your resources for the fight that you know is to come, and recognizing that when you’re at home on your couch and not fighting in the trenches, the enemy always seems so much more dangerous and fearsome than when faced in reality.
Engagement: For me, that meant traveling down South about 1000 miles to find myself south of the Savannah River in southern style town called Augusta Georgia. This was level I Trauma Ctr. that I just joined, so yeah if you like adrenaline rushes this is where you want to be for sure. I met a very good group of people down here, and was privileged to help put many minorities on bypass and what I shockingly realized was an underserved section of our fellow American citizens. It is this awakening in tandem with clear obstacles and risk that cove it provided us, that makes this one of most genuine places I’ve had the privilege to work in, not because it was a perfect place, rather because the people and the institution itself were somewhat imperfect, but the common goal is pure – and something that should be relished if you want to spend any time in advance cardiac medicine. This place is a work in progress, but those are fight against common. I have great faith that the people of this fine institution will rally to the cause and do great things for the local community as well as medicine in general. It has been a privilege to be here.
So without further ado, I present here the year in pictures as I’ve seen it, traveling down south of the Savannah River after having been furloughed for three months as well.
2021: The Year in Review
Best of the Best…
Super Mario meets OCHO!
The “Hurricane” (Ruben)
The Struggle Bus
A Rural Michigan Community Fights Back…