Saturday, October 5, 2013

Heritage Symbols

Of course the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Quebec do not want the Crucifix to remain in the National Assembly. Who in God's green earth would want to be part of the scent of a mandated religion, including bishops? Who would want to be part of a heritage structure in an assembly, when one is part of a living religion, not a historical society? This is Canada and if a particular government within the country chooses to fossilize Christianity we are not going to be mandated as a thing of the past, so remove the crucifix for God's sake now and the one on the mountain too.  We'll join the abundant religions that seek peace and goodwill to all mankind. It's not the end of secularism, that's for sure, but hopefully it's moving toward the end of sectarianism. At least I hope God gets my drift because he has a big stake in the matter. I'm hoping that Sophocles once again will remind us all, as he did, that, "Without numbers are the world's wonders, but none more wonderful than man." Let's not write anyone off.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cock of the Walk?

   When I was in 4th year medicine in 1956 and working as a Clinical Clerk in the Winnipeg General Hospital I recognized the retired Head of the Department of Medicine sitting on a bench. He was dressed in a carefully fitted blue suit with worn elbows  and a button off his fly and he looked tired and was staring into space. He had been the Professor and Clinical Head of Medicine for many years and a notable scientist and teacher. Possibly he had been retired four or five years. He was sitting alone and as the Emergency Department doctors and nurses flowed around him he remained unrecognized, an old man on a bench with himself for company. The Urology department was adjacent to the Emergency entrance and it was clear that he had an old man's problem and was waiting his turn patiently as an Outpatient. Having practiced and taught medicine in the Winnipeg General for forty years you would have thought that someone else besides me would have recognized him or stopped to talk to him. I'm sorry to say I didn't stop either, but I was a lowly clerk and I reasoned that it might have intruded on his dignity for such as me to approach him. What a mistake we make! The former Dr. So and So! The present Dr. Has Been. Walking down the corridor he must have walked ten thousand days for forty years past a Urology Outpatients he may never have thought he might use, caring as he did for those in that era who were without funds or insurance. In those days the teaching faculty looked after the indigent, the old and the desperately sick rather than the carriage trade. Teaching was more important than earning to those committed teachers.  It's one thing to practice exemplary medicine. It's another thing entirely to teach a hundred persons how to practice exemplary medicine. A student nurse and an intern walked by and the nurse said, "That old man has been waiting on that bench for over an hour. I saw him then, when I went for coffee."--- Somebody said to me recently this year, and somewhat aggressively too, when we were talking about waiting lists,"You doctors are part of the corruption in medicare because you take advantage of the rest of us by getting looked after first and jumping the queue. It's not fair! You people don't deserve to get any advantages over real people."--- It brought back my memory of the former Dr. So and So and the Clinical Clerk. I always thought we were real people.