Life has hardly been boring over these last three years. Bud has continually caused a stir here or there, often, I think, without his even trying. Time after time, hospital people stop me to say how much things have changed for the good since Bud and I took up residence. I take no credit, just enjoy being included.
I hate to think what life would’ve been like if Buddy boy hadn’t dropped in on us, so to speak. I try not to think about it. Just depresses me and I had six years of that stuff.
So now, I can swear to you, I’m a new man. I’m thirty pounds lighter. I don’t take a single pill now. Sleep well. Have all but forgotten my worries. I enjoy my weekends and am getting a life of my own on Saturdays and Sundays. I don’t do shuffleboard, but I did take up golf. Even met a sweet woman about my age on the links, as we duffers call them. She and I go out for dinner most every weekend. We usually play nine holes on Saturdays. That’s plenty for me. I won’t tell you my score. If I did, you’d think it was for 18 holes.
Bud seems to change physically almost everyday. Mentally, he’s been sharp as a tack since the day he was born. Hard for him to get much brighter.
He just passed his third birthday, but he’s already close to four feet tall and weighs 55 pounds. His pediatrician buddies say that he’s the size of a typical seven year-old. So, he’s surpassing his prediction of growing at twice normal rate. He did have a healthy head start, though.
We still do our daily walks and exercise programs, though they seem to change from time to time as new activities develop. Bud won’t let things get stale. He says, “Stale bread dries up and stale people break down.”
He’s right. Glad I’m not in the stale category, anymore.
Howe’er that may be, things are always hopping around Bud. A program here and one there. This event and that event. More projects than you can shake a stick at.
You’d think we were a going concern or something.
Actually, after handling all the publicity and mail and hullabaloo for the first year or so, the hospital decided something needed to change. They twisted Bud’s arm to put together his own department under hospital auspices. There was quite a bit of politicking involved.
Dr. Child and the pediatric group go to bat for Bud whenever he asks. And Chairman Gates was a powerful help. But, he’s off the board now, though I hear tell he’s trying to get back on the next go round. There’ve been some different waves floating through recently, so we’re not quite sure what the head knockers are thinking. We used to get the straight skinny from Gates when he was the top dog.
So in the beginning, the hospital just wanted us to take care of letters, calls and inquiries. Before long, it became clear that people wanted to talk to Bud as if he was a practicing physician. Have a consultation or something like that.
Let me tell you, that scared a bunch of people. It was okay when Bud just helped the pediatric boys or did things on the spur of the moment for individual folks. But when he got his picture hung up in the Peanut Gallery and received his white coat, quite a few of the medics got scared. Dr. Child has been trying for the last couple years to keep them in check, but he really seems to have his hands full lately with medical politics.
About a year ago, Bud’s Business (as I used to call it) became the Department of Healing Modalities. I think it took more time to come up with an acceptable name than it did to get an okay for the idea itself. Some wanted it called Alternative Medicine. Others thought Bud shouldn’t be representing the word medicine at all. Bud didn’t care as long as people got some benefit. He is partial to the word “healing,” though. So, he was happy with the compromise.
That struggle amounted to a real battle, but Bud saw most of it coming and took it in stride. Now, we have our own section of the clinic wing of the Medical Center, three clerical people -- including yours truly, whom they made an administrative assistant to Bud, and a couple nursing aides.
Bud loves it even though it’s quite demanding. He’s trying to focus on teaching so that he doesn’t expend huge amounts of energy doing one-on-ones. I think he’s right. Even for him, those private consultations can be really draining and frustrating, at times.
So, things were settling with the hospital again. What next?
Didn’t take long before there was some commotion across town at the medical school. I never got the full details, but it was all over an invitation for Bud to speak there. Apparently, another compromise was made.
So, Bud has agreed to participate in what they call Grand Rounds over there. It’s to be sponsored by the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Child had to do a lot of scrambling to even get that far. Basically, they’re going to discuss Bud’s case with him present.
Child’s ploy is to start out talking about Bud’s exceptional physical development. But, I know his aim is to swing the discussion in other directions. I’m not permitted to go. I get an extra day off this week. But, I wish I could be a “little medical school mouse” so I could peak in on Bud’s first day at school.
I tell you I’ve been going through it lately. I’ve been spending almost as much time on politics as I have on medicine. But I think it’s been worth it. On second thought, I know it’s worth it. You should’ve witnessed the Grand Rounds. It was amazing!
Didn’t start out that way. Though we did get a packed house. Initially, we’d planned to do rounds in one of the small lecture halls. But once the title of the rounds had been announced, and controversy and conjecture took charge, we were forced to move to the largest auditorium in the whole medical school.
After knocking our heads together, the pediatric group at City Medical Center which includes our honorary staff member, Dr. Bud Borden, decided on A Case Study of Precocious Development for the title of our Grand Rounds presentation. I got the name of several prominent pediatricians attached to the flyers and notices. That may have helped some. We decided to leave Bud’s name off, but the grapevine spread the news quickly enough to fill every seat and then some.
So, we divided up the presentation which we scheduled for two hours instead of the regular one. Lots of kibitzers suggested we’d never get a crowd for a two-hour weekday rounds. And, if we did, people would split before we were half through.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong! We packed those two hours with something for everyone. Even got Dr. Schumann in on the program which was a delight for the male component of the audience.
Bud was happy with her addition, as well. You should’ve seen him. He connived to get seated right next to her during the whole proceeding. Beyond that, he even held hands with her part of the time. I heard him whisper to her, “Will you hold my hand. I’m a little scared with this huge crowd.” She giggled and took his hand. Lucky fella.
Well, there was an atmosphere of excitement and expectation when we arrived. There were other vibes floating around like, “Yeah, you gotta prove this all isn’t a hoax to me.” Fortunately, that air wasn’t predominant in the room. Otherwise, we might’ve had a harder row to hoe.
Anyway, I started out by welcoming everyone and introducing the program. Schumann told her experience of the delivery and the details thereof. I recounted my call to the delivery suite. There were quite a few “humbugs” and “harumpfs” to both of our statements about Bud’s speaking at birth. But, no one batted an eye at his weight and height measurements. The old concrete information versus subjective observation thing, you know.
The pediatric staff went into detail about Bud’s growth and development. We had no end of charts and audiovisuals without which no medical conference can proceed. We needed those as a balance for the less concrete things to follow. We peppered the whole presentation with photos, videos, and audios of Bud and his antics. I think we provided a good mix.
Interestingly and amazingly, hardly a soul moved during the whole rounds. Beepers were all but silent during the two hours. That really gave me a clue about how we were doing.
Just about halfway through, we had a quick performance by the BeeCees. That was the showstopper. Even the Scrooges in the audience couldn’t help but smile and applaud the music and levity. The crowd cried, “Encore,” but I begged off, telling them that we’d sing again for the medical school benefit later in the year.
Besides, we had more, much more, to do. Next, I pulled out my ace in the hole: Dr. Geoffrey Greene, from Guy’s Hospital in London. We made several inducements for Greene to visit the Rocky Mountains. He resisted only slightly until he got what must’ve been on his shopping list. Actually, we didn’t have to wangle too much with him. It only took two phone calls, one from me and one from Bud to convince him.
Mr. Greene, as he’s called in Britain, is quite an authority. Seems to know everything about medical history as well as curiosities and anomalies, possibilities and probabilities. The fellow is a qualified physician and has Ph.D.’s in history and anthropology. The credential-focused part of the audience had to bow, at least a little, to his training and experience. He was clearly the most degreed man in the whole building that day.
Though a bit eccentric and quite English, the fellow did get the medics’ attention. I sensed that he was able to push some essential points across. Several of these same points I’d heard over the past many months from Bud’s own mouth.
After using a variety of references to support his case, the big burly, red-haired chap closed by speaking about possibilities:
“Every seemingly impossible thing Mr. Borden has demonstrated to date has previously been documented somewhere in the medical literature, and most of it within the past century or so. This fellow has just managed to thread quite a few phenomenal things together on the same string.
“If we peruse history -- even medical history, we will notice it being repeated time and again. If we know the extremes of human anatomy and physiology, we will come to recognize more of the amazing spectrum of possibilities which can influence our health and healing.
“Beware of the mind. I tell myself that most everyday. Then I forget until I remind myself again. A good habit, I think.
“Beware your mind doesn’t become limited to the few old textbooks you used in medical school or the occasional journal you read or the compulsory meetings you attend. To quote the famous bard who once lived up the road from my present abode, ‘There are more things in heaven and on earth than are found in your philosophy, Horatio.’
“Ladies and gentleman, let me suggest that we do live in a world of possibilities and that we all take time to consider more of the possibilities within our planet, our patients and ourselves.”
Well, Dr. Greene was greeted and sent off with rousing applause. Even if the audience didn’t agree with him or like his preaching, they did enjoy his spirited presentation, short though it was.
Actually, amongst the group and Greene and Bud, we had enough material to continue on well into the evening. We’ve certainly had a large number of requests for followup of some sort. Basically, the response was just grand -- although not immediate.
By the time Dr. Greene finished, we were down to less than a half hour. We saved Bud for last. He walked forward and climbed up onto a stool. We couldn’t get him to use a microphone. Said he didn’t need it. And, he didn’t. He mobilized some internal force and projected a sonorous and resonant voice to every corner of the room.
Bud started by saying, “I agree with Dr. Greene quite closely on this subject else, I suppose, one of us wouldn’t be here.”
That drew quite a chuckle. Borden proceeded, “You know my story at least through the hearsay presented today and through the media items over the past years. The evidence is substantial. You can believe or disbelieve. It doesn’t matter for my sake, really.
“But, honestly, I think it can matter -- at least the spirit of this whole thing -- for your lives and for your patients’ lives.”
I have to tell you that, even though I didn’t realize it at the time, as Bud was speaking, the energy in the auditorium was changing dramatically. It was a quite unexpected thing. We had planned that Bud would just say a few words, then take questions. But, I trust him implicitly. So, I just went along. Somehow, the rest of the audience did the same.
Before long, the most amazing thing occurred. He was talking about the welfare of people and medicine and our good intentions. And then, healing and love.
Eventually by magic or hypnosis or something, he took us all back to the moment of our births.
There was no objection from any corner. No movement. No sound other than his penetrating voice which moved me -- and I gather everyone else -- to our own point of entry. I was in heaven or some such place, at least, for a few moments.
No one else who was there has suggested having any different experience. Lots of people don’t dare talk about what happened to them. Apparently, we all went back to the instant when we passed from the inner world into our bodies.
Bud’s words were lost to me for what the clock showed to be a quarter of an hour. Eventually, we were drawn back to present awareness.
The room was electric as Bud said, “The moment of your birth ushered in the possibility of this life. The moment of the remembrance of your birth can be a rebirth and can bring the possibility of an enhanced life of greater joy and discovery and healing.”
Borden slid off his stool and walked out of the auditorium. No one seemed able to speak at the moment. We all kind of just wandered out of the hall wondering what had happened to us -- what he’d done to us.
Tea for Three
Good evening, KBOB-TV viewers. We have an unexpected treat for you tonight. We reported to you recently on a convocation called Pediatric Grand Rounds that was held on the campus of Rocky Mountain Medical School. Although we weren’t invited inside, we did have reporters standing by at the adjournment of the meeting.
The responses that we received from physicians and students were quite unexpected. We found some attendees totally mute. Others could speak, but were unable to find words to express themselves. Those who could talk used words like, “Astounding,” “Unbelievable,” “Baffling,” and “Breathtaking.”
Time has allowed some of the rapture to wear off. Yet, most of the medical personnel at the meeting are apparently still in a state of shock. We have only heard a small number of dissenting opinions on the event, but none of those dissenters have been willing to speak to us on camera.
So, we’ve arranged for the main speakers at the Pediatric Grand Rounds to share a sense of that meeting with you through an intimate tea party. Our guests are Dr. Geoffrey Greene, who heads his own multi-faceted Medical History Department at Guy’s Hospital in London, Dr. James Child, Chief of Pediatrics at City Medical Center, and our own Dr. Bud Borden.
Gentleman, thank you for joining us this evening. I hope the tea is satisfactory. Now, for some conversation. Dr. Greene, can you tell us what was so extraordinary about this meeting?
“Yes. Well, Dr. Borden, may be able to do that. For myself, I can only talk around the subject in terms of possibilities which happened to be my topic at the Grand Rounds.
“Let me just say, I was myself somewhat astounded by the turn of events in the meeting. But, I do believe what we search for, we do inevitably find. We all received an opportunity to expand our horizons in one way or another at these rounds. I doubt very much if there has ever been anything quite so universally penetrating at any such meeting in the past, here or anywhere.”
Dr. Child, how did you view the conference?
“I’m sure Dr. Greene is right, at least in one way. I mean we -- he or I -- are confined to our own experience. Bud may be able to give us a broader view.
“I think I should explain for the viewers the purpose of the Grand Rounds. We -- our pediatrics group at City Medical Center -- had decided it was high time that we shared ‘some of the wealth’ of our experience with our friend and colleague, Bud Borden, with the larger medical community. So, we put together a Grand Rounds, which is a common teaching format in medical settings, and called it A Case Study of Precocious Development. We wanted to highlight some of the curious and provocative aspects of our friend’s birth and growth and general spirit to date.
“Very honestly, the closing of the program was left in Bud Borden’s hands. I’m not responsible for any of that, and yet I’m most grateful and still in awe.
“In the latter minutes of the rounds, Bud spoke to us and eventually touched us in some profound way so that, I believe, every person in the auditorium was able to reexperience his or her birth. My sense is that the opportunity was afforded to open us to greater possibilities as well as to add another level of compassion to our personal capacities. It was a most absorbing and stimulating -- and inspiring moment.”
Bud, Dr. Borden. They seem to be pointing to you for some answers. Can you provide . . . Let me stop for a second. I remember you won’t give us answers. Please, comment and explain a little.
“Geoff and Jim have covered the essentials of the event in a few words -- as far as words can go. I’ll add a few more. Imagine a pile of bricks. Some of the bricks are knowledge bricks and some of them are experience bricks. Both are used to build a strong and solid wall of - say, a medical building. But that wall has limitations. It doesn’t allow vision to the other side except through particular spots called windows. If the same building had bricks that were transparent, it would have strength as well as “eyes” all over the building.
“Both medicine and doctors need to be transparent. We all need to become transparent, someday. That transparency allows for seeing and viewing more possibilities -- in disease and in healing and in life.
“All possibilities are right here and right now. But, not all of them are available to us because our minds are too weak and our eyes have been shuttered by those minds. Or, we just don’t care to look. When we build larger minds and medical complexes to be strong and clear, we’ll see more and know more, do more and love more and heal more. Some of those greater things the Bible and other traditions speak.
“So, what we did the other day was simple -- and not so simple. The simple part was to lull the audience into an altered state and present them with their own version of a universal experience -- birth.
“The language of the moment -- if you will -- was childbirth. The focus of the convocation, the speakers, my few words, and the enveloping energy was birth. So, the next step was to offer the participants through their own attentive and convergent minds a living, Technicolor replay of their own coming out party, so to speak.
“Most of them received it very well. Some are still struggling with it. Some will reject it. It was an opportunity and also a test of the mind.
“Fortunately, we’re all capable of coming out again -- and again -- at any age. That was also part of the lesson. ”
This is pretty deep. Can one of you go at it from another angle for me? Dr. Greene?
“Well, I understand some of your dilemma. I closed my remarks the other day with a bit of Shakespeare: ‘There are more things in heaven and on earth than are found in your philosophy, Horatio.’
“Dr. Borden was just trying to expand our philosophy by moving our minds in that medical school auditorium. He certainly sent a shockwave through mine. It rattled like an earthquake. But, some of the dust has settled now. I trust that my vision will be cleansed somewhat from that moment and my time here with you.”
Life, like birth, is such a great mystery. For that matter, so much of our experience is beyond our full understanding. How often do we think we understand when our perspective or interpretation is way off?
Honestly, I have to tell you I really don’t know much. Most of what I claim to know comes from educated guesswork, simply tuning in, or just vibrating with the waves of life. But, I do know one thing!
That’s that life is continuing, without beginning and without end. We’ve all been in and out of bodies repeatedly, living in the inner worlds as well as the outer ones on and on.
The problem is that we’ve forgotten. But honestly, that’s not solely our fault. The Shushing Angel is at least partly to blame. A story from the Jewish tradition tells that each infant is touched oh so gently on the spot right beneath the nose at the instant of birth. The Angel makes a physical depression there called the philtrum telling the child, “You will neither remember nor be able to speak of your experiences here in the inner world or of your previous lives in the physical plane.”
Thus, our memory is blurred for long times until we begin to truly awaken slowly over the ages.
The poet Wordsworth described this in his own lovely way:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting.
And cometh from afar.
So, the problem is forgetting or not remembering. If only we could remember. Where we’ve been, what we’ve done, who we were. We might know something then, in the larger sense of the word. Wouldn’t it be grand? Oh! Yes, for some. And no, I suppose, for most folks. Awareness of the present life is more than sufficient for most people to deal with. But for some of us, the option is open to tell the Shushing Angel to go back whence he came.
But, how can we possibly remember what we don’t remember?
Good question. Very good question!
The best way to begin is to read the signs in and around us. The symbols and images of our lives have so much to tell us about present as well as past, sometimes even future.
One clue is that most of those things which have strong meaning for us undoubtedly have been part of our past lives -- somewhere, some time. Meaning certainly can be developed in one lifetime, even this one. But much that is important to us seeps through from previous incarnations. We hear whispers, see glimpses of the past, sense threads of days gone by without paying attention. If we did, we would gather greater comfort and clarity regarding our presence and path in this time and place.
Socrates is famous for his “favorite doctrine” in which he differentiated between learning and remembering. He suggested that most of what we seem to learn is really do to our remembering from past incarnations. If something comes easily to you, likely you’ve done it before. If not, it may be your first time around with it, or you might have resisted learning it last time and have to struggle with it again.
Socrates wanted to point his fellows toward the traces of knowledge garnered through the timeless journey of the soul. He considered the talents and traces, not the knowledge itself, as keys to leading us to the inward source of life and truth.
Other clues may come from family patterns, people and relationships. Have you never seen new or different faces while looking into the visage of a friend or loved one? The old lifetimes are written on the brows and chins, eyes and lips of all of us, waiting for the right moment to be seen in a new light. Or, maybe it’s really an old light.
The kind of relationships we have with important people in our lives most assuredly gives us evidence of past situations and interactions. I can’t help ruminating on the significance of the handing down of names in families like father to son and grandson. Seems to me in some of these cases, one member of the lineage may well be handing the name onward to the one who passed it to him a generation back. I often think about the Churchill family. How the famous Winston so revered his father Randolph that he wrote a biography of the short-lived gentleman and then bestowed his name on his only son. The two Randolphs had a remarkable number of similarities.
Places which stir us to the depth of the soul certainly may give us hints of the past. Even special dates and celebrations. Predispositions and predilections. Aptitudes and attitudes.
Like I say, the clues which may lead us to remembering are all around us. And, you don’t have to be a psychic to pick them up.
“All’s fair in love and war,” they say. Maybe “healing” should be added to that short list. Sure seems like we’ve been stretching a lot of boundaries in the Department of Healing Modalities, lately. But, what do I know?
We’ve had our ups and downs ever since we began this healing business. Now, it looks like we’ve started to have some real struggles. The way Bud approaches things with almost total trust and sincerity, it’s no wonder the fallout began collecting.
I suppose the changes have been incremental and maybe Bud has held some of the touchier ones back. But when the psychics showed up on the premises, I was sure we were asking for it.
Don’t get me wrong. They all seemed to be kind and gentle and sweet. Maybe too kind and gentle and sweet. Interesting that they were all women. I wonder if that’s an occupational thing like nursing or does Bud just attract women. Maybe it’s both, huh?
Anyway for a few weeks, this crowd of middle-aged or mostly middle-aged women moved in on the Department of Healing Modalities. Bud may well have been smitten by one of the ringleaders. I can’t really say. Howe’er that was, these women just started making appointments and taking charge. If anyone ever asked where they got their cues, they just pointed to Bud’s office and announced, “Oh, Bud said we could do this. He’s so cute.”
They were doing some of the strangest, off-the-wall things and making pretty weird diagnoses and suggestions. I never quite figured out how they thought themselves able to make diagnoses. Isn’t that a doctor’s prerogative?
One woman just looked at her fingers for her information. If one finger came up, the answer meant, “Yes.” If two popped up, that signified, “No.” It reminded me of grade school and asking to go the bathroom. Other folks used pendulums and cards.
We had everything but crystal balls and witches for a while. Well, it was about enough to make a fella tear his hair out. And, that’s serious business for a balding old coot like me.
Once the pattern became clear, I tried to alert Bud with hints like, “Do you think this is a good idea?” or “Something isn’t quite kosher these days.” Initially, he just told me that they were all harmless and good-hearted and well-meaning. That sounded okay, but didn’t address the problems and complaints that were coming up.
Bud seemed to think that things would take care of themselves. I tried to remind him that we were in a conventional medical center, not an independent clinic. A while ago, he did hint that he was letting the situation continue so that “Some lessons can be learned.” That only helped me for a couple days.
Finally, I got upset late in the afternoon two days later. I slammed the door to his office and I spoke to him quite bluntly. Forgive me, Lord. I said, “Jesus! Bud, things are really getting out of hand. You have to do something. These people are in outer space. They’re playing games. They think they know, but they don’t know any more about these patients than I do. I could do just as well if I put on a costume and waved my hands around and said some magic words. Isn’t it about time for you to do something with these women?”
Right then, I realized he had known all along what was going on. Everything was apparently on schedule. He was quite prepared for my tirade. Bud said, “You’re absolutely right. It is time for a change. We begin tomorrow.”
And, we did. Everyone of the psychic bunch showed up for an afternoon meeting even when it was announced that all of their future appointments had been canceled. As Bud began to talk to the group, I could see why he’d taken his time with them. They all liked him and believed in him enough to listen intently and take to heart what he said. They apparently accepted his premise and proposal, though Bud didn’t give them a moment to blink or say no. He said:
“Ladies, we’ve all become good friends over these last weeks. I trust you’re ready to inaugurate a most valuable project.
“Let me put the project into perspective: You all have talents which are useful in the healing process. You’ve been given these gifts to help others. Unfortunately, your gifts are not so easily accepted as those of the traditional health care workers employed by the medical center. Frankly, it seems that your methods are often misunderstood.
“What do they have that you don’t have? Well, they’ve gone to school and trained for degrees and credentials. They’ve been tested in a standardized manner and stamped by some approving authority. M.D., Ph.D., R.N. and the like are easily recognized by the public. Their true level of skill and healing ability is quite often irrelevant. Patients go to them and follow their orders.
“Now, I’m quite confident that many of these hospital workers are not quite so talented or sensitive as yourselves. But, this really amounts to little. Your talents have small play even now that you have a tiny niche here in this tiny department.
“So, I’ve been imagining some way we can expose the regular staff to your gifts. Admittedly, this will have to be done in a roundabout manner. The program that I envision will have you in contact with a variety of traditionally trained people. Actually, this should allow for some cross- pollination, so to speak.
“Ostensibly, you’ll be in a basic health care training program. The regular staff will be sharing orthodox concepts with you while you’ll have the unwritten agenda to expose your teachers to your own varied healing talents. Mum is the word. This will have to be done cautiously and respectfully, but I know you can do it.
“Therefore, I’m proposing that the Department of Healing Modalities of City Medical Center accept this group as its premiere class in Practical Health Care Studies.
“All those in favor signify by saying aye. Well, it appears that we’re unanimous.”
That was the beginning of our latest project. Just in time. It turned the women’s energies into new directions. They’re happy. Bud’s happy. I’m happy. Nobody worries any more. Believe me!?
Well, my boys, Borden and Child finally made it here for a visit. I invited them, over two years ago. It was partially my own fault. I never got around to reissuing the invitation, although I’ve seen them here and there. Guess I’ve been busy with plenty of other things, and since I left the hospital board, I haven’t kept as close tabs on the Borden phenom.
So, it was good to see them. They’re bright and energetic and young. No comparisons called for. Wished they’d brought their singing partners. I would’ve put them to work over the noon hour performing in the press room.
They did come bearing gifts. But, that was just to get on my good side. They know I carry quite a bit of weight in this city, figuratively, as well as literally.
They tried to put the crunch on me to get back on the hospital board for one thing. Well, I was going back anyway. I’m a shoe-in. I hemmed and hawed a bit before I “gave in” to the suggestion. Had to play it up a little to them. They’re going to owe me pretty soon.
After that round, Borden spoke up, “Gee, that’s great, Mr. Gates. You’re one of the best things connected with the hospital -- were and will be. We need your help, though, whether you’re on the board or not. We have two or three things to work on. The first is making some inroads at the medical school. You know we led a grand rounds over there, some time ago. Jim worked long and hard to get that okayed. The response was terrific, but it seems like a cloud of fear swooped down after we left. We can’t raise a stir over there. They just kind of ignore us. Isn’t that right, Jim?”
Child jumped in, “That’s right. On a personal basis, everyone is decent enough. But professionally, I get a cold shoulder. And, it’s colder than it used to be. Feels like someone -- or some department -- over there has closed the door on us. The only thing we have going for us now is the med school benefit at the end of the summer. We’re singing for it. I’m sure we’ll get a huge crowd and bring in a big chunk of money to help support the school. Now, Mr. Gates, do you think you could budge things over there even a little bit? We know you carry some weight there just like everywhere else in town. We want to get Bud over there teaching on some sort of regular or irregular basis. The students would eat it up and gain a lot from it.”
Well, I had to stop them. They were almost getting mushy on me. “Yes, yes. You’re right. But, hold on. You don’t have to butter me up. I like you boys and believe in you. I’ll help you out. I’ll talk to the dean. He’s brand new. Untouched by political hands. So, I’ll get over there right away and paw on him a bit. The Gazette and Gates get attention most everywhere. Luckily, I’m a kind, decent, and generous citizen. Now, you boys . . . I hope you don’t mind me calling you boys. If that one’s okay with you, I’d like you to call me Gordon. Okay? What else do you fellas have on your minds?”
It was Bud’s turn, again. “Okay, Gordon. This one could be easier or harder. I don’t know. This one is my own project, but Jim said he’d help. It’ll come to your view when you get back on the board. I’ve had this gaggle of women in my department, lately. They’re the local psychics and card readers, basically untrained healers. They’re fine and sweet and well-intentioned, but sadly they’re lost in the clouds with most of the things they’re doing or think they’re doing. Well, I made a deal with them to get them some training. Some basic training, you might say. Anatomy, terminology, standard medical knowledge. They’re kind-hearted folks. They just need to organize their thinking. So, I need some personnel diverted intermittently from the hospital to teach these women, rub shoulders with them, make them feel accepted at the same time. I’ll work up a proposal which will be waiting for you when you return to the board. I trust that’ll be okay. This shouldn’t be too large an expense. We can draw from the regular teaching pool. It should be another win-win situation.”
Well, Borden hooked me, again. How did he know that’s one of my favorite phrases. I’m sure I’ve never spoken those words in his presence before. Regardless, I really like those boys. Maybe even love ’em. Now, do you think they could have been my kids in a previous lifetime?
The Pulse of Life
Ah, life! It’s so fascinating. Never more so than in the past two years. The ebb and flow of things amazes me more each day. People coming and going. Even the traffic. Do you ever stop and think how much traffic moves on the highways and byways each day? And, yet with all that racing activity, accidents are really few and far between. May just be luck. But, I think there must be some potent gremlin or invisible grand poobah who takes orders from the top to keep the roads flowing and clear. Only when some fumbling mortal needs to learn a smashing lesson does that fellow let down his guard or turn his eye.
That metaphor might work for our own bodily traffic. Even from common medical perspectives, it’s not hard to get a good mental picture of the grand flow of blood cells and nerve impulses. Not to mention such other forces that lie betwixt and beyond the obvious physiology we’ve known for centuries.
Our ad hoc pediatric medical studies group has been expanding as of recent date. Expanding with new participants while expanding the dimensions we investigate. We’ve basically decided that “Anything’s fair game.”
We’ve expanded to such a point that we’ve just about every medical specialty represented. With some arm twisting, we were able to invite chiropractors. I even found an interested veterinarian. He and I have been comparing notes. Bud was right. Pediatrics and vet medicine do have a lot in common.
So, we’re now officially and cheerfully labeled the Second-Timer’s Medical Student Association. We’ve been having a blast. Originally, we met once a month. But, there was so much interest, we moved to weekly meetings. The faces change all the time because nobody can make all the meetings. But, that lets us mix a lot more.
Marty and Dave are coordinating and Bud helps with many of the programs. Most recently, we’ve gotten good press through the first-timers at the medical school. Half of the recent groups have been young medical students. So, I think we’ll be making more of those needed connections with the school.
Then, we have the insiders’ group. It’s still basically a foursome. We see each other in the hospital and meet when the occasion arises. Basically, we do informal rounds when one of the group has a special case or need. Maybe once or twice a week for an hour or so.
Bud continues to be the main teacher. But honestly, everyone is learning to do this deeper investigation and subtle forms of intervention. Sometimes, they seem to be one and the same. Like the last time we got together.
Actually on that get-together, one of our alternates, Al Abrams from internal medicine asked for our help. He had a patient with an abnormal heart rhythm which wasn’t responding well to drugs. The woman was getting tired of the side effects and said no to electric shock.
So, all five of us went in to see her after her heart drugs had been discontinued for 48 hours. Abrams led the way and introduced the BeeCees to this delightful old gal. Someone had to pipe in that since Abrams arrived, we might have to change our name to the ABCees. Ha, ha, ha.
We got started off on a light note, anyway. Abrams handed things over to Bud after we checked her EKG tracings and listened to her heart. Bud never bothers with that stuff. I wish I felt that confident, yet. But, I don’t. He sat at the lady’s bedside for a few moments and asked only a couple questions. Mostly, Bud was just trying to get her composed. He did take about two minutes with her pulse after which he was ready to get to work.
Bud had us strip off our coats and get comfortable. Everyone pulled up a chair and got settled, one at each of her limbs. Then, he had us find her pulses in hands and feet. This felt kind of strange. As if we didn’t know where they were. But, as always, he had a method behind his Budness.
Once we were settled with her pulses, he made us make contact -- touch hands -- and pulses -- with the doc diagonal to us. It seems that we were making some subtle electrical circuit in that way. Honestly, it took a while to make that go. We really had to work as a team while tuning in to the lady’s arterial pulsation and our partners. But, it was a lot more than that.
Bud didn’t even touch the woman. He just peered in over the circle. Still, we were all observers and participants, yet somehow connected. The lady quickly settled into a light nap in which we unfortunately couldn’t join. But, we could get in flow with her. When she lapsed into that sleep, we knew we were heading in the right direction.
Well, we were tuned into the irregularly irregular pulse waves and the woman’s resting body. Eventually, I think we all shifted into an awareness of the network of energies which we had formed. At that exact instant, our patient’s pulse stopped entirely for a few seconds. The four of us stared at each other in wonder -- honestly, a little fear.
The pause must have lasted only ten seconds. But, it seemed like a minute. Then . . .
Then . . . She converted. Her heart rate became perfectly normal.
We all gawked at our partners and at Bud. He motioned for us to let go quietly and leave the woman to rest. When we had removed ourselves to the nursing station, he bid us goodbye after saying, “Amazing what a few electrical hands and joined hearts can accomplish.”
The woman’s heartbeat continued in normal rhythm through the rest of her hospitalization. We all get to see her back at Abrams’ clinic in a month.
A Real Baby
We have a real baby, now. I’m so happy. Joey’s happy. Everybody loves the new baby. She’s so sweet. She’s really quite normal. She has a real love affair with grandpa Nate and Aunt Laura. They’re so good with her. Baby likes Bud, too. They connected within moments of her birth.
Bud told us we’d have a girl and he predicted the timing almost exactly. It’s been nearly six months since baby Jean arrived. Joey and I played with all sorts of girls’ names. But somehow, Jean kept coming to me. It’s not trendy or frilly, but I always liked it. Jean was Joey’s mother’s name.
I liked Jean. She and Nate were good to me, but I was really closer to Nate when Jean was alive. After she died, I didn’t think about her much except when Nate was having the blues. Then, I kind of got put out with her for leaving Nate all by himself. I know it doesn’t make any sense. But, that’s how I would feel, at times.
Since Bud was born, I’d had hardly a thought of her until the last couple months of my pregnancy. Whenever I’d scan a name book, I would come back to Jean. At times, I’d try to avoid the J’s. Everybody’s name seems to start with J. Joe and Jim and Jane and Jason and Justin and Jennifer and Jessica, not to mention John and Jack and Jerry. How did that happen, I wonder?
If you look in the dictionary, J-words are less common than all others except Q, X, Y, and Z. But then, there are more J-names than any other letter. Well, I puzzled over that for a long time. I got stuck on this baby-naming thing. I really didn’t want to start a family with a set of J-kids like some people have. I don’t count Bud. He still hasn’t got a real name, yet.
I guess it was unavoidable. I mean naming the baby, Jean. Joey said it was just fine with him. He felt quite okay to be reminded of his mother. So, Jean it was. We decided many days before she was born.
Well then, what should happen? Baby Jean was born ten years and a day after Grandma Jean died. Isn’t that something? We never even considered the possibility of something like that until the birth occurred. Baby arrived about two weeks ahead of schedule.
The day before she was born, we all went to church. Grandpa Nate had some flowers placed at the chancel and a note appeared in the bulletin that the roses were to honor the memory of Jean Borden.
Like I told you, the name Jean had been with me for weeks. Then from the moment I noticed the flowers and read the bulletin, Jean’s face came to me. And, she was with me when I started labor and went to the hospital and delivered the baby. Then, her sweet smile left me. But, I’ll never forget it.
With the new baby, life has changed again. Bud still comes most every weekend and we walk the baby or the dogs. You know, the neighbors’ dogs. We have a keen time together. And, he’s really genuinely happy for Joey and me and now Jean. It may be hard for you to understand, as hard as it’s been for me to accept, but Bud is really like a big brother. I suppose it won’t be long -- just a couple years -- and he’ll be taller than me. It doesn’t matter though, because I look up to him right now.
I proclaim myself a real mother. Feeding Jean and changing diapers, bathing her and fussing over her in any and every way I can. She’ll be spoiled, at least until we have another one or two.
Now we have a real baby and a family. It’s a real family. It feels like Christmas all the time. And, I still have my own Tiny Tim. That’s our Bud. No Scrooges in the bunch, thankfully.
Yeah, we had a little girl. Jean. She’s almost six months, now. Our second child. Or, maybe she’s our first child. We seem to have one adult and one child. It’s really kind of touching and funny and amazing. Wonders never cease. We’ve settled into a routine as a family -- the three of us. Bud and Nate make five on the weekends.
Grandpa spends most of Sunday with us. Bud is here most of the time, but not quite as much as he did before Jean arrived. He’s “branching out.” He’s really quite a guy. I couldn’t begin to tell you about him even if I was a writer or a preacher.
Like I said, the waves settled a lot with the new baby. We’re getting to be a regular, typical, normal, middle-class family except . . . Except for Bud. That’s obvious. Right. Well, there’s another exception. Yeah?
Yeah. This is between you and me, okay? Baby Jean is my mother. Or, was my mother. I’m sure of it. Or, at least, pretty sure. No, Bud didn’t hand this idea to me. And, Marian somehow hasn’t picked up on it. No one else has noticed or cares.
No, I’m not crazy. I’m sure I could get a positive reading on this with Bud. Actually, I think I have. We’ve nodded and smiled over some of Jean’s actions and relationships. But, we haven’t said a single word about the situation. One of these days, when the time is right, we will.
So, how do I come to this conclusion? I guess I could just tell you that I know my mother, but that wouldn’t mean much.
Well, let’s go over the clues. Baby Jean was born ten years and one day after my mother died. Coincidence? Heck no!
Marian picked her name weeks ahead of time and saw Mom’s face for 36 hours before the birth.
More clues: The baby looks like her grandma. Skin and hair and eye color and smile. Baby photos are almost identical. Everyone notices it, but nobody seems to put it together. I can’t believe that Marian hasn’t put two and two together, yet. They even have some similar body markings and dimples.
More hints: Baby Jean just adores grandpa Nate. Should that be strange? A little. Dad isn’t that into kids. Says he is, but that’s more talk than anything. Generally, he only pays passing attention with the other grandchildren. A typical male sort of thing, I think.
But with baby Jean, it’s different. They’re inseparable when Dad comes to visit. When Dad comes in the door, Jean lights up and she loves to sit on grandpa’s lap. Once there, she usually doesn’t want to leave.
Dad always brings her some little toy or flower or balloon. He never forgets. There’s always something in his hand for Jean when he comes to visit. He doesn’t do that with anybody else. Never has. Maybe he did with Mom, years ago. I don’t remember.
What else? The evidence piles up, circumstantial though it may be. Mom and Aunt Laura used to be real pals. Laura has said so many times over the years how she missed her older sister. Well, now, Laura and Baby Jean are thick. Laura drops in three times as often as she used to since baby came. I know she’s not here to see me or Marian, but to see her sister, Jean. Why doesn’t anybody else catch this?
I’m no lawyer. So, I might not win a court case with my “witnesses,” but I’ll continue on the trail of more conclusive proof. My last bit of evidence is this. . . You may laugh. Go ahead. A couple weeks ago, I was getting ready to go off to work. I kissed Marian and said goodbye. I gave Jean a hug and a kiss and handed her to Marian. As I waved, “Bye. Bye,” Jean winked at me. I automatically winked back and walked out the door.
Driving to work, I knew that Jean was my mother, now my little girl. We always used to wink at each other when we said our goodbyes.
Here’s looking at you, Mom.
We did it again. The BeeCees onstage and live at the medical school benefit was a ringing success. We played it smooth and saucy. Neither the Brothers Gibb nor John Travolta could’ve done any better under the circumstances. We had the audience eating out of our hands.
As usual, Bud was in the spotlight for most of the time. Even this conservative medical audience loved the music and the dancing. Our choreographer, Marilyn Gray from the O.R., worked up a half dozen routines for us. Then, she gave us a lot of hints on how to shake our butts around. You should’ve heard the over-40 women in the audience screaming.
We did disco tunes and some Beatles’ songs, mostly. We pulled Al Abrams onto the floor to do a kids’ number. He was really scared, but we’d practiced him enough to make it work. Al thanked us afterwards, but said he was definitely in no hurry to do it again.
We closed with some patriotic stuff and got the crowd singing and line-dancing. Even had lots of the old fogies prancing and shaking on that round.
No encores, though. All four of us just made pitches for supporting the medical school, its new dean, and new programs. We made some not so subtle hints about things to come.
The evening was clearly a resounding hit. I haven’t heard about the financial end of things. But surely, big bucks must’ve rolled into the coffers. Maybe half a million dollars.
After our performance, the floor was cleared for couples to dance. Guess who went into action, then? None other than our esteemed and truly dedicated Dr. Bud Borden. Earlier in the evening, we’d auctioned off tickets for the ladies to dance with him. And, dance he did.
What a hoot! You should’ve seen him. Bud was falling in love with every other woman he touched. If not he was just falling into their arms and other obvious appendages. I told you he was really a lecherous old man in a boy’s body.
No matter. The women thought it was grand. They couldn’t wait for a turn. When the auction tickets had been taken up, Bud pressed on at $100 a dance. His dancing alone must’ve brought in five or ten thousand for the school.
So, while Bud was living it up, the CeeTeam went hunting for the new dean. Paul Snyder must have known we would be looking for him. He seemed to beat us to the punch. Nice guy.
He came right up to us and introduced himself. Told us how much he loved the show and appreciated the support. Said, “I think we might be able to help each other out. When can you fellows come for a conversation?”
What more could we ask for? A smashing full dress performance, big bucks in the bank for the school, Buddy boy in love several times over, and an invitation to meet with the Pres.
I admit I’ve been resting on my laurels more than a robust fellow like myself ought to. I mean to say I’ve let the Borden fruit wither on the vine. The Gazette really hasn’t played it up enough, lately. Beyond that I honestly haven’t investigated it as much as I might have.
I suppose, at first, I was so taken by the young fellow. Then, other things got in the way. Finally, Child and Borden are like my own kids. Feels funny to send out an investigative reporter on my own son. But, that’s just what I did not too long ago.
Actually, I have to believe Borden has nothing to hide. Maybe he just doesn’t want to pass around all of his secrets, yet. In any case, the next time we get together, I’ll have a much better understanding of him and this whole mishmash.
So, I’ve got a couple reporters and a clerical person going over every tidbit of the previous Bud Borden’s history. This was all done very lightly after the birth. No one dug very deeply, I think, so as not to disturb the family.
The whole thing was a Cinderella -- or Cinderfella -- sort of affair. Nobody wanted to find anything ugly from Borden’s past. So, none of the media looked very hard. Scratched the surface of Borden’s life and only asked harmless questions of his family. I don’t think anyone even interviewed his former wife or other women in his past. Furthermore, no one looked into his travel history. Some valuable information might come out of that. I think more than a few leads were just dropped.
So, Gazette Gates is back on the reportorial trail. I’m committed to looking into every nook and cranny before I go much further in this Borden crusade. I don’t care if he could be my “boy.” They say the devil comes in all sorts of disguises and does some mighty works to get peoples’ attention. How big and how long? I don’t know. But, Gordon Gates won’t have any explosions rocking his Gazette.
Not that I expect one. But, a fella can never be too careful. Besides, the story is just incomplete, right now. The reporting has been downright shoddy. All fluff and froth. Great public relations stuff, but poor newspapering.
I gotta get my ducks in order before I go shooting my mouth off at the medical school. And I want some solid historical information at hand when I talk with Borden and Child, again.
I’ll get more meat out of the Borden story or my name isn’t Gordon Gazette Gates. You can count on that.
Seems like every few months Bud premieres, debuts, or starts something new. Yesterday, he gave his first medical school “lecture.” Actually, it was a welcome and conversation more than anything. But, it looks like Paul Snyder might make him, and maybe the rest of us, an adjunct professor at the school. That’s just a wish and a guess right now.
As far as I know, he hasn’t even talked with Gordon Gates, yet. But, we had our meeting with him just a few days ago. We told him what we’re up to, more or less. He listened mostly. His main response came back as, “Medicine is changing, but not rapidly enough. I think medical training may be able to move a little more quickly than the profession in general. I’m not quite sure where to put you fellows or your ideas right now. For starters, would you be willing to let us use you for seasoning on the school menu this semester. Maybe like: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Who’s willing to be plain old parsley?”
We all laughed. We were quite willing to add some flavor over at the school. The menu certainly could use a lot more variety and maybe even some, “Spicy meat-a-balls.”
Snyder immediately asked us if we’d be up for speaking to the freshman class during its orientation week. We happily accepted and began preparing for it immediately. He gave us one whole afternoon with the new students. So, we had some work to do, though we quickly decided to be informal and have some fun.
We decided the BeeCees needed to perform -- why not? -- and made Bud our lead man. So, we took our cues from him. We can now quite properly call him the Little Professor.
It was quite an occasion. Took me back to my own first days at Creighton over twenty years ago. The faces were so young and fresh and expectant. And, open and eager, as well. Ah, youth. I almost wanted to turn in my white coat and stethoscope for a pile of texts and a bookbag.
Paul Snyder showed up. We didn’t know he’d be there. But he just came by to introduce us and tell us to “Break a leg.” Said it would be an opportune place for a fracture, so as to give the freshmen some early practice.
Weak joke. But, we felt his genuine interest and sentiment. He left immediately and Bud took the first leg of the afternoon excursion.
There were several highlights. The first was Bud himself: an “ageless soul” in a very new body talking to a throng of twenty-year-olds most of whom had never heard the word except as “soul music” and “soul food.” A five-year-old by birth sporting an almost-adolescent frame meeting a crowd of hormone-rich 20-somethings. Our wizard courting a lineup of would-be DeBakey’s and Schweitzer’s, but mostly just future medical center hacks, like I used to be. And, still am. Maybe I’ll be another Osler next time around.
No. Not a good idea. Bud reminded me of that in one of his stories. “We already had a Moses and a Churchill and a Schweitzer. One was enough. What we need is a whole, genuine, creative Child.” I like that.
I honestly like most of Bud’s stories, at least when I understand them. Sometimes, they just pass right over or around me. But, most of the anecdotes and tales he shared with the new Rocky Mountain Medical School freshman class were direct and funny at the same time. He has an amazing knack for storytelling. Amazing! I can’t stop using that word.
He started out by telling just a little of his own story, recent history, that is. Didn’t make any reference to the old Bud Borden. Mainly, he talked about the work of the Second-Timers group and the BeeCees.
Bud told the young people how important attitude and aspiration were for physicians in training. “The most valuable physiology you can cultivate is one that is open-minded and kind- hearted. Neither of these can be taught. If you have it, safeguard it. If you don’t, ask God or Nature to build it in over the next four years. You’ll surely need it. And, your patients and your families will be bettered for it.”
After a while, Bud got the students involved and talking. I think he managed to get most all of the 100 youngsters to say a few words. He kind of did a Phil Donahue thing with a microphone passing around the hall. The kids loved it.
Then, he got sort of serious for a moment. “Down to business now. I have to tell about the admonition a one-time dean of the Harvard Medical School used to give his entering students. The wise old fellow said, ‘Half of what we teach you during your stay here will be proven to be untrue in the next twenty years. The problem is: we don’t know which half is which.’”
The young folks laughed and puzzled over that for a while. It brought up quite a number of questions which all four of us tried to field in different ways. Basically, we wanted to remind the students that things are not always as they appear. What a physician looks for he finds. But, if he doesn’t know what to look for or how to look for it, he’ll never find it. There are lots of clues and angles and possibilities yet to be discovered for the curious medical investigator. The full range of diseases and tests and methodologies has certainly not even been approximated. Nor has the healing power and potential of human beings.
We could’ve gone on for days on some of these concepts. I think that’s probably what we’ll ask Snyder to let us do over the coming months. I’m sure the students will go for it. We can probably get the upper classes involved, as well.
Bud finished his set with one of his best stories. The story itself was terrific, but Bud made it sensational by acting it out in front of the assembly: “A hundred years ago, there was a kindly old family doctor who lived in a small town. He was approaching retirement age and wanted to find a young physician to share some of the load in his latter years. Furthermore, he was concerned that his patients should have competent care when he passed on his practice.
“So, the gentleman took on a recent medical school graduate. The young fellow was eager, but lacking in confidence and experience which the older physician quite understood. The senior continually took moments to teach his new charge. He constantly reiterated that, ‘Observation is the key to good medical practice.’
“Shortly after the new graduate arrived, two house calls were appointed on a particular day. The elder physician took the young man aside and lectured to him, ‘Now, the house call is a wonderful thing because you, the visiting physician, have so many extra opportunities to gather information, clues, hints, etc. Your powers of observation can gather rapid and incredibly valuable information which is much more difficult to ascertain in the office setting. Now, I want you to remember that as we go out on rounds today. The key is to: Observe. Observe. Observe.’
“The two physicians gathered their equipment together and took a carriage to make their house calls. As they neared the first home, the elder said, ‘I shall take the first call. You keep a close eye on me and the patient and, by all means, cultivate your powers of observation.’
“The two walked up to the house with the older man in the lead. He knocked on the door and the two were quickly led into the living room where they found the lady of the house resting on the sofa. The physician introduced his new assistant and proceeded to do a brief history and a cursory examination. Within a few minutes, he brought himself up to attention in front of his patient and announced, ‘Madame, I perceive that you have been eating too much candy. I believe you know what I mean. You pay heed and take these tablets. You should be well in a few days.’
“After the physician dispensed the medication and gathered his tools into his bag, the doctors departed to their carriage. In route, the younger addressed his mentor. He said, ‘I’m sorry sir, but I must’ve missed it. The diagnosis, I mean. I’ve never made or heard that diagnosis in the classroom, hospital, or clinic during my medical training. Please explain.’
“‘By all means,’ said the elder. ‘If you had been observant, you would have easily noticed that the good lady had several empty candy boxes lying around her living room. That clue added to her retinue of symptoms made it quite clear that she had been eating too much candy. Ninety per cent of the diagnosis was made simply through observation. Do remember that when you take your turn.’
“The medical pair drove on to the next house. The younger medic took the lead and marched up to the door giving it a solid knock. Unfortunately, there was no response. So, he knocked again and again. Eventually, after there was a bit of commotion noted in the background, a voice called out from the rear of the house, ‘Come in.’
“The gentlemen made their way into the lady’s bedroom where the young M.D. introduced himself and his mentor. The patient was found propped up on some pillows, appearing a little flushed and flustered. Nonetheless, the new graduate proceeded with his history and physical examination which were both more involved and meticulous than the older physician’s had been a few minutes earlier. The young man was methodical but appeared nervous on a number of occasions, but not more so when, nearing the end of his examination, he dropped his stethoscope on the floor. He sputtered a bit as he hurriedly retrieved his precious equipment.
“Within a moment, he brought himself upright and turned to his patient, saying, ‘Madame, I do perceive that you have too much religion. I quite suspect that you know what I mean. Now, I wish you to heed my admonition and take these few tablets as directed. You’ll recover shortly.’
“The two physicians quickly repaired toward their carriage. As they did, the elder doctor stopped his young assistant, saying, ‘My dear boy, I have never in my forty years of medicine made any such diagnosis. Now, your bedside manner and medical skills seem quite adequate, but your diagnosis is more than suspect. Can you please explain to me this diagnosis?’
“‘Why, yes sir, I will certainly do that. Now, I must admit to you that I was trying to keep all your instructions and my own training in mind during the consultation. And very honestly, even with all my knowledge and an observing eye activated until the very end of the consultation, I hadn’t a clue. At that moment, my nerves got the best of me and I dropped my stethoscope on the floor. When I bent over to retrieve it, I turned my head and took a peak under the bed. Well, my powers of observation did right by me then. For, I there and then recognized the local minister lying on the floor. My diagnosis was made sound and sure. The lady definitely had too much religion.’”
Well, the audience laughed and laughed and laughed. Bud said he’d explain the punch line at a later date.
The rest of us did our parts, but I suppose what we had to share was kind of anticlimactic. We had a rough act to follow. But, the young people were attentive. We took lots of good questions here and there, and closed off the session with a short review -- musical not medical -- by the already famous BeeCees.
I must add my own observation from this eventful and thoroughly enjoyable day. And that is this: Even without trying, I was able to discern the meeting of two pairs of eyes intermittently throughout the day. One belonged to Bud, the other to a bright and attractive creature seated near the top of the auditorium in the middle section.
I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Bud is chronically falling in love with one handsome young lady or another. In any case, immediately after the whole session was concluded, this radiant young woman walked down the aisle and planted herself about ten feet directly in front of our Professor Borden.
Have We Met Before?
What a day! O-o-o-oh! What a day! And, what a way to start my medical school career.
I never would have imagined anything like this. But, this is wonderful and -- and -- really, really cool.
I have to catch my breath and settle down, here. Give me a moment. I really should sit down and think about this, but . . . But, I have to talk about it -- right now. Right now.
Oh, my heading is almost swimming. Almost, anyway.
So, I went to class today. The morning was okay. The whole week is pretty much orientation. Lots of paperwork and pep talks. They’re trying to scare us and calm us down, all at the same time. Shake us up and calm us at the same time, what do you think about that?
Physicians are important people, but don’t get the big head. Medical school is grueling, but you’ll all make it. The tests are killers, but you have access to last year’s versions. The clinical rotations are where you learn the critical information, but you have to sit in the classroom for half of your training. The world is waiting for your skills, but be patient. Don’t be overeager. They repeated themselves all morning long.
Well, the morning was like that. Then, lunch. Then, the whole afternoon was these guys from City Medical Center. They were from the pediatric department. All pediatricians except one who was just a kid. Yeah, a kid. A curly haired kid who instantly reminded me of this fellow I dated years ago. But, he was just a kid -- maybe ten years old.
Strange that he should be standing up in front of the auditorium with these pediatricians and then the dean of the school. All four of them were dressed in jumpsuits and white coats. Yeah, they were all dressed the same. They looked like they were having fun even before we got started. Joking around and playing games. It was strange, like I say.
Dean Snyder showed up to introduce the afternoon instructors. He went on about how unique they were. That they made up a singing group and had performed at the medical benefit recently. They were a real smash, he said. He suggested that they might sing for us before the day was over. That got our attention.
By that time, the little guy had my attention. He was staring at me real intensely. I didn’t know what to think. It was kind of creepy, at first. Then, it was okay. I tried not to look at him, but I couldn’t keep from coming back to rest on his almost literally baby blue eyes. It was both frightening and -- and . . . I won’t say. I won’t say.
So, Snyder told us they had two stage names. The first was Three Pediatricians and a Baby Doctor, and the other was the BeeCees which was for Borden, Child, Calhoun, and Cromarty. When I heard the name -- Borden, I started to get lightheaded. No. Like really lightheaded. Not like usual. That name Borden --
Then, he introduced them individually. “Everyone knows Dr. Bud Borden. Bud is world famous even though he’s never been out of town since he was born at City Medical Center five years ago. Dr. Jim Child was there to catch him, more or less. And, Dr. Bill Cromarty and Dr. Dave Calhoun have joined the two of them in numerous progressive and groundbreaking efforts to enhance medical care and training all around the city. Now, they’re going to join us to make some fine additions to your medical education.”
Well, I almost fainted. I was staring at Bud and not believing it. Yet, at the same time, my heart was racing and I was remembering. And, I was also wanting to forget. It took some real doing to settle down and compose myself enough to listen. It took some time for me to settle down.
Somehow, it helped when Bud took over where Snyder left off. He’s a wonderful teacher. I’m not just saying that. Really, I’m not just saying that. I could tell that everyone was eating out of his hand. He told the funniest stories and he was just real down to earth with the students.
The whole time he talked, he kept an eye on me. Yeah, he had an eye -- one or the other -- on me. Not every second, but he kept turning back to my direction to stare. I hope people didn’t notice too much. I think some did. I know that Dr. Child made the connection.
At one point, Bud sent a microphone through the seats while he wandered the aisles asking questions of almost all the students. Fortunately, I got to be one of the first to speak to get it over and done. My heart was really thumping then. I can hardly remember what he asked me. It was something like, “Miss Jordan (we were all wearing name tags but no one could have read my scribbled name at the distance he stood) will you tell us about your life for the last several years -- say six or seven? Where’ve you been and what have you learned?”
Well, God, that’s how long since I last saw Bud Borden. Six or seven years now. I mumbled something about traveling and studying abroad while he stared right through me. I really almost had a heart attack even though I’m a little young for that. And they say medical school diseases usually don’t show up until you begin studying pathology. I almost got a head start.”
So, I survived that round and the first day of medical school. Traumatic and dramatic, light and almost romantic, it was. What a first day.
After Bud ended his section, the other fellows spoke. They were pretty interesting. Pretty interesting. Bud sat facing the speakers, so I got a breather. Though I did spend quite a bit of time staring at the back of his curly head -- like the first time we met.
Before we broke, the BeeCees sang some disco songs and danced and generally created a mini-show in front of us. It was great fun. Never expected such a thing my first day of school. Certainly, never imagined I’d meet Bud Borden again -- at least under these circumstances. Never imagined.
When the class and entertainment were over, I slowly walked down to the base of the auditorium, drawn by those magnetic eyes. I was greeted by the same words I first heard years ago: “Have we met before?”
That’s just what he said, “Have we met before?”
Read Adolescing: Chapter 5