And a Child Will Lead Them
It’s time for KBOB’s semi-regular Boy Wonder installment presented with the assistance of City Medical Center.
We visited City Medical with our cameras recently and began to take a closer look at a number of programs that have developed there since Baby Borden arrived on the scene.
The most colorful seems to be the walking program. As you can see with the aid of our videocam, little Bud Borden leads somewhere between 40 and 80 people on a two-mile jaunt around hospital grounds every morning about 11 a.m. Some don’t go the whole route and most go at their own pace. But everyone enjoys the event.
And they all get a huge kick out of watching Borden take big strides with his short little legs. He has to work pretty hard -- almost run -- to keep up with some of the walkers.
Borden tells us, “I’d like to do the walk a little earlier, but I’m a night person. Nate and I don’t get started until after 9 o’clock usually. It seems to work out, though.”
Our reporters concur. Many of the walkers apparently stay for a healthy lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Borden’s own dietary habits have been influential in getting more fresh fruits and health food items stocked for his group.
More important, Borden says, the walkers get some fresh air and exercise, and meet lots of other health-minded folks.
The hospital supports the program wholeheartedly as it pretty much seems to do with the rest of these activities which have evolved somewhat spontaneously since the Boy Wonder arrived.
At the beginning, months ago, when little Borden and his grandfather started their own walking program, only a few patients and hospital workers joined in. Now, the community gets into the act.
We asked one of the walkers what she thought. “Oh, this is great,” she said. “I look forward to coming as often as I can. We do love little Borden. I’ve learned a whole bunch just being around him and all these nice people. And, I feel years younger.”
Beyond the walking program, Borden has helped start a yoga class which convenes three afternoons each week. A meeting which focuses on music as a means to healing gets together on a weekly basis.
And a reading program has just begun. We’ve been told that Borden has started making rounds of the hospital and enlisting volunteers to read to patients who prefer books to television. I find that rather hard to believe, in this day and age. We wish him luck on that venture.
One final note. There’s an unsubstantiated rumor that psychics and clairvoyants have been invited into the hospital to help fill the gap where modern methods fall short.
Where will the Wonder Child lead them next?
Can We Talk?
Maybe I shouldn’t be the one to tell this story. I hope it’s okay with Dr. Child. I suspect so. I’m sure though that Bud wouldn’t mind. In any case, let’s just keep this one between the two of us.
It happened this way. I was napping late in the evening a few days ago when Dr. Child quietly slipped into our room. He generally comes by during the day and knocks before coming in, although he hadn’t darkened the doorway in some weeks.
I have to think he was hoping I’d be asleep and surmise he believes that I was at the time -- as I was stretched out in my recliner. Bud and I have dual recliners now -- one parked on either side of the room. Only mine is a might larger than his. A local furniture company specially made and donated Bud’s chair. It’s really pretty nifty. Has everything, but a motor. Lots higher quality than my own. But then, he uses his for a bed.
So, anyway, I was kind of on the edge of my snooze when Child came in and I just played dead during the whole conversation.
Bud was resting himself. We’d had a rugged day, but I know he was awake because he’d just turned the music off. That’s a bit unusual in itself. Maybe he knew Child was coming. Hadn’t occurred to me before. Darn, bet you he did.
So, Child tiptoed across the room and leaned toward Bud whispering, “Can we talk?”
Bud spoke up, saying, “Grandpa Nate’s been snoring. He’s out in LaLa Land. We won’t bother him at all. What’s on your mind, Dr. Child?”
Child stammered a bit trying to get the words out at first: “You’re for real. You’re really for real, aren’t you? I think . . . I believe so. Maybe I know so. I’m having trouble accepting and admitting. Well, like I’m struggling now with my words, I’ve been struggling with you and myself since we met in the delivery room months ago. That’s why I haven’t been around here for quite some time.”
From time to time, Bud made acknowledging tones or simply said something like, “I think I understand.” Mostly, he just lets Child have his say.
“I’ve sort of delegated Dr. Calhoun to be our intermediary,” he said. “I hope he’s doing right by you. Though it sounds like things have really been pretty quiet. The administration promised a long time ago that they’d move you. Actually, you should know that I asked them to. But, I’m trying to change my mind on that.
“Well, I came to talk and I haven’t said a whole lot, yet. Honestly, I’m wanting to see things differently. I see now that you showed up here at a critical time for me. Only now am I beginning to realize that some of your questions and comments over the months could’ve been my own. I just haven’t dared let myself speak or even think some of the things that roll out of your mouth.
“You’re more real than I could handle. You’ve stretched my limits of credibility and reality. So now, I’m stuck comparing what I’ve been carrying around for years as a physician and pediatrician, chief of service and supposed expert. My medical tomes and degrees somehow don’t stand up very well to your artful way of relating to people -- large and small.
“This cookbook routine we go through covers the surface, but not much more. We go through all sorts of mechanical hoops, but seem to miss so much.
“You somehow see beneath the surface and know things beyond our crude methods. Our tests just don’t stand up to your insights and intuitions except maybe if we were in the emergency room. We might have a leg up on you there.
“In one moment, I wonder how you do these things and know what you know. In the next, I don’t want to know. I’m afraid to find out. It would change my life. Might turn things upside down. Might be good, too. Frankly, I guess . . . I don’t want to guess. I don’t need to guess. It’s harder than hell to say I’m afraid.
“Maybe, like my wife says, I’m just needing to find ways to get beyond paperwork and procedures, drug dosages and seemingly meaningless routines. So, maybe I’m just looking for more meaning and better ways to be -- to be -- a healer. Is that what I’m trying to say?”
Bud got up from his recliner and reached out his hand, saying, “I think so. Maybe we can help each other. Let’s give it a try.”
Child thanked Bud and Bud thanked Child. Then, they started getting to know each other while beginning to strategize at the same time.
As for me, I heard LaLa Land calling again. I think I checked out and probably started to snore again. Or maybe I just dreamt it all? What do you think? Pinch me.
Mr. Rich, good to be with you again. I do have a few morsels of medical trivia from my files on child curiosities and wonders to offer you and your American audience, for whatever they may be worth. Let’s see. I have jotted down a few notes. Less than a handful, this time.
Yes, well, the birth size of your child, Master Borden, was certainly quite large and extraordinary. But, by no means did he reach record proportions. The largest infant on the books weighed in at close to 24 pounds and measured 30 inches. That child was born to the giantess Anna Swan in 1879 but did not long survive. I must say that the greater share of large birthweight infants are stillborn or die very shortly after birth. They are often born to large diabetic mothers.
As far as a large infant born under close to normal conditions at term, there was a male child delivered of a schoolmistress in Crewes who weighed 20 pounds and was 23 inches long. Even more startling, was the delivery of a woman in Derbyshire of male twins, one weighing 17 and a half pounds and the other 18 pounds. The parents were said to be of ordinary stature.
Now, the fact that your young man was born with a full head of hair is unusual but not terribly uncommon. I have made note of a child born with a moustache who went on to develop a beard by age two.
Next, I can tell you that children have been noted on many occasions -- dozens, if not hundreds -- to have varying numbers of teeth at birth. Celebrated people -- poets, physicians, and politicians -- from Valerian to Richard III and Louis XIV were born with teeth. One youngster born in Denmark, fairly recently in 1970, a 6-week-old preemie, is documented to have arrived with eight teeth in his mouth and four of these were in the molar area.
Lastly, your young charge has been walking, lifting weights, and such already. I can tell you that years ago there was a lad of three months living in your country in Colorado who was able to lift his own weight.
Mr. Rich, that is all now from Greene at Guy’s in London.
Well, honey, I had that conversation with Borden. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my whole life. You could have guessed that. You knew I was going to talk to him though, didn’t you?
I just crept into his room tonight when the grandfather was napping. Strangely, there was no music playing at the time. They always have music going.
Borden said he just needed some silence for a while. Actually, now that I think of it, I believe he knew I was coming to visit with him. He wasn’t the slightest bit surprised or annoyed by my entering his quiet. He made me welcome and pointed for me to bring a chair over next to him.
Said he’d offer me a beer, but he didn’t have any in the refrigerator. You think he knows I like beer. No, no. Actually, I missed it. He didn’t say beer, he said Heineken. That’s my favorite. My God!
The child’s not just bright and unique. He must be a mind reader or telepathic or something.
Well, I told him most everything that’s been on my mind. He just listened and nodded. Let me talk. I was pretty anxious and got hot under the collar for a while, spilling my guts. Hard to imagine me doing that with a child. Hard to imagine me doing it with anyone, huh, honey? Well, I did, You should be proud of me. I’m proud of me.
So, instead of battling, we’re going to try to work together for the good of the kids and the hospital. “Bound to rub off on both of us,” he said.
I’m not sure what I can do for him. Maybe it would be just getting out of his way. Hopefully, more than that.
Borden did give me a hint when I told him that it had dawned on me that healing needed to become more important than medicine. Well, the hint came as the room was darkening. We were talking about these things and he simply turned on a pole lamp.
The light shined right on my hands. Tingles ran up around my head and then down and out my fingers. I could almost see them glow.
A Healing Word
Yes, that Borden person has been coming round to visit and read to me, lately. I don’t know why he picked me. Actually, I wasn’t too keen on it to begin with. But, the company has been kind of nice. His, that is. Then, people like you have followed after him. Checking up on him, are ye?
Well, I’d been in here most of a boring week when little Borden peeked in on me. He came up on me with half a grin on his face and introduced himself. I’d missed the news about him. I haven’t been well for longer than I can remember. Don’t like television nor the papers. I’ve had enough to do to take care of myself and my sister who died a few months ago.
Now, they got me in here for tests and stuff. My belly has been aching and burning off and on for too long. My nephew made me go to the doctor. So, that’s why I’m here.
One minute they think I’ve got an ulcer. The next they check my gallbladder out. Then, they’re worrying about cancer. Then, they find something strange on one test and schedule another one. At my age, I really don’t care too much what they find. But, they ain’t gonna cut on me like they did Sister. She just went downhill after that. Sister had the cancer -- ate her up. But, the operation made her worse for all I can tell. She still picked up a few times until the last downturn.
So, anyway, I’d been in here nigh onto a week when the little fella walked in on me. Said who he was, which didn’t mean a thing to me. Told me he was living in the hospital, too, with his grandfather. That struck me as unusual. He seemed bright and talkative for a child. Said to me, “Mother, would it be all right if I sat and read to you.”
Well, my aches and pains and worries just began to melt away, when he called me Mother. Does every time he says the word. I hadn’t heard that in years. Brought a couple tears to my eyes, but I wiped ‘em away real quick while he pushed a chair over close to the bed.
Seemed like he came all prepared. Had a book in hand. Didn’t ask me what I wanted to hear.
Just said, “I think you’ll like this story. It’s called Heidi.” Well, I knew the story from years and years ago -- at least some of it was familiar to me.
You know, the little fella has been coming every day, sometimes, twice a day, to read to me. I think he wants me to hear the whole thing before I get discharged. The story is wonderful. Reminds me of so many things from my growing up years. My grandmother and living close to the mountains and raising animals when I was a kid. It’s all about the wonder of childhood and children and life and living.
Sometimes, I imagine myself to be Heidi. I was so full of life when I was her age. But somewhere along the way, my get up and go, got up and went.
The Borden boy is so full of life himself. He’s like a little ball of light. He’s just about put a spark into me. The doctors haven’t figured out much of anything. Actually, I’m feeling so much better, lately. I haven’t been taking most of the medicine. I feed it to the flowers or throw it down the toilet when I get a chance. I don’t think the flowers like it much, either.
So, I’m really ready to go home when the story’s finished. Don’t tell anyone, though. I’ll go then even if they haven’t done all their tests.
And, when I go, I’m going with a plan. Ain’t telling you what it is, though. Can’t tell your plans to too many people. Bad luck.
I just know that there’s a whole lot more life left in this bag of bones. This girl has got some work to do.
Oh, I almost forgot. I decided life is too short for worrying and complaining. I know, easier said than done. But, I’m going to take the little fella’s advice. “Don’t fret, Mother. Just get on with your life.”
Walking the Dog
Bud loves to walk. I’m not sure why. I’m learning to love walking, too. It’s one of the best ways I can get close to my . . . boy. We get to be alone most of the time on the walks, and we talk and I hold his hand. He likes that and so do I. It’s not quite like holding a child’s hand. But, it’ll do for now.
The story goes that in his last life when he was a grown man, Bud used to walk all over the place -- wherever he was living -- and read at the same time. Like Ichabod Crane in the old Disney cartoon, The Headless Horseman. Grandpa Nate said that some people were betting that Bud would die in a car accident with a book in his hand. Only he’d be a pedestrian. We still don’t know what happened to Bud number one.
Anyway, he’s sure a walker this time. Walks my legs off when he’s home with us. I always go with him when he’s here. He seems to take to me more than Joey. Likes women. Doesn’t pay particular attention to girls of any age, just grown women. We call him the Boy Who Loves Women. Years from now when we marry him off, the lucky gal will get a huge banner saying, “This Bud’s for You.”
Bud and I’ve become pals and friends. Really good friends. Best friends, I think. He says we were brother and sister in ancient Rome. Says it’s common for people with close ties to return from lifetime to lifetime in similar relationships. We obviously don’t have a typical mother-child relationship now, so we make up for it in different ways.
He seems to be doing whatever he can to put things right with me. Almost every weekend, he brings me flowers or some little gift. I know it’s his own idea because grandpa Nate hardly ever did that sort of thing even when Jean was alive.
At one time, Bud says, I owed him a favor. That’s why I got the job of being mother to such an unusual creature. Next time, he tells me how special I am. Says that his helpers chose me for the “honor.” They tell Bud not too many women could either have borne a large and potent child like him or put up with the present arrangement. I have to believe that. It’s been tough and I’ve risen to the occasion, with some help, to be sure.
Surprisingly, he says that I’ll be pregnant soon and deliver in a little over a year. Bud says, “Don’t expect total normalcy, though. A pattern has already been set. You’ll have a little girl. Outwardly, her birth will make no waves. But, things aren’t always as simple as they appear.”
Oh, God. What have I got to look forward to now? How could he know that when I’m not even pregnant? Joey and I’ve been talking about having another baby. He’s all for it. But, then I do the work.
So, we walk everywhere. He’s really in good shape. I know he goes walking everyday at the hospital and leads the pack there, pretty much. Plus he does yoga and lifts weight, or at least he used to.
When he gets wound up, I can’t keep up with him. But, usually he takes a slower pace for me. He knows I do clerical work during the week and don’t keep in as good trim as he does.
So, we walk around town. We go to several parks and to the school and some of the pretty neighborhoods. I like to look at the houses. He doesn’t pay much attention to them. He likes to look at things close to his level. Flowers and shrubs, even the sidewalk. I think he’s a little shortsighted. We may have to get his eyes examined.
We’re recognized quite frequently, but most people don’t bother us more than to say hello. I have to think they know that I don’t get to spend too much time with my son.
We do stop for children. Bud has some of the most amazing interactions with children and animals. He seems to know their languages.
Kids come up and stare at him. Even when they don’t say a word to each other, I
can tell that they’ve communicated on some level. Gives me the willies to talk about it.
Actually, I think they just kind of tune into that hidden God part of each other which we adults have lost track of. Kids know it’s there. They just can’t talk about it. Bud knows it’s there and can summon it up at will and even talk about it some. He says that most of it’s beyond words. I suppose he’s right.
He and I tune into each other like that from time to time. It’s really almost more than I can bear when that happens, but it’s really heavenly. Makes up, I tell you, for all the discomfort and hurt I had when Bud didn’t come home with me like a real baby.
Kind of like my dream right before Bud was born. There’s light and color and warmth and a rhythmic pulsation all over and around my body. Actually, sometimes, I feel like I’m not a body anymore. Just a ball of light with some cells pasted on for a covering. Oh -- Oh -- Oh!
So, he communicates deeply with kids and me -- sometimes. I think he knows when the time is right and when we should just relate in more regular ways, if you know what I mean.
You know what gives me the biggest kick, though? Animals. But, not in a regular way. I haven’t been big on pets, until Bud showed up. Joey and I don’t have a dog or cat. We didn’t want one. I talked to Joey recently about the possibility of getting a dog, but since I’m going to have another baby we’ll probably hold off. Besides the neighbors all have dogs.
You see, Bud just loves animals and he adores dogs. Says he was a dog in a previous lifetime, that’s why he gets along so well with mutts and mongrels. Well, I think he was just joking, but he has an uncanny affinity for hounds of all sizes and shapes.
Lots of little folks are afraid of animals. Not Bud. He walks right up to them. He even goes out of his way to have a meeting with them. He doesn’t chase them like lots of children do.
Wherever we go, the dogs, and once in a while, an unusual cat, will just sit and stare at Bud. He stops in his tracks for a moment when he wants to make contact with them. Sometimes, they just sort of hone into each other and have some kind of long distance silent conversation. But, most of the time, after that short introduction, Bud and the animal march off to meet each other. It’s really eerie to watch this mostly silent interaction.
So, Bud has to pet the animal. He whispers a few words into its ear, but they mostly seem to just vibrate together. It’s like they’re both humming the same tune, but neither of them is making any noise. When he meets up with a cat, the feline invariably purrs the sweetest sound.
I’m not sure what’s been more extraordinary. What I just tried to describe or a couple incidents with some old dogs we met on our wanderings.
Seems like this has happened three or four times. We meet a dog and its master on the sidewalk. The dog looks old and tired, usually like the owner. Bud does his thing and they have their inaudible conversation.
Immediately, the dog perks up. Like it’s just received a pep talk. The animal whines a little, looks at its master, then smiles at Bud and walks off with a lighter and stronger step.
You probably think I made this one up. Grandpa Nate tells me he’s seen the same thing. No lie.
I love to go walking these days, especially with Bud. But, I wouldn’t even mind walking your dog.
The Real Thing
I gather that rumors circulate in the hospital frequently. I even pick them up, sometimes. Guess I’m almost an insider after living here the better part of a year.
Actually, I don’t know if it’s a rumor or just a nagging question. But, even after all that’s gone on over the past months, a few of the hospital folks still wonder if Bud is a genuine item, the real thing.
Well, I can hardly prove it to you. Hard to prove anything to anyone. People have to prove things to themselves. But, I can just give my testimony, if that’s okay.
I never questioned my brother last time around. I have less reason to question him this time.
Don’t get me wrong. He’s not perfect. I can already tell some of the things he is or will be working on as he grows up. He has a temper. Had one last time around. I guess some things are hard to grow out of even from one lifetime to the next.
Well, he has a temper and a sharp tongue, but he knows how to bridle the tongue and tame the temper, so far. He really hasn’t had much of a challenge, yet. Things have pretty much gone his way and even when they haven’t, he has this uncanny ability to tell ahead of time when the tide’s turning. So, he seems to be able to make corrections before the wave comes in. Neat trick, but it probably won’t work all the time. Most tricks don’t.
It’s obvious that he has a thing for women which is bound to get him in a bind. His ability to read tides or tea leaves probably won’t help him there. I won’t be of much benefit, if I’m still around then. He might not want to hear my advice about women, anyway. We’ve discussed it just a little. Time will tell.
It does seem likely that Bud will have a confrontation with the medics, someday. So far, he’s just a little novelty and he hasn’t ruffled too many feathers. For a time, I thought we -- I mean Bud -- would have a fracas with Dr. Child. But, that situation has turned and is developing nicely. I think they may be coming to a friendship as well as a working partnership.
So, Bud is no angel. He has, like the last time, things to learn. Like he says we’re all just practicing and a step or two ahead -- or behind -- the next guy. Some steps are bigger than others, though. For a little tyke, Bud takes some awfully big strides.
Anyway, I can attest that he is real -- a real human being -- from the standpoint that he has important things to learn and challenges to face. Frankly, he’s dealing with his maleness -- sex -- already. We all know that he’s basically an adult in a child’s body.
So, women get him wound up especially when he gets close to them. I don’t think his sitting on women’s laps is best for him, but he hasn’t asked me.
I know at night time he struggles with that little member between his legs and he’s retold some of his grownup dreams with me. So, he’s not only human, he’s a man. Watch out ladies.
All that’s one side of the story. The human reality, I suppose. But, a more important realness which comes through Bud is something a whole lot deeper. Maybe it’s got to do with my own realness or I wouldn’t be able to recognize it. Say, I may be learning something and not even know it.
There’s that light that so many people have talked about. I’ve almost been afraid to look for it, in case I might see it or touch it and not know what to do with it.
Well, just between you and me, I think I’ve seen it. Maybe even touched it. Dreamed about it, for sure.
Actually, I think that little Bud has been insinuating himself (to use Dr. Child’s words) or his thinking into my dreams. Kind of scary. But, if he has, it’s been all for the good.
I dreamed about Jean the other night. Actually, it was about the whole family. We were all in heaven. We were having a reunion or get-together of some sort. After dinner, we all sat down to watch television together. We turned on the TV to see what was going on on Earth. Actually, the TV covered a whole giant wall of the room and was set up for videoconferencing like they have here at the hospital. But our hookup turned out to be a one-way mirror. We could see and hear what was going on down below, but they didn’t have the right connections to see and hear us in heaven.
We noticed it was dark and dirty on Earth compared to heaven. There was a lot of pain and fear. All the people there were pleading for us to come back and help make things better. So we all had dessert and walked through the TV screen back into Earth.
All of us except Jean, who had to stay and wash dishes. Said she’d be down shortly. Thought that was kind of cute. But, I wonder if there is any special meaning to that ending.
Never had a dream like that before. Do you think Bud planted that in my sleep or I dreamt it on my own?
Well, I can tell you he’s real. He walks, he talks. He even talks to dogs and cats and they answer back, in a way. He tunes in with babies and dying people. He communicates to me and other people when we’re asleep. He heals people or nudges them to heal themselves.
He gets attention for lots of stuff, but he doesn’t get anything for healing dogs and getting inside peoples’ dreams. Actually, he’s not making any money. Doesn’t need any. But, he doesn’t own anything and probably won’t.
So, this is obviously not about money or notoriety. Honestly, I have to say that he must be doing this, more or less, out of love. And, since love is one of the few things around that’s real, this must be the real thing.
Borden and I got our heads together not too long ago. Instantly, things have changed, and almost all for the better.
Frankly, I was the one who needed an attitude check. I realize that the open mind that I once prided myself on had slowly but surely over the years almost caved in on me. I could try to blame it on my education, or medicine, or the government. But, I’m responsible.
It crept up on me without my even noticing it until Borden showed up. Then, I had hell to pay. I stewed over the situation he precipitated on the ward and in the hospital and groused about Borden for months. Even got the administration and Gordon Gates upset with me. No big deal there. They’ll get over it, although I probably should try to make some sort of amends.
Finally, I got the nerve up to talk to Borden and in doing so I made some discoveries. Had a revelation or two. Now, really exciting things are beginning to happen to the pediatric service and the kids and even to me.
Even so, I’ve had some trepidation getting Borden directly involved with patients which seemed to be the obvious thing to do. So far, he’s been harmless at worst. At best, he’s been a Godsend. Really.
I’m almost ready to give him a job on the staff. I don’t know how we’d do that. We’ve talked about it jokingly. I don’t think money or a title or a uniform would make the slightest difference to him. Actually, he looks pretty dapper in those jump suits he wears. I have a notion to get one of my own and turn in the white coat, but I probably won’t. I suppose if we showed up dressed similarly, they’d start making jokes about Dr. Child and the Child Doctor. Maybe they do already. So what?
So, I’ve invited Borden to make rounds with me on certain occasions -- special cases, so far. We’ve seen some clinic patients and several hospital inpatients and even a couple emergencies together. They really were together. That felt good, I think, for the both of us. I’m developing a real affection for the guy. I gather he likes me, too. Said some nice things about me. They weren’t meant to be flattering, just matter-of-fact observations. Borden doesn’t seem to be afraid to say or do much of anything.
So, let me tell you about some of the work we did late one afternoon. I hadn’t intended to start in the ER, but on our first time out I got paged there. So, we went there and found a child in acute distress. It was a two-year-old who started with a febrile illness a couple days prior. Living in an outlying area, things apparently got out of hand before the mother could do much. By the time the child was seen in a rural clinic, then attended over night in a smalltown hospital, he was is grave danger. They helicoptered him in that morning and the pediatrician on call was frantically working to deal with his shock and kidney failure.
This seemed to be a pretty intense place for our first consultation. So, I asked Bud if he’d feel comfortable with such a situation. Didn’t bat an eye. Just gave me a thumbs-up sign and said, “Let’s go, Jim.”
Calhoun saw us coming. I know he was surprised to see Borden with me. Happily surprised, I think. We conferred for a few moments during which young Calhoun caught his breath and calmed down. I think Borden’s presence, a keen look from him, and a reassuring touch did it. Then, the three of us went into the treatment room.
It was quite a different experience for me. I saw the child and the medical apparatus and the attendants in a whole different light than I ever have before. I think Dave Calhoun felt a little bit the same way. This may sound strange, but I believe that I was tuning in, in some way, to Borden’s own perception of things during that time.
When he put them into words later on, I said, “Yeah, that’s what was coming to me. How can that be -- I’ve never imagined those things before?”
What we all sensed, more or less, was that the child’s body was dead. It had been vacated. Our equipment was keeping the heart beating and the blood moving, at least somewhat. The soul, the life force, had departed.
This came to me almost immediately on entering the room. But, it was also graphically demonstrated as Borden, without saying a word, took an attendant in the room and ran his hand up and down in front of him. Then, he made a circular, winding motion with his hand as if he was pulling something out of the fellow’s body. Actually, both Calhoun and I sensed or saw something collecting there. The fellow got a little weak in the knees, so Borden reversed the motion and returned the fellow’s force field back to him.
Then he smoothed him out like he was using an iron to press the man’s clothes. Immediately, the person smiled as if he’d just received a gift.
Next, Borden moved to the treatment table and the child. We got him a stool so that he could lean over the little boy. Then he repeated the same procedure. There was nothing to collect. It was like a sponge had been wrung out and it was completely dry.
Well, my mind was boggled, yet refreshed by the whole thing. I hadn’t used a stethoscope or even looked at the vital signs monitor. Hadn’t even touched the child physically, but I somehow knew amazingly important and global information about the child.
Calhoun and I conferred, agreeing that it was time to do an EEG. We expected it to be flat. Which it was. So Calhoun could then proceed to tell the parents and help them let go. I think he probably did it with a lot more understanding than he could have in the past.
That should have been a big enough lesson for one day, but I’d planned for Bud and me to visit a couple inpatients. So, though we were late, we started rounds just the same. The patients wouldn’t mind. They weren’t going anywhere, anyway.
I’d already decided that we should see an infant in pediatric intensive care. The two-month-old had been in an out of the hospital with an assortment of difficulties. The child had gotten off to a slow start, taking a long to time to nurse properly. So initially, we had to keep her here for 10 days. Then, she was colicky and congested and returned on three occasions with an upper respiratory infection. We brought her in the hospital twice. Then, her mother brought her to clinic a couple days ago and she was worse than ever.
Our tests had revealed nothing significant. We were treating her with maximum antibiotics and IVs and tube feedings as if she were septic, but I’m quite sure she wasn’t. The infant was just going south for no fathomable cause.
So I took Bud with me, secretly hoping he might have some little miracle he could materialize. At the same time, I was also a little fearful that he really might have one. Might make fools of us, or me. But, I had to ask myself what was more important. A face without egg on it or a child’s welfare?
Since I’m also a Child, I inevitably came to the right decision.
I got Bud gowned up as best I could so that he’d pass muster for the unit. The patient was in a bit of a medical jungle with tubes and lines and leads entering and exiting from all possible portals. But that didn’t seem to bother Borden in the least. All he needed was a stool so he could look over and reach the infant.
For a few moments, he just stared above and around the child. I think he knew right then what was wrong and what was needed. Next, he took his little hands and placed them under her head at the base of the skull. En route, he had me put one of my hands under the baby’s bottom. I didn’t have the slightest idea what he was doing, but I cooperated and tried to be observant.
The child had been somnolent since admission, so we weren’t about to wake her up or cause any problem unless we disturbed one of the lines. But, Jiminy Cricket, that’s what we did -- or Bud did -- or something did.
We stood there silently for close to twenty minutes. I was just trying to stay out of the way and keep an eye on Bud at the same time. He was more or less in some altered state. He glared over the baby’s body and occasionally glanced at his hands or over to me with a nod or a wink. But, once he found the right position for his hands, they didn’t budge.
For the longest time, the child’s body felt dull and listless and -- torpid, I suppose. That was hardly a surprise. But, after we were standing there for a quarter of an hour, something changed. There was like a subtle hiccup or gasp or something. A release, maybe.
Maybe it was like the farmers say: the baby had a hitch in her get-along and somehow Bud unhitched it for her. I don’t know what it was.
I do know that within moments I felt a tide, a warm, throbbing tide, rolling down toward my hands from Bud’s direction. Then, there was a quivering sensation and, finally, baby made a deep inspiration and started to cry.
By that time, the whole unit staff had gathered around us. Everyone was gasping and giggling and smiling.
Baby opened her eyes and looked at Bud. Then me. Then, she really started to scream. But, it was the most refreshing scream I’d heard in a long time.
The scream got drowned out a bit with the commotion that the staff made.
Everyone was “Ooohing” and “Aaahing” and jumping up and down.
Bud let go of the child and got down from his stool. Said, “I’m not very good with babies.” Then, he added, “I think Mother should be here by now. Time for them to be together.”
Interestingly, no one knew except Bud that the mother was in the waiting area. She wasn’t even expected at the hospital that day. What a surprise she received.
There seems to be no end of surprises when Borden happens to be in the area.
I tried to ask him about the infant. All he’d say was, “It’ll be easier to show you some of these things, than try to explain. At least let’s leave it that way for now. This was very remarkable. Results like this won’t happen often. She’ll need more attention. Jim, I think that’s all I can do for today. If I was a drinking man -- or child -- whatever I am, I’d invite you out for a tall, cool Heineken. But, I suppose I’m not of age. Let’s go have a tall, cool milk -- or something like that.”
These last few days have convinced me. Whether people like it or not, it’s time to start giving Borden the credit he deserves. He deserves to be called Dr. Borden.
Music to My Body
My story’s a little complicated. Simple I’m not.
Guess, in that way, I’m a bit of a freak like Bud Borden. But, most of my differentness comes out of an accident. At least, I think it was an accident.
Things don’t look or seem or sound the same, anymore since I met Dr. Borden.
It seems like everyone is starting to call him Dr. Borden. Works for me.
Without a blood test or an X-ray, he’s done more for me than anyone since the accident. And, he did it with music. Believe that?
Believe it. I wouldn’t have, even a few months ago.
See, I was in a car crash about five years ago. I was immediately paralyzed from the waist down. My legs didn’t work or feel. The X-rays showed some minor fractures. The docs said that I just had spinal contusions. I was supposed to get my land legs back in a few days. Then, it was a few weeks. Then, months.
Didn’t happen. None of the specialists could figure out why. I saw them all -- orthopedics, neurologists and neurosurgeons, rehab doctors, physical therapists.
Eventually, they even sent me to a couple psychiatrists. When all else fails. . . I guess that was what they were thinking.
They said my body was really okay. It should’ve worked. But, it didn’t. They seemed to be hinting, “It’s really in your mind and not in your body.”
Well, the shrinks didn’t help. I really tried. I never figured out how they connected the mind and the body. I don’t think they have it figured out, either.
This mind-body thing was just mumbo-jumbo until I met Bud through this music and medicine program at the hospital. Well, he doesn’t lead it. He says he’s there to learn. But, I don’t think he’s telling the whole story.
He seems to be teaching the teacher. But, he’s real respectful of her. I think he has a crush on her. They say he likes women.
So, one day, I got close to Bud. I asked about this mind-body thing. He quoted some wise man who said, “The mind is not in the body, but the body is in the mind.”
He likened the body to a computer. The mind is the software that runs it. That helped a lot.
But, not all at once.
It helped me especially because I’ve been a programmer for years. But, I had to play with the idea to make it relate to my situation. I still am. Decided that maybe there was a glitch in my programming. Had to get my debugger working.
So, that was one of the first steps. There’ve been all sorts of steps. Some just seem more important than others.
One day, the teacher had a new banner with musical notes all over it which said, “Every disease is a musical problem. Every cure is a musical solution.” Some guy named Novalis gets the credit.
Well, that got me pondering some more. Wondered if I was reading from the wrong sheet of music. Or something like that.
Anyway, by then, I was starting to put things together.
So, we’re having these different sessions. Then I see this older woman have this healing. She’d been all blocked up for years. Not being able to express herself in lots of ways. Maybe she was just afraid. Her emotions were just stuck, I guess.
We we’re listening to a piece of music. Bach or Beethoven, I don’t know. Holding hands at the same time. The whole group.
There was a real high, piercing part. And, all of sudden, this woman trembles. I was right next to her. It felt like she was going to cry. But she couldn’t or wouldn’t let herself. Well, she started bleeding from her nose. A lot.
We figured that she needed some medical attention. Her family doctor happened to be in the emergency room that night. He seemed to have some real understanding of the woman’s situation.
She came back next week to the group. Told us the doctor thought the music and the nosebleed might have saved her life. She gave out that she had really high blood pressure and had been on her way to having a stroke.
Anyway, the lady’s hooked on the music and medicine program now. Really the music part. Says, “It’s time to let the music and the emotions flow. I can do without nosebleeds and high blood pressure and pills.”
I think she’ll do it. Takes time, though. Took me a while, but I’m hooked, too.
Well, I took another really big step the other day. Literally. It all -- or almost all -- came together in our last session.
I volunteered myself to be the group guinea pig. Got to pick my own music and my helper. I asked for Bud. Lots of people do.
So, we kind of improvised. All the group gathered round me. They got me to an unsteady, but tolerable, standing position. The music started -- some chants. Bud talked to me and the group. He asked them to focus light on me. I was supposed to let it break through where it was stuck. I could tell that something was about to unlock in the middle part of my body.
Well, I was ready. This was my moment. I felt the energy coming from the people. The vibration of the music. My own power. I knew Bud was in the middle of the action.
Out of nowhere came a remembrance of my injury. I relived the accident in a few seconds’ time. I felt all the fear in that moment and other fears that were in my life then. Somehow, I knew that those fears were part of ages and ages of fear.
But, I saw it from a different -- a higher perspective. I got drawn up to see beyond my little self. The fears were just passing things. Part of the plan, but just the temporary plan. They weren’t meant to hang on. I had hung on to them and didn’t know how to let go.
I asked God to help me let go. I didn’t care about my legs then. I knew it was important for me to be free of fear.
Wow! It was like a bolt of lightning ran through me. I could tell that it had to burn through something in my mid section. Then, glory be, it ran through to my legs and my toes. I felt like a light bulb for I don’t know how long.
You guessed it. I can walk now. Just a pulse of music, a shot of vitality, and body and mind move again together.
The Heart of the Matter
Let me tell you, I continue to take in regular and high doses of amazement. Since Borden and I began working together, incredible things seem to happen almost everyday. Healing occurs. Real healing. Miracles -- or what appears so to my orthodox eyes -- happen. Bodies receive what they need. Minds are opened. And, hearts are touched. Amazing! It’s truly amazing!
You might wonder how we touch the minds of infants and babies. Well, let me tell you. I haven’t the vaguest idea. But, Borden does.
Well, I guess I fibbed. I do have a couple hints. Borden says it’s got to do with tuning into the Soul. He says that every aspect of a human being has a note or a tone. And, they all blend into the chord of the Soul. When a person gets in touch with the Soul, he can understand the sounds of fellow beings and help to harmonize them. Pretty heady stuff.
So anyway, he can really relate to people at very deep levels. He makes no claims about it, though. He really doesn’t talk much about these things. Borden mostly just shows us. We’re supposed to tune in and fit experiences into our own frameworks.
So, I know I have lots of homework to do. It’s really kind of exciting having the opportunity to learn new dimensions of the human condition, deeper physiology, and real healing. I feel like I’m back in the third year of medical school.
I do do some mind work with patients -- more correctly with parents of patients. I’ve gathered from Borden where little ones are concerned that quite often their illnesses have more to do with the parents than I ever realized. If I get the picture right, it seems that children have relatively undeveloped force fields -- mental, emotional, physical -- and they’re at the mercy of more potent ones, adult ones -- for good or ill. Makes sense to me.
Borden says that pediatricians and veterinarians have quite similar jobs. Never would’ve even imagined such a thing before. But, I think he’s right. So, I’m learning along with several other pediatricians to pay a lot more attention to parents and their energies. No veterinarians in the group, yet. Actually, we haven’t even attracted an internist so far, but I see it coming.
The word energy is on my tongue constantly now. It’s like a new vocabulary word in my third year med school rounds. I’ve taken the hint and do my best to relate to the energy involved in every situation with patients. Well, not just with patients. I’ve been trying to use the approach everywhere. It’s not easy, though. Like learning a brand new language.
Bud is teaching Cromarty, Calhoun and me along with a few other practitioners to examine and touch our little patients in totally different ways. Subtle and penetrating. We’re discovering that there are more dimensions to be explored than we’d ever imagined. We’ve just been scratching the surface in the past.
I’m learning to take more time in my examinations, too. The old routine stuff I can almost do blindfolded. Now, I realize that most of it’s so superficial that it’s almost not worth doing.
I try to feel energies, not just material parts and organs. I’m coming to understand most ailments and diseases arise from deep within on energetic levels and filter into the physical body. We’ve been looking for clues and answers on the dry, solid husks of our patients’ bodies, forgetting the vital pulsing seeds and movements that lie within.
Then, we’ve been treating illnesses we find with industrial or military strength remedies when much simpler and subtler ones would’ve been more beneficial and less likely to cause harm. Sometimes, I think about the overdose and overkill we’ve been practicing. “Some’s good, more must be better,” works for a while, I guess.
Actually, I kind of scare myself when I consider some of our methods. Feels like we’ve been at war with illness, using heavy artillery for problems that aren’t even above ground.
We need better detectors and probing devices. And, when we do find the true cause of many illnesses we’ll realize they weren’t really attacking our children’s bodies or our own. They were just trying to right some of the wrongs from the inside out.
That’s still a hard one for me to get a handle on. If I get Borden’s hints right, disease is most often just nature trying to put things back into some kind of balance. We go in thinking we know how to fix things and create more problems for the body to resolve. Too often we’re just adding instead of subtracting insults to body and mind. We know so little.
The most frightening thing that I’ve come to realize is. . . It’s embarrassing to admit and say. Most of what we do in medicine comes out of fear. There just isn’t a whole lot of love in our profession. If there is, it’s really convoluted.
Would that there was some creativity in medicine. Everything is so standardized and categorized for one thing. There’s not much freedom to explore or investigate like we’re doing now. We’ll be frowned upon by many, as time goes on.
Out of our fears, we end up disrupting many of the body’s natural responses, blocking immune mechanisms, destroying healthy tissues along with diseased ones. Destruction rarely leads to healthful situations, at least in our human hands.
The litany goes on. We usually look for the worst in a situation. Adding one fear to another for our patients and their families -- and more bills. The cycle just seems to escalate with the more technology we develop. But, the answers aren’t in technology. They are on the inside in our hearts and minds.
We mustn’t forget the heart. Actually, I don’t think that we ever talked about the heart in medical school except as an organ of flesh which pumps blood. The subjective things just got short shrift in training.
I’m beginning to understand a little about the heart. The heart isn’t just a physical organ. Flesh is only its covering. The true heart is like some supra-dimensional engine covered by the outer physical shell. Sure, the flesh does some amazing work. But, there’s an interior dynamo that does the fundamental work. Without that inner force, the heart begins to die.
That’s the deeper cause of heart attacks. The arteries clog up only when the heart’s life is disrupted from the inside out. Our drugs and surgeries can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together. Only Humpty can do that. And he has to develop the will and love from within to do it. The heart and other organs can regenerate if the deeper dimensions are tapped.
So, the heart is multi-dimensional like all organs. But, it’s of exceeding importance because it truly is the organ and channel for love. Which is why, I suppose, Bud Borden makes so many references to it when we’re with patients and doing our group work. Lots of revelations these days.
So, my life seems to be changing with almost every heartbeat. My practice, my patients, the staff, even medicine is changing now. As for my family, well, my wife says that I’m the one that’s changed to catch up with her and the kids. She’s probably right. Women usually are several steps ahead of us. They just seem to have a knack for getting to the heart of the matter.
Martha Bronson, R.N.
The nursing and ancillary staff of City Medical Center hereby lays claim to Bud Borden. Since shortly after his birth, Master Borden has been friend and confidante to so many of us that we believe he deserves special commendation.
We want to thank you for:
B -- Being friends with every worker.
U -- Using your time for patients, families & staff.
D -- Dedicating yourself to teaching.
B -- Being a stimulus to making our hospital a healing center.
O -- Operating out of love.
R -- Reading to patients in pain and nurses in exhaustion.
D -- Delighting in life and sharing your excitement.
E -- Enduring our fun and practical jokes.
N -- Never turning back a question or request.
Three cheers for Bud Borden.
Hip, Hip, Hooray! Hip, Hip, Hooray! Hip, Hip, Hooray!
By the power vested in me through the City Medical Center nursing department, it’s my privilege to award you this certificate making you an honorary nurse on the hospital staff. No responsibilities are bound through this award, but we do look forward to your continued help and interest.
You’ve made a tremendous difference in our lives and work. We want you to know that and we all want you to stay on with us.
We love you, Bud.
We’re Havin’ a Party
There you have it, folks. The opening moments of Bud Borden’s first birthday party at City Medical Center. It’s my happy privilege to be your announcer this afternoon for our First Annual Happy Birthday, Bud celebration. John Rich, our reporter on the spot, will be joining us later with an interview or two.
Well, you’ve just seen the nursing staff make their presentation to Bud Borden. The mob of mostly women which is surrounding him should refresh little Bud’s heart to no end. A-hum. I’ve been told the nursing staff has their own special dinner and get-together scheduled to honor their young friend. It’s planned for tomorrow afternoon and evening.
While the current proceedings are in hiatus, let me tell you a little about the other activities which City Medical Center has undertaken to make this festival a hit. Actually, this isn’t just a one-day affair as many of you may think. The celebration really covers the whole week with many events open to the public.
Each day, one or more departments has created its own unique way to salute the occasion. If I understand correctly, every single department has volunteered to host or co-host some event. This surely testifies to Borden’s popularity which seems to have no bounds.
When I first heard that announcement, I was rather shocked. In my capacity as chairman of the hospital board, I asked if this had been the result of a directive from the executives. I was immediately told that all of the programming had been spontaneously developed. The administration only took on the responsibility of coordinating events as they were organized.
Quite a testimony for Mr. Borden and for my -- I mean -- City Medical Center.
So, it’s almost too much to go over all of the activities. Let me just give some of the highlights. Last Saturday, Pediatrics and the new group called Child Care had a party for Master Borden and all of the city’s children born in this same month. Over 1200 children participated. I understand it was not by any means a typical party. Instead, it was a massive learning experience. Dr. Child along with Bud Borden and volunteer staff created “a healing opportunity,” I’m told.
The celebration was a grand success and will be repeated on a monthly basis. Only little people were allowed to attend and since we don’t have any little people on the station payroll, we weren’t allowed to participate or get any video except shots from before and after the program. Maybe next year.
Earlier that same day, the Psychiatric Center sponsored the Mind and Body Conference. The purpose of the program was to “help overcome the mind-body split in medical and psychiatric practice.” The program was well-attended, as you can see. The sponsors were incredulous at the number of “body doctors” who attended. Interestingly, the keynote speaker was our own Bud Borden, who is becoming known as the “baby doctor.”
The nurses are beginning to disperse so I’ll quickly go over some other events. The hospital maintenance workers developed an area Plant-A-Thon. Bud Borden was in the middle of it with a CMC maintenance uniform planting trees and seedlings in neglected areas of the community.
The Dietary Department had an open-house with Bud’s Best, a tasting event with all of Bud Borden’s favorite foods and other exotic dishes. I was there for that one. To be honest, our palates are a might different. Some of the items were . . . quite unusual. Good turnout again.
Oh, I see we’re getting ready for the next part of our program. Let’s go down to John Rich, standing by with one of the hospital doctors, who’s getting ready to perform a musical number I’m told. Is that right, John?
“That’s quite correct. I’m here with Dr. Bill Cromarty who’s one of the four singers soon to go onstage and perform for us. Dr. Cromarty tell us what’s happening.”
“Right. Well, this is for fun. Bud Borden and three of us from the pediatrics department have banded together to create a singing group. This is our debut. We’re all a little scared, I think.”
“How did you get started?”
“Well, Child, Calhoun and I all know Borden from the pediatric ward and have grown to respect him a lot. Actually, he’s been quite a teacher for all of us. All four of us got involved in a music and medicine program and it just kind of happened that we should sing together. So, we’ve been practicing somewhat irregularly for a couple months now. We thought it was a fun time to hit the boards together, as they say.”
“Gee, this should be quite a treat for everyone. What’s the name of your group, doctor?”
“For the moment, you have two choices. You can call us The BeeCees -- based on our last names or Three Pediatricians and a Baby Doctor.”
“What are you singing for us?”
“The first one was Bud’s choice: Staying Alive. After that, I don’t know.”
“Guess it’s time for you to go. Thanks for the interview. Break a leg, doctor. No, not literally.
“Chairman Gates, it’s back to you as we get to see and hear the Three Pediatricians and a Baby Doctor sing Staying Alive.”
You should’ve been there when The BeeCees had their debut. It seemed like half the city was.
Well, we had the audience in the palm of our hands. We only did three numbers. That’s really all we’d practiced and knew sufficiently to perform. So, when they demanded an encore, we had to do Staying Alive for a second time. But, the crowd loved it just the same.
Bud was a smash with his little dance, assorted antics, and amazingly deep bass parts. Suppose the singing could’ve been God awful and we still would’ve been a hit. Really, we were darn good! If we weren’t all committed to medicine -- maybe I should say healing -- I think we’d be tempted to get a show together and go on the circuit. Several people including Chairman Gates suggested the idea when he interviewed us over the television hookup.
Thankfully, I’m back in good graces with him. He’s really a pretty decent fellow once you get to know him. Wants Bud and me to come visit him at the Gazette one of these days. Didn’t say why, but I’m sure he meant it. Even tried to make an definite appointment while we were on camera. Wonder what he’s got up his sleeve.
I’m sure our musical set was the highlight of today’s and maybe the week’s birthday festivities. I don’t remember when I had more fun or felt more a part of a community. Lots of people told me similar things.
Let me qualify that. It wasn’t number one, but it was way up there on the top ten chart. Number one had to be the presentations that were made just before our encore.
The audience was demanding an encore and Bud must’ve known it was coming. He grabbed the microphone and announced that he had to make a presentation before we continued.
Borden had Grandpa Nate and Mother Marian come out with three boxes. With them standing by, Bud said, “I know it’s generally the custom for presents to be given to the birthday celebrant, but I like the Eastern tradition of the birthday boy giving gifts. So, with the help of my grandfather and my mother, I’ve purchased some presents for practically everybody I can think of. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. But, the most important items I have to share go to these three fellows up here.
“We’ve become like brothers over the past several months, during our musical practice and healing studies. Since we work like we’re doing the same job, I thought maybe we should dress in like manner. Jim, Dave, Marty. These are for you.”
Bud handed the boxes to each of us and we opened them right in front of the huge crowd and the television cameras. He gave us monogrammed jumpsuits, just like his. The monograms showed our names on one line and BeeCees on the next.
Well, we were just tickled pink. We hugged Bud and while he made some small talk with the audience, we ran into the hospital to change into our new suits. When we returned, we looked like triplets with our jazzy jumpsuits and white coats. The audience went wild.
This fit perfectly with what Dave and Marty and I had planned. As chief of service, I was elected to be the spokesman.
I moved up to the microphone and took it from Bud. I struggled a bit, at first, but managed to say, “These are great, Bud. Bless you. Thanks. We have our own gifts for you.
“First off, with the administration and hospital board concurring, we present to you this certificate which makes you an honorary member of the hospital medical staff. Your photo and name will appear along with the rest of our mugshots on the north entry corridor.
“Part two, we’ve been authorized to give you this white doctor’s coat. Matches our own. Honestly, folks, we were going to do this one way or the other. Thankfully, the hospital went along with us without a hiccup or a sneeze.
“Finally, Bud, we have our own proclamation which makes it appropriate, legal, and etiquette for anyone and everyone to call you henceforth, Dr. Bud Borden.”
The hooting and hollering and cheering lasted for several minutes. When it started to die down, we moved into our encore and danced off the stage singing Staying Alive.
Read Schooling: Chapter 4