Literary Karaoke

The Best of The Week

"Ayo, man, you like music?"

I look over at the young man with his bulging backpack, strolling up to me nonchalantly in the hot parking lot of an Atlanta summer as I'm heading up towards the grocery store. The black asphalt is slick with dropped food, discarded fast food wrappers, poured out drinks, and young men just trying to make a buck.

"Yes", I say, knowing how the conversation will go.

"What kind of music you like?" he says, opening the backpack and bobbing his dreads.

"Jazz", I say, peering into the backpack.

The young man startles. His world has literally stopped.


"Yes, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong.... Jazz."

He tries again.

"You like rap?"

"Nope", I say honestly. Because he has a backpack full of this. And I know it.

His world stops again.

"You don't like rap?" It's not a challenge.…

In clinic I have two jobs.

The first job is to diagnose. Chief complaint, history of present illness, past medical history, allergies, review of systems, medications (and vitamins and supplements and herbs and any pills or concentrated substances), social history including addictive substance use, family history, physical exam. What is my diagnosis? A clinical portrait of the patient.

The second job is to communicate and negotiate. I have to get a snapshot of the…

At my age, I've been to my fair share of funerals, memorials, or celebrations of life. Let me tell you, nothing short of losing a child or twin, prepares you for the death of a husband who was in a sub acute rehab facility FOR A FRACTURED HIP.

Yes, he had Alzheimer's, but he eventually went through all of the stages during a 31 day period...and that's not a normal Alzheimer's death. Because there was no autopsy, no lawyer will assist me in proving wrongful death or negligence. I have one…