Wednesday, September 28, 2011

King of Popping Pills...

Apparently Michael Jackson is still capable of taking over the media with his escapades even in the afterlife. Schamone! I was listening to the radio coverage of Dr. Conrad Murray’s trial, the physician who was administering potent sedatives to the King of Pop, and in my professional opinion, something is seriously amiss.

The doctor is being charged with neglect and involuntary manslaughter, and what I find interesting is that the defense’s case is Michael Jackson killed himself by taking a bunch of pills after the doctor had left the room. Now, I’m not a lawyer, forensic scientist, or even a criminal justice major, but neither am I an idiot. If a doctor is supposed to be keeping a close eye on patient who is taking powerful sedatives leaves a room, and keeps a bunch of medicine within arm’s reach of that barely coherent patient so that an overdose is possible, then that in my mind is the very definition of neglect.

Providing in home patient care with medications administered only in hospitals without the presence of medical staff is already dangerous and requires extra degrees of vigilance. The mere fact that the doctor left the room under the circumstances underscores gross neglect and medical malpractice. Conrad Murray violated the first tenet of the Hippocratic Oath, which is to do no harm, regardless of whether the defense’s proposition that Michael committed suicide is true or not.

To top it all off, neither when the medics arrived on the scene, nor when MJ was taken to the hospital did Conrad disclose the medications in the patient's system. I don't know whether or not that could have made a difference at that juncture, but that is far from the point. Everyone knows that by telling doctors what medications are present in the body increases the chances of survival and minimizes the chances of administering a lethal combination of meds. How is it that Conrad had two opportunities to do this, but let it slip his mind?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baby I love your way...

When I was in junior high school, I was in love with a girl named Rachelle. In fact, I was so in love with her, that when she broke up with me, I cried like a baby. Well, technically, she broke up with me after I confronted her about making out with my best friend Francisco, but who’s really keeping track? She remains the only girl I ever cried over. Oddly enough, one of my biggest regrets in life was telling her that I thought the song she dubbed "our" song was stupid, before I had really listened to the lyrics and let their simple, yet powerful meaning sink in.

I remember the night it happened, no not when I saw her making out with Francisco behind the gym, although I do remember that day as well. I mean the night she called me and told me to turn on the television. I remember talking to her while the video to "Baby I love your way" by Blue Mountain played in the background, the bright glow from the t.v. screen casting shadows across the room that danced to the music. She told me to listen to the song, and that she had decided it was ours. Before the song had even ended, I told her that it was stupid and that we should pick another one. I don't remember exactly why I thought this, or what my alternate suggestions were, but what I do know is how much I've grown to love this song, and how every time I hear it, I think about how much I regret hastily showing my disapproval to someone who was expressing something so heartfelt and loving. I of all people should know how meaningful songs can be.

When I was nine, my mother passed away from breast cancer and one of the ways I would comfort myself would be to play Smokey Robinson's "Just to See Her" on my older sister's record player. I would lie in her bed listening to the song over and over again until I had cried myself to sleep. I guess I thought that if I recited the lyrics to the song enough times, that I would be granted the opportunity to see her again, as not being able to say goodbye was a huge point of contention in my life for a long time. Both songs share such simple affirmations, but represent extremely powerful sentiments.

As I drove home tonight from a friend's house, a familiar song played on the radio. I sang out loud to it as I normally do. Moonlight had already tucked the city in, and the night's cool breeze flowed through my hair. Street lights projected long shadows across the pavement that reminded me of that regretful night. The gift wrapped nostalgia brought a smile to my face. I'm not sure why this one memory is seared so vividly in my mind, or why it has left such an indelible impression. I just know that I won't ever take such a moment for granted again. Interesting how life chooses to teach us sometimes isn’t it?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Double-edged Pen

One of the things I love about writing is that I get ample time to choose the right words and combination of words that most accurately express how I feel or what I’m thinking. In school, when a teacher mentions an essay, I smile confidently while most of the class responds with grunts and whines of disapproval at their unfortunate luck. I relish in the opportunity to write, while those with the gift of gab would prefer extemporaneous speech.

When you’re speaking, there’s no reset button, no redo’s, or take backs. Once it’s out, it’s out. (More painfully so of that almost invisible spray of saliva that somehow escapes us on rare occasion) Sometimes, you can clarify, elaborate, or elucidate, but once the vibrations of your initial utterance take form, there’s no going back. Since there is a greater degree for misinterpretation and poor selection in regards to words that are spoken on the fly, I often choose to write to someone instead, particularly, if there are feelings involved. However, there is a lot to be said about verbal and non-verbal feedback that you miss out on, like the telling nuances of facial expression and body language. Also, not being there to explain something they might have misconstrued, and not finding out immediately how they feel about what you wrote is a part of the trade off. In either case, choosing your words wisely is an understatement.

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always written poetry. Eventually, it became a form of catharsis, a way to release emotions. Over the years, it stuck with me and was my solace in times of emotional uncertainty or turmoil. When I am inspired or passionate about something, I am compelled to write. Words are how I interpret my own sensory data about the world around me, and a way to share that information. Interestingly, there is an aura of vulnerability, a window to the soul that is opened when pen meets paper, and stays that way long after the candlelight is extinguished, or the glow from the monitor fades.

Writers are an interesting lot. We write for many reasons, and while many of us write for ourselves, there is still a desire for reassurance, admittedly or not. Just as with any other art, writers want to elicit emotion, persuade thought, inform, or to know, even in the smallest way, that they are appreciated. We want to know that our toil was worth it. We want validation; a modicum of recognition, whether a knowing nod or a pat on the back. It isn’t easy to get in front of a group of people to talk, but with practice, you can master all the little skills that come naturally to us during regular conversation. When you speak, you can be whoever you want. You are the gatekeeper and can choose to reveal as much or as little of your true identity, peeling back the layers with slow and deliberate action, or ripping them off like a band-aid. However, written words provide a direct portal to your essence, a window to your being...they are a giant aquarium that passersby can look through and point with wonder.