Thursday, November 21, 2013


I recently met a patient who, when describing her previous illnesses and treatments, mentioned being involved with a group supported by the teachings of Bruno Groening.

I'd never heard of him or his claims. Bruno claimed to be a healer and spoke widely on the subject of healing in the early 1900's in seems. He thought no illness incurable with his beliefs or techniques. Around the globe today, there are many "Friends of Bruno" who gather regularly to learn and practice healings.

Apparently the techniques could not heal the colon cancer my patient had or the goiter/thyroid enlargement Bruno had. He died in his early 50's. With any luck of the scalpel, this lady should last longer than Bruno. It's amazing to me what people believe or want to believe as they deal with their own health.

Abroad Tea

Any starts talking to me about magic potions from lands beyond the U.S. border, and I'm all ears. I've seen too many pharmaceutical poisonings over the years and anything that is natural and as effective as the drug company variety is fascinating to me. I smelled it as soon as I entered the doctor's lounge. It was something I'd never smelled before.

"What is that?" I asked my colleague. In broken English my FMG friend told me it was Mate' from his native Argentina made from the dried leaves of yerba mate, also known as llex paraguariensis (Paraguay?) to the science types. I have tasted many strange teas in my life, from many countries, but this one I missed. Before I could say anything more, he vanished to the locker room and brought back a bagged sample of the tea for me to try. I promised to savor it at home. Cute little donkey on the label.

He proceeded to describe the potential benefits of the tea. He said it's a strong stimulant when steeped for longer period of time and acts on the muscles to relax them. He warned of mental clarity without the buzz or addiction of caffeine. He beamed with talks of boosting the immune system and stimulating healing tissue.

I don't know about all that, but I've been buzzing on one cup all day. It was delicious, but I can feel it working on my brain, muscles and nerves. Wonder if I steeped it too long. Now I'm trying to figure out how to fall asleep without countering the effects with something chemical. Wonder how my immune system is doing. Probably to buzzed to notice the bacterial floating around my body. And I don't know how I missed this gem but the scientific community seems to have found it as well and is interested in it's medicinal properties - .
Thanks for the sample! Now, just need to find a supplier.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Emergency C-sections are one of the most sobering events in medicine/surgery. Life is fragile as well as tenacious.

27 weeker babies, fetuses really, are so small and discolored with labored breathing and frantic resuscitation teams doing their best and giving their all to encourage and save life. I forget how much effort they require, how much attention they need at this stage. They just aren't ready for prime time.

I heard one of the nurses say, "this one's not done yet. Put it back in". A bit amusing, but entirely sobering. Off to the NICU for several 100s of thousands of $ of attention and need.

Paraphernalia Stories

Once upon a time there was a baby and his father who lived full time on an ocean going freighter moving "Made in China" tools from Hong Kong harbor to the Port of Los Angeles. One night, the father was strolling with the toddler, just beginning to learn to walk, on the deck of the monstrous ship. All at once a rogue wave swept over the boat and washed the baby and his father off the deck into the cold Pacific....never to be seen again.

I'm not normal. Walking along the beach the other day after a storm that brought up huge waves, I found a pacifier in the seaweed and debris. I don't think about the litter and trash that is polluting our beaches from who knows where. I think about the story behind the pacifier.

I think about the male or female baby in far off lands who somehow lost his or her comforting rubber and plastic binky off some ocean going freighter that his Mom or Dad worked to keep him/her fed and sheltered. Or maybe Tsunami debris from Japan or an eroding dump in the Caribe islands, cascading into the sea.

There must be a story attached to this and other pieces of humanity that wash up on the shores of our beaches. I just try to fill in the blanks.