Michael’s De-blooming

Watched the Democrats debate again Wednesday night. Couldn’t miss this one, actually, because it was the first to involve Mike Bloomberg. By the end of the night I had made an assessment of the man, and it was this: I found him to be a ball of smarm, and a self-righteous prig. Does that sound negative? I really tried to lighten it up a bit.

The basic attitude that came across from him to me was “Here I am, children, Daddy is home now and will tell you how things really are and I can do this because, you know, I am really really rich and that must mean that I am also smarter, wiser, better-looking, and the tallest man in the room … or at least I would be the tallest if I stood on a pile of my money.”

As for the rest of this febrile bunch, I am still sticking with Amy from Minnesota. Even in the middle of a shouting match, her razor-sharp focus on a topic rarely wavers, and she speaks in complete sentences. For a man like myself who cannot do anything but splutter in any heated verbal exchange, these are talents to be admired.

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Oh, good lord. Now there’s a controversy about Vitamin K administration to newborn babies. You hadn’t heard? Here’s the deal. There used to be a bleeding disease, some of the bleeding being milder (skin, circumcisions) and some very serious (brain, internal organs). You never heard of it? It was called hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.

By the early 1960s it had been discovered that these problems were due to a deficiency of vitamin K at birth, which could lead to bleeding. It was also found that giving one milligram of vitamin K as an injection shortly after birth just about completely prevented this problem. By the time I became a full-fledged pediatrician and firmly established among the medical elite of the nation, this was the policy in nearly all nurseries in the US of A. It was such a common practice that it was usually printed on a sheet of routine orders so that the doctor didn’t have to do anything but sign at the bottom of the page.

I only saw the disease once in my professional lifetime, and that was when I was practicing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In 1975, I was called in as a consultant because a baby in the nursery was persistently oozing from his circumcision site. I was puzzled for a short time, but on going over the baby’s chart I soon found that there was no notation of the child’s having been given a vitamin K injection.

Asking further, I found that Dr. A’s patients were never given this medication. Now Dr. A was very very old, and had probably stopped reading medical journals long before that day so he may never have heard that you could prevent this type of bleeding by simply giving the vitamin K prophylactically, even though this had been widely known for more than a decade.

Not only was Dr. A not known for being on the forward edge of medicine at that time, it was in fact rumored that he had actually died in 1965, but no one had figured out how to stop his corpse from making rounds or how to force him to lie down and be quiet as a proper dead person should.

I quickly rustled up some vitamin K and cured this baby’s disease, a problem which he should never have had in the first place.

To read that there are now parents who are refusing to have their infant given the medication blows-my-fragile-mind. I really don’t get it. Why does wanting to have the birth experience be a warmer and more humane experience (which I completely understand) also have to include this tendency toward dangerous and deliberate dumbness?

I have to admit that if I were still practicing medicine and some parents asked me please would I not give their baby this vitamin I would probably have to be restrained from smacking them vigorously about the head and shoulders with a copy of the most current textbook of neonatology.

I can almost hear myself exclaiming: “You want to see bleeding? Here, I’ll give you bleeding! Stop running around the desk for a moment so I can get at you and you’ll see plenty of it!”

I have never suffered fools gladly*.

*2 Corinthians 11:19

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I suspect that most of us have some quiet dream that we don’t talk about much. One that we know will likely never be fulfilled, but it doesn’t matter. Just being able to fantasize about it is 99% enough.

But how many of those dreams improve over time? How lucky am I to be in that position! Since its inception in 1989, I have been a fan of the Mazda Miata sports car, pictured above when it was first brought to the public. I have sat in them at auto shows, followed their careers like any true fan would do, and delighted in one positive review after another in the automotive literature.

And here is that lovely creature’s most recent iteration.

My, my, my. I’m finding that the upgrade to my persistent reverie is more than one … well … could have dreamt.

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When I go to the gym, I need to have some vigorous music playing in my ears to cover up the sounds of my own gasping and retching that might otherwise trouble my concentration. I do feel for those people who are trying their best to ignore me when they are working out on nearby machines, but what can I do … we all have our burdens to bear.

Anyway, the songs on the right are from one of the playlists I’ve made up and was listening to yesterday, Gym #18.

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