A Search for Beauty and Truth Through the Love of Hedgehogs
Friday, December 30, 2011
A Christmas Tale of Sorts
A student of mine is a doctor, a gastroenterologist, and he spends much of his time doing endoscopy, which consists of sticking tubes into whichever hole is most appropriate for reaching the troubled organ. These tubes are quite remarkable; they can light, see, cut, slice, sew, seal, burn, and deliver various types of instrument or bits of plastic for opening, closing or healing all kinds of vessels in the body. Quite, fascinating it is, and it's done with the precision of a module landing on Titan, through a control panel which wouldn't look out of place in the cockpit of a fighter plane.
He was on call on Christmas Eve, and had to go to the hospital at 11 in the evening. A bad time, because on Christmas Eve everyone has dinner with the family over here. It's as big an occasion as lunch on Christmas Day. But these things happen, he said, he's used to it.
The emergency was an old man whose oesophagus was blocked. He needed emergency endoscopy to remove the blockage, after which he was pronounced fit and sent home.
The point is that my student described it as a normal Christmas Eve call- grandad, having had to spend all year eating yoghourt and baby food, is determined to have a proper dinner with his family that day, and is reminded why he was told to stick to the baby food in the first place. Just an anecdote- surprising to me because it wasn't surprising to the doctor- but an example of how the human spirit can be both stronger and weaker than the flesh. On the whole I found it an optimistic tale, and not only because one day we may all be that man.