Thanks to everyone who helped me put yesterday behind me.

Status:  8.5/10.  Started the day off well, looking forward to a calm restful respite.  Lisa came to watch me get a head shave.  Who is that guy in the mirror?  The one aspect I hadn’t thought about was that your hair provides a nice layer of insulation.  I keep a hat on not so much for vanity but for simple warmth.  Mammalian hair was a superb evolutionary advantage.

  Lisa returned to work today.  ABC has been extraordinarily considerate about her work schedule and taking time off, and that generosity will be remembered for a long time.  But before she left she provided two great comforts.  One was her foot massage, which I will now miss immensely.  The other, as my kids will tell you, is my love of sno-cones.  She brought our small Hawaiian Shaved Ice machine from home and a bottle of syrup.  Had a refreshing cherry sno-cone right there in bed, about the best way there is to force fluids.  I’m looking forward to having one outdoors in the summer sun.

Events: Received two more units of blood, not because my hematocrit had dropped, but because each attending physician has their own criteria for where they want it to be.  I’ll have a new attending on rotation tomorrow, and the nurses are concerned that she will be upset to see it at my level.  So much for evidence-based medicine.

  More disruptive was that they moved me out of my room today to a bed on another ward.  Apparently, they were admitting a new and seriously ill patient, and felt that since I was the most stable patient on the ward, I could be moved.  I could say that it’s an honor just be nominated and didn’t need the consequences of the “Healthiest Patient Award,” nonetheless they packed up everything that had been carefully arranged in my home away from home (clothes, books, toiletries, food, calendars, get well cards, photos, etc.) and carted them off with me following with my IV pole.  Friend Laurie Singer was up here for a meeting and unpacked and set up all my personal items.  All of us know how stressful a move is (and this happened as I was getting blood transfusions and every 15 minute vital signs). 

Comments:  So maybe tomorrow will be a quiet day.  My lumbar puncture from yesterday showed decreased protein (a good sign) from the previous exam.  I asked the intern to figure out what the next one would be based on an approximate exponential decay (she should remember this from medical school pharmacokinetics), and told her I give her a prize if she could come within 5 points.  Since I challenged her in front of everyone else on rounds (this is called “Pimping” in medical circles) she’s stuck of going back and solidifying her education.

  I could also challenge good friend Dr. Rick Davidson’s outlandish comment that I stood on top of a dining room table in the middle of the Vandy Divinity School dining room trying to attract female attention, but then he’d have several hundred witnesses to back him up.  We have been the best of friends since then, and is the epitome of great teaching – universally loved by the students, cares for them greatly, and not surprisingly holds the title of Distinguished Teaching Professor and Full Professor of Medicine at Univ of Florida College of Medicine.  His claim to fame is his fishing ability.  He keeps sending me these obviously PhotoShopped pictures of some guy that looks a little like him (suspiciously, always wearing sunglasses and a hat) holding an impossibly big fish.  And he takes the risk of inviting me down there each year to lecture to the 2nd year students.  This year will me first in about 20 years in missing that assignment.  My task is to make sure I don’t disappoint him next year.

I am looking forward to (hoping for) a quite day tomorrow.

Love to all,



19 Responses to “”

  1. Judy and Larry Says:

    Our wish for you is a quiet day tomorrow and for you to make that fishing trip next year.
    Terry just left our house with a box of mints for you. We hope that they help keep any bad flavors out of your mouth.
    Thinking of you always and enjoying each and every blog!! Thank you for taking the time to write and to be so good at it.
    Best of luck.
    Judy and Larry

  2. HopeMOM Says:

    You made me laugh tonite.
    About your snow cones and the stuff from you room being moved I have seen your office and your room here at my house– kinds looks like my den corner today.Thank goodness for Laurie in more ways than one. Have three inches on your warm hat knitted, need 11, won’t take but a day or two. pretty soft grey and black multi like your own hair was and will be again. You can still wear the hat when yours all grows back.
    Love you Brucie Dearest

  3. Art Ulene Says:

    Bruce….. Forget the spinal fluid protein levels. Reading between the lines of your daily messages, I KNOW YOU ARE GETTING BETTER. You are an inspiration to all of us….. Art

  4. Judy Freedman Says:

    Every day, I l eagerly look forward to good reports! Rotations and different criteria must be challenging! I remember, as kids, we used to play the game of “Risk.” I remember playing in your living room. You always won. I don’t know why we even started the game. We knew the outcome. You are the ultimate risk-taker and you win!

  5. wendy Says:

    Ok, the one upmanship bet is on again… how many moves..and name them all…I think I’m still the winner. But will acquiesce that you are the winner, if you can still remember them all without looking them up.

    Here’s to being the aml winner to a full recovery…

  6. Sheryl Stolberg Says:


    Just catching up on the blog after several days immersed in the life story of Elena Kagan. You make me laugh and cry — the sign of a good writer. That salmonella story was priceless.

    I think of you every day, and said a misheberach for you in synagogue the other day. Someone else did too; not sure who she was, but obviously you have friends and well-wishers all over.


  7. Donna Hill Howes Says:

    Root Beer Sno Cones are the best!!
    Sorry to hear about the move, but glad you were the healthiest of the bunch. Hopeful that you’ve got only another week or so before you make the fun move back home.
    Spent the day at Google Headquarters at the office of CEO, Eric Schmidt….fun stuff which I’ll share w you on next visit.
    Know you’ll miss Lisa, and so glad that ABC was supportive.
    Love to you, and may your sleep be uninterrupted!!

  8. HopeMOM Says:

    Sweet sleep and pleasant dreams for you tonight!

  9. cheryl Says:

    Nominated for Healthiest Patient Award!

    Ah, love it! Keep your wit near and your laughter nearer!

  10. Susan and Larry Says:

    Susan and I think of you every day.Enjoy your blogs and your sense of humor.Keep up the good work and get well soon.We think of you at work when we are washing our hands.Our love and prayers go out to Lisa,the children,and especially to you.Love your Cousins

  11. Susan and Larry Says:

    Susan and I think of you every day.Enjoy your blogs and your sense of humor.Keep up the good work and get well soon.We think of you at work when we are washing our hands.Our love and prayers go out to Lisa,the children,and especially to you.Love your Cousins

  12. Rick Davidson Says:

    Thanks for the shout out…but the best treat will be a picture of you riding on my boat on a bright sunny day. I can even promise you a fish or two. You need a Florida rehab visit after this; clearly that will restore your sanity, if not your hair. Unfortunately, I can tell you it doesn’t restore hair, but I keep working on it.

  13. mike magee Says:


    Just to know, you’re in my thoughts each day. Less hair, yes. But BIG HEART! BIG SPIRIT! Blessings to you and your family!


  14. Susan Bies Says:

    Hi Bruce,
    Lisa gave me your blog address a while ago and I read it each evening – – even though you are 45 miles away, reading it makes me feel like you are in our family room sharing the events of your day. I am sorry I have been slow to write a response; it’s just that everyone else’s entries are so articulate, so funny, and so wise. While I am not sure I could ever measure up, I ultimately decided that that was a poor excuse not to let my dear friend know that I am thinking about him and his family … constantly.
    Your daily postings are both informative and inspirational; they let your family and friends know how you’re doing, not just physically but your whole person. Thank you for being willing to share all parts of you, it enables us to be on the journey with you – – or at least as much as a father is able to “give birth” to his child. In other words, we are there in spirit and love, but not necessarily the one experiencing the physical realities.
    I wanted to share a story from yesterday – one I thought you might enjoy. I was at school because Brian was “principal for the day”, so I had a chance to witness 7/8th grade chapel. Ms. O’Connell had some of her students reading poems they had written; one of the techniques they had used in class was for each child to contribute a line of poetry and in the end it would form one group poem. After sharing their work, Ms. O’Connell called upon the broader gathering to create a group poem. Ms. O’Connell offered the opening line about it being about a nightmare. Rachel was one of the first to offer a line. She said, “it all started peaceful”. Ms. O’Connell asked her if she meant “peacefully” and Rachel, sticking to her guns, said (politely) “no”, she meant “peaceful”. From there, the other students went on to offer various lines. When numerous lines had been recorded, Ms. O’Connell asked for a volunteer to read the finished poem, Rachel volunteered and proceeded to read it. At least two things struck me. One, her decision to hold firm on the word “peaceful” had turned out to be brilliant; it was the perfect word at the perfect moment in the poem. Second, hearing her voice read the poem; I was struck by its authenticity and inner confidence. What flashed in my mind was “wow, she is blossoming into an incredible young woman and I really look forward to hearing about the places she will go in her life”. I know this sounds like a lot to take away from an ordinary moment in an ordinary day, but it’s what I felt and I share this from my heart.
    Love and all things good for you,

  15. Alpa and Ken Says:

    Bruce, thank you so much for this blog. We read your posts and all the wonderful comments every day. We’re thinking about you and can’t wait to hear you talk about this experience in the past tense! — Alpa and Ken

  16. Nancy Douglas Says:


    Check off “head lice” as one thing you don’t have to worry about these days. Very few people with school-aged children can say that, you know…

    Is someone getting video Rachel performing in Guys and Dolls this weekend to upload to youtube, and give you some entertainment? If not, I will do my darndest.

    Your blog is remarkable – so human, so informative, so practical, so moving, so humorous and so wise. We get such inspiration from you. Aren’t we the ones that are supposed to be doing that for you?

    Thank you so much. We really miss you, and think about you all the time. We are sending the very best wishes and most potent and sincere prayers for you Lisa, Rachel and Ethan.

    XO Nancy and family

  17. Len Goldman Says:

    Hi Bruce,
    “Thanks for sharing” is most often used sarcastically, but when I say it to you, I mean it! It is evident it makes you feel better to share and it certainly makes it easier for us too. It is so interesting to learn what your ordeal is really like and it is equally refreshing to see how your wit and intelligence haven’t been dampened at all by those wacky poisons they keep assaulting you with!
    I have offered your blog to my Dad who has just finished his chemo. for lymphoma and a dear friend just starting hers for ovarian cancer (without your permission I might add!) They also appreciate your musings.
    We think about you often and are wishing you an easier journey from here on out.
    Lisa and Len

  18. jackie judd Says:

    Hi Bruce–

    So, is there anything you can’t do?! You’re a doc, a journalist, a great dad and husband. And, now, come to find out you are one heck of a writer, even under difficult circumstances. I read your entries am amazed at your skill, your honesty and your good humor.

    Hang in. If you ever get a hunger for a Jewish mother’s matzoh ball soup, let me know. My mother is ten minutes away and she always has some on stand-by.

    Wishing you the very best–and saying a few prayers when I am at Temple.


  19. HopeMOM Says:

    You left out what a super son he is, I know!

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