Two lx profs and two psych profs walk into a surgery center

… and a combat over brains and minds ensues. Well, no. Actually:

… and they talk about the infirmities and indignities of growing old. Kim Darnell (senior lecturer in psychology at Georgia State for many years) took me (adjunct professor of linguistics at Stanford, professor emeritus of linguistics at Ohio State) to the Surgery Center at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, where we ran into Eve Clark (professor emeritus of linguistics at Stanford) and Herb Clark (professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford). Usually shop talk would have ensued, but in the context our minds were on the rickety bodies of the three senior members of the group. (Kim is one generation younger than the rest of us.)

I was there for Cataract 1 (the Right Eye), and it all went smoothly and quickly (in and out in about 2 hours). My brain and my new lens are still working out their relationship, but the immediate post-operative haze and smarting are long gone, and my vision is slowly getting sharper and brighter, even though only one eye has been fixed. (Cataract 2 gets worked on on October 9th.)

That was today. Monday was pulmonology day, the latest attempt to figure out why I grow so short of breath under exertion (and not in other contexts). First a set of basic spirometry tests, which taken together indicated that my lungs were fine (and that my asthma is indeed gone). Then the pulmonologist, who was sharp, engaged, and sympathetic. (But every specialist is a new experience, and their modes of interaction are really important, so confronting new one after new one after new one is exhausting.) He’d been through tons of reports from other doctors, admitted that I’d taken pretty much every kind of test there is, and that I seemed to be in pretty good shape, but asked me to do advanced spirometry tests, while he waited.

What those showed was that they could reproduce the relevant effect by having me walk briskly through the halls of PAMF hooked up to a pulse oximeter. Well, you could hear me gasping for breath.

Long story short, it’s still a mystery, but there are no medical threats looming over me, so I can just press on with life (with restrictions in the short term for my eye surgery).

I note that the pulmonologist, Richard Chalker, ended up giving me an extra hour of his time, which is quite something.

The rainbow thing. Early on, Kim and I noticed that Dr. Chalker’s ID badge had a rainbow band across the top, but we didn’t have time to ask about it. Today, we asked a nurse at the Surgery Center about it, and learned that the staff were encouraged to put the bands on their badges to communicate that PAMF values and welcomes all sorts of people. Think Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition of the 1980s, plus the rainbow Pride flag.

A recent version of the Rainbow Coalition logo:

The word RAINBOW has the 6 colors of the Pride flag, in spectral order (with magenta for violet/purple, and with red repeated for the W). The rainbow also comes in a very different 4-color version, also illustrated above: orange or yellow, red, magenta, blue.

2 Responses to “Two lx profs and two psych profs walk into a surgery center”

  1. Susan Stone Says:

    Thanks for your posting. Dr. Chalker is an excellent physician: patient, understanding, inclusive. And my husband!

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