“Altogether, the human brain is estimated to hold something on the order of two hundred exabytes of information, roughly equal to ‘the entire digital content of today’s world,’ according to Nature Neuroscience.*1 If that is not the most extraordinary thing in the universe, then we certainly have some wonders yet to find.” Bryson, Bill. The Body (p. 55). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Interesting, whatever exabytes are.
When I was a medical student I was intrigued by neurology. I appreciated, for instance, that, there was an individual neuro-examination that even an adolescent might find, at least, partially, doable. Other physical examines like palpating livers through the skin or hearing subtle, cardiac sounds went beyond my grasp as a young adult. However, the neuro-exam was within my capabilities. For example, one asked the question, was there a reflex when a particular area about the knee was lightly hammered? Even I could do that.
In keeping with that interest, I did sleep research through medical school and investigated aging of the brain in my residency. The result was one new discovery in two years of work. In my sleep research we studied patients with nocturnal angina pectoris (per Webster “…a disease marked by brief sudden attacks of chest pain or discomfort caused by deficient oxygenation of the heart muscles”). In all of our patients prone to attacks of angina pectoris awakening them from sleep, they awoke every morning easily. That was no surprise given how frightening chest pain can be.
So much for my research career. Neither, was I ever found haunting the neurology wards again. On the other hand my entire medical career was filled with diversity, either, because I am odd, or, curious, or both.
“The great wisdom for writers, perhaps for everybody, is to come to understand to be at one with their own tempo.” Alan Hollinghurst, an English author
I have no pitch. I can’t sing. Rhythm is something I have a feel for, particularly having learned to play drums at about nine. Now, that helps if I dance or play the guitar. However in day to day life, I am out of rhythm, far too much.
I eat too fast. I move too fast. I speak too fast. I seem to be on the run.
The only thing that’s touched that pace in almost 76 years is the love of God, often, spoken through my spouse, Kristine. I am not saying that aren’t problems with the spoken word for us both having been wed over four decades. That’s life.
But by the grace of God, in times of inordinate pressure, she is there for me. I am a fortunate man, whose many shortcomings have not stood in her way. I am deeply grateful.
I saw some calm bay water today. That water reminded me of those occasional perfect days in the 50s when I could ski on Miami’s Biscayne Bay in a dead calm. The water was like glass. The sun would shine down invitingly.
The slalom ski I used I custom made in shop in eighth grade, the perfect size for the smallest kid in class. But my size was an advantage giving me a lower center of gravity. If I tried slalom water skiing tomorrow my entire back would spasm.
Ah, the 50s, those were bad old, good old days. In the 50s my friends would either use me as a basketball before I lost a lot of weight or join me in skiing after I did. The skiing was a lot more fun than being dribbled or shot for three pointers.
“The need to write comes from the need to make sense of one’s life and discover one’s usefulness.” John Cheever, the late American author
I find that particularly true in retirement. First, thank God I have been able to retire.
Looking back, it becomes easier to make sense of my own life. I find as I write, I can be useful by eliciting smiles, understanding, laughs and insight for my readers. I hope and pray I can do that for many of you. I certainly feel more useful in my slow, so far, thank God, deterioration. I believe I can grow in God’s hands and accomplish those ends.
Others don’t really know me. I really don’t know me. But, He does. May I be blessed by Him through Scriptures, circumstances and the people through which He guides me. Lord knows I need that.