The ER and Me, a Student, Fifty Years Ago

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

The W. A. Shands Teaching Hospital ER in Gainesville, Florida had been rather calm as best as I can remember. It was a night in about 1970. I was a med student, very wet behind the ears.

The peace of the evening was broken by the loud yelling and physical force of our next patient. He came in swinging his fists and yelling at the top of his lungs. The patient was a man about six foot three inches in height, 180 pounds in weight and thickly muscled. He was likely about 30 years of age. I would call him a “nuclear” force blowing into the room with terrifying strength and vigor.

The real docs quickly realized this was likely either PCP, psychosis or both. It took several very strong people to get him under control and inject a calming agent into his system. The experience that night was almost…

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The Best Letter I Ever Received

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

It was the springtime of either 1972 or 1973. I had been asked in writing to arrive soon for a draft physical while in residency at Emory University. With the ongoing Vietnam War it was a matter of serious concern to me.

Then, a week or so later, another letter from my draft board arrived in the mailbox. I couldn’t imagine why, but thought perhaps it was a duplicate. I slowly opened the letter. Basically, it said, the draft board regretfully was informing me the Physician Draft had ended and my appointment was cancelled.

It was as though two lead weights had been lifted off my shoulders. That was followed by a smile as wide as the Golden Gate Bridge.

The letter obviously changed the trajectory of my life. I gained two years in the civilian workforce I would have lost to military duty. I missed the conflict with the…

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Dylan at 80

Bob Dylan just turned 80, yesterday. The enthusiasm for him was so enormous, when I saw him live 50 years ago that I couldn’t hear a thing over the screaming crowd.

His son, 51 year old Jakob, is a multi-Grammy winning singer songwriter. When Jakob was a toddler, Bob wrote about his hopes for him in Forever Young.

“May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you”

Could any father say anything more beautiful to his child? How blessed we are that he is not a youthful casualty like some of his compatriots. His music and verse will always be with us. Thank God he is still with us, quite active despite his years.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling, Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon.