Monday, February 05, 2018


By Fred Owens

Dr. Benjamin Howard is young. He's probably 30-years-old but he looks 25, average build and height, light brown hair, a mildly confident manner as he entered the room.

He has a wife and two small children. He recently came to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara when the old surgeon retired. He went to medical school at UCIrvine and did surgical residence at UCSanFrancisco.
That's where he learned to work on thyroid glands. I don't know what else he does but he's going to work on mine. Remove it. Apparently you can get along without a thyroid gland by taking thyroid replacement pills -- $5 a month at Wal-Mart.
The thyroid is like a thermostat on your home heating. You add more and then your metabolic rate kicks up a notch, or you cut back on the dosage and you slow done. Up or down.
Well, if it's that easy not to have a thyroid, then why do we have one in the first place? I don't know. But several well-informed people have told me I would be better off without mine.
It's the nodules. A lot of people have nodules on their thyroid glands. Like warts. They don't hurt anything. But I have a big nodule, bigger than a ping pong ball, big enough to name, big enough to put on a leash and take for a walk.
Oh, don't worry. It's benign. We did a biopsy. They checked, They poked a long, slim needle in my my throat four times and it came up fine. This was a year ago. "Not to worry, it's benign. But you might think about having us take it out because you never know. We could take it out and that's that."
Low key, no pressure. A year passes. Another ultra sound. It's still there. Starting to squish my breathing tube and impact the swallowing. So I said okay, let's do it, let's take it out.
That's when I met Dr. Howard, the surgeon. He explained the procedure and the possible complications and the likely outcome. Then he asked me if I had any questions.
I said, "Are you right-handed or left-handed?"
He said he was a right-handed, but a left-handed surgeon could do just as well.
Then he handed me over to the scheduling nurse. She said is Friday, February 9 all right?
Then be here at 5 a.m. and don't eat or drink anything the night before.
I was nervous about all this, but I talked with people and began to gain a little confidence, so I think it will be all right.
The National Scene

This business with the memo being released by the Republicans on the committee is confusing. I do not understand the problem. I read a couple of news stories about this memo but it reads like Sanskrit. No Comprendo.
Overall, Trump is winning. He is driving me and a lot of other people into a state of exhaustion. He disrupts, then he disrupts, then he disrupts again. Trump is wearing me out and I don't know what to do about this.
#Me Too and Hollywood
Maureen Dowd writes about Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino in Sunday's NYTimes. Following her, Nicholas Kristof writes about Woody Allen and the accusations against him.
What this tells us, what we already knew, is that a lot of weird people work in the movie industry. If they are making an effort to behave better, then all power to them. But even so they do not inspire the nation. Or I should say they do not inspire me. I have never looked to Hollywood for moral guidance.  Artists have never been paragons of virtue. Adventuresome, creative, different, yes, and a blessing to our country for that. But to serve as a model of good behavior, I don't think so. They cannot lead us to a better place.
For a model of good, loving behavior, we don't have to look far -- Consider Barack and Michelle Obama. They seem to treat each other pretty well. Their behavior inspires me. They set a good example in their personal lives, no matter what you think about their politics.

We've been hearing too many bad, true stories, but we need to balance that with some good, true stories, to show us a better way. 
St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto.
It is my good fortune to announce that Laurie and I will be going to Toronto in early June, for my 50th class reunion. It will be fun. I looked at non-stop flights from Los Angeles, they run about $450 round trip. We will be staying at the dorm, where they have fixed up rooms with double beds and private bathrooms. Those rooms, which I expect to be fairly Spartan, run about $45 per night including breakfast.
The St. Michael's campus is quiet and very pretty in early June -- the green grass on the lawn will be a pleasure to our parched drought-stricken eyes. The peonies and roses will be in bloom. It will be nice to see old friends and meet new friends. I expect we will do little more than sit and talk, and then stroll around here and there and talk some more.

How about a class nap?  Okay, class, blankets at the ready, two p.m. in the Quad, ready, sleep!

That's all for today,


Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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