Celebrating the Day of the Physician in the Americas

Today we are celebrating the Day of the Physician in the Americas, for which we wish all our colleagues of this great profession the very best in these difficult times of SARS-CoV 2 pandemic and resiliently persistent Social Isolation guidelines, which has taxed the patience of all of us. Salve!

We are transcribing  an article that we had written a few years back about the origins of this day:

“On December 3rd, we are celebrating the Day of the Physician in the Americas in honor of all the dedicated and hard-working professionals tending to the health care needs of people from Alaska in the extreme North to Ushuaia in the extreme South.

The Panamerican Health Organization (or Organización Panamericana de la Salud in Spanish) designated this day in honor of Carlos Juan Finlay Barres, a Cuban physician and researcher who had discovered in 1881 that the Yellow Fever was transmitted through an insect vector like Aedes Aegypti; he was born on December 3, 1833 in Puerto PrÍncipe, Cuba, and studied Medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

Note. This reproduction of an image of Dr. Carlos Finlay was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Dr. Finlay, dubbed as “the mosquito doctor” by his detractors, had a hard time to prove his hypothesis but he finally collected enough clinical data to submit to the Yellow Fever panel headed by Dr. Walter Reed that finally accepted his findings in 1901. That medical breakthrough prodded the Panama Canal authorities to set up the proper sanitary conditions in the workers’ camps in order to finish the humongous project. In 1902 Dr. Finlay headed the precursor office of the present day PHO.  Dr. Remo Bergoglio, an Argentine physician acting on behalf of the Sociedad Médica de Córdoba, submitted a proposal to celebrate this day on the floor of the PHO congress in Dallas in 1953.

To my dear colleagues of the Americas, thank you for your devoted daily work. Cheers!

A mes collègues de l’Amérique, felicitations pour votre travail dévouée de tous les jours. Salut!

A mis queridos colegas de las Americas, gracias por su trabajo abnegado de todos los días. Salud!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Physician and Nurse Burn-out – Part X Crying is not just for Sissies

Another day of grim statistics of rising new cases in the USA and elsewhere has swiftly passed.  The social media is awash with alarming reports of the Omicron variant that has arose in South Africa. The governments are clumsily trying to contain the spread of the Covid-19 to avoid another peak. In the meantime all the Health Care providers are exhausted of the efforts of the past few months. They are tired, demoralized, disgusted at the silly games that the D.C. politicians and sycophantic voices in the media, from almost every corner of the ideological spectrum, repeat like tragic clowns. And the families of physicians,, nurses, technicians, etc., are watching them slowly crumble away…

In this scenario, crying should be a natural human reaction…Why aren’t we welling up more?

There are troubling reports that the incidence of Mental Health disorders in Health Care personnel after the sacrifices they have made during the past year and a half is steadily rising to serious levels, with only palliative measures that concern financial benefits, and ignore the needed psycotherapy.

There are several factors that block physicians, and other medical personnel, to seek the needed counselling. The crazy work schedule of physicians and residents, the confidentiality issues that might affect the licensing status of practitioners, the personal issue of loneliness and divorce, all might contribute to it. We, the Health Care providers, are watching this drama unfolding before our eyes.

Note. This World War II poster of the Cadet Nurse Corps was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

It is always advisable to repeat, again and again, the major clinical signs of Professional Burn- Out. We transcribe a section of our book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague. Here they are:

Professional burn-out is characterized by a most evident but ignored tragic triad:

  1. High emotional exhaustion
  2. High depersonalization
  3. Low sense of personal accomplishment

A – High emotional exhaustion

The increasing demands of payors, administrators and patients on the time and resources of the health care personnel produces a generalized dissatisfaction with the perceived quality of their delivered care services. The level of resilient frustration is so pervasively high in our system that physicians, nurses, technicians, receptionists, and other ancillary personnel are literally “counting the days” until the end of their silent martyrdom eventually comes—their retirement date.

B – High depersonalization

The negative feelings and bad vibes will inevitably foster the emergence of cynicism and sarcasm in the ranks of providers, with the resultant degradation of their rapport with the patients and families. It is a self-sustaining vicious circle. Patients complain that they are being ignored and/or mistreated, which triggers more negativity and disdain for the staff. As a result, the latter continue to react negatively without the possibility of pausing for a moment and reflect calmly.

C – Low sense of personal accomplishment

For the majority of us who have chosen the medical career, profit and social standing are secondary considerations. What we most value is the possibility of helping our fellow human beings and at the same time enjoy the unique standing conferred by possessing a voice of authority. With the landing of the abominable “bean counters”  in both the public and the private payor system, our maneuvering room has been drastically curtailed. Our decreasing satisfaction not only pushes us into early retirement but also into all kinds of drug and alcohol abuse in our ranks, plus the possibility of one day to casually start mulling about “the unthinkable.”

We will continue this discussion as the honest approach of all institutional parties and professional associations to the pressing issue of Mental Health Disorders in our battered professional ranks is of paramount importance to stem the steady exodus of colleagues to the Elysium of Retirement.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

Our new podcast “Banality of Death” is Live

Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Our new podcast The Banality of Death is live at anchor.fm/dr-mario-o-laplume.

As in our new book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague, we discuss the consequences in our lives of this long SARS – CoV2 pandemic and its associated Social Isolation, which has imploded all the traditional socio-economic parameters of the whole planet. Aren’t we all fed up with all this?

In this podcast we discuss how the daily worries about our personal safety, including our family’s and the news of the recurring spikes of infection around the globe has somewhat eroded the sharp edges of the word Death and, if not becoming comfortable with that concept, we are inured to it.

Trying to emulate Hannah Harendt, who famously coined the provocative term of Banality of Evil after watching the trial of the Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann in Israel, we are proposing that we are tragically surviving immersed in the Banality of Death, which has anesthetized our senses to the ongoing decimation. Adolph Eichmann organized the infamous train convoys from the Polish ghettos to the Auschwitz concentration camps and his figure and pleas for mercy in a Tel Aviv courtroom in 1962 tried to mendaciously convey the image of being just a Third Reich logistics engineer that was making sure trains ran on time. There was a sick commonality in his histrionics.

Note. This reproduction of a 1942 image of Adolph Eichmann in Nazi uniform was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Can’t you see that in that picture his oversize military cap makes him look like a tragic clown? Did you notice the Totenkopf (skull and crossed bones) insignia in the middle of it? Defiance of Death. That mischievous smirk meticulously supervised the transfer of millions of innocent Jews, Gypsies, Gays Intellectuals, Political activists, etc. to their final inexorable demise in the burning ovens. Until it was swiftly erased from his face by the hangman’s noose in a Tel Aviv prison. Justice was served.

We hope you will like our talk, we hope it will spark some badly needed discussions of the pitiful dearth of empathy in society and, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please send us a message at:

email@drmolaplume.com

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Buon Giorno da Ringraziamento con la Tony Soprano gnocchiatta!

Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon. Yesterday we had a fabulous family dinner for Thanksgiving and we topped it with stimulating conversations and then watching an action-packed James Bond movie (Spectre) 

Did we eat the classic Turkey meal? We confess we did not. The popular vote said otherwise. What?

Corretto!!!  We cooked a gnochiatta with the Tony Soprano tomato sauce recipe we had last week.

Buon appetito!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. We wish our family members and friends in this Unique United States of America a very Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. We certainly believe that it is one of the very few (if not the only one) celebrations that almost every U.S citizen enjoys, regardless of color, creed, social standing. The quasi-fable of some Native Americans saving the lives of the Pilgrim colony is our binding civic glue. It does not matter that the Pilgrims did not invite their benefactors to the feast. It does not matter if the latter did it out of self-interest. It doe snot matter if they never ate turkey. Small details.

Note. This image of The First Thanksgiving was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_First_Thanksgiving_cph.3g04961.jpg

What really matters is that this story binds us in the common American Dream. E Pluribus Unum.  Join with friends and family members to eat something and chat about your future projects. Moreover, in a dignified move of Corporate America, many store chains will remain closed to give their employees some well deserved pause. Enough with that silly consumerism that leads nowhere.

God Almighty continue blessing the citizens of this fabulous Unique United States of America.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Dakujem Lovely Ms. Eva!

Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon. It is one of the strongest statements we have repeatedly made in our new book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague : we must thank the women that do us so much good. A small detail that shows your gratitude and affection will go thousands of miles inside their spirits.

Ms. Eva Poper, a.k.a. The Golum Charmer, is one of the paralegals of our dearest friend Sandy at Topkin and Partlow and has been in charge of “this dangerous world character” in our new career. This Slovak beauty has been providing the best legal and corporate advice in the perilous trek we’re in. Last Friday we decided to apologize for having rudely raised our voice for something she was not to blame for. What is better than sending this lady a multicolor bouquet of flowers with thank you balloons, a nice box of chocolates, a cute teddy bear and a sorrowful plea for her pardon in writing? Sniff. Sniff ( we are still crying for her)

She was so excitedly happy that she said she forgave us. Can we trust this Eastern blonde? Nahhh….

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Buona Domenica con la tagliarinatta alla Tony Soprano

Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. Today we woke up missing Tony Soprano, the central character in The Sopranos, the very best series in American television according to all our family members. Once we prepared gnocchi in honor of Tony but today we decided to wildly double down. Capeesh?

Note. This reproduction of an image of Tony Soprano was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

We wanted to use the magnificent fresh pasta of Mr. Pasta and we chose one pound of multicolor tagliarini (please don’t call them spaghetti because that blasphemy makes us cringe with horror) We are going to prepare a tomato sauce with strained and fresh San Marzano produce, add onions and red peppers sautée in olive oil and honey, topped with plenty of sensuale salciccia alla griglia, a pound of cooked ground beef and crowned with the unique pistachios. Mà che cosa ne pensi?

It seems that Tony himself took out most of the veggies, except the tomatoes. Are you surprised ?

This is how it looks like. You are cordially invited to join us for plenty of cibo and conversazione. Did you know that this word comes from verso in Latin, the language of our ancestors? The Romans use it to mean turn over, keep turning, and by extension to turn over in mind, to meditate. The addition of con gives the idea that you are engaging in that action with company, never alone. Therein lies the true significance of sharing a good meal while we chat with friends and family: we are exchanging ideas, feelings, concerns, fears, hopes. etc. Briefly we are sharing Life itself….Avete capito, si o no?

Would Tony and his pals of Bada Bing have liked this succulently meaty exercise? Fuggedaboutit!

Buon appetito!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Thank you Tabaré!

Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. It has been a year already since Tabaré Vázquez, one of the very best presidents of the República Oriental del Uruguay, passed away in the middle of this protracted, awful pandemic. He is being sorely missed by the middle and lower classes of nuestro paísito, as we call our country. The day of his passing we wrote an article and put up a nice picture of his always smiling face.

We just heard in Radio Montecarlo that there will be a parade of 82 horse-mounting-gauchos in his honor, starting in the Rural del Prado and ending up in Plaza Lafone, as he was the first president to offer the possibility of collective bargaining to the thousands of humble farm peones (hired hands) who constitute the backbone of the agricultural and cattle raising parts of the export-oriented economy. One of these farm laborers just said: “with that move, he radically changed our lives for the best.”

Moreover, his administration revamped the Public Health services nationwide and it guaranteed fair access to good medical services to all the citizenry. In fact our dear Father Mario enjoyed this privilege until the end of his earthly stay and now our brother Marcel is staying in the fully revamped Hospital Maciel of Montevideo, which was built between 1781-1788 by the Spanish colonizers. It was designed by Mateo Vidal and Francisco Maciel, a wealthy merchant who contributed with part of the needed financing. Our brother has been getting top medical care and superb nursing attention for months already.

Muchas gracias a todo el personal de este ilustre centro de salud, incluyendo a su director, Dr. Dutra.

Note. This reproduction of a picture of the Hospital Maciel was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

By Hoverfish – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12315050

Que Dios Todopoderoso te tenga en su Santa Gloria, querido compañero Tabaré Vàzquez!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Interpretation of Dreams. Part II – The value of Symbols

In its beginnings, Psychoanalyses was more similar in organizational structure to “an eccentric cult” and its pioneering practitioners, including Sigmund Freud, were seen as dangerous professionals by the traditional medical establishment, as we have discussed in our new book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague.

Didn’t you buy it yet? What are you waiting for? That your impossibly chatty neighbor does it first?

After the publication of his book The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, Freud consolidated his operational grip in the still small but growing number of medical practitioners of the new discipline, even expelling a few for apostasy. Freud, an atheistic Jew, behaved like the messianic leader of a completely new religion. However, he was concerned that most of his followers were German-speaking Jews and that “his science” might not be able to cross into “the Austrian mainstream.”

In an excellent article, Sam Dresser, editor at Aeon magazine, wrote: “On February 27, 1907, in Vienna Sigmund Freud fell in love. The object of his affection was Carl Gustav Jung: 19 years younger than Freud, the young psychiatrist was already the young psychiatrist was already the clinical director of the prestigious Burgholzli Hospital and a professor at the University of Zurich. Jung had gained international recognition for his invention of the word association-test, and his practice was renowned for its gentle incisiveness. But when Jung read Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), he was startled by his theory and decided to talk with the man himself. And talk they did: for thirteen hours they plumbed the depths of the unconsciousness, the methods of psychoanalysis, and the analysis of dreams.”

Precisely the latter issue would eventually become the bone of contention in their prolific but at the same time agitated professional relationship, which ended in an acerbic, openly public rupture in 1913, after Freud published Totem and Taboo. Freud wanted to defend the core beliefs of the discipline, something he suggestively dubbed as The Cause, as it were a fanatical cult or political movement. Initially he saw in Jung, the son of a Protestant pastor and a distant relative of Goethe, as the perfect dauphin to succeed him, blocking the anointment of another old Jew. He believed that if Psychoanalysis ended up identified with Judaism, it would perish.

Note. This reproduction of a picture of Carl Jung was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CGJung.jpg

Jung had an extremely agitated personality, he considered himself as an intellectual heir of his famous ancestor, and , being raised in a Christian home, he was influenced by the Mystical aspects of the faith, including the dreams. As a young child, he once dreamt that God Almighty was discharging his feces on top of cathedral of Basel. Freud was willing to accept all that, as long as his favorite pupil did not question the central status of the Cause.

Even though the discipline was born out of pure speculation after Freud interviewed patients in his Vienna cabinet and reviewed his clinical notes, Sigismund wanted it to become more scientifically solid, based on evidence and hard data. In 1906, Jung applied his word-association test to Freud’s theory of free association, a critical step in retrieving the swept-away memories we have in the attic of our Unconsciousness.

The majority of the psychoanalysts that had joined the Freudian movement were particularly attracted to his theory that our repressed sexuality is the epicenter of our unconscious desires and libidinal tensions. Jung believed there was much more. As we have discussed in our previous article about Enantiodromia, Jung considered that we have to carefully examine all the symbology of our dreams as it constitutes some kind of psychological compensatory mechanism for ignored attitudes, defects, bad instances, failures, frustrations, which are not only sexual by nature. In a previous article, we discussed the value of certain symbols like Alchemists’ signs in Jung’s opinion.

Note. This reproduction of a picture of Sigmund Freud (left) and Carl Jung (right) was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

In a great article of the Society of Analytical Psychologists, Marcus West wrote: “Jung saw the mind/body/feelings (or what he called the psyche) as all working together. Even negative symptoms could be potentially helpful in drawing attention to an imbalance; for example, depression could result from an individual repressing particular feelings or not following a path that is natural and true to their particular personality. In this way he saw the psyche as a self-regulating system with all psychic contents—thoughts, feelings, dreams, intuitions, etc.—having a purpose. He thought the psyche was ‘purposive.” There are three features of this process:

  1. Individuation: the dreams serve to develop one’s particular personality and self- awareness by drawing our attention to special features we have missed.
  2. Lack of disguise: while Freud believed that the contents of our dreams are disguised in puzzling parables, Jung believed that they do not try to hide.
  3. Symbology: in order to save time and efforts to our beleaguered psyches, Jung believed that our Subconscious uses symbols drawn from religions, alchemy, art, history, geography, etc. He believed that: “a symbol is the best possible formulation of a relatively unknown psychic content.”

Jung considered that a dream is a form of psychic compensation for a certain void. One of his patients was a very intelligent lady that suddenly became very shallow in her therapy sessions. He decided to address this issue in their next encounter, but the previous might he had a particular dream. He was walking down a road at sunset when he suddenly sees to his right a big castle; in the tallest tower there was a beautiful lady that looked down on him. He had to pull himself as far back as he could to check her features. It was none other than his patient. What’s the meaning?

West said: “the interpretation was immediately apparent to him. If in the dream he had had to look up to the patient in this fashion, in reality he had been probably looking down on her—the dream had been his compensation for his attitude toward her.”

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.