We should all pitch in for this extreme world crisis

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning and Happy Sunday. Today Mankind at large is experiencing one of the worst tragedies in our modern history, comparable only to some of the Middle Ages. The pandemia of Covid-19 infection that is gripping most nations of the planet has produced millions of infected people and thousands of deaths in just the lapse of a few weeks.

The image you can see in this blog was taken by my dear friend Wilson when he picked me up a few days ago after an exhausting tour of duty in a Miami care facility. You can only see my eyes but I am sure most of you can discern the extreme sense of urgency that I, as well as thousands and thousands of other indefatigable health care providers, carry around to stimulate us in our daily grind. This is a time when those that are committed for patient care should step up their efforts, setting aside all other personal and professional concerns. We should all pitch in for this extreme world crisis.

For all those of you that are cloistered in their homes for precaution or even under the harsh parameters of a quarantine, we warmly extend our most sincere solidarity. Moreover, please rest assured that we will eventually overcome this dire situation. With the continued effort of all the devoted health care professionals, the pharmaceutical and technological assets at our disposition and the sustained cooperation of the population at large to observe the social distancing, we will stem the tide of this threatening disease.

May God Almighty continue to protect our families and ourselves in these dark times.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Why do we need amulets?

When we decided to nail down our butt to our desk chair to write our second book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plaguein a six months-period (we had blogged extensively about those issues for three years and we had a lot of material) we made the firm pledge that we would wear—except for a few circumstances where other kind of garments were needed—the same comfortable grey jersey that we loved. For Hispanics that odd behavior is popularly labelled as “hacer una promesa” (make a promise) and is ingrained in the long Roman Catholic tradition of Latin America.

The use of amulets or talismans has been a millenary tradition of Humankind, almost since the times we dwelt in caves and we saved a saber tooth for happy hunting. The natural amulets are made of many materials like precious stones, metals, teeth and claws of wild animals; the man-made amulets are made of wood, iron, copper, ivory, clay or stone. People that carry amulets believe that they confer special powers due to their connections to natural phenomena, religious identifications or mere luck.

In their lugubrious caves, illuminated only by the flickering light from the burning tip of animal grease of a rustic torch, the Neanderthals used the natural amulets to invoke the auspices of the gods before they went hunting for big mammals and also after they returned with a fatally injured victim of their joint ambush of a mammoth. In Ancient Egypt the scarab beetle was worn by the living and the dead alike as it symbolized life—its hieroglyph was the same as “to become”, enabling resurrection of the mummies. In Middle Ages countless objects that belonged to saintly figures eventually became amulets; their body parts were not spared, as attested by Saint Anthony’s tongue.

Why would supposedly rational individuals believe in these extraordinary powers? We must remember that all our Cerebral Cortex, whose large mass differentiates us from animals that might be able think and imagine at a lower level, is inextricably linked with the Limbic System, seat of the emotional trove that inevitably taints our thoughts. All the sensory and motor stimuli that travel from the periphery to the Central Nervous System must pass through the Thalamus—the sensory waystation of our brains. Just below it, lies the Hypothalamus that regulates mood, sexuality and desires; it responds to external stimuli by sending signals to other limbic structures to elicit responses.

Any rational thought is always “contaminated” by our impressions triggered by various stimuli that we have received in our personal lives or form part of our shared cultures. Most objects will have a rational significance that is thinly coated with such a veneer. When a certain object elicits positive attitudes in our minds, we treasure the stimuli.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Physician and Nurse burn-out – part II Jockeying games

One of the more insulting and disgusting maneuvers that most physicians and nurses have to contend with in our tough professional careers is the sickening, absurd re-positioning of our roles in a care team by the hospital and clinic administrators. Feverishly eager to find a “better edge” to supposedly deliver a much more “efficient care”—a not so subtle euphemism to mask their perennial quest to save a buck—they usually sit down in their plush air-conditioned offices to concoct all kind of specious changes to our work schedules and organigrams–effectively treating  us as inter-changeable peons in the big chessboard of their institutional structure. And, being usually totally ignorant of how a particular health care delivery team really works, they almost never fail to pick a humble nurse who, being very professional and committed, seemingly does not make much ado at her critical role in the team. She just soldiers on. Their maladroit tampering will trigger a chain reaction with unforeseen consequences.

The jockeying games.

Abusing an equine metaphor, we could say that they treat us as just a bunch of race horses—highly trained but docile animals all the same—whose standing they must continually re-arrange in the start line to get the best performance in the race track; infused with a self-serving objectification of their subalterns,  they “candidly” believe they can make do without any consideration whatsoever for our thoughts, desires, personal issues—let alone our feelings and aspirations. After all, horses do not feel. Or do they?

We have been far too meek to confront them in order to at least voice our concerns. Unfortunately, this perverse maneuvering affects our nursing colleagues the most. Career nurses have taken a long, long time to acquire the skills and expertise to fill critical positions in a specialized care team, something that cannot be replicated “on demand” by the bureaucrats manipulating their schedules and labor requirements.

Moreover, the same difficult and exhausting learning process involves all the other members of a particular care team, which endows them with their precious value. If a careless bureaucrat decides one day, out of the blue, to take one of these highly skilled nurses from that habitat and force-land her in a completely different team altogether, often great misery ensues for all, including the sacrosanct “bottom line.” Even the humblest of nurses is usually much more important than all the physicians combined in order to secure the smooth functioning of a specialized care team. What would happen to the daily surgical schedule of a major hospital if the nurse that does the final check-up at 6 AM is being replaced by a novice graduate in the OR suites?

Worse of all, these committed and expert women have painstakingly accommodated their family obligations to the draconian demands of their career obligations, which is no easy feat. The daily schedules of these devoted wives, mothers and daughters have been methodically calibrated to the latest minute in order to achieve their utmost efficiency for good outcomes for their loved ones. How can they suddenly switch gears and find the alternate arrangements for their partners, children, elderly parents, pets, etc., in that gratuitously provoked (often manly) mess in their agendas?

The institutional mandarins should stop playing around with our personal lives.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Happy International Women’s Day

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. We would like to wish all our lady readers a Happy International Women’s day. Not only we owe women our very existence but also the survival of our species in this planet. Life could not exist without their caring affection for all of us.

There is much to be done in order to assure the Equality of Rights for all women in our societies. We hope that our upcoming book “Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague” will contribute its tiny grain of sand to the larger dune of female empowerment. Right this moment we are doing its very last editing before its publication next month.

Thank you very much for existing and taking care of us so diligently. A big kiss.

Celebrating with a fettuccineada grossa with plenty of veggies and seasoned cod

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon to you all, Today at 1 PM Eastern Standard Time we submitted the final revised version of “Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague” to our dear agent Jennifer in Outskirts Press so we can publish it next month. For the past few weeks, we have been semi-cloistered in our Miami apartment reading and reviewing again, and again, and again, the full text of the book to spot mistakes, typos, wrong use of the language, etc., and also to add some material that became available just recently. Focus. Focus. Focus.

To celebrate we just prepared this deliciously healthy dish of fettuccine with plenty of veggies and seasoned cod to replenish our depleted spiritual and physical energy tanks. This is a message to Guido Sperandio–a Italian fellow blogger that is following us: please note that I did grate a piece of real Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese this time. Hai visto?20200224_160106

Buon apetitto a tutti vuoi!