09 May 2009

My first patient today


A nice guy who fell early this morning playing racquetball at the YMCA.  He dislocated his left thumb and had a pretty impressive palmar laceration at the joint.

I spent quite a while chatting with him while I sewed up the laceration -- one of the true pleasures of my job.  He was a very athletic guy, we both belong to the same Y, and we even knew a few people in common socially.  In fact, his wife, also at the bedside, was vaguely related to one of my partners.  We talked about the different sports we enjoy, and how the skiing and snow had been this year up at the pass.  We talked about my work, and his work, and his experiences in the military and in the war.

Not in Iraq, but in the Philippines, in 1944.   He was 85 years old.

Damn.  Still skiing and playing racquetball at 85.  I marveled at that fact, and he shrugged it off, "What do you expect from an old Marine?"

Talk about winning the lottery, or, as Matt once put it, "Doing the long slow victory dance in the end zone of life."


  1. As we said back in the day:
    "Give him one".......OOORAHHH!!!

    Semper Fidelis

  2. What a great example to all!

    Unsurprising that your patient was a Marine. An eighty-something gentleman who works at our local grocery store is retired USMC, too; he wears short sleeves that show off his tattooed biceps, walks like he means it, and has a ramrod-straight back that would make my ballet teacher smile. I once joked with him, asking if he was ever going to retire.

    "Retirement is for pussies," he said. "I love being around people of all ages, thank you." I am not making that up.

    Then there is this (also ex-Marine) gentleman who lives about a half-hour to the north of us; he was relaxing on his sunny patio one afternoon when--RAAARMEEEEOOOW!!!--a Florida bobcat decided he looked tasty enough to eat and leaped onto him in full-attack mode. Suffice it to say, all that training came in handy (to put it mildly).

  3. Impressed! Who is his racquetball partner? Another 85 yo or a 45 yo? Either way, I'm impressed.

  4. I found my own 80+ year old hero. Him and his elderly wife were hiking the hilly terrain. It was a beautiful day to be hiking 2.3 miles!


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