Return to Forever

Tonight, a guest blog from my husband:

 
I may be dating myself but I vividly remember hearing Chick Corea’s Return to Forever band play a set in Boston in the early 1970’s. I was in medical school at the time, but that didn’t stop me from scraping together the ticket money to hear the group do some of my all-time favorites like Spain and Crystal Silence. In the 1980’s Return to Forever was re-configured as a jazz rock group with Chick playing synthesizers instead of the acoustic piano. I was particularly fond of the Romantic Warrior album which I listened to on my way to the hospital as a young physician. In 2011 the band was resurrected for a world tour. Although I didn’t get to see the live concert, I enjoyed the YouTube videos. Listening to this music again was magical, and brought me back to the earlier days of my medical career. Like déjà vu all over again, so to speak.

This past week I’ve had another “Return to Forever”experience. It happened when I entered a skilled nursing facility where my father-in-law was staying to recuperate after cardiac surgery. Here’s what I noticed: the name of the facility is the Goldberg Center and the first patient room I came to was occupied by Gussie and Sadie Schwartz, one of whom was screaming “I’ve got a sore somewhere! Get me out of here!” Instantly, I was transported back in time to the decade or so I spent as a young doctor at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital. Some of you may know this as the “House of God”, the title of an (in)famous book about the mostly funny and sometimes outrageous fictitious exploits of the young doctors in training there. Our present day Gussie and Sadie would have felt right at home there in the House of God.

While I was an intern at the House of God I had my own outrageous exploits which (thank God!) did not make it into the book. My favorite involved an elderly man who was brought by his wife to the ER late one night with chest pain. When I told him that the diagnosis was a heart attack, his wife shrieked and clutched her chest. She, too, was having a heart attack, and like her husband was admitted to the Coronary Care Unit, where they ended up sharing the same room. The following morning as I entered the Unit I found the staff standing in front of their room not reviewing their cardiac status as expected, but laughing uncontrollably and pointing at the name plate on the door. It read “Ike and Tina Weiner” (I swear).

The House of God had a serious role in my life, too. It’s where I met my wife, and where my children were born. Recently, our daughter learned that she will be a resident in medicine there. My wife and I are thrilled by this. We hope her experience there is as meaningful for her, as it was for us. Now, let’s see if she can top the “Ike and Tina” story.