Sunday, September 10, 2006

Short, comatose horses live longer if you put them in booster seats

Articles about comatose people playing tennis in their head are interesting. But statements like this are frightening: Bernat said he had been "humbled" by the latest report.

In context, the doc is “humbled” because the patient met the profile for which he had before and intended to again yank the plug out of the wall socket!

In a feat of self-importance, Bernat the doc said, "This is an important case because it shows us the limitations of the physical exam when we assess awareness at the bedside."

Doc Schiff is more street people: "I can think of patients that we will try this on."

This whole you-dead-yet-or-just-in-a-coma thing is disturbing. First, the docs above – in September 2006 – are saying, “golly gee willikers! Maybe we should talk to them about sports! OK, I know a couple I can do that with!” Then I read about these bedside awareness tests. Ain’t good.

“He moved. I think he moved. You see that?”
“No, I didn’t see nothing.”
“OK, mixed results. Score it a 4 on the Glasgow Coma Score.”

“We need somebody to hit him and see if he winces. Get the maintenance guy.”
“I didn’t see anything. You see anything? Hit him again.”
“You see that? I think his mouth opened a little.”
“I concur, doctor. I will mark the appropriate box on the Institute’s Profile.”
“Thank you, nurse. Call in the family.”

“Mrs. Jim Bob, we are sorry to tell you that Mr. Jim Bob is in a persistent vegetative state. We recommend induced cessation of body functions.”
“What’s dat? You ain’t gonna let him pee anymore?”
“We recommend that we stop artificial life support.”
“You wanna kill him?”
“Well, we prefer a different label, but, yes.”
“OK. Hold on a second.”

“Hey, momma, they wants to kill Jim Bob. Should I let ‘em?”
“He got life insurance?”
“Then he’s worth more alive than dead. Go wake him up, honey.”
“Alright, momma.”

“Excuse me, ma’am, I need to be close to my husband for a moment.”
“I understand. You want to pay your final respects. Would you like us to leave?”
“Yeah, something like that. No, ma’am, you all can stay.”

“Hey, Jim Bob, I got’s that sugar liquor likes you said, but your brother’s on his way to drink it.”

“Doctor, thank you for your time. You’re good people. Jim Bob’ll be leaving with me. You need to sign some papers?”

Speaking of persistent vegetative states, I am grabbing this entertaining article on Kim Jong Il only to make the point that a watchful cop would only be a couple of inches off if he pulled over Kimmy in the US for being driven in a car without a booster seat (or this link because some nice person named Cindy sent it to me, and although it's informative I suspect she's pimping the "get a free quote now!" bit in the sidebar ... but, hey, everyone's gotta earn a living).

Speaking of short people, here are some support groups for the self-conscious. Avoid an attitude about your lack of altitude! Remember that all indigenous peoples are diminutive; tall people are hybrid freaks! Remind others that short people have a 4.7 year longer life expectancy!

Do they really? No, I just made it up. But most people are stupid and would believe you. Say it with conviction. Add convincing details like, that is the mean difference on a weighted average basis for both sexes. It is, of course, longer for women. But don’t go too far! Don’t say, for example, that the extended life expectancy is calculated by taking the inverse reciprocal of the squared differential based upon an individual’s actual deviation from the local population’s mean height. Your target will look at you and say, “but that would mean that the increased life span would accelerate as height is lessened. You are suggesting that a three foot midget will live to be 95!” No one will believe that a complete human physiology can be crammed into 36 inches and live that long.

If you do go down this path, there is hope! Tell your target that miniature horses live one-third longer than full-size horses. Many times, adding another species is enough to tilt a common listener. If this happens, quietly take the money in front of them on the bar and slip out the door.

Enough. Bye.

No comments:

Post a Comment