Friday, December 30, 2005

Magic and Loss

As you get to know the PharmBoy, you'll learn that music has been a longstanding theme in a life that has been paralleled by scientific training. More on that in future posts, but let it suffice to say that a great many of us can cite theme songs or albums (as we used to call them) that take us back to a place, a person, or an experience.

This holiday week has been a soulful and traumatic time of reflection for me, in between bouts of a sinus infection and chest cold that seems to be circulating the blogosphere. My readings from those who have encouraged me and/or inspired me to start writing brought me back to a place in 1992, when Lou Reed released the album, "Magic and Loss".

Magic and Loss was a concept album devoted to the loss of Reed's two close friends in the course of a year, the mysterious "Rita," and an amazing white blues singer and composer from Brooklyn, Doc Pomus. It is a wistful collection of songs, some of which are oddly the most catchy that Mr. Reed has ever composed. It also accompanied the writing of my first NIH grant, perhaps to prepare me for me own pending loss. I also used some of his lyrics in my CNS pharmacology lectures to our pharmacy students.

But I digress: There are two fabulous pieces of writing this week on Magic and Loss from two of my favorite bloggers:

MAGIC comes from BotanicalGirl on the joyful announcement and circumstances of her engagement to ComputerGuy. The beau sounds like a totally stand-up guy, having taken BG's dad out the night before for beers to ask permission to marry his daughter, a formality that was so much more common in the era of my folks. Great reading, happiness, and promise to end a year that has seen so much public and personal suffering. Love and best wishes to them both.

LOSS comes from Orac Knows at Respectful Insolence. Orac is one of the most erudite and humanistic physician bloggers I have encountered and, as a surgical oncologist, must face death daily in his job. The beauty of his post is the thoughtful and loving discussion of his uncle's illness and a reminder that none of us are immune from this sexually-transmitted, terminal illness we call life.

Orac often draws heated comments from those opposed to his "show-me-the-data" views on alternative medical therapies. For anyone critic who ever doubts the humanity of this physician, visit his link here. A great tribute to his uncle and a reminder that our doctors deal daily with so much more than our own personal frailties.

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