I’m learning the Inuit tongue,
Enjoying respect from the young.
It’s a terrible loss
To get hurt blanket tossed
These are wonderful folk I’m among
I have permission to give the following information.
A teenaged patient with eczema, severe to the point of disability, came in a couple of weeks ago. For reasons clear to me only at the time I did a thyroid test and his TSH was slightly low, indicating an overactive thyroid (the current primary thyroid test, the TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone, measures the brain’s demand for thyroid hormone; low levels indicate excessive circulating thyroid hormone). A week or so ago I prescribed propranolol. The eczema is markedly better today; the patient looks happier and is sleeping better.
Next time I have a patient with poorly controlled eczema, I hope I remember the patient who had been to multiple dermatologists for years and got better with propranolol.
The patient was happy, the relative was happy; I could see things had turned out well, and I came away with job satisfaction.
The young people treat me with great respect. I commented on that to a knot of early twenty somethings. They smiled at me with grandchild-like love and talked about how reverence for elders is part of the culture.
I got to talk to two people with critically low vitamin D levels, in the single digits, today. Both have diffuse bone pain. I explained how calcium doesn’t get absorbed or used properly without vitamin D, and in compensation the calcium in the bones gets mobilized. Which keeps the circulating calcium up at the expense of skeletal strength.
Alas, one of the two uses narcotics recreationally; I hold confidence that I’ll make the bones better but I harbor no illusions that the narcotics seeking behavior will stop. I hope I’m wrong.
The sea ice broke up in the early hours today. This morning, working on the elliptical, I watched white ice flows on blue water floating slowly south, pushed by the winds.
We’ve seen the first Nalukataaq injuries. I’m a person with enough sense to say that blanket tossing looks like fun for the young but not for me. Not everyone agrees with me.
My Inupiak language acquisition program is progressing. I’m in the stage of echolalia, where I can repeat short sentences but I don’t know what they mean. I was able to say “Good morning. How are you? I’m fine. My name is Dr. Gordon.” But my head is not in the language and the language has not taken root in my head. I am, however, working on it.
Seeking to get a better handle on the grammar, I asked one of my informants how possessives are handled. I got a blank stare. I have a limited number of nouns in my vocabulary, so I started with whale, agvik. “How would you say my whale?” I asked. I got another blank stare. Finally the informant said, “You wouldn’t say that. You never say my whale or your whale or even our whale. You just say whale, ahagvik.”