The return of proprioception and recontact with friends from the 60’s

Consider the means and the ends,

The time that goes by, and the trends

    To the folk we belong

    If you’re right or you’re wrong,

 Always make time for your friends

Synopsis:  I’m a family practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa.  While my one-year, 30-mile non-compete clause ticks out, I’m taking a sabbatical and having adventures.  My close college friend, Bob, is recovering from surgery in San Diego, following the explosion of a disc in the mid back.  He still faces some possibility of paraplegia.  I took a week to visit.


Last night I called Al.  Bob, Al, and I lived together off-campus with five others in 1970-71 and three others in 1971-72. 

By dint of hard work and innate talent, Al holds a position of prominence at the National Institutes of Health.  He took the news about Bob’s medical condition with shock, as did I.  Currently in the Washington, D.C. area, he has a business trip planned to San Diego in about a month.

This morning I checked out of my hotel early, drove through harrowing San Diego traffic, and stayed with Bob till 1:30. 

Before I left for the airport I saw the toes of his right foot move; as of yesterday his left leg is moving well.  I grasped his right second toe, moved it a couple of times and had him tell me whether the position was up or down.  He now has position sense (proprioception), at least in the right foot.  In a few more days he might be a candidate for rehab.

While we talked, our close friend from the 70’s, whom we knew as Toni but now goes by Talia, called. She plays and teaches violin professionally now. 

She had a career on television in the ‘50’s and early ‘60’s, playing violin with Jack Benny (I realize that most people who recognize the name Jack Benny don’t read blogs; suffice it to say that Talia has been a very good musician for many years). 

Talia and I played music together during my New Haven days.  She benefited from the lessons and practice I didn’t get and would do.  Over the last forty years I’ve often quoted her observation, “There’s no substitute for doing your homework.”  Because she knew me as a saxophonist back then she could appreciate my observations about my current level of musicianship.

She can also remember that I couldn’t sing back then; most people who have known me for that long have suppressed the memory of my voice searching for the right note.

She plans to come to see Bob during his convalescence.

I filled her in on Bob’s recent medical problems and my recent career move.  We talked about what freedom means.  It doesn’t mean nothing left to lose, it means everything to live for.


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