Clinic

Clinic: (n) a hospital department where outpatients are given medical treatment

Old Marion Webster always tends to leave out a detail or two in presenting definitions.

Clinics are not only places where people go to get medical assistance, but often find themselves frequenting due to poverty.

I’ve been to a clinic. It wasn’t because I doing research for one of my essays. No–I was busted.

Broke. Without bucks. Dollarless.

I found the experience to be humiliating–not because I thought I was better than all the other clientele. It was humiliating by design.

All the furniture was old, scarred, some pieces broken. The magazines were dated at least four years earlier, and had articles which had already proven to be incorrect. The candy machine was empty except for peanuts and Cheese-it crackers. The Coke machine was out of order and the coffee maker had a crack in it, so they could only make one cup at a time.

The nurses were volunteers who attempted to be cheery, but still conveyed a sense of yearning to get over their stint quickly and return to their normal lives.

The people around me were sick–some very sick. It made them look and act dreary.

I sat there and thought to myself, how easy it would be for people of substance and finance to just donate new magazines.

How about that church down the road which recently bought new furniture for their parlor–giving that old plush couch and chairs to this clinic so people would feel just a bit more comfortable as they sat for hours, waiting for a three-minute visit?

Would it kill the vendors to make sure that the candy machine was adequately stocked, and price it just a bit more reasonably for those who have to search longer for quarters?

How about giving them a new coffee pot, or taking up a donation to make the Cokes reappear?

I wasn’t angry over the indifference–just perplexed by the ignorance.

Now that prosperity has crept my way, I have a little extra money every once in a while that might seem like a gold mine for a clinic.

Maybe just buying flowers for the attendants to wear every day. Or if you worry that the patients might be allergic, purchase more colorful scrubs.

For some reason or another, rich people do not feel it’s enough to insult the less fortunate with mere poverty. They want to make sure the experience leaves a bitter taste in their mouths.

 

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Cider

Cider: (n) an unfermented drink made by crushing fruit, typically apples.

It was less than two miles outside of our town.

There was a family with a farm who had apple trees and a press.

A cider press.

It was delicious.

Looking back, the climate that surrounded apple cider during my upbringing was transcendent of anything that I later or even now experience.

The trees were filled with colorful leaves, the air was brisk and made you want to leap a little when you walked, and the cider was glob-in-your-throat sweet.

Every once in a while my mother accidentally left some in the refrigerator too long and it would get zippy. Some zing.

I did not realize that it had slightly fermented (I’m not sure how anything can slightly ferment) but I desperately enjoyed it.

I remember going to Halloween parties. The menu was so simple: cider, caramel apples, doughnuts and candy corn. (One kid in our class said it was well-balanced because the candy corn was a vegetable.)

Sugar, sugar, sugar.

I don’t know how we ever worked it off–and maybe we didn’t. It would literally kill me today if I had a doughnut with cider and a side of candy corn. I would be rushed to the hospital.

But hopefully the Emergency Room would be nearby, on a brisk day, with the leaves about to fall.

 

 

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Cable

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Cable: (n) an insulated wire

Life is very reassuring if you’re not stubborn. You’ll find out very quickly that answers are not evasive, just require a moment of patience.

The first time I rented a home and decided to sign up for cable television, I was in awe of the whole process. When the cable man came–three days after his promised arrival–and brought all the boxes, all the instructions and all the drills to do his work, it had the feeling of God arriving to create the universe.

I was infatuated.

I was over-complimentary.

I was perplexed.

I listened carefully and then took notes to make sure that when the magic man departed my home, I would be able to access the universe of channels on my own.

But when he left, it suddenly stopped working.

I tried to remember what he had done, fooled around with it a little, but quickly became convinced that I was a four-year-old in a hospital operating room.

As time passed I became more and more enraged that this mysterious system I had ordered was failing to meet my entertainment needs. So I called the local cable operator and they immediately sent someone over. Two days later.

By that time I had built up a good head of steam and was prepared to ram my emotional freight train into the hapless technician. I ferociously explained how they had cheated me and how they had wasted my time. The young man was rather nice.

He asked me a simple question. “Did you move the TV after the guy left?”

Actually, yes. It was a little distant from the wall, and I had pushed it back. I retorted, “What?? I’m not allowed to move my TV?”

“Sure,” the repairman replied calmly. “But when you did, you knocked the cable loose.”

He reached down and with too much ease, restored my world of wonder.

I was embarrassed. I tried to duplicate in apologies what I had spewed forth in fury.

The repairman smiled and said to me, “Just remember–it usually isn’t something difficult. Just a loose cable.”

 

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Birdbrain

Birdbrain: (n) an annoyingly stupid and shallow person

Dictionary BIn the sneaky cult of male chauvinism, the term “birdbrain” has been given the general definition of referring to a person who is flighty–while we secretly know that in the realm of those who possess penises, we are always referring to women.

Matter of fact, I cannot think of an occasion of hearing a man called a birdbrain.

It is an insult that lacks the intelligence of true data.

Let us look at birds:

1. They can fly.

If they did nothing else but that, they would literally rise above our abilities.

2. Many of them have the sense to fly south for the winter, which does not occur to most humans until they hit their sixties.

3. They can build a home out of twigs and belly button lint, when we must go to a bank and pay exorbitant interest rates to achieve brick and mortar.

4. They can convince their children to eat worms, when we are incapable of getting our offspring to swallow one sliver of broccoli.

These are just a few things that immediately come to mind which tell me that negatively discussing those who freely fly above our heads exhibits our ignorance and jealousy, all at the same time.

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Bipolar

Bipolar: (adj) a psychiatric illness characterized by both manic and depressive episodes

Dictionary B

 Brandon was caught between two opinions.

One of his psychiatrists thought he was schizophrenic and the other felt it was more likely that he was bipolar.

But when Brandon was on the rampage, his mind torn apart by his disease, to the average person he was just crazy.

Insightful, but out of his mind.

Matter of fact, the only times Brandon was interesting were those occasions when he was on the verge of flipping out, going through the streets of town performing actions which were unacceptable for public review.

Yet when Brandon was on his medications, he was calm, docile, but nearly incoherent and incapable of grasping a thought.

Certainly, if one psychiatrist was right and he was bipolar, his manic episodes were filled with colorful visions of exciting ideas from a fellow that seemed to have the energy to solve the problems of the whole world.

But his depression was frightening, making you wonder if you should leave him for fear that he might do harm to himself.

The last time I saw Brandon he was in a mental hospital and seemed to have found a place where he could dominate the weaker inmates, while still maintaining the appearance of submitting to the hospital staff.

He didn’t even recognize me.

He had forgotten who I was.

It reminded me of that common phrase, “He was in his own world.”

He truly was.

It was not a planet that intersected with any of the common attributes of earthlings.

Yet it was a world … and he was King.

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Bedridden

Bedridden: (adj) confined to bed by sickness or old age.Dictionary B

Perhaps the greatest problem with the word “sick” is that it always travels with its two companions: “tired” and “discouraged.”

So if you try to be sick but hopeful, it is very difficult.

For a very brief season I found myself bedridden due to illness. I will reserve the details of this confinement for another time.

But my main memory is that I was in a hospital on the fourth floor, looking out the window at life below me, and realizing that I had been extracted from it. Efforts at optimism, prospects of prayer and sensations to plan my future seemed pointless.

If I were going to escape the hospital, I would only find myself in a limited capacity, unable to pursue my dreams and travel around, sharing my heart.

Although the term “bedridden” refers to a physical position, it is not long before your brain, your spirit, your talent and your hopes lie down in submission. I was convinced that the things I had set out to do in my life were being “tabled” in favor of a “chair.”

I don’t know what shook me out of it. Maybe it’s because self-pity tried to smother me to death.

  • I fought back.
  • I disagreed with my own negative prognosis.
  • And eventually, I regained my life.

This is why on some nights when I feel particularly energized I find it difficult to sleep. The idea of reclining in a bed is not always a positive one to me.

And because of that experience, I will always believe that getting up is better than lying down.

 

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Bacillus

Bacillus: (n) a disease-causing, rod-shaped bacterium.Dictionary B

Bacillus is certainly one of those words that you don’t want to hear very often in your life. Others would be bankrupt, sexually transmitted disease, and agony.

But I have heard “bacillus” once–and as they say, if you do it well, once is enough.

I was admitted into a hospital because I allowed an infection in my foot to get out of hand, thinking I could control it through home remedies and the power of presumption.

They took a specimen of my infection and discovered that I had two roaring types of bacteria annoying my well-being.

After spending two or three days in the hospital, they took another sample and discovered that I now had three–having added a new bacillus. So coming to the hospital afforded me the opportunity to gain an additional partner to the crime being perpetrated in my toes.

I questioned this, and the doctor explained that even though they try to keep all medical facilities clean and free of disease, it is, after all, a hospital, which is inhabited by unclean people with disease.

So that is my memory of bacillus.

It is something I acquired during my hospital stay… other than a bloated bill.

 

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