Riding the Bronch and the magic of words

I got out last Sunday late in the afternoon. After seven days in the hospital, I have eaten all the jello that I ever care to eat. I spent this week at home “recovering.”  So, here is kind of status update, plus an observation about things that would appear unrelated to most people but seem related to this quirky old fellow.

I had acute Bleomycin pulmonary toxicity (BPT).  Basically, the lungs become inflamed and fail because one of the chemo drugs (Bleomycin (Bleo)) decides to play nasty. People who suffer from Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) are typically treated with Bleo as a  part of the chemo cocktail and that puts them at risk. The potential consequences BPT are not insignificant. See, for example, here.

With help of an infectious disease specialist, a lung specialist and my oncologist working together, I was fortunate. They were able to diagnose and treat the problem rapidly and effectively. Without going into detail, both the diagnose and treatment of BPT are tricky and require close coordination between the specialists. After receiving their fine help and enjoying this week’s rest, I restart my chemo regime this coming Tuesday, but without using Bleo. The absence of Bleo in the regime is not a good thing, but there is no substitute for that drug in the current treatment protocols. Besides, there is no hard data that suggests that discontinuing Bleo at my age, and given my otherwise good progress, will make a difference in dealing with the HL.

Now, hold on, I am about to turn abruptly.

Radical legal realists (previously know as the “Crits”), and many language theorists more generally, believe that resolving disputes can never be based upon words having immutable meanings. That is, there is no “right” answer to the meaning of words and consequently the correctness of a legal decision. According to these folks, the judge should pick the meaning of words that takes into account the causes and consequences of legal disputes and legal decisions. Any other approach is “word-magic”or “transcendental nonsense.” JOHN HASNAS, BACK TO THE FUTURE: FROM CRITICAL LEGAL STUDIES FORWARD TO LEGAL REALISM, OR HOW NOT TO MISS THE POINT OF THE INDETERMINACY ARGUMENT, 45 Duke Law Journal 84, 90 (1995) (footnotes and citations omitted).

Tighten your grip, I am about to swerve again.

While I was in the hospital, I rode the “Bronch” (for the purpose of lavage). Basically, what happens is that a lung doctor sticks a scope with a camera down your throat, the doctor visually examines the lung, the doctor injects a saline solution through the tube and into the lung, and the doctor withdraws the saline solution for later analysis. In my case, the doctors, a technician (I think) and a nurse came to my room dressed in “yellow hazemat” suits with their machinery and equipment.  The lung doctor explained the procedure and assured me I would feel nothing since I would be lightly sedated. Below is a pretty good photo of somebody like me riding the “Bronch” from his hospital bed.


The lung doctor asked if I had any questions. I said that it sounded like he wanted permission to “water board” me. Without missing a beat, the doctor replied that he preferred to think of it as “power washing.” We both laughed, and the sedative began to flow. The last thing I remember is drifting off amused by the magic of words.












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