New York State of Mind from Jim and Sena

Well, my wife, Sena, and I just got back from the Big Apple and I must say I learned a lot about Manhattan, one item being that it’s only one of the five boroughs in New York City. We felt barely a drop of rain the whole time we were there.

There are a lot of wild stories about the traffic in Manhattan–all of which are true. The drive in from LaGuardia was a white-knuckle affair which I would rather forget but never will for as long as I live. We progressed in sudden starts and stops that made me feel like a Road Runner cartoon. It seemed like there were just about as many pedestrians as there were cab drivers and occasionally, in the narrow canyons of endless skyscrapers, it wasn’t clear to me whether traffic lights were meant for traffic control or for decoration.

It’s illegal to blast your horn in Manhattan. At least that’s what we’re told. Those who do blast horns are apprehended about as frequently as drivers distracted by barely dressed women and jaywalkers distracted by smartphone GPS maps–which was never.

Time Square was fascinating, even scary. There is no dress code. In fact, several women were topless. I think painting one’s breasts bright red counts as topless. No, I do not have a photo of that. And one very tall man strode around playing and possibly wearing only a guitar. I didn’t look back to check.

The size of the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve seemed surprisingly small–mainly to women, about which one tour guide could find many, many punch lines, the point of which always had something to do with men’s insecurity regarding certain anatomical features.

We logged about 17 miles on the pedometer over the course of about three and a half days. Our hotel was favorably located, close to most of the favored tourist spots, including many historic landmarks such as the Empire State Building. My ticket was a whopping $3 off the usual price because of my status as a senior citizen. This was a first for me although I have plenty of markers for approaching the geriatric phase, including a vitreous detachment in my right eye a couple of years ago, similar to the one my friend and colleague, Dr. George Dawson, recently underwent. George also had something as a complication which I didn’t have, a retinal tear.

But I’m rambling again, as usual. On the first full day in Manhattan, we enjoyed a great tour of some of the most iconic landmarks in the city. One of the first spots was Strawberry Fields in Central Park. I confess I didn’t know that John Lennon’s song “Strawberry Fields Forever” was based on an orphanage of that name in Liverpool, England. It was a gift by the city of Naples and the mosaic bears the name of another Lennon song, “Imagine.” There are 121 countries that endorse Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace. The day we were there, someone with a squeezebox put on an impromptu performance of “Imagine.”

Just imagine what congressmen could accomplish if they could collaborate to craft health care reform that would benefit all Americans. George also has a lot to say about the state of health care reform efforts in the very partisan struggle going on now.

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Imagine change can happen. It can happen, and I can see that in the news I’ve recently received from the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM) about the name change of our sub-specialty from Psychosomatic Medicine back to what it should be–Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. Further, the APM will likely change its name to the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. According to the announcement:

“The Council’s endorsement of a name change for the Academy is supported by data from three APM-member surveys with participation of up to two-thirds of the membership and the following findings:

  1. When asked if they would support an alternative name for our field, 68% supported a name change, 16% were neutral, and only 16% wanted to retain the name Psychosomatic Medicine.
  2. When asked how they currently described the sub-specialty to others, the majority were already using the name Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (55%). Only 17% used Psychosomatic Medicine.
  3. Finally asked whether they would support specifically changing the name of the field to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (including changing the name of the Academy to mirror that term), 81% responded affirmatively.

Based on the mandate Council believes the surveys represent, combined with the recommendation of ABPN to ABMS that the name of the sub-specialty be changed to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, the APM Council formed a name change task force. In June 2017, the task force made the following three recommendations to Council, which unanimously endorsed them, contingent upon ABMS changing the official name of the sub-specialty to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, a change expected as early as Fall 2017:

  1. Changing the name of APM to the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (ACLP).
  2. Updating the organization’s bylaws and policy manual to reflect the name change from APM to ACLP.
  3. Maintaining the name of the Journal (Psychosomatics) but changing its tag-line from “The Journal of Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry” to “The Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.”

See what happens if you involve the rank-and-file members of an organization? Have any politicians actually asked the American people how we feel about the current state of the non-debate about single-payer systems? Does anyone doubt how tough we are? We’re as durable as Manhattan schist.

Anyway, moving right along, we also visited the 9/11 Memorial. Although we didn’t have enough time to get into the museum, the outside aspects of the memorial are sobering and inspiring. The Survivor Tree is just one of the features. It’s a Callery Pear tree, which survived the September 11, 2001 attacks at Ground Zero. It was severely damaged, yet survived under the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. It’s a reminder of resilience, tenacity, and courage.

We also learned the original name of the Statue of Liberty. One of the tour guides pointedly insisted that it’s the real name. It’s “Liberty Enlightening the World.” It was a gift from the French people commemorating the alliance of France and United States during the American Revolution. Liberty stands always with one foot placed forward, signifying the ever forward movement of all the peoples of the earth in our great diversity.

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Comments

  1. Your first visit? Having lived and worked there, I love the Big Apple, but am glad not to be an occasional visitor. Next time you are there, try to visit Battery Park and the Peace and Contemplation Labyrinth. When you do I’ll share how I had a small part in its establishment. Stay strong. At 80, I am managing well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not my first visit, but that was about 20 years ago. I think it probably doesn’t count. Thanks for the tip! We may not get back for another visit. Mind sharing your accomplishment about your contribution to the Peace and Contemplation Labyrinth now? I’m curious.

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