This Boat is Going to Sink

Words of Late Lars Marcelius Vistnes, from Stavanger Fishing City, Norway and now Assistant Professor of Surgery, Plastic, and Interplast “faculty” at Stanford Honduras program

At this particular time it was the moment of ecstasy of our new program.  Designed to solve a problem, it was the grand fix to remedy the relative dearth of patients with pathology sufficient enough to carry out the four tenets of an academic in the professorial track at a major university. These tenets are teaching, research, patient care, and community service.  These are the four tenets, not un-coincidentally, of both a university medical school and of a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Interplast.

Interestingly , both of these legal entities were designed as ways to transfer wealth from those who have to those without access, to the fruits of our beautiful social system in America.  Both of these entities are in the private sector, and are other than the government system which uses tax revenue (rather than tax  free deductions) to carry out very similar even parallel goals, with similar funds from the same people, to assist the have-nots.

The University medical school at that time was a bit low on patient pathology and therefore its synergy with 501(C3) organized foundations with non-profit component and with student level organizations or clubs had ” stepped up to the plate”.  These several intramural components of the Stanford “curriculum” were running on a low gas tank and the med school seemingly had allowed a reaching out to the extramural nonprofit, Interplast.  Spontaneously and because of this need, a Stanford/Honduras Social Security Hospital hand surgery rotation formed itself.  The format was  joint participation of Stanford adjunct assistant professors of plastic and reconstructive surgery working shoulder to shoulder with Stanford assistant clinical professors of surgery of Honduras.  The Stanford plastic and reconstructive surgery residents in training were the primary beneficiaries.  Those at Stanford had apparently recognized that resources to accomplish the goals were extant in the extramural sector and huge success was at hand.

At this point in the “this boat is going to sink” story, we diverge to bring forth the other and the covert purpose of the story, which is to review the vicissitudes in the the successful quest to accomplish and the medical sphere, whether it be in any venue, in at any pain or psychological cost, utilizing any resource required, with any sacrifice necessary.

At this point in the development.  The working theme was to ask not what can the Honduras and San Pedro Sula and our new friends do for us, but rather, what can we do for the good of the teaching and patient care research community service objectives and most importantly, not what can we do to further our own careers, but rather what can we do to further the careers of those under us.

But at this very moment in the story.  This sacrifice was about to include the life of a Lars Vistnes himself, Neri Nazeri, his wife and two daughters, because sea water was beginning to form under the floorboards of the “unsinkable” brand-new beautiful,  32 foot fishing vessel.  Fortunately the experienced Norwegian Viking descent seaman Lars Vistnes, who had inherited 2000 years of experience on open water, sort of  automatically, detected the imminent danger.  Lars made the announcement, “this boat is going to sink” to the deaf ears of of the newly successful Arab American furniture store businessman.

And personal and professional long term friendships are the heart and the soul, a core quality, which produces sustainability.  Personal and professional friendships are cemented firmly with quality time experience together.  Crisis constitutes a great location to cement friendships, just as soldiers in the foxhole together become lifelong friends.

Favorable coincidences actually do occur and well-thought-out programs that were meant to be spring into life. Though they are out-of-the-box in ideas and implementation, they would remain in the box with fair thought with their foundations and the strength of the University thinking and in the box with the wisdom of the Board of Directors of the foundation behind the ideas.  After all this was borne in the entrepreneurial incubator of Silicon Valley, the embryos of which were in inseminated at Stanford.

The coincidence was that 2 miles away Doctor Jorge Saybe, and his father needed a new fishing line.  They fired up their outboard and pointed up with all their fishing rig directly toward the sinking vessel.  They arrived in a moment of chaos.  Lars, of course, insisted that not only the ship was sinking, but said it must be marked for position for rescue purposes.  Against the will of the women and children and a pilot, Lars used fishing line to float the Coleman cooler attached to a Clorox bottle and was citing two points for triangulation position.

In the chaotic moments, the fishing line began to be tangled around the midsection of Lars and the boat went down.  And Lars went down.  Always thinking straight, and clearly and correctly, he deductively concluded that he was in the process of dying.  But the good part was that he was about to die in the most beautiful and wonderful place and situation that there possibly ever could be.  However, when his head was 18 inches below water level, there were factors.  At that point he then changed his mind, and he decided, “let’s live”.  But he was caught in a line and was descending rapidly, following the descending Coleman cooler.  Both Jorge and the tougher than steel, bodyguard, Miguel were witness.  They had asked in Spanish,”are you okay,” and thought they had heard, “yes,” whereas Lars was asking for his life.  Miguel put a hunting knife in his mouth and swam under the sea to cut the line — to Lars but not to the Clorox or the Coleman.

Back at the key, Jaroy Weber, David Dibbell , myself and uncle Lester the lighthouse keeper had awakened from our  naps in our hollowed out beds in the sand and received the news that a ship had gone down and we were summoned to assist in the rescue of the boat.

Because he is as usual, larger than life , Dave had the plan and in 10 seconds, and using the mechanical advantage of a pulley and the power of the four of us raise the boat into the reef.  “By the way, my passport, wallet, plane ticket was in the eighth compartment of the sunken boat.  And I will get it, lend me your swimming fins, your goggle, your snorkel, please.” Part of the boat was made of Lesterwas glass for vision in the very clear water.  That being done, we quickly replenished our food level with what was available, cans of tripe.

We cited the boat, because Lars had triangulated well.  The 32 foot boat appeared to be an inch long at 90 feet down Davidlarger-than-lifejumped over the side of the boat and said I’ll be back.  A full five minutes past before his head popped up at the side of the boat blood coming from his ears saying “I was within 5 feet of the boat.  When a white shark came along.”

We got the rescued bolt onto the Reef and left itbecause they all know that a ship abandoned oon the high seas anyone could claim butif abandoned on the reef it still belong to the owners.  The British Honduras, Navy store the following day, but with the personal contact (again useful)  justice was meted and the young lieutenant, who acquired the ship was placed in a very nice jail.

The second not so covert purpose of this diversion has been to state the case in defense of the parachute trip.synopticaly the chase laub parachute which dropped into Mexicali in 1966 in search of replications or a few replicationsof their most successful case story of  Antonio Victoria could have stopped as a simple parachute searching for a specific diagnostic category, but this book/blog is written on behalf of all those whose belief system begins with a trip, which has all appearances as a parachute trip but which trip is like the the first step for mankind, and which becomes a service to mankind, with excellence, and with the greater purpose of confrontation with a significant world problem. and a form of an ongoing project of consecutive regularly scheduled parachutes.

To speak to this point, and a synoptical fashion, the Chase, Laub “parachute” drop into Mexicali in 1966 in search of cases to replicatetheir most successful case story of on Tonio Victori of might have stopped simply as the so-called parachute trip searching for a diagnostic category.  But this book/blog is written on the behalf of all those whose belief system knows that the first step in a “full service.”interchange with a developing country begins with a trip.  This is the first baby step leading to a great medical interchange.  A great medical interchange program contains the elements of service to mankind excellence, and confrontation of a significant world problem.

On Antonio Victoria (see blog number – – – ) provided us with compensation in the form of psychic income.  The terror wars in rich with the good feeling of having done a great thing in excellent fashion, and had chipped away at a world wide problem  which was in particular field of interest.

In this particular parachute trip and a natural tendency was to go to the source, to the area where Tom Antonio lived in order to perform a needs assessment.  It was on this first assessment that the parachute provided us the peak experience (PE), which kindled the nascent career goals of DRL.  A concrete solid foundation was being poured at the time of this trip.  In fact the first five-year plan erupted like a volcano fired by this.  Right on  dose of psychic incomeand a peak experience of the “boy with a bag on his headd”.  To help other people with medicine and surgery had become the main guideline, in his way of life.  This statement is a whole scientific fact evident and the 1968 – 1973 report copied from the original and reported in blog number___.  We went on to replicate some of these successes in Mexicali, but we were not unaware of the fact that if this program was to find itself with another raw abrupt ending, that a plan B. should be ready for instant ignition.  And the plan  B had been fully fleshed out– – – until the seawater was detected beneath the floorboards of the “Pescadero” fishing boat.  Mind you, the elements allowing the parachute drop to San Pedro through a Honduras had been accomplished:

1)      forming one single team comprised of members holding passports from a least two countries

2)      needs assessment regarding the medical help needed, and the probabilities for mutual benefits to all involved

3)      sitting the plan to form of the model for that accomplishment

4)      awarding the tasks.

5)      Setting the date etc. for specific implementation.

6)      Setting criteria and dates or evaluation.

In other words, we had already entered into full interchange in regard to lecture us to national medical Society, two local medical Colegio, to make affiliation with University, ironing out the money aspects if any and such was essential for the program.

We had explored which medical organizations would be involved, we had made faculty upon us on both sides.  In both countries, we discuss training philosophy and techniques regarding the experience of the American residence, we had included the always necessary social components.  “The social acts”, we were careful to involve wives and children, the prospects for intermarriage within the new group were intriguing.

This was a” task force” type of plan; we never used those words.

All of us knew that it  WOULD BE FUN!

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