On the blog Wormtalk and Slugspeak I was astonished to see a word not so many people use or even know: Gomer. “Well!” quoth I, “It is time to talk about Fat Man’s Laws of the House of God!”
“But Father!” you are sure to be saying, “What does this have to do with St. Augustine? Or what prayers really say??”
The answer to that should be obvious once you get the Laws.
Samuel Shem’s book The House of God about doctors and interns at a Boston hospital in the 1970’s is my constant inspiration. Especially useful for understanding all things ecclesiastical are the Fat Man’s Laws of the House of God which I have constantly before my eyes.
Especially these days, for reasons that ought to be apparent.
Here are a few things you need to know before you get the list.
GOMER: An acronym of “Get Out of My Emergency Room”. These are patients admitted frequently with complicated but uninspiring and incurable conditions. They are sometimes called “too old to die.” GOMER applies also to patients described as “LOL in NAD” or “Little Old Lady in No Apparent Distress”, who would do better with some help at home than coming to the ER where really bad things could happen to her.
GO TO GROUND: The equivalent of “Go to turf”, which means basically being shifted off to someone else’s department.
BUN: “Blood Urea Nitrogen” is test that measures the the amount of nitrogen in the blood that comes from urea (which is secreted by the liver and removed from the blood by the kidneys).
LASIX: A brand name of Furosemide which is a loop diuretic used for congestive heart failure and edema. It has also been used to prevent race horses from bleeding through the nose. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Furosemide.png
BMS: The best medical student from the Best Medical School.
And now you are ready for Fat Man’s Laws of the House of God.
Please keep in mind possible ecclesiastical connections. The (helpful interlinear commentary) is mine.
I. GOMERS DON’T DIE.
(Some people simply live and live and live against all odds and indicators.)
II. GOMERS GO TO GROUND.
(The best way to handle GOMERS is to shove them off onto someone else.)
III. AT A CARDIAC ARREST, THE FIRST PROCEDURE IS TO TAKE YOUR OWN PULSE.
(See to yourself first, after all, it’s all about you.)
IV. THE PATIENT IS THE ONE WITH THE DISEASE.
(It’s not your problem, right?)
V. PLACEMENT COMES FIRST.
(Put the problem somewhere, and figure out what the problem is later.)
VI. THERE IS NO BODY CAVITY THAT CANNOT BE REACHED WITH A #14 NEEDLE AND A GOOD STRONG ARM.
(If it’s stuck force it, if it breaks, okay, it had to be replaced anyway.)
VII. AGE + BUN = LASIX DOSE.
(Really simple solutions to really complicated problems might not work, but what the heck!)
VIII. THEY CAN ALWAYS HURT YOU MORE.
(Tell me about it.)
IX. THE ONLY GOOD ADMISSION IS A DEAD ADMISSION.
(Both the paperwork and the time required are greatly reduced.)
X. IF YOU DON’T TAKE A TEMPERATURE, YOU CAN’T FIND A FEVER.
(Like putting your hands over your own eyes in order to hide from a problem.)
XI. SHOW ME A BMS WHO ONLY TRIPLES MY WORK AND I WILL KISS HIS FEET.
XI-A. Al’s Corollary: Show me a resident who only triples my work, and I will kiss his/her feet.
(If they only screw up my life a little, I’ll be happy. Good one for Italy. Cf. Latin: Primum non nocere.)
XII. IF THE RADIOLOGY RESIDENT AND THE BMS BOTH SEE A LESION ON THE CHEST X-RAY, THERE CAN BE NO LESION THERE.
(Given what we know about their real level of competence, if they came up with something, it must be wrong.)
XIII. THE DELIVERY OF MEDICAL CARE IS TO DO AS MUCH NOTHING AS POSSIBLE.
(This both cuts down on your work load and satisfies XI at the same time.)
I am thinking that you readers could perhaps make your own connections with what we see going on in the ecclesiastical world around us.
For example, are there any parallels between, say, (cf. XIII) a BMS with a Radiology Resident looking at a problem and a Liturgy Expert with a… ex-sister in charge of the parish choir?
Is there a parallel between, say, LAW III and being faced with making a decision about Catholic politicians who support abortion?