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The Slice: Patients around here praise patience

I hear this all the time.

“I can’t possibly give those who work there and looked after him enough praise.”

That’s from a note a reader sent about her dad’s recent stay in the hospital. As it happens, she was talking about the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. But Slice readers say that sort of thing about every Spokane-area hospital.

Sure, our society bubbles over with complaints about virtually every aspect of the health care system. We all have stories. But the relentless wrangling over costs and red tape cannot obscure something important.

A lot of great people work in local hospitals.

And patients who encounter these nurses, doctors and wheelchair-pushers when feeling weak and vulnerable don’t forget the countless gestures of kindness and concern. Their families don’t either.

You can trust me on that last point. Families never forget.

Knowledge and skill are important in helping people get well, of course. Still, it would be difficult to overemphasize the importance of patience, humor and basic human decency in this equation.

Spokane might be pretty average in many respects. But our medical centers are something special because hundreds of the best people in the world work there.

Alternative inoculation: I had asked for salsa-brand recommendations. Many insisted that I should make it myself. But a few others suggested a regional fresh brand that I went ahead and tried.

I really liked it. But it had a strong garlic aftertaste. So all I could do was continue eating it nonstop. It was my only defense.

In the end, I might have been giving off visible, wavy-lines fumes.

Anyway, it occurred to me that those who don’t want to get a flu shot might try a steady diet of this salsa. Down enough of the stuff and I am quite sure that people (aka disease vectors) would keep their distance. And you might make it to spring without coming down with anything.

Of course, it might be a lonely winter. But nobody said surviving cold and flu season is easy.

Send me a note if you would like the name of this prescription, er, salsa brand.

Today’s Slice question: When do you switch over to long-sleeves?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email If you say you are saving that candy for Halloween, I believe you.

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