A Personal Retrospective: Part Three Humor (an appreciation of the letter “B” by Dr. “B”)

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By Susan J. Baumgaertel, MD FACP

Part Three: Humor

Have you ever noticed the frequency of certain numbers, letters or words?

Sometimes I find it fun to notice alliteration in everyday events – often afterwards. Or, maybe by focusing on something, I see more of it? Our brains are truly wondrous.

In the past almost thirty years of being a physician, many of my patients and most of my staff called me “Dr. B.” Saying “B” is so much easier than pronouncing my last name!

Along the way, I’ve learned a few B words from my daughter who is in her twenties.

I gifted her my 2004 Honda CRV that she promptly named Beatrice. Beatrice is still doing well, now past 100,000 miles.

My late beloved rescue cat came pre-named: Buttercup – yes, named after Robin Wright’s character Buttercup from The Princess Bride.

Apparently I have a bougie car – and here I thought cars in that category would be BMWs, Mercedes et al (I have an Audi Q3).

I have learned that a Navy ship, an iffy hotel and my body all can be described as busted.

Okay, I have never named my car but we do call that rather large spider in the corner of our garage Brad.

I have just recently learned that bussin refers to food that is so f*ckin good.

What is really fun is when some of these words all come together in one place – like when I went to get our Christmas tree this year.

I arrived alone at Donna’s Trees, set up in the side parking lot of a nearby golf driving range and nine hole course. I was the only one there, browsing around looking at trees.

When did they get so expensive? I typically go for a seven foot Noble fir, but they were all in the $220+ price range.

I was drawn to a certain tree, but it didn’t look so great. A number of branches had tips that were dried and less-than-green.

The friendly farmer-type young man approached and asked me if I had picked out my tree. I said yes, but he then said, “You don’t sound so sure.”

I explained that I didn’t have my assistant with me and this was the first time in a while I had picked out a tree by myself. I explained that my assistant was in the US Navy and was coming home for Christmas.

He quickly became more attentive and then asked if I wanted him to hold out a specific tree to take a better look. I pointed to the one and he took it for a twirl.

I said, “It looks busted.” He said, “Well, sometimes the trees on the edge of the orchard don’t do so well.”

I asked if he’d cut me a deal. Without hesitation he offered me $80 off. I felt like this one was about to go to the wood chipper soon, but I said yes.

He happily cut the end and trimmed a few straggling lower branches, and then asked which car was mine. I said that my previous car – now named Beatrice – was the tree car but, since I no longer owned it, I wanted the tree loaded up on top of my Audi.

He chuckled and told me about three “kids” buying a tree earlier that day using their parent’s bougie car – I think it was a BMW. We then wondered why a certain generation names their cars.

I told him I didn’t name my car but we had a spider in our garage named Brad. We then had a funny discussion about spiders. He made sure to put the tree in the “shaker” to shake out the old needles – I told him I appreciated him shaking out the spiders.

Once home, I lugged the tree up our steep front stairs (yay core and upper arm strength!) and settled the tree into the tree holder in the living room. My husband asked me if they were out of trees – cue the story of the busted tree that was $80 off.

I later told this story to my daughter who had a good laugh, and was amazed I had used my new vocabulary!

She subsequently made The Best Lemon Cookies which were definitely bussin.

I smiled as I stood in our kitchen, looking through the window at my bird bath with the juncos taking turns bathing.

A whimsical week,

À bientôt!

~ Dr. B

Dr. Susan Baumgaertel founded a novel medical consultation business

myMDadvocate after 25 years of clinical practice in internal medicine,

now serving patients virtually in WA state. Parallel to her

professional services she maintains her free informational website

MenopauseMenu which offers nourishing support for menopause and beyond

in the form of science-based information, balanced with a holistic

focus on personal well-being.

She can be reached at :

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