By Dr. Jim Ferguson
Though I am semi-retired, I’m still on-call for the Holidays, and patients do get sick on Christmas Eve. When I was in traditional medical practice my partners and I rotated holidays and night calls as well as weekend hospital rounds. Interestingly, the four-day Thanksgiving weekend was the least desired. And this Christmas, I managed several folks under the weather because the flu (influenza) is here.

The Christmas Holiday is a time of togetherness and since most of our family lives in Knoxville, we have a lot of togetherness. And at the end of almost twenty-four hours of church, Southern visiting, caroling, feasting and gifting, I was exhausted. On the Myers-Briggs personality scale I score as an introvert, but just barely so. I can be happy in a library or at a party. One of my observations of life is that it’s relatively easy to be pleasant. So, make an effort to be so, even though it’s easier for extroverted party animals than for a borderline introvert!

At this time of the year we are inundated with lists of everything that’s happened in 2019, at least everything reported by the media. Maybe it’s fortunate that Congress is out of town and work schedules are abbreviated, including the media.

You could argue that I have become part of the media because my opinion column is similar to the political commentaries on events presented these days as “news.” At least I am upfront; my column is my opinion. Therefore, in the era of “fake news” beware, rumors and hearsay are sexier than reality.

So, at year’s end, instead of sprinkling my Fergisms (perceptions) throughout my stories, I thought it might be entertaining to give a Baker’s Dozen or so of my observations of life, people, medicine and spirit:

  1. A man should never precede his wife from a building. If he does so he’ll just get hot or cold and frustrated waiting in the car because…
  2. Women are the glue of our culture and she’s probably inside networking and nurturing others. Be thankful, because men would be savages without our better halves.
  3. Despite what activists say, there are two genders; women shop whereas men buy.
  4. Men split the check at restaurants, whereas women suddenly become accountants.
  5. Men, be careful buying your wife cheap jewelry. If your home is robbed and the thieves don’t steal her baubles, it will ultimately cost you a fortune.
  6. Men think linearly. Women need no segway in conversations with other women.
  7. If you live with someone long enough, you’ll become increasingly like them…
  8. Until then, I’ve concluded that I look better standing next to a beautiful woman.
  9. However, no one is attractive when sleeping. And it is dangerous to take a picture of your wife sleeping.
  10. Remember, champagne and pearls go with everything, and little black dresses never go out of style.
  11. As we age, we look better with more clothes on than without.
  12. Old comfortable shoes and an older wife are to be cherished.
  13. If you’re north of fifty everything seems twice as long ago as you thought it was.
  14. I’ve observed we think of ourselves as one generation less than our chronological age.
  15. 15.When traveling, never pass a baño.
  16. If you drink caffeinated beverages you better be near a bathroom or bushes. (Caffeine is a bladder irritant)
  17. Doctors should not tinker with patients who are north of eighty.
  18. Any medicine can do anything to anybody.
  19. I avoid being the first on the block to try a new drug or the last in the medical neighborhood.
  20. Medicine without relationships with your patients is not care.
  21. If possible, stay out of the ER, “where [nobody] knows your name.”
  22. With electronic medical records, there is no computer keystroke for caring.
  23. Keep your boots on instead of parked under the bed. I believe it’s better to wear out rather than rust out.
  24. It’s bad to be sick, but worse to be far from home and sick.
  25. All miseries (and worries) become worse at night.
  26. Skin aging is 90% due to the sun’s damage. If you doubt me, compare the back of your hand to your derriere.
  27. Endeavor to learn something new every day.
  28. You must push at the horizons of life or they will shrink in upon you.
  29. Sometimes the best explanation for the otherwise inexplicable is evil.
  30. The soul is the non-anatomical essence of a person.
  31. Grace is all the manifestations of love which man can comprehend.
  32. God is “closer” when he is prayerfully sought.
  33. Faith is something you seek rather than something you have.
  34. A faith perspective makes life better now, and there is the hope of then!


So, there you have it, folks. A year’s end column without news or predictions, and short and sweet. The Focus editors should be happy that I’m less verbose than usual, and can put the paper to bed before New Year’s Eve.


So, Happy New Year to everyone and I’ll see ya’ll next year!