Dr. Sam Christian

Dr. Sam Christian


My ride plunged into that axle-breaking pothole in Didier Lane. ”All my insides unhang, man!” I muttered under my breath.

Near the crest of the hill, a young rooster merrily dashed after a hen. “Like pre-schoolers romping at recess, I thought…How cute!” Except, this chase had definite intent.Chick-chick was showing zero interest in extra-curricular activities…big-time headache, I suppose. She sounded most annoyed, cackling frantically as she raced across the road, kicking up dust and a feather or two in the process.

“That’s right, my boy! Check your vibes!” It was hard to stay neutral in this drama unfolding ahead of me. But the entertainment ended abruptly as the couple exited stage left into the bush.

I pressed the accelerator. My ride lurched out of the giant pothole. Just then, Chick-chick suddenly reappeared. She streaked across the street in the opposite direction, right in front of me. Cock-a-doodle, like Road Runner in hot pursuit, had only one thing on his mind. He thudded into my bumper at high speed. Feathers exploded everywhere. I felt sickened by the crunching sound from under my right front wheel…


“Cocky, garcon; what have you done?!”

Never been on board a vehicle that hit anything, right? I thought so. Anyway, I forced myself to get out and survey the damage. (Parental discretion is advised as the scenes you are about to picture may be perceived as graphic and disturbing to some).

Cocky’sdrumstick was still twisahyaying. I was repulsed and intrigued at the same time. Some people enjoy eating ‘Road-kill.’ They would hate to see that go to waste. Not nice; I chastised myself, to even think such, at a time like this.

I happened to look up. A little girl was staring blankly down from the third level porch of the big green building on the left. Clearly, she witnessed the whole thing. “How could you?!” I imagined her saying. It was as if she was waiting to see this wicked, wicked man’s next move.  Dazed and disconsolate, Chick-chick slowly retraced her steps. Her head bobbed doggedly back and forth with each stride.“What just happened there?!” she clucked quietly, piercing myheart with accusing eyes.

The mind is not only a terrible thing to waste, it is truly amazing tool! How I recalled my First Form biology teacher in that moment, I do not know. Oh, maybe it was because after forty years, I had recently tracked down long-retired Mr. “Humpty” Alexander and given him a shout-out in Florida. He had emigrated there to continue teaching high school. When we kids were dum-dums in class, he would berate us as “useless lumps of protoplasm!” We did not worry too much about his “sink or float” exam threats; we knew deep down he was really fond of us. I can see him even now; that irrepressible, jolly fellow, bouncing around the classroom.

Yes, protoplasm – meat basically – that substance of which all living things consist. Cocky was made up of protoplasm – as are you and I. It struck me that living things have something else very much in common. Besides eating, growing, reproducing and such, they all manifest a strong survival instinct. It’s logical to assume that had Cocky known this could happen, he would have just chilled. Before the next moon came around, Chick-chick would likely flounce her way back to him, maybe even bearing gifts to boot.

Protoplasm isn’t everything

Many of my patients have that strong survival instinct. The second part of the year is here and congratulations are in order. Thanks to placing a high priority on health, they have re-assessed their body mass index (BMI) or fitness level this year. They know their current blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol like they know their date of birth. Monthly breast self-exam, mammogram, Pap smear or colon/prostate check/PSA? That’s already ticked off their to-do list.

Good health is not merely the absence of disease. It exists in the context of a caring environment with an emphasis on prevention. When one’s survival instinct is low, that’s where the group comes in. They try to figure out why is it some particular individual does not want to do those things that prolong life. They provide encouragement in unmet health needs. Furthermore, all cultures have some form of belief in something that survives the protoplasm. The laws of science itself (thermodynamics) suggest that one’s essential energy cannot be destroyed. It is this awareness that propels us to pay meaningful respects when all else fails.


I really felt bad for Cocky eh pal.

With a deep sigh, I got back into the car and drove off. “Aha!” thought the little girl. “See!” But I returned promptly with a couple plastic grocery bags from home.  I then briefly turned in her direction, and Chick-chick too, who was still ambling around in pietrisycamollaviadelrechiotemexity. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…,” I intoned.With that, Icommended Cocky’s little chicken spirit into the bosom of the Almighty, while attending to hismortal remains in a dignified manner.

Who knows?Maybe the little girl in the big green house learned an important life lesson that day. Sometimes, we can see bad things coming. Other times, it strikes out of the blue: BAM! Just like that! That’s life. Either way, we still have to pick up the pieces and carry on. I consigned that whole Cockyepisodeto history andpressed forward to that which was ahead. And so it was off to work,with renewed commitment –to passionately preserve the precious protoplasm of my patients.

Click here to listen to Dr. Christian’s interesting Medical Minute on ‘Preserving our Protoplasm’


Dr. Sam Christian is a general surgeon who manages the Urgent Care at 137 Bath Road. It is a facility for general medical care, surgery and acupuncture at short notice. He is author of the faith and fitness book, ‘Mannafast Miracle’ and serves as Medical Officer of the Dominica Cadet Corps and Medical Advisor of the Dominica Cancer Society. He can be reached anytime at 440-9314 or urgentcare.da@gmail.com