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THE KDK REPORT: Almost flew west

AT 6,500 feet, while flying a single engine plane from Nassau to Florida, my patient’s engine failed. He was alone in a cocoon of absolute silence. He knew that his survival hinged on his ability to locate a safe place to land. Fortunately, he was able to restart the engine but four other times during his one hour flight, the engine malfunctioned. At the time, my patient, hereafter referred to as AJ, was in his mid-30s and although he managed to land safely, this would be the first of many lessons he was forced to learn about remaining calm in the face of life-threatening danger.

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THE KDK REPORT: Over the mountaintop

THE last speech ever delivered by civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr took place on April 3, 1968, and was entitled ‘I’ve been to the mountaintop’. The speech was in support of economic justice for striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee but Dr King Jr also spoke about having personally faced difficult days. It would end up being the final and most memorable of his words. The man who tried to change the world through peace died by violence. He was assassinated the following day.

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THE KDK REPORT: Above all else – PART 2

THERE are certain definitive sink or swim moments throughout our lives that define each and every one of us. Those moments, while outwardly silent but internally screaming, require hope, stamina and strength of character to survive. This necessary strength is bolstered by knowing that someday, over time and as the seasons change, life will once again become bearable and if fortunate enough, happy and fulfilled.

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THE KDK REPORT: ABOVE ALL ELSE – part one

MANY of us spend so much of our lives consumed by what’s happened in the past or what should or could happen in the future, that we fail to live in the present. Those who fall into this category aren’t truly living, they’re simply surviving day by day and hoping that their next day is fractionally better than the last. But then there are others who live in the moment. Grateful for every second of life, oftentimes because they’ve come so close to losing it.

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THE KDK REPORT: Beyond the batter’s eye

THERE’S something uniquely American about baseball – its simplicity, the hot dogs and the cheering fans in the stands create what feels like a community connected.

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THE KDK REPORT: One more day

AT 1AM, my patient receives a phone call from the police. There’s been another car accident. He kisses his wife goodbye, puts on his overalls and grabs his work bag in the garage. Within ten minutes, he arrives at the scene, tonight and often times before the ambulance on call. The road is blocked by at least four police cars and the glare from their flashing siren lights pierces his cornea in the darkness of the hour. After almost 40 years in this profession, he’ll never be fully comfortable with the nightmarish feeling that a night like this elicits.

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THE KDK REPORT: Centre stage

Every human being, at some point or another, is called to the spotlight. In that moment you finally feel noticed and, in the best of circumstances, appreciated publicly for either your talent or physical attributes. This is the moment when stars are born. The very best of us excel during those moments and, from then on, spend a lifetime living beneath the intense glare that’s demanded by being at the centre of the stage.

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THE KDK REPORT: Inside the window pane

JUST before sunset, the yellow, red and orange of the horizon are kissed by the dusk of a glooming nightfall. In those moments, light, for the final time that day, quickly but majestically peaks through the window pane.

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THE KDK REPORT: The other shoe

MANY years ago, I was employed as the chief resident for foot and ankle surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York at both the main Manhattan and the smaller Queens locations.

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THE KDK REPORT: Spoonful of sugar

WORDS matter. Repetitive encouragement can strengthen a child who’s lost their way but a solitary negative comment, by contrast, can incarcerate that same child in a prison of self-doubt forever. Words, over time, can also begin to lose meaning. The word Diabetes some 20 to 30 years ago evoked intense worry among patients and their loved ones. Today it’s become so commonplace, especially here in The Bahamas, that it’s no longer taken as seriously as it once was.

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THE KDK REPORT: Thicker than water

FEAR is unpredictable. It can turn the brave into heroes or lay bare previously camouflaged cowardly traits for the world to see. But in our darkest hour and for a small few, the fear of the unknown can manifest courage so great it nearly defies explanation. Those are the stories that make headlines. It can also allow those willing to face the storm directly to channel their adversities with grace.

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THE KDK REPORT: A shallow grave

UNDER the cover of darkness, Anastasia and her family fled the bombing and gunfire now ravaging their homeland. No one in the car that evening could understand how they arrived at this point.

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THE KDK REPORT: The North Star

GROWING up and living on a remote family island offers a wealth of peace and tranquility few outsiders can comprehend. With a small population, everyone on the island is either a family member or neighbour and there’s a genuine sense of community throughout the entire land.

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THE KDK REPORT: This new horizon

WELL-KNOWN for its beautiful beaches and world-class museums, Niteroi is a city in the southeast region of Brazil, facing Rio de Janeiro and just across from Guanabara Bay. It is also the birthplace of one of my patients, who like so many others, has had to overcome more than her fair share of challenges.

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THE KDK REPORT: A wrinkle or two

THROUGHOUT the course of history, we’ve all inherently benefited from the immeasurable sacrifices of our forefathers. Men and women who, through their contributions to the betterment of mankind, have made our lives infinitely easier.

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THE KDK REPORT: My solemn vow

WHEN two people choose to marry and unite their lives into one, they make a legally binding contractual commitment to be together and love one another from that day forward, in sickness and in health. It is a solemn vow that they pledge in front of a priest or wedding officiant and a congregation of friends and family. But I often wonder, if people could look into the future and see the trials that they’ll endure as a couple, if they could see the sickness as well as the health, would they still be as readily forthwith in reciting those very same vows.

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THE KDK REPORT: Even bright stars fall

THROUGHOUT the course of our lifetime, there is an unwavering and universal truth that we must all accept.

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THE KDK REPORT: Through thick and thin

RELATIONSHIPS, both romantic and platonic, are often complicated and even ones that have lasted for years can begin to wane beneath the pressure of distance and time.

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THE KDK REPORT: The sound of silence

ALL musicians, spanning the breadth of history, can attest to the fact that music has the power to heal. There is a song for every heartache and one for every celebration. No matter the genre, every melody, chord, tune, lyric and sound is capable of touching the soul and jarring or soothing our every emotion.

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THE KDK REPORT: What lies beneath

THERE was a time growing up in Nassau, and perhaps many places, when finding out someone had cancer was so rare that it was considered shocking. The island gossip mills churned for weeks on end with callous disregard and absolute bewilderment by the mere occurrence and in some cases friends of the newly diagnosed quietly shied away out of fear that it might be contagious.

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THE KDK REPORT: As the orchids bloom

A POPULAR theory amongst gardeners is that the lunar cycle can affect plant growth. It follows that as the moon’s gravitational pull alters the rise and fall of ocean tides, it also directly influences the amount of moisture in the soil. In doing so, planting seeds in the right moisture conditions will allow the seeds to germinate much faster and accordingly yield bigger, healthier plants.

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THE KDK REPORT: Shelter from the storm

IN January of this year, the biggest volcanic eruption in three decades occurred in Tonga, a Polynesian country consisting of 169 islands scattered throughout the Southern Pacific Ocean. With a total population of approximately 105,000 people, this cataclysmic eruption was so loud that it was heard in both Australia and New Zealand, leaving three people dead and many more missing.

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THE KDK REPORT: A pebble in the wheel – part two

IMAGINE having chest tightness so excruciating it feels as if there’s a 300- ton crane sitting on top of you, intermittently squeezing more and more deeply and crushing your sternum making it harder to breathe. In 2019, following four years of the most agonising chest pain imaginable, my patient was wheeled into the operating theatre for her third heart surgery.

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THE KDK REPORT: A pebble in the wheel – part one

VERY few individuals can comprehend the intense and extreme mental toll placed on a person when multiple loved ones become sick at the same time. This is the real-life story of one such saga, so compelling I am telling it in a two-part series. This is part one.

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THE KDK REPORT: If minutes become days

IN the early nineteenth century, long before the Prohibition Act was passed, there was a lesser well-known movement in the United States to ban the manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors, the consumption of which was conveniently blamed for all of society’s ills.

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THE KDK REPORT: The sum of many

A COMMON saying, widely attributed to ancient African cultures, asserts that it takes a village to raise a child. This responsibility is made infinitely more onerous when just a single parent is involved in the process.

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THE KDK REPORT: Our winter’s parade

SPREAD across the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the chain of islands that encompass The West Indies are ripe with cultural observances. Locally here in The Bahamas, Junkanoo is by far our most celebrated and globally acknowledged ethnic tradition. For those unfamiliar, Junkanoo is a street parade held historically during the winter, on both Boxing and New Year’s Day.

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THE KDK REPORT: From dawn to sunset

The proprietor of my after-school day care loved to watch soap operas. It was such a constant fixture of my childhood that I learned the theme song for each show long before I could properly tie my laces.

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THE KDK REPORT: A ram in the bush

NONE of us can recall the exact details of the day we were born so our knowledge of that day is limited to what our parents tell us. Despite this, every birthday is a cause for celebration whether someone organises it or we are old enough to do it ourselves. Some, like myself, prefer to travel to celebrate while others enjoy a quiet evening at home with loved ones. Many like to throw parties where food, cake, music and alcoholic beverages are typical expectancies and turning milestone ages like 18 and 50 often triggers the most extravagant events.

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THE KDK REPORT: Lord of the manor

GETTING punched in the eye is a different experience altogether from getting punched anywhere else on the body.

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THE KDK REPORT: When tomorrow never comes

A UNIVERSAL unwavering truth is that at some point, we will all die.

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THE KDK REPORT: When tomorrow never comes

A UNIVERSAL unwavering truth is that at some point, we will all die.

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THE KDK REPORT: Lessons from a way of life

HAVE you ever noticed that members of the Rastafarian community have largely remained relatively unscathed by the COVID- 19 pandemic?

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THE KDK REPORT: No cage too small

There’s a stark difference between being captured and imprisoned and being born into captivity. The major difference is in the mindset of the prisoner. A man once free and then locked up oscillates between anger and depression, drowning in the loss of the freedom he once enjoyed. Someone born into it, however, simply cannot appreciate this loss with the same level of desperation and comprehension.

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THE KDK REPORT: The enemy within

Every parent has a dream for their child. Some have intricate plans of what schools they should attend and what career they should choose. Others are less rigid, focusing more on the type of person they will develop into and the hope that they can find happiness along the way. The patient highlighted in today’s report is the mother of three children and her dreams for her second child, her only son, were shattered when he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 20.

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THE KDK REPORT: A candle in the shadows

In 1992, Mike Tyson, the heavy-weight champion of the world, was charged with rape, tried and found guilty. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to go to space, the notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar escaped from prison and Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the United States. That year is also notable for the Los Angeles riots which erupted following the acquittal of four white police officers on trial for the beating of Rodney King.

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THE KDK REPORT: My neighbour’s keeper

In The Bahamas we have a special breed of dogs known as Potcakes. Colloquially named after the overcooked (burnt) rice at the bottom of a pot that nobody wants, these dogs are incredibly resilient. As such they appeal to those who like animals but are not so crazy about caring extensively for them.

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KDK REPORT: Bad habits, bad health - how do we break the cycle?

EVERY human being has at least one physical characteristic they’d like to change or, in the very least, enhance. That demand has fuelled a multi-billion-dollar global make-up and skin care industry.

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KDK REPORT: A legacy of influence

I have flat feet. My mom has flat feet, my dad, my siblings, my cousins. We’re just a happy flat-footed Cartwright family.

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The KDK Report: Pleasantly plump – part one

SOME of the most beloved children’s novels lie within the portal fantasy genre. The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter are just a few standout examples.

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KDK Report: A little big-boned

ONE of my favourite subjects in high school was English literature.

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KDK Report: Twinkle, twinkle little star

MY entire family, at one point or another, went to the same nursery. It was our first of many centres of matriculation but while there, we were never exposed to typical scholastic pursuits. In fact, to the best of my recollection, we never once learned anything about the alphabet, colours, numbers or writing.

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THE KDK REPORT: Need for speed

A grilled chicken and bacon sandwich with spinach, spicy mayo and avocado. It did little to show his creativity but for the 26-year-old chef featured in today’s article, preparing that meal was a welcome relief.

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The KDK Report: Shot five times at 78 - his good health helped him survive

Before moving back to The Bahamas, I trained and practiced medicine at hospitals in Canada and the US, ultimately becoming the chief resident for foot and ankle surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. It was there that I was taught to inspect the operating theatre before every surgery. I learned the importance of speaking to the nurses, scrub technicians and the anaesthesiologist and to introduce myself to anyone that I hadn’t worked with before.

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The KDK Report: In sickness and in health

THE universal thread that connects each and every human being is the need to be heard, wanted, trusted and appreciated. Many people search their entire lives to find their proverbial soulmate - that one true love who makes them feel safe and wanted. Young girls start planning their wedding long before they even have a mate.

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The KDK Report: No way out

I’ve lived in three different countries and four different states and one of the many lessons I’ve learned throughout my travels is that the person who is quick to smile is the same person who is quick to cry. As diametrically opposed as the two may be, they remain two halves of the same coin.

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THE KDK REPORT: The world shuts down

THERE are some days when getting out of bed comes with great ease and other times when it is a hard-fought mountainous struggle.

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THE KDK REPORT: Robbed of a lifetime’s memories, slowly slipping away

I’M OFTEN asked by friends, patients and family members alike what I consider the most frightening, the most difficult or the most agonizing of all medical conditions that I’ve seen throughout my career. In every case they were, as I assume you will be, surprised to hear my response.

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THE KDK REPORT: A simple test can save a life and not just leave you with memories

There is a line in Les Misérables wherein one of the characters affirms there is often a grief that can’t be spoken and the pain goes on and on.

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