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Boardroom haze sparks big ideas

By Dr. Jon Gaudio

Publication: The Day

Published May 17. 2013 4:00AM

I recently had to sit through some horribly long and boring meetings about rising costs and the need to save money for our hospital. I'm not a meeting person, and what started out with doodling unartistic recreations of Botticelli's Venus on the Halfshell suddenly morphed into a "Eureka!" moment.

The solution seemed so obvious. Medical marijuana. Think of the positioning of some of the major breweries at the end of prohibition and look at how rich they are now. If our hospital got into the distribution of the herb described by Sir William Osler in his 1890 medical textbook as a treatment for migraine, we'd get in at the ground floor of a business with huge growth potential. It's not just Westerly Hospital we'd be buying: we could buy the Mayo Clinic and Mass General. Lava lamps in every waiting room and tie-dyed surgical scrubs, just for starters.

Nevermind that clinical trials have never shown cannabis sativa (the fancy medical term for smoking a joint) to effectively treat migraine when compared with placebo - this is a growth industry. We can even open up a 7-Eleven in the lobby to sell Doritos, burritos and other munchies. It may not cure headaches, but it definitely makes people hungry, which is why it works so well in cancer-related anorexia.

The NIH has helped to develop a way to smoke marijuana without burning it, by vaporizing the active ingredients. We could have a healthy headshop section of the hospital's Lobby Shop, with "vaporizers" sold by the same lovely ladies who helped me get last-minute presents for my wife on her birthday, our anniversary, Mother's Day, and so she won't get mad at me for buying a stitch-and-glue kit from Chesapeake Light Craft to build a 20'6" rowing shell out of fiberglass and okoume ply. (She still doesn't know).

The 6th floor can have special vaporizer rooms with 90-year-old women rocking out in their rocking chairs to the tunes of Jerry Garcia and Carlos Santana. Of course, we'd definitely have to keep the munchies far removed from where diabetics and weight management patients go, but that's just an issue for the administrators. (I can already hear Dr. Quevedo of Joslyn Diabetes screaming at me…).

I was too chicken to bring it up at that meeting - nervous that people would think I hadn't been paying attention. Maybe I got a little stage fright and remembered the old advice: "Just imaginethe audience in their underwear." And as I imagined that particularly hysterical boardroom scene, I returned to my doodling of the naked Venus and had my second money-making "Eureka!" moment: "The Doctors of L + M Swimsuit Calendar."

Now, to keep it from being terribly sexist (and to prevent me from getting into any MORE trouble with my wife), we'll keep this an all-male swimsuit calendar. Each month, a different specialty. We will, of course, insist that the Adonis-like orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists and Yale-affiliated interventional cardiologists to wear thongs or Speedos. For the rest of us mere mortals: big baggy trunks, airbrushing and doing what we all do well in these lean times: make do.

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