Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"I feel that I have no business posting a message alongside those who knew Jim much better than I, who went through residency training and marathons with him. My perspective is from one who more recently came to know the incredible gentleman that was Jim McLean, MD. He arranged to spend one month during his RIC fellowship with us down here in the southern Illinois partnership near the small town of Herrin, since he heard we performed a large number of EMGs, and he didn't want his electrodiagnostic skills to rust as he was perfecting his injection techniques with our interventional colleagues. His incredible knowledge and work ethic have already been documented, but in addition to that, I immediately was impressed by his humor and humility for one so accomplished.
By the end of the first week, he asked me if there was extra work he could do in the program, including the type of "scut work" that even senior medical students would eschew. It took me a fair bit of conversation before I could wrestle out of him that he was staying in a local hotel in order to do this rotation and it was hitting him pretty hard in the pocket book. Though he wasn't pushing for this solution, I finally apologized for my density and convinced him to stay with me and my family for the month. Thus began a month of absolute joy for my two boys (now 13 and 10), because they instantly found a new "big brother." Every evening after dinner, we would find the three of them playing every game in the basement, ranging from any video game you could name (including NBA 2k6, which Jim bought for them), foozball, whiffle ball and variants thereof, improvised soccer, hockey, and a host of others. I'm not sure who had more fun. The turning point came when my 13 year old decided wrestling should be the event of the evening. I had neglected to fill him in on Jim's myriad wrestling accomplishments prior to that moment. Let's just say that my pre- adolescent son had his hands more than full wrestling Jim, and was pretty ticked off at me for not warning him.
While a guest at our home, Jim was the model of graciousness and courtesy. I hope Jim's parents will read this and accept our highest compliments for the son they raised. I can only hope that our two boys someday amount to a portion of the type of man Jim was. When my boys heard the sad news, they were deeply troubled, over a man they had known only a month. From reading the other blogs, I see that no one else will be surprised by this. It didn't take long for Jim McLean to touch a life very deeply.
Since that time, and because we enjoyed Jim's company so much and it worked out so well, we've started hosting minor league baseball players for the local independent league team, the Southern Illinois Miners. But Jim was our first "extended stay house guest," and so we always think of him when we have a guest, so I guess you could say he's still "paying it forward," and his presence goes on in our house. But that's exactly the sentiment I'm reading in all the other blogs, so once again, no surprise. I was supposed to give an EMG lecture with Jim later this winter, and I still can't get past the fact that it won't be happening as planned. I can only imagine the impact on the lives of those of you who were very close to him.
To all his family and close friends, may you somehow find peace."

--The Glennon family

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