Over a year ago, I was asked to describe the distillation of my very essence as I passed the thirty-fifth anniversary of my being awarded a medical degree. I responded that I was simply a blue-collar guy who happened to practice medical oncology and hematology. Perhaps, at best, I have only been a glorified traffic cop trying to direct cancer patients in the right direction.
Over the course of my career, I have seen many strange and wondrous events that ran through the entire spectrum of the human experience. Sadly, I recall a great deal of brutal violence and crime that occurred around the Texas Medical Center during the time I received my doctoral education there. I witnessed disturbing events both while I was in medical school and also later in my postgraduate training in New Mexico that left me somewhat dispirited and cynical for a great deal of my career. I finally had enough material to warrant an attempt at not only a full-fledged novel, but an actual trilogy of fiction.
Friends and family members who have read all three manuscripts of the DNR Trilogy have expressed shock and disbelief of the violent stories that have been portrayed in this work of fiction. Sadly, my imagination is not wild enough to have conjured up the stories included in the trilogy. In “Backing the Wrong Primate,” the reference to the murders that occurred at a cigar shop in Houston was a fictionalized account of a real event that resulted in the ghastly murder of the late husband of my uncle’s second wife. The crime occurred in Houston in 1968- which was when the state of Texas had experienced a lot of murders.
The description of the assault upon a nurse in the Medical Center was also based on a true story, although the real person in question survived the event. The murder of the two children in an automobile fire was also true story, although it was toned down considerably from what had actually happened.
All in all, during my medical school training in Houston and my subsequent residency training in New Mexico, I was aware of a dozen individuals who were victims of violent crimes, most of which occurred in a work place setting. It was rather cathartic for me to recount these events in a fictionalized fashion as portrayed in these novels. To this day I have never ceased to be amazed at the capacity for evil and violence that human beings may demonstrate toward each other from time to time. As reiterated in volume one of the trilogy, perhaps it’s simply a matter of fact that God backed the wrong primate after all…