Introduction

This memoir recalls my development into a clinical and research anesthesiologist and my serendipitous focuses into succinylcholine-related hyperkalemia and malignant hyperthermia. When I started my residency, anesthesiology was in the throes of a new profession, with enormous progress and some turbulent years. This is a peripatetic wandering through my past, gathering together vital descriptions of principles, ideas, decisions, places, and people.

I reflect on things, some philosophy, a bit of history, advances, conflicts, disappointments, and immense satisfactions. My resident education and private practice coincided with the emergence of the anesthesiologist as partner with the surgeon, although some fought for years that loss of being 'captain of the ship.'

Surgeons needed to be that in early operating rooms, for virtually no one else had an education in medicine, and those providing anesthesia were sometimes non-medical personnel, even into the 1960s. Advances in surgery in part depend upon the development of sophisticated anesthesia that manipulates physiology to bring about the loss of sensation with or without the loss of consciousness via pharmacologic means using various drugs and equipment.

My sources are acts of memory, supported by my bibliography. Its contents, published, unpublished, and those unidentified, are in my files. I began my diary on the evening that I proposed to Pat in August 1957, and it is a valuable source. My somewhat random organization reflects a wandering memory according to impact. I'll try to keep the reader oriented.