International ‘Play it Again Sam’ Day

        One of our fellow writers, Ms. Karen Collum, has a son who is having open heart surgery today.  The boy is named Sam, and goes by the nickname ‘Possum.’  In the bluegrass world, I have dubbed him ‘Australia Sam.’

        He has an ASD, or atrial septal defect.  To break that down into real doctor talk he has a small hole in his heart they gotta patch, but he should be okay, ’cause as far as those things go, it sounds bad but most of the time they can fix it and the patient will do well.

         His surgery is today, so in the world of bluegrass we have declared this ‘International Play it Again Sam Day.’  We want him to get back to play and kid stuff pronto, and to leave all the fear and pain behind.  The good news is kids are very resilant and all odds are he will do just that.

        One time one of my children had surgery, though not this serious.  I had been a Doc a long time but I was not prepared for the helpless feeling.  Post-op all I could do was sit up all night and wait for the storm to pass.  She did fine, though.  Ms. Karen might feel like she’s leaving Casablanca in the fog and rain on a prop plane this evening,  but tommorrow the sun is gonna shine, and Sam is gonna play it again.  

        For that matter there are a bunch of kids out who face something similar today.  So I’m gonna send up a prayer that they have a minimum of suffering and life returns to normal very soon.

        I believe prayer and music have power to heal.  I’m sure someone has done a study and played music to post-op mice and realized they healed up faster than the ones without any social support.  So from the bluegrass community around the world, all the best Sam.  Play it again.

        My song of the day on FaceBook is Sam Bush’s ‘Brilliancy.’  At one time I had this one under my fingers, though no one can play it like Sam.  I’m gonna get out my mandolin and play it for Australia Sam as soon as I finish this post.  I hope my fellow musicans will do the same.  The writer world is much like the bluegrass one.  We all try to make sense of a crazy world through art.  I find both genres are often misunderstood so all us artists gotta stick together.

        All prayers to Australia Sam.  Play it again soon, kid.

Dr. B

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14 Comments on “International ‘Play it Again Sam’ Day”

  1. Felix Miller Says:

    “… tomorrow the sun is gonna shine, and Sam is gonna play it again.” Great words, great thought, Doc. Any parent has to be pulling for Sam and his family today.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Amen Felix,

      This old dog has already had his days in the sun no matter what happens from here on, so I’m pulling for the young’uns with Sam at the top of the list.

      Dr. B

  2. Karen Says:

    Thanks Dr. B. Your support and prayers are being felt all the way across the Pacific. We had our pre-admission clinic today and spent over 4 hours at the hospital. We got the grand tour of Intensive Care, the waiting room while Sam’s in theatre and the Close Observations area that he will go to after ICU. Surgery looks like being 4-5 hours all up and I’m guessing I’ll count every second. It was a lot to take in and was tough in some ways, but we’re one step closer to our little boy being well again. It will be a rough few days no doubt, but International Play It Again Sam Day always brings a smile to my face. Thank you and everyone else in the bluegrass/writing community who is thinking about our Sam. We’ll keep you posted.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I have found if I worry ahead of time and pray real hard things go better. I have and I know you have a thousand times over.

      The old Boy Scout motto is ‘Be Prepared,’ and I know you, Sam, and the surgeons are. We’ve done our worrying ahead of time and I have all faith he is gonna be okay.

      Dr. B

  3. Julius Says:

    Best of wishes to you and your son, Karen. He’ll be in my prayers tonight.


  4. Cindy Carter Says:

    Ditto from me for Sam. Prayers are flying upward as I write. Let us know how he does.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms. Cindy,

      I heard today he was postponed till the 14th, not due to any complications but scheduling issues. It will be on a Monday morning, which often can translate to a less tired surgeon!

      It is reasonably elective surgery so this is okay from a medical perspective, though I hate for the family to have to wait. But it will give time to gather in more prayers, and I know they appreciate yours.

      Hope your work is going well. As much as you love critters I’m sure it is. Hey, Ranger dog has made every cut in ‘The Mandolin Case’ edits so far. I think he’d gonna make it to the finish line.

      Dr. B

  5. I sincerely hope the surgery goes well. I haven’t had the experience with a child obviously, but I well remember the feeling of waiting for my father’s surgery to end – the nail biting, trying to distract myself, the stomach ache underlying every action…
    My heart and thoughts are with you, Ms. Karen. Truly.

    • drtombibey Says:


      You are a good young’un. May you continue to grow in wisdom as you get older, but never lose your heart of a child.

      Dr. B

  6. Hi Dr B
    I join you in your prayers for Possum and Ms Karen and I’ll play a little tune especially for them.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms Sharon, They had to put it off till Monday (exhausted surgeon syndrome I think) but the need isn’t at the critical stage. As much as I hate for them to wait is is best for the doc to be coming off a good night’s sleep.

      Dr. B

  7. junebugger Says:

    I’ll be praying for him.

    Here’s one of my favourite verse: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanks giving, present your request to God.

    I always repeat this verse when I’m going through difficult times. I’d definately neat to keep God’s words in mind if I were Ms. Collum. God bless her.

    • drtombibey Says:


      That verse is perfect. I’m sure Ms Karen will agree. She’s a nice lady who is married to a minister there, and I bet that is one they are gonna hold close.

      Dr. B

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