Tag Archives: medicine

Perks and Perils

My mom texted for some advice during her preparation for her routine endoscopic procedure. My mom is the best kind of patient—she follows instructions to the letter, even when her personal medical counsel (a.k.a. me) advises otherwise. She had texted to ask if she could skip some of her cathartics because they had, well, been too cathartic. I told her it was okay to stop but she decided to only take half my advice and still take half of the prescribed medication for the next day. If I had a dollar for every time I have had to say to my mother, “Trust me. I’m a doctor” I would have as many dollar bills as a stripper during Spring Break. This is her follow-up text the next morning:

Finally! My turn to say...I told you so!!!

Finally! My turn to say…I told you so!!!

Love you Mom!

P.S. She got an A+ on her colonoscopy. #goodforanothertenyears

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Go Ahead, Make My Day

Still on my Bucket List of Places To See.

Still on my Bucket List of Places To See. Photo Courtesy of Grand Canyon NPS (W. Tyson Joye)

I’ve been a little MIA because my day job has been my day-into-night job this week. Despite being tired and my house looking like it was ransacked, it’s been a really good week. Even beyond the mundane frustrations of a large metropolitan hospital, some weeks I joke that I am just “staving off death” rather than “saving lives.” Yesterday, I was reminded that I didn’t take an oath to fix illness, but rather to try and alleviate suffering.  I was delivering the good news to a patient who had been eager to go home for several days; I had spent much of the week reassuring his worried wife (who herself apologized, “sorry, I’m so neurotic!”) and attempting to explain his condition-low salt levels in the blood, which in his case was, counterintuitively, due to an excess of free water in his blood. He was a chemistry teacher in his pre-illness life and despite my crude drawings on the dry erase board, we were getting nowhere until I channeled high school chemistry class: “there’s not enough solute for the amount of solvent.” Eureka!

As I was leaving his room, my patient said: “You are awesome. That’s the word I used when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time when I was eighteen. Awesome.”

Wow, I told him, gesturing my hands like a balancing scale: me, Grand Canyon. Gentleman, pay attention: if that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is. I told him that I will put that in my special mental shoebox that I dip into when work is frustrating, when patients or their families yell at me, when I haven’t peed or eaten because I am trying to work faster, for when I forget to be grateful that I get to do the work I do, even when anyone who works in a medical setting will tell you it is so incredibly not glamorous despite its media portrayal (no McDreamies or McSteamies here…though a cute murse did put his phone number in my coat pocket while we were squeezed in a supply closet once…but I digress).

It was one of the most original thank yous I have ever received, at work or otherwise. And it made my day. So if you have the chance today and feel a desire to thank anyone in your life for something, do it. It just might make their day. And yours. Happy Monday! :)

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Call and Response

It’s my day off but I’m getting ready to go to a mandatory work thingie. These are half-day affairs, usually consisting of continuing education and financial updates, practice improvement announcements and a sprinkle of propaganda. This one is being held at a fancy hotel downtown. I briefly glanced at the agenda last night. An excerpt:

9:00 – 9:05 am WELCOME & ANNOUNCEMENTS Dr. *. ****
9:05 – 9:15 am ANAL HEALTH Dr. *. ********

I am assuming we are allowed to go business casual today. My sartorial response:

Blazer by Helmut Lang. T-shirt by Nordstrom Rack.

Blazer by Helmut Lang. T-shirt by Nordstrom Rack.

I knew this shirt would come in handy someday.

*For the concerned, I do have two hands. This is just an intentional optical illusion. Yeah, that’s it.

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