Grace and the Lack Thereof

The words used to describe the difference in what we humans deserve and what the universe grants us are foundational in the major world religions – translations and applications of “grace”, “mercy” or “blessing” are abundant in every culture. As physicians, we have been taught to anticipate and analyze the observed versus expected outcomes. TheContinue reading “Grace and the Lack Thereof”

On the Backs of Residents

I am privileged to work with residents who are smarter than I am.  I have seen the step scores, the in-training exam results; my learners would have crushed my class rank back in the day.  So as an educator, I strive to be that shoulder to stand on, by sharpening their diagnostic skills, taking the rough edgesContinue reading “On the Backs of Residents”

Psychological Distance

The true cruelty of this disease lies in the increase of psychological distance; the commodification and depersonalization of staff and patients due to infection control measures. Personal Protective Equipment takes away our smiles, muffles our voices.  We only have worried gazes and a bit of crinkled eye to tell how someone is feeling.  We canContinue reading “Psychological Distance”

Why I wear the badge holder

I don’t wear my hospital insignia on my badge holder, that ubiquitous piece of plastic that medical folks use to display their allegiance – sports teams, hospitals, folk art IV bottle tops.  I wear her hospital’s.   The one where I learned what it meant to be on the other side of the bed.  I spottedContinue reading “Why I wear the badge holder”

The Longest Shortest Time

One of the most complex emotions to embrace as a parent is the simultaneous push and pull of realizing your child doesn’t need your help in some facet of their life.  My son and daughter charging fearlessly out into the world, getting rid of training wheels or that last goodbye hug at school drop off  shows me they’reContinue reading “The Longest Shortest Time”

A Fragile and Delicate thing

On the gen med floor, we take care of adults.  We get used to extensive questioning during intake histories, shared decision making for our care plans, daily updates of progress and explaining test results. Ryan is definitely not our usual.  Because he can’t talk to us, we are forced to make do with reports fromContinue reading “A Fragile and Delicate thing”

If Michelle herself wasn’t good enough…

We scrambled. Yes, it’s called something different now.  But it’s still a scramble. For those just tuning in, US medical residencies attempt to fill their open spots through an arcane voodoo ritual called “The Match” that links hopeful applicants with their new homes.  Unfortunately, in a high stakes game of University programs versus Community, urbanContinue reading “If Michelle herself wasn’t good enough…”

“I’m allergic to Clinic”

Young Dr. Z would proclaim that outpatient medicine “gave me hives” “The slow pace!  Waiting to get roomed, for prior authorizations, for follow up from your referrals – it drives me insane!” I ran for inpatient-only practice straight out of graduation and reluctantly turned back when I found my dream teaching position.  My first day of clinicContinue reading ““I’m allergic to Clinic””

The best (and worst) phone call…

I dialed the number while sitting in my garage, because it was 5 PM, and that’s the time of day when my house “kinda sounds like someone is being murdered over there.” (in the words of one hilariously honest resident) But the background chaos didn’t matter. Nobody answered.  I let it ring for an eternity,Continue reading “The best (and worst) phone call…”