My blog represents my personal experiences and perspectives. This includes many anecdotes from my medical practice. I have been scrupulous to anonymize these anecdotes and to avoid ever belittling or making fun of patients. (I often make fun of and criticize myself, my colleagues, and the institutions where I have worked.)

Magical thinking and the persistent ear infection

Over the years, experienced clinicians develop a sensitive and largely unconscious radar that supplements their cognitive analysis of patients. From the moment we enter the room, we are processing multiple subtle and seemingly irrelevant clues: how sick does she look, how nervous, how is he dressed, does he make eye contact, is he alone or accompanied, what is her mood?  Mostly we let this intuition work undisturbed, drawing on it selectively when we want - or on those occasions when it speaks up unbidden - but walking into the exam room to see Ms.

The headache I will never forget

It was well into my third year. Because I lived a distance from the medical center and shared cars with a group of other medical students, it was not unusual that I would spend the night at the hospital. When this happened, I would split my time between the library (or some other place to read and study) or sitting near the front desk of the emergency department, watching for interesting cases that I might follow and learn from during the course of the evening. I still remember ‘cluster night.’

The Reason

(Dedicated to Robert J. Haggerty, MD) 

It was winter and I was almost halfway through my third year of medical school in Rochester, New York. I was enjoying my pediatric rotation, even though it meant I was up much of every third night, and chronically sleep deprived. Getting to bed by 2 am and having three or more hours of uninterrupted sleep was considered a good night. In addition to pediatrics, I was learning to nap, and trying to learn to function despite exhaustion.

No such thing as bad weather

We are having a cold spell this week. According to the news, it is the coldest spell the area has seen in two winters, and people can’t stop talking about it. Mostly they complain, of course, though locals of a certain age couple their complaints with commentary about how much colder it used to be. Good or bad, people like to complain about the weather, which is fine with me. I just ignore them. 

What I find sad is how many people let weather interfere with living. I learned this early on after moving to Maine.