Monday, October 17, 2016

The Bug

A few weeks ago, I was working at a computer when I heard a strange buzzing in my ear.  At first, I thought it was a fly, but then I turned my head and saw a GINORMOUS insect buzzing around right next to my head.

Obviously, I screamed.

The insect landed right on the computer monitor.  So obviously, I couldn't use the computer anymore.  Not until somebody (else) killed the flying terror for me.

A female physical therapist came over to me and asked if I was okay.  I explained about the giant bug on my computer and that I was basically paralyzed with fear.  The therapist then reached over and smooshed the giant bug with her hand.

If I were a man, I would have been totally emasculated.  As it was, I was a little emasculated.

This has happened before.  I think there was a jar I couldn't get open or something along those lines.  I certainly don't mind getting help with something that either frightens me or involves physical strength that I don't have, but it does make me feel slightly like a wimp when a woman helps me.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Affiliation by Specialty

I was recently reading a NYT article about political affiliation by specialty.  It broke things down as below:

I think it's interesting that the ROAD specialties as well as Surgery are more red, whereas medical specialties are more blue.  I suppose it correlates very well with income.  It also seems to correlate well with more female-oriented specialties.

Some things don't entirely make sense to me though.  Why are ID docs so liberal?  And why are Family Med docs more red than blue?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Locker room talk

I try not to get TOO political on this blog, but what the hell, it's my blog and I can write about what I want...

When I first heard Trump's comments with Billy Bush, I was more amused than anything.  I mean, we ALL knew this was what Trump was like... this was just verification.  And it was also amusing that of all the Bushes, it ended up being Billy Bush who brought Trump down.

But the more I hear people talk about this, the more angry I get.  It's a well known statistic that 25% of women are sexually assaulted by age 18.  I'm a woman and I have two daughters.  It's horrifying that it's not only acceptable to "joke" (let's assume it was a joke, although i have my doubts) about sexually assaulting a woman.  If that's "locker room talk," then locker room talk is unacceptable.  If that's a joke that it's okay to make even in private, then there's something really wrong with our society.

Whatever his other politics are, I think it's horrifying to put a man who thinks that way and talks that way up as a role model for our entire country.  What message are we sending to women?  To young people?

People keep pointing out that Bill Clinton did it.  JFK did it.  Other politicians did it.  Well, George Washington owned slaves, so does that make it okay? What Bill Clinton did wasn't okay and what Trump said (and likely did) isn't okay either.  We need to move away from that, not repeat the same mistakes.

A lot of people in this country don't respect women.  This is part of why we get paid less for doing the same job.  And why so many women get sexually harassed and assaulted, and a lot of the time don't/can't even say anything about it.  Because it's so acceptable.

Sexually assaulting a woman should be something that a man should be deeply ashamed to joke about, even in a "locker room" situation (whatever that means).  The fact that Trump is clearly not ashamed, in spite of his bogus apology, is deeply troubling, as is the fact that so many people don't think he should be ashamed and simply accept that this is the way men are allowed to talk.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I get it, Hillary

The more I watch Hillary speak and debate, the more I feel kind of sympathetic towards her.  Whatever else you can say about her, Hillary is a smart woman.  But she's not a great speaker or particularly charismatic, like her husband or Obama (or HIS wife). She's not the kind of person you just automatically like. I think that if a more charismatic person were running with her same exact background, they would be killing Trump.

I get it, Hillary. I'm not charismatic either.  And while I'm not running for public office, being a doctor (at least in some fields) does require some amount of charisma.  It's hard to know that no matter how hard I try, I just can't obtain the same level of likability that some of my colleagues get to without even trying.

So I paste that same smile on my face that Hillary has through the debates and try to provide good care, and hope that it's enough to get patients to like me.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Too many errors?

I was recently reading a discharge summary on a patient, trying to figure out what the imaging showed, and this is what it read:

"The right hip showed unspecified mild assist in nephritis and mild effusion. There was mention of lumbar spondylosis.  Imaging otherwise of the lumbar of the lumbar spine otherwise appears rather underwhelming for parasite."


I know nobody corrects their errors on these notes, but I genuinely think there is some level of mistakes that is truly detrimental to patient care.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Now that both my kids are in elementary school, I had really been looking forward to being car seat free. Unfortunately, I discovered at my last pediatrician appointment that my youngest (who is average weight) is still 10 pounds shy of the cutoff.

Gah!  This is getting ridiculous. Soon they're going to say that I have to sit in a car seat.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend on Facebook that baffles me:

Her: "I am so excited about my son turning one!  He finally doesn't have to be rear facing anymore!"

Me: "i'm sorry to break it to you, but the recommendation is actually two years old for rear facing now."

Her: "oh, I know. He just doesn't like being rear facing."

Great. So if you're just going to do it based on what your kid likes, why are you waiting until one year? It's sort of arbitrary at that point. Just turn the damn car seat around already.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


For a short time, Brain Damage will be discounted to 99 cents!  Get it now!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Family History

I find the family history to be the most useless part of my history.

For some doctors, I'm sure it's really useful. If you are evaluating a patient with chest pain, it's useful to know that their father had a heart attack at age 42. But considering every patient I've seen has already had a diagnosis, it ends up being completely useless to me.

Unfortunately, I don't get to decide what is useful or not. If I write a 30-page history and physical, I can only bill at the very lowest level unless I include a family history.  So you can bet I'm asking about it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Closet Situation

Our closet is one large source of marital discord in our household.  

We have a walk-in closet in our bedroom. However, the only way to get inside is through the bathroom. So if one of us is in the bathroom, and the other one wants to get dressed, they have to knock and make a big thing of it. I certainly don't mind if my husband comes inside the bathroom if I am showering or brushing my teeth, but I don't really want him coming in while I am on the toilet. Fortunately, I'm not one of those people who spends more than a minute or two on the toilet, so it's not a big deal.

Unfortunately, my husband is more like Al Bundy, in that he goes into that bathroom for the long-haul. It can be an hour easily. And he doesn't want anyone coming into the bathroom while he is on the toilet, which I suppose is understandable.  (We do have a second bathroom.)

However, sometimes I need something from the closet. Like the other day, my kids wanted to go outside and he was on the toilet, so I had to come in to get my sweater and some socks.  He was not pleased. I told him that if he let me know when he was going in, I could get out what I needed, but he says he shouldn't have to and that I should already have out everything I need before he goes in. But I don't think that every time I leave the closet, I should have to grab everything that I could possibly need from it?

The laundry also causes problems, because sometimes I'm in the middle of doing it and he goes into the toilet. There was one occasion when I was in the middle of putting away clothes. I went to the closet, put away some shirts and pants, then went back to the dryer to get the second armful of clothing. And in that 30 second window, he had run into the bathroom and was in there for the duration. It was so frustrating!  He tells me to just dump the clothing on the bed and put it away later, but when I'm doing laundry, I want to put everything away when I'm doing it. I don't want to have to come back later and start putting away clothing again.

I know this sounds like a really stupid problem, but sometimes really stupid problems can get you really aggravated. Any suggestions? And most importantly, who is right??

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Buy the book

During residency, one of my junior residents, let’s call him Jimmy, asked me for book recommendations.  I told him some good books, and mentioned one book that was absolutely essential for our residency.  Our main Sports attending was in love with it and would nag you on that rotation unless you had it.  And it was actually a really good book.

Jimmy didn’t buy the book.  He took it out from the library and agreed it was a good book, but he didn’t want to buy it.  He told me he’d just take it out from the library during rotations where he needed it.  He said he didn’t want to actually buy any books during residency when he could get them for free from the library.

OK, yes, residents are not exactly rolling in dough.  But Jimmy was married to a hospitalist, who was probably pulling in about $200,000 per year.  He had no kids and wasn’t planning on having any for at least a few years.  I don’t know his debt situation, but I’m fairly sure he was doing better financially than me and my student husband and baby requiring a nanny.  So I was seriously kind of irritated by his refusal to spend $40 on a good book.  

What was up with that?

("Wouldn't it be easier to buy your own copy of the Bible?" "Sure, maybe on a librarian's salary.")