Cherry Picks (3.10.2007)

Meh. I have this imagined responsibility that I should point people towards things I read in the week that are worth sharing. If you don’t read at least a few of these, then we have to work through some trust issues.


Until you’ve had someone yell at you for getting it wrong, it’s hard to really understand how well a question can be asked. The Dinosaur does not have that problem. On trying to ellicit a sexual history from a patient:

By the way: males starting about age 14 are asked, “Do you use condoms when you have sex?” thus forcing the explicit answer, “I don’t have sex.” I call it the “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” approach.


The Tremulous Punditosphere
Fascinating synopsis of the divide in ability (and accountability) between pundits in the mainstream media versus those in the blogosphere.

Problem is, these are subjective criteria. What typically happens in the MSM is that, by some quite mysterious process, an editor or publisher decides that some particular person with opinions would make a good pundit, whether its because of the sparkle of their prose or the cut of their jib. A column or regular TV appearances are granted. And then, amazingly, they’re in forever. Rarely are columnists fired for not making sense; once they claim that status, they tend to keep it, no matter how pointless or uninformed their work turns out to be. It’s as if the NBA drafted players straight out of high school, but then they never had to play a game; they all just received long-term contracts, with salaries based on how good they look during lay-up drills and dunk contests. Maureen Dowd will be taking up space on the New York Times Op-Ed pages for decades to come.


Burnout: Embers
Sid Schwab is a favorite read of mine, and this adds to his catalogue.

The medical director of my clinic once gave me a book on burnout. I never read it. Didn’t have the time or energy.

Because a young reader considering a career in surgery referred to stories he’s heard of depressed and disappointed surgeons and asked for my thoughts, I’ll try to address it. Parenthetically, I’ve heard from more than a few readers that my blog and/or book has inspired them to consider surgery as a career. Don’t know whether to smile proudly, or shoot myself.

His rant continues beautifully in the second post, Burnout: Fanning the Flames.


So much of reading blogs is to live that “other life” and the Ambulance Driver doesn’t disappoint with yet another post about the fantastic pranks he’s pulled:

A wise man would concoct a lie. A creative fellow would contrive a plausible story. A careful man would consider his words before delivering an answer.

I blurted out the truth.


Ah HA HA HA! The Panda Bear kills me. This post is really three-in-one as he covers Mr. Kelso, hospital call for residents, and the Church of Patient Care. All of it good, all of it funny.

“So, Mr. Kelso, what brings you to see us today?”

From top to bottom Mr. Kelso is a walking pathology textbook. An impossible combination of signs, symptoms, and disease who is probably only alive because his many comorbidities haven’t decided which will have the honor of finally dispatching him.


Two great index cards from one of my favorite blogs, Indexed.


Maggie at From the Archives is uncommonly honest and insightful. I really liked what she had to say in 100% Thermonuclear Protection.

I want to trust people and I don’t want to be scared or suspicious. Being low level scared would be a constant drain. It would cost me some slight mental processing to be assessing risk. It would take energy to feed the nervousness. It would be weigh slightly on the don’t-do-things side of the scale, where sloth and inertia are already plenty heavy. Years ago I decided that I am not scared. I believe in probabilities, I decided, and scary people are rare.


And finally, As If Inside the Earth by Signout:

Looking at his blood test results during a quiet moment in the hospital tonight, I can see that he is dying.

Through the computer screen, he is as far away from me as I was from him on that day, when he opened the conversation that I quickly closed. If I had listened to the meaning of his words and his unmuffled voice, maybe I would have heard what he was asking me–if it was OK for him to let himself go.

I should have taken off the stethoscope.

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2 Responses to Cherry Picks (3.10.2007)

  1. #1 Dinosaur says:

    Thanks for the plug.

    I thought of you today when I read this in the paper, about scents helping with memory while you sleep. What the hell! Get some rose-scented air freshener in your room after study sessions. It may not help, but it can’t possibly hurt.

  2. chicken1 says:

    Topher I have been reading youe blog for some time now. Did you go to Summit to school. Good luck on your exams . I have a son at SGU live in CVG

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