Grand Rounds 3.09

November 21, 2006

Dr. Anonymous hosts Grand Rounds 3.09 this week.

The Old Man

November 19, 2006

men in St. Vincent truck

He refused the joint. They were heading back from Prospect on Colin’s truck. He always sat on the edge of the bed, back curled forward so his hands could hold the frame and with his legs splayed for balance. It had rained earlier, and his plastic sandals weren’t much use to him against the metal. He kicked them off.

This was his third month with work. Yesterday he bought a wallet to hold his money since selling the last one some time ago. He felt worth something again to have so much. Colin and his brothers had started giving him lifts home since the second week. They were his new friends and this ride home was the highlight of his day. He knew its every inch.

He knew just where to lean. Past Git’s Supermarket there was a hard bend to the right with a pot hole. He would normally lean into the turn, but Colin had two beers tonight and would probably forget the dip. At the turn he leaned opposite as the wheel fell, dropping the weight of the car, and he kept his balance. Andrew didn’t know his brother as well and tumbled from his seat into the bed of the truck. He kept silent while the three others laughed. They teased him, “What matter wit you, boy? An’t you learn from d’old man? You don see him fall!” He had mastered these roads.

He knew the importance of details. Details mattered. He saw men with soiled clothes and recognized them. The lines of dirt on a man’s shirt shifted between begging and honest work, and he knew this. He saw it in his own sleeve slapping around his arm and he leaned his sholder forward against the wind, proud of the difference. Details mattered. His callouses were his proof.

He took the beer from Andrew. Colin was driving faster tonight and the smooth level spaces between bends and holes were shortening. He timed it to take a sip without knocking his teeth. He leaned to hand the beer back when Colin jerked the wheel. He had taken the last turn too quickly, too close to the center of the road, and swerved to avoid a car he should have seen.

He fell backwards. His bare feet lifted from the truck bed as he reached down for the lip. The beer still in his hand he didn’t think to drop it even as he balanced off the edge, half in and out of safety. Colin swerved back on course but into another hole. The dip and bounce of the bed sent him straight into the air. The truck kept moving forward while he hung there, still. He landed on the pavement flat on his back.


“Did you hear about the accident?”

“No, what happened?” Read the rest of this entry »


Grand Rounds, edited.

November 16, 2006

Edited essay

This last week I received over 60 submissions for Grand Rounds and included 26. This decision came after sharing some Carl Jungian vibes with Kim at Emergiblog and receiving the blessing of Nick Genes of Blogborygmi. Kim has since received a great deal of attention for her critique of the swelling Grand Rounds. According to the comments, the idea’s a hit and things may change. Next week’s host, Dr. Anonymous, has already thrown down the gauntlet:

This may be my last time hosting Grand Rounds, and I may get a lot of flack (and all my future submissions may be rejected). But, hey, I’m the editor and I’m deciding what’s in and what’s out this week. Being included in Grand Rounds is not an entitlement; it’s not a right; it’s a privilege.

Whether you agree or disagree with me, my vision next week is to put the best medical STORIES (ie – first hand anedcotes) out there for people to read.

As a host I had plenty of resources and support but as an editor I was unsure about what I could and couldn’t ask from fellow bloggers. I’m offering this post as an example of how I approached the problem of writing letters to the authors and helped a few posts that were almost there get over the edge. Accepted, rejected or edited, I sent over 80 emails and received only one response that was not enthusiastic or understanding. From this, I have to assume that people are open to the idea of constructive criticism.

If you’re an author, please don’t be put off by this. As Susan pointed out to me, “editing is also an act of love, and also a compliment on the part of the editor who spent so much time on your work.” I couldn’t have said it better and hope it’s a sentiment that every author who’s asked for edits takes to heart.

Permission was granted from Susan and the Angry Medic to show the emails below. Read the rest of this entry »

A Monty Python Grand Rounds 3.08

November 14, 2006

historian smallHello there! I am A Very Famous Historian and I welcome you to the Grand Rounds. From a field of over 60 submissions, 26 authors have been chosen to seek the Grail. It will be a dangerous journey full of peril and death may await with nasty big pointy teeth. We shall see if anyone makes it out of these woods….alive. Feel free to traipse past all quotes.

Burn HerA point of disclosure: Kim has written a provocative piece about how a famous historian should edit Grand Rounds for quality and content and it has informed my every decision. I have decided to change the title to Two Bloggers, Two Voices, One Opinion. On second thought — she’s a witch and we should burn her! [everything in italics will have sound in a separate window] Read the rest of this entry »

Call for Submissions, a second time

November 10, 2006

heart attackHeading into the weekend I have received 10 submissions for this week’s Grand Rounds, leading me to believe that the medical writers have all suffered heart attacks. Not to worry; this may advance the plot.

Nicholas Genes has the PreRounds interview posted where I answer the following questions:

  1. After reading your blog, the non-US med school track is looking better all the time. You are pretty honest about not doing great in college, but you also come across as a thoughtful writer and student, an intelligent observer, and thus, probably a good medical student and future physician. Any regrets about this path so far?
  2. Do you anticipate future prejudice from doctors who graduated from American schools? Back when applying, we heard some negative comments about the Caribbean; are those rumors true?
  3. Your blog started out like a collection of letters home, before turning out gems like Anne and Cracked Lips. How did you get your start, and why did your writing change?

historian smallThe deadline for carefully considered entries is Sunday at 11:59:59pm. Please send submissions to

Thank you, A Very Famous Historian

P.S. Anything submitted on Monday would have to be fantastic. Tuesday is right out.

Red State Blue State

November 9, 2006

The elections are over and the vitrol is seeping back into the gutters where it belongs. I like to imagine that there is a majority out there that is tired of the oversimplification of complex problems and hopes for a future where Americans don’t shy away from being challenged on their entrenched beliefs. I think that both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of this, and that in referring to candidates as either Democrat or Republican, I am guilty of this. Clearly, words are failing me.

So I’m going to switch to an image. Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Rounds: Call for Submissions

November 5, 2006

famous historian largeI’ll be hosting Grand Rounds 03.08 on Tuesday, November 14th. Your entries will be carefully considered up until midnight on Sunday the 12th, after which they will be roughly considered. The theme shall include coconuts, a murderous rabbit, and the oppression inherent in the system. Come brave a bit of peril as we search for the Holy Grail.

Please send all submissions to

Thank you, A Very Famous Historian.

P.S. Grand Rounds is a weekly collection of the best writing within the medical blogosphere. It is compiled entirely by volunteer submission, so anyone can participate. The archives can be found here. If you would like to host in the future, you must be chosen by the Lady of the Lake.

P.P.S. Anything submitted on Monday would have to be fantastic. Tuesday is right out.

Med School Metaphor: Pancakes Every Morning

November 1, 2006

Pancakes Every MorningI have a lot to learn. By Friday, anyway. I have a Pharmacology exam followed by a Pathophysiology exam this coming Monday. Once again, I find myself behind. It’s the funny kind of behind where you look at the stack of notes on your desk (2″ of one, 3″ of the other) and sort of chuckle. “Ha. This is going to be funny.” Cue despair.

Looking at it now, I’m tempted to start the passive bragging of impossible odds. “You have no idea how hard it is,” I’d say. “Medical school is like trying to take a drink from a fire hose,” I’d brag.

And that’s total bullshit. Read the rest of this entry »