In my mind’s eye, I see them coming—a long processional stretching back years, each with a different cloak of disease, each with a small receptacle. They come bearing gifts for me, their doctor—a small box, a carefully folded tissue, a child’s sippy cup (the top tightly closed), and occasionally, yes, toilet paper. What are these… Continue reading Gifts of the Magi
Rule # 1: I didn’t give you your cancer so be nice to me. And the corollary: Rule # 2: You didn’t give you your cancer so be nice to yourself. I believe that in dealing with cancer, it helps to play by the rules. The first rule means that as angry as you are… Continue reading The Golden Rules of Cancer
Doctors lie all the time. Call it hubris “I can do THIS for you!”, call it denial “I KNOW you are going to get better!”, call it what you want. But nowhere do they lie more than when you ask them if they want their children to go to medical school. Most of them come… Continue reading THE FREEDOM TO BE NEEDED
“Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice…..” Robert Frost Sometimes there is a very fine line between doing too much, and not doing enough. I have been thinking about this lately as I watch patients go through radiation therapy. It’s not just the acute side effects that worry me with… Continue reading Fire and Ice
I was lecturing to a group of medical students on Tuesday –it was their first introduction to breast cancer and I was determined to make those two hours as exciting as possible. They had just started their second year, and after the first, spent entirely learning about the “science” of medicine, they were eager to… Continue reading You Took Your Dog’s Medicine, REALLY?
September 11, 2001 was supposed to be a very good day. It was my mother’s seventieth birthday, and she and my father were scheduled to fly from their home in Colorado to New York City to celebrate with my sister, who lived on West 72nd Street, a few blocks from the famous Museum of Natural… Continue reading Fallout
When I was ten years old, there were only two things in life that I loved beyond question: horses and my Nana. Nana, whose real name was Jenny Silver, was my maternal grandmother. She and my grandfather, known of course as Papa, lived in Augusta, Georgia on a tree shaded street in the true heart… Continue reading Nana
Robert Heinlein got it right. In “The Moon is A Harsh Mistress”, sometime in the future, we colonize the moon. But we don’t send our best and brightest, we send our criminals, our misfits, our dregs of society. They eke out a hard living in this future penal colony: their language becomes muted, shortened; their… Continue reading TANSTAAFL, or There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch!
It occurs to me that I say this quite a bit. It applies to a lot of things in my world—living in an area where natural disasters are a way of life, my van stands gassed up and ready to roll with dog crates, blankets, extra water, cleaning supplies, a change of clothes and even… Continue reading Expect the Best (but prepare for the worst!)
After that last uplifting little story, I figure I better write Part Two of “Why I Am Not A Psychiatrist”. It’s always important to have a good laugh after a good cry! So back to my Adventures in Psychiatry. As I mentioned before, my psychiatry rotation was at the VA Hospital. My attending physician was… Continue reading Why I Am Not a Psychiatrist #2