Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 already?

Happy new year, everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rashes of 'staches

Residents are, by definition, a group of stressed-out folks in a tough job. This leads to various sorts of bonding behavior. So, for example, earlier this fall roommate J-Bomb's group of pediatrics interns proclaimed the month after October to be Mo-vember, during which they would all sport 'staches. This was eventually cancelled, however, for fear that none of their patients' mothers would allow the male peds interns in a room with their children.

Now my moment of truth has come: the EM interns have declared next month to be Manuary. We're expected to grow beards and then, when suitable bushiness has been attained, to shave down to the ever-popular mustache. Team player that I am, I stopped shaving a few days ago. (A pleasant relief from an increasingly burdensome daily chore!) However, I'm not liking the scruffy visage that greets me in the mirror. So do I take part in the testosteronulous bonding ritual? Or do I assert my clean-shaven individuality? Medicine certainly requires us to make the tough decisions.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Class struggle

Sis-Bob tells me this story: She's living in New York City these days and just bought herself a new microwave. Carrying it home through the snow on Park Avenue in the very bastion of Manhattan yuppery, she passes an affluent-looking gentleman out walking with his young daughter. The daughter asks, loudly, "Daddy, why is that lady carrying a big box?" to which father replies, "because that's her job."

I feel a little bad stealing Sis-Bob's story, but then she always did have better material than me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Musicomedical nerdery

Here's an item for those of you who are fortunate enough to be nerds in the fields of both music and medicine. I recently pulled out my old violin to amuse myself with some bluegrass. I don't have anyone to play with at the moment, so I was playing along with recordings and needed to be able to tune my fiddle to a real pitch. (Sadly, my once excellent sense -- if I do say so myself -- of relative pitch has faded with years of disuse.) However, I don't have any other instruments with me at the moment; no keyboards, electronic tuners, not even a pitch pipe. Luckily, I recently did a rotation on the Neurology service and had the tools handy that are used for testing patients' vibration sense: tuning forks! Good patient care and a violin tuned to true pitch; it's a win-win.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cab ride of linguistic nostalgia

This morning I was running late to work so I grabbed a cab. The driver was African and as soon as I got in he took a call. I couldn't help but overhear, and realized that I recognized the language he was speaking. After he hung up I casually said "Tigrinya?" He started saying yeah, he was just saying Merry Christmas to the people back home, and... and then he did a complete double-take. It was sweet; he said he'd never had a non-Eritrean in his cab who knew the language and country, and we had a nostalgic chat on the way over to the VA Hospital.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rain in San Francisco

We've had several days of on-again, off-again rain in San Francisco -- oddly comforting for many of us with Seattle roots. But watch out on the wet sidewalks on those steep hills!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Tonight Lady M and I saw Milk at the Castro Theatre. It was really quite moving to see it in the same theater that is such an iconic part of the film. Also a special treat to start with a prelude of live music played on their great Wurlitzer organ -- instead of lame and annoying ads. And it was a good film, to boot.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

At the opera

In my past life as a musician I've spent a lot of time in theaters -- I've done my time onstage, backstage, in the orchestra pit, and behind the scenes. However, last weekend I had a chance to see a new aspect of theatrical life. One of the faculty in our program is house doctor at the San Francisco Opera, and he took me along to house call for La Boheme. We hung out in the actor's lounge ready to deal with any sore throats, sprained wrists, or broken ankles that might arise. Fortunately it was a quiet performance, medically speaking, but it was also a nice reminder of the diverse sort of opportunities available in emergency medicine.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter in California

Recently I had a rare and precious Saturday off, which meant that I could spend the day doing something with Lady M. We headed up the California coast where we climbed through the woods up a small mountain. Near the top we stopped in a clearing where we sat in the sun and ate our beef jerky and trail mix. It was so warm and pleasant that I even took off my trail-sweaty tee shirt.

Now, we've been nostalgic for the people we miss from the Midwest, and I have to admit that Melinda June's adventures settling in to her new city have had me thinking fondly about Chicago. However, reading her latest post reminds me of Lady M pointing out to me, as I sat shirtless in the sun in the woods in late November, that we sure wouldn't be doing that if we were in the Midwest right now.