“For generations of pre-med students, three things have been as certain as death and taxes: organic chemistry, physics and the Medical College Admission Test. So it came as a total shock to Elizabeth Adler when she discovered … that one of the nation’s top medical schools admits a small number of students every year who have skipped all three … if they study humanities or social sciences instead of the traditional pre-medical school curriculum and maintain a 3.5 grade-point average.”
–The New York Times
Today I treated Lois Renkel, a mother of five- and seven-year-old boys, both of whom had head lice. Rather than satisfy her desire for mass slaughter, I gave her a copy of Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation.” Her family now sees the infestation as an “ecological correction.”
I may have majored in Whitman, and I know he sang the body electric and all that, but Walt never had to give a sigmoidoscope to Jerry Jankowski.
Don Donatello came in for a second opinion, having been diagnosed as pre-diabetic. I found him to be pre-Raphaelite and post-Modern, but otherwise in good health.
Successfully treated Ruth Delvecchio, who had been heavily medicated for restless-leg syndrome, and was suffering profound side effects, By applying the principles of phenomenology, I weaned patient off drug regimen by demonstrating that it wasn’t her leg that was restless, but the rest of her body that was overly static.
Bobby Brunner chewed my ear off for a half hour today about all his aunts and uncles who came down with Kotenmeister Syndrome, which I never heard of but apparently involves some progressive muscle thing or other. Made me really glad I took “Gender Confusion in Rocky and Bullwinkle” instead of genetics.
Absolutely stunned by the Pollockian energy, the layered emotional content, and the abstracted but nonetheless figuratively inspired aesthetics of Josie Jenkins’s sinus x-ray. It is sure to become part of my “Radiographic Epiphany” career retrospective.
Tried a clinical experiment with 74-year-old Roger Tarkington; took him off Cialis and introduced a reading list of erotically-charged late-Victorian novels and the history of Manhattan skyscraper construction. Informed Roger that if arousal persists more than three hours, he should begin reading anything by William Gaddis.
Can’t believe it. I just redid my waiting room in mid-century modern. (Really lucked out when I found that Italian Murano glass magazine rack on eBay.) You’d think Mrs. Boskin – who claims to be an appreciator of the aesthetic – would notice that, but NOTHING. She overlooks my mid-century modern, I overlook that suspicious mole.
Based on the experience I just had with Monica Tibgett, that’ll be the last time I preface the results of a blood test with a lyrical description of young Werther and the considerable joys of dying young.
An unscrupulous drug salesman thought I could be encouraged to prescribe his expensive drug over the generic simply by giving me the Criterion Kurosawa boxed set.
Bittersweet moment — just saw my last patient. Taking a new job in the Obama administration as Assistant Deputy Under-Secretary for Making Medicine Less Medical. Looking forward to introducing innovations like a Medicare music playlist (already got a call from Orrin Hatch pitching his song “Everything And More.”) So many opportunities to extend access, improve wellness, and my personal favorite, integrate America’s digital health records with the Phillip Glass symphonic discography.
Adam Hanft writes on the consumer culture for Huffington Post, Slate, The Daily Beast, and Fast Company. He also wrote TV comedy for Garry Marshall.