Friday, November 4, 2011

Top Ten: More Andy Rooney-isms.

It's time for this week's top ten and I'm feeling full of randoms right about now. That always makes me want to pay homage to the king of random observations, Andy Rooney.  Though I'm not curmudgeonly like Mr. Rooney, I've always dug his out-of-the-blue thoughts.

Here's my top ten Andy Rooney-isms of the week.

#10  Food glorious food!

Things have changed a lot since I was a med student and a resident. Back in the day when I was a youngster in the game, we all fended for ourselves when it came to vittles. Lunch was something you either packed or bought in the cafeteria when I was a student. In residency, we received a schedule that told us which two days lunch would be included. That lunch was always, without fail, some kind of giant hoagie that, if you were lucky, you got one little inch of with a handful of crunched up Ruffles.  The only time you could be guaranteed a square meal on the house was during interview season. This was why I made it my business to be at all interview days. Yeah, yeah. Come to our program. Now pass the hummus and the falafel.

Anyways. That has nothing to do with the point I was going to make. I was just thinking about how now our residents have lunch served just about every day for the learning conferences. But because there's a lot of mouths to feed, that's costly so the food isn't exactly gourmet.  So I'm just wondering. . . .isn't there something inherently wrong with learning about guidelines for management of hypertension while eating a sandwich from Chick-Fil-A? Or heart failure therapies over lo mein?


I'm just sayin'.

#9  Nomenclature

Hey. Here's a random thing I thought of while stuck in traffic one day:

Why do you park in a driveway and drive on a parkway?  These are the important things I ponder when I leave Grady Hospital. I'm just deep like that.

#8  There was a little girl. . .who had a little curl. . . 

Make a pact.

Right in the middle of her chin.  Hey! What's with not plucking the long curly chin hair?  I was talking to this Grady employee in the gift shop the other day. This woman is an absolutely lovely lady but I could barely concentrate on our conversation because my eyes could NOT stop focusing on these two loooong curly hairs on her chin. And what's extra crazy? She kept rubbing them while she was talking to me. . .unraveling it and then letting it quickly recoil back onto her chin.


Seriously? Can I tell you how badly I wanted to accost her with some needle nose tweezers? So badly. I felt like just standing there looking at her was breaking some kind of woman code.


Girls in your twenties, be forewarned: When you reach your forties, or maybe even your mid to late thirties, no matter WHO you are, you WILL develop at least one renegade terminal hair that grows on your chin. Pay attention, ladies!  Because if you don't, they can get out of hand. For real. My suggestion is that you get some sort of agreement going with a friend or your spouse to both alert you to such renegade hairs but much more importantly, to keep them in check should you ever find yourself unable to do so yourself.

I won't say who my renegade hair police is, but just know that this person is named in my living will. And I'm saying, if you don't have a renegade hair officer named and you are approaching thirty, I'd suggest you do so.

This is important people.Woman code, even.

#7  Hungry for Hunger Games

Have y'all read these books? They are so addictive!  Turns out that the "Hunger Games" trilogy by Suzanne Collins is really for "tweens and young adults."  Oh well.  Now it's for grown ass women, too.

Who else is caught up in this wacky creep-tacular story?

#6  Hablo ingles solamente.

Me with Doctora Higgins.

Have I told you about how enamored I am by people who speak Spanish and English fluently? I went to Mexico City with my friend and fellow Grady doctor Stacy H. last year and she speaks Spanish big time. Not that b.s. kind of "I speak Spanish" either. You know, the kind where you can tell somebody how to get to the Grady cafeteria and that's it? No. She speaks for real Spanish. Like laughs at jokes and everything. 

So that brings me to the random on this: Am I the only one annoyed by people saying they are bilingual when they are totally unilingual with the exception of their ability to get a Spanish-speaking only family to the cafeteria?  "Segundo piso?" Chile please. Even I can do that. This is not Spanish, people. This is not.

Me and Doctora Zimmer, who also hablas for real Espanol.

Did I tell you that in my dreams I have mad Spanish skills? I'm crazy fluent.  I even have some other languages in my arsenal (in my dreams, of course.) Last week I dreamed I was rounding with my team and one patient spoke Spanish, one spoke Mandarin and another spoke Haitian Kreyol and I could speak them all fluently. My Mandarin and Kreyol were a little broken, but my Spanish?  Maaaaan, all I'm gonna say is I was getting folks to waaaay more than just the cafeteria. . . I was getting folks to the promised land (in Spanish, of course.)

#5 Double trouble.

Hey, here's something random. So did y'all know that when you type on a computer, you only need one space at the end of a sentence instead of two? Okay, so habitually, those of us (who are older) place two spaces after finishing every sentence. Those who learned to type in a typing class on a old school TYPEWRITER learned the two spaces after every period rule, right? But check it--that doesn't go for computers!

Crazy, right?

I figured this out when I wrote a manuscript for a journal and they corrected all my double spaces. There was crazy tracked-changes all over my write-up and the majority were double space corrections. I wasn't sure why until TODAY when I heard my girl Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air grilling this dude about this very thing. She was old school and all about the two space rule. This dude had a lot of chutzpah because he hit Terry G. with some elaborate explanation about the whole thing which I can't remember fully in detail, but that sounded good enough to make her stop asking questions. And if you get your NPR on like I do, you know that Terry is never short on queries. At. All.

No double space? Are you sure, dude?

So yeah. If you're double spacing at the end of your sentences on a computer? You need to get with the program. Because single spacing is so three thousand and eight and double spacing is so very two thousand and late.

(This just made me chuckle because exactly how hip can you be if every night at 7pm you're hanging out not at some swanky new restaurant, but with National Public Radio instead? Ha.)

#4  How low can you go?

How low is too low on a neckline at work in the hospital? A few years ago I was rounding and resident working with me had a plunging sweater on. We leaned over the patient to examine him and seriously? I could see directly down her shirt and clear into her brassiere. Not one thing was left to the imagination. Not a one. I hoped so badly that the patient didn't get the same peep show. My guess is that he did. And if he didn't? Somebody, somewhere did.

I broke down and told her, but she didn't seem too keen on my feedback. But she was such a good resident and she needed to hear this before somebody groped her, for real.

What do y'all think about telling learners these kinds of things?  Is that outside of my lane? Tell me the truth, y'all.

#2  Pencil me in.

A student told one of my colleagues who happens to be senior faculty that they couldn't make a learning session and lecture because it conflicted with some travel plans. Travel plans for leisure. Plans that this student made that conflicted with the pre-scheduled curriculum. And somehow this became my colleague-friends's problem. Imagine that.

But those travel plans weren't exactly the issue. The issue is the audacity of this person nonchalantly dropping this little nugget of info on my friend like she was throwing a keg party on her back porch. Like, "I'm sorry, girlfriend! Raincheck?"

News flash:  Lectures and medical student curricula are a crapload of work. A crapload. One lecture easily equals ten to twelve hours of preparation if it's new. Imagine spending twelve hours preparing for something that 50% of the intended attendees were going to blow off? Would that hurt your feelings?

I've asked groups of students about class attendance and why they do or don't go sometimes. Most explain that some lectures are good and worth their while and others aren't really worth the time.

That got me to thinking.

What if the faculty all decided to start blowing off the students who weren't A+ caliber and only taught the ones who they thought were "worth their while?"  Like what if we completely ignored anyone with a single quirk, blemish, or imperfection. . . . . or walked off any time a student gave a monotonous oral presentation or chose to talk about something we either knew already or didn't find particularly appealing? What if WE voted with our feet, too? What if WE chucked you guys "the deuces"--of course, only if you weren't stellar and dynamic and 100% worth getting out of bed for?

"This is wack. I'm outta here."

Wouldn't that be sort of the faculty equivalent of blowing off someone's lecture or entire curriculum?


Yeah. That's all I'll say on that.

#1  Intentional remembering.

When you're a doctor, you know that people die every day. Some after full, rich, good lives and some prematurely.  There was this friend of ours who'd attended college with us who passed away before he turned 40.  Left three daughters and a wife behind and at his funeral, his mother looked my brother straight in his eye and asked him: "Please don't let anyone forget my son."

We lost a colleague in our division in September.  We all loved him and many of us were close to him. But after he passed away, there was something about the everyday-ness of how we all carried on with our hustle bustle that didn't seem right. Almost like his entire existence in our division was like some kind of vapor that disappeared without a trace. I don't know. One of my fellow Grady doctors sat in my office a few weeks ago and said she felt conflicted by that very thing. And we agreed that it was odd and that maybe it should have been heavier around there for a little while longer than it was. We also agreed that no one had ever died in our division before. Not a peer. Not on our watch. Then we kind of just sat there feeling weird but not knowing what to say. So we said nothing.

Later that evening I thought of him and it dawned on me that he wouldn't have wanted things to be heavy. No, not him.  But I do think he'd want to be remembered. So I put a picture on my office door of him. With very simple words written with a marker:

"I will remember you."

That day I decided that I would intentionally remember him every time I walked into my office. Simple enough. Not in a heavy way either. But more . . . .in a deliberate way that fights through my to-do lists and grabs my attention, if only for a few moments.

So Ildefonso, I will remember you. I will remember you daily. Enough to bring you up in idle conversation because no, you weren't a vapor, you were someone special. Very special and very much here.

And you know what? It feels good to do this. And something about it feels right, too.

That's all I've got today.

Happy Friday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . "Funny the way it is" by DMB. All about the pendulum of life. . . .


  1. This is a great post! Love the chin hair observation and can so relate to your conversation with your colleague about the world going on when someone dies and it seeming odd for awhile. I experienced this when my father passed - my clients still wanted their reports the next day. Somehow it's just not right. It's great that you are honoring your colleague with a simple thought of him each day. Joanne

  2. You know how to get me to comment, don't you? Laughing out loud! You got me on the two-space deal. Love how you honor your colleague.

  3. All you've got is pretty darn good, Doc. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I just recently e-mailed all the employees here at work, asking that they save my editorial time by using only one space after a period. I politely told them that two spaces are old school. Thanks for helping to enlighten the masses!

    The chin hair thing about made me throw up. Laugh.

    You know I love you.


  4. I heard that Terry Gross interview. The dude was going on and on about font size and spacing and she was all, "It's two spaces. TWO."

    And one afternoon at work I was mortified to discover that whenever I leaned forward, I was giving a free show. I WISH someone had told me. Jeez.

  5. Just read the entire Hunger Games series in one week when I was in France. Good stuff! Can't wait for the movie!

  6. So much awesome here -- #8 made me laugh. I have a tiny mole under my chin to the left that literally sprouts a two-inch hair in one night. I'm serious.

  7. I've been watching my chin hair for a while now at 34.

    You were right to say something to that learner with the low-cut sweater. Whether she took it seriously is on her.

  8. I was informed of the two space rule a while ago. But noooo, not by a scholar like on NPR. By an unsmartable. Yes, an unsmartable schooled ME.


  9. There are A LOT of village mamas here rocking much worse than a few stray chinny-chin hairs. I'm talkin' legitimate beards and very visible chest hairs. I just learned yesterday though, that they're thought to be "renards" (foxes) in bed. Something about testosterone, perhaps? Anyways, that's my psuedo-bilingual contribution to the thread.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

Related Posts with Thumbnails