Tag Archives: Oxymoron

Answering The Unasked Questions

Death sucks.

Yes, I realize that I am courting the obvious there, but I thought we needed to restate where we stand on the issue. Sure there are some occasions, some deaths, where the cessation of breathing is cause for celebration and I would not try to argue that.

For the most part, though, people who die don’t want to die.

Again, blindingly obvious, but stick with me. I do have a purpose to this.

See, we as civilians only have to deal with death on a fairly irregular basis. It’s not like we see it every day as part of our job. Because we, as civilians, are not doctors.

Shara Yurkiewicz is a fourth-year medical student at Harvard Medical School where she’s learning what it takes to become a physician. She’s taking classes about anatomy, about chemistry, about diagnosis of disease and all of that.

However, it’s what she’s going to learn outside of the classroom that will determine how good of a doctor she becomes. My wife, known to many as She Who Must Be Our Best Chance, also is a doctor. She’s an OB/GYN and she’s one of the best doctors I’ve ever met. Not only is she a dedicated physician, who continues her medical education every day, but she’s also got a tremendous stirrup-side manner. She connects with her patients as people, as sometimes friends.

And patients appreciate that. She didn’t learn that in a classroom, but it’s a big part of why she’s such a great doctor. Shara Yurkiewicz has plenty of time to work on her bedside manner, but, right now, she’s still learning some powerful lessons.

Thankfully, she shares a lot of those lessons with readers of her Scientific American blog “This May Hurt A Bit,” which follows her trials and tribulations as a medical student.

In a recent column, Ms. Yrukiewicz transcribes a conversation she Diversity can be accomplished with tiny, little steps and it's not all that hard, now, is it?had with a patient following his hip-fracture repair. It offers we civilians a gripping view inside the real-world learning medical students must go through to become effective doctors.

She thanks the patient for allowing her, a medical student, to watch as the surgeons worked to fix his hip. It’s a relatively bland conversation and I began to wonder why it was in her blog. Until we neared the middle and things — through no one’s fault — began to go downhill.

Very badly downhill.

I watched as they kept your eyes shut and handled your body just as gently as they had a few hours ago.

I listened to the final zip of the body bag. I don’t know who had the time to switch off the radio, but I’m glad they did.

I listened as the nurse asked God to rest your soul.

I watched you leave in a different kind of bed, to a different place. I’m not sure where.

You can learn a lot from watching. Thank you for letting me watch.

We fixed your hip, sir.

The operation was a success, but the patient died. It’s not an oxymoron, but a notice that physicians must understand the different values for success.

To become a good doctor, medical students need to understand that patients are not simply a presentation of diseases and symptoms. They are people, with lives and loves and desires all their own.

What Ms. Yrukiewicz doesn’t mention in her post is the next most important lesson a good doctor must learn: How to learn everything you can about what happened so it doesn’t happen again and then move on to the next patient, fully confident that the surgery will be a success and the patient will survive.

Her blog provides an interesting look into the world of student physicians. I’d recommend you dudes and dudettes go and give it a read. It’s always interesting to learn what the person on the other side of the white lab coat is thinking.


Share on Facebook

Teen Car Safety: Not An Oxymoron After All

Keeping your teen dude safe while behind the wheel is a matter of more than just the car’s specs. It’s also a matter of your teen’s mental outlook.

By which I mean that if you put your teen behind the wheel of a fire-engine-red muscle car that roars and spits even in neutral, well, you shouldn’t be surprised when your teen dude takes the car up on its implicit challenge to drive it like the beast it most truly is.

Put your teen dude behind the wheel of a car belonging to an old grandmother with a weakness for boxy, slow and drably painted automobiles, however?

“Big, slow and ugly.” That’s what parents should keep in mind when considering what car to give or buy a new teen driver, says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

This came from a recent article put out by the Detroit Free-Press, although considering that Detroit the city recently filed for bankruptcy protection, not really sure we should be listening to anything that comes out of there these days. Still, this at least sounds like good advice, so let’s just keep listening.

Another thing to consider when looking at a car you consider safer for your teen driver to use, you might want to consider that most cars older than about five years might not have the safety features mostly considered essential in keeping alive the sort of driver most likely to crash. That is, a teen dude behind the wheel.

The safety features you most want to see in a car driven by a teenager are electronic stability control, side airbags and front-collision warning or mitigation.

However, you also should keep in mind Lund’s admonition about finding cars that are big, slow and ugly.

Most people look for cars that get good gas mileage, which usually means smaller cars. That might not be a good idea when looking for a teen driver.

Compact and smaller cars “just offer less protection to their occupants,” says Lund. “It gets worse pretty quickly as you go smaller.”

While most cars offer at least 200 horsepower, you mostly want to consider cars that don’t have excessively high levels of horses under the hood. You also don’t want to buy anything that looks even vaguely sports-car-like.

“Parents have to realize the kind of car you’re driving tends to elicit certain driving behavior,” says Lund. “If it can go faster, it tends to be driven faster.”

Of course, all this depends on whether or not you’re considering getting a car for your teen to drive. For a lot of folks, this just isn’t an option, but you might want to consider it when you’re looking at your car. If your teen dude is going to drive your car, why not try and make it as safe as possible. Which might mean that you’re the one driving a car that looks ugly and slow.

Not that I have to worry about that. I mean, I’m driving an outstanding 2007 Honda Odyssey mini van. And mini vans are cool.

Share on Facebook

And The Parade Marches On

by Richard

Not a lot of time for rumination and ostentation here (although I think I slipped some in there with those last two words). The big one hit. Not the massive earthquake that will drop California into the ocean and make all of Lex Luthor’s Nevada real estate into beach-front property. No, this might be even more of an impact.

My mom is in town.

It’s time to clean up, spruce up and not act up. It’s odd. I’ve been an adult for a few years now and, still, when my mom comes into town I start to feel like I’m back in high school. Only with less hair.

This sort of thing doesn’t happen with my dad, only the maternal unit.

Odd. Well, odder than normal. If that isn’t an oxymoron.

Either way, I’m off for today. Got lots to do and even more to hide.

Share on Facebook