lifestyle

Why I Don’t Wear Scrubs

Some of the nurses at work were talking about a sale on scrubs.  I was listening in, because I only have one pair of scrubs that I wear on call and they’re awful.  The top is so big that it could be a dress on me. Nurse: “Actually, I’ve never seen you in scrubs, Dr. McFizz.  You never wear them!” They pointed out that a few of the other doctors do sometimes wear scrubs during 9-5 business hours, but some of us don’t.  Here’s why I don’t: When I was an intern, I worked at a county hospital, serving a very poor population.  Intern year is hard, and I wanted nothing more than to live my life in scrubs–basically, nonstop pajamas.  But our program director said to us, “You know, these patients may be very poor and not speak English, but they should be treated with respect. And that means they deserve a doctor who is well dressed.” Some of the other interns wore scrubs every day anyway, but I didn’t.  On non-call days, I wore “nice” clothes. Those words really stuck with me, even now, over ten years later.  I feel like it’s more respectful to dress in nice clothes when I see patients. You can find Dr. Fizzy’s newest book, The Devil You Know on Amazon. Read an excerpt here. She’s got a great job at a VA Hospital,...

How To Be A Social Media Expert In Medicine

When you get into medicine, you barely have time for anything. On top of the studying, test-taking, internships, fellowships, and scrambling for resume builders, it’s difficult to keep up in our lives. Obviously, social media has become a staple of everyday life, and thought leaders, key opinion leaders, and influencers in niche fields have all used it to advance their expertise and to show the world as they are. As medical professionals, it can be a key boon in our workplace and schools, telling stories and sharing relevant information to others with a simple click. Vineet Arora, MD, MPP, shows us that it’s possible to be a social media expert while educating and teaching others in your field. Vineet Arora MD, MPP is Associate Director for the Internal Medicine Residency and Assistant Dean for Scholarship and Discovery at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Arora’s scholarly work focuses on resident duty hours, patient handoffs, medical professionalism, and quality of hospital care.  Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including JAMA and the Annals of Internal Medicine, and has received coverage from the New York Times, CNN, and US News & World Report. She has testified to the Institute of Medicine on resident duty hours and to Congress about increasing medical student debt and the primary care crisis.  As an academic hospitalist, she supervises medical residents and students caring for hospitalized patients. Dr. Arora blogs about her experiences in medical education at...

The Devil You Know: A Day In The Doctor’s Office

An excerpt from Dr. Fizzy’s new book: The Devil You Know, available now! “Jason Burnham?” I call out. A man in his late twenties rises reluctantly to his feet. Damn, he’s handsome—he’s got a soldier’s solid build with firm muscles lining his arms and visible under his T-shirt. I can tell by the look on Mr. Burnham’s face that he isn’t terribly thrilled that I’m the one who’s going to be examining his testicles. I’m sure he’d prefer a male doctor. Still, I think it’s melodramatic the way he acts like a man being led to the electric chair as I take him to the newly cleaned examining room. “Mr. Burnham,” I say to him. “My name is Dr. McGill. Would you please change into a gown for me?” Jason Burnham nods miserably. Examining testicles is not my forte. I’ve gotten better at it since my patient population has become primarily male, but I’m nowhere near as good at that as I am at, say, finding the cervical os. Testicles just seem so… delicate. Obviously. But I’m getting better. As far as I can tell, the key to doing a good testicular exam is not accidentally saying something dirty during the exam, which is extra challenging when your patient is so damn attractive. I’m going to work on that today. I return to Mr. Burnham, who is now sitting miserably...

Taking Sick Days in Medicine

As my regular readers may have noticed, I tend to write about what I know. I think it’s the best way for me to choose what to write about because then I don’t feel like a phony, which is something I sometimes feel just as a by-product of being a student of medicine. Another way in which I feel like a bit of a phony is when I get sick and have to miss school. It’s especially tough on rotations because you feel like you’re letting everyone down, as if the whole team is somehow there for you when in reality they would function completely the same without you (although they may miss your positive attitude/humor/white coat pocket snack stash). For example, I get migraines often and they are only partially managed with medication. Sometimes the meds just don’t work or I’m not able to take them in time. Once I went a whole month without them because there was a snafu with the pharmacy and I couldn’t refill them. During that time I was so nervous I would get a migraine and have to call in sick that the whole time I was filled with anxiety over the mere possibility. Even if I do actually take the sick day I just sit at home feeling nauseas and ill, arguing with myself over whether I am sick “enough” for...

Chef Uy Presents: How To Cook Tomato Basil Soup

Natalie Uy is a resident in Internal Medicine who loves to eat and doodle. Her food blog, Obsessive Cooking Disorder, is a collection of recipes she made during her study breaks and stories on my medical / life adventures. Here is her recipe on how to prepare Tomato Basil Soup. B does not like modern art. He’s not a fan of art museums, but he especially avoids any museum titled with the word “modern art.” He did take me to the SF MoMa when we started dating 6 years ago, but that has since stopped lol. Now that he lives in NYC, we are surrounded by amazing art museums. I did convince him (and my visiting brother) to try the Guggenheim to see the Agnes Martin exhibit, but that sort of minimalism didn’t go very well. B doesn’t like modern art because he always says, I could have done that. To which I say, but you didn’t. One piece that has always caught my eye was Andy Wahol’s Campbell Soup Cans pop art, which is conveniently located in the NYC MoMA. First exhibited in 1962, the 32 canvases, each featuring a different flavor, was grouped together like in the grocery, and rocked the art world. It reignited the age-old debate about art versus commercialism (which remains a fascinating discussion even now, as it came up during my Art History classes at Stanford). Fun...

The Worst Social Media Platform For Mental Health

While social media can be a great tool for storytelling, sharing information, and staying in touch with friends, colleagues, and family, there’s no denying that there are negative effects. A previous study by Igor Pantic, MD, PhD on The National Center for Biotechnology Information chronicled the relationship between Facebook and a teenager’s self-esteem and depression, due to user’s narcissistic tendencies. According to the study: One of the possible explanations regarding the negative relationship between Facebook and self-esteem is that all social networking platforms where self-presentation is the principal user activity cause or at least promote narcissistic behavior. A report by Mehdizadeh described the findings of a study in which 100 Facebook users at York University provided self-esteem and narcissistic personality self-reports. The results indicated that individuals with lower self-esteem are more active online in terms of having more self-promotional content on their SNS profiles. In other words, certain Facebook activities (such as “The Main Photo” feature) were negatively correlated with self-esteem measured with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. On the other hand, some authors have presented results indicating that Facebook use may actually enhance self-esteem. A study by Gonzales and Hancock included groups of student participants exposed to three different settings: exposure to a mirror, exposure to one’s own Facebook profile, and a control setting. The level of self-esteem in all participants was estimated using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. The results showed the positive...

The Literal Price of Health Care

With all the dialogue on Obamacare, Trumpcare, the ACA, and the AHCA, Dr. Fizzy briefly reflects on the cost of health care.  Recently my daughter sprained her ankle. Because she’s a bit of a drama queen, I took her to urgent care after she refused to put weight on it for a day. The x-ray didn’t show a fracture and they gave her a crutch and an Aircast, which she used for exactly one day before she was better. A couple of months later, I got a bill for $150 for the crutch and Aircast that we barely used. Because of large deductibles and other reasons, we end up paying a lot of our outpatient healthcare expenses out of pocket. But the problem with that is that you have no idea what you’re going to pay until the bill actually arrives. If they had told me it was going to be $150 for that stuff, I never would’ve taken it. Think about how crazy it is. You would never go to a furniture store, buy a sofa, and just wait a few months until the bill comes to see how much you ended up paying for it. But that’s what I’m constantly doing with my healthcare bills. I can give multiple other examples. Recently, my own doctor ordered a lab test which I didn’t think was entirely necessary, but...