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your life is in their hands

One side effect of growing older is that sooner or later, everyone younger than you looks about twelve years old. This is particularly disturbing when one of those people is your surgeon.

First time I met this guy I thought, “Oh no. it’s Doogie Hawser.”  I couldn’t help myself.

“Umm, I hope you don’t mind my asking this, but how long have you been doing this?”

Another time, in a teaching hospital, a doctor walked in my exam room0 with two medical students, neither of whom was old enough to drive.   ( you had to be there)

The doctor was enthusiastic. He rattled off the particulars of my case, and then looked at them expectantly for comment.  The boy stared at the ceiling.  The girl stared so intently at the doctor she started to squint.

” Predni zooone?”   Even I knew that answer made  no sense. The doctor was undaunted.  He rattled off some more symptoms.

The boy never took his eyes off the ceiling.  The girl squinted intensely. She looked like her eyeballs hurt. She wanted very badly to say something intelligent.

” Is it  blood pressure???”

The doctor smiled benignly. ” You two will read all about this tonight.”      He looked so sure I figured he hadn’t been doing this teaching thing very long.

They left. In two or three years, someone’s life will be in their hands.

I think of this when some big cheerful clueless kid walks into a wall. Some day he’ll be a neurosurgeon. Maybe mine.

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