Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Thursday, November 10

Dear Prudence

I'm in the office waiting for my attending to meet me for my evaluation and I’m talking to the two assistants while I wait. They’re asking me how I’m getting along in this town.

‘I’m coming to realize,’ I tell them, ‘that I need a Hillary.’

‘A Hillary?’ Thalia asks.

‘A Hillary,’ I say, ‘is someone to push me to be a better version of myself, to do more than drink and hangout, someone to get me to fix up my house, submit articles, and apply for grants and fellowships.’

Thalia starts nodding, apparently thinking that this would be a good idea, so she asks, grinning, ‘what qualifications are you looking for?’

‘I don't have much,’ I say, ‘some accounting skills mostly. Someone who can tell me I'm not allowed to spend money on CD’s or D&D figures. And she has to be willing to sweep every couple of weeks, cause I'm not good at sweeping. That's pretty much it.’

‘I suspect your standards are a little higher than that,’ Thalia said, ‘what if she weighed 400 pounds.’

‘I know how to cook.’

‘What if Hillary turned out to be a man?’

‘Not an issue.’

They laugh, I guess assuming I’m joking.

‘What if she had bad skin?’

‘Well,’ I admit, because they know how I love nice skin, ‘I guess I do have some deal breakers. But depending on her accounting skills...’

‘Erik, I don't believe you,’ Melpomene says, laughing. ‘You're lucky you’re a doctor, cause you’re kind of a nut job. Instead of a Hillary, I think you need a Laura, someone to soften you and keep you grounded. You need someone to love.’

‘Yes. Well, thank you Grace Slick. I’ll take that under advisement.’

With this, the door to the attending’s office opens, and I am called in. I sit down and the attending begins to go over the standardized evaluation form, each category has a possible score of 1 through 9.

‘Let me tell you how I work this,’ she says. ‘I consider five the standard for a resident. I usually give fours through sixes. Three is failing in my mind. I give sevens if I think a resident functions as an equal to me. I only give eights if I think the resident is better than me. I don’t give nines or ones.’

We start going over the form. Six, six, seven. Then an eight, then an other. Overall she averaged me at about seven and a half.

Now, let me tell you something that you’ve probably have already figured out. I don’t praise or compliment someone lightly. I don’t tell people they look nice unless I’m actually struck by how nice they look. It doesn’t occur to me to get into someone’s good graces through flattery. In my mind, it just complicates things. So when someone gives me a compliment, I assume the person complimenting me believes I have excelled.

But sometimes a compliment just leaves me feeling strange and out-of-place. I like believing that I am underappreciated, but this has been an untenable belief for some time now. With this evaluation, I finally have to admit that I’m over-appreciated. This, unfortunately, will necessitate me being far more critical of myself.

I leave the office feeling, not elated, but worn-out and frustrated, wanting to leave the program, the hospital, and the whole damn city.


Blogger dan writes:

This post is terrible. Below average on all levels. I'd give it a 2 out of 10, and that's only because I don't give out ones. Honestly, you need to try harder next time.

There, does that underappreciation make you feel better?


Blogger St Yves writes:

You need a Maria, not a Hilary. Hilary would lie in bed and cry and then focus on her own career when she found out you cheated on her. Maria would kick your ass, tighten the reins, call her daddy and make sure you had a fellowship to Johns-Hopkins so you didn't think about that stupid wench half way across the country.


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

Do you ever wish you could give that Cuban style compliment--phony, but maybe giving the recipient a boost?


Blogger Spider writes:

Bro - take the complement and run! One doesn't need to be kicked in the ass on a regular basis to feel loved..aafzq


Blogger callmekidd writes:

your next post should be titled "Pow R. Toc H."


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

I don't think you are underappreciated. I don't think you are underappreciated at all.


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