Sunday, May 24, 2009


This fellow runs a cosmetic practice.

He has billboards all over the city. He also advertises in the local papers.

This past weekend our local paper ran a "puff-piece" on him. A local columnist went in to get some cosmetic injections and wrote and article on him. As is often the case, the column started on the front page of the section and continued on to another page. Flipping through the pages to get to the rest of the article, it was impossible not to come across an advertisement for his clinic featuring a picture of his naked wife (with the naughty bits covered up of course).

This fellow and his ads have bothered me for some time.

The main reason is that while I don't know the exact stats; more people apply to medical school than are actually accepted. Therefore in order for him to practise exclusively as a cosmetic "specialist" somebody else didn't get to be a doctor. Now I am sure when he was interviewed for medical school he probably told them that his ambition was to practise cosmetic medicine in a large urban centre and not have to take call or look after sick people. NOT!!!

Secondly, while medical students do pay tuition in the 5 figure range, this apparently covers less than 20% of the cost of their training. So the taxpayers of the province, many of whom no longer have a family doctor paid for his training.

But what about plastic surgeons?

I have the utmost respect for plastic surgeons and not just because I wish they would hire me for one of their private suites. While there are some plastic surgeons who practise exclusively cosmetic surgery, most of them don't. They take time out form making women's boobs bigger to look after burn patients, repair tendons and reconstruct faces. They take call and work nights and weekends unlike Dr. Singh.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bar Codes

A while ago I posted about the new infusion pumps we have which are supposed to make life safer for the patient and more difficult for the caregivers.

I was in the hospital today and my chief said to me, "Here I've got something in my locker for you". He pulled out a hospital ID with my 10+ year old photo on it. At first I thought it was the ID I lost. It was in fact my "Smart Pump Bar Code ID".

Now in order to prevent well or ill meaning visitors from reprogramming the pump, your ID has to be scanned every time you reprogram the pump. This of course presents a problem when your ID is in your car. Fortunately a resident told me how your bypass this. All you have to do she told me was scan the bar code on the kleenex boxes we have in the OR and the pump will open its heart to you.

Which is what I did the other night with patient from the ICU on the levophed infusion which I felt I had to adjust up and down throughout the case. The kleenex box worked just fine.

Now that I have a proper bar coded ID, I won't need to use the kleenex box. Until I lose the ID.

I survived the public school system

Or rather I survived my children's time in the public school system.

Yesterday my youngest son graduated. There is still a month and a half left in the school year so technically he hasn't graduated (I looked at the "diploma" he got yesterday and it only acknowledges he was a member of the graduating class of 2009).

I only have two children. At some point we agreed we only would have 2 children (my wife's family fires off twins and 3 could become 4) and I got a vasectomy. My wife said to me last night words to the effect that we should have had another, I'm not ready for this by which she meant I'm not ready to be a mother with two children out of school.

Not me however, this was a moment I have been waiting for for years.

I hated elementary, junior high and high school. I liked university but I think that was because I liked the drinking and partying. Between my two kids I have just finished 15 straight years of school. I have had to go to parent teacher interviews, Christmas and year end concerts, band concerts, open houses and sports events. I have had to "help" my kids do homework, nag them to practise, phone teachers and principals. I am so ready to finally graduate.

High school graduation has become a much bigger event than I remember. My kids have fortunately been fairly low key and aside from buying the graduation suit that they will only wear twice in their life, we haven't had to spring for limos and the accessories people now believe is necessary. The big fuss is despite that fact that high school graduation has become the minimum ante for entry into mainstream society. Most kids, at least in our socio-economic group have not seen their last classroom.

It was a very pleasant if somewhat long graduation ceremony. There were something like 500 graduates. The band cycled thru "Hope and Glory" I don't know how many times as they all filed in. You could see the conductor frequently looking to his side, thinking when is this over. The grads received their diplomas in three batches with entertainment between each group. It was an elaborately choreographed ceremony. Most of the presenters and the valedictorian were extremely poised individuals. The quality of the entertainment all by graduating students was surprisingly good.

All the grads wore gowns. I of course graduated from university and have never completely approved of gowns for high school graduations. I realized that the one of advantage was that it leveled everything off. All the grads walked across the stage wearing the same black baggy gown. (It also allowed some of the girls to wear fairly risque dresses that they might not have wanted to parade across the stage in.)

The most interesting thing in high school graduation ceremonies is seeing how kids and parents you knew years ago have changed. Many of the kids the graduation class, we knew from elementary school or from hockey but haven't seen them or their parents for years. It was a big of a shock seeing the bratty kid you knew from hockey as a grown man. More impressive was how much some of their parents had aged or expanded in girth. That made me feel pretty good about how I look.

I thought back to my own high school graduation. My parents always expected me to go to university so high school graduation was a minor formality for them. Graduation at our high school was unfortunately to most students about the drunken party afterwards rather than any solemn sense of life progression. We sat in bleachers in the gymnasium on a Friday night for a fairly brief ceremony with minimal speeches. We didn't wear gowns so the men wore a medley of suits, sports jackets or rented tuxes. This was of course in the 1970s so you can imagine just how ghastly everybody looked.

Our student council seemed more preoccupied on the drunken party to be held afterwards than having a ceremony that people might remember, something to send everybody off into world. While I went on to university, many of my circle didn't and the end of grade 12 was the last time I saw certain people until the 10th reunion and some I have never seen since.

Anyway after the tame Friday night dance sponsored by the school, there was the after grad held on Saturday night. The student council was even able to get a liquor licence until the principal found out and got it cancelled. My friends and I arrived to find the curling rink where the party was held surrounded by a phalanx of policemen. Somebody decided we should try to hide the beer we naively thought we could smuggle in, outside the rink so we could at least go outside for a beer. A cop saw us headed off and followed us to relieve us of our beer. He didn't dump it out in front of us so I assume he and his buddies drank it later. The whole thing was pretty boring and I walked home at 2 in the morning.

All in all I think I preferred my son's graduation.