Thursday, September 3, 2009
What about Bob?
Now into my second week of the psychiatry clerkship, I'm afraid I've worried Anna I might pursue a new-found interest in this branch of medicine. It's such a different style than any other specialty. Take, for instance, the office layout of an outpatient psychiatrist. You walk into a neat, comfortable room, probably a lot like your home living room. Comfy couches surround an expensive carpet. A gorgeous, oakwood bookshelf lined from toe to head with hardbacks inclduding "Robinson Crusoe," "Anthropologist from Mars," and the psyche bible, DSM-IV. A pair of palladian windows let in sun-light in a way that makes you feel trapped inside a Martha Stewart magazine. The fake plants in the corner don't help with that image. I'll be sure to stock up my side tables with enough Sports Illustrated to counter the Martha effect. Nothing like the fresh words of Rick Reilly to ease the troubled mind. In fact, the only evidence in the room betraying the doctor's profession is an electronic scale off to the side. No stethoscope. No reflex hammer. No white coat. Yes, there are patient charts on the doctor's desk, but that is all. This morning I watched a psychiatrist at work in this environment. The only physical contact with the patients involved hand-shaking. One of the things I love about medicine is the hands-on approach to care. I would be surprised if I ended up in this specialty. But who knows, with all the bananas laying around out there, I just might have a Freudian slip someday.