Not Only a River in Egypt

My patient was a thirty-something-year-old woman complaining of sudden onset of crampy abdominal pain—a condition for which the lengthy differential diagnosis runs from “nothing-burger” to life-threatening. Often a challenge, even for a seasoned ER doc. On entering the cubicle, I found the patient supine with the head of the bed raised about 20 degrees; she felt most comfortable in that posture. Although not in severe distress, she appeared anxious; worse when a wave of pain traversed her lower abdomen. She …

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Of Cadillacs and Throwing Stars

Once upon a time, in the mid-eighties, luxury automobiles sported fancy hood ornaments at the crown of their long front ends. (I’ll leave the interpretation of that custom to my psychology friends.) Here’s an example from the hood of a 1983-ish Cadillac: These ornaments were not fixed to the hood, but attached via a wire thingy that allowed them to flop flat when needed, for instance in an automated car wash. Sometimes they suffered damage from general use or vandalism: …

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