“Time Is Life”

Eight hours into a hectic 12-hour solo-coverage day shift in our community hospital ER, I finally got the chance for a lunch break. I hustled to the hospital’s food court, bought two slices of pepperoni pizza to go, and hurried back to the ER lounge where I popped open a Diet Coke, took a big swig, then dove into the pizza. The head nurse appeared at the door just as I finished the first slice. “Chest pain in One.” I …

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When I Half-Died

Heart rate of 12! I see it on the monitor just behind me. MY heart rate! Not compatible with life! My vision closes down, tunnel-like. I’m sinking through the operating table on which I lay, both arms stretched out and tied down, crucifixion style. I need atropine. The surgeon’s voice, “Cough, Mike.” I cough. I see the resulting blip on the monitor. Cough, cough, cough. Blip, blip, blip. To live, I must keep coughing. Heart rate up to 30. Barely …

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Modernism in Architecture

Around the beginning of the 20th century, a general dissatisfaction with the emphasis on revivalist architecture and elaborate decoration gave rise to many new lines of thought that served as precursors to Modern Architecture. Notable among these is the Deutscher Werkbund, formed in 1907 to produce better quality machine made objects. The rise of the profession of industrial design is usually placed here. Following this lead, the Bauhaus school, founded in Weimar, Germany in 1919, redefined the architectural bounds prior …

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Old Dog Meets Best and Brightest

[I wrote the original version of this post ten years ago. I’ve rewritten it in past tense but kept the gist. The specialty of emergency medicine is now fifty-years-old. My thoughts in 2010 have more relevance today as the specialty continues to draw the best and brightest. Our patients win for that.] At least a third of the people in the room were not born when I attended my first ever Scientific Assembly of the American College of Emergency Physicians …

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Reflections on “St. Elsewhere”

This Emergency Department scene from the early 1980s’ TV show, “St. Elsewhere” recalls similar scenes from the Phoenix hospital where I practiced emergency medicine. Although we had nobody the stature of Denzel Washington or Ed Begley, Jr., we experienced similar dramas and challenges as depicted in that iconic TV drama. Back then, I had neither the time nor interest to watch more than a partial episode. I was a full-time emergency physician and spent my leisure time in non-work-related activities. …

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