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Medical Memoirs

The problem with ‘geezering’

As I sit indoors, babysitting a rambunctious toddler, confined to the house because we seem to be facing all the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and many of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, I reflect on the phenomenon of what I call “Geezering.”  This is the tendency for those of a certain age to believe things were so much better in… Read More »The problem with ‘geezering’

The hero’s journey

When I was a young hippie back in the early ’70s, I used to read tarot cards. Honestly, even then I was skeptical of the cards’ prognostic abilities. Still, I did love the images and the way universal experiences were expressed in the random patterns of the card spreads. I was good at it, too. People would exclaim with wonder… Read More »The hero’s journey

Gossip and the art of storytelling

The word “gossip” comes from “God-Sisters” which were traditionally the friends who were close enough to a woman to attend her in childbirth. In those days before the Industrial Revolution when a woman went into labour, all her gossips would descend on her home. Clean the house, cook some food, care for the older children, and help support the woman… Read More »Gossip and the art of storytelling

A physician of a certain age

When I interview medical students for positions in the family medicine residency, I often ask them to tell me the story of a patient who has been meaningful to them, or taught them something important.  It is remarkable to me how often these stories are about death, and their first or early encounters with the dying.  In our culture we… Read More »A physician of a certain age

“Opener of the womb”: The burden and privilege of being the first born

I’m out for dinner with my residents and colleagues. It’s our first in-person party in three years.  It feels a little bit illicit to be lounging on the couches of a Couscous Restaurant and chatting. One thing that came up in the conversation was where we all fell in our family constellation. Most of us were either the eldest in… Read More »“Opener of the womb”: The burden and privilege of being the first born

The other side of Roxham Road

I’m in Labour and Delivery. I have a grand multip with ruptured membranes in labour, so I do not dare to leave the floor. This 41-year-old woman just switched to me after her obstetrician retired. She has had all her previous eleven babies at another hospital and I want to make her feel safe. My vacation starts tomorrow and not… Read More »The other side of Roxham Road

Crimes and misdemeanors

In the past few weeks, I’ve been witness to several crimes or injustices. In one, I was complicit. I will not go into the disturbing tale of the estranged husband who did not inform his wife that her application for landed immigrant status had been accepted; or the man who ended his financial contributions to his family as well as… Read More »Crimes and misdemeanors

Dirt, marriage and cataract surgery

I have always hated housework. I often joke (though it’s not really a joke) that I became a doctor in order to have a good excuse not to do it.  I’m extremely lucky that, among his many virtues, my husband loves to do housework. His idea of a really good day is to be puttering around the house, creating order… Read More »Dirt, marriage and cataract surgery