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Medical Memoirs

Conflicts of Interest

So up front, I want to say that many names and details have been changed in this story, but sadly, mostly not to protect the innocent. One of the joys of practice when I still did full-service family medicine was to have whole families under my care. I loved seeing parents and children, knowing the grandparents, aunties and uncles. It… Read More »Conflicts of Interest

You used to buzz me on my pager

“Don’t park in the back; park in the Maxi’s lot,” I text my daughter from the restaurant table. “There you are. I can see you through the window. Look a bit to the left!” How many texts like this have I sent? How often have I sent clarifications, instructions, amendments to plans on the fly? I wonder how we ever… Read More »You used to buzz me on my pager

Dear Politicians: This is What Doctors Want

An election is on the horizon. Politicians across the country of every party are trying to appeal to their constituents by promising to improve the healthcare system. They are paraphrasing Freud and declaring to their aides: “Oh God, what do doctors want!” as doctors, burnt out by the COVID crisis, are retiring early or leaving clinical medicine for less stressful… Read More »Dear Politicians: This is What Doctors Want

I’ll walk you to your car

My first practice was in a tough neighbourhood. Now rapidly gentrifying with many fancy restaurants and condos, it was a place where many of the inhabitants were on welfare, and a good number were involved in crime. In those days, I was a bit of a naïve young woman, my French was not fluent, and in my English grade school,… Read More »I’ll walk you to your car

My Happy Place

Hello, my name is Perle Feldman, and I am a birth junkie. A few weeks ago, I was working on a meditation technique. First, the therapist asked me to visualize a happy moment, a time when I felt calm, in control and comfortable. I then had an image of my last delivery. Many people find joy between the legs of… Read More »My Happy Place

July: Joy and Dread

Every July, as a family medicine teacher, I greet the year with a combination of excitement, anticipation and dread. Who will they be, these young doctors who are my charges and companions for the next two years? I haven’t met this year’s cohort yet, and none of them are students that I remember teaching during their clerkships. Yet, I stare… Read More »July: Joy and Dread

The Soap Opera Need

Medicine fulfils three basic needs in the physician: the puzzle need, the fix-it need and the soap opera need. The puzzle need is our desire to figure things out, unravel the mystery of differential diagnosis, and apply our knowledge of physiology and “illness scripts” to the cases in front of us. However, if we only had a puzzle need, we… Read More »The Soap Opera Need

Pits and Promise

The ongoing grind of COVID medicine is starting to wear, although the promise of reopening is tantalizingly just out of reach. The everyday aggravation of life in pandemic times feels like we are all walking around with nerves exposed, as if a protective layer of resilience has rubbed off over the past year and a half. Yet, sometimes something good… Read More »Pits and Promise

The Incredible Hulk in L&D?

People are complicated. Everyone is a mix of good and bad. I have been reading about and watching the television biography of Oliver Sacks. I  have also been preparing a podcast on the history of obstetrics, which made me confront J. Marion Sims’ racism in the context of his important contribution to women’s health through perineal repair. Both were complex… Read More »The Incredible Hulk in L&D?