Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

Gabriel’s choice for U.S. president  1

Posted on June 10th, 2010. About Ramblings.

Gabriel will turn three next month (to establish the context for why I find this amusing). He has several child-friendly placemats for meals, and among them is one featuring portraits of the U.S. presidents, depicted in chronological order. He knows Obama is the current president. However, he has fixated on several of our former presidents:

  • Jimmy Carter – because he is featured eating peanuts
  • Rutherford B. Hayes – because Gabriel likes his bushy beard
  • William H. Taft – because he is pictured in the bathtub (bubbles covering from the neck down)
  • Gerald Ford – because he is holding a football
  • Millard Fillmore – no clue why

This morning, while at breakfast, Gabriel was disappointed that he could not eat Caroline’s baby food. I informed him that it was exciting to be the older brother and not the baby, because he will be able to do so many neat things before Caroline is old enough to do them. He wanted examples. For now, he can kick a soccer ball and eat watermelon; but I told him that in the future, he would drive a car before she does, and he would vote before she does. This spawned a discussion about what voting means, and I informed him (to keep it simple) that when a person votes, he is choosing the president. He seemed thrilled that I voted.

His response was: “I want to vote for Jimmy Carter.” Pause. “No, either Jimmy Carter or Rutherford Hayes.” A few minutes later, after the conversation had moved on, he said: “No, just Jimmy Carter. I am going to vote for Jimmy Carter.”

Farewell to Dr. Alvord, Dr. Spence, Dr. Bowling, and Dr. Lipski  0

Posted on June 7th, 2010. About Ramblings.

So far, 2010 has been a difficult year for me (and for medicine) as the medical community has lost four amazing physicians.

  • Dr. Ellsworth “Buster” Alvord was a senior neuropathologist at Harborview who enjoyed grilling me in front of colleagues as I would give presentations, and within minutes was taking the time to teach me a complicated concept. The following day he would come with a compliment. The man was larger than life in the pathology world, and in the club of great philanthropists. His support of the arts and of local hospitals in the Seattle area was tremendous. The halls of Harborview are definitely more silent without his presence.
  • Dr. Alexander Spence was one of the kindest people I have ever known. A prominent neurooncologist, Dr. Spence could not seem to give enough to the care of his patients. He encouraged residents to contact him at any time – weekends, midnight, whenever, and was always gracious during those calls. He also first described spinocerebellar ataxia type 3, “Machado Joseph Disease,” while still a neurology resident. When I assembled a talk for Grand Rounds on hereditary ataxias, Dr. Spence dug out his film canisters with moving picture footage of himself as a young man examining members of the Machado family, had the footage digitized, and gave it to me. What a generous gesture, and I’m so grateful to have this piece of neurological history. He apparently did not want an obituary or a memorial service. Ironically, after all of those mornings of observing Drs. Spence and Alvord sitting around the neuropathology table, discussing their mutual patients, Dr. Spence was gone within a week of Dr. Alvord’s passing. It was a tough week.
  • Dr. Andrew Bowling and I last saw one another the summer after I graduated from medical school as he was entering his fourth year, attempting to decide whether he wished to pursue family practice or psychiatry. We ran on the cross country team together in high school, and with this team enjoyed kayaking and rafting trips. His biting wit and great intellect are what I will remember the most about him. He could be gravely serious one minute, and tumbling from the couch from laughing so violently at a line in a Mel Brooks film the next. I envied his perfect verbal SAT score, and how effortlessly academic endeavors seemed to come to him. We had recently reconnected, and it was wonderful to learn of how happy he was to have time for his kayak, guitar, and other interests now that his residency had ended. He passed away at the age of 30 in February.
  • Dr. Greg Lipski passed away last week after a five year battle with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Greg was an electrical engineer, and returning to medical school served as a second career for him. During his second year of med school, he received this startling diagnosis, and nothing was the same again. He fought through chemotherapy, radiation, and a difficult stem cell transplant, and returned to school the following year, graduating in 2008. I had the privilege of serving as the senior resident on the inpatient neurology service at UW during Greg’s neurology clinical rotation and got to know him very well. During my late call nights, he almost always hung around, really just to chat as I awaited studies to return or patients transferring from outside hospital. He loved people, and wanted more than anything to spend time with patients, getting to know their stories, and providing hope to those on the oncology service through his own example. His leukemia relapsed during his intern year. I visited him in the hospital just after this, and his attitude remained optimistic. His emails to me, and to his colleagues, always guaranteed wisdom. I have saved all of them. While it is tragic to lose such a remarkable individual at the age of 42, I cannot imagine anyone doing more in this amount of time than Greg did.
Choose from Full RSS or comments RSS feeds.
Residential Space is powered by WordPress 3.8.3 and delivered to you in 0.278 seconds.
Design by Matthew. Administrator login and new user registration.