Geek Gifts

It’s almost two weeks to Valentine’s day and it’s time to geek up! (If you’re shopping online, that means shopping now to avoid paying for expedited shipping.) Below are some of my favorite medicine-related gifts. If you have no one in mind to buy for, feel free to use that all that saved moolah to splurge on a geeky treat for yourself.

1. Anatomically correct heart necklace (~$50). (Or brain, since that’s probably more appropriately associated with love and feelings.)

(Click the images to be directed to places where you can buy the items of interest.)

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Tougher than training?

In response to C’s post on Hot Lights, Cold Steel. I have a few of my own thoughts on this book. In contrast to C, I was touched by the narratives Dr. Collins offered and admired his dexterity in weaving intimate stories into the larger trajectory of his training and life during his four years of ortho residency at the Mayo Clinic.

Unexpectedly, I felt like I connected with the story at the very start because it was about the Mayo Clinic. I am no stranger to beautiful, impossibly rich hospitals but my visit to the Mayo Clinic left me with such a sense of awe that it felt sinful. It is nearly uncomfortable to walk into a hospital – the Gonda Building of Mayo – and see that much wealth. Marble and wood paneling everywhere, and Chihuly art to boot. It felt more like a hotel than a research hospital. I identified with Dr. Collins’ feelings of inadequacy as a young resident at a place with this much history…and money. (Notably though, as someone who supports and has personally felt the benefits of universal health care, I am completely uncomfortable with Mayo’s policy on offering “better” care to those who can afford it: see Mayo’s Concierge Program.)

Gonda Building Atrium - Mayo ClinicGonda Building – Mayo Clinic

My greatest problem with the book, however, lies with the sinking feeling I always got whenever Dr. Collins’ wife, Patti, was brought into the story.

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Training is tough

Hot Lights, Cold Steel by Michael Collins, MD is a memoir of an orthopedist’s residency training at the Mayo Clinic in the 70s.

I’ve heard this book praised for offering an insightful look at the toughness of residency. I won’t be one of the book’s proponents. Many parts I found trite, drawn out, or melodramatic. After just reading Forgive and Remember, I took a while to get used to reading a memoir type work in which details are embellished just for the sake of story-telling (necessary because the manuscript is written years after the events occurred). Whatever one fills in seems to me fluff, written purely for the entertainment value. He recalls plenty of witty banter between him and his wife or fellow residents. He digresses at times into imaginary scenes in which his nightmare scenarios play out.

I didn’t care for it.

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