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On Being a Doctor |

Tattoo

Michael L. Willoughby, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Augusta, GA 30904.


Requests for Single Reprints: Michael L. Willoughby, MD, 2258 Wrightsboro Road, Suite 200, Augusta, GA 30904; e-mail, michaelw@stjoshosp.org.


Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(9):789. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-139-9-200311040-00016
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He didn't feel very likable when he was on call. He must have made his family just as miserable as he made himself, since they seemed to dread his call days almost as much as he did. At least they no longer took his on-call moodiness personally, and they didn't avoid him as much. At home, he jumped when the phone rang and became irritable at least a week before a long weekend on call. This call day was unexpected, and he was grateful that he hadn't had time to dread it. It had been a long day, but he was seeing the next to the last add-on. He just had the evening's anxiety and the night's interrupted sleep before him. He was seeing yet another patient who wanted some antibiotics, and he had already given his “viruses don't respond to antibiotics” talk several times that day. He felt his energy and resolve slipping as she relayed her symptoms. Luckily, her symptoms became convincing enough for a bacterial infection that he began to feel a lightness that comes with doing what the patient wants and having it correspond somewhat to science. This one would be quick. He began to relax a bit and recognized in his patient some residual of the confidence that physical beauty gives to a young woman. She was still attractive despite the hard edges from the tobacco and years. Her grammar wasn't great, but she was logical and concise. This would be an easy visit.

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