Minutes (Chicago) : Medic

August 18, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard


  • A fleet of young  students gathered outside the U.I.C campus for what I can only call White Coat Ceremony. While they entered an auditorium in suits, they came out several hours later wearing–all of them–white lab coats. I’ve no idea what happened inside that room, but I noticed that the students wielded a fresh air of authority.
  • A man in a hospital lay on a table unconscious. A surgeon made an incision into the patient’s gallbladder. Suddenly a flame shot up, ten feet, burning the overhead light. It was as if some highly flammable gas were shooting out of the patient. Fortunately the head doctor, a veteran of oddities, comprehended the situation and made the incision larger, thereby reducing the pressure of exiting gas. The torch extinguished itself and the patient woke up, no worse for wear.
  • A medical student assisted a surgery. He had been instructed to hold the light for a six hour operation and the head surgeon had a reputation for abuse. The medical student knew he had to be absolutely still if he wanted to avoid the brunt of shame delivered by the head surgeon, for while the superior’s fingers were reknown for their delicacy, his words were blunt and prone to bruise. At first the surgeon started in with his usual tactic, mocking the med student’s hair, his parents, yawning deliberately so as to get the young fellow to yawn, asking a nurse to scratch various parts of his body as often as possible while all the time adding, “You better not move, kid. If you move this patient could die.” Eventually, round about hour four of the med student’s silent placidity the head surgeon threw up his hands, incredulous, “What are you? A fucking totem?”

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