The neurosurgery attendings have just barely started to recognize my existence, after three weeks trailing their team around. For the first two weeks, they would look straight past me. Lately, they’ve taken to staring at my name on the badge, and then carefully enunciating it, as they give instructions. Fortunately, they still only notice me to give orders, not to ask questions.

I was a little concerned when even the demented patients were asking about my age. Today I was relieved to discover that one of the general surgery guys has it even worse. I heard a nurse talking to a grandmotherly patient: “Just ask Dr. Smith, you know, that nice little boy, for that medication. . .” Poor fellow can’t help that he looks like a – cute – tall ten-year-old. Makes me seriously wonder what the nurses call me to the patients.

The other day I went to see a consult on a Middle Eastern patient. She took one look at me and demanded, “Where are you from?” And then we were off on a lengthy investigation of regional origins and family history and connections. It took me ten minutes to get back to the matter of her symptoms – which were not minor. I wish I could have enjoyed the excursion, but there were two consults waiting in the ER, and three more on the floors. I guess that shows me what to expect if I ever get to practice in the Middle East.

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