Posted by: sayamika, the killer bunny | 2007 March 8

Yo’ mama

During clinic with the much-beloved “curmudgeonly” surgeon mentioned in a previous post, we saw a young lady with papillary thyroid cancer. She was calm and listened carefully to her options and likely outcomes. She asked pertinent questions and made informed, directed, and reasonable decisions.

She also brought her mother along. At first glance, this would have appeared to be for moral support, but the fact was that this young woman was easily capable of digesting the information and making her own decisions. In any event, her mother disagreed with her treatment decision.

She was a complete basket case, panicking at every mention of the word cancer, or surgery, or risk. It was a meeting about the risks and benefits of a surgery for cancer. I can see why she may have wanted to be present but she certainly didn’t make the interview any easier on her daughter.


Angry Prof mentions a recent spate of graduate student interviewees who have been bringing their mothers or significant others to interviews. I don’t know about you, but neither my mother nor my husband have a clue what it takes to do my job, so how they would help in an interview remains beyond me. Can you say codependent?

Makes you wonder whose idea it was for them to attend


My thoughts run to my time in the emergency department in one of our major hospitals. About 1am I picked up the chart of a young woman whose chief complaint escapes me, though she had a history of fibromyalgia and “daily migraine.”She looked to be about 12. She was wearing cartoon pyjamas, flannel. And holding a stuffed animal. Both parents were present. And when I walked in, she was whining to her mother about being thirsty.

My first thought was: wrong hospital, perhaps you should go to the Children’s.

Then I re-checked her chart. She was 19.


Then there was the young man who complained of weakness and paresthesias to his right hand. His mother was with him, and was clearly worried. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the nerve distibution to add up to anything remotely anatomical. I could find no weakness.

His mother wandered out of the room, and I continued to take the history while trying to delineate the problem area. For some reason he felt he could tell me that the weakness mainly manifested when he was filling out forms for a job (but he could use his Playstation for hours without adverse effect).

Ermmm…. yeah.


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