The hours are inhumane.
Thoracic surgeon: "Never stand when you can sit. Never sit when you can lie down. Never lie down when you can sleep."
Orthopedic surgery resident: "We do 72 hours on call on the weekends...but if you just accept that you'll have no life for five years, it's not so bad."
Fellow medical student: "You have to decide when you're too tired to eat, or too hungry to sleep."
The people are insane.
Fellow medical student: "Yes, Dr. Job's the surgeon who asked the nurse for a sterile towel. She handed it to him. He thanked her, tossed the towel over the resident's face, and punched him through the drape, so that his fist would stay sterile. Then Dr. Job kept on operating." Pause. "But the he's always been very nice to me."
But you literally hold someone's life in your hands.
And the one thing that nobody told me before I plunged hands-first into my first surgical rotation, the thing I had to discover for myself, was that, compared to anything else in medicine:
Every blood-spattered second of surgery
Ah, the innocence of medical school. This is a story from my third year of clinical clerkship, when I started rotating through the hospital wards, starting with internal medicine. I was matched to the gastrointestinal team, so I can recite the bacterial causes of bloody diarrhea to this day.
One patient taught me about ulcerative colitis...and a few other things.
You can also find this essay in my book, The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World and Other True Tales from the Emergency Room.More info →
When Dr. Hope Sze trades the crime-ridden city of Montreal for a fishing trip with her dad, she expects misty lakes and crimson maple leaves. In other words, a perfect family fun day. Then Hope’s mother—never the sharpest scalpel in the neighbourhood—drags along crazy uncle Leonard, transforming Black Donald Lake into a very dark place.More info →
True tales from the emergency room, with a twist.
Just like Grey’s Anatomy, medicine with a little bit of sex.
And, like Fifty Shades of Grey, a tiny bit of torture.
Note: as an emergency doctor, I’m talking medicine spiced with G-rated sex. If patients wander into to the ER after sexual congress, something’s gone awry. I, personally, don’t mix sex and work. Other people may run around with whips and chains and red rooms of pain, but I’m a (cough) professional. As in, a medical professional. So please don’t think this book will get you off. Mostly, I’m writing about life in the emergency lane. I just like the title mash-up.
As for the torture, after you graduate, the infamous long hours and abusive staff mutate into different forms, especially for a female doctor. You trade up for problems. As you shall see.
Anything’s possible in the emergency room.
Come on in.
Oh, wait, that sounds bad, if there’s even a whiff of sex. How about…
Enter if you dare.
Shoot, that could be a come-on too. Never mind.
Want a snapshot of a world in free-fall? Turn the page.
Fresh out of jail and off drugs, Fred Redish embarks on a new life. First up: getting to know his two young sons, who are under the custody of his mother-in-law. Problem is, she poisons them against Mohawks in general and Fred in particular. Does he have to kill her to get his boys back?
"Impressive...moving"--Publisher's WeeklyMore info →
Every Hallowe'en, Mrs. Marigold invites only six children to her mansion. One boy, Adam, warns Ashley away, but her parents, desperate to get in good with the richest woman in town, force her to go.
Trick or treat?
Trick. Definitely trick.
The question is if Ashley can get out alive.
Apples, Broccoli & Rats with Islands: Short thoughts on envy and positivity for writers (and human beings in general)
Do you seethe with envy? Do you turn such a vibrant shade of green, staring at your friend's award-winning, New York Times bestselling books, that you kind of look like...broccoli?
Yeah. Me too.
Comparing yourself with other writers feels like comparing apples and broccoli.
Guess what? Apples taste pretty sweet. Everyone likes them. Apples seem like the cheerleaders who walk off with the quarterback every time, while you push your glasses up your broccoli nose, scribble poetry in your broccoli diary, and listen to your broccoli parents scream at each other.
This bite-sized book tells you how I kicked envy to the moon—well, not the moon. Okay. The front porch. Using my muscular yet shapely broccoli legs, I kicked envy to the porch so I could write my own work.
I became a rat with an island.
Are you more confused than envious now? Super. Consider my job half done. Complete my mission by buying this short yet sweet, broccoli-positive, rat-friendly book, so you, too, can annihilate envy, write your broccoli sonnets, and sing your broccoli songs forevermore.
That's right. You can't keep the Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World away.
Was I always such a hard-hearted lass? Of course not. I offer you some counter-examples from medical school, a time when I was so earnest and hard-working, I scraped my finger on the mannequin while practicing my digital rectal exam technique (true story).
Then I bring it into real time, swapping more short essays about the emergency room in the digital age, where Twitter co-exists with trauma and tendonitis.
If you enjoyed The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World and Other True Tales from the Emergency Room, or even if you didn't, come on in.More info →
Award-winning author and physician, Melissa Yuan-Innes, explores the strange new worlds of embryo transplantation ("Red"), human-ape genetic engineering ("Growing Up Sam"), and exile (two Shaolin monks banished to outer space in "Iron Monk") in an exclusive collection of her science fiction stories.More info →
Who wants to lose a few pounds?
I do, I do!
Who wants to read about weight loss?
Look. I know where you're coming from. Doctors like me should get all excited about slimming down, but if you ask me to count calories or eat like a cavewoman, I sprint for the door. And after I finish sprinting, I want to eat more than a goji berry.
So I wrote this bite-sized book that sums up my entire weight loss philosophy in six words: eat right and get a dog. Okay, I wrote a little more than that, but I promise not to shame you or make up some complex system where you have to order a magic spoonful of powdered spinach from me every Tuesday at midnight.
Just read it. What have you got to lose, except a few inches, a few dollars, and a few degrees of self-loathing? Hooray!