Last week, my wife and I were awoken at 4 am by a noise, like an explosion. I dressed to see what had happened – a pipe burst, a broken window?
Checked the windows upstairs. My wife said it seemed like down stairs. (It is always reaffirming to be given the nod for some tasks despite my incompetence in most). I flipped on the lights and went down stairs, and saw nothing and then checked the windows in the basement. All intact.
Went out to check the car outside. As I went outside, my wife had stopped half way down the stairs and waited looking at the front door.
The car was undamaged. And as I returned I noticed a hole in one of the two non-tempered glass panels by the front door and a green bottle at its base. Neither of us had not noticed the green bottle which lay horizontal held by the lower curtain rod. Only when I pointed out the bottle, a 750 ml Jägermeister, did my wife spot it. The curtain had netted and hidden the broken glass – but there was now no overlooking the large emerald bottle.
Expectation creates a blind spot in our field of vision to what is there. I have seen abnormal vital signs as normal; a jaundiced patient as not jaundiced; and missed a foreign body in a wound in the rush to suture. How can we curb our expectations to see what is there? This is achieved by stilling the mind, to be reverent to the sacraments of palpating, listening and, in the above examples, of seeing.
Striving for aequanimitas,
John Mary Meagher
Ps. I expect a high school graduate was celebrating his or her graduation night and jettisoned the very spent bottle through the window.
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- Tolstoy’s Ivan Illyich asks, “how have I lived?” A Cautionary Tale.
- Ivan Illyich’s Doctors treat his disease but neglect him.
- The Elephant in the Dark House
- “Needless” Mr. Lemond’s reflection on end of life gasping for breath.
- We see what we expect to see.
- The ageless conquest of oneself
- The Inner Game of Golf- of Medicine
- What advice would you give to a medical student?
- “That was a curious incident – the corneal abrasion did not pain.
- Poems to jolt when humanity has flat-lined in the hosptial
- Heard at a Journal Club On “the Difficult Encounter”
- Brochure for upcoming CME event: Staying Tuned La Malbaie, May 8th, 2016
- Staying Tuned CME May 8th at La Malbaie QC
- Percocet (oxycodone): This White Collar Heroin is a dog collar. Who will escape?
- Is Cynicism pernicious to your health?
- Should the privileged get privileged care?
- Antoine Saint de Exupery (or The Carpenter and his Block of Wood)
- Heartsink is a better term than Difficult Patient?
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