Mullberry Whine

poured out before bed

Sometimes the Shoes Do Make the Man

...O, those crazy shoes (image credit)...

Mondays are always somewhat bitter as far as days go, but there is a subtly more abrasive quality to the atmosphere when I walk into the team room at 0500 this morning. The gang is all there – two wonderful interns, an excellent senior medical student, my sweet junior med student colleague – and all are pleasantly preparing to receive sign-out from the night intern. But there is a new presence. Our infinitely approachable, impossibly brilliant senior resident’s customary chair is filled by a slender, severe looking female wearing fabulous shoes.

“Good morning, you must be the senior filling in for Tom today. My name is Mullberry, I’m one of the JMS’s on the team.” I endure her limp hand shake and a borderline eye roll while adding, “I LOVE your shoes!” This garners a more complete eye roll coupled with a nod, but no verbal response.

OK, then.

I pull up am labs on my patients and began filling out overnight vitals, totalling input/output values for each of them, and noting between clicks and tics the awkward silence in the room. It is a relief when the night float begins sign out, when I can exit the oppressive space to preround on my patients. With prerounds done, though, I must return to the team room of sorrow to await the coming of the peds GI inpatient team. I sit before my computer, again discomfited by the weird feel to the room.

Before long, a voice dripping with pin-prick annoyance drills out.

Where is the GI team?! If they have a set rounding time they should really be up here. Like 5 minutes ago. That’s crazy unprofessional in my book.”

I look at the clock. It is 6:33. We usually round at 6:30.

YOU.” She points at me with a long, boney (terribly scary) finger. “Page the fellow and tell them to get up here or we will round with pulm first instead.”

Oh dear.

I pull up the computer paging system and begin typing in a very polite message when said fellow comes strolling in, full of smiles and “good mornings.” Things begin to feel normal, to feel good again, as we round with the familiar team, and the dour woman who has stolen our early morning fades to the back. But all too quickly rounds are over, and it is back to the team room in her less dilute company.

That was crazy ridiculous. I would not have ordered X lab on that patient,” Dr. Sunshine mutters as we file in, launching into a narcissistic screed about her personal preference for laboratory panels, a writhing sinew sticking bizzarely out of her wan cheek. I am afraid to meet her eye, but afraid to look away when she speaks.

Finally, silence again reigns. But not for long.

Her voice is like the scraping of rusted metal as she begins to non-constructively (and quite inappropriately) critique the whole team’s GI patient presentations and to bash how the fellow and attending run those rounds.  She moves into how inadequate our interns’ training will be for the “crazy hard” second year that awaits them in a few months, how they will never be ready for it, speaks to how she was able to survive only by her superior wit.  Then she commences moaning about how late the pulmonary team is for rounds (again, only about 3 minutes behind), and how “crazy inefficient things are around here.”

So it goes for pulm rounds, for endo rounds, for genetics rounds.  Dr. Sunshine atrophies significantly when the attendings arrive, only to burst forward and stomp about in her green, polka-dotted shoes when they have left their recommendations, rasping on about how she would have done it differently, more remarkably.  Her personality disorder glitters in all it’s gawdy glory with every whack she takes at the old conversation tree.

We’ve all just about had it.

And then – a crazy miracle.  As the good Dr. Sunshine is running out to belittle some poor nurse concerning something (completely) insignificant, her little green shoes slip.  They slide a little.  They scuff a little.  They squeak a little.  And Dr. Sunshine goes right down on her skinny little tuchus just outside the team room windows, her long braid flying straight up in the air as she slams to the ground.

She spends the rest of the day in the resident lounge with a thrown-out back, available only by pager.

I knew I LOVED those crazy shoes.

>>Take a peek at Round Shoe


21 comments on “Sometimes the Shoes Do Make the Man

  1. Dawn
    March 26, 2012

    Awesomesauce! Your writing very entertaining and vivid! Keep it up! Oh, and I’m Dawn by the way and someday, I’d like to be an intern/resident like you! Thanks for subscribing:)

    • mullberrywhine
      March 27, 2012

      Hi there Dawn, welcome, I’m glad you’re enjoying the reads! I, too, hope to be an intern/resident someday (wait – do I really want such responsibility?! Shudder!); right now I am but a humble 3rd year (AL-most 4th year) medical student. But my day will come – so too will yours! Enjoy the ride, all the best, and don’t be a stranger. 😉

  2. Peace Of Iran
    March 26, 2012

    Sometimes it’s funny how things end up 🙂

    • mullberrywhine
      March 27, 2012

      Ah, yes. The type of funny that had me squirting green tea out my nose – the best kind! 🙂

  3. Amy
    March 27, 2012

    Hehe love the story! You have this really wonderful way of painting a canvas of your experiences. Some doctors can be just so…*sigh*…we’ve got a guy just like that in General Surgery…but he’s got his okay moments, I think.

    • mullberrywhine
      March 27, 2012

      So very glad you enjoyed it! And so very sad that some doctors are just so…[insert flatus sound here]. I know it takes all kinds…but do we really need that kind?

      • Amy
        March 27, 2012

        Unfortunately there are people like that around the world…they’ve gotta end up somewhere right? Medicine is just one of those things that can feed an ego…with the titles and all. So sad…so very sad, indeed.

  4. ElizabethWolf
    March 27, 2012


  5. Lumi St. Claire
    March 30, 2012

    Yet another reason for impossibly dysfunctional yet fabulous shoes!

    • mullberrywhine
      March 31, 2012

      Here, here! Even after associating those lovely green kickers with her AND watching her wipe out in true artless fashion in them – I’d still wear those shoes…

      (Well, maybe not to work, but to dinner and a movie or other sit-full occasions allowing me some semblance of grace…)

  6. ElizabethWolf
    April 7, 2012

    Reblogged this on Le Maison Loup and commented:
    There are so many great blogs and wonderful story tellers out there that I feel the need to share their work. On Friday nights I’ll re-post something that made me: laugh, cry or think more; or cook, decorate, or parent better. Enjoy.

    • mullberrywhine
      April 7, 2012

      Oh, what an honor – many thanks for the reblog! I so enjoy your site, I’m so pleased to play a bit part on it – best to you and yours!

  7. All that makes you...
    April 14, 2012

    My husband and I have been together for 20 years. He did all the medical training and I got to go along for the crazy ride. Moving, new friends, 3,000 board exam flash card for his lab coat, three kids and eventually, private practice. Then five years later, currently, back for a fellowship. Love your stories from a gals perspective. Oh the stories from med school and internship, and residency…
    I am planning a post about while I was pregnant with twins and in my OB’s office and having a whole group of second years walk in and start asking about what their wives can make to bring to our house that Saturday to “watch the game”. My feet were in stirrups!

    • mullberrywhine
      April 14, 2012

      Oh, I bet you do have some great stories – it is some ride, isn’t it? And kudos to Dr. All-That for heading back for yet more training out of private practice – I’ve heard tell that can be quite a challenging readjustment! Kudos to you for supporting him – that’s such a tough job sometimes – and 20 years!? Mr. Whine and I are steadily chugging towards 2, I’m so glad to see a couple together and happy – some of our friends have already fallen to the stress… I’ll thank you for your kind comment, look forward to that post, and wish you and yours all the best!

  8. All that makes you...
    April 14, 2012

    Six of dating…We were married the Saturday before he started med school. We were naive kids and it all worked out. Fellowship hasn’t been a big deal. Happily though he’s going back to his practice. 😉

    • mullberrywhine
      April 14, 2012

      That’s awesome! Mr. Whine and I went to med school together – it’s where we met – the first day of school, over a dead body (in cadaver dissection), no less. We enjoyed M1 and M2 years together before I shimmied off to do some basic science research. We dated 4 years and were married the Saturday after he got his MD. Now I’ve done with grad school and am wrapping up my M3 year as he prepares for his fellowship and we get ready to do the match, round 2. We don’t know where we’ll end up (let alone where we truly want to end up at this point), but we’re enjoying the ride to the fullest! 😉

  9. Sometimes life is fair-right. It is not fair when someone saps it of life–so polka dot shoes got what was coming to her – though I am a little surprised at myself for being so happy about her fall. Love the insights into your job.

    • mullberrywhine
      June 3, 2012

      Oh, I felt like a truly terrible person when I found myself smiling (read: grinning like a fool) as I watched her fall – but sometimes you just have to embrace it (though I staunched that smile immediately and played the concerned med student part fairly well). So glad you enjoyed (the fall and the story 😉 )

  10. macropixia
    February 1, 2013

    These terrorizing narcissitic divas don’t just haunt the halls of medicine. They also haunt the courtrooms. Only there, the comeuppance is when they trip over the court reporter’s wires! Love this story of the fall!

    • mullberrywhine
      February 1, 2013

      Ooo, I’m already imagining the twang of a wire as a little law-diva is caught up… Comeuppances do make the world go round at times! 😉

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2012 by in Finding Humor, Life, Med School Musings, On Pediatrics and tagged , , , , , , .

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Creative Commons License
Nothing under the table.
The views expressed on "Mullberry Whine" are NOT intended to diagnose or treat disease.
The med-ed related stories described here are based on real events. Details have been changed in accordance with HIPAA de-identification guidelines to protect confidentiality.
Mullberry Whine can be enjoyed daily; there is no unsafe quantity. Real wine, though, should be enjoyed in moderation. At-Risk Drinking for males under 65 is defined as >14 alcoholic beverages per week or >4/day, with >7 drinks a week or >3/day being the cut-off for females under 65 and for anyone, male or female, who has graced this planet for 65 years for more. Drink Mullberry Whine like there are no consequences. But drink alcohol responsibly. Your friends, your family, your health-care provider, and your liver - heck, ALL of the organs in your body - will thank you.
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