Failure can be the best option

Greetings, gentle reader.  In Ron Howard’s 1995 semi-biographical movie Apollo 13 the situation is desperate.  There has been a devastating explosion on board Odyssey, the command module of America’s third manned mission to the moon.  The spacecraft is dying and astronauts James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise have been forced to retreat to the lunar module – their lifeboat to survive the cold, unforgiving and heartless sea of space.  Flight director Gene Kranz has gathered his fellow engineers together to explore their options and things look bleak.  After outlining a hasty plan of action he boldly declares that now famous catchphrase of self-help gurus everywhere, “failure is not an option.”

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The Mozart Effect

Greetings, gentle reader.  In his prior post Dr. Cranky discussed the myth of the Natural and outlined why belief in such a fictitious character is dangerous to anyone who wants to achieve something in life.  Your esteemed medical misanthrope would now like to expand upon those thoughts and introduce you to the first of four maxims he believes are responsible for his own success.  The first maxim, and perhaps the most important, is something your earnest author likes to refer to as “The Mozart Effect.”

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The Natural

Greetings, gentle reader.  One of the most enduring characters to be found in popular culture is that of the “Natural.”  This is a person who possesses such innate talent, intellectual brilliance or preternatural ability that he is able to transcend difficulties which would overpower most ordinary men and women.  Contemporary examples include Luke (“the Force is strong with this one”) Skywalker from the original Star Wars trilogy, Neo (“the One”) Anderson from the Matrix movies, and Harry (“that annoying kid with the lightning bolt on his forehead”) Potter from the J.K. Rowling novels.  Would it surprise you to learn that Dr. Cranky has been told he is a Natural when it comes to diagnosing disease and saving lives?  Yes, your host reluctantly admits this is true.  Although most people would regard such an appellation as a compliment, your humble servant disagrees.  In fact, he thinks of it as an insult.  Why is this so, you might ask?  Allow him to explain.

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Suffering from Self-Esteem

One of Dr. Cranky’s favorite things to do, once he has successfully chewed through his restraints and escaped his captors, is to go to book stores.  There is one establishment in particular where your favorite author likes nothing more than to sink into a comfy chair, surrounded himself with reading material of various genres, lose track of time and read until he promptly falls asleep.  Such was his intent a couple of days ago when he noticed an interesting cover on a magazine.  To the right of center was the picture of a trophy.  On top of the golden loving cup was perched a soccer player in a most awkward pose, having obviously just missed the ball beneath his feet.  This demented award bore the inscription “Good Try,” and emblazoned across the front of the periodical were the words “How the Cult of Self-Esteem is Ruining our Kids.”  Dr. Cranky doesn’t usually read The Atlantic, but given this intriguing lure he couldn’t resist and took the bait.

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Weevils

Greetings, Gentle Reader.  If you have been following the adventures of Dr. Cranky for a while, you might have noticed an odd dissonance in his discourse.  It is something you can’t quite put your finger on.  Like a nascent sneeze which never matures, it lurks at the periphery of your consciousness.  What could it be, you might ask?  Well, as Phaedrus of Macedonia once put it, “things are not always what they seem.”

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The Algorithmic Doctor

Greetings, gentle reader.  Dr. Cranky has returned once again, filled to the brim with black bile, melancholia and lugubriousness as he sits in his padded cell experiencing a moment of transient lucidity.  And what is the source of your correspondent’s ill humor?  Quite simply, it is nothing less than his recent recollection of  the notorious Dr. G.  Memories of this truculent tyrant are second only to those of Gilda, the Wicked B*tch of the East in their ability to induce such an imbalance in your host’s mental stability.  But all is not lost.  In fact, such a recounting of the ghosts of internship past might be beneficial to you as an instructional aid.

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Decompression Sickness

“There’s a pediatric drowning in Resus Bay 2,” the charge nurse said to the young Dr. Cranky, “they need you in there now.”  Your earnest host had been in his residency program for less than a month when he heard those words.  The memory and images are still fresh, forever seared in his brain.

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Welcome to Dr. Cranky’s New Home!

Welcome, dear reader.  Your earnest host is most pleased that you’ve found your way to his new site!  “Dr. Cranky,” you might ask, “what has happened that would prompt you to move your blog to a different venue?  Have you escaped from your restraints one too many times and been transferred to a more secure facility?  Have you given your tormenters and their white coats the slip and found yourself on the run?  Is there an all-points bulletin out for your re-apprehension?”

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Press Ganey is for Mature Audiences Only

Greetings gentle reader. It is time once again for your favorite scrivener, keyboard in hand, to journey forth and regale you with his tales of death, decay and diagnostic derring-do. Although Dr. Cranky would like to say that his recent absence has been the result of arduous travel to far corners of the Earth in search of spiritual enlightenment from parts unknown, the reality is far less exciting. In fact, the simple truth is that Dr. Cranky has only now managed to overcome the restraints which bind him in his padded cell so he might compose yet another missive to exorcise the demons which poke and prod at his deranged mind. Today we have an especially onerous succubus to confront. Your faithful servant intends to talk about that modern medical horror which dare not speak its name. It is an unholy terror which strikes fear and loathing in the hearts of physicians throughout every nook, cranny and broom-closet of the great house of Medicine. This very day Dr. Cranky intends to discuss, for your intellectual consideration, that abomination known as Press Ganey!

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A Discourse on Zebras

Greetings, gentle reader. Dr. Cranky regrets to report, once again, that he has neglected to refill his psychotropic medications. As a consequence, the only way your faithful scrivener can stop the voices in his head is to take to his keyboard in an attempt to exorcise the inner demons which torment his very soul. So let us venture into those dank, dismal and untidy recesses of the Cranky mind and see what we can find lurking about in the dark. Abraham Lincoln once spoke about “the better angels of our nature.” Then again, President Lincoln never met Dr. Cranky.

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