Monthly Archives: October 2008
By Eugie Foster
Read by Cori Samuel
The first time I see a new patient, I try to fix upon something distinctive or idiosyncratic about them as a mnemonic to keep them straight. Oftentimes, a physical quirk or peculiarity is more effective than any amount of note taking, and there’s nothing quite so embarrassing, not to mention unprofessional, as bringing up a salient point in a patient’s case history, only to discover that I’ve misremembered their background. I’ve often wondered if some purported cases of repressed memories have been due to overzealous efforts on the part of my less scrupulous compatriots to cover their gaffes.
However, I found myself struggling to identify anything memorable about the woman sitting across from me. Her features were unremarkable, neither attractive nor homely, and her choice in apparel was wholly generic in cut, color, and style. Even her voice was neutral, being neither high nor low in pitch or volume, and lacking any discernable accent. Frankly, her most remarkable feature was that she was utterly unremarkable.
I was so distracted by this deficiency that I found myself inattentive during our introductory interview, going through the motions of collecting her information with only half an ear. I admonished myself for my reprehensible negligence, and undertook to give her my undivided attention when she began telling me her reason for this consultation […]