Still Enthralled

I got into this video somehow about the Medical-Psychiatry Unit (MPU). The star, Maritza, was gently insistent about it. I was on walk rounds with the rest of the team, seeing, smelling, hearing, and touching the sickest patients this side of an ICU. I wasn’t so happy about being talked into making a video at the time. Can you tell? She later called me “gracious” for doing so. She has a way of melting everybody like that.

She’s as dedicated to her patients and as impassioned about her mission as a nurse on 3 Boyd Tower as she sounds. I should know. I remember my first days there as a scared stiff subintern. Then I was a scared silly first-year resident. Later when I was what they nowadays call an “early career” assistant professor, I was too dumb to know I should have been scared again.

I’ve always called it the “House of Pain” when greeting a new group of medicine, psychiatry, and pharmacy residents, medical students. I was…not so gray and grumpy once, believe it or not. My wife says I need a little Botox for those twin creases in my brow. I know how I got them. They’re botox-resistant.

I have tried so hard to live up to the ideals of the builder of the House of Pain, Dr. Roger Kathol–who would rather I call it a Complexity Intervention Unit. His eyes are always on the light of what sometimes seems the most remote goal–truly integrated care. I don’t know if I ever saw the light, but I stumbled always in that general direction. I stayed a long time looking for it.

It’s a tough place to work, but it’s the best place for patients with both medical and psychiatric problems. I’ll always believe that. Maritza is right about the family feel to 3BT. How could I not love a place where I was so happy, so sad, angry, enthralled by the light?

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