Wet Read: An Ode to a Beeper

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My first portable electronic signaling device!

Fastened to my belt

you looked sleek and modern

and you had an (initially) soothing buzz.

I felt important

and needed.

Almost no one else

had one like it

(except drug dealers).

Many a time you summoned me

to the site of a waiting family

or patient

to be asked questions that as a medical student

I had no earthly idea how to answer.


In residency, you were even cooler.

A digital display

and a clock.

But, you woke me up all the time.

“Check this lateral c-spine.”

I wasn’t very nice to you, often.

Can I ever forgive myself

for slamming you into the wall?

At least the page operator was forgiving.


You followed me for years.

We grew up together, you and I.

Giving me numbers to call

and people’s names to ponder over

before finally calling.

A constant companion

(usually unwanted)

but you’re gone.


I sign out to my cell.

And now, I’m starting to hate it, too.



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Phillips CD.  Wet Read: An Ode to a Beeper.  Appl Radiol.  2020;49(5):56.

By C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR| September 01, 2020
Categories:  Section

About the Author

C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR

C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR

Dr. Phillips is a Professor of Radiology, Director of Head and Neck Imaging, at Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. He is a member of the Applied Radiology Editorial Advisory Board.

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