Working in the dark

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“Never have more children than you have car windows.”

Erma Bombeck

Now there is a piece of wisdom. Kids love to look out the windows. Truth be told, adults do, too. In fact, we pretty much live for it (if you’re inside). Out THERE is where it’s happening, because if you’re itching to see out, it sure isn’t happening in where you are. I love my kitchen in my new place because it has windows–I get to see what it’s like outside, check up on the street scene, watch the weather change. So, obvious question: Do you have a window in your reading room? I never did. Before.

I think the radiology curse is the dark room. Other physicians make fun of us for it. You know what I mean.

“So, heading back to the dark, eh, Dracula?”

“Why do you all have pasty complexions? Maybe you should get out of the dark more often, you think so?”

You have certainly heard others. We yell and scream when people turn on the lights, scurrying like bugs caught in the open refrigerator door light. “Hey, turn that off! Trying to work here!”

So, imagine my surprise when I moved to my new shop and, in the reading room, in the back corner, there was a WINDOW. Sure, it had dark black-out curtains, and they were pulled closed for sure. But the place had a hole in the building cut out to the outdoors, covered in glass. I could see buildings when the curtains were pulled back and see the East River, and watch boats and see if it was raining. There were people out there! Glory!

I’ve ranted before about we dwellers-in-the-dark getting out more often. Walk the hallways, get a drink of water, visit the ED (okay, sorry, I went overboard on that one. Stay OUT of the ED), but get around and be social. Talk to a few patients, your techs and colleagues. It’s good for the soul. It gets you known. Well, a window is a reasonable interim step and should motivate you.

I pull back the curtains from time to time. If it’s raining, you’ll hear from me first. Nice-looking boat going down the river? I’ll know about it. If the sun is shining, I do leave it closed, however. Don’t want to burn to ashes in my chair. Ha!


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Phillips CD.  Working in the dark.  Appl Radiol.  2016;45(3):48.

By C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR| March 01, 2016

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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