Dr Audra Barclay discovers the fine line between being naive and cynical.
I underwent initiation – I mean did my internship – on the Central Coast. Somewhere between learning to take blood and understanding ECGs, I was shown an x-ray of a 70-year-old woman with numerous rib fractures. We were on our ward round and had just seen the frail patient who had been admitted primarily for analgesia and supportive care.
‘Well, that’s what happens when you get trampled by an elephant’, said my boss, a consultant physician.
‘Geez’, I answered in a surprised squeal. ‘Wow, she’s lucky to be alive’, I said (I was quite the prognostician back then). The other intern on the team, Phil, and the consultant seemed to share a moment: ‘She obviously doesn’t have older brothers’, said Phil.
I had never thought of myself as naive before then and have not thought of myself as anything else since. Somewhere between school and university and as a result of having no teasing older brothers, my education was lacking.