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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Thursday, November 17, 2005
True Blue
It’s the tiny things in life that give us comfort, the minute constants whose persistence reassures us.

One of those constants was my blue pen. Doctors write a lot. I actually write much less than most doctors since my medical records in my office are electronic. So I mostly type. But in the hospital, or when filling out forms, or when signing secure prescriptions I still do a lot of writing. Most doctors get a constant abundant supply of pens with various drug brand names from drug reps. I don’t. Because drug rep pens always have black ink. They all have black ink because historically medical records used to have to be written in black ink. That’s because blue ink would usually not photocopy very well. Nowadays, of course, copiers can copy blue ink just fine, so a small but growing band of doctors write in blue.

Blue is my favorite color for a bunch of reasons. It is the color of techelet, the blue threads commanded in Numbers 15:38. It is both American and Zionist. It’s almost always been the color of the good guys. It is the color of fidelity -- not passionate violent red, not mellow yellow, not nature’s green -- true blue. Writing in blue also lets me find my notes in a hospital chart very quickly in a sea of other doctors’ black ink.

So three years ago I decided to invest in a decent pen, one with a fat comfortable grip and a smooth writing tip. I settled on the Cross Morph. I had it engraved with my name, and bought a gazillion blue ink refills for it. It brought me a tiny bit of pleasure every single work day.

mightier than the sword

Yesterday, I lost it in the hospital.

I’m surprised at how sad that made me. I know it’s not the end of the world, and people have much bigger challenges than losing a favorite pen, but my pen’s absence from my white coat pocket is very unsettling. I miss it. It will only cost $30 (plus shipping and engraving) to replace, but it has also cost me the pleasant illusion that the small things in my life are predictable.
Doctor Bean,

I, too, have the same pen, but not in blue -- more of a copper/orange color.

I received it from a local TV show here a few years ago -- when the pen AND the show were just new on the market -- when I just wrote a compiment or two in an e-mail to the hosts of the show. I learned then that it was a $60 Cdn. item, and I was flattered to have received such a nice gift for a few warm words.

I do love the grip and the fact that it's adjustable, and use it mostly for my longhand creative writing. But as that creative writing hasn't gotten me any publishing contracts or acceptances lately, you are welcome to the pen if you so desire. Save your $30! Just send me an airline ticket and I'll personally deliver it, even in its original metal case!
I have a specific Swiss Army Chrono that I love, and hate to have off my wrist, that I lost (temporarily, thank god) last year. I also have a Geek pen (brushed titanium. Two colors of ink, fine pencil, and PDA stylus) that I hate to have out of my sight. Those little things that comfort us make a big deal in our lives.
OMG! Brother I feel your pain. I too have suffered such a loss in my past. I used to have this great black Littman Cardiology II stethoscope which carried me through residency and fellowship up until I became an attending. Through its squishy black earpieces I marveled at the sounds of rhonchi, wheezes, borborygmi, and the Gallavardin and Austin-Flint murmurs. I learned so much from my beautiful black Littman.

Alas, I lost it one dark day two years ago. Oh the tears, the pain and the sleepless nights. I wouldn't have made it without the free antidepressants handed out by those same drug reps who hand out the pens.

I have since replaced it with a similar navy blue Littman, but this one is a Cardiology III. I had it engraved with my name and actually lost it too a few months back. Luckily, an honest soul found it and paged me, and I was able to reunite with my newly beloved stethoscope. Its not that original black one I so loved - but I've grown attached to this one as well. So get yourself a shiny new blue Cross Morph, you deserve it, and move on, for this too shall pass. And don't lose hope - perhaps some honest soul will find it and call you and you will be reunited with your original beloved.
Torontopearl: You must have the Cross Morph in Mars Red. You're very sweet to offer it, but I gotta have the blue one. And I want my name on it. As to another visit to Chez Bean, our door is always open. We'd love to see you again.

Og: That's exactly it. You understand me.

Wanderer: I even went back to the nursing question where I think I saw it last and looked around today, to no avail. You're right. I'm just gonna buy another one and pretend this didn't happen. It's such a minor thing. I'm glad you empathize for how painful it it.
Sorry, no red pen for me. It's "Aztec Orange" as discovered on the Web at http://www.londonluggage.com/CRSMorphcolors.htm.

Why don't you page the pen over the hospital PA system: "Paging Doctor Bean's Morph Pen, Paging Doctor Bean's Morph Pen...I know you're out there...!"

Or maybe even hope that someone turned it in to a hospital Lost & Found...
I am truely saddened by your loss. May the Almighty comfort you with the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Torontopearl: Tried paging my pen. Didn't work.

Psychotoddler: Thanks, pal. If I ever need someone to pour lemon juice on my paper cuts, I'll give you a call.
Hey! You posted about the blue pen using blue letters! You're clever!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to order a personalized sphygmamonometer.
You know, I have the damnedest time trying to find a large cuff. The one I have, it seems like it was made for infants, and it was supposed to be the biggest one they had. It ain't like my arms are fat, they aren't, and it ain't like i got 30 inch biceps, but damn!
Ralphie: One of the greatest challenges for me is getting people to notice how clever I am! Thanks for that. (Did you roll your mouse over the pen picture? The pen's engraved, you know. You can click on it.)

Og: With large arms and a medium cuff you'll get falsely elevated blood pressure readings. Large arms need a large cuff.
"With large arms and a medium cuff you'll get falsely elevated blood pressure readings"

Well, uh, YEAH.

Even my doctor has only got one big cuff. If I'm not in the room where the big cuff is attached to the wall, she uses a little one and tapes it on. And now I'm on Cozaar. Yes, I'm still looking for a new doctor.
Og: I'm sorry but your doctor-misery makes for mighty funny reading.
B&C (By the way, I HATE calling you that) it's a lot less funny inside.

I can barely wait till the day she gives me a shortarm inspection and is, er, frightened by the size of the, erm, boys. It's happened to all the OTHER doctors who have, she's the first woman. I really need to get a new doctor before that happens.
Bean - I noticed the inscription on the picture - thought that one was obvious.

And obviously scary.
Blue is my favorite color, too. Ya know, since it's engraved w/your name there is a good chance you'll get it back (fingers crossed).

But the real question I have is thickness. Is it a medium or fine tip. I have to have fine. Cursive is so pretty when written in fine lines.
Ralphie: I do not mean to frighten.

Stacey: Medium. I'm a medium kind of guy. Moderation in all things. (Of course the tip has nothing to do with the pen; it's the refills you buy for it. I could switch to fine at any time. But I won't.)

It's been too many days. I think if someone was going to call me, they already would have. I already bought another one and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
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