Unusual exchange the other day with one of my (non-ID) colleagues. All dialogue reported verbatim:
Non-ID guy: Hi Paul.
Me: Hi Jon.
[I'm expecting the next line to be: "Quick question: I've got a patient with a positive PPD and a history of BCG, etc." Instead, it's this bizarre comment:]
Non-ID guy: You know, I would say that ID doctors are the most poorly dressed doctors in the Department of Medicine.
[You can understand my response -- where did this come from?]
Non-ID guy: No offense [right] — it’s just when I look at the ID group, you are not the most well-coiffed clinicians. I can tell you guys from across the room.
[Prolonged silence -- frankly, I'm not sure what to say. Of course I'm instantly self-conscious about my own wardrobe, which is pretty standard Boston -- clean but slightly shabby doctor attire. Hey, this isn't NYC -- no suits here.]
Non-ID guy [sensing my discomfort -- I hope]: Not referring to you, of course.
Me: Of course …
Non-ID guy: Anyway, quick question — can I give the zoster vaccine to someone on inhaled steroids?
Me: Maybe if you paid me for every one of these questions I’d have more money to spend on nicer clothes.
[I didn't really say that.]
I’ve been trying to get my head around what this doctor was referring to, looking with a critical eye at our faculty.
Sure, we’re not as sharp looking as the Cardiologists – or even close to the Dermatologists, most of whom look amazing — but I don’t think we’re that far off the norm.