No, no! Not the pruritic or prolapsing kind that requires ligation, excision, or other surgical mayhem. No, I have piles of stuff.
The stuff I have resides in various parts and cupboards in our home, awaiting intermittent attempts at its disposal. Take books for example. If something written is between doe skin covers, hard covers, paperback, or washroom walls, I will read and probably acquire it. The other day I happened to notice, on our laden bookshelves, a small handbook of Dutch phrases. Essential, don’t you agree? Nearby is a volume of 20th century poetry, the biography of A.A. Milne, a guide to the river Thames, and Margaret Thatcher’s The Downing Street Years. Perhaps I could get rid of that one by singing the old classic English ditty “Any Old Iron?”
I cannot justify their retention nor yet contemplate their heartless disposal. What about shirts? Take this beautiful custom-made blue one in Oxford cloth. When I don it on special occasions, increasingly it seems for retirements or funerals, I feel well dressed, even a touch elegant. It stays, as does the tattersall checked one next on the hangers. Putting on the latter on weekends gives me, I fancy, a bit of the old country squire appearance.
I have reduced my number of neckties to a chosen few which denote various associations and societies and, I admit, there is my old school tie.
When I was working, I always wore a shirt with a tie. Not for me the current white coat offset, and let down by the wrinkled open neck shirt often displaying a tuft of suprasternal hair, frequently gray.
My mother, who lived to be 93 and thus saw a lot of them, always said that “Doctors should look like doctors and smell like doctors.” When I queried her regarding the latter, she looked up and said, with a smile, “Clean.”
I recall when, over 60 years ago, our Scottish family doctor, with his black jacket, striped trousers, and crisp white shirt with dark tie, would meet all her sartorial and hygienic standards. In order to maintain the latter when he would visit, she always laid out a small basin of warm water, a fresh bar of soap, and a clean white hand towel. When he would use them, the toe of his shoe would invariably strike the ever-present, though thankfully empty, chamber pot beneath the patient’s bed. This resulted in mutual amusement and a sort of an ongoing competition to see if different locations would spare the hapless vessel. They never did.
But I digress. Now you see that I cannot dispose of old memories, let alone all the things I have accumulated.
Please help me. Come round with some of those black garbage bags, white bankers’ boxes, and a small van. Or a big one.
Dr Fraser is retired from pediatric general surgery at BC Children’s Hospital, where he was head of surgery. He enjoys reading, writing, and erratic golf.
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org