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January 2, 1991

Cold Feet

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY

JAMA. 1991;265(1):41. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460010041026

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Slush was common in March. The upstate New York snow could never accomplish its task of melting. Instead it would linger for a month and quietly aggravate everything. People tracked it into buildings and dripped it onto car floormats. Nothing short of rubber boots would protect one's feet, but that was an empty victory since trouser legs collected the splatter anyway. For those fated to live in the city, slush was the unavoidable precursor to spring.

The medical center housekeeping staff saw a challenge in this winter morass. However, their custodial efforts never stopped the seepage of another inclemency. No one could sufficiently define it or explain it, but everyone recognized the "blahs." The attendings grew more critical, the nurses more exacting, the residents more exhausted, and the patients more difficult. The affliction struck medical students in similar form.

I was slouched in the second-year lecture hall as slide after