[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 18, 1984

How High Is Up?

JAMA. 1984;251(19):2512. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340430018007

Mrs Blue's eyes sparkled whenever she skewered some stupidity or pomposity from her headquarters at the Ward Clerk's desk, Ward 35, Men's Medicine. She saw all, heard all, and knew all that went on at Cook County Hospital.

As I worked my way up the ladder from nurse technician to junior medical clerk, senior medical clerk to intern, medical resident to renal team member, and finally fellow in hematology, my triumphs and woes were often shared with Mrs Blue, bringing from her very thoughtful and appreciated comments.

One fine day near the end of my years of medical apprenticeship, looking forward and upward, I said to her, "Well, there's just one thing left for me."

"Yes," she replied gently, "you've got to come back as a patient some time."