A Nice Clean White Coat
As I rolled into my office this morning I noticed that my white coat was looking a little dingy. Fortunately, my AA ordered me a bunch of coats so I always have some hanging up, fresh from the cleaners. Usually she has to tell me to switch them. Occasionally I notice myself. Either way, I don’t tend to walk around with a coat that isn’t at least mostly white.
But it wasn’t always that way. As a resident, I had a habit of finding out just how brown a white coat can be. It was hard to tell for me, as the change was very gradual. But a few years into a residency, I could stand next to someone with a truly white coat and the difference was, well, ghastly. But now it is different, and while I have to give my AA credit, in truth the credit goes to my third year REI attending, Dr John Schnorr.
I started my REI rotation early in my third year. Effectively, this meant that the two white coats I had been given at the beginning of my internship were somewhere between yellow and poo. I walked into the Taj Mahal office, as REI offices tend to be, and presented myself to Dr Schnorr. He gave me a funny look that I didn’t quite pick up on. He then proceeded to go over all the rules and responsibilities for the rotation, as would be typical for the orientation.
We had a great first day. At the end of it, I could tell he was a little uncomfortable about something. He hesitated, then he came out with it.
“Do you get your coats laundered?”
This was a very polite Southern way of saying “Your coat looks like shit”
As if I had to say it.
But then he said the greatest thing.
“Just throw your coats in our laundry bin…. our people will launder them for you.”
So I did, and was forever changed. When I got that first laundered coat, all bleach white and starched, I never looked back.
So residents – take your coat to the cleaners from time to time… its only seven bucks, but it looks like a million.