After the first day of medical school, my mother called to ask me how it went. Then she threw in a kicker:

“I have a small rash I want you to look at.”

What the heck did she think I learned in one day?

I now know is that she was giving me an early lesson in boundaries:

I had crossed some magical line into MD-land, where I’d be expected to answer any question and have an opinion on all parts of the body and all medications, herbal supplements, chemicals, diets, beauty products, and the latest studies written about in newspaper articles (people read actual newspapers back then).

No matter that I’d had one day of the Krebs cycle, and nothing to show for it. I was now an almost-doctor!

Persnickety guy that I am, I really got frustrated when my Mom sent her friends in my direction, too. “I’m not a doctor, I just play one on TV,” became my go-to line to deflect their unwanted medical questions.

Things changed even more dramatically when I started internship.

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