I once fell in love with a radiologist... but she saw right through me.

I once dated a radiologist for a few months and 

This cartoon strip started as little hand-drawn love notes I put on her refrigerator that were based on stories she told me over dinner. The cartoons helped me understand her job since I needed to know a bit about radiology for the punchline.  The cartoon was picked up for a four-part run on Gomerblog.com - my first published work. The relationship didn’t last, but the cartoons remain.  I’ll always treasure our time together, Andy. You are still smarter than I'll ever be.

#1. She really did used to order new panties socks and tank tops to save time doing laundry.

#2. Fundamentals of Diagnostic Radiology by William Brant and Clyde Helms is a touchstone for radiology residents.

Radiology department "reading rooms" are normally very dark so that images can show up better on the computer screen.  It is entirely possible to go to work, do a shift, leave and never once see the sun. 

Again, yes, she really did this.  She studied whenever possible and prefered to eat food from bowls unless we were going out to dinner.

A metastatic workup is a full study of the patient.  In radiology, that can mean looking at every single part of the patient for "something" wrong.  

Radiologists tend to hate ER doctors because they tend to dump their problems on everybody else.  And yes, on occasion they forget to let the radiologists know that the patient is dead.

Attendings are doctors who have finished their residency.  They supervise residents in a four-year radiology program.

Residents are physicians who are still in the process of learning their specialty. 

 

Andy was a 2nd year resident - a role that is sort of like Screech in Saved by the Bell. You get a little responsibility, but nobody actually values your opinion.  

This basically never happens.

This is basically three jokes in one.  An "Aunt Minnie" is a radiology term for instantly recognizing a symptom on a read, just like you instantly recognize your Aunt Minnie in a crowd.

I fleshed out the character of Ruchi a little her to be a slightly older, Indian, 3rd year resident who was married to another resident.

Bryn Mawr is an all-girls college.  Read into that any way you want.

I'm very proud of this strip because it shows Andy's character "after work" with her hair down and glasses on.  At this point I felt comfortable that the reader knew the character and I could show her out of scrubs, although she wears them in the first few strips at dinner because she just got home from work.

Ever read a news story about doctors who left a tool inside a patient?  Every tool is supposed to be inventoried before the patient is closed.  When they can't find one...

Good radiologists do whatever they can to prevent surgeons from needlessly cutting for something invasive like an  

appendectomy.  

 

A "type and screen" is a blood test done before surgery in case a transfusion is needed.  No type and screen, no cut.

I showed other hospital departments here and I was concerned about the reader getting confused.  As visual shorthand for the reader, radiologists wear blue, surgeons wear green and techs wear pink.

I'm really proud of the fact that in the previous strip Dr. Rankin's soda was on the desk and in the next he is drinking the same soda.

 

I've always liked it when characters live in a world where they are busy doing things when they are not on screen.

I created Priya because I didn't want to stereotype Indians as Short Circuit style comic relief. The solution: make her tough-talking gun-owning Texan.

Conference is a daily meeting where residents are barraged with medical questions at which you are usually "PIMPed." Meaning "Put In My Place" - basically asked questions by an Attending until your smart ass gets one wrong.

 

Dr. Roth will probably avoid talking to either one of them for the rest of the week.

The hardest part of this strip wasn't covering the nudity or showing me in post-afterglow with my girlfriend - it was drawing God.

I'm no Gary Larson, so I settled on immense feet.

At the time I knew Andy, radiology residents made about $42,000 a year.  Most residents will continue to pay off their college and medical school loans for about 10 years after graduation.

Johns Hopkins is situationed in one of the most violence-prone areas of Baltimore, Maryland.

General Electric Centricity PACS is an radiology imaging system used at Andy's hospital.

Males make up 73% of radiology specialists.

There were times in conference when people forgot that women were in the room.  

This started life as the first hand-drawn cartoon I drew for Andy.  I left it on her refrigerator so she would smile when she got home.

The sentinel lymph node is a the first lymph node targeted in a biopsy.  Yes, the radiologists have to go down to the icky part of the hospital and touch the patient themselves.

Most radiologists choose their profession because they love the idea of being a doctor, but like computers way more than patients.

This term is left over from the days when x-rays were done on film that had to be exposed to chemicals and developed by hand in a processing lab.  The final step was drying the print.

In an emergency, a doctor could go down to the lab and read the film as it was still drying.  This term isn't used much anymore, but a surgeon as old as Dr. Rankin would probably still say it. 

Your x-ray is read by a radiologist, but usually taken by a graduate of a two-year technical school who may not be the brightest light bulb in the chandelier.

 

The funny thing is that the techs usually earn more per hour than the residents.

The movie Liar Liar, was about a lawyer who wasn't able to lie for one day.  Watch this scene in an elevator.

How can we make this funnier? What if Jim Carrey enters the elevator and looks at the woman's breasts as the doors close.  Then the doors open again and Carry holds his eye as the woman storms out.  

In this comic, you don't know what the surgeon said, but you don't have to and it's funnier that way.

The comic Dilbert used to have a formula for its panels - four work cartoons for every home cartoon.

I wrote this one before I met Andy's parents, but I admit there are times when my mouth gets me in trouble.

This was my second effort at a 3-part story arc.

A "bug" is a problem in software source code.  My job at the time was to find and fix them.

Interns are first year residents.  Never get sick in July - that's when they all start their residency.

I had to be careful here because it was just too easy to make fun of the poor kid and I wanted to comic to focus on Andy.

This actually happened.

Note the orange foam earplugs.  I'm very proud of that.

This is based on a true story.  

Andy basically had nothing to wear that wasn't from Target.  

Philadelphia fans are Philadelphia fans whether they have cancer or not.

This is probably my favorite cartoon.

A ruptured Triple A means "Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm." Google it.  Its basically the worst thing that can ever happen to you.

Something magical happened the night I met Andy.

 

I only paid for an hour of parking, but that first date went so well that I lost track of time and ended up walking her home.  My car was in violation for 2 hours and the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) didn't ticket me.

 

It was meant to be.

 

Some relationships are novels.  Some relationships are short stories.  Andy was the latter.  But we'll always have magical night where even the PPA was on my side.

© 2016 by Ryan McBeth
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