Contributor: Bose Ravenel
Although I switched and went into pediatrics after completing that intern year, I was one of those who, looking back in later years saw Dr. Stead's "message" and manner for challenging those under him to reach deep down and stretch them in a positive way. It must be something like the never-to-be-forgotten lessons Marines learn in the brutal training conditions they endure that prepare them to put life's stresses and demands into perspective for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Stead had just finished discussing the last presentation on morning rounds. He concluded his closing comments with his well known remark: "Now just say for me . . ." He then made a couple of comments about the particular case, drew himself up, rose from his seat and strode out the door, closing it behind him.
Dr. Wesley Cook, I believe it was, stood up. Apparently "feeling his oats," he said, loudly, "Just say for me, kiss my XXX."
At precisely the moment the last word came out of his mouth, the door through which Dr. Stead had exited burst open and there he stood!
Some five interns, AI's and residents, including yours truly, held our collective breaths for what seemed like an eternity! To this day we do not know if he heard the remark. Question for Dr. Stead: "Well, did you?"
I was sitting in the back of the auditorium for Grand Rounds at which a narcoleptic patient was presented. Following the presentation, the patient was brought in. He spoke briefly then his head nodded and he fell asleep sitting in his chair.
Dr. Stead began to discuss the case. Suddenly he paused, looked into the back of the room and said, "I see that Dr. Ravenel back there is still awake, a remarkable achievement! Dr. Ravenel has stayed awake longer than the narcoleptic!"
The moral of this story is that Dr. Stead sees all, hears all and observes all.
I have to confess my reputation must have been well deserved, since I regularly fell asleep during morning rounds. I later took comfort realizing I must be at least reasonably intelligent in order to learn enough to finish the year, despite sleeping through some of it.