Sunday, July 17, 2005


Are you a real person?
Yes, I am a real person, not just a cartoon character.

Are you a real doctor?

Can I ask you for medical advice?
Well, I'm a doctor, but not your doctor. (Sorry!)

Wait, are you the one who did that comic about the 12 Types of Med Students?
Yes, and some other comics too.

What is "The Underwear Drawer" anyway?
Like I mentioned on the "About Me" page, The Underwear Drawer is an online journal I started my second year of medical school as sort of a writing project to keep my mind fresh in the creativity-sucking void that is medical training, and to document some of my stories along the way. Over the years, I expanded it somewhat to include the "Scutmonkey" comics, which is a running series of cartoons about medical training. Some people think the comics are funny. Things I talk about on this site are med school and residency, New York, love and marriage (go together like a horse and carriage), dog ownership, pregnancy and prospective parenthood, books and movies, as well as assorted other miscellany.

Can I use your comics for a presentation/magazine article/t-shirt/fundraiser? It'll be way cool, I swear!
I'm sure it will be. Just please make sure you ask me first before using my work. Believe me, word gets back to me. I have spies everywhere. And anyway, chances are almost 100% that I will give you permission, unless you're somehow using the "Scutmonkey" name to sell crack to kids or something heinous like that.

How come Scutmonkey Issue #1 is sold out? I need a copy! When are you going to issue reprints?
The main reason that I decided not to reprint Scutmonkey Issue #1 and continue to sell the comic online is that my backyard business got a little too successful and it became untenable to run said business from my home while working as a resident. Specifically, I had no time to take care of the orders, I never got a chance to go to Kinko's, and I never got a chance to go to the post office to mail the things off. If there were some way that I could get a third party to take care of the actual printing/order-taking/mailing aspect of selling comics, I would totally be down with issuing reprints, but until then, Scutmonkey Press is closed for business. All the comics are online, though, so you can still read them anyway.

I'm writing an article about medicine/comics/blogs/sarcastic Asian women. Can I interview you?

I would love to help you, please e-mail me and we can try to work something out.

Does anyone you know read your online journal? Does Joe read your online journal? Because you talk about him a lot here. Does he know that? Does he mind?
A good number of people who know me read this page. Which was kind of the point--part of the reason I started "The Underwear Drawer" so that my friends in far-flung places could keep tabs on how I was doing. And of course Joe knows about this page and the fact that I talk about him here, because besides the fact that I tell him, he has been recognized in the street and in the hospital from pictures that I have posted. Just like a movie star, he is. Anyway, he knows that I tell stories about him here and he doesn't mind, but since he's a resident too, I make a special effort not to talk too much about the specifics of his work. As for whether or not he reads this page regularly, I think he kind of feels like there's no point because he hears all the stories first-hand before I post them anyway. But he'll pop on by once in a while.

Why don't you talk more about how you love your patients and love the hospital and how it's all worth it in the end because being a doctor is the most fulfilling thing ever? Are you a bad person?
No, I'm a real person.

How can you tell stories about work? Isn't that a HIPAA violation? Aren't you going to get fired?
Virtually all work stories I tell involving patients has been changed to protect patient privacy. Usually the things I'll change will be things like gender, age, diagnosis, the dates that certain events took place, or any number of other personal or family characteristics. It makes identifying particular patients very difficult. When I tell work stories about patients, I just want you to get the gist of what it's like to work with them--you don't need to know all the details.

I want to get into med school. Any advice?
My main advice is to make sure you really want to be a doctor. The whole medical training process is no cakewalk, it takes a long time to complete, and if you don't like the kind of work you're doing at the end of it all, you're just going to want to hurl yourself off of something high.

If you could go back in time and decide again whether or not to go into medicine, would you?
Yes. But only because I can't figure out anything else I would be good at. I mean, not that I'm so great at this, but you know what I'm saying.