Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

July 12, 2000 | Volume 1, Issue 3

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Dealing With Stress

Dr. Karl

On the Hoffman-Pritzker scale of life stressors, internship and residency rank alongside such calamities as divorce, being mugged, and anthrax infestation. Indeed, the overwhelming stress experienced during these arduous years can "sap thou sweet nectar from ye bud of youth," crushing the soft-shelled soul of adolescence and grinding it into a fine, powdery pulp with the consistency of clam chowder.

This issue, Q Fever!’s I&R correspondent, Dr. Karl Newman, reveals his secrets of: Dealing With Stress.

Stress. Ah, yes. Stressastressastress. We all know it, every one of us. And don't ever let anyone tell you it's not a big thing, or that it's something that you grow out of... 'cause it's not. It's like what my first resident told me:

Stress is real, so shut up and deal!

Well! Easier said than done!! So we've all heard about the ineffective ways some people handle pressure. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and brazen thuggery. Petty crimes and felony misdemeanors. Maladaptation and miscegenation. The list goes on and on.

Like, belligerence and bellicosity. Apathy and insouisance. Lassitude, languidity, and lethargy.

And, enmity and malevolence, and acrimony and maliciousness.

[Alright, next time I get off on a tangent like that, just slap me, will ya?!]

So what does it take then, to defeat stress at its own evil game? Here's my secret mantra, which I'll generously share with you now:

You Can't Spell SUCCESS
Without The Three S's In STRESS

Huh? Three S's??Yeah. See, it's like this. Each "S" stands for a different tactic in our stress-fighting arsenal.

The first "S" stands for:


How important is sleep? Try this. Go a week without sleep. You'll quickly find that the human body, which can adapt to almost any extreme of temperature, pressure, or volume, can't go more than a couple of days without at least nine hours of sleep each day. Trust me on this, okay? A person can go months without food and water, and up to a week without oxygen, but stay up for a couple of nights in a row, and you'll know what I mean.

Now on to the second "S," which stands for:


You think I'm kidding about this?! Get at least nine hours, preferably ten or eleven. Whether you're "on call" or not! Turn off your beeper if you have to. Get silicone earplugs. Lock the door. Cut the phone lines. You need sleep, and you need it NOW. Get your Stage 1, your Stage 2 and 3, and your Stage 4, then top it all off with a nice helping of strawberry-flavored REM sleep. Make it a double scoop for me!

Finally, the third "S" stands for:


Think you're waking up? Think again!! Get your shiny round buttocks back under the covers and catch a few Z's as long as you're there anyway. Reality can wait. Let it knock if it wants - no one's home, and the fridge's empty!

So there you have it. Not that bad, now was it?! Stress really isn't all that awful after all... if you know how to beat it. Nine hours of peaceful, God-given sleep each and every night - that's the secret, and I'm glad I shared it.

“Just tell ‘em Dr. Karl sent ya!”

Karl Newman, MD is a second-year resident in Internal Medicine. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Q Fever!, its editors, or its writers.

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