Where Everybody Knows Your Broth

In the past few months I've eaten at some unique places:

  • a restaurant that only serves macaroni and cheese (S'Mac)

  • a yogurt bar (Pinkberry)

  • a rice pudding bar (Rice to Riches)

  • I'm still hoping to go to that secret cookie shop (mmm... secret cookies), and the popcorn place on the west side. The next time I'm in Philly, I'll check out Cereality.

    But a few weeks ago, I found myself in Hoboken, eating some beef stew in celebration of St. Patrick's Day (yes, they do it early and often over there). The food was splendid, but our party ran out of plates -- and so people started eating their stew in a cup.

    And that's when my idea for StewBar was born.

    You know, a place to get your stew on-the-go. Meat, vegetable, chili -- many varieties. Enterprising franchisers can even apply for a liquor license, to become a "Stew & Brew" for the late night crowd... or tired residents looking for a square meal and a way to take the edge off.

    My question now is, is a stew bar enough of a gimmick? Because if not, we thought up aanother: The Stork, a combination straw / fork for your stew-in-a-cup.

    If You Leave, I Won't Cry

    Have you ever really invested in writing a comment on someone's blog, then decided to double-dip and convert your text into a post on your own blog? I used to do this a lot -- and frankly, if I'm ever going to post more than twice a month, I need to start doing it again.

    So, here's a nice thread that Future EM Resident Graham Walker started about telling patients, nicely, that they don't have an emergency:
    "Hey, good news! I talked about your case with the attending, we reviewed your story and physical exam findings, and we both agree that you don’t need any blood tests drawn, or a trip down to the radiology department for some xrays. In fact, what you’ve got will almost certainly get better on its own, though here are the warning signs to watch out for..."

    Then later (or earlier) you can mention, "You know, we triage patients so that complaints like yours today aren’t seen as fast as the life-or-death cases. You might save time, and get seen faster, in a primary care clinic. What? You don’t have insurance? You can still be seen in the resident clinic... And as you build up a relationship with these clinic doctors, they can give you more information on your condition, do routine testing to nip new problems in the bud... it really saves time and peace of mind, in the long run..."

    This won't please everyone (especially in Manhattan, where no patient likes to think they overestimated an "emergency.") Some people feel entitled to testing because they waited forever. Some patients want a medical-sounding diagnosis for every ache or sniffle.

    I tell them I see emergencies all the time, I love them, I go out of my way to look for them, but hey, it's *a good thing* I don't think they're crashing -- they should be happy and reassured. And while it’d be great to pin a diagnosis on every little thing, I'm not a rheumo-neuro-psychiatrist... my job is to find emergencies, and they don't have one.

    I like the comments from a mom who didn't exactly know what 'a good sat' was, and the reader who added that a minor cold might get worse in an ED full of germs.

    Further reading: a brief discussion of the origin of the name Gomer (were there ERs in the Biblical times?)