It's not Just Growing Pains: A Guide to Childhood Muscle, Bone, and Joint Pain, Rheumatic Diseases, and the Latest Treatments

By Thomas J. A. Lehman | Go to book overview

2
Figuring Out
What’s Wrong

Before medical school I had to take all the required classes in college. Many of the classes required for medical school satisfied the requirements for majoring in zoology in college. I enjoy the outdoors and was happy to sign up for field zoology as one of the required courses. Armed with guidebooks, we walked around the local hills in small groups with an instructor looking for and identifying birds. Sometimes the instructor would hear a noise or see a bird vaguely in the distance and tell us what it was. Frequently, it was too far away to see the identifying characteristics noted in the guidebook, but when we got closer we would see that he was correct in his identification. Other times one of us would become very excited and announce that we had just seen a bird we had never seen before and we were sure it was, for example, a Mexican jay. The instructor would just shake his head. No matter how sure we were that it matched the picture in the book, he would point out that we were not in (or even close to) Mexico and that a common bird in our area looked a little bit like the Mexican jay. A few minutes’ investigation would invariably prove that he was right and we were wrong. He had been teaching this course in the same hills for many years. Each different bird had a typical behavior, a typical place it was likely to be seen, and a typical time of year it was likely to be there. These things were not in our guidebooks, but the instructor knew them from experience. With years of experience it was easy for him to recognize birds from much further away than we could and to know when we could not have seen what we thought we saw. He knew that there were rare exceptions, but they were always unlikely.

-7-

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