Summary: I am not overly temperature sensitive. I can tolerate extremes, and I
like summer and winter (almost) equally well. I am a radiologist,
however, and work indoors, and I am at the mercy of the heating and
Dr. Phillips is a Professor of Radiology, Director of Head
and Neck Imaging, at Weill Cornell Medical College,
NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. He is a member of the Applied Radiology Editorial Advisory Board.
It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.
I am not overly temperature sensitive. I can tolerate
extremes, and I like summer and winter (almost) equally well. I am a
radiologist, however, and work indoors, and I am at the mercy of the
heating and cooling gods.
This should NOT be rocket science.
There are these modern devices, you see, called thermostats. They work
in some magical and mysterious way to regulate the temperature. I have
some that work at home. I’ll bet they work at your home, too. However,
in the radiology department reading rooms, they serve no apparent useful
function. In fact, they are counterintuitive and unpredictable.
Whatever I ask of the simple device is too much—I often get the opposite
reaction. I think they have a camera in the wall to watch us all
playing with it, cursing it, adjusting and readjusting it.
chatting about the ideal reading room temperature the other day. Would
you want it 68°F? Maybe 70°F? Are there takers for 72°F? 74°F? This was a
laughable discussion, since at the time, our reading room was maxing
out at 81°F. And, despite our most aggressive and repetitive efforts to
alter the temperature via the thermostat on the wall, all we could seem
to do was make it hotter. At 84°F, my advice is sell.
complain about the room temperature all you want. Finding someone to
actually adjust it is another matter, though. The secretary who answered
our cries for help popped in, sensed the sauna-like atmosphere (steam
on the windows was a good hint), and left. We phoned the gods of HVAC.
The maintenance crew refused to believe that it could be that warm.
“Impossible,” they said. The person they dispatched to check it out came
in wearing a parka—not the most likely candidate to correctly appraise
the temperature. Well, they fixed it, I’m happy to say. It’s 61°F in
there now. Now, we’re wearing the parkas. Mahalo.