Too damn hot

By C. Douglas Phillips, MD, FACR, Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY
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 It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.

—Yogi Berra

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.

We were 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.

You can 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.

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Too damn hot.  Appl Radiol. 

March 28, 2013

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