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Michelle Au  

Practicing Anesthesiologist and Author

Michelle Au is an anesthesiologist who for the last ten years has been writing online about her experiences in the world of medicine as well as her life outside it. The writings from her blog “The Underwear Drawer” (theunderweardrawer.blogspot.com) have been featured on WebMD, The Student Doctor Network, Metafilter, and Revolution Health. Her writing has been integrated into Student Wellness curriculum at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, and her medical comic strips have been featured extensively at dozens of academic medical centers both nationally and abroad. Her first book, This Won't Hurt A Bit (And Other White Lies) , will be published in May 2011.

Au started medical school armed only with a surfeit of idealism, a handful of old ER episodes for reference, and some vague notion about “helping people.” This Won’t Hurt a Bit is the story of how she grew up and became a real doctor. It’s a no-holds-barred account of what a modern medical education feels like, from the grim to the ridiculous, from the heartwarming to the obscene. Unlike most medical memoirs however, this one details the author’s struggles to maintain a life outside of the hospital, in the small amount of free time she had to live it. And, after she and her husband have a baby early in both their medical residencies, Au explores the demands of being a parent with those of a physician, two all-consuming jobs in which the lives of others are very literally in her hands.

Au’s stories range from hilarious to heartbreaking and hit every note in between, proving more than anything that the creation of a new doctor (and a new parent) is far messier, far more uncertain, and far more gratifying than one could ever expect.

Au graduated from Wellesley College in 1999, received her M.D. from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2003, and completed her residency in anesthesiology at the Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. She is married to Dr. Joseph Walrath, has two sons, and lives in Atlanta, where she is an anesthesiologist in a private practice.


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