Learning medicine is part book reading, part lecture, part doing, and part emotion; the last is perhaps the most difficult and least attended to in medical education. One must also learn to balance a sense of when to strive for independence, judgment, and action and when to call for help. During internship, my next croup case did not turn out so well as the first. Shortly after midnight on a winter's eve, an anxious mother and her 3-year-old child arrived by ambulance at the ER. I was on duty and was called by the nurse to attend. Both mother and child were wide-eyed with fear and panic, the child coughing the telltale cough and showing considerable trouble breathing. By now I was a real doctor and even "experienced" in caring for children with croup. I was in an excellent institution, with a superb training program and a supportive staff ready and eager to help. I initiated the routine that had worked so well for my small patient in the 50-bed hospital: comfort mother and child, keep the child seated on mother's lap, use mild sedatives judiciously, and have available a steam-vapor tent (to be used only if separation from mother was not too stressful). All went well: child and mother rested comfortably.