I always try to encourage questions from readers either by email or in the comments, but it seems people are very hesitant to post comments. So most of the questions I get are via email. But I've noticed that I continue to get variations of the same questions, so I've decided to create a one-stop answer repository for you. This is not because I want everyone to know everything about me; rather, it's much more selfish than that - I just want a link where I can point people from now on instead of answering the same damned questions over and over and over.
DISCLAIMER: Not all answers herein will be truthful, useful, helpful, or any combination thereof. Some answers may or may not be completely or partially fabricated, invented, or otherwise fictional. Batteries not included. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.
Now that that's out of the way, let's begin, shall we?
1) Where are you from?
HA! You really thought you'd try that first, eh? Nice try, but I'm not falling for that one! Did you really think I was going to answer that?
2) Fine, asshole. Why won't you tell us where you're from?
Well that's a much simpler question to answer, so I'll answer it in as complex a fashion as possible. My family is my first priority, and my patients come next. Part of taking care of my patients is protecting their privacy. All of the stories I tell are true (with certain details admittedly altered or embellished), so if you knew I was in London or Montreal or Sydney or Beijing or Moscow or Johannesburg, it might be easier to figure out who these people are. I simply can not let that happen.
3) So I guess you won't tell me your name?
You guessed right.
4) Are you actually a doctor?
Seriously, I get this one all the time. Yes, I am.
5) If you're actually a doctor, how do you have so much time to comment on FML and to update your blog?
What, are you some kind of time management expert now? Trust me, I find the time. I happen to be very efficient with my time, so when I can save a few seconds here and there, they add up.
6) Are you an ER doctor?
No. NO. NO! Why don't you just slap me in the face, because that would hurt less. In case you didn't catch that, no I'm not. I'm a trauma surgeon.
7) Well excuuuuse me. So what's the difference anyway?
An emergency physician sees anyone who walks into the emergency department with a sniffle, a sprained ankle, pinkeye, chest pain, a hangnail, abdominal pain, anything. A trauma surgeon sees only those people who are brought in having suffered a traumatic injury - falls, car accidents, stabbings, gunshot wounds, my-lawnmower-ran-over-my-foot wounds, etc. We evaluate them and then perform surgery to repair any damage done, from simple things like lacerations to more complex things like shattered spleens.
8) Why do you call yourself "Doc Bastard"?
Easy, because I'm a doctor and a bastard. NEXT QUESTION! What, not good enough? Ok, well the "Doc" part should be easy enough to figure out if you read question 4. As for the "Bastard", when I decided to start commenting on fmylife.com, I thought I would act like the biggest asshole in the history of assholes to the posters and the other commenters. "DocAsshole" just didn't look right, so "DocBastard" was born. I quickly abandoned that idea, but I'm just not creative enough to think of a new username, so it stuck.
9) When did you decide to become a doctor?
When I was five years old, I visited my grandfather's medical office. I saw his ophthalmoscope, otoscope, and stethoscope and thought, "Cool, I want to use these toys someday!" and I never looked back.
10) What about surgery?
I didn't decide that until I was well into medical school. Believe it or not, I entered medical school thinking I'd go into pediatrics or psychiatry. Surgery was barely a consideration then. But on the first day of my surgery clerkship, I scrubbed into surgery for the first time (it was a groin hernia repair), and the scrub technician dressed me in my sterile gown and gloves. The moment I put my hands on the patient, I knew I belonged there.
11) What does it take to be a trauma surgeon?
Hard work, determination, and a bit of luck. You have to be willing to spend considerable amounts of time away from home, and you have to have a family that is supportive. It's nearly impossible to spend 24 hours at a time in the hospital and survive without someone who loves you unconditionally to come home to.
12) Have you ever considered publishing these stories?
Ha! No. Writing is merely a hobby for me, and to be honest I never thought anyone would read this crap. Now if anyone happens to know an editor or publisher and wanted to point him or her in my direction, I certainly wouldn't object. HINT HINT
13) Who is your biggest influence?
That would be my father, DadBastard. He was a surgeon as well, and a damned good one at that. I'm told my personality is very similar to his, even down to his mannerisms. He has always been my role model, and I can't think of anyone to whom I'd rather be compared, except maybe his father, GrandpaBastard (who unfortunately passed away several years ago). They both tried repeatedly to talk me out of going into medicine (and surgery), since they knew first-hand the sacrifices I'd have to make. But I think they just wanted to make sure my heart was really in it.
14) What's this lump on my ass?
I have no idea, but it's hideous.
15) Can I ask you other questions?
Yes. See the disclaimer above.