Saturday 28 June 2014

Is this thing on?

After nearly 3 years and over 2 million pageviews, I'm finally getting the idea that there are more than a few people who read this blog.  Ow . . . wait, I think I strained my shoulder patting myself on the back there.  Maybe I should take some homeopathy for the pain.  Anyway, several dozen young people (students in high school or university) have emailed to tell me that I've inspired them to pursue a career in medicine, and a couple have even told me they are interested in trauma surgery.  Every email like that makes me feel as warm and fuzzy inside as if I'd eaten a stuffed bear.

But is that it?  As great as it feels being someone's inspiration to go into medicine, can't I do more?  I'm not sure I succeeded changing any minds with my rants on homeopathy, the antivax insanity, and marijuana (though I do try).  So am I a lousy writer like Stephenie Meyer (incidentally, why "Stephenie"?  Can no one spell a name properly anymore?) with no ability to sway opinion and convince anyone about anything?  Or can I actually educate and change people's minds regarding subjects I am passionate about?

After getting this email from Taylor (not her real name), I'm ready to do away with my personal Amanda McKittrick Ros comparison and say "yes I can".

Though you've undoubtedly heard this hundreds of times by now, I found your blog through FML, and I really do love reading. It's rare, at least where I come from, to find a doctor who seems to be as well grounded and sincere as you come across, so, good on you! Clich√© comment aside, I'll get to my point.  

Ever since I was a child, it had been my dream to ride a motorbike. My father owned several, and rode them daily until an accident left him pretty traumatized. I was too young to know of the details, but as I understand it, he was thrown from his bike when hit by a car from the back. He had some pretty heavy duty injuries, and even thirteen years later, he says his shoulder and knee have never been the same. 

Despite this, I was still utterly obsessed with motorbikes. Perhaps it was because I was too young to fully understand the accident, but it hadn't discouraged me in the slightest. Now, I know what you're thinking. She's an idiot. But here's the good news! From your many, many posts surrounding the issue of motorbikes, I have been entirely converted. It's serious stuff. I don't want to get myself killed. I don't want to find myself in a situation similar to those on your blog.

I'd really like to thank you for putting your stories out there. They've made a difference to me. I'm aware of the dangers, and I've come to the realization that it's just not worth running the risk. Thanks for taking the time out to read this. Keep it up, Doc!
Huzzah!  It works!  Taylor, you're listening to your brain (and to me, perhaps) rather than to your heart.  Well done!  Your heart is stupid anyway.  Seriously though, why does everyone say "Listen to your heart"?  It just sits there and beats repeatedly.  Faster, slower, faster, slower.  But your brain is what does all the thinking.  Listen to your brain, damn it.

Regardless, it's gratifying to know that there will now be one fewer motorcyclist on the roads, so I have one fewer person to worry about.  And one fewer prospective patient . . . the patients who pay my salary and allow me to buy food for my family . . .

Hm, maybe I'm looking at this all wrong.

UPDATE: Just after posting this, I got this email from Angela (not her real name):
I emailed you several months (I think) ago about me deciding to quit smoking after reading one of your stories.  I just wanted to tell you I have successfully quit smoking, and my mother has too. I told the story (for lack of a better word at the moment) that motivated me to quit smoking to my mother, and that is what helped her quit.  I'm much happier that my mother quit smoking, as she has enough medical problems.  Thank you very much for sharing your stories, because thanks to just one of them, I was able to motivate myself (and stop making excuses) to quit. 

Thank you again, ~Angela
Double huzzah!  Congratulations Angela, to you and your mother.


  1. Alexander Korzer-Robinson28 June 2014 at 20:43

    Well done! That is a fantastic achievement! You have every right to be proud of yourself for that! Love your blog.

  2. One person, potentially saved.
    All is good and the effort is worth it.

    FWIW, my "no motorcycle ever" moment came in nursing school, when a radiologist brought in some films and asked "Find the pathology."

    Internal decapitation with the helmet still on. Yep, that was enough.

  3. I still take a less extreme view. partly because I have helped cut people out of cars with injuries as significant.

    but still, anyone who chooses safety over personal gratification is a win.

  4. Just had to weigh in on "Stephenie"... It's because she's LDS (Mormon). They like to have weird names, and if it's a normal name, they want a weird spelling for some reason... (Yes, I can say this without some silly remark about me hating LDS people, I'm LDS.) Don't believe me?


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