Monday 25 April 2016


As much as I may not want to admit it to myself or to you good people, I'm human.  Yes, I realise that may come as a shock to many of you who see me solely as a snarky robotic technician who just fixes holes, but I do actually have feelings, and I even pay attention to them.  Sometimes.  It's rare, but occasionally I even let those feelings show.

This is one of those times.

I get a fair number of letters from readers.  Well, emails actually.  This isn't 1882 - who the hell writes letters these days?  Some of them include medical questions, some are personal questions, some folks relate medical stories of their own, and some are hate mail, though I sadly haven't gotten any of that in a while.  I do love hate mail.

Every now and then, however, I get an email that tugs at my calcified, nearly immobile heartstrings.  Incidentally, I must have missed that day of anatomy when we were taught about tugging on heartstrings.  I have no idea why the chorda tendineae would have anything to do with sappy crap, but that probably has to do more with the fact that I have a Y chromosome, and men aren't supposed to understand "emotions" or something, which leads me back to my point.

Unfortunately for that stupid stereotype (is there any other kind?), I do understand emotions.  Quite well, in fact.  It probably has something to do with having a daughter who gets blubbery and cries during nearly every movie.  Seriously, you should have seen her at the end of E.T.  Total waterworks.

Anyway, Freddy (not his real name™) emailed me some time back out of the blue.  He's a teenager (15 years old) from the US and apparently has been reading this stupid blog for a while.  I don't know what made him decide to contact me, but I'm glad he did.  For some reason his email hit me just in that right damned spot.
Hi I'm Freddy (not my real name™), I live in {redacted} and my dad was the trauma program director at a hospital in {redacted}.  Dad joined the military when he was older.  He died serving in Iraq in 2008, when I was 8.  Dad said he joined to help save the soldiers over there.   
My mom followed your blog for a while then introduced me to it, and I love your stories.  And also your humor reminds me a lot of my dad, so it's nice to read your stories.  I'm interested in medicine, and reading your stories shows the types of stuff that happens in a trauma bay, and since my dad isn't alive to tell me what happens, I'm happy to hear them from you.  Thank you for the hilarious stories.  I can't wait to read more of them!   
Freddy P (still not my real name™)
What?  No, I am NOT crying!  There's just an eyelash or some sand or something in my eye!  Hang on, I just need a tissue or five.

In all seriousness, it is truly an honour to share my stories, and even more of an honour that there are people like Freddy (and the rest of you crazy people who are still willing to share my tiny corner of the Internet) who appreciate what I have to say.  I have the utmost respect for people who willingly put their lives on the line in order to help others.  Freddy's loss is heartbreaking, especially when you consider that his father wasn't even a fighter - he was a healer.

Maybe this won't affect you the same way that it affected me, but the only way I see that possible is if you are this guy.

Thank you very much for the email, Freddy.  Thanks to your mother for sharing this with you.  And thanks to you both (and everyone else) for staying with me.  I hope you continue to share and enjoy my stories, and I hope they continue to give you two even a tiny bit of solace.

Since Freddy is underage, he and his mother both gave consent to publish his email.

Freddy and his mother are still following along with us here.  I got this email from Freddy's mother Jane (not her real name™) earlier today:
This was beautiful.
Thank you,
Jane, "Freddy's" mom
What? No, I am NOT crying again!


  1. I think I have an eyelash in my eye too.....
    Love and best wishes to "Freddy".

  2. and people wonder why smart people wish there was a better solution to problems than sending young people off to kill each other...

  3. Yes, I think someone has been peeling onions around here...


    Doc: How come so many of your correspondents live in Redacted? Where is that anyway? California? ;-)


    1. Redacted is in the country Omitted, on the continent of Classified.

    2. and about a day's drive from MYOB.

  4. Let's be realistic Doc: who Didn't cry at the end of E.T. the first time they saw it?

  5. I must still have some shampoo in my eye because it's watering a bit too. (PS I didn't cry at ET). I sobbed when HS fell to patricide in SW7 though. So glad you can bring some happiness to Freddie (Not his real name ™).

  6. Doc, thanks for sharing this wonderful reminder of the fact that so many of our "ordinary" actions can have an "extraordinary" impact on others :)

    It's awesome that your blog has helped Freddy to strengthen his connection, in a very real sense, with the dad who is no longer physically present in his life.

  7. Was it so necessary to include the underage Miranda Warning?

    1. Maybe not, but I do that for any children who write me. Was it necessary for you to point out something completely harmless?

    2. it makes him feel relevant.

    3. Doc, as a fellow parent who raised a child during the age of cyber-communication, I appreciate your respect for families :)

      Hi, "Jane" and "Freddy"! Whoever and wherever you are, know that you're a part of our SFTTB "neighborhood"!

  8. I'm too pregnant to read these kind of stories. *Que years...*

  9. I love all your stories, the depth and breadth of them, but this one is a favorite now. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  10. Grandma Skeptic30 April 2016 at 23:23

    ~sniff~ Boy, my allergies sure are bad today! ~sniff~


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