Monday 19 September 2016


I'm a goddamned good father, and I'm not too proud to admit it.  Of course as I write that my 9-year-old daughter is sitting right next to me, but it's ok - I made her go to the other room before she saw it.  I don't know exactly how it happened, but Mrs. Bastard and I seem to have stumbled into an series of good parenting decisions and techniques (not that we are perfect), such that we have the best kids in the world.  I don't mean to demean any other parents out there, but it's a simple fact that someone on the planet must have the best kids in the world, and I just so happen to be that guy.  No, they aren't perfect either, but as Albert Einstein once said, no one is perfect.

It may not actually have been Einstein that said that.  Maybe it was Nikola Tesla.

Anyway, our parenting equation is rather simple - 1) Mrs. Bastard and I are always there for our kids, or if we can't be, we make damned sure to have a responsible backup, 2) every decision we make is for the benefit of our children, 3) we do everything we can to keep our children safe.  Very very simple.  Take those three things and add them up and you get two very strict (and very effective) parents with two very sweet, very well-behaved, and very well-adjusted children.  They're both also totally freaking adorable, but I can't really take credit for that - that's good luck more than anything else.  Plus, they obviously get their looks from their mother.

We didn't read any parenting books and we essentially ignored much of the advice that we got from our parents (sorry MomBastard, DadBastard, and Bastards-in-law), and yet we are somehow doing a damned good job.  I know this may seem like another Extol Doc's Virtues post, but it really isn't.  Well, I guess up until now it is.  But from now on it isn't.  I swear.  We aren't perfect parents - I yell a bit too much, Mrs. Bastard yells a bit too little - but we're good.

If only Aiden (not his real name™) had been so lucky.

I've said it many times before, but nothing good happens at 2 AM.  This is true for adults, but even truer for teenagers.  (As an aside, how can something be truer?  If it is true, can something else be more true?)  The only reason a 16-year old should be out at 2 AM is if he is working to support himself and/or his family.  Otherwise they should all be in bed asleep, which is exactly where I was when my pager woke me to tell me I would be getting a Level 1 gunshot victim in 5 minutes.


When Aiden rolled through the door, my first impression was "Why the fuck isn't this kid in bed asleep on a school night?  What the hell was he doing?  Why the hell was he shot?  Who did he piss off?"  Fortunately my ever-so-slight drowsy haze had worn off, so I had the self-restraint to ask him none of those questions.

"Hey Doc," the medics began.  "This is Aiden.  He's 16, through-and-through gee ess double-you to the right thigh."

Indeed Aiden had two small holes in his leg - one just above the knee and one on the back of his mid thigh.  But unlike in movies, it doesn't take a big hole to cause major problems.  My first priority in cases like this is to see what was hit.  There are lots of Very Important Things in the thigh (including 1) artery, 2) bone, 3) nerve, and 4) vein), so my job was to rule in (or out) injuries to all of them.  Sure there's plenty of muscle in there too, but who the hell cares about that.

I was able to lift his leg without him screaming in pain, so I tentatively scratched bone off the list of Potentially Injured Things.  I then placed my finger on the top of his foot to feel his pulse.

Wait, wait . . . his pulse?  On his foot?  Isn't the pulse on the wrist?

Yes, his pulse on his foot.  I didn't know this before medical school either, but on the top of your foot there's a little bone protruding slightly (the first cuneiform, if you were wondering), and just towards the outside of this is the dorsalis pedis artery, which is one of two arteries that supplies blood to the foot.  I put my finger there and felt . . . nothing.  I then went to his posterior tibialis artery (the other aforementioned blood supply to the foot) which is just behind the bone on the inside of the ankle.

Also nothing.

The pulses were strong in his other leg, so I knew we had a Big Problem.  How big a problem was still up in the air since I hadn't yet addressed question 3, the nerve (much like the muscles, the vein isn't really a big issue).  I touched his foot and asked him if he could feel it.


I asked him to move his toes.


SHIT.  This had just gone from a Big Problem to a Really Big Problem.

Aiden was rushed down to the operating room where the vascular surgeon found exactly what we were all expecting to find - a lacerated superficial femoral artery and femoral nerve.  My colleague was able to re-establish blood flow by doing a bypass graft, and we tried to piece the nerve back together as best we could.

While you may be thinking "Hey, at least you got blood flow back!", a well-perfused leg with no sensation and no movement is not a leg at all, and an amputation and prosthesis is usually more functional.  Think of it as a bank with a top-of-the-line safe, a beautiful atrium, plenty of safety deposit boxes, and a vault full of money to lend . . . but no customers and no staff.  It may look like a bank, but it is not a bank, just an empty, useless building.  That is probably a terrible analogy, but it seems to have legs, so I'm running with it.

Har dee fucking har.

Horrible analogy and worse joke aside, Aiden's leg seemed like it would end up a useless appendage.  Maybe.  Time would tell if the nerve would heal.

When I went to see him the next morning and re-examine him, several female party goers were there.  At least, that was my first impression.  The two reeked of alcohol, marijuana and god-knows-what else, had on ridiculously long fake eyelashes and enough makeup to cover a clown car full of clowns, and were wearing mini-skirts that, if they were any shorter, would qualify as belts.

I figured they were Aiden's friends, though if I ever caught my daughter dressing like that I would immediately tell her to GO GET DRESSED.  Neither of them had shown up overnight when, you know, their loved one was shot, because they were too busy "at the club", they told me.

I was somewhat stunned to find out that one of the girls was Aiden's teenage sister.

I was even more stunned to discover that the other one was his mother.

Aiden had been shot while he was out partying on a school night.  His mother did not know this (and I had to inform her of it) because she had been out partying (at a different party, of course) with his sister.  Now do not misunderstand me - I am not saying that that 16-year-olds should be confined to their bedrooms and not allowed to go out.  What I am saying is that Aiden's mother had no fucking clue where he was, what he was doing, and who he was doing it with, and the reason for that was because she was too busy dressing up like a prostitute and getting drunk.

Actually I take that back - I've seen prostitutes better dressed than these two.

Am I being overly judgmental here?  Perhaps.  But keep in mind I'm not judging his mother based on how she was dressed, but rather on her actions: 1) not knowing what her young son was doing, and 2) getting high and drunk while not knowing what her young son was doing.  And to be fair, Aiden was the one who put himself in the situation that got him shot.  That was his doing, not his mother's.  But overall it was a glaring circumstance of irresponsibility at its very worst by everyone involved, and Aiden almost lost his leg because of it.

Yes, almost.  Fortunately Aiden's nerve decided to start healing, and by the time he left the hospital he was starting to move his toes and had some sensation back.

Perhaps my perspective will change when my children get older, but my actions will not.  I will continue to be there for them, and whether they like it or not I will know where they are and who they are with at all times.  I have friends and neighbours who have older children, so I know this is not only possible, but eminently doable.  There will be times when they screw up, I know that.  There will continue to be times when I am too strict and yell too much.  But there will not be times when I screw up and ignore being a parent.

They are far too important for that.


  1. I experienced the other end of the spectrum this weekend at a drill (yes, to relieve minds, this was a DRILL, and none of this happened in real life.)
    we performed an exercise in which we SIMULATED what the aftereffects would be of a disgruntled somebody opening fire and setting off an IED in my local high school.
    it is my sincere hope that this will all be useless knowledge, but it is also my sincere hope that if it ever happens, our own Doc B and his associates have had a good breakfast and plenty of Coca Cola on hand, because we have several ideas on how we can get OUR end of the job done faster than we did in the drill.
    not that we lost a single "patient" due to an error or delay.

  2. I am betting most of the readers will immediately try to feel for their pulse as you explained. I did. As to parenting, I couldn't agree more. I was know as the "meanest" mom of all my children's friends. I believe "meanest" and "strictest" are interchangeable in their vocabularies. I tried to know where they were at all times, but I am sure during high school they most likely fooled me at times (They were normal teenagers). As adults, they have thanked me for both my and their father's diligence. Today I have three children in their 30s (I need a new term for adult offspring that sounds better than proginee) who have never been arrested, have no children out of wedlock (not criticizing here as I know many wonderful parents sans marriage), 401Ks, college (both under grad and graduate). They are petroleum geologist, geophysicist, and a clinical psychologist. They all married lovely people. I never won a popularity contest while they were growing up, but I hit the jackpot on having responsible adults. Now if the woul hurry up and make me some grandchildren!

  3. I too must've done something right with my 5 kids. They are all grown and doing great with their lives. They were home every night in their beds. Two have given me grandkids. I did get after one of my son's last night. He posted a picture of my 1 year old grandson eating a big chunk of hotdog on Facebook. Of course me being a mom and nurse and reading about these brain death cases I posted a comment for that hot dog to be cut into small pieces !!
    His wife posted back that they cut it after the picture was taken. They said he took it off his mom's plate. We live on opposite coasts so I can only keep up with him on facebook.

  4. My dad always said, "Nothing good happens after midnight." I agree.

  5. While the only time I can recall being out at 2am was due to a major flight delay I have been out at 3am as a teenager--doing nothing at all wrong. We were going on a backpacking trip, why should I wake my parents up to drive me to the rendezvous point? I got the rest of the night's sleep in the car going to the trailhead.

  6. 1) Doc: Did you report that so-called mother to Child Protective Services, or whatever it's called where you are, for neglect?

    2) Emily: NOT TRUE! Don't you rememberr that college parties don't start jumpin' until after midnight? Back in my school days, we sometimes drove from Boston to NY to party at the Paradise Garage & never got there before 1:00 am. Those were the best parties of my lifetime.

    After midnight, it's not so much were you go but who you're out with, that makes all the difference. I still hang out until last call (2:00am) at one or two jazz clubs once in a while. In some cities, you're more likely to get shot at a house party than at a club.

    But what happened to being an adult who enjoys the night life? Folks these days act like people deserve to get shot because they were out after midnight.

    Doc's patient with the ratchet mom should not have been out a school night, regardless. But if you're out with a bunch of thugs with guns, bad things can happen right on your mother's front porch.

  7. "Because she was too busy dressing up like a prostitute and getting drunk," LOL, love it

  8. My parents were very strict but were happy that none of their four children brought trouble home.

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  10. Wow the whore of a mother should have her ass beat by a real mother.. I am by no means perfect but taking your minor to whore it up and party screams of, if they are going to do it, better to do it with me.. Kids are not our friends when they are in dire need of a mother or father.. my daughter turned in to my Lil bestie once she was on her own and going to nursing, she called me to gossip and listen to her feelings, but not for this crap..
    After 15+ years as a teen parent counselor this story is way too damn familiar and a pattern set in motion for the next generation of that families kids.

    1. I have a sneaking suspicion the mom was not really all that much older than the kids.
      anti-drug me also prejudicially presumes there is more than alcohol affecting mom's judgement and maturity level.

      I've met a few 30-going-on-15 people in my life.

    2. Ken I feel ya and HI, I am new but spent a good month lurking and reading. Btw next part of my rant isn't geared towards you.

      I wouldn't go drinking with my daughter and she is 21 and I'm 37.. My dad took my friends and me to a bar when I turned 21, made sure I was ID'd so I could giggle with excitement, gave me a 20 dollar bill, bought me my legal first drink, and told me to call for a ride home so that way nothing bad happened.

      I was a teen-parent (rape), and I struggled, went through years of parenting and counseling to cope. My mom treated my sister like they were best friends and because I was light skinned and didn't look like her she didn't talk or have much to do with me..

      However I made sure I did everything school related with the kids especially band and sports, stayed on them about going to bed early school nights, gave them an inch and when they took and stretched that inch, I took it back til they earned it again..

      I never partied with my kids, always knew where they were, and they had curfews..

      These people below care about age of consent, that's laughable it only applies in legal terms. Most children's brains aren't fully mature and developed til they are in their late teens to early 20s by what studies say- they may legally be able to consent but if their brain isn't mature enough they have no idea what the ramifications are from what they are consenting to.

      Btw Hello Doc, told ya I would join.. I was the one that sent you the email about your voodoo doctor..

      And no I don't care where doc is, he can be from Uranus (RFO pun) for all that matters.. I was a counselor, well still am just not in the line of work right now, and respect privacy and confidentiality.. I love Doc's stories and to keep the stories coming we have to keep his RL private.. Just like if I disclose crazy people stories of clients, legally I can't, but Cali can.

    3. Welcome aboard.
      I grew up on a pretty loose leash - but then, I didn't push the boundaries

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    6. Yikes Doc considering you've dealt with anti evolutionists and anti vaxxers, whatever john said must have been beyond horrendous

  11. The age of consent law in Australia is 16 years of age.

    1. And in Pakistan, it is illegal to have sexual relations outside of marriage.

    2. And in Japan, the age of consent is 13.

    3. And Mexico's age of consent laws are confusing.

    4. So while sister may legally be able to consent to her acts of slutism, it doesn't change the fact that the "family" is obviously seriously disfuntional, and in need of serious help.

    5. No. They also have the right to move out of their parent's home and apply for housing.

    6. Cornboy is also obviously seriously dysfunctional and needs some help.

  12. Is this all because you're trying to figure out where Doc Bastard lives and who he might be? Give it up...sheesh!

    1. I doubt it. I never mentioned age of consent, so I'm not sure what the point of that thread was.

    2. I figured the point was, "Just because you *can,* doesn't mean you *should*".

      As in, even if both Aiden and his sister were *legally* old enough to do as they pleased, their birthing unit sure wasn't doing anything to lead them towards behaving safely and responsibly.

    3. yep, looks like another clumsy cornboy probe.

      but still, I never made the presumption the kids were partying LEGLALLY. which is another indiction against the incubator. I could ask where the father was, but my guess may be as good as theirs.

    4. I already know that doc is from Australia based on one of his blogs ("One Australian morning I treated a lady...blood everywhere"). Secondly, you can't really put the entire blame on the parents because they have laws that protect "16 yr olds" to have rampant sex and the ability to move out of their parent's home once they reach that age This has been the law since 1788 when Australia became a penal colony.

    5. proves nothing. it could have been any time of day where Doc was - while it was morning in Australia. besides which, he has written about treating several gunshot wounds, which are extremely few and far between in Australia.

    6. I normally delete any post referring to my supposed location, but this one is so painfully stupid I decided to leave it. John is referring to this post:

      As the name quite obviously suggests, it is a collection of random pictures that readers sent me, not pictures I took myself. The last was from Mary, a reader from Australia. John apparently missed the fact that I did NOT say "I treated a lady", and that Mary emailed her picture to me.

      Tell me something John - does it hurt being as clueless as you are, or are you so blissfully oblivious to your stupidity that it doesn't bother you?

    7. medication time in his adult foster care facility is every 3 hours, so he feels no pain.

    8. Maybe a reading comprehension issue?

      There's nothing in the posting to suggest that Doc actually treated this person, and "Mary's" story and picture is the last of five, all noted to have been sent to him by readers.

      Strange that someone who seems to get so much information/misinformation/disinformation from the internet wouldn't realize that it's an *international* communications forum...

  13. Some time ago, Doc had a troll who was convinced that Doc was Australian. I suspect Anon to be said troll. My participation in that thread was an attempt to get him/her/it to shut the hell up.

    (Phone is acting up. Not sure this will post. It deleted my first post, and signed me out. Can't remember password.)

  14. My sister always told me that my husband and I were too strict raising our kids. Now that all of them are adults, it is funny how mine are productive members of society with some higher education bolstering their paychecks. They also all take care of and support their own children. My dad takes care of my sister's grandchildren because their mama is too busy spending her money on God-only-knows what. I win!

  15. For some reason, this made me think of Gilmore Girls (can't wait for the reboot.. I never understood how parents could be best friends with their children (as I'm assuming Aiden's mother is for going out clubbing with her daughter, presumably not only on this isolated night). Haha maybe it's because my grandparents are Italian; you best believe my parents were disciplined and did the same to me xD

  16. And then I see a story in the news today of the overdosing mom in the toy aisle with her 2 year old crying for mommy to wake up. So sad...

  17. All hail the holy doc. I found the tone of this post appalling. Sorry, I'm out of this self-aggrandizing stuff.

    1. I've never said that my writing style is for everyone. But if that is what you took away from this, then you completely missed the point.

  18. Yesterday my nephews best friend was shot and killed. He was out at 2am meeting a "friend" his mom was aaleep and he snuck out... sad these kids dyinf

    1. ****dying**** i forgot to add the kid who was murdered was 15 and his murderers were 26 & 15


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