Tuesday 9 January 2018

Confessions 2018

I know I risk angering the Call Gods by saying this, but my trauma game has been rather slow lately.  I've had very few blog-worthy stories of late, and the last thing I want to do is post a "Oops, no story this week" filler bullshit.  So instead I've decided to continue a tradition from January 2015, or at least what I intended to become a tradition but instead got lost amongst the drunken idiot stories: CONFESSIONS.

Yes, I believe the best way to start a new year is not by making yet another resolution that you know will be broken by January 2 (no, you will NOT go to the gym every single day), but rather by confessing sins and starting the year clean. 

So here goes.  The Official DocBastard Annual Confessional continues.
  • Though I am a die-hard heavy metal and prog rock fan, I confess to thoroughly enjoying the song "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys.  I have tried my best NOT to like it, yet I find myself singing along with it every single goddamned time I hear it, most recently this afternoon.
  • While I'm on the subject of songs I'm embarrassed to like, I also confess that I like "Love Yourself" by Justin Bieber.  Fuck me, but that's a clever song. I hate myself for liking it.
  • Even though the number of followers I have doesn't impact my self-worth, I really do want more followers on Twitter and more readers here.
  • I want to meet Andy Wakefield, ostensibly so I can not-so-politely tell him of the irreparable harm he has done to public health, but actually so I can punch him in his stupid fucking lying face.
  • I hate teaching medical students.
  • I hate training new surgeons even more.
  • I plan on retiring from clinical practice in less than 10 years.
  • I enjoy riling idiots on Twitter and proving them wrong.
  • I like challenging the Call Gods sometimes and seeing what kind of shitstorm they bring me in retaliation.
  • I speak to my drunk patients in the same manner I speak to my children.
  • I hate spam comments here almost as much as spam phone calls at home, and I wish I could round up all the spammers, put them in a small office building, and make them all call and email each other nonstop until they all die.
  • There have been a few times on call when I wish I could have had a beer.
  • I drive home drowsy after call regularly.  I know it's fairly stupid, though I haven't come anywhere close to falling asleep at the wheel in about 15 years.  
  • I am a big Star Wars fan, and I loved "The Last Jedi".  It's probably my favourite Star Wars movie.  I'm sure this will anger many die-hard Star Wars fans, so COME AT ME.
  • I got an email from a publisher about potentially publishing a book.
  • I come dangerously close to hitting a patient at least once a month.
  • Despite my palate maturing as I've aged, I still cannot bring myself to eat a mushroom.  Seriously, fuck mushrooms.
I think that's about enough for one year.  I'll be back with more confessions in 2019 unless that book deal comes through.

Feel free to add your own confessions down below.


  1. As a die hard star wars fan....
    I completely agree.
    Almost all tbe hatred is unwarranted

    1. I think the hate comes from people who wanted the story to go THEIR way.
      you know, instead of luke being a hermit on a backwater planet in self imposed exile because he had made a fatal error that allowed the dark side to overwhelm the light. because a Jedi master wouldn't do that.

  2. My love for cheese-and-peanut-butter sandwiches started with a PB sandwich and a pack of Twisties.

  3. Agree about mushrooms. They are vile.

  4. I didn't think I could love you any more than I already do...until you confessed your love of Star Wars, and especially The Last Jedi. Lifelong fan here!

    Out of curiosity -- what is the one piece of Star Wars technology you'd love to see become reality (medical or otherwise), if any? And, I'd love to know your favorite part of The Last Jedi, but, spoilers, I know.

    Keep on with the awesome in 2018!

  5. I hate prog and other obnoxious rock. Little good music since the mid-70s!

    I hate facebook, texting, and all that other bullshit. If you need your refrigerator to buy groceries for you, you are really, really, screwed up.

    I love silence. Cats. Fattening foods.

    I just got back from a lovely trip to San Miguel de Allende, and may never fly again. Talk about dysfunctional systems - airlines and airports are dangerous.

    Star Wars is fun, but it's just a cartoon!

    I think we need a pandemic to kill off at least half of us humans so that maybe we can get a grip and do better. (And I don't care if I die in the pandemic).

    The next time I see someone walking along texting, I'm going to trip him/her. Stupid is as stupid does.

  6. Oh - I forgot. Listening to all the sexual harrassment incidents recently, while I was indignant for all those people, I also wondered if there was a door in the room that opened and closed so they could open it, walk out, and close it. I was shocked that women were stilll putting up with this shit. It's been almost 50 years, ladies, grow up or get some therapy!

    1. Mary; Keep in mind that opening the door and walking out would mean walking out on their career, as well. that can be quite a motivator for some people.

    2. Then if they are willing to give someone a blow job to get ahead in their career, quit complaining about it. I understand the culture of victimization very well, but too much sympathy encourages it, and challenge lessens it. The whole situation is insane, and leaving it is the only possible sane response, career or no career. This kind of mindset leads to "I was just following orders". In fact, our vulgar and reactive president is a result, I believe, of Americans once again looking for solutions that are easy and simple and don't require taking a thoughtful stand for yourself. I hear people talk about Americans as fat, dumb, and lazy, and the longer I live the more I see it. Is a career worth your self-respect? Get a grip, you guys. I was a woman in a male-dominated profession, and no one ever treated me badly because they knew I wouldn't tolerate it. The fact that women are still socialized to roll over and play dead just drives me crazy.

    3. the fact that women are socialized to accept this is the PROBLEM. the metoo movement is how we are BREAKING that socialization.

    4. It is part of the problem. The other part is the men who are consumed by various pathologies and acting them out. Telling the secret is absolutely vital to stopping the behavior, but believing that - at least in most of these cases - you can't take care of yourself is vital, too. And Ken, since you are a man, and prone to mansplaining and man thinking, your ability to contribute very deeply to this conversation is limited.

    5. and who is it you are accusing of being sexist?

    6. Resorting to sexism to battle sexism is deeply ironic, I think.

      Yes, this issue is deeply-set, and carried forward by both sides, male and female. The only way to end the fight is true equality. Plus, keep in mind that it is HUMAN nature to resist change, both good and bad, and that change is both passive and active.

      The biggest issue is the two radical extremes of both sides, the vocal minority that everyone hears screaming to the world. They drown out the sense and reason among the ranks, and they drown out the middle-ground, spewing hate and garbage at the other side without care who they hit on the way. On one hand, you have men trying to push things back to the bad-old-days of the 1950's. On the other, you have women trying to reverse the roles of the 1950's as a bit of "eye-for-an-eye" revenge. And these are the two groups everyone hears over any sort of middle ground.

      Why do you think there's so much resistance to change? It's because we're biologically programmed to see the worst-case scenario and react to it. And right now, we're really close to the bottom of the pendulum's swing, between one extreme and the other.

      Society as a whole needs to change, yes, but that change needs to meet in the middle. Everyone's equal, which means equal pay, equal benefits, but also equal work and equal expectations. Right now, no one's seeing any compromises between either side. That's not saying there aren't any, but the loud, screaming radical minorities of either side have everyone else afraid to speak up for fear of being 'cast out' of the group.

      And for the record, I'm a man, though it shouldn't matter because everyone is supposed to be equal.

    7. Thanks for your thoughts, Dakala. And yes, everyone is supposed to be equal, but VERY much aren't. I think your paragraph about the 50s oversimplifies things quite a bit, but your heart is in the right place. As to why humans resist change even when it is in their best interest, books have been written about it. Who knows, really? When I began working the great debate was whether women could wear pants suits to work rather than skirts! I could go on, but just let me point out one thing. Most men are bigger, and much stronger, than most women. They are not hindered by pregnancy and nursing. Thus the beginning of the power imbalance. The development of a reliable small weapon (aka The Equalizer) began a shift from smaller and weaker people having less power than bigger and stronger ones, but the thing that really made a difference for women was the birth control pill. Now all of this is a great oversimplification of an extremely complex social - and psychological - phenomenon, but we all still resound to this primal setup. We are basically less hairy and better-looking chimps, in my opinion, and we still act like them a lot of the time. We see this behavior displayed by Trump all the time. He is a lying, rage-full bully who appeals to our most primitive instincts, and quite successfully, evidently. The very fact that a man like him is seen as successful in our society and indeed is elected as our president speaks to our frighteningly primitive natures, still.

      I don't want to write a dissertation, but it is going to take many generations and a lot of screaming and pendulum swinging before we make a dent in this mess. And we may not survive it. You sound like a decent guy, but as a man you operate INNATELY from a very different perspective than any woman. And that is true of everyone now alive. So I believe that women have to get over themselves as much as they have to tell men where to go when necessary. It's ironic that so many of us hold Islam in such contempt really. One of the basic assumptions in Arab cultures is that men - and women - can't control themselves when they are alone with each other. Actually, they blame it much more on women, but consider the source. But it would seem to be true that lots of men can't be trusted alone with women, based on all the stories that are coming out and are yet to come out. How sad, for all of us.

  7. I love the theme song to the Waltons. Can't help it.
    In cardiac rehab, I exercise to a Barry Manilow mix.

    Now you know why this is anonymous

    1. I suppose if you don't want to get your heart rate up that's a good selection.

  8. I am ALSO a huge metal and Prog Rock fan. (Yes. Yes? Yes!!). But I am also a huge Folk enthusiast (so much so I started a group to perform it). As to guilty-pleasure-confessions, gotta be Stacy Q.

  9. PLEASE say yes to the book deal! Then there will be a tour & your legion of fans can actually get to meet you!!!

    I get why teaching med students would get on your nerves, but why do you hate training new surgeons? Passing on what you know to newbies will help make them better surgeons, which will increase the odds of successful outcomes for the thousands of patients they'll be operating on in the course of their careers. Anything you can do do make other surgeons better, you should do, as a public service.

    From the limited mentions you've made about them, your little Bastards sound like they're pretty young. How are you gonna to retire in less than a decade? You've already got a fortune socked away for their college funds? And what would you do with all that free time besides hang around the house annoying Mrs. Bastard? Or slicing off your fingers on the lathe?

    People who are exceptionally good at what they do shouldn't retire as long as they'e able to work at their best level. Esp. people who save lives for a living. Just sayin'.

    You don't have to be a full-time trauma surgeon forever. You & Mrs. B can take certainly regular vacations to sexy places with beautiful beaches, or whatever floats your boat. But don't retire, Doc. You'll have nothing to write about here without your work.

    1. I think asking Doc to do a book so his fans can meet him is going to be the major discouraging factor. He has kept his anonymity thus far to protect his family and probably career. Why would he give that up now just so some nosy fans can know what he looks like?

    2. I thought a big enough advance would help him overcome his shyness. This blog doesn't really work if Doc's identity is revealed. But if he's looking towards retirement anyway, why not write a book & go out with a bang?

    3. because despite retirement, he still cannot reveal the identity of the patients he has mentioned in his blog without breaching the trust they placed in him - and if he outs himself, he will also potentially out his patients.

    4. Not everything is about money... sometimes other things, like privacy, are more important.

    5. RC - What Melissa and Ken said. I'd love to meet my fans (FANS? REALLY?), but I don't think it will happen. That said, I've been in touch with the publisher in the past week, and they seem to be very interested in some kind of book. We're just starting to work on details.

      As for why I don't like to train new surgeons, I'm just not a very patient (har har) teacher. I know exactly how I want a procedure to go, so when someone else is doing it (even under my direct supervision and direction), it's maddeningly frustrating.

      Mrs. Bastard and I have been very savvy with saving. I think retirement will be within our reach. I doubt I will fully retire from working, most likely just from clinical duties. Trauma is a game for the young, and older folks just shouldn't do it.

    6. Yes, Doc, you have FANS -- what do you think all those Twitter followers are? I would love for you to do a proper memoir-style book, but if telling your stories as yourself creates privacy issues for your patients, can't you concoct a fictional character, drop him into a totally different locale & tell the stories that way? Like John Le Carré but with an MD?

      All of this screams tv series to me. I've noticed that television is rebooting old hit shows from the 1990s because Hollywood is apparently too lazy to come up with fresh good ideas. They brought back TWIN PEAKS last year, which I didn't bother with. And THE X-FILES, which is nowhere near as weird & wonderful as the original was, despite my enduring love for Scully & Mulder. If your book is a hit, it could lead to a show. On Netflix. I think a 21st century version of HOUSE, MD set in Baltimore with a trauma surgeon would be huge. Lord knows we have plenty of trauma cases here. They could bring back David Simon to write & produce it.

      Last week, the brother of one of my co-workers was shot. On the sidewalk. In broad daylight. He was only 21. And I know a better trauma surgeon couldn't have saved him. There was a head shot, those are usually fatal. But I thought immediately of you, Doc. And of trauma surgeons everywhere in this country who try to undo what bullets do to bodies everyday.

      The really shitty thing was that she learned about the shooting from her phone. Someone sent her a video of her brother lying on the curb after he was shot. He was moving, so he was still alive. And a random human being chose to film him rather than try to help or comfort him in that moment. The video had been posted on a local Instagram page that features murders in Baltimore. He was killed on Jan. 8, the sixth homicide victim this year. There have been other since that date.

      Maybe years of watching fake reality tv shows is why actual reality doesn't move people anymore. Perhaps letting the public see gun violence every week tv on from a medical perspective, portrayed as a pubic health issue, would make a difference.

    7. I am truly sorry for your co-worker's loss, and for the circumstances surrounding it. That is a very hard thing to process, even from an unrelated emergency responder's perspective.
      you, and she, have my deepest sympathy.

    8. Thanks Ken, I appreciate that.

    9. I hope you and she, and everyone, have a good group supporting you through this.

    10. She's got her family around her. And the cops already have the shooter in custody. It'll take a year or more before it goes to trial. But it seems like the system might actually work for us this time.

  10. let's see: while I appreciate good metal, i have been known to refer to less than good "metal" as "screaming and distortion music"

    I can appreciate the harmonies of an 80s boy band despite being repulsed at the concept of fabricated popularity. (I prefer good a capella groups) not so fond of high pitched girl singers.

    I have a love/hate relationship with schooling idiots on public fora.

    I like training the smart ones, and have to struggle to be patient with the dumb ones. (in all the fields I train people in)

    rumor has it there is an internet service you can send spam emails to, and they will then let their spambot troll the spammer's spambot. (and you can watch if you choose)but I would still love to see any sort of nuisance cold "call" become a crime.

    when I was younger, I had a few times I drove dangerously drowsy. hopefully I have learned my lesson without killing anyone.

    I feel a deep emotional connection to the star wars saga, and would love for Lucas to have finished his original supertrilogy. failing that, the current third segment has been satisfactory, so far. guilty confession? I think JarJar Binks was necessary to the story, think that Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christiansen did a very good job of portraying the reason why Anakin became Vader.

    and I have heard that only 25% of the people in the world have the necessary taste buds to experience the flavor of mushrooms. the rest of the people like them.

    1. I know bein the youngin in this blog (even though im legally an adult lolhmeans this probably doesnt hold much weight but i cried 6 times watching the force awakens it was such an emotional experience for me. Star wars helped shape who i am today.
      Though ken i think with how george was post divorce we were better off not getting his 9 films.
      Hayden did fine, jake lloyd poor kid shouldnt have been cast.
      And ken? For thinking jar jar was neccessary you have lost some of my respect. Only some.

    2. Lucas was not a skilled dialogue writer, but he was good a assembling a story arc of the nature that star wars is.
      Jake Lloyd was a little bit stilted, yes. most child actors in that age range are.
      as for jarjar, yes he was annoying as hell, but don't forget that the original trilogy had an annoying character who was necessary to the story, as well. JarJar served as a patsy on several occasions - if it weren't for him there would have had to be another patsy. he also kept QuiGon and ObiWan enough off balance to stop them catching warning signs. and he gave us somebody to want to strangle. never underestimate the importance of that.

    3. According to rumor, JarJar was meant - eventually -to be the shadowy figure behind Darth Sidious, quite deliberately hiding in plain sight. He does perform some critical actions behind the rise of Sidious.

      Then it turned out that everyone hated the character so he got sidelined.

    4. according to rumor nobody is crazy enough to actually take that joke seriously.

    5. Ken i know a lot of people who take it seriouslu. Then i try to point out how impossibly insulting it is.

    6. since Lucas was treating the "rule of two" (one master, and one apprentice) as canon, it voids the theory.

    7. "According to rumor, JarJar was meant - eventually -to be the shadowy figure behind Darth Sidious, quite deliberately hiding in plain sight. He does perform some critical actions behind the rise of Sidious.

      Then it turned out that everyone hated the character so he got sidelined."

      But we can't get rid of Donald Trump soon enough for me. Not that I view Pence or Ryan as being much better. I don't want to live in a theocracy either.


  11. I haven't seen The Last Jedi, the Force Awakens gave me nightmares. I love mushrooms with ground meat in a tomatoey pasta sauce. Also like them sliced with white wine and a little stock surrounding a turkey leg in a slow cooker.
    The only boy band song I like..is "Everybody" by the Backstreet Boys. Don't like Bieber....but I adore Ed Sheehan, especially his duet with Andrea Bocceli. Love the late 60's and most of the 70's....Rondstat, Eagles, Joe Walsh.
    Jar Jar Binks was an abomination. The Anakin trilogy doesn't exist in my canon. God they were awful.

  12. Hey Doc,
    If you wrote a book, I would definitely buy it! Also there is no shame in Backstreet Boys!
    I'm sure your following will grow a lot this year too!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I would thinking teaching surgeons to punch/hit deserving patients might be a fun thing to mix in with the teaching the surgical skills, sort of make it more enjoyable anyhow.
    Sorry about your choice of music, really I am. I am an avid jazz fan, nothing like Miles Davis to make a day seem really cool and ok.
    The book deal and following lecture tours would be a hit, just don't play any background music from your favorite list. I guess I am a music snob.

    All in good fun Doc. Thanks for the insights - though I think teaching surgeons to punch patients might have value. (nautipirate)

    1. Only if patients are allowed to punch arrogant and dismissive surgeons also.

    2. you mean operating rooms don't have doors the patient can use to leave?

    3. Not when you're unconscious. Ideally before you agree to employ the jerk. And why should surgeons have the right to punch patients when patients can't reciprocate? Could you possibly be a sexist moron?

    4. I don't know. I'm not the one who says women should just suck up sexual harassment or give up their career over it.

    5. Honey, you are getting booooooring. But so we can get this over with, let me bow to your primate dominance needs and say YOU WIN, MASSA.

    6. Mary! Your condescension is noted, and while the effort is vaguely appreciable, we still understand the message that you’re out of argument.

      Also, you mockingly offer to bow to his dominance, when you yourself are suggesting that harrassed women do exactly that. Come on lady, if you’re going to make a stupid argument, don’t contradict yourself.

    7. I think that's about enough. I only ask 2 things in the comments - to stay on topic and to be respectful. You folks are violating the latter. Please stop.

    8. Come t'e piccolo fallo amaro morso!

    9. I’m not sure what a faulty piccolo has to do with anything, or how it causes pain. But okay.

  15. wait, that's a bieber song?

  16. I would just love to read any book written by you. There is something about your writing that holds my attention and sticks with me like those songs you like.

  17. >> I really do want more followers on Twitter and
    >> more readers here.

    I followed you here from Twitter, because I prefer long-form ranty goodness to tiny little nuggets of Twitter.

    >> I hate spam comments here almost as much as spam
    >> phone calls at home, and I wish I could round up
    >> all the spammers, put them in a small office building,
    >> and make them all call and email each other nonstop
    >> until they all die.

    I spent much of the last fifteen years working in Web-hosting, and I spent a significant portion of that time fighting spam at the server level. I have long wished for infinite cosmic power so that I could make the act of sending spam *physically* painful. On a per-message level. The more spam you send, the more agony you receive. I think that would clear up a lot of it.

    >> I am a big Star Wars fan, and I loved "The Last Jedi".
    >> It's probably my favourite Star Wars movie.

    While it's not my favorite (that would be Return of the Jedi,) I also loved it. My only gripes are that I wanted to see more interaction between Luke and the original-trilogy characters and the whole thing was too damn short.

    >> I got an email from a publisher about potentially
    >> publishing a book.

    I would read your book.

    >> Despite my palate maturing as I've aged, I still cannot
    >> bring myself to eat a mushroom. Seriously, fuck
    >> mushrooms.

    I feel exactly the same about cooked peas. The only peas that don't taste like hobo dirt to me are uncooked snap peas right out of the pod.

  18. SisterBastard here. Doc always used to assert that he refused to eat “fungus”. I think he said it was just unnatural. Nice to know that some things never change. (Picky damn Bastard.)


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