Feb 4, 2009

Joker's 20 on 20 M.D.O.D.

So you thought this series wasn’t going to be finished? Uh-uh, no way, no how. There are quite a few series I haven't finished and this is one I really want to finish. There are just too many great blogs out there for me to scratch this series without getting to the end.

So next in the 20-20 series is the contribution by 911 Doc from MDOD. Lets put it this way, if you think we’re jaded from our daily traverses through the dumbass world of advertising, just try and think how you’d do in a health care environment and all the shit they have to deal with on a daily or hourly basis. These people are real doctors, who work day in and day out caring for people that are sometimes difficult, often times whiny and annoying yet occasionally very thankful, as am I for 911 Doc taking some time to answer my random batch of questions.

MDOD is pretty much a compilation of unruly doctors that tell shit like it is and make my vents look tame in comparison. There are various contributing writers pushing forth their own brand of anger, what the fuckness or sick perverted humor and I can’t help but recommend this read to anyone at the very least curious as to what a doctor does on an average day. Many thanks to AdBroad for having indirectly referred me to this crazy bunch since I’ve always wanted to ask like a million questions to doctors… for this exercise I settled on 20. Here’s the result.

20 Bloggers.

20 Questions.

No filtering.


1.) How many people participate in MDOD? Give a brief description of each if possible.

We have seven docs who participate at MDOD, though Dr X is hard to locate and usually in a bad mood.
Brief descriptions:

911doc- angry

Lofty Zahari- angry

Etotheipi- angry and twisted

Quixxote- angry

DRX- sociopathic

ERDoc85 - angry

Schrodinger's Cat - angry


Olfarft- angry (and old).

2 & 3.) Describe what MDOD means to you. How do you all know each other?

MDOD started simply as a safe place for me to vent about practicing emergency medicine. It's not like "ER" on TV and it's not like anything on TV... it's the ER. at about the same time other ER docs decided to start blogging and venting and I am glad for that. For those of us who write at MDOD I believe it is basically a place to vent, but it seems that we reach a lot of folks outside of medicine and to the extent we tell them 'how it really is' perhaps we are more than a place for burned out docs to vent.

JOKER: Trust me, you guys are. I always enjoy seeing differnt perspectives and ways of seeing life and one can't help but wonder what a doctor's take on typical life bullshit might be different from your average layman since most people almost consider doctors a different species and often forget that they're people with lives, frustrations, feelings of dejection and who are flesh and bone.

4.) Describe what a bad day is like for you and compare it to what you normally hear people complain about as a bad day?

Hmm, what is a 'bad day' for me? my answer is not a shift in which people die or throw up on me or any of those things (though they are certainly bad), but rather, a shift where I am so busy I forget to pee. right after i see my last patient I finally remember I need to pee and then it takes me about three hourse to calm down enough to sleep. another surely bad day is a shift in which you pronounce a child dead. the experience itself is something i never want to have again, and the parental conference is the worst thing i can imagine outside of torture.

JOKER: More than anything, I asked this so people could put things in perspective and get a different answer from your typical person dying scenario. Obviously that isn't a pleasant experience, but if you're a doctor and more so in ER, it seems that's just something you'll have to come to terms with. As for forgetting to pee... shit man, I can't even begin to fathom what it would be like for me to forget to take a piss. As for taking three hours to calm down, I can relate to the symptom, though not the cause, meaning that I might have trouble getting to sleep, but it's most likely due to some batch of senseless mind numbing project that really contributes little or nothing to society.

5.) What blogs do you read?

In terms of blogs I read it really varies a lot depending on how much time I'm putting into MDOD. if i have time the blogs linked on MDOD are my favorites. Adios to monkeygirl by the way. love ya gal.

JOKER: It's interesting to see the different things people are into and to find awesome links to random blogs just for reading some random blog.

6.) Your job would be so much better if you had these five things.

My job would be so much better if I had.... patients who take responsibility for themselves (that's one through four) and 5. ... if I had a job that paid me based on my training, skill, and worth.

JOKER: I can't help but smile at how some sentiments echo from one industry to another. As for patient's taking responsibility for themselves? That's like asking your average desk jockey to take the blame for their fuckup rather than point a finger and try to Hot Potato the blame over to someone else.

7.) What are some of your heroes and why are they your heroes?

My heroes are not hard to figure out based on my answer above. I will always love Winston Churchill and in terms of movie heroes I love almost all of Clint Eastwood's characters. Folks that I know that are heroes? Most of the pilots I served with, my friends who have deployed in service of our country, and the United States Marines.

JOKER: I have various friends in the Marines and the Army. Can't say I'm happy any time they're deployed because I'd rather shit being all rosy, but without these guys, we'd probably be ultra fucked. So hats off to the people in uniform. As for Winston Churchill, interesting choice. Not many people owuld pick a succesful British politician, army officer, orator, nobel prize winner and writer as a hero... They're too busy sucking on the smell of Kanye's ego. So great choice.

8.) If you had a shot to do something else with your life (and were actually interested in doing something else), what would it be and why?

If i were given a choice of 'what to do with my life' I would probably still choose medicine. It's a calling, and it's hard to envision doing anything else. This is a problem because it's become so unlike the job that folks had even fifteen years ago. I think if I had to choose another career I would be a teacher and a coach. Maybe that's what I'll do next?

JOKER: interesting. I asked because I know some doctors who have changed specialties, but stayed in medicine because it is their calling, while others have opted to change careers altogether and after 10+ years studying, I don't even know how to react to such changes except to applaud them for not settling.

9.) Four books everyone should read; four cd's everyone should listen to; four movies everyone should watch.

Four books everyone should read:

Mere Christianity: CS Lewis. The first time I read it, it made me quite uncomfortable, the fiftieth time I read it I still got more out of it. For those who are not believers it is the best book on understanding the faith that built this country.

The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien was a contemporary of CS Lewis at Oxford and they were friends (Tolkien was Catholic and Lewis Anglican)

Deep Survival: new book, Lawrence Gonzalez, required reading for anyone who wants to know how to make it through a disaster, an illness.

The Last Lion: William Manchester. A great history of the life of Winston Churchill written by a former marine who fought in the South Pacific. It’s part of a trilogy but Manchester never finished the last installment.


moondance, van morrison. (So fucking true. Love this cd though would couple it with Astral Weeks. Just Van at his best).

Eat a Peach: allman brothers.

Led Zeppelin II.
I've always debated which is the best Zeppelin album. I'm between II and I though the rest are also incredible, but the first two are just insane as to how good they are.

Funky Kingston, Toots and the Maytalls. Great choice. My brother would be very proud.


Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood.

Apocalypse Now.

Cool Hand Luke

Animal House.

10.) Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully on this side of the grass and out of the ER.

11.) What are your greatest fears?

Greatest fear? The playing out, in our country, of the classic book 1984.

JOKER: Scary how possible it is huh?

12.) What do you think of medical shows like Scrubs, ER, Grey's Anatomy and House MD? How do those shows compare with reality?

I love scrubs. The others I don't watch. ER was good for a while but it is not the way a busy trauma center works (though they do a good job with the medical stuff). House is a joke and I don't get it.

JOKER: I asked this one because I don't know how many people swear they know about being a lawyer because of Law and Order, could be a crime scene specialist thanks to CSI or magically become whiz doctors because they watch these Med shows. Amazing the amount of self manufactured bullshit people ingest.

13.) What do you miss most about college if anything?

College? Everything. Even though we thought we were anything but carefree, we were. It was fantastic. I understand the pull of staying there forever and many of my friends have done just that.

14.) What medicines would you never take and why?

Medicines I would not take? Hell I'll take just about anything legal if it helps. The proliferation of the colon cleanse and alternative medicine stuff is nothing but shit (pun intended). The reason that alternative cures are still around is that people will always look for a quick fix. Snake oil can not be banned. But the guy on the late night infomercials talking about observing his four year old daughter's bowel habits gives me the creeps and he's making millions. People will pay for his snake oil without blinking but do not want to pay for traditional, western medicine.

JOKER: People shall now and forever want a quick fix. Happy pills. Pain go bye bye pills etc. For my part, I just try to avoid meds whenever possible but if my stomach is fucking with me or I have a headache worthy of a cranky mother of five having to deal with multiple child meltdowns, I won't be a dick and I will take the aspirin. But if it's something mild, screw it.

15.) What would you say to anyone interested in embarking a career in medicine?

If it's in your heart go to it. Keep in mind to be smart with how you finance your education as it will dictate your specialty choice. Hard to bite on the pediatrics residency if you come out of residency owing 300k and making 80k. If it's something you are thinking about because you like the idea of being called 'doctor' then do something else.

JOKER: It's sad that so many people seem to do it for the money and respect. good to see people genuinely interested in helping others.

16.) What is the most common diagnosis you see?

Most commons diagnosis? 'Not sick'. in all seriousness this is the only thing that matters to me, is the pateint sick or not. Most are not. Other than that, upper respiratory illnesses and chest pain.

JOKER: I wonder how this answer would change from state to state, from country to country etc.

17.) What are some basic rules for your day-to-day work?

Rule number 1 through 10... everyone is sick until I prove they are not.

JOKER: Interesting philosophy.

18.) Describe your experience as a med intern. What were some of the most important lessons you learned?

Internship rules. Two options. If you are gunning for a neurosurgery position be front and center, never sleep, read all the time, and volunteer whenever possible. If you just want to make it through, which is the norm, hang back, do your work, and shut the fuck up. Our medical training programs are so thorough that you can't help but learn it after years and years of repetition.

19.) What's the weirdest condition/accident/injury you've ever had to deal with?

Weirdest condition ever encountered? How can I choose just one? How about the guy who stuck a mayonnaise jar up his ass to 'relieve constipation'? Then there’s the woman who put pennies in her vagina because timothy McVeigh had just been executed and she was warding off his ghost (yes, she was schizophrenic).

JOKER: Maybe the guy thought Miracle Whip could really do miracles though if he could fit a mayo jar up his ass, I think his last worry would be constipation. Makes you think twice about saying that everything tastes better with mayo. As for the woman? Maybe she was offered advice by someone with a heavy Hispanic accent insisting that she put some clean penis in her vagina and not to worry. Or maybe she trusted in the power of Old Abe or maybe she just secretly wanted matching odors from both orifices. Who knows?

20.) Dissect me with any question you might be curious enough to ask.

Questions for you: if you are a surfer, how long would it take me, a snowboarder who can swim pretty well, to get at least marginally proficient at surfing?

JOKER: It shouldn't take long at all. I think snow is a much crazier surface to carve on though I haven't had the pleasure of riding really fresh powder. Only snowboarded once. But it should be an easy transition with a funny initial learning process for one simple reason. Surfers steeer with the front leg and stabilize with the back leg and snowboarding is inverted. Other than that, I think it's a great advantage if you snowboard actually. if you're having trouble with a short board, start with a long board in small surf first. If you can handle that, you'll transition much better to the shortboard. Just remember, spinning around in a long board is a bitch.

Second, if you live to surf, how do you make ends meet?

JOKER: you find a night job. or shifts that can allow you to have some income yet have the morning to surf. i'd say to live off fish etc, but that depends on where you're based. I would strongly recommend against eating anything fished from many Cali breaks just because, well, I think it's obvious. Your other option is to move to a place like indo or Costa Rica and be the American contact. Actually, if you work at Tavarua as a guide, you have a decent job, easy access to epic surf and can still save a buck here and there.

What's the secret to living a life based around your most loved activity which, unless you are a pro, doesn't pay the bills (I have an idea about this having spent two years as a ski bum in Colorado but I'm interested).

JOKER: Read above. For me, I love to surf and can't see myself without doing it, but I don't live to surf only. I love to play music and my passions are writing, music, surfing and boxing. I'd never be a boxer though I love the sport, don't consider myself good enough to be a recording artist, am not good enough to compete but I can write like a motherfucker, so the choice is simple. :) I just don't drop any of the other fixations in my life because there is no need to.

Many thanks for the great answers Doc. Take care and thanks for busting your ass on the job.



Me said...

First of all, great read. As an avid pill popper for anything that hurts, I'm sure reading that blog fo' sho.

Second: Doc!!! Is there such a thing as chronic insomnia?????? HELP!

Joker said...

Glad you enjoyed, and you should definitely check the blog out. Crazy shit. :D

911DOC said...

dear Me,
sure there is chronic insomnia. sleep is usually the first thing to go screwy with depression and anxiety so many docs prescribe anti anxiety meds which is a good short term fix but people like the stuff so much it's hard to get 'em to stop.

there's a great old medicine which is non addictive, two in fact, that might help, one is called doxepin or sinequan, and you will sleep a LONG time. the other is called elavile or amitryptylline and it's very similar.

get into see a doc and make sure you are not walking around with an undiagnosed depression that is causing your sleep loss. depression is not 'your fault' and it can be treated very well these days.


Teenie said...

Thanks for introducing me to the doc site, Me! Slow day yesterday so I read right through to mid-2006. Yikes!

Thinking In Vain said...

I LOVE this site! My family is in the medical profession (cept for me!!!).

I have problems with their RSS feeds though so I forget to read it. :(

Me said...

Nah, not depression, for the most part I am a true happy camper. But anxiety might be the thing: I'm just way too hyper for my own good. I'm always thinking and rewinding the day in my head, figuring out stuff from work... I always need to do something.

In fact, I have tried meditation but it's very difficult to tell my mind to shut up. I'm just wired hyper, that's all... but my sleeping habits have gone down the drain more than normal.

Most of the nights I just want to keep on going like there is nothing wrong with sleeping at 4am...

Anyways doc, thanks for the help, I will gladly go to my doc so he can give me some magic pills like the ones you told me about.

Much love from a true pill popper who loves docs... Me.

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