Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy



I started blogging as a way to keep in touch with my friends and family while I was studying abroad in Italy; it was much easier than emailing everyone separately. Posts were long, rambling, and only a select few people would ever want to read them†. They were probably just humoring me anyway. After I came back from Italy, I stopped writing, and my blog hit the proverbial backwaters of the internet.

Then medical school started, and I found I needed an outlet. Touching a dead body for the first time. Not getting enough sleep. Seeing people deny their cancer diagnosis. Still thinking penis jokes were funny (they are!) but trying to be "professional" about it. Becoming apathetic about learning. Losing my sense of self-importance††. Putting on 5 pounds from eating at a hospital cafeteria every day. I needed somewhere to vent.

Moreena over at Wait&Wonder wrote an incredibly insightful piece that sums up my feelings. I blog because it's my outlet, my way of processing this life I'm leading. It helps me come to terms with the sobering realization that I have agreed to trade away 2 months of my life to study for the boards - and also lets me record some genuinely hysterical stories for posterity. Blogging is catharsis.

But I cannot hope to stay anonymous. For anyone who hasn't been following the recent drama in the medical blogosphere, read this article - because it could be me in 15 years.

To be unmasked in court means that Flea's real name is forever linked with opinions that were supposed to be unhinged from reality. With the story splashed all over the Boston Globe, the entire Boston medical community now knows what he really thought about his coworkers, his administrators, his patients. It's the adult equivalent of having your diary photocopied and passed out at school. It's the risk you take.

Howdy, prosecutor from the future. Please remind me to read this post (hi me!) so I remember why it was worth it. And Flea- here's to hoping you come back soon (and welcome back, Fat Doctor)!

†Hi mom!

††Every med student gets excited when they first get their ID badge and sign up for "harder courses than the undergrads take". Though I definitely still get occasional bursts of superiority complex (everybody's human!), my badge is now just what gets me into study rooms and taking harder courses just means I get less sleep.

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  1. Hi Zac,

    Just stopped over here from Liz’s blog. I am with you vis a vis blogging for catharsis. I love it. It keeps me sane. Like you I never did try to be anonymous about it (though I usually try to avoid advertising it around). I always figured that I would worry too much about being found out. Plus, in this day and age, no one is ever truly anonymous anyway.

    Still the things that went on the FD and Flea are enough to give one pause for concern. What IF a future employer read this and took something out of context? Is blogging really worth that? For now, it is for me. We’ll have to see about the future.

  2. Thanks for the shout out!

    I will say that I am very, very, very careful to never write about anything I think will get me in trouble. In fact, when my boss saw one of my posts, about how I would fix clinic if I had all the power in the world, he told me he thought they were great ideas.

    For me, that means I’m “out.” I’m now out to my co-workers (duh!) and friends and family. The only reason I use a pseudonym is because I don’t want freakozoids hunting me down and bugging me to answer their medical questions.

    You know, this has inspired me to do a new page on Rules for Medical Blogging. Give me a day or two…

    Lemme know if you want to be linked on FD under medical students. Might get you some traffic, if that’s of interest. Or not. Up to you. :)

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