Saturday, November 5, 2011

Why Are Doctors So Depressing?

I was perusing through my latest issue of Anesthesiology the other day. After briefly skimming through many of the articles that are only tangentially pertinent to my everyday practice, I came across the "Mind to Mind" section, where doctors write in essays and commentary on their life in medicine. What I found was so depressing. Of the three submissions published, all of them dealt with death and dying. The first one is a sort of haiku on witnessing the aftermath of the death of a parent. The second story involved the slow agonizing death of a mother from Alzheimer's disease. The third one is about the death of a beloved public figure in a small Southern town.

My goodness. Is that all doctors can relate to in this world, death and dying and more death? Do doctors think they are more literate and poignant when they write about depression and mortality? Whatever happened to the happy anecdotes that physicians are witness to every day? Famed commentators like P.J. O'Rourke and Art Buchwald did not get rich and famous discussing only the sad details of this cruel world. Life has so much joy and exuberance to express but the publishers of medical journals only seem to accept accounts of woe and misfortune.

It appears that the only avenue for happy and funny reports is through medical blogs like this one. For instance, let me tell you about the time three women walked into an elevator in a large apartment complex. They notice a white stain on the elevator floor. The brunette looked at it and said, "That looks like somebody's semen." The red head touched it and remarked, "That feels like somebody's semen." The blond put some in her mouth and noted, "It doesn't taste like anybody from this building." Ba dum dum. Publish that Anesthesiology.

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