Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Things I've Never Done

Preamble inserted by Dinah: It's ClinkShrink's birthday! She's turning....oops...old enough to be a prison nun. Old enough to have her own duck and her own blog and to come to my house for crabcakes, hon. Old enough to ride a segway (so at least 14). This is not her cake, it's the cake we ate when Shrink Rap turned 1. Yes, really, how nuts is that? And what does Clink want for her birthday, besides the biggest crabcake that I should be making now? She wants you to

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on my novel chapter!!! And she wants to tell you that I'm setting up an separate blog arm called Double Billing: The Interactive Novel, to be up and running soon with more chapters so you can find out why both characters are named Emily. But for now, she might want to ride an elephant. I'm not sure why.


You can talk now.
I don't typically write personal or sentimental posts but I'm feeling a bit reflective today. Today I am 210 years old, in dog years and hex code. Actually that really just applies to my knees. The rest of me is somewhat younger. On the event of my 210th birthday I thought I'd write about all the things I haven't done.

I think the most adventure I've had so far in my life was at the age of ten when I road both a camel and an elephant at a state fair. From an adventure standpoint it's been rather a downhill slide since then. I've never been much of a traveler so I've never seen Reykevik, Icelandic ponies or puffins (I learned recently that people eat puffins which makes me inexplicably sad). I haven't hiked to Machu Picchu or canoed down the Amazon. I haven't climbed a mountain (or talked Dinah into climbing lessons). I haven't cured a disease or authored a novel or founded a nonprofit organization. I've put a few cartoon doodles up on the blog but it's not exactly what you'd call being an artist.

I've spent much of my professional life in prison. That by itself would be enough adventure for most people and I certainly do hear some interesting stories. People wonder why I don't get out more. The answer to that question is an ethical dilemma on the order of the trolley car crash variety. Here's the dilemma:

If you're the only doctor in town, do you leave town?

Even though we are one of the top ten states in the country with regard to the number of psychiatrists per capita the fact remains that if I leave prison then my patients will have no one. Who will make sure my little old man in segregation gets his Risperdal? How will my sometimes-suicidal sometimes-violent young alcoholic get his depression treated? Who will round on the infirmary patients and do competency assessments on the treatment-refusing medical inpatients?

Who, indeed?

If there's any question about the effect of a missing doctor on patients, you can see what happens in the comments on this story.

Nevertheless I do plan to celebrate my birthday. I haven't found any rideable camels or elephants in Charm City yet, but I do know where you can get a nice Segway ride.